This Week in Sustainability


Last week sustainability in the news was distinctly negative.

This week? Rays of hope shone through despite the tragic impacts of Hurricane Dorian and a late week GOP cloud of autocracy.

Democracy is not on the ropes

For much of the past couple of years, liberals and progressives, however you wish to define them, witnessed aghast the rise of rightwing populism as it threatened the until recently unquestioned global march towards greater equality and care for the environment.

Continuing protests in Russia, Hong Kong, the US and the UK this week is a heartening counterbalance.

Participation and belief in democracy is, it would seem, far from dead. Millions of boots on the ground is a good sign. But the best news for a liberal resurgence came from pollster Stanley Greenberg, who predicts in his new book, R.I.P. G.O.P.,  a blue tidal wave in the 2020 US elections. Seems demographic relief from (the last grasping gasp?) of political power laced with racism, xenophobia etc. is on its way.

Vehement and effective opposition by the British parliament to newly installed UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s authoritarian tactics is also a reason to cheer.

The rising up of 21 Tory MPs (including Boris’ brother!) against Johnson’s proroguing of parliament to delay key Brexit votes and trying to force a snap election to limit reasonable debate on Brexit prior to the irrevocable October 31 EU deadline, should restore a measure of faith in democracy.

Trump acclaimed?

Last night I concluded the above section with, “ Oh, that some GOP senators and congress folks are taking notes about events in the UK.”

Seems they did, but not as hoped for.

Indeed, the GOP in South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona and Kansas indicated today they would be canceling presidential primaries.

Cancel or hold, Trump will be annointed. With over 80% of Republicans supporting Trump, no one expects Joe Walsh or William Weld, the president’s most serious challengers to win. But they are serious candidates nonethess, with critical and different views from Trump.

Many, including myself, suspect dozens of GOP candidates in swing states would very much like to see the emperor further decloaked (even if only on the ‘fake’ news).

Once more we mourn for victims of gun violence

Gun freaks have long had their own rock and roll hero, Ted Nugent. Now gun control advocates have theirs. Ok, maybe he is not as freaky as Ted or as he seemed in the late 1970s, but Paul Stanley of KISS shouted out loud on twitter this week saying, “prayers and sympathy are not enough” to put an end to mass shooting. Many of his fans demurred, but good on him.

Meanwhile, Walmart and Kroger’s announced they will restrict open carry guns in their stores. Walmart will also stop selling handguns in Alaska (the last state it still sells them) and won’t sell bullets meant for military style guns.

My American friends tell me I should cheer. As a Canadian, I cant help but feel this is the #BigRetailers’ equivalent of hopes and prayers.

What we can unequivocally cheer is the city of San Francisco and its continued sustainability leadership, declaring the National Rifle Association a terrorist organization.

Don’t agree?  

Ok, but you’d better check out the definition of terrorist group. According to the US Department of State: a terrorist group is one that conducts premeditated “… politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.

Dorian, climate change crises, and sharpies

There is little that can be said or done here that others have not for those impacted by Dorian, the category 5 hurricane that sat over the Bahamas this week ripping at the country’s very soul.

Dorian is the fourth category 5 storm this year. Get used to them say climate scientists. Once an anomaly, they are the new norm, a course of events no sharpy can hope to change.

Learn how you can help the Bahamas in their relief and rebuilding efforts by donating to Red Cross, All Hands and Hearts, Direct Relief Hurricane Dorian Fund, Grand Bahama Disaster Relief Foundation, International Medical Corps among others.

Dem candidates on CNN Townhall promise trillions to combat climate crisis

Last Wednesday night, ten Dem presidential hopefuls explained their vision for combating the climate crisis in an exhilarating and exhausting seven hour CNN townhall marathon.

My own take?

We gotta love the $16 trillion Bernie Saunders’ wants to spend on the crisis. Nothing short of a total economic renovation is in order. And if you have ever remodeled a kitchen or bathroom, you know, its always twice the price and three times the time to completion of the original quote.

The end is actually near this time and we simply cannot underestimate the size of the climate challenge, nor our ignorance of it. It’s a complex global problem of massive proportion, the ilkes of which we’ve never seen. We have no experience dealing with such a problem and there is no consensus on how to approach it. Lets face it, throwing a lot of money at our best ideas and some of the wackier ones just to see what sticks may be our best strategic hope.

Senator Warren and Kamala Harris (soggy straws aside) also get a vote.

Warren gets it for implying #Big Oil could be nationalized if they don’t change their ways (although by 2035? I’d say 2025 is more like it). Harris’ gets a nod for threating to let the Department of Justice loose on any #BigOil company complicit with global warming, aka all of them.

Best line at the townhall?

‘Sorry guys, by 2035 you’re done, you’re not going to be using carbon-based fuels anymore”—Elizabeth Warren

The consensus outcome?

Every one of the Dem candidates would be better on climate by 10,000 to the 10th than any GOP member in the House or Senate.

Final Word

Speaking of democracy and protest, some folks on social media didn’t like these American Indians giving a richly deserved salute to those who had desecrated their homelands.

Don’t agree with their anger, or just want to learn more about why they are mad? Check out the History Channel’s timeline on the egregious treatment, lies, and suffering American Indians have endured at the hands of what some call real ‘Americans.

Its a wrap

That’s the wrap for this week. Let me know what we missed, makes you happy, or mad.

Have a great weekend!

Check out last weeks best sustainability tweets…

Before you go…. if you want to make your own footprint on the world lighter and better, why not get a copy of my book Invest Like You Give a Dam….. (New Society Publishers).

I hear it “turns the dull topic of personal finance into a fun, thought-provoking page turner.”


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