Posts filed under ‘Climate’

Sustainable Activism: Managing Hope and Despair in Social Movements

activismSustainable activism has what (Antonio) Gramsci called a ‘pessimism of the intellect’ which can avoid wishful thinking and face reality as squarely as possible. However it also retains an ‘optimism of the will’, an inner conviction that things can be different. By holding optimism and pessimism in tension, sustainable activism is better able to handle despair, and it has less need to resort to binary thinking as a way of engaging with reality. It can hold contradictions so that they don’t become either/or polarities and can work both in and against the system

… sustainable activism holds that it is never too late. In the context of climate change it is able to face the truth that some irreversible processes of change are already occurring; that the two degrees limit in the increase in global temperatures agreed at the 2015 Paris climate conference may not be achieved; that bad outcomes are inevitable, and that some are already happening. Nevertheless it also insists that this makes our struggles all the more vital to reduce the scale and significance of these future outcomes, to fight for the ‘least-worst’ results we can achieve, and to ensure that the world of our grandchildren and their children is as habitable as possible.

Read Sustainable Activism: Managing Hope and Despair in Social Movements by Paul Hoggett, Rosemary Randall at OpenDemocracy.

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December 19, 2016 at 11:57 am Leave a comment

Why Electrification Matters Now

ElectrificationToday, we’re seeing a combination of government action and market forces that could help push clean energy out of the background and onto centre stage. This blog digs into some of those trends.

The basic recipe goes like this: cut energy waste as much as possible, and clean up your electricity supply so that it’s as low carbon as possible. Then use that clean electricity as your source of energy for activities that we largely power with fossil fuels today.

Instead of fuelling cars with gasoline, power them with clean electricity. Build super-efficient homes, and then use electric pumps to heat and cool them. Design cutting-edge industrial processes that run on renewable power.

Right now, officials from governments across Canada are hard at work compiling policy choices for a national climate plan. (In the weeks ahead, officials will give their lists of options to ministers, and the political deal-making will begin in earnest ahead of a First Ministers’ Meeting later this fall.) The analysis that’s underway includes buildings, transportation, and heavy industry—all sectors where electrification is an important part of the solution. They’re also assessing options in the electricity sector itself, where we’ll need to see more clean power come online as electrification creates new demand.

Read Why Electrification Matters Now by Clare Demerse at Clean Energy Canada.

November 21, 2016 at 12:39 pm Leave a comment

Can agroecology feed the world and save the planet?

africaThe big question often asked is: can agroecological farming really feed the world, with the global population hurtling towards 9.6 billion by 2050? It’s clear that there’s increasing evidence it could.

A landmark 2001 study by Jules Pretty and Rachel Hine examined 208 projects from 52 countries and found yield increases of 50-100% for rain-fed crops like maize. The cases studied involved 9 million farmers on around 3% of all of the farmed land in Asia, Africa and Latin America and the increases were typically bigger at lower yields, indicating greater benefits for the poorest farmers.

Read Can agroecology feed the world and save the planet? by Henrietta Moore at The Guardian.

 


“The climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too.”

Sunday, October 16, 1:00 – 3:30 pm

Knox-St Paul’s United Church, 800 – 12th St West (off McConnell)

Join Transition Cornwall +Food Action Group, All Things Food SDG Community Food Network, and Knox – St. Paul’s United Church for a FREE day of discussion, learning, and food in celebration of United Nations World Food Day 2016.

In honour of World Food Day, we have invited special guest, Kate Green from USC Canada, to address this year’s theme “The climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too.” Key talking points will include food production, globalization, climate change, and the role of local versus global communities. For anyone curious about the local versus global food system issues and opportunities, this is a presentation and discussion not to miss!

Following Kate Green’s presentation, we will host “Frugal Food Preservation”, a hands-on educational activity to help attendees learn the basic for harvest food preservation. If you have ever wanted to learn to pickle, ferment or dehydrate, our experts will be on site to help guide and answer all of your questions. 

Soup, bread, and refreshments will be provided courtesy of Transition Cornwall +.

October 10, 2016 at 10:48 am Leave a comment

Why Not Start Today? Backyard Carbon Sequestration Is Something Nearly Everyone Can Do

To make it simple as a crayon sketch, there are two ways to mitigate climate change that, in tandem, could work. One is to lower emissions. To decarbonize, if you will—and de-nitrous oxide-ize, de-methane-ize, and de-soot-ize as well. It is true that to keep the earth’s average temperature from warming more than 2° C (3.6° F), emissions will have to fall. Drastically. Which means lifestyles, in fact whole cultures and economies, will have to change, and everyone, especially the well off, will have to share in the sacrifices and changes to be made. This necessity is the real inconvenient truth implied by the inconvenient truth of climate change and one mostly being ignored or rationalized away by pretty much everyone, except a small percentage of realists. Part of the problem, I think, might not be so much willful ignorance as a failure of imagination. Quite a few people I speak with about climate change—well educated, thoughtful, caring individuals for the most part—simply cannot imagine what it would be like to live even a slightly less oil dependent version of the life they currently live, though they grasp the facts and urgently agree that something must be done.

Yet we can do something. Quite a lot, actually. For the first part, we can consciously reduce our lifestyles and become actively civically engaged; for the second, we can practice backyard carbon sequestration by becoming carbon gardeners, ourselves, and in the company of others. I agree with those that argue that unless there are mass movements and unless governments and corporations change their ways, individual changes won’t mean that much. However, I also believe that the butterfly effect is just as real in human systems as in earth systems, and in fact, backyard soil carbon storage works in both at once.

Read Why Not Start Today? Backyard Carbon Sequestration Is Something Nearly Everyone Can Do at Ecological Gardening.

September 28, 2015 at 10:57 am Leave a comment

Meat Eater’s Guide

To assess climate impacts, EWG (Environmental Working Group) partnered with CleanMetrics, an environmental analysis and consulting firm, to do lifecycle assessments of 20 popular types of meat (including fish), dairy and vegetable proteins. Unlike most studies that focus just on production emissions, our assessment calculates the full “cradle-to-grave” carbon footprint of each food item based on the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated before and after the food leaves the farm – from the pesticides and fertilizer used to grow animal feed all the way through the grazing, animal raising, processing, transportation, cooking and, finally, disposal of unused food. The analysis also includes the emissions from producing food that never gets eaten, either because it’s left on the plate or because of spoilage or fat and moisture loss during cooking. About 20 percent of edible meat just gets thrown out.

By eating and wasting less meat (especially red and processed meat) and cheese, you can simultaneously improve your health and reduce the climate and environmental impact of food production. And when you do choose to eat meat and cheese, go greener. There are many environmental, health and animal welfare reasons to choose meat and dairy products that come from organic, pasture-raised, grass-fed animals. It may cost more, but when you buy less meat overall, you can afford to go healthier and greener. Here’s how eating less meat measures up against other climate-saving actions:

Over a year:

If you eat one less burger a week, it’s like taking your car off the road for 320 miles or line-drying your clothes half the time.

If your four-person family skips meat and cheese one day a week, it’s like taking your car off the road for five weeks – or reducing everyone’s daily showers by 3 minutes.

If your four-person family skips steak once a week, it’s like taking your car off the road for nearly three months.

If everyone in the U.S. ate no meat or cheese just one day a week, it would be like not driving 91 billion miles – or taking 7.6 million cars off the road.

From the Environmental Working Group: More HERE>>

 

January 19, 2015 at 11:33 am Leave a comment

The Miracle Water Village – Water Harvesting in India (video)

Although we have no water shortage here in Cornwall, the permaculture principle that everything is connected to everything else encourages us to be aware of water issues elsewhere. Here is an example of a successful community solution to a drought-prone environment.

As the world reels under the threat of unrelenting climate change, erratic monsoons and fast depleting groundwater reserves, The Miracle Water Village narrates the inspirational story of impoverished farming community in India that reversed its fortunes through its visionary model of water management.

Lying in one of the worst drought-prone regions of India, the village of Hiware Bazar battled many decades of sparse rain and failed crops. However, 20 years ago, the entire village came together to script a silent revolution by designing a rainwater-harvesting model that saved every drop of the scanty rain they received. Today, the village is literally an oasis in the middle of the desert, boasting of bumper harvests, dairy co-operatives, millionaire families and visionary farmers.

See the original post here.

October 23, 2013 at 10:32 am Leave a comment

The Hidden Water in Everyday Products

Although we don’t see it, millions of gallons of water go into the products we buy, use and throw away. The factories that manufacture everyday materials like paper, plastic, metal and fabric depend on water to make and clean their products. Becoming aware of how we use and reuse products is an important step towards water conservation.

Water is used in the production of many materials and finished products we personally use everyday. Take cars, for example. It takes 75,000 gallons of water to produce one ton of steel.  Since the average car contains about 2,150 pounds of steel, that means over 80,000 gallons of water is needed to produce the finished steel for one car. The gasoline that fuels a car also requires water consumption: approximately 1 to 2.5 gallons of water is used in the process of refining a gallon of gasoline.

Read the rest of the article here.

Read more about water footprints here.

The Water Footprint Network is also a great resource for more information.

September 18, 2013 at 10:43 am Leave a comment

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