How Gen Z can influence businesses on climate change

Local school children join Greta Thunberg's initiative on climate strike during the COP24 UN Climate Change Conference 2018 in Katowice, Poland December 14, 2018. Agencja Gazeta/Grzegorz Celejewski via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. POLAND OUT. - RC1E58ABA150

Local school children join Greta Thunberg’s initiative on climate strike during the COP24 UN Climate Change Conference 2018
Image: REUTERS/Agencja Gazeta

The time for action is now – this is the mantra being taken up by Generation Z across the world. Already this year, thousands of high school students across the world have skipped school to protest their governments’ inaction on climate change. The students were inspired by 16-year-old Swede Greta Thunberg, who started the movement by skipping school every Friday since August 2018. This is only the beginning: further demonstrations are already scheduled for the coming weeks.

Gen Z has the most to lose from the negative effects of climate change, and Thunberg made a compelling call to action at the recent COP24 conference in Katowice, Poland: “You say you love your children above all else – and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes,” she told global leaders during the climate summit. “Until you start focusing on what needs to be done rather than what is politically possible, there is no hope. We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis,” she added.

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Greta Thunberg@GretaThunberg

”You are not mature enough to tell it like it is. Even that burden you leave to your children.”

Here’s my full speech in front of the UN plenary at . 

Despite the urgency in Greta’s speech and calls for climate protesters to get more radical, the outcomes of COP24 left much to be desired, in terms of actionable steps to cut emissions.

 While Greta’s message may have fallen on deaf ears at COP24, her appeal to global business leaders at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, holds more promise. As scholars in social innovation, we are interested in understanding how youth activism can transform the business sector, by aligning sustainable business models with a meaningful purpose and positive impact on the environment. MORE

Canada’s climate gap widens yet again (and that’s the good news)

Photo from Pexels

This article by Barry Saxifrage in today’s National Observer shows conclusively that the Trudeau climate plan is a sham with not a hope in hell of meeting  our climate responsibilities under the 2030 Paris Agreement.

The Trudeau game plan for the next election seems to be to talk about his government’s economic performance all the while never mentioning that our economic ‘success’ is built on criminal ecocide and, ultimately, a betrayal of our children’s future. This isn’t leadership. This is betrayal. 

The National Observer article is HERE

Supreme Court rules energy companies cannot abandon old wells

Supreme Court of Canada has overturned Redwater Energy lower court decision

An orphan well site near Carstairs, Alta., awaiting proper abandonment and reclamation. (Government of Alberta)

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that energy companies cannot abandon their responsibility to clean up old oil and natural gas wells in the case of bankruptcy.

The court ruled 5-2 to overturn the earlier ruling. In doing that, it said that bankruptcy is not a license to ignore environmental regulations.

The Redwater case has been watched closely across the country. Ontario, British Columbia and Saskatchewan all intervened in the case, supporting the Alberta Energy Regulator’s position that the polluter must pay for clean-up before creditors are paid back their loans.

Alberta has been dealing with a tsunami of orphaned oil and gas wells in the past five years. In 2014, the Orphan Well Association listed fewer than 200 wells to be reclaimed. The most recent numbers show there are 3,127 wells that need to be plugged or abandoned, and a further 1,553 sites that have been abandoned but still need to be reclaimed. MORE


Democracy Watch: Finance Minister Morneau’s Bill C-86 lets Scrooge-like Big Banks keep billions in record profits from gouging, doesn’t do enough to stop abuse

Ignores 60,000+ calling for creation of financial consumer group, changing FCAC and Ombudsman from lapdogs into watchdogs, audits of profits and lending, and increased penalties

Big Six Banks gouge out record profits of $45 billion in 2018 for the 8th record year in a row ($2.7 billion (6%) higher than in 2017, and more than double their 2010 profits) – higher than comparable banks in all other countries

Australia’s royal commission has found extensive bank gouging and abuse – Canada must do a similar examination

oday, Democracy Watch called on the Finance Minister to make the key changes needed to stop gouging and abuse by Canada’s big banks, as called for by its Bank Accountability letter-writing campaign that more than 60,000 Canadians have supported and petition that more than 32,000 people have signed.

The call also comes as Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s budget Bill C-86 has been shoved through Parliament and become law. The Bill changes dozens of laws, including the Bank Act and other financial sector laws, but didn’t make any changes that will stop big bank gouging, and didn’t make enough changes to stop unfair treatment and abuse of consumers and big bank employees. MORE

Report says offshore wind could beat onshore wind on cost


Onshore wind is one of the cheapest sources of renewable power. However, without change to planning restrictions, Cornwall Insight estimates offshore wind is likely to surpass onshore wind power to be the new source of cheap renewable energy in less than 10 years.

Offshore wind has seen significant innovations, such as higher turbines with longer blades, allowing it to capture more of the wind.

Onshore wind is one of the cheapest sources of renewable power. However, without change to planning restrictions, Cornwall Insight estimates offshore wind is likely to surpass onshore wind power to be the new source of cheap renewable energy in less than 10 years.

Offshore wind has seen significant innovations, such as higher turbines with longer blades, allowing it to capture more of the wind.

The levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of offshore wind could fall below onshore wind by 2028. The projections are based on capital costs by technology, fixed and variable operational costs, expected hurdle rates, and locational factors such as transmission losses and connection fees, and using the current load factors for offshore wind at 58.4% and onshore wind at 38%. MORE


How an Oregon Rancher is Building Soil Health—and a Robust Regional Food System

Fourth-generation rancher Cory Carman holistically manages 5,000-acres which serve as a model for sustainable meat operations in the Pacific Northwest.

Cory Carman holistically manages 5,000-acres which serve as a model for sustainable meat operations in the Pacific Northwest.

Distinct from most cattle operations in the U.S., Carman’s cattle are 100 percent grass-fed well as grass-finished. (The term “grass-fed” is not regulated, so it can mean that animals have only been briefly pastured before they’re sent to a factory feedlot to be finished.) The ranch primarily produces cattle and pigs, which it mostly markets to wholesale accounts, though it sells a lesser amount of meat as “cow shares”—or quarters of beef ranging from 120 to 180 pounds purchased directly by consumers.

“You don’t have a ranch so that you can sell it and retire; you have a ranch so you can pass it on—that’s sort of in the DNA”

Equally if not more important to Carman, however, is the focus on what she calls the “holistic management” of her land. This involves constantly moving the cattle and paying careful attention to the rate of growth of the animals and grasses. By this system, the steers select the forages they need to grow and gain weight, and the grasses get clipped, trampled down, and fertilized with manure, resulting in fields that are vibrant—they retain water, resist drought, contain abundant organic matter, which contributes nutrients and carbon, and are highly productive without the addition of fertilizer.

Carman began to research and implement a practice called holistic management, which is based on the idea that grass is your crop, and a portion of it needs to go back into feeding the land and the soil microbes. A tool of regenerative agriculture, holistic management integrates social, economic, and environmental factors to help the farm or ranch succeed economically, improve the health of the land, and provide local communities more nutritious food. MORE

EU proposes ban on 90% of microplastic pollutants

European Chemicals Agency draft law aims to cut 400,000 tonnes of plastic pollution

A marine biologist holds up a sample of seawater containing microplastics
A marine biologist holds up a sample of seawater containing microplastics. Photograph: Eric Gaillard/Reuters

A wide-ranging ban on microplastics covering about 90% of pollutants has been proposed by the EU in an attempt to cut 400,000 tonnes of plastic pollution in 20 years.

Every year, Europe releases a bulk amount of microplastics six times bigger than the “Great Pacific garbage patch” into the environment – the equivalent of 10bn plastic bottles.

The phasing out proposed by the European Chemicals Agency (Echa) would remove 36,000 tonnes a year of “intentionally added” microplastic fibres and fragments, starting in 2020.

Cosmetics, detergents, paints, polish and coatings would all require design overhauls, as would products in the construction, agriculture and fossil fuels sectors.

The draft law targets microplastics that are not necessary but have been added to products by manufacturers for convenience or profit MORE


Bankrupt energy companies await key Supreme Court ruling on old oil wells

The decision could have implications for banks, apart from junior and intermediate oil producers’ access to capital

Image result for abandoned oil wells alberta
Pumpjacks, like this one near Calgary, are used to pump crude oil out of the ground after a well has been drilled. Thousands of oil wells have been abandoned across Alberta without proper remediation. (Todd Korol/Reuters)

Trustees for bankrupt energy companies will learn Thursday whether they can refuse to pay clean up costs for old and inactive oil and gas wells in Alberta.

The Supreme Court of Canada is set to rule on whether the trustee for bankrupt Redwater Energy Corp. can hand over the remediation responsibilities for old and inactive oil and gas wells to Alberta’s Orphan Well Association — while still keeping its more valuable wells and facilities, which can be sold to repay the company’s debt.

The case has been closely watched in the Calgary oilpatch and will have major implications across the country’s resource sectors as the Supreme Court will determine whether debt holders have a higher priority over environmental clean-up responsibilities in bankruptcy cases. MORE


Albertans may face $8B bill for orphan wells unless rules change, lawyer says


Rights Recognition Framework” Delayed For Now

Russell Diabo (right), pictured here with Assembly of First Nations national chief Perry Bellegarde, is warning all First Nations in Canada about dealings with Ottawa. (Courtesy Russell Diabo)

During the 2015 federal campaign the Liberal party of Justin Trudeau made a number of big promises in their Indigenous Platform, notably that a Liberal government will:

  • establish a new Nation-to-Nation relationship;
  • establish a reconciliation process;
  • conduct a law and policy review to “de-colonize” Canada’s laws;
  • establish an inquiry on Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women & Girls (MMIWG);
  • implement the Truth & Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action;
  • implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and
  • remove the 2 percent cap (which has been in place since 1995) on First Nations programs.

Aside from the MMIWG inquiry, which has been handed off to a federally-appointed commission that, according to critics, seems to be floundering, the Trudeau government has operated in secret and in a top down unilateral approach to interpreting and implementing the Liberal 2015 Indigenous Platform promises by entering into agreements with the three National Indigenous organizations (First Nations, Metis, Inuit). 

The First Nation rights holders – the people – have been bypassed and misled in the process for the past three years by a Liberal public relations campaign of slogans and funding announcements. MORE

Unist’ot’en Demand Stop Work Order After Cultural and Indigenous Usage Sites Bulldozed

STATEMENT by Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gidumt’en Territory: Coastal GasLink and RCMP Violating Gidimt’en Sovereignty and Own Agreement.

Image result for Wet'suwet'en Access Point on Gidumt'en Territory RCMP traplines

RCMP and miliary invasion of Wet’suwet’en territory. Photo courtesy: Michael Toledano /

January 28, 2019 – Over the weekend Coastal GasLink willfully, illegally, and violently destroyed Gidimt’en cultural infrastructure and personal property on Gidimt’en territory without our consent.

This was our infrastructure to be on our land and exercise our land-based culture. Coastal GasLink’s attack on our cultural practices – with RCMP’s active complicity – is an attack on our sovereignty and an attack on our way of life.

In full: