“We have not come here to beg world leaders to care,” declared 15-year-old Greta Thunberg of Sweden at the COP 24 conference in Katowice, Poland. “They have ignored us in the past and they will ignore us again. We have come here to let them know that change is coming whether they like it or not. Since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago.”
Thunberg, who was unknown last July, has been on strike outside her school every Friday since late August demanding action on climate change and tweeting under the hashtag #FridaysForFuture. The protest has spread across Europe and around the world, and led to her invitation to speak at COP24.
Thunberg is only one. Stella Bowles, 14, was disgusted by the fecal pollution in Nova Scotia’s LaHave River, and shamed governments into organizing a $15 million cleanup. MORE
See also Canada’s Top 25 Environmental Under 25 chosen by Starfish Canada where you can nominate young leaders across Canada.
The Pan-Canadian Wind Integration Study (PCWIS) assessed the operational and economic implications of integrating large amounts of wind energy into the Canadian electricity system.
The study’s findings indicate that Canada can get more than one-third of its electricity from wind energy without compromising grid reliability – and at the same time realize economic and environmental benefits.
Wind energy is an important source of clean, renewable energy and is one of the fastest growing major sources of new electricity around the world. In Canada, wind energy capacity has grown by an average of 15 per cent annually for the past five years, making it the largest source of new electricity generation in the country. MORE
The good, the bad, the ugly, and the ridiculous from the past year
..So, without further ado, here are the major environmental stories of 2018, as curated by Sierra editors and the leadership of the Sierra Club….
Keep It in the Ground Movement Plugs Oil and Gas Pipelines
PHOTO BY LEONID EREMEYCHUK/ISTOCK
For several years now (at least since Bill McKibben wrote his now-canonical essay, “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math”), grassroots environmentalists have been making the case that virtually any new fossil fuel development is incompatible with maintaining a stable climate, since we are rapidly burning through our “carbon budget.” This Keep It in the Ground movement has fought gas export terminals, defeated coal export terminals, and waged pitched battles against the Bayou Bridge pipeline, the Line 3 pipeline, and, famously, the Dakota Access pipeline. Often the resistance takes the form of protests and rallies; sometimes it comes in the form of civil disobedience. And almost always there are some lawyers from the Sierra Club or Earthjustice or NRDC making arguments in court.
In 2018, some judges started to listen, and dealt a series of major setbacks to pipeline projects. MORE
The Brooklyn Microgrid reimagines the traditional energy grid model, with the concept of a communal energy network. While the utility provider still maintains the electrical grid that delivers power, the actual energy is generated, stored, and traded locally by members of the community, for a more resilient and sustainable clean energy model. MORE
Bowery Farming’s New Jersey factory will include energy storage, solar panels, and on-site gas generation.
The Bowery Farming facility, inside a converted warehouse in Kearny, New Jersey.
A solar-powered microgrid will soon help an urban agriculture startup grow vegetable greens inside a converted New Jersey warehouse.
Bowery Farming’s Kearny, New Jersey, facility will grow lettuce, kale and up to 100 varieties of plants, all indoors in a carefully controlled climate backed up by batteries, solar panels, on-site gas generators and technology that allows it to operate independently from the electric grid in the event of an outage or other disruptions. MORE
Wiikwemkoong Chief Duke Peltier speaks to the Globe and Mail on June 21, 2018 in Toronto. GLENN LOWSON/FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL
Forty thousand members of 23 First Nations communities in Northern Ontario have been receiving $4 a person each year from the Crown for ceding rights over a resource-rich territory about the size of France under 1850 treaties.
The Indigenous groups filed a court challenge against the Crown, saying the $4 annuity did not reflect the spirit of the treaties. And now a judge – after an exhaustive examination of the history of the treaties – has ruled that the signatories intended that the annuities should grow to allow the First Nations to share the growth in revenues governments receive from resource companies in the territory.