Defend Our Climate

Today I went to a “Defend Our Climate” rally. There are reports of protests in 130 communities across Canada today, but I take slight hope. With the Harper government praising Australia for removing their carbon tax, what hope do we have that the government will take action now? How do we defend our climate in the face of such obstinacy? I have to take inspiration from the little things people are doing. Sudbury has a solar energy cooperative. The local food movement continues to grow and there are people locally working to prevent the splitting of local farmland into residential Continue reading

Want to see some amazing monarch butterfly pictures?

I continue to search for illusive answers about the monarch butterfly. So far the best source I’ve found is a big beautiful book called The Amazing Monarch by Windle Turley. The book has absolutely stunning photographs, interspersed with quotes about the Monarch butterfly. Most interesting to me was the handful of pages at the end telling about the Monarch lifecycle. These pages have an abundance of endnotes, which I appreciate, though I had to smile at how parts of it were written.It has a paragraph about butterfly mating, but ends with “Male  monarch butterflies are also known for their frequent Continue reading

5 things to do to protect Monarch Butterflies

Monarch caterpillars go wandering before they turn into a pupae, so though we’ve watched over a dozen monarch caterpillars grow to full size in our milkweed patch, we weren’t sure if we would see any butteflies. Finally last week we spotted this beauty, next to our lavender hyssop patch, not quite ready for flight. About an hour after we took this picture he made a very hesitant flight up into a nearby tree and a more confident flight away. Seeing the butterfly close up was inspiration again to think about what we can do to protect this beautiful species. Plant milkweed! Support municipal legislation that Continue reading

For a Diversity of Tactics

I went last night to a presentation by two women from Deep Green Resistance. It was an interesting presentation focusing on the question of how we make change in our world. The two presenters critiqued the myth that if we just bring enough awareness out there we can create a mass movement that will bring about change through solely nonviolent means. The presenters talked about how historians and story-tellers get to choose from a huge variety of details which ones they present, and so by focusing on Gandhi we ignore Bhagat Singh (and, for that matter, the fact that Gandhi Continue reading

When it comes to climate change, the devil is in the details

The Fall 2012 edition of Our Schools Our Selves includes an article by Victoria Wills about environmental education in schools. She points out that school field trips are the dominant “experience of nature” for many students and that too often they end up reinforcing the idea that nature is somehow seperate from civilization. She applauds the efforts of schools to recognize the educational potential of ‘near nature’ of parks and urban spaces. She laments that liabilities make schools treat nature as dangerous (I suspect too many parents do that too). She laments the awkward situation where schools attempt to teach Continue reading

Social Justice Activism and the pursuit of low-hanging fruit

An older picture of one of my sons at a political protest. One of the questions that keeps popping up in my life is whether or not we should take the time for the low-hanging fruit or not. This comes up in activist issues. Do we spend time campaigning for something practical and possible like a $14 an hour minimum wage (giving Ontario workers 10% above the poverty line) or do we try to tackle the big problems like reforming capitalism? Do we worry about whether or not people on social assistance can pay their rent or do we try Continue reading

Homeschooling Topic of the Week: The Arctic and Antarctic

The arctic and antarctic seem like appropriate topics for learning about while the snow piles up outside. I want my children to have an appreciation for the differences between the polar regions and an understanding of how the polar regions interact with the rest of our planet. As the polar ice melts the arctic, in particular, becomes a political issue. Who has claims what resources there? Whose rules will govern the waters? There is a possibility that the North West Passage searched for for so long will open up. I want my children to get a sense of the arctic Continue reading

Climate Change, Northern Ontario & Chief Theresa Spence

My last post was about a children’s book on climate change and polar bears. This post is going to be about climate change and Northern Ontarians. There are communities in Northern Ontario where the roads drive over ice. This news article from almost a year ago describing how the roads are built: The measurements are crucial. Ice of 43 inches across the river will support commercial loads of about 100,000 pounds (45,000 kilograms). Unaided by men, the river would freeze to only about two feet or so. And the James Bay Winter Road, which follows the bay’s western coast about Continue reading

Tears for Nanertak – a children’s book about climate change

I received in the mail an absolutely stunning hard covered picture book to review. It is called Tears for Nanertak and it is written and illustrated by Skip Hofstrand. As I look through it I can imagine myself wandering the halls of an art gallery admiring an arctic exhibit. The stunning water color paintings capture a moment in history. The Arctic is melting. The animals must leave. The book balances the reality that disasters happen on two levels, both the personal and the communal. The whole Arctic grieves and within that a mother attempts to keep her cub afloat. As Continue reading