Letters to the Editors

Immediate effects of burning fossil fuels ‘more drastic'

Dear Editors:

Re: “The Great Global Warming Swindle” (Journal, March 30, 2007).

After viewing “The Great Global Warming Swindle” on Google, I feel compelled to address an issue of importance neglected by Stefan Hlouschko.

My opinion on the matter of global warming is irrelevant to the footnote I think is essential to add to all discussions of the global warming “debate.”

Regardless of the causes of global warming, the chief suspect—fossil fuel burning—cannot be dismissed as a harmless industrial venture.

It’s unfortunate that arguments about global warming have distracted us from the more imminent realities of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are a limited resource and not a sustainable source of energy.

The burning of fossil fuels severely threatens the respiratory health of billions worldwide. The immediate ecological effects due to the extraction, processing and burning of fossil fuels are far more drastic than the indirect effects of global warming.

The biological impacts of global warming have been amplified to a disastrous scale by human activities unrelated to carbon dioxide—deforestation, the changing of landscapes, over exploitation of natural flora and fauna, aggressive agriculture—all are stressing already stressed ecosystems to their limits.

There is an undeniable agreement that the world is warming. If humans wish to deny responsibility for this warming, so be it, but we cannot deny the other impacts we are wreaking on the world that are amplifying the damage.

Virginia Emery
ArtSci ’08 STRIVE Co-Chair 2006-07

Make Ideas Supplement annual

Dear Editors:

Re: Ideas Supplement (Journal, March 30, 2007).

Congratulations on an interesting and unique supplement. It’s refreshing to see some real suggestions to make Queen’s a better place, rather than the vague criticisms that are so often offered.

I would encourage you to make this a regular supplement, perhaps even one with semi-annual appearances. Surely in an environment with so many intelligent people, we can all think of some way to improve Queen’s.

Finally, I wouldn’t discount alumni participation quite yet. There are many alumni who remain strongly connected and have passionate views of this institution. I can think of a number who would be thrilled to share their perspectives in the Journal. Remember, you’re students for a short time but alumni for a lifetime—your Queen’s experience doesn’t end at convocation.

--Lisa Woodcock
ArtSci ’04 and Applied Science Advancement Officer

Queen’s ‘stalling’ on DSP

Dear Editors:

Re: “Proposed purchasing policy not a ‘silver bullet’ says Dean Laker” (Journal, March 30, 2007).

Dean Laker would like students to believe that the administration is not dragging its feet in regards to adopting the Designated Supplier Program (DSP). However, students have been meeting with the administration since the beginning of the year asking Queen’s to sign on to the DSP and they have yet to present any substantial or legitimate reason for why Queen’s should not sign on. That is called stalling, and it needs to stop.

Dean Laker’s assertion that the DSP is very complex is misleading because it’s very simple. Queen’s commits to sourcing apparel from factories which pay a living wage and respect workers’ rights to freedom of association. The documentation outlining the DSP is very detailed and multifaceted, but what is being asked of the University is very simple. We did not ask the administration to come up with a program, we’re merely asking Queen’s to sign on to an existing one.

Nor is there a lack of clarity on the procedures to ensure the DSP conditions are met. The DSP is enforced by universities collectively taking a stand that they will not purchase apparel that is made in sweatshops. In the realm of licensed university apparel, it’s the universities who hold the ultimate power. They collectively demand that the brands change their practices. The Workers’ Rights Consortium will then conduct investigations of factories to determine whether or not they meet the DSP criteria. Contrary to what Dean Laker says, it’s not impossible to calculate a living wage, a point addressed clearly in the DSP documentation.

Deb Easter is right when she says that the current Code of Conduct is not working. Queen’s does not have sufficient power to demand the necessary changes of their suppliers. By signing on the DSP they would.

If all the players decide, as Queen’s is currently doing, to stay in the bleachers, there will be no game, and workers’ rights will continue to be violated as they sew T-shirts that bear the Queen’s University crest. It’s time for Queen’s to get in the game.

--Amanda Wilson
ArtSci ’07 and Canadian organizer of United Students Against Sweatshops

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