Monday, September 6, 2010

The Big Greenwash

The Big Greenwash

From the Eagle Watch #70

Energy and Strategies of Psychological Warfare:
The Big Greenwash
Detailed Report
September 4, 2010

The 20th century brought us radio, motion pictures, tv and the internet. Now we are regularly inundated with more information than the human mind can process. Well into the 21st century, most people still exercise little "media discernment". Many have lost the ability to use critical or analytical thinking or just plain reason. Thus we become victims of misinformation, better known as propaganda or psychological warfare. There's a war going on here for your greatest resource, your MIND!

Reason is a fundamental concept of the Kaianerakowa. You want to reason with your adversary instead of fighting with him.

We recently received a flyer that we'll now dissect to show just what we mean by "strategies of psychological warfare".

This flyer, produced by the Ontario government with taxpayers $$$, is widely available. See endnotes if you want to get a copy.

The flyer tells us "Ontario's Green Future is the vision of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance OCAA. OCAA is a coalition of health and environmental organizations, faith communities, municipalities, utilities, unions, corporations and individuals working for cleaner air through a coal phase-out and a shift to a renewable electricity future."

This looks like a bandwagon. Before you jump on, listen carefully to the tune they're playing. "Oh, it's all about the money, easy money..."

The front person is Angela Bischoff. She sends out regular energy newsletters to dazzle and baffle and satisfy people's hunger for more information. Angela did not respond to our enquiries about OCAA, its directors and its funding.

A common strategy of psychological warfare involves putting obvious facts together with not so obvious but compelling falsehoods aka lies. Suppose I say Statement #1, "the sky is blue" and Statement #2, "the earth revolves around the sun". Both statements are obviously true to most people. Then I say Statement #3, "war is good for the environment". This is not obvious but actually a lie.

A surprising number of people will believe and conclude #3 is true simply because #2 and #1 are true. If you then add Goebbels Rule #1, Repeat, repeat, repeat, you'll soon have hoards of people believing #3 AND repeating it to others. If the people are journalists or teachers, they'll do the same thing, further spreading lies and embellishing them with "supporting evidence", usually more lies. Pretty soon, you'll see and hear Statement #3 everywhere. It will take effort to remember that #3 is a bold faced lie!

No Need for Costly Nukes
The title of the flyer is "No Need for Costly Nukes". We're opposed to nuclear development so this sounds good. However, it's about the money and that's all. Nowhere does the apparent anti nuke flyer mention the harmful effects of radioactive emissions from reactors or the connection to nuclear weapons. Don't forget, the flyer is government financed.

The cover has a picture of a young blonde-haired child blowing the seedlets off a dandelion. The seedlets look like wind turbines. This is no coincidence. The image of an innocent child and a flower goes into your mind along with the wind turbine image, thus embedding the idea that wind turbines are natural and harmless. Nothing could be further from the Truth.

Inside the flyer, some information is presented. Another old ploy, the guilt trip is used when they say that Ontario is wasting energy. New York State is so much better. They tell us we need to improve our energy efficiency and that we don't need new nuclear reactors. We agree with that and so we are sucked in.

The flyer throws around some figures - 3 times the power, 1/7 the cost and the inevitable chart. This is all part of the strategy neatly summed up in the saying, "Dazzle with brilliance and baffle with bullshit". The argument is that "Ontario has abundant clean power options available now". We'll go through the list.

Water Power
"Water power" is a misleading euphemism. Since when is hydroelectricity clean, green or sustainable?? Have we forgotten the destruction of Cree territory and the Cree way of life by the James Bay power development Phase 1???

For many years back in the 1980's, an international campaign sought to stop this huge hydro project that subsequently dammed up several northern rivers and flooded Cree territory. At that time, a postcard was circulating with an unforgettable picture of dead caribou on it. Some 10,000 caribou had gotten stranded during the flooding and they all drowned. Collateral damage?

Then just when it seemed the project would be canceled, the Quebec government organized a vote in the affected Cree communities. While most of the traditional Cree people were out on the land hunting, a handful of sellout Crees voted in the James Bay Hydro development.

Today, they are nepotistic hydro sheiks who sit around snorting coke and texting each other. They're "modern" now like everyone else. What about the rest of the Cree people?

As previously reported in the Eagle Watch, Quebec wants to dam up the rest of the northern rivers and sell both the hydro and the water itself outside Quebec. This is "water power"!?

In Ontario, 25 per cent of the electricity generated in 2009 came from 200 hydroelectric facilities. New hydro development is being planned in places like the Lower Mattagami River, 200 km south of Moose Factory. Several other hydro projects are in the works.

Combined Heat and Power
What does this mean? Here's what the flyer says, "We need to make better use of transition technologies like using natural gas to simultaneously produce both heat and electricity for everything from schools and hospitals to shopping malls, office buildings and factories". Isn't natural gas the gas in heavy polluting "oil and gas"??

Why not just close the malls and shut down the factories. We don't need most of the junk we have anyhow. Then they could turn off the lights and the air conditioning and tear down the office buildings, replacing them with parks and playgrounds. This would reduce the need for hospitals at the same time. We would even need fewer schools because we wouldn't be filling our children's heads with nonsense and miseducation.

Wind Power
In 2007, the Canadian government started to hand out $1.48billion to large corporate entities under the ecoENERGY for Renewable Power program. Most of the money went to wind projects. The funding ended in January 2010. Meanwhile, in 2009, the Canadian gov gave $1.5billion to the nuclear industry for that one year alone. Although the respected Pembina Institute says that wind power is good for the environment, we must disagree with them.

Another disgusting euphemism is "wind farms". They are anything but farms. Gigantic wind turbines are built on huge swaths of land that are not used for growing food. The wind turbines make a lot of rhythmic metallic noise and have flashing lights. This affects the health and well being of nearby residents.

The turbines are deadly to large numbers of birds from raptors to song birds. Beneficial insects like monarch butterflies and bees are also killed in untold numbers. The rotating blades create a vortex that sucks in any and every flying creature. These big wind turbines are not ecological or friendly to the environment. They are profoundly ugly to look at.

According to CANWEA, Canadian Wind Energy Association, a non profit trade organization, “The world's largest wind farm, located in Texas, consists of 421 turbines producing 735 Megawatts of electricity. The turbines cover nearly 47,000 acres (190 km²) of land."

CANWEA coos soothingly, "Right now, wind farms in Canada have a capacity of 3,472 MW - enough to power over 1 million homes or equivalent to about 1.1 % of Canada's total electricity demand...One 1.8 MW wind turbine alone can power more than 500 homes annually."

There are about 2,200 wind turbines across Canada with 27 locations or about 1/3 of the capacity in Ontario alone. The big Wolfe Island EcoPower Centre with 86 Siemens wind turbines is on an island in Lake Ontario offshore from Kingston. No one asked the Tyendinaga Mohawks for permission to build these monstrosities on Ongwehonwe land. Similarly, many Ontario wind projects are near Lake Erie in 6 Nations Grand River territory. Once again, no one asked Ongwehonwe people for permission to put these objects which will be scrap metal in about 25 years.

Dimensions vary with make and model. The overall height to the blade tip of each wind turbine is 107 metres. That's over 300 feet! The nacelle weight is 70 tons. The nacelle is the part that contains the transformer, the generator and the gearbox. It is attached to the blades at the hub. There are 3 blades, each 39 metres long. Optimal wind speed is 50 km/hr. The speed at the end of the blade is 256km/hr. The support towers are 67 metres high with a base diameter of 4 metres. Each tower weighs 117 tonnes. The wind turns the blades, which spin a shaft connected to a gearbox and a generator that makes electricity.

The wind turbines are made by various companies including Hitachi Canadian Industries (Saskatoon), Siemens, a huge German company with offices all across Canada and a plant in Hamilton, GE, and Vestas, a Danish outfit. Windy Denmark is 100% wind powered. Except for Vestas, the above named companies are all involved in the nuclear business promoting and selling nuclear reactors. Are they trying to greenwash their filthy reputations?

The wind turbines are owned and operated by companies like Enbridge, GDF Suez (French), Ontario Power Generation, Hydro Quebec and SaskPower International. A staff of less than 20 people keeps each facility going. TransAlta operates the Wolfe Island Wind Facility as well as the 2 Melancthon operations north of Brantford, Ontario and a dozen others across the land.

New projects are in the works but financing is uncertain. Smaller wind projects show great potential and are being pursued under other funding programs. Scale is definitely an issue with wind power.

Strictly speaking, the term biomass covers all plant matter including wood. Many people in rural areas use wood burning stoves to heat their homes. However, when entire communities, even the size of villages, use them, substantial amounts of air pollution are produced. Many trees are cut down to provide the fuel which can be unecological in itself. The issue here is magnitude.

Biomass most often refers to corn, soy, sugar cane or some types of grasses which are used as fuel in furnaces designed for such. The problem is that this practise drives up the price of these plants or replaces food crops altogether. In recent years, the demand for corn for biomass has caused hunger and starvation for peasant and Indigenous people who cannot afford the inflated price of corn, a staple in their diet.

Biomass can also refer to the use of compost and plant waste, ie garbage. The forestry industry produces vast quantities of "waste" such as "harvest slash", mainly treetops, branches and limbs and mill wastes like sawdust and shavings. To our mind, this waste should be returned to the forest floor instead of being made into products for international markets in Europe and Asia. In Nature a tree will eventually die and fall where it stands, leaving its body as nutrients for the soil and other living forms. When large numbers of trees are cut down and taken away as in clearcut logging, this upsets the balance of nature and leads to soil erosion.

One intriguing company called Two Feathers Forest Products produces 25,000 tons of fuel pellets from wood waste while Atikokan Renewable Fuels produces 140,000 tons annually. We are uneasy about this situation.

Two Feathers Forest Products is 70% Native owned by Ojibwe people in 3 communities, Wabigoon Lake, Pikangikum and Eagle Lake. The other 30% of Two Feathers is owned by a Finnish outfit called Wood Tech Group. The company makes effective use of the forestry "wastes" in their mill. They burn it in the form of specially made pellets in a 9.9 MW capacity biomass combined heat and power plant to heat their mills and drying kilns. They sell some of the electricity produced to the province.

This sounds great on one level but questionable in its outcome. The forestry industry is in decline yet the trees are in the way of the ongoing mineral plunder of the region. The trees are the lungs of the earth. So much talk about carbon credits. Wouldn't it make sense to slow down some of the activity and transporting of goods all over the planet. Doesn't at least some of this international trade simply support the oil and gas industry?

Atikokan Renewable Fuels boasts it is the base for the "Great North Bio Energy wood pellet supply chain that includes the Rainy Lake Tribal Council, White Sand First Nation and Atikokan Renewable Fuels as multiple manufacturing sites that will produce up to 400,000 tons of pellets when complete in 2011." Atikokan and backers want to convert Atikokan's coal plant to biomass. OPG, Ontario Power Generation, owner of Atikokan is looking for lots of wood to burn. They expect to have the coal plant converted to biomass by 2014 with similar plans for other coal plants in Ontario.

There are over 200 MW of grid-connected generating facilities using biomass in Ontario, particularly in the forest sector industries. This is a tiny fraction of Ontario's electricity. Biomass still costs way more than coal to produce so OPG wants to increase the scale of biomass production. That means cutting down more trees that they say are no good for lumber. There are other issues with biomass.

OPG states their biomass program will not use food crops for fuel. They also say that biomass is "carbon neutral". If you ever breathed the smoke from a forest fire, you may wonder what do they mean by this? Here's their logic: "As plants grow, carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change, is absorbed from the atmosphere. When they are used to make electricity the carbon dioxide stored by the biomass is released. No new greenhouse gases are produced making biomass fuel ‘carbon neutral’". Now, ask yourself, do you trust people who reason like that??

Conservation and Energy Efficiency
Conservation and energy efficiency make a lot of sense with conservation being first and foremost. We need to steer away from efficiency improvements that are mainly about cashing in and making money. Nothing is said about real ways to conserve energy because that wouldn't make any money. Not only the energy we use in our homes but the energy used to produce the stuff we own must be taken into consideration. Do we really need all the toys and junk we have piling up?

Many people don't want to stop and look at the harmful effects of their own lifestyle. They certainly don't want to make any changes or sacrifices. Consumerism and materialism lead to extreme habitual selfishness. This goes against the basic Indigenous principle of sharing. North Americans are the biggest consumers in the world. Countries like China and India try to copy this behaviour on a mass scale. The results are devastating.

The flyer discussed here does not mention solar or other alternatives. Many people come up with simple and inexpensive ways to conserve energy or produce electricity for home use. Their ideas get ignored because they're not about big money.

Today solar panels are smaller, less expensive and more efficient. Every house could have its own, thus taking us OFF THE GRID. We would no longer be dependent on Big Brother.

In the final analysis, we have to make big changes in our lifestyle to the extent that we feel it. If we want to reverse the trends of pillage and plunder, pollution and destruction, then we have to be willing to make sacrifices for our future generations. There are many ways we can reduce our energy consumption. We have the human inventiveness to come up with solutions that are effective and Life sustaining.


We welcome your feedback! Forward, post and consider printing for your cyberphobic friends and relatives.
The Eagle Watch Newsletter is sent to interested individuals, both Indigenous and nonNative, politicians especially the Canadian ones and an assortment of English language media.

Sources and more information:
ecoENERGY for Renewable Power
Ontario Ministry of the Energy and Infrastructure,1518,710810,00.html
On the board at TransAlta, we find investment bankers and oil men like Tim Faithfull, formerly of Shell. As President and CEO of Shell Canada Limited, he was responsible for bringing the $6 billion Athabasca Oil Sands Project on line. Former US ambassador to Canada, Gord Giffin is also on the board.

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