Tag Archives: TrueCostAccounting

Carbon and Culture (for On the Go, VOCM)

A series of emails sent to Back Talk/ On the Go November 19, 2012


It scares me that Kathy Dunderdale it talking about the other parties in the house as if they are nagging siblings trying to get their way. Government is not meant to be run by a single party taking ideas from the others only as they see fit. Yet here we are. And then Dunderdale comes out and says they have been as fair as they can be! Personally, in talking with anyone from the PC party, I don’t feel I get anything back but the party line, nothing that I couldn’t read from a website or press release.

As things got hairy, the government created a giant flashy ad campaign to share all of the benefits of the Muskrat Falls project and then did a small poll to see if their tactic worked.

What is the government afraid of? If they are so sure of this project, meaningful open debate should be allowed. I guess they are worried that if it gets out that there will be environmental devastation, cultural crippling, that the carbon emissions will not be significantly better then those at Hollyrood and that there is real scientific risk of mercury bio-accumulation in the river and Lake Melville that will last decades; maybe more of their support will wane?

Yet it seems to me it would only be fair, that the same money tree that affords the government to inundate us with pro muskrat falls information should also fund a pamphlet about the concerns so that we can decide as a people where our values lie!

Denise Hennebury

Environmental Educator from Mount Pearl


Denise, Thanks for your email. We’ll read from it this afternoon on OTG. Can you please give me a bit more detail on two of your points? How could MF be “cultural crippling”, and how might “the carbon emissions… not be significantly better than those at Hollyrood”?

Thanks Ted Blades


Thanks for asking for the clarification; hopefully I can share what I mean here:


It is hard to numerate the environmental costs associated with the project, especially when you consider the long-term effects. However Holyrood is an established site, and that is how we have to compare it to the next project. Don’t get me wrong, I do not condone the burning of fossil fuels, however I do believe that the math could support that there would be no net benefit of Muskrat Falls over Holyrood in the next 20 or maybe 30 year. And we could use that time to develop wave or tidal plants (consider Scotland’s huge wave energy industry).

At Muskrat Falls, when the land is prepared for flooding not all the organic material is removed. In fact even if the locals wanted to take some of that wood, they have been denied access in the past (not that such small scale removal would make much of a difference, so I digress). The valley is too steep in many places to remove the wood, and still not all the organic material will be removed where it can be cleared (roots, topsoil). The rotting vegetation will release carbon dioxide and methane (methane being the worse or the two for green house gasses). But that may be of little consequence considering the creation of such a large facility at such a remote location. The carbon release in clearing the land, moving supplies and moving people in and out of the site for 6 years needs to be considered as well.

What I am suggesting is that between rotting vegetation, harvesting trucks, concrete mixers, sewage removal, helicopter trips, security measures, construction personnel, and the list goes on, the carbon foot print will be astronomical in a process that began a year ago and will go until NO SOONER than 2018.

If we were to truly compare the numbers, it has been said by people smarter than I that in the short term we will be in no better of a situation, and in the long term we could have make less ecologically sound choices.

Culture ..

For full disclosure, I live in Mount Pearl. That is important because it is not just those downstream that will feel the loss of this river. Even here I am heart sick about this project! Such a significant piece of our Natural Heritage will be destroyed. Such a key aspect of the shape and integrity of our land will be dismissed for the relatively short-term gains of a generation. The Earth heals herself, she changes, fish populations will be poisoned and reduced, and the water will continue to find its way. However in a culture that embraces so strongly our link to the land, this sort of disrespect for our past and the loss of that connection for future generations will never be healed. Those children will never know the largest river in the province … they will know 3 giant reservoirs.

I also am in conversation with a lot of Labradoreans (none of whom I even knew 3 months ago). I hear their pain and loss and sense of betrayal ever day. Many Southern Inuit of the region still eat wild game and especially fish. With poisoning of the waterways with methyl mercury, there will be another ban on the consumption of these species from the waters. An advisory from Environment of Canada has listed Lake trout and Northern pike for limited use for food from Smallwood reservoir and a distance below … STILL!

Like our language, food is a major part of any people’s culture. Add to that the spiritual refuge the river provides to the local people, and the history it embraces! There are spirits at Muskrat Falls, and to hear the people talk about it give you chills. Those spirits cannot be content in a concrete wall.

Hope this answers you questions.




Thanks for both emails; it really clears it up for and I’ve incorporated some of these into your first email



Let’s Be Heard!

There have been some amazing things happening over the past few weeks!

On November 5, I had the pleasure of joining (and meeting for the first time) Dennis Woodrow Burden. With about ten others who mobilized and coordinated through the internet in about 48 hours, we held a small demonstration of commitment to protecting Muskrat Falls.  First we stood on the steps of Confederation Building for about an hour greeting the people coming in.  The security guards, however, locked all of the doors.  Then the next hours we spend on the sidewalk on Prince Philip Parkway waving flags and banners.  All very well received!  If you didn’t see, we got coverage by CBC, NTV and the Telegram!

People’s Assembly BLOG Coverage

On the evening of November 5th the People’s Assembly had a meeting at Harbourside Park to coordinate a rally that will occur on November 18th.  There is a lot of opposition to the Muskrat Falls development, and a lot of different reasons for the opposition.  However one thing is common: the PROCESS has failed.  The People’s Assembly Rally is focusing on the lack of transparency.

People’s Assembly

As of November 6th, our government has officially refused to hold a special debate and it trying to blame it on the Liberals because the are sticking to their guns and want to insist on having the experts in the house during the debate.  The NDP and Tom Osborne had agreed to debate without experts (I assume feeling that something is better then nothing), however I have to admire the Liberals for standing by their beliefs that the PCs are not running the show here!  Or at least they should not be.

No Debate – The Telegram

This week the paper version of the Muskrat Falls website in mail boxes. Between this and the website and the television adds I feel we have certainly spend our money wisely!

The Power is in Our Hands

If this plan is so good, wouldn’t one think it could stand up tot he scrutiny of opposition? Seems to me that a lot of money is going into advertisement campaigns.  Maybe this money could go into the transparency they people are requesting instead of trying to convince us we are wrong.  But I digress.

Thursday night November 8th the NDP held a meeting with their constituent and anyone who wanted to join in.  Over 100 (NTV reports 70, however I heard 120) people gathered with the St. John’s NDP MHA’s to hear the voice of the people and give them a venue to share their concerns about the project.  The reality is, that the more people learn about this development, the LESS comfortable they are with the whole idea.  Surely this is not the way it should be with a rock solid deal like the Muskrat Falls project! The NDP’s town hall meeting sparked the NDP to create a petition to ask that the Muskrat Falls project go back to the PUB for assessment along with ALL over alternatives!

NTV Coverage

NDP Petition for you to print off an collect signatures this week!

So where are we now?  As far as I can see, resentment is growing, people are going from concerned to angry, and over all, those who are in opposition to this project are feeling so ignored by the PD party that they are doing everything they can to be heard.  The most recent protests started in Labrador and the fire is spreading across the province.  There are a lot of possible outcomes, but surely SOMETHING has to change with the current project or the PS government will have a lot to answer to if even the slightest thing goes wrong!

The Next Big Step

Get involved and help tell government that democracy is about the people!

There will be a Rally on Sunday November 18th including a march from Harbourside Park to Colonial Building. Get involved and learn more.  There is a problem with the system of our current government.  Having a majority government has given them the false impression that when we voted them in we all believed in EVERYTHING they said.  However if we only voted for the candidate who we agreed 100% with we would never have a government.  We need to remind the PCs who they are working for.

MORE DETAILS on the Rally on this Facebook Event Page

Get involved.  Invite your friends. Learn more. Read more!

There is so much wrong with this deal.  In my opinion, the math is good.  However this is about so much more then the math!  My next blog — True Cost Accounting!!  Look it up 😉