Letters to the Editor
Members write letters to the local paper, the Lethbridge Herald, both as individuals and on behalf of sage. The letters posted here are selections of recent or still contentious issues.
Embedded links on this page will open a new window to the Herald - keep an eye on the paper for more letters.
Tackling climate change requires system change
Tuesday, 18 January 2011 02:01 Letter to the Editor
Link to Original Article in the Lethbridge Herald
This winter, I was privileged to attend the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP16) in Cancun, Mexico, as a Canadian Youth Delegate. I was able to do so from the generosity and goodwill of my peers, friends, family and residents of Lethbridge, who helped me enormously in my fundraising efforts. The support of so many people for such an amazing experience was extremely encouraging and heart warming; this support says a lot about the tightly knit community and strong values of the people of Lethbridge, and what kinds of things we can accomplish by working together. I want to particularly thank LPIRG, SACPA, SAGE, SACEE and the YWCA for their generous support.
My experiences at the UN were full of mixed emotions. Urgency, anger and frustration were the dominant sentiments, but there were also hints of inspiration and hope. Witnessing the stagnation, rhetoric and bureaucracy of the process was almost unbearable, yet to be able to participate in such a huge and diverse gathering of people focused on such a monumental issue was truly motivating. Climate change is the defining crisis of my generation, and indeed of humanity as a whole. But it's not just an environmental issue. Poverty, health, gender issues, indigenous rights, pollution, fresh water, deforestation, species loss, etc., all of these issues are directly or indirectly linked to climate change, either through the root causes or through impacts of climate change. This highlights the inherent interconnectedness of our planet, how we live and the challenges we face; dealing with climate change means addressing the root problems and fundamental philosophies our society functions on.
Canada is living in its own universe when it comes to climate change; inaction, speculation and denial have defined much of Canada's political reaction to this problem. Our current government is depending on an apathetic, uninformed electorate that is entranced with consumerism in order to carry out an agenda being dictated by ideology and big oil. Our best hope to change this is to educate ourselves, maintain our community connections and speak with a strong, unified voice: We want system change, not climate change.
Where's science to back Castle clear-cutting?
Thursday, 30 December 2010 02:01 Letter to the Editor
Link to Original Article in the Lethbridge Herald
This is further to the open house staged by the Department of Sustainable Resource Development (SRD) and Spray Lake Sawmill Co. on Nov. 18 and the community conversation on logging the Castle Watershed organized by the Southern Alberta Sustainable Community Initiative in Pincher Creek on Dec. 7.
Poor road conditions prevented me from reaching the Nov. 18 meeting in Pincher Creek. At the Dec. 7 meeting, open discussion searched in vain for the reason SRD is permitting the destruction of public lands. Short-term, low-level economic gain for a few was the only explanation on offer. Representatives from SRD and Spray Lake Sawmill Co. were not available at the Dec. 7 meeting.
Clear-cutting is destruction of forest, not forest management. The revised C5 "Forest Management Plan" released by SRD on July 15, 2010 designates certain areas for clear-cutting of forest. Projects with long-term public interest need assessment not only from the economic standpoint but also measurements of energy inputs, environmental and, in this case, social consequences. Such assessments, to have any value, must be based in science that is data collection and its unbiased analysis. I herewith request the public release of such analysis, if available, for the above project.
The only science-based assessment of the Castle Watershed is the hearings conducted by Natural Resources Conservation Board (SRD) in December 1993. These hearings were prompted by the resort proposal for the West Castle ski hill location. The Decision Report, of 280 pages, concluded that it was in the long-term interest of the public to protect 92 per cent of the Castle Watershed as a Wildland Protected Area. The words "clear-cutting" do not appear in the report.
The recommendations of this report were accepted by the Alberta government one year after the hearings (Dec. 9, 1994) but surprisingly, this acceptance was rescinded five months later (May 10, 1995). Alarmingly, SRD is now allowing, with Spray Lake Sawmill Co. as a willing corroborator, to destroy part of the public lands advised to be given protective status by the only science-based assessment of the area in the Decision Report of 1993. I ask, what is the science behind forest destruction in the Castle Watershed by the Department of Sustainable Resource Development?