Asthma Tech by Jonathan Ng | National Film Board

Filmmaker Jonathan Ng turns the notion of otherness on its head in his semi-autobiographical animated short about young, whimsical, asthmatic Winston. As a result of his illness, Winston is unable to participate in the everyday activities of his peers and classmates. But thanks to his artistic ability Winston learns to use his imagination to escape his real life existence.

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Worldwide Statistics: Eight thousand people a day die from air pollution. There are 3 million annual deaths, worldwide. In Canada toxic emissions from transportation continue to rise drastically. Vehicles are the primary sources of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, particulates and benzene, a carcinogen. In the past 15 years alone, there has been a fourfold increase in asthma in children under 15 in Canada. In fact, the Ontario Medical Association estimated that health care costs caused by poor air quality in 2000 would amount to nearly $630 million, not to mention the $566 million in costs due to workers taking sick days. We are in a world wide public health crisis epidemic as a direct result of air pollution amidst a climate change crisis that threatens human survival on this earth – expanding services which promote unnecessary idling for convenience is not only reckless and irresponsible – it is the absolute opposite direction we need to be taking.

more about “Asthma Tech by Jonathan Ng, – NFB“, posted with vodpod

Not Idling Your Vehicle Saves You Money and the Environment

Idling achives 0 (zero) miles per gallon (mpg). Don’t idle your vehicle for more than 30 seconds. Don’t warm up your vehicle, it’s not necessary. Save both gas money and the environment from harmful carbon dioxide and other poisonous gasses. Global warming or climate change are serious problems that we all impact. Do your part and save some green at the same time.

U.S. Corporation Tim Hortons Supercedes Government Again – This Time Municipal

Tim Hortons Cross-checks City Into Submission

by Lloyd Alter, Toronto on 11.13.08

tim hortonThe late Tim Horton never let anyone push him around, and neither does his eponymous coffee chain. They just body-checked and high-sticked the City of Toronto into submission on its plans to reduce waste, so much of which comes from that one hugely successful chain.

The City calls it a “compromise”.

“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 “How do we get 365 million coffee cups out of the garbage stream and into the recycling stream?”

Simple. You dump them on his doorstep. But Timmy stomped his skates and refused to change his cups or lids, or to contribute to the three million dollar cost of recycling machinery to separate them. And for some reason, he got his way.


More on Garbage from Tim Hortons:

Business Enraged at Toronto Proposals for Reducing Waste
Time For Canadians to Boycott Tim Hortons

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

Drive-thru Banking | To curb smog, banks ask customers to cut engines

Zions Bank is asking its customers to turn the key on air pollution.

bank
In a voluntary effort to help clean up Utah’s smog, all Zions locations are asking their customers to cut their engines when waiting in line at the drive-through.
Bank patrons who use the pneumatic tubes are greeted by large stickers reading, “Turn your key, be idle free. By turning your engine off when waiting, you will breathe easier and save gas.”
The statewide campaign originated in Salt Lake City, where the city was partnering with businesses “to identify ways to educate the public on ways to improve our air quality,” said Rob Brough, executive vice president for Zions Bank. “The drive-through seemed like the logical way.”
The effort to encourage less pollution among its customers is an acknowledgment that the Wasatch Front has a problem. Noting that more than half of Utah’s air pollution comes from vehicle exhaust, the Environmental Protection Agency encourages drivers to turn off their engines anytime a vehicle is going to idle longer than 30 seconds and is not in traffic.
“We recognize that where we are situated here, both in Utah County and in Salt Lake Valley, with the mountains that sort of surround us, it builds up and collects and the air quality is not where we would like it,” Brough said.
Only time will tell if the campaign has a measurable effect, he said. In the meantime, the campaign has garnered positive comments from customers.
“We are a community bank and we live in this community with our families as well, and we all benefit by having cleaner air,” he said.
Joe Thomas of the Utah Division of Air Quality said the program is such a good idea that he himself cuts his engine anytime he’s at any bank drive-through.
If a car is going to be running on idle for several minutes, cutting the engine is a simple and easy way to improve gas mileage, he said. There is a nationwide program to encourage school bus drivers to reduce idle time as well.
“Definitely when the car is idling, you just wasted energy,” Thomas said. “You aren’t doing anything.”
Cutting the engine in a bank drive-through is an especially good idea because in between filling out paperwork and having a conversation with the teller, the transaction could take several minutes, he said.
For information on state efforts to encourage drivers to reduce idle time when driving, visit idlefree.utah.gov.

http://www.heraldextra.com/content/view/309765/17/

Resist Do Not Comply

Nikki Craft, Lierre Keith and Derrick Jensen collaborating on a music video about catastrophic climate change, arctic animals, and militant direct action.

You can help by passing this information on:

Nikki Craft, Lierre Keith, and Derrick Jensen are collaborating in this music video about catastrophic climate change, arctic animals, and militant direct action. This ten minute video is a call on activists to discuss and seriously consider militant tactics and direct action in defense of all life on the planet.

If you find the link to this video is broken or if you need more information go to http://www.resistdonotcomply.org and/or join the Facebook group Resist Do Not Comply at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid…

Read the two-volume book, Endgame, by Derrick Jensen if you want specific ideas for strategy and activism.

You can help by sharing this information with your friends, all the social networking sites, and appropriate Facebook groups. For more information, or if you would like your own copy of this video to directly upload to sites, please send a friend request to Nikki Craft on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/people/Nikki-Cr aft/731530378) or off FB contact her at nikkicraft@gmail.com. If you share this video, and we hope you will, please include all text herein.

You Can Help! Hand Out These Flyers to Idling Cars

http://www.sierraclub.bc.ca/quick-links/Turn%20it%20off%20handout.pdf

Idle-Wise campaign: One small action by a single person does have enormous impact.  Alone, it is a symbol – an example to many others.  When multiplied over hundreds, thousands and millions, it can be world-changing.  One small action every person can take is to shut off their vehicle if idling for 10 seconds or more, and to urge others do the same.  Turning off your engine saves gas and money, as well as cutting down on CO2 and air pollution.  We no longer accept people littering or giving us their second hand cigarette smoke.  Vehicle idling has even more serious implications, so let’s shut off our idle engines and educate other people to do the same.

As we, the entitled, sit on our big fat asses in the drive-thru …

As a Canadian, I am absolutely ecstatic when the warm weather FINALLY arrives.  The past month has been beautiful with sun & perfect temperatures of 15-20 degrees Celsius.  It is not totally bizarre that already at least half of the drivers have their windows closed tight with the air conditioning on?  The drive-thru line ups have never been longer.  Even when the weather is so incredibly beautiful – we still somehow cannot get our big, fat, lazy asses out of our vehicles.  As obesity rates skyrocket, as our smog days increase, as more and more of our children develop asthma and as the last of our arctic sea ice disappears … we are our own worst enemy. Idling Canadians spend over 630 million bucks a year going nowhere while belching CO2 and asthma-causing pollutants into the same air we like to breathe. In the grand scheme of things – drive-thrus may be a small contributor to climate change.  But make no mistake – they do contribute & they do contribute to pollution and sickness.  The sad truth is – they are nothing more than a ‘convenience’ to 99% of the population – something we should easily make a choice to give up.  And yet we don’t and we refuse to do so. Because it is ‘our choice’ to pollute others and harm our ecosystem.  Our ‘choice’ has superceded our oldest natural instinct in the world – to protect our children.  How messed up is this?  This is a disturbing and frightening commentary on our society and our values.  A society gone mad.

CO2 hits 800,000-year high at Mauna Loa Observatory

Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii  (USA) Atmospheric CO2 reached 389.47 parts per million (ppm) in the month of April 2009.

Here is another report:

lancet-climate-change

Lancet and University College London Institute for Global Health Commission

Managing the health effects of climate change

Executive summary | Climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century

Effects of climate change on health will affect most populations in the next decades and put the lives and wellbeing of billions of people at increased risk. During this century, earth’s average surface temperature rises are likely to exceed the safe threshold of 2°C above preindustrial average temperature. Rises will be greater at higher latitudes, with medium-risk scenarios predicting 2–3°C rises by 2090 and 4–5°C rises in northern Canada, Greenland, and Siberia. In this report, we have outlined the major threats—both direct and indirect—to global health from climate change through changing patterns of disease, water and food insecurity, vulnerable shelter and human settlements, extreme climatic events, and population growth and migration. Although vector-borne diseases will expand their reach and death tolls, especially among elderly people, will increase because of heatwaves, the indirect effects of climate change on water, food security, and extreme climatic events are likely to have the biggest effect on global health.

A new advocacy and public health movement is needed urgently to bring together governments, international agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), com-munities, and academics from all disciplines to adapt to the effects of climate change on health. Any adaptation should sit alongside the need for primary mitigation: reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and the need to increase carbon biosequestration through reforestation and improved agricultural practices. The recognition by governments and electorates that climate change has enormous health implications should assist the advocacy and political change needed to tackle both mitigation and adaptation.

Management of the health effects of climate change will require inputs from all sectors of government and civil society, collaboration between many academic disciplines, and new ways of international cooperation that have hitherto eluded us. Involvement of local communities in monitoring, discussing, advocating, and assisting with the process of adaptation will be crucial. An integrated and multidisciplinary approach to reduce the adverse health effects of climate change requires at least three levels of action. First, policies must be adopted to reduce carbon emissions and to increase carbon biosequestration, and thereby slow down global warming and eventually stabilise temperatures. Second, action should be taken on the events linking climate change to disease. Third, appropriate public health systems should be put into place to deal with adverse outcomes.

While we must resolve the key issue of reliance on fossil fuels, we should acknowledge their contribution to huge improvements in global health and development over the past 100 years. In the industrialised world and richer parts of the developing world, fossil fuel energy has contributed to a doubled longevity, dramatically reduced poverty, and increased education and security for most populations.

Conclusions and recommendations

This report raises many challenging and urgent questions for politicians, civil servants, academics, health professionals, NGOs, pressure groups, and local communities. Climate change is potentially the biggest global health threat in the 21st century. Our response requires a new public health movement that is multidisciplinary and multisectoral, and that leads to coordinated thinking and action across governments, international agencies, NGOs, and academic insti-tutions. Any adaptation interventions must sit alongside the need for primary mitigation: reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, recognition by governments and electorates that climate change has enormous health implications should assist the advocacy and political change to tackle mitigation and adaptation.

Whichever mitigation strategies are chosen by governments or agreed at the Copenhagen conference, the move to a low-carbon economy will have global health benefits and these must also be emphasised. More research is needed on win-win solutions, which are equally important in developed and developing countries.

We have proposed a framework for responding to the health effects through adaptation strategies, which in turn embeds mitigation strategies to improve human health worldwide.

This framework raises several important issues for action:

• Climate change mitigation and adaptation are essential elements to overall development policy. They are not separate issues that can be divided from the agenda for poverty alleviation or for closing the gap on social inequalities and health.

• The most urgent need is to empower poor countries, and local government and local communities everywhere, to understand climate implications and to take action. Health professionals and university academics have an important catalytic role. Multi-disciplinary groups from higher education institutions can have a forceful role in engaging with community leaders, civil society organisations, and students in these debates. There is a need for new financing for global links between developed and developing countries that create a two-way dialogue. Developed countries can help to strengthen capacity for high-quality research and information collection in developing countries, and developing countries can strengthen the ability of developed countries to understand sustainability and low-carbon living. Empowerment is as much about community mobilisation as high-level political action. The empowerment process is likely to be pluralistic and chaotic, but health and academic communities can do much to support and catalyse these processes.

• An agenda for developing countries must be developed through global cooperation. Representation on global task forces to assess the health effect of climate change is heavily skewed in favour of institutions in developed countries. In poor countries, health assessments and high-level climate science and health surveillance research are a priority. New research and advocacy groupings in Africa and south Asia are needed, and the academic community of developed countries must have a role in lobbying for resources and support. Food and water insecurity are early effects of climate change and will be a high priority for poor communities. Distilling academic findings into simple language, policy briefs, and user-friendly media is essential.

• Climate change should be integrated into the entire discourse of our present and should be taken into consideration for all governance actions. An advocacy movement must ensure that the health effects of climate change are placed high on the agenda of every research and development funder, philanthropist, academic journal, scientific conference, professional meeting, and university or school curriculum. Academics should lead advocacy within their own spheres of influence.

• Accountability mechanisms are crucial. We hope that this report will initiate or stimulate new funding and networks to monitor what is happening in government, civil society, academia, local government, and communities, especially in the most vulnerable populations. Accountability indicators should be monitored by the academic community and civil society organisations. It should be possible to agree upon health and climate change goals and targets for the processes of engagement and empowerment. Global and regional conferences and working groups to develop these outputs would be valuable in the same way that previous reports published in The Lancet have stimulated action on child survival, nutrition, and maternal health through the countdown to 2015. A biennial review of progress towards agreed targets would help to accelerate progress through celebration of success and identification of areas where progress is lagging.

• Awareness of health risks can have an important role in strengthening carbon mitigation debates and targets. Joint statements from national institutes of medicine, representative bodies such as royal colleges, journal editors, organisations such as the Climate and Health Council,175 and university leaders worldwide, drawing upon a growing evidence base, can create a solidarity and authority that politicians will find hard to resist. The priority is to send clear messages to the Copenhagen conference in December,

http://www.thelancet.com Vol 373 May 16, 2009 1729 2009, emphasising the health consequences of climate change, even with a 2°C increase in temperatures (which is now broadly accepted as inevitable), with estimates of the severity of health effects at warming up to 4°C. Public and policy maker recognition of the profound meaning of the existence of threats from climate change to nature’s life processes, to the productive and stabilising ecosystems upon which we depend, and hence to human health and survival, will have great effect on the seriousness and urgency with which we approach this unprecedented challenge.

• The frequently observed state of fragmented health systems, with little attention paid to long-term sustainability, must give way to the development of coherent, population-based, and bottom-up health planning. Health systems must not act only as a platform for the delivery of clinical services but also provide the foundation for an effective public health response to the many climate-induced threats to health. This action will require more attention being paid to the organisational and management deficiencies of ministries of health, including subnational health governance and management structures. Long-term strategies and investments will be needed to develop the clinical and management human capacity of health systems. Some countries will also need to address the currently unregulated and disorganised private sector to harness existing resources to better serve the public interest. Many countries currently lack any coherent long-term and sustainable development agenda for their health systems. This needs to change.

• The move to a low-carbon economy will have global health benefits from both a reduction in the health effects of climate change and improvement in human lifestyles, and these must be emphasised. There must be more research on win-win solutions, which are equally important in rich and poor countries. For example building new green cities in the developed world, which minimise the need for cars and maximise exercise, will contribute to the fight against obesity. In poorer countries, developing water and energy systems, which are operated by local renewable sources of power, cuts reliance on imported fossil fuels and empowers local community groups.

• Building low-carbon and climate-resilient cities in emerging economies that adapt to continuing rural–urban migration, driven both by economic development and climate effects, is important. More than a third of the world’s population now live in urban areas in low-income or middle-income nations. Even Africa has 40% of its population in urban areas, a number that is larger than that in North America. Worldwide, the numbers of people injured or killed by storms and floods, and the amount of economic damage caused and insurance claims made, especially in these urban areas, have increased.

• Three priorities for action in urban areas are to improve the capacity and accountability of local and municipal government, to change their relation to informal settlers, and to ensure that government policies encourage rather than hinder the con-tributions to adaptation made by individuals, community organisations, and private enterprise.70 Urban developments could use climate-resilient engineering on sites at low risk of water or food stress, and provide sustainable low-carbon transport and other infrastructure. A new approach to urban planning to ensure healthy food supplies, adequate exercise, clean air, clean water, devolved health service structures, and education might provide a model of what we mean by a climate-adapted public health response.

High-income countries have caused almost all the anthropogenic climate change that has occurred to date, and they must now face extremely challenging political and economic choices if climate change mitigation is to be achieved. The UCL Lancet Commission has recognised Antonio Gramsci’s pessimism of the intellect and optimism of the will in tackling this issue. The academic community has a crucial role in facing up to the challenge of climate change, the health consequences we shall bequeath to our children and grandchildren (panel 7), and in helping to inform and support a policy process that will challenge us all.

What is a practical way to take the challenge forward? We call for a collation of global expertise on the health effects of climate change leading up to a major conference within the next 2 years, which will define the priorities for management, implementation, and monitoring. Representation from developing countries should be emphasised. The conference should bring representatives of all interested groups together to share experiences, and to discuss and endorse a set of key indicators and targets (climate and health adaptation goals developed by an international expert working group) for concerted global action. A key element of this action programme should focus on ways in which the poor nations can develop their own capacity to monitor problems, and to improve the evidence base for policy makers and planners. We believe a biennial review of progress towards agreed targets would help to accelerate progress through celebration of success and identification of areas in which progress is lagging.

Exerpt from Peak-Oil Prophet James Howard Kunstler on Car Dependancy & the Obvious Link to Obesity in North America

KT: A study has just come out showing that although the French spend two hours eating each day — roughly twice as long as we do — they’re among the slimmest of the 18 nations in the study. Americans were the fattest, with more than 1 in 3 Americans qualifying as obese. How would you explain this phenomenon? What compels Americans to eat so many of our meals in our cars?

JHK: Americans eat so many meals in cars because: 1) The infrastructure of daily life is engineered for extreme car dependency, and 2) because the paucity of decent quality public space and so-called third places (gathering places) for the working classes (and lower) — and remember, it is the working classes and poor who are way disproportionately obese. The people portrayed in Vanity Fair magazine are not fat. I suspect that the amount of time Americans spend in their cars is roughly proportionate to the amount of time French people spend at the table.

Fast food is not a new phenomenon in the USA, however. Frances Trollope’s sensational travel book of the 1830s, The Domestic Manners of the Americans dwells on the horrifying spectacle of our hotel dining rooms, where people bolted their food with disgusting manners. Americans have been in a tearing rush for 200 years.

To read the full AlterNet Interview:

http://www.alternet.org/environment/139877/peak-oil_prophet_james_howard_kunstler_on_food%2C_fuel_and_why_he_became_a_vegan_/?page=1

Humanity’s carbon budget set at one trillion tonnes

If emissions keep growing at the present rate, the carbon emissions budget for the 2 degrees target will run out in 2021.

Humanity’s carbon budget set at one trillion tonnes

No more than one-quarter: that’s the proportion of existing reserves of oil, gas and coal that we can burn if we are serious about keeping the planet from warming by 2°C or more.

These are the conclusions of the most comprehensive efforts yet to pin down just how much carbon dioxide can be emitted into the atmosphere.

If governments are to stick to their pledge to avoid “dangerous” global warming – which most politicians and many scientists take to be no more than 2°C – the models come up with roughly the same answer. Humans must not inject more than 1 trillion tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere in total.

That, say teams led by Myles Allen of the University of Oxford and Malte Meinshausen of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, will give us a 50:50 chance of limiting global warming to 2°C.

To improve the chances that the planet remains this side of 2°C, Meinshausen’s study suggests we should emit no more than 750 billion tonnes of carbon in total. The risk of exceeding 2°C would then drop from 50% to 25%.

Halfway there

Industrial activity since the mid-18th century means we have already emitted 500 billion tonnes of carbon – half of the 1-trillion-tonne budget. “At some point in the last few years, we released the 500-billionth tonne of carbon,” says Allen. We can afford to dump only 250 billion tonnes more – or perhaps 500 billion tonnes, if we are willing to run the higher risk.

So how much longer have we got? Don’t let past emissions fool you, says Allen. “It took 250 years to burn the first 500 billion tonnes. On current trends we’ll burn the next 500 billion in less than 40 years.”

Busting the budget

That means that if we continue emitting carbon at the same rate as we are now, we will exhaust what Allen calls the trillion-tonne “carbon budget for the human race” by 2040. Anything that is emitted beyond that will commit the planet to more than 2°C of CO2-induced warming.

Meinshausen and colleagues calculate that we could exhaust the carbon budget within as little as 20 years. They also find that if we were to burn all the proven reserves of fossil fuels, this would inject nearly three times the carbon budget into the atmosphere.

To have a 75% chance of keeping to the 2°C target, “we can burn less than one-quarter of known economically recoverable fossil-fuel reserves between now and 2050”, says Bill Hare of the Potsdam institute. “This means that whilst a lot of the oil and natural gas can be burned, certainly not much at all of coals reserves can.”

None of these figures include “unconventional” fossil fuel reserves, such as tar sands.

Good effort, but try harder

Both papers show that, because CO2 takes so long to disappear from the atmosphere, governments need to aim for a global zero-carbon economy in the long run. This confirms results from earlier studies.

Regarding shorter-term goals, Meinshausen says that to have a good chance of staying below 2°C, global emissions must start falling after 2015. Achieving this will be no small feat: at present we emit between 1% and 3% more each year than we did the year before. That trend must be reversed within six years.

The researchers say that even the most ambitious climate plans tabled so far must be pushed further. The G8’s aim is that by 2050 we will have cut emissions to half their levels in 1990, but even that may not be enough. Depending on the timing, the cutbacks would have to be closer to 70% below 1990 levels, studies suggest.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17051-humanitys-carbon-budget-fast-running-out.html

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090502092019.htm

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/04/hit-the-brakes-hard