Time For Canadians to Boycott Tim Hortons

Time For Canadians to Boycott Tim Hortons

by Lloyd Alter, Toronto on 11. 5.08

tim hortons gravenhurst photo

Two weeks ago I stopped at the Timmys just south of Gravenhurst, shown above, and walked to the edge of their parking lot with the puppy. Two feet beyond the edge of their own parking lot was this view.

That is what Tim Horton’s is like. They sell 80% of the coffee in Canada and they really don’t care what happens two feet beyond the edge of their property. So what if this is the view from the parking lot in the middle of scenic Muskoka.

tim-horton-2.jpg
another view from the Gravenhurst Tim Horton parking lot

The City of Toronto has complained before that it is tired of cleaning it up; Councillor Gord Perks said last year:

The city of Toronto, both in households, in street cleaning and in our parks, is paying for the fact the province will not regulate packaging and will not make the manufacturers and producers of that waste pay the cost of cleaning it up – which means the property taxpayer has to pay for it (and) we have to spend precious dollars from our parks department.”

Timmy’s spokesperson responded that “Tim Hortons urges customers not to litter, has placed recycling bins outside its outlets, and is a sponsor of the city’s annual spring cleanup.”

Now they have gone to war with the City, which wants them to redesign their cup. The City complains that a cardboard cup with a plastic lid screws up the recycling process by contaminating the paper with plastic. The city also wants stores to offer a 20 cent discount for those who bring their own mugs.

Spokesman Nick Javor responded that the company will “absolutely not” redesign its cups to suit Toronto, said Javor, who says plastic lids are the only leak-proof products on the market.

On the other hand, StarbucksScryve Corporate Social Responsibility Rating is “currently engaged with city officials in “very productive meetings” aimed at making their cups recyclable.”

tim hortons corner photo
Did I say they didn’t care about two feet beyond?

Perhaps it’s time for us to tell Tim Horton’s what we think. Perhaps they should provide decent and adequate garbage handling and recycling at all of their stores. Perhaps they should try and cooperate with the City in dealing with their corporate detritus. Perhaps they should put a deposit on every paper cup so that the jerks who throw them onto the ground will be encouraged to bring them back.

Perhaps Canadians should buy their coffee somewhere else until they start taking responsibility for the garbage they generate.

Globe and Mail
and Toronto Star

More on Tim Horton’s Garbage
It’s Time for Deposits. On Everything.
Brewing Up Change at Your Coffee Chain
Green Suggestions for Coffee Shops
Make That Coffee Cup Porcelain, Not Paper
Toronto Considering Deposits On Everything

Plea to Medical Profession | Our Moral Obligation | Dr. Lise Van Susteren

Our Moral Obligation

I am a doctor. A psychiatrist. Over the years I have heard many troubling stories about the human condition. I have worked with individuals who were “on the ledge” emotionally. I have worked with people who fantasize about killing people, and some who have. I have listened to people recount being tortured, abused. I have evaluated the psychological states of foreign leaders who threaten world security. I have heard the details about children who have died at the hands of people who were out of their minds with drugs or illness. People have died in my arms, dropped dead at my feet.

Nothing has prepared me for what I am currently hearing: scientists all over the world warning us about the threat of catastrophic and irreversible climate change.

As a member of several organizations that involve professionals working in the field of mental health, I am stunned that this threat to the health of the planet and the public is so underplayed by these organizations and their members. An official from one leading organization expressed regrets that she was unable to attend a recent forum wrestling with the psychological and mental health aspects of climate change and noted, “no one on the staff is interested.” The person she anointed in her place cancelled.

One of the missions of these associations is to relieve human suffering. As practitioners we help people to face reality. We chip away at their denial knowing it can be a cover for behaviors that destroy their lives. When they see the world more clearly, we urge them to take charge – warning of the dangers of being passive.

Scientists every day are telling us that climate change is happening far faster than anyone had predicted and that the magnitude of the problem is unfathomable. “We have an emergency,” warns NASA scientist James Hansen. “People don’t know that. Continued ignorance and denial could make tragic consequences unavoidable.”

Why are the organizations and their members, those most skilled at exposing the danger of denial and destructive behaviors, so silent about this crisis? Are they in denial themselves? Surely the science isn’t disputed. Surely we don’t believe that destroying life on our planet is “not our problem.”

Our canon of ethics says we have a duty to protect the public health and to participate in activities that contribute to it.

Where, then, are the journal articles, the committee reports, the mission statements, action plans, letters to the editor, presentations, etc that attest to the gravity of what we are hearing? Where are the recommendations that show how to break through denial and get people to change – quickly? Are we not the very organizations to seize upon warnings and confront the world before it is too late?

We see through resistance, excuses, faulty reasoning. We “get” urgency, we “get” life-long consequences. We see the anger, anxiety and depression caused by the mistakes and shortcomings of a previous generation. We know about trauma from repeated exposure to horrifying events. We are trained, indeed we are ethically bound, to respond to emergencies.

What are we waiting for?

We are already seeing wildfires, floods, sea level rise, storms, droughts, risks to our national security, and a mass extinction.

Lethal global overheating – strike the innocuous sounding “global warming” – is not something that may happen in the next century or even mid-century – it is happening now.

All of us, urgently and collectively, have a duty to warn our patients, co-workers, families, neighbors, friends. We have a duty to act – within our professional organizations, in our communities, offices and homes. Climate scientists are desperately trying to tell us to reduce our carbon emissions – to stop building new coal plants, to switch to clean renewable energy, to embrace energy efficiency – to “pay any price, bear any burden.”

Mental health professionals vigorously endorse requirements to report cases of child abuse. It is a legal obligation, but it is also a moral one.

Is it any less compelling a moral obligation, in the name of all children now and in the future, to report that we are on track to hand over a planet that may be destroyed for generations to come?

I respectfully request that we, as mental health professionals, make a unified stand in support of actions to reduce the threat of catastrophic climate change.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lise-van-susteren/our-moral-obligation_b_187751.html

The Declaration of Cumaná, Venezuela | This is a Brilliant Read Based on How We are Currently Functioning as a Society

The Declaration of Cumaná

April 23rd 2009, by ALBA Member Countries

ALBA

Cumaná, Venezuela

We, the Heads of State and Government of Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela, member countries of ALBA, consider that the Draft Declaration of the 5th Summit of the Americas is insufficient and unacceptable for the following reasons:

- The Declaration does not provide answers to the Global Economic Crisis, even though this crisis constitutes the greatest challenge faced by humanity in the last decades and is the most serious threat of the current times to the welfare of our peoples.

- The Declaration unfairly excludes Cuba, without mentioning the consensus in the region condemning the blockade and isolation to which the people and the government of Cuba have incessantly been exposed in a criminal manner.

For this reason, we, the member countries of ALBA believe that there is no consensus for the adoption of this draft declaration because of the reasons above stated, and accordingly, we propose to hold a thorough debate on the following topics:

1. Capitalism is leading humanity and the planet to extinction. What we are experiencing is a global economic crisis of a systemic and structural nature, not another cyclic crisis. Those who think that with a taxpayer money injection and some regulatory measures this crisis will end are wrong. The financial system is in crisis because it trades bonds with six times the real value of the assets and services produced and rendered in the world, this is not a “system regulation failure”, but a integrating part of the capitalist system that speculates with all assets and values with a view to obtain the maximum profit possible. Until now, the economic crisis has generated over 100 million additional hungry persons and has slashed over 50 million jobs, and these figures show an upward trend.

2. Capitalism has caused the environmental crisis, by submitting the necessary conditions for life in the planet, to the predominance of market and profit. Each year we consume one third more of what the planet is able to regenerate. With this squandering binge of the capitalist system, we are going to need two planets Earth by the year 2030.

3. The global economic crisis, climate change, the food crisis and the energy crisis are the result of the decay of capitalism, which threatens to end life and the planet. To avert this outcome, it is necessary to develop and model an alternative to the capitalist system. A system based on:

- solidarity and complementarity, not competition;
– a system in harmony with our mother earth and not plundering of human resources;
– a system of cultural diversity and not cultural destruction and imposition of cultural values and lifestyles alien to the realities of our countries;
– a system of peace based on social justice and not on imperialist policies and wars;
– in summary, a system that recovers the human condition of our societies and peoples and does not reduce them to mere consumers or merchandise.

4. As a concrete expression of the new reality of the continent, we, Caribbean and Latin American countries, have commenced to build our own institutionalization, an institutionalization that is based on a common history dating back to our independence revolution and constitutes a concrete tool for deepening the social, economic and cultural transformation processes that will consolidate our full sovereignty. ALBA-TCP, Petrocaribe or UNASUR, mentioning merely the most recently created, are solidarity-based mechanisms of unity created in the midst of such transformations with the obvious intention of boosting the efforts of our peoples to attain their own freedom. To face the serious effects of the global economic crisis, we, the ALBA-TCP countries, have adopted innovative and transforming measures that seek real alternatives to the inadequate international economic order, not to boost their failed institutions. Thus, we have implemented a Regional Clearance Unitary System, the SUCRE, which includes a Common Unit of Account, a Clearance Chamber and a Single Reserve System. Similarly, we have encouraged the constitution of grand-national companies to satisfy the essential needs of our peoples and establish fair and complementary trade mechanisms that leave behind the absurd logic of unbridled competition.

5. We question the G20 for having tripled the resources of the International Monetary Fund when the real need is to establish a new world economic order that includes the full transformation of the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO, entities that have contributed to this global economic crisis with their neoliberal policies.

6. The solutions to the global economic crisis and the definition of a new international financial scheme should be adopted with the participation of the 192 countries that will meet in the United Nations Conference on the International Financial Crisis to be held on June 1-3 to propose the creation of a new international economic order.

7. As for climate change, developed countries are in an environmental debt to the world because they are responsible for 70% of historical carbon emissions into the atmosphere since 1750. Developed countries should pay off their debt to humankind and the planet; they should provide significant resources to a fund so that developing countries can embark upon a growth model which does not repeat the serious impacts of the capitalist industrialization.

8. Solutions to the energy, food and climate change crises should be comprehensive and interdependent. We cannot solve a problem by creating new ones in fundamental areas for life. For instance, the widespread use of agricultural fuels has an adverse effect on food prices and the use of essential resources, such as water, land and forests.

9. We condemn the discrimination against migrants in any of its forms. Migration is a human right, not a crime. Therefore, we request the United States government an urgent reform of its migration policies in order to stop deportations and massive raids and allow for reunion of families. We further demand the removal of the wall that separates and divides us, instead of uniting us. In this regard, we petition for the abrogation of the Law of Cuban Adjustment and removal of the discriminatory, selective Dry Feet, Wet Feet policy that has claimed human losses. Bankers who stole the money and resources from our countries are the true responsible, not migrant workers. Human rights should come first, particularly human rights of the underprivileged, downtrodden sectors in our society, that is, migrants without identity papers. Free movement of people and human rights for everybody, regardless of their migration status, are a must for integration. Brain drain is a way of plundering skilled human resources exercised by rich countries.

10. Basic education, health, water, energy and telecommunications services should be declared human rights and cannot be subject to private deal or marketed by the World Trade Organization. These services are and should be essentially public utilities of universal access.

11. We wish a world where all, big and small, countries have the same rights and where there is no empire. We advocate non-intervention. There is the need to strengthen, as the only legitimate means for discussion and assessment of bilateral and multilateral agendas in the hemisphere, the foundations for mutual respect between states and governments, based on the principle of non-interference of a state in the internal affairs of another state, and inviolability of sovereignty and self-determination of the peoples. We request the new Government of the United States, the arrival of which has given rise to some expectations in the hemisphere and the world, to finish the longstanding and dire tradition of interventionism and aggression that has characterized the actions of the US governments throughout history, and particularly intensified during the Administration of President George W. Bush. By the same token, we request the new Government of the United States to abandon interventionist practices, such as cover-up operations, parallel diplomacy, media wars aimed at disturbing states and governments, and funding of destabilizing groups. Building on a world where varied economic, political, social and cultural approaches are acknowledged and respected is of the essence.

12. With regard to the US blockade against Cuba and the exclusion of the latter from the Summit of the Americas, we, the member states of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America, reassert the Declaration adopted by all Latin American and Caribbean countries last December 16, 2008, on the need to end the economic, trade and financial blockade imposed by the Government of the United States of America on Cuba, including the implementation of the so-called Helms-Burton Act. The declaration sets forth in its fundamental paragraphs the following:

“CONSIDERING the resolutions approved by the United Nations General Assembly on the need to finish the economic, trade and financial blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba, and the statements on such blockade, which have been approved in numerous international meetings.

“WE AFFIRM that the application of unilateral, coercive measures affecting the wellbeing of peoples and hindering integration processes is unacceptable when defending free exchange and the transparent practice of international trade.

“WE STRONGLY REPEL the enforcement of laws and measures contrary to International Law, such as the Helms-Burton Act, and we urge the Government of the United States of America to finish such enforcement.

“WE REQUEST the Government of the United States of America to comply with the provisions set forth in 17 successive resolutions approved by the United Nations General Assembly and put an end to the economic, trade and financial blockade on Cuba.”

Additionally, we consider that the attempts at imposing the isolation of Cuba have failed, as nowadays Cuba forms an integral part of the Latin American and Caribbean region; it is a member of the Rio Group and other hemispheric organizations and mechanisms, which develops a policy of cooperation, in solidarity with the countries in the hemisphere; which promotes full integration of Latin American and Caribbean peoples. Therefore, there is no reason whatsoever to justify its exclusion from the mechanism of the Summit of the Americas.

13. Developed countries have spent at least USD 8 billion to rescue a collapsing financial structure. They are the same that fail to allocate the small sums of money to attain the Millennium Goals or 0.7% of the GDP for the Official Development Assistance. Never before the hypocrisy of the wording of rich countries had been so apparent. Cooperation should be established without conditions and fit in the agendas of recipient countries by making arrangements easier; providing access to the resources, and prioritizing social inclusion issues.

14. The legitimate struggle against drug trafficking and organized crime, and any other form of the so-called “new threats” must not be used as an excuse to undertake actions of interference and intervention against our countries.

15. We are firmly convinced that the change, where everybody repose hope, can come only from organization, mobilization and unity of our peoples.

As the Liberator wisely said:

Unity of our peoples is not a mere illusion of men, but an inexorable decree of destiny. — Simón Bolívar

Published in: http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4390

Tim Hortons Refuses to be Environmentally Responsible … As Per Usual

tims-collection1
PACKAGING

Tim Hortons gets a reprieve on new waste rules

Coffee chain and fast-food outlets reach a compromise with the city, but grocery retailers and bottled-water makers are not included

JENNIFER LEWINGTON AND JEFF GRAY

Bert Marotte

November 13, 2008

Tim Hortons and other fast-food outlets yesterday won a five-month reprieve – but grocery retailers and bottled-water makers did not – from tough city proposals to reduce consumer packaging waste.

In a compromise struck during a 10-hour debate, the public works committee unanimously agreed to more talks with Tim Hortons and its competitors – but only until April, 2009 – to find a recycling solution for disposable coffee and hot-drink cups that now go to landfill.

“This allows industry and leaders like Tim Hortons to sit down with the city on how we are actually going to reduce the volume of garbage going into our garbage dumps,” said committee chairman Glenn De Baeremaeker (Ward 38 Scarborough Centre.) “How do we get 365 million coffee cups out of the garbage stream and into the recycling stream?”

But by a vote of 4-2, the committee rebuffed moves to delay other proposals in a report by the city’s solid-waste department, including a 10-cent discount for consumers who avoid using a plastic bag at the checkout counter. The committee also held to a proposed ban on bottled water at civic centres, effective immediately, and at city facilities in three years.

After the vote, which heads to council for debate in early December, a spokeswoman for grocery retailers expressed dismay they had won no relief.

“I hope saner minds will prevail,” said Kim McKinnon, Ontario vice-president of the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors. “What they’ve done here is cause a huge economic burden on the grocery retailers … consumers will feel the multimillion-dollar impact.”

Nick Javor, senior vice-president of corporate affairs for Tim Hortons, expressed relief at the committee vote, but did not commit to specific actions.

“We have to go back and do more work,” he said.

The original staff report – which at the insistence of Mayor David Miller avoided calls for new taxes – won praise from environmentalists and universal opposition from industry. The report called on the fast-food industry to develop reusable take-out containers by 2010, and also switch to all-recyclable disposable take-out containers by the end of next year. (The city will start accepting polystyrene foam and plastic bags in blue bins in December.)

The plastics and food-industry groups repeated warnings yesterday that the city plan would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to business, and ultimately to consumers. City officials maintain the financial impact would be small. Industry groups also warned of possible legal action.

Stephanie Jones, the Ontario vice-president of the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association, said the 20-cent discount for customers who bring their own mugs was “punitive” and would leave the coffee shops – especially small mom-and-pop operations – out-of-pocket.

“Where is the city’s research? I personally went to Costco, and if I buy a sleeve of 12-ounce paper cups and a package of lids, I pay just over 10 cents [per cup],” she said.

According to a report by city bureaucrats, hot-drink cups with a sleeve and a plastic lid range in cost from 13 cents to 27 cents. Tim Hortons already offers a bring-your-own-mug discount, but only 10 cents.

The city says Tim Hortons’ current coffees cups are unrecyclable because the plastic lids contaminate the paper recycling stream. The coffee giant refused yesterday to help pay for the estimated $3-million in new sorting equipment needed to process the cups.

Mr. Javor said Tim Hortons would support the city if it approached the province to seek funding for the new equipment. Yesterday’s compromise includes a recommendation that the city ask the province for the financial help.

As of yesterday, Mr. Javor’s name now appears in the city’s lobbyist registry. The Globe and Mail reported on Tuesday that, despite meeting with city councillors last week, Mr. Javor did not appear in the city’s on-line lobbyist registry that tracks contact with city officials.

Lobbyist registrar Linda Gehrke would not comment if she is still investigating any possible breach of the rules by Mr. Javor. A conviction for a first offence could mean a fine of up to $25,000, but Ms. Gehrke says she is taking a lenient approach as industry adjusts to the rules.

Saving the planet

Some recent moves by other jurisdictions:

PLASTIC/PAPER

SHOPPING BAGS

Seattle: A 20-cent-a-bag “green fee” on plastic and paper bags, set for Jan. 1, is on hold pending the outcome of a referendum later next year.

San Francisco: It was the first city in the U.S. to impose a ban on plastic shopping bags, followed by Oakland, Calif., and Portland, Ore.

Ireland: A tax on plastic grocery bags, the equivalent of 34 cents a bag, was imposed in 2002, prompting a 90-per-cent drop in use.

Vancouver: A ban is under consideration, after Metro Vancouver (22 area municipalities) decided to work to discourage use of disposable bags.

BOTTLED WATER

Seattle: A mayor’s executive order banned city departments from buying bottled water, effective this month.

Metro Vancouver: It launched a campaign in September to encourage tap water use over bottled water, with a goal to reduce consumption 20 per cent by 2010.

Charlottetown: It was the first city in the country to ban bottled water from municipal facilities, in 2007. In August, London, Ont., imposed a similar ban. Vancouver and Kitchener-Waterloo are considering bans.

FOOD AND BEVERAGES

Seattle: A ban on polystyrene foam takeout containers comes into effect Jan. 1.

San Francisco: Disposable takeout containers must be biodegradable or suitable for compost or recycling.

Turner Valley, Alta.: In April, became the first municipality in Canada to ban polystyrene in food packaging, such as foam cups.

Jennifer Lewington and

Bert Marotte

Moratorium

Dear Members of City Council,

Please direct staff to review the possibility of placing a moratorium on all new commercial drive-through operations. This would be one strategy towards designing our city for people not cars.

A city designed for people not cars would have multiple town centres linked by green spaces, walkways and/or bicycle paths.

Benefits of multiple town centres:

  • Increased opportunities to access services, products, employment and entertainment within our communities
  • The development of a strong, highly diversified local economy, which would increase job opportunities.
  • Natural development of support networks for the disabled, elderly, young children, new immigrants etc.
  • Physical activity becomes a part of our daily routine, thereby improving overall health, air quality and decreasing the stress placed on our health care system.
  • Increased safety, as there would be more eyes on our communities thereby decreasing the overall need for police officers
  • Stronger communities

Designing cities around cars not people is expensive!

The cost of non-renewable fuels will continue to rise. This will impact the cost of living and the cost of running our cities.

  • We place ourselves in jeopardy, when our city is not highly diversified or built on a local economy.
  • Road and bridge infrastructure are expensive to build and maintain
  • Educational programs which promote better health are expensive, as they receive funding from all levels of government. Incorporating healthier lifestyles into our daily routines would achieve greater success and be cost effective.
  • The future costs of dealing with the impacts of climate change should not be ignored

Hopefully, in the near future, you will also consider levelling the playing field to encourage the growth of a diverse local economy and placing a moratorium on the widening of our streets.

As councilors you have the opportunity to place a unique stamp on London vs. a global stamp. Dare to dream!

As councillors, you are entrusted to do what is right for the majority. Please redesign our city for people not cars.

Best wishes,

Teresa Rutten

Opinion – We have Failed.

We have failed. We have failed to imagine the cost of convenience. We have failed to imagine the cost to our environment, to our health, and to the health of our children. All of these were unintended consequences. So let’s imagine change. Let’s remember that we have done this before when we agreed that smoking didn’t belong in the workplace and that kids on bikes needed helmets. If we could imagine this discussion in the future we are facing – we would recognize that drive-thrus are already a thing of the past.

Trae Robinson

Annual tons of CO2 per person

Annual tons of CO2 per person

Check this out for reflection:

Annual tons of CO2 per person:

Ethiopia: .01

India: 1.1

China: 3.2

Sweden: 5.6

France: 6.2

UK: 9.4

Japan: 9.7

Germany: 9.8

CANADA: 17.9

USA: 19.8

It’s us, the one billion affluent people of the world whose footprints are crushing the planet.  Do we have the discipline to step more lightly?  We are losing respect of our international community.  The mass consumption of our society has created an epidemic of obesity, asthma, respiratory problems, etc.

Al Gore: A Generational Challenge to Repower America: Text from Speech – July 17th, 2008

Ladies and gentlemen:

There are times in the history of our nation when our very way of life depends upon dispelling illusions and awakening to the challenge of a present danger. In such moments, we are called upon to move quickly and boldly to shake off complacency, throw aside old habits and rise, clear-eyed and alert, to the necessity of big changes. Those who, for whatever reason, refuse to do their part must either be persuaded to join the effort or asked to step aside. This is such a moment. The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk. And even more – if more should be required – the future of human civilization is at stake.

I don’t remember a time in our country when so many things seemed to be going so wrong simultaneously. Our economy is in terrible shape and getting worse, gasoline prices are increasing dramatically, and so are electricity rates. Jobs are being outsourced. Home mortgages are in trouble. Banks, automobile companies and other institutions we depend upon are under growing pressure. Distinguished senior business leaders are telling us that this is just the beginning unless we find the courage to make some major changes quickly.

The climate crisis, in particular, is getting a lot worse – much more quickly than predicted. Scientists with access to data from Navy submarines traversing underneath the North polar ice cap have warned that there is now a 75 percent chance that within five years the entire ice cap will completely disappear during the summer months. This will further increase the melting pressure on Greenland. According to experts, the Jakobshavn glacier, one of Greenland’s largest, is moving at a faster rate than ever before, losing 20 million tons of ice every day, equivalent to the amount of water used every year by the residents of New York City.

Two major studies from military intelligence experts have warned our leaders about the dangerous national security implications of the climate crisis, including the possibility of hundreds of millions of climate refugees destabilizing nations around the world.

Just two days ago, 27 senior statesmen and retired military leaders warned of the national security threat from an “energy tsunami” that would be triggered by a loss of our access to foreign oil. Meanwhile, the war in Iraq continues, and now the war in Afghanistan appears to be getting worse.

And by the way, our weather sure is getting strange, isn’t it? There seem to be more tornadoes than in living memory, longer droughts, bigger downpours and record floods. Unprecedented fires are burning in California and elsewhere in the American West. Higher temperatures lead to drier vegetation that makes kindling for mega-fires of the kind that have been raging in Canada, Greece, Russia, China, South America, Australia and Africa. Scientists in the Department of Geophysics and Planetary Science at Tel Aviv University tell us that for every one degree increase in temperature, lightning strikes will go up another 10 percent. And it is lightning, after all, that is principally responsible for igniting the conflagration in California today.

Like a lot of people, it seems to me that all these problems are bigger than any of the solutions that have thus far been proposed for them, and that’s been worrying me.

I’m convinced that one reason we’ve seemed paralyzed in the face of these crises is our tendency to offer old solutions to each crisis separately – without taking the others into account. And these outdated proposals have not only been ineffective – they almost always make the other crises even worse.

Yet when we look at all three of these seemingly intractable challenges at the same time, we can see the common thread running through them, deeply ironic in its simplicity: our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels is at the core of all three of these challenges – the economic, environmental and national security crises.

We’re borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that’s got to change.

But if we grab hold of that common thread and pull it hard, all of these complex problems begin to unravel and we will find that we’re holding the answer to all of them right in our hand.
The answer is to end our reliance on carbon-based fuels.

In my search for genuinely effective answers to the climate crisis, I have held a series of “solutions summits” with engineers, scientists, and CEOs. In those discussions, one thing has become abundantly clear: when you connect the dots, it turns out that the real solutions to the climate crisis are the very same measures needed to renew our economy and escape the trap of ever-rising energy prices. Moreover, they are also the very same solutions we need to guarantee our national security without having to go to war in the Persian Gulf.

What if we could use fuels that are not expensive, don’t cause pollution and are abundantly available right here at home?

We have such fuels. Scientists have confirmed that enough solar energy falls on the surface of the earth every 40 minutes to meet 100 percent of the entire world’s energy needs for a full year. Tapping just a small portion of this solar energy could provide all of the electricity America uses.

And enough wind power blows through the Midwest corridor every day to also meet 100 percent of US electricity demand. Geothermal energy, similarly, is capable of providing enormous supplies of electricity for America.

The quickest, cheapest and best way to start using all this renewable energy is in the production of electricity. In fact, we can start right now using solar power, wind power and geothermal power to make electricity for our homes and businesses.

But to make this exciting potential a reality, and truly solve our nation’s problems, we need a new start.

That’s why I’m proposing today a strategic initiative designed to free us from the crises that are holding us down and to regain control of our own destiny. It’s not the only thing we need to do. But this strategic challenge is the lynchpin of a bold new strategy needed to re-power America.

Today I challenge our nation to commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within 10 years.

This goal is achievable, affordable and transformative. It represents a challenge to all Americans – in every walk of life: to our political leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers, and to every citizen.

A few years ago, it would not have been possible to issue such a challenge. But here’s what’s changed: the sharp cost reductions now beginning to take place in solar, wind, and geothermal power – coupled with the recent dramatic price increases for oil and coal – have radically changed the economics of energy.

When I first went to Congress 32 years ago, I listened to experts testify that if oil ever got to $35 a barrel, then renewable sources of energy would become competitive. Well, today, the price of oil is over $135 per barrel. And sure enough, billions of dollars of new investment are flowing into the development of concentrated solar thermal, photovoltaics, windmills, geothermal plants, and a variety of ingenious new ways to improve our efficiency and conserve presently wasted energy.

And as the demand for renewable energy grows, the costs will continue to fall. Let me give you one revealing example: the price of the specialized silicon used to make solar cells was recently as high as $300 per kilogram. But the newest contracts have prices as low as $50 a kilogram.

You know, the same thing happened with computer chips – also made out of silicon. The price paid for the same performance came down by 50 percent every 18 months – year after year, and that’s what’s happened for 40 years in a row.

To those who argue that we do not yet have the technology to accomplish these results with renewable energy: I ask them to come with me to meet the entrepreneurs who will drive this revolution. I’ve seen what they are doing and I have no doubt that we can meet this challenge.

To those who say the costs are still too high: I ask them to consider whether the costs of oil and coal will ever stop increasing if we keep relying on quickly depleting energy sources to feed a rapidly growing demand all around the world. When demand for oil and coal increases, their price goes up. When demand for solar cells increases, the price often comes down.

When we send money to foreign countries to buy nearly 70 percent of the oil we use every day, they build new skyscrapers and we lose jobs. When we spend that money building solar arrays and windmills, we build competitive industries and gain jobs here at home.

Of course there are those who will tell us this can’t be done. Some of the voices we hear are the defenders of the status quo – the ones with a vested interest in perpetuating the current system, no matter how high a price the rest of us will have to pay. But even those who reap the profits of the carbon age have to recognize the inevitability of its demise. As one OPEC oil minister observed, “The Stone Age didn’t end because of a shortage of stones.”

To those who say 10 years is not enough time, I respectfully ask them to consider what the world’s scientists are telling us about the risks we face if we don’t act in 10 years. The leading experts predict that we have less than 10 years to make dramatic changes in our global warming pollution lest we lose our ability to ever recover from this environmental crisis. When the use of oil and coal goes up, pollution goes up. When the use of solar, wind and geothermal increases, pollution comes down.

To those who say the challenge is not politically viable: I suggest they go before the American people and try to defend the status quo. Then bear witness to the people’s appetite for change.

I for one do not believe our country can withstand 10 more years of the status quo. Our families cannot stand 10 more years of gas price increases. Our workers cannot stand 10 more years of job losses and outsourcing of factories. Our economy cannot stand 10 more years of sending $2 billion every 24 hours to foreign countries for oil. And our soldiers and their families cannot take another 10 years of repeated troop deployments to dangerous regions that just happen to have large oil supplies.

What could we do instead for the next 10 years? What should we do during the next 10 years? Some of our greatest accomplishments as a nation have resulted from commitments to reach a goal that fell well beyond the next election: the Marshall Plan, Social Security, the interstate highway system. But a political promise to do something 40 years from now is universally ignored because everyone knows that it’s meaningless. Ten years is about the maximum time that we as a nation can hold a steady aim and hit our target.

When President John F. Kennedy challenged our nation to land a man on the moon and bring him back safely in 10 years, many people doubted we could accomplish that goal. But 8 years and 2 months later, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the surface of the moon.

To be sure, reaching the goal of 100 percent renewable and truly clean electricity within 10 years will require us to overcome many obstacles. At present, for example, we do not have a unified national grid that is sufficiently advanced to link the areas where the sun shines and the wind blows to the cities in the East and the West that need the electricity. Our national electric grid is critical infrastructure, as vital to the health and security of our economy as our highways and telecommunication networks. Today, our grids are antiquated, fragile, and vulnerable to cascading failure. Power outages and defects in the current grid system cost US businesses more than $120 billion dollars a year. It has to be upgraded anyway.

We could further increase the value and efficiency of a Unified National Grid by helping our struggling auto giants switch to the manufacture of plug-in electric cars. An electric vehicle fleet would sharply reduce the cost of driving a car, reduce pollution, and increase the flexibility of our electricity grid.

At the same time, of course, we need to greatly improve our commitment to efficiency and conservation. That’s the best investment we can make.

America’s transition to renewable energy sources must also include adequate provisions to assist those Americans who would unfairly face hardship. For example, we must recognize those who have toiled in dangerous conditions to bring us our present energy supply. We should guarantee good jobs in the fresh air and sunshine for any coal miner displaced by impacts on the coal industry. Every single one of them.

Of course, we could and should speed up this transition by insisting that the price of carbon-based energy include the costs of the environmental damage it causes. I have long supported a sharp reduction in payroll taxes with the difference made up in CO2 taxes. We should tax what we burn, not what we earn. This is the single most important policy change we can make.

In order to foster international cooperation, it is also essential that the United States rejoin the global community and lead efforts to secure an international treaty at Copenhagen in December of next year that includes a cap on CO2 emissions and a global partnership that recognizes the necessity of addressing the threats of extreme poverty and disease as part of the world’s agenda for solving the climate crisis.

Of course the greatest obstacle to meeting the challenge of 100 percent renewable electricity in 10 years may be the deep dysfunction of our politics and our self-governing system as it exists today. In recent years, our politics has tended toward incremental proposals made up of small policies designed to avoid offending special interests, alternating with occasional baby steps in the right direction. Our democracy has become sclerotic at a time when these crises require boldness.

It is only a truly dysfunctional system that would buy into the perverse logic that the short-term answer to high gasoline prices is drilling for more oil ten years from now.

Am I the only one who finds it strange that our government so often adopts a so-called solution that has absolutely nothing to do with the problem it is supposed to address? When people rightly complain about higher gasoline prices, we propose to give more money to the oil companies and pretend that they’re going to bring gasoline prices down. It will do nothing of the sort, and everyone knows it. If we keep going back to the same policies that have never ever worked in the past and have served only to produce the highest gasoline prices in history alongside the greatest oil company profits in history, nobody should be surprised if we get the same result over and over again. But the Congress may be poised to move in that direction anyway because some of them are being stampeded by lobbyists for special interests that know how to make the system work for them instead of the American people.

If you want to know the truth about gasoline prices, here it is: the exploding demand for oil, especially in places like China, is overwhelming the rate of new discoveries by so much that oil prices are almost certain to continue upward over time no matter what the oil companies promise. And politicians cannot bring gasoline prices down in the short term.

However, there actually is one extremely effective way to bring the costs of driving a car way down within a few short years. The way to bring gas prices down is to end our dependence on oil and use the renewable sources that can give us the equivalent of $1 per gallon gasoline.

Many Americans have begun to wonder whether or not we’ve simply lost our appetite for bold policy solutions. And folks who claim to know how our system works these days have told us we might as well forget about our political system doing anything bold, especially if it is contrary to the wishes of special interests. And I’ve got to admit, that sure seems to be the way things have been going. But I’ve begun to hear different voices in this country from people who are not only tired of baby steps and special interest politics, but are hungry for a new, different and bold approach.

We are on the eve of a presidential election. We are in the midst of an international climate treaty process that will conclude its work before the end of the first year of the new president’s term. It is a great error to say that the United States must wait for others to join us in this matter. In fact, we must move first, because that is the key to getting others to follow; and because moving first is in our own national interest.

So I ask you to join with me to call on every candidate, at every level, to accept this challenge – for America to be running on 100 percent zero-carbon electricity in 10 years. It’s time for us to move beyond empty rhetoric. We need to act now.

This is a generational moment. A moment when we decide our own path and our collective fate. I’m asking you – each of you – to join me and build this future. Please join the WE campaign at wecansolveit.org.We need you. And we need you now. We’re committed to changing not just light bulbs, but laws. And laws will only change with leadership.

On July 16, 1969, the United States of America was finally ready to meet President Kennedy’s challenge of landing Americans on the moon. I will never forget standing beside my father a few miles from the launch site, waiting for the giant Saturn 5 rocket to lift Apollo 11 into the sky. I was a young man, 21 years old, who had graduated from college a month before and was enlisting in the United States Army three weeks later.

I will never forget the inspiration of those minutes. The power and the vibration of the giant rocket’s engines shook my entire body. As I watched the rocket rise, slowly at first and then with great speed, the sound was deafening. We craned our necks to follow its path until we were looking straight up into the air. And then four days later, I watched along with hundreds of millions of others around the world as Neil Armstrong took one small step to the surface of the moon and changed the history of the human race.

We must now lift our nation to reach another goal that will change history. Our entire civilization depends upon us now embarking on a new journey of exploration and discovery. Our success depends on our willingness as a people to undertake this journey and to complete it within 10 years. Once again, we have an opportunity to take a giant leap for humankind.

http://www.wecansolveit.org/content/pages/304/

What You Can Do to Help

Public Participation Meeting on Tuesday July 15th | 4pm | Centennial Hall.  Please come to show your support. You are welcome & encouraged to speak.  (limit 5 min.)

The city of London and its people must recognize that drive thrus are an incredible detriment to our environment and are a luxury item.  It comes down to this – Do we choose to protect and keep non essential items such as drive through or do we choose to re-design our planet in which future generation can live?   Our communities must start drastically cutting out emissions – drive- thrus should be viewed as a very simple place to start. The benefits are immense – environmental health, physical health.  People stepping out of their cars symbolize people re-engaging in community. Such a culture shift is a step to encourage people to slow down walk or bike, and to ride mass transit.  Slowing down is necessary in this fast-paced culture. We have to organize a resistance to the momentum of running.  If we learn how to slow down and nourish ourselves, we can pay more attention to living sustainably and mindfully in our communities.  Many of today’s problems are rooted in efficiency and convenience; we zoom from place to place without slowing down to enjoy the simple joys around us. Sustainable yet slower modes of transportation like walking and biking, getting us out of our cars and help us to do that. This gives us the clarity and mindfulness to recognize things as they are. When you are mindful, you recognize what is going on, what is happening in the here and now.  Without mindfulness we make and spend our money in ways that destroys us and other people. We use our wealth in such a way that we destroy ourselves and other people. Climate change is upon us – a grave threat to all life on this planet.  The time is now to place our environment and the health and well being of our children ahead of business interests and profits.  The well being of our citizens is the City of London’s mandate.  Quote – Vision London – London, The Forest City: We are a caring, responsive community committed to the health and well-being of all Londoners.  The actions we take will be socially, environmentally, and fiscally responsible so that out quality of life is enhanced and sustained for future generations.  Our people, heritage, diverse economy, strategic location, land and recourses are our strength. – Based on this vision in conjunction with the Stern Report, the city of London must, with urgency,  recommend that staff be directed to review the possibility of imposing a moratorium on all new commercial drive-through operations.

http://drivethrulies.wordpress.com/



What you can do to help before Tuesday:

  1. Contact City Hall

Email or call.  Demand a healthy, sustainable city for our children.  A city built around people – not automobiles.  A city shaped by community, not industry. Cc your email to Lorelei Fisher (secretary) at: lfisher@london.ca

City of London – Board of Control

Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best
City Hall: 519.661.2500 ext 4920
Email: adecicco-best@london.ca
Tom C. Gosnell (Deputy Mayor)
City Hall: 519.661.2500 ext 0332
Email: tgosnell@london.ca
Gina Barber – Board of Control
City Hall: 519.661.2500 ext 7011
Email: gbarber@london.ca
Gord Hume – Board of Control
City Hall: 519.661.2500 ext 4877
Email: ghume@london.ca
Bud Polhill – Board of Control
City Hall: 519.661.2500 ext 4882
Email: bpolhill@london.ca

City of London – Administration

Jeff Fielding – City Manager
City Hall: 519.661.2500 ext 4997
Email: jfielding@london.ca
Rob Panzer – General Manager Planning and Development
City Hall: 519.661.2500 ext 8435
Email: rpanzer@london.ca

City Councillors

Ward 1 – Roger Caranci
City Hall: 519.661.2500 ext 4597
Email: rcaranci@london.ca
Ward 2 – Bill Armstrong
City Hall: 519.661.2500 ext 4943
Email: barmstro@ondon.ca
Ward 3 – Bernie MacDonald
City Hall: 519.661.2500 ext 4884
Email: bmacdona@london.ca
Ward 4 – Stephen Orser
City Hall: 519.661.2500 ext 7012
Email: sorser@london.ca
Ward 5 – Joni Baechler
City Hall: 519.661.2500 ext 2444
Email: jbaechle@london.ca
Ward 6 – Nancy Branscombe
City Hall: 519.661.2500 ext 7014
Email: rbransco@london.ca
Ward 7 – Walter Lonc
City Hall: 519.661.2500 ext 7015
Email: wlonc@london.ca
Ward 8 – Paul Hubert
City Hall: 519.661.2500 ext 7016
Email: phubert@london.ca
Ward 10 – Paul Van Meerbergen
City Hall: 519.661.2500 ext 1558
Email: pvanmeer@london.ca
Ward 11 – David Winninger
City Hall: 519.661.2500 ext 6505
Email: dwinning@london.ca
Ward 12 – Harold Usher
City Hall: 519.661.2500 ext 4879
Email: husher@london.ca
Ward 13 – Judy Bryant
City Hall: 519.661.2500 ext 0370
Email: jbryant@london.ca
Ward 14 – Cheryl Miller
City Hall: 519.661.2500 ext 4880
Email: cmiller@london.ca

  1. Call your physician

As your doctor to support a moratorium on new drive-thrus.

  1. Write a letter to the editor

The London Free Press (email) letters@lfpress.com

The Londoner (email) pmcleod@thelondoner.ca

  1. Call your MPP and tell them you would like the province to do more to place moratoriums on all new drive-thrus and place a carbon surcharge tax on all existing drive-thru purchases.
  2. Send this site link http://drivethrulies.wordpress.com/ to friends, neighbors and others you believe are concerned.  Learn about the greenwashing efforts orchestrated by the industry.
  3. Call the media if you witness customers being harassed to sign petitions from industry. Call the London Free Press, the A-Channel, Rogers Television and local radio stations.
  4. POST the “No New Drive-thrus” posters and encourage others to do the same.

  1. Write to industry! Ask them to invest in our children’s future instead of an elaborate greenwash campaign. Ask them to STOP exploiting our youth, our people with disabilities & our environment.

Please contact Luc Erjavec CRFA’s Vice President, Atlantic Canada  at: lerjavec@crfa.ca 1.877.755.1938 or 1.902.425.0061

And American Owned Tim Hortons Contacts (TDL Group):

TDL Group – Nick Javor, Senior Vice-President, Corporate Affairs, 905-845-6511 javor_nick @ timhortons.com

9. Please Sign Our Petitions

Clean Air for Children:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/clean-air-for-children

Ban Drive-thrus In Canada:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/ban-drive–throughs-in-canada

Driven to Action – Stopping Sprawl in Your Community

Sprawl consumes large quantities of land, segregates houses from shops and workplaces, depends on cars, and has little regard for the natural environment. In some parts of
Canada sprawl is the largest driver of greenhouse gas emissions.

Of course, most Canadians do not personally build the houses, streets, schools, parks or water lines that make cities possible. But we can set the rules for building sustainable cities and help make the plans that determine how we get to work, school and shopping.

The David Suzuki Foundation’s report, Understanding Sprawl, and toolkit encourages communities to reshape urban areas. We need more dense and compact cities, with better bike paths and pedestrian friendly walkways.

Learn more:

Acrobat Reader 5 or above required for PDFs. Click here to download for free.

Understanding Sprawl contains a toolkit called Driven to Action to help citizens protect their communities from sprawling development. It consists of the following:

  • Getting started (PDF): A brief overview of what you can do to stop sprawl in your neighbourhood
  • Sprawl facts (PDF): Learn why sprawl is a problem
  • Shaping decisions (PDF): Find out how to contact politicians and decision makers and express your concerns
  • Working with the media (PDF): Tips on how to get your message in the news
  • Tools (PDF): Examples of tools to help you get started


A printed version of Understanding Sprawl, containing all of the above elements in an easy-to-use format is available for $10 (to cover shipping and handling). To order, call 1-800-453-1533 or email.


Other resources:

  • Smart Growth Canada: One of the most comprehensive Canadian websites on community growth and development.
  • Ontario Smart Growth Network: The Ontario Smart Growth Network brings together organizations that are working together to stop urban sprawl and promote sustainable communities across Ontario.
  • SmartGrowthBC: Excellent info on smart growth & citizen involvement.
  • Sprawl Busters: An international clearinghouse on big box, anti-sprawl information.
  • Sierra Club: Information and further links on sprawl.
  • Federation of Ontario Naturalists: Good background on sprawl in Ontario
  • Kyoto and Sprawl: This website highlights the connection between sprawl and climate change.
  • West Coast Environmental Law: This publication provides information on how law in British Columbia can be used to promote smart growth.
  • The Pembina Institute: The study examines the relationships between air quality, climate change and urban development issues in an Ontario context.

http://www.davidsuzuki.org/Climate_Change/Sprawl.asp

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