What is Climate Justice? Environmental, Political and Ethical Aspects.

Climate justice refers to the idea that the climate emergency is not only an environmental issue, but also a political and ethical issue. Climate change will increasingly be a defining experience for all life on Earth in the near future since the changing climate will lead to disruption of fragile ecosystems around the world. Global average temperatures have already increased by 1°C above pre-industrial levels in 2017 and are likely to increase by 0.2°C every decade unless immediate action is taken to stop emissions as well as remove greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the atmosphere [1]. The IPCC (United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Global Warming of 1.5°C report details the various effects of a 1.5°C rise including sea-level rise, intense heat waves, water and food insecurity, extreme weather events, among others. The most extreme impacts of climate change will largely be borne by populations who have historically benefited the least from fossil fuel extraction and use [2].

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Why Toronto Council should endorse the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, and 4 simple actions you can take to make it happen


Lytton, B.C.

Our hearts go out to the residents of Lytton, B.C.  Record temperatures, wildfires, a town destroyed and residents devastated.  This is the climate crisis in real time.

We can begin our help here.

Photo of a house frame engulfed in flames, by Dave Hoefler

Photo by Dave Hoefler on Unsplash

Climate’s Role

It is evident the change in our climate played a role in the heat-related deaths and wildfires in B.C.  These northern areas were hotter than the Middle East.  Scientists fear this indicates a new dimension of the global crisis.

Johan Rockström of the The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research stated the recent extreme weather anomalies were not represented in global computer models that are used to project how the world might change with more emissions. The fear is that weather systems might be more frequently blocked as a result of human emissions. “It is a risk – of a serious regional weather impact triggered by global warming – that we have underestimated so far”, he said.  

It is clear that the Climate Emergency created this crisis and it is time to act.  In Canada the fossil fuel industry is the biggest source of impact on the climate. As residents of Toronto, we need our electricity production and home heating to be free of fossil fuels.  Now is the time to commit to doing this.

What needs to be done

There is a global movement calling for national governments to negotiate and ratify a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty to stop the further expansion of fossil fuel production, phase out fossil fuels, and ensure a global just transition for all. 

Toronto350 has endorsed this treaty along with hundreds of other organizations including the Cities of Vancouver, Los Angeles, Barcelona, as well as seven other cities and sub-national governments. As Canada’s most populous city, it is time for Toronto to add our name and endorse this treaty.  By endorsing it, Toronto is committing to a fossil free future, and sending a message to our provincial and federal governments to stop investing in oil and gas, and use funds to transition away from them.

What can you do?

Consider any or all of the following actions:

  1. Add your name to the petition for Toronto Council to endorse the FFNP Treaty. 
  2. Send a letter to Mayor Tory and all city councillors asking that they endorse the treaty. Use this tool to make it easy!
  3. Phone your councillor and leave a message asking them to endorse the treaty. You can find your councillor’s contact information here.
  4. Personally endorse the treaty at https://fossilfueltreaty.org/#endorse 

Join the over 12,000 individuals including over 1300 scientists, academics, and researchers, and over 480 world wide organizations who are working to make this treaty a reality!

July 1st Statement in Support of Indigenous Communities

Today, on July 1st, TO350 members would like to acknowledge the horrific findings of childrens' remains at the former residential school sites across Canada and express our support for Indigenous communities. This is a time of mourning, not a time to celebrate.

If you are a survivor of Indigenous residential schools, or someone who bears the intergenerational trauma of them and you need support, call the Residential School help line: 1-866-925-4419. If you are looking for local social supports anywhere across Canada, call 211.

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Laws, Rights - Poetry, Land

Today, on National Indigenous Peoples’ day, it is a good time to mention that Bill C-15 has passed and royal assent is coming soon. To quote the bill’s summary, it will require that the government of Canada “take all measures necessary to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP),” a human rights instrument focused on Indigenous rights.

Photo by Andisheh A on Unsplash

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Toronto350 Supports Shut Down of The Line 5 Pipeline

The Line 5 Pipeline is 68 years old, operated by Enbridge and carries 87 million litres of fossil fuel per day, running from Superior, Wisconsin through Michigan and ending in Sarnia, Ontario. The pipeline also runs through the Great Lakes which are very important for the millions and millions of people around them, supporting recreation, agriculture and supplying drinking water.

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Budget Response - From Throne Speech to Budget 2021

When Toronto350 graded the federal Speech from the Throne in September 2020, we considered whether it represented an appropriate response to the interlocking health, economic and climate crises. The 2021 Budget puts funding behind the Throne Speech’s promises, and so we ask again, does this Budget support Canadians in a just recovery and a transition to a low-carbon economy?

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The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan must stop investing our money in climate failure

As Ontario teachers, we work hard to prepare young people for the challenges of the future. In a world ravaged by the climate crisis, that can’t mean only teaching, mentoring and coaching. It also means doing our part to ensure that students will graduate into a world with a livable climate.

Unfortunately, our pension savings are working against the clean energy future our students need.

Our $205 billion Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) continues to invest billions of our savings in climate-polluting fossil fuels, and only a small percentage in climate solutions.

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Climate Change Accountability Legislation: Who Wrote it Best?

In 2020, two different bills were tabled in the House of Commons to support climate change accountability.  The first, the Climate Change Accountability Act (Bill C-215), was introduced by MP Kristina Michaud of the Bloc Québécois in February 2020.  The second, the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act (Bill C-12), was introduced by the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change in November 2020.

So who wrote the better bill?

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Choosing a Climate-Friendly Credit Union (in Toronto)

You’ve read about how Canada’s major banks use your savings to finance fossil fuels

You’ve joined the BankSwitch campaign and told your bank that you will be closing your accounts unless they clean up their act. 

And now, since your bank hasn’t made a lot of changes, you’re wondering where you should take your business instead. 

We think local credit unions are a great option.

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Toward a Just and Green Recovery - Build Back Fairer

In mid-March, we began this seven-part series on the upcoming federal Budget with a self-evident statement, “COVID-19 has shown us that people’s health and wellbeing must be prioritized.” Events of the last weeks have underlined this truth with devastating clarity. Even as a disastrous third wave destroys lives and families, overwhelmingly in working class and racialized communities, access to vaccinations has been grossly uneven, favouring the affluent.

On the brink of Monday’s Budget, the need for strong social infrastructure, and a resilient, sustainable economy that supports a livable future in the midst of ongoing and coming crises, has never been greater.

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