Housed

For the first time since I moved out of Massey College in May, I have permanent accommodation.

My aunt Roksoliana helped me move out of the room they have been kindly letting me use, and set me up with a large infusion of food as a moving out / birthday gift.

For the next eight days, my absolute priority has to be grading: both papers from my undergrad Canadian politics course and from my graduate level environmental decision-making course.

After that, it will be a hard push on the thesis proposal.

At some point, I will have to find time to start unpacking boxes and to make it possible to move around my room without jumping over stacks of them.

Protests banned at COP21

Naomi Klein on Paris’ decision to ban “outdoor events” during the forthcoming climate negotiations:

Rather, after the horrific attacks of 13 November, it needed to determine whether it had the will and capacity to host the whole summit – with full participation from civil society, including in the streets. If it could not, it should have delayed and asked another country to step in. Instead the Hollande government has made a series of decisions that reflect a very particular set of values and priorities about who and what will get the full security protection of the state. Yes to world leaders, football matches and Christmas markets; no to climate marches and protests pointing out that the negotiations, with the current level of emission targets, endanger the lives and livelihoods of millions if not billions of people.

It is worth thinking about what the decision to cancel marches and protests means in real, as well as symbolic, terms. Climate change is a moral crisis because every time governments of wealthy nations fail to act, it sends a message that we in the global north are putting our immediate comfort and economic security ahead of the suffering and survival of some of the poorest and most vulnerable people on Earth. The decision to ban the most important spaces where the voices of climate-impacted people would have been heard is a dramatic expression of this profoundly unethical abuse of power: once again, a wealthy western country is putting security for elites ahead of the interests of those fighting for survival. Once again, the message is: our security is non-negotiable, yours is up for grabs.

The world has failed twenty times in a row to adequately address climate change. Another failure in Paris this year would have consequences in human suffering that massively dwarf what any terrorist group (or all global terrorism put together) is able to inflict.

Alberta’s 2015 climate plan

There’s a mass of news coverage and punditry about Alberta’s newly-announced pre-Paris climate change plan:

To me, this seems like a useful step forward: an acknowledgement that Alberta must act to curb climate pollution and that fossil fuel expansion cannot continue forever.

That said, this is all happening late. We should have stopped expansion decades ago and by this point jurisdictions like Canada with high GDP per capita and very high GHG pollution per capita should be on the downslope of cutting back aggressively.

Academic work and insect strategy

Life is hectic with advising my undergraduate students on the first written assignment while grading assignments from the graduate course where I am a TA.

I have been using a few breaks to play the excellent and engrossing boardless board game Hive, both online and with the portable pocket set. I haven’t progressed to the advanced mosquito and ladybug pieces, but I have been getting better at effectively pinning the enemy queen and at thinking in terms of the game’s tempos.

Once this round of grading has been wrapped up (after the undergrad papers come in and are dealt with), I undertake a determined PhD proposal and ethics review push. The winter break should provide an opportunity to make progress in the absence of teaching obligations.