Jim Emberger, Spokesperson
New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance

[A slightly edited version of this appeared in “The Telegraph-Journal” and ”The Daily Gleaner” on May 17, 2019, under the the title ‘Public not well-informed on climate change’.]

I recently met a crew from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, who were installing a new structure to count salmon smolt on the Tay River. In recent years the count has been disappointingly small, so new and better information is needed.

It’s always heartening to see dedicated people working to save our environment, but this morning I was left feeling that their task was like trying to hold back the tide.

I had just read the United Nations report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. It concluded that human activities have pushed one million plant and animal species to the brink of extinction.

The reporting agency’s chair stated, "The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health, and quality of life worldwide."

Seems like the kind of consequential information everyone needs to know. But mainstream media barely covered it. Since most people still get their news from mainstream media, the citizens, politicians, pundits and publishers who will shape our future will do so in ignorance of the real world.

We just witnessed a similar failure of the press in the debate over carbon pricing, which took place with hardly any discussion of the essential context of the climate crisis.

Carbon pricing began simultaneously with the release of a momentous scientific report showing that Canada is warming at two or three times the rate as the rest of the world. One of the consequences is increased precipitation.

Days later another study reported that the arctic, as we have known it, is gone. High temperatures, that crush records by double digits, have altered almost every part of the arctic ecosystem, pushing it into a new state of existence.

This will seriously impact global weather patterns, especially in our Northern hemisphere. One researcher warned, “What happens in the arctic does not stay in the arctic.”

Other studies note that feedback loops, like melting permafrost (twelve times faster than thought), are increasing the speed and intensity of warming, and that the latest climate models show that former ‘worst case’ scenarios may, in fact, prove to be the norm.

These reports each contained enough important news on causes, effects, and necessary actions to provide daily news stories for weeks.

Actual media coverage lasted one or two days for the Canadian story, while the other stories received essentially no coverage.

These studies were all released as eastern Canada was enduring the second ‘once-in-a-generation’ flood in two years. A responsible media could have informed the public of the connection between these stories and events.

Instead, week after week, media climate news consisted solely of variations of the PC party’s political narrative, that a modest price on carbon pollution was somehow an assault on our freedom.

This ‘debate’, consisting almost entirely of conjecture, crowded out the factual context of the climate crisis. One would think that carbon pricing, rather than a climate crisis, was threatening our world.

Another missing story was that new audits of the emission targets of the Paris climate treaty reaffirmed that “any production from new oil and gas fields, beyond those already in production or development,” will take us beyond safe limits.

This means that exploiting new tarsands or shale gas will render our other climate plans meaningless.

Perhaps, not knowing this explains how Premier Higgs, pundits, publishers, and economists can express concerns for flood victims in one breath, while in the next breath promote new fossil fuel projects whose development will help to ensure a growing supply of future flood victims.

If they had good climate information, politicians might be aware that raising roads won’t help us, unless we do something to keep future floodwaters from rising even higher.

The media’s failure to provide context has consequences.

The effort necessary to slow climate change is often compared to fighting World War II. It will require universal consensus that recognizes the vastness of the problem, the substantial work required, and that some sacrifices may be needed, but also that the task is necessary, we can do it, and that any hardships are justified by guaranteeing a liveable future for ourselves and our children.

The climate crisis is the definitive ‘we are all in this together’ issue.

The press has made getting this necessary consensus much harder. The outrage fostered by its focus on the politics of carbon pricing, was not balanced by sober reasoning about limiting fossil fuels.

Angry people, whipped into a divisive frenzy by a one-sided argument, are not easily drawn back together.

In one of the least reported parts of the Appeals Court carbon pricing decision, the five justices unanimously agreed that, “climate change has emerged as a major threat, not just to Canada, but to the planet itself.”

We all need to be privy to the same proof that convinced the Court of that conclusion. Providing it should be the daily job of the press.

Otherwise, the press simply becomes the enabler of ignorance. And as Mother Nature keeps reminding us, “what we don’t know can hurt us.”

Le RENB est très excité de partager ce que nous espérons accomplir cette année ! Voici un bref aperçu de notre plan pour appuyer des groupes environnementaux au cour de l’année à venir. Jetez-y un coup d'oeil !

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OUR 2019 CROWDFUND CAMPAIGN IS NOW LIVE!

As we get ready for our 2nd season on the farm and the new-and-improved Regenerative Farming Certificate program, we need YOUR help to continue doing this work.

We need your help to create a new generation of community-led farms, one person at a time. Help us train people to feed their communities as part of a new food and climate paradigm.

As a community-based farm, we are changing our focus from maximizing profit to maximizing production for greater community impact. With reduced revenue and public funding in 2019, we are asking for the crowd’s continued help in funding our current shortfall, so that this next cohort of farm learners (15 participants for the 2019 season!!) can get a meaningful education in feeding our (their) communities without taking on an undue burden.

Please give generously, or share the campaign widely, whatever gift you may be able to offer. No donation is too small and every effort is deeply appreciated.

We are here for community, and we need you to be here for us!

Hayes Farm - A project of NB Community Harvest Gardens Inc.

24 avril 2019 : Pour diffusion immédiate

Le Nouveau-Brunswick est en transition vers une économie à faible émission de carbone. Qu’est-ce que cela signifie pour les emplois dans la province ? Comment nos tâches contribuent-elles à aider les gens à mener des vies de façon durable ? Une coalition de groupes environnementaux et de syndicats se rencontre à Saint-Jean le samedi 27 avril. Ensemble, nous allons démontrer notre solidarité et notre engagement à travailler conjointement pour trouver les solutions pour réussir une transition vers une économie à faible émission de carbone au Nouveau-Brunswick.

Pourquoi marcher le 27 avril ? Comme d’autres Néo-Brunswickois, nous aimons notre province et croyons qu’investir dans une économie à faible émission de carbone est la voie à suivre. Le Réseau pour une économie verte a calculé que le Nouveau-Brunswick pourrait créer presque 25 000 années-personnes d’emploi en cinq ans. Des investissements stratégiques dans l'efficacité énergétique et dans les économies d'énergie, l’énergie renouvelable et le transport en commun, et une transition juste pour les travailleurs fourniraient des emplois qualifiés qui ne pourraient pas être transférés à d’autres provinces ou territoires, jetant les bases solides d'une croissance et d'une prospérité continues ici dans la province.

La Marche pour les emplois de demain débutera à 13 h le 27 avril au King's Square à Saint-Jean.

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Partenaires :
Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Nouveau-Brunswick (FTTNB)
Conseil de conservation du Nouveau-Brunswick (CCNB)
Alliance de la fonction publique du Canada - Atlantique (AFPC)
Sustainable Energy Group - Carleton County
Rural Action and Voices for the Environment (RAVEN)
Red Head Anthony's Cove Preservation Association

Contact (entrevues en français et en anglais) :
Lynaya Astephen, Red Head Anthony's Cove Preservation Association, lynayam79@hotmail.ca | 506-653-7959

Page Facebook de l’évènement :
https://www.facebook.com/events/1013807895476875/

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From intense rain, wind and ice storms bringing flooding and power outages, to hotter days and seasons bringing dry summers and ticks, a lot of us are feeling anxious and on edge about climate change in New Brunswick.

We need strong leadership from our provincial government to do everything it can to protect our families’ health and communities’ safety from the effects of climate change and extreme weather we’re already seeing today.

This year, make your Earth Day count a little extra by writing Premier Blaine Higgs about your concerns and your call for serious action on climate change.

We’ve made it easy for you to speak out. Use our letter-writing tool below to let the Premier know where you stand and what you want. Our pre-written letter includes recommendations for smart climate solutions. We strongly encourage you to add to this letter with your own personal story of how climate change makes you feel and how it has affected you and your family.

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Let’s tell Fredericton City Council it’s time to move beyond plastic bags.

Waste is an ever-growing issue that far too long has been shrugged off. From New Brunswick’s lack of a household composting program, recyclables that are diverted but not actually being recycled, to the acceptance of excessive packaging or use of single-use plastics such as cutlery, straws or plastic bags, we know we can do better — and the time is now.

Last year university students launched a petition for a province-wide ban on plastic bags following polling that showed more than 70 per cent of respondents in Fredericton, Moncton and Saint John are in favour of the move. New Brunswick’s Minister of the Environment, Jeff Carr, recently told CBC he’s watching how other jurisdictions are tackling the issue and that he wants to see more conversation on the topic in N.B. before moving forward. The conversation has already started in Moncton, so, Frederictonians, let’s get talking about it!

Sign our petition to Fredericton City Council today and join us in calling for a ban on single-use plastic bags in Fredericton. An excerpt of the petition is below, followed by the full text and the form where you can add your name electronically.

Want to help us collect signatures? Download your own print version and ask your friends, family and colleagues to sign, or pick one up at our office, Conserver House (180 St. John Street, Fredericton) or at participating businesses across town.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN OUR ONLINE PETITION TODAY!

 © 2018 NBEN / RENB