Humanists for Social Justice and Environmental Action supports Human Rights, Social and Economic Justice, Environmental Activism and Planetary Ethics in North America & Globally, with particular reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other Human Rights UN treaties and conventions listed above.

Wednesday

National indigenous Peoples Day

National Indigenous Peoples Day — a day intended to recognize and celebrate the cultures and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit, and M├ętis peoples 

THE CONVERSATION

Some of the original calls for this day from the National Indian Brotherhood — now the Assembly of First Nations — were for a “National Indigenous Solidarity day.” As people gather to celebrate, it’s vital that this celebration is connected to the recognition of ongoing settler colonial violence and commitments to solidarity.

Limiting who public space is for and how it can be used is central to settler colonialism both in Canada and other settler colonial places. The process involves the violent removal of people from encampments.

Securing these spaces is at the expense of some people and works to perpetuate and make invisible what German philosopher Friedrich Engels called social murder (a concept that has re-emerged amid many issues, including COVID-19) — an unnatural death that occurs due to social, political or economic oppression.

Friday

Indian voters saw through religious rhetoric, opting instead to curtail Modi's political power

Modi’s narrow win suggests Indian voters saw through religious rhetoric, opting instead to curtail his political power
Part of the answer lies in the Modi government’s failure to realize that while economic benefits had been substantial, their distribution has been uneven. India has seen a growth in inequality and persistent unemployment both in rural and urban areas. Unemployment of those aged 20 to 24 years is at a high of 44.49%. And that is the overall national number; that data does not tell us that it may be much worse in certain regions. 
 other explanation is that Modi’s exploitation of historic Hindu-Muslim tensions seems to have run its natural course. You can beat the religious drum – and Modi did with rhetoric including calling Muslims “infiltrators” – but then the day-to-day issues of jobs, housing and other such necessities take over, and these are the things people care about the most. BJP made a miscalculation, in my analysis. It failed to realize that in a country where only 11.3% of children get adequate nutrition, 
Hindu pride cannot be eaten – ultimately, it’s the price of potatoes and other essentials that matter.

Editorial: A Faulty Case to Relocate the Science Centre

Editorial: A Faulty Case to Relocate the Science Centre

Taking all of this into account, the actual cost for repairing the science centre may be closer to $350M, including a generous $100M allocation for renovations and new exhibitions, while the cost of a relocated science centre could be in the $1B range.

The government’s case for relocating the Ontario Science Centre argues that the smaller facility will attract more visitors. The estimates count on laying off 53 people—one of every six people who currently work at the Science Centre. In short, they are expecting that 50% more people will visit a facility that is 45% of the size of the current Science Centre, with a significantly reduced staff managing it all.

Let’s make no mistake: the new, enormously expensive facility wouldn’t be a beauty queen. In the preliminary plans, student spaces and classrooms are in the basement. The Ontario government plans to use a public-private partnership (P3) method to procure the building—it already put out a call for a PDC consultant last summer.

There is an imperative to change course on the shuttering and relocation of the Ontario Science Centre. While we may take it for granted, there is value in taking care of what we have: a magnificent, much-loved Ontario Science Centre that is in need of some TLC. The value of such a gem isn’t something we usually quantify, but if we did—in a neutral way—it’s clear how the business case would land.

Saturday

Peace Caravan Toronto May 25

 ON TO OTTAWA PEACE CARAVAN

TORONTO FORUM

 

SATURDAY MAY 25, 6:30-8:30 pm

60 Lowther Ave.

Near Bedford and Bloor, 2 blocks north of St. George Station

With optional art-making from 5 – 6 pm

Refreshments 6 - 6:30 pm

 

With peacemakers:

 

LYN ADAMSON, Canadian Voice of Women for Peace

CATHY WALKER, Strong Hearted Woman

Of Mohawk & European descent Founder of Giwaabamin Street Clinic

ELLEN WOODSWORTH, Women’s Int’l League for Peace & Freedom

LORELEI WILLIAMS, Skatin and Sts'ailes First Nations

SETSUKO THURLOW, Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

JUDY REBICK, on women’s peace organizing history

RACHEL SMALL, World Beyond War organizer, Gaza arms embargo 

Music by Arnd Jurgensen and Cassie Norton


Call for independent science advocate at Fisheries Canada

Independent Science at Fisheries Canada

Gideon Mordecai as the Evidence Advocate of April. Gideon is a Research Associate at the University of British Columbia’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries who studies the ecology of viruses. But his work to protect fisheries science extends far beyond the lab. For years, Gideon has highlighted the critical need to ensure that science has a voice at the decision-making table. We interviewed Gideon last summer on his recent study which reviewed how government science advice continues to be influenced by non-science interests at Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

“Canada has a legal duty to protect and conserve fish for Canadians, which is not being met. Failing to use the best science can be catastrophic.”— Gideon Mordecai

Voices like Gideon’s are essential in the fight for scientific integrity. That’s why, at E4D, we’re committed to supporting researchers looking to translate their research into policy action. Our vision is to foster more grassroots advocacy within the research community and grow a generation of Evidence Advocates who can play a pivotal role in moving the needle on science policy issues in government.

Advocacy is a powerful force for change. Imagine a space where seasoned advocates and budding grassroots movements converge to exchange ideas, resources, and grow support for science issues. This summer, we’re excited to launch a brand new Advocacy Hub for scientists and researchers from all disciplines. Our Advocacy Hub will be a one-stop-shop for Canadians, offering resources, opportunities, and tools to champion important issues within our democracy.

12 years after E4D’s inception, we’ve become a national organization of seasoned advocates leading the movement to stand up for evidence-informed decision-making in Canada. But it didn’t start out that way. We began as a small group of scientists who were frustrated with the government’s disregard for science and bravely fought for change. Today, we continue to hear the frustrations of many in our community who want to see policy changes that better protect the health of people and the environment.

Wednesday

Letter in support of renewal energy for Ontario

SEND A LETTER

The world is going renewable while Ontario lags far behind.

Wind and solar are now our cleanest and lowest cost sources of new electricity supply. Off-shore wind power in the Great Lakes alone could meet all our electricity needs.

Ontario needs to embrace the targets set at the recent COP28 climate summit and triple our wind and solar electricity capacity and double our energy efficiency by 2035.

Tripling Ontario’s wind and solar energy by 2035 will:

• Lower our electricity bills • Phase-out polluting gas power • Create good jobs • Provide clean power for Ontario’s manufacturing & mining industries • Help us meet our climate commitments • Reduce the need for more costly nuclear reactors.

Let’s TRIPLE wind and solar power and double our energy efficiency in Ontario by 2035!

MORE INFORMATION

Tuesday

SAVE ONTARIO'S SCIENCE CENTRE - Petition

SAVE ONTARIO'S SCIENCE CENTRE

This is a petition to save the Ontario Science Center "Ontario's Centre for Science and Nature Education".

The site also has downloadable, printable posters (for your apartment building, for instance)


Join the Movement to Keep Science Centre open in F

Carbon Markets Biased and Distorted and Undermined

IPS News

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Apr 9 2024 (IPS) - Carbon dioxide emission taxes, prices and markets have been touted as key to stopping global heating. However, carbon markets have failed mainly because they favour the rich and powerful.

Market solutions better?
Mainstream economists believe the best way to check global heating is to tax greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Equivalent ‘carbon prices’ have been set for the other significant GHGs. But many have been revised due to their moot, varied and unstable, arguably incomparable nature.

High carbon prices for GHG emissions are expected to persuade emitters to switch to ‘cleaner’ energy sources. Higher prices for energy-intensive goods and services are supposed to get consumers to buy less energy-intensive alternatives.

Positive carbon prices tax fossil fuels, GHG emissions, and products according to their energy intensity. Hence, when carbon prices fall, they deter fossil fuel use less effectively.

Developed countries have set up ‘carbon trading’ systems ostensibly to deter GHG emissions. Firms wanting to emit more than their assigned quotas must buy emission permits from others who commit to emit under quota.

Getting prices right?
Conventional economists believe carbon prices should cover the ‘social costs’ of GHG emissions, but disagree on how to estimate them. But policymakers believe it necessary to discount these prices to gain broad acceptance for carbon markets.

A recent International Monetary Fund paper acknowledged, “Differences between efficient prices and retail fuel prices are large and pervasive”. But such distortions undermine the very purpose of carbon pricing.

Gro Intelligence estimated the social cost of carbon emissions at $4.08 per metric tonne in 2022, which is used by the influential Gro-Kepos Carbon Barometer. But Resources for the Future estimated it at $185/tonne, over forty times higher!

While carbon prices are meant to tax fossil fuels, low prices reduce their deterrent effect. Fossil fuel subsidies lower carbon prices, which can even become negative. Such price subsidies undermine carbon markets’ intended effects.

Whenever carbon prices are discounted or deliberately kept low, they are much less effective in deterring GHG emissions. They also distort the price system with many other unintended, but perverse consequences.

Writing in the New York Times, Peter Coy noted the carbon price rose from under $4 per metric tonne in 2012 to almost $20/tonne in 2020 before dropping sharply to around $4/tonne in 2022!

Incredibly, he still concluded carbon prices were “headed in the right direction” since 2012. How low and volatile carbon prices are supposed to discourage fossil fuel use and accelerate renewable energy investments must be self-evident to him alone?

Western fossil fuel subsidies
Carbon prices shot up when fossil fuel energy prices spiked after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. But they soon collapsed as European governments intervened to subsidise energy prices.

As the rich nations’ Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development noted, “government support for fossil fuels almost doubled in 2022” to over $1.4 trillion!

State subsidies rise with prices when governments try to mitigate rising fossil fuel prices. Such subsidies negate the purpose of carbon pricing, and can lower them so much as to become negative!

Such subsidies were deemed necessary to retain public support for NATO’s Ukraine war effort and to drive down Russian fossil fuel export prices. Thus, such ‘geopolitical’ interventions have undermined carbon taxes, prices and markets.

Carbon prices dropped sharply worldwide, from $18.97/tonne in 2021 to $4.08 in 2022. In 2022, nine of the 26 countries in the Barometer had negative prices, with only six – not the US – above $25.

Oil and natural gas prices have since fallen from their 2022 peaks, with consumer subsidies declining correspondingly. Hence, carbon prices for GHG emissions have recovered.

Such price subsidies and volatility do not help enterprises plan and invest their energy use – crucial to accelerate needed ‘carbon transitions’.

Unsurprisingly, after over a decade, there is little evidence that carbon markets have effectively cut GHG emissions to avert climate catastrophe. Clearly, they cannot be counted upon to cut them sufficiently.

Sudan: Call for an Arms Embargo

 The ongoing conflict in Sudan between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has left over 14,600 people killed nationwide and over 8 million people displaced including nearly 2 million of them seeking refuge in neighboring countries. Sign the petition and demand an arms embargo to contribute to the protection of civilians.

The people of Sudan feel forgotten amidst the spiraling violence across the country, where parties to the conflict are causing untold death and destruction.

Caught in the middle of fighting, they have no food, water, or access to medical services, and with limited internet, civilians have no access to information about safe passage or where to find medicine.

The warring parties have fought their war for a year with little regard for human rights and international humanitarian law.

People are being killed inside their homes, or while desperately searching for food, water, and medicine. They are caught in crossfire while fleeing and shot deliberately in targeted attacks. Women and girls, some as young as 12, have been raped and subjected to other forms of sexual violence by members of the warring sides.

Nowhere is safe. With every minute that passes countless lives are ruined. We need to act now and demand the United Nations Security Council to extend the existing arms embargo to the whole country and not only to Darfur region and ensure it is fully implemented. This will disrupt the flow of weapons and contribute to reduce civilian suffering.

PETITION: ARMS EMBARGO NOW! 
To: Canada and the United Nations

For over a year, the people of Sudan have been neglected and ignored as they bore the brunt of violent clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) against the Rapid Special Forces (RSF). Diplomatic efforts have so far failed to end violations, protect civilians, provide sufficient humanitarian aid, or hold the perpetrators of war crimes to account.

The UN Security Council must act now to disrupt the flow of arms in Sudan. Imposing an arms embargo will help reduce civilian suffering.

We call on you to:

  • Extend the existing arms embargo to the whole country and not only to Darfur region.
  • Ensure that the embargo is fully implemented.

Grassy Narrows River Run, Sept 24 (sign up form)

 On September 18th, 2024 we invite you to walk with Grassy Narrows youth and community members to show that we are with them on their path to achieve mercury justice and freedom!

Grassy Narrows people are powerful leaders in the movement for Indigenous sovereignty and environmental justice. They have shown that together we can fight for justice against all odds and make real gains. But so much is still needed to right the wrong of mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows.

RSVP here to say that you will show up in solidarity and walk with them in their fight for justice.  RSVP is intended to help us plan for the day but is not mandatory to attend the event

Grassy Narrows First Nation Chief Rudy Turtle has said “no” to the nuclear waste storage site proposed in the Wabigoon River watershed near Ignace. This week, Turtle sent a fourth letter to the Nuclear Waste Management Organization opposing the proposed development citing fears of contamination. He said three letters of concern that he sent to the organization on July 2, 2020, and in 2022 on Feb. 7 and Oct. 7, received no response from the organization. In his latest letter this week, he said, “The water from that (repository) site flows past our reserve and into the waters where we fish, drink, and swim. The material that you want to store there will be dangerous for longer than Canada has existed, longer than Europeans have been on Turtle Island, and longer than anything that human beings have ever built has lasted.” He asked, “How can you reliably claim that this extremely dangerous waste will safely be contained for hundreds of thousands of years?” Turtle spoke to The Chronicle-Journal about the community’s concerns. “They explain that it’s deep underground, but regardless, we’re very concerned that in the future, there could be possible leaks that come down river towards our area,”

Gaza: UN passes Ceasefire Motion. NDP motion makes history

 https://www.ceasefire.ca/unsc-passes-ceasefire-resolution-and-amended-ndp-motion-makes-history/


To summarize, the amended motion calls for the government to:

  • demand an immediate ceasefire and the release of all hostages
  • Cease the further authorization and transfer of arms exports to Israel
  • ensure continued funding to UNRWA
  • support the prosecution of all international law violations in the region
  • support the work of the ICJ and the ICC
  • demand unimpeded humanitarian access to Gaza
  • expand access to temporary resident visa program for Gaza
  • sanction extremist settlers
  • reaffirm the illegality of settlements [in OPT] and advocate for an end to the decades long occupation of the Palestinian territories;
  • work to pursue a comprehensive peace and the establishment of the State of Palestine as part of a negotiated two-state solution

The vote was Yes 204, No 117
The Conservatives and three Liberals voted against the amended motion. The Liberal Cabinet and the vast majority of Liberal MPs, together with the NDP, the Bloc Quebecois and the Green Party, voted for the amended motion.

Petition to Gov of Canada re Nuclear Waste Management - COC

Petition e-4852 - Petitions

Petition to the Government of Canada

Whereas:
  • The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has been engaged since 2010 in a multi-step process to site a deep geological repository to emplace the high-level nuclear (irradiated fuel) waste from all of Canada’s nuclear power reactors;
  • The NWMO project will involve the transportation, processing, burial and abandonment of an estimated seven million bundles of radioactive waste over a 50-year period which would be extended by additional reactor construction or refurbishments;
  • The NWMO has repeatedly stated that it will not proceed without an “informed and willing” community;
  • There are scientific and public concerns about the risks of radioactive exposures along the transportation route and in the region of and downstream from the repository site under both normal operating and accident conditions;
  • The Government of Canada has affirmed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which sets out that no storage or disposal of hazardous materials shall take place in the lands or territories of Indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent (Article 29); and
  • Canadian law recognizes that every individual in Canada has a right to a healthy environment (CEPA 2023).
We, the undersigned, citizens, residents and Indigenous peoples of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to require the Nuclear Waste Management Organization to demonstrate that it has the consent of residents and communities, including First Nations and Treaty Organizations, along the transportation route and in the region of and downstream of the candidate repository site(s) before selecting a site.

from the Council of Canadians