Sunday, November 30, 2014

Here's a photo of me somewhere in the Prairies, probably Saskatchewan, during my walk in 1987.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

CCL-Canada conference - Day Two

Photo shows the participants in Citizen Climate Lobby 2014 conference - except for the photographer.
The second day of the Citizen Climate Lobby - Canada conference was even more interesting that the first.

Speakers included a Skype appearance by Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist and evangelical Christian who was born and grew up in the Toronto area but who now lives in Texas. She talked about the need to shape your climate change message to your audience - for example, evangelical Christians.

Michael MacMillan talked about his book, "Tragedy in the Commons," which is based on interviews

Michael MacMillan
done with 80 former M.P.s about their experiences in politics. Even though many of them had been in senior cabinet positions, they overwhelmingly were unhappy with the high level of party discipline in the Canadian parliament. Several reforms were suggested.

CCL executive director Mark Reynolds gave an address titled, "The Way Forward." When things go wrong, people ask, "What's wrong with me?", "What's wrong with them?" and "What's wrong with it?" he said. A better approach would be to ask, "What are we committed to?"

A common metaphor used to explain how people react to the threat of climate change is the story of putting a frog in a pot of cool water and gradually warming it. The frog supposedly will remain until it cooks. Tom Rand, the
Tom Rand
keynote speaker in the afternoon, talked about his book "Waking the Frog," which examines the psychology of denial.

Final workshop was a panel discussion on economics with Tom Rand, Celine Bak (president of Analytica Advisors), Stewart Elgie (University of Ottawa and member of the new EcoFiscal Commission), Christopher Ragan (chair of the EcoFiscal Commission), and David Robinson (Institute for Northern Ontario Research and Development).
Although Celine Bak emphasized that she is not an economist, the panel members seemed to agree that the consensus of economists was that the best way to tackle climate change would be by pricing carbon dioxide - preferably through a carbon tax.

Stewart Elgie said a carbon tax set at $30 per tonne (the same as B.C.'s) would generate $20 billion per year federally (assuming there are 20 million adults in Canada, that would mean a carbon dividend as proposed by CCL would amount to $1,000 per year per adult).

The day closed with convention participants getting together to plan their meetings tomorrow (Monday) and Tuesday with M.P.s and senators.
Panelists (l-r) Tom Rand, Christopher Ragan, Stewart Elgie, David Robinson and Celine Bak.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

CCL-Canada conference - Day One

The first day of the Citizens Climate Lobby - Canada 2014 conference in Ottawa was interesting and informative.

Main speaker was Mark Reynolds, the executive director of CCL. He outlined the history of the
organization and outlined the approach they take when speaking with legislators - respectful and non-confrontational, to listen as much as to speak.

Final item on the agenda was the handing out of assignments. I'm to meet with my M.P., Cathy McLeod plus M.P. Nathan Cullen on Monday, and with Senator Nancy Greene Raine on Tuesday. Groups of between three  and five CCLers will be visiting each.

Meeting with the One World Conspiracy

Thursday I added another eight km east of Toronto to my Gandhi Worldwalk. Friday I took took the train to Ottawa, signed in at the Ottawa jail hostel, then met the One World Conspiracy for a beer.

The Conspiracy, for those who don't know, is a guy named Fergus Watt. Some might be surprised to
learn that the Conspiracy consists of one guy sitting in Ottawa with a typewriter (OK, now a computer). Fergus is the executive-director of World Federalist Movement - Canada. He and I worked together back in 1989 when I was trying to use my walk to promote a petition calling for reform of the United Nations. He's quite a smart guy and I respect him a lot.

Fergus reminded me of the Hague Declaration on the Environment that was negotiated in 1989. Back then, there was a worldwide consensus on climate change, that the atmosphere was a global commons, and that there needed to be decisive action. That was before the opposition got organized and things went sideways.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Gandhi Worldwalk Part 3a

Gandhi Worldwalk is not dead - it's just been delayed.

Starting out from the Guildwood GO station.

Until today (Nov. 20, 2014) the walk consisted of two parts: in 1987 I walked from my home in Clearwater, BC to the north shore of Lake Superior; and in 1989 I walked from where I had left off in 1987 to Toronto.

Today I walked from where I left off in 1989 – the Guildwood GO light rail station just east of Toronto – to the next GO station at Rouge Hill. The distance was only about eight km and, with detours and photo stops, took just under two hours. 

The walk ended in 1989 when I developed plantar fasciitis in my left foot - a tear in the ligament that runs under my arch. The foot still bothers me and I usually wear a night splint (if I don't, after about a week my foot feels as if it's ready to fall apart).

I do a fair amount of walking around Clearwater but it's nearly always on trails - walking on pavement bothers my foot. Today's walk was almost all on pavement and, by the end, I could feel that I had done enough for one day.

One thing I learned on the walk was the importance of giving yourself time to heal if injured or sick. Resting is part of the journey too and, if you don't give yourself enough time to recover, you will accomplish less in the end.

I knew when my walk ended in 1989 that I would return and do some more. Today I did just that. I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment, even though the distance covered today was trivial. To me, it's the coming back and trying again that is important.

Tomorrow I will take the train to Ottawa to participate in a weekend conference being put on by the Canadian branch of Citizen Climate Lobby. About 70 people have signed up. After some orientation we will fan out and speak to as many M.P.s and senators as will listen about the importance of implementing a carbon fee-and-dividend system as a first step towards controlling global warming.

It's all part of the same journey.
Finishing up at the Rouge Hill GO station.