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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Unravelling the Narrative

Film Recommendation

This Changes Everything (2015)

Time for a Rewrite

This documentary reexamines the paradigm of mankind’s dominance over nature, and investigates the impact of fossil fuel demands on both the environment and society.  According to the film, the 400-year-old tale of human science’s conquest of nature, and its application in the quest for limitless economic growth, is false and untenable. The planet can no longer support the status quo, and the consequences of this dated mindset are rapidly catching up. Although potentially heart-wrenching at times, the doc does seek to offer hope to viewers through the numerous activists and organizations that are taking part in the struggle for 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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The Illusion of Choice

Film Recommendation

The Lottery of Birth (2013)

This is a deeply power documentary! While not long by film standards ( 1h 17min), it packs quite a bunch. The filmmakers present a number of speakers that challenge the audience’s world view, and how it was conceived. Interviewing a range of intellectuals, including writers, philosophers, historians and neuroscientists, to name a few, they make the case by which much of our identities are shaped from birth without it being fully realized or appreciated by the individual. We are all born into a country, culture, religion, and environment that is already exerting its forces upon us, and unless we actively question and challenge this paradigm, we are simply supporting the status quo.

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Waste Not, Want Not

Film Recommendation

Trashed (2012)

Jeremy Irons takes us on a journey through our waste, as he investigates it’s impact on our world. This is a moving documentary that will hopefully encourage a greater awareness of our trash and what it does to people and wildlife around the planet. There are indeed deeply saddening examples of those afflicted, as viewers bare witness to a small dose of the tremendous burden being carried by nature and the world’s poor. The documentary is effective in highlighting the glaring deficiency in the current status quo with regards our waste and the immense opportunity for it to be improved.

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The Business Case for Solving Global Issues

TED Recommendation

Michael Porter: Why business can be good at solving social problems

This has been one of my favorite TED Talks in pulling together the various factors that currently plague society, and simplifying it into digestible form. The speaker, Michael Porter, is considered a management guru and likely anyone who has taken any formal business classes has heard his name. His biggest claim to fame is the establishment of what is now referred to as the Porter’s Five Forces model. It is essentially a tool for assessing the various external factors that will effect your business. In his talk, Porter basically extents his analytical framework into the social realm. What are some of the biggest problems facing the planet today, and how can we solve them?

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