Last week, I found out that my government is spying on me, Canada ranked worst in the developed world for response to climate change, Canadians rose up against pipeline proposals all across the country, and the media reported precious little of any of it. What happened to the Canada we know and love? Where is the country that holds its head high in the world, a respected leader on human rights and environmental issues?
In my first week in 2007 as the newly-minted President and CEO of the former National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, I sat for breakfast in Toronto with a leading environmental advocate. I asked why he and his ilk were so stridently opposed to the then-new Conservative government's environmental policies. He allowed that despite good work being done on chemicals and toxics and waste issues, the government was simply not doing enough about climate change. Action here was required to get credit there. This was my first introduction to the powerful political elixir of social licence.
Why should the rest of the world take the Conservative government seriously at the annual UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw or next year in Lima or in Paris in 2015? We've been regularly shamed by the international community, receiving the ignominious "Fossil of the Year" title five years in a row. As it stands now, their actions on everything from emissions regulations to climate finance aren't living up to the standards of the international community, or the standards that Canadians deserve.
The report from the Commissioner for the Environment goes on and on through painful chapter after painful chapter cataloguing, in great detail, highlighting failure after failure by the Harper government to address everything from biological diversity and the conservation of migratory birds to Recovery Planning for Species at Risk and Ecological integrity of National Parks.
In what has to be one of the most bizarre and misleading press releases I have ever seen, the B.C. government issued a report in reference to the province's Montney Formation, that claimed: "this potential [natural gas] supply can support development and LNG export operations for more than 150 years". Let's take a closer look at this 150 year number.
It's sad to see so much of our media and governance in such a sorry state that we can't even expect rational discussion of critical issues such as climate change and energy policy. The science is clear that it is real and that we are a major contributor, mainly through burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests.
With the right technology, solar energy can be stored during the middle of the day and shifted for use whenever it is needed. In remote microgrid and island grid systems, PV energy generation combined with energy storage can become the primary source of power, relegating diesel generators to a back-up role and resulting in an energy ecosystem that is more reliable, sustainable and affordable.
Hi, my name is Rachel Parent. I'm 14 years old and just started high school in Toronto. People ask me all the time, "What's it like to be a child activist?" Well, it definitely keeps you busy. Insanely busy! But I love it! It's so much fun and you feel so good because you're doing good for the world.
Once again, Canada's Conservatives are bound and determined to roll right over, close their eyes and sleep through the alarm bells on climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) most recent assessment is a reminder of the urgency of addressing global warming, and the dangers of ignoring rising sea levels and increasing temperatures. In contrast, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in response that the newest report released by the IPCC is a wake-up call, and "those who deny the science or choose excuses over action are playing with fire." Our largest trading partner gets it. So where's Canada's government on this critical environmental and economic issue?
Mother Nature seems to be a little out of sorts these days. In excruciating detail, the IPCC documents her unhappiness with anthropogenic (a.k.a. man-made) activity. She is even giving some early warnings directly to the PM and his Minister of the Environment. Mother Nature is not impressed and neither are Canadians.
For over a decade the Federal government has ignored warnings from transportation safety boards on both sides of the border about the unsafe nature of the rail cars Canada is using to transport dangerous goods. The warnings come because these cars are "spill prone" and tend to discharge their load on impact.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross wrote a book about the five stages of grief. Denial of inconvenient facts is the first stage. It is followed by anger. Clearly the Conservatives have a deep well from which to draw. Bargaining is the third stage after denial and anger. The problem however is that Mother Nature is indifferent to Prime Ministers. Mother Nature doesn't do Bargaining.
While its easy to finger regimes with questionable human rights records it is somewhat challenging at times tallying up the environmental record of sun destinations. This topic weighed heavily on my mind this year during four months spent in one of the most desirable destinations on the planet -- the Maldives.
The summary of the fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report has been released, and it confirms that climate change is real, dangerous, and caused by us. More than 97% of science papers that take a position on climate change support this conclusion.This unprecedented level of scientific certainty has not stopped legions of pundits from rejecting evidence, questioning scientists' motives and qualifications, and proposing ever-sillier ideas that scientists themselves are part of a vast international green conspiracy. If only that were true.
It's time that governments stop signing trade and investment pacts that put the rights of corporations above the rights of communities and the environment. My right to clean water, clean air, and a healthy planet for my family and community has to come before Lone Pine's right to mine and profit... doesn't it?
Most traditional dry cleaning methods use perchloroethylene, a chemical linked to bladder, esophageal, and cervical cancer, eye, nose, throat and skin irritation, and reduced fertility, and other health problems. Here are some tips to keep your dry-clean-only clothes smelling clean and fresh, while protecting your health and the environment at the same time.
Lummi territory just south of the Canadian border is under threat of a proposed coal export terminal at Cherry Point, Washington. Known to its original inhabitants as Xwe'chi'eXen, the spot is located 17 miles south of the Canadian border. The proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal would be the largest of its kind on the American west coast, transporting such dry bulk commodities as grain, potash and coal to Asian markets. The Tsleil-Waututh nation of North Vancouver is embroiled in a battle to keep Enbridge and Kinder Morgan out of its traditional territory. Both are fighting destructive resource development on their lands. Both are water nations, and their collective well-being depends upon the health of the Salish sea.
Last month the World Wildlife Foundation released a study which gave the Thames River a "Poor" grade. It is crucial that we protect our lakes and rivers. The Thames is central to the community in London and all of the other communities through which it flows. We need to work together to protect our river, not only for us but for future generations.
Within a few weeks the lake will be gone. CNRL has been ordered to return it in 2014 but I think we all know that lakes can't simply be filled like a swimming pool. Lakes are an integral part of ecosystems. Animals, insects, birds and plants depend on them and those interconnected relationships take decades or even centuries to develop.