I am a reluctant activist. I don't like rocking the boat. But when our federal election was called in August, it occurred to me that the entries in my blog might be worth sharing. So I'm posting 78 of them to a Facebook page, 78 Days, 78 Reasons. It's my hope they'll help reasonable Canadians, particularly young people and small c-conservatives, see that we deserve better.
The visit of Pope Francis to the United States and his unprecedented address to the U.S. Congress and the United Nations in the same week is making headlines everywhere and ruffling some feathers too. Around the world people of all faiths simply love this guy and maybe what we love about him most is that unlike most leaders, he is willing to challenge us even if we don't like the message.
Eighteen lawsuits, including ones brought by our clients, have been filed and consolidated in to one mega-hearing that begins in Vancouver on Thursday. In the courtroom, Enbridge and the federal government will be up against steadfast, unwavering opposition from a diverse set of interest that includes First Nations communities, environmental groups and organized labour
As an economist who has focused on environmental challenges, I've long recognized that in my field it often takes a major crisis before cherished but unsatisfactory theories finally give way to new thinking. So it is with how economists think about growth and the environment. The tragic irony is that all this growth in the past few decades has done little to improve happiness in the 'developed' world. Meanwhile, their growing economies consume the ecological space desperately needed by poorer countries where growth still promises real gains in well-being.
Canadians steward not just about nine per cent of all the world's forests, but a whopping 25 per cent of the planet's most intact and pristine forests. Despite everything forests provide to Canada, our collective stewardship of this quintessential Canadian landscape may be falling behind. Canada is one of only a few developed countries continuing to lose forest.
Considering the environment never receives much discussion around election time, it should come as no surprise that the topic of urban tree cover is buried deep in the forest of political discourse, under a layer of heavy brush. However, I believe a big part of our national identity is tied to the environment, and our leaders should strive to improve the health of our communities and the Canadians who live in them.
Countries pledging to take serious action on climate change are also party to, or are aggressively negotiating, trade and investment deals that contain a mechanism that gives large corporations the right to challenge any changes to the current rules under which they operate -- be they environmental, health or human rights -- that negatively affect corporations' bottom line. ISDS essentially grants corporations equal status to governments in these negotiations and privatizes the dispute settlement system between nations.
Over the next 15 years, the international community will be guided by 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) integrating the three broad pillars of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental well-being. Universal in nature, this means the SDGs will go beyond guiding the international cooperation efforts of high-income countries and emerging economies, to encouraging Canada to determine how it will address its own sustainable development challenges domestically.
A growing body of research confirms the health benefits of getting outside. Kids who spend time in nature every day are healthier, happier, more creative, less stressed and more alert than those who don't. As parents, grandparents, caregivers and educators, it's our responsibility to raise kids with healthy nature habits.
In the midst of this early election storm, people across Canada started crashing campaign events of all the major political party leaders. Over the past seven weeks, the sight of community groups interrupting party leaders to demand answers on climate has become commonplace. People, and not just activists, across Canada and around the world understand that action on climate change means leaving fossil fuels in the ground. What we need now is for politicians to demonstrate that they understand this, and as we enter the second half of this election campaign we need people power to push them to make it happen.
In line with the hippocratic oath, we physicians-in-training make a formal request to our colleagues and mentors, we call upon the Canadian Medical Association, MD Financial, the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada to divest from fossil fuels.
Canada is a treasure trove of rivers, lakes and wetlands supporting countless communities, economies and species. With freshwater species experiencing the greatest rate of decline in what is being referred to as the sixth great extinction, Canada must step up efforts to improve watershed health for people and animals. For a prime example of our freshwater health and wealth, we need to look no further than the Skeena watershed on the northwest coast of British Columbia.
Last week, the Yukon Court of Appeal heard arguments about the future of the massive Peel River watershed, and about the meaning and application of modern aboriginal treaties. Will this land be mostly protected from development, as the planning commission decided after extensive aboriginal consultation? Or will it mostly be used for resource extraction, as the Yukon government wants? So soon after the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, will First Nations interests again be sacrificed for the economic gain of others?
Whenever I meet a Hummer, tension rises in my chest, unkind thoughts develop in my head and my hands tighten and tremble, as if they want to signal something. I've long wondered why that happens, and I think I've finally figured it out. It has something to do with a song, economics and the courteous way to walk your dog.