A quarrel over the search for two ships that sank in the middle of the 19th century probably doesn't strike people as the best reason to turn your back on a six-figure salary and walk the plank. To understand why, you only need to know this: I've lost track of the times I was nearly killed because I knew I had to give a bigger voice to frightened, intimidated people who couldn't stand up to power on their own. That is the core of the story I've returned to after breaking free yesterday from a six-week reporting ban imposed by Toronto Star editors.
A chemical dispersant is a kind of "spill-treating agent" (or "STA") that is designed to break up an oil slick and dilute the oil by mixing it into the water. A chemical dispersant isn't truly a clean-up tool -- it doesn't take any spilled oil out of the environment, and by the time a dispersant is applied, it's already too late to save most life forms in the vicinity of the spill.
The North Pole is a single point on the Arctic map that falls in an area claimed by three countries. Directly beneath this spot, below the polar ice, is the Lomonosov Ridge, now at the centre of a land dispute. Canada, Denmark and Russia are jockeying for exclusive jurisdiction of the submerged mountain range. If the pole went to the country that can best govern it, the winner is Denmark. In second place, Canada would not be bad, especially relative to Russia. But between the two, as one expert told the CBC, "there's absolutely no doubt that the North Pole is most definitely closer to Greenland than it is to Canada." Still, here are some alternative factors to consider:
Inuit live among polar bears. So it baffles me when well-meaning people who have never seen a polar bear outside a zoo or cruise ship or glass-walled buggy seek to impose rules to govern how Inuit interact with bears, to determine how we should engage in a cycle of life that has allowed both Inuit and polar bears to survive for thousands of years.
Sadly, the inability of governments to deal with climate change is neither just national, nor recent. We've been saddled with government indolence on climate and pollution for far too long, and in far too many places around the world. But Canada has been singled out for getting in the way of progress at global climate negotiations, and we're the only country to have pulled out of the legally binding Kyoto Protocol.
The only way to fight ocean acidification is through a reduction in the global level of CO2 emissions. It is vital for Norway and other key players that the climate summit in Paris next year is successful. Norway is committed to the process and to achieving an ambitious outcome as we work towards the two-degree target and a low carbon society.
We have chosen to focus our efforts on one of the most critical -- and most debated -- aspects of offshore drilling: the ability to stop a ruptured well from gushing crude oil into the Arctic Ocean in a timely fashion. For us, this is the most risky, most troubling issue that could arise, as illustrated in WWF's recent Beaufort Sea oil spill modelling research.
At its core, the book Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit captures Inuit worldview. It is a holistic way of living in an increasingly interconnected world and is based in four big laws. It is critical in preserving wisdom and cultural practices at risk of being lost in the next generation. I'm grateful to have spent the last four days in Arviat, Nunavut (Northern Canada) participating in a fascinating roundtable dialogue with Inuit Elders from across the territory about maintaining their traditional culture in a rapidly changing world.
Cooperation between Arctic stakeholders is crucial for each country's success in dealing with climate change. We are in a new era of sustainable development as the Arctic presents us with major opportunities and major responsibilities. Cooperation is the only tool to ensure ethical, social, and ecological sustainable development.