Moving forward in the war against climate change

Every once in a while,

I see something that really inspires me and makes me want to share it with as many people as possible. With the failure of any kind of comprehensive climate change agreements in Copenhagen last December, many of us were looking for what the next steps could possibly be to address climate change, given the failure of governments.

I have come to the realization that any substantive responses to global climate change are going to come from ordinary citizens, local communities, and the leadership of visionary businesses. Political leaders are driven by political imperatives that are at odds with the time-table for climate change.

In this short, animated film, you will see some inspiring history and solutions for our next steps within which we will be participating in a new low carbon economy. View this and be inspired.

Three practical things emerge for me, from this film:

  1. It’s up to us – not governments, to lead in the war against climate change.
  2. Technology offers us new ways to collaborate and share solutions.
  3. We have the technology and the solutions – we can create the change. Let’s just do it!

The business case for sustainability, an interview with Bob Willard

The Business Case for Sustainability – What’s in it for you?

Bob Willard PresentationI recently attended the Manitoba Conservation Districts Annual Convention in Brandon.  The Conservation Districts are doing some great work on the conservation and sustainability front.    I attended a session on the Business Case for Sustainability and had the opportunity to meet Bob Willard, author of several books including most recently The Sustainability Champions Guidebook (How to Transform Your Company), The Next Sustainability Wave,The Next Sustainability Waveand The Sustainability Advantage.

Bob’s presentation was straight-forward.  If you can get an opportunity to see his presentation, do so.  It is well worth it.  I went twice, to both of his presentations, because the information was so compactly presented and in a way that over 200 farm producers and rural folk were able to understand.  That’s really good, because this is a challenging topic no matter what your profession or experience is.   The ability to connect the dots and clearly communicate about the risks, responsibilities and rewards or benefits of becoming a more sustainable enterprise is something that has been needed for a long time.

I interviewed Bob right after his presentation, because I was inspired by what he provided, and interested in his perspectives about sustainability and tourism.  Grab a coffee, or a juice and put your feet up.  This guy has some really neat ideas.  Check out his website Sustainability Advantage. In particular, see the 90 second video introduction from Bob personally.  Well done!

Interview with Bob:

Bob has helped me to articulate  a framework that helps me to bridge my passion for tourism with the business case for sustainability.  I hope that this interview will help you to shift your business towards sustainability.  The planet needs you to do it.  Climate change needs us to act in more innovative ways.  And, wouldn’t it be great to be able to do it in ways that actually increase your profits.


What are some suggestions that you have about improvements in your tourism business that have led you forward on the pathway to sustainability?   I would be really interested in hearing your suggestions or examples, so that we can help our entire tourism industry to begin taking the small steps toward sustainability.

Travel and tourism will be tremendously affected by the outcomes of the Copenhagen Climate negotiations, as well as by forthcoming cap and trade legislation that will be passed both in the US and subsequently in Canada.  Not IF, but WHEN.  I think that it behooves all of us to start building in a smart, small-steps approach to sustainability into our annual business plan for our tourism companies.  What do you think?

The business advantage – acting on Climate Change

We’ll bring you quick snaps and video and other tips as the next few weeks of Climate negotiations at COP15 with more than 90 countries from around the world begin to grapple with setting emissions targets, setting up a global fund for mitigating climate change impacts, and many other global actions.

Here is a good video that brings the vision of corporate executives and game-changers to the fore. Businesses that change their operating policies to mitigate climate change and reduce their carbon footprints will also be the beneficiaries of a major economic fortunes.

Pictures say a thousand words

Pictures do say a thousand words – The Himalayan Glaciers are melting – this spells trouble for millions of people. See this image, which compares a 1921 image of the Himalayan Mountains showing Mount Everest to a 2009 image. The changes are startling. Feeder glaciers have disappeared. Loss of 340 0 400 vertical feet of ice mass is shown. The increased heat absorbing surfaces of exposed rock is easy to see.

Images cut through rhetoric. We need the leadership of world leaders at Copenhagen to make the commitments to:

  1. Reduce CO2 emissions (Which means Canada has to agree to cut its carbon emissions, and right now, Canada is trying to make this contingent on other developing countries setting ambitious targets. This is nonsense. Playing political games with our planet is not what we have elected our politicians to do. They are accountable to our future generations.)
  2. Limit global temperature increase to 2ºCelsius in developed and developing countries.
  3. Assist financially those countries that need assistance to deal with climate change mitigation and adaptation issues.
  4. Put into place an international global governance approach to manage financial resources that reflect the political realities of today.

The impacts of climate change will be widespread across the globe. In order to understand more about what the human impact of high-end climate change might be, and therefore what would happen if a successful agreement cannot be reached at Copenhagen, the UK’s Met Office Hadley Centre produced an interactive map outlining some of the impacts, based on the latest peer-reviewed science. Click on this amazing interactive map to learn more.

Fascinating NASA time lapse video of cryosphere

NASA has recently updated parts of their time lapse satellite tour of the earth’s cryosphere, using state of the art computer animation.  Below is an excerpt from their press release…

“The term cryosphere refers collectively to the portions of the earth where water is in solid form, including snow cover, floating ice, glaciers, ice caps, ice sheets, seasonally frozen ground and perennially frozen ground (permafrost), according to the NSIDC.

The Tour of the Cryosphere 2009″ combines satellite imagery and state-of-the-art computer animation software to create a fact-filled and visually stunning tour that shows viewers the icy reaches of Antarctica, the glacier-pocked regions along the Andes Mountains, the winter snows of the American West, the drifting expanse of polar sea ice, and the shrinking Jakobshavn glacier in Greenland.”

The Midway Journey

An artistic (video, photography) exposure of the Midway Atoll.

“Midway Atoll is a collection of three small islands in the North Pacific, about halfway between the US and Asia, and one of the remotest places on earth.

It is located near the apex of the Pacific Garbage Patch, a swirling soup of millions of tons of plastic pollution.  The islands are covered with plastic garbage, illustrating on several levels, the interconnectedness and interdependence of the systems on our finite planet.” – from Midway Journey, the website.

The video tells a story:

Why 350ppm CO2 is the target figure

350-org-bill-mckibben-nasa-scientist-james-hansen-ppm-parts-per-million-atmospheric-c02-global-campaign-multiligual-middlebury-college-environmental-studies-scholarIn a recent article on Planet Green online (which is one of the best online resources for planet-friendly food, health, fashion, transportation, travel and work solutions) noted author and Bill McKibben noted during Earth Month, top scientist James Hansen and his NASA team have stated that anything above 350 parts per million “is not compatible with the planet ‘on which civilization developed and to which life is adapted.'”

In other words, we need to be under that number, or else. Right now, we’re well above it at 387 parts per million, and that’s a problem.

It’s worth reading this short article about why 350 is the number that will save the planet. I hope that you will read it.  Short and to the point.


See this short video which is informative and a good communication tool about the 350ppm target.

This is the generation that must act

Foreword to The New Climate Deal, A Pocket Guide, by the WWF:

This is the generation that must stop the spread of pollution

that is slowly killing the planet…

Rolling back the tide of a warming planet

is a responsibility that we have to ourselves,

to our children, and all of those who

will inherit creation long after we are gone.”

-Barack Obama, Strasbourg. April 2009


You have likely seen the number 350 pop up when talking about carbon emissions. The number is key to survival of the planet – it represents the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that is safe to have if we expect life to continue to thrive.  Here is an excellent link to an article about the science of 350ppm carbon dioxide, and why this is so important.   350-The Number That Will Save The Planet

The New Climate Deal – A Pocket Guide

The New Climate Deal - A Pocket Guide, from WWF

The New Climate Deal - A Pocket Guide, from WWF

Brilliant – a simple, easy to read (I mean easy to read) guide for anyone to clearly understand the Climate and Economic Crisis.  Download this simple to read POCKET GUIDE to the new climate deal that over 190 countries in the world will participate in is the new “bible for planetary health”.

Except that this is one of the most important tools to quickly read and understand that 2009 needs to be remembered as the year the world found an answer to climate change, the year it found the political will to meet the challenge, and found hope and opportunity in doing so.

This pocket guide provides you with:

  • Key data
  • Easy to read graphs
  • The Copenhagen people
  • The science in a nutshell
  • Why it is possible to keep the temperature below 2ºC increase
  • A brief guide to the new deal
  • Taking responsibility for carbon reduction targets for industrialized nations
  • Technology solutions and action programs
  • Power grids, financing, and carbon markets (easy to understand)
  • Saving our forests and why this is so important
  • Going carbon neutral

Google, Nike Sign Open Letter to US urging swift action on climate change legislation

Sept. 10, 2009, Sustainable Business news ( News)


“Twelve major U.S. companies delivered an open letter to the U.S. Senate this week urging swift action on climate change legislation.

In the letter, Bumble Bee Foods, Dell (Nasdaq: DELL), DuPont (NYSE: DD), FPL Group (NYSE: FPL), Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), HP (NYSE: HPQ), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), JohnsonDiversey, Levi Strauss & Co., Nike (NYSE: NKE), PG&E Corporation (NYSE: PCG) and Xanterra Parks and Resorts said: ‘A rapidly changing climate is reshaping the American landscape and poses a long-term threat to our nation’s economy and to our children’s future… We…urge the Senate to pass a bill this year that will reduce U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases…and jumpstart a clean energy economy….’

The signatory companies said they have begun changing their business practices to measurably reduce their emissions of carbon pollution. Such efforts, they point out in their letter, have also benefited their bottom lines. ‘In our experience, these changes have not only been good for the climate, they’ve been good for business,’the companies said.

According to the recently released report Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, prepared by 13 federal science agencies, climate change is already having a direct and negative effect on the American people, impacting water, energy, transportation, agriculture, ecosystems, and human health all across the nation. Every region of the country is experiencing significant, adverse impacts from climate change including more severe droughts, floods, heat waves and wildfires–and these impacts will worsen during the course of the century if action is not taken to slow climate change.”

This is important to note.  As climate change progressively makes itself felt in all parts of the planet, including Manitoba, we will be well-served by forward-thinking businesses that take the lead to reduce carbon emissions.  Legislative policy changes that mandate reductions in CO2 emissions are needed; business needs to lead in partnership with government.  Good to see the recent news about bio-diesel use being mandated in Manitoba.

I wonder when agribusiness will finally wake up and realize that they are operating within an old paradigm that is rapidly leaving food producers and healthy people out of a long-term successful and profitable partnership.  Climate change legislation that begins to force reductions in CO2 emissions will have an effect on agribusiness.  If only our agricultural companies were to take the lead in supporting a different framework for producing healthy food within a less carbon-intensive environment, we could all learn from them.  Instead, they will balk and kick and claim that any climate change legislation will negatively affect them. Lead now, and become part of the solution!