Tribute to Jack Layton

It is with the deepest sense of sadness that the Polaris Institute offers its heartfelt condolences to the friends and family of Jack Layton. Over the years, Jack Layton has been in various ways a strong supporter of the work of the Polaris Institute. His leadership, determination, courage and steadfastness has been an inspiration for all of us. He will be sorely missed.

Polaris Team

Can Coca-Cola be Green?

This article by Polaris Institute Research and Communications Coordinator originally appeared in the Mark News:

Internship Opportunity (Volunteer)/Coordinatrice étudiante régionale (bénévole)

(le français suit) Regional Student Organizer (Volunteer):Inside the Bottle Regional Student Organizer Internship (5 regional positions available—Quebec, Atlantic, BC/North, Prairies and Ontario):

Ontario stands up to catastrophic global warming, will other provinces follow at premier’s meeting?

For Immediate Release, July 20, 2011, (Ottawa) As premiers gather today at the annual Council of the Federation meeting, leading non-governmental groups from across the country are calling on provinces to clarify their support for the Kananaskis energy minister’s national energy plan. This plan included using a scenario for energy demand that would spur catastrophic levels of global warming as well as identifying the tar sands as a “sustainable” source of energy. Ontario refused to sign citing concerns about calling the tar sands sustainable and responsible and has called on the federal government to renew clean energy funding.

Oil giants chipped in $180,000 to help Canada's energy ministers have “unbiased” discussions about our energy future.

by Graham Saul, Executive Director of Climate Action Network Canada.

Energy ministers from across Canada have just returned from an all-expenses-paid tour of the tar sands, given to them by the oil companies themselves. Now, they are sitting down to debate the future of energy policy in Canada at a meeting in Kananaskis, Alberta. This is the face of climate corruption in Canada.

Canada is at a crossroads, and it appears that our leadership has been seriously compromised. While much of the world is investing heavily in the clean, safe, and reliable energy of our future, the Canadian government, along with some provincial support, is insisting that Canada watch from the sidelines while we cling desperately to a resource that is responsible for creating the greatest challenge of our time. I am, of course, talking about fossil fuels and global climate change.

La Via Campesina opposes land grabbing at the UN Committee on Food Security

During the week of July 11-15, 2011, members of La Via Campesina will participate in the United Nations Committee on World Food Security negotiations on the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests that are taking place at the FAO headquarters in Rome. La Via Campesina is part of the broader Civil Society Mechanism which has recently been included as participants in the Committee on World Food Security along with FAO member states, international institutions as well as the private sector. These are the final negotiations of the guidelines which are expected to be adopted by the CFS in October. The guidelines cover issues of land tenure, reform and redistribution, as well as markets and investment which all have serious impacts for peasants, small farmers, rural and indigenous peoples worldwide.

Corporate sponsorship for energy meeting slammed

By Margo McDiarmid, CBC News
A coalition of environment groups says the large corporate sponsorship at next week's meeting of energy ministers "sends the wrong message to Canadians."

Eleven energy companies and associations are spending $180,000 to sponsor the annual conference that will be held July 16 to 19 in Kananaskis, Alberta. The sponsorship is just under a third of the approximately $600,000 price tag for the conference.

Federal, provincial and territorial ministers and their deputy ministers are holding their annual meeting to discuss, among other issues, a national energy strategy. But environment groups say the sponsorship is a clear attempt by the petroleum industry to influence people who will be making crucial decisions about Canada's energy future.

Turning water into money

Talk of trading access to water on an open market stirs controversy, but it’s already a reality in Alberta
by Nicholas Kohler on Thursday, July 7, 2011 12:20pm -

Last month, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, the chairman of Nestlé SA, the world’s largest food company, made a splash in Alberta for announcing, via an interview with Reuters in Geneva, that Nestlé was in talks with the Alberta government to establish a so-called water exchange—a market in which water, life’s sine qua non, could be bought and sold just like wheat, pork bellies or any other commodity. “We are actively dealing with the government of Alberta to think about a water exchange,” said Brabeck-Letmathe, describing the province as ideal for such a scheme because water there is scarce and competition for the resource between farmers and oil sands operators is fierce.

Prominent scientists, environmentalists decry cuts to public sector and their effect on Canada's freshwater heritage

OTTAWA, July 4, 2011 /CNW/ - Prominent scientists, environmentalists and groups issued a statement addressed to Prime Minister Stephen Harper today decrying cuts to Environment Canada and the impact they will have on Canada's freshwater sources.

The statement is endorsed by nearly 50 environmental, social justice, women's and First Nations organizations, including the Council of Canadians, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources, International Institute of Concern for Public Health, Keepers of the Athabasca Watershed Council, Métis Women's Circle, Mining Watch Canada, National Council of Women of Canada, National Network on Environments and Women's Health, Polaris Institute, Public Service Alliance of Canada, and Sierra Club Canada, among others.

CEO Water Mandate: Why a Corporate Power Grab at the UN Threatens Our Most Critical Resource

By Scott Thill, AlterNet

Posted on June 23, 2011, Printed on June 27, 2011

Early this month, pharmaceutical titan Merck became the latest multinational to pledge allegiance to the CEO Water Mandate, the United Nations' public-private initiative "designed to assist companies in the development, implementation and disclosure of water sustainability policies and practices."