Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Climate Change Will Hit Agriculture in Developing Countries - UN

ROME - A U.N. agency warns that the climate change will badly affect agriculture and hit developing nations hardest, leading to...

Lions at Risk

Winnipeg Free Press - Se 30'09

In this photo taken last week, a male lion is seen in Masai Mara National Park in Kenya. Kenyan wildlife officials say the country's 2,000 lions are at grave risk because of recurrent drought and a pesticide that conservationists blame for 76 poisoning deaths of the predator since 2001.


Feds' Biofuel Fund Backs Husky, Methes Plants

MB Co-Operator - 9/29/2009

A federal biofuels incentive fund has
followed through on its contribution agreements to support one of the Prairies' major ethanol...
l.p. photo

Editor's note: Once again, you and I are shelling out our taxpayer dollars for the privilege of exacerbating world hunger, diverting ever-more food from human beings into machines! Way to go, Stephen! l.p.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

US Inertia Could Scupper World Climate Deal in Copenhagen - Expert

David Adam, environment correspondent -, Monday 28 Se. '09
  • Leading climate scientist criticizes Bush administration & points to general ignorance of global....

© QT Luong/

Monday, September 28, 2009

Black Carbon Warms the Planet Second Only to CO2 ...

Monday, September 28, 2009 9:13:24 AM

The Institute of Science in Society
Science Society Sustainability

This article can be found on the I-SIS website at


ISIS Report 28/09/09

Black Carbon Warms the Planet Second Only to CO2


Eighty percent of black carbon emissions come from fossil
fuels and biomass burning associated with deforestation;
reducing black carbon emissions may be the quickest,
cheapest way to save the climate Dr. Mae-Wan Ho

New research shows that airborne soot, or black carbon (BC)
aerosols resulting from incomplete combustion, are warming
the earth much more than previously thought [1]. According
to Veerabhadran Ramanathan at the Scripps Institution of
Oceanography San Diego and Greg Carmichael at the University
of Iowa, the warming effect of black carbon is 55 percent
that of CO2, the biggest contributor to global warming.

The annual emission of BC (for year 1996) was estimated at
about 8 Tg (1012g); of which 20 percent comes from
biological fuels (wood, dung and crop residues), 40 percent
from fossil fuels (diesel and coal) and 40 percent from open
biomass burning (associated with deforestation and crop
residue burning). High BC emissions occur in both northern
and southern hemispheres, the former from fossil fuels and
the latter from open biomass burning. BC is often
transported long distances, mixing with other aerosols on
the way such as sulphates, nitrates, organics, dust and sea
salt, to form transcontinental plumes of brown clouds that
extend vertically 3 to 5 km. BC is removed from the
atmosphere by rain and snowfall; that and direct deposition
limits the atmospheric lifetime of BC to about a week.

Major BC sources coincide with atmospheric solar heating and
surface dimming

Until about 1950s, North America and Western Europe were the
main sources of soot emissions, but now developing nations
in the tropics and East Asia are the major source regions.
Field observations and satellite sensors reveal that BC
concentrations peak close to major source regions, giving
rise to regional hotspots of solar heating in the Indo-
Gangetic plains in South Asia, eastern China, most of
Southeast Asia including Indonesia, regions of Africa
between sub-Sahara and South Africa, Mexico and Central
America, and most of Brazil and Peru in South America.

Whereas CO2 heats the earth surface through the greenhouse
effect, BC heats the earth by decreasing its albedo in
several ways. (Albedo is the fraction of solar energy not
absorbed but reflected from the earth back into space.)
First it heats the atmosphere by absorbing solar radiation
reflected by the earth’s surface to the atmosphere. This is
referred to as ‘top of atmosphere’ or TOA heating. Second,
soot inside cloud drops and ice crystals decrease the albedo
of clouds by enhancing absorption of solar energy. Third,
when airborne black carbon particles, or soot, is deposited
over snow and sea ice, it darkens the surfaces and decreases
the otherwise high albedo, contributing to the melting of
Arctic ice.

Ramanathan and Carmichael estimate that TOC heating (the
first pathway), is 0.9 W/ m2 (range 0.4 to 1.2 W/m2), which
is 55 percent of the CO2 warming of 1.66 W/m2; greater than
that due to other greenhouse gases including methane, and
much larger than the 0.2 to 0.4 W/m2 estimated previously by
the IPCC.

BC also absorbs solar energy directly, a heating effect
estimated at 2.6 W/m2. This direct absorption reduces the
solar radiation reaching the earth surface, resulting in a
dimming effect estimated at -1.7W/m2.

The calculations are complicated by the mix of aerosols that
originate from some sources of BC which co-emit organic
carbon compounds (such as benzene, ethane and ethyne from
wood burning, all harmful to human health [2]) and sulphate,
also harmful to human health [3], that tend to have a
cooling effect by direct light scattering and interaction
with clouds.

Read the rest of this report here

Or read other articles about climate change here


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World Consumption Plunges Planet Into 'Ecological Debt' - Leading Think Tank

The Guardian, Se. 25 '09 - Heather Stewart

Rich consumers are still voraciously gobbling up....

Friday, September 25, 2009

163 New Species Discovered in Mekong River Region


Biofuel Production Could Undercut Efforts To Shrink Gulf 'Dead Zone'

ScienceDaily (Se.18 - '09)
Pennsylvania scientists report that boosting production of crops used to make biofuels could make a difficult....

Biodiesel a Small But Growing Canola Sector Player

Phil Franz-Warkentin - Manitoba Co-Operator - 9/23/2009

(Resource News International) -- Biodiesel, long touted as a potential market for Canadian canola, remains only a small factor in the canola industry...
Photo by l.p.
Editor's note - One by one, the justifications for these kinds of "agri-fuels" are stripped away. This story shows one of the reasons often qoted by proponents - that farmers will benefit financially - is more like a fleeting illusion.

Is Eating a Plant-Based Diet a Cure for Cancer?

By Kathy Freston, AlterNet. Posted September 25, 2009.
Experts are saying a plant-based diet is not only good for our health, but it's also curative of the very serious diseases we face.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Can Condoms Save Us from Climate Change?

By Tara Lohan, AlterNet. Posted September 19, 2009.

The greenest technology available to us may not be solar panels, but instead contraception, according to a new report...

Editor's note; We in North America needn't be smug about world overpopulation. While our birth rates are lower than many developing countries, every North Ameriican child consumes exponentially more than his/her counterpart in those countries! Besides, new figures show birth rates, even in Canada, are heading upward! l.p.

Please also read this Winnipeg Free Press article, "Manitoba's population takes another jump."

(Then click on the "labels" link below, for related stories.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Logging Would Harm Caribou Herd: Environmentalists

Winnipeg Free Press - By: Staff Writer - 23/09/2009
WINNIPEG - Two environmental groups say logging could destroy a newly-discovered caribou habitat up north......

U.S. Court Rejects Genetically Modified Sugar Beets - so What About Canada?

Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer - Se. 23, '09

The (US) government illegally approved a genetically modified, herbicide-resistant strain of sugar beets without adequately considering the chance it will contaminate...

Sugar beet at harvest time
(Flickr photo by grabe)

Editor's Note: GM sugar beets are now being grown in Alberta. Is this the same Frankenfood that the American court has now ruled on? Let's boycott Roger's Sugar 'til this is cleared up! l.p.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Canada’s Sickest Lake

by Nancy Macdonald Summer, 2009 _Macleans Magazine
Living, toxic goo is killing lakes the world over. It may be too late for Lake Winnipeg.

Please also read; "Phosphorus Levels Spike...."
& "Lake of the Prairies, the New Lake Winnipeg?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Another Succesful Harvest Moon Festival - but is Bigger Always Better?

Reminding Manitobans of the Value of the Land -
by Larry Powell

This year, more people than ever descended on Clearwater, not far from the US border, transforming the tiny community into a teeming centre of live entertainment and education.

It was the 8th annual event of its kind, during the weekend of Sept. 18th.

While attendance figures aren't available, an organizer, Robert Guildford, (r.) told me, the first day was the biggest Friday ever for the festival.

The yearly event is organized by the Harvest Moon Society, a non-profit organization. Its mission is to build awareness of the contributions of farmers and farmlands to the development of vibrant rural and urban cultures.

A father enjoys the
music with his child.
An important component is education.
The Society conducts classes and workshops out of the old Clearwater School on topics such as eco-agriculture. It also hopes to develop an action plan for long-term rural sustainability, both environmental and economic. Part of the plan includes value-added processing & direct marketing to generate income for all participating community members.

The outdoor market.

(All photos by l.p.)
This would be done through ventures such as a flax and hemp seed plant, a flour mill and a local producer co-op to grow switch grass for alternative energy.

But is Bigger Always Better?

Our overall experience at the Festival was decidedly positive. However, the age-old question still needs to be asked again.
Is bigger always better?

If an attendance of, say 500 is good, is one thousand twice as good?
Let's all hope that the event (organized ironically by folks who embrace small farms as opposed to "industrial agri-biz,") does not become a victim of its own success!
I am reproducing, below, an email exchange between myself and a festival official soon after it ended. l.p.
-------Original Message-------
From: lpowell
Date: 20/09/2009 5:17:23 PM
Subject: FestivalSecurity

Hi Celia.

We attended the festival Sat. afternoon & thoroughly enjoyed it. As organic producers, we appreciate the message and idea behind the event. You have come a long way and deserve a lot of credit.

However, our experience in the quiet campground that night was somewhat different. About 4 in the morning, a group of loud partiers set up shop near the entrance.

At one point, a vehicle screeched at high speed past our tent. After some time of loud partying & amplified music, with no sign of a letup, we packed up our tent & left. We went back to the main entrance on our way out but there was no sign of any security.

While it is good to see your event grow in popularity to the point it has, it would seem your security may also need to be stepped up accordingly. (Perhaps the inclusion of a 'phone number for security on your program would be helpful.)

Thanks and and continued success in the future.


Larry & Rowena Powell
Hello Larry and Rowena,
I am so sorry this happened to you.
I want to thank you for letting us know, and we will factor this into next years festival planning for sure.
Thanks for coming to the festival, and I hope this does not prevent you from joining us again.

Support Greepeace - Oppose the Tar Sands!

UPDATE: GREENPEACE Int'l.-Se. 21 '09 Stop the tar sands.

Greenpeace activists stop climate crime in the tar sands
On September 15th 25 activists entered the Albian mining operation in the tar sands of northern Alberta, Canada and staged a 31 hour occupation - successfully shutting down the entire operation. They were there because developing the tar sands - one of largest remaining deposits of unconventional oil in the world - is pushing us towards runaway climate change. Learn more and support our campaign to stop the tar sands.

Friday, September 18, 2009

WTO Takes Aim at the Canadian Wheat Board

MB Co-Operator - Staff 9/18/2009

World Trade Organization talks resuming this week in Switzerland include a proposal to eliminate the Canadian Wheat Board’s ....

l.p. photo

Mine to Turn Alaskan Lake Into a Dump

September 18, 2009 - by Lori Pottinger
• From September 2009 World Rivers Review
Recent federal rulings permitting a gold mining company to dump toxic waste into a pristine mountain lake in Alaska could have widespread ramifications...
Eds. note: Might the U.S. mining industry be taking its cue from Canada? Here, Harper and his gang gave approval some time ago for the same kind of deplorable practice! l.p.

A Manitoba lake,
by tailings (yet)!
l.p. photo

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Why Did Monsanto's Latest GM Foods Get a Free Pass Into Canada?

By Lucy Sharratt - Se. 10 '09 -
Health Canada has begun permitting genetically modified foods onto the market without...
Please also read "Many Farmers Don't Want GM Wheat."

This GM "rogue" canola has spread

as a weed onto an organic acreage.
It's now a huge & expensive headache
for western farmers because it is
resistant to Roundup . (l.p. photo)

Population Growth Steady in the Face of a Changing Climate

Se. 18 - '09 Worldwatch Institute.

The human population is growing somewhat more rapidly than demographers had expected--pointing to uncertainty in the commonly cited U.N. projection of 9.1 billion by 2050--amid a convergence of trends that include decreased funding for family planning services, fertility levels well above replacement level in many countries, and improvements in life expectancy for people living with HIV. According to the latest Vital Signs, population projections also fail to account for the impacts of global climate change, which are expected to most adversely affect people in developing countries.

Read: Population Growth Steady in Recent Years by Robert Engelman

(l.) Children take refuge in a cyclone
shelter in Bangladesh/BBC
World Service Bangladesh Boat

Not More People, But More for All People "...those who bear children should be the ones, more than anyone else, to decide when to do so. The rest will work itself out... Wanting not more people, but more for all people, we might find ourselves at home again, with more nature than we thought possible."--Robert Engelman, More: Population, Nature, and What Women Want.

Worldwatch is working to slow, and ultimately end, the unsustainable growth of world population--a critical force behind many of today's most serious problems. Worldwatch Vice President and population expert Robert Engelman is lead author of the U.N. Population Fund's 2009 report State of World Population, which will highlight the linkages among population, gender, and climate change. This authoritative report will be distributed to policymakers around the world and made accessible electronically to hundreds of thousands of people. The population message must be heard if we are to achieve a sustainable world, so please support this critical work by making a gift today.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Consumers Pay More, Farmers Get Less

By: Laura Rance - Winnipeg Free Press - 12/09/2009

Move to buy local can be beneficial to both....

Farmers' Market in Regina, SK.
Photo by L.P.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Listeria Report Leads to $75M for Food Safety

Staff - MB Co-Operator -9/13/2009

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq on Friday pledged $75 million for investments in Canada's food safety system.
A woman works to sterilize meat processing and packaging equipment at the Maple Leaf Foods plant in Toronto in a file photo. Photograph by: Mark Blinch, Reuters

Monday, September 14, 2009

Clean Water Laws Are Neglected, at a Cost in Suffering

By CHARLES DUHIGG - NY Times - Se. 12, 2009 Toxic Waters
Jennifer Hall-Massey's youngest son has scabs on his arms, legs and chest...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Alberta's Tarsands Emissions Higher Than Some Countries

Mary Jo Laforest - Canadian Press. Se. 13 '09
Photo courtesy Nat'l. Geographic
Alberta's oilsands produce more greenhouse gas emissions than some European...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Obama Finally Clamping Down on a Despicable Mining Practice? l.p.

Sep 11, 2009 - By Timothy Gardner.
U.S. cracks down on mountaintop coal-mine permits.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. environmental regulators said on Friday they will scrutinize 79 applications for mountaintop coal-mine permits...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Oil Majors Propping up Myanmar Regime: Rights Group

Published on Thursday, Se. 10, 2009 by Agence France Presse

BANGKOK - Energy giants Total and Chevron are propping up Myanmar's junta with a gas project that has allowed the regime to stash nearly five billion dollars in Singaporean banks, a rights group said Thursday.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Monsanto Slithers Back Into the Upper Echelons of U.S. Power

By Linn Cohen-Cole - OpEdNews - March 8, 2009
Monsanto's Michael Taylor is BAACC..KK ..this time to control "Food Safety" from the White House..
Ed's. Note: Barak, what were you thinking? Outrageous! l.p.

No Trans Fat in Manitoba Schools: Minister

Winnipeg Free Press - By: Staff Writer - 9/09/2009
Students returning to classes across Manitoba today should not be able to buy any packaged foods or other food products containing artificial trans fat...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Elimination of Food Waste Could Lift 1 Billion Out of Hunger, say Campaigners

Adam Vaughan - Se 8 '09
Excessive consumption in rich countries 'takes food out of mouths of poor' by inflating food prices on global market...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Climate Change Worsens Global Poverty and Inequity

by Dr. Atiq Rahman, Exec.-Dir. of BCAS, Dhaka and Winner of the UN's "Champion of the Earth" award - 2008
An Indonesian farmer ploughs through hardened soil on a rain-dependent rice field. Courtesy of flickr
Global climate change has emerged as the greatest threat facing humankind today...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Monsanto in Iraq and Afghanistan

By Alexis Baden-Mayer, Esq.
Organic Consumers Association, Se'09
From the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, OCA has been tracking the opportunities for Monsanto, a well-known war profiteer...

H1N1 Arrives in Manitoba Hogs

Manitoba Co-Operator - Staff - 9/3/2009 Sarah Kearney - Wpeg. F.P.
The pandemic flu strain H1N1 has crossed over to hogs in various areas of Manitoba...
Please also read - "Green Party of Manitoba Believes Now is the Time to Put an End to CAFOs"
and "The CAFO Syndrome."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Rot-Gut Liquor

Posted on 7 Apr 2009 - by Tom Philpott - Grist
Greg Southam, Canwest News Service
Amid a sea of troubles, ethanol now has an antibiotics problem...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cdn. Taxpayers Back SK. Ethanol Plant

Staff- MB Co-Operator - 9/1/2009
A Manitoba ethanol plant. l.p. photo
A federal biofuels incentive fund has followed through on its contribution agreement to support a Saskatchewan plant producing wheat- and corn-based ethanol.
Ed's. Note: The hemorrhage of millions of our taxpayer dollars continues to flow into this failed technology which only makes world hunger worse. l.p.

Please also read "Bursting the Ethanol Bubble" here.

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...