thoughts after the 2016 US presidential election

[This text was written on November 11th, 2016. I wanted to flesh out that last point before posting, but nine months later, it’s become clear that I don’t know how to. But the rest is still relevant, I think.]

Although I’m a woman and a person of colour, I have the luxury of not having to fear more than before for my personal safety due to the outcome of the US presidential election since I don’t live in the US. Those who are worried about their safety have every right to be so; their fear has unfortunately been validated by now countless reports of verbal and physical assault by white males who align their attacks with the new US president-elect. But since I don’t have to worry about getting deported, incarcerated, tortured, raped, or being attacked in countless other ways any more than I usually do, my reaction to the election can be cerebral and detached rather than instinctive, emotional or based on survival. For that I am grateful and I acknowledge that others in the US may not have this luxury.Read More »

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trump is the best thing to ever happen to trudeau

South of the border is a crass, brash, crude, cruel, snarling, heartless, stupid, mean, linguistically challenged bigot, racist and misogynist. His counterpart north of the border is all smiles and warmth, projects compassion and love, is eloquent and the face of fun and good cheer, can pass the strictest of political correctness tests, calls himself a feminist and reminds us at every chance how much he welcomes refugees, Muslims, immigrants and diversity. And why wouldn’t he be smiling? Trump is the antichrist that lets him play knight in shining armour in Canada and the world.Read More »

checking privilege and the women’s march on washington

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“Defend Dignity” by Shepard Fairey

There are many privileges I enjoy at a cost borne by someone who doesn’t enjoy them. They include a financially stable childhood, two well-educated parents, being a native English speaker, being born and having grown up in stable, open and wealthy countries, and being able-bodied. These privileges I don’t think about even on a weekly basis, let alone daily; that, of course, is part of the privilege! And it’s all the more reason why it’s so important for me to “check my privilege.” This I take to mean being aware of and acknowledging the advantages I have over others based on factors outside my control and unrelated to any efforts that I made, understanding the historical roots of these advantages and their current impact on myself and others, and taking action to correct the unjust systems that perpetuate these inequalities.Read More »

makes no frackin’ sense (part ii)

energy-satellites-flaring-north-dakota-main-art_72347_990x742Part I: on Obama approval of cross-border fracked gas pipeline used to dilute tar sands

Gas flaring is apparently a thing. It is a way to deal with the natural gas that is released as a byproduct of fracking for crude oil. Normally we hear about hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) of shale in North America as a way to extract shale gas. That gas is usually piped and shipped to be combusted as energy. But the gas that is released while extracting crude oil from shale rock is considered a waste byproduct – unusuable and nonmarketable… for want of pipelines. Read More »

measuring responsibility and leadership

tri3LadyJustice
Lady Justice (c) Tristan Henry-Wilson

Today I received this in my work email inbox: OECD states cut emissions too slowly.

For anyone who watches the news, this is hardly groundbreaking. For those of us working in environmental justice or international development, we’ve seen graphs and diagrams ad nauseam depicting the earth’s trajectory vis-a-vis greenhouse gas emissions based on different scenarios and data. They have the same story: The planet – and, therefore, humanity – is doomed because we’re not doing enough to rein in emissions.

But who, exactly, are ‘we’? Read More »

makes no frackin’ sense

This just in:  Obama approves border-crossing fracked gas pipeline used to dilute tar sands (also here)

2012CochinExplorerConnSo here’s the dealio:

We – and yes, we, the global or, at least, North American community, are in this together, becauase any inaction by any of us is also a form of action – are fracking Texas for gas. We are then transporting gas condensate to Illinois. We then build a 3,000 km pipeline to Alberta, with a company (Kinder Morgan Cochin) with known safety failures and has been warned by the Canada National Energy Board in 2003 for its crack problems (please, no Rob Ford jokes…). We are then mixing it with tar sands bitumen, which is some of the most toxic and energy intensive sources of energy in the world. Finally, we will export this to either Asia or the US.Read More »

the good, the bad, and the obama

Those of us in positions of power are elected not just to serve as custodians of the present, but as caretakers of the future.

President Obama gave a speech last night at Georgetown University on climate change action. Reading the transcript fills me with inspiration and hope… until I remember that talk is not enough and action is the biggest challenge. And hang on – upon a closer reading, he actually says some very worrying things!

From a ‘we all have a responsibility to take care of our planet’ perspective, Obama hit all the right notes. Read More »