To Critics Who Say Climate Action Is ‘Too Expensive,’ Greta Thunberg Responds: ‘If We Can Save the Banks, We Can Save the World’

“If there is something we are not lacking in this world, it’s money. Of course, many people do lack money, but governments and these people in power, they do not lack money.”


Greta Thunberg joins activists outside the United Nations during a protest on September 6, 2019 in New York. (Photo: Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images)

During an event in New York City Monday night with author and environmentalist Naomi Klein, 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg had a simple message for those who claim it is “too expensive” to boldly confront the climate crisis with sweeping policies like a Green New Deal.

“If we can save the banks,” said Thunberg, “we can save the world.”

“If there is something we are not lacking in this world, it’s money,” she added. “Of course, many people do lack money, but governments and these people in power, they do not lack money. And also we need to have the polluters… actually pay for the damage they have caused. So, to that argument, I would not even respond to that argument, because it has been said so many times, the money is there. What we lack now is political will and social will to do it.”

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Thunberg arrived in New York late last month after nearly two weeks of sailing across the Atlantic. The young environmentalist made the journey ahead of the Sept. 20 global climate strikes, which she helped inspire through persistent activism that has included directly confronting world leaders and elites over their role in the planetary emergency.

The strikes, which are expected to bring millions to the streets in over 150 countries, will coincide with the United Nations Summit on Climate Change on Sept. 23rd in New York.

“I want September 20 to be a tipping point,” Thunberg said Monday night. “I want world leaders to feel like they have too many people watching them.” SOURCE

 

Here are a list of candidates who will champion a made-in-Canada New Green Deal

 

 

Today, we released our first round of federal election endorsements. Here’s our list of candidates from across the country who will champion a made-in-Canada Green New Deal.

We’re endorsing these 13 candidates because they are bold leaders who will push the envelope when they’re elected. They will take risks, organize fellow Members of Parliament, and work across party lines to tackle the climate emergency. And, they’re running grassroots campaigns connected to movements in their communities.

We set a high bar for our endorsements. 

All of our candidates were nominated by Our Time organizers across the country. We trust them to fight for a made-in-Canada Green New Deal. That means they will champion science-based climate policy. They will work to fully implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. And, they will get to work rebuilding our economy with justice, dignity, and decent jobs for all.

Find out how you can support our endorsed candidates.

Image result for Leah GazanLeah Gazan supports a made-in-Canada New Green Deal, endorsed by Our Time, and is a candidate for Winnipeg Centre

In my hometown, Winnipeg, we’re endorsing Leah Gazan. I’ve known Leah for many years. Leah has spent her life fighting for human rights and is a tireless advocate for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. She has served our community for decades as a teacher, member of the taxi board, and a dedicated organizer for justice.

Now, we’re ready to make sure that champions like Leah Gazan win their seats in Parliament. We will mobilize a generational alliance of voters in support of Green New Deal Champions in this election. Join our movement.

The government we elect in October will lead us through 4 of the 11 years we have to act on the climate crisis.

Today, the Globe & Mail confirmed that the climate emergency will be a top ballot box issue this election.¹

This is our time for the kind of action that we all know we need.  SOURCE

If we get to work now, we can elect a slate of Green New Deal champions this October. But it doesn’t stop there. We’re building a mass-movement of people that will hold these politicians to account once they’re elected. Will you join in?

Imagine Two Different Futures

As conscious beings, humans have a unique power of imagination. From epic novels to ingenious inventions, the human mind can imagine amazing things. With elections around the corner, it’s time we put that imagination to use to envision the future we want for not only our country, but for our world.

So, let’s imagine two different futures – one with trees and one without. In the first, we have clean air and water, the concentration of greenhouses gases in the atmosphere is lower, flooding is less severe, wildlife have homes to live in, our countryside is an iconic beauty worthy of post cards, the tourism industry thrives and the planet is a better place for all.

In the second future, the earth is an uninhabitable wasteland where there’s no clean air or water, living beings have no support system and the earth continues to warm because one of the key carbon sequestration tools has been destroyed.

What future do you want to live in? It’s a pretty easy answer, isn’t it? And yet we continue on a path that is directing us toward the second future. Rather than protecting forests and leveraging trees as one of the most vital tools at our disposal in the fight against climate change, we continue to tear our forests down in the name of economic growth and consumption. It’s time to change our trajectory.

Imagine the future you want – not just for yourself but for all the living beings on this earth – and vote with that image in mind. Let’s protect our planet and our trees. Let’s show our support for clean air and water. Let’s build that future we all imagine. SOURCE

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The Guardian view on meat substitutes: guts without the gore

In the developed world we should take heart from people’s willingness to try new, vegan foodstuffs – and from the success of the companies that make them


Diet is among lifestyle changes urgently needed if developed nations are to have a hope of meeting targets for reduced carbon emissions.’ Photograph: Seth Perlman/AP

The Seventh-day Adventist church in the US adheres historically to vegetarianism, in large part to the teachings of a co-founder of the church – Ellen G White – who advocated for meat-free diet habits following a prophetic vision. Mrs White apparently thought eating animal flesh would “excite and strengthen the lower passions” and had “the tendency to deaden the moral powers”. For almost a decade from the late 19th century a slice of America was marketed and brought up on meat substitutes such as Nuteena, a peanut-based loaf, along with Wham, Tuno, FriChick and Big Franks. While there has always been a market for growing numbers of vegetarians and vegans worldwide, the cause of meat-free diets has been given in recent years a rocket boost, not by religion but by reason.

Diet is among lifestyle changes urgently needed if developed nations are to have a hope of meeting targets for reduced carbon emissions, a must to halt global heating. Every environmentalist and a great many ordinary people – including plenty of non-vegetarians – know that grains, vegetables and pulses including soya ought to soon form a far larger share of the typical western diet than they do at present. Industrialised agriculture and livestock farming are massively carbon-intensive activities. While the UN estimates they cause 23% of global emissions, critics believe this is an underestimate and the true total is far higher.

Last week KFC (formerly Kentucky Fried Chicken) became the latest fast food giant to announce that it is working on new products based on meat substitutes: in this case, “Beyond Fried Chicken”, a vegan nugget developed in partnership with California-based company Beyond Meat. Following Burger King’s launch this year of the meat-free Whopper, with ingredients supplied by Beyond Meat’s main competitor, Impossible Foods, the KFC announcement confirms what was already clear: there is real momentum, and money, behind the growth of plant-based alternatives to meat.

Veganism in the UK is nothing new. But for some people it is changing our food landscape too fast. Last year the bakery chain Greggs faced criticism for selling a vegan sausage roll filled with meat-free Quorn. When a row between food writer Selene Nelson and Waitrose magazine editor William Sitwell exploded into headlines after Mr Sitwell sent such a rude reply to a proposal for a vegan recipe series, he resigned. It is ridiculous to treat shoppers for pastry snacks as warriors in a culture war.

The structural shifts required to address the climate crisis will not be made in bakeries. The countries that drove the global rise in the consumption of animal products in the past are not the ones that will do so in future. But that doesn’t mean the rich world can go on eating beef and lamb with impunity, any more than we can continue to fly around the world without thinking about the harm that air traffic entails. Instead, we should take heart from the instances in which behaviour change is a message that consumers are willing to consider (the reduction in plastic bag use is another). Greggs’ shares jumped more than 13% between February and March this year, and the company is working on a vegan version of its steak bake. Bring it on.

Using Police to Belittle Indigenous Rights

Tell those police forces to turn around and face the other way and stand on guard to protect the rights it promised to respect.” —Murray Sinclair

Image result for senator murray sinclair reconciliationSenator Murray Sinclair: “Indigenous land sovereignty is a term you rarely heard in law school when I attended in the 70s, and that continues today.”

I have been giving some thought to the conflicts that arise whenever pipeline expansion or developments occur in a manner that affects Indigenous people and their territories.

One of the major issues centers on the use of police forces to enforce court orders.

The police decision to view Indigenous resistance to corporate encroachment on their lands, especially in the face of court orders, as acts of terrorism, almost automatically results in a decision by police to see the need to take military-type action to overcome Indigenous protests. Such a heavy handed approach violates the need for this country to come to terms with its historical ignorance of and attitude toward the territorial rights of Indigenous peoples that stem from the racist doctrines of discovery and terra nullius.

Such police tactics seem to enjoy a measure of acceptability on the basis that the public are told that people are wrongfully disobeying a court order and should not be allowed to get away with it. Yet even when there is no such order and there is such police behaviour, the level of public denunciation seems muted. Case in point include the police tactics during the G20  Summit in Toronto in 2010.

Legal education is still weak in the area of conflict over Indigenous rights. Courts still see pipeline expansion and corporate development in Indigenous territory as a property issue and not a question of sovereignty, often because that is the way it is originally presented to the courts by corporate lawyers seeking interim injunctions. Judges are either incapable of, or unwilling to, say, “Just hold on here, what about the sovereign rights of the Indigenous people over whose lands you want to do this?”  No one brought such an application before me when I was a judge (we didn’t get a lot of them in Manitoba) but if they had, I would have asked that question.

Indigenous land sovereignty is a term you rarely heard in law school when I attended in the 70s, and that continues today. What’s even more concerning is that it is not discussed in law schools or legal circles as one of the major unresolved legal issues of the day, and on what basis it might be or should be resolved. When it is discussed in courts, generally, it suffers from a weak grasp of the theoretical basis for Indigenous rights as sovereign rights and lapses into an argument over property. We still have a long way to go.

The Royal Proclamation of 1763 recognizes the sovereign and territorial rights of Indigenous people including the right not be disturbed therein or to lose those rights without consent. Courts have been reluctant to see the Proclamation as being protective of Indigenous territory where treaties do not exist and rights have not been ceded. Yet the Royal Proclamation remains as a part of the Constitution of this country. It stands alone and is not part of the “existing” limitation found in Section 35 of the Constitution Act 1982. The Federal Government’s enhanced power position and fiduciary responsibility requires it to defend those principles. I am personally disturbed at the state’s willingness to use police to enforce the property rights of corporations against the unceded sovereign rights of Indigenous people, even in the face of a court order.

They should be telling those police forces to turn around and face the other way and stand on guard to protect the rights it promised to respect. SOURCE

‘Epic Fail’: Government Bungled Response to Youth Reconciliation Call to Action, Advisors Say

Lack of communication and consultation in awarding $15.2-million contract, failure to act on report cited.

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Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett: ‘Our government is ensuring that the voices of Indigenous youth from coast to coast to coast are heard and incorporated into decision-making process.’ Photo via Shutterstock.

The federal government’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action on Indigenous youth is “an epic fail,” says Gabrielle Fayant, a former government advisor.

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett announced this month that Canadian Roots Exchange, a Toronto-based charity, would get $15.2 million over three years to implement Call to Action 66 on youth reconciliation.

The Call to Action urged “multi-year funding for community-based youth organizations to deliver programs on reconciliation and establish a national network to share information and best practices.”

But Fayant, one of three youth advisors appointed in 2017 to guide the government’s response to the Call for Action, said Bennett’s announcement falls short of what is needed and ignores key recommendations of their report, titled “A Roadmap to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action #66.”

The report called for the creation of an independent, community-based and Indigenous-led organization called Indigenous Youth Voices to hold the government accountable on Indigenous youth welfare in Canada.

“The money that we asked for, the $15.2 million, was specifically to start an organization to hold the government accountable,” said Andre Bear, another one of the three advisors.

Fayant agreed. “TRC [Call to Action] 66 was always about getting funds to grassroots for multi-year funding,” she said. “CRE has done a lot of great work around building relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth, but that’s not what TRC 66 is about.”

Bear said the government initially wanted them to develop plans for a national Indigenous youth advisory council.

But the youth advisors rejected that approach, because there was no assurance it would be independent, he said. Future governments could easily turn the council into “puppets,” said Bear, who is from the Little Pine First Nation in Saskatchewan.

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Gabrielle Fayant and Andre Bear, both former Special Youth Advisors to the Minster of Indigenous-Crown Relations. Photo courtesy of Gabrielle Fayant and Andre Bear.

“We advised that the ‘TRC 66’ calls for a national network to share best practices, so we said we’d build that national network instead of the youth council,” he said.

Over 2.5 years, the three advisors travelled to Indigenous communities, administered a national survey, and organized a national youth gathering to get feedback on the best ways to address the diverse needs of Indigenous youth.

The government failed to implement their proposal in the 2018 budget. MORE

 

 

The Vancouver Sun’s Op-ed Denying a Climate Crisis a Symbol of Wider Journalistic Malpractice

A journalist’s role is to seek truth, especially in the face of an emergency. But the media is not doing its job.

BC wildfire
‘By publishing op-eds such as this, their newspaper isn’t serving the truth. It is polluting the public square by propagating what the best science tells us are untruths about the most pressing problem of our age.’ Photo BC Wildfire Service.

Right now, Europeans are likely suffering because of the climate crisis. Sweltering heat waves have broken records across the continent, pushing temperatures into the 40s. Those temperatures have caused deaths, much disruption and misery.

So I was disappointed when that misery coincided with the Vancouver Sun’s publication of an op-ed column by University of Guelph economics professor Ross McKitrick claiming we only have a “vague inkling” that we “might” be in a climate emergency a “decade from now.”

That comment may surprise some readers of the Sun, which has a storied past and was the most-read newspaper in Western Canada according to the most recent report from News Media Canada. After all, many of them have already experienced that emergency as a result of the climate change-fuelled wildfires which devastated British Columbia in 2017 and 2018, cloaking the Lower Mainland in smoke. It may also surprise readers who have seen this summer’s satellite images of the Arctic on fire.

And it would almost certainly surprise the scientists who authored three major peer-reviewed studies on climate change that were published a day after McKitrick’s column. Commenting on those studies for the CBC, climatologist Gavin Schmidt said they underline the fact the global heating we are seeing is “unusual in a multi-centennial context” and that we are to blame for it.

In fact, we have much more than a “vague inkling” that there is a climate emergency given the voluminous scientific research and observable evidence supporting that conclusion.

For example, in October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned our carbon emissions must be about 45 per cent of what they were in 2010 by 2030 to avoid increasing the risk of extreme heat and drought in the future. Seven months later, another United Nations group warned a million species are threatened with extinction due to human activity, including climate change.

And according to a 429-page report that the British Columbia government quietly released last week, climate change could have catastrophic consequences for the province.

Yet McKitrick seems to ignore this kind of research and evidence in his 655-word commentary, which was published online on July 23 beneath a headline that included the words “Reality check” and made it into print the following day.

Instead, the Fraser Institute senior fellow alleges those alarmed about the climate emergency make their case by rattling off “unsubstantiated slogans about the weather getting worse and more extreme.” Moreover, he appears to believe that because a handful of local conditions don’t indicate a climate emergency, the effects of global heating won’t be felt by all of us. This is the same as saying there isn’t an epidemic because your household hasn’t been infected yet.

McKitrick’s arguments benefit the corporate and political interests who have frustrated and continue to forestall attempts to take climate action.

And by publishing this op-ed and others like it, newspapers such as the Sun are creating a journalistic crisis.

Our principal responsibility is to find and tell the truth. Indeed, democracy hinges on us doing that because without the truth it’s impossible for the public to make the informed, rational and empathetic decisions expected of us in a democracy. And, in the coming months and years, no decision will be more important than how we decide to respond to climate change, both individually and collectively. MORE

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