Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Carbon credits and the individual Green member

General question

Is there any way that we as individuals can built carbon credits, then donate them to the GPC to sell to "friendly" polluters (companies that are trying hard, but could go under financially - such as startup sustainable housing companies)? It seems to me that it would be a way to raise money and generate publicity. I know that it is difficult to accumulate carbon credits, but bringing this to each individual at a personal level might make more people attuned to the issues related to GHG. If the GPC somehow gets in to power in Canada, then reduced income tax accompanied by carbon-footprint taxes achieves this goal (e.g. extra taxes on SUVs, reduced taxes on hybrids and plug-ins), however until that time, if there was a way that our greening ways could be turned into GPC funding, that would be great. I don't remember that Kyoto did anything at the level of the individual, perhaps the next round in 2012 will emphasize this.

BB

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Potluck For Peace Meeting - One Voice

I attended a meeting Monday at St. Paul University sponsored by this group (Potluck for Peace, aka "P4P"). I've cut and pasted part of the invite because it concisely states the purpose of the groups:

One Voice Movement is a grassroots movement in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories empowering moderates to stand up against extremism and to take back the agenda of conflict resolution. The Israeli and Palestinian speakers will present the views of average Israelis and Palestinians, what they want for the future of their region and what young Palestinians and Israelis are doing to make this future vision a reality. They are currently on a tour of Canada ( Ottawa , Kingston , Toronto Hamilton, Montreal , and Halifax).

Potlucks for Peace (P4P) is an Ottawa-based Jewish Arab dialogue group built on the premise that out of the willingness to engage in dialogue, solutions can arise. P4P members advocate peace, through peaceful means, for all. They understand the negative consequences of the concept of victory of one party over the other and believe in the value of both parties to the conflict being winners.

The presentation was quite good. Three young speakers (mid-early 20's) did all the talking. One young woman was Israeli (raised in Israel), the young man was Palestinian, and ther was another young woman - not sure of her background other than appeared to be a North American member of One Voice (sorry - didn't catch the names). The Israeli woman had a close friend in the IDF killed during operations. The Palestinian man had been shot along with a friend as bystanders to a conflict.

It was quite powerful to hear both of their stories, and how they have worked hard to breakdown the "blood cycle" (as I think they called it of killing, vengance, more vengance, etc. ).

I'd encourage anyone that reads that sympathized with a struggle for a peaceful settlement to inquire further, and possibly attend a meeting, or just send support to the One Voice organization. One Voice is international, P4P is local to Ottawa.

Links:
http://www.onevoicemovement.org/wps/portal
http://www.potlucksforpeace.ca (e-mail info@potlucksforpeace.ca)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Radon Gas

Recently I submitted myself to a Radon Test--that is a put a charcoal cannister in my basement for 48 hours, closed it up and shipped it off to Bubble Tech in Chalk River for assessment. It seemed the trendy thing to do--my neighbor had done one and encouraged me to do the same. I like to keep up with the Joneses. What is Radon Gas? It is a radioactive gas which is colorless, odorless and tasteless. It is linked with the increased risk of lung cancer as when breathed in it breaks down into alpha particles which cause cell death and damage.

So here is where it gets interesting. When we bought our house in Kanata we were informed that Radon levels, while present, were well beneath the limits. Did they lie to us? No. It's true. They are. But what about these limits? Further research and an article in The Globe and Mail on Radon opened our eyes. It seems that Canada has the highest levels of what is considered acceptable (we even exceed China). While we insist that 800 bq/m3 is AOK the rest of the world (including europe, the World Health Organization, and the U.S.) feel that acceptable levels of exposure must be below 150 bq/m3. Why are we so high? Who knows. When my health is at risk, who cares.

So what were the results of my report? Well the levels in my basement are a lovely 438 bq/m3. Because I work from home (thank goodness decided at the last minute NOT to set my office up in the basement where Radon levels are highest) my exposure levels are of course high. This is of enough concern that my report instructs me to take remedial action. And we are. We've purchased a fresh air exchanger (which will do multiple good things like decrease the humidity in the basement, freshen the house in the winter, increase the humidity upstairs in the winter, remove all that lovely pet dander and odor that accumulates particularly in winter time and cooking orders, etc). Radon typically isn't a problem in the summer because we've got windows open and air movement--it dissipates quickly. So a fresh air exchanger is one of the best things one can do because it gets fresh air into the house throughout the winter and cycles the stale air out. We'll also be sealing any cracks in our foundation wall. Hopefully after we've done these things are levels in the winter months will be quite low. After we install the exchanger and seal the cracks I'll retest my levels and cross my fingers. I'd suggest that anyone in the Kanata area (I live in Morgan's Grant) get their houses checked. You can pick up the charcoal cannister at the City of Ottawa offices on Centrepointe for 42.18 (that includes the test itself but not the shipping to mail it). It's a small price to pay to ensure that your house is within acceptable levels (though it's up to you whose levels you pick--I for one am going with the majority wins theory!).

Monday, November 06, 2006


Where can I find
BBC's 'The Siberian Timebomb' by David Shukman?

Fish Is Good For You...

Ottawa - On October 18, two lakes in Newfoundland that are habitat to trout, Atlantic salmon, otter, and other species, received a death sentence as the newly amended Metal Mining Effluent Regulations (MMER) went into law. In a precedent-setting move, Environment Canada amended the MMER, a regulation under the Fisheries Act, to allow Aur Resources to dump toxic waste from its copper-zinc-gold mine into Trout Pond and a nearby unnamed lake. Both these lakes are in Newfoundland's largest watershed, the Exploits River system--a system that has had millions of taxpayer dollars pumped into it for fish habitat restoration. This legalised destruction of fish-bearing lakes opens the door to the destruction of other fish-bearing water bodies all across Canada. Mining companies have only to ask the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and Environment Canada for permission, and bingo! They've got it.

http://www.miningwatch.ca/index.php?/aur/mmer_final_blow

A new technology to turn oil and sugar into fuel

University of Minnesota team has invented a "reactive flash volatilization process" that heats oil and sugar about a million times faster than you can in your kitchen and produces hydrogen and carbon monoxide, a mixture called synthesis gas, or syngas, because it is used to make chemicals and fuels, including gasoline. The new process works 10 to 100 times faster than current technology, with no input of fossil fuels and in reactors at least 10 times smaller than current models. The work could significantly improve the efficiency of fuel production from renewable energy sources.
A difficulty in turning plant material into usable fuels has been breaking down the chemical bonds in cellulose--the material that gives plant cell walls their stiffness--to liberate simple sugars that can be fermented into ethanol or turned into other fuels. That requires special enzymes and lots of time. But the high heat of the new process breaks those bonds with ease, meaning cellulose and similar plant materials can possibly be used as feedstocks.
The secret is ultrafast flash volatilization [vaporization]
The work was supported by the Department of Energy and the University of Minnesota Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061103083833.htm

Friday, November 03, 2006

Selective Grocery Shopping

Where Do YOU buy your groceries?
Yesterday I completed a phone survey. I do survey's because they are how I paid for my college diploma and later on they allowed me to finish my master's thesis. I owe a debt there--not to survey companies but to any poor sod who has to do that as a job. I've been there. But after completing this survey (yes it took over ten minutes of my time and the poor person was obviously new to the job) I realized something interesting: I don't shop at my favorite store for meats and produce. Why? Because they don't stock enough local and organic fruits and vegetables. They've got a great selection but it's largely not organic. And because of this--because I want to purchase organic foods and produce--I shop at the grocery chain that provides them for my other foods. The surveyer was baffled. She had no room for this on her survey and kept insisting it was because the grocery store was convenient. No--convenience has nothing to do with it. There is another chain store closer to me actually. I shop there because I can get organic foods (we actually argued twice about this). I've been thinking about this survey a lot. Other things popped up as I answered questions--how little I shop at deli counters, bakery sections and frozen food sections (all because I bake all bread/pastries within my house and make all meals from fresh foods). Then I got to thinking about other aisles I can completely breeze past in grocery stores: household cleaners/detergents. Why? Because I buy all natural cleaners and laundry soaps at a natural food store. And even though I own two dogs and two cats I whip past the pet food aisle. Why? Because after having two cats develop Irritable Bowel Syndrome and cancers in the intenstinal tract from the preservatives in packaged pet foods and a German Shepherd who can not process anything that isn't fresh I feed mainly fresh raw or cooked foods to my pets. [It's been over 18 years that I've watched the impact on my cats (and 10 on my dogs)--I firmly believe that cats and dogs are experiencing on a more intense level the ravages of preservatives and chemicals in foods within their bodies.]

An article on Loblaws recently mentioned that the grocery giant is again facing a decline--unable to compete against Wal-Mart and other big box stores such as Costco it has struggled to keep up--deciding hazily to also stock clothing and household items. But that is not working. But it has created a whole middle section of a store I quickly zip past. And so for me the grocery store--once the staple of the weekly trip--has become a building that houses only 1/10th of what I wish to purchase. Am I the norm? I don't think so. I do think the majority are going to big box retailers and buying their pre-packaged foods in bulk. But I don't think it helps a chain like Loblaws that the rest of us are being a little choosier--getting our natural detergents and cleaners elsewhere and finding other smaller natural food outlets for our other choices. Certainly I believe there is a slow change coming in grocery stores from both ends. The big box buyer versus the local/organic buyer. It will be interesting to see who wins.

In some sense it is a snapshot of the bigger battle between the environment and our economy. Me? I'm being selective and voting with my feet. One small step at a time.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

National Policy Conference in Halifax

[duplicated from GPC National website]

A cross-country series of Green Party national policy conferences begins in Halifax November 4 with the National Policy Conference on Ecological Tax Shifting and Environmental Economics. The conference will be chaired by Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada, and features four nationally known experts as speakers and panellists:

- Dr. Ronald Colman, Executive Director of GPI (Genuine Progress Index) Atlantic and Research Director for the Canadian Well-Being Index.
- Dr. Peter Victor, Professor of Environmental Economics at York University in Toronto.
- Amy Taylor, Executive Director of Ecological Fiscal Reform for the Pembina Institute.
- Andrew van Iterson, Program Manager of the Green Budget Coalition.
- Paul Lansbergen, Director of Taxation and Business Issues, Forest Products Association of Canada.
You can read all about it on the new GreenPlus website (http://www.greenplus.ca).

So, join us in Halifax on November 4, 2006, for the beginning of a stimulating and inclusive national discussion of policy alternatives that will help shape Canada's policy discourse for the foreseeable future.

Admission is free. To register now please go to http://greenplus.ca/register.html

If you can't make it to Halifax, visit our new GreenPlus website (http://www.greenplus.ca), read the discussion papers prepared by our panel of experts, have your say in the online forum, and watch for news about web coverage of the conference sessions.


For more information, please contact
Chris Alders
calders@greenparty.ns.ca
902-678-0326

Friday, October 27, 2006

Whither climate change now?

The year 2006 has been quite remarkable for the unrelenting crescendo of interest and advocacy in matters environmental:
- The energy debate in Ontario,
- The hounding of Minister Ambrose at COP in Germany,
- The release of Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth",
- Brian Mulroney's Corporate Knights award,
- The success of the Green Party National Convention,
- The election of Elizabeth May as GPC Leader and the quantum leap in media profile and GPC membership,
- Governor Schwarzenegger's signature of California emissions legislation and a deal to trade emissions credits with the RGGI and with Tony Blair,
- The testimony of Green Party Senior Deputy Leader David Chernushenko before the House Standing Committee considering Bill C-16 (fixed election dates), among many other notable events.

And now finally the Harper government has poked a long pointy stick into Minister Ambrose and hoisted her up and waved her and her Clean Air Act around over the trenches, and everyone has scrabbled around for all the ammo they could find and duly loosed it off in her general direction. So now they'll reel her back in, dust her off, and find her another plank to walk.

So I'm sensing that after such a protracted dialogue on a single topic, there could now be a collapse in general public interest around climate change. The only remaining events to stoke the fires this year are the by-election in London-North-Centre, Canadian municipal elections, the midterm elections south of the border, and the Liberal convention in December. The Christmas break is a hurdle that brings down a lot of political issues.

How do we keep the dialogue alive? I anticipate there will be a period of respite, and we all take a breather, and then we must marshall the arguments for the next passage.

We must not be distracted by the details of the Harper Clean Air Act. It seems clear now that it will fail, and was designed to fail as far the immediate bill before the House is concerned. So, looking beyond the immediate garish parade of C-30, what were the Conservatives' real intentions? Let's try a few guesses. One motive might be to re-establish the Conservatives back in the political centre as The Friend Of Business, further displacing the Liberals who had been doing a pretty good job as TFOB what with debt reduction, inflation control, the Clarity Act, income trusts, trade missions, and so on. Another motive might be to dispel lingering memories of the Preston Manning days, of grassroots politics, the David Orchard deal, wild men on jetskis, etc. and re-establish credentials for party discipline, viz. Rona's badly frayed flak jacket and Garth's ouster. Yet another objective might be to manage expectations downward, which will make it harder for the next government to accelerate emissions reductions. And obviously it's good optics south of the border and across the Pacific, and may buy wiggle room on other international files.

One of the cleverer aspects of the last few weeks is that the Harper government has kept the media talking about controls and regulation and innovation and targets, and has not allowed any airtime for popular conservation. Business likes this because it doesn't erode the mindset that we are all perfectly entitled to all the cheap energy we can devour, and everything that goes with that mentality, and maybe all we have to do is clean it up a little bit. If Canadians were to suddenly decide to buy the climate change argument and begin to conserve in a big way, the energy patch would be in a much worse pickle than they are now with C-30 regulations.

So popular attention is soon going to tire of this year's slogans - climate change, emissions, Kyoto, targets. In order to keep the dialogue alive perhaps now is a time to go beyond the climate change argument, and ask what other social ills attend voracious energy consumption?
- The obesity issue seems like a natural; we drive everywhere and don't exercise, because we have cars handy and we can't afford the time to walk. This goes hand-in-hand with type II diabetes and other chronic conditions.
- The neighbourhood argument seems like another: as Elizabeth May said, "Let's have neighbourhoods designed for our children, not our cars". I recently spent some time in the 905 belt of Toronto and saw nothing but chain hotels, chain restaurants, chain stores, six-lane arterial roads, and low-rise light industrial buildings out to the horizon. Residential areas were completely segregated, with only freeway linkages. A pedestrian or bicycle lifestyle will never stand a chance in that region.
- We iconize detached homes as the ideal urban dwelling model, which leads to cancerous urban sprawl, because people want privacy and space for their stuff. But why do we want to cocoon? Well, because despite sharing the same DNA, sometimes people aren't actually all that nice to each other, and stuff is more fun than people and we can get it cheap from China, and the guy who dies with the most stuff wins. And so we overlook many wonderful people in our cities because we stay at home with our stuff - and instead of enjoying the variety of all our local actors, musicians, comedians, writers and artists, which is what humanity evolved toward originally, we hop hundreds of channels of predictable content fabricated in centralized cloning factories. But if you were to ask Canadians to live in cities with the density of Manhattan or London or Tokyo, they would look at you funny.
- The true cost of private vehicle ownership is not clear, because it is dispersed across different account books, but what would we see if we were to draw together all the externalities into one ledger and count up not just the vehicle cost, but the insurance, the fuel, the maintenance, the deaths and injuries, the hospitalizations and quadriplegics, the rise in asthma among children living close to major arterials, the cultural activities foregone because the journey is not safe and travel is nevertheless still damned inconvenient despite the universal roads and cars because of parking and narrow sidewalks impassable with snow and ice, to say nothing of all those working lives shackled to road construction and maintenance? If you handed every Canadian a winning lottery ticket for say $5,000 each, year after year, they would say great! If you told them they could get them by climbing out of their cars, they would give you another funny look.

So perhaps this is the evil twin of cheap energy - the loss of social cohesion, poor health, the wasteful tyranny of fashionable stuff, and the withering of our local culture and industry? And these ills are in some ways more tangible than emissions, but in some ways less because because most of us have enjoyed electricity, cars, homes, nice stuff, and a spacious lifestyle throughout living memory.

Another more radical thought occurred to me recently. The last time an entire nation had to be disconnected from a form of cheap energy was the American civil war, which brought an end to slavery in the South. Six hundred thousand men under arms died in that conflict, the majority due to disease, not wounds, and thanks to the assassination of President Lincoln the rehabilitation of African-American peoples suffered a setback that has still not ended. What is the chance that in our present situation we can make an even greater transition peaceably?

Is now the time to starting thinking about the arguments and questions to fuel debate in 2007, very possibly the next national election year? Certainly those emissions will cause some warming...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

MAYhem in almonte!


The event last night was awesome! The Ironworks pub were great hosts and provided an excellent setting. The room we booked could hold 50 or so as close personal friends, but double that number made an appearance.

I was in the hall around the corner leading in to the room with 20 other people listening to Elizabeth and the other speakers. The room was packed beyond standing room.

I know it will be the same tonight in London!

We signed up several new members and secured some donations for Elizabeth's campaign. A great night all around.

Here is the only photo I currently have. It is of me (on the left), Elizabeth, and Rick (on the right) the CFO for the CMM FGPA.

Cell phones make you reachable 24/7 if...

... you leave them on ;)

Politique Vert (PV) has an item about a new study that indicates cell phones could be harmful, you can find it here.

PV goes on to say that she doesn't own herself because she doesn't want to be reachable 24/7. I can understand that. I solve that problem myself by turning the phone off when I don't want to be reachable. It's a simple solution really.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Elizabeth May in Almonte Tonight!

Elizabeth May will be at the ironworks pub in Almonte tonight. If you live in Carleton Mississippi-Mills this is your chance to come out and hear Elizabeth speak and have a chance to meet her.

Rumour also has it that two people will announce they are running for the nomination for the Green Party in CMM! Come out and meet them.

Food and drink (non-alcoholic) will be available.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Thanks to Devon for creating an image to help show our support for Elizabeth May's run in London North-Centre.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Friday, October 20, 2006

Elizabeth May on CTV Question Period & Cross Country Checkup this Sunday

Tune in to CTV's Question Period on Sunday at noon to see Elizabeth May participate in a panel with environment critics from the Liberals and NDP.

Also, Elizabeth will be on CBC Radio's Cross Country Checkup with Rex Murphy on Sunday at 4:50 pm. The show this week will focus entirely on the Clean Air Act, so if you want to call in to make your views known, please do so - 1-888-416-8333. Their website is www.cbc.ca/checkup.

-forwarded message from Camille Labchuk

Thursday, October 19, 2006

CP — Highlights of the Conservatives' proposed Clean Air Act

Canadian Press is carrying the following selection:

• By 2011, develop new regulations for vehicle fuel consumption.
• By 2025, set national targets for smog and ozone levels.
• By 2050, reduce greenhouse gas emissions between 45 and 65 per cent from 2003 levels.
• No mention of the Kyoto Protocol and the emissions targets the government of Canada comitted to in 2002.
• Harmonize vehicle emissions standards with those of the United States over the next 12 months.
• Harmonize regulations with those of the U.S. for volatile organic compound emissions in consumer and commercial products over the next year.
• Over the next three years, discuss and set “intensity based” targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, rather than total emissions targets, for major emitters.
• Negotiate with provinces to create harmonized system for mandatory reporting of air emissions, reduction of regulatory overlap.
• Create environmental damages fund from non-compliance fines to be applied directly to cleanup.

Reality Check: Ambrose versus the facts

See attached for a detailed review of the "Clean Air Act". Eight mistakes by Minister Ambrose in less than an hour. It's important that people are not misled by the speech, and actually understand the content of the act. Read the discrepancies identified in the annoucement here:
http://greenparty.ca/mediarelease190.html

Over 3 more years before regulations in place?
Over 13 more years until targets for cutting pollutants are set?
Over 43 more years to get to ~50% reduction in emissions, from 2003 levels.
(ref.http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20061018/environment_act_061019/20061019?hub=TopStories)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

MPtv - Interview with Green Party of Canada Leader, Elizabeth May - October 17, 2006

This is an interview of Elizabeth May conducted by Garth Turner, Conservative MP for Halton.

It is interesting to note that Garth was suspended from the Tory caucus the day after this interview was posted to his blog. Coincidence?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Rick Mercer Report / This Hour has 22 Minutes

Elizabeth is set to appear on both RMR and 22 minutes tonight on CBC (check your local listings).

She is also scheduled to appear on Question Period on Sunday morning.

Lots of television coverage, and the best part is that it is coverage I actually watch ;).

Update: The 22 minutes segment got bumped until, likely, next week. Oh, and the tree Elizabeth cut down on RMR was already dead.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

CMM Greens Blog

The Human Cost of the War in Iraq
This tragic report uses epidemiological techniques to estimate war deaths instead of passive reports (like media), and is peer-reviewed.

The CNN link below has a link to the document:
http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/10/11/iraq.deaths/index.html

It also has a clip of Mr. Bush sputtering and stumbling over what to say about it, other than "it has beed discredited...".

Bush's conclusions are not peer reviewed by any respectible source, as far as I can tell....

CMM Greens Blog: Harper has head in the tar sands

Breast cancer more common in farm workers: study
Report published in Thursday's issue of the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (author author James Brophy, executive director of the Occupational Health Clinic for Ontario Workers in Windsor).

Study says women are 2.8 times more likely to develop breast cancer than those not in farming. No specific cause reported, however Brophy speculated pesticides and diesel fumes.

http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2006/10/12/breastcancer-farm.html

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Elizabeth May on TV!

CBC will be airing a 15 minute profile of Elizabeth May on the National tonight.

Also look for Elizabeth on the Rick Mercer Report. Possibly next Tuesday.

Update: If you missed the newscast you can watch it online today until 11:30PM ET here, it is about 40 minutes into the program.

Harper has head in the tar sands

Will the new Conservative government keep its head buried in the tar sands, or will it come up for air?

Elizabeth May, October 11, 2006

You can read the entire piece, published in the Globe and Mail, here.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Green Party’s first appearance before House committe

From greenparty.ca:
The Green Party of Canada recorded a historic first Tuesday when Senior Deputy Leader David Chernushenko testified to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

Witnesses from all major parties testified on Bill C-16, designed to introduce fixed election dates in Canada. It was the first time that the Green Party has been invited, along with other parties with sitting MPs, to appear before a House committee.

A committee official said the Green Party will continue to be invited to hearings because it now receives federal funding. Parties receiving over 2% of the total vote get $1.79 per vote every year in federal funds. The Green Party qualified by garnering 4.3% of the vote in 2004 and following that with 4.5% in the 2006 election.

''House committees recognize that the Green Party should be part of major national discussions,'' said Mr. Chernushenko. “It is time for broadcasters to follow suit and include us in the televised leader debates.”


You can read the historic statement here: http://www.greenparty.ca/page292.html

Climate Change: From Inconvenient Truth to Political Action

Last Monday, I went to the public forum listed here. It featured Elizabeth, Ralph Torrie, Jose Etcheverry, and Patti Edwards. Here are the notes on how it went.

The hall was, I think, full. Somebody estimated it at 400 people, maybe more.
The discussions were interesting and knowledgeable (of course, who am i to judge), the audience was enthusiastic, - I think it went really well. All the panelists were good, but Elizabeth was getting more applause than anybody else!!

First, each participant gave an 8 minute speech.

Patti Edwards
- from Environment Canada, Atmospheric and Climate Science
- talked about what climate changes are currently seen, models used to predict them
- there is no doubt about the anthropogenic origin of the changes
- the rate of temperature change is increasing

Ralph Torrie
- (see http://www.icfi.com/Newsroom/torrie-hire.asp for bio)
- studied climate change for the past 30 years
- went through a dozen slides that he prepared (with graphs, models...)
(It was given as a handout; let me know if you want to see it.)
- in the past 10 years, all previous predictions came true
- We're in for 100 years of climate change (that is certain and can't be stopped). Any actions we take will be prevent further damage

Elizabeth May
- continued with the more political part of the issue
- At a conference 18 years ago (missed the name), they said that climate change will be an "experiment second only to nuclear war"
- Conservative party does not believe the "hockey stick" graph
- ironic to see RonaA as chair of international climate change program
- Canada is the only Kyoto nation to not try to follow Kyoto
- goverment with "head stuck in the tar sands" [a LOT of applause followed]

Jose Etcheverry
- Research and Policy Analyst, David Suzuki Foundation
- went on to the solutions part
- there are some bad carbon offsets, e.g. Brazilian Eucalyptus plantations
- Kyoto is not only about emission reductions, but also sustainable development
- What we need: 1. National carbon trade system, 2. carbon taxes
- mentioned some efforts by European nations
- Nov 1 in Toronto: announcement of the plan for Ontario (I think)
(he mentioned Nov 1 emphatically a few times, but I missed what was about - does anybody know?)

Then the microphone was turned to audience questions. Some of the answers:

EM:
- difference between "alarmist" and "alarming"
- 80% of Canadians support Kyoto
- The fact that there are so many SUVs is not contradictory: the gov't effectively encourages SUVs by keeping gas prices artificially low.
RT:
- Gov't was planning for the SUV's - the demand for SUVs is manufactured.
- There is a disconnect between national strategies and local initiatives that
actually work.

EM:
- carbon released by airplanes (at the altitude) has 7 times the effect that it would if it were released at ground level.
JE:
- airline industry is unregulated (in terms of emissions)

EM:
- James Lovelock is wrong to say (in his new book) that nothing can be done any more

EM:
- example: Pine beatle destroying forests in BC because there are no more cold snaps

JE:
- Hydro Quebec - Quebec has enormous wind capacity
- Calgary's "Ride the wind" public transit program
- It is possible to have our electricity generated entirely by renewable sources!

RT:
- Even if we consider nuclear power, it actually has only a very small potential for contribution to the solution.
- Now Ontario is predicting a power gap. However, similar gaps predicted in the 70's and 80's never happened.

An audience member noted that some jobs have ownership of a car as a requirement, even though driving has nothing to do with the job's needs (social work).
EM:
- As of this moment, it is now in the Green platform: Car ownership should not be a barrier to employment.

By the door, a few groups were handing out fliers, collecting signatures.
Something I found interesting: car rental a la Amsterdam (or is it Denmark that does that?)

Monday, October 02, 2006

On Nuclear power

It saddens me that we in the greens continue to be so adamantly against nuclear power generation. The arguments against it on the basis of the links between its technologies and nuclear warfare are clouding us from seeing nuclear power as the greenest electricity generation technology of all.

Without a question, no ifs and or buts, nuclear warfare would be disastrous for all of Gaia. Any global conflict involving atom or hydrogen bombs will destroy not only our civilisation, but the capacity of the earth to maintain current life. Nuclear winter would deny all photosynthesis for a long enough time that most plant forms would die; without plants most animal and insect forms including microbial would be unable to survive. Nuclear fallout would finish off those that did manage to survive, through radiation sickness and biological mutations.

However we proceed we desperately need to curtail the proliferation of nuclear weapons in a world increasingly filled with sociopaths in political positions, the west far from excluded.

But this is not what nuclear power is about. Nuclear power is the cleanest and greenest of power sources of all. Quite apart from being the only source of the energy of all that is on the earth, deriving from the sun, and from being the source of the heat internally in the earth, nuclear energy, pound for pound is millions of times more effective than any other known form of fuel -- E = mc^2 after all.

We would be idiots to ignore it.

And indeed we havent. 41% of Ontario's power comes from nuclear. Somewhere around 80% of France's electricity comes from nuclear, and the UK is around 25%.

If we were to lose our nuclear generation facilities we would be in the dark. The cost to our current way of life would be inestimable. A disaster.

I call for a healthy debate and reassessment of our policies on this issue.

Carbon Sequestration Projects

Under the heading of "Having our cake and eating it too" comes carbon sequestration. The idea is in two parts: one, that you can continue to use fuels which emit greenhouse gases IF you capture the emitted gases and keep them out of the atmosphere, and two, more generally, if you have a way of removing as much GHG from the atmosphere as you are adding, you can maintain a healthy balance.

The World Resources Institute has posted a list of carbon sequestration projects worldwide. Click here.

Seems pretty thin, for an activity which is supposed to save the planet. All Canada has is one project in Saskatchewan. Curiously, Latin America has lots, and so does Africa. Curiouser, Europe has very few.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Garth Turner on the Environment

Garth Turner on the environment via: http://www.garth.ca/weblog/2006/09/28/big-smoke-pt2/

Left abandoned, sadly, are millions of middle-class families living in leaky suburban houses and driving minivans who really want to do something positive, and seek direction.

But who speaks for them?

Not the Greens or the Dippers, because public transit, high-density housing. walking and bicycles are not a lifestyle option in my riding of Halton, or in the actual places where most Canadians live. These folks drive cars. They live cars. ItÂ’s a car and commuting culture. ItÂ’s also a swimming pool-in-the-backyard culture, a single-family-house culture and a consumer goods culture. Who will help these people do the right thing, because they are motivated for it, instead of lecturing, berating and beating on them?

Not the activists. Not the socialists. And, we have just heard, not the Liberals.


Garth lumps the GPC and NDP together when it comes to ideas about how to solve the environmental crisis facing Canadians and the world. Garth has obviously not read the Green Party Green Plan.

Garth the Green Party has put forward a plan that does not require your constituents to abandon their cars, to abandon their pools. It calls on government to reduce income taxes and put money back in the pockets of your constituents. It also calls on shifting those taxes onto activities and products that harm the environment. By giving your constituents more money they can choose to continue to spend it on, now more expensive, polluting products, or choose to buy use products or alter their lifestyles to keep this new money.

Garth I salute you bringing this discussion on-line.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Jim Harris joins the blogging community

Jim Harris, former Green Party of Canada leader, has joined the blogging community.

His new blog can be found here: http://blog.greenparty.ca/en/blog/29.

I'm looking forward to all the insight he will be providing about party strategy and policy.

Welcome to the on-line world Jim.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

GP^2 Released

Green Party shows the way with GP^2 fiscal reform package.


See the press release at: http://www.greenparty.ca/mediarelease183.html

The plan can be found here:
http://www.greenparty.ca/downloads/GP2-Report-Eng.pdf

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The WEEE Man

"The WEEE Man" is a sculpture made in the shape of a man, from bits of scrap electronics and electrical devices. It weighs 3.3 tonnes, which is about the weight of electronics discarded by the average Briton in a lifetime. It has been moved from city to city in the UK, but presently is standing in Bristol Waterfront Square.

It's called "The WEEE Man" because "WEEE" is the acronym for the "Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment" Directive, which was passed by the European Union Parliament in 2003 and began operating last year in many EU countries. This Directive now prohibits such equipment from going into landfill, and makes anyone marketing most kinds of electronics in the EU responsible, including financially, for taking back the equipment when it eventually becomes waste and ensuring it is re-used or recycled.

In Canada the federal government has done nothing I'm aware of to prevent WEEE going to municipal waste, where toxic metals and chemicals are available to the environment. One or two provincial governments, for example British Columbia, now have take-back laws for a few types of equipment, but nothing like as comprehensive as the European initiative. In the USA, a few states such as Washington have introduced take-back laws, but the schemes are not yet operating. China is believed to be presently drafting take-back laws and is building three new recycling plants in Shanghai. China and India have been dumping grounds for waste electronics from western countries, leading to dangerous back-alley recycling operations trying to reclaim precious metals such as gold.

The WEEE Man website is quite interesting: http://www.weeeman.org/

Monday, September 25, 2006

Al Gore on Solving The Climate Crisis

A few days ago, scientists announced alarming new evidence of the rapid
melting of the perennial ice of the north polar cap, continuing a trend
of the past several years that now confronts us with the prospect that
human activities, if unchecked in the next decade, could destroy one of
the earth’s principle mechanisms for cooling itself.

From http://www.nyu.edu/community/gore.html

Federal Political Party Platform Overlaps

As one would expect, there is always a little overlap between political parties on some planks of their platforms. I would like to see some feedback from the field, Greens in general, but from former paying members of other political parties who are now paying members of GPC in particular, discussing the areas that Green platform issues overlap those of the other parties.

Discussions should include:
- where do Green beliefs and platform goals
exceed those of another party. Where do we
need improvement?
- where do Green beliefs and platform goals
fall short (in the humble opinion of the posting
person) of those of another party. Where do
we need improvement?

Perhaps we should have separate discussions for each individual party (i.e. Green vs. Conservative, Green vs. Liberal, Green vs. NDP)

So this first blog topic is to get feedback on how to proceed.
Bruce

Democracy Study Centre Chair calls for Green Debates

Tom Axworthy, chair of the Centre for the Study of Democracy at Queen's University, writing in The Toronto Star, has called for Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada, to be invited to join the next round of leaders' debates.

Click here for the article.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Green Party advancing in Ontario

Although voters in the Ontario provincial by-election in Parkdale-High Park on Sept. 14 handed NDP Cheri di Novo a solid victory with 41% of the count, Green Party of Ontario candidate Frank de Jong sliced off a respectable 6.2%. It is noteworthy that even in a heavy left-oriented riding such as this one, the NDP, regarded by pollsters as most at risk from a Green Party surge, is already giving up substantial numbers.

In the 2005 by-election in Dufferin-Peel-Wellington-Grey, left-of-centre voters were less constrained by a need to elect an NDP candidate and were free to demonstrate green sympathies by giving the indefatigable GPO candidate Frank de Jong 10% of the vote. PC party leader John Tory (and chair of the disastrous 1993 campaign which returned the federal PCs with 2 seats) won with 56%.

In the 2003 Ontario General Election, the GPO polled 2.8% of the popular vote. With proportional representation, the GPO would now have 3 seats at Queen's Park. In October 2007, the question of proportional representation will likely be put to the electorate in a referendum. Fair Vote Ontario is currently lobbying the McGuinty government to allow this referendum to pass by a simply majority.

To find out how to support this initiative and help make Ontario the first Canadian jurisdiction to elect Green Party MPPs, visit:
http://fairvotecanada.org/fair_vote_ontario_current_campaign_activities

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Throwing Your Vote Away?

Just got back from the CMM Greens booth at the Carp Fair. I spoke to someone there who said he would like to vote for the Green Party but won't because he would be "throwing his vote away." This wasn't the first time I've heard this comment.

Although I disagree with this point of view for a number of reasons, in this post I would like to focus on one area that I think most Canadians are unaware of:

BY VOTING FOR THE GREEN PARTY YOU PAY THE PARTY $1.75 IN FEDERAL FUNDING!

This is a fairly new funding program (probably the reason most Canadians are unaware of it) that was implemented in 2004. Here are the details (taken from the Elections Canada web site):

"Registered political parties that receive at least two percent of the number of valid votes cast nationally, or five percent of the number of valid votes cast in the electoral districts in which the registered party endorsed a candidate, will be eligible for a quarterly allowance which, on the basis of a full year, will amount to $1.75 per valid vote received by the party in the previous general election."

Although $1.75 may not sound like much, actually, it's huge! In the 2006 election 665 940 Canadians voted for the Green Party. This works out to $1 165 395.00 in federal funding.

Thanks to this funding the Green Party is better staffed, better equipped and better positioned than ever to promote our message and finally get members elected.

Furthermore, why would you give your hard earned dollars to a party that you don't believe in? By voting for a party that you don't support, to avoid "throwing your vote away," you are financially funding them!

In the next election don't throw your funding away. Send your money to the party that you support. You can only do this by voting for the party that you believe in.

If you support the Green Party, please send us your funding by voting Green in the next election!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Steve & Rona turning their backs on good progress?

Canada's GHG emissions, according to a recent Reuters piece, went from 565 million tons in 1990 to 758 million tons in 2004, for an increase of 193 million tons.

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L31331420.htm

The Canadian Standards Association maintains registries of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions. Presently there are 46 projects under way, with a total annual reduction of 34 million tons.

http://www.ghgregistries.ca/reductions/rer_masterprojects_e.cfm

This is actually quite encouraging. With only a handful of projects across the nation, an appreciable fraction of Canada's Kyoto target is already being addressed. Under Kyoto, Canada would reduce emissions to 531 million tons annually by 2012.

Responsible Canadian cities and corporations have already made a good start on Kyoto. Why is the Harper government giving up now?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Democratic Reform: Question

Has anyone heard of a proposed electoral system where electoral districts are completely disconnected from geography? In a modern internet world one's interests have little to do with where one lives. In other words, people living all across the country could associate to form a "riding", register it, and be allocated a number of MPs proportional to the size of the group. Candidates would register as campaigning to represent that electoral group. Of course, one person could only be a member of one such group at a time, and there would have to be a registration system which prevents duplication.

It would mitigate "gerrymandering" since people would not be subject to grouping by forces outside their control. In a way, this would be like turning lobby groups into electoral ridings, since people would tend to join the group which best furthered their interests. It could allow people to direct attention to specific issues by joining that electoral group, rather than being stuck with the mixed bag that party-line voting allows. It might revivify the labour union movement.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Don't eat fresh spinach imported from U.S.

For those aware of the numerous benefits of spinach - a word of warning.

- some US spinach contaminated with e.coli
- in US, 1 person dead, 50 in hospital from apparently spinach-caused e.coli outbreak
- washing it doesn't help, so just don't buy it

This isn't all that cmmgreens-related, but I thought people might want to know this. What would be more relevant is something addressing the question WHY this happened. The article does not shed any light on that. Can anybody offer any insight?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Say Yes to the CDM

Is Canada's commitment to the CDM worth 7 cents to you?

Go here and have your voice heard!

http://www.greenparty.ca/page275,html.html

Read the Green Party of Canada's media release on the topic here:
http://www.greenparty.ca/mediarelease178.html

Drought on the Great Plains

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NewImages/images.php3?img_id=17390

The weather conditions over the past few years have created severe drought in the Great Plains of the United States and Canada, which is being compared to the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Many of the areas are categorized as "exceptional drought."

This link has a map of the vegetation anomaly in the affected regions.

Gender Equity

[Recently I posted this on the GPC-members listing and felt I would add it here...I know I'm going to get slagged for it and yet I felt you guys needed to know what I had to say about us and this. We can discuss.]
I find that these gender equity discussions often are couched in the assumption that men can in no way adequately represent or speak for women. For myself it matters little if there were ten men at the mikes or ten men on council and only two women in both instances. As long as the underlying theme and the message is my message I don't care who delivers it. I disagree with gender equity (and I know I will get blasted for saying that) in this form. Actually I disagree with it in any form. I disagree with anything that forces people to do something, which regulates and dictates that we must have 50/50 balance or exact representation from the population stats. Who says? If a guy stands up and talks and says what I want said and represents me in a way that I feel is appropriate....good. I don't care about whether the person is male or female, homosexual or heterosexual, white or black. And If I don't like what they have to say, I'll make a change.

This entire discussion assumes the more recent idea that we can only 'speak of what we know'. And therefore a white male can in no way 'speak' to a white female and vice versa. Then it becomes race, and sexual orientation, and then life experiences. Then a middle-aged woman won't be able to speak to a young woman's issues and seniors? forget about it. We'll have more caucuses than people. It will never end. I disagree with women caucuses as I disagree with youth caucuses as I disagree with gender equity. I'm sure someone will think I believe in utopia and they may be right. But I believe that all of these extra groups and special rules assume that we as humans have a complete inability to understand each other. And I don't believe that. If we continue this argument down its slipperly slope we'll have it that no person can speak for another. And each caucus will hold but one person.

I believe in representation. If a white male stands up and is willing to represent my interests, the interests of any immigrant community, and the interests of the homeless and I feel that at the very least he represents my own, I'll elect him. It's not about gender to me. It should never be about gender or race or sexual orientation. It's about getting said what I want said. I don't believe that I always have to do the talking just because I am a woman. And I certainly don't believe that a woman can better represent me. I can't chose like that.

And so I will continue to fight against gender equity and instead continue to fight for adequate representation. Certainly in my EDA, which has a fair more men than women on the exec, I trust the 'guys' to adequately represent my interests and my concerns. I don't need to be there all the time to 'watch over them' and I don't feel the need to find more women and get them on to the exec to rectify any imbalance. I like the executive the way it is. And I like it when we vote in a new one. Whoever shows up, shows up. If they have our interests be they male or female...woo hoo. If we scare away some it's not because of them being female or a racial divide it may simply be that they don't share our vision. I would sincerely regret ever making that a basis for gender bias.

Certainly in Carleton Mississippi Mills we are doing what needs to be done: forwarding the green vision. At times, yes, I bring a different perspective as a woman. But so do they as men. And over all I believe that we have the same goal. Why? Because I trust them.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Environment Canada is lying.

Update: Environment Canada has pulled the bogus information off-line.

Earl McRae

Earl McRae wrote a column a couple weeks ago that started:

"Dear Elizabeth May. Can I call you Liz? Betty? Bett?" Further along, I went for Betty May, saying: "Nice cool, catchy ring to it, Betty May, kind of like a southern rockabilly song of the '50s."


Elizabeth replied and Earl wrote a follow-up column that you can find here:
http://ottsun.canoe.ca/News/Columnists/McRae_Earl/2006/09/13/1833288.html

It ends up with:
11. Pit bulls. Would you ban them nationally or not?

"Earl, is this a trick question? Lastly, as a parting gift, you -- and only you -- can call me 'Betty' if it means a lot to you."

It means a lot to me, Betty. Thank you. But, geez, I still think you should go nationally with that cool, rockin', funky, voter-appealing Betty May.


Read the whole article for a summary of where Elizabeth and the Green Party stand on the questions raised by Earl.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Gwynne Dyer on Afghanistan'd Sad History

Interesting article from July 2006 on Afghanistan's sad history of foreign invasions, and the response of Afghani's, including the Taleban. About 800 words:

http://www.gwynnedyer.net/articles/Gwynne%20Dyer%20article_%20%20Afghanistan2.txt

California caps emissions; other states following

Two weeks ago Californian legislators and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger passed bill AB32, a measure to control greenhouse gas emissions in the state, authored by Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez and Assemblymember Fran Pavley. Colorado, Arizona, New Mexica and Montana have individual state measures passing through their legislatures. Seven New England states have combined under RGGI (Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative) to achieve emissions reductions from power generation, and Maryland will join next year.

California is the 12th largest GHG emitter in the world. Significant aspects of AB 32 include:
* Implementing a cap on greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels by 2020, approximately a 25% reduction;
* Requiring the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to adopt regulations to require reporting of emissions from significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions by Jan. 1, 2008;
* Allowing CARB to adopt regulations on the use of market mechanisms to achieve greenhouse gas emission reductions, including criteria for these regulations (this includes consideration of adverse environmental impacts and to maximize environmental and economic benefit);
* Requiring CARB to adopt regulations governing voluntary emissions reductions and giving credit for early actors;
* Authorizing CARB to use a broad range of existing authorities for enforcement of greenhouse gas emission reduction regulations; and,
* Creating an emergency provision – in the event of catastrophic circumstances or threat of significant economic harm -- the Governor can halt implementation of regulations for up to one year.

David Suzuki explains economic sense of Kyoto during high oil prices

David Suzuki on Australian TV debunks economic arguments against Kyoto:

"There are two things I have to say about that. One is, it is a totally bogus argument that implementing Kyoto is going to destroy the economy, which I've heard Mr Howard actually asy. This is absolutely bogus. The reason it's bogus is that the bulk of the action needed to meet Kyoto will be by becoming more efficient, that is, getting more work out of less energy. This is going to save vast amounts of money and allow your products to be that much more competitive, because the energy that's being used at a time of escalating energy prices is going to make you more compwetitive. This kind of kneejerk response is a neanderthal response, simply justifying the outlaw position of this government," says Suzuki. "I think Australia is completely out to lunch in what should be your leading area of science and technology. It's a tragedy."

"The second point I would make is if we continue to use the economy as our bottom line excuse, it would appear to me we're in deep trouble, because the economy doesn't internalise a lot of the costs that we download to future generations. The corruption of the economic system we deal with, is that in Vancouver it's cheaper for restaurants to serve lamb that comes from Australia than it does to serve lamb that comes... 40 miles away. Now you tell me how this makes any ecological sense; the only thing is the economic system has externalised all the greenhouse gases and all of the ecological cost of that kind of shipping, and makes it economically feasible. This is just nuts. We have to really re-look at the economic paradigm that we bought into. But at the same time we have to stop listening to the bogus arguments..."

http://www.abc.net.au/southwestvic/stories/s1737971.htm

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Economist surveys climate change

This week's issue of the The Economist has devoted the Surveys section to climate change. It's one of the biggest Survey's I've seen them do, and should probably be required reading.

For those with on-line subscriptions:
http://www.economist.com/surveys/displayStory.cfm?story_id=7852924

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Is your food better traveled than you are?

It's a great question isn't it? It makes you think.

This question is part of a project that the EDA wants to pursue. They are a hook, a way of making you stop and think about your values, about what values we as a society hold and wish to hold. They will show us where our values and day to day lives meet and where they have a divide.

Join in and send us your questions, send us your answers, join our community!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Elizabeth May:
What Canadian politics needs is not more partisanship; it is more cooperation.

Joe Trippi - Green Party of Canada convention - building community online



Thanks to Ben West for taking and posting this video.

Here is Ben's description:

Joe Trippi was a keynote speaker at this years Green Party of Canada convention. The greens are working on integrating the same kind of grassroots community facilitating tools into their structure. They have already gone farther than any other political party. In retrospect this convention and the ability of Trippi and others to articulate and lay out the ground work for this sort of activity may be a turning point with the green revolution.

For more Joe Trippi footage shot at the 2 day pre conference lecture (as well as more info on what the greens are up to) visit either greenparty.ca or greenparty.bc.ca

Friday, September 08, 2006

Green books and Publications

The subject of a "green" reading list came up at last night's meeting. Here are a few ideas:

1) The Union of Concerned Scientists at www.ucsusa.org have a long list of books and reports on many subjects such as global warming, invasive species, energy, clean vehicles and food. At the top right of their website is a small link to "publications" where you can see a complete list and order stuff online. I highly recommend this organization. Everything I have read from them has been very useful and informative. I like the fact that they always focus on solutions and outline clearly what individuals need to do in order to resolve environmental problems. I personally recommend the book "The Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices." It examines a comprehensive list of consumer activities and identifies the amount of environmental damage each one causes. For example, which is worse for the environment, cloth diapers or disposable?

2) The Earth Policy Institute at www.earth-policy.org has five books all written or co-written by the institute's founder and president Lester R. Brown. The books can be ordered directly from the website. I personally recommend "Outgrowing the Earth" which I bought at Chapters. It provides a great overview of the issues facing us and our planet. The book clearly explains the relationships between climate change, agricultural policy, population growth, globalization, desertification and water scarcity. Again, I like the fact that the focus is on providing solutions, not just describing the problems. On that subject, it looks like he has a new book called "Plan B 2.0." I'll have to get a copy. By the way, the web site is great too. Check it out!

3) "The Meat You Eat" by Ken Midkiff (former Sierra Club Clean Water Campaign director) is an informative read if you want to know what you are really eating and how it was produced. This book clearly makes the case for buying meat from local, truly organic farmers. Be forewarned that it gets rather graphic at times. You may never buy meat from a grocery store or fast food restaurant again. I got the book at Chapters.

I'd be very interested to hear suggestions and recommendations from others. Please let me know what your favourites are....

Chainsaw Rona no threat to Princess Fergie as weight-loss advocate

An article in the Calgary Herald yesterday reminded me that on May 11 this year, Environment Minister Rona Ambrose rose in the House of Commons to explain why she thought Kyoto was unachievable in Canada. According to the Environment Canada Speeches website, she said, in part:
http://www.ec.gc.ca/minister/speeches/2006/060511_s_e.htm

"The numbers say it: we have inherited a situation that makes the Kyoto target unachievable. Why is it unachievable? Let me spell it out.
"In 2004, our emissions were 195 Mt above our Kyoto target. How much is 195 Mt? It’s the equivalent of more than all our transportation emissions – i.e., all the emissions from every car, truck, plane and train in Canada. We would have to pull every truck and car off the street, shut down every train and ground every plane to reach the Kyoto target negotiated by the Liberals.
"Or we could shut all the lights off in Canada tomorrow – but that still wouldn’t be enough – to reach our Kyoto target we’d have to shut off all the lights AND shut down the entire agriculture industry.
"Or instead we could shut down every individual Canadian household, not once, not twice, not three times, but FOUR times over to meet the Kyoto target the Liberals negotiated for Canada."

Gee. Sounds grim.

Now let me make a little analogy here. As we just learned from the 2006 International Conference on Obesity, Canadians, Brits, and Americans also have a little weight problem -- 25% of Americans are obese, as are 23% of Canadians and 20% of Brits. http://www.statcan.ca/english/freepub/82-003-XIE/82-003-XIE2005003.pdf

Fortunately, Steve didn't appoint Rona Minister of Health -- if her approach to Kyoto is any indication, she would solve the obesity problem by amputating arms and legs.

We can solve our Kyoto problem the same way we would diet --
* seek good advice from well-educated doctors and nutritionists, not quacks and fads,
* make a sensible plan to steadily lose weight over time by avoiding junk foods and returning to healthy foods,
* find others doing the same thing and have fun doing it together.

Canada is 35% over its Kyoto targets. This is not scary: this is like the man who weighed 245 lbs deciding to get back down to a healthy weight of 180 lbs and doing it in a year or two. It happens all the time. It's not that difficult.

Canada can attain our Kyoto goals in a decade by first getting good advice, not from Chainsaw Rona, but from people who understand our complex issues, and by making sensible plans to avoid energy guzzlers and to reintroduce healthier technologies and lifestyles. It's not that difficult - and the best part is, we will enjoy the process immensely by working together.

And as those who have lost a lot of weight can tell you, you will look great and feel great (and you get a whole new environment - sorry, wardrobe). Just ask them -- you'll find them in the Green Party of Canada.

Nomination Contest

The nomination contest for the CMM - Greens is on!

The nomination meeting will be held on Sunday February 18th, 2007.

See http://cmmgreens.com/content/view/137/157/ for more details.

CMM Greens Blog

A quick update to mention that CMM Greens are planning to be at the Carp Fairgrounds, and (even better!) we're working on an event with our members in Almonte around a visit by our leader, Elizabeth May, late in October! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

With Friends Like These....

There is a group out there called the "Friends of Science" (FOS). They were formed for the sole purpose of denying the science behind climate change and the Kyoto protocol. On their website they state:

Friends of Science is a non-profit organization made up of active and retired engineers, earth scientists and other professionals, as well as many concerned Canadians, who believe the science behind the Kyoto Protocol is questionable. Friends of Science has assembled a scientific advisory board of esteemed climate scientists from around the world to offer a critical mass of current science on global climate and climate change to policy makers, and any interested parties.


For the real story behind these guys, DE SMOG BLOG has a running list of articles about FOS that is required reading for anyone running into climate change deniers. You can find it here: http://www.desmogblog.com/friends-of-science

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

So, I've finally made it onto the blog. Let it never be said that I'm a geek (maybe not very smart, either!).
Thanks to Ron for posting our pictures at the Eternal Flame. Hopefully it will become famous in the future as the Green Party becomes increasingly successful.
Now, a discussion challenge: The Green Party has a position of non-violence, and many members (including me) have stated support the troops - not the Afghanistan war. This is fine, but what do we stand for as a solution? Elizabeth May said at her meda scrum following her election as leader that Canada should step back into our traditional role of peacekeeping, and a U.N. force of peacekeepers from predominantly Muslim nations move into Afghanistan to replace the current participants so that any incidents cannot be mis-interpreted (or spun) as religious conflicts. I like the proposal, but is it realistic? Will Muslim nations step up into this sort of role? Would they still not need western financial and logistical support? Would that matter?

Jasper Video

There are some great videos of the Jasper leg of the whistle-stop tour.

You can see them here: http://www.elizabethmay.ca/blog/2006/09/04/jasper-leather-pass-chronicles-video-feeds-of-elizabeths-stop/

Friday, September 01, 2006

Youth Caucus

Learn about the new Youth Caucus of the Green Party of Canada here: http://www.greenparty.ca/page268.html

Eternal Victory

 
 
 

After the festivities ended at the GPC Convention on the night that Elizabeth May was elected leader, Colin, Murray, and I headed to parliment hill with some Elizabeth signs. Here we are in front of the eternal flame. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 31, 2006

It's Ron-a Time!

Let's Do A Little Waste Diversion
Okay, first time at this and only because Ron twisted my arm and insisted I save him from the infamy of being the only blogger of the bunch. A moment to share a weird little idea I tracked down after watching a webcast of the founder of Waste Diversion Canada. Said organization has come up with a peel and stick label you can use to send to our infamous Environment Minister Ron-a all your best packaging nightmares. You know that plastic vault that your electronic toothbrush came in that was the size of a computer? Yup. Slap a sticker on that baby and forward it on to Ron-a. You can download the peel and stick label template (it takes standard shipping labels size 4" x 3 1/3" that you can buy at Staples, a pack of 750 for just over $35). I also recommend you check out www.wastediversion.ca. With the Carp Dump the issue these days....lets do our bit to shake things up!

Meet Elizabeth May

Elizabeth will be travelling the country by train. Leaving from Vancouver on Friday September 1st and arriving in Ottawa on Tuesday September 5th.

See the press release here: http://www.greenparty.ca/page68.html.

Official Council Election Results

Official Green Party of Canada Federal Council election results have been posted.

http://www.greenparty.ca/page266.html

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

CPAC Coverage of GPC Convention

If you couldn't make the convention and missed it on CPAC you can now download the entire coverage using BitTorrent.

Here is the torrent: http://www.mininova.org/get/409981

Go to Devon's blog for more information.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Garth Turner on Elizabeth May

Garth Turner, Conservative MP, talks about Elizabeth May and the Green Party.

Garth, a small tip, the name is Elizabeth not "Liz". I also suggest you give her a call and talk about what you can do to help.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Appointment to the Ombuds Committee

One of the last things to happen at the convention was the appointment of the Ombuds Committee.

The members are now:

Paula Boutis
Kathleen de Witt (returning member)
Sara Golling (returning member)
David Kay
Ronald Servant

Chris Bradshaw left the committee, he will be missed.

You'll notice that one of the members is in fact me, Ronald Servant.  So I will now be restricting any of my commentary to local EDA matters on this or any other public forum with respect to the GPC.

Convention Day 4

Morning proceedings, a little dry.  Council election results should be coming up soon.

Elections results, I didn't catch them all, but here is what I got:

Alberta: Cameron Wigmore
BC: Ben West
Man Kate Story
NB: Erik Millet
Ont: Lori Gadzala


Members at Large:
Steve Kisby
Amelie Gingras
Angela Reid
Andrea Caulfield
Christopher Ian Bennet
Kate Holloway
Andrea Caufield
Doug Anderson
Becky Smit
Silvaine Zimmerman
Jean-Francois Pinel

Chair:
Melanie Ransom

I am disappointed that my friend and excellent canidate Colin Griffits did not win his race for Chief Agent.  I believe that his lack of an active on-line presence was the big weakness in his campaign.


Update: Here is the complete council list taken from http://www.greenparty.ca/


Party Chair
Melanie Ransom

Administration Chair
Andrea Caufield

Chief Agent
Kathryn Holloway

Communications Chair
Christopher Ian Bennet

Francophone Secretary
Amélie Gingras

Fundraising Chair
Angela Reid

International Secretary
Silvaine Zimmerman

Membership Chair
Steve Kisby

Organizing Chair
Doug Anderson

Party Secretary
Becky Smit

Treasurer
Jean Francois Pinel

Provincial /Territorial Reps

Alberta
Cameron Wigmore

British Columbia
Ben West

Manitoba
Kate Storey

New Brunswick
Erik Millett

Newfoundland and Labrador
Fiona Roe

Nova Scotia
Thomas Trappenberg

Nunavut
William Gawor

NWT
Alexa Pitoulis

Ontario
Lori Gadzala

Prince Edward Island
Jeremy Stiles

Quebec
Almaz Aladas

Saskatchewan
Amber Jones

Yukon
Gregory Heming

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Convention Day 3

We start the day with Frank de Jong taking over the chair duties.

Join Fair Vote Canada. Go here to join: http://www.fairvote.ca/. Help all Canadians get the representation they want. 

The GOTV session was a it of a bust, it was combined with election basics.  For us in Carleton-Mississippi Mills we have moved beyond this. We need more sessions like the Trippi conference.

Instead of the GOTV session I attended the new website demo.  I liked what I saw.  It could mean that this blog will be obsolete (or rather simply moved to another location). 

I'm back in the policy plenary now. Very interesting to see how policy actually gets passed.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Convention Day 2 - Opening Ceremonies

Adopting the rules of procedure: 174 ballots cast, 12 spoiled, rules of proceadures 156 - 6 adopted.

Threshold for Bonser Ballot results 1st round 2/3 received fewest dropped, 2nd round 60% option adopted.  60% threshold on votes adopted for this convention.

Discussion ensues re: 75% threshold required for amending the constitution. The main reason of concern appears to be surprise motions to amend the constitution be passed with only 60% of the vote.  This can't happen under either constitution.  Anything affecting the constitution (new or old) needs to be ratified by the membership.

226 bonser ballots submitted. 42 resolution received 60% green support. 0 resolution received 60% red. Therefore 85 resolutions move into the workshops.  ugh... I can't believe that not a single motion got received enough red votes to get tossed... I'm highly disappointed.

Constitutional mail in vote results.. drummmmmmm roooolllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll..............  please !  Oh wait, ombuds commitee report... coming out by e-mail!  should be out there already. Tallied August 24th, 2502, 20 spoiled, 2482 valid balots 2080 yes, 402 no. 83% yes. Revised constitution comes into effect at the close of this convention.

I spent most of the rest of the day in the Constitution resolutions workshop. In there I met Steve Kisby and Paula Boutis, among others. Steve and Paula are both very intelligent, well thought out, and well meaning people.  Both would be great additions to council.

I was on TV!  The evening roled around and the speeches began. I thought Elizabeth was passionate, David showed his family and community roots, and Jim auditioned for Second City.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Constitutional Reversal

I had a chance tonight to meet and talk with Bill Hulet.  He's really great articulate guy. He talked about the proposed new constitution and the process that it went through.  I also re-read it earlier today.

I have to say that I have changed my mind about it.  If I could I would vote to support it.  It takes the party in the right direction.  There are important things in that constitution (like delegate proxies) that need to be brought into the party.

Bill, I'm sorry I didn't vote to support the new constitution.

Opening The Convention

It is 7:30 PM and we're live on CPAC! We're on TV! 

The opening night is billed as a Tribute to Jim Harris.  We are getting a list of speakers.  Frank de Jong opened the night up and is the master of ceremonies.

Adrianne Carr on Jim:  "The best bloody fundraiser I've met in my life."

Steve Kisby was next, he looks a little stiff standing up there, reading his speech. I wonder if he's even read this thing before? This thing just keeps going on...   Steve on Jim: "He had this crazy idea to run 308 candidates."

David Chernushenko on Jim: "le grand fromage", "the ultimate opportunist", "he who cannot be denied".

Derek Pinto and David Kay.  Derek on Jim: "I've got Jim's blackberry right here."

Chris Walker: "I was a serious goof off."

Kim Warnke ran against Stephen Harper: "I got yelled at by strangers." "After you killed yourself for Jim, he presents you with a pin."

Jim Fannon "Are you freakin' crazy?"

Glen Hodgson "The hair probably couldn't of happened anyway." "He even impressed my mother."

Kevin Colton "...the second pin...at some point he must of run out pins, 'cause yesterday I saw him give out an umbrella."

Elizabeth May "I had a pin moment with Jim."

Jim then followed up with a great speech. I hope someone has some you tube action for this.  Let me know.

I Support Elizabeth May

I thought I'd come out of the closet and make it clear that I have voted for Elizabeth May for leadership of the Green Party of Canada. 

Why?  I believe Elizabeth is the right person at the right time. She has energy, is dynamic, has a command of the issues, is bilingual, has the backroom connections, and knows all the right people.  She has the right vision for the future of the party.  She is perfect for the job.

Trippi Day 2

The day was started with presentations from Adrianne Carr leader of he Green Party of BC, and Mark MacGillivary (candidate: Calgary Centre-North).

Adrianne spoke on getting into the leaders debate.  The key points, have a complete, printed platform. Know the content of that platform and be able to answer any questions about the platform in a short succinct way.  Screen your candidates, they may be called upon to be the media face of the party and the only face of the party.  Educate your candidates, ensure they know the platform as well as the leader and can answer any question on that platform.

Mark spoke on outreach.  He counseled us to consider basic human emotions when we are trying to get in touch with people.

This was followed by a questions and answer session for Adrianne and Mark.

The attention switched, the man, Joe Trippi.  We lined up and asked a series of questions, Joe listened and wrote them down and then went into a speech/presentation answering all the questions.

After a short break during Joe's speech, Jim came back and informed us that the greenparty.ca site will ask every Canadian who he should vote for in the leadership race.  He will be announcing this on live TV coverage that will kick off the convention tonight.  So go help Jim and vote here.

"We did it all in the open."  I think this is a key message from Joe.  I think it is how we should operate as a party and as a government.

Joe Trippi stepped out for an interview with CanWest Global.  If anybody finds sees the interview send me a link.

George, the national campaign manager, had a great presentation looking for leaders in this room to step up.

Ughhh... I'm going to pass out... bring on the lunch!... There is a fundrasing guy talking now... I have no idea what his name is... I've completely tuned out... this information looks interesting, but at this point I can only think about lunch.... mmmm lunch... bring on the lunch!

Please... stop... asking... questions!.... lunch, lunch, lunch, lunch!!!

Finally!!! Lunch!.. ok Lunch over, I feel better now. Focus and understanding has returned.

Film recommendations: End of Suburbia by Greg Green a member of the Green Party.

"central vs. de-central pisses me off", Jim Harris.  I totally agree with Jim on this point.  We all need to start co-operating, working together.  This need to change on both sides of the fence, but that can and will happen and you can help.  Be positive, keep communication lines open.  Wait an hour before hitting send.

Trippi Day 1 - postscripts

I didn't have my notes when I posted the last update.  So I thought I'd add a little more detail.

Joe's plane has been delayed an hour due some weather problems.  So the agenda for day 1 was shaken up a bit.  Joe did eventually arrive safely and he was well worth the wait.

A demonstration of an analysis product that we could use in the Green Party was presented.  It took data that we had gathered about our identified base of support.  The tool puts people into 'value groups', I won't go into the detail, because honestly I don't have it all.  Our number 1 value group, however, was identified as "Rejection of Authority".  Makes it kind of tough to organize a political party through the national office when your most numerous supporters are those that reject that very authority. :)

Joe's key message build a community. Build a community not a money grab. When you do ask for money make it for a cause.

It is simple, yet so powerful.  It allowed the Dean campaign to raise sum like $7 million in one week. Once the community is established, it will respond when approached properly.  It will spontaneously organize to solve problems not just raise funds.

In the afternoon Chris Coggan talked about his use of an auto dialer in his provincial by-election. He was able to reach 12,000 people.  The cost was less than  $0.005 per call.  Someone from the floor proposed a possible way to phrase the lead of the message: "This is a paperless flyer from the green party."

I sat down with a small group in a breakout session with Pierre Denis, the director of the GPC head office web team.  He spoke about the new web products that are being released for use over the next couple of months.  There will be a demo at the convention which I am looking forward to it.  I'll report more when I try the demo out.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Trippi Day 1 Report

Joe Trippi is a fantastic speaker. I could easily sit in a room all day and listen to him related all the very entertaining stories from his years campaigning... oh wait I already did that!

I met quite a few greens today that I had only read about or read online. Almost too many to mention.

The highlight for me was at one of the after parties were I joked about tossing someone in the pool on that cool, chilly night and someone else does my dirty work.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Trippi'ng

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The Green Party of Canada 2006 Convention starts tomorrow evening, but before that there is an event organized by Jim Harris that I will be attending. Jim has brought in Joe Trippi as a headliner for a two day fundraising and strategy workshop. All sorts of interesting Greens should be there and I'm looking forward to meeting them and sharing my ideas, and mostly learning what they've got to teach!

If you happen to find me during the convention say hi and have your picture taken with me and I'll post it up here. That's me in the picture :).

Watch this space for regular updates on the workshops and the convention floor.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Constitution Ballot

As I was looking for news of the National Convention on the GPC Web site, I was reminded that the vote on the proposed Revised Constitution and Bylaws is being conducted by mail-in ballot only. So if you are planning to participate in the vote, your ballot must be received by August 24. GPC recommends mailing your ballot by August 4. Make your vote count - make your (green) mark!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Welcome all! Some of us cant sleep in, even on Saturday mornings...

1. Great idea, Ron.

2. Concerned about the US site storage of our posts. My understanding is that the US Patriot Act will apply to whatever Google captures and therefore anything we say may be viewed by the US secret service agencies etc.

3. Prior to the Convention, there is another big event: the Elizabeth May campaign closing BBQ on the 23rd August, 6:30 pm at 3447 Carling Avenue, and 1820's vintage stone house. $20 minimum.

4. Dont forget to vote (and vote for the right people! (dig, dig, nudge, nudge, wink wink!) If you have not sent your ballot in, dont worry! Even if you mail in this week, it will surely arrive before the real deadline of August 24th. And if you are not confident of Canada Post, then find someone like me going to the convention you can trust to deliver the ballot in person.

5. The ballot was confusing for me and others when it referred to "clear stickers" with which to seal each ballot. There are no clear stickers included in the booklet! There are white stickers, found if you look very very carefully and in a strong light on the card in the middle of the booklet. If you did not seal your ballot, dont worry: the IEFC (Internal Elections Fairness Committee) will be looking at whether failure to do so will invalidate the ballot, and I expect them to rule in favour of accepting them.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Welcome

Welcome to the Carleton--Mississippi Mills Federal Green Party Association (CMMGreens) Blog!

Here members of the Green Party in the electoral district of Carleton--Mississippi Mills will post their thoughts and comments on issues of interest.

Our next big event is the Green Party of Canada's National Convention on August 24-27, 2006 being held at the Ottawa Congress Centre.