05. January 2015 · Comments Off on Grass-roots activism: Changing the Course of History · Categories: Activism, Experimental Lakes, Fouling the Earth, Pipelines-Tarsands, Scott Harris

Is democracy still alive? Can ordinary citizens still make their voices heard? A look at initiatives in recent decades here in Northwestern Ontario strongly suggests that the answer is yes.

In 1980, when Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., proposed a high-level nuclear waste storage facility in Atikokan, Environment North and other citizen organizations studied the proposal and believed that not enough was known about the safe transport and storage of the waste to justify the risk it posed.

A petition that called for public hearings had 24,000 signatories. Test-drilling was halted and the hearings were eventually held in the 1990s. More »

29. September 2014 · Comments Off on What’s the use? Why I marched, and what’s next in the fight against climate changers · Categories: Activism, Climate Crisis, Jason MacLean

Lately I’ve been asked a lot about why I decided to march with over 300,000 people in New York City as part of the People’s Climate March that coincided with the UN’s Climate Change Summit.

“Do you really think it’s going to change anything?”

“China’s not going. India’s not going. So what’s the point of a climate change summit if two of the world’s largest carbon emitters are sitting it out?” More »

29. September 2014 · Comments Off on Walking With Our Sisters a moving experience · Categories: Activism, Peter Lang, Social Justice

Thursday was my birthday. To celebrate, my wife took me to the Thunder Bay Art Gallery to see the exhibit, Walking With Our Sisters. And, while I knew that it was commemorative in honour of murdered and missing First Nations women, I had no idea that the exhibit would affect me so deeply.

Upon entering, visitors are met and introduced to the significance of what they will see, and then ‘smudged’ by an Elder who blesses you and sets you on your way. More »

14. May 2014 · Comments Off on Now the enemy is us · Categories: Activism, Climate Crisis, Ed Shields

On Friday, there was a National Day of Honour and the opening of the Afghanistan casualty memorial in the beautiful setting of Waverley Park. This was a moving day for me since my oldest son is a major in the Royal 22nd Regiment (“Van Doos”) and served two tours in Afghanistan.

Our soldiers’ struggle was to fight al-Qaida and the Taliban, and to establish some freedom for especially the children and women of Afghanistan. But what about our kids here? More »

05. May 2014 · Comments Off on ELA still struggling · Categories: Activism, Experimental Lakes, Tom Cook

I am writing in response to Barry Beaupre’s letter of April 26 (Will of People Saved ELA).

We are very grateful to note that Mr. Beaupre credited the local Chapter of the Council of Canadians as one of the citizen movements that helped save the Experimental Lakes Area. More »

03. May 2014 · Comments Off on Action Without Perfection · Categories: Activism, Paul Berger

After any online story about the environment, Internet trolls love to suggest that environmentalists are hypocrites – that you can’t, for example, be against new oil pipelines if you drive a car. While the trolls almost certainly failed their logic class in high school, I think a lot of people intuitively feel that way – that you can’t push for change if you’re not ‘perfect.’ This slows the change we so desperately need. More »

04. November 2013 · Comments Off on Combating the ‘anthropocebo’ effect · Categories: Activism, Climate Policy, Fouling the Earth, Jason MacLean

Shocking news from Alberta: the Wildrose opposition party has announced that it now believes in climate change, and humans’ influence on it. What’s next? Official recognition that the Earth is round and orbits the Sun?

But you have to hand it to Wildrose party leader Danielle Smith. In response to Alberta Environment Minister Diana McQueen’s quip that Ms. Smith would never be taken seriously on the global stage if she didn’t acknowledge climate change, Ms. Smith retorted “I don’t accept a lecture from a do-nothing environment minister like Diana McQueen.” More »

26. August 2013 · Comments Off on Proroguing participation in environmental decision-making · Categories: Activism, Democracy Undermined, Jason MacLean, Pipelines-Tarsands

As our prime minister prorogues Parliament (again), environmental advocates are suing the federal government over new rules restricting public participation in hearings conducted by the National Energy Board (NEB) on major energy projects, including Enbridge’s proposed reversal of its Line 9B pipeline.

Some background: In 2008 the government passed the Federal Sustainable Development Act. The unobjectionable purpose of this legislation is to make environmental decision-making more transparent and accountable. In passing the act, the government acknowledged the “need to integrate environmental, economic and social factors in the making of all decisions by government.” More »

01. February 2013 · Comments Off on Ecocidal behaviour · Categories: Activism, Scott Harris, Social Justice

Thank you to the aboriginal community, especially the young leaders of the local Idle No More movement who spoke so eloquently at the City Hall rally Monday. At the moment, you seem to be our best hope for slowing the Harper agenda.

As spokesperson Joyce Hunter and many others have documented, Prime Minister Harper is hell-bent on being the leader of a fossil-fuel superpower, and doesn’t care what it takes to realize such a misguided dream. More »

23. December 2012 · Comments Off on We’re all Treaty People · Categories: Activism, Peter Lang, Social Justice

Two eagles circled in a cold, sunny, winter-solstice sky, high above the Idle No More rally at Spirit Garden, Thunder Bay. This is true. At the same time a young Aboriginal speaker was telling us that, “We’re all treaty people”. I had never considered it. Yet, if you reason that the treaties were signed between aboriginal and non-aboriginal peoples – indeed, we are all treaty people. Accordingly, should we not accept that together we’re all responsible to maintain the spirit and intent of the treaties? More »

22. December 2012 · Comments Off on Work past politicians. Get involved in climate · Categories: Activism, Barry Beaupre, Climate Crisis

I am a loyal reader of Gwynne Dyer’s column, World View, published regularly by The Chronicle-Journal. I was particularly struck by the disheartening conclusion to his article of Dec. 11, entitled Climate Talks: Coasting Towards Disaster.

I don’t dispute his history chronicling the sad tale of failed effort after failed effort to arrive at an honourable and committed global consensus on dealing with the urgent need to meet the challenge of Climate Change before it is too late.

But, I do take issue with Dyer’s conclusion that it appears all is lost More »