How Green Will the Super Bowl Be?

“Politics is like football; if you see daylight, go through the hole.”
John F. Kennedy

This Sunday many of us will be enjoying a major sports event: Super Bowl XLVIII. Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks, who will win? There are a number of firsts with this particular Super Bowl: first to be played outdoors in a cold weather environment, first to be played outdoors on artificial turf in 38 years, and first hosted by two states (New York and New Jersey).

Why two states? Because the venue where it’s being held is MetLife Stadium, the only stadium to host two National Football League (NFL) teams: it’s home to both the New York Giants and New York Jets, yet it’s located in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It can seat 82,500 so it’s one of the largest stadiums in the NFL.

So why would a Climate Leader like me care? Because MetLife Stadium is a little different than your average football arena. Continue reading

Canadian Support for Keystone XL on the Decline

“The reality is that over time, it just looks like more of an imperfect pipeline.”
—Nik Nanos, president and CEO of Nanos Research

It should come as no surprise that I’m opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline. I consider the tar sands to be the dirtiest source of oil on the planet: the amount of carbon pollution emitted per barrel is terrible, and the devastation to the environment in obtaining the stuff and transporting it to the Gulf of Mexico isn’t worth it in my opinion. If we invested as much money into the necessary research and development for solar, wind and better battery storage, any woes associated with renewable energy would soon be over.

And I’m not the only one who isn’t keen on it either: it turns out the number of Canucks who feel the same way I do is growing. Continue reading

Will Progress Doom Us or Save Us?

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
George Santayana

Imagine trying to run the latest and greatest software on a 45-year-old computer. Keep in mind that computer technology from that era got men on the moon, but most of us would still scoff at the idea. We’d say it’s too outdated for modern times.

That’s an important premise in the documentary Surviving Progress. According to filmmakers Mathieu Roy and Harold Crooks, our civilization’s progress has been both “awe-inspiring” and “double-edged.” The film claims that we’re trying to run 21st century software on the “ancient hardware of our primate brain,” something which hasn’t seen an upgrade in 50,000 years.

The documentary is based on Ronald Wright’s best-seller, “A Short History Of Progress.” Through the use of many examples from all over the world, the film makes clear our folly. According to the website:

“…in the past, we could use up a region’s resources and move on. But if today’s global civilization collapses from over-consumption, that’s it. We have no back-up planet.”

Surviving Progress interviews a number of today’s brightest minds. Although some aren’t particularly optimistic about our chances, others think further progress won’t get us into further trouble but rather will actually get us out of it. Stephen Hawking thinks we need to establish settlements on other planets. Craig Venter whose team helped decode the human genome believes synthetic organisms will ultimately create all of the food and fuel our planet will need. Far-fetched solutions? Perhaps, but remember that today’s science fiction is frequently tomorrow’s science fact.

The film leaves us with a challenge: “To prove that making apes smarter was not an evolutionary dead-end.” And it’s a challenge we have no option but to face.

President Obama Gets It: A Little is Actually a Lot

“[I]t’s not sufficient for us to just tell [China and India] to stop. We’re going to have to give them some help”
—President Obama discussing carbon emissions

Last week, New Yorker magazine published an article by David Remnick summarizing an interview with President Obama. Remnick asked about all sorts of topics such as Chris Christie, relationships with Congress, and foreign policy. But one biggie was the subject of climate change, and what Obama as President is doing about it.

From the interview it was clear that President Obama realizes his climate action plan won’t solve the problem of global warming, but unlike many of his critics he’s able to see the big picture. Obama’s main point is that the U.S. needs to demonstrate good faith on the issue of tackling emissions, and not only to China—the planet’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases—but to the entire world. Only then can international cooperation lead to real change.

In Obama’s words:

“It’s not because I’m ignorant of the fact that these emerging countries are going to be a bigger problem than us. It’s because it’s very hard for me to get in that conversation if we’re making no effort. And it’s not an answer for us to say, ‘Well, since the Chinese and the Indians are the bigger problem, we might as well not even bother.’” Continue reading

Proud to Be an Eco-Warrior

“People ask: Why should I care about the ocean? Because the ocean is the cornerstone of earth’s life support system, it shapes climate and weather.”
—Sylvia Earle

Sometimes I’ve been accused of being an eco-warrior, as if that’s a bad thing. But I think of it this way: I’m an environmental activist and I take action, doing what I can to help save the planet. I’m fighting for what I believe in. That’s different from an eco-terrorist, someone usually involved in illegal activities in their environmental pursuits and that’s definitely not me. But eco-warrior? Bring it on!

Meet another eco-warrior: Sylvia Earle. She’s an American oceanographer, explorer, author, and lecturer and was named Time Magazine’s first Hero for the Planet in 1998. Watch this video to see her describe what changes she’s witnessed on our planet, and why she’s fighting so hard to protect it.

Sylvia is a true eco-warrior, so if I’m accused of being anything like her then I’m proud. In Sylvia’s words:

People ask: Why should I care about the ocean? Because the ocean is the cornerstone of earth’s life support system, it shapes climate and weather. It holds most of life on earth. 97% of earth’s water is there. It’s the blue heart of the planet — we should take care of our heart. It’s what makes life possible for us. We still have a really good chance to make things better than they are. They won’t get better unless we take the action and inspire others to do the same thing. No one is without power. Everybody has the capacity to do something.

Proud indeed.