Tomorrow I’m going to be spending much of the day at Creation in Peril: Protect What You Love, a conference on faith and the environment. This is one of the videos that I will be sharing there. One person can make such a big difference, but many people are too afraid or discouraged to take the first step into action. 11 year old Olivia is an inspiration!
I’m back from a short canoe trip on a small lake just an hour’s drive from our house. The weather was warm & dry, the conversation lively, the food delicious (despite not catching any fish) and we only had to flee from the mosquitoes around dusk.
Here’s what’s coming across my desk as I catch up on the week’s climate change news:
Bill McKibbon published a hard-hitting article in Rolling Stone magazine this week, Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math: Three Simple Numbers That Add Up To Global Catastrophe – And Make it Clear Who The Real Enemy Is. Here’s an excerpt:
If the pictures of those towering wildfires in Colorado haven’t convinced you, or the size of your AC bill this summer, here are some hard numbers about climate change: June broke or tied 3,215 high-temperature records across the United States. That followed the warmest May on record for the Northern Hemisphere – the 327th consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded the 20th-century average, the odds of which occurring by simple chance were 3.7 x 10-99, a number considerably larger than the number of stars in the universe.
Meteorologists reported that this spring was the warmest ever recorded for our nation – in fact, it crushed the old record by so much that it represented the “largest temperature departure from average of any season on record.” The same week, Saudi authorities reported that it had rained in Mecca despite a temperature of 109 degrees, the hottest downpour in the planet’s history.
…To make a real difference – to keep us under a temperature increase of two degrees – you’d need to change carbon pricing in Washington, and then use that victory to leverage similar shifts around the world. At this point, what happens in the U.S. is most important for how it will influence China and India, where emissions are growing fastest. (In early June, researchers concluded that China has probably under-reported its emissions by up to 20 percent.) The three numbers I’ve described are daunting – they may define an essentially impossible future. But at least they provide intellectual clarity about the greatest challenge humans have ever faced. We know how much we can burn, and we know who’s planning to burn more. Climate change operates on a geological scale and time frame, but it’s not an impersonal force of nature; the more carefully you do the math, the more thoroughly you realize that this is, at bottom, a moral issue; we have met the enemy and they is Shell.
Meanwhile the tide of numbers continues. The week after the Rio conference limped to its conclusion, Arctic sea ice hit the lowest level ever recorded for that date. Last month, on a single weekend, Tropical Storm Debby dumped more than 20 inches of rain on Florida – the earliest the season’s fourth-named cyclone has ever arrived. At the same time, the largest fire in New Mexico history burned on, and the most destructive fire in Colorado’s annals claimed 346 homes in Colorado Springs – breaking a record set the week before in Fort Collins. This month, scientists issued a new study concluding that global warming has dramatically increased the likelihood of severe heat and drought – days after a heat wave across the Plains and Midwest broke records that had stood since the Dust Bowl, threatening this year’s harvest. You want a big number? In the course of this month, a quadrillion kernels of corn need to pollinate across the grain belt, something they can’t do if temperatures remain off the charts. Just like us, our crops are adapted to the Holocene, the 11,000-year period of climatic stability we’re now leaving… in the dust. Click here to read the full article.
Feel like jumping off a cliff after reading that? Here’s some links to great editorial cartoons, a little bit of humour to help you through the rest of your day:
And some good news for Canadians: the court challenge brought by the Council of Canadians with regard to seven ridings where the election results in the last federal election were close enough to have been affected by the robocalls made to NDP and Liberal voters has been given the green light to proceed, despite being opposed by the seven Conservative MPs who won those seats. Read the full story on CBC.ca If you want to learn more about election fraud and Canada, you can read an interesting article, Vote-moving Canadian Election Fraud, on Rabble.ca.
This week, Greenpeace and The Yes Men got some more fun out of their Arctic-Ready website, a parody of Shell that pokes (well-deserved) fun at their environmental record and their plans to drill in the pristine Arctic. The first stage of the campaign was launched several weeks ago when a video was released, purporting to be taken during a Shell Arctic launch gone wrong (see here). That was revealed as a spoof, but the activists weren’t done getting attention and mileage out of this action:
Not to be discouraged, Yes Labs released a fake press release from “Shell” threatening to take legal action against the campaign’s originator.
It was sent from the email address firstname.lastname@example.org, included a false quotes from a real company spokesperson and warned journalists against the “counterfeit website” at ArcticReady.com.
Occupy Seattle’s website says that Logan Price, a Seattle Occupier who’s now living in New York, managed to infiltrate a private party thrown by Shell Oil at the Space Needle to celebrate the launch of its Arctic drilling program, and caught this video. It gets more interesting because there’s also a website, arcticready.com, that looks a lot like a Shell Oil home page. It reads:
We’ve all heard about global climate change and the challenges it brings, especially to the most vulnerable among us.
For example, 300,000 people already perish each year from climate-change-related causes, mostly in the world’s poorest areas, according to the foundation of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. And evidence suggests that further disruption of our planet’s delicate climate could well result in incredibly dire consequences.
We at Shell are as concerned about this as everyone else. But we also recognize that even the most vulnerable need ever-growing fossil fuel resources for their travel, leisure, scientific, and infrastructure expansion needs, and that all of us, no matter where we live, need to explore every alternative at our disposal in order to one day have the hope of achieving a balanced, sustainable approach to energy production—let alone to deal with the potential consequences of climate change.
That’s why we at Shell are committed to not only recognize the challenges that climate change brings, but to take advantage of its tremendous opportunities. And what’s the biggest opportunity we’ve got today? The melting Arctic.
The Spring of Sustainability is a three-month series of events that allows callers to interact directly with world-class visionaries by phone or webcast, for free. Since the end of March, this amazing series has brought visionaries like Vandana Shiva, Hunter Lovins, John Robbins, and Van Jones to people all over the world, for free. If you haven’t tuned in yet, don’t waste any time, as free access to each talk expires after 48 hours. Because I haven’t been able to listen to many of the talks within the 48 hour time frame, I invested the money to have unlimited access to all of the talks; but if you’re more organized than I am, you can access all this wisdom and insight for free. Click here to go to the Spring of Sustainability website.
I’m still up to my ears in hugelkulturing, and hope to share my photos and experience soon. In the meantime, here’s architect William McDonough, co-author of Cradle To Cradle: Remaking The Way We Make Things, discusses what our buildings and products would look like if designers took into account “all children, all species, for all time”, from a 2005 TED Talk. I’m posting this TED talk even I’m perturbed by the news that TED officials have made the decision not to post wealthy entrepreneur Nick Hanauer’s recent TED talk on inequality, because they felt it was too politically controversial. Hanauer discusses the fallacy that it’s the top 1% (of which he is a member)who creates the wealth in America (and elsewhere). In fact, he states, it’s the middle class which does – and its decline threatens everyone in America, from the innovators on down. You can read the transcript of Hanauer’s talk here. But here’s William McDonough, who also has “ideas worth spreading”:
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.
Get your MOM the BEST present ever for mother’s day… steward your soil, nurture nature, compost your waste, remediate local contamination, share with the innocent and the needy, teach virtues, coordinate with your neighbors and local friends and actively prioritize implementing energy systems that are clean, green and sustainable, particularly if they do not amass huge profits for corporations, set up gray water systems and research and begin humanure composting… we ALL own the current state of our planet… we ALL need to put in more effort toward resolution and leave behind the childish pathos of blame, hegemony and avarice… Happy Mother’s Day, MOM…
Renowned Canadian artist Robert Bateman speaks out against the Northern Gateway Pipeline. I guess that makes him a “radical” “domestic terrorist“, or maybe he’s one of the “jet-setting celebrities” who are opposed to any development of Canadian natural resources – or possibly he’s all of the above!
To read Canadian Natural Resource Minister Joe Oliver’s open letter to Canadians about those radical anti-progress tree-hugging enviros, click here and see for yourself the lengths this government will go to demonize those Canadians opposed to their radical pro-corporate anti-democratic agenda.
Also an interesting read on the close parallels between the Harper government’s rhetoric against environmentalists, and former GOP nutbar candidate Rick Santorum: The Harper-Santorum Axis.
If you drink water, Last Call At the Oasis is a movie you should see, according to film critic Christopher Campbell. The movie
…presents a powerful argument for why the global water crisis will be the central issue facing our world this century. Illuminating the vital role water plays in our lives, exposing the defects in the current system and depicting communities already struggling with its ill-effects, the film features activist Erin Brockovich and such distinguished experts as Peter Gleick, Alex Prud’homme, Jay Famiglietti and Robert Glennon.