Posts filed under ‘Carbon_Emissions’

We’re Teaching Kids the Wrong Ways to Fight Climate Change

Illustration courtesy of Seth Wynes and Kimberly Nicholas, 2017, Environmental Research Letters

When Seth Wynes was teaching high school science in Canada, there was one question his students asked him that he had trouble answering: What can I do to stop climate change? The existence of climate change was an unpleasant surprise for many of them—they had grown up hearing adults talk about things like peak oil in doom-laden tones, so the news that humans would trash the atmosphere before they even reached peak oil filled them with alarm. They wanted to do something.

Then Wynes began comparing their resesarch to climate-related documents aimed at teenagers and adults in the three most high-emitting countries on the list: Canada, Australia, and the United States. He wanted to know—were the actions on his list the same as the actions these documents recommended?

They were not, as Wynes and Nicholas reveal in a paper that was published this week in the journal Environmental Research Letters. The most high-impact actions on his list, like living without a car, avoiding transatlantic flights, and eating a plant-based diet were often ignored entirely in educational climate change materials, which favored less-effective actions like recycling and using more energy-efficient lightbulbs.

Read the full article We’re Teaching Kids the Wrong Ways to Fight Climate Change by Heather Smith at Sierra Club.

August 9, 2017 at 10:37 am Leave a comment

Central Canada pounded by ‘severe hardships’ as flooding continues

 A new report shows high water levels and floods are still pounding Central Canada and causing “severe hardships” to residents and business owners, almost three months after a joint Canada-United States body warned of “major coastal flooding.”

Water is rushing into Lake Ontario at “close to record-high values for this time of year,” the board has said, complicating an effort it began in June to drain the lake at “unprecedented” rates.

The extended period of high water is in line with warnings from both politicians and Canadian scientists, who have anticipated that climate change will increase the “frequency and severity of extreme weather events” such as floods, heat waves and droughts.

Read the full article Central Canada pounded by ‘severe hardships’ as flooding continues by Carl Meyer at the National Observer.

August 7, 2017 at 10:50 am Leave a comment

The best way to reduce your personal carbon emissions: don’t be rich

carbon inequality

One of the perennial debates around global warming has to do with the role of individual choices. What responsibilities do individuals have to fight climate change? Are people who advocate for political action on climate change hypocrites if they drive to work, fly to climate conferences, or have three children?

Discussing the role of individual choices in climate change without discussing income inequality is a mug’s game. It smears the responsibility evenly over everyone, when the responsibility ought to be concentrated where the emissions are concentrated: among the wealthy. And the only way to get at the individual consumptive choices of the wealthy, in any meaningful way, is through policy.

So if you’re rich, quit flying so much. But if you’re not, the best thing you can do to reduce carbon emissions is to get involved in politics and policymaking. That’s the only frame for climate mitigation that makes sense.

Read the full article: The best way to reduce your personal carbon emissions: don’t be rich by Dave Roberts at Vox.

July 17, 2017 at 10:51 am Leave a comment

Canada’s tree-mendous discovery: Forests limit harmful ozone gas

Darker environments like forests make less ozone gas, as the inorganic molecule is produced from a chemical reaction activated by ultraviolet light from sunshine. There is also less wind in forests because trees reduce turbulence, so there is a smaller chance of ozone gas getting whipped up from fresh air.

What that meant is that deforestation just took on a whole new importance.

Not only do forests suck carbon dioxide from the air, helping to counteract the greenhouse effect that is furthering dangerous and destructive climate change, they also help lower smog and make healthier air to breathe by lessening ozone, a key air pollutant.

Read the full article  Canada’s tree-mendous discovery: Forests limit harmful ozone gas by Karl Meyer at the National Observer.

 

June 28, 2017 at 10:37 am Leave a comment

Energy East pipeline review may look at broader climate impacts

Image result for sunset lake ontario

The National Energy Board’s review of TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline has had more than a few hiccups along the way. Take, for example, the revelation of secret closed-door industry meetings and the allegations of bias that led to the entire National Energy Board’s panel reviewing the project stepping down last September. In January, the newly appointed panel voided all prior decisions, sending the process back to square one and appointing a new panel.

With that black mark behind it, the board recently announced it would be taking public input on the issues it should consider as part of its review. It’s especially interested in hearing about the issue of the pipeline’s broader environmental effects, including greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Read Energy East pipeline review may look at broader climate impacts by Charles Hatt and Dyna Tuytel at Ecojustice.

June 21, 2017 at 9:48 am Leave a comment

Ontario earmarks $200M from cap and trade to make schools greener

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Education Minister Mitzie Hunter announced on Tuesday that $200 million from the province’s cap and trade program will go towards making schools in the province more energy efficient.

The amount is part of the $1.4 billion that has been earmarked in the 2017-18 fiscal year for school renewal and repairs, Wynne and Hunter said at a news conference at a northwest Toronto school.

Wynne said the money from what is known as the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) will enable schools to install such energy-efficient features as new windows, lights and furnaces. Funded by Ontario’s cap and trade auctions, the GGRF supports retrofit projects designed to reduce energy use in schools.

Read Ontario earmarks $200M from cap and trade to make schools greener by Muriel Draaisma at CBC News.

June 19, 2017 at 10:33 am Leave a comment

Combating textile waste

clothingwasteOne of the biggest misconceptions that consumers have is that we should only donate clothes that are gently used. Ninety per cent of all people in Ontario donate at least some of their clothes, but whenever we have a pile of unwanted clothing we sort it based on what we imagine to be valuable and donate only the “good” stuff. The rest goes into the waste bin. Fifteen per cent of all unwanted garments are collected while the vast majority, 85 per cent, ends up in our landfills, taking up valuable space, releasing methane and toxic leachate and contributing to climate change.

While every municipality with populations over 5,000 must operate a blue box recycling program, textiles are on the supplementary list. Yet used clothes are often more valuable than many of the other item categories collected by municipalities. So why are textiles forgotten on our municipal waste diversion list? The good news is that all textiles can be reused or recycled in some way, with pioneering R&D efforts underway to ensure this happens.

Read Combating textile waste by Sabine Weber at Corporate Knights.

May 31, 2017 at 10:48 am Leave a comment

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