Thirty years on from the world's worst nuclear accident, millions of people are still living with radioactive fallout from Chernobyl. In contaminated areas, radiation touches every aspect of people's lives: it's in the food they eat, the milk they drink, and in the schools, parks and playgrounds their children play in. The human toll of reactor accidents is why nuclear power may never gain widespread acceptance, no matter how much the industry tries to reassure us that risks are low.
Without the forest and the economic activity it generates, the North Shore, the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean and all the other forest regions of Quebec would not have experienced the same level of economic development that has benefited all Quebecers. However, forestry activity could fall sharply in the fairly near future.
My father, Robert Hunter, had coined the term "mind bomb" as an expression that our greatest tool for revolution was our own consciousness. He believed that mass media (early broadcast media at the time) could help spark that consciousness shift and a societal shift by changing the story of our times. The reality is the tides are turning. Despite the stories of impossibility in the fight against climate change, there are some new stories being written of possibility. It will still take many more of us -- millions and billions of us -- to continue to share these news stories and to create the "mind bomb" moments.
By the end of March, Ottawa should have announced its plan to contribute to global efforts to reduce carbon pollution. Yet, silence reigned in the Great White North. That favourite stalling tactic of Canadian negotiators that says we won't reduce our emissions if others refuse to act simply doesn't hold when others have indeed kept their promises.
A scientist, or any knowledgeable person, will tell you climate change is a serious threat for Canada and the world. But the RCMP has a different take. A secret report by the national police force, obtained by Greenpeace, both minimizes the threat of global warming and conjures a spectre of threats posed by people who rightly call for sanity in dealing with problems caused by burning fossil fuels.
This fairly clear ministry statement may explain why, when I and others questioned Greenpeace Canada via social media last week about the Greenpeace internship posting, the posting very quickly disappeared. Andrew Langille, a Toronto-based labour lawyer, pointed out on social media that he thought Greenpeace "is running numerous illegal unpaid internship scams. Employee misclassification at its finest."
In the 1990s, destructive logging and an unresponsive forest industry prompted protests, blockades and international market campaigns from Greenpeace and others. There is a fabled quote from those days where a logging executive says, "No one wants to buy a 2 x 4 with a protester attached to it." This defined the problem: how do we reinstate the social licence to operate and log in a place that is world-renowned for its forests?