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Good News, Bad News

At long last spring is here, and what a beautiful time it is. My forsythia and quince are in bloom, and the lilacs are getting ready. I’ve dug up the soil and look forward planting my vegetables. It’s an amazement to me every year that I put tiny little plants in the ground in May, and later in the summer harvest crisp cucumbers and sweet tomatoes. There’s nothing more fresh and delicious. I call it the 30-foot diet.

Discover your neighbourhood

Yesterday I discovered a new piece of my neighbourhood, which to me, is one of the best things about living in a city so large and diverse. I was on a Jane’s Walk of St. Clair West and the surrounding area (though it was more the surrounding area than St. Clair West itself) hosted by Jane’s Walk and NEAT (Newcomers Explore and Appreciate Toronto).

The Future

Al Gore is a long-time spokesperson and advocate on climate change. In his new book The Future he takes a broader perspective and looks at six forces that are producing dramatic changes in the world, one of which is climate change. The others have to do with globalization, digital communication, a less powerful United States, and an economic system that results in inequality.

He talks about Canada’s “resource curse” and refers to “the core issue of adding to the reckless spewing of pollution into the Earth’s atmosphere as if it’s an open sewer.”

Don't miss this movie - Revolution

Revolution is a call to all of us to get involved and protect life on this beautiful planet. The film is made by Rob Stewart, who also made the popular and acclaimed film Sharkwater. Stewart came to realize that it would do no good to try to save the sharks if we were destroying the Earth, and that it was not just the sharks at peril, but humans as well. The film alternates underwater scenes of both beauty and devastation, with scenes of protest movements. I was particularly moved by a young boy who is determined to see the planting of thousands of trees.

Climate change hits close to home

As a kid, I loved thunderstorms. They were an exciting and rare phenomenon that gave the sense that there are much bigger forces at work on the planet. As I grow older, however, fear has replaced my excitement about these storms. I now not only fear what they can do in the moment, as they have become more frequent and more dangerous, but also what they represent for the future of our weather.

Snake Oil

I had the good fortune to hear Richard Heinberg when he was in Toronto recently and gave a talk at U. of T. Heinberg is an expert on peak oil and the author of several well-known books. In his talk, titled "Snake Oil: How the petroleum industry's false promise of plenty imperils our future" (also the title of his upcoming book), he challenged industry's claims about fracking and America's potential to become energy independent.

I’d Rather Fight Like Hell - Naomi Klein

I find it takes a lot of discipline to stick with climate change work. I often imagine a more old-fashioned retirement – working in the garden, sitting on a beach, reading mysteries. Climate change is big and scary, and it’s frustrating to try to bring about meaningful change. But I can’t turn the other way. I draw inspiration from others who have the fire. and I try to soak up a bit of their energy.

Report of the AGM of the Climate Action Network

I was pleased to attend the AGM of Climate Action Network Canada held in Ottawa Nov. 6-7, at which Green Neighbours 21 was accepted as a member.

It was exciting for me to meet people from across the country who are involved in climate change work. My involvement with Green Neighbours 21 over the past several years has been wonderful, but I’m feeling ready to learn more about the bigger picture and what can be done on a national level. 

One session was “Lobbying 101” in which we learned the principles of effective lobbying.

GN21 Eco-Fair 2011 a success!

Walking into the Green Neighbours 21 (GN21) Eco-Fair of 2011, I was met by an unmistakable hum in the ever lively Wychwood Artscape Barns.  Volunteers, vendors and children dashed about preparing for a day of fun, education and community interaction.

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