Ecoholic forecast: six fearless environmental predictions and trends to watch in 2017

THE RISE OF TRUMPXIETY  Urbandictionary.com first defined Trumpxiety last.



THE RISE OF TRUMPXIETY 

Urbandictionary.com first defined Trumpxiety last summer as “a condition that affects many people at the thought of Donald Trump becoming President of the United States.” By then, psychologists and massage therapists were already reporting a spike in patients needing help for the condition. Now, New York City is offering city workers counseling services to cope with post-election stress. Yeah, Americans will clearly be the worst hit by Trump Mood Disorders, but empathetic Canadians are suffering, too. If you notice any Trumpxiety-plagued treehugger friends muttering incessantly about the end of the world, try peppering them with adorable cat videos, or gift them Headspace, the meditation app with meltdown diffusing “SOS” content. Other tips on engaging more productively in these harsh political times:  a copy of James Hoggan’s I’m Right and You’re an Idiot: the Toxic State of Public Discourse and How To Clean It Up. And remind yourself of what David Suzuki said post-election: “Hard work and love trump fear and hate.”  

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STANDING ROCK COMES TO CANADA

“What if we gave Canada 20 Standing Rocks?” Kanesatake Grand Chief Serge Simon raised the idea after Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr suggested that the feds don’t need “consent” from First Nations to push through the recently-approved Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion project. With construction of the $6.8 billion project slated to begin in 2017, expect protests to build in BC and across Canada, particularly if things get ugly in North Dakota where Trump has pledged to ram through the Dakota Access Pipeline. Kinder Morgan’s CEO Ian Anderson has said he expects protests. “I’d be naive if I didn’t.” There’ll be a slew of court challenges putting roadblocks in the way, too. Ecojustice just launched the latest in a growing tangle of legal cases. It argues that the feds failed to apply mandatory legal protections for  endangered Southern Resident killer whales in the Pacific waters off Vancouver.

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LAYIN’ PIPE ON THE NATIONAL ENERGY BOARD 

Back before the Libs were elected, the federal party platform vowed to “make environmental assessments credible again” and “modernize” the workings of the National Energy Board (NEB) at the heart of the discredited pipeline review process. Now that the feds have finally appointed a five-member review panel to help reform the NEB, expect things to start cooking in March, when the panel’s recommendations are due. Groups like Environmental Defence want to see the pipeline approval process overhauled to ensure that projects are in line with Canada’s climate goals, the Paris agreement, and the government’s commitment to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. So far it’s not looking good. The feds are already ignoring another platform promise around approvals: that only Indigenous communities can grant permission.

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NESTLÉ PAYS THE PIPER

Word is Ontario will finally be hiking the price of water-taking permits for bottled water companies in 2017, thanks to the uproar over Nestlé availing itself of millions of litres of Ontario groundwater over a drought-stricken summer with expired permits. It’s unclear how much companies will have to fork out. Right now, they’re paying a pittance – $3.71 per million litres. But Premier Kathleen Wynne has hinted that increased costs may not be the only new regulation slapped on the province’s water bottlers. Expect some top-down attempts at a culture shift. “We need to have a bigger look at the whole industry, and our role in regulating it,” says Wynne.

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CORPORATE GIANTS BANK ON RENEWABLES 

Looks like 2017 is gearing up to be another good one for renewables. Google just announced that their global data centres and offices will go fully renewable this year (they’re already the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable power). By end of the year, Amazon will be half way there. Over 80 corporate giants are following suit, including GM, which recently assured the public that even a climate-bashing president-elect won’t derail its plans to go 100 per cent renewable by 2050. And thanks to similar pledges from nearly 50 of the world’s most disadvantaged nations this fall, countries like Morocco, Vietnam and Kenya are also ramping up investments in biomass, wind and solar. Okay, so Canada didn’t quite join in with a national vow to go 100, but the feds did commit to running all government buildings on nothing but green power within the next eight years. The race is on. 

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COCONUT EVERYTHING AND WASTE BY-PRODUCT THE NEW FOOD TRENDS

Whole Foods released its list of top 10 food trends hitting grocery store shelves in 2017, and beyond the rise of all foods purple and coconut-flavoured everything (undoubtedly contributing to the growing global coconut shortage), the health food giant is also forecasting an explosion in “products made from by-products.” Not very sexy sounding, but the good news is trend-chasers will be cutting back on food waste. ReGrained is making granola bars from grains leftover from beer making. Condiment maker Sir Kensington’s has developed Fabanaise, a vegan mayo made from trendy aquafaba – that’s the viscous byproduct of cooking chickpeas. And Wtrmln Wtr is a hot new bevvy made from blemished watermelons otherwise destined to be discarded. The byproduct trend is spilling over into natural cleaners, too. Eco Olea dish liquid is partly made with black olive waste water. Not everyone’s going to dig that Eco Olea is made in the Golan Heights’s occupied territory, but you get the idea. 

 ecoholic@nowtoronto.com | @ecoholicnation

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