Watch the livestream: The Right to a Future, with Greta Thunberg & hosted by Naomi Klein

On September 9th, Leap co-founder Naomi Klein and firebrand youth climate activist Greta Thunberg will come together in New York to discuss the climate emergency and how an international, intergenerational movement is rising up to confront it. The event is now sold out, but you can still catch it on livestream. Click here for the link to the livestream.

We can’t wait for this night, happening just ahead of the release of Naomi’s upcoming book, On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal — and a wave of global climate strikes on September 20th and 27th.

Here are all the details:

What: The Right to a Future, hosted by Naomi Klein

When: September 9, 6:30-9:30pm ET

Where: New York Society for Ethical Culture, 2 West 64th Street, New York NY

Click here to watch the livestream.

How you can be part of the global tree-planting effort

study published last month in the journal Science said the best way to fight climate change is to plant at least a trillion trees worldwide. Some countries have undertaken ambitious goals — Ethiopia, for example, is aiming to plant four billion by October

If you’ve been wanting to help in this worldwide effort, but aren’t sure where to start, here are some pointers.

You have a yard. Now what?

You need to know what kind of soil you have — it might contain a lot of clay, or sand or silt, for example. You also need to figure out what tree will grow best and how to care for it.

There are groups and organizations that will do that crucial legwork for you. Trees Winnipeg, for example, has a program that will match homeowners with the best tree for their yard, and even supply everything they’ll need to get it off to a healthy start. There’s also the non-profit organization LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests), which works in and around Toronto. 

Janet McKay, executive director of LEAF, said you can usually get a tree in just a few months, for about $200. That includes a 1.5- to two-metre deciduous tree and “a consultation with one of our arborists in the yard, which is the part that people really love,” McKay said. They’ll pick up the tree, bring it to your home and even do the digging.

What if you don’t have a yard?

Just because you live on the 24th floor, with no outdoor space, doesn’t mean you have to miss out. If your property manager or building owner is on board, you, too, can plant a tree. 

LEAF can consult in this scenario, too. McKay said the key with multi-unit dwellings is knowing where underground parking and utility lines are. But it’s not just about finding the best spot for the tree.

“We do ask [people] to have a tree care plan for us so that we know that the trees are going to be cared for,” she said. LEAF recommends that for the first two to three years after planting, the trees are watered about twice a week, each time “with three watering can–sized buckets full.”

Can I make a donation so someone else can plant trees?

Absolutely. Tree Canada can help you do that. It’s a registered charity that has been boosting the country’s urban forests for more than 25 years. 

For as little as $4, Canadians can pick a region — from B.C. to Atlantic Canada to the North — and even the approximate placement of a donated tree.

“We are one of the few sites that actually allow people to see where the trees get planted,” said Cristiane Doherty, communications and marketing manager for Tree Canada. Once the site is chosen and the sapling has been planted, Tree Canada reports back to you. During the first five years, Tree Canada checks up on new trees to see how they’re doing, and posts the survival rates on their website.

Still … a trillion trees?

It all adds up. Tree Canada plants between 300,00 and 400,000 trees a year. LEAF, which has a more local mandate, plants 3,000 to 4,000. 

“There is a lot of good that can be done, even with planting one tree or taking care of one tree,” Doherty said. “When you plant, you’re planning for tomorrow, and for the next generation.” SOURCE

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The Green New Deal Is Cheaper Than Climate Change

The economic cost of allowing temperatures to rise even a couple of degrees above that target is simply staggering.

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Climate change activists rally in support of the Green New Deal in Los Angeles in May 2019. (AP Photo / Richard Vogel)

Recently, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) rejected calls for a presidential primary debate dedicated to climate change. DNC chair Tom Perez argued that focusing on climate change alone would be unfair to those whose campaigns are more focused on other issues—which might be a compelling argument if experts said those matters had the potential to lead to civilizational collapse.

This was a missed opportunity to demand that the candidates who have not authored or signed on to an ambitious proposal to transform our economy and energy infrastructure over a relatively short time frame, like the Green New Deal, explain how they’ll pay for their more moderate approaches.

“But how will we pay for it?” is rarely asked in discussions of the military budget or trillion-dollar corporate tax cuts. But the media consistently demands that Democratic candidates offer detailed explanations of how they would finance Medicare for All or dealing with the student loan crisis.

It’s the same with climate change. When Bernie Sanders released his climate proposal, The New York Times described it as a “$16 Trillion Climate Plan” and noted that it was the “most expensive proposal from the field of Democratic presidential candidates aimed at reining in planet-warming greenhouse gases” in the very first sentence of the story. Newsweek ran a piece headlined “Here’s How Andrew Yang’s Nearly $5 Trillion Climate Plan Stacks Up Against His Opponents.” And many outlets promulgated a scary but utterly bogus estimate, apparently just invented by Republicans, that Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s plan for a Green New Deal would cost taxpayers $93 trillion.

If we’re to have any hope of mobilizing the effort scientists tell us is necessary, we have to turn this question around. Because the reality is that even if we set aside the human and biospheric costs of climate change—the excess deaths from extreme weather and encroaching diseases, the refugee crises, habitat loss, and mass extinctions—the economic cost of allowing temperatures to rise even a couple of degrees above that target is simply staggering.

According to some estimates, they would dwarf the price tag associated with even the most ambitious proposals to tackle the problem, and that’s not even factoring in the new economic opportunities that transitioning away from fossil fuels would confer on countries that take the lead in that process. MORE

CNN’s Town Hall Made Climate Change Personal—and It Worked

Democratic candidates in the network’s event devoted to climate weaponize a uniquely human tool: stories.

Elizabeth Warren
CREDIT: DREW ANGERER/GETTY IMAGES

Wednesday evening during CNN’s climate change town hall, the gods of politicking looked down on Democratic candidate Kamala Harris, and they smiled. In the audience, a man named David with small glasses and pony-tailed gray hair stood up and said he’d lost his home in Paradise, California, to last year’s Camp Fire, which was supercharged by climate change.

“I am so sorry, David. I visited Paradise while the embers were still burning there,” the California senator said. “The only thing that stood were the chimneys, were the fireplaces, that to me looked like tombstones in a graveyard. The devastation was enormous. There were firefighters that were fighting fires while they knew their own homes were burning to the ground. And so you are a living testament, and thank you for your courage to share your story.”

The camera cut back to David. The corners of his mouth turned down, not as a frown, but as if holding back tears.

A politician is nothing without the Story. Perhaps they fought in a war, or they toured a war zone once and got shot at, or maybe a farmer they’d met shared a devastating tale about struggling to pay the bills. Voters like to hear about such things. The stories may not always be what you’d call fully truthful, but they’re a main line into the human brain, and one of the oldest political tricks in the book.

Over seven hours, 10 candidates vying for the Democratic nomination took turns fielding questions and laying out how they’d face down the “climate crisis,” as CNN rightly framed the mess we’re in. Given the staggering complexity of the problem and the tendency of politics to oversimplify, the breadth of positions was commendable. The pols discussed how to bolster cities against rising seas, how to foster international cooperation, even how we might reconsider our love of planet-killing meat.

It’s with stories, though, that you really engage people about climate change. The science says as much: Research has shown that to make someone care about climate change, you’ve got to make it personal, transcending politics to explain how people are already suffering. Sure, voters need to hear how the candidates plan on tackling climate change, all the details about carbon taxes and renewable energy and fighting sea level rise. But the enormity of the climate change problem is impossible to communicate through policy talking points alone. In other words, cue the personal sagas. MORE

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Oil and gas companies undermining climate goals, says report

Biggest fossil fuel extractors warned they risk wasting $2.2tn ‘in a low-carbon world’


Oil and gas companies continue to invest heavily in projects such as deepwater fields, despite the climate crisis. Photograph: Dazman/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Major oil and gas companies have invested $50bn (£40.6bn) in fossil fuel projects that undermine global efforts to avert a runaway climate crisis, according to a report.

Since the start of last year, fossil fuel companies have spent billions on high-cost plans to extract oil and gas from tar sands, deepwater fields and the Arctic despite the risks to the climate and shareholder returns.

Carbon Tracker, a financial thinktank, found that ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell and BP each spent at least 30% of their investment in 2018 on projects that are inconsistent with climate targets, and would be “deep out of the money in a low-carbon world”.

Andrew Grant, the author of the report, said: “Every oil major is betting heavily against a 1.5C world and investing in projects that are contrary to the Paris goals.”

The study is the first to analyse individual projects to test whether they are compliant with a 1.5C world, and whether they would be financially sustainable in a low-carbon world.

It found that none of the largest listed oil and gas companies are making investment decisions that are in line with global climate goals, and risk wasting $2.2tn (£1.8tn) by 2030 if governments take a tougher stance on carbon emissions. MORE

 

What does it mean to be Green in Canada?


Green Party of Canada Leader Elizabeth May speaks to reporters on Parliament Hill on May 10, 2019. Photo by Kamara Morozuk

What else does the federal Green party stand for along with its call to put Canada on a “war footing” against climate change?

The Greens have been propelled into prominence because of the potential of their signature issue to be a prime ballot-box question in the Oct. 21 federal election.

What else they stand for is less conspicuous. Their place on the political spectrum is obscured by their slogan: “Not Left. Not Right. Forward Together.”

Elizabeth May, the lawyer and environmentalist who has led the party since 2006, welcomes the scrutiny that has accompanied speculation her two-seat Commons caucus could grow to a handful or more.

In an interview with National Observer, May said this election “feels so different to me” from the last one, in 2015. She told anecdotes of unexpected support, donations and crowds from a pre-campaign tour of 33 communities across Canada.

“I hope for a minority Parliament,” she said, relishing the prospect of securing a strong climate action plan in return for supporting a government short of a 170-seat majority.

Greens won’t compromise

“I’m more than ready for prime time. I don’t have any problem addressing any aspect of my life or my character and I’m very proud of my record” – @ElizabethMay told National Observer in an interview #cdnpoli

May, representing Saanich-Gulf Islands, was the only Green elected in the last election. Paul Manly won Nanaimo-Ladysmith in a byelection last May. Greens also hold seats in legislatures in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Ontario and P.E.I.

The centrepiece of the federal Green platform is Mission Possible, a 20-point national action plan to slash greenhouse gas emissions by rapidly phasing out fossil fuels, changing land use and industrial-agriculture practices, planting trees, improving the energy efficiency of homes and buildings and other actions.

May said the primary conditions for Green support of a minority government are adherence to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change position — that global warming must be held below a 1.5 C increase above pre-industrial levels — and a pledge for a “dramatic transformational commitment” to cut carbon emissions in Canada.

“We will not, even for a first speech from the throne confidence vote, work with any party that isn’t fully committed to going off fossil fuels quickly,” May said.

“That means you can’t be building any pipelines, you can’t be fracking, you have to cancel the LNG (liquid natural gas) plant in Kitimat, you have to actually mean what you say — that we are committed to cutting 60 per cent of greenhouse gases by 2030.”

On non-environmental issues, May cited social justice proposals as a priority for the Greens. She said the proposals make the Greens “more progressive” than the New Democratic Party.

Key proposals are national pharmacare, a guaranteed livable income, free tuition for post-secondary students, elimination of existing student debt and a federal investment in colleges and universities.

They would increase revenues by hiking corporate taxes on large companies, such as banks and internet giants, but not on small or medium-sized businesses. They would cancel the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and halt fossil fuel industry subsidies.

MORE

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Why the Future of the Global Economy is About Climate Change

Or, Why Reinventing Money, Finance, and Economies is About Climate Change, Not Bitcoin

…so. What should money “be”? It should be based on natural capital, to use economic jargon. Imagine that we counted up the value of all the forests, oceans, rivers, trees, fish, animals. All of Mother Nature. In the whole world. Not right now — but in the world we want to achieve. A planet of thriving forests, schools of fish, living reefs, breathing skies. What’s it all worth? That’s our money supply. That is the size of the loan that we have to pay back.

I told you it would sound a little like science fiction. Let me make all that very, very concrete — or at least try to. Instead of a “gold standard” for money, money should have a “natural” standard. So let’s really imagine it. Let’s imagine that the planet now has a currency called “Earths.”

Imagine that you went in for your weekly, monthly, daily grocery shopping. Only instead of costing five dollars, euros, pounds, that hunk of meat costs you five Earths. Maybe that block of cheese costs twenty Earths. Perhaps detergent, paper towels, and toothpaste cost you fifteen Earths. Are you seeing what I mean a little bit? Now the idea that we are just borrowing all this stuff from Mother Nature should be much, much clearer — and that we eventually have to pay it back, too, or else everything implodes, the planet, civilization, democracy, and so on.

Now. How would this system actually work, to get technical? Well, remember what happens when your borrow money from a bank? It disappears. Let’s say you borrow 1,000 Earths. You use it up to invest in a little business. Your business goes well. You pay back the loan ahead of time. The bank now receives 1,100 Earths — the “debt” plus the “interest.” Poof! They disappear, right?

Wrong. In this system, there’s one feature, one catch, one innovation. The money you pay “back” to the bank doesn’t just disappear. It goes right back to the planet. That 1,100 Earths is then deposited by the bank in, let’s say, a Global Investment Fund, whose job it is to keep the forests, oceans, rivers, skies, animals, all in good and robust and vibrant health.

As soon as that deposit is made, the bank is free to “lend” all those Earths again. The money supply has now grown. We have returned what we borrowed from Mother Nature, with interest. The planet is healthier. We know that we are not taking on debts we cannot repay, as a species.

Our entire monetary and financial system as a globe has to change to reflect the simple truth that are only really just as a species borrowing from the planet — and if we don’t repay that debt, with interest, we will end broke, as a civilization: collapsing into authoritarian-fascism, as we grow ever poorer, running out of resources, at each others’ throats. MORE