Wednesday Night #2125

Written by  //  December 7, 2022  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

COP15
A UN biodiversity convention aims to slow humanity’s ‘war with nature’
When I first went to work at the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, a) only dedicated environmentalists even knew what Biodiversity is; b) almost no-one knew -or cared- that Montreal is host to the UN Convention Secretariat, and c) few had any grasp of the enormity of the challenges that would be posed over the following years.
With the opening today (7 December) of the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15), that has changed!
Thousands of delegates representing 192 countries are spending the next two weeks in Montreal, attempting to hammer out a once-in-a-decade agreement that will aim to build a more sustainable relationship between humans and nature.
It is not going to be easy. Biodiversity negotiators face uphill climb at COP15 in Montreal
While Prime Minister Trudeau welcomed the world for COP15 to protect nature and announced Canada’s proposal to protect 30% of Earth, UN Secretary-general António Guterres proclaimed that Humanity has become ‘weapon of mass extinction’.
Ottawa announces up to $800M for Indigenous-led conservation projects
Québec annonce un « Plan Nature » de 650 millions

Congratulations to Executive producer Aphrodite Salas and her team for the documentary Innavik: Leading the way to a clean energy future, Inuit community leads Arctic shift to clean energy: hydroelectric project to replace diesel, a collaboration between CTV News Montreal, Concordia University, Indigenous Clean Energy, and Journalists for Human Rights.

Has anyone else noticed the absence this year of any reference to “a date which will live in infamy”?
Today, despite some bumps in the road which have been settled amicably, Japan is a long-time and valued ally, as is Germany.
Bumps in the road would certainly include the spreading influence of Donald Trump and his alt-right supporters. As Matt Stieb of New York puts it: “The United States sends billions in industrial parts, natural gas, and medical supplies to Germany every year. Increasingly, we’ve also been exporting some of our dumbest ideas.” (German QAnon Spinoff Plotted Coup to Put Fake Prince in Charge) And so we have Wednesday’s events in Germany where conspirators planned a violent overthrow of the state, including an armed attack on the parliament, inspired by the storming of the US Capitol, according to prosecutors.
And turmoil in Peru, not notable for political stability, parliament ousts President Castillo despite his attempt to dissolve legislature.

As protests in Iran continue, opinion is divided over the effect of the announcement on Saturday that the morality police have been abolished (see long reads below) and France24 reports that the US and Germany said on Monday that they had seen “no improvement” in conditions for women in Iran. Since protests began in September, at least 448 people have been killed and 18,000 imprisoned in Iran, human rights organisations have reported. What is not in doubt is the courage of the protesters and the increasing influence of the movement.

In China protests against the  draconian Covid lockdown policy have resulted in an [apparent] easing of the restrictions associated with the zero-Covid policy.

Putin’s War
As the onslaught of winter creates misery throughout most of the country, in an ongoing race, Ukraine tries to repair faster than Russia bombs. The repair work is part of the scramble to keep the lights on amid the Russian airstrikes that have been hammering Ukraine’s energy system for the past two months. The latest strike was on Monday, and while it knocked out power and water in several cities, it was not as damaging as other recent attacks. Meantime, Another airfield ablaze as drone attacks hit Russia for 2nd straight day
Ukrainian officials have not formally confirmed strikes on Russian air bases.
Jeremy Kinsman and Larry Haas are encouraged (Ukraine hits targets in Russia) by this display of Kyiv’s continuing capacity to surprise and applaud the claim that Ukraine shot down 60 of a total of 70 incoming missiles on Monday.

This year’s 33rd anniversary of the École Polytechnique murders has been distorted by controversies surrounding Bill C-31, Montreal Canadiens Carey Price (aside from everything else, a PR nightmare), and the use by Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights of the promotional code “poly” for discounts on its merchandise.
Guy Versailles remembers that night 33 years ago: “Je me souviens. C’était un mercredi soir. Nous en avons discuté, encore sous le choc.”

Triumphs for Louise Penny. Both her latest book (#18) in the “Gamache” series A World of Curiosities and the just-released first couplet of  Three Pines, the Prime Video TV series starring Alfred Molina, (Alfred Molina Grounds Smart Mystery Series on Prime Video) have been met with acclaim.
Read all about it in her December newsletter Also see,
How a Montreal Massacre survivor became a character in a Louise Penny detective novel
Nathalie Provost, a survivor of the 1989 Montreal Massacre, recently collaborated with novelist Louise Penny, who wrote a fictionalized account of the shooting in her novel A World of Curiosities.

The Georgia vote
I think we all breathed a sigh of relief and slept more soundly after the news flash Tuesday night.
Democrats And Republicans Have Lessons To Learn From Georgia Runoff
See also Long reads
n Georgia, Democrat Raphael Warnock held on to his U.S. Senate seat, defeating Republican candidate Herschel Walker in a special runoff vote.
Warnock’s reelection is a big win for Democrats, as it gives them a slightly expanded majority in the Senate. It also further supports the idea that Georgia, a historically red state that Democrats managed to flip in 2020, really is becoming more purple.
Robert Reich wrote on Tuesday morning:
“If Raphael Warnock wins today’s senate runoff in Georgia, as appears likely, Senate Democrats will gain a 51-49 majority — providing them some insurance in the event that Arizona voters boot out Kyrsten Sinema in 2024, while at the same time reducing the power of West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin to control the Democrat’s agenda.
In other words: A win-win.
A Warnock victory could prove an even bigger Democratic win. That’s because the biggest loser won’t be Republican Herschel Walker. It will be Donald Trump. Walker’s entire candidacy was a Trump creation — not unlike Trump University, Trump Airline, Trump Vodka, and Trump Steaks.”

Angus Reid’s lighthearted look at the premiers’ popularity – Thank you, Peter Frise
Premiers’ Performance: Smith divides Albertans, Ford ranks among lowest in leader approval
‘Twas the weeks before Christmas and all through the land, Canada’s premiers were anxious to learn where they stand.
Provincial constituents assessed their leaders with care. Deciding, was sound judgement recently there?
Moe and Legault enjoyed moments of ease, knowing significant majorities of their electorates were pleased. …

Varia
Montreal resident sent world’s first text message, 30 years ago today [3 December]
The 23 billion text messages that crisscross the world every day—about 8.3 trillion per year or 270,000 per second—started three decades ago with a simple, greeting: “Merry Christmas”.
On December 3, 1992, 22-year-old software architect, designer and test engineer Neil Papworth sent that message from his computer at Sema Group Telecoms to Richard Jarvis at Vodaphone.

Long reads
Iran’s moment of truth: what will it take for the people to topple the regime?
Three months after the uprising began, demonstrators are still risking their lives. Will this generation succeed where previous attempts to unseat the Islamic hardliners have been crushed?
Iran’s protest movement: ‘The tipping point isn’t far away
while the scale and duration of protests are already unprecedented, the tipping point that turns dissent into full-blown revolution has not been reached – yet. “Young people aren’t afraid anymore, unlike previous generations. The fear has switched sides, as they say today in Iran,”
China’s protests are testing the surveillance state
Protests in China might force the government to back down from its extreme Covid-19 restrictions and ramp up its extreme surveillance
From Doug Sweet: Trump Is Unraveling Before Our Eyes, but Will It Matter? lengthy but thoughtful piece from Thomas Edsall in the NYT is a detailed look at the mess in which Republicans find themselves
FiveThirtyEight: Did Redistricting Cost Democrats The House?
The 2022 election for the House of Representatives was so close1 that if any number of things had gone differently, Democrats might have kept their majority. And one of the biggest things that affected the battle for the House was redistricting — the decennial redrawing of congressional districts lines to account for the results of the 2020 census.

Event
Jaime Webbe, president of UN Association of Canada invites all to
One Earth – One Choice environment festival
​We are delighted to announce that the second Environment Festival is coming to Montreal with the support of Air Canada and Power Corporation of Canada. It is a unique opportunity to celebrate and inspire action for the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Environment Programme
WHEN: December 11th, 10am – 4pm
WHERE: Plaza Centre-Ville, 777 Robert Bourassa –
Join us on Sunday to celebrate youth and local action for the environment.
Interactive activities for children run from 11:00 – 12:30 including story time with Ashoke Mohanraj and Todd Stewart.
In the afternoon we welcome special guests Tareq Hadhad, Fatou Ndoye, and Elizabeth Dowdeswell, among others, with performances by Theresa “Bear” Fox and OLUWA TONI.
Access is free and no registration or accreditation is required!

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