Thursday, 30 June 2016

British Columbia Sinks Into Morass of Aquifer Contamination

VANCOUVER
SUN

Three professional hydrologists have told the provincial government that it should immediately impose a full ban on spreading liquid manure above a contaminated aquifer that provides drinking water to several hundred householders in the Okanagan Valley. Story here.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Wild Critters of the Grasslands (A picture story)



The beginning of the "70-Mile Butte" trail.

by Larry Powell

Row & I are visiting a special place right now. It's Grasslands National Park in SW Saskatchewan. I can swear the animals, birds and even plants are saying "thank you" for not huntinig or spraying us, or plowing us down! Enjoy the photos. 
Yours in Nature.
Larry

Repeat Oil Spills Turning Peruvian Amazon Into 'Sacrifice Zone' For Big Oil

CommonDreams

'The situation is criminal.’ Story here.

California's Wildfires Just Tripled in Size

MotherJones

2016 is shaping up to be another epic fire season. Story here.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Why Europe May Ban Glyphosate.

AgroNews

It's hard to find an herbicide like glyphosate . It’s cheap, highly effective, and is generally regarded as one of the safest and most environmentally benign herbicides ever discovered. But a report last year that glyphosate could cause cancer has thrown its future into jeopardy. Now the European Union faces a 30 June deadline to reapprove its use, or glyphosate will not be allowed for sale. Here's a quick explanation of the issues. Story here.

Environmental Review Ordered For Alta. Flood Control Project

THE WESTERN
PRODUCER
The federal government has ordered an environmental review of a controversial flood control project west of Calgary. Story here.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Wildfire Derails Chemawawin Students' Ceremony in Manitoba

CBC News
‘I’ve been waiting for this for 12 years,’ says 18-year-old Rikki Houle. 'This is how we're going to remember our grad.' Story here.
RELATED: Easterville, Chemawawin Cree Nation in Manitoba Evacuated Due to Forest Fire

Study Links 6.5 Million Deaths Each Year to Air Pollution

The New York Times

A sobering report by the International Energy Agency says air pollution has become a major public health crisis leading to around 6.5 million deaths each year, with “many of its root causes and cures” found in the energy industry. Story here.

Dig Deeper - Crop Performance in Farming Systems Trial

RODALE
INSTITUTE

In its 35th year of existence, the Farming Systems Trial (FST) at Rodale Institute continues to demonstrate, through scientific research data, that organic farming is superior to conventional systems with regard to building, maintaining and replenishing the health of the soil. This is the key to regenerative agriculture as it provides the foundation for its present and future growth. Story here.

As Southwest US Burns, Climate Scientists Warn: You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet

CommonDreams

"If we continue with business-as-usual burning of fossil fuels, by mid-century what we think of as extreme summer heat today will become a typical summer day." Story here.

MANITOBA RECOMMENDS VOLUNTARY EVACUATION FOR AREAS OF THE WHITESHELL FOLLOWING HEAVY RAINS

GOV'T. OF MANITOBA
Manitoba Sustainable Development advises a voluntary evacuation is underway in some areas of the Whiteshell following heavy rains as resulting high water has caused deteriorating road conditions.
A number of roads will wash out leaving cottage owners stranded.  Officials are contacting cottage owners in the following areas and recommending they evacuate:
• Block 5, Caddy Lake;
• cottage owners east of Block 9 on PR 312; and 
• no vehicle access south of the ambulance garage on South Shore Road in Falcon Lake.
The road to Florence and Nora Lakes is also washed out, and the Mantario Trail is closed until further notice.
Residents and cottage owners only can call 1-204-349-2201 for information between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. today and tomorrow. 

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Oil Trains Will Start Rolling Again in Oregon Just Weeks After Major Derailment

ClimateProgress
Less than three weeks after a fiery oil train derailment in Oregon spilled 42,000 gallons of crude into the Columbia River and forced the evacuation of hundreds,  the company behind the derailment announced that it would resume sending oil trains through the area. Story here.

Friday, 24 June 2016

The Majority Of West Virginia Is Under A State Of Emergency After Floods Devastate The State

InsideClimateNews

Forty-four of West Virginia’s 55 counties are under a state of emergency as severe weather and devastating floods have killed at least 14 residents and left hundreds of thousands without power. A spokesperson for West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin told ABC News that the floods, in some areas, had the potential to be “the worst in 100 years.” Story here.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Canada's Fishery in Severe Decline, Warns Ocean Watch Group

NATIONAL
OBSERVER

An Atlantic roughie. Photo credit NOAA
A leading conservation group, OCEANA, has sounded an alarm over the state of Canada’s fishery in a new report that reveals that less than 25 per cent of the country’s fish stocks are considered healthy and the status of almost half is unknown. Story here.

Easterville, Chemawawin Cree Nation in Manitoba Evacuated Due to Forest Fire

CBC News
First wave of evacuees expected to arrive in Winnipeg tonight. Story here.
RELATED:  Climate Change and Life on Earth. When Will the Treadmill Stop?

Climate Change and Life on Earth. When Will the Treadmill Stop?

Below is a letter I just submitted to several newspapers, mostly in Manitoba.
Larry
=========
Dear Editor,
An old man is rescued from epic floodwaters - Calgary, Canada. 2013. Photo credit-RAF-YYC 
A lot has happened to Mother Earth since I wrote my last letter about our changing climate. 

A state of emergency was declared in Dawson Creek, B.C. last week after heavy rain turned the creek, which runs through the middle of town, into a raging torrent. It cut the community in two. They got as much rain in a day (90mm) as they normally get in a month. People living there say they’ve never seen anything like it. One called it “the worst in living memory.” Homes were flooded, streets and vehicles swept away. Many residents were stranded and had to be rescued. Premier Clark warned Canadians to expect more of the same, as global warming (caused by the burning of fossil fuel) spawns more extreme weather events like this. She pledged millions of dollars to help “flood-proof” her province.

Even as Dawson Creek struggled to get back on her feet, a heat wave described as “rare, dangerous and deadly” descended upon California, Arizona and Nevada. Temperatures in the high 40s C (113 F) are being recorded there. (Pardon me, but isn’t that “fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk” kind of heat?) As I write this, nine million people in the region are under “heat alerts.” Terrible wildfires, fuelled by the heat, rage out of control along the central coast. Six people have died so far, as the infernos continue. 

As if that weren’t bad enough, almost 30 million California trees which haven’t already been consumed by fire, are believed to be dying. Why? Because the drought is so severe and prolonged (4 yrs.), it’s rendering them vulnerable to bugs such as the pine bark beetle. Remember them? Aided and abetted by warmer winters brought on by climate change, they’ve also been eating their way through vast pine forests in B.C. and eastward for years. Trees that die in this way are providing ever-drier fodder for ever-more-intense wildfires, as we speak. 

All of this, of course, comes on the heels of wildfires which scarred Alberta communities in May and drove 90 thousand unfortunate citizens from their homes and businesses.

So are ominous events like these happening just “here and there,” in North America? Hardly! The table is already set for lots more of the same, already happening both here and abroad! Drought and wildfires have been an even worse scourge in Russia for years, burning over vastly larger areas than in Canada. Because of this, thirty people perished in the forests of Siberia just last year. Images on Russian TV are eerily similar to those from Alberta last month. Even Sicily is suffering a searing heat wave. There, arsonists with the Mob are preying on the tinder-box conditions, lighting terrible fires and causing misery for many.  

To get a broader understanding of just how this can be happening, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (The U.S. weather service) reports that, in 2015, Earth’s surface temperature was the hottest it has ever been since official records began in 1880; And by the biggest margin ever recorded, one year over another!

And, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Centre, in February, sea ice in the Arctic shrunk to its lowest extent since satellite records began more than 30 years ago. In Antarctica, it was the 9th lowest. 

So, are our politicians rising to the challenge of all of this? Some, such as Premier Clark, seem quite aware. For others, like Manitoba’s new Premier, Brian Pallister, not so much.  

His government is now hinting it might halt a major power corridor, already being built on the west side of Lake Winnipeg, and re-route it down the east side. This would clearly place plans for a huge World Heritage Site on that side, years in the making, in jeopardy. That’s because a huge swath of Boreal forest would need to be cleared for the right-of-way, right within the boundaries of the site! Until Pallister stepped in, the project seemed headed for final approval later this summer!

One thing seems clear. Neither Pallister, nor his staff, spend a lot of time reading scholarly journals such as “Nature.” Because a recent article there reminds us that forests help provide us with clean water, reduce flood damage and conserve biodiversity and wildlife habitat. “Forests are also a large carbon sink,” reads the article, “and play an increasing role in mitigating global warming.”

Make no mistake, we humans (and all other creatures we share this planet with) are now caught up on a deadly treadmill which may become irreversible if we (and folks like Pallister) don’t help find the “off-switch” soon. 

Larry Powell lives in Neepawa where he publishes www.PlanetInPeril.ca

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Science Will Dictate Design of Winnipeg Sewage Plant

CBC News
The Pallister government has opened the door a crack for Winnipeg to re-examine upgrades to the North End sewage-treatment plant, the most expensive capital project on the city's books. Story here.

May 2016 Arctic Sea Ice Plunges Toward Record Low

climatescience.com
Data from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) shows that average Arctic sea ice extent during May 2016 set a new record low for the month of May over the period of satellite observations which goes back to 1979. Story here.

Beneath the Caribbean Sea, a Wastewater Problem Lurks Unnoticed

WORLD
RESOURCES
INSTITUTE

The Caribbean has long been hailed as a vacationer’s paradise, with its coral reefs, bioluminescent bays, white sand beaches and rainforests. Yet there’s a problem lurking beneath the sparkling sea—untreated wastewater. Story here.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Salmon Stocks Likely to Diminish in B.C. This Year: DFO

NATIONAL
OBSERVER
Chinook salmon. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
As Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) announced new federal action to bring back struggling Atlantic salmon on Canada's East Coast, a panel of DFO scientists on Canada's West Coast said the outlook for Pacific salmon has declined from previous years. Story here.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

37 Million Bees Instantly Dropped Dead After Farms Started Spraying "Neonics" on Crops

Nation of Change                                                          
Honeybee on milkthistle plant. Photo credit: Fir0002
Dave Schuit, a honey-producer in Elmwood, Canada,  said that his farm lost 37 million bees almost immediately after a nearby farm began planting GMO corn and spraying neonics on their crops. Story here.




There’s Nothing Average About This Year’s Gulf of Mexico ‘Dead Zone’

EcoWatch
Jellyfish - said to be one of the few creatures able to survive & thrive in dead zones. Photo credit -  Dan90266
The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released its annual forecast for the size of the Gulf of Mexico “dead zone”—an area of coastal water where low oxygen is lethal to marine life. They say we should expect an “average year.” That doesn’t sound so bad, but as we wrote last year, the dead zone average is approximately 6,000 square miles or the size of the state of Connecticut. Average is not normal. Story here.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

U.S. Coal Giant Owed Money to Canadian Climate Change Deniers

NATIONAL OBSERVER

A Canadian climate change denial group has popped up in a U.S. coal giant's bankruptcy proceedings that have lifted the curtain on the funding of a sophisticated continent-wide marketing campaign designed to fool the public about how human activity is contributing to global warming. Story here.

Large Herds in Remote Areas Raise Predation Risk

THEWESTERN
PRODUCER

Cattle sector looks at strategies to reduce animal losses, including guardian animals. Story here.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Winter Wheat Close to Fusarium Spray Window

Manitoba Co-Operator

In addition to crop staging farmers should assess how much risk their crop faces before applying a fungicide. Story here.

Liz Makes More Sense in the House of Commons (No One Applauds)

Petition to Create Metis Hunting Zones

CJ Radio
PinP photo.
The Rural Municipality of Pipestone, Manitoba has passed a resolution and created a petition to have the Provincial Government create designated hunting zones for Metis status hunters in the province. Story here.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Energy East - Taking Manitoba in the Wrong Direction

CCPA

TransCanada Pipeline’s Energy East pipeline (EE), if approved, will run from Hardisty Alberta to St. John, New Brunswick and will carry bitumen from Alberta’s Tar Sands to refineries in Quebec and New Brunswick. Story here.

Exposed: Pesticide Industry Deployed Aggressive Lobby Effort to Quash Bee Protections

CommonDreams

Bayer, Monsanto, and Syngenta are effectively "shaping new pollinator 'protection' plans nationwide that do little to protect bees, but a lot to protect industry profits." Story here.

Cartoon
















RELATED: Post directly below.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Bipole III Route Could Change, Manitoba Tells UNESCO World Heritage Group

CBC News
Future transmission lines could influence World Heritage designation for boreal forest. Story here.
=====
Please watch video below to see the kind of project Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister seems prepared to scuttle. Heartless, ruthless politics I'd say! PinP
=====



Monday, 13 June 2016

Luck Rides The Rails: Another Near Miss with an "Insane" Bakken Oil Bomb Train

DESMOG

Luck was in abundance on Friday in Mosier, Oregon where the latest Bakken oil train derailed and erupted into flames near a 50-home residential area and a school. STORY HERE.

#WorldMeatFreeDay: A Great Day to Consider How Daily Food Choices Impact People and Planet

EcoWatch
It’s back! Today was #WorldMeatFreeDay, a great time to think about how the everyday choices we make about the food we eat can impact our health and the health of the planet. Story here.

Morneau Eyes Federal Tax on Carbon

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Finance Canada is quietly pushing the idea of a federal carbon tax as the Liberal government looks to set a minimum national price and complement provincial carbon pricing plans, sources say. Story here.

Warming Ocean Water Undercuts Antarctic Ice Shelves

National Snow & Ice Data Centre

“Upside-down rivers” of warm ocean water threaten the stability of floating ice shelves in Antarctica, according to a new study led by researchers at the National Snow and Ice Data Center published today in Nature Geoscience. The study highlights how parts of Antarctica’s ice sheet may be weakening due to contact with warm ocean water. Story here.

87,000 NASA Images Show a Greening Arctic

EcoWatch
Golfing in Greenland. Photo by Graphicos
The northern edge of North America is getting steadily greener. In the most detailed study so far of plant growth across Alaska and Canada, scientists say that about a third of the land cover now looks less like tundra, and more like a warmer ecosystem. Story here.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Whistleblower Says EPA Officials Covered Up Toxic Fracking Methane Emissions for Years

Nation of Change
Why has the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) failed to take adequate action against disastrous, climate-warming methane emissions from the fracking industry? An environmental watchdog alleges that the answer may be…Story here.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Paris Floods Made Almost Twice as Likely by Climate Change, Say Scientists

theguardian

Manmade global warming greatly increased the risk of extreme rain affecting the French capital, analysis shows. Story here.

Shell’s Retreat From Canadian Arctic Creates Space for Arctic Protection

Greenpeace Canada
Earlier this week on World Oceans Day we were greeted with some wonderful and exciting news: Shell announced it was giving up all its offshore exploration permits in the Canadian Arctic! Story here.
RELATED: "Shell Relinquishes Canadian Arctic Drilling Rights"

Atrazine and Glyphosate More Harmful Than Scientists Once Thought

EcoWatch

Monsanto marketed its potent weed killer glyphosate—the active ingredient in Roundup—and the corn and soybeans genetically engineered to withstand it, by claiming it would replace other, more toxic weed killers such as atrazine. But, it didn’t happen. Story here.

"Mother is ill." Earthwatch - Video.

Friday, 10 June 2016

I Get My First Response to My Proposal to Take Climate Action in Fort McMurray


Alberta's Premier, Rachel Notley, has responded to my proposal to replace all buildings destroyed in the Fort McMurray wildfire with the most energy-efficient ones possible (see letter, below). While her answer to my specific suggestion seems to be a polite "no," she outlines other steps her province is taking to achieve a carbon-free future.

Larry 


For the background to this story, click here.

Norway Becomes the First Country to Ban Deforestation

Nation of Change
A clearcut in BC. Wikimedia Commons.
The Norwegian Parliament has pledged to be deforestation-free. They are the first country in history to ban deforestation. Story here.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Nasa to Map Coral Reefs From the Air to Show Impact of Climate Change

theguardian

Scientists hope large-scale maps will offer new insight into effects of warming and pollution as previous studies have almost always been done up close in the water. Story here.

Shell Relinquishes Canadian Arctic Drilling Rights

NATIONAL
OBSERVER
One of the planet’s largest oil companies has just walked away from a large swath of oil and gas reserves in the Canadian Arctic. But it says it hasn't given up altogether on the prospects of drilling for the fossil fuels in the pristine waters of the North. Story here.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Increased Extreme Weather Events Predicted Due to Effect of Climate Change on the Arctic

Greenpeace

MADRID - The effects of climate change on the Arctic — including melting ice and sea level rise — may possibly alter weather patterns in the northern hemisphere. These effects could include hotter, drier summers in some areas, wetter summers in other areas, and cold, stormy winters in others, according to studies compiled by the Greenpeace Research Laboratories in the report, “What happens in the Arctic doesn't stay in the Arctic” which is published today. Story here.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Norway to 'Completely' Ban Gasoline-Powered Cars By 2025'

The Independent

Norway will ban the sale of all fossil fuel-based cars in the next decade, continuing its trend towards becoming one of the most ecologically progressive countries on the planet, according to reports. Story here.

Europe Stands Up to Monsanto - Refuses to Relicense Roundup!

AVAAZ
A "crop-duster" at work in Canada, where no such ban exists. PinP photo.
Europe just took an extraordinary vote, refusing to grant Monsanto a license for its main product and cornerstone of its empire - the cancer-linked weed killer glyphosate. Story here.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Here's What The Science Really Says About Fort McMurray

NATIONAL OBSERVER
Canada’s well-above-average wildfire activity of the past few years can be linked to manmade climate change.  Story here.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Malawi’s Drought Leaves Millions High and Dry

INTER PRESS SERVICE

Almost half of the country’s population is facing hunger this year due to no or low harvests, resulting from the effects of El Nino which hit most parts of the southern and northern regions late last year. Story here.