A ray of sunshine

Dal scientist wins posthumous award

- July 5, 2007

"Working with Ram everyday was a very special experience, imbued with Ram's gleeful exuberance" says the posting on the Myers Lab website. (Courtesy Nova Scotia Leatherback Working Group)

HalifaxÕs Ecology Action Centre has honoured late Dalhousie professor Ransom Myers with its Sunshine Award.

ÒIt takes guts to speak out,” says Mark Butler, policy director of the Ecology Action Centre. ÒBut Ram was such a good scientist that he was able to withstand the pressure he got as a result.”

The Sunshine Award, the Ecology Action CentreÕs top prize, is voted on by the membership of Nova ScotiaÕs largest environmental organization.

A world renowned scientist, Dr. Myers died March 27 of a brain tumour at the age of 54. That same week, a major study he co-authored was published in the journal Science. The study documented how the near extinction of large predators is impacting on the food chain.

ÒHe warned governments, the fishing industry and consumers that unless commercial fishing is sharply curtailed and management of fisheries is improved, many large marine species will become extinct,” reads the Washington Post obit. ÒThat, he said, could lead to economic disruptions, food shortages in seafood-dependent developing nations and lasting damage to marine ecosystems.”

ÒHis passing totally took everyone by surprise,” added Mr. Butler. ÒOne minute he was on CBC Radio (talking about the damage caused by bottom trawling) and the next day, he couldnÕt talk.”

On the other end of the spectrum, the EAC grassroots also awarded the Tarred Duck Award at its annual general meeting. This year, the dubious distinction goes to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

ÒWeÕd rather not have our Prime Minister win this award,” said Mr. Butler. ÒBut letÕs just say he was a clear favourite in this category. I think a lot of people doubt his sincerity to tackle issues associated with climate change.”

Previous winners of the Sunshine Award include Metro Transit for the introduction of the  Metrolink buses, Brad Armstrong of the Kaiser Meadow Preservation Trust for work preserving old growth forests and Mary Gorman and Percy Haynes of the Save Our Seas coalition.


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