Kazakhstan Listens to Protestors, Moves Towards Democracy

Earlier this year the people of Kazakhstan went to the streets to protest the authoritarian government, which was met with lethal force from the government. Now, that same government is loosening their grip on their populace and moving towards democracy in a huge win for the democratic movement. The very recent past has been very tough on the citizens of Kazakhstan but the future sure looks better.

More proof that protesting works! And democracy is more than just being able to vote.

The poll on constitutional changes was seen by many as a chance to close the chapter on the country’s former leader.

According to Tokayev, the proposed changes will empower lawmakers and dismantle the “super-presidential” system currently in place. But the reform also ends a slew of privileges enjoyed by Nazarbayev.

Another amendment nixes Nazarbayev’s right to run for president more than two times.

The reforms will also ban the president’s relatives from holding government positions — another controversial issue in the oil-rich country.

They also significantly strengthen the role of the country’s parliament, restore the Constitutional Court, and abolish the death penalty.

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Australia Taking Action on Climate Change

tree with climate knowledge

Australia (like Canada) has a well-deserved reputation of being a laggard on climate issues and being one of the worst polluters on the planet. The recent Australian election results will likely change that. Australians have been suffering the effects of climate change in the form of increased flooding and devastating fires.

The new coalition government has ambitions to reduce the damage the country does to the planet while ensuring that the people in the country reap the benefits of a green economy. Let’s hope Australia‘s efforts push other commonwealth countries to increase their environmental efforts.

“It’s a very clear illustration of the concern that Australians have and their desire for climate action,” says Amanda McKenzie, CEO of the Climate Council, a nonprofit organization dedicated to climate change communication. The hope is that the new Labor government will quickly improve Australia’s poor track record on carbon emissions.

“There is no more important time to be talking about energy and climate change in Australia than right now, and what we’re inheriting is a decade-long failure to tackle these issues of climate, energy, and security,” says Madeline Taylor, deputy director of the Centre for Energy and Natural Resources Innovation and Transformation at Macquarie University in Sydney.

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Ontario: Go Vote!

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It’s Election Day in Ontario, so if you’re in the province go practice some democratic action. Basically every party is trying to make the province better except for the one in power, so go vote for anybody else. Last election the planet-destroying and inequality increasing Conservatives won with a minority of voters, so just getting out to vote can make a difference. The good news is that more people asked for mail in ballots than before, which could mean a more engaged citizenary.

Go vote!

More than one million people – about 9.92 per cent of eligible voters – cast a ballot in advance polls, according to Elections Ontario. The agency said it has sent voting kits to 126,135 eligible residents, a sharp increase from 2018, when only 15,202 ballots were doled out that way. Voting kits must be received by 6 p.m. on election day and can be mailed or dropped off at a returning office.

How do I vote?

Ontario residents can vote in person on election day (today, Thursday, June 2) from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET at their assigned polling station, based on the location of their current residential address.

Read more.

Check out Elections Ontario.

Ontario Climate Emergency Campaign Wants You to Vote

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Canada’s most populous province goes to the polls in a few weeks, and climate should be at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Politicians are talking about the increased costs of living, but they aren’t connecting that to the ruling Conservative Party’s anti-climate actions. Energy costs are up because they ended renewable power contracts early, revenue is down because they left the carbon market (and paid a billion to do so), so the Ontario Climate Emergency Campaign wants to change that.

If you live in Ontario then check out what you can do to get politicians talking about the biggest issue of our time.

As you may know, the latest IPCC report in April said we must peak emissions by 2025 and nearly halve emissions by 2030 to have a chance at a 1.5 degree world. You may also know that we play an outsized role here in Canada–we are among the top three global emitters per capita and among the top ten emitters in absolute terms, which doesn’t even count the emissions from the fossil fuels we export. That means this next Ontario government is going to play a critical role in doing our part to limit climate destruction. And the good news is that climate action is good for health! We will reduce air pollution related illness, increase access to green space and nature, and increase access to public transit and active transportation.

Our campaign’s first action is out and ready to go, and I would so appreciate your participation. Go to this page to send a message to all your local candidates about this critical emergency, and tell your family and friends to do the same.

Take action now!

Thanks to Samantha!

EU Says No to Forever Chemicals

The dangers of microplastics and “forever chemicals” are well known and now legislators in the European Union are acting to protect their people from these primarily petroleum-based creations. New restrictions on what chemicals can be used and sold a in the EU will add to their already strong protections.

The EU is set to add to and reformat their legislation around chemical use in consumer products to better protect people. One of the goals is to prevent companies trying to bypass the consumer protections by creating new chemical compounds which are more dangerous than the original. Increased standards in the EU tend to help people in other parts of the world because companies are forced to change their ways in such a large market.

The plan focuses on entire classes of chemical substances for the first time as a rule, including all flame retardants, bisphenols, PVC plastics, toxic chemicals in single-use nappies and PFAS, which are also known as “forever chemicals” because of the time they take to naturally degrade.

All of these will be put on a “rolling list” of substances to be considered for restriction by the European Chemicals Agency. The list will be regularly reviewed and updated, before a significant revision to the EU’s cornerstone Reach regulation for chemicals slated for 2027.

Read more.

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