Getting Serious About Climate Change, Like Our Lives Depended On It



Happy Friday!  Those of you in eastern and central North America who are getting blasted by a winter storm, stay warm and off the roads!  If you are warm and dry, and find the time to curl up with a good book or good friends, you might even enjoy it. And remember, as one of my Facebook friends posted this morning:

In terms of the strength and frequency of extreme weather events? These are the best times than you will ever know for the rest of your life. Unless of course we get serious about reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. That means each of us getting serious. Really. Like our lives depended on it.

Here’s the just-published official video for the song “Nightlife” from Cityreal & Wes Mackey’s “Good Morning Blues” album. The video was shot in Fort McMurray and the Athabasca Oil Sands region of Alberta, Canada. NASA’s James Hansen has called the tar sands a “climate bomb” that, if released into the atmosphere, would mean “game over” for the climate. Do we really want to gamble that he’s wrong?



If you want to know more about the converting bitumen in sand into useable oil, and what it means in terms of ground, air, and climate pollution, check out this video as well as the links below it on YouTube.



More links:

Biodiversity Safeguards Against Natural Disaster, Study Finds

Are We Heading For A 6 Degree Temperature Rise?

And more coverage of the current deficit of democracy in Canada:

Tories Stick With Misleading Public

A Fresh Look At The War On Terra

I don’t know about you, but I’m having a crappy Friday. Not much to be done about it now but hang in there, I know it will get better. In the meantime, here’s The Juice Media’s satirical take on the War on Terror Terra: how have the “capitols of the civilized world” Australia and Canada helped to bring about the apocalypse lately?

Juice Rap News – Episode 17: The War on Terra. It’s 2013 and the world did not end by meteorite or by Mayan calendar. But fear not: we might just be able to get the job done ourselves. Join Robert Foster as he sets out to discover where Civilisation™ is making the fastest progress towards annihilation. In this edition of the Civilisation Report, Robert learns about Australia and Canada – two oft-neglected pioneers of peace, progress and prosperity – in conversation with our antipodean colonial correspondent Ken Oathcarn and his Canuck counterpart, Fagin Heighbard. Dear viewers, consider this a fair warning that in terms of language and affront to the dominant culture this could get f***g messy.



And speaking of using humour to address the dismal situation we find ourselves in as a species (not to mention my crappy day), head over to, created by “John Crapper”, with a byline that says: If we really want to straighten out all this crap we really need to think about shit.  Hear, hear!

More links:

The Juice

Doha Climate Talks End With Canada Leading Race To The Bottom

Graphic: Sustainability The Musical
Graphic: Sustainability The Musical

So, COP18 in Doha has ended with a whimper not a bang – quelle surprise! Seems like greed is still trumping common sense, as well as compassion for both our children and the global poor. While Doha did win recognition for poorer nations for the “loss and damage from climate change” that they are suffering, and a promise of financial compensation from richer polluter countries, its “big” accomplishment was the extension of the Kyoto protocol. This is the same Kyoto protocol which has done nothing to keep the world from careening ever closer to the edge of climate disaster since it was signed in 1997.

Climate Action Network Canada members responded to the DOHA COP18 outcome as follows:

“I would like to know how leaders from countries like ours can be so indifferent to the looming reality of a world 4 degrees warmer than today. The science is clear, the solutions exist, the economy is thirsty for it, and the impacts of inaction are increasingly devastating – so where is the political will and leadership? Leaders let the world down again this year by coming to the table largely empty-handed on meaningful ways to close the growing gap between where they are and where they have promised to be to avoid 2 degrees of global warming. The Canadian Government was determined to lead the race to the bottom on the central issue of finance, insisting on holding out for at least 3 more years until they contribute to the Green Climate Fund. In Doha the critical path we need to be on is still alive in this process, but it needs leadership and political will to move forward and that is clearly missing here.”

– Hannah McKinnon, Campaigns Director, Climate Action Network Canada

“Bopha, Sandy, floods in Pakistan, droughts in China… How many reports from the likes of the World Bank, NASA and the International Energy Agency will it take? How many preventable catastrophes until our leaders realize that climate change will not be solved by nice speeches and empty promises? Countries like Canada and the U.S. have promised to reduce their greenhouse gas pollution and provide adequate financial support for developing countries, they have so far failed on both counts.”

– Steven Guilbeault, Deputy Director, Equiterre

“The package we got today in Doha won’t keep us on a secure pathway to prevent warming of more than two degrees. We have a very vague process that might lead to increased ambition but only if political will shifts. In recent years we have seen a serious lack of political will from countries like the US and Canada who have continually blocked the process. This crisis was created by wealthy big polluters like Canada and the U.S., and they need to step up and show leadership in solving it. Governments must stop working for the polluters, and start working for the people. In order to do this, Canada must stop reckless tar sands expansion and pipelines projects.”

– Patrick Bonin, Climate and Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace Canada

“World leaders have failed in their commitments at COP18, Canada most of all. Canada’s lack of ambition and commitment with these negotiations is rooted in the unsustainable expansion of the tar sands and the influence of dirty energy, dirty money and dirty politics. In spite of the cries of youth from around the world we are far behind keeping temperatures within the 2 °C limit. This will have serious implications in the most vulnerable parts of the world, where the people who are the least responsible for creating this crisis are experiencing, and will continue to experience, this devastating climate legacy.In terms of finance, Hurricane Sandy alone is set to cost $60 billion, the same amount being asked for in climate finance in Doha. If one storm costs that, its clearly nowhere near enough for the whole world.”

-Perla Hernandez, Canadian Youth Delegation, COP18

Despite demands from civil society both within and outside of the country for responsible action, the federal government had outraged us again both nationally and internationally by continuing to defend business as usual, and by blocking ambitious achievements at the global scale. We demand that the Canadian government put an end to this inaction and join provincial and local governments in taking a strong stand against locking us into infrastructure that fuels our dangerous addiction to tar sands and shale gas.”

– Aida Ahmadi, Climate and Energy Campaigner, AQLPA

“As the conference ends, I am very concerned about rules of conduct tightening for civil society participation. With more and more restrictions, the contribution to the process by environmental groups, and especially the youth, is seriously compromised.”

– Catherine Gauthier, ENvironnement JEUnesse Ambassador

100,000 km arctic ice melting

Enbridge’s Slick New Ad Campaign Flounders

I spent last week taking an intensive  course in citizen advocacy at the Canadian School of Peacebuilding in Winnipeg. It was a great week – I learned a lot and met some wonderful people. I’m home now, but brought home a souvenir that I’d rather do without – a very nasty head cold. It’s so frustrating because it’s a beautiful sunny June day outside, and I’d love to be spending time outside, but instead am spending most of my time resting, drinking tea, and blowing my nose (and then there’s the visits to the bathroom because of all the tea that I’ve been drinking). Blech.

So, I’d love to be posting updated pictures of my hugel kultur raised beds, but that won’t be happening today. In the meantime, check out this video that was originally posted in The Province newspaper’s online edition. In the video, the newspaper’s editorial cartoonist Dan Murphy gives his take on oil giant Enbridge’s slick new ad campaign. However, The Province pulled the video from their newspaper and from YouTube. Luckily, it was reposted by another user. Let me know if it’s not there when you view it:



Third Oil Spill Fuels Calls For Alberta Pipeline Review

Insidious Oil Finds A Way Despite Best Efforts By Response Teams

Canadian Spills Fuel Worries

Hey Mister Prime Minister, Why Are You So Afraid Of Canadians?

Courageous and talented Canadian artist Franke James, whose 2011 European art tour was cancelled after interference from the Harper government, has recently published an illustrated essay on the current overlap of oil and state (with a large dose of anti-science, anti-democratic polemic) in Canadian politics. You can find Franke’s essay, What is Harper Afraid Of?, at, Here’s the animated version:



More links:

Dear Prime Minister Harper: Please Stop Blacklisting Environmental Artists And Scientists

The Enbridge Pipeline: What’s At Stake?

Greenpeace’s latest video about the destructive Alberta tar sands, and the Enbridge Pipeline that our current federal government is intent on pushing through over all opposition:



Together, we can stop the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline: click here for more.

Freedom Train to Canadians: Our Democratic Process Is Being Lost

Yinka Dene Alliance Freedom Train arrived in Winnipeg last night. The Alliance is on a cross Canada trip that will end in Toronto, on Bay Street, at the Enbridge AGM. Their goal is to spread the word to Canadians about the dangers posed by the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline that is being pushed by the current Canadian federal goverment and its corporate friends. The pipeline is meant to carry bitumen from the Alberta Tar Sands to the West Coast. In this interview, Chief Na’Moks of the Wet’suwet’en Nation discusses why he joined the Freedom Train, and the implacable opposition that the First Nations have formed to protect their land.



More links:

Yinka Dene Alliance

#NOKXL! Score One For Our Children’s Future (For A Change)

It’s official – break out the champagne!! The U.S. State Department just announced that it would delay making a decision on the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline until after it had undergone extensive further review, including a search for an alternate routing. Yes, this is the same decision that PM Harper called a “no-brainer”. Tar Sands Action just posted this reflection:

Take a moment today to walk outside and enjoy the beautiful, threatened earth that is a little safer a little longer thanks to you.

Savor it. Remember what it’s like to achieve unlikely wins. We’ll need this feeling when we embark on what’s next.

photo: Tar Sands Action

Read more at the New York Times, “U.S. Delays Decision on Pipeline Until After Election

Tar Sands Action: Big News: We Won. You Won

The Planet Isn’t The Only Thing Heating Up: Opposition to Keystone XL Pipeline Grows

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and seven other Nobel Peace Laureates have just written a letter to President Obama urging him to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, and to begin building a clean energy future immediately. The letter, released yesterday by the Nobel Women’s Initiative, concludes with:

There is a better way. 

Your rejection of the pipeline provides a tremendous opportunity to begin transition away from our dependence on oil, coal and gas and instead increase investments in renewable energies and energy efficiency.

We urge you to say ‘no’ to the plan proposed by the Canadian-based company TransCanada to build the Keystone XL, and to turn your attention back to supporting renewable sources of energy and clean transportation solutions.  This will be your legacy to Americans and the global community:  energy that sustains the lives and livelihoods of future generations.

The Keystone XL Pipeline has become a focus point for citizens concerned about climate change, and who want to offer their children a green energy future. To get more information about why this pipeline is so dangerous, for the aquifers and ecosystem of the midwestern U.S. as well as the climate, click here. If you want to take action for the sake of your children’s future, and mine, go to Tar Sands If you are in Canada and can come to Ottawa for the September 26th day of action on Parliament Hill, click here for more information. If you are unable to travel to Ottawa but would like to take a stand for a clean energy future, participate (or organize) a Moving Planet event in your community on September 24th. The message of Moving Planet is that, around the world, people are ready to move beyond fossil fuels. In case you need more inspiration, check out this video:


More links:

Read the full text of the letter from the Nobel Laureates.

Al Gore Praises Tar Sands Activists, Condemns Smog Decision