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Friday, July 29, 2011

Documentary Film: "Gasland"

7:30 p.m.
Tuesday August 9, 2011
Aeolian Hall
795 Dundas St. E (at Rectory)
London, Ontario

NOT TO BE MISSED! Fracking is coming to Ontario in the London area soon! You have been warned!

"The largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history has swept across the United States. The Halliburton-developed drilling technology of "fracking" or hydraulic fracturing has unlocked a "Saudia Arabia of natural gas" just beneath us. But is fracking safe? When filmmaker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he embarks on a cross-country odyssey uncovering a trail of secrets, lies and contamination. A recently drilled nearby Pennsylvania town reports that residents are able to light their drinking water on fire. This is just one of the many absurd and astonishing revelations of a new country called GASLAND. Part verite travelogue, part expose, part mystery, part bluegrass banjo meltdown, part showdown."

The case for a ban on gas fracking:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

London Health Coalition Meeting

TODAY! 7-9 pm
Tuesday July 26, 2011
CAW Local 27 Hall
606 First St.
London, ON

Important meeting to forge a strategy for the upcoming provincial election.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ontario Health Coalition calls for your participation! <>

This is your chance to help define the key health care issues this election

Every election health care polls as one of Ontarians' top priorities. So every political party pays lip service to health care. They all say they will fund it and improve it.

Unless we make it happen, the real issues in health care don't get much real debate.

For all of us who want to ensure that care is there, in our local communities, when we need it -- please help make your key issues in health care ones for which politicians have to make clear commitments leading into the provincial election in October. Take the Ontario Health Care Challenge!

More than 500 people have given their input over the last few weeks. This is a great start, but to make this a truly democratic and effective process we need to build this number to thousands!

It takes less than a minute. This is how we can make it happen, and this is how we can win!

Please go to <>
Type in your key health care issues.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Radon threats are grounds for precaution.

Chemical Valley industries are arranging to use shale gas supplies that very likely could be contaminated with radon, given how these gas feedstocks are extracted through fracking — a technique that is used to retrieve gas from shale rock located very deep underground. Two Texas companies have agreed to send this shale gas from the northeastern United States to the Nova Chemical plant in Sarnia, and there is wider industry support for these imports of gas from fracking.

For the sake of the health and safety of the residents of Sarnia-Lambton — and others around the region — it is important that we apply the precautionary principle to this issue. We should assume that shale gas could come with radon contamination, if we cannot prove otherwise.

This gas is from shale that often contains significant quantities of uranium, as well as the products of its radioactive decay, including radium and radon, a colourless, odourless, and intensely radioactive gas. Because it is common in many rock formations throughout North America and elsewhere, radon is responsible for most of our daily exposure to damaging radiation. Radon gas that seeps up from subterranean rock formations often accumulates in basements — sometimes resulting in dangerous levels. Lung cancer caused by breathing radon contaminated air already is estimated to cause 25,000 deaths per year in the United States alone and is the second most frequent cause of lung cancer, after cigarette smoking.

It is very possible that gas from fracking frequently is radioactive, since radon could be mixed with shale gas, due to their occurrence in the same rocks. Radon is chemically inert, which means that even when radon-containing gas is burned, the radon portion emerges intact. When this radon is released into the atmosphere along with the carbon dioxide from burning the methane in the gas, the air around us would become polluted with radioactive gas. When shale gas is burned in an enclosed space (e.g. inside a building) the air inside could become radioactive if there are any leaks in the exhaust ductwork. Similarly, when shale gas is converted into other gases by petrochemical industries, those product gases might also be radioactive due to radon contamination.

The difficulty of studying the impacts of substances that already are used and produced in Chemical Valley should be clear, now that years of delays have held back regional health study plans. There is no independent and officially recognized study of any impacts from the known carcinogens, as well as endocrine disruptors, and numerous other dangerous substances, in and around the Sarnia-Lambton petrochemical facilities. Bringing shale gas that may be contaminated with radon into Chemical Valley would complicate these matters further.

Would there ever be any independent testing for radon contamination? How thorough would such tests be? Would the full results be disclosed to employees, and the general public?

We ask these questions because possible radon contamination is not being discussed by companies and organizations which are pursuing shale gas imports for Sarnia-Lambton, without addressing any pollution threats (during the recent Sarnia-Lambton Shale Gas Conference, for example — which was held to discuss and promote shale gas imports into Sarnia-Lambton).

We are focusing on threats from radon, but there are many health and environmental dangers associated with shale gas. Water contamination is the worst of the impacts around the sites which are fracked to retrieve this gas. Yet, there are plans for fracking in Ontario — beginning in south Lambton. Importing shale gas for petrochemical industries would stimulate further fracking in Ontario, and elsewhere. In the meantime, the worldwide movement to ban fracking is gaining momentum with the recent bans by France and New Jersey.

In view of the potential negative impacts on the health and well-being of our citizens, we will suggest that there should be a ban on fracking across Ontario.

There also should be an immediate moratorium on imports of shale gas to Ontario until tests for radon in the gas have been completed and publicized. If radon is found in shale gas, it would be one more good reason to ban fracking altogether.

Toban Black, Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology with Environment & Sustainability;
Robert Cory, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Chemistry

(An abbreviated version of this blog was published as a letter to the editor in The Observer, Sarnia, Ontario.)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Notes from the Toronto Water Forum

Elaine Rowe-Mahon, Secretary, London Chapter, Council of Canadians, attended this forum and took these notes:

Morning Speakers

Robert Fleming, Executive Director or Waterloo Watch
Mr. Fleming gave an account of the decision to end water Fluoridation in Waterloo.
Waterloo Watch an independent, not-for-profit organization of volunteers, professionals
and experts, responds to issues of concern in the community. Mr. Fleming, who has a
background in law enforcement, business and social activism undertook a review of the
available science wrt risks and benefits of water fluoridation, without prior bias. He
concluded there is insufficient evidence for, and mounting evidence against this
practise. A public referendum indicated, by a narrow margin, a wish to stop the practise,
municipal council upheld the referendum result. Pictures were shown of the flouridation
equipment and the simplicity of the process to, literally, turn off the tap - takes less than
a day to complete.
Some points that were made:
- science for is limited, and weak
- science against increases as time goes on
- the fluoride source is basically hazardous waste and includes trace contaminants
such as arsenic, lead, mercury and radionuclides. Although of low levels, these
accumulate in the body, toxicity results over a long period
- evidence states a lifetime of fluoridated water consumption results in prevention of <1
cavity per person
- contaminants in flouridated water are not required to be removed from waste water
- effects of waste water toxicity increased by exponential population growth
- RCDSO (? Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario) and Public Health pro
- issue is related to bottled water issue (ʻbetterʼ tap water - less bottled water
Canadians Opposed to Fluoridation
- new organization
- (website under construction)
Waste Water Management
Lino Grima, University of Toronto
Professor (semi-retired, Centre for Environment, Geography and UTM) Grima has an
extensive C.V. including research and committee participation involving water related
matters of public importance. He gave a general account of the importance of waste
water management in the city of Toronto and some philosophical reflections after a
career devoted to issues in which slow progress has been made (emphasized the
importance of waste water management as a public health issue, importance of analysis
over emotion in process of effecting change)
- 2600 storm sewers empty directly into Lake Ontario
- 14 billion litres of sewer overflow annually
- explained with diagrams the problem of construction leading to sewer overflow and
engineering solutions
- recommended book by Peter Victor, Economist, York University “Managing Without
Growth: Slower by Design, Not Disaster” 2008
Karen Buck
Ms. Buck is head of Citizens for a Safe Environment and gave a detailed account of a
pilot project funded through Toronto Conservation Authority to divert downspout water.
The Residential Rainproofing Project was undertaken in Riverdale in association with
Mark Schollen & Co. This project identified key locations in areas with an identified
problem of combined sewer overflow. They approached homeowners of properties that
were appropriate and constructed water gardens designed to receive downspout
rainwater. These were carefully designed and constructed and also beautiful and
maintenance free. The project had lots of public support and won an award.
Noon Breakout Groups
1. CETA (Stuart Trew)
Areas of concern discussed: Green Energy Act, LCBO viability, Drug patent laws,
Agricultural issues (seed patents, food prices).
Questions of activism approach:
- who decides if water becomes a commodity
- how do we identify which organizations are at risk? How to mobilize?
- privacy of negotiation an affront to democracy. How to expose?
Points made
- provinces need to sign on to the deal individually and can opt out. Deal likely to
collapse if a number (?) of provinces do not ratify
Discussion related to Public/Private partnerships, municipal activism via councillor
communication, uniting left and interested parties with perhaps a trade forum/
convention, approaching MPPs, query legal challenge to federal government (have to
come from province), and federal need to pressure municipal, provincial governments.
Questions posed
1. Great Lakes reclamation. What initiatives to take?
2. How can Toronto join with other Lakes communities
3. Control of GL rests with people who live around them. How to control corporations?
Discussion summary:
- need to perceive things differently, adjusting personal and world view
- Action items: Kew Beach
- encourage reconnection with H2O physically, psychologically
- Water Walkers/cross-border connection
- stake holders - reach out to fishers, cottagers
Building a movement
“Do not accept dilution as a solution”
“Keep the rain out of the drain”
Look to Halifax, a model city that has turned around its sewage problem
NFB Documentary: Waterlife
Robert Lovelace
Mr Lovelace spoke about the need to ʻre-indigenizeʼ the Commons from the perspective
of the Mishnabe people. He spoke of the processes of colonization and capitalization
as inter-related and drew a parallel between what has happened to his people
historically and what is happening today through global corporatization. Integral is the
previous view of indigenous life as inferior. A key element [in opposition] is the refusal
to commodify the natural world. Raised economic theories of John Locke:
domestication of human labour lead to exponential human growth (and a failure to
consider pollution). Now we are at the “Era of Cultures at the End of Time”
Indigenous attitude requires that we adjust our governance in association with our
ecosystems. [Complex map of indigenous languages at beginning of colonization used
to illustrate concept - didnʼt quite understand this]. Governance and social relations
largely inseparable in indigenous communities and closely related to ecosystems.
Environment determines culture:
- energy use
- food security
- population levels
- diplomacy and trade
- defensive laws and boundaries
- customary law
- balance and replenishment cycle
Philosophy is ʻonly expend [?consume] as much energy as is required to acquire items
of necessityʼ.
Water is not a renewable resource, it is a replenishment resource
While resisting colonial development, avoid becoming solely cultures of resistance.
Institute and practise customary laws at the local ecosystem level and meaningful
negotiation with macrosystems
Advise against appealing to government
Food security: local farming arganizations often have lots of info
Recommended reading: Tayaki Alfred, U. of Victoria: Peace, Power and Righteousness
Elaine MacDonald, EcoJustice (formerly Sierra Legal Defense Fund)
Ms MacDonald spoke of the National Sewage Report and the Great lakes Sewage
Report (best community Green Bay Michigan, B+; worst rated Detroit, D; London rated
Proposed Federal Regulation can be obtained in March 2010 issue Canada Gazette,
Part 1

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Monthly Meeting: Tuesday July 12

Next meeting of the London Chapter of the CoC
Tuesday July 12, 2011

7:00-9:00 p.m.
Landon Branch, London Public Library (***NEW VENUE***)
167 Wortley Rd.

NOTE: This meeting is for the executive only, and the next one in August is for those members on the executive and committee chairs only. The rest of you will be welcome to attend our meeting in September. Anyone is welcome to submit agenda items for any meeting, including executive/chairs meetings in the summer.

Agenda: click here
Appendix to agenda: Resolution re Bank of Canada

Minutes of last meeting on June 14: click here
Appendix to minutes: Water

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