It is a sad coincidence that Maurice Strong has died on the eve of another ambitious attempt, this time in Paris, to come to grips with global environmental crises that have become ever more grave. We can only hope that a reinvigorated diplomatic corps inspired by fresh political leadership will once again do our country proud.
Fossil fuel companies have not managed to get a much coveted seat at the actual negotiating table during COP decision-making. But they are lobbying so hard that they hope politicians will come up with pro-industry solutions. A growing number of public interest groups want the fossil fuel lobby barred from the UN process.
Rachel Notley's challenge has been to reassure the fiercely skeptical Alberta business elites that were horrified to wake up last May to discover the NDP had risen to power. With the economy already hammered by plummeting oil prices, they feared that the New Democrats would inflict further damage through a climate change plan that would drive up costs and cripple the oil sands. But business leaders in the Alberta can read the financial press as well as the rest of us and now seem to be buying Rachel Notley's view that they better try to be part of the solution.
As the president of Tree Canada, an organization that's helped plant more than 80 million trees over the past 20 years, you might expect an argument against cutting down a "live tree," but make no mistake -- you are helping both the environment and the community you live in when you choose a real tree.
The U.S. decision on Keystone XL sent a clear message: Tar sands pipeline projects like the ones currently under consideration or subject to litigation in Canada -- TransCanada's Energy East Pipeline, Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Expansion Project, and Enbridge's Northern Gateway Project -- are not the way of the future.
Blinders are often used to keep horses racing in a straight line and free from distraction. However, some horse race experts argue that true competitors want to see what's coming. They say expanding the field of vision expands possibilities. Blinders are fine if you're doing the same thing over and over like going around a track but adapting to a new set of circumstances requires you to see the whole context.
90 per cent of all new wells drilled in B.C. that would supply the province's proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry will be fracked. Fracking demands massive amounts of freshwater, industrializes large areas of northeast B.C. and has major impacts on the climate. So, how is the B.C. government getting away with touting this industry as a "clean" energy resource?
It is bad enough that the government allows multinational companies to privatize a public resource, it is even worse that taxpayers are being hosed by charging so little for it. Several industries get a total free ride when it comes to taking our water. Those who do pay for taking water are charged a paltry $3.71 per million litres used. This is not a typo.
Both Trudeau and his new ministers have their work cut out from them when it comes to really getting Canada back on course on climate. That's why today, I'm outside of Trudeau's home with dozens of other people kicking off what could be largest act of civil disobedience on climate change in Canada's history.
When we compare the water footprint of soy milk and cow's milk, we find that the water production footprint of one litre of cow's milk is more than three times that of soy milk. Replacing cow's milk with soy milk would not only be a good thing for water preservation, it's also a wise choice to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act sets high standards but without the adequate funding, leaves communities without the necessary tools to meet those standards. Despite repeated pledges from the federal government to ensure clean drinking water, there are routinely more than 100 water advisories in effect in First Nation communities, with some living under advisories for up to 20 years.
With the 42nd federal election in the books here in Canada, now the clock starts ticking down the 42 days until the Paris climate talks begin. The good news is that Stephen Harper is no longer the Prime Minister of Canada. After nearly a decade in power, Harper has left a sea of devastation in his wake when it comes to climate change. Here's the bad news: while Stephen Harper's government may have been a supporter of the fossil fuel industry, Justin Trudeau has failed to distinguish himself as a much better option.
Climate change is a serious problem that must be taken seriously by our elected officials. We need our federal government to take action and reduce Canada's emissions now. So when you head to the polls on October 19, make sure you know where the candidates in your riding stand on climate change, and vote for someone you can trust to stand up for a healthy environment and low-carbon future that benefits us all.