Water is our most precious resource, yet we are allowing fossil fuel extraction companies to destroy drinkable water. In addition, British Columbia’s legislature is considering building the Site C Dam, that will flood productive farmland to produce electricity for oil and gas extraction and processing. Meanwhile, California is fining people for washing cars and watering lawns and the article points out that California may not be able to produce as much food as before because of the drought. The article says,
Richard Howitt, an environmental economist at the university and an author of the report, said that while much of the state had been able to deal with the drought economically, parts of the Central Valley, the state’s agricultural heartland, were being hit hard. Huge portions of farmland have been left unplanted.
In BC, much of our food is imported and with the current drive to increased density and population in Vancouver, there will be more hungry and thirsty people here. California is now relying on groundwater for their survival and has prevented fracking companies from injecting their chemical soup into the ground.
The state’s Division of Oil and Gas and Geothermal Resources on July 7 issued cease and desist orders to seven energy companies warning that they may be injecting their waste into aquifers that could be a source of drinking water, and stating that their waste disposal “poses danger to life, health, property, and natural resources.” The orders were first reported by the Bakersfield Californian, and the state has confirmed with ProPublica that its investigation is expanding to look at additional wells. read more at ProPublica
A study published in 2011 was one of the first limited studies documenting well water contamination by methane and other gases being more intense and likely close to drilling sites. The waste water from fracking creates a disposal problem that is discussed in this video.
Biology professor and geochemist Robert Jackson in Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment performed one of the first peer-reviewed studies on the environmental consequences of hydrofracking. In a live “Office Hours” webcast September 15, 2011, he answers questions about his study
The entire ProPublica series on fracking should be required reading for BC MLA’s as they decide the future of our water supplies, parks and farmland. Our provincial government has opened up our parks to industrialization, is considering spending billions to build a dam and infrastructure for the industry and destroying valuable farmland and jobs. Follow the latest news on my Facebook page “Leave the Oil in the Ground” – I have been told it doesn’t come up in a search.
Direct Democracy In Action:
A New Vision for the Senate of Canada
We can use the power of the internet to give people more of a voice in their democratic process. I propose a model that will empower people to be directly involved in government decisions that affect issues they care about.
I propose creating a Digital Senate that will act as a second opinion to the current elected legislators in Canada as a new system for governance. This Digital Senate will be a website community that will exist on the internet and be an economical and efficient delivery system for direct democracy.
The current Senate of Canada is an appointed body that is allowed to propose legislation and may block legislation passed by the elected parliament. We do not think such a body, based on the British House of Lords, has any place in a democratic society.
The powers of the current Senate should be assigned to the Digital Senate, but not the salaries and perks.
A New Model for Governance
The Senate of Canada is in dire need of reform, but old models retain the idea of concentrating decision making power into the hands of the few. The Senate has never been an elected body, but recent scandals have emphasized the problems inherent in granting a Senate seat by the authority of the government in power.
There is wide public support for a change in the Canadian Senate, and some are in favour of complete abolition. However, we need a system of checks and balances in a democracy, so we propose an innovative reform using internet communications.
The Digital Senate
The current level of internet connectivity in Canada, with many public access points in libraries, government offices and community centers, means that internet access is not a barrier to participation. Part of the funding that is used for the current Senate could provide free internet for everyone in Canada.
A Canadian citizen eligible to vote in Federal elections can be a member of the site
Members of the Digital Senate site can choose to be Senators in order to vote on behalf of others
Issue Based Model
The current system has political and geographical influence in the choice of who will be a senator. Now our country is tied together by the internet, we would like to propose an issue based model, instead of a geographic or political affiliation.
With a Digital Senate, there is no need to meet in Ottawa because the Senate is a web site. This immediately gives national public access to the discussions and issues that citizens are interested in. Our government currently trusts our income tax and other personal and sensitive information to be sent through the internet, so a similar system of encryption and identification can be used to identify Canadian citizens who are qualified to vote.
Each voting citizen has one vote on each issue tabled in the Senate. Each Senator represents one issue of their choice, then voters can assign their vote on that issue to a Senator representative or vote independently for themselves.
The default is to limit each Senator to one issue at a time, but it may be permitted by the Senate, upon application, that a Senator can represent more than one issue, especially if the issues are related.
How it Works
The Digital Senate would be a web site that would enable the citizens of Canada to have direct input into issues or to assign their vote to a representative or proxy.
Citizens of Canada who are eligible to vote can register to be a member of the Digital Senate.
The current Senators will be retired and collect whatever pensions are owed to them. They will be welcomed into the new organization as members, the same as any other Canadian registered to vote.
Members have their own private page that shows who they are supporting on certain issues and where they can manage their votes and proxies. They can sign up for news on what issues are before the Senate so they can be aware and decide their vote.
If a citizen member wants to be a Digital Senator, then they must make parts of their page public, so everyone can see who they are supporting and their network of influence. Senators would be citizens who are experts in the field or otherwise interested in an issue and are willing to work on legislation or other tasks.
A Senator candidate then posts their qualifications on the page that has been created for the specific issue they are interested in working on. They invite other citizen members to assign their votes to them by stating their position and how they plan to act.
Citizen members who are interested in that issue, then go the page to learn the news and to see if there is someone they want to support. There will be public forums and discussion on the issue page.
If a citizen finds someone who has similar opinions to their own, then they can assign their voting proxy to them. If a citizen collects enough proxies, then they are recognized as being a Digital Senator and become eligible for tax deductions and support through the Canada Council for the Digital Senate.
Every citizen can vote on issues directly, or they can assign their vote by proxy to a Senator. If the Senator does not vote the way they said they would, then the citizen’s vote can be immediately withdrawn. If there is a suspected pay off or other reason the Senator did not vote as promised, the citizens who gave the proxy can complain and appeal the vote.
If the citizen finds that the representation is not what they hoped for, in general, they can withdraw and reassign their proxy at any time. If a Senator loses too much support, they revert back to member status and are no longer eligible for financial support. Citizens are encouraged to vote directly, but as each issue will take time, we anticipate that most citizens will want to have the option for proxy representation on some issues.
The virtual nature of the Digital Senate will enable us to have many more Senators because there is no direct financial compensation for involvement in the process.
Senators may claim a tax credit using a formula based on the number of people who have assigned their vote. The tax credit could be a refund for those who do not have sufficient income to need this deduction. If additional funding is required for meetings, projects, research or conferences, then a Senator can apply for funding through a system based on the Canada Council for the Arts jury process, called the Canada Council for the Digital Senate.
The Canada Council for the Arts is a proven model used for decades for arts funding, so provides the impartial checks and balances required in a democracy. If this model is considered inadequate for the Senate, then any changes to funding practices for the Senators must also be applied to funding for artists.
We can keep the current Senate Chamber for historical and meeting purposes, but practically, no permanent physical presence is required.
The present Canadian system costs $106,264,111 a year, not including contributions to the pension plan.
That is a lot of money that can be used to establish the administration for a web based community and fund the Canada Council for the Digital Senate. It would be available for information, discussion and voting from your phone, tablet or computer.
If required, it could fund public internet access points or internet for every voter in Canada, specifically to make sure any citizen of Canada can participate. There would be enough money to fund some instructors or resource persons based in the community to assist anyone who wants to participate.
On Tuesday, I will meet with Moira Stillwell MLA who represents Marpole in the Provincial Legislature. We met previously at a Marpole Residents Meeting that was focussed on the re-zoning of our neighbourhood. Moira Stillwell is trained as a doctor and has held many responsible positions in the medical industry. I was impressed by her intelligence and approachable manner, so I can only hope that what I will say will make a difference. I still have some work to do to prepare my submission, but here is a preliminary look.
1. Oil and Gas
Our Premier, Christy Clark, is closely associated with the oil and gas industry and is heavily promoting the development of natural gas in the province using fracking. The LNG industry is the new gold rush — with the same level of sustainability. Have you seen ghost towns in BC? Source: http://shalebubble.org/ Northern Gateway pipeline referendum is now being supported by many BC residents because it is still being promoted by our Prime Minister as a “done deal” despite opposition. plus, Expanded pipelines through Vancouver (see more below)
2. The Agricultural Land Reserve
Agricultural Land protected under the land reserve is less than 5% of all land in the province of BC. Now changes to the Act have made it easier to use land in that reserve for other purposes.
Established in 1973, the ALR has successfully halted the conversion of, on average, 6000 hectares of agricultural land per year into residential, commercial and industrial uses – a transformation that is largely irreversible.
A quote from West Coast Environmental Law on a page that contains a great deal of information praising our former Agricultural Land Reserve Act. The changes to the Act have made it easier to do oil and gas exploration on agricultural land in Zone 2, that is central and northern BC.
But farmland advocates are concerned such changes will lead to more development because it will be easier for oil and gas companies to use Zone Two land for activities like drilling for oil and gas. Source: CBC News
The Site C Dam will flood some of the best farm land in the north of the province of BC. Who is paying to build the dam? BC taxpayers will pay an estimated $8 billion. Who will benefit? The oil and gas industry. BC Hydro reports tell us that BC can meet our on-going energy needs with conservation.
BC Hydro says it is because we need the energy, but we don’t: Hydro’s own reports say we can meet current demands through energy conservation. Site C is not about meeting the electricity demands of British Columbians; it is about subsidizing BC’s oil and gas and mining industries. It’s an $8 billion taxpayer subsidy to a dirty fossil fuel industry that needs cheap energy to expand. Source: Wilderness Committee
3. Water Sustainability Act
Tied in with the oil and gas industry needs is our new water act. We need an Act like this one in BC because water will become increasingly scarce as we loose our glaciers to global warming. Right now, we are lucky to have clean water in this province, but many of us are wondering where the water will come from for fracking and who will pay to clean it after it is contaminated with a cocktail of unknown chemicals?
In April, the government granted the energy industry regulator — the OGC — authority to issue long-term water licences to natural-gas companies, making the fossil fuel industry the only entity in B.C. with its own dedicated water regulator, a regulator established by the province to speed approvals of industry development applications. Source: David Hughes, Post Carbon Institute
Oil and gas exploration use huge amounts of water that is contaminated and half of the fracking chemical soup is left in the ground to contaminate water in future. Other industries also use huge amounts of water, but contribute very little to support the province or to clean the water after they are finished using it.
4. Development in Vancouver and Affordable Housing
Belacarra cottages – eviction of long term residents Provincial Social Housing in Vancouver
5. The Arts as an Industry for Full Employment
OIL and GAS IN British Columbia
Our Province is embroiled in a teachers strike that is affecting many student’s education and the livelihood of our teachers. Although the government insists there is no more money in the budget to pay teachers, there is money to help the LNG industry bring northern students to an expensive industry conference.
The provincial government and companies working on developing a liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry spent approximately $60,000 taking nearly 60 Coast Mountains School District secondary school students, teachers and chaperones to a Vancouver LNG conference last week.
Funding was given to the school districts at $800 per student to attend an industry conference about natural gas from an industry point of view. The industry sponsored admission to the conference, priced at $1,680 for a full pass.
“The provincial government offered funding to all school districts from the north to attend this conference, and that was the impetus for industry to sign on and fund the rest,” said Coast Mountains school board chair Art Erasmus . . .”
They were among 110 students, teachers and chaperones from the northwest at the May 21-23 provincial government-sponsored conference attended by 1,400 delegates. taken from http://www.terracestandard.com/news/260549231.html
Other individuals and groups also are suspicious about this “educational” opportunity . . .
But one local environmental group raised concerns that the students would not receive a balanced view of the LNG industry and its potential impacts. “Students are young minds and easily moulded and they’re forming opinions, and when industry offers an all expenses paid trip to an industry conference when 90 per cent of the speakers are pushing industry, I don’t think they’re getting a very balanced view,” said North West Watch representative Anne Hill. “I think it’s much more than a field trip.”
I agree that this is more than a field trip! As evidence mounts that fracking is an irresponsible practice, Christy Clark is making sure that the industry has an opportunity to make a huge impression on these students. Somehow, I am sure that no research on birth defects caused by fracking, methane leaks, groundwater contamination and other problems were presented. In fact, here is a review of the conference as an opportunity to sell investors on the projects, surely not a time to mention that fracking is BANNED IN FRANCE. Here is a list of other areas that have banned fracking as a potentially dangerous practice.
Clark is focussed on the LNG export business as being an economic saviour, but she is ignoring all the evidence that points to the exact opposite conclusion.
The massive push to frack our pristine wilderness and productive farmlands is creating anger and resentment in BC.
People are seeing the actual jobs they have in farming, tourism and other industries threatened by the mythical jobs that may or may not be created by natural gas. First Nations tribes see this development as further destruction of their ancestral rights. We all worry about contaminating our drinking water and pollution causing climate change. Although natural gas has always been considered a “clean” fossil fuel, studies show our emissions would be 2/3 that of the Alberta tar sands development. What is the royalty for natural gas that goes to the BC government? Only 7% on the PROFIT.
So, in 2012, Premier Clark amended BC’s Clean Energy Act by order-in-council (no debate), to exempt LNG-conversion emissions from being reportable. Source: http://www.nomorepipelines.ca/Start.html
With leaks from fracked sites that contaminate ground water and cause health problems, how can we allow industry to go ahead with this destruction of our drinking water?
In a report to the Council of Canadians, Dr. Theo Colburn found that 94% of the fracking chemicals in her database are associated with skin, eye and respiratory harm, 93% with harm to the gastrointestinal system, and 83% with brain and nervous system effects (p.14). Only an average of 50% of frack water is recovered. The other water remains underground. The concern is when people come in direct contact with these fluids or when these chemicals get into freshwater supplies. The new fractures can connect with other geological conduits. http://www.bcwi.ca/hydraulic-fracturing-of-natural-gas/
Citizens of BC are so upset with decisions that favour the oil and gas industry that we are requesting a referendum to block Enbridge’s Northern Gateway. Source: CBC News
People are protesting the expansion of pipelines through Burnaby and Vancouver and the increase of tanker traffic.
DESTRUCTION OF PROVINCIAL PARKS
Recently, a law was passed in BC to allow oil and gas exploration and pipelines in our Provincial Parks! Yes, unbelievable, but true. The Park Amendment Act will open the last vestiges of wild areas to the destruction of our last wild spaces. Tourism as an industry? Not in BC. No thought is given to the impact of this industrial expansion into our last remaining protected areas.
It is time for BC to move away from the boom and bust resource based economy. Given the current climate change scenario on our planet, it would be best if the government of BC recognizes that the train has left the station. There will be no amazing revenue stream from exporting natural gas. China has signed an agreement with Russia to obtain natural gas, plus they have some of the world’s largest reserves. Who are the clients? By the time we have the infrastructure in place to export fracked gas, the flow from the wells may have already declined as geologists have confirmed, initial wells provide much more gas than subsequent fracking. Please see Snake Oil: How Fracking’s False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future by Richard Heinburg.
The actual cost of oil and gas production is not profitable unless the taxpayers of BC invest in this industry and support it with tax dollars. BC plans to invest in building a huge mega project dam to subsidize the oil and gas industry. Damage to roads and development of transportation systems to bring in equipment is a major expense. Further subsidies in the form of cheap access to water, pollution clean up and low royalties on our resources. In addition, the cost of water contamination, leakage and spills that may never be cleaned up, will be costs that BC residents will have to live with. With the pollution, loss of farmland and the cost to human health it is not worth supporting the oil and gas industry. We should use the billions to support the farmers of BC and changing to sustainable energy instead of building a dam. With climate change an undisputed reality and the retreat of our glaciers, we will need every drop of drinking water that we can get.
Where do you think our water comes from? With groundwater being contaminated, we will be dependent on rainfall — With less snowpack, summers will be very dry. Our rivers flow in summer from snow melt, with no snow — where will we get water to drink and water our crops?
How can we remove any land from the Agricultural Land Reserve when we have so little arable land and we are increasing the population of Vancouver so exponentially? We cannot depend on drought stricken California to feed us. We have to be self-sufficient, because it will no longer be economic to use fossil fuels to bring us food. We have a food system that is designed to rely on inexpensive fossil fuel, but this cannot continue.
Development in Vancouver is providing housing for many more people. A lot of people are expected to move to Vancouver over the next few years. Where will we get the water and food for this population increase? What kind of jobs will these people have? Job estimates from pipeline development are highly suspect. Economies will contract due to climate change and energy costs. How can we maintain a civil society and have meaningful lives without constant growth? In my opinion, the current grass roots movement to local food production, energy conservation and appreciation of nature should be supported. To create jobs, invest in the Arts. The Arts is an unlimited source of human employment that is very difficult to automate, outsource or replace.
I will miss each brick of the city.
This is the west entrance to the Vondelpark.
I will develop my photos, and share more, but most are not unusual.
For me the ordinary streets and the ever present water will make up the dearest memories of the actual city.
The best images are of my friends that I have made in here.
Below — the sunset on a canal last evening.
Now I am off to Rotterdam to the North Sea Jazz Festival.
It will be exciting to see one of the world’s largest jazz festivals.
Any tips on the festival?
Then I go to visit Sonia in Mons, Belgium.
I hope to see her show!
After my work at STEIM, I was fortunate to play with two improvising musicians, Frank Mauceri and Ángel Faraldo as part of the Oorsprong Curators Series.
This is an interesting improvised music series in North Amsterdam organized by bassist Raoul van der Weide.
The major constraint imposed by the series is that none of the players have ever played together before.
The second rule is that each player can only be in the series once a season.
Even though I worked with Frank at STEIM, we did not play together until this show.
I was captivated by the other two sets featuring Dana Reason, piano; Lori Goldston, cello; Ricardo Tejero, sax+clarinet; Jaap Blonk, voice; bassist Dominic Lash and drummer Onno Govaert.
Ricardo Tejero, (sax+clarinet) and bassist Dominic Lash did not play together because they are involved in a tour supporting their CD. I had the opportunity to hear this duo twice, once at Raoul’s Atelier and once as part of Tabula Rasa: Improvised Music @ Maarten Luther Kerk – basement.
Dana Reason (piano) and cellist Lori Goldston are also playing together, so they played in separate sets for the Oorsprong. I arrived late and missed their showcase at Raoul’s atelier, but I hope to see them play in future as they are both based on the West Coast of the USA.
My thanks to the organizers of the event and the volunteers who support the series.
This was my first opportunity to play in Europe and I was happy to be in such great musical company.
Laurie Anderson’s new show is a network performance with Ai Wei Wei. Video from the premiere at the Luminato Festival in Toronto.
They are using Skype to connect the live Toronto performers with Ai Wei Wei in Beijing.
Network performance is a growing area and Play the Moment is on the leading edge!
I was inspired to start working with network performance by Pauline Oliveros and Chris Chafe. Chris Chafe calls these Telematic performances and has developed a software at CCRMA Lab, Stanford, that works really well. For the techies who read this blog — using Red Hat Linux OS — a communications port can be opened.
In 2010, I visited San Francisco to learn this software, and I was able to open ports on two computers and communicate using the software. This system works really well, but both sides of the performance must have the ability to operate sophisticated technology. That is why my efforts to successfully produce a network performance were not realized until I started using Waterwheel in 2012. My first solo show, Flow Time, led to the development of work for the group, Play the Moment.
It was my vision to have a combined live and networked performance that was realized with the recent Mini Maker Faire show. This was the first time one of the group members was live, playing with the networked stage on a projected screen. Now, I am seeking more of these performance opportunities so internet viewers can join concert goers to enjoy live, improvised media performances.
Now network performance is going mainstream with this show by Laurie Anderson — as mainstream as experimental performance art ever gets — but soon, I believe this will become a widely recognized genre of performance.
Stay tuned to this site to learn about the next Play the Moment performance or follow us on Facebook.
Buy a ticket to see fun maker events and Victoria play live with her internet creative crew!
Show at NOON in the Dark Area of the PNE Forum.
If you are not in Vancouver you can still experience the show on the internet.
Go to this URL to see the internet show.
I am preparing for another Indiegogo campaign to help fund my trip to Europe in June, 2013.
My new Flikr account holds some photos from my 2010 trip to NYC. The series reflects my continuing interest in contrasting the remnants of a previous use for a space that contrasts with the present.
Yes, I am a bit behind in developing and posting . . .
This old sugar factory on the edge of the river in Brooklyn is one of my favourites.
Prints of these images will be one of my Indiegogo prizes.
You can donate directly to help me with my first trip to Europe here.
Play the Moment will be performing as part of the Vancouver Maker Faire June 1-2 at the PNE.
This is a rare opportunity to experience a network music performance with a live band member in attendance.
I will be playing computer and singing on-site and I will be available to answer questions about our show and my other projects.
In addition to the confirmed Play the Moment performance, I am working on also presenting Angels Among Us, an interactive installation featuring my collaboration with visual artist Joanna Gabler as Zest Continuum.
More information on exact dates and times will be announced soon.
Play the Moment, an improvising ensemble will perform for the Birmingham Network Festival on Sat. Feb 23rd on the internet. Please point your browser in our direction.
London (United Kingdom – England) Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 3:35:00 PM GMT UTC
Vancouver (Canada – British Columbia) Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 7:35:00 AM PST UTC-8 hours
Montreal (Canada – Quebec) Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 10:35:00 AM EST UTC-5 hours
Go to this URL to see the show.
More information and guest list on facebook
All performances improvised using live audio and drawing with video and audio samples.
Christina de Roos – projection artist – visual coordination and video
Sonia Paço-Rocchia – live drawing, improvised bassoon and electronics,
Jude Abrams – piano, percussion, vocals – contributed video
Victoria Gibson – guitar, percussion, vocals – contributed video