These Canadian students are striking to demand action on climate change. Every single week

“I just couldn’t live with myself knowing these facts and not doing my everything to stop it”
— Aliénor Rougeot, student striker

Alienor Rougeot (centre) and other young activists reveal what action they would like to see leaders take regarding climate change and saving the planet.

What if you felt your future was literally going up in flames, but the politicians and business leaders in charge weren’t doing enough to fight it?

That’s the sentiment driving thousands of young people across Canada to rally outside government buildings and corporate centres every week to demand action on climate change, an issue they don’t have the option to ignore.

It’s called #FridaysForFuture, a global movement started by Swedish teen Greta Thunberg. She sat in front of parliament every school day for three weeks in August 2018 because she felt Sweden needed to do more to tackle climate change. Canada became the third country to hold a rally in solidarity on Nov. 2, 2018.

Within months, students were holding events every week, including several large-scale rallies like the International Climate Strike on May 24, when thousands of youth across the country took to the streets alongside others in 133 countries.

“When we started we were less than 100, but since March 15 we are always above 400,” says Aliénor Rougeot, the 20-year-old University of Toronto student co-ordinating Toronto’s strikes.

As conservative governments and political parties across Canada fight carbon pricing and politicians are accused of dropping the ball on climate change, we asked Rougeot and other young activists what’s at stake, and what action they would like to see leaders take.

"While I was always told to listen to science and experts when it came to everything else, it seems that for climate change our whole world still lives in a haze of denial," says University of Toronto student Alienor Rougeot.
Aliénor Rougeot, 20, Toronto

Striking is a disruption of the “normal”, the “usual way of life.” And that’s exactly what we need to make people understand, because if we keep living our lives as usual and acting like everything is normal, we will not have much time left on this Earth.

I am striking because our governments, but also the private sector and many individuals, are not taking the climate crisis seriously. I was born under the threat of climate change and while I was always told to listen to science and experts when it came to everything else, it seems that for climate change our whole world still lives in a haze of denial.

I am also striking because I care very deeply about human rights and justice, and climate change is fundamental a symbol of injustice. It was created by a few and will affect disproportionately those who have not contributed to it. It is going to affect marginalized communities, Indigenous people, lower-income families, and people from poorer countries. Climate change is going to lead to more wars, more water shortages, more floods and fires, and that is going to lead to more refugees and death than we are already seeing right now. I just couldn’t live with myself knowing these facts and not doing my everything to stop it.  MORE

Mike Nickerson: We must adapt to the limits of our planet.

Dramatic change is needed.

man wears blue crew-neck t-shirt holding toddler wears black hooded jacket near ocean under blue sky at daytime
We have long had the knowledge and ability to provide everyone with viable, satisfying lives far into the future.

Enmeshed as we are in a vast, expanding mechanical network, it is hard to imagine living in a culture where our lives are the core substance. Nevertheless, such a cultural shift offers an enduring and satisfying relationship with the Earth.

As a species, we have to shift from our long childhood growth phase to a stable adult form. In society’s late adolescence such cultural change may seem illusive. Step by step, however, the following can turn what is initially unimaginable into a clear possibility.

The first step is developing renewable energy. Wind, solar, hydro and other renewable energy development can be part of the end goal, while the process of putting them in place remains well within the familiar pattern of resource intensive development.

The second step is to focus on education and health care. These lead directly to increased capability and quality of life while using minimal amounts of material resources. Education is almost entirely knowledge and good will. Health-care is the same at the level of knowing how to lead our lives so as to maximize health. Experience shows, in country after country, that populations spontaneously stop growing when local economies are managed in a way that provides people with basic education, health care and old age security.

brown grass field under white cloudy sky

The third step is for human aspiration to focus on what we can do with life rather than on consuming material goods and expanding our use of energy.

The desire to grow is firmly rooted in our characters. Throughout our formative years and well beyond, growth is a preoccupation. To be able to crawl, to reach the water tap or to have our own way all require getting bigger. The residual urge to grow has been harnessed to stimulate the expansion of material consumption. The dilemma is that, while each of us wants to grow, collectively we have already grown to confront the limits of our planet. The solution has a well established precedent in each of our individual lives. For the most part, our physical growth comes to an end as we become adults. Physical growth is replaced by the development of our understanding, skills, relationships and appreciation of what life offers.

Voluntary simplicity is easier to promote when it is clear that it offers abundant opportunities for growth. Life-based pursuits, or the ‘3 L’s’ — Learning, Love and Laughter — as they are referred to for our sound bite world, offer boundless frontiers. The development of skills, scholarship, art, music, sport, dance, friendship, spiritual aspiration, parenting and service were the essence of human culture before the commercial era pressed acquisition to its current place of prominence. The saturation of landfill space, problems with pollution and painful experiences with finite natural resources bid us re-consider the emphasis we place on the pursuit of our human birthright.

In the same way that a developing embryo goes through the stages of evolution, civilization will likely follow the pattern of individual maturation. As a culture we are in late adolescence. We have grown big enough to accomplish anything which life requires of us. Now, as self-centeredness gives way to responsibility, our rapid physical growth can transmute into the growth of the remarkable qualities with which people are so abundantly endowed.

We could be appreciating life so deeply that we wouldn’t have time to impact the Earth at a dangerous level.

We have long had the knowledge and ability to provide everyone with viable, satisfying lives far into the future. It is not as sexy as solutions based on shiny industrial products, and it is unlikely to make a lot of money. Nevertheless it could save civilization.  MORE

The next global agricultural revolution

TED Fellow Bruce Friedrich plans to compete with the meat industry on its own terms — by creating alternatives to conventional meat that taste the same or better and cost less.

Conventional meat production causes harm to our environment and presents risks to global health, but people aren’t going to eat less meat unless we give them alternatives that cost the same (or less) and that taste the same (or better).

In an eye-opening talk, food innovator and TED Fellow Bruce Friedrich shows the plant- and cell-based products that could soon transform the global meat industry — and your dinner plate.

SEE THE VIDEO

Fair Vote Canada AGM, Sat June 8

Panels Include:

1) BC and PEI
We will look back on the BC and PEI referendums and hear from key organizers in those two campaigns.

2) Citizens’ Assemblies on Electoral Reform
David Moscrop – Electoral reform advocate and author of a just-released book Too Dumb for Democracy?

Shoni Field – Past President of Fair Vote Canada and member of the BC Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform

3) Planning our federal campaign
Learn about the positions the Greens, the NDP and the BQ on PR going into the 2019 election and Fair Vote Canada’s plans for getting PR on the front burner!

Elizabeth May – Leader of the Green Party joining us by video

Emile Taman – NDP candidate for Ottawa Centre

4) Prospects and opportunities in Quebec and Ontario

Jean-Sébastien Dufresne – ED, Mouvement démocratie nouvelle

Réal Lavergne – President, Fair Vote Canada

Fair Vote Canada is backed by evidence and powered by people! The AGM is our opportunity to look back at the past year, share our insights and ideas with each other, and plan the best way to seize the opportunities ahead for proportional representation.

Proceedings will be live-streamed on our Facebook page for those who can’t make it in person.

With the 2019 federal election approaching, Fair Vote Canada’s Annual General Meeting takes place once again this year in Ottawa, Ontario. We will be back at Algonquin College on Saturday, June 8, 2019.

In addition to the federal scene, we will be analyzing progress and potential in Quebec, Ontario and Prince Edward Island, the most promising jurisdictions over the coming year.

Admission is by donation. All those who register before Wednesday June 7 are guaranteed lunch (we will do our best to accommodate everyone); we appreciate your support and generosity in helping us stage this event. A $25 per person donation is suggested but we don’t wish for anyone to stay away due to the cost. Please give what you can. A higher amount will be gratefully accepted and will help to more fully defray our costs.

Donations will also be accepted at the door. If you receive a PayPal error message when processing your payment, simply click the word “Show” at the bottom of the page to see Other Payment Options and select “Pay at the Door” to complete your registration.

FAQs

 

The Indian Act: What to do with it

If you want to understand the hopes and aspirations of Indigenous nations, at present circumscribed by the Indian Act, take the time to listen to this revealing episode of The Agenda.

The Agenda with Steve Paikin:

Created more than 150 years ago, the Indian Act has structured relations between the federal government and Indigenous people for generations. And in the eyes of many, its purpose was and still is, to assimilate, control, and even destroy the people and communities that come under its jurisdiction.

In 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to scrap it. That hasn’t happened.

The Agenda discusses what should be done about the archaic legislation.


Watch the video

 

When Jane Philpott and Jody Wilson-Raybould decided to go Independent, a Toronto activist was urging them on

“Like every major party, the irony is the NDP spends two months making this list just to make sure they don’t pull a Liberal on election day — but the Liberals and Conservatives are being pulled anyways with their own lists — and it all ends up being layers and layers of slapstick comedy. And I think the whole thing is a scam. There’s no benefit to this model; it’s an industry, and people make a lot of money on it.”

Dave Meslin says independence from the party system is one of the best ways to disrupt the toxic polarization that now passes for political discourse in Canada.

Meslin’s new book, Teardown: Rebuilding Democracy From The Ground Up, has just crept into the Star’s bestseller list.

As Meslin explains it, the goal is to win Independent seats in Ottawa and prove to Canadians something that is already happening elsewhere — the emergence of independent blocs, or “non-party parties,” in places like the Republic of Ireland.

“I’m not in Ottawa. I don’t travel in those circles. Most of my work on democratic reform has been local in nature and yes, it sometimes involves couch-surfing because there’s no money to waste on hotels,” Meslin said with a laugh.

“But the important thing here is to look beyond Canada and you see this wave all across the western world where traditional parties are being challenged. Yes, some of the winning challengers tend to be vacuous ideologues, whether it’s a comedian in Ukraine or Donald Trump in America.

“But there are other places where people who aren’t ideologues or reality-show stars (are) challenging the major parties. We’re seeing in some countries groups being formed that are non-party parties — Ireland is one example, but there are others — that are sharing in power as loose federation of independent legislators. And rather than being committed to a specific platform or allegiance to a leader, they are committed to a certain type of process — and that process is collaboration, evidence-based deliberative dialogue and no party whip telling them what to say or how to vote.

“In my view, the timing has never been better to make that happen in Canada. We are so ready for something new because so much trust has collapsed. Our major parties have proven themselves so centralized and so incapable of allowing even their own voices to be heard.”

Independence from the party system, Meslin argues, is one of the best ways to disrupt the toxic polarization that now passes for political discourse in Canada.

“All that hostility turns people away because at this point, most MPs don’t have a voice or any role at all, really. Their job is to show up and hit the button they are told to hit. And if someone on your side stands up and says something, you cheer, and if someone on the other side stands up, you jeer.

“It’s so sad — it’s such a mockery of what we’re capable of as a species. Because we know that humans can easily be drawn into divisive fights — it’s in our blood, we thrive on it — but under the right conditions humans can also be incredibly good listeners, they can have empathy, they can be humble, they can compromise. MORE

Extinction Rebellion Heathrow: Drone protesters face LIFE in jail, government warns

As civil disobedience escalates, government doubles down with unprecedented measures to control protesters. A similar tendency is developing in the United States where protesters are fighting pipelines. At what point do democracies lose their legitimacy when they  torque “the rule of law”?

Extinction Rebellion protesters who disrupt Heathrow Airport with drones could face life behind bars, the government has warned.


Extinction Rebellion protesters at their final destination of Parliament Square in Westminster after marching from their camp at Marble Arch PA

The climate activist group has vowed to “shut down” Heathrow for 10 days this summer by flying drones near the airfield.

But Baroness Vere countered on Friday: “Flying drones near an airport is a serious criminal offence and using drones to deliberately put people’s safety at risk carries a maximum life sentence.

“No government has done more to reduce carbon emissions, and Britain is at the forefront of global efforts to tackle climate change.

A drone flies in Hanworth Park in west London as a British Airways 747 plane prepares to land at Heathrow Airport (file image) (John Stillwell/PA)

“Any illegal activity must be met with the full force of the law.”

The Met has said it will take “firm action against any protester seeking to cause disruption”. It comes after the Extinction Rebellion group brought parts of London to a standstill during two weeks of demonstrations in April.

“It may be the case that the people are rounded up beforehand to stop this from happening. That might be the most effective way to deal with this.”

But an expert has warned the airport and the police may have no way of dealing with a sustained drone attack. MORE

Related:

Extinction Rebellion plans Heathrow drone protest

Extinction Rebellion
Climate protesters held a demonstration outside Heathrow Airport on 19 April Getty Images

After Standing Rock, Protesting Pipelines Can Get You a Decade in Prison and $100k in Fines

Climate Change: The blame falls squarely on the heads of the fossil fuel sector and our complicit governments

Rosalind Adams, among others, successfully convinced Prince Edward  Council to declare a climate emergency. In  part of her presentation, she pointed to Canada’s per capita energy consumption; but, as Lionel Enright notes, “per capita energy consumption is not expended equally.”

Our government and International oil companies are irresponsibly ripping up the tar sands 

Image result for ripping up tar sandsAlberta’s tar sands ecocide and Canada’s shame

We will never solve a problem if we do not define the problem accurately . This statement has a few glaring misuse of statistics . Let us not assume that per capita energy consumption is expended equally per capita . This speaker did not explain the source or construction of the per capita statistic . She leaves us to assume that we Canadians personally are doing something to produce  8 times more co2  than persons of other countries.

Image result for leave it in the ground

She does not explain that we – OUR GOVERNMENT and the international OIL COMPANIES  are ripping up the TAR SANDS irresponsibly ( which is part of that statistic ) and not only polluting our air but also polluting the river systems that drain into the Arctic Ocean.

This should NOT be blamed upon each Canadian .

Those of us who are aware of it have been complaining of this wreckage for years but our irresponsible government not only allows it to go on but says it must go on to supply JOBS.

 The whole oil industry in Alberta is run by the oil cartels for their own benefit at the expense of Canada AND  the people of Alberta.
Under Peter Lougheed Alberta made a 40 % and had saved 11 billion for the Heritage Fund. Klein gave it all away . ( Do you think he did this on his own without the help of the oil companies ??? )  There was also savings to cap abandoned wells . Now there is no money collected from the oil companies to do the cleanup and we THE PEOPLE are stuck with $ billions in old wells abounded by the oil companies because the gov. did not require them to pay up front.
Even if we each cut our emissions personally we would not meet the climate  goals unless the industrial wasteful practises of which the oil sands is only one , were to be curtailed .
Conclusion  : If there is an environmental statement to be made please know your facts and understand how the statistics you use are composed .
The environment is an important issue but we must understand that the corporate processes are doing the greatest harm . This is a topic which needs some careful explanation . Largely it is not the people’s fault . Many of the bad habits of the people are made necessary by the decisions of the corporate sector .  Example, most of us drive cars that run on fossil fuels. We do this because the corporate crooks want to sell us the carbon . We could have had  E V ’s years ago but they prevented it from happening . We also could have had much better public transportation but the car producers took action to prevent that also from happening so that they could sell more cars. And lastly the plastics industry still wants to make as much plastic as they can even though the world is drowning in the excess .

We have biodegradable material . We could have been using it years ago but we thought we were recycling it – We weren’t . Now we see the  mess we are in when plastics some companies shipped abroad mislabelled are being returned 10 to 15 years later as the garbage it is and was  –  AND who is paying for it ? –  THE PUBLIC PURSE –  THE PEOPLE .