Kids & Climate Change: The Legal Route

From iMatter via Vimeo:

In an unprecedented legal filing, seven iMatter youth who sued the US government earlier this year, filed a “Preliminary Injunction” requiring the EPA to take immediate action to protect our nation’s youth who are in imminent danger because of climate change. 
They are calling upon the Courts to to compel the U.S. government to put in place “Climate Recovery Plans” that will protect the atmosphere for their future. This video was submitted to the courts to tell the story of one of the plaintiffs, 17 year old Alec Loorz, who introduces himself and his fears about the effect climate change will have on his future.

More here and here.

Infographic | Climate Change and Fossil Fuels: What Do You Think is More Likely? 
(Source: I Heart Climate Scientists)
* I’ve got one quibble with the infographic. It’s actually 97% of climate scientists, not 90%, that agree that human activity (i.e. burning fossil fuels, deforestation) is driving global climate change. 

Infographic | Climate Change and Fossil Fuels: What Do You Think is More Likely? 

(Source: I Heart Climate Scientists)

* I’ve got one quibble with the infographic. It’s actually 97% of climate scientists, not 90%, that agree that human activity (i.e. burning fossil fuels, deforestation) is driving global climate change. 

Bill McKibben: ‘Notes on the Climate Fight’ 

From The Terry Global Speaker Series @ UBC:

Though many have come to accept the scientific consensus around climate change, political realities still stifle the hope of real climate action. To help address this political impasse, Bill McKibben will share his invaluable experience mobilizing global grassroots activism. He will share stories from the front lines of the climate fight – from every corner of planet, including our own backyard. Of particular interest to Canadian university students, he will address the Keystone XL pipeline and Alberta Tar Sands development. Some stories are hopeful, some are not, but one thing is certain: we finally have a movement, and Bill would like you to be a part of it.

You can read about his UBC talk and visit to Vancouver here.

From the Globe & Mail:

The richest of the rich have gained more ground in Canada, and are now making 189 times the average Canadian wage, according to a new report.

The 100 highest paid chief executives whose companies are listed on the S&P/TSX composite index made an average of $8.38-million in 2010, according to figures pulled from circulars by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a left-leaning think-tank.

That’s 189 times higher than the $44,366 an average Canadian made working full time in 2010, the report says.

And it’s a 27 per cent raise from the $6.6-million average compensation for the top 100 CEOs in 2009, the report says.

Regular Canadians, on the other hand, have seen their wages stagnate over the past few years. In 2010, after adjusting for inflation, average wages actually fell.

“The gap between Canada’s CEO elite 100 and the rest of us is growing at a fast and steady pace, with no signs of letting up,” says economist Hugh Mackenzie, who authored the report.

“The extraordinarily high pay of chief executive officers is more than a curiosity. It actually is a reflection of a troubling redistribution of society’s resources in Canada and the United States, and in most of Western Europe,” he said in an interview.

He points out that in 1998, the top 100 CEOs were paid 105 times the average wage. Since then, the ratio has generally climbed up.

Check out the rest of the article here.

Sustainability on Film: ‘Surviving Progress’

From the National Film Board of Canada:

Surviving Progress is a stunning new feature documentary that connects the financial collapse, growing inequity, and the Wall Street oligarchy, with future technology, sustainability, and the fate of civilization. Inspired by Ronald Wright’s bestseller A Short History of Progress, filmmakers Mathieu Roy and Harold Crooks dig deep into human nature and patterns of history to challenge and redefine the very idea of progress.

The tragedy of our present civilization is that it became dependent on marginal energy sources. The marginal energy sources are fossil sources, fossil resources and nuclear, based on the raw material uranium. The gigantic energy potential is the renewable energy potential always all coming from the sun, including its derivates, like wind and the photosynthetic-produced—photosynthetically produced materials, organic materials, plants, hydro-base. And the sun offers to our globe, in eight minutes, as much energy as the annual consumption of fossil and atomic energy is. That means to doubt—the doubtings if there would be enough renewable energy for the replacement of nuclear and fossil energies, this argument is ridiculous. There is by far enough.

It is a fight. This is a structural fight. It is a fight between centralization and decentralization, between energy dictatorship and energy participation in the energy democracy. And because nothing works without energy, it’s a fight between democratic value and technocratical values. And therefore, the mobilization of the society is the most important thing. And as soon as the society, most people, have recognized that the alternative are renewable energies and we must not wait for others, we can do it by our own, in our own sphere, together in cooperatives or in the cities or individually. As soon as they recognize this, they will become supporters. Other—this is the reason why we have now a 90 percent support against all the disinformation campaigns. They have much more money and possibilities to influence the public opinion, but they lost this. They lost this conflict. In the eyes of the people, they lost the conflict. They are the losers already.

Hermann Scheer (1944-2010), economist, politician, solar advocate and champion of Germany’s groundbreaking Renewable Energy Act, in one of his final interviews. You can read the rest of the interview over at Energy Bulletin.

(Image: The world’s first commercial solar tower in Sanlúcar La Mayor, Spain. Source: Walrus Magazine)

We have an economy that tells us that it is cheaper to destroy earth in real time rather than renew, restore, and sustain it. You can print money to bail out a bank but you can’t print life to bail out a planet. At present we are stealing the future, selling it in the present, and calling it gross domestic product. We can just as easily have an economy that is based on healing the future instead of stealing it. We can either create assets for the future or take the assets of the future. One is called restoration and the other exploitation. And whenever we exploit the earth we exploit people and cause untold suffering. Working for the earth is not a way to get rich, it is a way to be rich.

~ Author Paul Hawken (e.g. The Ecology of Commerce, Blessed Unrest) in his commencement talk to the University of Portland’s Class of 2009

(Image credit: Cradle to Cradle Portal)