Teen: Label Gas Pump Nozzles

Warning labels on gas nozzles are a great way to start local campaigns all over the country. Something so dangerous should have a fancy ad promotion too, paid for with carbon taxes…

Imagine great clouds of giant Greenhouse Gas dino-monsters, rising up from underground, cooking Earth in acid oceans, poison air and coal-black storms, blazing forests. The creatures lay eggs in gas nozzles. We collect more eggs every time we buy gas. Ignition zaps the eggs to life, so the tailpipe can set them free!

“Yes, Admiral. I’m on my way.” Fresh from his daily cardio at the gym, our hero (Clooney) jumps into his armored black SUV to go fight the monster horde! He inserts the key and sees a flashing red “WARMING” label, while a computerized voice alerts softly, “Fuel ignition imminent.”

“GASOLINE!!” He screams a G-rated curse, all rapid-reflexes, grabs keys, leaps free just in time, hurls keys slo-mo high into sky. A kid on a bike stops next to him. “That was too close.” He gets up from the pavement “Next time, I’ll check the label.” A big pile of abandoned key fobs in foreground, as he walks away. “We hold the keys.” His keys land on top. The End.

In a sequel, he sees the “WARMING” label during a limo ride to the airport.

Click here to watch Global News video report.

Posted from The Globe and Mail

Teen takes fight for gas nozzle labelling to West Van council

Emily Kelsall displays a gas pump nozzle with an environmental warning sticker she developed, as traffic passes by at the north end of the Lions Gate Bridge in North Vancouver, B.C., on May 9, 2014. (Darryl Dyck for The Globe and Mail)

Emily Kelsall displays a gas pump nozzle with an environmental warning sticker she developed, as traffic passes by at the north end of the Lions Gate Bridge in North Vancouver, B.C., on May 9, 2014. (photo, Darryl Dyck for The Globe and Mail)

A 16-year-old is betting that motorists will take note when their hands pull back on gas nozzles bearing graphic reminders of what fossil fuels are doing to climate change, and she’s persuaded councillors in West Vancouver to investigate the idea.

If local officials find they have the authority to require service stations to install the warnings, the posh district would be the first Canadian municipality to join a national campaign started by a former Toronto lawyer who has spent his savings advocating the idea.

“I am another teenager who is scared for my future,” began Grade 10 student Emily Kelsall, who equates the gas nozzle campaign to the warning labels on packs of cigarettes.

The warnings would be placed on the plastic sleeve of gas nozzles where many stations now place ads. A mock-up label shows a caribou and calf walking in the snow with a warning that climate change could lead to the extinction of 30 per cent of the Earth’s species.

Local councillors have voted in the past to oppose Kinder Morgan’s proposed doubling of its Trans Mountain pipeline. District Councillor Nora Gambioli said the labels would answer a perceived lack of climate-change action by Canada’s senior governments.

“At the federal and provincial levels they are incapable of addressing the issue of climate change. They just don’t have the gumption to do it,” she said. “If we have the finding that we have the jurisdiction, this will be very exciting.”

Transportation is one of the largest single sources of greenhouse gases in the district, accounting for 44 per cent, the district says.

While a majority of the council voiced support for the project, municipal spokesman Jeff McDonald speculated it doesn’t have the authority to pass the rules.

Rob Shirkey, the man responsible for first proposing the idea of labels on gas nozzles, says the question of jurisdiction will soon be answered.

Six law students at the University of Victoria are helping him put together a document outlining how local governments in British Columbia could enact the idea. He has produced a brief in Ontario defending the authority of local governments to enact the labels there.

“I would be surprised if we had less rights and drastically different rules from the municipal act in Ontario,” Ms. Gambioli said.

While she and her fellow councillors wait for an answer on whether they can act, a much larger question looms for what would happen if they passed the bylaw. “The gas companies are going to come after us,” she said.

Mr. Shirkey called a legal challenge a “near certainty,” adding that “big oil has deep pockets.”

The community is drawing inspiration from Hudson, Que. In 1991, the small bedroom community outside Montreal was the first in Canada to ban pesticides. The ban split the community when it was passed and chemical companies sued. By the time the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favour of the town’s ban a decade later, local leaders had the backing of supportive locals.

In their decision, the justices wrote that municipal bylaws could regulate practices allowed by federal laws. The ruling enthusiastically endorsed the idea that local politicians have a special role to play in safeguarding the health of their constituents, The Globe and Mail reported at the time.

Ms. Kelsall heard the gas nozzle idea on the radio while she was being driven to school. Months later, she faced Mayor Michael Smith as she addressed council on May 5. For three decades, Mr. Smith operated a petroleum distributor in Metro Vancouver and had been the only voice on council to vote against a motion opposing Kinder Morgan’s project. Now he was responsible for giving Ms. Kelsall the time to present her proposal to council.

“The mayor is coming around,” Ms. Gambioli said with a chuckle. “He made a fortune in oil and gas. He has grandkids now, so I’ve seen a softening in his dialogue.”

from The Globe and Mail

Kathleen Dean Moore Opens Global Climate Convergence Event, April 27 at Seattle U

Connecting The Dots: Compassionate Communities Fostering Climate, Social, & Economic Justice Sunday April 27th 12:30 – 5:30pm

Thanks to Seattle U student activists, a festival of speakers and workshops from a variety of local groups will grace the Seattle University Pigott Building, Sunday April 27th, beginning with the philosopher, naturalist, and climate speaker Kathleen Dean Moore ( author of Riverwalking, Wild Comfort, Moral Ground among others).

Bring the family and discover a world of change that starts with people power. The Global Climate Convergence, 10 days of global actions from Earth Day to May Day, connects groups like 350.org, Idle No More, Backbone Campaign, Compassionate Seattle, fostering climate, social, and economic justice. Renew your energy and commitment in an afternoon of celebration and education. Stir your heart to action.

Ambassadors from Plant-For-The-Planet workshop Climate Justice at 1:45pm. Full schedule with workshops and registration HERE. Wa-ConnecttheDots.org

Schedule: Formal Event 12:30-5:30*

  • 11:30-12:30: Art, Mingling and Tabling
    12:30-1:30: Lunch & Program Opening – speaker Kathleen Dean Moore, a Blessing w/ Sweetwater Nannauck of Idle No More, Music, youth from Unleash The Brilliance & more
    1:45-2:40: First set of 55 min workshops (or 2 hour workshops continue over both slots)
    2:50-3:45: Second set of 55 min workshops
    4:00-5:10: Community dialogue to cross-pollinate, share insights & intentions
    5:10-5:30: Interactive Closing
    5:30-6:30: post-event art, mingling and tabling
    *Backbone hosts Anti-Oppression training from 9am – 12pm, & 1:45-5:00pm.
    **All-ages Art & Imagery Station All Day from 11:30-6:30
    Don’t forget Earth Day, Tuesday April 22nd! Honor our mom with trees in the name of climate justice.

Young People’s Day In Court

TRUST 350 from Our Children’s Trust on Vimeo.

 by James Hansen, 14 April 2014, cross-posted from Dr. Hansen’s blog

May 2 could be an historic day, as young people have their day in court, at 9:30 AM in the United States Court of Appeals in Washington, DC. This concerns the legal case that young people have filed against the United States federal government, the case for which the paper “Assessing ‘Dangerous Climate Change’: Required Reductions of Carbon Emissions to Protect Young People, Future Generations and Nature” provides the scientific basis.

A U.S. District Court earlier ruled against young people, in essence saying that the young people had not shown a Constitutional basis by which the Court could require the U.S. government to deliver a plan defining how it would reduce emissions consistent with what science shows is necessary to stabilize climate. Young people had filed their case based on the “trust” concept, the argument that the present generation has a fiducial responsibility to deliver a safe atmosphere and climate to the next generation.

The “trust” concept is well established in law and American history, as Thomas Jefferson, a farmer, argued that his generation must not deplete the soil, but rather must leave it in equally fertile condition for the next generation. However, our current Administration argued against the young people, saying that it had established the Environmental Protection Agency, and thus had sufficiently carried out its duties. Industrial polluters joined the federal government in court, arguing against the case filed by the young people.

In my opinion, the Court’s initial ruling was for the best, because it forces attention upon our most fundamental rights. Our Constitution’s purpose to “provide the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity…” implies obligations to the young and the unborn. Our nation was founded on the “self-evident” concept that all people have equal rights. The Constitution assures that all people, including young people, will receive “equal protection of the laws” and that no one can be deprived of property without “due process” of law. Furthermore, this focus on fundamental rights has global relevance because of substantial commonality of our Constitution with The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In an amicus brief that I filed with 10 of my colleagues we point out that the claim by the United States government that climate change presents “the possibility of some remote future injury” evinces a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the climate threat. Our brief makes clear that atmospheric CO2 today is already in the dangerous zone, and the government should present a plan to reduce fossil fuel emissions and increase carbon uptake by the land and biosphere at rates required to reduce atmospheric CO2 this century to at most 350 ppm.

The situation is crystal clear. The climate threat is undeniable. Yet the executive and legislative branches of government, concerned with short-term politics, are failing to protect young people.

We must be sure that the judges ponder the full implications of their ruling. It would be very helpful if the court room were packed with young people, so that the judges can look in the eyes of the youth who will feel the benefit or brunt of their decision.

This court, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, is widely viewed as our most important court save only the Supreme Court, and it frequently has had a central role in affecting our national policies and law. Its judges are frequently tapped as Supreme Court Nominees.

The three judges who will hear the young people’s case are Chief Judge Garland (Clinton appointee), Senior Circuit Judge Ginsburg (Reagan appointee once nominated for the Supreme Court), and Circuit Judge Srinivasan (Obama appointee).

The Court will hear three cases on Friday morning May 2, with the case for young people (Alec L. et al. vs. Gina McCarthy, et al.) scheduled first, thus expected to be 9:30 AM. The lawyer for the young people will have 30 minutes to present their case and the government and industry will have 30 minutes to respond. The judges frequently interrupt, so much of the 30 minutes for each side may be used by the judges, but the two sides will have equal time.

After the case is argued, i.e., at about 10:30 AM the youth plan to have a rally outside the courthouse, and we will probably make plans to have lunch together, perhaps outside, depending on weather. I believe that witnessing this historic day in court for youth is worth missing a day of school, and indeed would be educational. The presence of sufficient youth could make a difference. The courtroom will hold about 120 people and there is an overflow room where the arguments can be live-streamed. If we should end up with more people than can fit in the courtrooms, their attendance outside and at the rally will make the proceedings all the more effective.

Some information on the hearing is at
http://ourchildrenstrust.org/sites/default/files/D.C.CourtofAppealsHearingFlyer.pdf and a short film on the overall matter is at http://ourchildrenstrust.org/trust-films/AClimateOfTRUST.

Those people planning to attend, or organize attendance by a class or individual youth, should send an e-mail to both my program coordinator Nicole <ncrescimannno@ei.columbia.edu> and Meg <meg@ourchildrenstrust.org>. We will send further details and updates as plans progress.

Jim Hansen


Radio: NPR “On Point” plays Ambassador speeches, Guest Jared Diamond

Ambassadors steal the show, “Jared Diamond Speaks to the Young on Environmental Challenges” the APRIL 4, 2014 episode of NPR’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook.

Listen here:

OK, so the Ambassadors are not the guests; but they are briefly featured voices of a generation, and Jared Diamond is good company! The celebrated author of Guns, Germs, and SteelThe World Until Yesterday and Collapse talks about a new adaptation of an old favorite, The Third Chimpanzee, now retitled:

The Third Chimpanzee for Young People: On the Evolution and Future of the Human Animal by Jared Diamond

Audio clips of Ambassadors Zoe and Isaac figure prominently in the discussion. The lively broadcast explores how humans, and in particular young people growing up with a dangerous changing climate, might respond to our greatest challenge.

History professor and bestselling author Diamond begins this interview, “the current generation is the first generation that faces the risk of the whole world being messed up.” As a parent, the author had to answer to his own children when their school assigned one of his books for class. He says historically young people have regularly faced overwhelming threats to civilization; but children now grow up worrying about the end of all civilizations.

After playing clips from Ambassadors’ speeches, Jared Diamond suggests that young people who understand what is happening to their future can have a powerful influence on how families respond.

The Ambassador audio clips come from Zoe’s speech before the Governor’s Climate Legislative Executive Workgroup in Seattle and Isaac’s speech to the Power Past Coal Rally in downtown Portland.

Be forewarned: after hearing Jared Diamond, you might have to break down and buy the book. It sounds perfect for families who face this crisis together. Although you’ll find no simple answers and only a 50-50 wager on how humans will turn out, Diamond sounds genuinely hopeful for a History professor who has devoted his life to studying the end.

James Hansen Admires Ambassador Action

Ambassadors visit Sen Patty Murray

Ambassadors from Plant-For-The-Planet shared their plan to end the climate crisis with U.S. Senate staffers last week in downtown Seattle. They made very specific requests for the Senators to consider new language when they discuss climate change, drawing on Dr. James Hansen’s research into how humans might make the world cooler near 2100, but only if we act now.

One week later the preeminent climate scientist and former head of NASA climate research blogged about their brave efforts: You can read Dr. Hansen’s admiring words here: “Children and Adults on Climate Policy: Evidence that They ‘Get It'”


From his blog: “The bravery and insight of people in Washington and Oregon, as they oppose fossil fuel interests that threaten the future of young people, is exceptional and encouraging.”

The Ambassadors draw such inspiration from Dr. Hansen’s important research on behalf of “Young People, Future Generations, and Nature”; and yet in this blog the roles reversed. Clearly James Hansen draws his inspiration from the next generation, the grandchildren he strives to protect. Now his life’s work and climate science messages are starting to reach young people who “Get It”.

You can talk to your Senators, like the Ambassadors. Tell your congressperson to

  • Stop saying the words “2°C Goal” or “Target” in speeches.
  • Start telling Senators there is a real plan to keep global warming close to 1.2°C and to protect children
  • Write laws to reduce carbon pollution 6% per year and plant our share of 1,000 billion trees
  • Put a price on carbon pollution
  • Pledge “No New Carbon Pollution” to oppose dirty energy infrastructure, exploration, and exports
  • You need them to take bold action now on climate in order to protect children in the future.

As the founder of Plant-For-The-Planet, Felix Finkbeiner, says: “For us children, whether the sea level will rise 1 meter or 6 meters is not an academic question, it’s a question of survival.”

Your Senators should know that from now on you depend on them to act courageously; we all do.

Let’s act courageously.

Students On Track to Stop Global Warming

If you want to make a difference in the struggle to stop global warming, to what extraordinary lengths would you go? How about 7 days roundtrip on a train?

Beginning Thursday afternoon, March 26th, Port Townsend High School Students For Sustainability will ride the rails to Washington D.C. to lobby for climate action now! At each train stop along the way, they will accept petitions from local students to deliver to leaders in the nation’s capital. Print out one of these petitions or write your own. Grab your friends and tell them all to sign on! 

SFS Students

“Students for Sustainability” a self-organizing student conservation group in Port Townsend, WA has earned awards for their effective efforts on campus and around the community in the last two years including recognition from the EPA. They also helped plant 3,500 trees.

Now the team will travel by mass transit all the way to Washington, D.C. To pay for this trip they raised thousands of dollars, so that student voices can make climate a priority in the ‘other’ Washington.

The students designed 2 simple petitions for you to print out, one petition for President Obama and one for Congress. You can gathering signatures from family and friends this week.

Speak out on the climate issues you care about most, whether that’s pollution, clean air and water, renewable energy, new transportation, forestry and reforestation, ending coal exports; you name it literally, on your petition! The Students For Sustainability will carry your voice to Washington D.C.

SFS students ride the Empire Builder from Seattle, Thursday March 27th, departing 4:40pm. If you can’t celebrate the start of their 3.5 day railroad journey in person with us, you can still scan your petition and email it to me beforehand. We’ll print it for you and take it down to King Street Station. You can also sign the ONLINE petition at change.org. 

SFSAcross the country students can Contact the SFS team before they reach your town to arrange for petition pickup at any train stops for the Empire Builder and Capitol Limited.

Like them on facebook,  donate money to help them pay for the trip, support these ambitious, courageous students and add your voices to the chorus calling for climate justice now!

VIDEO: Children Rally Against Coal Exports in Portland

This is beautiful.

Governor Kitzhaber, listen to the voices of justice. With nothing to gain and everything to lose from coal export, our children ask only for a future and a clean Columbia River Gorge. Stop coal export and start a trend. Governor, you have an easy choice to make.

Congratulations to all the wonderful families in Portland who came out to make this rally special. Our kids will remember this for a lifetime. Thank you Columbia Riverkeeper and Power Past Coal!

Ambassadors Help Keep Oil Trains Out of Seattle – VIDEOS

Aji and Adonis, 2 talented brothers, made TV News and the Seattle paper when they performed “Exploding Trains” outside City Hall. The music sounds like the lullaby “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” on ukelele, juxtaposed with painful lyrics that shock and ignite listeners to stop the trains. “Think about the future generations… What to them do you give?”

The 2 brothers serve in our community as Ambassadors for Climate Justice in the children’s organization Plant-For-The-Planet, a worldwide initiative empowering children to end the climate crisis now. Older brother Aji was learning ukelele when he learned about the exploding trains and decided to write the song to bring attention to the dangers of oil trains and burning fossil fuels.

Immediately after the powerful rally on the steps of City Hall, Aji and Adonis performed again inside Council Chambers for a committee hearing to decide on the language of a Resolution against the dangerous trains passing through Seattle. Every week more trains roll past two stadiums and tunnel under a mile of downtown Seattle and Pike Place Market where an explosion would be catastrophic. Seattle City Council sees unacceptable risk to our densely-populated urban neighborhoods.

Last month Ambassador Stella spoke out at another rally against the trains. She evoked Martin Luther King Jr. as she called for climate justice and sharing a vision of her future where everyone gets what they need and “no one poisons anyone else with fossil fuels regardless of whether they live over or under the poverty line.”


Oil-by-Rail shipments have “exploded” recently, up 40-fold over just a few years ago. Every month North Dakota Bakken crude oil uses more railroads to get to market. Fracking the oil to get it out of the ground puts dangerous secret volatile chemicals in the oil which make it much more explosive and deadly. But the old rail cars are not safe enough to transport this oil which ignites at a temperature of 73 degrees. Several accidents in the last few months resulted in huge fireballs burning for hours or days, and several deaths. The National Transportation Safety Board released a blunt warning to keep the trains away from “metropolitan areas” to prevent loss of life.The warning stopped just short of banning the trains altogether.

Cities along the railroad lines are now speaking up for public safety. Simultaneously the oil shipments have grown from less than 10,000 rail cars a few years ago to over 400,000 rail cars, increasing the chances of an accident and snarling rail service around the country. Oil refineries on Washington’s coast want permits to handle more of the explosive oil. In my view, this means we can pollute the planet faster, or as the industry hopes to grow we can start exporting fracked oil to make America more energy independent. (Not sure how exporting oil make us more energy independent).

Bakken crude oil, unsafe when you frack, move in pipelines or rail lines, refine, or ship. But guaranteed “unsafest” of all for our children when you safely ignite in your internal combustion engine. depending on whether you value life and nature above dirty energy and wealth.

“Leave fossil fuels in the Ground!”

Plant-For-The-Planet ambassadors share their 3-Point Plan for ending the climate crisis, the hardest part being “Leave fossil fuels in the Ground!” We all need to speak out to stop these trains to keep our children and the future safe. We all need to travel less and burn less fossil fuels.

Let’s thank the Seattle City Councilmembers who unanimously passed a very strong resolution asking Governor Inslee to place a moratorium on oil trains coming through Seattle. The trains are dangerous according to the NTSB. Increasing oil trains from 3 a week to 3 per day in Seattle will accelerate global warming and the chances of a major accident. Companies shipping oil-by-rail know the risks, but have a product to move. Cities take the risks, bear the responsibility to public safety, and oppose the trains. Let the Governor know that you support protecting our cities and our children.

Our children need all of us to help stop more trains from bringing fracked oil to market. Only people like you and me can help our children bring their vision of a safe, livable planet into reality. Take action now.

VIDEO: Keystone XL Vigil, Last Public Comments

Zoe eloquently delivered her public comments against the Keystone XL pipeline to a freezing crowd of 350.org supporters outside the federal building in Seattle, WA. The report from the State Dept on whether the international pipeline gets completed will go to the President in May.

As I write you only have 3 hours left to submit a comment (by midnight EST Friday  March 7th, 2014 to the State Dept http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=DOS-2014-0003-0001) for the report headed to the President’s desk, your opinion on the Keystone XL pipeline doesn’t count.

Well, OK, your opinion still counts, and you can still make a ruckus and be heard; you can call the President’s White House line right now. In fact you can write the editor, join a protest, and get your neighbors to join you. But you won’t be counted among over 2,000,000 comments environmental groups delivered to the Dept of State this month opposing the Keystone XL pipeline. With this deadline, the time for the President to decide moves one step closer.

This marks the end of the official process for public input, which means now things get really interesting. If you want to make a difference now, you have several options. Over 75,000 people have pledged to commit civil disobedience if the President signals that he is going to approve the pipeline. http://nokxl.org/

We carbon-based lifeforms simply can’t allow tar sands into the pipeline. No matter what the law allows, our children won’t survive the Keystone XL.

Why such a fuss over one oil pipeline? It’s true there are other pipelines, and trains, moving Canada’s product south. And it’s true we need oil to drive around.

But Keystone XL commits us to decades of driving on the world’s absolute dirtiest fuel, from the 2nd largest oil reserve in the world. GreenHouse Gas emissions from extracting tar sands and making the sludge for shipping pollute as much methane and CO2 as our large metropolitan areas, and that’s before the tar sands oil gets refined and burned. In front of the White House, along with 1,200 people committing civil disobedience, Dr. James Hansen told the President and the world that building this pipeline to speed up burning the tar sands in Canada equals, “Game over for the planet.” 

The Keystone XL pipeline leads to a Carbon Bomb that we must leave in the ground. Since Alberta tar sands oil is already showing up in our gas tanks, we all have to drive less, and find ways to stop the oil trains and other pipelines delivering this extra deadly stuff from Canada, and from the Bakken Shale fracking wells in North Dakota. Our children depend on us now to stop using fossil fuels.

No More “All Of The Above” Energy As for the President, he has a chance to choose dirty energy or clean energy with the stroke of a pen. Until now he has expanded both kinds, simultaneously leading greater expansion in renewables and in our fossil fuel extraction faster than George W. Bush. The fracking creates boomtowns and jobs for roughnecks, but risks contaminating our water supplies. But opening up a pipeline to 800,000 barrels of tar sands every day, or not, stands as the greatest single climate decision he gets to make as President.

Chris Hayes articulates our chemical addiction and the President’s “intervention moment”. http://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/keystone-xl-time-to-end-the-addiction-132949571674 an excellent commentary.

Zoe spoke up at a Keystone Xl Vigil in February 2014. You can watch more of the vigil here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZwk4Fm52gw#t=23

Slideshow slideshow!



Here’s a slideshow of a slideshow, featuring a team of students giving their 5th grade assembly an introduction to Plant-For-The-Planet!







The students had a blast, answered questions, and now everybody at school wants to plant TREES! and become an ambassador too.

If you would like to know how to host an assembly for a slideshow at your school, just leave a request below in the comments. If you have questions about how to get involved with Plant-For-The-Planet as an ambassador or as a grownup, please ask!