Monday, February 11, 2013

Dear Ms.LaFramboise, re: Greenpeace | environmentalists

Dear Ms. LaFramboise, 

As I've been reading and thinking about how you frame the arguments in your "Delinquent" book - it's becoming clear that you have a passionate distain for "environmentalists" and particularly any organization that's proactive in defending the natural world* we depend on. . . *you know our society's life support system.  

Why is that?  Why do you believe that "environmental activist" groups must be considered liars and excluded from any deliberations concerning understanding man-made global warming and the state of our biosphere in general?

Donna: How does that logic work?  
You keep repeating it like some self-evident truth, 
but it's not self-evident at all.  

I wonder if you could explain your justificant?

You do stuff like rhetorically tarring and feathering a guy who's got decades worth of excellent work under his belt... and why... because during early college years he spent three months as an "office-based intern" at Greenpeace.  Over two decades later and you still try to paint him as a drooling fanatic and liar to boot.
You brag about being an investigative journalist, yet your pages are dripping with paranoia and conspiracy theories.

Perhaps I'm calling you on it because I myself have experienced how rapidly "skeptics" devolve into insults and distractions that have nothing to do with the discussion at hand.  It's all about diverting attention from what we NEED to be thinking about and acting on.  

It seems all you advocate for, is doing nothing while our life-support system spirals into ever more extreme realms.  

It seems like your biggest demon is the thought of taking responsibility for our planet, and moving forward in a more thoughtful manner. But, does that give you the right to slander, misrepresent and demonize?

It's one thing to shoot a barb here and there, we're all human, but to make personal attacks the backbone of one's defense and argument... now that's what I'd call dishonest.  

What we need is serious learning.

With that grand introduction here's a copy of the Greenpeace webpage "Science: influencing policy" it's worth reading and considering.

As an aside please notice the wording, it is rational and balanced, something that is decidedly missing from what I've been reading in "The Delinquent".

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Science: influencing policy

Greenpeace Research Laboratory: Dr Janet Cotter at work
Greenpeace Research Laboratory: Dr Janet Cotter at work
As the scientific reputation of Greenpeace has grown, our work has expanded into the realm of policy. We now participate regularly in international treaties and conventions on chemical regulation and environmental protection - at both technical and policy levels.

In recent years these have included: the OSPAR Convention, which aims to prevent and eliminate pollution of the marine environment in the Northeast Atlantic; the Barcelona Convention, which has similar aims for the Mediterranean; and the periodic North Sea Ministers' Conference. Even when they are regional in focus, these conventions and agreements have influence beyond their boundaries, providing a basis for progressive policy-making in other areas. Indeed, work now continues to use the ground-breaking precautionary policies agreed in these forums to achieve similar progress in other conventions and, of course, in real terms in the form of measures for improved environmental protection.

We have also worked within conventions, such as the Basel Convention, which controls the international waste trade, and the Stockholm Convention, which prohibits the manufacture and use of chemicals identified as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). Work continues within the London Convention, which regulates and largely prohibits the dumping of wastes at sea and which is currently at the centre of the global debate on carbon dioxide disposal beneath the seabed (Carbon Capture and Storage).

We are also currently working within technical committees of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CDB) and the World Bank's ongoing Agricultural Assessment, participating in the UK government's Chemical Stakeholder Forum and advising on research programmes on Green Chemistry, and providing scientific expertise to public bodies set up to evaluate the state of radioactive contamination 20 years after the disastrous accident at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in Ukraine.

Once persistent and bioaccumulative chemicals have been released, they cannot be controlled. And their destructive affects upon the environment and human health can never be fully understood. This is why we advise policy makers to: 
  • Follow the Precautionary Principle - which, in simple terms, means "if in doubt don't";
  • Consider the full life-cycle of products - because chemical releases occur during production, use, and disposal in landfill and incinerators;
  • Work towards the cessation of chemical discharges - not just attempt to manage them;
  • Build a more sustainable future - where man-made chemicals do not build up in the environment and our bodies, where we place greater reliance on renewable resources and where we are not systematically depleting the basis of life itself.
Over the years, our work has been influential. The Precautionary Principle, for example, has become increasingly widely accepted as a sound and scientifically-justified basis for national and international environmental laws.

The commitments to eliminate discharges of hazardous and radioactive pollutants to the sea by 2020 agreed by most European governments under the OSPAR Commission in 1998, as well as the more recent global Stockholm Convention on elimination of POPs, have the precautionary principle at their core.

And now increasingly the focus is on the broader issues of sustainability, especially on the need to move on from the tired and often corrupted notion of sustainable development towards a future in which societies all around the world can truly protect, and live within the finite renewable limits of, our natural world.
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 If you want to learn more about Greenpeace:

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A parting thought from another interesting read by James Onen, 
who has an interesting blog:  


Can Science Be Trusted?

I have noticed that in many online debates I’ve participated in, particularly with believers, there is a general lack of understanding of, and hostility towards, the scientific method. Whenever I advance a scientific argument for a point I’m trying to make, I am told things like:
  • Scientists always contradict each other
  • Scientists always disagree with one other
  • There is a conspiracy within the scientific establishment to ‘hide the truth’
  • Science is just another religion
…and from this they conclude that Science can’t be relied upon to support my case, and my argument gets rejected. (This is usually the case when I am debating the subject of evolution by natural selection with believers.) 
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Unfortunately, in the recent decades, science has been highly politicised, with people in support of fringe views opting to go straight to the media rather than do better research in order to prove their ideas to their scientific colleagues through the tried and tested peer review process. They, after all, are after winning the hearts and minds of the general public (for ideological/political reasons), and not that concerned with actually doing good science. Of course, the media is equally guilty for playing into their hands and intentionally creating confusion, by always looking for fringe views so that they can generate controversy – hoping to attract more readers/listeners/viewers by doing so.
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I like his parting thought:
No other method of enquiry possesses anywhere near the same degree of thoroughness, reliability, and efficiency in helping us better understand this universe that we live in, as science does.Let’s make the most of it!

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