Greetings from Canada! I am in Canmore, Alberta for the week, and it’s inspiring me to write this week’s post about some climate goings-on around Canmore and Canada more generally. (Some brief updates on more general climate movement happenings at the bottom of the post.)
There are a few notable things about Canmore: First and foremost, it has epic mountain views of the Canadian Rockies on all sides. Second, saying “sorry” is the equivalent of “um” or “like” in the US and Canadian accents are real, which means I’m living in a cacophony of “soar-y’s” (in the best way possible). Third, the town of Canmore is overrun with rabbits–no joke. And these aren’t your normal, brownish-gray, kind of rangy rabbits that populate my home city of Minneapolis; these rabbits look like your neighbor’s pet bunny named Fluffer-Nutter.
Despite the somewhat hairy invasive-species situation here (forgive me), it has been cool to walk around town and notice several EV charging stations (population ~15,000) and to check in on what the local climate action group is up to. Zooming out a little, the province of Alberta made headlines when it declared it would stop using coal completely by 2023.
This all sounds pretty good so far, and I know that many of us here in the US see Canada as a more sane and balanced version of America. Unfortunately, as the cliche goes, the grass is not always greener on the other side. According to ClimateActionTracker.org, Canada’s overall rating on climate action is “highly insufficient.” (The US, for comparison, is actually just “insufficient.”) And although phasing out coal by 2023 is a good thing, most of Alberta’s energy will now be produced through burning natural gas, another fossil fuel we cannot afford to keep using. Plus, we haven’t even mentioned one of the world’s “biggest carbon bomb[s]”: the infamous Alberta tar sands, which have reached a level of environmental destruction such that they can be seen from space.
→ Learn more about opposition to the tar sands (and how they tie into pipelines running across the US) at The Treaty Alliance against Tar Sands Expansion’s website or at this Greenpeace page.
I really did start with the intention of having this week’s post not be all doom-and-gloom, so I also want to share a series of articles from the independent newsletter The Narwhal that highlights how Canada is leveraging its natural resources to be a carbon sink.
Plus, back in the states, our fiscal sponsor, Virginia Organizing is hosting an environmental justice in Virginia workshop via Zoom tomorrow, 11/9. And if you’re a college or university student, there’s a Divest Day of Action happening Friday 11/12.
In case you missed it: The fossil fuel industry had more delegates at COP26 than any other country 🙁 and the infrastructure bill passed with some climate resilience provisions, but not all that was hoped and dreamed for (and the spending bill with more climate policies remains in limbo).