NYC Stepping it Up


The Plan is to Divest from Fossil Fuels and Sue the Big Oil Companies

NYC’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, announced this week his administration’s intention to divest the city’s pension funds from any fossil fuel related investments. This amounts to approximately 5 billion dollars worth of assets, out of the entire $189 billion pension pool. Serious coin. Understanding that this can be potentially complicated, as the funds need to maintain certain returns and so forth, the goal is to achieve this within 5 years.

While the amount is significant, but not astronomical in the grand scheme of things, it also works to send a message that NYC is listening to the concerns of its citizens and attempting to demonstrate leadership when it comes to climate change. The city has already been feeling the effects of global warming, particularly with the beating it took from Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The mayor has therefore made it clear that he does not stand with the Trump administration in their decision to pull the US from the Paris Climate Accord, but would rather stand with concerned citizens who want to protect their environment (and consequently themselves) from catastrophic climate change.

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The Candian Government Meets to Talk Climate Change



Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a public consultation on combating climate change. It was the first such hearing offered here in Montreal by the incoming (Liberal) federal government. This type of event was definitely not a priority for the previous government, nor was combating climate change. It is evident however that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his new cabinet have sincerely taken steps towards increased transparency and inclusion. Having said that, those of us strongly concerned with climate change really want our governments to be doing more, and therefore public consultations are indeed a vital part of the process.

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The Struggle for Survival

Film Recommendation

The Island President (2011)

Getting the Word Out

This documentary follows Mohamed Nasheed the (then) president of the Republic of Maldives on his quest to generate the necessary attention and subsequent policy measures required to help prevent his country from being swallowed up by climate change. The Maldives, a collections of islands in the Indian Ocean, is home to aprx. 350, 000 (human) inhabitants all of whom are in danger of becoming climate refugees as global temperatures increase and ocean waters rise.

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Pulling the Strings

Film Recommendation

Citizen Koch (2014)

The Koch family is the USA’s second richest. Their fortune is predominantly based in companies that specialize in fossil fuel exploitation, from coal and petroleum to pipelines and natural gas, but they also own manufacturing, mining, and investment companies. There are four Koch brothers in total, but those that get the most attention are the current heads of Koch Industries, Charles and David Koch, aka “the Koch Brothers.” They are individually worth in the tens of billions, and they leverage their considerable wealth to advance their political agenda, which consists mainly of ensuring that the USA remains fossil fuel dependent. Not only do they donate vast sums of money to the political establishment (mostly US Republicans) that will entrench the status quo (ie. subsidies and tax breaks to the oil companies and limited environmental protection legislation), they also spend hundreds of millions of dollars trying to influence the public that climate change is dubious and government action is a threat to freedom. Continue reading

Questionable Ownership

Film Recommendation

Bottled Life (2012)

This admittedly disturbing documentary following the business practices of Nestle, the planet’s largest food and beverage company, with regards to how they pursue bottled water as a beverage product. As the documentary unfolds the view gets a glimpse of the manner in which this company exploits local environments, and corresponding governments, in the unquenchable pursuit of greater profits. While the realization of this corporate behavior can leave the viewer unsettled, it also encourages active involvement, as an informed citizenship (and consumer) can subsequently learn to make better choices. I encourage you to give it a view.

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How To Save Democracy and Ourselves


-Revised Jan 2018-

For the People, By the People

As was so eloquently expressed by US President Abraham Lincoln in his famed Gettysburg Address, a government is made up by its people in order to serve the interests of its people. Concordantly, a legal system is established to represent the regulations by with a people are governed. Such laws of the land are therefore written and passed with the intended purpose of protecting and benefiting said society. In simple terms, they are passed because people want them.

People therefore make up the foundation of the governance system. It is society that generates the demand for rules and regulations, and it is then government’s role to respond to that demand. That’s pretty much how things work in a system designed to represent the needs of the people (a.k.a. democracy). As time passes, new needs arise, which result in new laws, government organizations, etc. It should then come as no surprise to the reader that, at some point, new laws need to be introduced. Whether this is due to the inability of existing laws to effectively address an issue, or from the desire to revise established laws and update them to better reflect society’s evolution, governance is by no means static. Things can, and do change. It may be hard fought in the majority of cases, but ultimately it is up to the people that form society to provoke this transformation. Hopes and frustrations motivate individuals to champion a cause, inspire and mobilize communities, and form organizations that support their beliefs.  As people come together to march in protest and call for change, pressure and awareness grow (as well as the risk of potential retribution), until those in government respond to the demand, or lose their place to those that will.

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