The environment

Some people who favour the construction of new bitumen sands pipelines have been deploying a particularly weak argument, which echoes a couple of the points that have long been made by people who don’t want to take adequate action to avoid catastrophic climate change. They point out that — in one way or another — […]

{ 2 comments }

CBC’s The Current recently ran a segment on whether Canada’s climate change goals can be reconciled with new pipeline construction. Tzeporah Berman effectively made the case that Energy East, Kinder Morgan, and the Northern Gateway would be means of increasing bitumen sands production, even beyond the unacceptably high cap chosen by the Alberta government, and […]

{ 0 comments }

One of North America’s most active pipeline resistance movements right now is opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline, which would run from North Dakota to Illinois through the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. Some coverage: North Dakota oil pipeline protesters stand their ground: ‘This is sacred land’ After Dakota pipeline battle, Indigenous people say they share “unprecedented […]

{ 4 comments }

In an encouraging step, the Canadian Association of Geographers has committed to divest from fossil fuels.

{ 0 comments }

[James] March and his colleagues, Michael Cohen and Johan Olsen, developed an extremely important perspective on organizational behaviour, with the infelicitous title of the “garbage can model,” which seeks to explain how complex organizations make decisions under conditions that differ radically from those that reign under rational models. According to the model, such “organized anarchies” […]

{ 0 comments }

Conversing with my friend Nada about in-group dynamics, the psychological property of agreeableness, and group cohesion, she raised the matter of the difficult psychological disjoint between the change which activists desperately desire in the world and the practical realization that they generally aren’t achieving it. There have been moments of triumph for some social justice […]

{ 14 comments }

The discount rate is a basic tool of accounting and economics: people and institutions often need to deal with costs and benefits which will arise in the future, and it doesn’t usually make sense to simply value them as if they were happening today. A person expecting pension payments of $1,000 per month in thirty […]

{ 0 comments }

Somehow, this article seems indicative of the low quality of a lot of our thinking about environmental issues: Mesmerizing ‘blue whirl’ from fire tornado could be cleaner solution for oil spills: Scientists discover clean-burning blue flame while simulating a fire tornado in the lab. It seems a particularly questionable application of the idea that technology […]

{ 0 comments }

After many shorter spans which left us sweating in our third floor rooms, Toronto is now immersed in the longest and most intense heat wave of the summer so far. This leaves me feeling awkward about actually owning an air conditioner, which I have never moved from its storage location in our living room. During […]

{ 4 comments }

In an interesting recent article on urbanization, The Economist noted: A huge and growing number of people live somewhere like Mikwambe [“on the edge of Dar es Salaam”]. Between 2005 and 2015 the world’s cities swelled by about 750m people, according to the UN. More than four-fifths of that growth was in Africa and Asia; […]

{ 0 comments }