Saturday, September 15, 2012

Rally for Science: Follow-up

When your Uncle Roy tells you that 9/11 was a conspiracy between the Colorado militia and New York African American Muslims, you pretty much figure that he's had a little too much of the moonshine he's been brewing out behind the barn. But when Andrew Weaver tells you that the current high Arctic search for the Franklin Expedition is so much bullshit, you kind of have to sit up and take notice. Weaver points out that the expedition now under-way is mapping the sea floor--not for Franklin's ships, but to prepare the way for the exploratory oil drilling planned for the area. And this, he points out, "In a year with a record reduction in Arctic sea ice. A reduction in area that, ironically, happens to be about the size of the province of Alberta."
Arctic sea ice extent on 12 September 2012, in white,
compared with the 1979-2000 median, marked with a red line.
Photograph: NSIDC

Let me tell you, the crowd I was in yesterday was not unappreciative of that particular irony. Andrew Weaver was the opening speaker at the lunch hour Rally for Science in Victoria. Attended by a committed crowd pushing up towards a hundred people, the rally lasted about 25 minutes and featured four speakers: Dr. Andrew Weaver, MP Elizabeth May, performer and long-time enviro activist Raffi, and "Dr. X," a senior scientist from the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Sidney appearing incognito (as speaking to the public is now an offence for federal scientists).

Courtesy of the CHEK tv website

Dr. Weaver was clearly angry, as he spoke about the censoring of science that is much worse in Canada than it was under the Bush regime in the US. When James Hansen was silenced in the US, scientists could still speak with people, they just couldn't do it without a media handler. In Canada today, they are not allowed to speak at all--the only people allowed to communicate with the public are media spokespeople. For which, there is no excuse. It is censorship by a fascist-leaning government lead by a crazed ideologue.
Green MP Elizabeth May was short and to the point--and spoke better than I've ever heard her speak before. She communicated well, sharing emotion with the audience and showing that she has the capability of being a great rabble-rouser. Her line “Why do citizens across this country have to rally for science? We have to rally against ignorance,” hearkened back to the great orators of Canadian political history.
Raffi was...well, Raffi. His focus was, as always, on the ocean and the cutting of programs that mean Canada no longer collects any data on the bio-accumulation of toxins in the marine food chain. If we experience an outbreak of Minimata disease, we'll never know how, where, or why. Which would suit the Harper government just fine. If we did know, we might hold a corporation or corporations responsible, and that will no longer be possible at the end of Harper's regime.
The rally was MC'd by Ken Wu of the AFA, a group I've supported financially in the past, and will probably give money to again.
So, to sum up: 25 minutes, four speakers, rising outrage, email follow-up. Well planned, well executed. Kudos to all!

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