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Friday
May172019

ecojustice

We stand at a pivotal moment in time.

Thanks to numerous supporters including the Sisters of St Joseph, Ecojustice is ready to build on the valuable progress that we have made as we tackle the greatest challenge of our era: climate change.

Around the world, young people — afraid for their future yet inspired by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg of Sweden —are resolutely raising their voices to demand greater climate ambition from world leaders.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a special report last year with the stark warning that global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions must halve in the next decade and reach zero by 2050.

We must act now if we are to stay within 1.5 degrees of pre-industrial levels and avoid catastrophic climate change.

Since the IPCC report was released, Ecojustice’s message that government must take meaningful action to lower Canada’s GHG emissions has been amplified – and our successful track record of using the power of the law to defend your right to a safe climate has continued.

Amidst the world’s heightened threat of rising sea levels, forest fires, mass species extinction and climate related human health issues, we are seeing sprouts of hope through the courts.

Last year, two Ecojustice victories prevented an additional 21.9 million tonnes of heat-trapping gases from entering the atmosphere each year. 

First, we stopped the expansion of a coal transfer facility on the Fraser River, which would have carried four million tonnes of thermal coal by open-car rail from Wyoming through communities in Vancouver’s Lower Mainland, bound for foreign markets. Ecojustice played a key role in the local Port Authority’s decision to cancel the permit for this project.

Stopping this proposed expansion prevented 6.9 million tonnes of CO2 emissions from being released into the atmosphere annually and protected the health of communities from exposure to coal dust.

Second, Ecojustice’s successful Trans Mountain lawsuit saw the Court confirm that the federal government cannot legally approve an industrial project based on a flawed environmental assessment — in this case, an assessment that ignored the impacts of marine shipping on endangered orcas.

By halting construction on Trans Mountain, we stopped more than 15 million tonnes of additional carbon emissions from polluting our climate each year. And that’s not all.

Earlier this year, Ecojustice also secured a major win for wild salmon. The Federal Court issued a decision that struck down the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans’ policy of not testing for a contagious virus widespread in open-net fish farms off the coast of British Columbia.

In its ruling, the court made clear that government must take a precautionary, science-based approach to managing fish farms, which includes considering their impacts on at-risk wild salmon populations.

These victories are a testament to what we can accomplish when we work together.

Transition can be hard to notice when you are in the middle of it, but each victory signals that we are making the changes that our planet needs to avert disaster — and is a testament to our collective power.

Ecojustice’s combination of law reform, litigation, and public outreach will achieve accountability in law, combined with durable governance frameworks to strengthen and sustain the efforts of the current and future Canadian governments to combat climate change.

Together, we will protect precious carbon stores like Canada’s boreal forest and accelerate the transition to renewable energy and low carbon communities, and help Canada seize our unique opportunity to set a positive example for other industrialized countries and pave the way for developing countries.

 

By Huda Al-Saedy - halsaedy@ecojustice.ca

Ecojustice 

Wednesday
May152019

Women Leaders in  1901

How fitting it was a few days ago, to celebrate the dear neighbor, our friends, the Ursuline Community in Chatham Ontario.  In 1901, 117 yrs ago, their Leadership of the day, answered a request to take on a new direction, more responsibilities in a new territory.  For some it meant leaving everything behind.  It meant moving to the bilingual parish of St Anne in Tecumseh Ontario, and there to teach children.  They arrived with very little, but brought ample faith, their talents, generosity, commitment to prayer and a longing to help those in need.  Over all those years I believe they did much more for the church than educate.  They above all, reflected God’s love and grace poured forth in them and passed on hope, peace and joy to others.

To celebrate this milestone, a liturgy of thanksgiving and social followed, radiating joy as did the networking and conversations.  The spirit of those dedicated women religious women of long ago, rooted in the spirituality of Angela Merici, lives on.  It continues to impact the lives of countless families raised in that parish over the years.

As I soaked in the gratitude and celebration in the room, the words, “Well done good and faithful servant,” “come to me all you who are weary,” came to mind.  The painting to the left, entitled Behold, symbolizes the God of all creation, the Risen Christ, shouting out to all those who have ears to hear, “Behold, see what I have done for you.”  “I am with you at all times”, “Listen to me,” even now this day, in the chaos and stressors of your life, in our world, in our Universe, “I am with you”.  Allelulia Allelulia.  

- Sister Patricia St. Louis, csj

Tuesday
May142019

Weekly Pause &  Ponder

The essence of motherhood is not restricted to women who have given birth; it is a principle inherent in both women and men.  It is an attitude of the mind.  It is love – and that love is the very breath of life.  No one would say, “I will breathe only when I am with my family and friends; I won’t breathe in front of my enemies.”  Similarly, for those in whom motherhood has awakened, love and compassion for everyone are as much a part of their being as breathing.

 

~ Mata Amritanandamayi known throughout the world as Ammachi, or Beloved Mother ~

 

Friday
May102019

A Voice Reminds  Me

Recently I was at a weekday mass in the chapel of our local Cathedral parish.  There was a woman sitting nearby who has the penchant of speaking in a stage whisper to herself.  At first I wondered whether this would be a distraction during liturgy but alas, it was anything but:  she enhanced the experience for me. 

Before the gospel when the priest said, ‘A reading from the holy gospel according to John’, she whispered ‘Thank you John’.  I thought to myself when was the last time I thought to thank John or God or had an attitude of gratitude for the holy words of Scripture?

During the homily, the celebrant mentioned that we are in the 50 days of Easter.  ‘Fifty days of Easter!’ she exclaimed and later when he mentioned ‘Pentecost’, she also exclaimed in wonder:  ‘Pentecost!’  It caused me to remember that fifty days of Easter and Pentecost are indeed things to be proclaimed and exclaimed rather than listened to passively as I was doing before she spoke.

During the Prayers of the Faithful when the intention was for people who are sick, she whispered ‘That’s me’ and this put a face on those for whom we pray.

I walked out of church that day with an appreciation so much more than usual for the gift of faith.

- Sister Nancy Sullivan, csj

Wednesday
May082019

YOU Will Build It - They Will  Come

The rain held off on Thursday, April 18, 2019 as London’s Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) and supporters gathered on YOU’s new 1.1 acre property at 585 Clarke Road, site of the future Housing First Youth Shelter.  Federal Parliamentary Secretary, Adam Vaugh shared the news of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) partnership with YOU and investment in the unique homeless youth housing project.  He made a federal government financial commitment of over 2.96 million for the construction of the YOU Housing First Youth Shelter.

Details about plans for the new thirty bed youth shelter were shared with the assembled crowd by YOU’s tireless Steve Cordes, executive director for over thirty years. Steve explained that the planned shelter will be a safe, secure, inviting place where residents will have private rooms.  They will be off the street in a comfortable environment where they can relax and settle into a routine. Then, the goal of the program will be for the youth to find affordable housing in time, enroll in school, if necessary, and finally attain employment.

Several speakers addressed the assembled group. Kortney, a former homeless woman, now 28 years old and employed in the finance field, spoke of her life experience and her success after becoming involved with YOU.   She emphasized that youth cannot be successful unless they are away from street life and have a safe place to live.  Using herself as an example, she emphasized that the next step must be schooling, finding employment and becoming secure young people helping to make their city and world a better place.

With Youth Opportunities Unlimited’s highly successful track record of over three decades, Londoners can rest assured that the YOU Housing First Youth Shelter will be a model of best practices and a vital component in solving youth homelessness.

Sister Jean Moylan csj

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