• December 8, 2012

If not us, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?
Naderev Saño, lead negotiator for the Philippines at the UN climate summit in Doha, Qatar

These questions were asked on the floor of the Qatar National Convention Centre, but could well be part of a dialogue held by millions of people around the world every day, with themselves. Faced with stark facts, devastating images (as in last week’s post), escalating damage and the inability of the world’s government to cope...  what do we individuals have to do with it?

This great...

• December 3, 2012

Are we finally hitting a tipping point on climate change? The optimist would say “yes.” But seated at the table of the current international negotiations in Doha, the UN’s Climate Chief, Christiana Figueres, is not sounding so optimistic. She says individuals need to take on more responsibility for tackling climate change, and that she doesn’t see "much public interest, support, for governments to take on more ambitious and more courageous decisions." Which may be true, but seems like an excuse in-...

• November 23, 2012

Today is Black Friday, and it is also Buy Nothing Day. Created by Kalle Lasn, for some of us, Buy Nothing Day is the only sane response to the frenzied celebration of mass consumerism that is known to most Americans as Black Friday. Or is it simply a way for middle class people “who have had the privilege of consumption their whole lives” to appease their guilt?

The above response to Buy Nothing Day proves that the best intentions - to show the “dark side of corporate greed,” to challenge the entrenched values of corporate capitalism, etc. - can serve to alienate, as opposed to cultivating solidarity of any kind. The necessary conversations about labour rights, resources,...

• November 15, 2012

The Yale Project on Climate Change Communications' fourth report from the national survey Climate Change in the American Mind shows that the American public is largely supportive of government action on climate change.

While a large majority (88%) believe that the reduction of global warming should happen despite economic costs, a majority of Americans also believe it is up to industry, individuals and government to take action.


•   Six in ten Americans (61%) say the U.S. should reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions regardless of what other countries do.

•   Majorities also support funding more research into renewable energy sources (73%), providing tax rebates for people who purchase energy-efficient...

• November 13, 2012

Winning an election is one thing, getting things done in the face of a determined and powerful opposition is something else entirely. Following last week’s US, Jonathan Haidt chimed in with the pundits bemoaning a divided nation, saying the country has gone beyond partisanship into hyperpartisanship. This state is one in which “our leaders can’t even occasionally place national interest before party interest.”

Haidt, the author of The Righteous Mind, suggests that “common threats rather than common ground” can bring people...

• November 6, 2012

When, the story of the massive geo-engineering project off the coast of Haida Gwaii broke a few weeks ago, it became clear that the mainstream media is well past the need to offer a “balanced” view on the subject of climate science. The generally held view was that climate change is happening, but the acceptance was mundane. Climate change, they seemed to say, is an unfortunate reality but in this instance simply a problem belonging to people in a remote corner of the world as opposed to say, humanity.

Is this acknowledgement, tepid as it may be, a sign of progress in the conversation on climate science?


• October 15, 2012

Dialogue, as opposed to debate or confrontation, requires people with opposing opinions find some kind of common ground. This challenge, however, is all too often neglected in favour of a good old-fashioned power-struggle. Usually, this ends well for the party with a greater amount of power (and usually, money). Such is the case with the conflict over Snowbowl, Arizona, a ski hill that has been the subject of conflict and protest since the 1970s, and in its most recent resolution - gives new meaning to the term, “being shit on.”

What is known by a great many people (especially skiers) today as Snowbowl, was named Humphrey’s Peak after...

• October 6, 2012

If the majority opinion on Wednesday night's presidential debate picked the next political leader of the United States, then Mitt Romney would be working on his inauguration speech. The polls said it, and a majority of the mainstream media agreed: Romney was the clear winner in his verbal sparring match with President Barack Obama. As the Daily Show's Jon Stewart noted, Romney won, "even though Romney was lying his [butt] off the entire night."

• September 27, 2012

I’m far from perfect. I make mistakes. But I’m not a serial plagiarist. What I often am is a target for people who don’t like what I write. - Globe and Mail Columnist Margaret Wente

As the Globe & Mail’s “plagarism scandal” develops, it seems columnist Margaret Wente’s plea of guilt to the lesser sin of carelessness seems to be gaining support and traction. Writer Dan Delmar, for example, described her in the National Post as an “unintentional plagarist,” a common sort...

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