Fat Cat Canada’s Giant Litter Box

Fat Cat illustration by Franke James

Fat Cat, population and fresh water illustration by Franke James

waterfall illustration by Franke James

tailing pond photo illustration by Franke James. Photo Copyright © 2005 The Pembina Institute Photo: Dan Woynillowicz, The Pembina Institute OilSandsWatch.org

dead duck illustration by Franke James

tailing pond and methane illustration by Franke James

cow illustration by Franke James

tar sands photo by © Jiri Rezac / Greenpeace. Map copyright Google. Wikipedia map by Norman Einstein. Composite illustration by Franke James

Canada is number one exporter illustration by Franke James

Biggest energy project illustration by Franke James

cartoon illustration of Prime Minter Harper illustration by Franke James

tar sands photo by © Greenpeace/EM. Illustration by Franke James

tar sands photo by © Jiri Rezac / Greenpeace. Illustration and photo of sewer grate by Franke James, Environment Canada statistic from Kelly Cryderman Vancouver Sun Dec 6, 2009

cartoon illustration of toaster by Franke James

ozone layer polar bear illustration by Franke James

backpack flag love illustration by Franke James

fossil illustration by Franke James

dirty old man illustration by Franke James

fat cat villain illustration by Franke James

Harper demonized illustration by Franke James

Shared Values: Canadians & Sustainability national study by Hoggan & Associates, 2006-2009. Quote from Globe letters. embarrassed illustration by Franke James

Heavy lifting illustration

grocery bags illustration by Franke James, TTC bus photo by istock/kozmoat98

shoes and boots CO2 illustration by Franke James

twitter screen grabs and fact cat illustration by Franke James

twitter and cat tail illustration by Franke James

Flamingo Florida north illustration by Franke James

health canada report cover

health canada report cover

shoe and boot smog illustration by Franke James

Greenpeace Canada photo of Ottawa action Dec 7 2009

call PMO illustration by Franke James

call PMO illustration by Franke James

Prime Minister Stephen Harper
PMO’s Ottawa Office: (+1) (613) 992-4211
Toll-free: 1 (866) 599-4999
Calgary office: (+1) (403) 253-7990
Twitter: @PMharper
e-mail: pm@pm.gc.ca
fax: 613-941-6900

send canada a message illustration by Franke James

litter box illustration by Franke James

What Canadians Can Do

If you’re a Canadian reading this, here’s the action plan from CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK CANADA:

  1. Take action to make sure your federal elected official:
    a) Signs the Kyoto Plus Pledge For Elected Officials
    b) Supports and implements the Climate Change Accountability Act

    The Climate Change Accountability Act is currently moving through Parliament. The bill asks Canada to commit to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 and define Canada’s approach to climate change moving into the climate treaty negotiations in Copenhagen.

    Contact Your Federal MP:
    You can find your Member of Parliament using your postal code

  2. Educate your friends, colleagues and co-workers about the need to take action on climate change NOW!
  3. Attend events in your area hosted by CAN member groups. Also check out The World Wants a Real Deal
  4. Contact CAN members to find out more ways to get involved
  5. Sign the petition at kyotoplus.ca

Visual Essay Credits:

“Fat Cat Canada’s Giant Litter Box” © 2009 Franke James

Photographs, illustrations and writing by Franke James, MFA, except as noted below in order of appearance:

Tailing Ponds illustration features: photo © 2005 The Pembina Institute, Dan Woynillowicz OilSandsWatch.org

“Big as England” illustration features: Tar sands photo by © Jiri Rezac / Greenpeace
Grand Vision illustration uses: Tar sands photo by © EM / Greenpeace

“Sewer Sky” illustration features: Tar sands photo by © Jiri Rezac / Greenpeace

Scaling Parliament Buildings in Ottawa: December 7, 2009 ©Greenpeace Canada

Background Research & Resources:

My thanks to the following people and organizations who helped with research reports and photographs for this essay: Andrew Nikiforuk, Gavin Dew at desmogblog, Greenpeace Canada and Pembina Institute.

Shared Values: Canadians & Sustainability national study by Hoggan & Associates, 2006-2009

Building on a comprehensive national study that began five years ago, this new 2009 survey examines the views of 4,368 Canadians as well as 1,000 of the country’s “thought leaders”senior-level individuals in business, academia, government, non-government organizations, and media. The study explores their beliefs and attitudes about sustainability, global warming and a wide range of social and environmental issues.


Dirty Oil: How the tar sands are fueling the global climate crisis by Andrew Nikiforuk for Greenpeace, September 2009

Health Canada Report: Harper Government Suppresses Climate Report Now Available Here

Does the Alberta Tar Sands Industry Pollute? The Scientific Evidence
Kevin P. Timoney, and Peter Lee
Cattle statistic: Page 10: “At the Mildred Lake Settling Basin (MLSB), 60-80% of the gas flux across the pond’s surface is due to methane; the pond produces the equivalent methane of 0.5 million cattle/day [11].”

Climate Leadership, Economic Prosperity: Final Report on an Economic Study of Greenhouse Gas Targets and Policies for Canada; The Pembina Institute, October 2009

Taking the Wheel PDF The Pembina Institute [www.oilsandswatch.org]

Survey of Albertans on Oil Sands PDF The Pembina Institute [http://www.oilsandswatch.org]

Carbon 2008 PDF Corporate Knights [www.corporateknights.ca]

[Originally published on Franke James Green Conscience site]

Just look where “Dinner with a Stranger” has led…

illustration by Franke James

illustration by Franke James

The unlikely results of “Dinner with a Stranger”

I never expected that by saying “yes” to one dinner with a stranger last Christmas, that I’d still be talking about it one year later. The dinner took place last January and benefited the Yonge Street Mission. I created a visual essay about it called “Dinner with a Stranger.” (See the original essay here.)

When the essay first launched, it quickly got picked up by Digg, Reddit, Kottke, BlogTO, etc. It was so popular, our server crashed. Some resourceful people mirrored it on other sites while we frantically worked to move to a server with cloud computing (the advantage being expandable bandwidth).

What was the response?

I heard from people who had similar experiences,

I love it! What a great story – I’m so happy you said yes, and shared the story here. I hope that the idea catches on. Five or six years ago my husband and I got a somewhat similar, completely random online request. Only, it wasn’t asking us for dinner – it was from an 18yr old kid across the country who had just graduated high school….”

I heard from people who were admiring but fearful,

Wonderfully wacky and fun but I’m happy to see that you did some research before agreeing to the request. You two are an inspiration and the Yonge Street Mission is a very worthwhile charity.”

I heard from people who were touched,

Thank you so much for the heart warming story. It shows such trust, care and thoughtfulness I hope that others take up the cause. Brought a tear and a smile to my face.”

I heard from people who were inspired,

My mind is swirling on how can I use this for our non-profit youth group. Better yet to help small business help jump start the economy…WOW what a concept….help Mother Earth and the people that live on it…thanks Franke.”

I heard from people who were having lunches instead of dinners,

Wonderful posting! Communities In Schools (a national, private nonprofit dropout-prevention initiative) hosts an annual “Lunch with a Leader” where people bid for lunch with various celebrities with the proceeds going to help CIS. Thanks for the posting!”

I heard from people who wanted to make it happen in their town,

What a fabulous idea and wonderful way to pay it forward. I’m actually thinking about doing something similarly here in Massachusetts. Thank you Franke for posting your experience in what can be said a very colorful way. And Thank you to Mark the “stranger” for taking the first step.”

And then I heard from…

CBC screenshot

folks at the CBC who wanted to spread the story on TV and radio….

CBC television’s The National and CBC radio’s The Spark both contacted me separately and wanted to share the story of “Dinner with a Stranger” with their audience. Wow! The same story told in two different mediums.

And the magic of the story worked for TV and radio audiences too…

“Just saw your spot on the CBC- awesome!! And I really liked that idea of dinner for charity, what a refreshing change from mainstream consumerism!” Facebook comment

What a great idea with an even better cause! Your creative flow is inspiring and heart warming not to mention hilarious! Just caught it on CBC News and found myself totally absorbed by the report. I guess I’ll keep this in mind for my next big surprise to my partner. Thank you! Happy Festive Season!”

How lovely! Both the Dinner with a Stranger and your totally entertaining website… How did I know about this? Doing my year-end taxes while listening to the CBC and was so intrigued by the story I just had to search you out. What a pleasure. Happy holidays!”

Check out the stories for yourself… Each creative team brought new creativity and added a new dimension to the experience of “Dinner with a Stranger”.

Watch “Stranger for Christmas” by CBC video-journalist, Peter Wall.

CBC screenshot

Listen to “Dinner with a Stranger” with host, Nora Young:

CBC Spark screenshot

The Spark is hosted by Nora Young with creative, research and technical assistance by Elizabeth Bowie and Dan Misener. [DWAS interview runs from 17:11 to 24:54]

Is this the end of the “Dinner with a Stranger” story?

Nope. It’s just the beginning. In the New Year, I’ll tell you the story of my Dinner with a Stranger in Sweden. It took place while I was attending the UN climate change talks in Copenhagen in December 2009.

photo of dinner in sweden by Franke James

I also look forward to hearing whether you would say “yes” to dinner with a stranger.

My best wishes to you for a wonderful holiday, and happy, healthy and green 2010.

In honor of the first Dinner with a Stranger I’ve made a donation to the Yonge Street Mission for their Christmas dinners for the homeless.

close-up photo of Franke's Christmas tree


Just look where “Dinner with a Stranger” has led… © 2009 Franke James

Illustrations, photos and writing by Franke James, MFA except as noted:

Screen shots from CBC National News and CBC Radio The Spark.

[originally posted on Franke James site]