Signs Of Change

I’ve been blogging about climate change since my conversion from being a climate change avoider to a climate activist/fossil fuel abolitionist in the fall of 2009. As a climate change avoider, I never watched An Inconvenient Truth; after all, it might be inconvenient to have to face my fear or be prodded into taking action. If climate change ever appeared on my radar in those days, I’d think “it’s too big a problem, what can one person do?” and/or “OMG – I’m terrified about what this means, especially for my kids, but surely those elected to ensure our safety won’t let it get out of hand. We backed away from the Cold War, we solved the ozone problem, this will be solved, too.”

Then, in September of 2009, after an unseasonably rainy and cool northern Ontario summer during which I spent way too much time on weather websites looking for some good news, I came across‘s website. It explained climate change in a way I could understand (350 parts per million of C02 is what the best science says should be the level in our atmosphere for human civilization to continue. The current level is higher than that, and will climb as long as we keep digging up carbon from the ground and burning it), and it invited me to organize a simple action in my community.

C & Bill McKibben. Friday evening.forFB
I finally got to meet my climate hero Bill McKibben, co-founder of, last week in northern Alberta

Once I had my climate epiphany, I thought all I needed to do was share this information with everyone I knew, especially other parents and people of faith so that they, too, would be moved to action. That’s what I set out to do, along with organizing events around’s action days, and searching for faith groups already working on this issue. I decided to start blogging about climate change because I needed something else to do about this issue besides reaching out to the people in my circle of family and friends, and because I’m a writer and researcher by profession.

To make a long story short, I found out that most people aren’t moved to action, even after hearing’s straightforward explanation about climate change and the urgent need to decrease our carbon dioxide emissions. That is a fact that I’ve had to come to terms with over the last four years. Having said that, I have met the most wonderful people on my journey as a climate activist, people who are committed to solving the climate crisis to ensure a liveable world for future generations. They are an awesome, awesome bunch!

Part of the path of a climate activist is working through the stages of climate grief. I’ve done much of my grieving, although it’s work that is never completely finished. These days it feels like we’ve entered a new stage on our collective human path, as the fingerprints of climate change are becoming easier to identify every day, at least for those who “have eyes to see”. We are all in this “boat”, this wonderful blue planet, together. But it’s not just climate change that makes our connectedness clear – national economies are now globally enmeshed, and ocean acidification and biodiversity loss respects no national boundaries. We are moving very quickly toward a time where we will be part of deciding if the legacy of humanity will be a charred, much diminished planet for future generations or whether this time of chaos that we are poised to enter will be the genesis of a flourishing, compassionate civilization where abundance is the rule, not the exception. I know which outcome I’m focused on creating!

Hang on, we’re in for a wild ride!




Citizens Climate Lobby

The Six Stages of Climate Grief

Canada’s “New Normal” Weather Adds Heat To Climate Politics

More signs: Detroit Files For Bankruptcy

This Earth Day, Let’s Focus On Saving Humans

It’s a snowy and cold Earth Day morning in northwestern Ontario. On this Earth Day, Joe Romm over at Think Progress muses about renaming Earth Day – after all, it’s really humans and our civilization that is in peril at this point by our feckless, reckless and cavalier treatment of the ecosystem that gives us life.

graphic: Think Progress
graphic: Think Progress

Gaia, this amazing planet, has survived mass extinction events before – five other ones before this sixth one, that humans are on the verge of causing:

The culprits for the biodiversity loss include climate change, habitat loss, pollution and overfishing, the researchers wrote.

“Most of the mechanisms that are occurring today, most of them are caused by us,” Ferrer said.

So can we fix it? Yes, there’s time to cut dependence on fossil fuels, alleviate climate change and commit to conservation of habitat, the study scientists say. The more pressing question is, will we?

Barnosky and Ferrer both say they’re optimistic that people will pull together to solve the problem once they understand the magnitude of the looming disaster. Jablonski puts himself into the “guardedly optimistic category.”

“I think a lot of the problems probably have a lot more to do with politics than with science,” Jablonski said. (Read the full article on


do the math graphic


Wondering where we’re at with climate change on Earth Day 2013? has just released  “Do The Math – the Movie”, and that’s how my family and I spent 45 minutes of our Earth Night yesterday. It was as inspiring to watch the movie as it was to see Bill McKibben live in Seattle when the Do The Math tour launched last November. If you’re wondering whether or not we can still make a difference at this late stage of the game, when we’re already feeling the effects of a destabilized climate, please take the time to watch it. If you’re feeling confused about the whole climate debate, and are wondering how to make sense of the science, as well as the accusations that the scientists raising the warning about climate change are “in it for the money”, please take the time to watch this movie. If you have children and/or grandchildren, or nieces and nephews that you care about, please take the time to watch this movie. If you are alive on planet earth at this moment in history, please take the time to watch this movie!



Get outside and spend some time with Mother Earth on this Earth Day!

Let’s Stop Being Fossil Fools, And Just Say No To Bankrolling Climate Change

Via Fossil Free Canada:

What do you call an industry that is planning to cook the planet? An industry responsible for destroying land, polluting the air and water, and violating the rights of people around the world? An industry who’s business model means burning over three times the amount of carbon our planetary carbon budget can handle?

fossil free valentine


Today is Fossil Fools’ Day, a time to put the spotlight on the people and industry that put profits before people, and the planet. The divestment campaign is growing on university campuses around North America. This campaign questions why institutions that prepare the next generation for the future are putting their money into an industry that is destroying that future. Last week students on 15 campuses across Canada led actions to bring attention to this issue.

march 27 campaign
graphic: Fossil Free Canada


graphic: Fossil Free Canada
graphic: Fossil Free Canada


Withdrawing funding from the industry whose business plan is based on the destruction of our planet, and our children’s future, sounds like a good idea to me. To find out more, head over to if you’re Canadian, or to’s global Divestment from South Africa resulted in the dismantling of apartheid, and divestment from fossil fuels can change the suicidal course we’re on. What an opportunity and a privilege those of us alive today have, to participate in changing the course of the earth’s history!

the climate is changing, are your investments


More links:

Fossil Free Canada

Carbon Bubbles And Fossil Free Investment: New Report

Naomi Klein: Do The Math, The Fossil Fuel Industry Is Destroying Our Future

Naomi Klein was out in the shattered neighbourhood of Rockaway Park Queens last weekend, participating in the Occupy relief efforts there. In this interview she underscores the importance of both increasing local resilience as a response to our changing climate and addressing the fossil fuel industry’s business model directly. As’s Do The Math campaign makes clear, the fossil fuel industry’s business plan will destroy the planet. Bill McKibben reminded the “Do The Math”audience in Seattle this month that the global warming math is quite simple: we can burn 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide and stay below 2 degrees of warming. Anything more than that risks catastrophe for life on earth. The only problem? Fossil fuel corporations now have 2,795 gigatons in their reserves, 5Xs the safe amount. And they are planning to burn it all, unless we rise up & stop them.



Also on the ground in Rockaway, “Power Rockaways Resilience is working to rebuild homes with power that will be prepared for future natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy. “Not only will these homes be safer against these disasters, but they can be more sustainable and greener.” Read more.

IEA Acknowledges Fossil Fuel Reserves Climate Crunch

Fossil Fuel Industry’s Bottom Line Will Destroy Our Climate: Do The Math

Wednesday night was one to remember. After a scramble to get my passport renewed (I only noticed last week it had expired), my husband and I traveled by ferry from Victoria B.C to take in the first night of Bill McKibben’s “Do The Math” tour in Seattle. McKibben and his team are traveling by bio-diesel-fueled bus to 21 cities across the U.S., taking the fight to preserve a stable climate to the next level. The Seattle venue, Benaroya Hall, was spectacular, and held 1,600 people. It was full, as you can see from the picture below. I’d love to point us out in the crowd, but we were at the front on the left, so aren’t in the picture at all!


The event was well worth the effort and the expense. McKibben spoke frankly about the odds we are looking at in the fight to preserve a stable climate (in case you were in doubt, they are not good). Climate change is an existential threat, there’s no doubt about it. The message of the “Do The Math” tour is one that McKibben first outlined in an article in Rolling Stone this summer. If we are to keep global temperature rise to two degrees Celcius or lower – and even at .8 of a degree rise globally we are seeing alarming events like methane bubbling in the permafrost, and massive summer arctic sea ice loss – we must put no more than 565 gigatons of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. Right now, the fossil fuel industry has, as its business plan, the emission of 2795 gigatons of carbon dioxide; in other words, more than five times more coal, oil and gas than scientists say we can safely burn. McKibben emphasized that this makes Big Oil, Coal, and Gas a rogue industry, one whose financial success is dependent on wrecking the climate and our children’s future. We are, McKibben reminded the audience, the last generation of people with an opportunity to stop catastrophic climate change; the last generation before it’s too late.




Do The Math launches a new focus for and the climate movement, modeled on the successful anti-apartheid divestment campaign of the 1980s. Students and alumni of colleges and universities across the country are being asked to pressure their universities and colleges to pull out all fossil fuel investments. Unity College in Maine became the first American college to do so. It won’t be the last.


For more information, check out the campaign’s website,  And if you live anywhere near one of the Do The Math events, make the effort to get out and listen to what Mr McKibben has to say, and then act on it. The eyes of the future are on all of us right here, right now, asking us to do the right thing.


The Fight Of Our Time: Breaking The Power of the Dirtiest And Richest Industry On the Planet

Reposted from Watching The Deniers, here’s a recent video from Bill McKibbon which is a call to action.  In the video Mr. McKibbon:

shares this call to action for what could not only be the biggest fight of our time, but of all time. The fossil fuel industry is quickly destroying the planet, and making the fight to protect our future increasingly challenging as industry lobbying, and unabated growth continues. We all need to come together and rally behind leaders like Bill McKibben,, and countless others, to save this planet. How? With passion, spirit, and creativity, and as Bill says, sometimes putting our bodies on the line.



Will you join the fight?

Time For An #EndFossilFuelSubsidies Twitter Storm has teamed up with over a dozen other citizen advocacy groups to organize a twitter storm event to coincide with the week of the G-20 summit, followed by Rio+20:

As delegates from around the world fly into town for the Rio+20 Earth Summit, the largest environmental gathering in world history, is teaming up with over a dozen environmental groups for a major “Twitterstorm,” a 24-hour push beginning on June 18 to get as many tweets as possible for the hashtag #endfossilfuelsubsidies.

Every year, governments around the world give nearly $1 trillion in handouts and tax-breaks to the fossil fuel industry instead of using the money for sustainable development, clean energy initiatives, reducing the deficit, or any number of better initiatives. Three years ago, the G20 countries committed to ending these subsidies but there has been no action since.

The #EndFossilFuelSubsidies twitter storm is timed to coincide with this year’s G20 meeting which will begin in Los Cabos, Mexico on Monday. Two days later, over a hundred heads of state will join 50,000 people at the Rio+20 Earth Summit. The synchronicity of the meetings provides the perfect opportunity for world leaders to put their money where their mouths are and provide a clear plan to cut subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.

So, ready – set – tweet! Click here to get started.


Connecting the Dots: Extreme Weather, First Nations Rights, And Our Addiction To Dirty Energy

There’s so much going on in the climate change world these days, it’s hard to keep up. This Saturday is’s Connect The Dots event, where thousands of people across the globe will gather to protest, educate, document and volunteer to support the communities on the front lines of the climate crisis, and make the connections between extreme weather events and climate change.

More locally, 40 people from the Yinka Dene Alliance,  are taking a Freedom Train across Canada to enforce their legal ban on the Enbridge Northern Gateway oil pipelines and tankers project, and to stand up for their freedom to choose their own future. They are travelling from their territories in northern BC all the way to Enbridge’s annual shareholders meeting in Toronto.  The Freedom Train was in Edmonton yesterday, and is coming to Winnipeg today where they are staying until May 6th. A welcome feast will be held at Thunderbird House on Friday evening, and there will be a “Stop The Tar Sands” Rally 1 pm Saturday at the Forks.  Here’s a video from the Freedom Train’s stop in Jasper, Alberta earlier in the week:



My responsibilities as a mom are going to be keeping me away from my blog for the next day, as I deliver one daughter to her summer job as a gardening intern 7 hours from home and bring the other one home for the summer. Don’t forget to connect the dots this weekend!

More links:

Freedom Train 2012 Petition

First Nations Members Bring Pipeline Protest To Steps Of Alberta Legislature

Connect The

McKibbon: The Sky Does Not Belong To Exxon

Bill McKibbon addressed the crowd gathered in Washington Square this past Saturday as part of “Occupy Washington”. Here is the text of his speech, thanks to the crew over at It’s Getting Hot in Here:

Today in the New York Times there was a story that made it completely clear why we have to be here. They uncovered the fact that the company building that tar sands pipeline was allowed to choose another company to conduct the environmental impact statement, and the company that they chose was a company was a company that did lots and lots of work for them. So, in other words, the whole thing was rigged top to bottom and that’s why the environmental impact statement said that this pipeline would cause no trouble, unlike the scientists who said if we build this pipeline it’s “game over” for the climate. We can’t let this pipeline get built.

On November 6, one year before the election, we’re going to be in DC with a huge circle of people around the White House and they’re going to be carrying signs with quotations from Barack Obama from the 2008 campaign. He said, “It’s time to end the tyranny of oil.” He said, “I will have the most transparent government in history.” We have to go to DC to find out where they have locked that guy up. We have to free Obama, because there is some sort of stunt double there now. So on November 6, I hope we can move, just for a day, Occupy Wall Street down to the White House and get them in the fight against corporate power.

The reason that it’s so great that we’re occupying Wall Street is because Wall Street has been occupying the atmosphere. That’s why we can never do anything about global warming. Exxon gets in the way. Goldman Sachs gets in the way. The whole fossil fuel industry gets in the way. The sky does not belong to Exxon. They cannot keep using it as a sewer into which to dump their carbon. If they do, we’ve got no future and nobody else on this planet has a future.

I spend a lot of time in countries around the world organizing demonstrations and rallies in solidarity. In the last three years at, we’ve had 15,000 rallies in every country except North Korea. Everywhere around the world, poor people and black people and brown people and Asian people and young people are standing up. Most of those places, don’t produce that much carbon. They need us to act with them and for them, because the problem is 20 blocks south of here. That’s where the Empire lives and we’ve got to figure out how to tame it and make it work for this planet or not work at all.

Thank you guys very much.

The video is below. The reason the crowd keeps repeating what McKibben is saying is that the police have prohibited all forms of sound amplification, so the demonstrators have taken to using what they call the “human microphone”—speakers address the crowd in short phrases which are then repeated across the crowd as many times as is necessary for all in attendance to hear what’s being said. The pipeline he refers to, right at the beginning, is the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, currently in the final review phase by the State Department.


More links:

Pipeline Review Is Faced With Question of Conflict

“People Who Believe In Climate Change Should Have Their Heads Examined”

I’m off canoeing in beautiful Canadian Shield country again this week, so while I’m on holiday I will be reposting articles from the 350orbust archives. This article was first published in July 2010.

An acquaintance I recently bumped into told me, loudly and emphatically, that “people who believe in climate change should have their heads examined”.  He went on:

We’ve just had the coldest Florida winter ever, and we’ve had two cold summers here in northern Ontario. Anybody who thinks global warming is happening is out to lunch.

When I pointed out to him that “weather weirding” is exactly what climate scientists have been saying would happen if we continued to warm up the atmosphere with our burning of fossil fuels, he dismissed it out of hand.

So what is it that makes intelligent, other-wise responsible people dismiss out-of-hand the predictions of over 97% of scientists who study this for a living? If nine out of ten pilots told you a plane you were about to board was going to crash, would you get on anyway? I think not! Yet this is our planet, our only home, that we are talking about changing irreversibly because we won’t listen to the experts!

Is it because we can’t see the carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane gas in the air that we can dismiss these emissions as being insignificant? It is true, that based on our experience for the last 200 years since the beginning of the industrial revolution and our love affair with burning carbon began, we have gotten away without significant global consequences. Only when the air or water pollution in specific locations becomes a problem do we sit up and pay attention, at least if it’s close to us. However, tell the people in Chernobyl or the Love Canal that because you can’t see something it isn’t significant and can be dismissed!

Now, this acquaintance has two daughters, just like I do, and I know he loves them just as much as I do mine. If only he – a pilot and businessman with no scientific training – would take the time to consider what their futures are going to be like if he is wrong and the scientists are right. The crazy thing is, humanity is up to this challenge. We are innovative, intelligent creatures who unfortunately have let the destructive side of our nature run rampant with the environment recently. But it doesn’t have to be this way – we don’t have to be this way. The solutions are myriad, and are not the same for every community, or country. But they are achievable – if we start before we reach the tipping point. As Kelly Blyn wrote recently on

The truth is, there is no silver bullet to stopping the climate crisis, no single technological solution that can fix everything at once. We don’t just need solar power, or wind power, or efficiency. We need all of these things and more. What we need, in a word, is diversity.

For example:

Germany’s energy could be 100 % renewable by 2050

Cool roofs save money, save energy, cut pollution, and directly reduce global warming

New Mexico Village uses sun-power to help fight fires

How the world can (and will) stabilize at 350 to 450 ppm: The full global warming solution

Still not convinced that this issue is important? Maybe this will change your mind:

How hot is it? Masters reports that 9 countries smashed all-time temperature records, “making 2010 the year with the most national extreme heat records.”

Photos Reveal Receding Himalaya Glaciers

The New Normal? Average Global Temperatures Continue to Rise

And, because the town I live in has a thriving tourism industry based on hunting and fishing, here’s a new link I’ve found, Target Global Warming, for and by hunters and anglers confronting climate change.

For a more examples of how climate change is changing the world here and now, go to Father Theo’s recent blog posting, Climate Change Notebook, July 2010.

We can do this – let’s join together and build a better future for all our children. I’ll quote from again:

Looking over the list of campaigns above, it becomes clear: there actually is one silver bullet to solving the climate crisis, and it’s not solar power.  It’s people power.

We can’t do this without you. Let’s keep building this movement.

Take Action to become a fossil fuel abolitionist:

  • Join or start a Citizens Climate Lobby group in your community
  • Participate in the global day of action on Sept 24 to demand solutions to the climate crisis and accelerate the move away from fossil fuels
  • Become part of the Transition Network, which supports community-led responses to climate change and shrinking supplies of cheap energy, building resilience and happiness.