December 20, 2012: Buy Nothing Christmas and the shark fin import ban in Canada
This week on Earthgauge Radio, I have a feature interview with Aiden Enns of BuyNothingChristmas.org. We discuss some ideas about how you can have a “greener” and less stressful holiday season. I also have an update from NDP MP Fin Donnelly on his private member’s Bill C-380 to ban the import of shark fins to Canada.
Click the audio player above to stream the show or right click here to download.
Part 1 – Fin Donnelly on his efforts to ban the import of shark fins to Canada
One year ago Fin Donnelly, the NDP MP for New Westminster – Coquitlam in BC, introduced legislation to prohibit the import of shark fins to Canada. Bill C-380 is a private member’s bill that is now slated to go forward to parliamentary committees in February, after which it will go to a vote in the House of Commons. It is estimated that up to 73 million sharks are killed annually for their fins, often by a practice called shark finning, where the fins are cut off the shark and the body is dumped back into the ocean to die. In 2009, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature revealed that over one-third of all shark species are threatened with extinction as a result of the inhumane practice of shark finning.
A Canadian ban on the import of shark fins would follow similar legislation in various jurisdictions around the world. Most recently, the European Parliament voted to close loopholes in the European Union ban on shark finning. I attended a screening of the film Sharkwater recently on Parliament Hill. Fin Donnelly spoke prior to the screening and I was able to catch up with him to talk about his Bill, why he feels its so important, and the likelihood of it passing in a Conservative-dominated government.
Right click here to download the interview.
Part 2 – Buy Nothing Christmas
Huge amounts of waste are produced during the holiday season – more than any other time of year. In addition, the pressure to buy gifts, social commitments, entertaining and family expectations can make many people dread the holidays. Is there a better way to celebrate the holidays? Many people seem to think so. We’re increasingly seeing people buying fewer gifts, making their own presents, making donations to charity in lieu of gifts, or giving non-material gifts such as art lessons, theatre tickets, food and so on.
On today’s show we talk with Aiden Enns who is the co-founder of BuyNothingChristmas.org and the publisher and co-editor of Geez magazine. Buy Nothing Christmas is a national initiative dedicated to reviving the original meaning of the holiday season. They are inviting all of us to join a movement to de-commercialize Christmas and re-design a lifestyle that is richer in meaning, smaller in impact upon the earth, and greater in giving to people who are less privileged.
Earthgauge Radio airs Thursday mornings from 7-8 AM on CKCU 93.1 in Ottawa. Podcasts on iTunes and earthgauge.ca. Stream live on www.ckcufm.com. Check us out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EarthgaugeRadio.
Tomorrow on Earthgauge Radio: Canadian shark fin import ban and dreaming of a green Christmas
Tomorrow on Earthgauge Radio, it’s our second annual holiday special program. As you probably know, huge amounts of waste are produced during the holiday season – more than any other time of year. In addition, a lot of people find the holidays incredibly stressful. The pressure to buy gifts, social commitments, preparing meals and family expectations can make many people dread the holidays. So we’re going to talk with Aiden Enns tomorrow who is part of a national initiative called Buy Nothing Christmas, which is dedicated to reviving the original meaning of Christmas. These folks are saying no to overconsumption and they invite everyone with a thirst for change and a desire for action to join in. We’ll also have have some ideas for you about how you can be more “green” this holiday season with less waste and less stress too.
Also on the program we’ll hear an update from NDP MP Fin Donnelly on his private member’s Bill C-380 to ban the import of shark fins to Canada. The bill is expected to go forward to Parliament this coming February so we’ll find out why this issue is so important to him and how likely the bill is to pass in a Conservative-dominated House of Commons.
Tune in every Thursday morning at 7:00 AM to Ottawa’s only radio program dedicated exclusively to environmental news and commentary from here in Ottawa and around the world. Earthgauge Radio on CKCU 93.1 in Ottawa and online at www.ckcufm.com. Podcasts on iTunes and http://earthgauge.ca.
Thumbs up to the NDP: MP Fin Donnelly launches petition seeking Canadian ban on shark fin imports
Fin Donnelly (soon to be known as “Shark Fin” Donnelly I presume), the federal NDP’s fisheries and oceans critic and Member of Parliament for New Westminster-Coquitlam, has launched a petition seeking a ban on the importation of shark fins to Canada. “Shark populations are plummeting around the world,” Donnelly said in a news release. “An import ban would draw needed attention to this crisis and help protect them.”
This is an issue that Earthgauge has reported on in the past so it is great to see the NDP taking up the cause in Canada. In September of this year, California passed a ban on shark finning, following numerous other jurisdictions around the world. Could Canada be next to join the global movement to save sharks?
The Conservative government of Stephen Harper is not exactly known as an environmentally enlightened bunch, quite the opposite in fact. Still, this issue could actually have some traction. If there is anything that the Conservatives can be given credit for, it is their record on conservation initiatives. When there are no economic interests at stake, Harper sometimes seizes an opportunity to burnish his meager environmental credentials. Still, this will only happen if there is enough public awareness and demand for new legislation. The NDP petition is a good start. Next we will need a private member’s bill.
Here are some facts from the Huffington Post’s Francesca Koe explaining why shark finning is such a barbaric practice that must be outlawed:
Hammerhead sharks have declined by 89 percent since 1986. They are hunted for their fins, which are a delicacy in soups (for some). More than 1/3 of shark species are threatened with extinction as a result of the international shark fin trade, with some populations declined by 99%. Although 26-73 million sharks are killed every year, just for their fins, many states and nations around the world are taking bold action to stop the wasteful “finning” of sharks: Chile, one of the biggest fin exporters, recently banned shark finning in their waters, joining the Bahamas, Honduras, the Maldives and Palau. In the U.S., Hawaii passed a first-of-its-kind law banning the sale, possession, and distribution of shark fins in the state) last year, and similar measures have passed just this summer in Washington State and Oregon.
Sharks are the oceans’ apex predators, which play a critical role in the health of the ecosystems that support and feed people across the globe… A shark’s value is squandered when sharks are killed for short-term gain from the sale of their fins. By stopping the fin trade, we can help put an end to this type of destruction in international waters.
For more info on sharks, check out this great website of the organization Oceana, which works to protect the world’s oceans.
California Passes Ban on Shark Finning
No doubt that California has its problems but here’s a good news story we can all admire. Why is it that the Golden State always seems to be ahead of the rest of us on environmental initiatives and legislation?
Francesca Koe: Long Live the Sharks: California Passes Ban on Shark Finning
Here’s an excerpt:
More than 1/3 of shark species are threatened with extinction as a result of the international shark fin trade, with some populations declined by 99%. Although 26-73 million sharks are killed every year, just for their fins, many states and nations around the world are taking bold action to stop the wasteful “finning” of sharks: Chile, one of the biggest fin exporters, recently banned shark finning in their waters, joining the Bahamas, Honduras, the Maldives and Palau. In the U.S., Hawaii passed a first-of-its-kind law banning the sale, possession, and distribution of shark fins in the state) last year, and similar measures have passed just this summer in Washington State and Oregon.
This is exciting for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that our oceans’ apex predators play a critical role in the health of the ecosystems that support and feed people across the globe… A shark’s value is squandered when sharks are killed for short-term gain from the sale of their fins. And because California is one of the largest markets for shark fins outside of Asia, by stopping the fin trade here we can help put an end to this type of destruction in international waters.
Campaign to ban the sale of shark fins
Calls to ban shark fin soup growing around the world – The Independent
Did you know? An estimated 73 million sharks are killed annually to supply Chinese consumers with shark fin soup – a prized delicacy in China. Yes, that’s 73 MILLION every year. Conservation groups say one-third of the world’s shark species are now threatened with extinction. According to the United Nations Environment Program, the shark populations have plunged by 90 per cent in the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea and by 75 per cent in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean within 15 years. This is an atrocity, an unmitigated slaughter in the seas for our own selfish gratification.
“The chorus of condemnation on the shark fin trade is growing louder around the world, with plans to bring the anti-finning campaign to Canada. Currently, California is considering banning the sale and distribution of shark fins, the key ingredient to a Chinese delicacy. If passed, California would join Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, and the US Territory of Guam in enacting a ban. Palau, the Northern Mariana Islands, as well as Honduras and the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, have also passed similar protections for the endangered predators.”
Hooray. It’s about time.
Earthgauge selected news stories for the week of Jan 30
Arctic current warmer than for 2,000 years: study – Scientific American
Brazil approves clearing Amazon for huge new $17 billion power plant – NY Times
Japan rejects Kyoto and starts work on new global climate framework – Reuters
Shark fishing nations are failing in their pledge to protect sharks – BBC News