Fridays for Future, Climate Footprint Strike

On Friday, September 24th, about 60 people from Waterloo Region dropped by Waterloo Public Square, and helped us demand climate action … with chalk. Visitors outlined their footprints with chalk, added their names, and made a two-part climate action promise. The first part was political: to hold the government accountable to meet and exceed its climate plan. The second part was personal: to be open to changes in eating and energy consumption to walk more lightly on the Earth.

Two part climate action promise

About political accountability, Canada’s federal climate plan — even if it is flawlessly executed — is insufficient, putting us on an alarming trajectory to overshoot the 1.5°C Paris Agreement maximum global warming target, as rated by Climate Action Tracker. When considering Canada’s privilege as a developed nation with high per-capita emissions and income, to take responsibility for our fair share of a global climate solution, our plan does not go far enough. We need action to strengthen our plan and implement it. As concerned citizens, let’s continue to demand accountability from governments at all levels to save the world.

At a personal level, in addition to reducing fossil fuel use and non-renewable consumables, we have much collective potential to mitigate climate change by not supporting industrialized animal agriculture.  The Oxford food study found that animal agriculture uses 79% of the agricultural land, while only providing 18% of calories.  Switching to a plant-based diet could free up 75% of agricultural land, which when left to rewild, would draw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.  Switching to plant-based diets reduces methane and other greenhouse gas emissions, water and air pollution, and fresh water use.

Thank you to everyone who came out! Let’s continue to spread the messages and take actions.

See more pictures on our Pictures tab

Vancouver’s Climate Emergency Action Plan

Monday, February 22nd at 7pm

The climate emergency requires an urgent society-wide response. Join us for an evening with Christine Boyle – a city councillor and United Church Minister in Vancouver and a driving force for climate action by faith communities and municipal governments. Christine will share lessons from her work creating Spirited Social Change, an initiative aimed at engaging people across generations to explore the intersections between faith, spirituality, and our work for a better world, and from her more recent work successfully advocating for Vancouver’s Climate Emergency Action Plan, that has Vancouver on track to reduce carbon pollution by 50% by 2030. Christine was an early proponent of fossil fuel divestment campaigns, and founded Fossil Free Fatih. Her work in this field was inspirational for Divest Waterloo.

Read more at the ClimateStrikeWR web site.

Climate Strike Waterloo Region 2020

The world is facing a climate emergency, with real impacts on the lives and futures of all people here in Waterloo Region. That’s why we continue to RISE UP to demand bold climate action and justice alongside millions of people around the world!

This is what we were up to in 2020 before COVID-19 made it’s entrance …

January 2020

Vigil and fundraiser for Australia

Friday Jan 31, 2020 5-6pm. Vigil and fundraiser for Australia. Waterloo Town Square, King St, Waterloo (Map, Facebook). Hosted by Kitchener-Waterloo Climate Save.

Come as your favourite animal, bird or insect, so we can honour all the animals we share the planet with. A face painter will be there at 4:30 if anyone would like to have their face painted.

Friday January 17th, 2020 Noon at TheMuseum at King St W and Queen St in the center of Kitchener. There will be a Climate Strike and a Extinction Rebellion Die-In (bring something to lie on!) (map, streetview, facebook)

Our signs and banners will be displayed as part of the Alarm Exhibition and TheMuseum will be unfurling its own banner in support of the climate strikes.

Fair Vote Waterloo Discussion Night: “Citizens’ Assemblies: How and Why They Work”

“Citizens’ Assemblies: How and Why They Work”.

When: 26 February 2020 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Where: Civic Hub Waterloo Region
23 Water Street North, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

Or Online: When you register, you will be sent a link to join the webinar.

NOTE: You may have to install Zoom software on your system if you haven’t already (You will automatically be taken to the download page for the correct software for your system when you register for the webinar above).

Everyone is welcome to come to the Fair Vote Waterloo Discussion Night to sit in on the Webinar, no additional registration required!

Thank you for coming to our webinar on Wed Feb 26 at 7 PM EST.

After the presenters are done, attendees can write questions in the Q+A box and we will answer as many as we can! Questions are often the best part of the webinar!

If you would like to send us your question ahead of time, feel free to email us at

This webinar is specifically on Citizens’ Assemblies. Fair Vote Canada is calling for a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform (find out more at ).

If you have questions related to proportional systems, we will be having another webinar in March on a theme of PR 101 and a special topic about “ranked ballots”. Watch your inbox early March to register 🙂

Thank you so much for joining us and supporting the campaign to Make Every Vote Count!

A surging number Canadians agree – our electoral system is failing us.

Federally, our minority government, elected with 33% of the vote, has the lowest popular support in history.

In Ontario, citizens are trapped in a cycle of protesting unpopular policies made by a majority government elected by 41% of voters.

In the US and the UK, the consequences of winner-take-all elections have led to catastrophic consequences.

We need a process we can trust to move forward on electoral reform! Fair Vote Canada is calling for a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform.

Around the world, citizens’ assemblies are taking on complex challenges – from climate change to the future direction of a country — crucial issues where elected representatives are stuck.

Join us for a webinar about Citizens’ Assemblies with three special guests!

A few minutes before the webinar starts on February 26, just log in online to watch and listen. You do not need a microphone or webcam. After the presentations, we will respond to questions you can type into a Question and Answer box. If you’d like to email us a question in advance, send it to

Special Guests:

We are very excited to be joined by our special guests:

Shoni Field was a member of the BC Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform, and actively campaigned for STV during the 2005 and 2009 referendums. She has been a Fair Voting BC director, president of Fair Vote Canada, and was co-founder of Unlock Democracy. She chaired Vancouver’s Independent Election Task Force. By day, Shoni is a Chief Development Officer.

Steve Morgan is a health economist, Professor in the School of Population and Public Health, and has represented Canada on pharmaceutical policy committees of the World Health Organization. Steve was the Research Lead for the Citizens’ Reference Panel on Pharmacare in Canada, a process that followed the same principles as a Citizens’ Assembly.

David Moscrop is a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Communication at the University of Ottawa and a columnist for the Washington Post and Maclean’s. His first book, Too Dumb for Democracy? Why We Make Bad Political Decisions and How We Can Make Better Ones, is out now.

We hope you can join us on February 26 to learn more about the power of Citizens’ Assemblies.

Thank you for supporting the campaign to Make Every Vote Count!


Anita Nickerson
Executive Director, Fair Vote Canada

GHN News: Climate Change Fuels Violence Against Women

From the GHN’s daily email newsletter. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Women plant seeds as part of a project to reforest the Sahel in Niger’s Zinder Region on July 30, 2019.
Image: Luis Tato/FAO/Getty

The effects of climate change are fueling violence against women and girls, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Deutsche Welle reports.

How is this happening? Some examples the report, which was 1 years in the making:

  • More young girls forced into marriage to help their families survive climate-related disasters.
  • As wells dry up, women travel further to collect water-increasing their exposure to sexual violence.
  • Women forced to exchange sex for a dwindling supply of fish

But funding solutions is a perennial challenge.

The US is the world’s biggest donor to women’s health-but a string of proposed budget cuts threaten those efforts, notes a Think Global Health series. Even though the cuts are consistently rejected by Congress, this uncertainty affects country-level planning every year.

Another piece urges African countries to act on the “lofty declarations” they sign — particularly by addressing the “unacceptable” ratio of maternal mortality.

Related: Climate change could pose ‘catastrophic’ security threat, experts warn – Reuters

Sign up for GHN’s daily health newsletter here …

Videos from the indigenous people’s perspective

See what is happening to the Canadian indigenous people from their perspective.

Likht’samisyu Chief Dsta’hyl Confronts Coastal GasLink (Sep 30, 2019)

On Thursday September 26, Chief Dsta’hyl of the Likht’samisyu Clan was blocked by Coastal Gaslink’s private security as he attempted to enter a community meeting at the Witset First Nation band office.

When Dsta’hyl gained entry to the meeting, he told David Pfeiffer, the president of CGL, that no pipelines will be allowed to cross sovereign Likht’samisyu territory – only the Likht’samisyu clan and the Likht’samisyu hereditary chiefs can make decisions affecting Likht’samisyu territory.

The Likht’samisyu stand in solidarity with the Unist’ot’en and the Gidumt’en people, and continue to reoccupy and protect their traditional territories.

Rita David interviewed at Wet’suwet’en Access Point (Jun 8, 2019)

Interview with Rita David, a Gidumt’en Clan Elder, taken as RCMP occupied Gidumt’en territory with a police detachment.

Brian Grandbois – Papa G’s Truth Bomb (Feb 19, 2019)

The Wolverine and Brian Grandbois (Feb 18, 2019)

Elder Warriors Wolverine and Brian Grandbois talk about what it means to them to be a warrior.

From an interview by Crystal Greene, Michael Toledano, Shannon Hecker, at Unist’ot’en Camp in 2014.

Brian Grandbois Speaks at Unist’ot’en Action Camp (Feb 18,2019)

Brian Grandbois, Dene from Cold Lake, talks about the multiple front lines in Dene territory and cumulative impacts from industry.

Gidumt’en Checkpoint Dismantled by CGL (Jan 30, 2019)

RCMP stood by as CGL destroyed buildings set up by the Gidumt’en Clan.

Press release from Gidumt’en:…

See more videos from Michael T showing how we are still abusing our indigenous partners …

TheNarwhal: In photos: Wet’suwet’en matriarchs arrested as RCMP enforce Coastal GasLink pipeline injunction

Police made arrests Monday on the Morice River bridge, the sole entrance point to the Unist’ot’en land-based healing centre

Amber Bracken Feb 10, 2020

Freda Huson, Unist’ot’en spokesperson and founder of the Unist’ot’en healing centre, sings in ceremony as RCMP approach to arrest her during their enforcement of a Coastal GasLink court-ordered injunction against those blocking work on a gas pipeline on Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. Photo: Amber Bracken / The Narwhal

Members of the RCMP arrested seven individuals outside the Unist’ot’en healing centre Monday during the fifth day of enforcing a court-ordered injunction against members of the Wet’suwe’ten and their supporters blocking access to work sites for the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

The arrests were made at the 66-kilometre mark of the Morice River Forest Service Road at a bridge crossing a river along the 670-kilometre pipeline’s route.

Around 80 individuals have been arrested at Wet’suwet’en camps along the road and at solidarity actions taking place across the country.

Coastal GasLink was granted an injunction originally in December 2018 and the court order was renewed December 2019. Although the pipeline received approval from elected band members, hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en nation, representing five clans, have rejected the pipeline and asserted sovereignty over the nation’s traditional territory.

Read more at …

Also check out more of Amber Bracken’s beautiful pictures at her website…

Macleans: Opinion: The Wet’suwet’en are more united than pipeline backers want you to think

Amber Bracken: The difference between Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and elected chiefs is rooted in Aboriginal title, an issue that the Government of Canada continues to leave unresolved

by Amber Bracken Feb 14, 2020

This is, left to right: Dinï ze’ Knedebeas, Warner William, Dinï ze’ Hagwilnegh, Ron Mitchell, Dinï ze’ Woos, Frank Alec, Dinï ze’ Madeek, Jeff Brown, Dinï ze’ Gisday’wa, Fred Tom. In back is Dinï ze’ Ste ohn tsiy, Rob Alfred. Wet’suwet’en territory near Houston, B.C. on Jan. 4, 2020. (Amber Bracken)

Amber Bracken is an award-winning photojournalist based in Edmonton. Much of her reporting focuses on issues affecting Indigenous people. She’s spent months, over multiple trips, covering the interpretation of Aboriginal title rights inside Wet’suwet’en territory.

Ahead of the impending RCMP enforcement of Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline’s temporary injunction in late 2018, the Wet’suwet’en held an important feast, to decide what to do next.  

The bahlat, or potlatch in English, is the seat of their ancient government. That it exists today is a credit to the Wet’suwet’en resisters who were jailed for protecting it during the potlatch ban that lasted from 1884 to 1951, even as their regalia was burned in front of them. 

Bahlats are open to everyone from the nation. The proceedings that day took hours of protocol and discussion before the hereditary chiefs announced the decision, on behalf of the five clans—they would not leave quietly, they said. They would block pipeline workers.  

Decisions made like this have underpinned the Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs decade-long stand against all pipelines—in their remaining culturally viable land. It’s only a portion of their total unceded territory equalling roughly the size of New Jersey. 

Conversely, of the five Wet’suwet’en elected band chiefs, only the Hagwilget Village Council declined to sign benefits agreements with the LNG pipeline, citing that it was not their place to make decisions about the territory

The opposing positions of the two sets of chiefs has been represented by B.C. Premier John Horgan and in the media, as a fight within the nation between the equal actors of hereditary chiefs, who defend the land, and the band chiefs, who seek escape from poverty. Premier Horgan told the CBC he doesn’t think “a handful of people can stop progress and success for people who have been waiting for a break like this for many, many years.”

Read more at …

TheRecord: ‘Wild experience’ for Kitchener woman rescuing animals in Australia

Feb 14, 2020 by Johanna Weidner Waterloo Region Record

Heidi Bechtold spent three weeks in Australia helping wildlife after the devastating fires. – courtesy Heidi Bechtold

KITCHENER — The koala slid down the hill after dropping out of the tree, stopping right in front of Heidi Bechtold’s feet.

The Kitchener woman caught and held the ailing animal until he could be safely stowed in a bag and taken for veterinary care.

“It was a really cool experience,” Bechtold said. “They actually named this koala after me.”

Bechtold arrived home on Monday after three weeks in Australia with a Kelowna, B.C.-based animal rescue team pitching in with wildlife rescue efforts in the wake of the devastating fires.

“It was a wild experience,” Bechtold said.

Along with rescuing animals hurt and displaced by the wildfires, the team set up food and water stations to provide sustenance to animals in areas where their habitat was decimated.

“It’s about helping the animals after the fires,” Bechtold said. “You have animals coming back and waiting for your food.”

Read more and see the picture at …

TruthOut: Climate Change Driving “Rapid and Widespread” Decline of Bumblebees

By Daisy Dunne, Carbon Brief Published February 15, 2020

The chances of spotting a bumblebee have dropped by almost half across North America and by 17% in Europe from the mid-20th century to near present day, a study finds.
The chances of spotting a bumblebee have dropped by almost half across North America and by 17% in Europe from the mid-20th century to near present day, a study finds. Dmitry Drigoriev via Flickr

Shifts in temperature and rainfall are pushing bumblebees to their ecological limits across both continents, according to the analysis published in Science. This is driving “rapid and widespread declines” across 66 bumblebee species, the authors warn.

The impact of climate change on bumblebees is greatest in warmer parts of the northern hemisphere, including Mexico and Spain, the research finds.

Bumblebees have also expanded their range in some cooler regions. However, the extent of their range expansion is far smaller than the extent of range lost, the authors say.

This has contributed to population declines that could have “unknown consequences for the provision of ecosystem services,” they add.

Bumblebees also face threats from habitat loss and exposure to pesticides – meaning rapid warming could prove to be “the final straw” for some species, another scientist tells Carbon Brief.

Read more at …

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