The Green Blues Show – Edition 26


The Green Blues Show

In today’s edition of the Green Blues Show: Earth’s cryosphere, all that ice and snow that reflect solar radiation, keeping Earth cool, is melting. Do Israeli soldiers aim to maim unarmed Gazan protesters when they gun them down? And on a more mundane topic – carbon taxes!


“Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises,” the great British conservative Edmund Burke supposedly said, “for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing.”

Nowhere is Burke’s aphorism more clearly on display than in the behaviour of Canada’s seemingly upright Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. What else to make of the dizzying chasm between discourse and action in Mr. Trudeau’s relationship with the State of Israel?

Mr. Trudeau came to power in November 2015, promising – in his words – a more “balanced” position vis-à-vis Israel and Palestine. That is to say, a position less deferential to the interests of the government of Israel and its apologists and agents here in Canada, more in line with international law, than the previous Harper government’s.

In the months and years following Mr. Trudeau’s high-minded vow, his government has repeatedly opposed UN resolutions confirming the illegality of Jewish settlements and calling for an end to Israel’s 50-year occupation of Palestine; Canada’s has steadfastly cast votes at the UN in opposition to the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, and to their natural resources (both of these rights enshrined in foundational international law).

Unlawful settlement Kiryat Arbat, Hebron in distance (David Kattenburg)

Although Canada’s official position is that settlements violate the 4th Geneva Convention (there’s no other position to take; the consensus on this is universal), the Trudeau government defends Israel’s right to market settlement products on Canadian store shelves, and to label them as products of Israel! (seemingly endorsing Israel’s de facto annexation of the settlements).

In the wake of protests along the besieged Gaza border, in which 115 unarmed Palestinians have now been gunned down by Israeli snipers and some thirteen thousand wounded, the Trudeau government sat on its hands … until a Canadian medic was shot, at which point Mr. Trudeau expressed outrage and called for an international inquiry. Within days, the UN Human Rights Council voted overwhelmingly to carry out just such an inquiry. The Trudeau government voted against the motion.

Just the other day, the Trudeau government opposed a motion to send a World Health Organization delegation to the occupied territories, to evaluate the health of Palestinians, alongside the US, Israel, the UK, Australia and Guatemala. Old Edmund Burke would have shaken his head. High-minded talk is cheap. No more so than when deep-pocketed friends of foreign countries come knocking.


Coronation Gulf, Nunavut

Planet Earth is covered in water. Ninety-seven percent is liquid ocean. Most of the remaining 3% sliver is locked up in glaciers, ice sheets, floating ice, groundwater and permafrost.

Earth’s cryosphere plays a huge role in regulating climate. Ice and snow reflect solar radiation, keeping Earth cool. Polar ice keeps heat within the oceans, influencing and influenced by ocean currents in countless, intricate ways.

As Earth warms, its cryosphere is slowly melting. Thomas Wagner is watching. Wagner is Program Scientist for the cryosphere at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA. Listen to our conversation in this edition of the Green Blues Show.


Expanding bullet

During recent protests along the security barrier between Israel and Israeli-occupied Gaza, IDF snipers reportedly used a special type of military ordinance to gun down unarmed protesters. Described as ‘explosive’, ‘expanding’ or ‘butterfly’, these bullets inflict horrendous wounds — small where they enter, fist-sized at their exit — often necessitating amputation.

Of the estimated thirteen thousand Gazans wounded by Israeli bullets since March 30, scores have had limbs amputated.

Are Israeli military forces purposefully aiming to maim Gazan protesters? Derek Summerfield thinks so. Summerfield is Senior Clinical Lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College, London. A letter from Summerfield and eight other colleagues, entitled The Maiming Fields of Gaza, appeared in early May in the British Medical Journal. Listen to our conversation. Click on the SoundCloud link above, or subscribe to the Green Blues Show podcast.


No one wants to pay taxes. Most citizens accept paying up, in exchange for the useful services they receive. How about carbon taxes? Chad Lawley, an Associate Professor in the Department of Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics at the University of Manitoba, has studied the implementation of carbon taxation in the Canadian province of British Columbia. I met up with Chad Lawley at his U. of M. office. Listen up.

In this edition of the Green Blues Show, songs by Maria Muldaur, Little Walter Jacobs and Ellen McIlwaine.