Sunday, May 31, 2009

American Honey Bee Numbers Still Dwindling

Courtesy Science News

Honey Bee Colony Losses In U.S. Almost 30 Percent From All Causes From September 2008 To April 2009
Click on headline for more.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Home Depot 's Green Image is Laid Bare. It's a Sham!

By Gary Hughes, AlterNet. Posted May 27, 2009.
The endangered wilderness. Courtesy of "International Rivers."
Home Depot is associated with an environmentally destructive project in South America.
Just click on headline to read full story.

Climate Change Already Causes 300,000 Deaths Yearly

Courtesy of the Huffington Post.

MEERA SELVA | May 29, 2009| AP

Monday, May 25, 2009

Climate change summit hijacked by biggest polluters, critics claim

* Terry Macalister
*, Sunday 24 May 2009 20.25 BST

A vital meeting in Copenhagen this weekend that will help shape the agenda for the most important climate change talks since the Kyoto protocol has been hijacked by some of the biggest polluters in the world, critics claimed today. Read more....

Sunday, May 24, 2009

H1N1 Virus: The First Legal Action Targets a Pig Farm

Time Magazine -

By Bryan Walsh Friday, May. 15, 2009

In an initial step toward what could be the first wrongful-death suit of its kind, Texas resident Steven Trunnell has filed a petition against Smithfield Foods, the world's largest pork producer, based in Virginia, and the owner of a massive pig farm in Perote, Mexico, near the village of La Gloria, where the earliest cases of the new H1N1 flu were detected. Trunnell filed the petition in his home state on behalf of his late wife, Judy Dominguez Trunnell, the 33-year-old special-education teacher who on May 4 became the first U.S. resident to die of H1N1 flu.
Read more here....
Also read related article here...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Corporate Agriculture to Blame for Hundreds of Thousands of Farmer Suicides in India

By Tara Lohan, AlterNet. Posted May 20, 2009.

Vandana Shiva says industrial agriculture has left Indian farmers indebted and destitute, and explains how to stem the tide of suicides.

Hi Larry:

Sad, sad; on the other hand, I strongly believe that Corporates are the ultimate source of the Pollution that is bestowed upon Planet Earth and Our Environment. It has tennacles that reach out to every source of money, with our Governments blessings !!

Joe Leschyshn

Global Auto Industry Slams on Brakes - Fuel Economy Takes Centre Stage

Vital Signs Media Alert
The global financial downturn has driven an auto-industry crisis that saw production and sales of passenger cars and light vehicles decline by 4 and 5 percent respectively in 2008.
Photo:Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP
Projections suggest that both production and sales will drop even more dramatically in 2009, with 10 million fewer vehicles rolling off assembly lines than in 2007.

A new snapshot of vehicle production trends from Worldwatch Institute includes fuel economy data as well as sales data for the largest producer countries, revealing that:

· New cars made in Japan and Europe go farthest on a gallon of gas, achieving more than 40 miles per gallon on average, while Japan is planning to reach 47 mpg by 2015.

· As of 2008, only 1.5 percent of light-duty vehicles sold in the United States had a reasonably high fuel efficiency at 35 mpg, but the Obama administration has announced that it will push standards to 39 mpg for cars by 2016 and 35.5 mpg for cars and light trucks combined.

· In 2008, slightly more than half a million gasoline-electric hybrids were produced worldwide. The share of gasoline-electric hybrid, diesel hybrid, and electric vehicles production is projected to grow from 0.7 percent today to 3.7 percent by 2015.

· U.S. vehicle sales in 2009, at 13.2 million, were down 3 million from 2007—the biggest drop since 1974—and are projected to decline to 10–11 million in 2009. U.S. car companies suffered heavy financial losses after betting heavily on gas-guzzling vehicles, and the fate of Chrysler and GM remains unclear. In contrast, sales in China and India will likely continue to rise.

This in-depth look at the global auto industry includes production data from 1950 to the present as well as projections through 2009.

Read the Vital Signs analysis, “Global Auto Industry in Crisis” Note: You must register to view the full analysis.

Complete trends will be available with full end-note referencing, Excel spreadsheets, and presentation-ready charts as part of our new subscription service, Vital Signs Online, slated to launch this fall.

Julia Tier
Communications Associate
Worldwatch Institute
+1 202.452.1992 x594
1776 Massachusetts Ave, NW Suite 800
Washington DC 20036 USA
Editor's Note: Once again, Barak Obama has put Stephen Harper to shame. The best Harper could do was issue some sort of lame-brained statement via his Environment Minister that "Canada does not regulate its vehicles according to fuel efficiency, but carbon emissions!"
News Flash, Stephen! The better the fuel efficiency, the fewer the emissions!
If you are doing so well, why are carbon emissions in Canada doing nothing but go up?
My God! How embarrassing!
Rather than insisting that our car companies begin to make only energy-efficient vehicles if they want the billions of our "incentive money" he is doling out to them, Stephen has put the boots to the auto workers instead, insisting they make deep concessions in their wages.
A fat lot of good that will do for the health of our planet. In my mind, Stephen, what you have done is to simply lay bare your contempt, not only for Mother Earth but for our working people at the same time!

Nicely done, Prime Minister! - l.p.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Peruvian Army Moves Into Amazon After Tribes Blockade Rivers and Roads

Published on Monday, May 18, 2009 by The Guardian/UK

Ecology and culture at stake say environmentalists, as government plans to exploit rainforest for oil, gas and timber.
Read more here....

Eds. note - Another shameful chapter in the shameful war by criminal corporations, aided by their criminal accomplices in government, against ordinary people, guilty of nothing more than wanting a place to live! l.p.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Michael Pollan: "Don't Buy Any Food You've Ever Seen Advertised"

By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!. Posted May 15, 2009.

"The real food is not being advertised. And that's really all you need to know."
Click on title for complete story.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Roundup-Resistant Ragweed Suspected in Ontario Field

Staff - the Manitoba Co-Operator-5/7/2009

Researchers at Guelph's Ontario Agricultural College suspect they may have found Canada's first population of a glyphosate-resistant weed.
Read more here....

Please scroll down and also read "Superweed Explosion Rocks Monsanto Heartland."
(Drawing by Paul Hoppe)

Are California's Policy-Makers Making the Drought There Worse?

By Tara Lohan, AlterNet. Posted May 8, 2009.

Like much of the West, the state has serious water issues, but Mother Nature is only partly to blame. Read more here...

(Photo l. courtesy of the New Republic

Please also read, "Water Crisis Rocks L.A., Mexico City. Who's Next?

(AP Photo r. Eduardo Verdugo)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Farms Race: The Obama's White House Garden Has Lit an International Movement on Fire

By Ari LeVaux, AlterNet. Posted May 1, 2009.

The first garden has spurred a race to plant flags on other high-profile plots and lay claim to various other gardening firsts. Read more here.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Major Park Development Begins Before Public Consultation Do!

The Government of Manitoba has given the green light to Tim Hortons to develop a children's camp in a hitherto undisturbed part of Nopiming provincial park. The project, which has begun even before the public could be consulted, has raised the ire of environmental groups like the Manitoba branch of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee. To read more and sign a petition against the development, click here.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Update to "Big Cattle Operation Worries Local Resident"

A long-time resident of Roblin, Manitoba, CA, Ray Spencer, says the onus will apparently be on him if he wants to proceed with his concerns about a big cattle operation north of town, near Boggy Creek.
(Please read the response of the owners of the operations, the Beasleys to the story, below and the author's response to that, immediately after.)
In a story in the weekly newspaper, the Roblin Review in April, Spencer said those who fish in a small lake next to the ranch, were worried it might get contaminated by the waste from the nearby cattle.
A provincial inspector went to the ranch to investigate his complaint.
But Spencer says the Minister of Conservation, Stan Struthers, has now informed him, he'll have to prove the lake has been polluted by the cattle, before any action can be taken under provincial regulations.
Spencer says he is angry that cattle producers don't seem to have to abide by the same sort of strict waste disposal regulations as, for example, cottage-owners do.
He says he was sure there were rules that would govern such situations. And he is disappointed there apparently are not.
The owners of the operation, John and Kelsey Dawn Beasley, have so far declined to reveal the size of their total herd.
But, an informed source (a person who lives in the general area but wants to remain anonymous), believes the Beasleys may be grazing as many as 3,000 to 4,000 cattle over several sections of land.
Letter to the Editor - The Review - Tues. Apr.21-'09

Dear Editor,
We appreciate the concern expresssed by Larry Powell & Ray Spencer over the well being of Langan Lake. Our family resides within a half-mile of the lake, draws our water form the aquifer around and regularly consume fish from it.
We also fel our ranching business has been mispresented as society often gets misguidied by opinions and prejudices rather than facts.
Firstly, we we are not an intensive livestock operation. We are a large scale, low density cattle ranch. We are stewards of the land and have a great responsibility developing an understanding of rangeland ecosystems and management principles necessary to support them. Sustainable agriculture systems are based on ecological soil management practices which replenish and maintain soil fertility by providing optimum conditions for soil biological activity. We consider our entire land base when making management decisions as our entire land base is located within the Shel River watershed. We reduce off-farm iputs & the environmental hazards associated with chemical applications & the reliance on non-renewable resources while building the organic matter back up in our soils. Sustainable grain farming also follows these principles as valuable inputs cannot be lost into the waterways. It would be like flushing money down the toilet.
Our goal it to produce a safe, sustainable product of superior quality while enhancing our landscape for the next generation. Our cattle are not confined at any time, in any season. We have a year round grazing system that incorporates winter feeding on perennial pastures. Our winter feeding system is primarily bale grazing. We utilize the sytem to lower our costs of production, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and tractor hours, improve our soil health and improve our watershed by reducing erosion and improving our range condition.
Our grazing system is a detailed and thoughtful process that we constantly monitor, reassess & makke changes accordingly. By incorporating a deferred, rest-rotational system, we have to change the sequence of use of our fields from year to year so that a given field is never grazed the same two years in a row. This is also integrated to our winter management. We rotate our winter feeding sites so we are wintering on a different field every year to recapture our nutrient depletion when it walks off our place via pounds of beef or hauled off via hay or silage. Some limitations include limited access to water and shelter & we are constantly making improvements such as planting shelter belts, improving off site water systems & reducing direct access to waterways.
Please understand tha we too are only human & addressing these issues as quickly as possible as they are of great importance to us. For example with the assistance of Lake of the Prairies Conservation District and the National Farm Stewardship Program, we have developed 3 portable off-site water systems, built over 5 miles of exclusion fencing (& planning to do more) & planted more than 6,000 trees to establish adequate shelter for wintering.
We have completed the Environmental Farm Plan, have a registered manure management plan and have met or exceeded those standards in our management. We are also undergoing a long-term nutrient management project with Mantiba Agricultre & the Roblin Soil Conservation District under Covering New Ground. Soil testing our winter feed sites creates baseline data that proides a means to assess our nutrient levels & make management decisions accordingly. For instance, by trend analysis we are able to determine how our forages are utilizing the nutrients provided by our winter management practices.
By feed testing & keeping detailed records of our feeding practices allows us to determine what goes in the roa & what is put on the ground, what has left via runoff & volatilizationnnn & what has been utilized by th plants, the following growing season. We monitor our Organic Matter Levels with the goal of increasing OM within the soil profile, therefore reducing erosion & increasing the soil's ability to filter & retain nutrients. We monito soil texture & moisture changes, soil pH & conductivity, as well as the changes in ground cover, species composition & yield.
Furthermore, we appreciate the lovely piciture that appeared along with the article as one can see that less than half of the wintering site is covered with leftover feed residue. Our spring time plan for that field includes firstly broadcasting a mixture of legume & grass seeds to replenish the forages, as the wintering site has now provided us with an excellent seedbed todo so. The cows will work thsoe seeds into the soil via hoof action as they clen up the feed residue. Secondly, a prolonged rest period will be provided to allow the seedlings to establish & the existing forages to grow & utilize the nutrients provided.
If anyone would like to tour our operation or has any concerns please feel free to contact us. Hopefully a better appreciation has been created of the management of our rangeland ecosystems & we are more than happy to disseminate knowledge & techniques to individuals interested i the science & are of rangeland stewardship.
We also invite Larry Powell & Ray Spencer to meet with us & provide positive input & solutions to some of their concerns over our management practices.
John & Kelsey Beasley
An open letter to John and Kelsey Beasley.
I'm sorry that you seem to have confused my news story about your cattle operation; ("Spencer asks province to check out cattle operation" - Roblin Review - Apr 7 p.16) with a personal expression of my opinion. It was not. I acted as a reporter. I wrote the story. I reported on Mr. Spencer's concerns. Then I interviewed you, John. I got your response on the record and reported on that. Period. That is what reporters do. Pretty standard stuff. So the opinions expressed in the piece were not my own. They belonged solely to the people quoted in it, namely Mr. Spencer and you, John. Both were quoted at some length and both received very close to the same amount of space.
Whether I privately agree with Mr. Spencer, or you, John & Kelsey, is of absolutely no
consequence here. My job was to accurately record the events and opinions expressed in the story. As far as I know, I did. If there were factual errors or misquotes in the story, no one has pointed them out to me.
I believe the points I've already made, also render as misleading the headline attached to your own letter-to-the-editor, "Beasleys appreciate Powell's and Spencer's concerns,"
I'd like to set the record straight on another count, too. You informed me on the 'phone, Kelsey Dawn, that I had been the one to call in a provincial inspector to examine your operation. I did not. As a reporter, it would not have been proper for me to have done that. I would invite anyone to re-read the very headline of the story, then re-read the first line. ".....Ray Spencer has asked.....Water Stewardship to look into..." So I believe it was abundantly clear it was Mr. Spencer, not myself, who did this. And he has never hesitated in saying this publicly. So why would anyone conclude that it was me? In your e-mail to me, Kelsey Dawn, you said, "You are completely justified in your actions and I appreciate your concern over this water quality issue." But why direct that at me? It was Mr. Spencer who raised those concerns. I just reported on them.
So I'll be reserving my right as a journalist to continue to convey to the public, concerns about newsworthy matters of legitimate public interest and importance. This is sometimes controversial. And controversy is not always pretty.
But I believe it is a price we must pay for an informed public and a healthy democracy.

Larry Powell Roblin MB
Kelsey Dawn said...

Just wanted to clarify a few things in your previous response.
We didn't attach the headline in the letter to the editor, I am not sure who did.
I also didn't say you were the person who contacted manitoba conservation, you misunderstood. Furthermore, because you were so very quick to assit Ray via reporting a story on us (an action that to me seemed a little onesided towards your own opinions), I contacted you. I don't have a contact for Ray. Also I feel you are more willing to communicate with me than Ray is.
And finally the amount of cattle we run is not the issue, it is how those cattle on managed on the landscape that is the issue. Frankly how many cows we run is like asking us what our net worth is, it's none of anyone's business, but if a person is that curious I guess they could count cows from the roadside and see for themselves.
Lastly, thanks for coming out to the riparian workshop, I hope you enjoyed it. I know that I had a great learning experience. It is always a good thing when you are given more options & tools to utilize in ranch management.
Larry Powell said...

Kelsey - I'm glad you're reading and responding to these articles. It is a good way to reach some mutual understanding on things, sometimes.
You are right about the headline - it would have been Ed, the newspaper editor who wrote that -
I was thinking of submitting the "open letter" to you as another letter to the editor. But I changed my mind.
I really have no appetite to perpetuate a running "feud" in public. (At least not beyond the limited readership of this blog.) I'm sure you don't, either.
I was happy to attend the workshop.
While the story I've written on it may not be in the form you would have liked, either, I have re-worked it several times from the original draft and made it, I believe, balanced and fair.
(Now posted on my blog.)
I also believe you, Michael and Eric did a good job in explaining the merits of riparian management.
So, while I raise the question of a "mixed message," I see no reason why readers, once they see the details, will not just as easily agree with Eric - i.e. that there isn't one.
I'd welcome your input on this latest story, or anything else in future, too.
I will always publish your response.
Another Comment;

Why the hell should Struthers care after all they let cattle enter both the
Icelandic River and Lake Winnipeg near Riverton, for years now. He's blind to the pollution aspect, can't understand what he can't see. Thats my thought on the subject.

Peter Marykuca

Monday, May 4, 2009

From Abalone to Whales: Aquatic Species in Canada Face Risk of Extinction

NEWS RELEASE FROM COSEWIC - May 1-09 -Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

Iconic land mammals like the polar bear aren't the only species facing an uncertain future from climate change in the Arctic. Bowhead Whales may be recovering in Canada’s Arctic, for now. But they're not "out-of-the-woods" yet.

Massive B.C. coal mines are about to get a new owner. Why some are worried about Glencore’s record

THE NARWHAL Coal mine at Tumbler Ridge, B.C.  Jeffrey Wynne ,      If the sale goes through, the company will inherit a contamination proble...