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 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.

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.

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!

It’s time to act on climate change

Here is an excellent video to promote actions in support of political changes that reduce the impacts of climate change, that anyone can use to send a clear action-oriented message.  Use the embed code on YouTube to add to your website.

We are 100 days away from..

……the COP15 international talks with 192 countries attending to develop political agreement about actions on Climate Change.  Follow current information about the United Nations Climate Change Conference Dec. 7 – 18 (Copenhagen).

Merlin dines on robin in front yard

Merlin on ground with robinYesterday, While meeting with a couple of people to plan the September field activities for the  Riparian habitat workshops at Onanole’s Sonics and Sojourns Festival of Learning & Music, we happened to look up from our planning discussions and saw a male merlin mantling a fresh kill.  As we watched, the merlin (a small falcon) proceeded to feed on the robin for about 20 minutes.  After this, it picked up the half-remaining body and moved to a new location for a “picnic lunch”.

Merlin with robin in talons

And, then he headed off.  Merlins typically feed on small birds (starlings, robins, finches, swallows) and small mammals, snakes, and insects.  About 80% of their diet is small birds.  When it took off with so much of the robin in its talons, I wondered whether there was a female and young at a nest that were needing to be fed.  We live on the edge of mature aspen and balsam poplars, with lots of open grassy meadows and nearby (half mile) is the south boundary of Riding Mountain National Park.  When I see this kind of amazing natural occurrence, I am deeply reminded of the depth of biodiversity we have on this planet.

It brings sharply into focus the responsibility we have to educate and inform our elected representatives to shift their policies and laws to deal with climate change.  Yvo de Boer, the UN Climate Chief offers four (4) important political essentials that we have to get right at the UN Climate Change Conference December 7 – 18, 2009.

What a great Christmas gift it would be to our children and grand-children to offer them a new global climate treaty that moves all of our countries towards a 350ppm CO2 atmospheric carbon target.  This will be the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (also known as COP 15) and the 5th Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP 5). According to the Bali roadmap, a framework for climate change mitigation beyond 2012 is to be agreed upon at Copenhagen at this conference.  Maintaining a healthy atmosphere as part of our everyday community and business livelihoods contributes to biodiversity and a rich, healthy planet.

Bill McKibben-international campaign to make 350ppm the upper limit of global atmospheric CO2

I have come across an inspiring website called Wonderful ideas, actions, interviews, and suggestions about world changing stuff.  We live within a deficit of inspiration and positive stories. We are surrounded by a world in which the media (TV, radio, news, newspapers) concentrate on sensationalism, reality shows, and negative news.  So, it always comes as a left curve to have a media channel in which positive actions, inspired leadership, and world changing ideas can be presented.

Bill McKibben - engaged citizens are the crucial lever to help establish climate change legislation

Bill McKibben - engaged citizens are the crucial lever to help establish climate change legislation

This interview is fascinating.  Bill McKibben is a world renowned activist.  He has started a new movement – – He started the international campaign to make 350ppm of CO2 the safe upper limite for atmospheric carbon.  He sees it as very important to become part of our ordinary household language, wants to inspire the world to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis.

Read this interview to become informed, inspired, and action-oriented.  Our current level of CO2 is 385ppm and climbing.  Bringing it down is absolutely critical – for our future, our planet, and our children.

Riding Mountain offers a mirror to our daily actions


Shadows and ice melt - Clear Lake, Riding Mountain National Park

Shadows and ice melt Clear Lake, Riding Mountain National Park

 Yesterday, I went down to the east end of Clear Lake.  We are coordinating a wedding for a couple from Australia and their friends and family who are coming to Manitoba for their wedding.  In fact, they are getting married in Riding Mountain National Park.  I wanted to take a couple of photos of the Wishing Well site to send them, so that they could see just how beautiful this area is.


Why do people choose places like Riding Mountain National Park to have significant life celebrations?  Here are three reasons provided by our guests..

  1. “When we asked our friends where they would like to travel, to join us in getting married, Canada was the place everyone wanted to travel to..”  So, they made their travel commitments to come to Riding Mountain and get married here, even though they have never been here before.
  2. They love the outdoors.  They will be in the Yukon, in Riding Mountain, and in Nepal by the end of this year.  Riding Mountain is sacred ground, higher ground, and there is good energy here.  Getting married in a place that is strongly connected to earth, is centred at the heart of the North American continent, and is a national park are all important reasons to celebrate life and marriage.  And, the Wishing Well is a perfect location for a wedding.
  3. They have access to the Elkhorn Resort and to Earth Rhythms in one destination, two services that are essential to their wedding, reception, and celebration with family and friends.  Elkhorn for cuisine and beverage services and a team capable of delivering these services, accommodation, a spa, conference space and hosting of the dinner and dance.  Earth Rhythms for a host of personalized services (photography, video, onsite coordination of the function, local flowers for decorations, a focus on attention to details with respect to “bringing nature into the wedding ceremony”.)

As I sat down by the Wishing Well, I made a wish

“..that we find ways to celebrate our humanity and our care for this planet by doing what we need to do, individually and collectively, to address our climate change challenges in 2009 (the year of the Copenhagen Treaty on Climate Change) with strong actions to reduce carbon emissions and our carbon footprint in each of our communities, our businesses, and in our personal daily lives.  For our children, for future weddings, and for all time.”  


Evening light of spring from the Wishing Well

Evening light of spring from the Wishing Well

Coming to places like this, to celebrate significant life moments helps us to remember our responsibilities to take care of the planet.  I am really glad to have a national park in my backyard – both to be able to experience it any given day that I want to, but also because it is like a moral value to guide me in each day.  We hope to see more events like this in Riding Mountain National Park.

Prairie Innovation Forum – March 18/19. Brandon, Manitoba

Taking place in Brandon, Wednesday, March 18 and 19 at the CanadInns on 18th Street.  Highly recommended.  The case for climate change and the need for us to respond continues to grow stronger and to become more urgent.

What do we do now? What does this mean for our farms and businesses now? What can industry and communities and individuals do to reduce their carbon footprint?

The 2009 Prairie Innovation Forum will focus on the practical implications and innovations that will affect us all and help us, our communities, and our businesses reduce our footprint and respond to climate change.

Attend informative sessions on:


  • Identifying and Calculating Greenhouse Gas Emissions on the Farm 
  • Community-Based Energy Innovation (Dan Mazier & Laurence Lafond)
  • First Nations responding to climate change (Assembly of MB Chiefs, Climate Change Task Force)
  • Innovative products for home and business (Evolve Green)
  • Reducing foods carbon footprint (Jack Moes, ACC)
  • Dr. David Barber (The Arctic)
  • Wind Energy (Endurance Wind Energy)
  • Innovative Home Owner (Gareth Boys)
  • LEED building design


To attend or register, go to: PRAIRIE INNOVATIONS Schedule & Registration