Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Head of UN-Backed Climate Change Panel Stresses Benefits of Limiting Harmful Gases

28 June 2011 – UN
The head of the United Nations-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) today urged governments to work towards limiting emissions of greenhouse gases, Details here.

Unraveling the Chemicals-Cancer Link Could Help Dethrone the Emperor of All Maladies

Laura Wright Treadway - June 28, 2011 OnEarth
In May of 1999, a 52-year-old cardiologist and his 22-year-old daughter sat down for lunch in upstate New York. Details here.

The Green Party Leader in Manitoba Debates the Merits of "Bipole 111"

PLT: Please overlook the technical glitches of this video and listen to what James says. He makes a lot of sense! (Bipole 111 is a planned, major transmission line which would carry hydro power from northern Manitoba, mostly for export into the States.) The old-line parties are debating WHERE it should run. Mr. Beddome asks, does it need to run anywhere?

Breakaway Iceberg (CBC Radio - audio podcast)

The Current - CBC Radio - June 28th'11  
Thousands of icebergs are "calving" from 
Greeenland's glaciers each year. (Courtesy BBC)

A giant iceberg has lodged itself off the south coast of Labrador. It's believed to be part of an even larger iceberg which broke away from the Petermann Glacier in Greenland last summer and it's creating big problems for local fishers. Some experts fear it could be a sign that the Greenland ice cap is melting faster than previously thought. Just click this link to listen.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Canada's Lentil Industry Wants Europeon Union to Allow More Roundup on its Product

Apr 13, 2011 Manitoba Co-Operator
Canada's lentil industry wants to see the European Union afford the same tolerances for glyphosate residue on lentils as it does on other pulse crops. Details here.

PLT: With evidence mounting around the world about health risks associated with Roundup, the clamor for it just increases. I fear Monsanto will win this race to the bottom! 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Warming Oceans Cause Largest Movement of Marine Species in Two Million Years

Richard Gray - The Telegraph - 26 Jun 2011
Swarms of venomous jelly fish and poisonous algae are migrating into British waters due to changes in the ocean temperatures, a major new study has revealed.
Details here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sea Levels Rising At Fastest Rate In 2,100 Years: Study

By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID  HuffPost Green -  06/20/11
WASHINGTON -- Sea level has been rising significantly over the past century of global warming, according to a study that offers the most detailed look yet at the changes in ocean levels during the last 2,100 years. Details here.

Churchill Mayor Pleads for Canadian Wheat Board

Mia Rabson - Winnipeg Free Press - 06/22/2011
Wheat board's end will devastate port, he says
. Details here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Canada’s Common Songbird Populations Plummet - 
Report Reveals Boreal Birds Particularly Hard Hit

Nature Canada - On June 15, the National Audubon Society in the United States released a startling report; many of our most recognized birds are experiencing steep population declines. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

'Shocking' Report Warns Of Mass Extinction From Current Rate Of Marine Distress

Travis Donovan  Huffpost Green 20/6/11
If the current actions contributing to a multifaceted degradation of the world's oceans aren't curbed, a mass extinction unlike anything…. Details here.

Please also read, "The Gulf of Mexico is Dying." 
PLT: I first posted this story with some reluctance & trepidation,  fearing it may be a bit "over the top." I no longer believe this to be the case.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Where Have All the Flowers Gone? High-Mountain Wildflower Season Reduced, Affecting Pollinators Like Bees, Hummingbirds

ScienceDaily (June 17, 2011) — It's summer wildflower season in the Rocky Mountains, a time when high-peaks meadows are dotted with riotous color. But for how long? Details here.

Bee photo by l.p.

Greenpeace Leader Boards an Arctic Drilling Rig - & Pays a Price! (Video)

PLT: This is precicely the madness I was referring to in my article, "Are Business Interests Giving Bad Advice to the Government of Canada on Climate Change?" Greenpeace is once again to be commended for their courageous action!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Natural Gas Is No Climate Change 'Panacea', Warns International Energy Agency

The Guardian - June '11
Reliance on gas would lead the world to a 3.5C temperature rise, and out-of-control global warming, says new research. Details here.

WATCH: Dangers of Natural Gas Extraction (Video)

Fracking is a burgeoning technology being used to extract natural gas locked 
within rock formations. Fluid is pumped into natural or man made fractures 
under high pressure to open up cracks and access hard to reach reservoirs. 
Critics are calling for a moratorium on fracking, saying it poses serious health 
risks to nearby residents, damages the environment and could even cause 
small earthquakes. Supporters say those claims are overblown, and fracking is 
essential to Alberta's natural gas industry. Is fracking dangerous? Is it critical 
to our economic future? How should Alberta proceed? Joining us for this 
discussion is Jessica Ernst, Rosebud resident and former energy sector 
consultant is now suing Encana; Tim Marchant, Adjunct Professor of Strategy 
and Energy Geopolitics at the University of Calgary; and Ben Parfitt, Resource 
Policy Analyst with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. 
Watch video here.
  (l.) Once quite farmland, turned into a "fracking" 
site in the US.
"Although no complete list of 
the cocktail of chemicals used 
in this process exists, information 
obtained from environmental 
clean-up sites demonstrates that 
known toxins are routinely being used, including hydrochloric acid, 
diesel fuel (which contains benzene, tuolene, and xylene) as well as 
formaldehyde, polyacrylimides, arsenic, and chromates." Sourcewatch.org
COMMENT: "I wish, just once, these corporations would admit to what they are doing, instead of always denying the obvious."  Margaret Romak 

Manitoba Search Crews Enter Flood Zone

CBC News - Jun 16, 2011 Teams will stabilize properties so that owners can safely retrieve items. Details here. 

Toronto Star photo 
PLT: According to the provincial government's latest flood bulletin, 2,527 Manitobans have now been forced from their homes by the massive flooding. This has surely become an event "of biblical proportions." Except, in this case, does God really have that much to do with it?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Food Prices Not Likely to Decline for Some Time, says UN Report

17/06/11 – The international community will be facing higher food prices and volatility in commodity markets for some time, according to…Details here.

l.p. photo

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Manitoba Permanently Designates Largest Area Of Protected Land In More Than a Decade

June 16, 2011 Gov't. of Manitoba
Asatiwisipe Aki Management Plan Approved: Blaikie. Details here.
Part of the Boreal forest in west-central MB. l.p. photo

Climate Change is the Symptom, Not the Cause

By: Rod Kueneman - 06/11/2011 - Winnipeg Free Press
 The soil is warming and the arrival of this year's growing season once again provides…Details here.  

A crowded beach in China. Courtesy; Secondose
PLT - While I might have worded the headline differently that the Free Press did, I believe this is an excellent article. If Prof. Kueneman is not suggesting that climate change is unimportant - and I don't believe he is, his references to world population and consumption are compelling. l.p. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Water Woes Pose Dire Prospects for Prairie Crops

Canadian Wheat Board 06/14/11
Winnipeg - Unrelenting rain across large areas of Western Canada will severely impact grain production….Details here.
Soggy field. l.p. photo

Why Supermarket Tomatoes Suck

By Barry Estabrook - 6/13/11 ONEARTH  
a survival guide for the planet
Excerpted from the new book "Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit" Details here.

Organic cherry tomatoes. l.p. photo

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Innu, Nalcor Disagree on Impact of Labrador Hydro Dams

CBC News - Mar 21, 2011
Innu say caribou will be harmed. Details here.

Photo courtesy of 
"Our Labrador"

Canadian Inspectors Can’t Stop Dangerous Food Imports

Bob Kingston, Ottawa Citizen 06/14/11
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency might be trying hard to protect Canadian consumers from unsafe imported food. But, the simple fact is….Details here.

Monday, June 13, 2011

On Environment Week, Government of Canada Missing in Action - Green Party of Canada

8 June 2011 - GPC
OTTAWA - Today is World Oceans Day, Canadian National Clean Air Day, and both World Environment Week and Canadian Environment Week. Today the Green Party of Canada is noting the sad irony that the first federal budget to be tabled during Environment Week is also the weakest environmental budget in recent history.
Details here.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Link Between Climate Change and Joplin Tornadoes? Never.

Stephen Tomson  
Bill McKibben published a must-read op-ed in The Washington Post last month about the connection between climate change and recent extreme weather events. Now Stephen Thomson has combined McKibben's words with striking footage of the events he writes about. The result is a chilling must-see video:

Manitoba Studies Strategy to Help Flooded Farmland, Address Climate Change

Chinta Puxley, The Canadian Press - 06/12/2011
WINNIPEG - After four soggy years of flooded pastures and ruined crops, the Manitoba government is looking at how to help frustrated farmers cope with climate change in the province's Interlake region. Details here.

PLT: It tears my heart out to learn about the damage and human suffering being inflicted on my fellow Manitobans by the bad weather and flooding. So, as one who supports the science of climate change, I'm encouraged that the topic is slowly creeping into the public discourse. But, our policy-makers will simply have to screw up the courage to put it in context, (which the above story sure as Hell does not do)! At some point they are going to have to say, out loud, that climate change IS CAUSED BY HUMANS. What we need, therefore, are meaningful changes in our personal lifestyles and those of business, industry and government; changes which will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If this is not done, it is all pointless.

I am NOT saying we should harden our hearts and stop supporting affected producers and homeowners from the public purse. I am saying leadership is needed at all levels if we are to turn this insidious phenomenon around in the long-term.  Sadly, world leadership from the Harper government just isn't in the cards - just more "fossil-of-the-day" awards for Stephen to proudly display in his den!

I know first-hand, from writing in this space alone, that you simply can't say such things without being prepared to face hostile, irrational, angry and ignorant opposition from deniers, cranks and vested interests. These folks are not interested in evidence - only in impressing the world with their cynicism and close-mindedness. To them, this is supposed to trump the best brains on the planet who actually spend their working lives studying the problem - not "jawing" about it in the coffee shops.  l.p.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Politics Making Ag Sector Scapegoat for Lake's Woes

Wpg Free Press - Laura Rance - 06/11/201
Laura says Manitoba is latching on to fauly science in the formation of public policy regarding Lake Winnipeg pollution. Details here.
Lk. Wpg. www.gov.mb.ca  

PLT: I admire Laura's articles greatly. However, it remains unclear to me that the amount of "blame" the government seems to be aiming at the hog industry quite matches the corrective action it will require the industry to take. After all, the winter spreading thing, as Laura concedes, is already covered and the changes there seem cosmetic, at best. Since new operations are already prohibited in the east, no change there, either. So I don't quite understand what corrective actions the industry will be required to take that would justify the amount of public "stink" it has been raising over this issue. 

Another thing, past flood events have been known to "overtop" hog lagoons and wash the waste into waterways. We've heard not a peep about that this time. Is that because it has not happened? Or is it because of a timid news media (not you, Laura) that doesn't seem to ask such questions any more. 

From what I've read, synthetic fertilizers in all likelihood play a big role here, as well. If that is the case, let the chips fall where they may. Our food producers need to be appreciated and treated fairly. But if they are using methods which are harmful, they need to be called to account like anyone else. 

And surely it's high time to end this myth that any time farmers come under scrutiny, it's all a plot by the NDP & those "city environmentalists!" I haven't been voting NDP & I live in the country! l.p.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Port in Winnipeg Could be Model for Port at Churchill

Diane Gray - 06/9/2011 - Winnipeg Free Press - View From the West
The Golden Boy faces north from his lofty perch-- serving as a bold reminder of the unrealized economic potential.... Details here.  

PLT - I wonder just how much is enough for the human species? Winnipeg & Manitoba are already beautiful places with lots of natural beauty, physical infrastructure and cultural resources. Just how much further must we go to "realize our potential" by making it ever-easier to move people and widgets from here to the far corners of the continent. As far as I'm concerned, "Centre Port" is an exercise it excess which will only enrich the pockets of the few, worsen traffic gridlock and climate change while doing little to advance the human condition. "We can build it - therefore we must need it," might as well be the rallying cry. Globalization has already been shown to be a failure on so many levels. Lets stop bowing down to it as if it were our religion! The biggest tragedy with all of this is, why the provincial government, which pretends to be devoted to lowering greenhouse gas emissions, is even allowing this misguided fossil-fuel generator to go ahead at all! It is also puzzling why the Chamber of Commerce is looking to the Port of Churchill with such envy. After all, the Chamber's "party of choice," the Conservatives, are in the process of killing the Canadian Wheat Board. Some say that move alone is enough to place the very future of that port in jeopardy. Perhaps it's time to remove those "development stars" from our eyes. Let's turn our minds instead to what is good for Mother Earth and creatures who live upon it, rather than ripping it all up with backhoes and jackhammers. l.p.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

You Want Superbugs With That?

Barry Estabrook - ONEARTH - 05/27/11
Feeding antibiotics to healthy livestock is leading to an emerging human health crisis -- one scientists and the government have seen coming for decades.  

Feds to Consider Flood Infrastructure Program

June 7 '11 Manitoba Co-Operator
The federal government says it's "prepared to discuss" a plan to help all provinces and territories build up their infrastructure to better withstand floods in the future. Details here.

MIKE.DEAL@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Delta Beach, at the south end of Lake Manitoba, 
a victim of high water aggravated by high winds. Because the lake is so shallow, 
wind is especially damaging.
PLT: Once again, the brain-dead morons who control our lives believe digging deeper ditches in the absence of meaningful action to combat climate change, will solve all of our problems. These climate crooks belong in jail for neglecting the root-causes of the crisis that is beginning to ravage us all.   l.p.

Canadian Environment Week

Environment Canada - June 8 '11
Preserving our Forests,
Protecting our Future
 June 5-11, 2011 Details here.

Goldfinch. l.p. photo

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Report: Large Swaths of Tropical Forests Have Been Set Aside, but Little Managed Sustainably

By: Raphael G. Satter, The Associated Press - 06/7/2011
LONDON - Large swaths of the world's tropical forests have been officially shielded from deforestation, but an international conservation group says that may not be enough to save them. Details here.

Australia Climate Commission says Warming Earth is ‘Beyond Doubt’

Australia’s Climate Commission states action to battle effects of a warming planet has “never been more urgent” than now, with huge...Details here.
PLT: Here in Manitoba, Canada, flooding has been unprecedented by any measure; depth of water, area affected, human suffering and economic damage. Yet governments, politicians, business and sadly way too many individuals, (all aided and abetted by timid media) just don't get it. They refuse to admit it even MAY be anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change at work here. Or they hide behind the ever-weakening argument that "you can't tie any given weather disaster" to global warming. HELP! I'm beginning to think there is no hope! l.p.
Ani Hubba Bubba · Winnipeg, Manitoba
you are absolutely right! I couldn't agree more with you!! Watching what's happening in Manitoba is devastating. We have to wake up! NOW!  

Natural Disasters Displaced 42 Million People World-Wide in 2010

DIGITAL JOURNAL - June 6 - '11 
Oslo - More than 42 million people world-wide were forced to flee due to a series of climate change-related natural disasters in 2010, more than double….Details here.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Glued to the Weather Channel While the World Burns

Paul Loeb HUFFPOST GREEN - 06/ 6/11
Following the weather is beginning to feel like revisiting the Biblical plagues. Details here.

A wildfire sweeps over Alpine, Arizona, burning 120,600 acres by Saturday.
Courtesy of Common Dreams

Oil Company's Lawsuit Against Greenpeace Backfires

Nick Young - Greenpeace - 6/6/11
Today an Amsterdam court judge turned the tables on Cairn Energy. Details here.

Greenpeace protesters spent four days in a survival pod attached to the the Leiv Eiriksson rig.  (Photograph: Steve Morgan/Greenpeace) 

Lake Manitoba to Set Record High: Province

Winnipeg Free Press - 06/6/2011
WINNIPEG - Lake Manitoba is now expected to hit 816.5 feet in July,
almost a foot higher than previously forecast.  Details here.
A farmyard somewhere between 
Twin Lakes and Delta Beach.   
(MIKE DEAL / Wpg. Free Press)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Nitrogen Debate Wastes Time, Money

By: David Schindler - 06/2/11 Wpg. Free Press - View From the West.
The Manitoba government is to be congratulated for its announcement this week that its policy for Lake Winnipeg will focus on aggressively reducing phosphorus inputs to the lake. Details here.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Canada Tries to Hide Alberta Tar Sands Carbon Emissions

Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian - 1 June 2011
Greenhouse gas emissions from the tar sands are on the rise, but try finding that in Canada's official report to the UN. Details here.

Drought Strikes France

Cracked and dry earth is seen along the riverbed of the Loire River in Ancenis, western France. Rainfall in France has been down 50 percent from normal levels since March, leading France to impose curbs on water consumption in a third of France's administrative departments.

Is Three Gorges Dam Making China's Worst Drought in Decades Worse?

By Tom Lasseter | McClatchy Newspapers May 31'11
XINZHOU, China — As deputy Communist Party secretary of the Yangtze River management station…Details here.

Much More Policy Support and Investment Is Needed in Sustainable Smallholder Farming - & Quickly! - UN

Rome/Nairobi, 1 June 2011
United Nations officials called today for a "Green Revolution," a dramatic increase in support for sustainable agriculture....Details here.

Start Fighting the Next Flood Now

By: Josh Brandon - 06/1/2011 Wpg. Free Press
The flood season of 2011 is among the worst Manitoba has ever seen. Details here.
(Josh Brandon is water caucus co-ordinator at the Manitoba Eco-Network

Hundreds Ordered to Evacuate as Homes, Cottages Threatened

Winnipeg Free Press - By: Bruce Owen - 06/1/11
HUNDREDS of residents and cottagers on Lake Manitoba and other flood-prone parts of the province were ordered to get out...Details here.

* “I find it systematically tends to get underplayed by my fellow scientists. I’m sure you’ve probably heard, ‘Well you can’t attribute a single event to climate change.’ But there is a systematic influence on all of these weather events nowadays because of the fact that there is this extra water vapor lurking around in the atmosphere than there used to be say 30 years ago. It’s about a 4% extra amount, it invigorates the storms, it provides plenty of moisture for these storms and it’s unfortunate that the public is not associating these with the fact that this is one manifestation of climate change. And the prospects are that these kinds of things will only get bigger and worse in the future.”
*Kevin Trenberth, lead author with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Senior Scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado.

Diesel vehicles in oil sands operations contribute to regional pollution

EurekAlert Wildfires, cigarette smoking and vehicles all emit a potentially harmful compound called isocyanic acid. The substance has been l...