Blogs

• April 21, 2012

According to a recent report by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communications, Americans have not failed to take notice of the heat waves, high winds, droughts and downpours of the past year.

The report Extreme Weather, Climate & Preparedness in the American Mind surveyed 1,008 adults. A majority said they witnessed an extreme weather event or natural disaster in the past year, and a majority said they believed bad weather was made worse by global warming.

The survey also shows that despite their direct experiences and beliefs, only a minority of people are willing to prepare for future emergencies

The full report can be downloaded...

• April 11, 2012

In a follow-up to the 2011 Stonehouse Standing Circle meeting, we’ll be posting a series of interviews with delegates on their work and thoughts on the central question of the gathering: how to get climate change back on Canada’s public policy and political agenda.

Delegate Sallie McFague is a professor of theology and currently the Theologian in Residence at the Vancouver School of Theology. Sallie’s work in recent years has focused on the relationship between religion and the environment.

    1.  Can you  tell me a little about your background, and what brought you to your current field of interest: theology and climate change?

I was born in Boston, studied literature at Smith...

Jim Hoggan • March 19, 2012

This New York Times op-ed from moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt brilliantly unpacks the political narratives embedded in recent rhetoric from both Democrats and Republicans. Haidt warns that demonizing opponents stirs up tribal reactions that can stand in the way of real solutions.

Haidt's new book, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, is now available in stores.

Ashley Arden • March 19, 2012

In a spirit of open collaboration, IDEO created their Patterns series to capture and share some of the common insights and exceptional success stories they see bubbling up across projects and out in the world. By tapping into collective intelligence, they have created a platform for "elevating insights to the level of cultural impact."

We've curated a couple of pieces that really got our creative juices flowing.

The first piece, Beyond Corporate Social Responsibility, takes a look at how CSR is evolving from 'bolt-on' to 'built-in' social responsibility by transforming businesses' relationships with the public....

Ashley Arden • March 14, 2012

In a recent lament on the sorry state of party politics, Monbiot offers a scathing portrait of liberals, arguing that "today's progressives stand back and watch, hands over their mouths, as the social vivisectionists of the right slice up a living society to see if its component parts can survive in isolation." 

This, he points out, even in the face of recent research published in the Journal of Psychological Science demonstrating "that cognitive ability plays a substantial role not only in predicting prejudice, but also in predicting its potential precursors: right-wing ideologies and...

Ashley Arden • March 6, 2012

Political polarization poses a massive obstacle to collective action towards a sustainable and just society. Knowing this raises some heady questions: How do we scale up forums for constructive public conversations about contentious issues? How do we create a culture of civil discourse? And then how do we translate this into sustained action?

Banter It, a new online engagement platform being launched this spring, is attempting to turn political conversations into non-partisan action and solutions. Their hope is to provide a place "where true political solutions can be spun from the chatter of disagreement" and allowing the public to become a part of creating "practical and powerful solutions that show we can make...

Margery Moore • February 20, 2012

In a recent interview with The Hill Times, vice-president of engagement at Canada’s Public Policy Forum in Ottawa and author of Rescuing Policy: The Case For Public Engagement, Don Lenihan discusses the growing complexity of public policy issues and need for governments to respond with greater citizen engagement. 

Lenihan argues that public engagement "doesn’t need to be big, sprawling and messy.” Rather, it can and should be used more effectively: "The government’s decision-making process is still stuck back in a simpler time when it could make decisions without much input from stakeholders...

Margery Moore • February 9, 2012

Environmental groups in Canada may be cash-poor, but they are people-rich. And that means 'voters'.

On the heals for the 2011 Stonehouse Standing Circle meeting in December where we addressed the question "How do we get climate back on the public policy agenda?", comes this very insightful paper by Matt Price. Matt's paper "Revenge of the Beaver" speaks to just that question as well as the challenges environmental groups face with being effective.

He says "...we face the opportunity of a growing chafing against authority by those who are fed up with elected officials and businesses....", now is a golden opportunity to act differently. He speaks of how we need to make decision-makers understand by developing relationships with...

Margery Moore • February 7, 2012

In this empirical study, authors Robert J. Brulle, Jason Carmichael and J. Craig Jenkins, examine the factors effecting public concern for climate change; 1) extreme weather, 2) access to scientific data/information, 3) media coverage, 4) elite cues and 5) movement/countermovement advocacy.

The results "show a dynamic in which media coverage of climate change and elite ...

Margery Moore • January 18, 2012

The Breakthrough Institute's, Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, recently revised their 2004 essay "Death of Environmentalism" with the more uplifting "The Long Death of Environmentalism". I do not necessarily agree with their essay, but the authors raise some uncomfortable issues that need to be discussed.

 

Here is an excerpt:

If in 2004 we argued that environmentalism needed to die, today it's clear that it did. What killed it was neither our essay, nor fossil-funded skeptics, nor this or that tactical failing by green leaders or Democratic politicians. Rather, environmentalism died of old age. The world in which we live, economically...

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