Feb 9, 2021. Solar roofs feasible, Alberta uproar over coal mines, song about electoral reform


Have you ever thought about putting solar panels on your roof.  Does it make any sense?  Germany has a solar panel on nearly ever roof, and its cutting their emissions.  Solar panel technology is dropping amazingly in cost.  The Proctor Community Hall did it.  They installed a full array, because it makes sense.  I talked to the man who did it for them Michael Mehta, a professor from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops.

In neighbouring Alberta the ongoing political saga of giant new coal mines is playing out with new headlines everyday… yesterday, the Jason Kenney government walked back further, or said they were, their new open for coal mines policy.  But they’ve been very cagey.   Last fall I talked to Mike Judd, who has lived and guided all his life in the Alberta Rockies, about the threat of open pit coal mines.   He’s been following it all closely, and we have him back to tell us more.   

And there’s a new song that’s a big hit on Youtube.  Well, a little hit.  It’s about the anniversary of Trudeau’s backing away from electoral reform.  Nelson activist Ann Remnant played a part, and we’ll talk to her.  And hear the song by Oscar Derkx too. 

LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD the Feb. 9 show here:

LINKS FOR EVENTS and other items

The Big Stall: How Big Oil and Think Tanks are Blocking Action on Climate Change in Canada

With author Donald Gutstein, retired Simon Fraser Professor

Wed. Feb. 10, 1 p.m. EST

The Big Stall is essential reading for Canadian climate activists — providing deep research on the long history of Big Oil and Big Business interference with action on the climate crisis in Canada. The Big Stall traces the origins of the Canadian government’s climate change plan back to the energy sector itself — in particular Big Oil. It shows how, in the last fifteen years, Big Oil has infiltrated provincial and federal governments, academia, media and the non-profit sector to sway government and public opinion on the realities of climate change and what needs to be done about it.


Seth Klein, author of A Good War

Thur. Feb. 11, noon – 1 p.m. EST

Seth Klein, author of A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency and a public policy expert. In A Good War, Seth Klein explores how we can align our politics and economy with what the science says we must do to address the climate crisis.

Thursday, Feb 11 6:30 pm PT

Virtual Winter Storytelling Evening.  Indigenous and non-indigenous speakers sharing traditional stories from winter times.

Email wkwetsuwetensolidarity@gmail.com for a Zoom Link, or check Facebook: West KootenayPeopleWhoSupportTheWetsuweten.


Environment News Feb 9 2021

For nearly a decade the University of Victoria has been the target of a student-led campaign urging it to dump its large investments in fossil-fuel industry stocks. The University is now dropping those stocks from its $256-million working capital investment fund. Emily Lowan is the Director of Campaigns and Community Relations with the UVic Student Society and the lead organizer of the group Divest UVic.

She says the University of Victoria Foundation — the school’s long-term endowment fund — still had about $40 million invested in the fossil-fuel industry as of March 2020 and this also needs to change.

Divest UVic has been pushing for the school to pull its money from the oil industry for the better part of a decade.


The Valhalla Wilderness Society has launched another of its famous letter-writing campaigns, this one to stop plans for major clearcuts in caribou habitat.  BC Timber Supply Kootenay Lake Operating Plans include cutblocks north of Kootenay Lake.  The deadline for public response is coming up fast, on February 21st.   Valhalla Wilderness says the Severely endangered Central Selkirk mountain caribou are taking in mountains that the Society says should be protected as the Selkirk Mountain Caribou Park. BC Timber Sales (BCTS) has publicly announced clearcuts that would go to within 220 metres of known caribou locations.

The cutbacks are on Lake Creek and West Duncan Lake areas in federally-designated Matrix Caribou Habitat, meaning that it is an important buffer around the core caribou habitat. But the clearcuts have already come within a kilometre of a caribou radio-collar location. The area should be designated critical habitat. 

The Central Selkirk caribou are Canada’s most southern caribou. There are only 26 left in the herd. This herd is part of the Deep Snow Mountain Caribou ecotype assessed as Endangered, unique and irreplaceable.

Check the Valhalla Wilderness Society website to find out more.  The address is easy: VWS.org


Meanwhile the narwhal.ca online magazine that the BC government is allowing logging and road building in nine areas the party said during the fall election campaign it had “protected” as old-growth, according to information unearthed by the Wilderness Committee. 

Torrance Coste, national campaign director for the Wilderness Committee, said it is “stunning” to now discover it will be business as usual in the second-growth forests included in the deferral areas.

He said “At the bare minimum, people deserve to be told honestly by the government what is going on,” Coste said calling the government’s suggestion that 353,000 hectares of old-growth are being protected “factually incorrect and incredibly misleading.”

“If the whole thing is built on a foundation of dishonesty about what they have done to date, we don’t have a hope,” he said.

A court on Wednesday ruled that the French state failed to take sufficient action to fight climate change in a case brought by four non-governmental organizations. 

The NGOs cheered the decision as “historic” for their country and a boon to those elsewhere using the law to push their governments in the fight against global warming.

The four organizations are Greenpeace France, Oxfam France, the Nicolas Hulot Foundation and Notre Affaire a Tous [Our Shared Responsibility].

In its ruling, the Paris administrative court recognized ecological “deficiencies” linked to climate change and held the French state responsible for failing to fully meet its goals in reducing greenhouse gases.

The government said in a statement that it “took note” of the decision, and provided a list of actions in the pipeline to “allow France to respect in the future the objectives it set.” 

“The government remains fully engaged to take up the climate challenge and leave no one on the side of the road in this indispensable transition,” the statement, which was signed by Barbara Pompili, the minister for ecological transition, went on.

France missing Paris Agreement targets

President Emmanuel Macron, who has been very vocal about his support for climate change action, pushed in December for beefing up the European Union’s 2030 targets to reduce greenhouse gases by at least 55 per cent compared with 1990 levels — up from the previous 40 per cent target.


Far beneath the ocean surface, a cacophony of industrial noise is disrupting marine animals’ ability to mate, feed and even evade predators, scientists warn.

With rumbling ships, hammering oil drills and booming seismic survey blasts, humans have drastically altered the underwater soundscape — in some cases deafening or disorienting whales, dolphins and other marine mammals that rely on sound to navigate, researchers report in a metastudy to be published Friday by the journal Science that examines more than 500 research papers.

Even the cracking of glaciers calving into polar oceans and the rattle of rain falling on the water’s surface can be heard deep under the sea, said lead author Carlos Duarte, a marine scientist at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia.

“It’s a chronic problem that certainly weakens the animals all the way from individuals to populations,” said Duarte in an interview. “This is a growing problem, one that is global in scope.”


Mount Polley Mining Corporation (MPMC) is appealing a $9,000 non-compliance penalty under the province’s Environmental Management Act in regards to its water discharge plans.

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy issued the penalty on Dec. 8, 2020, a follow up to a warning notice issued to the company on Feb. 24, 2020.

Signed off by the ministry director, operations manager for compliance, Leslie Payette, the notice explained the reasons for the penalty.

They included failing to meet section 2.10 of the water discharge requiring MPMC to submit a detailed design for a pilot passive water treatment system, failure to commission a pilot scale biochemical reactor system (BCR) and bench scale system and failture to submit ‘as built’ drawings of the pilot and bench scale (BCR) systems between 2017 and 2019.

Authors of Biochemical Reactor System (BCR) at the Brule Mine: A Semi-Passive Approach to Operational and Post-Closure Selenium and Nitrate Reduction note the general concept behind BCR systems is based on the activity of naturally-occurring bacteria in the biological mixture, which operates to remove oxygen from the water. Once oxygen is removed, microbial communities begin to metabolize selenium, nitrates, and sulphate.

Mount Polley’s chief operating officer Don Parsons said the mine is actively treating its contact water through a water treatment plant on site.

“At the same time we are working with industry experts to research a number of passive treatment options for contact water,” he told the Tribune. “This is a condition in our effluent permit and our commitment to the community.”

Parsons noted MPMC does not believe it has breached the permit term and it is important the misunderstanding is addressed.

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