July/August 2001

The Supreme Court is becoming a leading environmental watchdog, according to an op-ed piece by Dr. David Boyd (environmental law & policy) featured in the Globe and Mail. Boyd said the court's recent ruling that municipal governments have the right to regulate pesticide use is the sixth consecutive time the court has sided with the environment. Though he said the importance of the Supreme Court's environmental enlightenment cannot be overstated because they set precedents that are binding in all parts of Canada, the courts can also only do so much. "Canada's governments should emulate the court's leadership, and give issues such as water pollution, air pollution, climate change and the bio-diversity crisis the attention and resources they sorely lack."

When Canadian author Mordecai Richler died, poet Patrick Lane (writing) wrote an article for the Globe and Mail entitled "Grieving a Great One." Lane recounted his own experiences with Richler, and remembered the author's stories and characters. He also imagined what Moredcai would do if he were by Lane's side as he wrote, saying he'd laugh at Lane a little, provoke him with a few word choices, and chide him for being a bit sentimental: "Come on, he'd say, don't take all this so seriously. There's room for joy. There's room for lots of things. So I'm gone. You're still here. Do something." While Lane says Canadians have always been entertained by Richler, "It is the moral writer he was that changed us."

Global warming guru Dr. Andrew Weaver (earth & ocean sciences) took part in a dialogue for the L.A. Times that had him discuss global warming with a professor from MIT who doesn't believe global warming presents potentially grave consequences or is caused by humans. A reporter asked the two scientists questions. "As scientists we love to observe change and try to understand it," said Weaver. "But this is a dangerous experiment. We're moving into a new climate, and we don't know what it's going to be like. We know it will be a little warmer, and that the sea level will rise. We don't know, however, even if we were to stop all carbon dioxide emissions today, whether we've pushed the climate system past a certain threshold that would take us into an entirely new climate state, unlike anything in the last 400,000 years. And it's not us, it's our children, who will have to live with the consequences of our experiment."

Ged McLean, executive director of UVic's Integrated Energy Systems, was featured in a Times Colonist article on fuel cell research as a clean energy alternative. "Suddenly the fuel cell has gone from being this esoteric technology to something you can imagine having in your home," he said, adding that the fuel cell is the microchip of the future.

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