I blog about environmental and social justice issues because I am very concerned about the health of the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.

Melting Arctic ice.......beautiful and frightening!

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Friday, October 30, 2009

The Golden Toad: Victim of Global Warming?

The Costa Rican Golden Toad (Bufo periglenes) has not been seen since 1989.  Gone. Kaput.   It may have well been the first species to go the way of the dodo due to climate change.  If we do nothing, it won't be the last.  And , as ecosystems are irrecoverably altered, the connection indigenous peoples have with the land will be  irreparably damaged.   I wonder how they feel aobut that?  Might they sue governments and corporations that  knowingly lied about climate change?  (Tobacco companies lied about the damage smoking caused in the same disgraceful fashion and they have been successfully sued.)  Will Canadian taxpayers be on the hook for future damages due to their allegiance with the tar sands miners?   Hmmmnnnnnnnn ...........

Undermining Democracy per deSmogBlog

From deSmogBlog:
"Democracy is utterly dependent upon an electorate that is accurately informed. In promoting climate change denial (and often denying their responsibility for doing so) industry has done more than endanger the environment. It has undermined democracy. There is a vast difference between putting forth a point of view, honestly held, and intentionally sowing the seeds of confusion. Free speech does not include the right to deceive. Deception is not a point of view. And the right to disagree does not include a right to intentionally subvert the public awareness.....The world’s best-qualified scientists agree that climate is changing and that the burning of fossil fuels is mostly to blame. Although there is no debate in peer reviewed science journals, the well-funded and highly organized public relations campaign has left the impression – in mainstream media – of a lively and continuing scientific controversy."
Canada is currently one of the ten worst global warming polluters on the planet. And now, instead of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the federal government has joined with the tar sands producers and, in their words, is going to EDUCATE THE PUBLIC. Translation: Canada’s federal government is joining the ranks of the public relations industry and will sow obfuscation and confusion regarding global warming. Our politicians are dragging their feet to protect the interests of big oil in the tar sands in Alberta.
Send your MP and your Prime Minister a letter stating your disapproval.  Please!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Living Planet City

Click on the above link for an interactive experience.   You will find lots of information on alternate energy sources, green roofs, amd green beer!  And the site is fun!  And there is always the "Take Action." link you can click on .......
And one of the best actions to take right now is sending the Right Hon. Stephen Harper a message: tell him you want to ensure that Canada is on the right side of history.  Instruct the Prime Minister (he does work for us, the electorate) that you wish him to send our negotiators to the UN Climate Change Conference with a commitment to legally binding, science based greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Canada Is Falling Behind

Per the Wall Street Journal: "The Obama administration is putting its green-power agenda back on center stage Tuesday as a Senate committee begins debating a bill to curb the greenhouse gases from fossil fuels.
President Barack Obama is in Florida, where he is expected Tuesday to highlight the $3.4 billion in economic-stimulus funding devoted to modernizing the power grid so it can better handle wind turbines, solar power and other forms of renewable electricity generation. Vice President Joe Biden, meanwhile, is scheduled to be in Wilmington, Del., to herald a deal to retool a shuttered General Motors factory to produce plug-in hybrid cars."
And Canada?  We are cutting science funding....... this is sure to make Canada a leader in green technology and help us cut pollution and greenhouse gas emissions........ Yeah, right!
Canada needs to start investing in clean energy and in training a workforce to work with green  technology. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

You Still Have Time

You still have time to send the Prime Minister of Canada a letter before the UN Climate Change conference: please feel free to copy from the one I wrote.  And you don't need a stamp as long as you use the House of Commons address!

Right Hon. Stephen Harper
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Dear Prime Minister:

Anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is an indisputable fact and an enormous crisis for humanity. It is also a highly significant issue of global environmental justice: 80 % of greenhouse gas emissions are released by just seventeen countries – one of which is Canada. People are dying of starvation in the Horn of Africa and drowning in Bangladesh due to the changes caused by global warming. Canada has done little or nothing to correct this situation. We have not committed to domestic emission reduction targets nor have we capped growth in the tar sands. Therefore, and quite rightly, we are the subject of international criticism due to our failure to act in any meaningful way.

Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister of Britain, stated that “In every era there are only one or two moments when nations come together and reach agreements that make history, because they change the course of history. Copenhagen must be such a time. There are now fewer than 50 days to set the course of the next 50 years and more. If we do not reach a deal at this time, let us be in no doubt: once the damage from unchecked emissions is done, no retrospective global agreement is some future period can undo that choice. By then it will be irretrievably too late."

Please ensure that Canada is on the right side of history in this matter: send our negotiators to the UN Climate Change Conference with a commitment to legally binding, science based greenhouse gas reduction targets.


The Power of One

October 24, 2009
She sent a message to the politicians of the world: have you?

Tar Sands Producers Have a Plan!

Tar sands producers have a plan - not a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions -but a plan to "get beyond the ducks."  You may remember the image of the ducks landing in Syncrude's toxic  tailing ponds and dying.  Dying in droves, in fact.  Per the Globe and Mail, Monday, Oct. 26, 2009 " the oil sands operators, of which there are eight big ones, formed an oil sands taks force and the federal and provincial governments joined that task force so we can work together to educate the public."
Canada is currently one of the ten worst global warming polluters on the planet.   The Tar Sands Watch states that "Greenhouse gas emissions from tar sands production are three times those of conventional oil and gas production [currently tar sands production emits 27 megatonnes per annum and is expected to rise to 108-126 megatonnes by 2015]. Thus, the tar sands are now poised to become Canada’s largest single emitter of greenhouse gas, compounding this country’s contribution to global warming. " 
And now, instead of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the federal government is going to EDUCATE THE PUBLIC. Our politicians are dragging their feet to protect the interests of big oil in the tar sands in Alberta.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Desmond Tutu on Climate Change

From Desmond Tutu's article:
"Normally, voices from places such as Ethiopia, the Maldives and Kenya are sidelined in international forums. But this time, it might be different because a determined movement is building around the world.
This Saturday, 350.org, an organization that I support, will coordinate thousands of events and rallies in 170 countries to bring the number 350 to global attention.....
Groups will gather in the world's most iconic places – from Table Mountain in Cape Town to the tops of Himalayan peaks. Across the planet, churches will ring their bells 350 times that day. Last weekend, Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed led 13 Cabinet members in an underwater meeting to highlight the country's rising sea levels. People in almost all the nations of the earth are involved. It's the same kind of coalition that helped make the word "apartheid" known around the world.
In South Africa, we showed that if we act on the side of justice, we have the power to turn tides. Worldwide, we have a chance to start turning the tide of climate change with just such a concerted effort today."

All Around the World On Oct. 24, 2009

Vienna, Austria (because I am thinking about my beloved friends there) and I cannot in good conscience fly there to visit them.

All Around The World On Oct. 24, 2009

Hyderbad, India
Check out all the other photos on
We are part of an amazing movement!

Oct. 24, 2009 350.org rally in Kamloops

Oct. 24, 2009 350 .org rally

350 . org rally in Kamloops On Oct. 24, 2009

350.org Rally in Kamloops on Oct. 24, 2009

More than 100 people came to the rally - signed petitions, wrote letters to the Right Hon. Stephen Harper, listened to speakers and singers, greeted old friends, made new ones, and made a difference!  Please see the pictures posted above or check out http://www.350.org/ .    Thank you all for attending the rally and sending all those letters to the Prime Minister!  Kamloops ROCKS!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Paul Hawken and Wiser Earth

WiserEarth is a free online community space connecting the people, nonprofits and businesses working toward a just and sustainable world .
A site created by Paul Hawken (among others)  to act as a resource for activists.

Global warming: Indians decide to make their own glaciers

A quote from the above article:
"Himalayan communities like Ladakh rely on glacial runoff to grow food, making them – along with tiny island nations – among the first to feel an existential threat from climate change. Mr. Norphel's artificial glaciers represent one of the earliest human efforts at adaptation. "
And another quote:
"I think Ladakh is the first victim of climate change," says Padma Tashi, who runs a local nongovernmental organization (NGO) and organized the conference. And "we, the people of Ladakh, are looking for some kind of climate justice."
Push your MP, your Congressperson, and your Senator to committ to real, science based, and binding CO2 emissions tragets at Copehagen. 

Monday, October 19, 2009

Climate Change Rally

I am a member of the Unitarian Universalist Social and Environmental committee. We are planning a small rally at the Farmer's Market on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2009 at 11:00 am in Kamloops in support of
This site (started by Bill McKibben) encourages people all over the world to demonstrate their support for a safe climate future. Their mission is " to inspire the world to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis—to create a new sense of urgency and of possibility for our planet." Please come to the rally  and help put pressure on Canadian politicians to  work for a "for an ambitious, fair, and binding global climate deal" at the UN Climate Change conference in Copenhagen.

Perhaps Britain's PM Has Read the SOS From the Maldives Cabinet


Gordon Brown as quoted in the Guardian:  "In every era there are only one or two moments when nations come together and reach agreements that make history, because they change the course of history.  Copenhagen must be such a time. There are now fewer than 50 days to set the course of the next 50 years and more. If we do not reach a deal at this time, let us be in no doubt: once the damage from unchecked emissions is done, no retrospective global agreement is some future period can undo that choice.  By then it will be irretrievably too late."

An Underwater Cabinet Meeting in the Maldives

The cabinet of the Maldives signing a SOS to the rest of the world.
Unchecked climate change will drown the Maldives -
will the world listen?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Climate Change Denial? Better Check Your Evidence

From the Exxon Secrets site: "Finally. After years of denying its role in the campaign of climate denial, Exxon has revealed a dirty secret, that it has and likely still is DIRECTLY funding junk scientists."On page  28 of Heat: How to Stop the Planet From Burning, George Monbiot writes "By funding a large number of organizations, Exxon helps to create the impression that doubt about climate change is widespread."  On page 40, Monbiot continues " the people who have been paid by Exxon are ....members of a public relations industry, which begins with a conclusion and then devises arguments to support it."  Nota bene: if the evidence you are using to deny climate change comes from an organization funded by Exxon , it is not valid scientific evidence. It is propaganda created by Exxon!   

Friday, October 16, 2009

Canada's Rivers At Risk

The World Wildlife Fund has drawn Canadian's attention to more water woes. By focussing of water flow, rather than on global rankings based upon volume, the WWF has revealed serious problems with Canada's rivers. They sate "evidence shows that climate change will result in - and indeed is laready causing - significant changes to water cycles globally and locally. " You may remember that returning sockeye runs in the Fraser were so low in 2009 that commercial fishing was banned. So, in the face of more bad news, should we curl up in the fetal postion? No. The WWF states:
"Canada ....still has the opportunity to avert a national water crisis by keeping rivers flowing, for nature and for people - but only if we take immediate action." WWF recommends taking agressive action on climate change and keeping water use within nature's limits. I've added links that assist in finding one's MP or MLA to my blogroll: please email your MP and tell her(or him) that Canadians want REAL action on climate change.

Climate Change: Vanishing Sea Ice (and you may blame Bush for hiding the info)

"Disappearing summer sea ice poses considerable dangers, scientists have warned. Ice shelves are used by animals such as polar bears as platforms for hunting seals and other sea creatures. Without them, they could starve. In addition, ice reflects solar radiation. Without that process, the Arctic sea could warm up even more. The phenomenon threatens to set off runaway heating of the planet, say climatologists."
Email your MP and the Minister of the Environment and tell them that we want them to negotiate an effective, just, and binding deal on greenhosue gas emissions.  It is a matter of social and environmental justice!  And, as my earlier posts on the City of Portland illustrate, it IS POSSIBLE to roll back greenhouse gas emissions.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Eat a Meatless Meal Once a Week

For food's ecological impact, meat means more than miles: 'buying local' has small effect on greenhouse gases.

What you eat affects global warming.

Save the planet: eat a meatless meal once a week and help reduce your carbon footprint! According to Vesanto Melina, MS, RD, (page 9, October 2009, Common Ground,) by "eliminating meat just one day per week per year, you would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the same amount as...reducing your driving by 1,000 miles." This is an easy step: just do it!

The Flashy President of the Maldives

The Maldives are a fabulous tourist destination in the Indian ocean and they have a new, flashy, media savvy President. Good! Great! Fantastic! And what, you ask, in the weary tone of a mother faced with yet another enthusiam for an arcane subject, has this got to do with the interdependent web of life? Glad you asked: the Maldives are approximately six feet (yes, six FEET!!!) above sea level. Sea level rises caused by global warming are going to obliterate the Maldives sometime this century if the Copenhagen agreement doesn't contain serious measures to reduce and rollback greenhouse gas emissions. The President of the Maldives will hold a cabinet meeting underwater sometime next week - all ministers clad in diving suits of course - as a means of raising global consciousness about global climate change. The President, Mohamed Nasheed, states that we are all Maldivians - the people living in the Maldives will just be some of the first casualties from global climate ... I'm very glad that he is adept at arousing media interest: I hope the deal makers at the Copenhagen conference pay attention.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Portland Revisited

From Water in the 21st Century: A High Country Reader edited by Char Miller (Oregon State University Press, 2009): " During the national debate [in the USA] over the Kyoto Protocol in the late 1990s, the Energy Information Administration estimated that compliance with initial protocol targets would cost the nation as much as $ 437 billion. Portland's results suggested a very different, and much more pleasant, future." In other words, it has been much less costly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than first predicted. Some of Portland's efforts actually saved the city money. These iniatives encluded energy efficiency measures such as compact fluorescent light bulbs in city lighting. I repeat, why aren't all cities emulating Portland? Please let your city councillors that you are concerned about climate change and that you want them to act now (and get your friends to do the same!)

If Portland Can, Why Can't Your City?

In 1996, Portland became the first city in the USA to officially attempt to reduce its green gas emissions. They, and the county surrounding them, have succeeded. In 2008 , their overall annual emissions declined almost to 1990 levels. By 2010, they hope and expect their emissions will be ten per cent lower than they were in 1990. They will have beaten the targets set by the Kyoto Protocol. Why cannot all cities emulate Portalnd, Oregon?
They can - if the political will is there. So lobby your local city council - tell them you want your city to emulate Portland.
Check out Portland's website for yourself - click on my link and then click on living and then click sustainable city - or Google City of Portland sustainability.