Efforts to save the Experimental Lakes Area continue

5 December 2012

Droplets readers will recall the decision by the Canadian Government to close the so-called Experimental Lakes Area, in effect a massive field laboratory that has generated a wealth of limnological information.  Subsequent reports suggested that the authorities were considering selling-off the ELA to a private funder for a nominal ‘dollar’ fee.

Described as the super collider of ecology, the ELA is the only facility in the world that allows the study of whole lake ecosystem research and has produced almost 750 peer-reviewed papers including 19 in Science and Nature.

That the Canadian authorities have even considered such a decision is mind-boggling in the extreme – and may be evidence of the continued onslaught to hide research that conflicts with the short-term profit motives of Big Industry.

Renowned environmentalist, David Suzuki, observed that  “many recent cuts and changes are aimed at programs, laws, or entities that might slow the push for rapid tar sands expansion and pipelines … along with the massive sell off of our resources and resource industry to Chinese state-owned companies, among others. Any research or findings that don’t fit with the government’s fossil fuel-based economic plans appear to be under attack.

It is not only about fossil fuel resources – although environmental challenges such as fracking grow daily.  There are continued attempts to, inter alia, discredit validated scientific findings, replace science with pseudo-science and, overall, not let ‘a little science’ get in the way of making a quick buck.  This is a bigger issue than many may realize – especially in countries lacking a developed and solid base of expert advice, such as the ELA,  on a particular topic and, following the adage “in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king“, charlatan ‘consultants’ and officials become controllers of decision-making processes way beyond their training or experiential ability.

I speak from personal experience!

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