Shady diplomats, Exxon and Harper

Just when we thought things couldn't get any worse on the Conservative's treatment of climate change, we hear more bad news.

Not only is the Party killing our own climate legislation, it's using old American corporate-money games to try to kill their legislation as well. Postmedia News and the Pembina Institute are reporting that our diplomats are working to eliminate American legislation by pressuring Exxon Mobil and BP to use their influence.

Of course the corporate oil barrens have been using lobbyist pressure to sway public opinion and Washington policies for years. But didn't this let up more recently when they had to admit that climate change at least exists? Apparently not. And now we have a government that is tight with industry - tight enough to try to protect it from having to do anything of substance on the most critical issue of our time.

We don't think of corporations as instructive to Canadian politicians as our American neighbours - the money's not as big and as obvious. But the ties are very close with the current government.

This is a scary trend. It's not just elected senators making our democratic decisions - corporations are playing their fair share. We know from Wikileaks that American do some pretty interesting things. And ours are looking pretty shady today as well.

How do we push back? This is what we're up against.


Who knew change was possible?

People often tell me that politics is useless, that change can't and won't happen. Often my friends who say this aren't thinking back in history, to changes that have happened for the better, and the social movements that helped get them there.

I just tweeted that wind power at this moment is producing over twice the amount of electricity in Ontario than coal (data can be found at: http://www.ieso.ca). This is a significant accomplishment which happened because of advocacy that pushed change by the PC and Liberal governments.

Today the Ontario government announced that the coal plant in Thunder Bay would be switched to use cleaner burning gas.

The drastic drop in coal use and now steady increases in renewable energy happened because of organizations being formed around and campaigning on the removal of coal generation and the building of green energy. Groups like the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, Green Energy Act Alliance were champions, along with others like Greenpeace and WWF. Groups including medical and nursing associations helped with data and increasing voices. These groups have swayed public opinion and massive letter writing helped move the agenda forward. Government champions were useful too, but would have been impotent without active support from the public.

There's much more to do to emphasize conservation and demand-side planning, building a smart grid, and being more aggressive with community power. If you want to make a difference on energy and climate, for a green and nuclear-free future, there is hope and you can make change - beginning with small conversations and hard work.

from: "Sustainability is Step One" http://darcyhiggins.blogspot.com


Canadian NGOs failing on climate?

A blog was written yesterday by Cory Morningstar on failed climate change strategy called "From the Non-Profit Industrial Complex with Love".

It's quite a read - pretty over the top in some cases, as if a report like this is being hidden - and the writer seems to have an axe to grind. I haven't really worked much in the bigger environmental NGOs, but my thought is feeling is that the current strategy has been based in what people have thought will work, rather than scaring folks too much. People respond in action to a call oh hope, or no? People know what's going on and it's not being hidden.

But good points are made about where we need to be going as a movement