Blue Planet Club



The name Blue Planet Club is chosen to bring focus toward the pale blue dot, as planet Earth appears when seen from deep space.  The pale blue dot name was suggested by cosmologist Carl Sagan in hopes that the fragile appearance of humanity’s only home may arouse within us the emotional and spiritual response needed to help us deal with the deteriorating state of our natural world.

Sept. 28/19 revision of Blue Planet Governance:

 Revolution Of The Young:

This revision of Blue Planet Governance has been written shortly after the phenomenon of ‘Greta’, the teenage Swedish girl who has suddenly awakened much of the world to the crisis of our times.  On September 27 the world’s youth triggered large demonstrations around the world. The young and many thinking adults now recognize that the trajectory of our collective nations’ default, Business As Usual (BAU) way of promoting GROWTH in human-activity, deprives them of a viable future. GROWTH has led us into a world of collapsing diversity, global warming and other dire results.  Global warming is a well-known consequence of using fossil fuels.  Ending our fossil fuel addiction will become one of our changing priorities as seek to reduce the human footprint

The time is ripe for change.  But change to what?

Currently we are in a state of TINA – There Is No Alternate!

These pages suggest a way forward: Toward negative growth in human-activity with relatively little disruption on the daily lives of most people.  After you have read these two pages I hope you will go to page 3, become a voice of change by becoming a member of the Blue Planet Club, and endorse the concept of Blue Planet Governance as a way forward: And movement toward Blue Planet Governance to create the possibility of a viable future for today’s youth and following generations. MORE

‘We Must Grow This Movement’: Youth Climate Activists Ramp Up the Pressure

From school strikes to the harder edge of Extinction Rebellion, young climate activists are making their voices heard, and they’re increasingly politically engaged.

Hundreds of youth climate activists and their supporters staged a climate strike protest outside of Chevron headquarters in San Ramon, California, in September 2019. Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Hundreds of young climate activists and their supporters staged a climate strike outside of Chevron headquarters in San Ramon, California, in September calling for the oil company to abandon fossil fuels by 2025. Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A new wave of climate protests hit cities around the world this week—this time aimed at shocking people with civil disobedience, fake blood on the pavement and bodies lying in the streets under signs that read: “Stop funding climate death.”

The Extinction Rebellion demonstrations have a harder edge than the student-led climate strikes that have brought millions to their feet around the world demanding leaders do more to slow climate change. While the school climate strikes end with students returning to class, these protests have often led to arrests.

But both show how young people are reinvigorating the social movement for climate action on a scale never seen before, and their organizers plan to keep up the pressure until more is done to slow climate change.

That widespread youth activism is also empowering more young people to turn their protests into political action, from pressuring lawmakers and businesses to take action to energizing voters.

The Extinction Rebellion activists and the school strikers are both decentralized coalitions that are giving young people a way to stand up for their future. Between them, the groups have a long list of school strikes, rallies and acts of civil disobedience planned through the rest of the year, including a major youth climate strike planned for Nov. 29, Black Friday, known for holiday shopping in the United States.

Alexandria Villaseñor, a 14-year-old climate activist from New York who founded Earth Uprising and is an organizer with the school climate strike group Fridays for Future, is emblematic of their determination. She announced last month that she would be taking her school education on the road as she tours the country to continue organizing climate strikes.

“I’ll be traveling and striking in a different city, or maybe even a different country, every Friday,” she wrote on Twitter. “We must grow this movement. We must get real action.”

Building on Social Justice Movements

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist who launched the Fridays for Future school walkouts, may have galvanized the global youth climate movement when she started her humble strikes in front of the Swedish Parliament last year, but it has been building for years.

In the U.S., the movement really learned from and built upon past civil rights and social justice movements, where tactics such as marching in the streets and occupying places of commerce or political power were used.

That’s one of the reasons the Green New Deal—the climate policy goals that the young Sunrise Movement activists brought to the halls of Congress—explicitly addresses building economic and political space for the most vulnerable communities affected by climate change as society transitions to a new energy economy, said Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, the North America director for the climate activist group It’s also why the movement must explicitly connect social justice and climate work moving forward.

For some youth in the climate movement, the idea of addressing socioeconomic and racial disparities in the U.S. is a big part of their involvement.

“Young people of color, like myself, are affected by climate change most,” said Nyiesha Mallett, an 18-year-old climate activist from New York who is part Afro-Caribbean. “I should be one of the people who gets to come up with solutions.”

Ramping Up Local Fights

Climate groups in the U.S. are working to channel that youthful energy toward local policy battles, where they see higher chances of success.

In Washington state, young activists have joined a broad coalition pushing for a clean energy transition in the state, fighting for and, in many cases, winning ambitious policy battles, including the state’s target to reach 100 percent clean energy by 2045, the strongest clean electricity law in the nation.

“It’s not just taking back the White House and the Senate, not just passing federal legislation to address the crisis, but really making sure that we go deep on local … actions,” Toles O’Laughlin said.

That’s one reason 17-year-old Mariana Rodriguez from San Francisco joined the youth climate strikes last month, after seeing how climate change was impacting her state’s forests. “November is known as fire season,” she said. “And with all the fires that’s been happening around here, I can’t ignore something that’s happening right in front of me.”

The global youth climate marches on Sept. 20, 2019, brought millions of people into the streets in cities around the world. Young people in New York City marched through Wall Street. Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The global youth climate marches on Sept. 20, 2019, brought millions of people into the streets in cities around the world. Young people in New York City marched through Wall Street. Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

In other parts of the country where support for climate action is less popular, activists in the climate movement are working to simply get elected officials to formally adopt statewide action plans. MORE


Fourth global climate strike planned days before UN climate summit



Greta’s in B.C. How does our climate pollution compare to Sweden’s?

Flags of British Columbia and Sweden (credit Wikipedia) and file photo of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg by Josie Desmarais

“My name is Greta Thunberg. I am sixteen years old. I come from Sweden. And I speak on behalf of future generations.” – speech to U.K. House of Parliament, London, April 23, 2019

Swedish climate striker Greta Thunberg has travelled a long, slow, low-carbon way to bring her message of climate urgency to British Columbia.

In the spirit of cultural exchange, I decided to learn what I could about Sweden’s own climate emissions and efforts. So if you, too, are interested in how our two northern jurisdictions compare on climate pollution, you’re in luck. I waded through a fat pile of reports and spreadsheets to put together five comparison charts and the stories behind them.

Pollution Down. Pollution Up.

Let’s start with annual emissions. My first chart shows the big picture.

Climate pollution from 1990 to 2017 for Sweden and BC

Back in 1990, Sweden dumped a lot more climate pollution than B.C. did. Fifteen million tonnes (15 MtCO2) more.

But, since then, the Swedes have slashed their emissions by a quarter.

B.C. has pumped it up.

As a result, we’ve traded places. B.C. now emits a lot more climate pollution than Sweden.

I’ve also included B.C.’s 2020 climate target on the chart as a dotted circle. (It sits at 23 per cent below our 1990 emissions level.)

Sweden has already cut even deeper than that, reducing emissions 26 per cent below their 1990 level.

It is clearly possible for wealthy northerners to achieve the pollution we promised. Heck, the U.K. has managed to pull off a 41 per cent reduction since 1990.

Greta: “A lot of people say that Sweden is a small country, that it doesn’t matter what we do. But I think that if a few girls can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school for a few weeks, imagine what we could do together if we wanted to. Every single person counts. Just like every single emission counts. Every single kilo. Everything counts. So please, treat the climate crisis like the acute crisis it is and give us a future. Our lives are in your hands.” – speech to Stockholm Climate March, Sept. 8, 2018

Person by person

Greta: “The bigger your carbon footprint, the bigger your moral duty.”  speech to the World Economic Forum, Davos, Jan. 25, 2019

Next, let’s look at the amount of climate pollution emitted per person.

Climate pollution per capita in 2017 for Sweden and BC

Sweden is home to more than twice as many people as British Columbia. And as my second chart shows, the average Swede emits a little over five tonnes of climate pollution (tCO2) each year.

That’s one tonne less than the global average.

British Columbians, in contrast, emit more than double the global average.

Why are Swedes polluting so much less? To look for clues I dug deeper to find the emissions that each sector of the economy causes.

Two things jump out for me.

First, you can see that transportation is by far British Columbia’s biggest source of climate pollution. So big, in fact, that our per capita transportation emissions exceed the Swedes footprint for everything. We’ll take a look two of the biggest transportation problems — driving and flying — below.

The second thing that jumps out at me is the pollution from B.C.’s oil and gas industry, shown at the top of the bar. The industry alone emits 2.6 tCO2 per British Columbian. That’s half Sweden’s total.

And now the oil and gas industry is poised to double its climate pollution in B.C. if they build just two of their currently planned LNG projects: LNG Canada and Kitimat LNG.

Those two examples just scratch the surface of what we could learn from studying the emissions of Sweden and most other European nations. If you want to explore more, the official greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory for Sweden, and for most other major nations, are here. And like Greta’s speeches, Sweden’s report is, very helpfully, in English. MORE

Greta Thunberg declines $67,000 environmental award, criticizes Nordic posturing

‘The Nordic countries have a great reputation when it comes to climate and environmental issues. There is no lack of bragging about this’

Greta Thunberg, renowned for her work inspiring a global movement for climate change, declined an environmental award by the Nordic Council. GRETA THUNBERG/INSTAGRAM

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg refused to accept a Swedish environmental award, saying that the Nordic countries do not suffer from “a lack of bragging” about their reputation despite doing “basically” nothing.

In an Instagram post Tuesday, Thunberg wrote that she had received the Nordic Council 2019 environmental award of 500,000 kronor — which roughly translates to a little more than $67,000.

“I want to thank the Nordic Council for this award. It is a huge honour,” she wrote. “But the climate movement does not need any more awards.”

Thunberg went on to call out the Nordic countries for “basically do(ing) nothing” despite having the “possibility to do the most.”

“The Nordic countries have a great reputation around the world when it comes to climate and environmental issues. There is no lack of bragging about this. There is no lack of beautiful words,” she continued. “But when it comes to our actual emissions and our ecological footprints per capita … it’s a whole other story.”

She cited the Johan Sverdup oil field in the North Sea as an example of how Nordic Countries flout the warnings of climate change. “The gap between what the science says …. (and) the politics that run the Nordic countries is gigantic. And there are still no signs whatsoever of the changes required.”

Thunberg was also not present at the Stockholm ceremony held by the Nordic Council —  which encourages co-operation between parliaments in countries including Denmark, Finland and Sweden — due to travelling in California for the Youth Climate Strike in Los Angeles. Two fellow climate activists, Sofia and Isabella Axelsson spoke in her place at the ceremony on Tuesday and read a statement from the Thunberg, saying “what we need is for our rulers and politicians to listen to the research.”

According to their website, the organization had nominated Thunberg “for breathing new life into the debate surrounding the environment and climate at a critical moment in world history,” citing her efforts to inspire global action through FridaysForFuture, a movement she started in August 2018.

The council confirmed she did not accept the award in a news release.

“The prize was presented by Swedish environmental activist Noura Berrouba to Isabelle Axelsson and Sophia Axelsson of Fridays For Future, representing Greta at the awards ceremony which was broadcast live from the Stockhold Concert on Tuesday evening. Together they passed on Greta’s message, which included the statement that the environment doesn’t need any more prizes,” the news release said.

View this post on Instagram

I have received the Nordic Council’s environmental award 2019. I have decided to decline this prize. Here’s why: “I am currently traveling through California and therefore not able to be present with you today. I want to thank the Nordic Council for this award. It is a huge honour. But the climate movement does not need any more awards. What we need is for our politicians and the people in power start to listen to the current, best available science. The Nordic countries have a great reputation around the world when it comes to climate and environmental issues. There is no lack of bragging about this. There is no lack of beautiful words. But when it comes to our actual emissions and our ecological footprints per capita – if we include our consumption, our imports as well as aviation and shipping – then it’s a whole other story. In Sweden we live as if we had about 4 planets according to WWF and Global Footprint Network. And roughly the same goes for the entire Nordic region. In Norway for instance, the government recently gave a record number of permits to look for new oil and gas. The newly opened oil and natural gas-field, ”Johan Sverdrup” is expected to produce oil and natural gas for 50 years; oil and gas that would generate global CO2 emissions of 1,3 billion tonnes. The gap between what the science says is needed to limit the increase of global temperature rise to below 1,5 or even 2 degrees – and politics that run the Nordic countries is gigantic. And there are still no signs whatsoever of the changes required. The Paris Agreement, which all of the Nordic countries have signed, is based on the aspect of equity, which means that richer countries must lead the way. We belong to the countries that have the possibility to do the most. And yet our countries still basically do nothing. So until you start to act in accordance with what the science says is needed to limit the global temperature rise below 1,5 degrees or even 2 degrees celsius, I – and Fridays For Future in Sweden – choose not to accept the Nordic Councils environmental award nor the prize money of 500 000 Swedish kronor. Best wishes Greta Thunberg”

A post shared by Greta Thunberg (@gretathunberg) on



The climate is changing: Greta to march in Vancouver today

Climate strikers took to the streets in Vancouver on Sep. 27, 2019, as part of a global climate strike. Photo by Chris Yamikov via Flickr Commons

Sustainabiliteens, a youth climate advocacy group in Vancouver, will lead a march alongside Swedish activist Greta Thunberg in an historic moment today.

16-year-old Thunberg has inspired youth around the world to strike from school on Fridays to protest government inaction on climate change in a movement she calls Fridays for Future.

This Friday for Future she will be in Vancouver joining organizers in a “post-election climate strike,” showing that teens are keeping up the pressure on Trudeau’s new minority government to take more action on climate change.

The march will begin with an address from Indigenous leaders including Musqueam activist Audrey Siegel; Ida Manuel from Secwepemc Nation; hip-hop artist Dakota Bear; David Suzuki and his daughter Severn Cullis-Suzuki; Sustainabiliteens organizers and Thunberg.

The climate strikers will gather at Vancouver Art Gallery in the downtown core at 11:00 a.m. and plan to begin their march at 11:30 a.m.

Greta Thunberg


I reached the Pacific Ocean!

View image on Twitter

Thumberg’s visit comes shortly after she participated in a rally in Edmonton last week. Last month, she attended a global strike march in Montreal where 500,000 people marched. On the same day, 150,000 marched in Vancouver.

While in Montreal, she met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and afterwards told media “he’s obviously not doing enough” to act on climate change, but that she tells all politicians to do the same thing: “act on the science.”

Vancouver schools have tweeted at Thunberg asking her to visit their students, and not surprisingly, she’s gotten more invitations than she can keep up with.

Lori Boland@LoriBoland

@GretaThunberg a million thanks for inspiring all these young climate change activists at False Creek Elementary. . . 

Jen Fischer@JenLFisch

@GretaThunberg Please come visit us! Our Climate Club @ False Creek Elementary School in #Vancouver would be so THRILLED to meet & host you!

She tweeted on Tuesday that she was unaware of any invitation from Victoria and had “definitely not declined it” because of emissions from public transportation.

“I try to visit as many places as I can, but there’s unfortunately not enough time to visit everywhere,” she wrote.

Greta Thunberg

This Friday October 25th I’ll join the climate strike in Vancouver, BC!
11am at Vancouver Art Gallery.

View image on Twitter

Greta Thunberg

PS. I don’t know anything about an invitation to Victoria, and I have definitely not declined it because of “emissions” from the public transport ferry. Just so you know:)
I try to visit as many places as I can, but there’s unfortunately not enough time to visit everywhere.

“She is fearless, earnest, passionate about the planet and determined,” wrote Chika Unigwe for The Guardian. “But so are her peers.”

“Born in a wealthy country, to parents who can afford to accommodate their daughter’s convictions, and in a culture where children are encouraged to speak up, Thunberg has intersecting privileges,” Unigwe continued. “She is aware of this and regularly mentions her fellow youth activists in her speeches, to remind journalists that there are others working alongside her.”

Perhaps most famously in Canada is Autumn Peltier from Wikwemikong First Nation, who is a long-time water protector who has spoken in the UN and to the prime minister. Xiuhtezcatl Martinez from Mexico, of Mashika descent, gave his first speech at 6 years old and founded an international environmental group called Earth Guardians. And Ta’Kaiya Blaney from Sliammon First Nation began writing her first protest song (against the Northern Gateway pipeline) at eight years old, and has spoken and sang at the UN, Idle No More events, and Occupy Wall Street.

15 Canadian youths to sue Ottawa for not acting on climate change

They say young people will be more affected than other groups

People hold signs as thousands gather outside Vancouver City Hall before marching downtown during a climate strike in Vancouver on Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A group of young people from across the country are suing the Canadian government for not acting on climate change, according to the David Suzuki Foundation.

In a statement issued Wednesday morning, the foundation said the youths have each suffered “specific, individualized injuries due to climate change.”

The lawsuit, which is expected to be filed Friday in the Supreme Court of Canada, will allege Ottawa is violating their rights to life, liberty and security of person under section seven of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The youth will also claim the government’s actions violate section 15, which deals with equality, as they say young people are disproportionately affected by climate change.

They will be represented by Arvay Finlay LLP and Tollefson Law Corporation, and partner with the Pacific Centre for Environmental Law and Litigation and the David Suzuki Foundation.

“The lawsuit calls on Canada to cease its conduct that is violating the youth’s Charter and public trust rights and prepare and implement a plan that reduces Canada’s GHG emissions in a manner consistent with what best available science indicates is needed for the federal government to protect young Canadians, do its fair share to stabilize the climate system, and avert the catastrophic consequences of climate change,” the foundation said in a statement.

The youth will also take part in a march and rally at the northern steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery Friday, coinciding with Greta Thunberg’s arrival and climate strike in the city.



 Greta Thunberg to attend post-election climate strike in Vancouver
Students skip school, join climate strikes across B.C.



‘Our future is at stake’: Greta Thunberg tells climate rally in Edmonton

‘We aren’t doing it because it’s fun … We are doing this because our future is at stake’

Swedish activist Greta Thunberg spoke to hundreds of climate activists at a rally at the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton on Friday. (Manuel Carrillos/CBC)

By foot, by bus and by truck, thousands of Albertans made their way to the provincial legislature grounds in Edmonton, drawn by a 16-year-old Swedish girl who is trying to convince governments to take action on climate change.

Wearing a turquoise parka, environmental activist Greta Thunberg marched among the hundreds of people along several major downtown Edmonton roads, ending at the Alberta Legislature where hundreds more were waiting to greet her.

Among the crowd were more than 100 people who set out early in the morning from Calgary to show up for the Fridays for Future rally, the climate strikes that originated with Thunberg and have spread around the world.

As Thunberg took the podium, she noted that it seemed like the rally had greatly exceeded that target.

“Today is Friday,” Thunberg said early in her remarks. “And as always, we are on climate strike. Young people all around the globe are today sacrificing their education to bring attention to the climate and ecological emergency.

“And we are not doing this because we want to. We aren’t doing it because it’s fun. We’re aren’t doing it because we have a special interest in the climate or because we want to become politicians when we grow up.

“We are doing this because our future is at stake.”

Hundreds of activists, along with some supporters of Alberta’s oil and gas industry, gathered at the legislature. (Peggy Lam/CBC)

The event included prayers, passionate speeches from Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth, and a performance by Chubby Cree, an Indigenous hand drumming group.

Thunberg gave a special shout-out to the young and Indigenous leaders at the rally, saying “you are the hope.”

Her speech touched on many of the themes she is known for: the need to heed science, the need for developed countries — like Sweden and Canada, she said — to lead the way in reducing their emissions to allow developing countries a chance to heighten their standard of living, and the desperate need to do things quickly.

“We need to start treating this crisis as a crisis,” she said. “Because you cannot solve an emergency without treating it as one.”

“And if you think we should be in school instead, then we suggest you take our place in the streets. Or better yet, join us so we can speed up the process.” MORE

Climate Change: An Appeal to the UN Committee on the Rights of Children

Image result for resilience: Climate Change: An Appeal to the UN Committee on the Rights of Children

On the day Greta Thunberg gave her emotion-filled speech at the United Nation’s (UN) Climate Summit, another historic event involving the Swedish activist and 15 other youthful climate hawks—representing 12 countries–took place. The filing of the first-ever legal complaint about climate change to the UN’s Committee on the Rights of the Child. The communication is titled Sacchi et al. vs. Argentina, et al.

Like the plaintiffs in the case of Juliana vs. US, the young petitioners—all ranging in age between 8 and 17—are seeking to protect themselves and future generations from the harsh consequences of global climate change. Impacts like extreme droughts and rising sea levels that most of the world’s scientists have been warning of for decades; warnings that have gone mostly unheeded in terms of needed state actions.

The Republic of the Marshall Islands, home to three of the petitioners, formally declared a National Climate Crisis on September 30, 2019. A low lying archipelago in the southern Pacific Ocean, portions of the Marshall Islands were the site of 67 nuclear weapons tests by the United States, including the 15-megaton Castle Bravo hydrogen bomb test that produced significant fallout in the region.

Having survived those tests, the Marshall Islands now face the prospect of being uninhabitable by 2050—swallowed by the waters that have sustained its populations for hundreds of centuries. Its 29 atolls average only 6.5 feet above sea level.

The petition—or communication as it is termed—was filed with the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (Committee or CRC) that was established under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The Committee monitors the implementation of the Convention that protects the human rights of children around the globe.

The convention was signed by every country in the world, save for the United States. Of the 196 signatories, 45 have agreed to the Third Optional Protocol, allowing children to petition the UN directly about treaty violations. The five respondent nations named in the communication—Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey—are among the 45. The named respondents are aware of the causes and consequences of global warming, emitters of greenhouse gases, and signatories of the Paris Accord.

The UN Committee on the Rights of Children is comprised of 18 independent experts elected by the states that oversee the operation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by its parties. When countries ratify the CRC, they accept that they:

  • are bound by its clauses;
  • have a duty to incorporate its provisions into their domestic laws;
  • must subject themselves to the scrutiny and jurisdiction of the CRC.

The communication filed with the Committee is quite similar in content to the pleadings filed by the Juliana plaintiffs in the US Federal District Court for Oregon. It offers a science-based description of the causes of climate change and references some of the impacts, e.g., forest fires, lost food sources, insect-borne diseases, permanently inundated coastlands, more violent and frequent weather-related events, etc.

The communication is careful to point out that the consequences of Earth’s warming are being suffered now and states they will only get worse if nations don’t increase current efforts. It introduces the petitioners and describes specific harms they have already experienced:

In the Marshall Islands, Petitioner Ranton Anjain contracted dengue fever in 2019, now prevalent in the islands, and Petitioner David Ackley III contracted chikungunya, a new disease there.

In Cape Town, South Africa, drought has made Petitioner Ayakha Melithafa’s family, and 3.7 million other residents prepare for the day municipal water supplies run dry.

According to the communication, the respondent nations have contributed to the climate crisis with their past emissions and are failing to put themselves on a pathway consistent with keeping the climate’s temperature rise under 2.0 degrees Centigrade over the 21st century. The failure of the named respondents is essentially the failure of all nations, including the signatories on the Paris climate accord. The pledged reductions are inadequate to the task of achieving both the aspirational 1.5 degrees and the agreed-upon 2.0 degrees Celsius targets.

The cumulative sum of the respondents’ historical emissions shows that they are major emitters, responsible for a significant share of today’s concentration of GHGs in the atmos-phere. Each of the respondents ranks in the top 50 historical emitters since 1850, based on fossil fuel emissions: Germany ranks 5th, France 8th, Brazil 22nd, Argentina 29th, and Turkey 31st. When land-use, such as deforestation, is factored in, Brazil surpasses France in its historical share.

Establishing the reality of climate change and identifying actual harms suffered by the petitioners at the hands of the respondents by their delay in taking the steps necessary to decarbonize their economies are preludes to the central point of the petition. The communication alleges that the respondents have shifted the enormous burden and costs of climate change onto children and future generations.

The relief requested in the petition is a series of findings by the Committee. The primary finding being asked for is a declaration that climate change is a children’s rights crisis. Also requested are findings that the respondent nations have knowingly disregarded the science-based evidence of the causes, consequences, and remedial steps necessary to protect children everywhere from the ravages of climate change.

The petitioners are also asking the Committee to recommend to the respondent nations that they amend their laws and policies to make the best interests of the children a primary consideration when allocating the costs and burdens of climate change mitigation and adaptation. The petitioners are further requesting the Committee to encourage the respondents to provide for the direct access of children and their representatives to the decisionmaking process where they would have the right to express their views freely. MORE


To Fight For Their Right to Life, Alaskan Kids Take Climate Change to the Supreme Court


What INGOs Can Learn From Greta Thunberg and the Global Climate Strikes

Combining analysis, outrage and active citizenship can build and sustain large-scale public engagement.

Global Climate Strike in London on March 15 2019. (Photo: Flickr/Gary Knight. Public Domain)
Global Climate Strike in London on March 15 2019. (Photo: Flickr/Gary Knight. Public Domain)

While Greta Thunberg has mostly targeted governments and multilateral bodies for their failure to tackle the climate crisis, the global Climate Strike Movement her Friday protests have inspired may also have inadvertently exposed the shortcomings of international non-governmental organisations (INGOs). With the kind of global reach and popular mobilisation of which most INGOs can only dream, the climate strikes have succeeded in catapulting the climate crisis to the top of the political and media agendas.

In the process, this movement has exposed the lack of critical interrogation by INGOs of government and corporate inaction to reduce global warming, and shed light on the growing inertia of an INGO sector that trades in incremental change rather than systemic political and economic transformation. So what could INGOs learn from Thunberg and the climate movement’s tactics? Here are four key points.

Building large-scale popular mobilisation around the lived realities of climate change.

The most recent week of climate actions from 20-27 September 2019 saw a record 7.6 million people take to the streets in what was the biggest climate mobilisation in history, with more than 6,000 actions recorded in 185 countries. The mobilisation on 20 September was a ‘general strike’ which urged adults in all walks of life to follow the lead of young people. This resulted in over 70 trade unions, 3,000 businesses and 800 civil society organisations supporting actions in the global North and South.

Other popular mobilisations prior to September almost certainly contributed to the unexpected success of the Green parties in the European Union parliamentary elections in May 2019, suggesting that heightened awareness of climate change is beginning to influence political behaviour. Before the strikes, the world seemed locked into a state of cognitive dissonance whereby it recognised the gravity of the climate crisis but was determined to carry on with ‘business as usual.’ But the size and dynamism of the climate protests is making that untenable.

In part, that’s because the generation that is leading the climate movement is “the first for whom climate disruption on a planetary scale is not a future threat, but a lived reality,” as Naomi Klein puts it in her new book On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal. Recent research by Barnardo’s and Girlguiding shows that the climate crisis is one of the main concerns for young people and a major source of anxiety.

Research has also shown that young people’s engagement in social actions can reduce anxiety and improve their well-being. Action projects represent a profound learning experience through which people can develop key skills, capabilities, attitudes and dispositions that strengthen their engagement with the issues that affect their lives.

Speaking truth to power.

Another major factor in the global spread of climate activism is Thunberg’s direct communications style and her refusal to content herself with the ear of politicians and business leaders. She speaks with clarity, directness and truth. In her address to billionaire entrepreneurs at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, for example, she said: “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.”

Her speech to the United Nations Climate Action Summit on 23 September 2019 was more like a rebuke to world leaders:

“People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”

Her reference to “fairy tales of eternal economic growth” clearly alluded to the broken neoliberal economic model that precipitated the 2008 global financial crisis. Thunberg recognises the threat posed by a deregulated carbon-based economy to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) recommendation to limit global warming to 1.5°C. Her speeches regularly exhort her audiences to ‘listen to the science’ and call out politicians for a lack of urgency in their responses.

Thunberg was similarly unsparing in her remarks to a United States Congressional climate crisis task force when she said “Please save your praise. We don’t want it. Don’t invite us here to just tell us how inspiring we are without actually doing anything about it because it doesn’t lead to anything”. In remarks meant for Congress as a whole she added: “I know you are trying but just not hard enough. Sorry.”

Thunberg’s reproaching of politicians and climate change deniers has resulted in scabrous abuse by internet trolls and feeble efforts to satirise her appearance, delivery and content. It’s worth re-stating that such trolls, mostly white men, are taking to the internet to attack a 16 year-old school girl who has given a voice to millions of young people across the world and inspired them to action. 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