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This Week’s Reads: Copenhagen, Access to Information, and Legalize Everything

Posted on 7 December 2009

I haven’t done the best job of keeping an updated list of my favourite reads on this blog (though you can track my reading here and here, but this morning I’ve come across three articles worth sharing, and the time to share them.

Michael M’Gonigle – Against Copenhagen

Wasn’t sure what to expect from the title, but this is basically an argument that what’s likely going to happen at Copenhagen will not be the systemic change needed to truly combat the problems at hand. Basically:

” If you were to pass around a single piece of information at Copenhagen, it should be the two pages of graphs at the beginning of an interesting book written by Gus Speth, this generation’s leading environmental bureaucrat in Washington D.C. The book is The Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability. Speth sets out 16 hockey stick graphs that portray increases in water use, in the damning of rivers, in CO2 concentrations, ozone depletion (hopefully now slowing down), rates of increase in average surface temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere, the rising frequency of great floods, depletion of ocean ecosystems, loss of rainforests, biodiversity decline, increases in fertilizer and paper consumption, and the explosion in the number of motor vehicles.

And three others: growth in the size of the global economy (GDP), foreign direct investment, and population.

Together, these graphs — all hockey sticks — provide a single message. We are killing the earth in every way imaginable, getting rich in the process, and providing a model for a growing world population to join in on.

Against Copenhagen »

Gil Shochat – the Dark Country

This is a story that really needs more play– the difficulty citizens, journalists, etc in Canada face when trying to get access to information about our governments, and the causes and implications of that difficulty. One interesting point (from one of my favourite bloggers):

“In Canada, citizens could be granted “access” to information by the government, if they followed certain rules set by that same government. As open government advocate David Eaves points out, this follows from a tradition in which sovereignty resides with the Queen. Government data “isn’t your, mine, or ‘our’ data,” he writes. “It’s hers. It is at her discretion, or more specifically, the discretion of her government servants, to decide when and if it should be shared.” In the United States, the American Revolution put an end to any such notion.”

Some other highlights from the article to amuse and alarm:

the Dark Country »

This Magazine – Legalize Everything Series

In what was apparently a five-day series a month ago, This Magazine urges us to legalize suicide to fix the health care system, legalize (music) piracy to fix the music industry, legalize drugs to save addicts, legalize raw milk to… make tastier cheese, and legalize hate speech to save democracy. Aside from the raw milk argument (a lot less hot button then the others, no?), I’ve heard them all before, but it’s interesting to delve into these debates from time to time.

Legalize Everything »

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