Mystery vapour trails over Neepawa, MB. P in P photo
A draft of the UN panel's synthesis report on the global scientific community's assessment of human-caused global warming offers the starkest and most strongly-worded warning yet of the dangers ahead. Story here.
Effective immediately, moose hunting is closed to all hunters in the area north of Porcupine Mountain in the Red Deer Lake area of Game Hunting Area (GHA) 12. A ban continues to be in place for all licensed hunting in this area, which was put in place last year. Moose hunting is now also closed to licensed hunters in GHA 19A, east of Duck Mountain.
Drought conditions may have leveled off across California, but nearly 100% of the state remains in the third-harshest category for dryness, according to the latest measurements. Story here.
Puddles of water are all that remain in some areas of the San Gabriel River's West Fork in the Angeles National Forest, revealing the effects of the prolonged drought. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
A small town on Taro Island — the capital of Choiseul Province in the Solomon Islands — is planning to relocate its entire population in response to climate change, Reuters reports. It’s the first time that a provincial capital in the Pacific Islands will have done so. More here.
NAIN, N.L. - An Inuit group in Labrador says there's no time to waste in developing a long-term management plan for the George River caribou herd as its population dwindles.
Sarah Leo, president of the Nunatsiavut (noon-AT'-see-ah-voot) government, describes the situation as a crisis.
The Newfoundland and Labrador government said last week that the herd's population has dropped by more than 13,000 over the last two years despite monitoring, research and a five-year moratorium on all hunting.
The herd is now estimated at about 14,200, down from 27,600 in 2012.
The latest estimate comes from a photo census by biologists in Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec in July.
Back in May, I reported (on P in P, the Roblin Review and Neepawa Press), that wild berries and medicinal plants in central Manitoba had been found by First Nations researchers to not only be declining in abundance, but to be in very sickly condition, as well. While lab tests proved inconclusive, the researchers remain convinced through observation and experience that farm chemicals used on field crops on and near the reserves, are likely contributing factors.
I asked three Manitoba cabinet ministers to comment. (While aboriginal people come under federal jurisdiction, conventional farmers who operate in the vicinity of reserves, do not.)
Today,more than three months later,not one of these politicians has seen fit to get back to me!
(It appeared both on this blog on July 30th and subsequently in the Virden Empire Advance weekly. A number of other publications declined to publish.)
I reported on new research showing that insecticides, widely used on crops in this province and elsewhere, were associated with declines in populations of birds which eat insects. The chemicals, members of the "neonicotinoid" family, are the same ones which have, for some time, also been linked to large and significant declines in populations of pollinators, especially honeybees.
Purple Martins. Among the "insectivorious"
birds on the decline. Larry Powell - PinP photo.
The vast majority of conventional farmers, many of whom are believed to belong to KAP, sow seeds treated with "neonics," described as the most widely-used insecticide in the world.
My e-mail asked whether KAP, which describes itself as "Manitoba's general farm policy organization," feels any sense of responsibility for what seem to be escalating problems with the toxicity of the products in question.
I addressed my request to no less than six officials of the farm organization.
Not one has responded!
I made the same request of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), which claims to be "a voice for 200,000 farm families at the national level."
Like KAP, CFA did not respond, either!
What are Canadians to make of this; That the producers they represent do not care about the environment?
I find this hard to believe. I've known many farmers over the years who claim to take their role as "stewards of the land" very seriously, indeed.
So, are these organizations not doing justice to their members?
Until they come clean and begin publicly confronting pressing issues such as this, head-on, I guess we'll all just have to keep wondering...
CNS Canada – The number of Prairie canola acres makes the region a great place for honeybees to thrive — but given increasing winterkill rates, canola growers must make sure they take the precautions needed to maintain that relationship. Full story here.
In the latest Times Magazine, Robert Draper profiled youngish libertarians — roughly speaking, people who combine free-market economics with permissive social views — and asked whether we might be heading for a “libertarian moment.” Well, probably not. Polling suggests that young Americans tend, if anything, to be more supportive of the case for a bigger government than their elders. But I’d like to ask a different question: Is libertarian economics at all realistic?
The answer is no. And the reason can be summed up in one word: phosphorus.
David Suzuki Foundation British Columbians watched news coverage of the Mount Polley Mine disaster with shock and concern after a collapsed dam released almost 15 million cubic metres of toxic effluent into the salmon-rich Quesnel River systems. In addition to concerns for area residents' immediate health and safety, dead fish are appearing and there are fears the spill could cause harm right up to the Fraser River. Details here.
If the pharmaceutical giant succeeds, it will have effectively found a mechanism to override the Supreme Court of Canada and hold Canadian taxpayers liable for hundreds of millions in damages in the process. The cost to the health-care system could be enormous as the two Eli Lilly patents may be the proverbial tip of the iceberg and claims from other pharmaceutical companies could soon follow. Details here.