Al Gore to Lead Hundreds of Climate Reality Leaders in Canada
The Climate Reality Project announced this week that former U.S. Vice President Al Gore will travel to Toronto to lead a training for hundreds of new Climate Reality Leaders. The event—which takes place July 9-10—marks the 29th Climate Reality Leadership Corps training, and the first training in Canada since 2008. The training will focus on climate issues specific to Canada, including the cost of climate change to Canada’s infrastructure and economy, the promise of its growing clean technology sector, and its unique significance in driving a strong emissions reduction agreement at the COP 21 climate negotiations at the end of the year.
“At Climate Reality, we are deeply impressed by the bold climate action we have seen from municipal and provincial governments in Canada, including the deployment of local and regional carbon markets,” said Gore. “We look forward to meeting and training the local leaders who are driving this type of action on the ground, and empowering them to use their strongest voices possible to speak out against the carbon pollution that is causing global warming. We are optimistic that by holding this training, we will energize a new corps of leaders who can bring climate action to all of Canada, including the federal government, which has thus far been disappointing in its unwillingness to act.”
Canada is one of eight key focus countries for Climate Reality’s international Road to Paris campaign, which seeks to activate public support to call for the strongest possible national emissions reduction commitments in each country. Each of these countries, including Canada, represents a critical pillar in building a strong emissions reductions agreement at COP 21 at the end of the year in Paris.
While Canada has taken a first step by releasing an intended nationally determined contribution (INDC), as written, the commitment does not go far enough in reducing emissions or signaling to the international community that Canada is serious about stopping global climate change. In the absence of strong federal government commitments, Canadian provinces and city governments—including British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, Toronto and Vancouver—have taken bold action of their own.
The training in Toronto is an important component of Climate Reality’s Road to Paris strategy for the country—participants in the Toronto training will spend two days acquiring the tools and know-how needed to effectively communicate about the climate crisis across platforms and demographics, speak knowledgeably about climate change and its many impacts, and inspire their networks and communities to take action.
“Community and local leaders in Canada have an incredible opportunity today to bring the message of climate action to the country and—ultimately—the world,” said Climate Reality President and CEO Ken Berlin. “We are training a network of motivated individuals who cannot and will not be ignored, and who will hold their leaders accountable for a strong commitment at the UN climate talks this year.”
As a traditionally resource-based economy that has in recent years focused significant attention on oil sands development, Canada faces the pressing challenge of diversifying its economic activity while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It is the ninth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world and the 11th largest economy, so its contribution will be key to the success of a global climate agreement at the UN climate negotiations taking place in Paris at the end of this year.
Thus far, The Climate Reality Project has trained more than 7,800 Climate Reality Leaders from more than 125 countries, with recent trainings held in Johannesburg, Melbourne, Rio de Janeiro, New Delhi and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
To apply by June 18, visit climaterealitytraining.org.
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Jean-Marc Neveu and Olivier Civil never expected to find themselves battling against disposable mask pollution.
When they founded their recycling start-up Plaxtil in 2017, it was textile waste they set their sights on. The project developed a process that turned fabrics into a new recyclable material they describe as "ecological plastic."
Mounting Piles of Waste<p>It is not only the streets of Chatellerault where pandemic pollution is piling-up, but also the world's beaches and oceans. Once there, they can take up to 450 years to degrade and disappear.</p><p>Esther Röling, co-organizer of the annual Adventure Clean Up Challenge held on Hong Kong Island, has seen this waste firsthand. In October the sports challenge pitted teams against one another in a competition to remove trash from 13 hard-to-reach coastal areas around the city.</p><p>They find tons of both disposable and reusable masks, said Röling. "You wonder how it ended up there. Was it just thrown on the ground? Or was it in a garbage bag that broke open?"</p><p>Almost 10,000 kilometers away in Antibes on the sunny French Riviera, it's a similar picture. For the past few months, divers and clean-up volunteers working with an ocean clean-up non-profit called Operation Mer Propre have been collecting an increasing number of masks found on land and in the sea.</p><p>"Since the beginning of the lockdown when we started to count, we've reached 800, 900, [and now in total] 1000 masks," said co-founder Joko Peltier. </p><p>According to <a href="https://unctad.org/news/growing-plastic-pollution-wake-covid-19-how-trade-policy-can-help" target="_blank">UN estimates</a>, up to 75% of all coronavirus-related plastic could end up as waste in oceans and landfills.</p>
The Limits of Recycling<p>Yet not all are convinced the recycling of this waste is possible on a global scale. </p><p>"What those citizen groups are doing is really beneficial but once they collect it, it should just go to a landfill or an incinerator. They shouldn't necessarily expect it to get recycled," said Jonathan Krones, an industrial ecologist and visiting assistant professor of environmental studies at Boston College.</p><p>That's because mask recycling programs like Plaxtil are few and far between and most don't have the benefit of a readily adaptable production process. </p><p>Even in countries with solid recycling infrastructure, he says, the system is designed to separate out specific types of waste like bottles or cardboard.</p><p>"I imagine that it would be technically feasible to develop a separation process to filter out masks, but there simply aren't enough of them to make that economical," he said.</p><p>Collection is a big hurdle, he adds. Since each mask only weighs a fraction of a gram and they're scattered on roads or mixed with other trash, it is difficult and costly. </p><p>"You need a lot of raw material of the right quality to make investing in the recycling technology and the recycling system worthwhile," he said.<span></span><br></p>
Hemp, Sugar Cane and Sustainable Alternatives<p>Some projects are instead addressing the material used to make masks.</p><p>French company Geochanvre have created a mask made primarily from hemp, while in Australia, researchers at the Queensland University of Technology are experimenting with a disposable product made from agricultural waste. </p><p>Biodegradable options are exciting alternatives to reduce the fossil fuels needed for the creation of plastic-based masks, said Krones, but they don't absolve the wearer from the responsibility of what happens afterwards. </p><p>Bio-based masks often need their own composing solutions, he explains, because in landfill they can produce high amounts of the greenhouse gas methane when anaerobic bacteria feeds on the organic material. Methane is known to be significantly more potent than carbon dioxide.</p><p>"I think as long as we have in our mind that we want to have disposability, we're going to have to wrestle with a variety of different sorts of environmental tradeoffs," he said, adding that reusable, fabric masks are the best option available to most people.</p><p>Precimask is developing a clear face covering with an optional visor made from hard plastic, designed to be long-lasting.<br></p><p>Air enters either side of the cheeks through a technology normally found in pool filters and car exhaust systems, said company spokeswoman Juliette Chambet.</p><p>"We wanted to make ceramic-based filters that would be washable and cleanable, which would allow them to be reused as many times as desired without having to buy a new consumable or produce waste," she said. </p><p>Ultimately, encouraging mask wearers to think about the entire lifecycle of a mask is key, explains Neveu. </p><p>"We want people who put on the masks to realize that they are also responsible for the waste, he said. "It's not inevitable that this [pandemic] will become an environmental catastrophe.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/covid-19-recycling-pollution-trash-pandemic/a-55707817" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649032193#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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