My name is Blair King. As my blog name suggests, I am a Professional Chemist and a resident of the Township of Langley, British Columbia, Canada. I am a husband and the father of three great kids.
The general aim of this blog is to look at the news and everyday life through the lens of a Chemist; husband; father; and resident of my community, province and country. I have come to recognize that a lot of important decisions are being made by people who lack the basic understanding of science to make informed decisions. My fear is that we continue to waste our moral and financial capital on emotionally-charged and scientifically-indefensible projects leaving us without anything to spend when it comes to making real changes that can make tangible improvements locally, regionally and nationally.
I acknowledge that I will not always be the expert (or even right) but will endeavour to make corrections when my errors are pointed out and provide links to those who know more than I do on a topic.
Academically, I have an Interdisciplinary PhD in Chemistry and Environmental Studies with an undergraduate degree in Chemistry and Biology. Since I graduated at the dawn of the internet age and work in the private sector, my C.V. is not online at any university web site so the most common complaint is that I am making up my credentials. I can point out that my thesis is available at the University of Victoria library and my academic and professional qualifications have been vetted by the various professional bodies discussed below, but that is often not enough for some. Ad hominems go that way and if you are going to insult me based on nothing, supporting information isn’t going to stop you.
Professionally, I am a Registered Professional Chemist and a Registered Professional Biologist and have been appointed to the Roster of Approved Professionals by the BC Ministry of Environment’s Director of Waste Management both as a Numeric-based Standards Approved Professional and a Risk-based Standards Approved Professional (under the Society of Contaminated Sites Approved Professionals or CSAP). Many mistakenly confuse this to believe that I somehow work as a government scientist. This is not true. The CSAP Society is:
“an independent professional organization that is mandated by the Provincial Government, through the Ministry of Environment, to review environmental certification applications made under the Environmental Management Act and Contaminated Sites Regulation. The Society credentials its members and recommends they be appointed to the Ministry of Environment Roster of Approved Professionals (APs)”.
I work for a great private sector employer, but none of my blogging is done on behalf of that employer. My direct supervisors and managers are aware of my blog and I have assured them that I will avoid any potential conflicts between my work and my blog. Sometimes this means I won’t blog on a topic where my personal intellectual interests and my company’s corporate interests intersect. I do that willingly as I enjoy and appreciate my job too much to risk it by blogging on such topics. To make this clear, I have never been paid to write a blog post and receive no compensation for blogging. The contents of this blog are my thoughts and opinions only and do not reflect those of my employer.
My area of professional expertise is the investigation and remediation of former industrial and commercial sites with a specialty in the assessment of petroleum hydrocarbon contamination and its effects on human and ecological health. In my professional capacity I serve as a technical specialist in areas including: industrial chemistry; sources, fate and transport, and biodegradation of chemical contaminants; effects of contaminants on natural systems; and ecosystem restoration.
My graduate research was in the fields of Chemistry and Environmental Studies and involved improving the availability of high-quality multidisciplinary scientific data for use in environmental decision-making. This included developing standardised protocols to evaluate multidisciplinary data including specialised protocols for organic trace data, toxicological experiments and biological responses to organic contaminants. Coincidentally, one of my original research cases used to develop my thesis methodology was an examination of the field of climate change. As such I have been reading the literature on climate change since the early 1990’s and I have some pretty strong opinions on that topic as well.
As a professional researcher in the 1990’s, I also worked on developing an educational curriculum on ecosystem restoration and did research on human impacts and loadings in the Strait of Georgia and the Fraser River Basin. The best part of that job was that I was paid to spend my days reading about science and all that reading has served me well in my life and career.
In my private life, I spend most of my time working with my wife to raise thoughtful, moral and well-rounded children and reading science and sci-fi. At one point in my life I was a fairly competitive runner and soccer player but now instead of playing sports I coach my kids’ teams. In the last 20 years I have coached more soccer players than I can possibly remember, have taught long-distance running to high-school athletes and adults and in the last few years have added basketball and baseball to my coaching resume.