This shocking attack ad on 8 year old Penelope was released yesterday, as the Ontario election debate continues.
This shocking attack ad on 8 year old Penelope was released yesterday, as the Ontario election debate continues.
Across Ontario and around the world, September 24th is a a day for people to rally and demand from our elected leaders action on moving beyond fossil fuels. Initiated by 350.org, Moving Planet is a day to put our demands for climate action into motion—marching, biking, skating—calling for the world to go beyond fossil fuels.
These demands will differ from one country to the next, of course, because the steps we need to take depend on how much fossil fuel we already use. But the rough outlines are clear:
We know these demands just scratch the surface of a vision for a safe and fair climate future—please be in touch with other proposals that ought to be considered.
To find a Moving Planet event in your community, click here.
Here in Red Lake, we’re kicking off our Harvest Festival with a bike rally/rodeo around town, ending with a bike maintenance workshop. Along with all the Harvest Festival activities during the day, Saturday evening we are screening “carbon nation”, which describes itself as nn optimistic, solutions-based, non-partisan documentary that illustrates why it’s incredibly smart to be a part of the new, low-carbon economy: it’s good business, it emboldens national and energy security, and it improves health and the environment. The screening will be followed by a Q & Q session with Director Peter Byck.
In Winnipeg, Manitoba, some friends of mine have put together a fabulous event which has been kicked off by a chalk “footprint parade” around the city for the last two weeks, and culminates with a parade from the Manitoba Legislature to the Forks where music will be happening at the Main Stage. If you’re in the city, check it out – go to the Moving Manitoba event page for all the details.
So wherever you are, get out,get moving, connect with other people who are concerned about their children’s future, and have fun doing it! Remember, there is NO Planet B!
Harriet Sugarman, a policy analyst and economist, is the Founder and Executive Director of Climate Mama which, according to its website, is:
…about the facts, about getting the straight scoop, about understanding Climate Change and Global Warming. We want to help you make the connections – to understand how you, your family, your friends and your community are impacting and changing our climate. Then, we want to show you what you can do to make your hectic, harried life more sustainable, for you, for your children AND for the world we live in. We will offer you simple, straight forward, and easy to understand ways to combat climate change as well as easy to implement options to reduce your carbon footprint! We want to make it simple for you, as a Mama and Papa, to understand that climate change is a part of your life. We at Climate Mama, like you, have enough day to day issues in our lives just managing the craziness of our families, our careers, our busy 21st century lives…so we aren’t surprised or disappointed if you ask why climate change should matter to you and if you question what you, as an individual can really do that will make a difference to affect this global challenge.
Harriet is also a New Jersey mom who happens to be originally from Alberta, Canada. Harriet chose to participate in this week’s Stop the Pipeline action in front of the White House in Washington, D.C. and was one of the nearly 300 people arrested so far this week in the largest civil disobedience action in the American environmental movement’s recent history.
In the video below, Harriet talks about why she felt she needed to be in Washington this week. She took a stand for a clean energy future for her, and all our children, even though risking arrest was a difficult decision to make:
My family in Alberta is not too keen on me getting arrested down here for this..It’s a very difficult road to cross. I think that my children will be proud of me some day. I don’t want them to look back in twenty years, because if we don’t do anything, all of our children are going to be looking back at us and saying, what were you doing, why were you asleep at the wheel?…I’m doing this for them.
Read more about Harriet’s experience on Climate Mama: Why A Bra Makes A Good Purse In Times of Imminent Arrest: The Tar Sands Action
To find out how to send a message of support for the brave folks sitting in at the White House this week and next, go to 350.org.
For the latest news on the tar sands action, and to find out how to donate, go to Tar Sands Action.org
Canada’s energy ministers ended two days of annual talks Tuesday in the Kananaskis resort in the Alberta Rockies announcing they have agreed to work together on opening up new markets to Canadian crude oil.
They also agreed to work on streamlining the process for approving energy projects.
In a communiqué, the ministers said they also aim to improve energy efficiency, energy information and electricity reliability.
In an admirable show of independence, Ontario’s energy minister refused to support the final communiqué issued, because it referred to the Alberta tar sands as “sustainable and responsible”. It appears that Big Oil money talks but not everybody listened this weekend. The McGuinty government is responsible for the visionary Green Energy Act that focuses on jumpstarting renewable energy production in this province. Ontario plans to keep up the focus on energy policy, particularly renewables, at the upcoming Premier’s meeting in B.C:
“For years, if not decades, governments in Ottawa of all political stripes have sought to find ways to transfer Ontario tax dollars into Western Canada to support the oil and gas industry,” said Mr. McGuinty, when asked in Oakville, Ont., about his views on the meeting.
“Well, how about using Canadian tax dollars to support clean energy industry that is taking place, that is developing – we’re at the forefront in North America, we’re creating thousands of jobs, we’re reducing our contribution to climate change. We’re shutting down coal-fired plants.”
Mr. McGuinty said these are “difficult things” to do. “What we’re saying to the feds is, ‘Hey, you want to help support energy superpowers, you’ve got to take a look at the entire country. Take a look at the contribution that each province is making, and I think we’re making a powerful contribution.’ ” Read more at the Globe and Mail.
Meanwhile, First Nations and environmental groups are dismayed at the official support of the energy ministers for the Alberta tar sands, the dirtiest project on earth. Ed Whittingham of the Alberta-based Pembina Institute wrote:
“While the ministers expressed interest in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from energy production, their decision to call Canada’s oilsands a ‘sustainable’ source of energy for the world raises serious questions about that goal.
“Non-renewable, high-carbon sources of energy are by their very nature unsustainable. Canada needs to plan for a transition away from depending on exports of such sources, like the oilsands.
“A national energy framework needs to seize the economic opportunities offered by clean energy and achieve Canada’s climate targets. Unfortunately, the documents released today failed to make either addressing climate change or supporting renewable energy a priority.
“Before their next meeting, Canada’s energy ministers need to outline a national energy framework built on meaningful dialogue with citizens. An effective framework must also include a price on greenhouse gas pollution as a central feature.”
Meanwhile, while Canadian policy formally ignores the reality of climate change, the worst drought in half a century continues to kill Somalis by the tens of thousands, the UN Security Council considers a proposal to form a climate change peacekeeping force, and the ongoing heat wave across much of North America kills at least 13 people in the American heartland.
With the announcement yesterday of a new carbon tax proposal, Australia is set to become the world leader on addressing climate change. Right now, Australia leads the world in per-capita carbon pollution. The carbon tax, which has been described as “modest, riddled with exclusions, bribing voters and corporations“, is still the best national carbon plan in the world. It is expected to pass in both houses of parliament before the end of the year, but the Conservative opposition and the Australian coal industry seem determined to whip up public sentiment against the carbon tax (remember, Australia is where climate scientists have been receiving death threats and über-denier Monckton is invited back regularly ). Right now, polls indicate 60% of the population is opposed to carbon pricing, and Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s Labor government is the most unpopular in 40 years. A lot is riding on the government’s ability to convince voters that it’s time to tackle climate change.
In the meantime, closer to home, U.S. Republicans, bowing to their tea party members, are set today to repeal legislation that promotes energy-efficient light bulbs, one that was signed into law by none other than President George W. Bush and is now embraced by industry. Sounds like the Mad Hatter’s tea party in Washington these days!
A new Nissan LEAF ad poses the questions “What if everything ran on gas?” and “Then again, what if everything didn’t?” Check it out:
*thanks to my wonderful husband Mark for sending me this link*
Our family is one giant step closer to being part of Ontario’s innovative micro-FIT program, which is encouraging the growth of renewable energy production in the province by paying a premium to regular folks like us for generating electricity using renewable technologies and feeding it back into the grid. Our journey started last February when my husband Mark filled out the application to the program, acting on advice given to him by David at the R.E. Source Store in St. Thomas, Ontario. For more details on the process that has got us to where we are today, go to the “Ontario’s microFIT program: The Nitty-Gritty On Going Solar” page.
Here are some pictures of the process:
And just for fun, a video of putting on the last solar panel:
Did I mention I’m not fond of heights? Oh well, what doesn’t kill a person makes them stronger…
We are still not quite to the point of feeding our electricity back into the grid. That requires hooking up the solar array to a separate meter, which will be done by a local electrician. And, of course, approval from the electrical inspector. So stay posted!
Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm responded recently to Rush Limbaugh’s attack on the Chevy Volt (he’s called it, among other things, an over-priced lemon). Republicans and the Far Right in the U.S. have been attacking alternative energy initiatives in general, and the Chevy Volt in particular. In the face of the Gulf crisis, these same people are supporting BP and Big Oil instead of the protecting the interests of the American people and the environment. As a Canadian, I don’t understand why Americans put up with this – why would anyone vote in somebody that isn’t going to defend their rights, their jobs, their coastline, when these are threatened? Here’s what Governor Granholm, whose state is poised to become a production hub for advanced batteries used in electric vehicles, had to say about Limbaugh’s criticism:
“It’s just un-American. I can’t believe that somebody would say this about this American product. He hasn’t even driven it. He hasn’t sat in it. You know, why wouldn’t you be supportive of American manufacturers building American vehicles with American workers, who now have jobs as a result of this. Why wouldn’t you be supportive of that? It is mind-blowing to me. And of course, the public is getting paid back. You know, GM has paid back the loan — the bottom line is, is this is a good news story, and somebody who would twist it to be something negative obviously has another agenda. Which we all know he does.”
Granholm went on to say:
“Investment in advanced batteries and other clean energy technologies is creating jobs in Michigan and around the nation. Manufacturing is vital to our national economy and national security, and we must ensure that new clean energy manufacturing jobs remain here in the United States.”
Which one, Limbaugh or Governor Granholm, sounds more reasonable and visionary to you?
Bill Maher on the BP Disaster: “What has to happen before people change?…We shouldn’t be drilling offshore at all…In 50 years when there’s no fish and we’ve killed all the animals and there’s just cockroaches and jellyfish, that’s what we’ll be eating…”
It seems like a good idea to end the week on a positive note, so lately I have been trying to do just that on my Friday blogs. However, this week has been a particularly discouraging one for those of us concerned about having a safe planet for our children and grandchildren. First, there was the death of climate legislation in the U.S., then there’s the just-published NOAA State of the Climate Report based on work by 300 scientists in 48 countries shows that, globally, the last 10 years have been the hottest on record. And let’s not forget about the study published in Nature shows that phytoplankton, a microscopic food crucial to marine life, is dying out due to the climate change-related rise in ocean temperatures. And I haven’t mentioned that this week marked the 100th day since the BP oil disaster began, or that Australia’s new Prime Minister Julia Gillard has taken the approach of another year of inaction while a “citizen’s consensus” group discusses climate change and carbon taxing. And please, let’s not even talk about “King Stephen“, our Canadian PM, whose pathetic stance on this urgent issue is “we won’t do anything until the Americans do”.
But today’s Friday, and some good news is in order – let’s see:
Via 350.org: President Patil of India has announced that the President’s estate, Rasthrapati Bhavan, is now a certified green building, including the installation of solar power! Click here for the full announcement.
Via the wall of the Facebook group 1,000,000 Strong Against Offshore Drilling, this personal story:
I met a fellow the other day. He was planting fruit trees on our orchard. He had quit his job in the Alberta tar sands after the BP spill. He described to me the dangerous conditions in which they work in, the horrible daily mess that he had to help clean up, the countless gallons of fresh water wasted and the guilt he… felt every day. He said that everyone in the oil industry knows that they’re running out and that they will continue to drill in more and more places where extraction is tricky regardless of the environmental costs. He was disgusted with the oil industry. He’s a good dad and was making good money there, but decided to quit, pack up, and start a new job/new life working with troubled youth. Hearing his story gave me hope that even those who work for Oil know the horrible cost it is having on our lives.
And on a personal note, part of our roof-mounted 7 Kilowatt solar panel system just arrived. It looks like it’s the aluminium rail mounting system; we’re still waiting for the actual panels. It means that we’re another step closer to being part of the Ontario microFIT program. More details – and pictures – to follow!
Via Earthpolicy.org: Did you know? A bicycle is a marvel of engineering efficiency, one where an investment in 22 pounds of metal and rubber boosts the efficiency of an individual mobility by a factor of three. Click here for information on the League of American Bicyclists.
And on that theme, this weekend you can be part of “National Don’t Use Your Car Day(s)”. If you are on Facebook and want to sign on, click here.
This past week, the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favour of recognizing water and sanitation as human rights. Now that is good news – even though Canada abstained from the vote. For on this, check out the Council of Canadians website – www.canadians.org.
If you are in the U.S. and unhappy with the failure of the climate bill, go to 350.org’s “They Blew It. Let Them Know It” page where you can sign up to “shadow” your senator while he or she is on recess and send them the message that it’s outrageous that they threw up their hands over this crucial piece of legislation.