What The Hell Are We Thinking?

This articulate teenager, presenting recently at the hearings of the Northern Gateway Review Panel, asks all of us a question we need to ponder in our hearts:

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/58767940]


What will we answer, when our children and grandchildren ask us this question?



Looking for a way to answer this question?  Go to citizensclimatelobby.org – a grassroots group organized around creating the political will for a sustainable climate.

Idle No More Challenges Enbridge’s Pipedreams

Everything that we do to water, we do to life because water is life. It’s not just us – we are all connected, we have to protect everything that lives, that shares the earth that we doIdle No More is about us standing up and speaking up. We have never been asleep, and now more than ever we are awake and we are standing up…If we keep waiting for change, it’s never going to come.” 

Eleven year old Ta’Kaiya Blaney addresses the crowd at Courtenay, B.C. Idle No More rally at the end of December.



More links:

Stephen Harper prepares to fail his biggest test as PM

UN Expert: Canadian Authorities Must Begin Meaningful Dialogue With Aboriginal Leaders

Canadians Answer The Call To Defend Our Coast While Climate Silence Reigns South of Border

Photo: DefendOurCoast.ca

It was a cool rainy day in Victoria, British Columbia yesterday, but that didn’t stop thousands of people from coming out to the B.C. Legislature to show both the provincial and the federal governments that they are opposed to the two pipelines that industry and governments want to build to carry tar sands oil across the province for export to China. But it’s more than just about these two pipelines, as the Defend Our Coast website makes clear:

We’re here because the Canadian tar sands are the most destructive industrial project on earth, and will be “game over for the climate” according to NASA’s Jim Hansen. We are here because we’re tired of being bullied by the biggest, most profitable industry on earth, Big Oil. And we’re pushing back on the anti-environment, anti-democratic, dissent-crushing actions of Canada’s federal Conservative government.

The head count varied, from 5,000 according to the organizers to the 3,000 reported by the CBC. Shaun Atleo went up the middle and tweeted that there were 4,000 people at the Legislature. In my experience, organizers try to get an accurate count and (these days, at least) the media chronically under reports the number of protestors. Here’s one report on the protest by CTV News:



And here’s another more personal video:



Meanwhile south of the border the mockery of democracy that’s called the American election continued with a third debate between presidential contenders Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. As @petridishes  tweeted, it was “...the most aggressive bout of Two People Basically Agreeing On A Large Number of Points I’ve seen in a long time.” And the climate silence continued – for the first time since the 1980s when the world became aware of the threat of global warming, there was no mention of it in any of the presidential debates. 350.org put this out before last night’s debate, and sadly it remains true, only the number is now 390 minutes:


In contrast, via Grist.org comes this video from 24 years ago (!!) showing how the threat of global warming was addressed during the vice presidential debate between Dan Quayle and Democratic challenger Lloyd Bentsen in 1988:



Grist’s David Roberts does an excellent piece on the reasons behind this dangerous silence – Climate Silence: It’s the Right, Stupid.


*Thanks to Emma for the Defend Our Coast links!*

Can’t Make It To Victoria To Defend Our Coast? Be Part of A “Flash Phone Mob”

Hundreds, if not thousands, of Canadians are going to be gathering in Victoria, B.C. over the next few days to take a stand against the Northern Gateway Pipeline that Enbridge, and our current federal government, is intent on building through the pristine Great Bear Rainforest to the northern B.C. coast. One of my daughters is planning to attend, but like many Canadians I will be supporting this event at a distance. What I can do from my home today is participate in a “flash phone mob” organized by Citizens Climate Lobby Canada. The goal is to fill Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s answering machine with messages about reducing taxpayer subsidies to the richest industry on the planet, in this time of fiscal restraint. I invite you to join me.  Here’s the suggested message, but feel free to improvise; just keep it polite – we are Canadians, after all:

SUGGESTED SCRIPT  (please use your polite Canadian voice)

Hello My Name is [ __________________ ]

The government of Canada introduced a second omnibus budget bill this week. If lawmakers in Ottawa are looking for ways to reduce spending, it seems that subsidies to the oil, coal and gas industries are the best place to start.

I believe that Canada should stop giving a $1.4 billion annual bonus to rich fossil fuel companies that are recklessly polluting our land, air and water(1) .

By doing so, Canada will meet its 2009 commitment made in Pittsburgh, along with other G20 leaders, to phase out subsidies to fossil fuel companies (2) .
The richest industry on Earth doesn’t need our tax dollars. Instead, Canada should invest responsibly in clean energy sources that create good jobs and sustainable prosperity.

I call on all Members of Parliament to support the motion drafted by the youth-led movement PowerShift to end to subsidies and tax incentives fossil fuel companies.

Specifically, I would like to know how much of the tax incentives and subsidies to the fossil fuel companies were cut in Omnibus Budget Bill C38 and will be cut in the latest omnibus budget bill.

Please send the information to [ your mailing address].

Thank you for your time and service to Canada.


Minister Flaherty’s contact info is:

Parliament Hill Office – Ottawa: Telephone: (613) 992-6344

Have fun! And feel free to comment below if you do call, and let me know.


It’s Time To Get Real About The Risks Of Dirty Energy

Tomorrow  This Monday is the day that the largest tar sands protest in Canadian history is to take place, in Victoria, British Columbia, to defend our coast from the dangers of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline. I wish I could be there but I can’t.  In honour of all those taking the time to stand up for the Great Bear Rainforest, and future generations, here’s a video that went viral after it was posted by film maker Dave Shortt a month ago. To see the original Enbridge animation, click here: youtube.com/watch?v=yiVfYb8lt5o

This is a response to oil giant Enbridge, and their animation of the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline in which they deleted all the islands in the Douglas Channel in British Columbia Canada.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/47788521]

More links:

Dogwood Initiative: No Tankers Petition

The Man Behind The Viral Video: This Is Not An Enbridge Animation

Largest Oilsands Protest In Canadian History: Fort McMurray Today

Fun at Calgary’s Oil and Bank Towers

I am away from my computer for two weeks, as my husband and I explore more of one of our favourite places in Canada, Newfoundland (AKA “The Rock”). While I’m away 350orbust will be featuring guest writers and some of my favourite columns revisited, as well as some random stuff that  I think is important or makes me happy and I want to share.

source: Wikimedia Commons

Today’s guest blogger is Sharon Howarth. Sharon is the mother of two daughters in their mid-twenties who lives in  Toronto, Canada. She, like me, is a volunteer with Citizens Climate Lobby Canada. I invited Sharon to write about her recent trip west, after hearing via the CCL grapevine that she had done the entire trip by bus, and had adventures on the way, as only a climate activist on a mission in oil country can!

At the beginning of August this year, I was on my way home from B.C.  The trip was a combination of  visiting my daughter and working on my issue,  which is the solution to Climate Change.  Hearings on the Northern Gateway Pipeline took place in Prince George on July 9th and 10th which I attended and will write on that a little later.

I traveled by bus from Toronto, which took 3 full days, as I could not in good conscience take an airplane with the huge individual carbon footprint.  On my return journey, the bus made a  4 hour stop in Calgary.    Being in ‘oil town’ was  an opportunity I could not allow to slip through my fingers.

A security guard pointed me in the direction of the city centre.  I was told about and found the very busy pedestrian street which held the ‘Home Oil’ tower on one side of the street and the ‘Bank Hall’ tower  on the  other.   Needless to say, the suits were crossing from one tower to the next and I was in the mood for sharing important information and having fun.

I stood in the middle of this suit traffic and, as someone was coming towards me,  I looked at them and said, “Stop Climate Change with Carbon Fee and Dividend”.   I then pulled out the flyer, which I was holding at my side,  and handed  it in their direction.

People are so, well, good.    I’m sure most  were thinking, “This poor woman needs directions”, God bless them.  Although a large  number did not accept the handout, they all heard what I had to say, and that has tremendous value.    And  yet,  ALL the 120 handouts I had were taken and in very short order.  I found I could have used a whole  lot more but, unfortunately, I did not have the memory stick with me which held the template of the flyer.   Still, what a hoot.

And some say that people are not concerned about climate change  !!

With Love and LOTS  of Hope,


If you want to get inspired to take action to work for action on climate change, visit the Citizens Climate Lobby website or email  350orbust@gmail.com.


Enbridge’s Keystone Kops Routine Extends To PR Campaign

After being labelled “Keystone Kops” by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board for their vastly inadequate and incompetent response to pipeline spills in Michigan recently, Enbridge is now making headlines for a glaring omission in an Northern Gateway publicity video. The company’s material omitted 1,000 square kilometres of islands off the northern B.C. coast. Here’s what they did:

Can we believe anything these guys say?  Climate scientist Andrew Weaver thinks not; I agree.


Do check out The Province’s cartoonist Dan Murphy’s animated commentary on this latest Enbridge misstep:



Dogwood Initiative: How B.C. Can Stop Oil Tanker Plans

More links:

Enbridge Draws Critics’ Ire With ‘Shocking’ Animation

‘This Is Not Enbridge Animation’ Shows Reality of Northern Gateway Route

Enbridge Michigan Pipeline Spill: Company Acted Like “Keystone Kops”, NTSB

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

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.

“Our Answer To Enbridge Is NO”

Ta’Kaiya, 10, lives in North Vancouver and is from the Sliammon First Nation.  She traveled on the Yinka Dene Alliance Freedom Train that recently crossed Canada to raise awareness of the threat posed By Enbridge’s tar sands pipeline through coastal First Nations territory. Here she is performing a song she wrote, Shallow Waters, at the Freedom Train Solidarity Concert at The Great Hall in Toronto, Ontario Canada last week.

The message from the song “Shallow Waters” is urgent because an oil spill in the northwest coast could tragically end the traditional way of life for many coastal First Nations. It would also devastate all marine and coastal life and habitat.