Four In The Afternoon

1. TEXAS IS STILL ON FIRE. And not with disco or politics. Wildfires are burning in every quadrant of the Lone Star state. One wildfire has burning for over a week, but dry conditions and winds have defeated attempts to put it out.

2. GOD, WHY? People are still taking Donald Trump seriously as – well, anything, really. But I’m talking about his rumoured candidacy for the Oval Office. The Republican party’s chances for the 2012 elections are slim to none if people are interested in Trump as the leader of the free world. So why do I feel this uneasy rumbling in my gut?

3. LAST WEEK’S VAGUE ANNOUNCEMENT IS TODAY’S VAGUE PLAN. Mayor Fiacco unveiled a wide-ranging and intriguing plan to develop the 53 acres soon to be left vacant by CP Rail. There’s going to be a new corporation to handle the details, but it looks right now that the development plan will be at least 8 to 10 years (probably more, I’m betting), with a new ‘entertainment facility’ in place by 2015 (probably not, I’m betting). Folks! This will be interesting! And there’s even a video:

UPDATE: Studies have revealed that it’s really, really easy to sit back and mock the accomplishments of hard working people by posting videos of some guy throwing a rock into a hole. More on this story as it develops!

4. SPEAKING OF HOLES: BEWARE THE ‘BLACK HOLE’ OF HARPER NOT GETTING WHAT HE WANTS. According to Stephen Harper, the Man Whose Eyes Never Smile, a non-Harper majority will result in a ‘black hole’ of a coalition between the Liberals, NDP and the Bloc.

Personally, I think it will be more like the Dark Crystal. Except in this case the Skeskis won’t merge with the Mystics. They’ll just have to sit on the other side of the aisle and whine for the next five years.

In Other News, Saskatchewan’s Uranium Mining Industry Is Hiring PR Personnel By The Battalion

Nuclear reactors in Japan aren’t in good shape after the earthquake and tsunami (Al Jazeera). Godzilla should be on the scene in five, four, three ….

UPDATE: It turns out that the reactor type involved in the Japanese meltdown is also used in 23 other places in the United States, and they’ve had their share of problems, even before the earth moved. (Nuclear Information and Resource Service via Slog)

And here’s the reactor going boom … a little bit …

Pick of the Day: Waste Land

There’s a couple of art historical references in this joint UK/Brazil documentary. The first is contained in the title, which recalls the 1922 T.S. Eliot modernist poem The Waste Land. The second is in the poster, which riffs on Jaques-Louis David’s classic 1793 painting The Death of Marat which was executed during the turmoil of the French Revolution.

Those references are deliberate, and entirely appropriate, given that Waste Land documents a project by artist Vik Muniz who returned to his homeland of Brazil from his base in Brooklyn to photograph catadores who work at a giant garbage dump outside Rio de Janeiro where they salvage recyclable materials.

Lacking a comprehensive recycling plan of our own, there’s definitely a lesson in this film for Regina audiences. It screens at the RPL Theatre tonight at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 9 p.m. Here’s the trailer.

And if you’re in the mood for a doublebill, Restrepo is playing tonight at 9 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Festival, it was made by Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger, and documents their experience being embedded with American troops in Afghanistan in 2007. Here’s the trailer.

Music to My Ears

When presented with a choice, like at the airport and the Dollar Store at Cornwall Centre, I always opt for the stairs over the escalator. It’s like a mini-stairmaster workout so it’s good for my health. Plus escalators are a huge energy drain to operate.

Here’s a great idea that engineers in Sweden came up with to entice more people to take the stairs at a subway station.

Stop! Don’t Flush That Toilet!

We received an announcement from the city today. Apparently, at 4 am this morning there was an electrical fault at the Buffalo Pound Water Treatment facility causing it to shut down. That means your tap is right now drawing water off our reservoirs. The city has also turned on eight wells.

That should keep us going until the problem can be fixed but the city is asking that everybody try to avoid any discretionary water use. They advise us to not do laundry today, avoid the dishwasher and flush as little as possible.

They also point out that both the well and reservoir water is completely safe to drink.

Anyway, problem should be fixed by tomorrow.

Now, I’m feeling pretty guilty because we’ve gone the whole cloth diaper route and this new kid has totally won the Number One Pooper crown. In other words, our washing machine has been going constantly all day.

I think I’m going to have to ask Whitworth to not shower and only drink liquor for a couple days just to balance us out.

With that off my chest, I’m now going to attach the full text of the city’s water announcement after the jump because I imagine there are a few of you out there who’ll find it interesting….

Continue reading “Stop! Don’t Flush That Toilet!”

Pick of the Day: Force of Nature

Directed by Sturla Gunnarsson, this film takes the form of a lecture in which the iconic environmentalist (and prairie dog columnist) David Suzuki sums up his life’s work and delivers one final warning that with our growing numbers and burgeoning technology humanity has become a force of nature capable of altering our environment on a global scale.

Force of Nature plays tonight and Friday night at the RPL Theatre at 7 and 9 p.m. both nights. Here’s the trailer.

Don Cherry’s Conservative Pals Shit On The Future

Breaking news: Canada opposes extending the Kyoto treaty — the treaty the Conservatives are openly ignoring (and, to be fair, the same treaty the Liberals quietly ignored during their time in power during the ’90s and the first half of the 2000s.) Fuck our future-generations fucking government. From the Toronto Star:

Steven Guilbeault of the Montreal-based environmental group Equiterre said from Cancun that extending the Kyoto agreement is crucial to countering climate change, especially since last year’s summit in Copenhagen drew limited results.

He said “it’s no surprise to anybody here” that Canada is opposed to Kyoto, though he said observers were caught off guard on Friday when Figueres told a news conference that Canada was opposed to extending the agreement.

For Guilbeault, the decision is another example of Canada’s lack of leadership on environmental issues.

“We used to be a nation that mattered internationally,” he said.

Now, he said, Canada’s position is, “basically, we’ll follow the U.S.”

By the way, if you’re wondering why no one’s been posting on the United Nations climate meetings in Cancun, it’s because Dechene — our climate change guy — is too angry about this to type straight. And you think I’m surly. I’m not a dad.

I suppose I should link to the Guardian’s story on this. I’m so goddamn sick of my country being the bad guys.

Drill, Bebe, Drill

The Obama administration will not be expanding offshore oil exploration into the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Coast, and will instead extend the moratorium on exploration for in those areas for seven years until better standards are in place. Unfortunately, drilling in the Arctic Ocean off the coast of Alaska will, though only after new environmental regulations are met. (New York Times)

Not quite as harmless as putting cats in charge but better than nothing.

Shilling For Suzuki: The Sequel

A while back I mentioned the David Suzuki Foundation is hawking deadly T-shirts and other stuff in its gift shoppe. Christmas is coming up, but if you’re not the type to give gifts there’s always selfishness. In fact I ordered myself a shirt the day I wrote that post and today it arrived and it is great.

This holiday season, save the environment and shop Suzuki!

Dan Phillips Explains Exurbs…

… and waste in the building industry, apperceptive mass,  Apollonian versus Dionysian perspectives, the myth of the cost of labour, the Platonic model of the American dream house, Dr. Pepper, the divided self, why our shoes all match, Wildebeests, designer jeans, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and the thrill of putting your CD rack where ever the hell you want because you can just move it again if you’ve made a mistake — all in this hilarious and inspiring 18 minute TED Talk. Really worth watching — you’ll never see Harbour Landing the same way again.

Hug A Tree. Or, You Know, At Least Acknowledge One.

With the cooler weather of late, I’m reminded of how amazing summer has been and how much I am not ready for it to be over yet! And that, holy shit, I’ve only been out of Regina twice since the start of the season. So, I’m frantically trying to organize my next camping weekend or two (I am really wanting to get up to northern Saskatchewan. If my lasting memory of the province is Regina and a 100km radius around it, it will be so inaccurate). I’m thinking of ways to enjoy the natural environment here while it’s still clothed in summer and doing it conscious of the impact a vacation might have on the environment.

In the July 29th issue of prairie dog in the article “Indoor Kids”, David Suzuki points to a generation growing up increasingly unfamiliar with nature, and therefore not being concerned about it’s plight. Ahmed Djoghlaf, secretary general of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, has echoed Suzuki’s words in a Guardian article earlier this week saying “Children today haven’t a clue about nature… How can you protect nature if you do not know it?”

I don’t think it’s just children who are becoming increasingly detached from nature. I was horrified at hearing the other day that a friend of mine went camping with some mates in an RV! I mean, you’re in your early 20’s, you can’t be retired yet! Have we become far too attached to our creature comforts? Are we becoming disengaged with the natural world and then wondering why we don’t think more about how we can live greener?

I hope the answer is a resounding ‘NO!’. The challenge is to think of how our next trip away will include being conscious of the natural world, and a challenge even bigger still, to make getting back to nature part of our daily lives and not just a camping trip or two when the weather is right. I’m beginning to think more and more that “getting back” to nature is the only way we will ever go forward.

guardian.co.uk, Monday 16 August 2010 17.21 BST

Everything Is Awful

So here’s how it looks to me today: in Canada we have a government minister calling protesters “thugs and anarchists” after his government spent two billion dollars on a party for the global ruling class. In Great Britain, a new right-wing government has whacked public services in a deficit-smashing rampage. And in America, Republicans want to make it a crime to marry same-sex couples, judges say government can’t stop to deep-sea drilling and, oh, and the U.S. Supreme Court vandalized freedom of speech and freedom of association. And also, it’s apparently worse to expose military murders than it is to commit military murders.

The planet is warming, the fanatics are praying, the oceans are dying and massive resources are pissed away in pointless regional wars that make nothing better and no one safer. Things have been getting steadily worse and worse and worse for 30 years.

And it’s all Ronald Reagan’s fault.

Oh, and the days are now growing shorter.

And now I have to get ready to be on CBC radio in an hour for fun times with Chris Kirkland and Michelle Hugli. Happy thoughts, happy thoughts…

UPDATE: Now Scott Neidermeyer’s gone and retired! Arrrgh!

Evil.

Just doing fact checks and edits on Rosie’s story (out Thursday) on Sask migratory birds and the BP spill, and I came across this photo of an oiled wave crashing onto an Alabama shore. You know there can’t be anything alive in there.

The photo is on several blogs but it seems to come from here, a tumblr site called the Ecoterrorist. I can’t seem to link to specific posts so you’ll have to scroll down if you want to read more.