Searching For Good News This Friday

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 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.

Via Climate Progress: EPA Strongly Reaffirms Scientific Basis for Regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions That Endanger Public Health

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 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 –

More links:

If you are in the U.S. and unhappy with the failure of the climate bill, go to’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.

Great News – Canada’s Climate Accountability Act Moves Forward

Canada’s Climate Accountability Act, Bill C311, received support from all 3 Opposition Parties in the House of Commons yesterday, and passed with a vote of 155 to 137 (the Harper Conservatives, who currently form the government, voted against).  Here’s what several groups who have been working hard to get the bill passed had to say:

From Andrea Harden-Donahue, Energy Campaigner for the Council of Canadians:

Good news! I’m at Parliament Hill and have just finished watching a House of Commons debate, the Liberals have voted in support of moving the Climate Change Accountability Act to the Third and final reading. 155 voted for, 137 against.

Thanks to everyone who responded to our action alert by emailing and called their MPs – you made a difference!
We’re not out of the woods yet. Let’s continue the pressure and ensure that MPs support the Climate Change Accountability Act for the Third and final reading!

The Council of Canadians will be issuing an updated Climate Change Accountability Act action alert tomorrow, keep an eye out for it in our Activlist daily digest.

Climate Action Network Canada posted this on their Facebook page:

IT’S OFFICIAL! The vote on moving the Climate Change Accountability Act to third reading was won today (155 to 137). All signs are good for the third reading (and final vote) in parliament in the coming weeks. More to come… Congratulations to the thousands of folks across the country who helped make move the bill forward!

They also posted this timely reminder (remember, all of us, including Members of Parliament, like to be appreciated from time to time):

Did your MP Vote in Favor in Bill C-311? Send them a quick thank you note and let them know we want to see this translated into action!

Dear [Member of Parliament],

Thank you very much for your vote in favour of Bill C-311, the Climate
Change Accountability Act. With your continued support Bill C-311 will pass third reading within the coming months. This Bill as well as the Liberal motion tabled yesterday are both steps in the right direction. We hope that both of these important items manifest themselves in meaningful Canadian climate policy.

Thank you.

Click here for the parliamentary info site – click on “Concurrence Motion – Report Stage” and then scroll down to the bottom to see the list of who voted for Bill C311 (“yeas”) and who voted against it (“nays”).

Bruce Hyer, the NDP M.P. from Thunder Bay/Superior North who tabled Bill C311 said this:

[I] would like to thank the thousands of Canadians from all walks of life who wrote, called, and emailed their support for the country’s only climate change legislation, Bill C-311. Because of your efforts, the opposition united behind it and it passed a crucial vote last night 155 to 137 in the House!

Stay tuned for more updates as the bill makes its way through one more vote in the House of Commons in the next few weeks, and then on to the Senate (now dominated by Conservatives). Let’s celebrate this victory, though, because it definitely wasn’t a sure thing a few weeks ago. It goes to show what can happen when Canadians speak up to their elected officials and tell them that climate change needs to be addressed now!