Is Richer Really Greener?


By Michael Wilhelmson

The September 14th issue of the Economist takes an interesting spin on prosperity. The editors acknowledge that, “Over the past few centuries mankind’s economic growth has caused many of the problems that other species face…” then adds, “But as our special report this week argues, greater human prosperity now offers other species their best change of hanging on.”

For example, say the writers, “… when people start to reach middle-income level, other species start to benefit [I was thinking at this point of rats and racoons]. That is partly because as people get richer, their interests begin to extend beyond necessities towards luxuries: for some people that means expensive shoes, for others a day’s bird-watching. Green pressure groups start leaning on government, and governments pass laws to constrain companies from damaging the environment. In the West, a posse of pressure groups such as Green peace and the Environmental Defence Fund started up in the 1960s and helped bring about legislation in the 1970s and 1980s.”

“Growth also has indirect benefits for biodiversity. People clean up their environment in ways that help other species …” and so it goes.

I invite readers to review the article, consider the research and “commonsense” assumptions and come to their own conclusions.

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Meet and Greet for Andrew Weaver March 9 West Vancouver

Andrew Weaver

Andrew Weaver is a rare individual—a scientist and a politician.  He is a professor of climate science at the University of Victoria and a lead author in the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group that won a Nobel Prize in 2007.  Victoria Greens from the riding of Oak Bay Gordon Head are introducing Andrew Weaver to Northshore Greens at a Meet and Greet on March 9 at 7:30 pm.  It will be in the North Shore Unitarian Church in West Vancouver, 370 Mathers Ave. Tickets for the event are free.

To reserve tickets or get more information about the event, call Claudia Cornwall at 604 986 3843 or send an email to

Weaver has degrees from the University of Victoria, UBC and Cambridge.  He has won numerous awards including one in 2002, for being one of the top 20 scientists in Canada under the age of 40.  He is the author of two books: Keeping our Cool: Canada in a Warming World, and Generation Us: The Challenge of Global Warming. He has been appointed to the Order of British Columbia.  Weaver is also the deputy leader of the Green Party of BC and in the upcoming provincial election, he’s running in the riding of Oak Bay Gordon Head in Victoria.

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Rethinking our Luxuries

By Michael Wilhelmson

I often think back to my Classics courses in university and to that sorry tale of the Etruscans.  If you don’t know, these were the people who dominated central Italy before being overthrown by the Romans.  Much like the Carthaginians after them, we don’t have a lot of first hand knowledge about such losers of history.  We do know what the Romans thought about these cultures, which isn’t terribly complimentary.  In Romans lore, Rome won and the Etruscans lost because the later were lazy, obese pleasure loving nit wits.  The hard working lean, austere, army ants of Rome won because they deserved to win.  The Etruscan funerary arts do them no favours.  They portray chubby Etruscans living the good life – when they had it — sit transit Gloria mundi.

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Mike Wilhemson’s Blog

Enter the Dragon?… No thanks

By Michael Wilhelmson

Welcome to my first blog.  I’m a Vancouver lawyer, living happily with my family on the North Shore.   Life here is privileged.  I’ve often thought there is no finer place on earth to live, with the mountains and nature in my backyard, the occasional black bear included.  In my front yard, the skyline of Vancouver, a short drive away.  I can watch Vancouver –  as the cool mountain breeze drifts down on us.  I can live the big city life, without being isolated from the natural world that sustains us.

So, what does this lawyer choose for a first topic?  How about something superficially legal?  I was checking out the Green Party of Canada’s new web page.  The first thing I read highlights very well the difference between the Green Party and the “traditional” political parties in Canada.  It strikes me, and has for some time, that the old parties are really stuck in the worn grove of a familiar record, fighting the battles of the 19th century and early 20th century.  It is cozy fencing match: first a little right, and then a little left, then touché in the middle.  Nothing really changes, except almost by accident.

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Election News

Climate scientist Andrew Weaver to run for BC Green Party

By Andrew MacLeod September 20, 2012.  (For full story see Tyee.)

The British Columbia Green Party is announcing a star candidate this morning who leader Jane Sterk hopes will raise the party’s fortunes across the province.

University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver is going to run for the Green’s in the Victoria-area constituency of Oak Bay-Gordon Head. As a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Weaver shared in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

“We’re very excited and I think this is significant for the Green Party and for British Columbia politics,” said Sterk. “We now have a calibre of candidate people want to vote for.”

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