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.

When a turtle isn't just a turtle

Here in Ottawa, at the national office, we primarily deal with national/federal issues.  Our chapters deal with regional/provincial issues and our local groups obviously deal with local issues.

Nonetheless, sitting around the office one staff meeting day, a  local Ottawa population of Blanding's Turtle made it into the conversation.  This species of turtle is a very distinctive, fairly large turtle with a yellow belly and can live to be 75 years old.  They are also listed as a threatened species by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and as an endangered species by the 2007 Ontario Endangered Species Act.

These turtles call a pristine piece of wetland home, which is located just a short drive from Parliament Hill and is one of the few remaining large swaths of green space in Ottawa.... Read more »

Ignorance, Attachment and Aversion

Sierra Club Canada was called extremist last week by a Saskatchewan radio personality in an article published in the Regina Star Phoenix.

Why is a bald father of three who is concerned about what kind of future his daughters will have an "extremist"? Why is wasting a billion dollars of taxpayers' money not a matter of concern to a person with Mr. Gormley's political outlook? These are questions that had my head shaking this week.

For our society to progress and flourish we must eliminate: ignorance, attachment and aversion. Mr. Gormley appears to be clinging tightly to all three. His path of pointing figures and calling names is a symptom.

The well-funded disinformation campaign of the climate change deniers is playing on our ignorance of science, our attachment to our lifestyle and our aversion to change.... Read more »

Shell’s Disguised Ad Campaigns

Anyone out there been looking through the weekend Canwest papers lately? – You may have noticed this great read.

It seems Shell Canada has taken it upon itself to explain climate change. Apparently scraping up and burning every glob of tar in Alberta is part of the solution. And a lot of nice photogenic people work for Shell too!

What I don't understand is why the company is so shy about letting us readers know it is paying Canwest to print full-page ads in its papers across the country.... Read more »

Shell & Canwest bring you an "Information feature"

We've been chatting the past couple days, here in the office, over an interesting full page article...err..."special information feature on climate change" that has appeared in the Ottawa Citizen (and the National Post, Calgary Herald, Montreal Gazette, Vancouver Sun, and possibly others) the past couple of weekends. 

Indeed, it is quite unclear what this thing is.  It looks like a regular newspaper article, has nice pictures, is seemingly well-written, and would appear to be written by a legitimate journalist.  Yet, something isn't quite right.

The full title reads "New Energy Future: The Energy Challenge and Environmental Responsibility."  So far so good.  I'm intrigued really - until the next line that is: "A six-week Canwest special information feature on climate change, in partnership with Shell Canada."  ... Read more »

The Blackmail Begins

One of the reasons I still read the newspaper (besides being old) is the chance you might come across something you're not looking for.  You can't google, "What might be important or interesting?"

I was flipping through the Globe and Mail this morning and accidentally discovered a case of corporate blackmail.  It was subtle and I would not have spotted it without the words "environmental rules" in the title (Yes, I could have googled "environmental," but I would have received thousands of meaningless hits).

UTS Energy Corp apparently owns 20% of the proposed Foot Hills tar sands mine and last week it announced it was lowering its estimate of the recoverable bitumen (natural form of tar) reserves.  The company says only 490 million barrels can be economically extracted from the 2 to 4 billion barrels at the site.  Why is this?... Read more »

Changing the Channel

Riding on the bus this morning I was pondering how good Québec Premier Jean Charest looked standing up to Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment, this week. 

On Monday, Mr. Prentice attacked Québec for establishing California standards for car emissions which are tougher than the Xeroxing of U.S. federal fuel economy regulations that Mr. Prentice had his staff do in order to create national mileage regulations for Canada.  Prentice talked about Quebec going alone when in fact there are 14 U.S. states and four other provinces in Canada that are all going down the same road.... Read more »

Battling for a Security Council Seat - will the environment play a role?

Sometimes I like to pretend I know the future.  I like to imagine how things could play out if only...

Before I get to that though, let me begin with what I know.

In 2008, Canada stated its intention to run for a non-permanent seat in the infamous United Nations Security Council for 2011-12  (Click here for more info).  As per the rules of these elections, which are designed to ensure more equal represenation, two of the five seats (there are 10 non-permanent and 5 permanent members) that are up for an election in October of this year will come from the Western European and Others Group of which Canada belongs.... Read more »

What's going on behind the scenes

In my short time at Sierra Club Canada, I've noticed and been a part of a number of changes here.  On a personal note, I went from being an intern to Campaign Coordinator.  Where before I found myself in largely a learning role, I now handle some more responsibility (though I still have a lot to learn) and am actively involved in a couple of different campaigns - namely waste diversion and water.

From the time I started in September until December, the focus was on transitioning toward being a more responsive, more modern organization.  This meant not just a new website, but also a new approach to how we engage with you and Canadian society more generally.

To that end, I'd like to quickly emphasize a couple of ways in which we are moving forward. ... Read more »

2 years, 2 weeks, and 12 paragraphs

Delegates from over 180 countries stood and applauded.  UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer said, “This is a real breakthrough, a real opportunity for the international community to successfully fight climate change.”  This was the reaction from two years ago following the conclusion of COP 13 in Bali, Indonesia.

From the Bali conference, came the “Bali roadmap,” which was to lay the foundations for a future international agreement on climate change.  To further add impetus, COP 15 in Copenhagen was set as a deadline to get a deal finalized.

Over those two years, representatives from countries around the world convened periodically at a number of UNFCCC meetings to talk and negotiate in preparation for COP 15.

Then came the big show.  There were thousands of protesters, hundreds of arrests, thousands of delegates, and over a hundred world leaders present. 

Denmark seemed overwhelmed.  So too did the UNFCCC.... Read more »

READ THE BLOG of Sierra Club Canada Foundation's Program Director John Bennett and follow him on TWITTER


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