#CWNYC – the count down is on. Join me?

Cross posting from my general blog 🙂

Heather Lynn's 2 cents on the web

DISCLAIMER: the statements herein, however opinionated or fact based, are mine alone, and do not represent the Province of BC.

A few months ago I finished my work day, hopped on my bike, and cycled madly in the rain. Breathing the fresh, moist air, my cranial neurons fired brightly as they usually do when I am immersed or near water… “I need to go to New York City” I thought. I’m not sure why, how I’ll afford it, or exactly what I’ll do there, but it just makes sense.

September 22, 2014 is the start of climate week in NYC (#CWNYC). I was first made aware of this event five years ago while working on intergovernmental relations for the Province of BC. The Climate Group is a fantastic organization that works with sub national governments and business leaders to create a peer network of those working to address climate change.


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2014: Year of the Cheerleader

This post about resolution and personal resilience applies to my climate action adventures.

Heather Lynn's 2 cents on the web

A thick, burping river of foul  pink slime flows beneath a dark, angry city. The slime feeds off the fear, anger and anxiety of the people and magnifies depths of despair.

Demons of the past haunt. Hunger for power over all threatens.

Only music, the symbol of liberty and, well, Ghostbusters, can save the day.

Last night I sat with equal amounts of eye rolling and laughter through Ghostbusters II with my family. I didn’t think such a film would provide me with clarity for starting the new year… but here I sit preparing to tell you about it.

For me, the close of 2012 was enthusiastic, to say the least. I proclaimed a desire to “rock 2013”, and with the help of friends and family, I’m happy to say that I did. I not only received wellness, but I may have discovered how to magnify and share it in…

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Chris Hedges conveys The Myth of Human Progress – I digress.

Chris Hedges: The Myth of Human Progress – Via Truthdig.

And I thought I was a downer. At least, that’s what my friends and family who are often in denial/ignorance over this subject might suggest.

But downer as I may be… the thinking that we will reach the “brink” sooner than we once thought appears more realistic with each passing moment.

Hello? Hello!? Reality? Are you there?

The truth is, reality is within. It is neither here nor there.

Each one of us seeks it only to the degree to which we feel comfortable operating in it. For most, the seeking stops prematurely. We have systems, experts, norms and a big, complex society and authorities of various shapes, sizes and colours that “inform us.”

Trust  in these “informants” varies and is rarely whole-hearted, but so long as we can piece together a reasonable existence, the reality we perceive for ourselves is complete enough.

Our existence becomes unreasonable when sufficient discord strikes: “oops, the informants were wrong.” And now our perception of what is real and pertinent must be re-evaluated, and our part in it adjusted.

Behaviour change experts might call this “tension.”  A motivator for helping people to seek new ways of being in reality that are effective and produce desired benefits.

So as the wind outside my window howls loudly, and for unusually longer than normal, I wonder: is my placement of garbage bins and gardening supplies at my home reasonable for this new reality? Or should I have adjusted before leaving the house this morning?

It might be too late…

If you are not keen to read the entire article I reference above, here is the crux:

“We have to readjust our entire civilization to live in a finite world. But we are not doing it, because we are carrying far too much baggage, too many mythical versions of deliberately distorted history and a deeply ingrained feeling that what being modern is all about is having more. This is what anthropologists call an ideological pathology, a self-destructive belief that causes societies to crash and burn. These societies go on doing things that are really stupid because they can’t change their way of thinking. And that is where we are.” – Ronald Wright, author of  A Short History of Progress

Are you questioning your reality? I hope you are.

It’s happening in the Kootenays: Recap of the Climate Action Exchange hosted by @LiveSmartBCca

[<a href=”http://storify.com/HB2cents/it-s-happening-in-the-kootenays-recap-of-the-clima&#8221; target=”_blank”>View the story “It’s happening in the Kootenays: Recap of the Climate Action Exchange hosted by @LiveSmartBCca” on Storify</a>]

Minister Terry Lake provides an update on BC’s Climate Action Progress since 2008

I’ve worked with a few Minister’s in my time as a public servant. I’ve been pretty lucky as most have been fantastic.

By fantastic, I mean: they really make an effort to understand the file, can speak to it off the cuff (less onerous speaking notes for me to write) and they are passionate.

Terry Lake is probably my favorite so far (no, he couldn’t give me a raise, even if he wanted to…) and perhaps it is because he is so genuine. I mean, this guy REALLY cares. It helps that he is smart too. And that he’s not afraid to tell it like it is.

This video is worth a watch not only for the incredible story of BC’s climate action successes to date, but also as a demonstration of what responsible elected officials should be like.

I’ve not taken much time to blog about “post growth” lately… but this article is worth a read. I like how it is framed as a list of conditions for how to achieve infinite growth (what we are oriented to right now as a society… silly us). It is a can do list, rather than don’t do rant. Of course, the question remains… can we really do these things? Does the “anything is possible” mantra apply here?

The Earthbound Report

I’m an advocate of postgrowth economics – the new way of running the economy that will replace the growth ethic, one way or another. Postgrowth economics is a rather nondescript name, but that’s because we’re not entirely sure what it looks like yet. It’s gone by various other names in the past, such as the Steady State Economy, or the Stationary State, but both of those terms imply inaction, and a postgrowth economy wouldn’t be static. There would still be change, innovation and progress. There might, whisper it, even be economic growth.

The reason is that there’s nothing wrong with economic growth in itself. The problem is all the side-effects that come with it, the waste and the resource depletion. Economic growth could merrily continue if the following conditions could all be met:

The economy creates zero waste
We live in a throwaway society, but as ecologists like to say…

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Hack the planet!! App developers to unleash data value for the masses @CleanwebYVR

Sounds epic, right?Cleanweb Hackathon Vancouver


The manifesto pretty much writes this blog article for me:

We know that as a species, we are hitting the limits, in resources, pollution, and our impact on the natural world. We know that exponential growth in a closed system is dangerous. We know that we must reduce the impact of our society immediately or face widespread systemic failure.

As makers and entrepreneurs, our task is to make these constraints work for us, and use our creativity to deliver progress without the costs we previously accepted as a side effect of our work.

We have very little time, but we have an incredibly powerful tool at our disposal. We have to apply the power of the web to make change happen at all levels of society, transforming businesses, governments, and citizens on a massive scale.

Beginning today, we will dedicate ourselves to this mission. We will work on projects with true meaning, that make the future a better place to be, rather than creating illusory short-term value.

We hope you will join us. We have a lot of work to do.

In Vancouver next weekend, computer nerds (read: heroes) will gather and collaborate to develop on-line tools, resources and action punching approaches to driving transformation of our increasingly technology dependant society…

Yes, I loaded that last sentence to pre-emptively strike against those arguments damning “wasted time in front of a screen” … sure there’s lots of reasons why technology should be lamented as being part of our problem. But let’s be honest now: this is the bed we’ve made, and the pillows happen to be pretty fluffy because of technology, even if the sheets aren’t always 100% organic bamboo.

Let’s not toss and turn and lose sleep (unless, of course, you’re pulling an all nighter and writing a world saving, business venture winning app.)

Sign up here!


PS This is Social Entrepreneurship. Want more of it? Check out BCideas.

Oh no Ozone, Obituary Omen

Okay, so I like alliteration.

That established, it’s time to get down to what I don’t like: impacts to my health I have no control over. I’m not talking about cancer, or other somewhat unpredictable ailments. I’m talking about direct environmental impacts to my health.

If I eat that extra doughnut, shame on me. There is no one else to blame for my trek towards obesity or diabetes. But sprinkle the air I breathe with toxins – that’s another story.

My latest post received a kind word from the fabulous folks at Skeptical Science. Mr. Bailey suggested I might be interested in a post related to health, climate change and ozone. He was half right… and he, as a climate change communicator, probably felt a little guilty pointing me to it (didn’t you Daniel?). After all, when you do this for a living, you’re not exactly looking for more bad news…

But there it was. A startling realization. An additional prompt for action. A cause to blog about. A reason to tell my friends and family, with just a little more urgency: please, do what you can to help stop fossil fuel emissions and climate change and help me spread the word.


Ew. Get that away from me.

I’m sure this fact was buried in my university education somewhere, as it didn’t feel entirely new to me: ozone is toxic and a warmer planet + industrial/fossil fuel emissions pretty much guarantees more of it. In quantities that could make your lungs fail.

Don’t trust the climate geeks to talk about health impacts? Environment Canada (purveyor of air quality) makes it pretty clear  that NO amount of ground level O3 (ozone) is good, stating:

  • There is no safe level for PM2.5 and O3 that does not pose risks to human health.
  • Negative health effects increase as the concentrations of pollutants in the air increases. Even modest increases in concentration (e.g. PM2.5 and O3) can cause small but measurable increases in emergency room visits, hospital admissions, and premature death.

(What’s the difference between “ground level ozone” and the “ozone layer” you ask?)

Recently, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment sent a public letter to the Honourable Kevin Falcon (Minister of Finance), requesting he maintain and expand the carbon tax. They did so because we can’t do without climate change policy, and a solid price on carbon is an essential tool in the fight.

They didn’t mention ozone at all. I think they lumped it in with “health impacts” generally. And I wonder if that was a lost opportunity? Seriously. People are going to be pissed when they realize governments are okay with that risk!

That, or they are getting ready to tax clean air tank suppliers. Just kidding. Kind of.

Anyway, not to keep you up at night (unless you’d like to join me?), but this is worth a little consideration. I mean, if there is a fly in your salad, wouldn’t you want someone to tell you? And if there was arsenic?

Oh, and I didn’t get to the other health impacts in the Skeptical Science article… small doses, I suppose 🙂

To a new world waiting,


You know you’re special when they write about you in the New York Times

BC’s had some international attention lately regarding it’s carbon tax, which reached its highest level on July 1st, 2012 – $30/tonne of CO2. 

Whine all you want about the fact that it is to low to move us fast enough away from carbon based fuels. Or complain that gas prices are already too high. Truth is, it’s not a bad policy. And smart people on both sides of the political spectrum think it’s a good policy.

For a good overview of why, read the New York Times opinion editorial “The Most Sensible Tax of All” by Yoram Bauman and Shi-Ling Hsu. Or the companion article that was published in the Vancouver Sun: “Washington, Oregon should take cue from BC’s Carbon Tax

To top it off, Elliot Spitzer, former Attorney General and Governor of New York, did a segment on his show “Viewpoint” endorsing the idea.

I also like this blog by Christopher Gully of Carbon Talks which uses a few scenarios to explain how the carbon tax can affect everyday people: “BC’s Carbon Tax: coming to terms with the “T” word”

Why am I sharing all this with you? Uh, because that’s what I write about in this blog. Oh,the Minister of Finance is asking for your input (by August 31)  as the carbon tax review is underway, so you better get up to speed before you send him your letter 🙂

#Change can happen. Don’t walk away. Make the place you live in worth living in.

Wow. Jason Roberts took his creativity and desire to live in a beautiful, inclusive and vibrant community and made it happen.

This is a funny and heart warming presentation of how it happened.

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