David Suzuki’s message to you for Election Day 2019

David Suzuki asks you to vote for climate action on October 21. This video is in partnership with Artists for Real Climate Action a non-partisan group of actors, filmmakers, writers, musicians, directors and others who are encouraging voters to talk to politicians, friends and family about the issue of climate change. For more information about Artists for Real Climate Action visit: https://www.thisisnotadrill.ca

Saving Earth From Disaster: Scientists Have Come With A Crucial Plan

Disastrous climate change, the burning of Amazon forest, the land clearing, air pollution, food resources getting low, and others – all are driving to a very gloomy scenario for our planet. And the saddest part is that most if not all of these aspects exist due to human intervention and selfishness.

Scientific studies themselves are warning humanity that we need to take better care of our planet. No wonder Elon Musk and scientists are thinking seriously about the possibility of colonizing Mars.

We need to change our economic systems

A background document for the United Nations’ (UN) draft Global Sustainable Development Report 2019 claims that we need drastic changes to our economic systems.

“The economic models which inform political decision-making in rich countries almost completely disregard the energetic and material dimensions of the economy,” the researchers wrote.

“Economies have used up the capacity of planetary ecosystems to handle the waste generated by energy and material use.”

This background document for the chapter of the report called Transformation: The Economy has been written by some guys who know what they’re talking about. Among them are scientists from environmental fields, such as Jussi Eronen from the University of Helsinki, who is specialized in ecosystem problems. There are also economic, business, and philosophy researchers, like the economist Paavo Järvensivu from Finland’s independent BIOS research unit.

The document warns humanity that the current economic systems are causing critically widening gaps between the rich and the poor, which leads to unemployment and debts.

Support nature, not wealth

Journalist Naomi Klein is the author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs the Climate, and she stated “we humans are capable of organising ourselves into all kinds of different social orders, including societies with much longer time horizons and far more respect for natural life-support systems.”

“Indeed,” she continues, “humans have lived that way for the vast majority of our history and many Indigenous cultures keep Earth-centred cosmologies alive to this day. Capitalism is a tiny blip in the collective story of our species.”

The goal seems to be learning from previous times when records of longevity have been proven to emerge. This doesn’t imply to abolish technological advancements, although some of them are making us dangerously comfortable.

The ball is on our side of the terrain: we can choose either to seek wealthness and not care about the environment or the future of our offspring, or we can make drastic changes to our lifestyle without thinking about wealth. After all, maybe it’s true what they say that money can’t buy happiness. SOURCE

This Is What Adapting to Climate Change Looks Like

Mike Eliason/AP

PG&E’s blackouts in California are a bleak preview of the disruptions that will become routine in a warmer world.

California has always promised Americans a glimpse of the future. But this week, the Golden State is forecasting a future that nobody wants to live in.

Millions of people across California lost their power this week, after the local utility Pacific Gas and Electric intentionally shut off electrical lines to avoid starting wildfires in dangerously dry and windy conditions. The outage—termed a “public-safety power shutoff”—stretched hundreds of miles across the state’s northern half, dousing the lights in affluent Bay Area suburbs, on Sacramento Valley ranches, and in large coastal cities such as Eureka.

But in the warming climate, California’s wildfires are getting worse. Half of its 10 largest wildfires ever, and seven of its 10 most destructive, have happened in the past decade. Since 1972, the state’s annual burned area has increased fivefold, a trend attributable to a 2.5-degree-Fahrenheit rise in summer temperatures, according to a recent peer-reviewed study.

By yesterday afternoon, more than 600,000 customers faced a blackout, including hundreds of hospitals, the utility said. But that number belies the scale of the shutoff: An entire apartment building can count as a single “customer,” according to The New York Times.
In one sense, the blackout was caused by an overlapping set of crises—legal, financial, and ecological—that now confronts the state. But in a larger sense, it looked like a preview of mid-21st-century governance. When political leaders envision the century of climate change to come, they often speak of massive floods and dangerous droughts. But the experience of Californians this week—frustrated, needlessly inconvenienced, and saddled with aging infrastructure built for the wrong century—will define the mass experience of climate change as much as any deluge or inferno.

That is in part because blackouts—while not as deadly or terrifying as wildfires—are nonetheless expensive in their own right. Outages this week could cost the American economy as much as $2.5 billion, says Michael Wara, a lawyer and energy-policy scholar at Stanford University. His estimate, calculated using a tool from the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, assumes that the blackout will eventually reach its planned length (48 hours) and planned size (800,000 customers).

Most of that $2.5 billion will be silently incurred by businesses, since many offices must restrict their hours or close altogether in a blackout. But costs will propagate through the economy. Tens of thousands of families must now sort through spoiled food and restock their freezers. Others will spend money they would have spent elsewhere coping with the blackout. And people who depend on medical equipment to survive must decide whether to temporarily leave town, invest in a generator, or risk going without until the power returns.

Of course, autumn is always an inconvenient time in California, as it is the heart of wildfire season. With winter rains not yet arrived and any springtime moisture long since sapped by the summer heat, October and November are when the state’s forest and chaparral are at their most parched. This week, the state faces another major cause of fires: hot, arid gusts that can knock over power lines while further drying out the soil. MORE

Can Mayors Save the World From Climate Change?

Australia’s northern coast is a case study on the impacts of a warming planet. Small-town leaders there are struggling with constituents who doubt reality.

Bucasia Beach in Mackay, Australia, is a mining and agricultural hub. The coastal town offers a view of the rapid effects of climate change.CreditMatthew Abbott for The New York Times

BUCASIA BEACH, Australia — Mayor Greg Williamson crunched through the dead branches and kicked the sand. His government had planted trees near the shore to protect this northern Australian beach community from the effects of climate change, but someone had cut them down, apparently for a better view.

“It looks to me like they started at the beach and worked their way back,” he said, pointing to the 18 felled trees. “Bloody fools — look, you can still see the saw marks.”

“What they don’t realize,” he added, “is that if these dunes aren’t here, they’re not going to have a house or a view.”

When international leaders met last month at the United Nations to discuss climate change, and when millions of young protesters took to the streets, the focus was on sweeping global action. But for much of the world, the response to climate change looks more like the parochial struggles of Mayor Williamson: small-town leaders laboring to persuade a skeptical public about complex science and expensive decisions.

In few places is the challenge of adapting to climate change more immediate than in Australia, where 80 percent of the population lives within a few dozen miles of a coastline susceptible to rising seas and more punishing storms, and where the arid interior bakes under record temperatures.

CreditMatthew Abbott for The New York Times

A decade ago, the country was at the forefront of adaptation expertise, creating a national research center to collect and share knowledge among academics and officials. But over time, the federal government lost interest, and in 2018 the facility’s funding fell to zero.

The conservative government has mostly dismissed calls for action on climate change, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently arguing that young activists like Greta Thunberg are causing “needless anxiety.” It’s a reversal that resembles what is happening in the United States, where the Trump White House has rejected established climate science, and cities like Miami have paid for their own coastal protection.

But the absence of national leadership does not change reality. It just puts more pressure on mayors and councils, including those in less populated areas, forcing them to become the climate infantry — the grunts who push through solutions on their own.

In Australia, they are the ones grappling with roads falling into the sea, with disputes over home insurance as costs rise, and with who will pay for preventive measures like taller barriers at marinas. They are also managing little-noticed budget ramifications, like the hiring of flooding consultants and the quicker depreciation in value of fleets of cars battered by increased salt and sand.

And that is just along the coast. Farther inland, local governments are trying to become experts in drought-monitoring technology, while areas that had never thought much about fire — even in rain forests — are suddenly examining worst-case scenarios.

Houses along Eimeo Beach in Mackay.
CreditMatthew Abbott for The New York Times

Among mayors, there is anger about the burden, said Dorean Erhart, who runs a state-level adaptation program. The group is helping Mackay, the sprawling area of 180,000 people and 32 beaches that Mayor Williamson leads, and other regional councils in the state of Queensland.

“They understand this is something they are going to have to deal with,” Ms. Erhart said. “It’s not going away, and it involves a thousand small decisions.”

For the regional council in Mackay, the challenge is especially palpable because the causes and effects of a warming planet stand side by side. MORE

After the Bloc’s gains in Quebec, Liberals now have another worry: a climbing NDP

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has boosted his party’s fortunes following last week’s English-language debate

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has boosted his party’s support, according to multiple polls. (Nathan Denette / Canadian Press)

New Democrats looking at the polls are probably feeling pretty thankful today.

That’s because the NDP is having a bit of a moment. Both the Liberals and Conservatives appear to be losing steam, while the New Democrats have momentum heading into the election campaign’s crucial final week.

The debates have shaken up what was a very placid campaign in the polls. After good performances in the two French-language contests, Yves-François Blanchet is on a roll of his own in Quebec, where the Bloc Québécois has eaten into the Liberals’ lead in the polls and their advantage in the seat count.

But now it seems that Singh’s performance is starting to pay off. The leader who has probably done the most to improve his own personal image in the eyes of voters is now seeing it translate into new support for his party.

The CBC’s Poll Tracker, an aggregation of all publicly available polling data, puts both the Conservatives and the Liberals under 33 per cent support countrywide and locked in the same close race that has prevailed throughout the campaign.

It is looking increasingly unlikely that either party will be able to win enough seats to form a majority government.

The New Democrats have jumped to 16.5 per cent support as of the Oct. 13 update of the Poll Tracker, representing a gain of two percentage points since Oct. 7 and the English-language debate (which, according to several polls, Singh won).

Over the same time span, the Liberals have slipped nearly three points and the Conservatives more than one. Neither the Greens nor the People’s Party have seen the same kind of post-debate bump that the NDP has.

That surge has been particularly obvious in the last few days. Since Oct. 9, the NDP has averaged a gain of 0.7 percentage points per day in the Poll Tracker — a significant increase in an aggregation of multiple polls that is designed to smooth out the swings from individual surveys.

Those polls are unanimous that the NDP has made gains. Ten different pollsters in the field both before and after the English-language debate have recorded a gain of at least one point for the New Democrats, though where the NDP sits in the polls does vary widely. Two pollsters pegged the NDP’s support to still be as low as 13 per cent while two others have put it as high as 20 per cent. MORE


Climate activist Greta Thunberg says she is coming to Alberta

No dates or specific locations have been announced

Climate change teen activist Greta Thunberg will visit Alberta in the near future. (Andrej Ivanov/Reuters)

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg will travel to Alberta after a series of appearances in the United States.

Thunberg made the announcement on Twitter Saturday, one day after speaking at a rally in Denver, Colorado.

Greta Thunberg @GretaThunberg

Heading north again. Now follows a few days of well needed rest while enjoying the spectacular nature of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. Then on to Alberta, Canada!

View image on Twitter

CBC News reached out to the province to inquire whether Premier Jason Kenney or any ministers would entertain meetings with Thunberg, to which the office issued the following statement:

“We trust that Ms. Thunberg will recognize Alberta’s leading human rights and environmental standards, especially in comparison to oil-producing dictatorships such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela – which she will presumably visit next – as well as major growing emitters like China,” the statement reads.

Lee Todd, spokesperson for the NDP Caucus, expressed his party’s disappointment with provincial climate policy in a statement.

“It’s profoundly disappointing that just one year ago, Greta could have seen a nation-leading climate plan that cut emissions by 50 megatonnes and supported working people producing responsible oil and gas,” Todd wrote. “Today, she will see a government in denial, funding a $30-million attack machine to shut down the voices of the next generation demanding a cleaner future.”

Todd wrote that previous climate initiatives led by youth had not been received properly by provincial representatives.

“When these youth came to our Legislature, they were mocked by the Premier’s own staff who trolled them with signs in their windows rather than actually engaging them on this critical issue of climate change,” he wrote. “If Ms. Thunberg requests a meeting, we will always consider it.”

The announcement comes a few weeks after Thunberg spoke to a massive crowd in Montreal, estimated at half a million. MORE

Forestry sector scrambles to recruit tree planters to sow millions – perhaps billions – more seedlings

B.C. silviculture companies are struggling to find up to 1,000 more tree planters

Veteran tree planter Jeff Andrews works his way across a B.C. mountainside. Facing a multimillion-seedling spike in the number of trees that need to be planted, B.C. is need of hundreds more tree planters for the 2020 season. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

It takes the stamina of an athlete to run up the side of a steep mountain the way Lann Dickson does.

“Nothing about it is easy,” said Dickson.

“A lot of people quit in the first week or two, it definitely breaks a lot of people.”

The veteran tree planter zig-zags across the mountainside in Fraser Canyon near Boston Bar, B.C., dodging stumps and branches, with 300 seedlings tucked into pouches strapped around his waist. Without losing a beat, Dickson pierces the ground with his shovel and slings a seedling into the ground. Then he’s off to the next spot he eyes several metres away.

Dickson has been tree planting in B.C. for 24 years, and skilled workers like him are in extremely high demand right now.

And that’s before the ambitious campaign promises by federal parties to plant billions more trees across Canada are even factored in.

Experienced tree planters like Lann Dickson are in high demand, because they know how to move quickly and safely across tricky terrain, and have the skills to sow hundreds of trees a day. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

B.C. alone needs to plant an estimated 48 million more trees in 2020 than it did last year in an effort to restore massive areas burned in the province after two record-breaking wildfires, and to promote carbon sequestration.

The Western Forestry Contractors’ Association estimates the increase may be the largest leap in planting volume in the industry’s 50-year history, going from 270 million seedlings this year to as many as 318 million seedlings next year.

In addition to normal projects to reforest trees harvested for logging, B.C. is planning to plant millions more trees next year in areas burned by wildfire. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Labour shortage

The industry estimates it employs roughly 4,500 workers. It will require 500 to 1,000 more planters to sow all those extra seedlings next year.

“It’s going to be a challenge for sure, [with] a lot more trees coming to market this year than past years,” said Timo Scheiber, CEO of Brinkman Reforestation.

Timo Scheiber, CEO of Brinkman Reforestation, says he believes it’s a great time to be a tree planter, as there is a huge need to reforest areas harvested and burned down by wildfires. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Adding to that extra demand, the search for reliable and experienced planters could skyrocket after a recent landmark study by Swiss researchers found that tree planting could play a huge role in combating climate change. Federal leaders on the campaign trail jumped on the study, and two parties have promised to plant billions of trees if elected.

The Liberals have pledged to plant 2 billion more trees over the next decade across the country to get Canada closer to carbon neutrality.

The Greens have an even more ambitious goal — 10 billion trees over the next three decades. MORE

How do you clean up a contaminated 150-year-old gold mine?

Nova Scotia government releases plans to remediate two of province’s most toxic former mines

The Montague gold mine as seen in 1911. (Nova Scotia Archives)

For 150 years, dozens of abandoned former gold mines have littered Nova Scotia, some harbouring residue with sky-high arsenic levels.

Earlier this year, the province announced it will spend $48 million to clean up two of the worst offenders — Goldenville, near Sherbrooke on the Eastern Shore, and Montague Gold Mines, in Dartmouth.

But that task is daunting.

The two sites were mined extensively from the 1860s to the early 1940s. Back then, environmental regulations were non-existent, or, at best, inadequate.

Miners used liquid mercury to extract gold from crushed rock, and the leftover material, called tailings, was simply dumped in the closest body of water.

Arsenic, which occurs naturally in rock, was released as part of the mining process.

Arsenic levels at the two sites are astonishing. The Nova Scotia Environment Department’s human health soil quality guideline is 31 mg/kg, but at Goldenville, levels of up to 200,000 mg/kg were found, and at Montague Gold Mines, the tailings had arsenic levels of up to 41,000 mg/kg.

The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment’s human health and ecological soil quality guidelines for inorganic mercury is 6.6mg/kg. At Goldenville, mercury levels of up to 48 mg/kg were found, and at Montague Gold Mines, they were up to 8.4 mg/kg.

Last month, the province revealed plans to remediate Montague and Goldenville — plans that could serve as a template for future cleanups of other former gold mines.

The plans, pitched by a consortium of companies selected by the province through a tendering process, involve excavating the tailings with the greatest contamination to a depth of two metres and placing them in a lined containment cell.

“You’re controlling what water can get at them and more or less entombing them so that they don’t have a negative effect on the environment any longer,” said Donnie Burke, the executive director of environmental analysis and remediation for Nova Scotia Lands, a provincial Crown corporation responsible for environmental cleanups.

Those areas will then be covered with clean backfill. MORE


NEW YORK, NEW YORK– OCTOBER 7, 2019: The environmental group Extinction Rebellion (commonly referred to as XR) stage a "die in" at the Charging Bull. XR lead a group of protesters in marching and action in Manhattan on Monday. Numerous members were arrested.
The environmental group Extinction Rebellion staged a “die-in” at the Charging Bull statue in Manhattan on Oct. 7, 2019. Photo: Hilary Swift for The Intercept

A CROWD OF about 200 black-clad members of the climate activist group Extinction Rebellion gathered Monday morning at the southern end of New York City’s financial district. Some held banners painted with ghostly white animals or cardboard cutouts of trees and waves. In the background, a New Orleans-style jazz funeral band warmed up tubas, and one of the march’s emcees instructed people on the proper way to wail. (“Dig down and pull out your grief — because you gotta cry!”)

At the head of the procession, 20-year-old Ayisha Siddiqa took the megaphone. She explained how she’d come to the U.S. from a poor part of Pakistan when she was 5 years old and had lost family members as a result of frequent power outages, which are expected to increase globally as the climate crisis deepens. Attention turned to Richard McLachlan, a 68-year-old New Zealander, as he and another activist began reading Extinction Rebellion’s declaration of rebellion.

“The science is clear: We are in the sixth mass extinction event, and we will face catastrophe if we do not act swiftly and robustly,” the activists said. “We, in alignment with our consciences and our reasoning, declare ourselves in rebellion against our government and the corrupted, inept institutions that threaten our future.” It was the kickoff to an event dubbed Rebellion Week, part of an international series of XR actions.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK– OCTOBER 7, 2019: Performers with Bread and Puppet Theater wait in Battery Park before the environmental group Extinction Rebellion (commonly referred to as XR). On monday they lead a group of protesters in marching and action in Manhattan. Numerous members were arrested while blocking roads and performing "die-ins."Performers with Bread and Puppet Theater wait in Battery Park before the start of Monday’s protest with XR.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK– OCTOBER 7, 2019: The environmental group Extinction Rebellion (commonly referred to as XR) stage a die-in  on the street in front of the New York Stock Exchange. XR lead a group of protesters in marching and action in Manhattan on Monday. Numerous members were arrested.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK– OCTOBER 7, 2019: The environmental group Extinction Rebellion (commonly referred to as XR) stages a die-in  on the street in front of the New York Stock Exchange. XR lead a group of protesters in marching and action in Manhattan on Monday. Numerous members were arrested.

The environmental group Extinction Rebellion stages a die-in at the Charging Bull statue in Manhattan on Oct. 7, 2019.Photos: Hilary Swift for The Intercept

As the group started moving out of the park, a figure appeared in the distance, waving Extinction Rebellion’s green flag from atop Wall Street’s charging bull statue. Dyed red corn syrup oozed down the bull’s back, and activists wearing white shirts splattered with fake blood played dead at the animal’s feet.

By sunset, police had arrested 700 people across the globe for participation in actions under XR’s banner, including 93 “die-in” participants in New York. That was the point. By getting arrested in visually compelling acts of civil disobedience inspired by Gandhi, the civil rights movement, and ACT UP, Extinction Rebellion hopes to jolt world leaders into taking action on the climate emergency.

Since the movement was born in the United Kingdom one year ago, it has grown to a network of at least 485 groups in 72 countries. Many observers have responded with a reaction similar to the one elicited by 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg: Finally, someone is truthfully confronting scientists’ apocalyptic climate forecasts with the urgency they deserve. MORE