Rob Shirkey – An Eco-Visionary Who’s Driving Social Change

The simple act of pumping gas has become a habitual, automatic demand-side behaviour. It’s been completely normalized for several generations and is now just a part of the everyday fabric of living. It’s the perfect downstream environment to perpetuate the status quo. Climate change labels on gas pumps make us feel more connected to the problem to create broader dissatisfaction with the status quo and drive change upstream. Communicating hidden costs to end users is a critical step in creating systems change. The idea is a low-cost, globally-scalable intervention to create social environments that favour reform. Business and governments will deliver solutions to respond to this shift in demand.

Is this happening anywhere?

In January 2015, West Vancouver Council unanimously passed a resolution “that all vendors of retail petroleum products in Canada be legislated to provide warning labels on all pump handles.” This resolution has since been supported by numerous Councils across Canada. In September 2015, Mayors and Councillors from across British Columbia voted at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities Convention to support and implement where possible climate change labels on gas pumps. The idea is also being pursued by several cities in the United States. On November 16, 2015, North Vancouver Council made global history by unanimously passing a by-law to implement the idea in their own community. It was covered by media across North America and shared via social media around the world. Since then, several other Councils on Canada’s west coast have also voted to implement the idea.

Who came up with the idea?

Rob Shirkey is a Toronto-based lawyer and creator of the campaign to get climate change information labels on gas pumps. He has given lectures on the topic across North America, been featured in media all over the world, and has become a recognized global authority on the subject. His proposal has been endorsed by over a hundred academics and leaders in various disciplines from universities across North America. He wants to build on these recent examples of Canadian leadership by sharing them with the world and is developing a global database of politicians to spread the word. You can sign up to help at

Watch Rob’s TEDx on climate change warning labels on gas pumps:

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