Lego commits to 100% renewable energy goal

LEGO logo

LEGO logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Superb news!

 

This makes me feel waaayyy less guilty for supporting my child’s Lego habit – a tradition in our family and almost every family I know.

 

Thanks to WWF partnering with Lego, one more giant, recognizable and valued consumer good is having less impact on our planet.

 

Commenting on the new partnership, the LEGO Group’s CEO, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, said: “We have experienced strong growth for eight consecutive years and, as we grow, we are becoming increasingly aware of the impact we leave on the planet. Partnering with WWF is an important step in our efforts to get the best out of our sustainability initiatives. We are proud to contribute to WWF’s overall vision of 100% renewable energy by 2050 and already now they have played a part in the targets we have set – and how we can achieve them.”

More information about this…

 

New report set to rock the climate change denier camp: science as settled as it gets

In my community of people who care immensely about the stability of our atmosphere… and thus biosphere… and thus human civilization, it sometimes is forgotten that there are a number of people who still have trouble grappling with this issue.

This week, as usual, my colleagues and I were considering various aspects of the climate system and how BC’s land base, economy and population could possibly adjust to reduce or remove carbon in the atmosphere (we have legislated targets to meet in BC). And then a fact was stated that shook even us: permafrost now contains 1,700 billion tonnes of carbon, or twice the amount now in the atmosphere… and it’s melting. And if we don’t reverse our emissions trend, like tomorrow, it will continue to melt faster.

I often hear the words “game over” during such revelations.  Unfortunately, we have them more often than we’d like… Sometimes even the experts need reminding of how important it is we do all we can, and then lead others to do the same.

On the other side, we’re lucky in BC to generally have a public mindset that enables our political leadership to take action. However, we still don’t see 100% of British Columbian’s REALLY sure that this problem warrants the challenge of tackling it, which will include making uncomfortable changes at times.

I can talk all I want about what I know and why it matters…. but if a person has doubt about whether my expertise is agreed upon by other scientists, I may as well be a pollster.

So here it is:

And why does this mater so much? How about a good ole short film to help us understand:

A broken heart: “Chasing Ice” moves climate denier to dump Bill O’Rielly

(Special thanks to Skeptical Science for posting this to Facebook and making me cry. View the post here and share.)

When someone starts a sentence with the words “I love Bill O’Rielly“, I take them quite seriously on that. Bill is a master emoter-prevoker. It is a craft: he needs no real facts to spin fear, hate and single mindedness into complaisant trust with his viewers… people long for passionate lines of thinking to align with. It makes us feel alive, especially in these times of convenient, easy living.

Life is supposed to involve a “fight.” For something. Anything.

So when this woman does a 360 on her Global Warming Deniership (yes, in capitals), I literally cried. There is nothing like a broken heart, and it is plain to see on her face and in her voice. No crafting. A genuine shock to the soul and a wake-up call: you’ve been cheated on.

Sorry, Bill. Sounds like this Chasing Ice movie is gonna get you dumped in a big way.

HB

PS – From the creators of “The Cove” – another must watch.

Why Canadians should care about the American #CleanRevolution & help the US #Win3Trillion

Bill Pullman as the US President in the movie "Independence Day'

Bill Pullman as the US President in the movie “Independence Day’ captures the urgency and dedication to solving monumental problems that current leaders should have.

I don’t think it is terribly difficult to understand why the US should address climate change and a host of other related environmental impacts AND grow their economy by making their industries more efficient and diversified.

But here we are. Western society as it is currently designed faces serious threats on various fronts and neither US Presidential Candidate is passionately professing their commitment to softening the blow and preparing their country and the world for this pending monumental shift.

Of course this is to say nothing of our democracy loving, Canadian Government… and for this post, I will leave it that way.

Apparently, the benefits are not all that obvious to people. And I guess its not hard to see why. Americans are patriotic. Very patriotic. They pay honest respects to their founding fathers. Their dollar is the world standard. They are home of the iPhone and a whole lot more readily commercialized and globalized products and iconography… why change all that?

Surely they must be doing something right?

Of course they are. And one effective approach to adapting to a changing world is to do what American’s have excelled at: to encourage the entrepreneurial and innovative talents.

That is the aim of a newly launched campaign called the American Clean Revolution. Essentially:

A ‘clean revolution’ is about what America has always done best – innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.
It will enhance our national and energy security, future-proof our infrastructure and boost our economy.
The cost of not embracing this way forward? $3 trillion. To play to win, the American Clean Revolution is the only way forward.

As someone that communicates on climate change, I’ve found the messaging a bit hard to take as a Canadian. Maybe I’m too polite. I like collaboration more than competition. Whatever it is, “playing to win” doesn’t really resonate with me. But I can see how it would trigger patriotic sense in the American heart.

That said, as a Canadian, I still know that in some ways if America wins we all do. It is kind of a super big economy (and Canada’s largest trading partner). You turn that massive, sandbar in the arctic destined ship, you save the fleet of us (i.e. force other governments to adjust their courses as well).

American Clean Revolution button Heather Bauer

You can make a fancy button or banner too! (Come on… don’t let me be the only crazy Canuck slapping my mug on a red, white and blue button!)

For more details on how this ship might turn, check out the report:

The report explains why the US must embrace a Clean Revolution – a swift, massive transformation of the economy powered by clean, plentiful, affordable energy – to generate growth, create prosperity and secure sustainability. And if that wasn’t commonsense reasons enough, the report also confirms that not embracing an American Clean Revolution could cost the US $3 trillion.

Interesting way to pitch avoided losses. I really hope it helps people in the US to understand and mobilize…

So, my fellow Canadians, here is an opportunity to say “we’re rooting for you America!” Join me? Or, share your thoughts otherwise below!

HB

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.

Tailpipe

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,

HB

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