The Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice is a centre for global justice advocating for the people most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change – the poor, the disempowered and the marginalised across the world.
After the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report in 2018, Ms. Robinson — Baby Boomer and President of Ireland 1990-1997 — said:
Governments are not responding adequately to the stark reality that the IPCC is pointing to: that we have about 11 years to make really significant change…
I don’t think as a human race that we can be so stupid that we can’t face an existential threat together and find a common humanity and solidarity to respond to it. Because we do have the capacity and the means to do it – if we have the political will.
Feeling a complete inability to do anything – ‘This is too big for me, I give up’ – that’s no use to anybody. [With] despair, all the energy to do something goes out of the room.
Robinson went on to say:
Future governments won’t be able to do what governments now have 11 years to do. In the future, we will have these tipping points – the Arctic will be gone, the coral reefs will be gone, the permafrost will be dissolving … all these things will just spin us out of control.
Four years have passed since Robinson spoke those words. Governments have not done the things needed. In Canada, particularly in the western provinces, politicians raised middle fingers to climate scientists, to the Earth and to humanity. Tens of billions of taxpayers dollars have been committed to oil, gas and coal consumption, even though fossil fuels must stay underground.
I hear from people who acknowledge that Canadians are world leaders in GHG emissions, but say that our population is small so we don’t have much global impact. We should continue doing as we do, they say. Let corporations profit from resource extraction and worry about consequences later. Enjoy the good; ignore the bad.
That position supports Mary Robinson’s description of people surrendering to problems they believe are too complex and beyond their ability to respond.
Austin Brown, energy expert and Professor at University of California Davis, suggests something other than capitulation. He says working together is humanity’s superpower, a tool that can solve problems like climate change.
Climate change is a collective problem that needs collective action.
So one of the most powerful things you can do to fight climate change is to help empower groups working to fight climate change at a larger scale. Engaging in climate change at a collective level can also be socially and personally rewarding.
Professor Brown suggests actions each of us can take:
- Vote with your vote. — Politicians’ votes are influenced by many factors, including powerful lobbying interests. But at the end of the day, politicians know that their constituents have the power to keep them in office or vote them out.
- Vote with your voice. — If you’re not sure how to start talking to people about climate change, check out this handy guide from The Nature Conservancy.
- Vote with your time. — People can work to address climate change through local education initiatives, fundraising campaigns, and more
- Vote with your money. — Donations to climate-progressive politicians, social action groups, and environmental nonprofits and philanthropic foundations make a huge difference.
Dr. Brown says climate change is real. It’s here, it’s scary, and it’s getting worse. Informed people know we cannot wait until 2030, 2040 or 2050 to act.
As mentioned in comments.
Categories: Climate Change
Well we will have to see how BCers play this out. The good news is that Horgan
is going. A real failure as a leader on major issues concerning climate.
Look at the number of NDP in caucus. Does that warm the cockles of your
heart that there will be a new “answer the bell” change from our path to
extinction. A small sliver of common sense was kicked to the curb when
we voted no to proportional representation.
George Monbiot sums it up pretty well in his latest post. We are definitely
in the “Casey Strikes Out” era of out existence and the angle of decent
is increasing exponentially. You can’t begin to reach for tools to correct
damaging direction taken by political forces when you don’t live in a true
I presume John Horgan’s replacement will not alter the current plan to deal with climate change primarily by issuing press releases and hollow promises. Nor will forestry, natural gas and education policies change.
There have been no indicators that any NDP cabinet minister is uncomfortable with present strategy. Success in the 2020 general election encourages the party to continue following Horgan’s choices.
The BC NDP party membership has no real power and the leader exercises strong control of caucus. Without facing impending defeat at the polls, the NDP will be little different in 2024 than in 2022.
Very hard sometimes to shed the feeling that Homo sapiens does not deserve this planet given the scope of degradation we continue to visit upon its land, water, and atmosphere. And harder yet to optimistically imagine the timely turnaround necessary.
Locally, where we have most control, we elected a government of ecological charlatans, whose new leader will be chosen from the ranks of those who either support the irresponsible idiocy that will see productive farmland forever destroyed in order to construct a financially indefensible project to gift electricity to an industry that will use it to produce a proven planet-killer, or are too timid to oppose it. And if we tire of them, waiting in the wings is a group looking to change its name in an attempt to distract us from its shameful past, led by a man who shares responsibility for that past, and with a track record that indicates the fossil-fuel industry would not be unhappy to see him in the big chair. Meanwhile, groups motivated enough to protest in the forest or the street face the wrath of the public, the police, and the court.
Nationally, where we have somewhat less control, we elected a government that bought an oil and gas pipeline to markedly increase shipment of some of the dirtiest fuel on the planet, nuttily claiming it was necessary to raise funds to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Waiting there in the wings is a group of world-class nuts that makes no bones about the fact it is all in on increasing fossil fuel production. It’s putative leaders march with wing nuts advocating against any controls on anything. The national police force acts to enforce court orders to facilitate building pipelines through pristine wilderness.
Internationally, where we have virtually no control and the vast majority of the planet’s degradation is emanating, our fellow inhabitants are fairing no better, many preoccupied with killing each other, and authoritarianism is on the rise. The stacked U.S. Supreme Court actively blocks attempts to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
If extraterrestrials do visit the third rock from the Sun in the future there’s a good chance a rock is all they’ll find.
I recently had a very limited viewing of a energy storage system just put into service in Finland . They have stored energy in the form of heat ( up to 500 degrees C I think) in a silo of sand. No mention was made of silo insulation nor any details of the type of sand. What they are trying to do is capture heat from solar panels , wind turbines and other natural energy sources then reverse when needed , winter of course.
Have you or any others who read your blogs knowledge of this system and its details?
This may be what you are referencing. It was on the BBC website the other day.
Thanks Lew. This could be a game changer here in Canada.
Polar Night Energy is to be congratulated on getting involved.
I know sales pitches are not welcome in some places but more info would be welcomed by myself.
Polar Night Energy:
STORE WIND AND SOLAR POWER AS HEAT IN SAND
Our novel solution enables the up-scaling of solar or wind energy to up to 100% of your heating and electricity demand. The core of our solution is our patented high-temperature large scale heat storage.
WE USE REALLY, REALLY HOT SAND AS THE STORAGE MEDIUM
We convert electricity to heat, and store it for later use. We use sand as the storage medium, which leads to safe operation and a natural balance in the storage cycle. Additionally, sand is a cheap and abundant material, which can be heated up to 1000 °C and even higher.
Inside the sand we build our heat transfer system that enables effective energy transportation to and from the storage. Proper insulation between the storage and environment ensures long storing period, up to months, with minimal heat losses.
The size of our storages varies from tens to thousands of cubic meters. It is possible to locate the storage underground, reserving minimal space from the often highly valued square meters in construction sites.
The system can discharge a maximum of 100kW of heat power and has a total energy capacity of 8MWh, equating to up to 80 hours’ storage duration, but now authorities want to scale the system to one a thousand times bigger, or 8GWh, according to a report from UK broadcaster BBC.
BBC: SAND BATTERY