Failing Better is Still Failing

Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner released the annual update report on provincial progress on greenhouse gas emissions. The good news is, we are not failing as badly as we were. Our greenhouse gas emissions are falling provincially, largely due to decommissioning coal electricity plants. The bad news is, we are still failing. We are still above ourContinue reading “Failing Better is Still Failing”

Public Participation, Petro-State Style

I am sitting here this afternoon with a copy of the National Energy Board’s Application Form to Participate, for the upcoming Enbridge pipeline reversal to carry tar sands oil through Ontario, and specifically through my community. The Government of Canada, in order to streamline environmental approvals for tar sands projects, now requires people to fillContinue reading “Public Participation, Petro-State Style”

Planet Moving for beginners

2011 is the year for climate activism (knock wood–so far): the Keystone Pipeline protests at the White House, Climate Reality last week, Moving Planet this weekend, a Keystone Pipeline action in Ottawa on Monday, all in September. Chances are you missed the White House bit and won’t be making it down to NYC for OccupyContinue reading “Planet Moving for beginners”

Pauline Browes on the Rouge National Park

I wrote this story last winter after having been introduced to Pauline Browes at the Sustainability Forum in February at the Toronto Botanical Gardens. (Which, incidentally, is beautiful in the winter and totally worth a visit.) It ran in Phil Goodwin’s E-Don, a newsletter for the East Don Parkland Partners, a group I volunteer withContinue reading “Pauline Browes on the Rouge National Park”

What $7B Will Get You: 4% of Ontario’s Electricity Market

The Ontario government just signed a massive deal (billed as possibly the world’s largest)¬†with Samsung and a South Korean consortium¬† that includes a heavy stake from the South Korean government to construct a whackload (that’s the technical term) of green energy manufacturing and generation in Ontario. The consortium has promised to invest between $6B andContinue reading “What $7B Will Get You: 4% of Ontario’s Electricity Market”

Leaving Neverland: the costs of climate change

You may not have heard of the Pembina Institute and David Suzuki Foundation’s release of a report analyzing the economic implications of two greenhouse gas reduction targets in Canada, but if you have, I can nearly guarantee that all you’ve heard is “dealing with climate change is the end of the economy in Western CanadaContinue reading “Leaving Neverland: the costs of climate change”

Talking trees, extended metaphors and "The World at Gunpoint"

I have a love/hate relationship with Derrick Jensen. The first volume of his Endgame books has been sitting, half-read, on my environment bookshelf for years while I try to get up the stomach to finish it. Is it terrible? Yes. But not in the way you might think. It’s ninety per cent brilliant and insightful,Continue reading “Talking trees, extended metaphors and "The World at Gunpoint"”

What is a 'navigable waterway'?

Peter Gorrie wrote an article in Sunday’s Toronto Star criticizing the Harper government for rolling back “key” environmental protections by sneaking them into the budget bill. I need to be about as circumspect as possible when writing about this issue, because for over five years I worked in an office dedicated largely to completing environmentalContinue reading “What is a 'navigable waterway'?”

The Green Energy Act, Part 1

It’s no secret that Germany is the envy of climate change activists worldwide for its progressive energy policies; what may be a secret to you is what, exactly, those progressive energy policies are. It’s simple: their Renewable Energy Sources Act makes it easy for individuals, communities and corporations to get approvals to build green energyContinue reading “The Green Energy Act, Part 1”

The finer points of Environmental Assessment in Ontario

Recently, I read on a blog about Toronto Hydro’s proposed anemometer project the following statement: “Here is another fun piece of trivia: How many full environmental assessments have actually been done before wind turbine projects have been built in Ontario? HINT: There have been 17 wind projects. Answer? Are you sure you want it? HereContinue reading “The finer points of Environmental Assessment in Ontario”