Fracking is a toxic, dangerous, and wasteful form of natural gas extraction that we may see around London, Ontario. The water pollution is the worst of the fracking impacts. Tap water has become flammable after fracking is done to break gas out of nearby shale rock. A stew of toxic chemicals is pumped into each gas well, and radium is one of many underground substances that can be unintentionally released during this extraction.
In spite of all of those dangers, there are plans for shale gas exploration around London - http://stopfrackingontario.wordpress.com/fracking/in-ontario/london/
In addition to water contamination, we also should be concerned about explosion risks, air pollution, water depletion, methane greenhouse gas releases, earthquakes, increased truck traffic, and deforestation.
If you are worried about all of these threats from fracking, please come out to this rally to show your concern, and learn more about what we are up against.
Two sets of photos from the protest can be seen here (on Facebook) and here (on Flickr).
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!”
That statement is a response to an e-mail (quoted at the bottom of that page) from a ‘Free’ Press organization.
Here’s a bit more background -
The ‘Free’ Press Society (which was backing the Ann Coulter in Canada events) had sent out hundreds of event RSVP e-mails by mistake. The Countering Coulter blog then was set up to take advantage of that opportunity to reach people who had RSVPed for the event here in London, Ontario, Canada. Someone out here sent those people a message (much like this post) to ask them whether they would want to use the blog to communicate their concerns about the Coulter in Canada event in London, Ontario. After a guy from the ‘Free’ Press organization sent out an insulting and confusing rant about that e-mail and that Countering Coulter blog — in a message to the same e-mail addresses — I put together the reply on the blog page that I’ve linked to above.
In that writing I tried to hint at the limited effectiveness of blogging and e-mailing in general. Online activism and dialogue (via Twitter, and Facebook, and so on) are very overrated, and I didn’t mean to reinforce the rhetoric and false hopes about ‘digital revolution’ and ‘digital democracy’ (Here are some relevant posts.)
To put this another way -
Free speech only can happen when there already is equality and justice in our everyday lives (with or without digital technologies).
Last week, Nick Griffin — the head of the racist and fascist ‘British National’ Party — was given some air time on BBC’s “Question Period.” There were protests, and a lot of controversy.
Here is some selected coverage and commentary -
Brian Wheeler on the BBC web site -
“What did voters make of Griffin?”
(I’m not exactly recommending that article. I’m just pointing it out because I think it captures how the BBC airtime has tended to feed into the BNP.)
The “strike opens our eyes to the awful levels of waste we produce.”
“They call it a work stoppage, but almost anyone can take it as an excuse to slow down and think.
At a local café, I drink coffee that’s arrived here in bean form from afar on a huge metal bird; I finish and put my cup in a bin, having no need ever to think of it again. It will simply… disappear.
Except, this time, it doesn’t. The cups, the wrappers, the refuse – the things we’ve been refusing to think about – sit there, reminding us that there are many wizards who work this magic for us, often behind the curtain of night. The breakdown of a machine proves the best way to observe how it works.”
“Even now, striking, garbage collectors are providing a sort of public service. As trash mounds grow in the rinks and pools of local parks, we are faced (nosed, specifically) with the reality of how much we throw away and the lives we lead in pursuit of the privilege to do so.”
“There’s a poetry to parks being chosen as dumps, a chance to see how connected things are.”
April Streeter (in this blog post) -
“Even in bike-crazy Portland, the stats have showed an approximate split of 70% male riders versus 30% female riders. In Paris, there’s a similar split, says mobility consultant Eric Britton. The numbers are even more skewed in other places.”
(I agree that we should find ways to make bicycling attractive, but I also think that we should challenge mainstream standards of sexiness and beauty (like waifish models of femininity); I’ll elaborate on that point below.)
“The numbers are actually worse in New York, where only 21 percent of trips by bicycle are made by women. According to a voluntary survey by members of the New York Cycle Club, the largest organization of its kind in the city, only about a third of the club’s members said they are female.”
“With the exception of areas [of New York] like Central Park and designated bike trails — which female cyclists populate almost as zealously as their male counterparts) — bike riding in most parts of the city is hardly leisurely. ‘It’s like going into battle,’ Mr. Pucher said. ‘You need a helmet and gloves.’”
“Indeed, a ride through Midtown during the rush often means dodging trucks and speeding taxis, weaving through flocks of ear-budded pedestrians, swerving around gouged asphalt, and rocketing across intersections when the traffic signal does not say go.’
Mr. Pucher said to make cycling more appealing to women, and children and the elderly, for that matter, cycling in the city needs to be safer.”
In other words, our streets needn’t be macho battlegrounds.
(Mr. Tao also stresses fashion issues in his post.)
“Drivers are confused, at best, with bicyclists on ‘their’ streets (angry at their interference, at worst), and bicyclists are summarily fearful of drivers.”
“Status-quo … design is not going to get more bikes on the road than there are brave messenger jobs and aggressive enthusiasts. The average person is just not that daring. After decades of our industry designing roadways for the [most] efficient throughput of cars, bicycling has been all but marginalized.”
“In every city there are thousands of closet cyclists, people who would love to ride their bikes but don’t dare. They see cycling in the city as something for bike couriers, for the fiendishly fit, for neighbours with nerves of steel.”
Our cities are just bursting with pedaling potential, and it’s time to set it loose on the streets.”
(I have posted another exerpt from that blog post here.)