Are Divestments Working?

Old Pump

What We’re Dealing With

Divestment is “the act of selling off a business/es, or of no longer investing money in something,” (Cambridge Dictionary). Basically pulling your money from organizations that you no longer believe to be of sound investment, or that you have come to disagree with as a result of their corporate actions and operations. In the context of climate change, the movement to divest represents the growing trend to withdraw investments from companies that deal in fossil fuels (such as coal & petroleum), and consequently endanger our future and that of the planet.

Oil companies make up some of the largest corporations on the planet, and it takes an astounding amount of money to maintain and grow their operations. Not only do many of these companies receive considerable tax breaks and subsidies (as well as externalize the environmental costs), they also collect huge cash injections from private investors. These investors may be individuals, but often times they are management funds, or collective investments, from a large number of people who may not be fully aware of where exactly their money is ending up.

For many, this type of investment may come in the form of pensions savings, where the initial priority is often the financial return, rather than what organizations the funds are supporting. This pattern of passive investment on behalf of citizens is what social and environmental activists are drawing attention to with their call to “go fossil free.”

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A Sustainable Source of Quality Jobs

Book Recommendation

The Green Collar Economy

by Van Jones (2008)

Green Collar

Van Jones makes the case for the renewable energy sector as a force for environmental and economic good. Climate change is indeed a terrible man-made crisis, but it also presents an opportunity for societies to shed their fossil fuel dependency and offer leadership through alternatives and innovation. Globalization has transferred millions of manufacturing jobs away from developed nations towards the developing world. This need not be viewed as a bad thing for the developed states (although labour conditions in the developing world are still in need of dramatic improvement). Rather, it provides the chance for the US, and other prosperous countries, to invest in the future and expand the skills of their citizens.

Jobs in the renewable energy sector, and the “Green” industry at large, represent the new model for blue collar jobs which, by their nature, are both local and better paying. As he explains, The Green Collar Economy can therefore work towards resolving climate change, as well as being a source of meaningful, well-paying jobs that will thereby benefit the economy.  Throughout the book, Jones goes on to back up his vision with impressive facts, as well as powerful community success stories. He is also personally involved in a number of initiatives, as well as being the President & Founder of Green for All, an organization that supports the green economy and seeks to help minorities and poor communities.

We encourage our readers to borrow books when they can, but if you choose to purchase a copy click HERE to order via Amazon, and support this blog in the process. 

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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5 Ways to Become Sustainably Motivated 

Will Ferrel in awe

-Updated Jan 2018-

Find Your Inspiration

If you’re looking for how you can adopt the sustainability mindset, look to what inspires you. Get exploring, and discover (if you haven’t already) what you love most about the world! Is it the oceans and beaches, mountains and forests, or perhaps the incredible animals that inhabit the planet with us? It might even be the people! Yes, other amazing, wonderful and frustrating, heart-breaking, ridiculous, and inspiring human beings. Life, and the vastly complex systems that make it all possible, really is miraculous, and the more you learn, the greater appreciation you get for how amazing it truly is! Use this revelation to motivate you to do good in this world, and help maintain the natural balance for yourself, and our future generations.

It’s terribly important that we regain our awareness of the environment, and curb our abuse and overconsumption of nature’s resources. We need to revaluate what we’re doing. This doesn’t just mean a forced reduction on everything (although there is certainly an excess), but it should certainly incentivize us to find alternative means for satisfying our needs. I strongly encourage sustainability as a mentality with which to view our world, and acknowledge our place in it. Below, I’ve share some practical applications and guidance on how to get onto the sustainability path and adopt for yourself a greener, healthier, and (hopefully) more satisfactory lifestyle.

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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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