3 Quick Reads

Mean surface temperature change for 1999–2008 ...

Mean surface temperature change for 1999–2008 relative to the average temperatures from 1940 to 1980 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some items I found worth reading:

SS: Environmental Rights

English: David Suzuki, Canadian environmental ...

English: David Suzuki, Canadian environmental activist Česky: David Suzuki, kanadský environmentální aktivista (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Please join David Suzuki and the Blue Dot movement for a discussion on environmental rights in Canada — from the comfort of your own home!

When? Wednesday, November 16, 8 to 9 p.m. EDT.* 

The Blue Dot movement for environmental rights has exceeded all expectations. More than 100,000 people and 143 municipalities (representing 43 per cent of Canada’s population!) are already on board!

It’s time to celebrate, and take this campaign to the next level: a federal environmental bill of rights.  

On November 16, you can hear David Suzuki and a panel of guests talk about why securing a federal bill is so crucial, and what we need to do together to win.

We’ll also honour the tireless efforts of the hundreds of volunteers who helped us get here, celebrate two years of successes and discuss plans for 2017 and beyond.

Join us via live web stream. Gather family, friends and neighbours for an inspirational and educational evening. Please RSVP and we’ll send you the information you need to tune in. 

If you would like to ask panelists a question, please send it in advance to ccheema@davidsuzuki.org.

This is an event you won’t want to miss! 

RSVP now (if you’re in Montreal). OR, if you can’t get to Montreal on November 16, tune in via live-stream as we celebrate these successes and discuss plans for securing a federal environmental bill of rights by 2018.

David Suzuki Foundation

David Suzuki Foundation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Suzuki Foundation

A lifelong love affair with the ocean

David and young Sarika

Dear Bob,

Dr. Sarika Cullis-Suzuki, David’s youngest daughter, is passionate about oceans — a love affair that started early. Her MSc on global fisheries at UBC’s Fisheries Centre culminated in a speech at the United Nations, where she revealed her shocking findings on the state of the high seas. Her work has taken her all over the world, from French Polynesia to the Gulf of Mexico, and she continues to fight to protect the oceans.

Dear Ocean.

You don’t know me, but I owe you everything.

When I was two, I learned to snorkel. That’s when I met you, face to face. You changed my life. I never looked back.

A few years later, I announced to my mom, “When I grow up, I am going to study the ocean. You can be my assistant.” I spent all my summers near you, playing in your company and learning all I could. You were always there for me.

In high school, people doubted us. They said following you would lead me nowhere. “There’s no future in oceans,” they’d say. I didn’t hear them. I knew we’d be okay.

But then I went to college and learned you weren’t okay. I found out you were sick. And worst of all: it was our fault. We took too much from you and used you as a garbage can. We didn’t understand you, and we took you for granted.

It broke my heart.

In grad school, I wanted to give up. What was the point? I wanted to help, I wanted to take care of you… but the scale of your challenges overwhelmed me. Where could I start? I was determined to be a voice. I published my research on you, and presented my findings to the United Nations. I studied your high seas, explored your coasts, completed another graduate degree to continue learning from you and became your outspoken advocate.

Dear Ocean, I have spent my life trying to get to know you, but there is still so much I don’t know. I will continue to work hard to understand your complexity and articulate your fragility. Thank you for your relentless generosity, your mentorship and, above all, your constant companionship.

Yours always,


P.S. We invite you to fall (back) in love with nature this year. Join us in taking the 30×30 Nature Challenge. Share your own love letters to nature to inspire others and for the chance to win some great prizes!


Sunday’s Secular Sermon



After consulting 73 experts in five countries, as well as 92 representatives from 46 Canadian organizations, and after collecting over 300 document submissions from stakeholders and almost 15,000 responses online, the federal government of Canada has released an external panel’s report on appropriate legal options in response to Carter v. Canada, last year’s case on physician-assisted suicide.

On February 6, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that sections 241(b) and 14 of the Criminal Code—which make it illegal for anyone, including a physician, to assist in the death of another person—violate the constitutional rights of adults who suffer from grievous and irremediable illness. The decision decriminalized assisted suicide by physician-issued prescription and by voluntary euthanasia (when a physician administers life-ending medication).

– See more


Canada’s Euthanasia Law

English: Supreme Court of Canada building, Ott...

English: Supreme Court of Canada building, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Polls show the public is supportive of assisted dying. The Supreme Court has directed the government to write a new law. Have an opinion? Let the government know what you think. Go here.

More information:

Euthanasia for Children?  [Source.]

Passive euthanasia, withdrawing or withholding treatment with the effect of hastening a patient’s death, has long been legal in Canada. Active euthanasia, taking positive measures to bring about a patient’s death, will soon also be legal as per a decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in February 2015. A new public debate has emerged in the wake of this step: Should the right to ask for one’s own life to be terminated to be extended to children too?

It is not as strange a thought as it may seem: in the Netherlands euthanasia is lawful for patients over the age of 12, in Belgium for terminally ill children of any age if they are experiencing ‘constant and unbearable suffering’. The consent of parents and doctors is, of course, needed. Dr Eduard Verhagen is a lawyer and the medical director at the department of paediatrics at the University Medical Center Groningen. He argues that “most children with a life-limiting illness, before they have even entered the terminal phase, have made decisions about their treatment, and about their lives 30, 40 or 50 times.” A Canadian provincial-territorial advisory panel has now argued that access to doctor-assisted dying should not be hindered “by the imposition of arbitrary age limits.”

Arthur Caplan, head of medical ethics at New York University’s Langone Medical Center comments: “Setting the precedent that the state is going to tolerate killing children, even mature minors, is very, very dangerous… It’s the slippery slope argument, and this is a slope I worry about. Sometimes I don’t, but this one I do.” There is also serious opposition from medical practitioners: “Most of our fight is about kids that want to live … not most of our fight, all of our fight is about that, and how to do it with as minimal suffering as possible,” says Dr Stephen Liben, director of the Montreal Children’s Hospital pediatric palliative care programme. “The last thing I need as a palliative care physician for children is a euthanasia law.”

“Euthanasia: The Debate Continues.” [Source.]

Global News report. [Source]


Sunday’s Sermon

Entity relationship diagram, essential for the...

Entity relationship diagram, essential for the design of database tables, extracts, and metadata. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Was anyone surprised to learn that Canadian spying organizations are, well, spying on Canadians?

The Communications Security Establishment, Canada’s electronic spy agency, has stopped sharing certain metadata with international partners after discovering it had not been sufficiently protecting that information before passing it on.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says the sharing won’t resume until he is satisfied that the proper protections are in place. Metadata is information that describes other data, such as an email address or telephone number, but not the content of a given email or recording of a phone call. [CBC]

What is metadata? – Definition from WhatIs.com

whatis.techtarget.com › … › Search engine optimization (SEO)
Metadata is data that describes other data. Meta is a prefix that in most information technology usages means “an underlying definition or description.” Metadata summarizes basic information about data, which can make finding and working with particular instances of data easier.

Jump to DefinitionMetadata is “data that provides information about other data”. Two types of metadata exist: structural metadata and descriptive metadata. Structural metadata is data about the containers of data. Descriptive metadata uses individual instances of application data or the data content.

Recently Dr. Nik Richers presented a series of posts on metadata. Links are below.

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