Two days until touchdown: COP21 from a Canadian perspective

With just two days remaining, the world is holding its breath as delegates from over 190 countries stride towards a “make or break” agreement on climate change. The flurry of happenings in Paris have swept international headlines, with competing ambitions from conference delegates and consistent pressure by thousands of civil society actors. To make sense of the fast-paced conference proceedings, we spoke with Laurie Simmonds, GreenPAC Board member and CEO of Green Living Enterprises, who has been on the ground in Paris since Day 1. Here are her responses to the questions we asked.

Read more

When wind blows dissent on green energy development

Canada’s premiers travel to Paris this week, many with the climate change plans they released earlier this month. Notably, the change climate plan that Alberta released on November 22 introduces carbon pricing and a cap on oil sands emissions, as well as a roadmap for phasing out its coal-fired power plants and increasing investment in wind power. Does this sound very familiar? Well, if you follow Ontario energy developments, you may be having déjà vu. Ontario has permanently banned coal-fired power and has quickly become Canada’s leader in wind energy development (WED).

Read more

Our Horizon: Climate Change Labels on Gas Pumps

Talk of climate change inundates us on a daily basis and is, as Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon describes it, our “only one truly existential threat.” For the most part, we know this information already, so why is nothing changing? We lay blame at a distance for this fossil fuels debacle that we’ve backed ourselves into, pointing to the tar sands and to pipeline plans, and we have little luck in changing things when we do so. Our Horizon, a climate change not-for-profit based in Toronto, believes that we can’t distance ourselves from the lack of progress, and seeks to bring some of that responsibility back to us as individuals. Our goal is to jolt consumers into action through a simple, low-cost initiative: placing climate change labels on gas pump nozzles, and making this a legislated requirement for gasoline retailers nationwide.

Read more

What should be the top environmental priorities for Newfoundland and Labrador's next provincial government?

Close on the heels of Canada’s federal election, Newfoundland and Labrador is headed to the polls again for their provincial election on Monday, November 30.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s dynamic environmental community has been hard at work to make sure that environmental issues are being given the attention they deserve. You can follow along on Twitter by keeping an eye on the hashtags #NLpoli, #NLvotes and #NLenviro.

We reached out to a number of groups to ask: what do you think should be the top environmental priorities for Newfoundland and Labrador’s next provincial government?

Read more

Renewing Canada's Climate Commitments in Paris

It’s no secret that Canada is seen as a climate laggard on the world stage. Of course, it has not always been this way, but over the last nine years, Canada has not only lost its place as a world environmental leader, it has stubbornly dug in its heels to stall climate negotiations. Canada has been taking home “Fossil of the Year” and “Colossal Fossil” awards from climate conference after climate conference, and in 2013 at UN climate negotiations in Warsaw, it was awarded the “Lifetime Unachievement” award.

Read more

Fostering Environmental Leadership in an Age of Pessimism

As a former student, I was inundated with signs that the world is crumbling around us through the 24-hour news cycle, social media, and –­ ad nauseum – in the classroom. While there is growing yet diffuse support for the environment across the country among the student body, it is hard to cut through the feeling of ‘what can I, as one person, really accomplish?’ At the same time, our leaders seem to have met global environmental challenges with fractured responses, inspiring nothing more than a fatalistic stupor. This slow, fragmented environmental progress poses a challenge for today’s environmental leaders and educators. In an age of pessimism and uncertainty, they will need to guide a growing, environmentally passionate base of individuals through the next generation of environmental challenges.

Read more

Environmental Justice 101: Building equity in Canada's environmental movement

Like Greek yogurt, man buns, and ‘innovation,’ the word “justice” is popping up all over the place in the Canadian environmental community. However, this isn’t a fad - social and economic justice has been a part of the environmental movement for a long time, but only now is it getting its due recognition.

Read more

Canada’s new cabinet promises environmental leadership across multiple ministries

Statement by Aaron Freeman

TORONTO - The new cabinet named by Prime Minister Trudeau yesterday has exciting potential for environmental leadership.

Read more

Reimagining Citizen Action Post-Election

As a 20-year-old, October 19th was the first time I could cast a ballot in a federal election. I had been waiting years for this, and contrary to the image usually ascribed to young voters, I was surrounded by peers who also valued and exercised their right to vote. This election was sold to us as historic, and arguably it was. Thanks to organizations like GreenPAC, climate was a made a top election issue, voter turnout was the highest it has been in my entire lifetime, and the election resulted in sweeping change. However, the morning after the election there came a strange ‘calm after the storm’ feeling. The event was over, the voter mobilization done, and anyone whose favourite candidate lost, who wasn’t happy with the results, or who felt the wave of change had subsided, muttered a “next time.” But if you ask me, waiting four years to exercise your citizenship to advocate for change is far too long.

Read more

Look what we’ve accomplished, together

We want to say a sincere thank you to all of you who supported GreenPAC’s campaign to make the environment a political priority in Canada this federal election. Seven months ago, we set out to change federal politics by encouraging Canadians to support environmental champions running for office, and help get them elected.

Read more