Time running out on Canada’s green reputation

Rejection of Kyoto protocol tarnishes our environmental profile abroad

“Remember those little Canadian flags that we used to so proudly sport on our bags as we travelled abroad to tell the world we weren’t Americans? Forget that strategy. Canada’s display at the Durban climate change talks has ensured that Canadians will no longer revel in being The Good Guy.

OK, we had been working on the image change on the global stage for several years, the climate change talks in Copenhagen and Cancun being good examples. Now the image transformation is complete.

This was confirmed during my recent research trip to Thailand, where a team of researchers from the University of Victoria is looking at the impacts of global climate change on coral reefs and on the communities and businesses that rely on those reefs.

Almost everyone I spoke to, old colleagues, new visitors, locals and guests, soon into our conversation would bring up Canada’s role in Durban, and ask: Why? How could this international dogooder become such a roadblock to, in the words of the United Nations, the “most compelling energy, industrial and behavioural revolution that humanity has ever seen”?

Our findings on the reefs of Thailand are not good, and of course they are intimately connected to Ottawa and the views of the government that we have elected to represent us on the world stage. Coral reefs are the most diverse marine ecosystems in the world and the engines of productivity in tropical waters. They are at their most diverse and most threatened in Southeast Asia.

Our research group has worked on monitoring the reefs for 15 years. Many reefs are dying. The reasons are various, including overfishing, pollution and tourism pressure, but one stands out above all others – rising sea temperatures…”

Read the rest of the article at: http://www.timescolonist.com/technology/Time+running+Canada+green+reputation/5886244/story.html#ixzz1hEPAkOTm

To learn more about the work of the Marine Protected Areas Research Group on the Coast of Thailand check out: http://projectimpaact.asia

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About Nathan J. Bennett

Nathan J. Bennett (see nathanbennett.ca) is a post-doctoral fellow in the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia. He conducts research on humans-environment interactions, conservation social sciences and environmental governance and management.
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