Sunday, December 20, 2015

Quotations through the year ... perhaps they'll touch you too?

 Hello everyone,

I hope this note finds you well, as we head toward the end of 2015.  Not overburdened with Christmas or other celebration dinner plans, and certainly not having to do more shopping! 

I've just taken a browse through my 2015 Inner Reflections calendar, where I put quotations from whatever I happen to be reading, as the thought touches me, through the year.  This past year I've not filled in nearly as many days as usual; this is a pure reflection of being too busy with other things that aren't as important as taking the time to reflect  each day on someone else' thought, idea or belief.  Next year I'm going to try to get back to keeping the notes.

Below are some of the thoughts that I did record.  Individually or together, they have meaning ... and not always do they reconcile.  That's people and ideas!  That's one's own mind, over time and situations.

I hope some of the the quotations below have meaning for you, or spark your own train of thought and perhaps writing or action.

Best regards, as always,

Why's Woman

You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture.  Just get people to stop reading them. Ray Bradbury

Don't ask what the world needs.  Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.  Howard Thurman

The strength of collective silence is probably one of the most powerful spiritual forces.  Ursula Franklin

A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.  Leonard Nimoy

I ask only one thing of you: give me your hand.  I will not let go.  We are on a mission to help nature, our world, and our only home.  Together, we will succeed.  Diana Beresford-Kroeger, from The Sweetness of a Simple Life

I rage at the imminent loss of my friend. And I think, 'What would Terry [Pratchett] do with this anger?' Then I pick up my pen and I start to write.  Neil Gaimon

Granny Weatherwax' definition of sin: "When you treat people as things."

A good garden's built on basics.  The first is soil fertile enough to grow crops well and the second is the knowledge of how to make the soil fertile if it isn't.  Harry Dodson, from Harry Dodson's Practical Kitchen Garden, 1992, BBC Books

In nature's economy, the currency is not money - it is life.  Vandana Shiva

All it takes is one good person to restore hope.  Pope Francis

We need to discern who we are and expand on our humanness and sacredness.  That's how we change the world, which happens because WE will be the change.  Grace Lee Boggs

I veer between optimism and realism.  As ever, I like optimism better.  Elizabeth May, from COPS21, Dec. 7/15 report

The key to the future of the world is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known.  Pete Seeger

Things are impossible only until someone decides they're not.  Let's imagine a better future and work together to create a safer, cleaner and more just world.  David Suzuki

Prepare for the victory party.  Elizabeth May

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Final Agreement Reached at UN Climate Negotiations

Final Agreement Reached at UN Climate Negotiations
December 13, 2015          The following was posted by Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada. She has been at the COP21 climate talks in Paris ... where she's gotten the energy to make regular postings I don't know, but she has ... and hurray for her!

               The morning after 13 days - 3 all nighters…And the Paris Agreement is accepted. The COP21 decision is agreed. What does it all mean?
               I have been working on climate for the last 29 years. In that time I have seen lip service from most politicians, courage from a few politicians, venality from some corporations (Exxon come to mind), leadership from others. I have witnessed opportunity after opportunity squandered for political expediency.                Agreements signed and then ignored. Overall we have procrastinated and lost decades when we could have averted the climate crisis nearly entirely.
               Now we are in it. With loss of life and devastating droughts and heat waves, extreme weather events, sea level rise and loss of Arctic ice and permafrost. No longer are we arguing about a future problem. We have already changed the climate, so the debate of 2015 is “can we avoid the very worst of the climate crisis? Can we ensure the survival of human civilization? Can we save millions of species?” To do so requires transitioning off fossil fuels.
               You will undoubtedly hear some denounce the Paris Agreement for what it does not do. It does not respond with sufficient urgency. It does not use the levers available to governments to craft a treaty that is enforceable with trade sanctions to add some teeth. Those criticisms are fair. As trade lawyer Steven Shrybman said more than a decade ago “If governments cared as much about climate as they do about protecting intellectual property rights, we would have laws that require carbon reduction in every country on earth.”
               Nevertheless, the Paris Agreement is an historic and potentially life-saving agreement. It does more than many of us expected when the conference opened on November 30. It will be legally binding. It sets a long term temperature goal of no more than 1.5 degrees as far safer than the (also hard to achieve) goal of no more than 2 degrees. In doing so, it may save the lives of millions. It may lead to the survival of many small nations close to sea level. It may give our grandchildren a far more stable climate and thus a more prosperous and healthy society. It clearly means the world has accepted that most known reserves of fossil fuels must stay in the ground.
               It is absolutely true that Canada announcing support for 1.5 degrees mid-way through the conference made a huge difference in keeping that target in the treaty. I heard that from friends and contacts around the world.
               To avoid 1.5 requires immediate action. Unfortunately, the treaty is only to take effect in 2020 (after it is ratified by 55 countries, collectively representing 55% of world GHG emissions). We have built into the treaty mandatory global 5 year reviews – what is called the “ratcheting up mechanism.”
               The mechanism to force all governments to assess the adequacy of their own plans only kicks in in 2023. That gap from 2015 to 2023 could well foreclose any option to hold temperature to less than 1.5 or even 2 degrees.
               So in addition to the Paris Agreement we also passed the Decision of COP21. It includes some actions before 2020. The language there is far from perfect but gives us a chance to increase targets before 2020. In 2018, there will be a “facilitative dialogue” within the UN to assess the adequacy of targets and to prepare for new ones for 2020. The decision document is actually longer than the treaty itself and includes many actions to be undertaken within the ongoing UNFCCC COP process. Among them, the IPCC is requested to produce a report to COP spelling out what level of GHG emissions will lead us to holding global average temperatures to no more than 1.5 degrees C above those before the Industrial Revolution.
               Canadians can be rightly proud of what our government did in Paris. While I did not support our position on every single issue, I cannot be more proud of what we did on most issues, nor can I thank our newly minted (and now totally exhausted) Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, enough for her work.
               What matters now is what we do next. Canada’s climate target remains the one left behind by the previous government. We have no time to waste in re-vamping and improving our target. We should be prepared to improve it again in 2020. But let’s ensure we get started. The Liberal platform committed to, within 90 days of COP21, consultations with all provincial and territorial governments. In his speech at COP21, Trudeau expanded that to engaging with municipal governments and First Nations as well. That is all excellent. Ideally this sets in motion a quick-start to identifying a more ambitious target with actions spelled out in the spring 2016 budget.
               Earth Day 2016 has been chosen in the decision document as the day for formal signatures to the Paris Agreement. Ban Ki-moon has been requested to organize a signing ceremony in New York at UN headquarters. Let’s all take a moment to send a thank you note to Prime Minister Trudeau and Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna and urge that Canada’s new target be ready to be tabled at the UN on April 22, 2016 when Canada shows up to encourage all other countries to improve their own targets.
               Paris threw us a lifeline. Don’t let it slip between our fingers.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

100 Canadian Communities endorse environmental rights

Good morning everyone,

Just received an email from the David Suzuki Foundation.

Toronto, Ontario has became the 100th community to pass a Blue Dot municipal environmental rights declaration — a significant step towards ensuring that all levels of government recognize your right to breathe fresh air, drink clean water, eat safe food and have a say in the decisions that affect your health and well-being.

This means that, so far, 8,000,000 Canadians live in cities that have said formally that citizens have a right to drink clean water, breathe fresh air, eat safe food and have a say in health and well-being decisions.

This is pretty great.  The initiative was launched in September 2014 by the David Suzuki Foundation, and there's more information about it here

I'm going to do some checking at London, Ontario City Hall to find out how it is that London isn't on the list!

Best regards,

Why's Woman