Fossil Fuel Industry’s Bottom Line Will Destroy Our Climate: Do The Math

Wednesday night was one to remember. After a scramble to get my passport renewed (I only noticed last week it had expired), my husband and I traveled by ferry from Victoria B.C to take in the first night of Bill McKibben’s “Do The Math” tour in Seattle. McKibben and his team are traveling by bio-diesel-fueled bus to 21 cities across the U.S., taking the fight to preserve a stable climate to the next level. The Seattle venue, Benaroya Hall, was spectacular, and held 1,600 people. It was full, as you can see from the picture below. I’d love to point us out in the crowd, but we were at the front on the left, so aren’t in the picture at all!


The event was well worth the effort and the expense. McKibben spoke frankly about the odds we are looking at in the fight to preserve a stable climate (in case you were in doubt, they are not good). Climate change is an existential threat, there’s no doubt about it. The message of the “Do The Math” tour is one that McKibben first outlined in an article in Rolling Stone this summer. If we are to keep global temperature rise to two degrees Celcius or lower – and even at .8 of a degree rise globally we are seeing alarming events like methane bubbling in the permafrost, and massive summer arctic sea ice loss – we must put no more than 565 gigatons of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. Right now, the fossil fuel industry has, as its business plan, the emission of 2795 gigatons of carbon dioxide; in other words, more than five times more coal, oil and gas than scientists say we can safely burn. McKibben emphasized that this makes Big Oil, Coal, and Gas a rogue industry, one whose financial success is dependent on wrecking the climate and our children’s future. We are, McKibben reminded the audience, the last generation of people with an opportunity to stop catastrophic climate change; the last generation before it’s too late.




Do The Math launches a new focus for and the climate movement, modeled on the successful anti-apartheid divestment campaign of the 1980s. Students and alumni of colleges and universities across the country are being asked to pressure their universities and colleges to pull out all fossil fuel investments. Unity College in Maine became the first American college to do so. It won’t be the last.


For more information, check out the campaign’s website,  And if you live anywhere near one of the Do The Math events, make the effort to get out and listen to what Mr McKibben has to say, and then act on it. The eyes of the future are on all of us right here, right now, asking us to do the right thing.


Get Politically Active, Live Longer And Other Good News For A Change

Here’s some positive news to consider with your morning coffee:

  • Canadian Forest Industry and Environmental Groups sign World’s Largest Conservation Agreement Applying to an Area Twice the Size of Germany:

In what Greenpeace Canada calls the best chance to save woodland caribou and permanently protect vast areas of the Boreal Forest as well as put responsible forestry practises in to place, a collaborative effort between nine leading environmental organizations and 21 members of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) has resulted in a ground breaking agreement.  According to a news release:

The Agreement identifies explicit commitments for both sides and sets out a plan, which includes:

  • The development and implementation of world-leading forest management and harvesting practices;
  • The completion of joint proposals for networks of protected areas and the recovery of species at risk including woodland caribou;
  • A full life cycle approach to forest carbon management; and
  • Support for the economic future of forest communities and for the recognition of conservation achievements in the global marketplace.

The next stage in this process is to meet with provincial governments, First Nations and local communities across the country to seek their leadership and participation in the historic agreement.  First Nations communities in particular have an important voice in this matter, as the Boreal forest is the traditional territory for many of them. There needs to be recognition and respect for their constitutionally protected aboriginal and treaty rights for this agreement to work.

Click here to read the full press release.

  • Wondering about whether or not you should become engaged on the issue of climate change?  If you do, chances are it will pay off in ways that you don’t expect, according to a German study. The researchers found that people engaged in political activism are more likely to live happier and more fulfilling lives than the average person.

“There is something about activism itself that is beneficial for well-being,” says Tim Kasser, a psychology professor at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., and co-author of a research paper based on studies of college students. “We found that activists were feeling more autonomy and more personal growth. They also felt they had better relationships, more purpose in life, and they liked themselves better.”

To read the full story, click here to go the Globe & Mail article.

And if that doesn’t inspire you to get politically active, this will!  On April 30, the biggest protest march ever to take place in New Zealand happened. Between 40,000 – 50,000 people came out to protest their government’s plans to expand mining in protected areas.  Check it out:


It’s never too late to reap the benefits of political activism.   To contact Canadian Senators about Bill C311, the Climate Accountability Act making its way through the Senate Chamber shortly, click here.

To find out more about what is planning for action on climate change in 2010, click here.