Sierra Club Blog Posts

This page shows a collection of all of Sierra Club Canada's blog posts, shown in chronological order. To view the full post, click on its title.

I don't know about you, but I’m absolutely shocked

Canada's energy ministers met in Kananaskis this week. This was the first meeting since the meltdown of the Fukushima reactor in Japan. The first since the unprecedented floods in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Québec. The first since 900 temperature records were set in the United States. The first since the Town of Slave Lake was nearly destroyed by a wild fire. And it was taking place while Canada was in the midst of a record-setting heat and scientists were marveling over the appearance of an ice sheet off Newfoundland half the size of New York (that broke off in Greenland).

You would think the ministers might have been taking about what all this means to Canada and our future. Or at least what Canada should be doing energy wise to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and phase-out nuclear power. At least I did, but then again I'm environmentalist and by definition an optimist.
... Read more »

Climate Change Art


A big thanks to Christopher Gill for the great cartoon.

-- The Sierra Club Canada Team


A big thanks to Christopher Gill for the great cartoon.

-- The Sierra Club Canada Team


A big thanks to Christopher Gill for the great cartoon.

-- The Sierra Club Canada Team

JULY 2011... Read more »

Action Report from Europe - International Stop the Tar Sands Day

BERLIN, GERMANY - Ok, I will admit, this is a little ridiculous. It took me nearly a month to post something on how things went on June 18th for International Stop the Tar Sands Day 2011. I promise I have a very good excuse, but I will get to that later.

First, what happened on June 18th here in Europe.

In most parts of Europe the weather was not too great on June 18th. It actually began to rain just as we were setting things up in front of the Canadian embassy in Berlin.  But like last year the rain stopped just before we before our "demo-fest"  (demonstration + festival) began and held off for the next two hours. Mother Nature was on our side again!... Read more »

What is International Stop the Tar Sands Day?

Tomorrow is going to be a day to remember.....

BERLIN, GERMANY - Surprisingly, the question - what is International Stop the Tar Sands Day? -  does not come up that often. With 50 actions in Canada, USA, Europe, Australia and New Zealand due to kick off this weekend in support of shutting down the tar sands of northern Alberta I thought maybe it was time I answered this question.

I am not going to get into the origins of the Day because you can just go to my very first posts for that. I want to explain what the Day is about.

First and foremost, International Stop the Tar Sands Day is about raising awareness.  In order to do anything about any problem, you need to be aware of it and you need to understand it. There is a beautiful quote from Jane Goodall on how this formula for success works:... Read more »

Our Numbers are Growing

International Stop the Tar Sands Day 2011 is going to be the biggest event in support of shutting down the Alberta tar sands ever!

BERLIN, GERMANY - Last time I wrote I was bouncing off the walls with excitement because of 10 actions planned for 10 major US cities as part of International Stop the Tar Sands Day on June 18th, 2011. Those numbers seem so small compared to what we have right now.

New events seem to pop up every few days so it is getting hard to keep track. This was our events count the last time I checked:... Read more »

Take a Pic, Stop the Tar Sands!

There is more than one way to stop the tar sands.....

BERLIN, GERMANY - The idea came about in a conversation with Micha, who along with Ries are our organisers of International Stop the Tar Sands Day (June 18th) in Amsterdam. I had traveled to Middelburg, Netherlands shortly after returning to Europe from Mexico to meet Micha for the first time. The federal election had just been called in Canada and I was very doubtful that any our events would get off the ground in Canada this year because most concerned Canadians had thrown themselves into working on the election. Fair enough. A healthy democracy = a healthy environment and vice versa.... Read more »

What was the day called again?

BERLIN, GERMANY – I am sorry that it has been a while since I have written anything for my blog. My adventures in Latin America ended about a month ago and I have been meaning to write, but getting settled back into life in Europe took a lot longer than I thought. I can assure you International Stop the Tar Sands Day (June 18th, 2011) is alive and well! In fact I have some pretty big news to deliver:

On June 15th, LUSH Cosmetics (the people who make those wonderful soaps) will hold their own ´stop the tar sands´ actions across Europe to draw attention to the disaster that is the tar sands and to promote International Stop the Tar Sands Day! What is LUSH planning for June 15th? Well, I could tell you, but that would ruin the surprise! I can tell you that it will be taking place in front of LUSH stores in 20 different European capitals. Stay tuned!... Read more »

Harper’s support for asbestos immoral

When asbestos is cut, ground-up or disturbed, tiny fibres become airborne where they stay for a long time. People working with, or around, asbestos end up with these tiny fibres embedded deep in their lungs.

What happens next is not pretty - the tiny asbestos fibres lead to:
  • pleural diseases and plaques (thickening/hardening of the lining that covers the lungs & chest);
  • mesothelioma and other kinds of lung cancer; and
  • cancers of the larynx and digestive system, including cancer of the esophagus, stomach and colon.

At first, people are short of breath when they do any kind of physical activity. This condition gets progressive worse until people are short of breath even when they are resting. Eventually they cannot breathe.

That’s why Stephen Harper’s support for the asbestos industry is irresponsible vote pandering.... Read more »

To be or not to be

Well, the election that nobody wants is upon us.

We're not partisan, so we don't back a particular party. But we are not disinterested - Sierra Club Canada has a purpose and it has been thoroughly thwarted for the last five years.

So what should our role be in an election? 

Some advise a long-term approach of getting along with all parties, believing the logic of our arguments and truth of our facts will eventually win them all over. This approach prevents you from saying anything too critical during an election as to not alienate the winner. 

Some suggest targeted intervention, drawing attention to party positions and promises. Done in a fair and open way, and treating all parties the same, report cards and other comparisons at least give voters a sense of how the environment might fair after an election.... Read more »

Thinking about Japan ...

I've been hesitating.

It's not like me but what's happening in Japan has given me pause.

Before it's over we may see radiation spread around the entire Pacific. People won't be incinerated - but thousands could develop cancers and fade away in agony.

Meanwhile Michael Binder, head of Canada's nuclear safety commission, will be all over the media assuring us there is “nothing to worry about”, that “CANDUs are different … They’re a different technology” and that there is no earthquake risk: “They’re not near fault lines.”

So were Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.

There is always a way to spin the story but, spin aside, we are taking tremendous, unjustified risks in Canada.  We owe it to our children and theirs to stop the insanity.
... Read more »

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