Alberta Oil Sands Not Economically Viable, MIT Report States

I’m on my way to Washington DC with 20 other Canadian climate activists, to join forces with 330 Americans from across the United States who are concerned that future generations will inherit a harsh and unforgiving world because of the climate crisis. The Citizens Climate Lobby diaspora collecting in D.C. intends to lobby almost every office on Capitol Hill, focusing specifically on introducing a straightforward price on carbon, through carbon fee and dividend legislation.

While in Washington I will get the opportunity to hear climate hero Dr. James Hansen, recently retired from NASA, speak to the Citizens Climate Lobby volunteers.  Wish me luck on my quest for a photo with him!

Why am I, and these other Canadians, traveling all the way to Washington to lobby American politicians about the climate crisis? Our current Canadian federal government has made it clear that Canada’s energy and climate policy is tied to that of the United States; as the U.S. goes so will Canada, says Stephen Harper. It is in our interests to work to create the political will for a sustainable climate in DC as well as in Ottawa.

The oil-industry-friendly government of Stephen Harper has been overtly hostile to pricing carbon pollution. A new report out of MIT sheds some light on the possible reasons for this animosity:

canadian bitumen under carbon pricing


More links:

MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy Of Global Change: Report 183


Federal Government’s Gutting Of Environmental Protection Affects All Canadians

Here’s a brilliant clip put out by one of Canada’s largest unions, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC). In less than two minutes the video manages to depict what the government of Stephen Harper is doing to Canada’ s environment (they’ve even taken the word “environment” out of the Environment Canada’s website – I wish I was joking!), as well as most Canadians’ reaction (stunned disbelief) to this descreation of our cherished land and water. For more information on the Harper government’s long list of crimes against the environment, and our children’s future, check out the links below the video.

The Harper government’s budget cuts target essential public services that ensure the health, safety and well-being of citizens. Impacted sectors include food inspection, aviation safety and security, environmental protection and employment insurance. We are all affected by these cuts.



Global Issues: Harper Government Guts Environmental Programs

Tory Government deletes references to “environment” on Transport Canada website

Environment Canada Name Stripped From Weather Website

*I’m on a road trip for the next few weeks, with Andrew Nikiforuk’s Energy  of Slaves: Oil and the New Servitude tucked into my backpack and plenty of permaculture podcasts loaded on the IPod (and yes, I do realize the irony of taking Nikiforuk’s book on a road trip – but don’t forget I’m traveling in a fuel-efficient VW diesel Golf, which gets about 60 miles to the gallon on the highway). My internet access will be sporadic, so 350orbust will be in holiday mode, too, with some videos posted along with my regular weekend posts. Catch you later!*

It feels like it’s been a brutal week – the Boston bombings and the ensuing manhunt occupying the foreground of North American media, to the backdrop of the unrelenting violence in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and of course the threats of North Korea’s newest fruitcake. Then there’s the relentless attack on our ecosystem, that from which we derive our life and our sustenance, from people consumed with greed, who are supported and even cheered on by our suicidal economic &  political system. Outside my window, our northern Ontario spring has turned Narnia like, where it’s always winter and never spring. To top it off, I’ve got a head cold.

So here’s what I need to hear on this Friday, maybe you do to. Here’s some good news:

conoco phillips
Click on picture to read Reuters article


And more good news (thanks to my brother Tom for sending me this link):

  • Seven Spectacular Places Saved By The Environmental Movement: Introspection is healthy within limits. And yes, saving the planet is more complicated now than it seemed 40 years ago. But analysis and what-ifs shouldn’t obscure a simple point: Without an environmental movement, the United States would be a lesser country. As Hemingway wrote in For Whom the Bell Tolls, “The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for.” Many people have lived out those words by saving beautiful spots that otherwise might be paved over, polluted, or flooded today. Here are seven examples to be thankful for, all open for visits year-round and prime destinations to enjoy on Earth Day.

And in the column of bizarre but funny, this headline:

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.





Caring For Our Environment Isn’t Optional

I’m on a (low-carbon) holiday for the next while, with little access to a computer, so please accept my apologies for delayed responses or posting of comments. All should be back to normal the last week of March. In the meantime, I scoured my files for some photos and graphics to post while I’m away – this one was probably from last year’s U.S. election. Sadly, the sentiment is as accurate in 2013 as it was then.

the environment matters because it's yr real future


It’s Not Working: A Wake Up Call For Baby Boomers

I was lucky enough to hear TEDx Vancouver when it was livestreamed in October. I knew then that I wanted to post Dr. John Izzo’s talk as soon as it was available on the internet; so here it is, The Defining Moment For A Generation-in-Waiting:

A provocative and passionate public speaker and thought leader, Dr. John Izzo consults and advises some of the most admired companies in the world. With a Masters degree in psychology and a Ph.D. in organizational communication, he has devoted his life and career to showing leaders how to create workplaces that bring out the best in people, and people who create the best workplaces. A best-selling author, he has taught at numerous prominent North American universities, and continues to conduct leading edge research on workplace values. Dr. Izzo believes our society is at a pivotal moment in history where a surprise group of people might be poised to lead us towards meaningful change… if they answer the call.


The History of Climate Negotiations In 83 Seconds

While the east coast of the U.S. continues to deal with the impacts of Frankenstorm Sandy, and the global food prices rise because of a climate destabilized by our carbon pollution, and the poorest of the poor who have done the least to cause this problem continue to pay the highest price, the world’s political leaders meet in Doha, Qatar this week. The annual round of global climate negotiations that have produced nothing substantive in 18 years. Will this year be more of the same?



If you are not satisfied with the glacial rate of global climate talks, speak up! Talk to your neighbours, the person sitting next to you in the pew, your family members. Call the politicians elected to represent you on a national level, and let them know you’re unhappy and why. Here’s sample letter from the ClimateFast website that’s written for Canadians, but can be adapted to any country:

I am writing to you as my Member of Parliament. 

I want you to know that I am very concerned about the impact global warming will have upon our children’s future and the world they live in.

I want to know that you will take action for three needed changes:

  1. End fossil fuel subsidies
  2. Put a price on carbon
  3. Support the development of a renewable energy plan for Canada

These changes will give me greater confidence in our shared future.

Can you assure me that you will work for these changes in the upcoming Parliamentary session?



(your name and address here)

To access la version française, go to the ClimateFast website.

Addressing the climate crisis is our generation’s “Great Work”. Let’s get to it!

Creation In Peril: Protect What You Love

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!



Young Voices For the Planet



Green Faith Alliance