The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) and City of North Vancouver present “Let’s Do It Now“, part of the speaker series on Climate Change Adaptation + Momentum in MetroVan.

Wednesday, October 9
The Pipe Shop Venue – 115 Victory Way
City of North Vancouver

Featuring local urban designer Gloria Venczel, SABmag editor Jim Taggart, District of North Vancouver community planner Shazeen Tejani, and Lilian Chau of Vancity’s Impact Real Estate team, the panel will discuss what we can do about the issue many planners are grappling with every day, and perhaps for the rest of their career — what can we do right now to support climate change adaptation and mitigation?

Registration and venue map.

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September 9, 2019

A new phase has started in how we think and write about climate change.  Extinction Lit: considering its inevitability, and what that means.   

Here’s a current example from the venerable New Yorker, by novelist Jonathan Franzen:


If you care about the planet, and about the people and animals who live on it, there are two ways to think about this. You can keep on hoping that catastrophe is preventable, and feel ever more frustrated or enraged by the world’s inaction. Or you can accept that disaster is coming, and begin to rethink what it means to have hope. …

Call me a pessimist or call me a humanist, but I don’t see human nature fundamentally changing anytime soon. I can run ten thousand scenarios through my model, and in not one of them do I see the two-degree target being met. …

… a false hope of salvation can be actively harmful. If you persist in believing that catastrophe can be averted, you commit yourself to tackling a problem so immense that it needs to be everyone’s overriding priority forever. One result, weirdly, is a kind of complacency: by voting for green candidates, riding a bicycle to work, avoiding air travel, you might feel that you’ve done everything you can for the only thing worth doing. Whereas, if you accept the reality that the planet will soon overheat to the point of threatening civilization, there’s a whole lot more you should be doing.

And then there’s the matter of hope. If your hope for the future depends on a wildly optimistic scenario, what will you do ten years from now, when the scenario becomes unworkable even in theory? Give up on the planet entirely? To borrow from the advice of financial planners, I might suggest a more balanced portfolio of hopes, some of them longer-term, most of them shorter. …

Any good thing you do now is arguably a hedge against the hotter future, but the really meaningful thing is that it’s good today. As long as you have something to love, you have something to hope for. …


Much more here.

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Extinctionists: Leaders and decision-makers who accept extinction – minor or major, local and global – as an acceptable outcome of climate change; and justify it in order to maximize power and benefit.

For example:

BRAZIL:  Record Amazon Wildfires

Brazil’s space research center has reported 72,843 wildfires in the Amazon rainforest this year, with 9,507 of them taking place since last Thursday. The agency said that fires have increased in the states of Rondonia and Amazonas, which declared a national emergency earlier this month over the wildfires.

While fires in the Amazon can naturally occur between the months of August and November, they are frequently started to create space for cattle ranching. Residents as far as São Paulo in southeastern Brazil experienced blackouts on Monday due to smoke from wildfires in the Amazon and nearby Paraguay.

Sao Paulo: August 19, 3 pm


The Extinctionist:

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Two recent stories, the first from Brazil:

President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil fired the head of a government agency that had revealed a steep increase in deforestation in the Amazon.


The second from America:

… for the first time, regulators would be allowed to conduct economic assessments … when deciding whether a species warrants protection.  Critically, the changes would also make it more difficult for regulators to factor in the effects of climate change on wildlife …


These stories illustrate how denial of climate change by the authoritarian populists, Bolsonaro and Trump, is leading, without ambiguity, to a tolerance of extinction.  These leaders and those who support them, explicitly or by their silence, are willing to not only eradicate species and biospheres but take all of us all down with them if it helps speed up the liquidation of the last good stuff, by seizing power and wealth. As illustrated so presciently by The New Yorker.

It may seem cynically extreme to say that those in power, public or private, whose job it is to assess risk and respond appropriately care little for civilizational survival so long as they see short-term gain.  Let’s instead assume they’re operating on a 3D Strategy: doubt, deny, delay.  Acknowledge climate change, if need be, include it in the long-term assessments, fund a few programs, but keep any disruptive change that requires immediate and large-scale response off the agenda.  Or use it against your opponents.

But that only makes sense so long as nothing substantially changes in the short term that confirms the long-run predictions and starts to scare people.  And unfortunately the changes are coming fast and looking uncomfortably furious:

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One of the world’s most iconic vans is making a comeback…

But this time, it’s electric. Slated for production by 2022, the “electric microbus” is one of five new electric models in Volkswagen’s ID. series — a family of 100% electric vehicles, which includes a crossover, a compact, a sedan, and of course, the van.

Just like the classic VW van, there will be room for up to seven people with an adjustable interior that includes a table and movable seats. Volkswagen also intends on enabling all ID. series models with a fully autonomous feature option.

Distance, a major concern of many when it comes to purchasing an electric vehicle, is no longer an issue. The van will have an electric range of 400 to 600 km, comparable to pretty much any gas-powered vehicle. Further, Volkswagen has partnered with Electrify Canada (partnership formed by Electrify America in cooperation with Volkswagen Canada) to build ultra-fast electric vehicle charging infrastructure to give Canadians the reliability they need to confidently make the switch to electric. Planning and deployment are well underway, including network routes — you can check out the Vancouver to Calgary route here.

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