Green New Deal tour seeks hope and reconciliation in Canada


David Suzuki and Naomi Klein discussed a Green New Deal for Canada at the Bloor Street United Church in Toronto on June 11, 2019. Photo by Chris Katsarov

The Canadian version [of the Green New Deal] is adding more emphasis on the inclusion of Indigenous practices.

The Green New Deal “must be based on Indigenous knowledge and science and cut Canada’s emissions in half in 11 years,” according to the Council of Canadians, one of many partnering groups.

Pam Palmater, Maria Menezes, and supporters of the Our Time organization listen during the Green New Deal town hall at Bloor Street United Church in Toronto on June 11, 2019. Pam Palmater, Maria Menezes, and supporters of the Our Time organization listen during the Green New Deal town hall at Bloor Street United Church in Toronto on June 11, 2019. Photo by Chris Katsarov

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report last October saying global warming requires “rapid and far-reaching” infrastructure transitions. The UN report, completed by leading climate scientists, warns that without serious action to lower CO2 emissions within 11 years, there will be more catastrophes to come, including floods, droughts, extreme heat and poverty.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) has not been implemented in Canada, which defines Indigenous rights and grants free prior informed consent to the policies that affect them, such as climate change and natural resource development.

On June 11, the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples passed Bill C-262 to implement UNDRIP in Canada. It is not yet federal law. Conservative senators objected over fears about its potential impact on resource development and have been accused of stalling. If the bill is not made federal law by the end of the month, new legislation will have to be tabled.

The Green New Deal attempts to align the principles of UNDRIP and traditional Indigenous knowledge with scientific inquiry.

Wanda Whitebird, an elder of the Mi’kmaq Nation from Afton, N.S., welcomed the crowd of a few hundred to the inaugural town hall in Toronto.

Large banners calling for 100 per cent renewable energy and the recognition of Indigenous rights were draped from the second floor of the church. From the front pews to the back, attendees chanted for “climate justice.” MORE

RELATED:

Senate committee passes UNDRIP bill, but not without push-back

 

David Suzuki, prominent environmentalists launch cross-country tour warnings of global crisis

David Suzuki
David Suzuki makes an appearance at United Church on Bloor Street on June 10, 2019.

Some of Canada’s leading environmentalists are trekking across the country to illustrate what they are calling global climate crisis.

Toronto marked the first stop on a seven-city tour for The Leap, a collective of prominent activists who are backing a Green New Deal, an ambitious U.S. plan to curb climate change and transform the economy by investing in clean energy jobs.

The movement is gaining traction among members of the Democratic Party in the United States.

Among those who were touting its virtues in front of a sold out crowd at United Church, located near Tuesday night were author and activist Naomi Klein and environmentalist-turned-broadcaster David Suzuki, who blamed the media for not properly highlighting the perils of planet-wide climate change.

“In May, the United Nations released a study saying we are causing a catastrophic rate of extinction threatening a million species of plants and animals,” Suzuki said. “The next day, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had a baby and pushed everything out of the news.”

“Fundamental changes are urgent,” he warned, saying consequences to ecosystems, food supplies and economies will be dire by the year 2100 if global temperature increases aren’t capped to within 1.5 degree Celsius above pre-industrial era averages.

His sentiments were echoed by Pam Palmater, who works as a professor, lawyer and aboriginal rights activist.

“What will it take for people to wake up and realize we don’t need to just change things around the edges? Stop using plastic straws, yes! But that won’t save the world. This isn’t about who you vote for. The most irresponsible a citizen can do is vote and then call it a day.”

The next stop on The Leap’s cross country tour is Thursday in Montreal, with appearances scheduled to follow in Ottawa, Halifax, Edmonton, Vancouver and Winnipeg.  MORE

RELATED:

A GREEN NEW DEAL FOR ALL

Get tickets here

Inside the Race to Unify Progressives Behind a Canadian Green New Deal
Climate Activists Hold Town Hall for Green New Deal

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal: The Canadian Connection

How Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis are helping AOC reboot US politics.

AOCGreenNewDeal.jpg
Echoes of the ‘Leap Manifesto’: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez addresses the Road to the Green New Deal Tour final event at Howard University in Washington, May 13, 2019. Photo by Cliff Owen, AP Photo.

Avi Lewis put the final touches on his script draft, hit send, and waited to find out if he’d be making history with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Lewis is the filmmaker and former CBC host who has collaborated on documentaries with his spouse Naomi Klein, famously the author of global bestsellers No LogoThe Shock Doctrine and This Changes Everything.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — or AOC as her many supporters call her — broke all the rules when she knocked off a powerful, 10-term Democratic member of Congress by running as a “democratic socialist” to win her Bronx and Queens seat.

At age 29, AOC was the big story on election night in November 2018 and still is, thanks to her deft use of social media and her bold policy proposals, notably the Green New Deal, her resolution to transition the American economy off fossil fuels by 2030 and guarantee a green job to anybody who wants one. When Klein proposed she be central to a short film about what could result, Ocasio-Cortez expressed interest.

AOCSunrise.jpg
‘Our plan for a world and a future worth fighting for.’ Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks May 13, 2019, at the wind-up town hall event of the Green New Deal tour organized by the Sunrise Movement. Other speakers included presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and Naomi Klein. Photo via Shutterstock

…several of the Canadian thinkers responsible for the Leap Manifesto, a 2015 plan to completely shift Canada away from fossil fuels by 2050, are now playing pivotal roles in shaping and promoting the U.S. Green New Deal. First and foremost: Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis.

851px version of NaomiKleinAviLewis.jpg
MORE

Climate Activist Naomi Klein: ‘We’re Not Even Sure We Deserve to Survive’

“Swinging for the fence ambition” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says, starts with “imagining what we have the courage to be.” In the video below, we look back from year 2050 and celebrate what we have achieved. We “pierce the feeling of inevitability” through imaging a better future. Watch the video.

Anti-capitalist, and self-proclaimed “rabble-rousing leftist” climate activist Naomi Klein took liberal guilt complexes to a new level at a conference to compel a transformation in climate change media coverage.

Speaking on a panel about the Green New Deal at the Columbia Journalism Review event on April 30, Klein said what was holding people back from taking action on climate was a “sense of doom” and “self-loathing.”

“Having covered this for a really long time, uh, I know that one of the strongest forces we are up against is the sense of doom, inevitability, but also kind of a self-loathing,” Klein said. “Like we’ve been told for so long that all we are are selfish, that all we are are short-term thinkers. We get messages like the huge cover story in the New York Times Magazine that blames the whole thing on human nature.”

She continued, “So I really do think there is a deep feeling of ‘We’re are, we’re not even sure we deserve to survive.’”

She said a video she created with the Intercept and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., was designed to try to “pierce the feeling of inevitability.”

The video, “AOC’s message from the future,”included a Democratic socialist vision for the future — of massive government spending and mandates. She argued there are only 12 years to “change everything.”

“The only way to do it was to transform our economy which we already knew was broken,” Ocasio-Cortez says in the video. We only have 12 years to change everything. MORE

Because ‘The House Is on Fire,’ Naomi Klein Takes Centrism-Obsessed Media to Task for Failed Climate Coverage

Neoliberal mainstream media is being ignored by more and more people as they search out investigative journalism on social media. Check out stories on The National Observer , The Narwhal, Ricochet, or Rabble and ask yourself why these stories are either downplayed or ignored on traditional media.

“You can’t leave it all to the markets.”

Naomi Klein speaks to the audience at an April 30 CJR/The Nation town hall. Naomi Klein speaks to the audience at an April 30 CJR/The Nation town hall. (Photo: screenshot, YouTube)

News coverage of the climate crisis can no longer rely on the false pretense of objectivity, writer and activist Naomi Klein said Tuesday.

“There is a confirmation bias among the largest chunk of journalists out there who really pride themselves on being centrists,” Klein said Tuesday during a town hall at the Columbia Journalism School in New York. “There’s an absolute fetish for centrism, for seriousness defined by splitting the difference—and not getting too excited about anything”

The mainstream media is “profoundly distrustful of people who are saying ‘actually, the house is on fire,'” Klein said, citing the impulse among many journalists to remain objective and hear both sides.

“But guess what,” said Klein. “The house is on fire.”

MORE

RELATED:

The moral cowardice of Canadian media is leaving racism unchallenged

How teen climate activists get—and make—climate news

 

 

Anti-capitalism is entering the mainstream. Are we ready?

Faced with the urgent need to address climate change, the pitch that individual environmentally-friendly consumerist choices is finally falling flat with more and more people. The New Green Deal proposes a blueprint to address climate change that will demand concerted action by all levels of government, national, provincial or state, and municipalities if we are to reach the IPCC’s crucial targets to avoid climate disaster It’s time to ask,  Where is the County’s New Green Deal?

George MonbiotGeorge Monbiot. Image: John Russell/Flickr

For years it seemed that anti-capitalism wasn’t really the stuff of polite conversation.

It may have been okay to talk about corporate power or corporate rule and maybe more recently about the 1% or even neo-liberalism, but in many civil society circles in this country, it felt like it was a step too far to be explicitly anti-capitalist.

With climate breakdown upon us, might that be changing?

 “What we have to do is the big structural, political economic stuff. We have to overthrow this system which is eating the planet with perpetual growth. We’ve got to go straight to the heart of capitalism and overthrow it.” -George Monbiot

Naomi Klein — whose 2014 book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate helped move this critique along — tweeted about Monbiot’s TV appearance, “Gotta love it when the live studio audience of a British chat show cheers for overthrowing capitalism to save our habitat.”

Klein has commented, “After years of recycling, carbon offsetting and light bulb changing, it is obvious that individual action will never be an adequate response to the climate crisis. Climate change is a collective problem, and it demands collective action.”

Always ready with a new trick, the Trudeau government is now trying to sell us the spin that the carbon tax is a significant measure to address climate breakdown.

But that argument quickly breaks down when you look at the numbers, says Mark Jaccard, professor in the School of Environment and Resource Management at Simon Fraser University….the federal carbon tax is $20 a tonne and will max out at $50 a tonne in 2022. In other words, it’s an insufficient tax that won’t help us reach an insufficient target. MORE

 

Environmental justice and the Green New Deal

Hundreds gather in San Francisco with the youth led Sunrise Movement. Photo: Peg Hunter/Flickr
There are a number of ecosocialist responses to the Green New Deal, converging for the most part around the recognition that though it is not the Green New Deal most of us would prefer, it is the opportunity to move the paralysis of the climate change movement very far in the right — left — direction that our times so desperately need.

This is a series of essays in six voices, from longtime activists who participate in the North American ecosocialist network System Change Not Climate Change. Each was challenged to make their point in 500 words or less. It was intended as a constructive contribution to the wonderful storm of discussion that the Green New Deal has opened up. Read the full series here.

The Green New Deal, like some sort of eco-superhero, has arrived at the eleventh hour. Naomi Klein writes hopefully of it as a plan to address global warming that at long last matches the scale of the crisis. Klein (co-author of the Green New Deal-esque “Leap Manifesto“) has reason for optimism — a Green New Deal is not a single policy intervention, but a systemic approach to transform our economy and energy system and build sustainable, democratically-empowered communities.

The point of the concept is in its name — “green” and “New Deal.” It marries the need for decarbonization to a reimagining of a just and fair society embodied in slogans like “climate justice” and “just transition.” The Green New Deal concept has arisen from many quarters, including decades of work by environmental justice groups, the Green Party (which insists on defunding the military in order to fund life), and, more recently, the Sunrise Movement as well as rebellious politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who have brought visibility to the concept.

Both decarbonization and justice are crucial. Since climate change is engendered by a ruling class that exists via a class that is ruled, decarbonization won’t happen without creation of a just and equitable economics and society. MORE

 

Green New Deal critics can’t see the forest for the trees

Image result for Green New Deal critics can’t see the forest for the trees
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the main champion of the Green New Deal proposal. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Everyone, it seems, has an opinion about the (new) Green New Deal. It’s an ambitious plan to make America carbon-neutral — as well as more equitable — in a mere 10 years.

The Ocasio-Cortez resolution lists a number of objectives in addition to carbon neutrality such as universal health care and stronger rights for workers.

Some view this “green intersectionality” as damaging to the fight against climate change. They argue that these other policy goals are irrelevant, costly and will weaken support for the plan. Others suggest, to the contrary, that it is politically savvy to link issues that voters clearly care about to the fight against climate change.


Student activists with the Sunrise Movement occupy Nancy Pelosi’s office in November 2018, when she was House Minority Leader, to demand that she and the Democrats act on climate change. Shutterstock

Author and activist Naomi Klein has eloquently argued why both sides miss the point. The prevailing view places issues into silos, and fails to grasp that the crises of inequality and environmental devastation are “inextricably linked — and can only be overcome with a holistic vision for social and economic transformation.” MORE

 

Renewable energy brings renewal to Indigenous communities

mountain silhouettes during golden hour

Energy is inextricably linked to a range of community issues, from health to housing. That was one message that emerged from a four-day gathering in Calgary of more than 200 young Indigenous leaders from every province and territory, organized by Disa Crow Chief of the Siksika Nation and Cory Beaver of the Stoney Nakoda Nation.

Participants came to the SevenGen gathering in January to learn about opportunities in Canada’s energy transition from an Indigenous youth perspective. Beaver and Crow Chief are keen to engage young people in Indigenous-led energy solutions and find them ongoing mentorship opportunities.

SevenGen’s website explains, “As youth of the seventh generation, we feel a renewed responsibility to protect our environment, as water protectors and guardians of all creation. Through SevenGen, we hope to strengthen relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth from diverse backgrounds, share knowledge across cultures, and ensure that the wellbeing of land, water, and all the life within it remains at the forefront of discussions about energy.”

For non-Indigenous participants, the notion that many issues we often consider separately are interconnected was striking. Ideas around energy were closely entwined with language, food self-sufficiency and improved housing, health and well-being. All were grounded in a perspective that emphasizes a deep connection to the land and a responsibility to it and the life it holds.

If we continue to elevate only voices of those who have traditionally held power, we won’t likely discover meaningful solutions to the problems we collectively face. Listening to people with different world views is essential to finding new ways forward.

If we continue to elevate only voices of those who have traditionally held power, we won’t likely discover meaningful solutions to the problems we collectively face. Listening to people with different world views is essential to finding new ways forward

MORE

Naomi Klein: The Green New Deal Is Changing the Calculus of the Possible

Big ideas are the only ones that can realistically tackle the climate crisis.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Sunrise Movement

Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joins activists with the Sunrise Movement, who occupied Representative Nancy Pelosi’s office on November 13, 2018, to demand that congressional Democrats act on climate change. (Rachael Warriner)

Jon Wiener: How would you describe the Green New Deal resolution introduced by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ed Markey?

Naomi Klein: It’s a sweeping plan to radically transform how we get energy, move ourselves around, live in cities, and grow our food; and it puts justice at the center—justice broadly defined, from racial and gender justice to making sure no worker is left behind, battling inequality at every level. It’s really about multitasking. It’s about understanding that we are in a time of multiple overlapping crises, and that we are on an incredibly tight deadline when it comes to lowering greenhouse-gas emissions in time to prevent truly catastrophic warming. In order to bring people along with these necessary changes, there have to be benefits in the here-and-now in terms of the kinds of jobs that are provided and the justice that comes through.

JW: The Green New Deal, you’ve said, is not a question that will be settled through elections alone. What do you mean?

NK: In terms of winning the power to introduce a package as ambitious as the resolution, the only real historical precedent is the original New Deal. And the political dynamics that produced the original New Deal were not a benevolent politician handing reforms down from on high, from the goodness of his heart. Of course it mattered to have FDR in power instead of Herbert Hoover, but it mattered even more to have an organized population which was flexing its muscles in every conceivable way in the 1930s—from sit-down strikes in auto plants, to shutting down the ports on the West Coast, to shutting down entire cities with general strikes. And it mattered also to have more radical voices who were calling for more radical policies than the New Deal was offering, like a truly cooperative economy. All of that created the context in which FDR was able to sell the New Deal to elites. They were grudging about it, but the alternative seemed to be political revolution.

So the only way that something like this happens is if it is accompanied by a huge grassroots mobilization, where every workplace, every sector, every movement is asking, “What would a Green New Deal mean for us? What would it mean in our workplace? What would it mean for the groups that we represent?” If we are going to succeed, they need to make it their own. So it’s going to take a hell of a lot of grassroots organizing, mobilizing all of these sectors to really believe that the Green New Deal is going to make their lives better, coupled with politicians running at every level of government, including for president, with a promise to enact this on day one. MORE