Must Reads from Last Week
Around the riding
Comox Valley: Valley government leaders meet with students to hear climate demands
Students meet with elected leaders of the Comox Valley at Mark R Isfeld School on April 15th, 2019. Photo by James Wood/98.9 The Goat/Vista Radio
“Secondary students concerned about the environment met with an assembly of the Valley’s municipal leaders this afternoon. The students were part of Youth Environmental Action, comprised of students from GP Vanier, Cumberland Community School, Mark R Isfeld Secondary School, and Highland Secondary. With space provided by Isfeld on Monday afternoon, the group hosted the three mayors of Courtenay, Cumberland, and Comox, along with council members from the three communities, schoolboard member Sheila McDonnell, and Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) Area B Director Arzeena Hamir. The meeting between the students and the politicians lasted about an hour, and was guided along by Nalan Goosen, a member of the Isfeld Environment Club.” Read more.
Comox Valley: Comox Councillor seeks support in addressing provincial climate emergency
On Wednesday, Comox Councillor Alex Bissinger read out a notice of motion that “The Town of Comox formally recognize a climate emergency, and further that, the Town of Comox take a leadership role to work towards achieving carbon neutrality in the region by 2030. “That the Town of Comox consider all projects, procurements and decisions going forward through the lens of climate change mitigation and adaptation. That staff prepare a report to council within six months, with tangible actions, the mayor, council, and town staff can take to address this emergency. And that council seek commitment and financial support from (the) CVRD and its member communities for a shared position of sustainability and long-range planning manager for the Comox Valley.” Read more.
Water: Island and BC coastal communities say “ban groundwater licenses”
You will remember Bruce Gibbons and the Merville Water Guardians, who started the fight to get the Comox Valley Regional District to deny a rezoning application in order to bottle and sell groundwater taken from the local aquifer. Well, all that work by the Merville Water Guardians has paid off. Read more. (Also see the stories under “Nationally,” below.)
Excerpt: “Representatives of 53 municipalities on Vancouver Island and the British Columbia coast have endorsed a Comox Valley initiative for the province to stop issuing licenses for the bottling and commercial sale of groundwater…The motion now moves to the Union of BC Municipalities for consideration at its annual meeting during the week of Sept. 23 in Vancouver. If it is supported by a majority of provincial municipalities, the resolution would be sent to the BC government for action.”
Powell River: Earth Day
Powell River has LOTS of events for Earth Month. Check them out here.
Mark de Bruijn, NIPR’s Green Party 2019 candidate, is going to be in attendance at the Powell River Earth Day festivities, as a guest of We are Climate Action Powell River. Mark will be there from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and will be speaking from 12:45 to 1 pm. If you’re heading over to Powell River, make sure you stop by and say “Hey” to Mark!
Campbell River: Earth Week Film Festival
Show your support for Campbell River youth and local environmental initiatives by attending this year’s Earth Week Film Festival! Admission is by donation at the door, and proceeds from the event will support a post-secondary environmental bursary for a graduating School District 72 student. Campbell River’s Youth Action Committee is helping to coordinate this year’s festival, Read about the films here.
Powell River: Trash Bash
The Regional District TRASH BASH is Saturday, May 4th, but you can clean up local trails, beaches and dump sites anytime before then. Bring the collected illegally dumped trash to Willingdon gravel field May 4th for free disposal and enjoy a thank you lunch (12-1:30), along with prize draw (1:00)! Back to basics last year and this, so no items from home, please. The only exception this year, are car tires. We will be hosting a BC Tire Stewardship TIRE ROUND-UP where residents (and volunteers who have collected illegally dumped tires) are welcomed to bring tires for free disposal. Thanks for your participation!
Comox Valley: March for Climate
DATE/TIME: May 3, 2019, 1-4 pm
LOCATION: Courtenay City Hall
“On May 3rd (time TBA), In front of Courtenay City Hall we will protest the climate crisis facing our planet. Join us on our march to bring attention to the urgency of the situation to city hall, local financial institutions and the office of Ronna Rae Leonard and Gord Johns. Help strike for climate!”
(Hosted by Youth Environmental Action)
Comox Valley’s first electric vehicle event
DATE/TIME: Saturday, May 18, 2019, 10 am to 4 pm
LOCATION: Comox Valley Sports Centre parking lot
Come check out everything you need to know about electric transportation in the Comox Valley! Test drive an electric car or e-bike, talk to EV owners, see a Tesla up close and find out about incentives for purchasing electric vehicles. Sign-ups for test drives will be first come, first serve. (Hosted by Watershed Sentinel)
And…New law makes it easier for British Columbians to buy electric cars
BC Greens convention
DATES: June 7-9, 2019
LOCATION: Anvil Centre, 777 Columbia St, New Westminster
Google map and directions
BC Greens introduce legislation to support companies pursuing environmental and social goals
This is a whole new class of corporation - benefit corporations which are “committed to pursuing social and environmental goals to incorporate as benefit companies under the Business Corporations Act…Benefit companies would embed into their articles two commitments: operating in a responsible and sustainable manner, and pursuing specific public benefits. Directors of benefit companies would need to balance this broader mandate against their traditional duty to pursue the best interests of the corporation. Companies would also need to report their progress against an independent third-party standard.” Read more. It’s unclear if this is a reintroduction of Bill M216 Andrew Weaver introduced in May 2018, but it seems very similar. Either way, it is refreshing to see that corporations could have something other than pure profit as their primary driver.
Community energy and emissions inventory
This is provincial data for all communities on our GHG emission sources. “The Community Energy and Emissions Inventory (CEEI) provides an indicative inventory of energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and supporting indicators at the community level. Data is published for 2007, 2010, and 2012. More recent, related data at the community level is published alongside the Provincial Inventory.” There are spreadsheets for all communities in BC.
Trans Mountain: Federal government extends Trans Mountain pipeline expansion deadline to June
Two days after Jason Kenney won the Alberta election, Minister Sohi announced that the Feds were postponing a decision on the TM expansion. Of course, he didn’t reference the Alberta election; the reason given was so that the government could complete its consultation with First Nations. Still, one suspects the Alberta election changes the equation for Justin Trudeau. After all, he bought the pipeline because Rachel Notley agreed to set a price on carbon in Alberta. Kenney has already announced he’ll scrap that. Read more.
Glyphosate: Did Woodwynn Farm get sprayed with glyphosate?
This farm is owned by BC Housing and the provincial government. Apparently it was slated to go organic, but Adam Olsen is asking questions in the Legislature because one of the fields in the farm is suddenly completely brown while an adjacent field is green and lush. He references the watershed that is adjacent, and the First Nations community that is adjacent. Woodwynn Farm was bought by the BC government in 2018 so that “People who are living in supportive housing in the Capital Regional District (CRD) will have opportunities to become healthier and learn new skills, following the purchase of Woodwynn Farms by the Province, through BC Housing, for use as a therapeutic-recovery community.”
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief: ‘Reconciliation is not at the barrel of a gun’
On Jan. 7, 2019 a team of tactical RCMP was deployed to forcibly remove Gitdumt’en Clan people in Wet’suwet’en Nation territory to facilitate construction of the TransCanada Coastal GasLink gas pipeline. Photo by Michael Toledano
Charges have been dropped against 14 people who were arrested when RCMP charged the Wet’suwet’en barricade earlier this year.
Excerpt: “Wet’suwet’en law stands in Wet’suwet’en territory, Na’moks said. The government skirted Indigenous land and title rights to push the pipeline project through, he added. It worked well for the government because the elected chief system is based on a European way of leadership and it’s something that governments know how to maneuver, he added. “Federally and provincially they’ll only deal with their constructs, the bands, because they created them. They don’t know how to deal with us, yet we’ve been here for thousands of years. Our authority and jurisdiction on the land will always be.”
Shadow Cabinet Series 2019 — Indigenous Issues Deep Dive
Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2019 - 6-7 pm Pacific Time
Event Description: As part of the lead up to the 2019 federal general election - members of shadow cabinet will be hosting webinars on areas of policy related to their portfolios.
Who: Racelle Kooy (Candidate for Victoria) and Craig Blacksmith (Candidate for Winnipeg North)
Where: Register with this link: REGISTER NOW >>
NOTE: This webinar is limited to Green Party members, volunteers, and candidates; and registrations will be checked accordingly.
Green Party of Canada registration with Elections Canada
Every three years, the Green Party must submit 250 signatures from members to Elections Canada in order to keep the party in good standing. Can you help out?
Simply print this form (PDF), complete it, sign it and send it back to GPC at their mailing address:
Green Party of Canada
PO Box 997, Station B
Ottawa, ON K1P 5R1
Please don’t send a photocopy or a scanned/photographed copy of your signed form. Elections Canada only accepts completed forms with an original signature. And remember, you must be a member of the Green Party for your completed form to be valid. Thank you for your help!
Elizabeth May’s Week in Review
Check out what happened in Parliament for the week of April 8-12 and the statements and press releases of the past week.
5G wireless technology/radiation
Some cities are banning 5G technology due to health concerns. There is currently an international appeal signed by 237 EMF scientists from 41 nations calling for more protective EMF guidelines, encouraging precautionary measures, and educating the public about the health risks - particularly to children and fetuses.Watch/listen to this stunning call by a UN staff member to use the staff at the UN as a closed study group because they are exposed to extremely high levels of this radiation. After that passionate presentation, Antonio Guterres pleads ignorance not once, not twice, but three times and even evokes laughter when he admits (twice) that he put “those things in my house.” One has to wonder how the woman who was making the call for an investigation felt when her concerns for the health of pregnant women and fetuses was treated with this lack of respect.
There’s also a TEDx Talk by Jeremy Johnson, apparently an expert in EMF exposure, that is dated 2016. Johnson begins by asking how many in the audience have a smart meter on their home, how many have a smart phone in their pocket, and how many have read the smart phone fine print stating that the phone should never be closer than an inch to the human body.
In 2018, The Nation did a story on “How Big Wireless Made Us Think That Cell Phones Are Safe: A Special Investigation.” This investigative piece gives background on the efforts of the wireless industry to frame the narrative. The authors say, “This article does not argue that cell phones and other wireless technologies are necessarily dangerous; that is a matter for scientists to decide. Rather, the focus here is on the global industry behind cell phones—and the industry’s long campaign to make people believe that cell phones are safe.” They liken that disinformation campaign to the campaigns of big tobacco and Big Oil.
The World Health Organization (WHO) references the article in The Nation when they released a report “purportedly increasing carcinogenic classification of wireless radiation this year.”
On April 30 and May 1, 2019, the annual British Columbia Broadband Conference is taking place. On April 30, the conference will be addressed by Susan Stanford, ADM, Information Communication Technologies (ICT) Division, Ministry of Citizens’ Services, Connectivity and Connected Communities BC - and Howard Randell, Executive Director, NetworkBC, Ministry of Citizens’ Services. Two of the presentations on May 1 are “WI$P Business Requirements, Wireless NW and RAN Evolution” by Bing Wu, Director of Product and Solution – Huawei Canada; and “Connecting the Future: Using self-organizing mmWave to deliver 5G services”, by Jonathan Brady, Sales Director of Cambridge Communications Systems. Even though both of these speakers will likely be addressing 5G wireless, one has to wonder whether they will be addressing the health concerns inherent in that technology. (You can read more about the BC connectivity plan here, including a national map where you can zoom in on Vancouver Island and the NIPR riding to see different levels of service.)
The Environmental Health Trust has a great site outlining many concerns with 5G technology, including specifically the “mmWave to deliver 5G services” being addressed by Jonathan Brady. And an American site called 5G Crisis has a lot of information. Throughout the US, on May 15 there’s going to be a day of action around the 5G technology. As of April 15, 59 cities in 23 states have signed up to participate. There’s even an event planning kit.
So, what to do? Bringing broadband capability to all Canadians is essential in a digital world. But we should remember that service providers are not doing this for the betterment of society - they’re doing this for profit.
Connected Communities: Wired networks for crossing the digital divide offers communities a chance to take control of their digital services and build their own wired networks. Communities building their “own fiber network is the best way to ensure it is wireless-free, offering the fastest, safest, most biologically protective connectivity possible.”
Water: Six Nations of the Grand River in dispute with Nestlé’s
As of December 31, 2017, the Six Nations of the Grand River had a population of 27,276.
On January 24, 2018: Council of Canadians post on a “meet-and-greet” meeting between Six Nations and Nestlé’s regarding Nestlé’s water extraction on their lands. It is described as a ‘testy’ meeting, during which one comment from Chief Ava Hill was, “We don’t want to see any of your propaganda saying that we consulted with Six Nations.”
A White Wolf Pack blog about the same meeting, states the following: “We have highlighted that while Nestle extracts water from Six Nations territory for its highly profitable bottled water business, 11,000 residents of Six Nations do not have access to clean drinking water. We have also emphasized that any water takings require the free, prior and informed consent from Six Nations of the Grand River as recognized under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We are also deeply concerned that Nestle’s provincial permit to take 3.6 million litres of water a day in Aberfoyle expired on July 31, 2016, while its permit to take 1.1 million litres a day in Hillsburgh expired on August 31, 2017. We estimate that Nestle has now pumped more than 1 billion litres of water on these expired permits.”
Then there’s Nestlé’s official statement from October 2018: “Nestlé Waters Canada has been working for more than three years to develop a meaningful working relationship with the Six Nations of the Grand River. We have engaged several times with Six Nations of the Grand River consultation team and have participated in Community Open House events on the Six Nations Reserve. We continue to work very diligently on this relationship to identify ways where we can work together with Six Nations of the Grand River.”
In November 2018, the Six Nations held a day of action to protest Nestlé pumping water “from wells that sit on a tract of land given to the Six Nations under the 1701 Nanfan Treaty and the 1784 Halidmand Tract, according to Six Nations officials. Nestlé’s Aberfoyle permit, which allows the company to pump up to 3.6 million litres a day, expired on July 31, 2016 and the one for the nearby Erin well, which allows Nestle to pump up to 1.1 million litres a day, expired Aug. 31, 2017. But current provincial legislation allows companies, such as Nestle, to continue to pump water on expired permits if they submit applications before they expire.”
See also this excellent article in the Guardian from October 2018. The article gives a broader view of the issue of water availability in an increasingly warming environment. Here are a couple of sobering paragraphs: “For the past century, demand for freshwater has grown twice as fast as population growth, explained Steven Solomon, author of Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power and Civilization. The United Nations predicts that by 2025, 1.8 billion people will live with dire water shortages, and two-thirds of the world’s population could be living under stressed water conditions. That means a race to find untapped springs. Anticipating shortages, companies like Nestlé are trying to lock in as much of the world’s water as possible, explained Solomon. Bottled water is the world’s most popular drink, and its sales recently outstripped soft drinks, according to a study by Beverage Marketing Corp. The trend is expected to intensify. The higher temperatures predicted with climate change will lead to less water and more thirst. “Demand is rising,” Solomon said. “The curve is rising a lot. And they are trying to tie up supply [emphasis added].”
Lastly, rabble.ca did a series on water extraction. The first installment is titled “The water justice movement’s fight against commodification and extractivism.” This part includes an overview of the water justice movement in Canada and the ways in which power is manufactured and deployed in water governance. The second installment is titled “How the water justice movement is challenging extractivism in Canada” and gives an overview of some water justice issues and how grassroots groups, Indigenous nations, communities and organizations are working to protect water. Part 2 is dated April 11, so keep an eye out for the third installment. These are really excellent essays on the politics of water in Canada.
Low Carbon Economy Challenge
Last week’s Must Reads told you about the Low Carbon Economy Challenge. In response to our query, the Must Reads has been told that “Over 700 funding applications were received during the application period. A table of all announced projects and an interactive map displaying their locations is available on the website at: https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/climate-change/low-carbon-economy-fund.html. Please note that not all funding decisions have been announced yet. The website will be updated regularly as other projects to be funded through the Challenge are announced.”
Also last week we told you about Loblaw Co. getting $12 M from this taxpayer-funded program to buy new refrigerators. Well, the link above lists some of the groups that have been accepted to receive funds. The last one on the list is Titanium Corporation, which is receiving $50 M in wealth transfer from ordinary Canadians. You can read Titanium’s press release here.
But wait…there’s more. According to the Government of Canada’s press release the same day - March 14, 2019 - they are actually providing $72 M to Alberta’s oil and gas industry, part of which is going to Canadian Natural Resources Limited (Canadian Natural). So yet more subsidies for the oil and gas industry. Just imagine the boost to alternative energy projects in Canada if they were given $72 M dollars! Of the projects listed in the Table of Projects, seven are in Alberta, three to Ontario, seven to Northwest Territories and Nunavut. One project is showing for British Columbia. Of the projects listed on this page, it doesn’t appear as though any of them are geared towards development of alternative energy.
CBC’s What on Earth environmental newsletter
This week’s What on Earth newsletter from CBC has a number of interesting pieces. They have a piece on meat and the environment, a piece on the carbon footprint of protein-rich foods such as meat, and a very informative piece on e-waste. They also have, surprisingly, a short piece on Elizabeth May’s wedding to John Kidder, which of course is happening on Earth Day, April 22. Read it here.
Global Aquatic Herbicides Market 2019-2024: Historical Data and Long-Term Forecasts through 2024 And 2028
We tend to think of herbicides as being land-based products, but this is the third time this blog has told you about the global market for aquatic herbicides. While this is just a summary, it gives you an idea of how aggressively the companies involved are pushing the use of aquatic herbicides. Read more. For past Must Reads on aquatic herbicides, read this and this.
Climate-vulnerable countries plan new tools to fund green development
The Vulnerable 20 Group of Ministers of Finance is a group that formed in 2015 to address the climate change consequences of global warming. Their inaugural communique from 2015 makes for interesting reading. The section of “Who we are” is informative, but especially stark is item #8, which outlines climate shocks they are already experiencing, or are anticipating. Their website contains a 5-year action plan.
On April 11, 2019, the V20 Group put out a press release that, among other things, they call for countries around the world to go far beyond the rhetoric that seems to be passing for action on global warming. “The need to accelerate adaptation to make the world more resilient to the realities of climate change is ever more urgent. There are solutions to tackle this global crisis, and there is concerted action taking place right now to prepare for our future climate reality. But these efforts must increase and accelerate, and key actors – governments, companies and institutions – must join forces to make a positive difference,” said Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation and Managing Partner of the V20 and the Global Commission on Adaptation which is co-chaired by Bill Gates, Ban Ki-moon and Kristalina Georgieva to mobilize strengthened efforts to adapt to climate change.”
Also, the costs of dealing with global warming-caused climate effects is already hugely expensive for these vulnerable countries. “In the last ten years, climate vulnerability has cost V20 countries an additional US$62 billion in interest payments alone, including US$40 billion in additional interest payments on government debt, according to the Climate Change and the Cost of Capital in Developing Countries report of the UN Environment Programme. Future interest payments due to climate vulnerability are projected to increase to US$168 billion over the next decade. These payments are separate from economic losses directly suffered from climate change, which compound the issue by reducing countries’ ability to invest in climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. For every US $10 paid in interest by V20 countries, an additional dollar will be spent due to climate vulnerability, the report concludes.”
You can also read this Reuters story on the V20’s report, which expands on the issues somewhat.
The destruction of the Earth is a crime. It should be prosecuted
George Monbiot makes the case for ecocide being a crime. But mostly he’s profiling and lauding the work of Polly Higgins, “a barrister who has devoted her life to creating an international crime of ecocide. This means serious damage to, or destruction of, the natural world and the Earth’s systems. It would make the people who commission it – such as chief executives and government ministers – criminally liable for the harm they do to others, while creating a legal duty of care for life on Earth.” In February, Polly Higgins was given six weeks to live but she’s still fighting. Read more and also read this Desmog article on her.
We are all familiar with the concept of conscientious objectors. Well, this is an introduction to conscientious protectors. This is a designation for activists who “may wish to use the Conscientious Protector approach in a criminal court as a way of ensuring you get to fully express the reasons WHY you have taken non-violent direct action. By doing this you are also taking part in a wider narrative of reframing those standing up to sound the alarm on climate breakdown as Conscientious Protectors (not criminals).” Sounds like something that could come in handy if the Trans Mountain pipeline protests pick up steam again.
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure market 2019-2024: Production, growth rate, market segmentation, revenue, export/import
If you’re interested in seeing where the global LNG industry sees itself going, check out this page. One of the players on the list of companies is Steelhead LNG, which we remember plans to run a gas pipeline through our riding.
Children educate teachers with their testimonies from war zones
This is a profoundly moving article on the “Pedagogy of witnessing:” “[L]earning or being taught by what we feel, see and hear in testimony…it is about a willingness to be vulnerable to, and taught and changed by, the lives we face.” “Former UN Special Advisor Jennifer Welsh said in her 2016 Massey Lecture that the world is witnessing “forced displacement on a scale we have never seen before.” According to UNICEF, more than 31 million of these displaced people are children.” Read more.
Ships scrub up to meet new pollution standard
As is often the case in humanity’s history, we may be creating a problem while trying to solve another one. “A new international limit for sulfur emissions is prompting a shift toward a controversial technology.” Read more.
Choosing the environment over your laundry
Much of our clothing sheds microplastics when we do laundry, and those microplastics end up being eaten by water-living creatures. Eric Swanson of Victoria decided he wanted to do something about that at the point where his washer meets the pipe. Read more.
Green good news: These tree-planting drones are firing seed missiles to restore the world’s forests
Excerpt: “In Myanmar, Worldview International Foundation works closely with communities to help provide new economic opportunities. People who previously made money making charcoal, for example, are now employed as mangrove planters. They’re also learning how to run aquaculture businesses within mangrove forests. “We have to incentivize people,” says Lyngdoh. “It’s all about creating livelihoods. We have to create jobs that are long-term that can sustain the family, then they see the benefit of the project, and they get engaged in the long term.” Read more.
Thought of the day:
The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it. (Robert Swann)