Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hart House activites

We seem to have done a lot at Hart House. We hosted the event with Dr. Harvey on global warming there, did the eco-fair there (photo below), scared away Bjorn Lomborg from speaking there, and now are going to host an inquiry into uranium mining on April 26th, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Join us!

Eco-fair at Hart House, sponsored by Toronto Climate Campaign and SACC

Monday, March 17, 2008

Urgent Call to Action!

Monday March 17, 9 am - 4pm:
Flood Michael Bryant's office!

Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Ontario

Starting on Tuesday 18 March, the second phase of contempt charges against First Nations leaders and several non-natives involved in the Robertsville protest will be heard in the Kingston Court House. Meanwhile, a Queen's University Journal article quotes Frontenac Ventures President and CEO as saying as of this date there is no drilling, but it could happen any.

Ardoch Algonquin First Nation and their allies ask all those concerned about First Nations rights and uranium mining to FLOOD Michael Bryant's office this MONDAY, 17 March to demand that the Government of Ontario immediately:

* admit that it was in the wrong to issue permits to Frontenac Ventures for uranium exploration on unceded Algonquin territory without first consulting with First Nations.

* follow Manitoba's example: withdraw the exploration permits that were issued without proper consultation. (The Manitoba government recently suspended drilling on the Minago Nickel Project on Norway House Cree Nation land.)

* disallow uranium exploration and mining in the Ottawa Valley, in keeping with the Algonquin people's proclamation of September 28th,

* free political prisoner Bob Lovelace and revoke his and Paula Sherman's sentences.

* stop the drilling at the Robertsville site until there is thorough consultation with First Nations.

Please be polite, and remember to request a response to your correspondence otherwise they may not reply.

Contact Info:

Hon. Michael Bryant
803 St. Clair Ave W
Toronto ON M6C 1B9

Tel: 416-656-0943
Fax: 416-656-0875

Please CC your emails to:


For reference:

The Algonquin Proclamation to the Government of Canada that was also delivered to Premier McGuinty's constituency office September 28th, 2007 read:

WHEREAS the Algonquin people were created by the Master of Life in the Valley of the Ottawa River Watershed and can look to no other place on earth to sustain their culture, language and identity and as a People regard the Ottawa Valley to be their homeland;

AND WHEREAS the Algonquin people have a sacred responsibility for the care and preservation of the land, water and all creatures great and small that
abide as their closest relations in the Ottawa Valley;

AND WHEREAS the Algonquin people have peaceably shared the Ottawa Valley with many people who have come to settle among them, offering the newcomers land and resources for their commerce and health, friendship and wisdom for the care of their land, and have compromised their own well being for the sake of peaceful relations;

AND WHEREAS the Crown in right of Ontario, Quebec and Canada has obligations, through the word of King George III in the Royal Proclamation
of 1763, to protect their allies the Algonquins in their homeland, and to protect their homeland from unwanted settlement and development;

AND WHEREAS Uranium exploration and mining currently poses great threat to the health of the land, water, people and fellow creatures of the
Algonquin homeland and the peaceful use and occupation by Algonquins and their neighbours;

The Algonquin people declare that all exploration and mining for Uranium in the Ottawa Valley shall end immediately, September 28th, 2007.

Background documents: (Good article: the real reason Bob Lovelace was arrested) (Community Coalition Against Mining Uranium) (Ardoch Algonquin First Nation) (Shabot First Nation) (Indy media report) (Indy media report) (Indy media report) (Indigenous solidarity report) (Greenpeace report)

Graphic representation of all the water in the world in ball, and all the air in the world in a ball. Needless to say, all life on Earth is dependant on these two substances. The implication is that if we pollute them, life on Earth will perish. From the 11th Hour website.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Uranium and gold mining protest events coming up

Caption: typical Barrick gold mine - this area will be dead for thousands of years and pollute water systems downstream, harming plants, animals and human beings - all so that a few rich men can grow richer. Short of the distinct possibility that they will go to Hell, the only justice is to protest this abomination and resist this evil through solidarity with indigenous peoples the world over.

1. Peaceful protest against uranium mining at Queen's Park, March 19, 12 noon.

2. Film "Uranium" and talk with Marylin Crawford of CCAMU, March 19, 7 p.m.

3. Initial planning meeting for Citizen's Inquiry into Uranium Mining (set for April 26), Friday March 21, lounge, 5th floor of OISE

4. Planning meeting to organize protest against Barrick Gold and Goldcorp AGMS in May, and to discuss strategies and tactics for law reform around mining in Canada - date TBA (please get back to me if you're interested!)

This Wednesday (March 19th, 2008) you are invited to attend two events related to uranium mining, nuclear energy, extraction industries, and social and environmental justice for Sharbot Lake - a protest and a movie/talk at University of Toronto.

Students Against Climate Change is hosting these events because nuclear energy is NOT the way to go towards a sustainable future

Uranium mining is a wasteful destructive process that destroys the land and those who live on it, and nuclear power releases tritium - a radioactive substance - into our water supply and creates waste that cannot be properly disposed of for tens of thousands of years and is used in both nuclear and conventional weapons.

Native land claim struggles against mining, in Ontario and around the world, are consistent with the fight for climate justice and a sustainable future for all people.

1. Peaceful protest of Queen's Park's "Mining Lobby Day." Yes, QP has a day devoted to attracting the mining coroporations to plunder the natural resources of Ontario, at the expense of the natural environment, overriding native land claims, and creation of toxic mine tailings.

12 noon at QP. Meet at 11:30 in front of the Munk Centre, north side of Harbord, between St. George and University (the Munk Centre is funded by Peter Munk of Barrick Gold - see

Caption: solar power, the obvious alternative to nuclear. The fact that the entire world is not powered by solar and wind reveals that there must be something terribly wrong with human beings (or at least the sort who are actively destroying the world). Are we, as Freud said, in the grip of a Thanatos, a death-urge? Or as E. O. Wilson asks "is humanity suicidal?"


2. Movie and lecture same day (Wed. March 19th), 7 p.m. at McLennan Physical Labs (MP room 118), 60 St. George St. U of T. Movie is either "Uranium" (NFB) ( informal talk with Marylin Crawford of the Community Coalition Against Mining Uranium (see Co-hosted by Melodie Carew of "Uranium Is Not Worth It."

If you are interested in Sharbot Lake or social or environmental justice in Ontario, this is a good event to attend. Contact Paul York for info:


If you use electricity, drink water and live in Ontario, you are already involved in uranium mining indirectly: the Ontario government is supporting mining, supposedly for our energy needs, even though Ontario has enough potential wind power to supply 100% of our needs.

Nuclear energy leaves toxic waste which lasts 25,000 years and pollutes our drinking water with a radioactive substance, tritium. Ontario uranium also ends up in weapons systems, both conventional and nuclear. Uranium and other types of mining also destroy boreal forests and local ecosystems and they are opposed by several First Nations groups.

Issues on the table for both protest and film / talk include:

* Reforming the draconian Mining Act (;

* Solidarity with First Nations near Sharbot Lake (Shabot and Alquonquins) and support for Chief Bob Lovelace (see;

* Why nuclear energy and uranium is not needed in Ontario (see;

* Necessary reforms to Canada's laws on mining in solidarity with peoples in developing nations who are victims of Barrick Gold and other Canadian mining corporations (see

* The fact that we should not even have a "mining lobby" day in Ontario!

Join Students Against Climate Change ( and other supportive groups (Forest Ethics, Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, Student Christian Movement) for a press conference on the steps of QP; with a representative from CCAMU (one of the groups opposing the Sharbot Lake urnanium mine plans).

To get involved or for more information contact Paul York at for info.


3. Initial planning meeting for Citizen's Inquiry into Uranium Mining (set for April 26), Friday March 21, lounge, 5th floor of OISE

Our group is working with CCAMU to help coordinate the Toronto Inquiry. Other inquires are set for other Ontario cities. See

Among the topics to be addressed:

* Ontario's complicity with uranium mining
* Native land claims and mining in Ontario
* Nuclear energy versus renewable energy and conservation

4. Planning meeting to organize protest against Barrick Gold and Goldcorp AGMS in May, and to discuss strategies and tactics for law reform around mining in Canada - date TBA.

* Barrick Gold AGM - May 6th
* Goldcorp AGM - May 20th

The tactic is simple: stage a peaceful protest outside while people go inside to raise objections, and invite the media. See this report on the last Barrick AGM ( and this report on our disruption of their meeting with investors over the issue of "corporate social responsibility" (

There is a lot on this site and on the Mining Watch site ( and Rights Actions site ( and The Dominion (

The basic thing to know, beyond the fact that industrial mining is evil and violates human rights, is that the Canadian government is complicit with this and has not adequately implemented law reform to require that Canadian companies not violate human rights and desecrate the environment.

A national 'Roundtable' on this issue was the Halifax Initative. The reforms suggested there were never put in place:

As a consequence, Barrick's lawyers held the meeting on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to ward off allegations that "Canada's reputation abroad" (the name of the meeting) is being destroyed by mining.

Of course Harper has already ensured that Canada's reputation is tarnished by its withdrawal from Kyoto and unqualified support for mining operations abroad.

What we need now are mandatory regulations -- principally to ensure the right of international parties to hold Canadian corporations accountable for crimes against humanity and environmental destruction.

If lobbying for law reform (which is doable) and supporting or participating in a fun protest against Barrick and Goldcorp interests you, please contact Paul York at

Monday, March 3, 2008

Free Bob Lovelace!

Reprinted from Kingston Whig Standard

Why Bob Lovelace is in jail; A message is being sent to mining companies: Ontario is open for business

I know Bob Lovelace as a soft-spoken and self-reliant neighbour, devoted father and dedicated Queen's University teacher admired by his students and colleagues. He's the kind of guy who constructs a log house in the woods north of Kingston with his own skill and sweat; builds a box planter at the local swimming spot and keeps it stocked with marigolds and petunias; and provides venison for a potluck supper. He's as innately confrontational as a panda bear.

Yet much of the public knows Bob Lovelace as a nominally militant aboriginal prisoner now serving a six-month jail sentence and facing cumulative personal fines of nearly $400,000 for contempt of court. His transgression? Refusing to obey a judicial order not to continue his peaceful blockade at a proposed uranium mine site on lands Algonquin First Nations have never ceded title to under any prior treaty or land claim settlement.

Yet, as even the mine promoter's lawyer has admitted in court hearings, there is a vanishingly small chance a uranium mine will ever get built at the headwaters of the Mississippi River northwest of Sharbot Lake. Compared to other deposits in Saskatchewan, Australia, South Africa and Asia, the ore is laughably low-grade, and the cost to mine fatally high.

So how did it come to this?

In effect, Bob is in jail because he has quietly, but implacably, declined to concede that a provincial court has the ultimate authority to decide what happens on lands his Algonquin forebears have used without ecological abuse for thousands of years.

A key point is that these are not private lands in dispute. The collision has occurred because. for more than a century. Ontario governments have blithely assumed that all provincial lands are solely entrusted to it, and are thus subject to mining laws that allow any prospector or com-pany, from anywhere, to stake out land and claim any mineral wealth below. Without asking anyone else's permission.

In this case, the provincial Ministry of Natural Resources handed out the permits to a fledgling outfit called Frontenac Ventures, and the com-pany maintains that it can drill for uranium with the law on its side. Without First Nation approval.

On this, the company, a provincial court and the cabinet of Dalton McGuinty tacitly agree. That's why my neighbour is in prison as a kind of conscientious objector, his impoverished First Nation is facing additional cumulative fines of nearly $400,000, and Frontenac Ventures has the sanction to drill for uranium deposits that will never prove profitable.

This makes no sense at all - unless the real issue here is far larger and more deceptive than a puny, potentially speculative mine play that may capitalize on gullible or greedy investors fixated on the spiking world price of uranium, and the venerable flim-flam tactic of selling them sizzle instead of steak.

My bet is that the Ontario government knows - just as well as Canada's major uranium com-panies know - that eastern Ontario is essentially bereft of profitable deposits. Compared to the mammoth, rich, easy-to mine uranium reserves in northern Saskatchewan, which are known as "elephants" in industry parlance, those from Sharbot Lake to Bancroft to Elliot Lake are like scattered mice.

Perversely, because these Ontario deposits would yield far few ounces of uranium per tonne of ore mined, the volume of radioactively contaminated waste rock and other lethal pollutants would be far greater. So the public pollution risk would be high, and the financial reward small to non-existent for a private company.

The Ontario government is not blind to these facts. Or to the past legacy of uranium mining at Elliot Lake, which left more than 100 million tonnes of dangerous waste tailings for posterity, and desecrated the downstream Serpent River watershed. So what is really going on?

Caption: Chief Paula Sherma, Ardoch Algonquin at protest to free Bob Lovelace

I suspect that the Ontario government is determined to assure the bigger, richer, more experienced mining interests, and international investors, that Ontario is a place where they can come and make serious money by mining not uranium but diamonds, gold, platinum, nickel, copper and zinc - with minimal hindrance. And because most of that potential mineral wealth is in northern Ontario, where most of the population is aboriginal, the right signals need to be sent. To mining companies, the Dalton McGuinty message is: Ontario is wide open for business. To First Nations it is: get on board, or out of the way - or go to jail.

As evidence of this, consider that the lawyer for Frontenac Ventures also represents a different mining company that wants to develop a platinum prospect near Big Trout Lake in northwest Ontario, despite determined First Nation opposition. There, aboriginal leaders are also facing, like Bob Lovelace, potential imprisonment and crippling fines. The lawyer representing Bob Lovelace also acts for the Big Trout community. So the confrontation is identical, except the mineral at the heart of the showdown is different.

There are hints that the platinum mine promoter, like Frontenac Ventures, might be willing to withdraw from that mine play if the Ontario government effectively pays it to go away. If this occurs, then it will be Ontario taxpayers who end up being mined for millions. not uranium or platinum deposits.

This would be bad for everyone except the victorious speculators, and the lawyers collecting Bay Street fees for their artful advice. It would prompt other speculators to try the same trick. And it would leave Bob Lovelace with a contempt of court conviction, facing a lifetime sentence of paying court-imposed fines, and his family wrenched by trauma. (To its great credit, Queen's University has pledged to restore his teaching post when he is released.)

In the end, I believe Bob Lovelace will be vindicated because, largely forgotten in this whole sinister drama, is the likelihood that he has the highest law of the land on his side. The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled, after a century of plaintive petitions from aboriginal leaders from coast to coast to coast, that they collectively hold certain fundamental rights to land and resources, to First Nation cultural preservation, and to be consulted before those may be put at risk.

Uranium ore poses just such a risk. In spades. Once unearthed, it constantly emits invisible but deadly radioactive particles that respect nothing. These can bio-accumulate indiscriminately in countless plants and animals, effectively gaining lethality over time because nothing in nature can destroy them. Many of these radioactive particles mimic beneficial body chemicals like calcium or iodine, are especially perilous to children and women of child-bearing age, and can impair the human gene pool.

And finally, because the only two uses of uranium are for nuclear reactors that covert it into other forms of even more lethal, long-lived radioactive wastes, or for nuclear weapons, a strong case can be made that all uranium, everywhere, is too dangerous to be mined by anyone. Period. And that it is any sensible citizen's civic duty to prevent such future harm.

If it goes that far, I suspect that some day the Supreme Court of Canada will rule that the rights of the Algonquins were violated when the Ontario government issued uranium exploration permits on unceded lands without authentic consultation and consent.

Meanwhile, it is tragic that while my thoughtful neighbour remains in a Lindsay jail an eternity away from his kids, none of these biological, human health and legal facts seem to be troubling the mind of our premier or his minister of aboriginal affairs. Judging by their deafening silence, for them Bob Lovelace apparently does not exist.

- Paul McKay is a former Whig-Standard reporter and the author of a biography of business magnate Stephen Roman and the Elliot Lake uranium industry.
Article ID# 928059

A more well-known political prisoner of another corrupt state; the causes of their imprisonment is the same: to put money and power ahead of people and the environment

Background ...

Robert Lovelace becomes a political prisoner

On 15 February 2008, former chief Robert Lovelace began serving 6 months in jail for refusing to comply with a court injunction, while following Algonquin law to protect Creation. The charge stems from his participation in the Ardoch Alliance protest against uranium exploration on unceded Algonquin land near Sharbot Lake, Ontario.

The judge in the case handed down this harsh sentence along with heavy fines, saying "compliance with the orders of this court are not optional". The underlying issue, however, is that the government of Ontario did not consult with the First Nation community before issuing exploration licenses in Algonquin territory.

The lawyer for the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation, Chris Reid, intends to appeal the sentence but at this date, Robert is behind bars at the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, Ontario.


Protest Rally, Saturday 23 February, 2008

Over 400 people attended the rally and march in Napanee (location of the Quinte Detention Centre, Bob's original site of incarceration). There were speeches and letters of support and inspiration by various First Nations leaders, NGOs, lawyers and political representatives followed by a short march to the Detention Centre itself.

Direct action

Call Premier McGuinty every day and ask him:

Have you freed Bob Lovelace?
Have you removed unceded Algonquin land from uranium exploration and mining?
Have meaningful negotiations with the Algonquin First Nations started?
Have you begun a review of Ontario's Mining Act?

" No? I'll call back tomorrow to ask you again...."
Ottawa constituency office: 613-736-9573

Queen's Park: 416- 325-1941

or email your questions to:

Contacting Bob

Letters of support for Robert Lovelace can be mailed to:

Central East Correctional Centre
541 Hwy 36
Lindsay, Ontario
K9V 4S6

Providing financial support

Many people have asked how they can help Robert and his family in this difficult and stressful situation.

Robert has been fined $25,000, plus $2,000 per day that he is not in compliance with the order. Co-chief Paula Sherman has been fined $15,000. The Ardoch Algonquin First Nation community has been fined $10,000. You can make donations to be held in trust by sending a cheque made out to

"C. Reid, in trust for the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation"

The cheque should be mailed to:

Christopher M. Reid
Barrister & Solicitor
154 Monarch Park Ave.
Toronto, ON M4J 4R6
Tel: (416)446-9928
Fax: (416)466-1852

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Getting off the grid!

This family, in Toronto, shows that it can be done. They've lived off-the-grid house for 10 years. While the initial building cost was 12 per cent more than normal, the savings on utilities since then have paid for the initial costs, and now whatever they save from hereon represent additional savings. Additionally, they have almost no environmental impact.

Principles of U.S. campus climate change movement

Great video on climate change science by American student:

Students Against Climate Change endorses the following principles from Although written by and for Americans, every princple is entirely applicable to Canada. We call on our leaders to follow these guiding principles as they make decisions that will determine our future: A just climate policy must be scientifically based – The US must enact mandatory caps on greenhouse gas pollution that ensures the peak and decline of global carbon emissions before 2015 towards a minimum of 80% emissions reductions below 1990 levels before mid-century in order to avoid a climate catastrophe. An ambitious plan to revolutionize our energy, agriculture and transportation systems with measurable targets is essential. We must immediately shift all federal funding and subsidies away from dirty energy towards research and implementation of clean technologies. A just climate and energy policy cannot rely on any forms of dirty energy such as so-called “clean coal” or nuclear power. We must recognize the disproportionate impact of global warming and dirty energy on low-income, people of color and indigenous communities and ensure a just transition that improves and supports their physical, social and economic health.

If the $46 billion that Ontario plans to spend on nuclear energy were spent on wind turbines and conservation efforts, this province could get rid of coal power, nuclear power, a lot of air pollution (and health problems and costs associated with it), as well as the damaging psychological effects caused by endless economic growth through unsustainable consumption of unecessary goods. All the solutions exist. Why are they being adopted? We clearly need more grassroots organizing, especially on campuses. We must prioritize major reductions in total energy use. Cost-effective energy conservation and efficiency measures can cut energy demand by more than half. All of our remaining energy needs, including transportation, can be met by zero-emission renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. No combination of "alternative" fuels (from corn, coal or otherwise) can replace our oil addiction. Highly efficient, zero-emission electric cars and plug-in hybrids can be fueled up with wind-powered electricity more cheaply and conveniently than we can fill up with oil, biofuels or hydrogen. The development of a just climate and energy policy must include all stakeholders, not just business, government, and large environmental groups. Because every American, no matter their age or economic status, will be affected by climate change, it is crucial that a broad and diverse group, including communities that are disproportionately impacted by the energy industry, have seats at the table as this policy is crafted. As the generation that will inherit the impact of the decisions we make today, young people must be given a particularly important seat at the table. A sustainable future must inlcude frogs and amphibians. We are morally culpable if we continue to allow them to die. Invader species and habitat loss are the leading causes.

Reasons to hope

The Hour Before the Dawn
by David W. Orr

Hope, says author David W. Orr, is not the same as wishful thinking. Hope recognizes hard realities, like the difficulty of inventing a new energy future, but chooses to act anyway. Here are 10 reasons to be hopeful

Recently I participated in a conference to assess the “state of the world.” I was sixth on a list of speakers, each of whom presented well-documented and plausible bad news ranging from global famine to abrupt climate change to worldwide terrorism or all of the above.

Gloom settled on the assembled like a dark cloud. I had intended to offer more of the same, but decided enough was enough. On the spur of the moment I began to list the legitimate reasons we have for optimism. I offer 10.

One. For 30 years or longer we environmentalists have been right on the big issues. Not always, but mostly. Rachel Carson was right about the effects of DDT and similar chemicals in 1962. Paul and Anne Ehrlich were right in 1968 about the possibilities for famine and ecological collapse; presently 1 billion people are malnourished, and whole ecologies have collapsed in Haiti, Ethiopia, China, and elsewhere.

The authors of the much maligned Limits to Growth were mostly right in 1972; there are limits to what we can do, beginning with overloading the ability of the Earth to absorb our wastes. E.F. Schumacher was right about the need for “appropriately scaled” technology. Amory Lovins was right in 1976 about the potential for greater energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, and we have come part way down that road against the determined opposition of the fossil-fuel industries and electric utilities.

In different ways, Randall Arendt, Jane Jacobs, Paul Hawken, Vaclav Havel, Jim Hightower, Wes Jackson, Bill McDonough, Ian McHarg, Vandana Shiva, John and Nancy Todd, Paul Wellstone, E.O. Wilson, and many, many others are right about better possibilities. It is not possible to organize the public business for long around hatred, fear, and resentment. There is some steady gravitational pull in the universe toward higher things.

Two. Public opinion polls show determined majorities over three decades favor clean air, clean water, open spaces, preservation of species, climate stability, less traffic congestion, and solar energy. There is no mandate to repeal the gains of the 20th century, although, as extremists of all kinds know, it is always possible to confuse, muddy the water and distort reality—but only for so long.

Three. There is the growing power of world opinion. The United States is now regarded by many around the world as a rogue nation engaging in state terrorism, but there are forces that will counter our arrogance and overreach. Ecological enlightenment, for one, has now grown to a global force multiplied by the Internet. How else but the Internet to explain the millions who protested the onset of war in Iraq? No matter the issue, there is a surge in public opinion in favor of a decent, peaceful, and sustainable world. I do not think this tidal wave can be stopped by any nation or any amount of military power.

Four. An economy organized around the convenience of the top 5 percent cannot be maintained for long. Tax cuts for the hugely wealthy, rising deficits, and militarization of the economy is a recipe for disaster. We do not have to rob the world and steal from our children to live well. There are better ideas for a truly prosperous economy waiting in the wings. By a similar logic, the organization of the global economy by the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and the World Trade Organization is too closed, corrupt, destructive, and shortsighted to persevere. What we don't know is how it will end, whether in uprisings, collapse, reform or by some combination of these.

Five. The facts are on our side. The extremists now in power believe they can, rather like Stalin, match science to their personal predilections. It did not work for Stalin, and it will work no better for them. It is a fact that we are changing the climate and that this may lead to disaster. It is a fact that we are driving thousands of species to extinction, unraveling God's creation. It is a fact that we are losing soil faster than it can be regenerated and thus jeopardizing food security. It is a fact that toxic pollution is now global and undermines both human and ecological health. It is a fact that all oceans and fisheries are in peril and that forests roughly the size of Scotland disappear each year. And the fact is that a third of humankind live just at or below the point of decency. These facts are all well-known and well-documented, as are the technologies and policies that lead in better directions.

Six. Our technology is better than theirs. They have chosen to run the flag up the pole of nuclear energy, more fossil-fuel power plants, oil wells, coal mines, tax breaks for Humvees, to say nothing of smart bombs and Star Wars technology. They cannot do such things for long without bringing about economic ruin, endless wars, more terror, political turmoil, isolation, and finally, ecological collapse.

Meantime, there is a revolution underway built around the kinds of technology that power space-shuttles, which are being applied to offices, factories, houses, and cars. It is a revolution that will take us toward a distributed energy system based on efficiency and progress in photovoltaics, fuel cells, wind power, and micro turbines. It can be slowed by shortsightedness driven by greed, but it cannot be stopped.

Seven. The course we are now on runs counter to our history and to our best traditions. At our best we are a people defined by documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Gettysburg Address. We do not have to be a rogue nation given to preemptive wars and assassinations. The fact that the historical record diverges so sharply in recent decades from our higher values says much about the role of secrecy in our national life, the profitability of what President Eisenhower deemed a “military-industrial complex,” and the cynical manipulation of patriotism.

Eight. The world is more complicated than the neocons and the new imperialists would have it. Women are mobilizing. The Internet is connecting a global citizenry. Information is more available to those wishing to find it. There are more wild cards than ever before, which is to say the world cannot be controlled from the center, and no amount of military power can change that fact. Imperialism is a fool's errand that is no longer possible in what Jonathan Schell has called “the unconquerable world.”

Nine. There is a global spiritual revolution underway the likes of which we've not seen before. People across the major faith traditions are organizing, talking, singing, chanting, and praying. There is power being unleashed and, despite differences, there is common ground around an agenda of peace, non-violence, fairness, protection of communities, restoration of degraded places, ecological sustainability, an extended view of human rights as well as the rights of species and nature, and the rights of our children and those yet to live on Earth.

Said differently, it is not possible for long to organize our affairs around greed, illusion, and ill will. We are called to higher things. And in silence one can hear the birth pains of a new order of things—a new enlightenment.

Ten. We have reason to think that God is on our side. Why? God, who apparently has a sense of humor, reportedly recalled for a time Rush Limbaugh's hearing, a seldom-used faculty. And God will take back all unused faculties, among them humor, wisdom, creativity, foresight, and charity. These faculties are the ones we most need to take us to a different world—not utopia, but a far better world than that now in prospect. The race has never been just to the swift, nor the battle to the merely strong (Ecclesiastes, 9:11). The better angels of our nature will prevail, and that is solid ground for hope.

David W. Orr is professor of environmental science and politics at Oberlin College and author of The Last Refuge, copyright © 2004 by the author. Reproduced by permission of Island Press, Washington, D.C.

The LOWGROWTH economy

York university economist Peter Victor, in "Managing without growth" (in Ecological Economics, 61 (2007), p. 499) notes three reasons why continued and unlimited economic growth - which our governments currently support - is not possible or advisable, and why we should move towards a "low growth" model:

"1) global economic growth is not an option because of environmental and resource constraints, so developed countries should leave room for those that benefit the most from growth; 2) beyond a point that has been passed in developed countries, growth does not bring happiness; and 3) in developed countries growth is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for achieving such objectives as full employment, elimination of poverty and environmental protection."

As income goes up, happiness does not. There are several possible reasons for this, as identified by environmental psychologists. The main point is that we don't need to increase economic growth to benefit ourselves. In fact, increased economic, spurred by greater rates of consumption, are detrimental for physical and mental health.

The LOWGROWTH model utilizies a basic modelling system used by economists to explore whether or not the Canadian economy can acheive some major social and environmental goals, for the benefit of the populace, without ever increasing economic growth. Jobs are among the indicators Victor looks at, and determines that full employment, a near elimination of poverty, and a shorter work week can be achieved, and we can stop wrecking the natural world at the same time.

A significant part of the equation is the high economic cost of unsustainable practices on health care and environmental clean-up. If these costs are eliminated through lowgrowth management (i.e. conservation and a reduction in production and consumption) he notes that "much can be accomplished in developed countries without relying on economic growth."

The GPI (Genuine Progress Indicator) is a better indicator than the GDP of health and well-being. The GPI will go up as the GDP goes down, if we implement a LOWGROWTH or similar model.

Furthermore, "the paper set out the kind of policy directions that would have to be adopted to steer the Canadian economy towards lower growth while, at the same time, achieving desirable employment, anti-poverty and environmental objectives." All the solutions exist, so why isn't the public demanding a positive change? My own answer (which Al Gore also notes in his book The Assault on Reason) is that the mass media is complicit in "manufacturing consent" (Chomksy' phrase) to unjust systems, including the system of mass consumption and unlimited economic growth.

Victor's goal is to knock the paradigm of economic growth off its pedestal. The works of Herman Daly and E.F. Schumacher, thirty years ago, present much of the same vision. Another thing we should ask (and which Larry Schmidt asks in _The End of Ethics in the Age of Technology_(2008)) is why nothing has been done since Daly first spelled all this out decades ago?

Is our society completely insane and beyond redemption, as Derrick Jensen concludes, or can we find the moral courage and common sense to dismantle this juggernaut and build a just, sustainable world? A good example is the rebuilding of Germany after the war: that culture went from an orgy of homocidal and suicidal madness to a society of conservation and peace in a short time. Is bringing the Earth to the brink of total destruction really necessary to learn that an economy of unlimited financial growth (for the benefit of a minority) is suicidal madness?