This blog will look at environmental and political issues that will affect the quality of life for future generations of all species. Including; sustainability, media labels of "environmental issues," and different kinds of resistance to environmental oppression. I will also post on anything I think someone interested in the aforementioned would be interested in...
Sunday, December 23, 2007
HAPPY HOLIDAYS... I will be taking some time off from blogging until the new year...
and great progress on EMMISSIONS-FREE CARS in CANADA!!!
*shortly after this aired on CBC, transport canada approved zenn cars for sale in canada!
Could the Electric Car Save us?
Petition for ZENN cars in Canada, HERE...
Saturday, December 15, 2007
This morning, in a massive U-turn in the 11th hour of extended negotiations, the Harper government finally dropped its opposition to 2020 emissions targets among Kyoto countries , and a climate change agreement was reached in Bali!
Over 110,000 of us came together over the last 4 days and added our voices to a wave of popular outrage - we supported the ads that ran in Canadian papers and at the conference in Bali, called Harper and our MPs, and built the strength of the petitions, events, banners, and marches at the summit. And it all worked!
Click the link below to see a video message from Liberal leader Stephane Dion at Bali - Avaaz is a non-partisan group and the NDP and Green Party also deserve credit for opposing Harper, but Dion had an impassioned comment for us:
Lots of factors helped make this happen, especially a strong resolve and pressure from other countries. In teaming up with people around the globe to save our climate - including over 600,000 other Avaaz members who pushed their governments - we've defended Canada's proud tradition of doing the right thing in the world. The struggle is far from over, but this weekend is for celebrating!
With much joy and enormous respect for everyone who signed, forwarded, donated, called, lobbied and pitched in,
Ricken and the Avaaz team
PS - Here's a link to see other Avaaz campaigns and our work this year - http://www.avaaz.org/en/report
And here's a Globe and Mail article on the Harper reversal at Bali:
also check out these old captain planet clips I came across recently
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Sunday, December 9, 2007
I come before you today, not just as a student, but in solidarity with you all, as active community citizens.
Thank you very much to everyone who came out. By showing up, you are not only braving the cold. You are rising above apathy and ignorance, and uniting your voices with other concerned citizens. You are exercising your rights and responsibilities as citizen's to get informed and you are showing solidarity in supporting immediate and direct ACTION!
We need a recognition of Ecological justice in our governments and policy-making institutions. Ecological rights are nature's rights, women's rights, indigenous rights, children's rights, student's rights... ecological rights are everyone's rights. As a society, we need to stop living apart from nature and recognize the delicate balance of ecosystems that allow us to coexist on our planet.
It is past time we act preventively to slow and reverse anthropocentric climate change. It is becoming a matter of all specie's survival. We have to switch to sustainable sources of energy and food. We have the technology to do this, we only need the collective consciousness to implement it.
As university students, we represent the transition of learning children into responsible citizens that benefit our local and global communities. And I would like to share with you some good news. There is a growing resurgence of student activism and involvement happening on our campus, and campuses across the country and entire planet. There is rising ecological awareness, and with that awareness, comes knowledge that can be used as agency for change.
Whether it be to protest the university administration running our school like a corporation (via their actions during the strike) or by creating a new student-run organization to bring research back from the corporate interest and to the public interest, their are many ways student's have been rising out of complacency and using their newfound knowledge as agency for change that benefits society.
Student's need the community we serve's help to implement these new ideas.
The newly created Environmental Action Network is working to organize a diverse and multidisciplinary range of voices into movements with the common goal of furthuring environment awareness and solidarity. It's our future, and we are developing the agency to change it.
There is a very powerful group of profit-motivated and unaccountable corporations who have a vested interest in preventing Sustainable Development in our province, and in our country. Under the current dominant economic model, the adverse effects of climate change are profitable, they are making countless billions of dollars at a huge cost to the ecological integrity of our entire planet, and all it's current and future inhabitants
They are (along with out current government) are working to delay action on climate change, and making lots of money doing it.
We need to see these corporate juggernauts for what they are, and advocate our elected officials to legislate solutions. We have the technology and knowledge to live sustainably. For most of human history, we have lived within natural sustainable boundaries, we need to look back at our ancestral indigenous respect for the natural ecosystems we inhabit.
Right now, the most important global enviornmental conference of our generation is happening in Bali. The outcomes of which quite literally can decide the fate of all life on our planet. I know this sounds grim, but world climate scientists are getting frantic, WE HAVE TO CURB OUR EMMISSIONS NOW! We need our governments to act in the public interest even when it's contrary to the corporate interest.
If we don't act now, we will face; 20-30% species extinction, increasingly intense and destrucive natural storms, rising ocean levels, global temperature increasing, and quite plausibly the seventh majour evolutionary "cleanse" our planet has ever had (that we know about)... the scary thing is that these are the least-frightening estimates... we really don't know what's gonna happen until it's too late.
Stephen Harper is not only refusing to move towards solutions for human-caused climate change, he is preventing desperately needed action on this issue. Stephen Harper is not speaking in the interests of the Canadian public, rather the interests of a few profit-motivated corporations. We, the public, need to tell our elected representatives to act now to prevent the further destruction of our natural world. We need to use our privilege to speak out for those who don't have a voice.
We are all citizen's of planet earth. Humans are eternally a part of the biophysical processes at work on this planet. We need to pressure our elected representatives
Again, more and more student's are rising out of complacency and looking for ways to use their newfound knowledge as agency for change. Including implementing a sustainable way of living. Community citizen's, you can help us. We all need to work together to collectively solve the myriad of problems our inaction has thusfar has caused.
The environmental revolution is underway. It is happening in our parks, schools, grocery stores, on facebook. It's time we collectively take a stand for the environment and say; "No more inaction. No more destruction of natural ecosystems. No MORE CLIMATE CHANGE! We must not only speak out for nature, but for the counltess unborn. Let us call on our elected leaders -- stop destroying the future ~ now!"
Friday, December 7, 2007
Monday, December 3, 2007
There is an ongoing war happening on our campus. It is happening between the collective good of society ("public interest") and the economic powerhouse of the corporation. ("corporate interest")
This war started at the birth of our university as an autonomous institute of higher learning. As university of Regina History professor James Pitsula describes in his book "As one who Serves," the university of regina was very much a child of the sixties. Our university was birthed from the decade of protest as a focal point for direct action. Student rallies and demonstrations that today mere hundreds attend would draw thousands of passionate student protestors.
Back then, the word activist was synonymous with the word student. As students learned to think for themselves, they began to think critically of the institutions governing them. They went further than their administrators intended and attempted to use their newfound knowledge as an agency for change that would benefit society as a whole.
These "student power" activists demanded control over their own affairs, without interference from profit-interest university administration. These students looked at the roots of society's problems; mainly a profit-interest business sector that supported the "military industrial complex." Peace is not a profitable commodity.
They demanded that their voices be heard by having student representation and involvement in university decision-making bodies. They advocated that their university education by paid for by the government, as it is providing a service that benefits the common good of society. They promoted the idea that (as Einstein put it) "The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them." They failed in their attempts to directly implement their new ideas into the institution that had helped inspire and network them.
Further, the institution became to take steps to prevent another outbreak like that from occuring (like cutting funding to the liberal arts).
Our student-ancestors argued that the university was modelling itself after the short-sighted, greedy, profit-motivated corporate entity they saw unravelling the morals of society. By modelling itself after a corporation, the university served the interests of the corporate elite and specifically the "military industrial complex" rather than the common good of society.
It's sad and a little scary to see how relevant their arguments still are today. Corporate power has grown much stronger, and its influence further-reaching. In a global economy where money is power and immunity from the laws that govern common people, corporations have become more powerful than the governments that created them. Several well-meaning individuals (like corporate CEO's) are caught up in positions where they have a legal (financial) responsibility to profit at the expense of the massive loss of life, biodiversity, and ecology. Because if they didn't, then someone else would.
Under our current economic model of progress; anthropocentric climate change, poverty, and toxic waste spills are all profitable things, because they stimulate economic growth. This way of thinking is destroying the world we live in, and a new way of thinking is needed. You'd think that the university would be the logical place for a school of thought that understands and respects the value of preserving natural ecosystems. But the university's directors are too strongly influenced by their corporate backers to let this occur.
There is escalating corporate resistance to this needed awareness. Corporations make countless billions of dollars of profits from delaying, denying, and continuing the debate around the issue of (for example) climate change.
Corporate interest is the opposite of public interest. Rather than serving the needs of a wider democratic society, it serves gluttonous short-term profit gains, given to an increasing minority of the shareholder-accountable elite. These corporations should have no place in shaping the institutions that educate us, yet their role is increasingly more influential.
The corpratization of our university represents the further erosion of a dwindling democracy. Profit-accountable corporations are more overtly controlling the mandate and discussion of governments, media, and education. As Ralph Nader put it, how different would our lives actually be if we lived in a dictatorship?
A democracy only works if it has a base of informed, responsible citizens. This is why corporations have a vested interest in preventing people from thinking critically. The Business-Administration faculty is helping this process along with their removal of the pre-degree arts supplement. But corporate influence is not only seen in the faculty of Business, remember a couple months ago when Calgary-based oil company Talisman gave the University of Saskatchewan a $350,000 grant to re-asses a growing consensus about human-influenced climate change?
The United Nations Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released it's fourth and final report. It concluded that human beings are "unequivocally" disrupting the natural systems we are ignorantly dependent on. This will have "abrupt and irreversible" impacts. The IPCC scientist-spokesperson releasing this report said simply that we (as humans causing climate change) have the technology to prevent global catastrophe, but we lack the consciousness to implement our solutions. Meaning, our society has huge amounts of sustainable and renewable energy and production options, but because of the profit interests of the corporate elite that dominate our political culture, we have been very slow to implement them.
We need to move away from discussing problems and work on implementing sustainable solutions. Corporations like Talisman have a vested interest in preventing sustainable development, and are therefore directly profiting from causing climate change! This is why the most unethical corporations are funding and directing university research. In doing so, they steal time, energy, funding, and attention from areas that need to be in the public discourse. And they are making a lot of money doing it.
As highlighted in the article "the trouble with the commercialisation of university research" by (u of R prof) Marc Spooner and Tanya Shaw, in 1999 Expert Panel on the Commercialization of University Research added the role of "innovation" to it's three traditional roles of teaching, research, and community service. Innovation was defined as "bringing new goods and services to the marketplace." This move was another success of the corporate influence in the university.
Our administration's decision-making is influenced by corporate investing and advising giant KPMG. One of the 4 biggest investing corporations in the world. It has the usual corporate record of corruption and unethical profits, and it is shaping how our university runs as a financial institution. This problem isn't specific to the administration, in almost any general investment portfolio you will find funds that turn ecological and human exploitation into profits.
Many students want to use their university education agency to impact society for positive change, and they likely will. But they can also use their agency to transform our own university back to a free-thinking institute of higher learning. Student's have the technological know-how to achieve this. Do we have the conscious will to implement it?