The Environmental Debate Has Been Re-Framed as Economics. What about the Web-of-Life?

What was the 'value' of an oil soaked sea otter after Exxon Valdez spill?

Yesterday's report in Ottawa by Scott Vaughan, Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, was clear, the Harper government’s disaster planning has not kept pace with the rapid expansion in the energy sectors. Vaughan said, “some serious questions exist about the federal capacity to safeguard Canada’s environment.” Then went of to say, "...it raised questions about how the dramatic Fisheries Act changes passed last year will affect the 'financial liability of corporations' that are in a position to damage fish habitat." Why is the Commissioner of the Environment not focused on the environment, on the underlying web of life that sustains us all, including the accountants?

In addition to the liability exposure of corporations, Vaughan's report touched on how 'compensation plans' needed to repair habitat damage "...needed to be re-evaluated to figure out if they have the right capacity, in the rare event there may be a tanker accident.” Later he talked about hydraulic fracking saying, "...there is a need for the industry to tell Ottawa what chemicals are being used, so federal authorities can determine whether they pose a human health risk." What about the effects on the rest of the environment? You know, how all of life needs clean water, not just humans. ? Or how when the underlying web of life we are immersed in, and call the environment, is poisoned we are too?

The whole focus of the environmental equation has been re-framed as an economic issue. It isn't. The economy is an unreal human intellectual construct whose purpose is to function as a tool we use to help enhance quality of life. The environment is real, it is life. We've allowed the debate to be hijacked by the accountants and economists. Where once upon a time The Wall st. Journal would have narrowly focused, 'idiot sevant' style, on every issue in relation to its corporate profit potential, now every type of media has joined the idiot's parade. Last night, on CBC's 'The National', Amanda Lang pronounced that there is a difficult choice between environmental protection and growth in the Canadian economy, then showed Harper in Parliament responding to Vaughan's report by saying,  "The federal government  is reviewing the liability requirements."

The CBC, like every mass media outlet, is in the business of selling advertising space. They know that their viewers are pre-brainwashed into allowing, even demanding, the accountant's framing to reign. All of them give the people what they want and Canadians want to know how their damned RRSPs, mutual funds and pensions will be affected in the short term not if there will be a livable planet to hand down to future generations.

As the MarineBio Conservation Society article on Marine Wildlife and Pollution spells out, "The long-term effects of oil spills are far more subtle and difficult to assess than the short-term effects. The presence of persistent toxic chemicals on the beaches, in the water, and in the food web may result in a variety of impacts on wildlife, including impaired reproduction, decreased resistance to disease, anemia, eventual development of cancerous tissue growth (particularly in fish), neurological damage, and birth defects in offspring. The extent to which such effects occur in the years after an oil spill is largely unknown."

Guess they didn't get the memo about telling 'em what they want to hear eh!