Earthgauge exclusive interview with Dr. John O’Connor – former physician in the northern Alberta community of Fort Chipewyan
It’s hard to believe that an exhaustive study was necessary but it seems the Alberta tar sands are indeed producing elevated levels of toxins in the local environment. David Schindler, the lead author of the study released 3 weeks ago, studied river water upstream and downstream of oil sands operations. It found higher than normal levels of priority pollutant metals, including lead and mercury, which are both neurotoxins.
Last week, Mr. Schindler and commercial fishermen showed off diseased, discoloured, disfigured fish caught in Lake Athabasca, downstream of the oil sands. One fish had a tumour the size of a golf ball. Another was missing part of its spine.
Described as “one of the most important books of the year“, ‘Merchants of Doubt‘ is a new book by science historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway. The authors researched the inner workings of the policy-stalling denial machine that works to confuse the public about climate science, the health impacts of tobacco, ozone depletion, the dangers of DDT and other environmental or public health issues. Delving into the root of the problem, this work sheds light on the question of why confusion still surrounds the reality of human-caused climate change despite the overwhelming agreement among the world’s leading climate scientists about its causes and ever-advancing understanding of its consequences.
The authors explain in exhaustively-researched detail how renowned scientists abandon science, how environmentalism has become equated with communism, and how the Cold War has come to be connected with climate denial.
And what was the ultimate objective of these merchants of doubt? As this review by John Atcheson states, they are motivated by “an almost religious conviction in small government and the potential evils of big government; a doctrinaire belief in unconstrained free markets and the purity of capitalism; and the conviction that “environmentalism” and other do-gooder efforts threatened our free market, capitalistic system.”
In his book Hell and High Water, Joe Romm put it this way: “the reason most political conservatives and libertarians deny the reality of human-induced climate change is that they simply cannot stand the solution. So they attack both the solution and the science.”
A must read.
A founding member of the Quebec environmental NGO Equiterre, Steven Guilbeault has established himself in recent years as one of Quebec’s, if not Canada’s, leading voices on environmental issues. He has taken a leadership role in numerous environmental campaigns and has recently been particularly active as a climate change campaigner, writer and spokesperson. He coordinated Greenpeace Canada‘s Climate and Energy campaign for 10 years before returning to Equiterre. Guilbeault is also serving as the co-president of the international Climate Action Network and is the president of special committee on renewable energy established by Quebec’s Ministry of Natural Resources.
Guilbeault has participated in the majority of United Nations meetings on climate change and he published his first book on climate change in 2009. He was recently identified by Le Monde as one of the 50 most important people working in sustainable development in the world.
Click the audio player to hear my interview with Steven Guilbeault from the 2010 Millenium Summit in Montreal in which we discuss the climate crisis, the current state of renewable and alternative energy and the links between climate stabilization and poverty alleviation.
Right click here to download the interview and select ‘Save as’ or ‘Save target as’.