What can we do about climate change as a community, as leaders, and as individuals? Given the United Nations’ “Code Red for Humanity,” it’s difficult to not feel hopeless. But together we can build resilience and gain momentum to achieve our climate goals. Join us online with people from our region to discuss how climate, food, and community are interrelated.
Mark your calendar for either: Tuesday, 30 November 2021, 7:00pm – 9:30pm; or Saturday, 4 December 2021, 7:00pm – 9:30pm
We’ll begin by watching Eating Our Way to Extinction, a film featuring leading scientists, physicians, and academics that explores how our global food system contributes to some of the major issues of our day: climate breakdown, environmental racism, and food access inequality.
The voices from Brazil are particularly compelling in the film. One man making a living from clearing the rainforest says, “You can’t tell us what to do!” and an indigenous woman says, “We don’t consider ourselves as owning the forest, rather we are a part of nature, a part of it.”
We are pleased to have Gerard Wedderburn-Bisshop, one of the documentary’s scientists, available for Q&A. Wedderburn-Bisshop is a former Principal Scientist with Queensland Government Natural Resources in Australia, and a member of Climate CoLab at MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence. We have invited local political leaders from Waterloo Region and Wellington County to join us in the discussion.
Bill 66 was introduced in the Ontario legislature just before the Christmas holidays. The short timeframe for discussion and consultation makes me think the legislators are trying to pass it before people have a chance to understand its effects. It is an omnibus bill, affecting dozens of different pieces of Ontario laws and regulations, many items of which are hidden behind indirect references, and all of which are to be voted on en masse. Omnibus bills tend to carry deleterious clauses which would never stand on their own, but which get passed only because of some other items in the same bill that are perceived to be more beneficial than the rest of the bill is bad.
Many groups joined together to provide information on Bill 66, and to make a concerted effort to bring our dissatisfaction to local municipal and provincial leaders. I made twodelegations to Woolwich Township Council urging them to pass a resolution to reject Bill 66 and to pledge that if passed, not to use this legislation to bypass the environmental regulations currently in place. Woolwich did pass a resolution, but stopped short of adding the pledge not to use it.
Bill 66 is a direct affront to the citizens of Ontario. Doug Ford made a pledge in May 2018 that the Green Belt areas would be not be subject to development. Now that Doug Ford is Premier of the Government of Ontario, I expect that pledge to be honoured.
Bill 66 affects existing laws and regulations at many Ministries, not just the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. It detrimentally affects the protections for workers in many separate regulations, detrimentally affects the protections for children in childcare, detrimentally affects seniors and patients in long-term care, and detrimentally affects consumers protections from wireless carriers. This is not an exhaustive list.
Bill 66 detrimentally affects environmental regulations more than any other. Under Schedule 10 municipalities no longer have to follow the regulations under the Clean Water Act, Great Lakes Protection Act, Greenbelt Act, Lake Simcoe Protection Act, and the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act, among many others.
Ontario and its municipalities have experienced the greatest prosperity in the last ten years, without needing to circumvent the environmental protections put in place by previous Conservative and Liberal governments. Removing these protections now will pit one municipality against another — if one municipality allows development in a protected area, it creates pollution for all the downwind and downstream neighbours, both in that municipality as well as surrouding municipalities. There will be increased infrastructure costs for those municipalities that receive the extra traffic from the development, but none of the anticipated revenue. Bill 66 is not something municipalities have asked for for, nor is it something municipalities need.
Speculators may have purchased land in the currently protected areas. Just having Bill 66 on the table has affected land values. Currently permitted uses for protected areas will become unaffordable, and the pressure on local governments to bypass environmental protections will be great. I’m happy to see many municipalities have passed resolutions rejecting Bill 66.
The citizens of Ontario are clear: Bill 66, with all its recissions of existing laws, must not be passed. I hope the elected representatives in the Legislature will fulfill their mandate and represent their constituents’ demands to reject Bill 66.
This Saturday, as part of the international Rise for Climate movement, thousands of rallies and other events will be held in cities and towns around the world. Our local rally will be held in Waterloo Square, this Saturday, 8 September 2018 at 4:30pm. Join us for art creation and some pre-rally street theatre starting at 3:00pm.
There’s an important new message in these events — “a fast and fair transition to 100% renewable energy for all”, holding together themes of climate, jobs and justice.
Progress toward a more stable climate requires justice for all people – those impacted by the damages of climate chaos, and those who’s communities and jobs will have to change in the shift from fossil fuels.
The Rise for Climate rally is an excellent opportunity to learn more about strategies for a “just transition,” to connect with an increasingly diverse coalition of climate activists, and to voice your call for our region, province and country to move quickly in addressing the climate crisis.
Thank you for your ongoing support for Divest Waterloo and for your part in our collective action to raise awareness and engage our community on issues related to climate change, our pursuit of a low carbon economy, and our movement towards a just and sustainable future.
Feeling the heat? Local climate projections suggest that events like the recent June heat wave, the May wind storm, the April ice storm and the February flooding event could become more common, and in some cases more intense, than the weather we grew up with.
The Region of Waterloo is conducting research to better understand the potential impacts and risks of climate change to Waterloo Region, as part of the development of a Community Climate Adaptation Plan. They are seeking input from residents in the Region, andDivest Waterloo is supporting this effort by reaching out to you.
Please let them know how you feel about climate change and extreme weather events by filling out the Region’s Climate Adaptation Survey.
The Region would like to hear from as many community members as possible. Please share this survey invitation with your friends and other contacts.
Thank you for your ongoing support for Divest Waterloo and for your part in our collective action to raise awareness and engage our community on issues related to climate change, our pursuit of a low carbon economy, and our movement towards a just and sustainable future. We hope to see you soon!
As a carbon-tax advocate, I need to respond to the challenge of the Canadian Taxpayers federation to go big or to go home. I totally agree that we need a significant carbon tax to change consumer behaviour. The pan-Canadian framework we have now with carbon pricing at $20 a tonne in 2018, increasing to $50 a tonne by 2022, is a start, but it is much too little to meet Canada’s carbon emission reduction targets. We need a tax that is at least $150 a tonne to start making real progress in reducing Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. For reference, a $150 a tonne carbon pollution tax would increase gasoline prices by 34.8 cents per litre, while the $20 per tonne price that we have for 2018 increases gasoline prices by 4.6 cents per litre.
The question is whether this cost increase is fair to Canadians. We know that a carbon tax will modify consumer behaviour and spur investors and businesses to create alternatives to the use of carbon-intensive energy, through conservation and clean technology. That is a good thing, as it will reduce carbon emissions and position us as global leaders in a clean-technology future. Recently, the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party platform included the replacement of Ontario’s cap-and-trade system with a revenue-neutral carbon tax. It asserted that a carbon tax is more transparent than cap-and-trade, and by making the tax revenue-neutral, it can protect the poor and rural populations from price increases, and not grow government revenues. The PC party has backtracked from that promise, now saying that it would simply dismantle the cap-and-trade system. It is unclear whether that would simply leave Ontario with a backstop carbon tax in 2019 as promised by the federal government, or if a Doug Ford as premier would oppose any plans by the federal government for a carbon tax.
British Columbia has a carbon tax of $30 a tonne. The revenues collected by the B.C. government through the carbon tax are used to protect the poor and rural areas from price increases, and also to fund corporate and individual tax cuts. This is where the debate on carbon taxes needs to go next — how much of a tax we need for climate action and what to do with that tax revenue. Canadians are demanding that governments act decisively with an effective carbon tax that protects the poor and those living in rural areas.
Waterloo Region leader,
Citizens’ Climate Lobby
The Canadian Taxpayer Federation is saying that carbon taxes need to be large to be effective, which is true. The minimum carbon tax level that the Federal government has mandated is a start, but it is too small to be effective. They are also saying that if the tax is large enough to be effective, Canadians will rebel against the price increases. At Citizens’ Climate Lobby, we think the revenues from the tax should be distributed back to households via an equal payment to each adult, with a half-share for children. This will protect low income households from the carbon tax, as low-income households use less fossil fuels than higher income households. Lower income households will get more money in dividends than they pay in carbon fees. As the carbon fee goes up, the difference between the dividend they receive and the fee they pay increases.
Citizens’ Climate Lobby also wants the government to end fossil-fuel subsidies. A subsidy to fossil fuels makes them less expensive relative to other fuels, and therefore, is counter to supporting clean energy. I am watching with concern that the federal government appears to be ready to support the Kinder Morgan Pipeline through guarantees and other subsidies. My friend, Laura Hamilton of Divest Waterloo, had a Letter to the Editor published this week about Kinder Morgan.
The evidence of our destabilizing climate continues to mount across Waterloo Region, where residents recently braced for what Environment Canada anticipated as a potentially historic ice storm — this after extreme heat and flooding events this past year. The costs of climate change are increasingly obvious to us in this region. The solutions are also well known: we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions dramatically by pricing carbon, transitioning to renewable energy, using energy efficiently, and slowing the extraction and use of fossil fuels.
That’s why Canada’s intention to proceed with the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion — a project that would serve to expand Alberta’s tarsands production — is so alarming. Increasing emissions from the tarsands represent almost 60 per cent of the total projected growth in Canadian emissions between 2010 and 2030, completely undermining Canada’s commitment to reduce emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.
Instead of supporting pipelines that lock us into increasing emissions and climate crises, Canada can demonstrate leadership by phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, winding down fossil fuel extraction, and investing in a low carbon future. This pipeline is not in the national interest — rapidly reducing emissions while respecting Indigenous communities is.
Thank you for organizing the Interfaith Community Breakfast. It was good to hear many talk about peace, love, love for animals and so forth.
Many of us are respectful of people’s choices to provide sustenance and mostly do not comment about the food offered. However quite a number of people have chosen to live a vegan lifestyle to inflict as little harm to animals and the environment as possible and sadly there was very little
choice available at this breakfast. My wife refused to come to the breakfast as being diabetic she knew there would be nothing much to eat.
The fresh fruit, especially the berries where particularly welcome. None of the food was labeled as vegetarian, vegan or gluten free. I had no idea what the granola (?) was and I could not partake, as there was no alternative such as soy or almond milk. No protein for vegans.
So I only had fruit and cucumber for breakfast. Here is a simple U-Tube showing seven vegan breakfasts
At the end of the day there was lots of scrambled egg, which I don’t eat, but no more fresh berries when I went back for a possible second. Here is a viewpoint from many vegans about eggs.
The eggs are produced in horrendous conditions on factory farms where the male baby chicks are suffocated or ground to death alive. The milk and milk products are produced from cows who are raped to keep them pregnant (needed to produce milk) and whose lifetime is cut short to four or five years when they stop producing milk at commercial rates. The mothers cry for days after their babies are removed forcibly within a couple of days after birth.
After your $25 breakfast I needed to return home for a bowl of oatmeal, raisins and berries and to enjoy my coffee with soy milk. Quite disappointing.
I am sure the kitchen could have provided other alternatives such as beans on toast that do not involve animal suffering. With all the talk of peace and love for the creatures on this planet and the environment, one would have thought the breakfast itself could have been a testament to God’s love.
This is the full text of the speech delivered by Niara van Gaalen at the conclusion of the Federal Climate Action Plan Consultation held 18 August 2016 at Kitchener City Hall. It is reproduced here for Earth Day.
There are many people who are standing on a cliff of deliberate, unconcerned ignorance, when it comes to climate change. When they look into the abyss of the future, they simply want the normal life their parents wanted for them. Unfortunately, with climate change already happening, it will not be possible to live the way our forefathers did. We must be better. And it must happen now.
The Government of Canada needs to lead by example. Everything that is owned by the government, and that they spend our tax dollars on, must from now on contribute to the end of climate change. Institutions, like hospitals, schools, and city halls such as this one, have to help us sequester carbon biologically, to transition to a low carbon economy, to encourage world population reduction, and to restore nature. Our government also has to stop subsidizing, and accepting money from, the large and irresponsible fossil fuel, agro-tech, pharmaceutical, and forestry industries.
There is a list of simple, small things that need to be mandatory and made easily accessible to everybody by law, in order to end climate change: things like rain barrels, recycling, composting, physically separated bike lanes, and excellent, affordable, and punctual public transportation. For every child born in Canada we ought to plant trees in their honour. And we must protect Canada’s great forests, for all time, in our constitution, by restoring what we have damaged, and by embedding in law the protection of 40% of Canada as forest cover. We must also strategically protect at least half of Canada’s 9.985 million square kilometres as pure nature, for all eternity. This is one of the greatest gifts you, as politicians and citizens, could possibly give your children.
There is another list of things — chemicals, substances, and practices, the most important of which being the mining of the tar sands and fracking — that need to be banned. One law, one person’s vote can stop these atrocities that are destroying the earth. It is well understood that these things are important to Canada’s economy now, but is there a price that can be put on the quality of life of your children and grandchildren? Please look at me, and the faces of all the children on earth, in all honesty, and tell us “no.”
It is essential that we move to a low-carbon economy. A carbon tax will help, but it needs to happen nation- and world-wide. We need to tax items that should not be banned, but are still harmful to the environment, such as meat, and we need to ban factory-farming of animals. We also need to change the financial system, and address the problem of tax havens. Many ask how we will pay for the changes needed to stop climate change. This is just one of many examples: by cooperating with countries world-wide, money that hides in places like Delaware, and London, England can be returned to the people to whom it belongs, especially in Third World countries. In a similar way, we need to renegotiate and rethink all treaties and agreements, such as the TTP, NAFTA, space and extra space the Vancouver Declaration.
Biologically capturing and storing carbon is the single best way we can act quickly to prevent some of the worst events that could occur due to climate change. We need to make biochar, and incorporate it into our soil, a huge and damaged carbon sink that can be restored, and can simultaneously offset at least about 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions each year. We need to make more items out of sustainable wood, green our cities, pressure countries that destroy tropical rainforest, and replant and restore the kelp forests on our coasts, to the benefit of both us and the otters. Renewable energy, such as concentrated solar power and geothermal, will also be a part of the solution. Every day there is word of new developments in carbon-storage techniques, and renewable and sustainable technology. The government must be deeply informed of all the technological possibilities, make sure that Canada’s citizens, especially young people, are a part of their development, invest money in them, and make laws to ensure they happen quickly.
It will be easier to stop climate change if we slow and reverse population growth. We have the means to support a few billion more people. But it will be so difficult, especially considering that this growth will occur in the Third World. The fewer people, the easier it is to act quickly, cooperate, and share. We must invest in women in other parts of the world so that they are in charge of their bodies and can plan their families, and we must educate women and all children. Canada, however, will likely receive many climate refugees and immigrants. We must plan, creating infrastructure and jobs with opportunities for fairly paid manual labour so that we can welcome them with open arms. On that note, considering the number of people, also consider dogs and cats, about 14 million in Canada, all of which require meat to feed. A carbon tax on non-working cats and dogs, would help to reduce their number, and persuade people to think twice about the environmental impact of a pet.
There can be no waiting for the right plan or the right technology to fix things. We have had decades to find a magic bullet and have not found it; we have to proceed without one. Although technology will help us to end climate change, we cannot engineer it away. I once read that there is no good time to have a baby. There is no good time to rebirth our world. Of course it is inconvenient that the biosphere has fallen ill; there is never a good time to be sick. But we still have to heal what we have damaged. I find it incredible that we can send a man to the moon, but we have failed to act proactively when it comes to climate change. We, the young generation, on behalf of all the other unique species on earth, expect the government to make drastic changes now, because the biosphere is incredibly fragile. We hold the government, and every single adult in Canada and across the world, accountable for all the actions you do and do not take. We must make another giant leap for mankind today, because otherwise all of mankind and every other living thing will suffer immensely. I challenge you, and expect you, to go and partake in this change, because to do nothing would be a betrayal of my generation.