Friday, July 20, 2012

RIP: The Death of Evidence

             Sadly for those who believe in transparency as a govermental ideal or objective, the "Death of Evidence" protest by scientists and researchers in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 10, 2012 received little attention. Their objective was to draw attention to the rather evident attempts by the probusiness Harper government to muzzle the voice of environmental concern in Canada.

              Canada is shooting itself in the foot with continued cuts to research projects whose goal is understand and monitor the effects of human economic activity on the natural environment. Health and long term economic impacts aside, Canada is now destroying institutions and programs that have won praise and appreciation from the international scientific community. Short sighted ideologically motivated cuts are destroying what little prestige this country has left on the international stage. (Maybe we just don't care..)

               From a Globe and Mail article:

"But the protesters also decried the Conservative government’s overall economic agenda, which they say puts the environment at risk for the sake of creating jobs."

               This statement begs to be deconstructed! "Environment" versus "jobs", right? Wrong! Unfortunately, the protesters themselves - educated as they are! - got sucked into the Harperites' twisted neocon "logic". Generally speaking, economic analyses that have looked into the job creation potential of green energies and energy conservation tend to support the following observation: green energies and energy conservation projects tend to be labor intensive versus conventional energy production systems which tend to be more capital intensive than labor intensive. To get more jobs for the buck, go green!

"The Conservatives make no apologies for wanting to focus scientific research in areas where money and jobs can be made."

                  Deconstuction: they focus on applied science where the "off the shelf" payback is quick. But in the long run, it is fundamental science - while admittedly more risky - what delivers the biggest bang for the buck. To simply a bit, applied science is a (nearly) sure bet, with little payback. With fundamental science you better expect to sink quite a bundle (thus have pretty deep pockets). But when you DO hit paydirt you hit it bigtime: think lasers, computers, solid state electronics, decoding the genome.. The Harperites think small - and for the short term, not the long term (as their environmentally suicidally politics have already demonstrated clearly enough).

"Canada has been lagging behind other nations in terms of applied scientific research and putting it to commercial use, said a government official who didn’t want to be identified."

                    Now THAT's transparency! (One wonders why, exactly, s/he doesn't want to be indentified.. Curious..)

"But the protesters said Conservatives policies weaken or abolish scientific institutions, in the name of making it easier to develop natural resources."

                     Boy, oh boy! This short article is a deconstructor's wet dream come true..

                      The Harperite neocon wanabes are not weakening or abolishing scientific institutions in the name of making it easier to develop natural resources but irreversibly deplete precious nonrenewal resources (minerals..) while failing to develop renewable energy and resources for future sustainable development. They are NOT "developing" natural resources but DEPLETING them. In addition, by lousy management of renewable resources (forests, fisheries..), these - potentially sustainable resources - are also being wasted and irreversibily depleted. Think: tragedy of east cost cod fishery!

                      One can sum up the environmental consciousness of the Haper government as "the environmental damage you don't see don't exist". This is an insane policy of willful blindness, like a man with gambling or drinking problem denying that ain't got no problem at all: Not me! I can control my drinking / gambling. What evidence do you have that I can't. I'm earning 6 digits a year.. (Yes bro, maybe you still are, for a while. And your wife pretends she doesn't see a problem. Kids are easy enough to ignore, they got friends - who sell dope and pimp.Eveythings just fine, bro.)

                             The final line of the Globe and Mail article is prehaps the most important to quote (and reflect upon):

"“We can restore evidence, but this will require an effort not only by scientists but by the general public.” Amen!

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