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.


Chasing Ice: Fox News Fan Discovers Bill O’Reilly Lies About Climate Change

Here’s a video that’s going viral. When I first watched it on Tuesday, it had just over 3,000 views. Late on Tuesday it was posted on , and when I saw it there yesterday it was up to 18,000. This morning it’s up to 44,571. So if you’re interested in what a diehard Bill O’Reilly fan has to say after watching the documentary Chasing Ice, check out this video and then share it yourself:



Here’s the trailer for Chasing Ice. It is now showing in major cities across North America – go to their website, for details. For those of us who don’t live in any of those cities, I guess we’ll have to wait for the DVD. The film synopsis is:

Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of climate change. Using time-lapse cameras, his videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate.



Anti-Science Heartland Institute Takes Ridiculous To New Heights

The far-right “think” tank the Heartland Institute recently launched a bizarre billboard campaign that linked global warming with serial killers. The first billboard went up with a picture of Ted “The Unabomber” Kaczynski with the words “I still believe in global warming. Do you?”. This campaign was too over-the-top even for the right-wing fringe that usually supports HI, and has caused it to lose corporate sponsors as well as speakers for its upcoming climate-science-bashing  “International Conference on Climate Change”. As in its climate science,  Heartland didn’t do its homework on the campaign; not only did they completely miscalculate its PR impact, it turns out Kaczynski’s “manifesto” contains no mention of climate change, global warming or carbon.

Here at 350orbust, we’ve been aware of the Heartland Institute’s nefarious war against climate science and our children’s future for a while. It become personal when they threatened to “pursue all possible actionable civil remedies to the fullest extent of the law” against me, and other bloggers, for publishing information about confidential Heartland documents that were leaked to DeSmog Blog. RT News had a special award for the Heartland Institute last Friday:



If you are in the United States, you can add your voice to a petition to get all corporate sponsors, including Microsoft, to pull their funding from the Heartland Institute in light of its ongoing and extreme support of climate change denial – click here.

More links:

Nine out of 10 Psychos Agree: Heartland’s Bonkers Climate Billboards Need Company

Heartland Institute Losing Major Corporate Sponsors After Comparing Climate Change Advocates To Mass Murderers

Diageo To End Funding of Heartland Institute After Climate Change Outburst

Heartland Institute’s BS Campaign Is Causing It All Kinds of Problems

Pinterest: Sponsors Dropping Heartland

These Are Times That Try Our Souls

At a time during the American Revolution, when things looked very dire, Tom Paine wrote the following (gender-updated language added). As things look mighty dire in Durban right now, this might be appropriate for the current times as well:

These are the times that try our souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but s/he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. . .A generous parent should say, “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.” . . . ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but s/he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves her conduct, will pursue his principles unto death. . . By perseverance and fortitude we have the prospect of a glorious issue.

Bracing For Disappointment As Durban Climate Talks Begin

The annual circus round of global climate talks starts on Monday in South Africa. I wish I was feeling more optimistic about the possibility of elected politicians to come to an agreement that would preserve an admittedly changed, but still relatively stable climate, for future generations. As the IEA reminded us recently, we have five years left. If nothing changes by 2017, if we don’t revolutionize energy systems, if  countries can’t agree on a global climate deal, global warming will breach the 2 degrees Celsius barrier and we will be locked into runaway climate change.

As I type this, I’m bracing myself to listen to our federal “Environment” Minister Peter Kent on CBC radio’s The House. Sure enough, he starts by bashing the Kyoto Accord, and then goes on to cover Canada’s inaction on climate change with the fig leaf of wanting “all the world’s emitters” to be part of an agreement. The Kyoto Accord, as Evan Solomon points out, was a binding agreement, unlike Copenhagen. In response, Mr. Kent feels that Canada is “well on its way” to meeting its (unacceptably low) 2020 targets. Then he pulls out that old chestnut, that Canada represents only 2% of the world’s emissions (yes, Minister Kent, but we emit much more per capita than any other country except Australia). He doesn’t have a plan to reveal on how Canada will meet the rest of the (unacceptably low) 2020 targets, but says they will be revealed “over time”.  The federal environment watchdog has pointed out that the federal government’s approach is disjointed, but Mr. Kent defends the Harper government’s piecemeal, half-hearted approach. In conclusion, Mr. Kent’s ideal outcome for the Durban conference is for a “modest” but non-binding agreement that includes “all emitters”.  Not surprising that this environment minister, who doesn’t understand what ozone is yet has slashed funding for this crucial environmental monitoring, also doesn’t have a clue about the urgency of the climate crisis (although you’d think he’d at least read the International Energy Agency’s reports, coming as it does from a petroleum industry watchdog, as opposed to anything that scientists or environmentalists produce which Kent’s ideological bent would disallow).

I fear what we will see in Durban is many politicians but few leaders, even as we teeter closer to the precipice of global climate catastrophe.

Durban COP17 Resources:

Allianz Knowledge, an insurance and financial giant, has excellent resources for understanding climate change in general, and the U.N. climate talks in general:

Are Durban Climate Talks Worth the Bother?

Politicians Need To Listen To the People, Not the Polluters

The House: November 26, 2011

Hamilton: Fiscal Challenges? Maybe It’s Time To Reconsider a Carbon Tax

Solving The Big Environmental Calamities Requires Measuring, Research, Monitoring

Today’s guest blogger is Graham Saunders. Graham’s weather and climate background includes work with the Australian Weather Bureau, the Atmospheric Environment Service of Canada and forest fire weather prediction for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. He does research and writing for several publications about weather, climate, Lake Superior, agriculture and northern gardening issues, including a “Weather Whys” column in the Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal for the last11 years. Graham is also the author of “Gardening with Short Growing Seasons”, published in 2009. He teaches meteorology and has taught Climate Change and other courses at Lakehead University, Thunder Bay. Graham is a board member of the Bay Credit Union and the former president of Environment North, a group of long standing in Northwestern Ontario.

Last August, the Harper government announced plans to disable most functions of the ozone measuring network in Canada. Tom Duck, a Dalhousie atmospheric scientist commented, “This is kind of like taking the batteries out of your smoke detector.”

Everybody’s talking about the weather these days. But contrary to Mark Twain’s quip, collectively we have done something about it — or at least about looming hazards such as acid rain and ozone depletion.

Four decades ago, acid rain stories made headlines, due to the death of our lakes and die back of some forests. In some lakes in eastern Canada, the water was so clear that you could see to the bottom. More and more lakes downwind from coal plants and heavy industries were becoming sterile from sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions, which killed off fish and aquatic ecosystems.

The obvious solution was to reduce or eliminate sulphur dioxide and other emissions that combine with water vapour and then fall as acid rain or snow. Since winds and air flow are not influenced by political boundaries, the problem required an international solution. Some familiar arguments arose for delaying action: that restrictions would hurt the economy, or be ineffective, or were aimed at the wrong target.

Nonetheless, in the 1970s, Canada, the United States and other countries proceeded with clear air legislation and international agreements. “Scrubbers” and other technology dramatically reduced emissions. Certain countries, including Canada, met their agreed targets ahead of schedule.

Also in the 1970s, scientists and policy makers started discussing ozone depletion in the upper atmosphere. Ozone is a gas present in trace amounts mainly at an altitude 20 to 25 km above the Earth’s surface.

Ozone absorbs some ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths, almost all of extremely hazardous UV-C and most of UV-B wavelengths. Without this diffuse layer of ozone, life as we know it could not exist on this planet.

Scientists predicted further declines in ozone amounts because of increased use of supersonic aircraft like the Concorde and extensive use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in refrigeration and aerosol spray cans. (Chlorofluorocarbons do not exist naturally and were created in labs and factories.) Expected harmful effects of ozone depletion include a considerable jump in human and animal skin cancers and depletion of phytoplankton in oceans.

Major CFC producers like Dupont Corporation fiercely resisted attempts to ban CFCs with the usual arguments about possible harm to the economy, distrust of the science, and so on. Some partial bans began around 1980 and the issue briefly faded from view.

Then came the shocking 1985 discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole. It was not technically a “hole”, but a decline to 40 percent of normal coverage alarmed scientists. So unexpected was the finding that it was first dismissed as an instrument defect.

Worse, ozone loss was also apparent in the mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere and a smaller and a more mobile hole was detected over the Arctic. And additional research suggested links with cataracts, damage to the human immune system and reduced crop yields.

Faced with this urgent threat, the United Nations Environmental Program convened a world meeting in Montreal in September, 1987. The US Environmental Protection Agency set the tone with warnings of additional skin cancers for tens of millions of people; the EPA suggested 95 percent reduction in CFC production by 1996.

The 31 countries attending agreed to a 50 percent reduction by the end of the century. Then they and an additional 50 countries met two years later in Helsinki, and agreed to a 100 percent reduction by the year 2000. Most countries, including Canada, met their targets ahead of schedule.

We cannot know precisely what would have resulted without clean air and ozone legislation but the saying, “You don’t want to go there” almost certainly applies.

These collective responses to impending threats offer heartening examples of what can be achieved when governments and the public heed scientists’ warnings. But since then, a few exceptions and deferrals have snuck into international regulation of ozone depletion. For example, the Bush Administration removed restrictions on methyl bromide, a banned chemical under the Montreal Protocol.

Nor is the situation stable. For some reason, massive ozone destruction — on the order of 40 to 80 percent — occurred at altitudes of 18 – 20 km in the Arctic in the 2011 spring season. The “hole” drifted across northern Canada, Europe, central Russia to northern Asia and prompted scientists in some jurisdictions to issue radiation warnings.

This record ozone depletion is troubling because the ozone problem should be improving and this reversal is not well understood.

In spite of this, the Harper government announced plans in August to disable most functions of the ozone measuring network in Canada. And it gets worse. The Harper government does not permit interviews with the scientists involved and has sent letters warning of “discontinuance of job function” to those employed in this and related programs.

Ozone depletion is only one of the areas where the Harper government is employing a veil of silence. An organization that track mercury and other toxins and monitors various indicators in Lake Superior, is still waiting for its annual funding pittance.

Measuring and monitoring changes in our environment are essential for protecting human health and the wilderness ecology. Choosing not to monitor hazards is dangerous behaviour on several levels, ranging from health risks to undermining the democratic process. Canadians should be aware that the Harper government is deliberately choosing not to collect or make available essential information for setting environmental policies.

Mark Ruffalo On Opposing Keystone XL Pipeline: I Look At My Kids and I Say I Can’t Betray Them

I’m looking out the window of my home office today, rejoicing at the sprinkling of snow on the ground. Yesterday rain fell outside, while a confused fly that should have been hibernating buzzed around inside. Both are examples, along with the temperature that has been 8 – 10 degrees Celcius above normal, of the growing climate destabilization we humans have brought on with our unrestrained pollution of the atmosphere. So while the snow outside doesn’t change that long term reality, it still allows me to feel that maybe things aren’t as bad as they are, which I haven’t been able to over the last weeks of unseasonably warm weather. This is northern Ontario, and we should be experiencing winter by now!

There’s been a lot going on in the world besides the warm weather in my corner of it. Saturday was “Move Your Money” day, a day for people “invest in main street, not wall street” by placing their money in local credit unions or small banks rather than large Wall (or Bay) Street banks. I already have an account with a credit union (although this has become more difficult since they closed their local branch – the closest branch is now an hour down the road). Our family’s experience with credit unions has always been more positive than with banks, so if you haven’t considered doing this before, please do so now. For more information, check out or find the Move Your Money project on Facebook.

On Sunday in Washington, there was a historic gathering of 10,000+ people who made a human chain three rows deep around the White house to send President Obama a message that it’s time he lived up to his campaign promise to act on climate change, and say no to the Keystone XL pipeline. The controversial pipeline, which is to carry tar sands oil from Alberta to Texas, is to be built across the American heartland, including the Ogalala aquifer which supplies drinking water to millions. Actor and activist Mark Ruffalo gave an impassioned and well-informed interview on CBC television yesterday. Here’s some of what he had to say, but please follow the link at the bottom to hear the interview. It gave me chills. If only every parent was inspired to take action like Mr. Ruffalo!

On why he is involved in protesting the pipeline:

“The days are gone when we could stick a straw in the earth and pull up beautiful concentrated carbon-based fuel. We’ve entered a time of “extreme energy”…all of which are accelerating our demise by climate change.”

These people [the fossil fuel industry] throughout our history have lied to us..When the system is gamed as much as these people have gamed it, why would should we decide to trust them now?

To the limitations of current renewable energy technology:

...When they mobilized for World War II, they did things very fast. Climate change is happening faster than any scientist imagined it. It is happening here. It is happening in the United States. We are seeing the extreme weather. It is time for us to stand up and start to make make these changes. We can do this by 2030. I’ve talked to Professor Mark Jacobson from the Stanford. He has the plan. This is easily do-able. We can be completely off carbon-based fuels in the next 40 years.

We just need to do it. Mainlining toxic polluting oil from Canada down to the Gulf coast so it can be put on boats and be sent overseas is not the way to do it. The way to do it is to start calling ourselves off of these extractive methods that are extreme and poisonous and accelerating climate change. We have to be responsible about this. This is an serious issue. For us to keep throwing out this idea like “we can’t get there”, “how are we going to get there?”, whining about having to take responsibility so our children can actually live in the world that is safe for them.

On “ethical” oil:

If you want to start talking about ethical, let’s just talk about the poor people in the world who are being made to suffer already immediately. In Pakistan 500,000 people have lost their homes because of the flooding there. You want to talk about ethics? The real ethical thing right now is to start Canada, all the western countries, to start stemming off their use of oil. Last year, we jumped 6% in our use of carbon-based fuels – 3% was the U.S. and 3% was China. If we are serious about being a world leader, we need to be a leader in this…Those indigenous people who are being displaced, talk to them about “ethical” oil. You cannot use that particular term, because it is not ethical, what is happening.”

On the economics of the pipeline and the jobs the oil companies say it will create:

There’s 10,000 people descending on the White House today to give Obama the “hug of support” that he needs to stop this. A huge contingency from Nebraska, from the Midwest, huge contingency from Texas.

TransCanada started with 250,000 jobs, now they’ve whittled that down with the pressure of people looking into their “jobs program”..Now it’s only 6,000 jobs. Let me put this into perspective for you. In New York state alone the solar jobs bill would put 22,000 people to work alone. That is in one state…For some reason, we have accepted the oil and gas industry’s constant talking points as truth. It’s insanity, it’s time that we start questioning these economics. 100 billion dollars these corporations are going to make, and we’re still subsidizing them at six billion dollars a year.

On what it is that motivates him:

My kids, my neighbours’ kids. Have we gone completely gone insane? Do we not see the writing on the wall?  I mean, its happening. I live in upstate New York, we’ve had the 50 year flood, the 100 year flood, the 250 year flood, and the 500 year flood in FIVE years. We have tornadoes here in places that don’t have tornadoes. We have hurricanes in places that don’t historically have hurricanes. It is happening. I look at my kids and I say I cannot betray them.

Watch the full interview on CBC.


Dear Mr. Harper

Canada’s Prime Minister Harper has been receiving messages about halting the expansion of the Alberta tar sands from far and wide this week.  First, it was the 400 Canadians who gathered on Parliament Hill this past Monday, 200 of whom put themselves on the line to get arrested, speaking out loudly and clearly for our children and grandchildren’s future.

On Thursday, Archbishop Desmond Tutu along with seven other Nobel Peace Laureates, wrote a letter to Harper calling on him to stop the tar sands expansion. On the same day, the National Roundtable on the Environment and Economy, an arm’s-length government agency with nary a climate scientist among them, warned that Canadians face a high economic cost from the impact of a warming global climate, and the country should act quickly to reduce the financial price by investing in adaptation measures.

Also on Thursday, a group of Canadian researchers released a report which outlined a huge loss of ice in the Canadian Arctic this summer.

Two ice shelves that existed before Canada was settled by Europeans diminished significantly this summer, one nearly disappearing altogether, Canadian scientists say in newly published research.

The loss is important as a marker of global warming, returning the Canadian Arctic to conditions that date back thousands of years, scientists say. 

Individually, these messages are loud and clear.  Together, they are impossible to ignore. The question remains: is Stephen Harper listening?

More links:

Media Release: Nobel Peace Laureates Call on Harper to Stop Tar Sands Expansion

Canadian Ice Shelves Breaking Up At Record Speed: Region lost almost half its ice shelves in last six years

Economic Cost of Climate Change Will Be High

NRTEE’s Report: Paying the Price: The Economic Impacts of Climate Change For Canada

Hundreds Gather on Parliament Hill to Say “No” To Tar Sands

Clinton: Climate Deniers Make U.S. Look Like a Joke

Via Think Progress, Bill Clinton, speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting, blasting the Republican Party for supporting denial of climate science:

“The best thing you could do is make it politically unacceptable to engage in denial,” Clinton told a questioner about what Americans can do to fight climate change. “We look like a joke,” he continued. “You can’t win the nomination of one of our parties if you admit that the scientists are right. It’s really tragic. We need the debate between people who are a little bit to the left and a little bit to the right what’s the best way is to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. We can’t have this conversation because we’ve got to deny it?”


More links:


Clinton Global Initiative