Environment

Double messages

FREE_PHOTO_CreditRicLander3-1024x683.jpg

Fossil fuel corporations are now faced with push back from those who recognize that they cannot foster impressions that they support environmental campaigns while continuing to pollute the atmosphere. We’re getting full page advertisements of how necessary oil sands industries are to our country - remember that they used to be called tar sands.

As we approach a crucial election in one Canadian province, we all have choices to make. Some in other parts of the world are responding to duel messages and you can read about one of them here.

Nature Needs Half

rainbow.jpg

I’ve been busy enough travelling and catching up on event posting and neglecting things to put here. This one is easy - a Podcast reminding us that Nature Needs Half.

Join our hosts, Ruth Midgley and Courtney Burk, while they talk to experts from around the world on the problems facing nature and how we can solve them. From elephants in Mali to mangrove forests in the Kingdom of Tonga, the Nature Needs Half Podcast will explore biodiversity, talk about our relationship to the planet, and introduce you to the people who are fighting to save nature.

Nature Needs Half is an international movement to give nature the space it needs to thrive and benefit all life on earth. You can find the podcast here, where I’m looking forward to hearing it too.

Today's Leaders Have Arrived

LookUsInTheEyes.jpg

Recently I watched a video of a panel in Georgia where a member of the audience asked panelist Mary Evelyn Tucker, “Where are today’s leaders”? He referenced some names of famous adults; Tucker reminded him that Martin Luther King was 26 years of age when he started his crusade for freedom. The moderator noted that emerging leaders are even younger and challenged the audience to watch Greta Thunberg tell us how we are doing so far.

Greta.jpg

You can see a recent talk here.

Thunberg says that she recognized the crisis on her own and her parents listened to her concerns. Her single action of sitting outside the Swedish Parliament She has inspired thousands of other teens to join her and has spoken at those who enjoy the title of leaders at the UN and Davos.

josephine-best-picture.jpg



At the recent WaterDocs festival I became aware of another young leader, Autumn Peltier, who sat at the feet of her great aunt. Josephine Mandamin, known as Grandmother Josephine. She was an Anishinaabe grandmother, elder and water activist involved with the Mother Earth Water Walkers.  They have riased awareness of the importance of water and our need to protect it.

Autumn.jpg

Her great niece, Autumn Peltier carries the torch after re great aunt’s recent death and has already spoken to the United Nations on World Water Day in 2018 and earlier berated Canada’s Prime Minister for his inattention to the importance of Water. She connected with Swedish activism by attending the Children’s summit where she shared her story of the sacredness of water from an indigenous perspective. You can see her UN address here.

Both of these young women in their mid teens have a long perspective - already imagining themselves as grandmothers and having to tell their grandchildren how negligent we were in facing up to reality. They already show the pain of their wisdom in their serious young faces when they speak. At very least it has inspired me to share the story of the Water Walkers with the younger children that I know. As information speeds up, they know too much already and will hold us accountable.

Artists and Water

I’m looking forward to attending the WaterDocs Festival in Toronto next week. One person heavily involved in the film festival before her death was Marjorie Sharpe who was also the founder of the Toronto Community Foundation. The arts organization that I headed up for in the 1980’s was the Foundation’s first grant recipient and it was a privilege to connect with her every year - and wonderful to learn only now of her passion for water and the need to care for it.

Thomas Berry stressed the need for all disciplines and organizations to converge in the great work of telling the new story. The young founder of Unify noted in a presentation at the 2018 Parliament of World Religions that film is the Shakespeare of our day in terms of impact -and his own film on water attests to this, Music is a natural too - and I look forward to coming performances of Missa Gaia.

But I was especially moved by Bill McKibben’s article last fall about the role of two young poets. One watches ice turn to water. Another sees her home go under water. The UN reports give access to real rather than alternative facts. But we human beings need stories to bring the truth home in a way that encourages us to change. It was Shelley who told us that “poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world". See how the poets help McKibben bring reality to this very important message.

You can see the full article here which also contains this video:

Out of Fashion

Fashion appears to be killing us. Fast Company tells us several really disturbing things about its effects.

  • Think you are helping by sending your old clothes to Goodwill? In California alone, the company spends seven million on dumping them.

  • In Vasteras, a town in Sweden, a power plant relies on unsold H&M products as a fuel source.

  • Every piece of unsold clothing has relied upon materials to make and package them and fuel to transport them. Now destroying them takes additional resources that are destroying us.

  • Clothing companies are making 53 million tons of clothes. Much of it ends up in landfill or in oceans; much of it includes plastics.

The writer of the article notes that some companies are trying to reduce their carbon footprint. Nevertheless 100 billion pieces of new clothing for the seven billion humans on the planet in 2015 and that number has doubled in 15 years. The 80-20 rule also applies. We wear 20% of what we have 80% of the time.

The journalist’s solution is to buy better quality and more expensive and fewer clothes. But she doesn’t deal with the reality that those of us in the West have far more clothes than we need already - or that our identity is tied so closely to what we wear. Other kinds of beauty are all around us. We’re not the most important species on the planet and the most clothes or the most luxurious clothes will never change that.

A recent documentary of CBC’s The Passionate Eye documents the real cost of cheap fashion to those who produce it ad you can watch it here. The effects of the use of water is particularly sobering and the devastation of the environment is heart-breaking. The telling moment is when some of the young women who promote fast fashion on their websites saw this for themselves, they changed their attitude. Telling the full story to the consumers is our greatest challenge.