Film Screening: Directly Affected

On July 11, we will be screening the film "Directly Affected," a documentary film by Zack Embree and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation. Continue reading

Partnerships for a better Toronto

Supporting and working with other organizations who share our goals is a key strategy for Toronto350. We are proud members of several coalitions. One of them is TCAN, the Toronto Climate Action Network, which brings together a number of environmental organizations in the City. Another is the Good Jobs for All Coalition, whose co-chair will be presenting at our January 9th, 2018 educational meeting (6:30 p.m., 25 Cecil Street). This coalition brings together partners in the labour, environmental and social justice movements.  We are also part of the Fight for 15 and Fairness campaign; while provincial in scope, many of its actions take place in Toronto, for example when we march with the “Raise Wages, not the seas” banner at various rallies. Continue reading

UNsettling Canada 150

"Indigenous Peoples and Canadians who believe in human rights need look at Canada's 150th birthday party as a period to undertake a commitment to decolonize Canada and recognize the rights of Indigenous People to self determination"-Arthur Manuel, Late Secwepemc Organizer, Author of Unsettling Canada Toronto350.org endorses Idle No More and Defenders of the Land's project"UNsettling Canada 150"- a call for national actions on July 1st to celebrate Indigenous and human rights to self-determination, lands, territories, and resources.  See below for resources and events.   Continue reading

Hopposition Ale

Hopposition Ale is a project by Toronto350.org with Junction Craft Brewery. Proceeds from sales will support First Nations legal challenges to the Kinder Morgan Trans-Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project.  It is also delicious! Check out pulltogether.ca for more info on where funds will go.  Continue reading

From Genocide to Eco Genocide: Whose life Matters?

written by: Tresanne Fernandes   Why do I fight against climate change?   Turtle Island (a.k.a. North America) is a place of continued Genocide. When I look at ‘history’ I see Genocide. When I look at the ‘present day’ I find environmental or Eco Genocide: killing off a group of people by destroying the lands, water, air, and food sources they rely on. I wonder if my children will learn an extremely watered down version of the history of Eco Genocide from the school system and then once they graduate post secondary education start to relearn it more graphically - as I did with the Genocide of Indigenous people on Turtle Island.   The Kairos Blanket Exercise is something I’ve done a few times and the last time I did was when I asked for the exercise to be done with Toronto350. What struck me the most was watching the family, with three kids, who came to participate in the exercise. During the exercise the narrators spoke of children being taken from their families and placed in residential schools where they were forced to speak English (or beaten), and if they did manage to find their families again, were not always able to integrate back (loss of language, culture etc). I wondered how this family of five was feeling. I read scroll 14, about mice running over their lunches, about children knowing that other kids had better schools with science labs and libraries - and knowing their school didn’t left them them believing that they don’t matter.  Continue reading

Mulcair's Mistake Last Night

  Last night, Thomas Mulcair told Canadian voters that the Energy East pipeline could be a “win, win, win” scenario. A win for the economy, a win for the environment, and a win for the climate. Today, Toronto350 activists attended an NDP rally to make sure that the Honourable Leader of the Opposition understands that we do not agree. Ex-Quebec Minister of the Environment, Mr. Mulcair said that the way forward was to fix the environmental assessment process and the National Energy Board. Our volunteers went to his rally in Toronto to ask a simple question – how? How would he undo the damage done to the integrity of the Energy Board? How would these improvements change the fact that building and running pipelines is inherently dangerous to the environment, increases our dependence on oil, and pumps even more carbon into our fragile atmosphere?How could the 35% increase in tar sands extraction Energy East would facilitate be compatible with climate action? Unfortunately, rather than engage our activists, the NDP had them removed from the rally. The NDP's position baffles more people than us. They oppose Northern Gateway, they oppose Keystone XL. Energy East faces all the same problems but is a far bigger pipeline. It would stop the NDP from fulfilling the Climate Change Accountability Act if elected.The Liberals are just as bad. Trudeau promised a "fixed" Energy Board would move resources to market. Trudeau promised to secure the oil industry Energy East. We join millions of other Canadians in again urging all political parties to reconsider their positions on pipelines, which are a lose, lose, lose scenario. Throwing out dissenters is not the Canadian way and not how we will solve the most pressing issue of our generation.

How many must resist to change the system?

In his 2015 book Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt, journalist Chris Hedges describes the research of two academics who have investigated the determinants of success for rebellious movements. He writes: "Maria J. Stephan and Erica Chenoweth examine 100 years of violent and nonviolent resistance movements in their 2008 article "Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict." They conclude that nonviolent movements succeed twice as often as violent uprisings. Nonviolent movements appeal to those employed within the power structure, especially the police and civil servants, who are cognizant of the corruption and decadence of the power elite and are willing to abandon them. And, the authors point out, with as little as 3.5 percent of the population who are organized and disciplined, it is possible to bring down even the most ruthless totalitarian structures." (p. 84) As far as I can tell, the claim about 3.5 percent of the population doesn't come from that paper, but from Erica Chenoweth's 2013 TEDxBoulder talk: "The success of nonviolent civil resistance" (See also: "Peaceful protest is much more effective than violence for toppling dictators"). Regardless of the precise source, there's an appealing symmetry to that 3.5% figure, when placed alongside the conviction that the atmospheric concentration of CO2 must be kept below 350 parts per million (ppm) if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Three and a half percent means three and a half per hundred. Three and a half per hundred is the same as thirty five thousand per million, since one million is ten thousand times one hundred. If Stephan and Chenoweth are right, achieving 350 parts per million in the atmosphere may require 35,000 active people per million. Continue reading

Presentations to U of T committee

All four presentations made by Toronto350.org organizers to the fossil fuel divestment committee at U of T are now online. This version includes links to the relevant sections in the brief, to corroborate the claims in the presentations. The presentations provide a good overall argument for why divestment from fossil fuel companies is ethical and financially prudent.

The financial case for fossil fuel divestment

There is a widespread assumption that divestment is a matter of sacrificing financial security in order to uphold an ethical position. In the case of fossil fuel corporations, this characterization is inaccurate. These have been underperforming investments, and the companies face major risks to their performance going forward. The source of the social injury described in chapter 2 of the brief – the massive reserves of coal, oil, and gas which these companies possess – are also the source of this financial risk. That risk arises, firstly, from the reality that governments are increasingly restricting the right to use the atmosphere as a dump for carbon pollution and, secondly, from the increasingly extreme character of fossil fuel energy development. As Shell's mishaps with arctic drilling and BP's destruction in the Gulf of Mexico demonstrate, fossil fuel corporations are seeking out ever-more-expensive and ever-more-dangerous ways of sustaining and enlarging their reserves. In 2012, the top 200 oil and gas companies spent $674 billion on exploration and development of new reserves – reserves which are at risk of becoming stranded assets in a carbon-constrained future. Continue reading

An Open Letter to Glen Murray on Ontario's Climate Strategy

This letter was sent to the Honourable Glen Murray, Ontario's Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, on March 28, 2015. It is signed by Stuart Basden, President of Toronto350.org, on behalf of Toronto350.org's membership. The letter is in response to Ontario's Climate Change Discussion Paper, which invited feedback from all sectors and all Ontarians.  Continue reading