VALÉRIE CABANES: ICC SHOULD RECOGNIZE THE CRIME OF ECOCIDE

Valérie Cabanes

Lawyer and activist Valérie Cabanes has seen situations on all the world’s continents where people’s fundamental rights are being undermined by harm to their natural environment.

I realized the direct link that exists between major damage to a local ecosystem and human rights violations against a population that relies on it for survival.

Here she describes some of these situations,  analyses recent environmental pressure on the International Criminal Court (ICC) and  proposes an international legal structure putting as its priority the respect of the global ecosystem to restore security and peace. MORE

10 new innovations that will shape a more sustainable future

The new technology that will make an impact in the next five years

Virtual reality experiences that encourage sustainable behaviour is just one of the innovations at the forefront of sustainability innovation.
Virtual reality experiences that encourage sustainable behaviour is just one of the innovations at the forefront of sustainability innovation.

From alternative energy sources to immersive artificial experiences designed to change behaviour, sustainable innovations aim to drastically reduce the effects of human life on planet Earth.

Renewable energy use needs to increase six times to achieve sustainability goals laid down by the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. Rapidly improving energy efficiency will contribute a percentage of the progress required.

But the importance of new technology and innovation has never been greater to limit the average global temperature rise to below 2°C from pre-industrial levels. Mubadala’s development company Masdar is central to many new developments and innovations in the UAE.

It has commissioned a report on the top 10 sustainable innovations likely to make the greatest impact over the next five years. MORE

What if Canada had spent $200bn on wind energy instead of oil?

In explaining Canada’s decision to nationalise the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5bn, Bill Morneau went hard on the economic argument. “Make no mistake,” the finance minister said. “This is an investment in Canada’s future.”

In fact, since 1999, more than $200bn has been invested into the Alberta oil sands for that future. But what if that cash had gone into wind energy instead? Let’s compare.

In 2017, the Alberta oil sands produced roughly 912m barrels. About 60% was turned into gasoline and diesel, enough to fuel 73m vehicles for 16,000km (the roughly average yearly driven distance). Had $200bn been invested in the wind energy sector, at the current cost of $1.8m megawatt (MW), Alberta would have 111,000 MW of capacity. Based on what Alberta actually generated in 2017, it could power more than 122m electric vehicles for the same 16,000kmMORE

Wet’suwet’en Strength Inspires Global Solidarity

Dozens of Solidarity Actions Across Canada and Around the World 


Halifax: Monday Jan. 14. Dozens of supporters shut down the city’s main intersection as days of rolling solidarity actions kick-off on Mi’kmaq territory.

A Message From the Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gidumt’en Territory

The World watched in horror as militarized RCMP descended onto unceded Wet’suwet’en territories on Monday January 7, 2019. Peaceful women and elders were faced with heavy assault rifles. Fourteen land defenders were arrested, including Gitdumt’en Clan spokesperson Molly Wickham.

The interim injunction was issues and RCMP militarized raid occurred BEFORE the named defendants and Wet’suwet’en Nation has even had chance to respond in court. They will be appearing in BC Supreme Court on January 31, 2019 to affirm Wet’suwet’en Rights and Title.

As the Unist’ot’en Camp says: “This fight is far from over. We paved the way with the Delgamuuk’w court case and the time has come for Delgamuuk’w II.

To see a full list of actions taking place see the Wet’suwet’en Support page. 

Take Action! 

Call Federal Ministers to support the Wet’suwet’en and revoke Coastal GasLink permits

Solar Farms Shine a Ray of Hope on Bees and Butterflies

A trend of planting wildflowers on solar sites could maintain habitat for disappearing bees and butterflies

Solar Farms Shine a Ray of Hope on Bees and Butterflies
NREL scientist Jordan Macknick and Jake Janski, from Minnesota Native Landscapes survey a pollinator test plot planted underneath the photovoltaic array at the Chisago Solar Site, part of the Aurora Solar Project in Minnesota. Credit: Dennis Schroeder National Renewable Energy Lab Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The tidy rows of gleaming solar panels at Pine Gate Renewables facility in southwestern Oregon originally sat amid the squat grasses of a former cattle pasture. But in 2017 the company started sowing the 41-acre site with a colorful riot of native wildflowers.

The shift was not merely aesthetic; similar projects at a growing number of solar farms around the country aim to help reverse the worrying declines in bees, butterflies and other key pollinating species observed in recent years.

Up to $577 billion in annual global food production relies on pollination by insects and other animals such as hummingbirds and bats, according to the United Nations. But more than half of native bee species (pdf) in the U.S. have seen their numbers drop sharply since 2005, with almost 25 percent now at risk of extinction. Meanwhile the North American monarch butterfly population has declined 68 percent over the past two decades, the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity says. Suspected factors include climate change, pesticide use and parasites—along with shrinking habitat, largely blamed on natural landscapes (such as scrublands or wetlands) being converted for agricultural use. MORE

PG&E, Facing Vast Payout for Wildfires, Says It Will File for Bankruptcy

Image result for California wildfires
 Light from a train is seen as it rounds a bend near the Sacramento River as flames from the Delta Fire fill a valley in Delta, California on September 6, 2018. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP)

Pacific Gas and Electric said it plans to file for bankruptcy protection amid potentially vast liabilities resulting from the deadly California wildfires. The announcement Monday, in the form of a filing with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, follows the resignation of the utility’s chief executive, Geisha Williams, a day earlier. John Simon, the company’s general counsel since 2017, will serve as interim chief executive.

Officials are investigating whether the utility’s equipment sparked the Camp Fire in November, a blaze that killed 86 people and destroyed nearly 14,000 homes.

In addition, Cal Fire investigators have ruled that PG&E equipment was involved in at least 18 of the more than 170 fires that swept Northern California in October 2017. The agency found that the company may have broken state law in 11 of those incidents and referred the cases for possible prosecution. MORE

UN committee says B.C.’s Site C dam may break international deals

Says Site C would infringe Indigenous Peoples’ rights protected under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination


Completed powerhouse foundation, a massive concrete structure on the south bank. B.C. HYDRO

The UN’s committee on the elimination of racial discrimination says Canada may have already violated an agreement it signed 50 years ago. That agreement commits Canada to prevent development on Indigenous land without adequate consultation.

Canada has also promised to block destructive development, allow Indigenous people to conduct their own impact studies and stop forcing First Nations to go to court.

“The committee is concerned about the alleged lack of measures taken to ensure the right to consultation and free, prior and informed consent with regard to the Site C dam,” reads a Dec. 14 letter addressed to Rosemary McCarney, Canada’s ambassador to the UN. MORE