Friday, September 29, 2006

Green Party Enviro Platform

This week, Elizabeth May and the Federal Green Party announced their environmental platform. Titled GP2 (read GP squared) the plan provides sharp focus and action items on climate, air and water quality, reductions in toxic chemicals, bolstering our national parks and boosting Ottawa's scientific capacity.

A major focus of the platform is their climate change plan. Echoing Al Gore's proposal in his NYU speech last week, the Green's propose a tax shifting program that would see personal income taxes drop while taxes on carbon producing industries and activities are ramped up. The resulting tax burden would be neutral. The result is a progressive platform that avoids the socialist trappings that the NDP remains embroiled in.

The plan also addresses one of my lingering doubts about Ms. May's leadership, namely, her ties to Brain Mulroney. In addition to her past political dealing with Mulroney, May Prior to becoming leader of the Greens Elizabeth May played a significant role in the Corporate Knights campaign that recognized Brian Mulroney as Canada's "greenest prime minister" - a farcical public relations pl0y which heaped scarcely earned praise on the former PM, but for those in the know only succeeded in demonstrating what a poor enviro lot our PMs have been. The Green platform correctly addresses this:

the Mulroney Green Plan looks good in retrospect only because of the poor performance governments since. The reality is that the first Green Plan was more a fund than a plan.

Enough said. Here is the complete summary of the Green environmental platform. See their website for the complete document:

1) Kyoto Protocol: Implement tax-shifting (ecological fiscal reform), while regulating to improve vehicle fuel economy, improve energy productivity in large appliances, expand programmes for renewable energy, remove perverse energy subsidies and, in cooperation with provinces and territories, improve energy efficiency of residential and commercial buildings.

2) Adaptation to Climate Change: Develop pro-active adaptation strategies for vulnerable residential areas (floodplains, settlements on perma-frost, etc), and for economic sectors particularly dependent on stable climatic conditions: tourism, agriculture, forestry and fishing.
3) Air Quality: Establish regulations to reduce exposure to toxic contaminants. No need for new legislation. Use The Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

4) Toxic Chemicals: Regulate within the Canadian Environmental Protection Act

5) Water Quality and Quantity: Implement the 1987 Federal Water Policy. Pass
legislation at the federal level to prohibit bulk water exports.

6) National Parks: Re-commit to the completion of the National Parks system,including its Marine Parks.

7) Science: Reverse the “brain drain” in federal scientific capacity.

Suzuki to Dion, "Take My Research"

The online and blogging community had a field day tearing down Stephane Dion for failing to cite the David Suzuki Foundation report The Air We Breathe as a source for his environmental platform, accusing the liberal leadership hopeful of plagiarism, unoriginality and deceit. It turns out the only people who cared were those making the allegations. David Suzuki certainly doesn't.

In his weekly Science Matters column, the acclaimed environmentalist and scientist puts forward an open call for the general use of his foundation's research.

To all politicians looking for ways to reduce our footprint on nature – or, to use politician-speak, create an “environmental platform”: Knock yourselves out. Feel free to steal, pilfer, borrow, rent, filch or otherwise take any research my foundation does and put it to good use.

This may seem obvious to some, but the whole point of conducting and publishing this research is to get people to actually use it. As public education, it helps raise awareness of environmental problems. But more important, it provides solutions to those problems. And most of those solutions are best implemented by our political and business leaders, rather than by individuals.

So if you ask me if it bothers me that politicians are stealing the solutions brought forward by my foundation, the answer is no. To use a computer term, we consider this information “open source.”

Open source.....a sentiment most bloggers could chime in on I think. For organizations like the David Suzuki Foundation, having their ideas and research implemented in policy is both the end goal and the purpose of their very existence. At no time that I recall have we insisted on politicians citing authors and academic sources for their speeches, policies and political agendas. The efforts by reporters and bloggers to vilify M. Dion smacks of partisanship, bias, hypocrisy, and arguably a direct attack against those who bring environmental concerns to the public eye.

For the reckless capitalists and right wing pundits of our culture, nothing is more fearsome than confronting the fact that we as people are indeed a part of the natural systems of this planet, and in the long run, our society will ultimately be accountable to the measure of its sustainability. To them I say, get ready for the reckoning. There's a lot more to come.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Stop North American Deep Integration

Update 9:57pm: Thanks to Berlynn for tracking down the link to the Crag & Canyon Article. Click here to view.

Major media outlets continue to ignore the ongoing plans for the deep integration of North American economies, currency and security, despite widely available information on the secret meeting of leading government officials, corporations and military agencies earlier in the month in Banff, Alberta, attended by Donald Rumsfeld.

Mysteriously, (or perhaps predictably), the single North American news source that originally covered the event, the Banff Crag & Canyon, seems to have pulled their story offline.

Closed door meetings on deep integration pose a huge risk to national independence and progressive values. It will fall to the online and blogging community to drive the debate and stand up for the rights of citizen's - from Canada, Mexico and the United States - who wish to preserve our rights to democracy and sovereignty, who oppose the deep integration of our three nations, and who believe voters should have a voice in any debate on the topic.

Bloggers can support the cause by adding the Vive le Canada support ribbon to your site. Citizen's can contact local papers and elected representatives in Parliament, Congress or the Senate.

The agenda from Banff's meeting includes every aspect of North American merger including:

North American Energy Strategy
Speakers: Secretary Clay Sell, Deputy Secretary of Energy, U.S. Department of Energy; N. Murray Edwards, Vice Chairman, Canadian Natural Resources Limited; Richard George, President & CEO, Suncor Energy Inc.; David Victor, Director, Program on Energy & Sustainable Development, Center for Environmental Science & Policy; Vinicio Suro, Planning & Evaluation Subdirector, PEMEX

Opportunities for Security and Military Cooperation
Speakers: William J. Perry, former US Secretary of Defense; Admiral Tim Keating, Commander NORAD/USNORTHCOM; Major General Daniel Gosselin, Director General, International Security Policy; Gerónimo Gutiérrez, Undersecretary for North America, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; William Schneider, President, International Planning Services; Ward Elcock, Deputy Minister of National Defence;
Eduardo Medina-Mora, Secretary of Public Safety; Ryan Henry, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.

Demographic & Social Dimensions of Integration
Speakers: Andrés Rozental, Mexican Council on Foreign Relations; Dr. Wendy Dobson, the Institute for International Business; Carlos Heredia, Chief International Affairs Advisor to the Governor of the State of Michoacán in Mexico; Doris Meissner, Senior Fellow, Migration Policy Institute

Border Infrastructure and Economies
Speakers: Hon. John P. Manley, McCarthy Tetrault LLP; Thomas d’Aquino, Canadian Council of Chief Executives; Carla Hills, Chairman & CEO, Hills & Co.; Luis de la Calle, Consultor
Visit Vive le Canada for the complete attendance and agenda from the Banff meeting.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bill Clinton on the Daily Show

Below is a great interview with Bill Clinton from The Daily Show, addressing the former President's work on the Clinton Global Initiative - last week's meeting of world leaders and influential citizens, during which Richard Branson made his $3 billion dollar contribution to anti-global warminginititiaves, and a coalition of businesses announced a $1 billion fund for renewable energy.

As Clinton Himself says in the interview, the purpose of the conference is to bring together the leaders of business, politics, NGOs and private citizens to address issues of world concern, with the caveat being that those who attend must make a commitment to contribute to one of the Initiative's four areas:

  • Energy and Global Warming
  • Global Health
  • Poverty Mitigation
  • Mitigating Religious and Ethnic Conflict

Here's the clip:

Schwarzenegger Signs Landmark Climate Bill

Schwarzenegger put the final stamp on California's leading global warming action by signing into law the state's landmark bill calling for a 25% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020.

"We simply must do everything we can in our power to slow down global warming before it is too late, Schwarzengger said, adding the bill will "change the course of history."

The goal of the bill is to reduce the state's emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by an estimated 25 per cent by 2020.

Branson Calls for Reduction in Airline CO2 - Westjet Responds

British billionaire Richard Branson, who last week announced he was dedicated $3 billion towards anti-global warming initiatives, has issued a call to the airline industry for a 25% reduction in CO2 across the board.

Branson's proposals focus in large part on efficiency improvements that include reducing aircraft idling, which can be anywhere from 60-90 minutes per flight, by using a tug to bring planes to the starting grid 10 minutes before take off. Another plan is to condense European air traffic control systems in order to optimize the use of airspace. Currently there are 35 different air traffic control organizations operating in Europe, versus just one in the US.

British Airways has come out saying that global warming is a "critical problem facing the whole industry", and endorses many of Branson's ideas. They are also already committed to a working group of 70 airlines and airport owners to address the problem, of which Branson's Virgin Atlantic is one.

Seemingly in response to Branson's call, Westjet is now offsetting the CO2 for its flights booked through its green partner, Offsetters, at no extra cost. Passengers wishing to take advantage should book their flights with Westjet by clicking the Westjet logo on the page. Bookmark the site and return for all your domestic travel plans.

For those not flying Westjet, consider making your flight carbon neutral by purchasing your own carbon offset credits. The cost of offsetting a return trip from Toronto to Vancouver is just $10.97, New York to LA is $16.31, and Chicago to LA is a bargain at $9.19.

Reminder: Attenborough's "Can We Save Planet Earth?" on CBC Tonight

Here's a reminder that CBC's The Big Picture features part two of Sir David Attenborough's documentary Can We Save Planet Earth tonight. The show will present potential solutions to global warming, followed by a panel discussion about the road ahead. Acknowledging the scientific consensus on the issue, the debate will steer clear of the pointless "skeptics vs. alarmist" angle and focus on what we can do as individuals, a nation and a species to avert the impacts of climate change.

Attenborough's film lays out seven components of a sane response to global warming - strategies and targets from the household to big industries and government. But each one has implications, and many - like a growing reliance on nuclear power - are highly contentious. Our goal is to debate these strategies in a positive and constructive spirit: combating the paralysis of swirling fears with concrete ideas for informed action."

Bob Mills, Alberta Tory MP, Chair of the Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development
Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party
Terry Glavin, Author, Waiting for the Macaws
Mark Nantais, President, Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers' Association
Glen Murray, Chair, National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy

Showtime is Wednesday September 27 at 10pm ET/PT on CBC.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Online Petition to Bush for Action on Global Warming

Climate Ark is helping the momentum for global warming action with an online petition to George Bush urging the current administration to:

I call upon your government to immediately ratify Kyoto, and cease its obstruction of negotiations for Kyoto's future. Please constructively engage in further establishment of an international emissions cutting regime to oversee mandatory and equitable greenhouse gas emission cuts for all nations. Please use all peaceful means within your power to support renewable energy, energy conservation and efficiency, and to stop deforestation.

Click here to sign the petition and please forward to as many as possible.

Reduced Packaging Saves Wal-Mart $3.4 Billion

Adding to a string of recent green friendly announcements, Wal-Mart is unveiling a five-year plan to reduce packaging on the products it sells by 5 percent and reap an estimated $3.4 billion to $11 billion in cost savings in the process.

"A 2 percent reduction in a package's size is worth millions and millions of dollars," said Matt Kistler, Wal-Mart's vice president of product and packaging innovation.

Right Wing Rag Hails Bush's Climate Plan

Four years after promising a plan on global warming, Bush has issued a 224 page report and 100 year timeline that offers no foreseeable results. Titled the US Climate Change Technology Program Strategic Plan (USCCTPSP), the plan was released on the heels of Al Gore's visionary speech at NYU in a limp effort by the administration to divert attention away from Gore's address and the climate crisis.

Hailed by big business and right wing rags, Bush's report rounds up existing subsidies to nuclear, so called 'clean coal', and ethanol industries under one umbrella while offering a miniscule 7% increase to technology funding already in place.

In summary, the overall strategy is to provide miniscule funding to high efficiency technologies (that nobody will buy given a marketplace full of wasteful low cost options) while failing to do the one thing that would promote the use of cleaner technologies - imposing a cost or cap on carbon dioxide emissions.

If I didn't know this was real, I'd swear I was reading a story from The Onion.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Sir David Attenborough's "Are We Changing Planet Earth" on CBC

Last night, CBC Newsworld ran "Are We Changing Planet Earth" the latest documentary by legendary UK broadcaster Sir David Attenborough that explores the unprecedented impact of humans on the world's climate.

Part 2 airs Wednesday and features sensible, manageable, and meaningful changes available right now that can can save our planet without having us return to the days of horse and buggies. Details as follows:

Showtime is Wednesday September 27 at 10pm ET/PT on CBC's The Big Picture, followed by a debate on the solutions we have at hand for addressing this global problem. The documentary will repeat on Sunday October 1 at 7pm ET on CBC Newsworld.

Below is yesterday's opener in two parts. Even for those well versed in the story of climate change, the rare visuals and cinematography of Attenboroughs production is captivating. Check out the clips and tune in for this week's segment.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Ontario Moves Forward with Nuclear

Ontario Power Generation has started the formal process of gaining federal approval for the expansion of the Darlington Nuclear Plant in Durham, 50 kilometers east of Toronto. The move is in addition to the environmental assessment under way for the refurbishment of four mothballed nuclear units at Pickering.

Ontario's new energy plan calls for $40 billion in new nuclear capacity, and the continuation of nuclear's 50% share of the province's supply mix.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Ex Greenpeace Pres Spews Spin Over Science

Prior to becoming a professional spin doctor, salmon farmer, and apologist for unsustainable forestry, Patrick Moore was the cofounder of Greenpeace and served as that organization's president from 1977 to 1986. Proving that a man's beliefs follow his income, he has now become the latest "skeptic" in the lucrative business of misrepresenting the legitimate scientific evidence of global warming.

Last week the esteemed Royal Society, the world's oldest scientific society, issued a letter to Exxon rightfully criticizing them for funding groups that misrepresent the scientific facts of climate change. In that letter, the Royal Society accurately outlined the current scientific consensus on global warming, while quoting peer reviewed studies referencing more than 300 scientific papers that confirm the role of human generated CO2 in rising world temperatures.

In a response that wouldn't hold water in a junior high school debating club, Patrick Moore accused the Royal Society of repressing science.

"It appears to be the policy of the Royal Society to stifle dissent and silence anyone who may have doubts about the connection between global warming and human activity," said Patrick Moore, "The last thing the world needs is for the Royal Society to cast a chill over science. That kind of repression seems more suited to the Inquisition than to a modern, respected scientific body".

In his release, Patrick Moore (who apparently holds a doctorate) cited zero peer reviewed studies and referenced, you guessed it, zero scientific papers.

This is a case of the pot, who after failing to find a kettle to call black, simply makes stuff up. It seems that the past two decades have brought as much damage to Moore's scientific knowledge as it has to his personal integrity.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Clinton Launches $1 Billion Renewable Energy Plan

I should have waited before blowing Clinton's horn in yesterday's post. Following the unveiling of Richard Branson's $3 billion pledge to fight global warming, the former President closed out his three-day Clinton Global Initiative conference by announcing the creation of a $1 billion investment fund for renewable energy.

The new Green Fund is to focus on reducing fossil fuel dependence, job creation, pollution reduction, and fighting global warming while getting returns on capital invested.

Iceland Approaching 100% Renewable Energy

Why can the world's most remote, isolated, and environmentally fragile environment tackle global warming, while wealthy and resource rich North American's can't even admit it that climate change is occuring?

Iceland, once a country facing massive environmental degredation and choking coal pollution, indicates that they are approaching 100% reliance on renewable energy.

As a child half a century ago, (Iceland's president Olafur Ragnar Grimsson) seldom saw a day when Reykjavik, now a pristine capital, was not beneath a blanket of smoke. Its harbor was dominated by the coal terminal, and its waterway was clogged with coal-carrying ships.

He said Iceland has changed that by focusing on new energy sources. Had he thought in the 1950s he would see such a metamorphosis, Grimsson said, "I would have been considered a Utopian dreamer."

Granted, Iceland is blessed to a disproportionate degree with geothermal options, but North America also possesses abundant renewable sources, inlcuding significant untapped geothermal. Current production of geothermal electricity in the US is just 2,800 MW (equivalent to 4 large nuclear generators), yet the untapped capacity from California alone is an additional 4,000 MW. Combined with other renewable options North America is equally blessed in clean energy alternatives. Iceland has just two things that, to date, we've lacked - rampant environmental destruction and political will. We will end up closing the gap on at least one of those two variables. It's our choice as to which one.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

California Sues Car Firms for Global Warming

Though it will likely be unsuccessful, California has taken the bold move of suing car manufacturers for their impact on global warming.

In the unprecedented lawsuit, the state accused Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Honda, Chrysler and Nissan of creating a "public nuisance" and costing it millions of dollars. Environmental campaigners hailed the lawsuit as a landmark event in the effort to deal with global warming.

The case for knowingly causing harm, as with tobacco companies, doesn't quite exist with automobile manufacturers. However, given the volume of action taken by the auto industry to stop or stall various emission standards, including their current effort challenging a 2004 California law that requires a 30% reduction in automobile co2, it's high time the tables were turned.

Ambrose Sued for Leaving Spotted Owls to Die

Five prominent environmental groups have launched a lawsuit against Federal Environment Minister Rona Ambrose for failing to protect Canada's 17 remaining spotted owls. The lawsuit was launched in response to an announcement by Ambrose that "the Northern Spotted Owl does not currently face imminent threats to its survival or recovery."

Although an additional 3,000 to 6,000 owls remain in the US Pacific Northwest, Canada's population, all of which resides in the old growth forests of BC, has suffered a rapid decline in recent years, largely due to industrial logging in their habitat. With an original population estimated at 500, that number dropped to 100 in 1997, 23 in 2005, and now stands at 17 remaining birds.

Minister Ambrose maintains that the BC government is providing adequate protection for the remaining owls and there is no need for the feds to stop in. However, conservation groups say that the provincial recovery strategy is only a short-term PR exercise to avoid a political fallout during Vancouver's 2010 Olympic Games. The provincial plan calls for a captive breeding project that expires after the Olympics and completely fails to protect the old growth forests needed for the bird's long-term survival. The federal government has the authority to protect endangered species residing on provincial lands through Canada's Species at Risk Act.

Clinton's Growing Environmental Legacy

Six year's since he left public office, Bill Clinton continues to influence politics on the world stage, particularly for the environment, as he helps secure huge new contributions to fight global warming, and wilderness protections laws he passed are held up in court.

At Clinton's Global Initiative conference in New York, Richard Branson, Britain's eccentric billionaire and owner of Virgin Air announced that he would donate $3 billion over the next ten years to fund anti-global warming initiatives. Although criticized by some environmental groups for his over-reliance on bio-fuels, they recognize the call to action from one of the world's foremost business leaders.

Meanwhile, a federal district court yesterday ordered the reinstatement of the Clinton era "roadless rule" protecting nearly 50 million acres of wild national forests and grasslands from road building, logging, and development. The case was successfully fought by Earthjustice who though celebrating the win, expect further legal challenges to the rule.

Canada Gets Cozy with Uncle Sam

Following up on yesterday's post on the secret meeting held in Banff last week on North American deep integration, the story is finally moving into mainstream press, courtesy of the Toronto Star.

As reported yesterday, heads of government and business in Canada, the US and Mexico (including Donald Rumsfeld, Stockwell Day, Chevron, Lockheed Martin and NORAD) met in Banff from September 12th to 14th to pursue a closed door agenda for the merging or 'deep integration' of North American economies, currency and security. The media has been almost entirely silent.

Today The Star published an editorial by Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians on the meeting and its implications for Canadian sovereignty, environment and foreign policy.

The event was organized by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives — the elite club of Canada's richest CEOs — and the Canada West Foundation, an Alberta think-tank that promotes, among other things, closer economic integration with the United States.....
Since Paul Martin, Vicente Fox and George W. Bush signed the Security and Prosperity Partnership in March 2005, discussions on continental integration have gone underground.

The media have paid little attention to this far-reaching agreement, so Canadians are unaware that a dozen working groups are currently "harmonizing" Canadian and U.S. regulations on everything from food to drugs to the environment and even more contentious issues like foreign policy.

Make no mistake, this process of harmonization is not about improving food, environmental and other norms; it is about priming North America for better business by weakening the impacts of such perceived obstacles as environmental standards and labour rights.
For more information and online discussion see the running threads on Daily Kos and The Next Agenda, as well as Creekside for more coverage on last week's meeting in Banff.

In addition, here is an article that ran last week in Maclean's that details the major meeting held last March, which included Stephen Harper.

Ron Covais is in a hurry. The president of the Americas for defence giant Lockheed Martin, and a former Pentagon adviser to Dick Cheney, he's one of a cherry-picked group of executives who were whisked to Cancún in March by the leaders of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, and asked to come up with a plan for taking North American integration beyond NAFTA. Covais figures they've got less than two years of political will to make it happen. That's when the Bush administration exits, and "The clock will stop if the Harper minority government falls or a new government is elected."

In Cancún, the executives gathered behind closed doors in a luxury hotel and vented about slow borders, duplicate regulations and the competitive threat from the European Union and Asia. "It was an intimate discussion. It was a lot of fun, there were no reporters, just a freewheeling discussion on the things that drive you crazy," recalls Annette Verschuren, the president of Home Depot Canada, who flew in on Harper's jet and said the PM was "very engaged."
Contact your local papers and demand to know why they are not covering this story, as well as your representative in Parliament, Congress or the Senate and make your views known.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Rumsfeld Leads Secret Talks on North American Merger

Unbeknownst (and unreported) to citizens of Canada, the United States and Mexico, top government, military, and corporate leaders from all three nations secretly met in Banff this past week to pursue discussions on the merging of North American security, economy and defense.

Among the officials attending were Donald Rumsfeld US Secretary of Defense; Stockwell Day Minister of Public Safety, Government of Canada; NORAD; corporate executives from Chevron, Suncor Energy and Lockheed Martin; government officials from departments of energy, trade and military; and chief ambassadors from all three nations.

Staggeringly, almost no major media outlet has picked up this meeting or covered its agenda. Perhaps because the nature of that agenda has intentionally been kept secret.

Alternatively referred to as "deep integration" or the "Security and Prosperity Partnership", these meetings are an extension of the integration policies begun under NAFTA, but unlike the previous agreement, this round of North American integration is not being developed as a single law. Rather, it will be created through a range of initiatives not available for citizen review, that share the common aim of integrating North American security, immigration and trade while freeing corporations from government oversight. All of this is being done while bypassing the democratic process of each nation.

This is posted here because the integration of North American defense and economies is a threat to not only the environment but to all progressive concerns. By fundamentally removing democratic power from citizens and placing it in the hands of the corporate elite, and unaccountable government bodies, deep integration is mapping out a future for the continent that few citizens would agree to. The impact would not only threaten Canadian independence but also our health and education institutions, while opening the door to widespread environment exploitation in the name of "North American energy policy".

The potential consequences are immense. Most importantly, we are entitled to a voice in any discussions that would dissolve national borders or the democratic rights of citizens. Each of us needs to do three things

- contact your local papers and demand to know why they are not covering this story.
- contact your representative in Parliament, Congress or the Senate and make your views known.
- forward this information to as many people as you can.

Below is the confirmed attendance from the event. For the complete agenda click here and scroll to the bottom portion of the page.

(Internal Document, Not for Public Release)

Report dated August 31, 2006

Forum Co-Chairs:
Dr. Pedro Aspe
Hon. Peter Lougheed
Hon. George Shultz

Canadian Participants

Col. Peter Atkinson Special Advisor to Chief of Defence Staff
Hon. Perrin Beatty Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters
Mr. Peter M. Boehm Assistant Deputy Minister, North America
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
Mr. Thomas d’Aquino Canadian Council of Chief Executives
Hon. Stockwell Day Minister of Public Safety, Government of Canada
Dr. Wendy Dobson The Institute for International Business
Mr. N. Murray Edwards Edco Financial Holdings Ltd.
Mr. Ward Elcock Deputy Minister of National Defence
Mr. Bill Elliott Associate Deputy Minister, Public Safety
Dr. John English The Cdn Centre for International Governance Innovation
Mr. Brian Felesky Felesky Flynn LLP
Mr. Richard L. George Suncor Energy Inc.
Dr. Roger Gibbins Canada West Foundation
Rear Adm Roger Girouard Commander Joint Task Force Pacific, Cdn Forces
Major Gen Daniel Gosselin Director General, International Security Policy
Mr. James K. Gray Canada West Foundation
Mr. Fred Green Canadian Pacific Railway
Mr. V. Peter Harder Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Paul J. Hill Harvard Developments Inc.
General Rick Hillier Chief of the Defence Staff
Mr. Pierre Marc Johnston Heenan Blaikie
Mr. James Kinnear Pengrowth Corporation
Mr. Harold N. Kvisle TransCanada Corporation
Hon. John P. Manley McCarthy Tetrault LLP
Mr. Ron Mannix Coril Holdings Ltd.
Mr. Ron Mathison Matco Investments
Hon. Anne McLellan Senior Counsel, Bennett Jones
Hon. Greg Melchin Minister of Energy, Government of Alberta
Ms.Sharon Murphy Chevron Canada
Ms. Sheila O’Brien President, Corporate Director, Belvedere Investments
Hon. Gordon O’Connor Minister of Defense, Government of Canada
Mr. Berel Rodal International Center on Nonviolent Conflict
Mr. Gordon Smith Chairman, The International Development Research Centre

American Participants

Ms. Deborah Bolton Political Advisor to Commander, US Northcom
Mr. Ron T. Covais, President, The Americas, Lockheed Martin Corporation
Sec. Kenneth W. Dam Max Pam Professor Emeritus of American & Foreign Law and Senior Lecturer, University of Chicago Law School
Mr. Dan Fisk Senior Director, Western Hemisphere, National Security Council
Sec. Ryan Henry Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
Ms. Carla A. Hills Chairman & CEO, Hills & Co.
Ms. Caryn Hollis DASD (Acting) Western Hemisphere Affairs
Mr. Bill Irwin Manager - International Government Affairs; Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Chevron Corporation
Mr. Robert G. James President, Enterprise Asset Management Inc.
Admiral Tim Keating Commander, US Northern Command
Mr. Floyd Kvamme Chair, President’s Council of Advisors on Science & Technology; Director, Centre for Global Security Res.
Dr. Ronald F. Lehman II Director, Center for Global Security Research, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Mr. William W. McIlhenny Policy Planning Council for Western Hemisphere Affairs
Dr. Peter McPherson President, National Association of State Universities & Land-Grant Colleges
Ms. Doris Meissner Senior Fellow, Migration Policy Institute
Dr. George Miller Director, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Mr. George Nethercutt Chairman, US Section of the Permanent Joint Board on
Defense, US – Canada (Security)
Mary Anastasia O’Grady Journalist for Wall Street Journal (Area Specialist)
Dr. Robert A. Pastor Director, Center for North American Studies, American
University, Washington, DC
Dr. William Perry Co-Director, Preventive Defense Project
Lt. Gen. Gene Renuart USAF Senior Military Assist. to Sec. Rumsfeld
Mr. Eric Ruff Department of Defense Press Secretary
Sec. Donald R. Rumsfeld Secretary of Defense, US Department of Defense
Dr. James Schlesinger Former Sec. Of Energy & Defense
Mr. William Schneider President, International Planning Services
Sec. Clay Sell Deputy Secretary of Energy, US Dept. of Energy
Dr. Thomas A. Shannon Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere A
Dr. David G. Victor Director, Program on Energy & Sustainable Development, Center for Environmental Science & Policy
Maj. Gen. Mark A Volcheff Director, Plans, Policy & Strategy, NORAD-NORTHCOM
Ms. Jane Wales President & CEO, World Affairs Council of Northern California
Mr. R. James Woolsey Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton

Mexican Participants:

Emb Andrés Rozental (Mexican Coordinator) – Mexican Council on Foreign Relations
Silvia Hernández Former Senator and Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on North America
Mario Molina 1995 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
Fernando Chico Pardo CEO, Promecap
Juan Gallardo CEO, Grupo GEUSA
Gerónimo Gutiérrez Deputy Foreign Minister for North America
Luis de la Calle Consultant. Former Deputy Minister of Economy
Agustín Barrios Gómez Solutions Abroad
Vinicio Suro PEMEX
Eduardo Medina Mora Secretary of Public Security
Carlos Heredia State Government of Michoacán
Jaime Zabludowsky Consultant. Former trade negotiator
Manuel Arango CEO, Grupo Concord
Jorge Santibañez President, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte
Luis Rubio CIDAC
Mónica Serrano El Colegio de México, Señor Fellow Oxford University
Arturo Sarukhan Coordinator of Int’l Affairs, Campaign of Felipe Calderon
Juan Camilo Mouriño General Coordinator of President Elect’s transition team
Ernesto Cordero Coordinator for Public Policy Issues

Ambassadors/Consul General:

Mr. Carlos de Icaza, Ambassador of Mexico to the United States
Mr. Gaëtan Lavertu Ambassador of Canada to Mexico
Ms. Maria Teresa Garcia Segovia de Madero, Ambassador of Mexico to Canada
Mr. Thomas Huffaker U.S. Consul General in Calgary (on DOD’s list)
Mr. John Dickson Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy in Ottawa
(representing Ambassador of US to Canada)
Mr. Colin Robertson Minister & Head, Washington Advocacy Secretariat,
(representing Ambassador of Canada to US)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Gore Corners Bush Into Action

Al Gore has led a remarkable charge from the left that appears to have forced President Bush into action.

As Mr. Gore spoke at NYU yesterday outlining a platform of policy change to address global warming and the environment, Bush is ready to concede the global warming fight with a full policy u-turn. Perhaps as early as the next week due to Gore NYU speech, but more likely in time for January's State of the Union address, Bush is expected to announce an initiative to tackle climate change. No details are forthcoming yet, and some environmentalists are already beginning their criticism; however, the fact that Bush is recognizing the issue at all will open the door up for broader action in Washington.

The policy shift represents a remarkable coup, catalyzed by An Inconvenient Truth, but led by a remarkable range of leaders from both sides of the political fence. State governors in California and the northeast have moved ahead with their own solutions, the religious right has increasingly been campaigning for action, and the conversion of an increasing number of skeptics have all combined to push the US towards a tipping point on action.

The battle may need to continue, but with Bush beginning to take action we'll soon be moving in the right direction.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Remedial vs Advanced Classes in Climate Change

A study by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research is urging Britain to ramp up action on global warming, saying they have just four years to establish a road map that will ensure a low-carbon economy and a needed 70% reduction in co2 over the next thirty years.

Down the hall in the remedial class, renowned US climate expert and NASA scientist James Hansen is telling the President that the US has a narrow ten year window to do something.

The marked difference of time frames is obviously not a testament to faulty science. Rather, it shows the disparity of social, political and intellectual maturity between the two cultures - something we need to rapidly come to terms with here in the western hemisphere.

In the developed countries of the New World - the US, Canada and Australia - part of our resistance to climate change comes the culture of excess we enjoy, and the seemingly inexhaustible plenty of our natural resources. For Europeans, Japanese, and the even the rapidly developing Chinese economy, the idea that human beings can impact their natural surroundings is made obvious through their enormous population densities and the relative scarcity of natural resources. The point is brought further home by thousands of years of Old World history that is largely defined by conflict and wars over those same limited resources. In North America, few of us see our direct impact on the environment, and other than our swift decimation of the native populations, we have never faced direct competition for our natural capital.

But beyond our low population density and wealth of resources there is a more insidious problem, namely our puritanical inability to accept rigorously tested and overwhelming scientific evidence that demonstrates our environmental impact. In European terms, our hysterical opposition to scientific facts on climate change is eerily similar to 1633 Florence, where the Catholic Church imprisoned Galileo for demonstrating that the universe revolved not around the Earth, as religious scholars maintained, but the Sun. In much the same way, Bush and the bishops of big oil actively seek to sentence those advancing scientific evidence for global warming to a social and professional exile - Hansen being one of many whose work was silenced or heavily edited by Bush officials.

Perhaps this isn't surprising. Since the time of Galileo, Europe has moved through centuries of scientific advancement, been home to two world wars, and witnessed the decline of their colonial empires. Both psychologically and economically, they have been required to face the reality of multiple cultures competing over shared resources, and have learned to work with others to protect resources for a shared prosperity. North Americans and Australians by comparison are still playing in the sandbox of the global social world, holding tight to what they believe to be 'theirs' and being unwilling to negotiate beyond that.

Granted, Europe has had nearly 400 years to mature since the days they locked up their scientists as heretics, but as the experts above have said, we have just 4 to 10 years to get this job done (depending on what level of maturity you are ready for). Now would be a good time to brush the dirt off our trousers and take a seat at the grown up table. Leaving our fantasies back in the sandbox and recognizing the scientific evidence for global warming is one place to start.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Guardian Profiles Ray Anderson

Courtesy of sustainablog, Ray Anderson was profiled in yesterday's edition of The Guardian. For those unfamiliar with Anderson, he rose to public attention as the founder and CEO of the world's largest manufacturer of carpets, Interface, where in 1994 he set the company on the road to becoming the world's foremost leader in sustainable business. Movie goers will also have seen this visionary business leader in interview footage in The Corporation. Here's a snippet from their website.

In August 1994, Interface's Chairman and CEO, Ray Anderson, received Paul Hawken's book, The Ecology of Commerce. A few weeks later, a professor from a local university gave him a copy of Daniel Quinn's book, Ishmael. These two books not only changed Anderson's life but made him understand why it should change. Subsequently, the whole corporate culture of Interface became infused with sustainability.

Later that year, Interface committed to become the first name in industrial ecology worldwide, in substance, not just in words. Ray Anderson provided his global team with a mission to convert Interface to a restorative enterprise; first by reaching sustainability in business practices, and then becoming truly restorative-a company returning more than it takes-by helping others reach sustainability.

Interface's formal mission is to be the first company to be truly sustainable in people, process, product, place and profits by 2020, and a review of their progress report is simply dazzling.

Both Ray Anderson's profile and the company's success are must reading for every person who responds to progressive environmental solutions with the words "We can't".

Thursday, September 14, 2006

White Buffalo Joins New Bird Species

It was a week of rare beauty in the animal world. In India, the first new bird species in 50 years was identified and photographed, while a miracle returned to the American midwest.

Bugun Liocichla is the name given to the new bird species that was discovered Indian astronomer and bird watcher Ramana Athreya. He first spotted the bird in 1995, but he could not confirm the sighting until 11 years later when the bird was spotted this past May. According to scientists there are just 14 known birds of the species, including 3 breeding pairs, with their home being the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.

Rarer still is the birth of a white buffalo in Wisconsin. White (not albino) buffalo are extremely uncommon with the odds being 1 in millions against, yet this is the third such animal born to the farm. In 1994, a female named 'Miracle' entered the world and lived for 1o years before dying in 2004 and was thought to be the first since 1933. In 1996 a second was born, though it died after only three days, but now a newborn male, unrelated to the Miracle, has arrived. In Native American lore, the white buffalo is a spritually significant and important occurence, and the concentration of three in one place makes the event even more auspicious.

It's no surprise that the farm has had another white buffalo, said Floyd "Looks for Buffalo" Hand, a medicine man in the Oglala Sioux Tribe in Pine Ridge, S.D. He said it was fate that the white buffaloes chose one farm, which will become a focal point for visitors, who make offerings like tobacco and dream catchers in the hopes of earning good fortune and peace.
"That's destiny," he said. "The message was only choose one person."

"That this latest birth is a male doesn't make it any less significant in American Indian prophecies, which say that such an animal will reunite all the races of man and restore balance to the world. The coat on this animal, like Miracle before it, will change from white to black, red and yellow, the colors of the various races of man, before turning brown again."

We can only hope.

BP Ensuring Alaska Won't Be Drilled

Pete Domenici, chair of the Senate Energy Committee, announced on Tuesday that British Petroleum's bungling management of pipelines in Alaska's North Slope could jeopardize efforts to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Calling the events inexcusable, Domenici indicates that BPs failure could lead to reduced support in Congress for the controvertial ANWR drilling operation.

Meanwhile, the Anchorage Daily News is reporting that BP had been warned repeatedly for the harrasment and intimidation of pipeline-corrosion workers throughout 2003 and 2004 - actions which resulted in workers fearing to report critical environmental and safety concerns. Underlining the point, this was occuring while the oil giant was under federal probation on a felony count for failing to report the dumping of hazardous materials into a well at the Endicott field.

Apparently unsatisfied with their demostration of incompetence and disregard for public safety, BP also announced Tuesday that it was cleaning up an oil spill at the Port of Long Beach in California where 1,000 barrels of gas oil leaked from an underground pipeline.

Clearly the oil industry in general, and BP in particular, is not capable of carrying out a responsible drilling project in ANWR. While environmentalists condemn them for past damage, they may also have extend BP their thanks for inadvertently closing the door on future Alaskan drilling projects through a consistent and unwavering demostration of their incompetence.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Tail of Two Fish

Of all life on Earth, none captures our imagination and political attention like the giants of both land and water. The shear scale of some creatures are enough to overcome the normal political blocks that often encumber conservation efforts. Thanks to that bias, two giants of the deep represent some of our best successes - the whales of the oceans and the giant freshwater strugeon.

Recent decades have seen huge rebounds in whale populations, and this week it was reported that the sturgeon are returning to the Great Lakes. To date, strong conservation and protection has remained in place as North American sturgeon populations slowly increase, but in the case of the world's whales, stronger populations have led to more adamant calls for the return of commercial whaling, with Iceland just announcing that it will export whale meat for the first time in 15 years.

The move is the latest by the international whaling community who have been engaged in a long term, focused effort to lift the International Whaling Commission's moratorium. This past spring, the IWC voted in favour of the eventual return of commercial whaling largely on the strength of Japan's policy of offering foreign aid and IWC membership dues to poorer nations in return for pro-whaling votes.

Prudence and sound conservation efforts are bringing these giants back from the brink of extinction. In the face of commercial demand, it is those same efforts that will ensure their continued survival. The world should be keeping a close eye as Japan and the pro-whaling lobby continue to dismantle the safeguards built up over the past decades, and Canada would do well to join the IWC and add their voice in support of conservation.

Note: Yes I know a whale is not a fish. Cut me some slack.

Elizabeth May to Address Canada's Enviro Record

Later this week, the Green Party of Canada's newly elected leader, Elizabeth May, will be holding her first news conference, where she will address the Harper government's recent cancellation of funds to Kyoto's Clean Development Mechanism as well as their elimination of the Ambassador for the Environment & Sustainable Development post.

Press conference details:
Event: News Conference
Date: Thursday, September 14th, 2006
Time: 10:30am
Place: Charles Lynch Press Theatre, Room 130-S, Centre Block, House of Commons, Ottawa

Speakers: Elizabeth May, Green Party of Canada Leader. David Chernushenko, Green Party of Canada Deputy Leader

The Economist On Global Warming

Two more are throwing their names into the increasingly unlikely group of conservatives calling for action on global warming.

The cover story of this week's issue of the The Economist addresses the threat of climate change from a decidedly conservative standpoint, and draws the same conclusion as the scientific community - that global warming is a serious threat that merits our attention. In essence, they do what almost no conservative minded think tank, politician, or media outlet has done. They rationally address the risk of climate change, based on scientific evidence, and make recommendations based on that analysis.

So is it really worth using public resources now to avert an uncertain, distant risk, especially when the cash could be spent instead on goods and services that would have a measurable near-term benefit?
If the risk is big enough, yes. Governments do it all the time. They spend a small slice of tax revenue on keeping standing armies not because they think their countries are in imminent danger of invasion but because, if it happened, the consequences would be catastrophic. Individuals do so too. They spend a little of their incomes on household insurance not because they think their homes are likely to be torched next week but because, if it happened, the results would be disastrous. Similarly, a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that the risk of a climatic catastrophe is high enough for the world to spend a small proportion of its income trying to prevent one from happening.

Lest we forget, the traditional definition of conservatism is not a synonym for irrationality (though their modern leaders do their apparent best to leave that impression) and the editors of this article do an excellent job of proving that point.

Joining The Economist is the American Christian right, who are rolling out a new documentary film for the expressed purpose of influencing Washington to reduce greenhouse gases.

Coming soon to a movie screen near you: prayers, politics and a feature-length film, united in an effort to mobilize religious groups around global warming concerns in time for the U.S. midterm election.

With a new documentary titled "The Great Warming" as their chief campaign tool, a coalition of religious leaders, environmentalists and businesses are spreading copies of the film into churches around the country. Voter guides and themed sermons are also part of the plan.

The aim of the screenings, like one held in Kansas last week, is to turn the large and powerful conservative Christian constituency into a voting block united behind making the reduction of greenhouse gases a top priority among politicians.

Right wing pundits won't be able to so much as think of swift-boating the messengers of this climate campaign. To do so would leave the Republican officials they support hung out to dry in front of their bread-and-butter voting constituency.

So in the past couple of weeks we've had a Republican Governor, an oil company president, a leading conservative publication and the voter backbone of the Bush administration, the Christian right, call on the President for action on global warming.

Any comments from the right? Anyone?......Bueller......Bueller.......

Monday, September 11, 2006

Amory Lovins on Winning the Oil Endgame

Here is a detailed and valuable discussion on the science and economics of weaning the nation off oil by Amory Lovins. The CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute - an entrepreneurial nonprofit organization that researches sustainable solutions for the economy - Lovins gives a long but exacting lecture on the readily available solutions that we have for reducing oil consumption today, and gives the business case for adopting them. In lay terms, he provides genuine facts, authentic analysis, and genuine solutions to the oil dependency that is draining our pockets and destroying the environment. Here's his bio from Wiki:

Amory Bloch Lovins was trained in physics and has worked professionally as an environmentalist. He is co-CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute. Lovins has been one of the most influential American voices advocating a "soft energy path" for the U.S. and other nations. He has been able to assemble a very impressive array of facts, computations, economic-analyses, forecasts, and arguments that appeal on a common-sense level. He has advocated energy-use and energy-production concepts based, on one hand, on conservation and efficiency, and on the other, on the use of renewable sources of energy and on generation of energy at or near the site where the energy is actually used.

The chat is an hour and a half long so get comfy. Real Player plugin required.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

De Dutch Do Kyoto

A small piece of good news for Sunday courtesy of DeSmogBlog. The Netherlands have announced that their emissions for 2005 dropped 2% from the previous year, and they are now just shy of reaching their 1990 greenhouse gas levels. Under Kyoto, they are required to reduce emissions to 5% below 1990 levels by 2010. So far, they're looking good.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Shell's President Demands Action On Global Warming

Stating that the debate over global warming is over, the President of Shell Oil is denouncing US leaders for failing to come up with a strategy to address climate change. In a pointed statement, John Hofmeister called the US a "culture of excess" that uses 25% of the Earth's energy despite having only 8% of the population.

The AP reported today that Shell Oil Company president John Hofmeister publicly denounced U.S. leaders for not piecing together a strategy to combat global warming. He believes the debate over the science of climate change is over and says, "It's a waste of time to debate it. Policymakers have a responsibility to address it. The nation needs public policy. We'll adjust."

Mr. Hofmeister joins recent high profile leaders who are speaking out against Bush's inaction. Included in that list is California Governor Schwarzenegger, who successfully worked with both state Democrats and Republicans to pass the nation's most aggressive strategy to fight global arming, also directed strong words towards the President.

"I don't think one should look at greenhouse gas emissions or global warming as a political issue," Schwarzenegger told ABC News. "So, if that policy of fighting global warming is against our, the Bush Administration, then so be it."

And on Wednesday, Al Gore predicted that, thanks to California's leadership and pressure from other prominent Republicans, George Bush would shift his current policy stance on global warming.

With the voice of the world's third largest oil company now added to the company supporting action, real progress in the debate is finally occurring. Even the dilusional skeptics of global warming will need to pause now that corporate leaders who profit from fossil fuels are coming forward with some of the strongest words in support of climate change action.

However, despite some progress in the United States, Canada is lagging behind. Harper had best be watching events south of the boreder carefully, as the only thing that could make him look worse in the eyes of environmental voters than he already does is coming up second to George W in addressing global warming.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Global Warming Warning Signs - Interactive Map

Here is a great interactive map that shows worldwide direct impacts of climate change such as heat waves and retreating glaciers, in addition to extreme weather events and fires.

A good counter point to the global warming solutions map posted earlier this week.

Wal-Mart's Proving the Organic Lobby Irrelevant

The organic food movement needs help. Posted online this week is a story alleging that the Bush administration is threatening to authorize a list of synthetic ingredients in certified organic food appeared on the Your Organics site, a self proclaimed "Authority Site for Organic News, Information, Resources, Tips & Goodies".

Corporate America (Kraft, Wal-Mart, & Dean Foods) along with the USDA and the not so smart members of Congress, are trying to lower the organic standards and gain control therby putting our organic standards at risk. A Bush appointee is drafting a list of synthetic ingredients that would be allowed organic production. To make matters even worse these proposed “regulatory” changes will slim down any future discussion and input pulicly (sic) and get rid of the National Organic Standards Board’s (NOSB) traditional lead jurisdiction in setting the organic standards.

The article goes on to urge readers to action by signing an Organic Consumers Association (OCA) petition - not against synthetic chemicals in food (which I gladly would have signed) - but rather for the boycott of organic milk producers that allegedly employ factory farming techniques. On that page is no source material for the allegations; however, there is a link to a piece on grass-fed (not organic) cows for beef production.

Meanwhile on the OCA site another article puts forward opinions against Wal-Mart entering the organic market because it will pose a risk to small farmers and represents a social justice issue.

But while there are potential upsides to Wal-Mart's move, it also offers plenty of reasons to organic Wal-Mart could do "more harm than good" because of the changes it will bring about in the organic food industry....Though Wal-Mart, like Whole Foods, has agreed to source some products locally, most family-scale organic farmers will not supply big-box retailers directly. But many farmers will nonetheless struggle to meet Wal-Mart's price, in order to supply competing retailers or simply hang on to customers. "Every farmer has to compete because Wal-Mart is in every market," explains Mark Kastel, senior farm policy analyst at the Cornucopia Institute, a progressive research group that advocates for small farmers. "From an economic justice standpoint," he adds, Wal-Mart's plan to go more aggressively organic is "a disaster" because it could prove ruinous for so many family farms.

I support local production and small business at every opportunity, but so called progressives who are condemning Wal-Mart for offering organics at an affordable price to a greater number of families are committing a far greater breach of social justice. Namely, they are asking the poorer segments of society to pay the price for their utopian ideals by not supporting an initiative that would provide millions of lower income consumers with access to affordable, toxic free, food.

Each and every individual has the inherent right to food that is free of toxic chemicals, antibiotics and other harmful substances. This human concern should be the first and foremost value of the organic food industry, and as such they should be championing opportunities to make this goal a reality. Animal rights, worker's wages, fair trade issues, and labour rights are worthy, but separate issues, and by folding them into one all encompassing crusade, organic advocates are widdling away their own influence and proving themselves irrelevant in the debate about the future of organic food standards.

The more consumers who want to purchase toxin free food, the greater the power of market demand, and the more market forces will take over in the organics industry. Like them or hate them, Wal-Mart is listening to that market demand, and because of they are it is they who are in Washington defining the future of organic standards, while the organic food producers and industry groups remain at the sidelines.

The organic food producers should be in Wal-Mart's boardroom and on Capitol Hill working for the best way to make Wal-Mart's initiative a success, and to ensure that the highest possible standards of organic integrity are maintained in the move towards the mass market. But to do that they first need to let go of the utopian ideal that a litre of organic milk must qualify as fair trade, fair wage, violate no labour rights, is produced from pasture raised cattle, from local farmers, and infringes on no animal rights issues.

The average consumer cares about all of these issues, but the low to middle income families that Wal-Mart is serving care first about ensuring a healthy diet for themselves and their children. This demand is the reason why Wal-Mart is going organic. By failing to recognize that, the current organic lobby is squandering an opportunity to provide real progressive and environmental leadership, while alienating a whole new community of potential supporters.

Ultimately, environmentalists in this debate have to make a critical decision about themselves and the future of their cause. Is the cause to coddle our own egos by hiding from the real world in an isolated utopian ideal, where no injustices occur, while never finding a place or voice in the broader political world? Or is it to make pragmatic and tangible environmental progress by embracing new partnerships and moving into leadership positions where we can sit across from the key decision makers in public policy and directly influence it for the better?

I for one would rather see real progress than idealistic dreaming.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Renewable Energy Projects Where You Live

Search for renewable energy projects in your home province, state or country with this interactive google map from The Renewable Planet. Individual project markers lead to full page write ups and photos to give the good news happening in your community. Use the search box on the left, then zoom in for a close up.

Wolves Return to Eastern Germany

Extinct for more than a century, wolves have returned to Eastern Germany. The population now numbers 20 and is thought to have migrated from growing populations in Poland and Slovakia to take up their current residence in vacated industrial and military sites.

The German wolves join their brethren in Italy, Austria, France and the Baltic states who have also rebounded from the brink of extinction, while Germany has also been seeing an a comeback in the crane and the white-tailed eagle.

The call of the wild returns to Europe!

Antarctic Ice Core Goes Back 800,000 years

The latest Antarctic ice core sends our climate history back 800,000 years, and once again the message is crystal clear - people are impacting carbon dioxide levels in unprecedented ways and are posing a danger to the health of our planet.

For Canada, there is both good and bad news. While a recent poll indicates that 77% of Canadians believe that we should meet or exceed our commitments under Kyoto, the Harper government appears poised to do little about it. A sneak preview of their upcoming environment plan, in addition to recently leaked documents suggest that the Tories will shelve or delay action on climate change for some time, perhaps indefinitely, while they seek to convince Canadians that they are addressing the issue through battling smog.

I can only guess that given Harper's Alberta voter base is high and dry, he sees the ultimate fate of our coastal cities to be of little concern.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

More of Alaska's Glaciers Past vs. Present

In a follow up to my original post detailing the retreat of Alaska's glaciers over time, here is a second series of pics.

Holgate Glacier - Northwest-looking photograph taken from near the head of Holgate Arm, Aialik Bay, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska.

Unnamed Glacier - North-looking photograph taken near the retreating unnamed valley glacier that forms the East Fork of the Teklanika River, Denali

Pedersen Glacier - Southwest-looking photograph taken from a shoreline location of Pedersen Glacier, Aialik Bay, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska.

Muir Glacier - An alternate shot from the first post, this one north-looking taken from a shoreline location near Muir Point, Muir Inlet, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Photo credits:
credits: USGS Photo Library, Denver, Colorado, the U.S. Geological Survey & the National Park Service
Photo source: NSIDC Special Collections

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Conscious Earth Hits 5,000

This Labour Day weekend, just over three months after joining the online community, The Conscious Earth has reached its 5,000th hit. Thank you to everyone who stopped by, and please return for much more in the coming months.

VoW: The Human & Fish CAN Live Peacefully

Video of the Week. Thanks for the tip George.........

Friday, September 01, 2006

Tory Enviro Spin Update

In our continued campaign of debunking the Tories' environmental propaganda plan, here is a story (also picked up by the Cowboys) from yesterday chronicling a leaked government report stating Harper's government has been paying polling companies for groups aimed at spinning their environment plan and pulling the political debate away from global warming.

Conservative plans for a new environmental policy - said to rely heavily on pollution-fighting measures rather than climate change - fall in line with what focus groups told researchers this summer.

"Comments suggest that the environment is a possible wedge issue for this government. It has the potential to surface rapidly in the public consciousness in response to events and to be seen as an issue on which government performance will ultimately be assessed."

I've written previously this week on what a true environmental plan would look like. Just remember when his plan is revealed that smog does not equal global warming. And be sure to hold this minority government, and their Made in Canada plan, to account for dealing with climate change.

Toronto's Garbage Crisis Will Boost Sustainability

Ontario's Environment Minister Laurel Broten has announced that Toronto and other municipalities need to stop diverting trash to Michigan by 2010.

The announcement is good news for Ontario's looming garbage crisis. It is also a good compromise that will stop Michigan from pursuing legislative channels that could have closed the border to Ontario's waste as early as the New Year, while spurring communities in Southern Ontario to adopt greater efficiency, conservation and recycling to handle their waste.

Among the solutions to handle future waste being proposed include municipal composting facilities (the first to open in Peel in April), low emission energy-from-waste incinerators, and adding to existing waste reduction targets such as Toronto's initial goal of a 20% reduction.

Though it is a painful and messy process, the situation illustrates the need to incorporate market signals into our environmental policies. With the closing of the border, Ontario will be forced to address the true cost of their garbage and handle their own waste in the face rising costs that are estimated to jump by 50 per cent — from $198 million in 2006 to $298 million - over the next 5 to 6 years.

Shouldering that cost burden spurs true innovation and responsibility, and the municipalities are already stepping up to the plate. Now its up to Premier Dalton McGinty to provide Ontario's cities with the sort of support they have been calling for for years.