Speaking my mind since '99

Since the first ever Earth Day celebration more than four decades ago, the environmental conservation movement has been one of the most important social movements of our time, showcasing our care for the world around us and our desire to give our children a better world than the one we were born into. But after so much progress and so much positive impact the movement has made on the world over the years, is it possible that the environmental conservation movement is dying out, and is it possible that it’s already over? (Our friends at huntinginsight.com dont think it is)

Earth and North America from Space

Perhaps the biggest problem that the movement has is the issue of global climate change, which was once thought to be its biggest accomplishment. Scientific evidence that humans are causing global climate change that are causing temperatures and ocean levels to rise, throwing the world into chaos, and that only human action could reverse it was thought to be a rallying cry for the environmental conservation movement and something that could bring the world together. Instead, it’s become a fiercely contested political issue that has divided the public, not to mention lawmakers, into believers and non-believers. Global warming becoming such a partisan issue, especially among those with the power to create change, has in many ways stopped the environmental conservation movement dead in its tracks, halting progress and causing some to turn on those who continue to push for change.

Another issue that has been a huge detriment to the environmental conservation movement is the financial crisis that started last decade. The world economy being thrown into turmoil turned a great deal of attention away from the environment and toward what many people believed to be a more pressing issue, causing the environmental movement to lose momentum. Even with the economy stabilizing to a certain extent, it remains an area of concern and uncertainty for many, meaning that money, resources, and attention that could otherwise go to environmental causes is spent worrying about the economy, keeping the environmental conservation movement on the backburner.

Ironically, the success of the environmental conservation movement may have played a hand in its ongoing demise. The fact that there is an Earth Day every year and that the Environmental Protection Agency exists to take care of environmental issues makes it easier for people to forget the issues at hand and believe that there are others taking care of them. In a way, we’ve taken the environmental conservation movement further than most of us thought it would go when Earth Day first started decades ago, leading some to be content with the progress and unwilling to push for more. (We personally wonder if the downward trend in support for earth day looks to affect health of the population)

Clearly, the progress and the momentum built up by the environmental conservation movement over the past few decades has lost steam, but does that mean it’s over? Absolutely not. It’s certainly not a front-page issue, and that’s a problem, especially since at times it seems like only a catastrophe can bring it back to the forefront of people’s minds. But as long as Earth Day is on the calendar every year, as long as the EPA exists, and as long as there are people continuing to fight to bring awareness and change to environmental issues, the environmental conservation movement will never be over.

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Canadian Health Care

Canada gets a ton of publicity worldwide for its universal health care system. ‘Canada: Where everyone is covered,’ is a tag line which often times gets attached  not only to the healthcare system but as a country. However, not everything is as perfect as it seems and as America begins to transition to Obamacare which is something similar to Canada, there are some things it can learn from Canada’s bloated healthcare system.

There are estimates which suggest that by 2020, 70% of taxpayers dollars go towards the healthcare system in Canada. This is obviously a huge problem for a country which provides a variety of other social support for its people. As these costs begin to rise, the government has to make a decision. Either it raises taxes to provide support for it’s health care workers or it figures a way to reduce current spending on healthcare without giving up any essential services to it’s people.

In speaking with a variety of healthcare professionals, they can see the cost cuts happening already. For example, stethoscopes which are an extremely standard and important tool used by all healthcare professionals are now a ‘bring your own,’ item. Doctors, nurses and other professionals are now required to buy their own stethoscope which can cost over a few hundred dollars. Especially for a high quality stethoscope.

Another issue in hospitals which has been made apparent is security. Traditionally, you wouldn’t think a hospital would be a place which would need much security but with the access to medical equipment and drugs that are at a hospital, Canadian hospitals have had a serious issue. Even the health and safety of medical professionals working in the hospitals have been compromised forcing some doctors I speak to carry pens which are designed as self-defence weapons with them as they roam the hall ways.

As the federal politicians move in and take a closer look at the health care system, it will be interesting to see if any solutions come out of the election. Currently, with a conservative government in power, things can change very quickly. If the Liberals are able to win power in the upcoming election, it is unlikely they will have the majority meaning it will be very difficult to change laws to help the aging healthcare system quickly. Regardless, the United States has a head start in prevention of the same problems that Canada currently faces today.

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Obama Care

The term Obama Care is actually called as the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” which is abbreviated as PPACA or ACA (Affordable Care Act); it was taken into effect by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010, representing a significant regulatory overhaul of the United States healthcare system since the passage of the Medicare and Medicaid last 1965. Many of its effect have already been implement as of this writing and will be continually rolled out until 2022.

The term can be self-explanatory, “patient protection” and “affordable care act”. When you hear those phrases what comes into your mind? It’s certainly for the benefits of American citizens. The main goal of Obama Care is to increase the quality, accessibility and affordability of health insurance.

However, like every rules in this world, there are people who opposes Obama Care and they say that the rules takes away freedoms and force individuals and businesses do things they shouldn’t have to. Why is that? It could be better if you will be able to understand the effects and rules that Obama Care implements. The following are the rules and effects/laws that are currently implemented as of this writing.

  1. It grants access to health insurance to over 30 million Americans as well as lower premiums.
  2. It allows FDA to approve more generic drugs which makes more competition in the market to lower drug prices.
  3. It increases rebates on drugs for people on Medicare (makes drugs cost less).
  4. It protects patients from being a victim of discrimination against people with pre-existing condition.
  5. It makes chain restaurants such as McDonald’s display how much calories they have in all of their foods, which helps people to have an easier time deciding what to eat to keep in shape.
  6. Indoor tanning booths have to pay additional 10% tax.
  7. Kids can be covered by their parent’s health insurance until the age of 26.
  8. It prevents insurers from dropping customers just because they got sick while under the insurance.
  9. Insurers have to tell customers where does their money goes.
  10. People enrolled in Medigap Part D (a.k.a. Donut Hole) gets a rebate to make up for the extra money that they would have to spend otherwise.
  11. Patients under Medicare under chronic illness must be monitored more thoroughly.
  12. If you are earning more than $200,000 annually, you will have to pay additional 0.9% tax.
  13. It doesn’t matter if people have a pre-existing conditions before. Everyone will be charged the same fee.
  14. If you can afford insurance but do not get it, you will be charged a fee. This is the “mandate” that people are talking about. Basically, it’s a trade-off for the “pre-existing conditions” bit, saying that since insurers now have to cover you regardless of what you have, you can’t just wait to buy insurance until you get sick. Otherwise no one would buy insurance until they needed it. You can opt not to get insurance, but you’ll have to pay the fee instead, unless of course you’re not buying insurance because you just can’t afford it.

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Liberal Today

Canada is a country which often times falls in the shadows of its neighbour to the south. While often times ranking in the top 10 of most liveable countries, it’s political system is very rarely on the forefront of global headlines which is of course unlike the United States. Canada however which is known to be an extremely quiet and often times ‘boring,’ political competition is becoming somewhat of the opposite. As the Conservative government continues to dig a bigger and bigger whole for itself, the son of the former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau is creating a pretty strong platform as to why he should be the next Prime Minister of Canada.

In the past few years, the conservative government has begun to develop a reputation for itself which has caused many of its supports to turn the other way. The Conservative government has a policy in relation to the economy which is essentially a “do anything necessary to make the most money possible.” This includes ignoring things like the environment or science research.

The most recent turmoil for the conservative party was the recent bill that allowed pipelines to go through provincial and national parks. Many people were upset as these parks are now exposed to be abused and potentially ruined in the case of a pipeline spill. The other issue that people have had with the conservative government is their lack of support for science. The Canadian space program which was one of the top in the world has now been minimized to very little due to lack of funding.

Watching in the wings is the young star from the Liberal party Mr. Justin Trudeau. Currently an MP for a Quebec riding he is the next leader of the Liberal party and has a legitimate shot at being the next Prime Minister of Canada. One of the most handsome candidates of recent memory, Justin Trudeau has being in the media for many positive and negative things. In some cases, Justin has had a difficult time holding his tongue which has got him into trouble and as one of the younger Member of Parliament, his competitors often times challenge his ability to lead as he has been known to carry himself immaturely at times.

In the coming year, there will be a federal election and it will be extremely interesting to see how the battle between the Conservative government and Justin Trudeau plays out. My thoughts are that Justin Trudeau and his luscious locks will actually beat out the conservative government but I have been known to be wrong before.

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