Why More Scientists are Speaking Out on Contentious Issues
Traditionally unwilling to be branded as activists, North America's scientists are becoming more vocal about environmental issues such as Canada's oil sands.
For decades Ken Lertzman has studied the ecology of Canada's Great Bear Rainforest. Wedged between British Columbia's Coast Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, this rugged forest is home to thousand-year-old red cedars, salmon runs, millions of migratory birds, and the elusive white spirit bear.
On Wednesday, Lertzman and more than a hundred other North American scientists, including a Nobel laureate, signed a statement calling for a moratorium on development of Alberta's vast oil sands.
Lertzman, a professor at Simon Fraser University, worries that transporting the oil through Great Bear would harm one of the world's last remaining unspoiled temperate rain forests.
The declaration by a diverse group of ecologists, economists, climate researchers, and other academics is the most recent example of a