sustainability

Fri, 2014-10-31 11:03Guy Dauncey
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They're Doing it in Germany Part 2: Greening B.C.'s Transportation Sector

Last week I started to explore the possibility that British Columbia could become a 100 per cent renewable energy region, as 140 regions in. Germany are planning to become.

This week, we look at transportation. Is it possible that we could get where we want to be and ship our goods where they need to go without any use of fossil fuels?

Helsinki, capital of Finland, is taking a big step in this direction, with its goal that by 2025, nobody will need to own a car in the city at all, thanks to an advanced integrated ‘mobility on demand’ network of shared bikes, transit, LRT, and computer-automated Kutsuplus minibuses that adapt their routes to take you wherever you want to go.

The cars, trucks, ferries and planes that we use to go about our daily lives are 38 per cent of the cause of global warming in B.C., so this is clearly a big deal. So let’s start at the easy end, and work our way into the difficult, uncharted territory.

Tue, 2013-12-10 14:54Kevin Grandia
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New Survey Finds Canadian Financial Giants Not Adequately Addressing Climate Change Risks

Is your pension fund or insurance company a leader or laggard when it comes to avoiding risky bets on the future impacts of climate change?

A new survey finds that major Canadian institutional investors — such as the Ontario Teacher's Pension Fund, AGF and Manulife Insurance — are not adequately taking into account the long-term financial risks of climate impacts. 

Sat, 2013-11-16 13:00Kevin Grandia
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What Does Canada's Carbon Complacency have to do with Typhoon Haiyan?

typhoon haiyan

The human tragedy playing out in the Philippines deserves a serious moment of pause. No one aware of the devastating toll Typhoon Haiyan has taken in the region can avoid reflecting on what it must be like to be in the shoes of a mother or a son who has lost everything.

Experts are saying Typhoon Haiyan is the strongest ever recorded due to the atmospheric disruption and rising sea levels resulting from our changing climate.

Scientists at esteemed organization like NASA and the Royal Society have been warning us for years that warmer oceans will lead to stronger weather events, like typhoons and hurricanes, and rising sea levels will lead to larger and more devastating storm surges.

Something is definitely up with the weather. 

Mon, 2013-11-11 11:15Kevin Grandia
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Will Canada Continue to Fail on Climate at International Talks in Poland?

oilsands pollution in Canada

With another round of international climate negotiations opening this week in Warsaw, Poland, and a new poll finding Canadians wanting leadership on the issue, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative government have an opportunity to turn the tides on what has been so far a policy trend in the wrong direction.

Since taking the helm, the majority Harper government has floundered at United Nations climate events, relegating Canada to perpetual fossil of the day and year awards.

As someone who has been working in and around these international climate talks and other such global negotiations for many years now, I have witnessed first hand Canada's fall from grace. Our small country (population-wise) has historically hit well above its weight in many international forums, with a reputation for neutrality and expert diplomacy. Now, we are called a “petrostate” and a “climate obstructionist” at such talks. 

Fri, 2013-07-05 16:16Kevin Grandia
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Major Norwegian Pension Fund Drops Tar Sands Investments

Citizens and community leaders converging this weekend in Northern Alberta for the annual “Tar Sands Healing Walk” will likely be quite happy with news that another major European financial institution is dropping their investments in Canada's tar sands. 

Norwegian financial services giant, Storebrand, issued an update saying that the company has divested it's financial interests in 13 coal extractors and six companies heavily involved in oil sands extraction.

This follows on the heels of Dutch bank Rabobank announcing four days ago that they have instituted a “no-loan” policy to any company involved in so-called “extreme” fuel extraction, mainly tar sands and shale gas. 

Both Storebrand and Rabobank are concerned about the long term financial risk the tar sands and other heavily polluting forms of energy production pose. In announcing their decision to divest of investments in the tar sands, Storebrand's head of sustainability, Christine Tørklep Meisingset said:

[As] the stated climate goals become reality, these resources are worthless financially, but it is also true that they do not contribute to sustainable development in the extent and the pace we want. Exposure to fossil fuels is one of the industry’s main challenges, and for us it is essential to work purposefully to take our share of responsibility.” 

Mon, 2013-04-01 08:50David Ravensbergen
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UBC New Economy Summit to Develop Real Economic Action Plans for BC

For those who sense that something isn’t quite right with endless growth as an economic model, developing alternatives can be an isolated task. The evening news rarely leads with a story extolling the virtues of co-ops and community currencies, and the language of sustainability has been coopted by the status quo.

Although more and more people are busy creating new production models to meet the twin challenges of climate change and social justice, the hardest part may be getting them all together in a room.

For Justin Ritchie, this is exactly the opportunity that the New Economy Summit at UBC from April 4th to 6th is hoping to provide. Ritchie, one of the conference organizers and co-producer of a podcast on alternative approaches to social and economic organization called The Extraenvironmentalist, sees the 3-day event of panels and discussions as an opportunity to unite the efforts of a diverse network of people working with new economic models.

Sun, 2013-03-03 10:46Guest
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Canada Can Make a Difference on Climate Change

This is a guest post by Mark Jaccard that originally appeared on his blog, Sustainability Suspicions.

The global warming threat requires a rapid reduction in the carbon pollution emitted from every country in the world.

But just as each country is only a percentage of the planet’s population or GDP, each country emits only a percentage of total carbon pollution. This enables short-sighted or selfish people (perhaps profiting from carbon pollution) to argue that their country should continue with projects to expand carbon pollution (or at least not reduce it) because their individual effort will not solve the problem.

The response has two parts.

Fri, 2013-01-25 05:00Carol Linnitt
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Canadian Scientists Must Speak Out Despite Consequence, Says Andrew Weaver

If people don’t speak out there will never be any change,” says the University of Victoria’s award-winning climate scientist Andrew Weaver. 

And the need for change in Canada, says Weaver, has never been more pressing.

“We have a crisis in Canada. That crisis is in terms of the development of information and the need for science to inform decision-making. We have replaced that with an ideological approach to decision-making, the selective use of whatever can be found to justify [policy decisions], and the suppression of scientific voices and science itself in terms of informing the development of that policy.”
 

Tesla Roadster: Mean machines go green

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Find out about some of the new electric and hydrogen-powered cars that are competing with conventional vehicles.

Video: 

Amazing solar tower renewable energy solution

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SolarMission Technologies and its Australian subsidiary, EnviroMission Limited produced this 5 minute video on the pilot plant in Spain. It is an older video (2000) but gives a decent understanding of the solar tower concept.

Video: 
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