PEC Residents ask council to rewind turbine decision

Image result for county live: more turbine components
Turbine piece being moved through Picton  before the project was cancelled.  Photo: County Live

Several residents addressing council’s committee of the whole Thursday afternoon want the County to change its industrial wind turbine designation from “unwilling” to “willing” host.

Don Chisholm addressed wind energy in relation to the County’s recently-declared climate emergency.

“We’re in times of climate emergency without the wind in our sails,” he stated.

“Energy is central to our problem, energy is central to its resolution. We are in one of the best areas of Ontario to capture the free flowing wind energy. Surely it’s time for PEC leaders to reverse unfortunate decisions of the past and to state that we acknowledge the climate emergency; we are now willing hosts for wind energy development; and we petition our province to re-engage the intent of the Green Energy Act.”

Rod Holloway added his support for council to change to an unwilling host and support the development of turbines, purchase electric cars, or fuel-efficient, for County use, and get moving on the environmental action committee.

“Now we need to act,” he said. “We have to stop dumping carbon into the atmosphere… We have about 10 years to change and you have to lead us. The other levels of government have dropped the ball.”

There are four turbines erected of the nine that had been approved for the White Pines development in South Marysburgh before the provincial government terminated the project last July.

“Tell the government you’ve changed your mind and will accept wind energy in the County,” said Holloway. “Allow the completion of all nine turbines. This will do a significant amount stopping carbon from going into the atmosphere. If we activate turbines at Milford, it will create affordable, clean renewable energy, reducing our reliance on carbon.” MORE



Members of Sunrise Movement gather outside the Democratic National Headquarters in Washington, D.C., on June 25, 2019. Photo: Aída Chávez/The Intercept

ABOUT 100 YOUNG activists with the Sunrise Movement rallied outside the Democratic National Committee headquarters on Tuesday, demanding the party to reverse its ban on holding a climate change debate among the 2020 presidential candidates.

Activists have been calling for a full presidential debate dedicated to climate change as the issue has become a top priority for voters, pushing candidates to develop and release detailed policy proposals in the process. In addition to the protest in Washington, D.C., they’re calling on supporters to sign a petition demanding a climate debate.

“It’s an emergency, and we need our leaders to act like it,” said Abby Leedy, a protester from Philadelphia, outside the DNC headquarters a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol.

The DNC is not only refusing to hold a debate but threatening to bar any candidates who participate in a third-party climate debate on their own from future DNC debates. DNC Chair Tom Perez said in a Medium post earlier this month that the party would not hold any issue-specific debates because it could not allow individual candidates to dictate the terms of debate. His position came in response to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who has made climate change the centerpiece of his presidential campaign and has called for a climate-centric debate.

“If we change our guidelines at the request of one candidate who has made climate change their campaign’s signature issue, how do we say no to the numerous other requests we’ve had?” Perez wrote. “How do we say no to other candidates in the race who may request debates focused on an issue they’ve made central to their own campaigns?” MORE

Plan to sell 50m meals made from electricity, water and air

Solar Foods hopes wheat flour-like product will hit target in supermarkets within two years

 Solar Foods’ protein-heavy substance can be added to dishes and food products as an ingredient. Photograph: Solar Foods

A Finnish company that makes food from electricity, water and air has said it plans to have 50m meals’ worth of its product sold in supermarkets within two years.

Solar Foods is also working with the European Space Agency to supply astronauts on a mission to Mars after devising a method it says creates a protein-heavy product that looks and tastes like wheat flour at a cost of €5 (£4.50. $7.47 Cdn) per kilo.

The Helsinki-based company, assisted by research from the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and the Lappeenranta University of Technology, will apply to the EU for a novel food licence later this year before starting commercial production in 2021.

The powder known as Solein can be given texture through 3D printing, or added to dishes and food products as an ingredient.

It is produced through a process similar to brewing beer. Living microbes are put in liquid and fed with carbon dioxide and hydrogen bubbles, which have been released from water through the application of electricity. The microbes create protein, which is then dried to make the powder.

Dr Pasi Vainikka, the chief executive of the tech startup, said the company had produced a carbon-neutral way to produce a fully natural protein source without wasting land or water. Pre-engineering on a full-scale factory had just started, he added.

“It is a completely new kind of food, a new kind of protein, different to all the food on the market today in how it is produced as it does not need agriculture or aquaculture,” he said. MORE


Electric food – the new sci-fi diet that could save our planet

These students came up with an ingenious way to keep buildings cool

No electricity. No moving parts.

Students working on Phalanx insulation in a workshop.
The student team took a page from mother nature to develop this sun-thwarting insulation. (Photo: Phalanx)

From Mount Everest’s slushy summit to the fading ice fields of Greenland, the dial on the global furnace ticks ever upward.

And so, too, the air-conditioning dial.

Climate may change, but old habits, they die hard. No one wants to sweat out a heat wave. And, indeed, air conditioning can save lives — even as it also takes the long way around to taking lives.

All those AC units chugging away in homes and offices work tirelessly to stave off heat. At the same time, the emissions and particulate matter they dump into the atmosphere makes our lot even worse.

It’s a dilemma scientists have been grappling with for decades: How do we keep our living spaces, well, livable, without adding to the planetary problem that is global warming?

And yet, termites seemed to have worked it all out ages ago. The cathedral-like mounds they build — often as tall as eight feet — may function much as giant lungs, cooling and heating the small inner chamber where the insects actually dwell.

Wildflowers surround a termite mound in Australia.Termite mounds like this one in Australia were just one element of inspiration for the student inventors. (Photo: Martin Horsky/Shutterstock)

It’s the kind of setup that has weathered all kinds of weather extremities over the millennia. And the kind that’s inspiring student engineers to emulate.

Taking a page from the termite construction manual, a team from the Industrial Design program at California State University, Long Beach has developed an insulation that could revolutionize how homes and offices are cooled.

They’ve dubbed the material, which is still in early testing, Phalanx.

“The idea for Phalanx started out with us discovering that the cooling and heating of buildings contributed the largest amount of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere,” team member Albert Gonzalez explained to MNN via email. “Our goal was to find a passive way to cool buildings and limit the use of HVAC units. We began by looking at the eons of research and development done by mother nature.”

They came up with a system of panels that could be attached to existing structures, particularly in places where the sun bears down most.

Those insulating sheets comprise three layers, each taking its cue from the natural world. While termite engineering inspires the middle layer, the first looks to the cactus — a plant renowned for its ability to stare down the sun. Wavy, waxy patterns on that layer, much like cactus flesh, dissipate and reflect heat.

A sheet of Phalanx insulationThe insulation comprises three layers, each inspired by the natural world. (Photo: Phalanx)

The final outer layer channels the sun-coping strategies of camels and even wheat. It gathers cooling dew from the air or draws up gray water from a trough installed beneath.

It all adds up to a passive cooling system that the student engineers maintain can dramatically dial down our reliance on air conditioning.

What’s more, it draws no electricity, there are no moving parts, and — unlike other promising new materials like super-strong sun-cloaking wood — it can be attached relatively easily to existing structures. MORE


Phalanx Insulation


The Indian Act’s contribution to murdered and missing Indigenous women

Image result for discrimination against Indigenous women in canada
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is a National Indigenous Organization representing the political voice of Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people in Canada.

In early June, the final report of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls inquiry was finally released.

The report determined that the disproportionate level of violence against Indigenous women was genocide that originated from Canada’s colonial ideologies and policies including the Indian Act. It continued that “targeting victims in a gender-oriented manner” destroyed Indigenous communities and left lasting scars.

According to UBC’s Indigenous Foundations website, when the Europeans arrived in North America, they brought with them patriarchal beliefs about the role and importance of women. Europeans believed in universal male dominance. Settler women had few individual rights, were ruled by their husbands and treated as their property.

European patriarchy was imposed on First Nations through the Indian Act, which discriminated against Indigenous women in several ways. First, the Indian Act ruled that to qualify as an Indian, you had to be an Indian male, be the child of an Indian male, or be married to an Indian male.

Whether a woman was an Indian depended on her relationship with a man. Should she marry a non-Indian man, she lost her Indian status. The act’s sexual double-standard was brash for not only did an Indian man marrying a non-native woman keep all his rights, his wife gained Indian status.

What’s more, the Indian Act did not allow Indian women to possess land or martial property. If an Indian woman’s husband passed away or they separated, she and her children could not stay in the family home and left with nothing.

Although Canada was forced by lawsuits and the Charter to amend the legalized gender discrimination of Indigenous women through Bill C-31, inequality still exists in that the generational offspring of an Indian woman that married a non-native man will eventually become ineligible for Indian status.

Another way the Indian Act discriminated against Indigenous women was by excluding them from governance. Traditionally, Indigenous women participated in governance as advisors or decision makers.

The colonial racialization and sexualization of Indigenous women resulted in stereotypes that made violence against them acceptable.

Based on the European patriarchal belief that women were not fit for politics, the Indian Act implemented a male-only elective system. Indian women were not allowed to vote in band elections or hold political office. MORE

Trudeau’s paradoxical definition of Indigenous consent

The federal government’s skewed view of Indigenous consent, and its apparent conflict of interest on the pipeline, could pose a legal problem.

Image result for policy options: Trudeau’s paradoxical definition of Indigenous consent
Photo: Indigenous drummers perform a drum circle prior to a demonstration against the approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline, in Victoria on June 22, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dirk Meissner

he latest cabinet approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline came less than a day after the federal government declared a climate emergency. While the irony was a dream for satirists, it wasn’t the biggest contradiction of the day. Instead, it was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s bizarre definition of free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) with regard to projects that will impact Indigenous land and rights: “[FPIC] is what we engaged in doing with Indigenous communities over the past number of months. It is engaging, looking with them, listening to the issues they have and responding meaningfully to the concerns they have wherever possible.”

By Trudeau’s definition, consent is: listening to issues, responding to concerns wherever possible, and then forging ahead. As Indigenous lawyer and scholar Pam Palmater pointed out, imagine if that definition of consent was applied in the context of sexual relations?

The prime minister’s comments largely went unnoticed in the mainstream media, but his government’s skewed understanding of FPIC and half-hearted attempts at consultations with Indigenous communities remain the core reason it will be unable to move the project forward. Moreover, Ottawa’s purchase of the pipeline created an inherent conflict of interest as it purported to sit down for meaningful consultations.

“Listening to the issues”

So, what exactly was the government “engaged in doing” with Indigenous communities since last August, when the Federal Court of Appeal found that “Canada did not fulfil its duty to consult” on the pipeline and quashed the National Energy Board’s approval of it?

Many of the First Nations that had appealed to the court expressed their dissatisfaction with the renewed Stage III consultation process that the court had mandated.

The Squamish First Nation said it had been assured there were no time limits for the consultations, only to discover that cabinet did have an end date in mind. Khelsilem, a Squamish Nation spokesperson, told a news conference that they had been sent documents for feedback after May 22, the federal government’s self-imposed deadline for comments.

“What we experienced was a shallow attempt at consultation that resulted in a failure to address our concerns,” said Khelsilem. “The failure to meaningfully engage with rights holders means this government is either not serious about building this pipeline or not serious about respecting Indigenous rights.”

Chief Lee Spahan of Coldwater Indian Band said, “The meaningful dialogue that was supposed to happen never happened.” A study of the community’s aquifer had not yet occurred, and an existing pipeline spill has yet to be remediated.

Chief Leah George-Wilson of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation said that consultation once again fell well below the mark set by the Supreme Court of Canada in a number of key decisions, including Tsilhqot’in. This constitutional obligation of the Crown’s was re-emphasized in the Federal Court of Appeal ruling. George-Wilson also noted that the federal government was in a conflict of interest – that its multiple hats as proponent, decision-maker, enforcer of laws and fiduciary to First Nations and all Canadians made it impossible to make an open-minded, unbiased decision.

Can Greta’s Movement Bring Moral and Financial Responsibility Into the Climate Conversation?

We need to shake ourselves loose from governments that are beholden to corporate interests and the elite. Like a snake shedding it’s skin we need to leave those politicians and their ideas behind.

I bet she’s thinking…what is wrong with you…you do have kids don’t you?

The type of awareness that Greta has raised for climate change is unprecedented. No one could have anticipated that a 15 year old girl from Sweden sitting alone outside of the Swedish parliament could have turned that single action into a worldwide movement. But she did and the reason it worked is that it was a genuine stand against a ruling class that stopped paying attention to the 99%. I think we need to be very mindful to not tell young people who have the most to lose, what they need to do, what is achievable and what will work.

We need to learn from the misguided exchange that Senator Feinstein had with a group of passionate students (7 -16 yrs) from the Sunrise Movement. After the senator heard their pleas to address the climate crisis she said:

I’ve been doing this for 30 years. You come in here and say it has to be my way or the highway. I don’t respond to that…I know what I’m doing. Maybe people should listen a little bit.

With all due respect to Senator Feinstein, I don’t think she has the first clue as to how to address this emergency. She and her political allies like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are stuck in the past. And in that same light, I think we also need to be weary of the billionaire class that likes to think that they can solve problems like “superheroes”.

As Anand Giridharadas explores in his must read book, “Winners Take All”, billionaires have a way of solving problems in ways that maintain the status quo. Whether by accident or by design billionaires and the corporate elite avoid systemic solutions that could erode some of their wealth in favour of “market solutions” that shelter their wealth or even give it a chance to grow. That’s the beauty of “doing well by doing good” it looks like you’re trying to help, you think that you’re trying to help but in the end, you’re only helping yourself by sharing your wealth in ways that leave the door open to accumulating more wealth. I explore this in greater detail in my article titled, “How Billionaire Greed Ruined a Perfectly Good Strategy Called Corporate Sustainability.”

The beauty of “doing well by doing good” is that it looks like you’re trying to help, you think that you’re trying to help but in the end, you’re only helping yourself by sharing your wealth in ways that leave the door open to accumulating more wealth.

So, no thank you Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill McGlashin, Meg Whitman and Jack Ma and any other righteous billionaires who suddenly feel like they have what it takes to save the planet — just pay your taxes and your unpaid bills for the social and environmental harm that you caused and we’ll take care of the rest.

The reality is that no one really knows what to do or how this will play out. Each day the playbook is being written and those young people just might have the best chance of writing a winning script. MORE