The environment

Saying mainstream environmentalism now reflects the interests and concerns of the rich is like coming upon a river of spawning salmon and noting the colour red. There are naturally many shades of difference. Not all of the mainstream, everywhere, has to the same extent come to embrace markets, corporations, and technologies as solutions. Nor does […]

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Yesterday, Quebec’s Université Laval announced that it will become Canada’s first university to fully divest from fossil fuels: “Today, Université Laval commits to taking responsible action to switch its endowment fund investments in fossil energy to other types of investments, such as renewable energy,” announced Éric Bauce, Executive Vice Rector in charge of sustainable development, […]

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I was surprised to get an email today saying that three unions (USW1998, CUPE3902 (my union), and CUPE1230) along with the Association of Part-time Undergraduate Students wrote to President Gertler to endorse fossil fuel divestment. The letter highlights how receiving financial benefit from the fossil fuel industry compromises academic integrity and how the industry harms […]

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Former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum has been making the media rounds with some thought-provoking ideas about the Trump presidency and the risk that protests which lack a specific focus or which come across as a threat to public order may empower rather than constrain him. In “What Effective Protest Could Look Like“, Frum […]

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Today, for my research design class, I gave my first presentation on my new PhD topic, fossil fuel divestment campaigns. I got some useful feedback which I will use to produce a revised draft before meeting with my supervisor next week.

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The January 21st issue of The Economist provides another strong example of how poorly our emotions serve us where it comes to evaluating and responding to abstract threats. They say: NOx emissions cause the premature deaths of an estimated 72,000 Europeans a year. This is in the context of carmakers like Volkswagen using software to […]

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A paper by Pearce, Brown, Nerlich, Koteyko (“Communicating climate change: conduits, content, and consensus“, 2015) contains some interesting ideas about effective communication about climate change. They cite one “best practice guide” which explains that: in order for climate science information to be fully absorbed by audiences, it must be actively communicated with appropriate language, metaphor, […]

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When discussing policy options for countering climate change, ending fossil fuel subsidies is often presented as an obviously desirable option: why should we be providing public money to fossil fuel companies or fossil fuel users when both are damaging the planet so rapidly and profoundly? Of course, subsidies are always likely to be defended by […]

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My family in Vermont sent me Bill McKibben’s 2005 book (updated in 2014) as a Christmas gift. In it, he recounts a meandering trek through the Lake Champlain region of the Adirondacks. It’s part nature writing, partly an account of the history of the region and the ways his neighbours are tying to earn a […]

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The New York Times reports this as a section from President Obama’s farewell address: Take the challenge of climate change. In just eight years we’ve halved our dependence on foreign oil, we’ve doubled our renewable energy, we’ve led the world to an agreement that (at) the promise to save this planet. (APPLAUSE) But without bolder […]

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