We Can Hold 20 Firms to Account for the Climate Crisis

industry

To address the climate crisis we need to cut back on the amount of carbon we pump into the atmosphere and there’s a simple way to do that: get 20 companies to improve their businesses. A mere 20 companies are responsible for a third of all carbon emissions and if we can get them to reduce their output then we can greatly reduce the global carbon output. What’s more we now have the proof that these companies have been negligent and ought to make them pay for the global harm they have caused.

Heede said: “These companies and their products are substantially responsible for the climate emergency, have collectively delayed national and global action for decades, and can no longer hide behind the smokescreen that consumers are the responsible parties.

“Oil, gas, and coal executives derail progress and offer platitudes when their vast capital, technical expertise, and moral obligation should enable rather than thwart the shift to a low-carbon future.”

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Canadians: Go Vote!

vote sign
vote!

People in Hong Kong are currently in the streets fighting for a small amount of democracy, and similar struggles exist around the world. In too many places the concept of democracy is under attack and if you live in a country in which democracy is strong it still requires you to show up. Today, Canadians get to vote in their democracy.

If you’re a Canadian then you should get out there and vote today (if you haven’t already). Most political parties are trying to make the future better while one party is actively trying to make the country a worse place. Readers of this blog know that there are issues in this world that need to be addressed now. I encourage you to vote with growing inequity and the climate crisis in mind.

Here are the voting hours for each time zone. All times are local.

Newfoundland — 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Atlantic — 8:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Eastern — 9:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Central — 8:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Mountain — 7:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Pacific — 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Green PAC’s list of ecologically conscious candidates.
Evidence for Democracy survey results of parties.
CBC election day – what you need to know

Remember democracy doesn’t end at the ballot box, it merely begins there.

Go vote!

Cli-Fi is the new Sci-Fi

books

If you want to understand current anxieties about the future then all you need to do is turn to science-fiction, and historically this has been true. Sci-Fi isn’t a way to predict the future but it is a way to understand what we think about the current state of humanity. Unsurprisingly, there is so much stress about the climate crisis that enough writers have created a new subgenre called climate fiction. Cli-Fi captures the anxiety we’re collectively experiencing about the environment while also being a useful teaching tool.

Atwood has become a major figure across the cli-fi literary universe. She not only helped the term catch on when she tweeted it in 2012, but her 2013 novel MaddAddam has been a popular teaching tool which largely summarizes the need for the genre in the first place. The book tells the story of a group of environmentalists, known as the gardeners, who rebuild the world after a global pandemic. The novel shows how fragile our global systems are. “People need such stories, because however dark, a darkness with voices in it is better than a silent void,” Atwood writes. The book was part of the curriculum for a course on cli-fi at Brandeis University in 2015.

Another notable book in the genre is Omar El-Akkad’s The American War. The book was listed as required reading in a 2018 freshman-level course entitled “Narrating Climate Change” at New York University. The 2017 novel is set in America’s second civil war when southern states defy a law that outlaws the use of fossil fuels. The book is told through the lens of Sarat Chestnutt, who is from Louisiana and is displaced by the rising waters of the Mississippi River. El-Akkad shows the life of an American climate refugee.

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Floating Garbage Bins Succeed in Toronto

Toronto just announced that the Seabin trial project was a success and now they are expanding the program. Seabins are floating garbage cans that use a solar power pump to collect debris in the water, currently the Toronto ones collect about two kilos of waste per day. It’s crazy to think how much waste ends up in local waters of a city, but at least this project is happening now in the hopes that we’ll eventually taking out more garbage than we’re currently putting in.

To ensure that the Seabins also serve a research and education function, PortsToronto has taken the added step of partnering with the University of Toronto Trash Team on a student-research project led by Dr. Chelsea Rochman, Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. As part of this collaborative initiative, students from the Rochman Lab will collect and analyze the plastics and microplastics captured by the Seabins to determine the origination of some of these materials. This process will, in turn, better inform the Trash Team’s solutions-based research and community outreach program which ultimately seeks to increase waste literacy and prevent plastics and microplastics from entering waterways in the first place.

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It’s Time for Less Speed and More Efficency

subway transit

A regularly seen warning on roads is that “speed kills” and cities have been slowing traffic around the world to protect pedestrians. However, have you thought about how speed as a concept kills? Over at the tech-worshipping magazine, Wired, they’re running an article that explores the idea that reaching for better speeds is in itself a problem. The need for speed is killing the planet and instead, they argue, we need to strive for efficiency.

Here’s the thing: These ideas for accelerating the future fail to address a far more pressing problem than our stalled speedometers. In the US, transportation accounts for 27 percent of the carbon we release into the air, more than any other sector of the economy. Four-fifths of that comes from cars and trucks. The internal combustion engine is rocketing us deeper into a climate crisis that demands an immediate—and big—reduction in those emissions. Hyperloops might run on clean electricity, but it would take decades for them to become extensive enough to replace a significant number of cars. Supersonic flight requires engines that use much more fuel, and more carbon, than slower planes. These rosy renderings of effortless whooshing hither and yon distract us from what the problem demands: a way forward that prioritizes not thoughtless speed but calibrated efficiency.

Read more.

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