A mile-long vapour cloud was released from ESSO / Imperial Oil on Tuesday, May 17th. No emergency siren was sounded after this blue-ish grey cloud drifted away from the plant. At first, Imperial Oil did not publicly take responsibility for the release. When the company did acknowledge that the cloud came from their facilities, they made excuses and said that the cloud was made up of sulphur dioxide which was supposed to have been completely non-toxic.
The Observer reported that:
St. Clair Township Fire Chief Roy Dewhirst was one of those who witnessed the blue/gray plume as it wafted over Mooretown, which he described as a low-flying cloud carried on north winds. …
“It was fairly fast moving. It went on down south. It had kind of a crude-oily smell,” he said.
The plume was seen by people as far north as the Lambton Fire School, Lanxess and Provident Energy.
We responded to all of this a very small rally on a busier street corner. Our smallest sign said “Demand more from City Hall”.
For April 20th, activists in London, Ontario, Canada gathered for a bike rally; and many of us joined a “public participation” event at city hall, immediately afterwards. The critical mass bike rally was held to join the Day of Action Against Extraction, and the municipal meeting afterwards was about Wal-Mart plans for a “SmartCentre” around an environmentally sensitive area known as the Meadowlily Woods.
During our bike rally, we returned to a Shell station where we had a protest in October, 2010. Those October and April gas station protests were about the worldwide impacts of extractive industries.
The ride was our first local critical mass rally this year. Climate Justice London called the bike rally, with support from the People for Peace (London), and other local activists.
Here‘s a video from our latest rally against extraction.
An extended summary of a presentation I will be giving during an Earth Day Colloquium on April 15th, at the University of Western Ontario -
Since the 1960s, Social Ecology analysis has critiqued a wide range of social inequities, a series of interrelated institutions (including government systems), as well as various environmental problems. By the 1980s, Environmental Justice research and social movement activities were raising some similar points about how environmental problems can be connected with social inequality. In this presentation I will compare Social Ecology and Environmental Justice approaches to highlight their commonalities and differences. My discussion of Social Ecology basically will consist of points about the foundations laid out in Murray Bookchin’s works. As I address Environmental Justice discourse, I will focus on its more typical forms, over its initial two decades. Although Social Ecology also has emphasized questions about social inequality, these two perspectives very rarely have been compared. I will touch on the distinct histories of these discourses as I discuss their concepts, priorities, and claims. The environmentalism from proponents of Environmental Justice has been more consistent and focused, across the series of local cases which have received attention. Conversely, Social Ecology has covered a wider range of topics, with far more historical and theoretical analysis. While there appears to be no significant historical cross-fertilization connecting the two approaches, commonalities are apparent, nevertheless. In addition to their shared emphases on social inequality, Environmental Justice and Social Ecology discourses both call for social change that may be beneficial to human beings. However, Environmental Justice reforms (such as calls for “green jobs”) would be deemed to be inadequate, based on the bolder standards of Social Ecology.
That summary had to be shortened before I submitted it as a presentation proposal. I was over the word limit.
The wording also takes into account the context — which has a lot of commonalities with a context where I gave a recent presentation about environmental justice at the campus. More than anything, what I’m getting at right now is that the presentation won’t advocate for aspects of the Social Ecology and Environmental Justice approaches in the way that I would if I were just bluntly giving my personal point of view. This event won’t be a place for that sort of presentation.
This is the summary write-up that went with a presentation that I gave in an Environment & Sustainability seminar, a couple of days ago -
Proponents of environmental justice focus on how groups who are more vulnerable to environmental and human health impacts also can be less responsible for these ecological problems. Above all, these environmental justice critiques and concerns are about how social inequality — including inequities along ‘race,’ class, and gender lines — can be bound up with environmental problems. I will illustrate this perspective by pointing to ways in which it would apply to Sarnia-Lambton’s Chemical Valley, to the recent Gulf Coast oil disaster, and to the Alberta tar sands. Throughout this presentation, I will be providing an overview of forms in which environmental justice priorities have taken, over time. By the 1980s, research and social movement activity in the name of “environmental justice” had begun in the United States. Since these beginnings, this environmental justice label has tended to be associated more with certain American issues. In particular, proponents of this approach have devoted considerable attention to toxic waste sites near people of colour in the United States. Yet, as others have been indicating, an environmental justice approach is much more widely applicable — to different countries, and to groups who have received less attention in American environmental justice discourse, and practices. There also is a prehistory of inequities which have environmental justice dimensions, despite how this language had not been applied to these issues before the 1980s (even as relevant indigenous land claim conflicts have occurred for centuries — to mention one pertinent set of issues). Around the turn of the new millennium, a “climate justice” variation on this approach has arisen, as some have began to collectively focus on climate and fossil fuel issues.
The people in the audience focus on empirical studies in Biology. In their terms, it is far too general to say that an environment is “toxic,” and it’s almost impossible to specify how industrial plants are connected with human health impacts. Just making statements about what the industries actually are emitting can be an immense challenge — especially when there are a set of plants, with each releasing a series of substances. A Biologist would ask: how much of each substance (e.g. coal particulates) was released during a particular measurement time frame, and where did it blow or flow to? It also would be necessary to take into account previous environmental conditions (e.g. in the soil), for baseline comparisons. To make any claims about health impacts, it would be necessary to specify exposure rates for each individual, within their wider personal history, and in relation to each source of each substance; so any industrial plant would have to be tied to all of those other contextual details.
A mainstream press article recently announced that there would be a 50 person neo-nazi rally at city hall, here in London, Ontario — the following day.
Before the rally, the press repeated police Superintendent Bill Merrylees’ suggestion that anti-hate counter-protestors would create “problems,” while a 50-person neo-nazis rally would not.
A counter-protest rally and pre-meeting were called through word of mouth. Some people came out to that anti-hate rally because they heard about it at a hip hop show the night before the fascist ‘rally’ was supposed to happen.
This was the online call-out -
“COUNTER-PROTEST THE NEO-NAZI RALLY IN FRONT OF CITY HALL TOMORROW AT 1PM. PRE-MEET AT WILLIAM’S CAFE ON RICHMOND & CENTRAL AT NOON. SPREAD THE WORD!”
The Indigenous Environmental Network -
“Cancun Betrayal, UNFCCC Unmasked as WTO of the Sky“: “Real Solutions to the Climate Crisis Will Come From Grassroots Movements”
(To the extent that the UNFCCC framework is being denounced there, I agree. And, at future UN COP Summits, it will make sense for NGO representatives and regional activists to be there, even as they stress that the UN climate Summit framework has proven to be unsalvageable.)
To try to drum up even more of that dirty money, the company that profits from the Toronto exchange boasts about how it is the world’s number one hub for mining and fossil fuel capital.
This page gives a lot of important information about the crimes that the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) company profits from, as it helps mining companies to rake in money from tearing up lands and communities across the world.
To continue drawing in mining investments and mining company listings, the company behind the TSX — the TMX Group Inc. – proclaims -
TMX: Your Global Resource for Capital
Be a part of TMX Group and benefit from greater access to capital, liquidity, visibility for transactions, analyst coverage, specialized indices and listing requirements specifically tailored to mining companies.
Capitalize on TMX Global Leadership in Mining
• Toronto Stock Exchange and TSX Venture Exchange list more [traded 'public'] mining companies than any other exchange
• 79.1 billion mining shares traded on Toronto Stock Exchange and TSX Venture Exchange in 2009
International Mining Companies Choose TMX
• 50% of the 9,700 mineral exploration projects held by [Toronto Stock Exchange] TSX & TSXV companies are outside of Canada
• Over 200 analysts cover Exchange-listed mining companies