Archive for April, 2010

Pro-life environmental stewardship

Monday, April 26th, 2010

The Covenant Church’s Annual Meeting has consistently spoken out against abortion. The indifference to human life implied in the gratuitous use of abortion deeply concerns and distresses many. Some of us are attracted to the “consistent pro-life” position that includes capital punishment and war in the list of concerns.
Oddly, I have seldom, if ever, heard anyone suggest that concern for the environment is a pro-life issue. And yet, human life itself depends on the proper stewardship of our beautiful, God-given creation. Without clean water, fertile soil, and clean air, life on earth is not possible.

So begins John E. Phelan Jr.’s column “Markings” in a recent issue of The Covenant Companion.

He goes on to say,

Many evangelicals are hostile to environmental stewardship in general and the question of global warming in particular. I am frankly perplexed by this. We are justly concerned about our culture’s indifference to human life. So how can we be indifferent to the enormous suffering and death of millions or even billions? Why refuse to address or even consider our contributions to the destruction of the earth’s health and fertility? If this is not a pro-life issue, what is? Among the virtues required to properly care for creation are frugality, self-discipline, generosity, compassion, and hope. Environmental stewardship requires harnessing our desires, addressing our greed, and “valuing others above ourselves” (Philippians 2:3). These are virtues and commitments embedded in our faith in Jesus Christ.

Phelan isn’t calling for government-imposed solutions, but for “a change of heart”, a “cultural revolution” of God’s people. He goes on to suggest that the judgements in the book of Revelation won’t need to be wrought by God directly, but may be brought upon us by ourselves.

I think he makes some good points.

A PDF of the article can be downloaded here.

I took my 1st Aid/CPR recertification yesterday …

Friday, April 9th, 2010

… This came to mind during the AED segment.

Canadian seal hunt information/misinformation

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Spend any amount of time surfing the web for information about Canada’s annual seal hunt, and you will find statements such as:

  • The harvest is unsustainable and is endangering the harp seal population
  • The seal harvest provides such low economic return for sealers that it is not an economically viable industry.
  • The seal harvest is loosely monitored and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) doesn’t punish illegal hunting activity or practices.
  • The Canadian government allows sealers to harvest whitecoat seals.
  • There is no relationship between the seal population and the abundance of cod stocks.
  • Seals are being skinned alive
  • The club – or hakapik – is an inhumane tool that has no place in today’s world.
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada provides subsidies for the seal harvest.
  • Canadian harvesting practices are worse and more inhumane compared to other countries.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has responses to those claims here, as well as a lot of other information about the seal harvest at their “Seals and Sealing in Canada” website.

Hemp and the amazing continuing influence of Hearst and DuPont

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

In more than one discussion about the merits of decriminalizing marijuana use, I have heard people state that the reason that marijuana use is a criminal offence can be traced back to the efforts of a couple of influential U.S. businessmen in the 1930s. The way the narrative goes, the newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst (with big investments in forest plantations) teamed up with the DuPont chemical company (with big investments in petroleum-based products) in an effort to make the growing of hemp illegal.  Using the services of Henry J. Anslinger, the head of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics, they supposedly embarked on a successful campaign to demonize and eventually criminalize marijuana.  Do a Google search on the keywords hemp, Hearst, DuPont and Anslinger for lots of detail.

The thing that puzzles me about that story is the fact that it addresses legislation in the United States approximately 70 years ago, and in recent decades several countries including Canada have legalized the growing of industrial hemp, yet most paper is still made from trees.  It seems odd to me that William Randolph Hearst could still dictate to countries like Finland that they must not use hemp for paper production.

It seems more likely to me that paper producers likely prefer making paper from trees instead of hemp for technical and economic reasons, not to mention environmental reasons (forest crops are grown over many decades with minimal site disturbance, providing a full suite of environmental benefits, whereas hemp requires annual site inputs).

With a bit of digging I found an article “Debunking the Hemp Conspiracy Theory” that I think makes sense.