Saturday, December 29, 2012

First Nations Elder Pleads for Help After Mercury Poisoning

CBC News
Betty Riffel says mercury from Dryden, Ontario paper mill poisoned her people and is looking for compensation. Details here.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Hawaiian Water Commission Denies Monsanto Request

Maui Tomorrow
The food and grain giant has been denied the right to massive water resources to irrigate GM crops in Hawaii. Details here.

Photo credit - Charter Travel

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Best Gift: Honouring Children

The Tyee - By Raffi Cavoukian

Raffi, troubadour to the young, on how to stop the theft of our kids' futures. Details here.

Is It Time to Put the Brakes on Runaway Coal Development?

The Globe and Mail
The coal industry is booming in British Columbia, with a dozen new mines proposed around the province and the port of Metro Vancouver making expansive plans to become the biggest coal-exporting facility in North America.
But the flurry of activity is raising environmental concerns at both ends of the supply chain, and British Columbians may soon want to put the brakes on what is starting to look like a runaway coal train. Details here.

PLT: "Runaway coal development" is exactly the effect desired by our Harperite government after it passed on a golden opportunity to tighten restrictions, choosing to actually loosen ones it had earlier promised. In so doing, it has shown itself to be the most blatant and shameless anti-science nation on the planet, caring not a whit for the future of our children. In the full knowledge that coal offers the worst of the worst in terms of energy alternatives and the fight against catastrophic climate change, they govern for business interests only. Period, end of story.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Canada's Top Ten Weather Stories for 2012 - a Year Which Broke Records for the NUMBER of Records

Environment Canada - A Year in Review

From super storms to super heat, and from immense flooding to immense fires; "go big" seemed to be the theme for Mother Nature in 2012. Details here.

 Beautiful though it may be, heavy hoarfrost has coated power lines throughout Manitoba, causing them to sag and break. Hydro crews have been sent scrambling to fix hundreds of outages. In some cases, power has been out for several hours in freezing temperatures. While cold snaps still occur, the warming atmosphere is capable of holding more moisture - much more than it used to. This triggers more frequent and severe events such as this. (PLT photo.)

PLT: To his credit, Dave Phillips, Ottawa's "go-to" guy for media questions about weather and climate, won't flatly deny that climate change is playing a role here. But neither is he helpful when he muddies the water about not being able to attribute a single year's worth of weather to that factor. (Don't foget Dave, 2012 isn't the only record-setting year we have had of late.) Perhaps media would be well-advised to sound out other scientists, whose jobs do not face Harper's axe if they say things he disagrees with. How about Andrew Weaver of the University of Victoria? He is outspoken, credible and qualified, having been a lead author with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Canadian pig industry: the need for change

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

In Canada, large industrial operations designed to raise hundreds to thousands of pigs in confinement have largely replaced the small, mixed farms that dominated the landscape before the Second World War. These pig factories typically rely on liquid manure systems and have been widely criticized for their negative impact on the environment, and worker health. Details here.

Fracking to be Banned Near Sacred Headwaters in British Columbia

The Globe and Mail reports, “Oil and gas development is to be banned from a 400,000-hectare area in northwestern British Columbia known as the Sacred Headwaters…Details here.

PLT: While I've labelled this post "Victory," a reading of the small print will reveal that it is still the corporations who really call the shots in our world.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

C Ya Soon!

Dear PLT readers,

I'm again involved in researching an in-depth magazine article which will be appearing in the new year. Will tell you more as the time approaches.

And, of course, there's Christmas and all that that involves!

So I won't be posting as often as I normally do. Anyway, things should get back to normal in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, have a great holiday season and the very best in 2013!


Sharing, Not Buying at Chrtistmas (Podcast)

CBC Radio - Sunday Edition

Over the past century, Christmas has become an annual excuse for frenzied, even pathological consumerism. Sure, it helps businesses big and small, but do we really need all that stuff?  Listen here.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Gift of Death

George Monbiot

Pathological consumption has become so normalised that we scarcely notice it. Full story here.

PLT: Get a talking fish toy for your loved one this Christmas! What a catch!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Dragging Secretive Trade Talks Into the Light: Activists Expose Slow-Motion Corporate Coup

A highly secretive trade agreement aims to penalize countries that protect workers, consumers, and the environment. Details here.

PLT:  Luckily, there's growing opposition to this slimy deal which our very own King Stephen is in the middle of. What's that green stuff on your hands, Prime Minister?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Arab Youth Arrested at COP; Canadians Confront Kent

Cdn. Youth Delegation - Climate Conference, Qatar
An hour ago, two members of the Arab Youth Climate Movement were  arrested. They held up a banner in the COP18 conference centre that read, “Qatar, why host, not lead?”. Onlookers erupted in cheers as...Details here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Canada "Bottoms Out" at International Climate Negotiations

Alternatives Journal - Alana Westwood

Canadians are apologetic people. Yet, navigating the halls of the COP18 climate negotiations as a member of the Canadian Youth Delegation (CYD), the “sorry”s I gave weren’t stereotypical Canuck politeness. Instead, they were apologies of shame for... Details here.                

East-Central SK, 2011. PLT photo

Monday, December 3, 2012

Canadian Youth Delegation Releases Report on Canada’s Failure to Meet International Commitment


front page
The CYD-DJC is releasing the report Commitment Issues: Tar sands extraction invalidates Canada’s obligations to the UNFCCC and undermines global climate change negotiations. This  technical report details the role of Canada’s tar sands in ensuring the nation’s failure to meet international climate commitments. It calls for a moratorium on new tar sands to developments, as this is the most effective way for Canada to have any hope of adhering to the commitments it has made to the UNFCCC.
The full report is available here, and the executive summary is available here.
Le resumé analytique est disponible en françai

Canada Ranked as Worst Performer in the Developed World on Climate Change

Climate Action Network Canada
Canada trailed only by Kazakhstan, Iran and Saudi Arabia in 2013 climate change performance index. Details here.

Western SK. 2011 PLT photo

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Is B.C About to Side With "Big Oil" And Against Its Own People? Let's Make Sure it Doesn't Happen!

"Trillions of litres of water given away for shale gas... How can the B.C. Government do this without regard for those who depend on the river for life?" - FNFN Chief Sharleen Wildeman
This month Premier Clark could give Encana license to take 3 billion litres every year from the Fort Nelson river – a river my community depends on.
Sign our Petition
Robert -
The Fort Nelson River is the lifeblood of my community - the Fort Nelson First Nation. It's where we hunt and fish. It connects our villages. Our burial grounds are on its banks. The river has given us a cultural and spiritual connection to our land for untold centuries, but now it's at risk of being drained by billions of litres.
The executives at Encana Corporation are pressuring Premier Clark to give them the right to take 3-billion litres of fresh water every year from the river to be used for shale gas fracking -- without consulting my community who depend on the river, or without any environmental assessment. 
Encana's license is only the beginning. 8 more major oil and gas companies are now requesting similar licenses amounting to trillions of litres -- the consequences of this could be devastating for the river.


New Jersey Train Derailment Tips Tankers, Sickens Dozens

Associated Press

PAULSBORO, N.J. (AP) —A freight train derailed Friday on a railroad bridge that has had problems before, toppling tanker cars partially into a creek and causing a leak of hazardous gas (vinyl chloride) that was blamed for sickening dozens of people, authorities said. Details here.

Ottawa Blocks Cenovus Gas Project in Alberta: ‘The Environmental Impacts are Simply Too Great’

Financial Post.
CALGARY — The Canadian government on Friday blocked a seven-year-old plan to drill more than a thousand natural gas wells in an Alberta wildlife reserve...Details here.
  PLT. Please also read our earlier post, "So, What Will it Be, Prairie Grasslands or Pipelines?" And thanks to Nature Canada for organizing the petition. (I signed! Did you?)

Sprague's pipit, one of the many 
"species at risk" found in the reserve.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Permafrost Thawing Across Siberia And Alaska Poses New Concern, UNEP Reports

Courtesy - the Huffington Post
 (Reuters) - Permafrost lands across Siberia and Alaska that contain vast stores of carbon are beginning to thaw, bringing with it the threat of a big increase in global warming by 2100, a U.N. report said on Tuesday. Details here.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Chasing Ice - the official trailer (Video)


Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of climate change. Using time-lapse cameras, his videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Action to Avoid Catastrophic Climate Change May Already Be Too Late

Huffington Post.
In the absence of aggressive government policies aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions, dangerous temperature elevations are not just a possibility, but a near certainty. Details here.
PLT. The chart, left, shows the disturbing, upward climb of the main greenhouse gas over the past few years. Anything over 350 ppb is dangerous! Fight climate change! Cut down on fossil fuels! Now!

Friday, November 23, 2012

So, What Will it Be, Prairie Grasslands or Pipelines?

What will the future hold for Suffield National Wildlife Area?

Dear Larry,

loggerhead shrike
Loggerhead Shrike: istockphoto

Please send your letter to Ministers Kent and MacKay, and ask them to deny Cenovus' request for a permit to expand its drilling operations within the Suffield NWA.

send letter.JPG
Nature Canada is working with other conservation groups to protect the Suffield NWA from expanded industrial activity. Other members of the Suffield Coalition are Alberta Wilderness Association, Nature Alberta, World Wildlife Fund Canada, Nature Saskatchewan, Southern Alberta Group for the Environment, and Grasslands Naturalists.
Suffield National Wildlife Area near Medicine Hat, Alberta, is a special space of rare prairie grassland, sand hills and ancient glacial valleys. It's home to at least 15 federally listed species at risk, including the burrowing owl and the loggerhead shrike.

But a proposal by energy giant Cenovus to add 1,275 shallow gas wells and 220 km of pipeline inside this protected area would seriously risk the future of this precious prairie habitat.
It's been nearly three years since an independent panel found that the project would likely result in significant adverse effects on species at risk and interfere with the conservation of wildlife. Three years since that panel recommended that, based on Cenovus' proposal at that time, the energy giant's permit to expand drilling be denied.
Send a letter in support of the panel's recommendation, and help save Suffield National Wildlife Area.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Manitoba Tory MP Insists He Didn’t Want Reporter Fired

iPolitics - Michael Harris 

Jill Winzoski is a name you probably don’t know. Time you met her; she is a canary in the mine of Canadian journalism. Details here.

PLT: Please also read, "Hypocricy, Cynicism and Lies Stain the Tory Record in Manitoba" here.

Friday, November 16, 2012

BP Pleads Guilty, Pays Record $4.5 Billion Over Gulf spill; 3 Employees Charged

Winnipeg Free Press. Details here.

PLT: You don't suppose BP will simply write this off as "the cost of doing business" and carry on as before, do you? Naaaah!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Green Party Supports Last-Ditch Efforts to Save Experimental Lakes Area (ELA)

OTTAWA – The Green Party of Canada once again offers its whole-hearted support to the Coalition to Save ELA – made up of top scientists from across the country – in light of rumours that the Harper Conservatives have found a private buyer for this irreplaceable, public, 58-lake scientific area. Details here.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Damage Amplified By Breakneck Development Of Coast (Video)

Huffington Post
*Stupid, greedy and myopic local authorities - land planners, developers and politicians - have some answering to do for the destruction wrought by the deadly hurricane.* Details here. *(Inserted by PLT.)*

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Playing Fast and Loose With Another Deadly Herbicide in Manitoba

David Neufeld - Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Our family business includes growing bedding plants. In the spring of 2010 every tomato, pepper and marigold we started curled up grotesquely and died. Details here.

Please also read: "Organic Farmer Worries About Weedkiller Sprayed in Ditches in Rural Manitoba"

Superstorm Sandy—a People's Shock?

Naomi Klein - the Nation
Less than three days after Sandy made landfall on the East Coast of the United States, Iain Murray of the Competitive Enterprise Institute blamed New Yorkers’ resistance to big-box stores for the misery they were about to endure. Details here.

US Election Results Give Environmentalists Hope

Manitoba Wildlands

The 2012 US election was supposed to be all about the economy. But in state and federal races, candidates targeted by environmentalists for their positions on climate and energy lost in large numbers November 6, 2012.  Details here.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Brazil Becomes Stinking Rogue State - Builds Illegal Mega-Dam - Petition & Video

Dear Larry, 

I've just returned from a wildly intense journey to the Xingu River in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon where construction of the catastrophic Belo Monte Dam has begun. There, I joined an occupation of the cofferdam led by fishermen, indigenous warriors and their families, including women, children and elders. What began as a protest by 13 fishermen turned into a 200-person occupation that lasted 35 days to demand JUSTICE NOW for their rights and rainforest homeland.
They need your voice! Help these courageous leaders demand that members of the Brazilian judiciary stop stalling on the many outstanding legal cases against the Belo Monte Dam. Sign the petition for JUSTICE NOW!
This year has been marked by glorious moments of victory and heartbreaking disappointments in the campaign to stop Belo Monte. During this recent occupation, our partners reached out in a truly brave attempt to foster real dialogue with the Brazilian government and to denounce grave violations of human and environmental rights due to the illegal construction of the dam.
We must stand up together with a unified voice to demand governments and companies respect indigenous rights, comply with the law, and be held accountable for their life-threatening and reckless actions.
Join me on this peaceful path of resistance calling for a free-flowing, life-giving Xingu River led by our brave partners in Brazil. Demand JUSTICE NOW!
For the Xingu, 

Maira IrigarayMaira Irigaray
Brazil Campaigner 


The Campaign for GMO Labelling Not Dead Yet - Despite California Ballot Defeat

Manitoba Co-Operator
Re-election of Obama encourages label supporters.
GM canola field. PinP photo
The failure on Tuesday of a California ballot initiative that would have mandated labeling of genetically modified foods is not a death knell for those seeking nationwide labeling, U.S. labeling proponents said. Details here.
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN)

Update - Proposition 37 on Mandatory Labelling in California: 

Industry money - $46 million from food and biotech corporations - has defeated the Californian ballot on mandatory labelling of GM foods. The California vote lost 53% to 47% after industry television ads and mailings to households claimed labelling GM foods would raise the price of food. Huge grassroots mobilization brought the vote that far and millions more people across North America are now aware of GM foods. It's been 17 years since the first GM crop, GM canola, was approved (1995) in Canada - We can stop the experiment. Canadians have already stopped Bovine Growth Hormone, Terminator seeds, GM wheat, GM potatoes, and Enviropig! Join CBAN as we stop GM alfalfa and GM apples to turn this around. We are building a better future now.

Donate today! Donations to CBAN will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, until Nov 30! Make your gift today and know that your tax-deductible donation will have twice the impact. Help us prepare for our 2013 mobilization!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Errol Black: A Truly Remarkable Life

Centre for Policy Alternatives
If we’re very lucky, every once in a while someone special will come into our lives. Errol Black was special.

Harper Spits in the Eye of Science Once Again - Flaunts Heavy Vehicles to Flit Him About India

Winnnipeg Free Press 

NEW DELHI - Two armoured cars were shipped to India from Canada to shuttle Prime Minister Stephen Harper around during a six-day, four-city tour this week.
The move is an unusual one for a Canadian prime minister. Harper has only brought his own transportation to two other nations — Haiti and Afghanistan.
The president of the United States routinely travels abroad with a custom-armoured state car, known as "the Beast" or "Cadillac One."
A black sport-utility vehicle and a black luxury sedan carrying Ontario plates appeared in the motorcade when Harper arrived Sunday evening.

PLT: This latest stunt by our esteemed leader with delusions of grandeur, smacks of a symbolic but probably malevolant move to wear his anti climate-science bias like a mis-placed badge of honour. Will it take nothing less than a Sandy-calibre storm to strike 24 Sussex to knock some sense into this wilfully ignorant man?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Canada-China Trade Deal is Too One-Sided

Financial Post - Diane Francis.

There is nothing in this deal with China that will protect Canadians. Details here.
PinP: Francis is no raging left-winger. She describes herself as a free-enterpriser and her columns over the years are testament to that. There's no doubt this China trade deal, which apparently our leader, Stephen The Great, has already ratified with no formal debate in parliament, sells out our country. 
Just recently, a Canadian military intelligence officer was tried for selling secrets to Russia. When all is said and done, I wonder, who will have done more harm to our country, the traitor or the Prime Minister? 
Think about it.

Global domination? Whoa, Canada!

Boston Globe

Could we (the U.S.) handle a muscular new version of our quiet northern neighbors (Canada)? For that matter, could they? Full story here.

Commander-in-Chief Harper in Afghanistan

Friday, November 2, 2012

PLT Vindicated!

PLT: Not to boast or anything, but, on Nov. 1st...yesterday.... Bloomberg Businessweek, a magazine owned by the Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, published a cover story entitled, "It's Global Warming, Stupid," (l.) in reference to Hurricane Sandy. In the spring of '09, over 3 years ago, I wrote a story entitled...wait for it...."It's Global Warming, Stupid." If you don't believe me, check it out, yourself!

New York Mayor Bloomberg Brings Climate Change out of the Closet in Stunning Snub to Romney

The Guardian

Mayor's endorsement could turn climate change into a serious election issue – and it might even embolden Republicans. Details here.
Yellow cabs underwater in New York.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hypocricy, Cynicism and Lies Stain the Tory Record in Manitoba (Letter)

Dear Editor,

I never thought I'd say this. But I may be lucky to be living in a riding represented by a Member of Parliament on the government side, (Robert Sopuck - Dauphin/Swan River/Marquette) after all. I say this because the government Mr. Sopuck represents, under Stephen Harper, has decided the Assiniboine River, one of millions of lakes, rivers and streams in Canada, is among the very few designated as "protected" by its new, "Navigation Protection Act."  (It happens to flow through Mr. Sopuck's riding.) 
Shellmouth Dam on the Assiniboine. Could it now be harder to approve such structures in Tory ridings - but easier elsewhere? PLT photo.
The Assiniboine forms Lake of the Prairies, a popular area for cottagers and boaters, just a few clicks west of where I live. This protection means that ice-fishers, anglers and pleasure boaters will keep their historic right, which dates back to Sir John A. himself, to navigate the river without having to deal with any more bridges, mining or forestry equipment, pipelines or dams. At least, any proposed new infrastructure of this kind will need a permit from Ottawa. That apparently won't be the case for all those unprotected waterways. They, on the other hand, will be "wide open for business." 

For example, anyone living in the northern Manitoba riding of Churchill will apparently be left at the mercy of Captains of Industry who want to treat the waterways there as commodities for their own, personal gain. That's because the Churchill River is not on that "protected" list. The MP for that riding represents the Opposition NDP in parliament. Word even has it that over 90 percent of the waterways designated as "protected," fall within ridings represented by government members. I guess that'll teach us who to vote for, next time!

I speak with tongue in cheek, of course. In fact, this kind of government patronage reeks of a shoddy new low, even for the Harperites. And it once again lays threadbare the "cloak of green" Mr. Sopuck likes to put on, to cleverly disguise himself as an environmentalist.  

Also left in tatters is Harper's infamous pledge in his election victory speech, to be a leader "for all Canadians."

In fact, Mr. Sopuck is to speak tomorrow to the "Frontier Centre," where he actually used to work. It is a right-wing, climate-change-denying think-tank, currently being sued for libel by a leading U.S. climatologist. No, his scheduled topic is not,
as it should be, about that recent, enormous Hurricane, Sandy or whether climate change played a role in it. Rather, it is the "improvements" his government is making to                             (Above) A PLT creation         environmental assessments and "the need to base decisions on science."
The reality is, Ottawa is gutting those assessments to the benefit of resource exploitation, removing habitat protection from many fish species and spitting in the faces of reputable scientists everywhere. For example, it slashed funding to the Experimental Lakes Area project earlier this year. The ELA has, for years, been recognized for world-renowned, ground-breaking research on water quality.

Meanwhile, in parliament, Mr. Sopuck has, in his speeches, helped perpetuate the lie that the NDP Opposition is advocating a carbon tax to help fight climate change. It is not. Even if it were, I'd say, so what? A carbon tax makes a lot of sense. Even sectors of the oil industry seem in favour of this as an effective way to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. While I believe there would be a net benefit in turning to more alternative energy sources, surely we have to resign ourselves to paying some kind of price for a cleaner energy future.

Sadly, Mr. Sopuck's wilful mis-statements simply emphasize the fact that the Conservatives are the only party we can count on to do nothing about global warming, the most dangerous crisis facing the planet today. How many "Frankenstorms" like Sandy will we have to survive, to get him and his government to sit up and take notice?

Their fixation with investment and foreign trade deals, no matter what country we may be climbing into bed with, no matter how much sovereignty we may lose in the process, must end. 


Larry Powell
Roblin Manitoba

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

131 Years of Global Warming in 26 Seconds (Video)

From our friends at NASA comes this amazing 26-second video, depicting how temperatures around the globe have warmed since 1880. That year is what scientists call the beginning of the “modern record.” You’ll note an acceleration of those temperatures in the late 1970s as greenhouse gas emissions from energy production increased worldwide. The data comes from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, which monitors global surface temperatures. As NASA notes, “in this animation, reds indicate temperatures higher than the average during a baseline period of 1951-1980, while blues indicate lower temperatures than the baseline average.”

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Scientists say Global Warming is Likely "Driver" for Intense Hurricanes

Calgary Herald 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As America’s financial and political capitals braced for what the National Weather Service has called a storm of historic proportions, the subject that politicians here dare not mention has suddenly been pushed to the forefront of public attention by the massive power of nature. Details here.
Prof. Raymond Bradley
Unversity of Massachusetts

Organic Farmer Worries About Weedkiller Sprayed in Ditches in Rural Manitoba

CBC News:  
The Rural Municipality of Morton defends use of Tordon 101 for weeds.  Details here.

PLT: I despair over the lack of sensitivity which is all too common among our local councillors. They sometimes remind me of gunslingers from the Old West who shoot first and ask questions later. Do they even know what's in the stuff they so liberally spray around with apparent abandon? Here's what Wikipedia says about Tordon 101.

The maker of Tordon 101, Dow AgroSciences, has seen fit to give it a code name - "Agent White." It is a powerful herbicide which the US military sprayed as a defoliant during the Vietnam War. It was one of the so-called "rainbow herbicides" that included the more infamous Agent Orange. Unlike Agent Orange, Tordon 101 does not contains the potent poisons known as dioxins. But it does contain 2-4-D, another potent weedkiller which robs plants of their ability to absorb life giving, airborn nitrogen. And its other active ingredient, Picloram is, or was, contaminated with two known carcinogens. Dow is said to have greatly reduced the amounts of both of those in 1985.

Trouble is, determining what is an "acceptable minimum" level for carcinogens is tricky, to say the least.

I happen to know the central figure in this story, Mr. Neufeld. He is a sincere, intelligent and hard-working organic producer who genuinely wants to help make the world a better place. He does not deserve the blame-game his RM seems to be playing here.

Barbed Wire and Politicians Spell Bad News for Australian Bats

Bat Conservation International
The past few months have been rough on flying foxes in Australia. In September, the state of Queensland reinstated fruit-growers' right to kill flying foxes, which had been prohibited as inhumane. Full story here.

Why I’m Voting Green

By Chris Hedges - Truthdig

The November election is not a battle between Republicans and Democrats. It is not a battle between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. It is a battle between the corporate state and us. Details here.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Frankenstorm: Has Climate Change Created A Monster?

National Public Radio (US)

It was not a good year for people, weather and climate. The winter was strangely warm in many places and the summer ridiculously hot. As a large fraction of the country suffered through extreme or even extraordinary drought many folksnaturally wondered, "Is this climate change?"  Full story here.
Sandy wrecks havoc in southern Ontario. (CBC photo)
PLT: Below is a comment I prepared for a blog published by Andrew Revkin of, wait for this, the prestigious New York Times. While he may fall short of an outright "denier," he is what I am calling "a sower of seeds of doubt." In one of his latest posts,  Revkin opines that any suggestion that climate change is behind Hurricane Sandy is, in effect, too simplistic! 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Toronto's Glass Towers Take Awful Toll on Precious Bird Life

New York Times

No one is sure, but Toronto's massive banks and other skyscrapers may be making it the most deadly city in the world for our precious, migratory birds. Details here.

Cape May Warbler. PLT photo

Monsanto's Lies and the GMO Labeling Battle

Common Dreams

You may have never heard of Henry I. Miller, but right now he is attempting to determine the future of food in this country.  And he has enormous financial backing. Details here.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Long Overdue Canada's Boreal Caribou Strategy Released

Manitoba Wildlands
"...almost all the Alberta herds — most of which are in the same region as the oilsands are very unlikely to survive."

A July 28, 2011 Federal Court decision forced the Federal Minister of the Environment, Peter Kent to revisit his March 2011 decision to refuse emergency protections for woodland caribou in Alberta affected by oil sands development. The Canadian Government was given until September 1, 2011 to implement a draft recovery strategy for woodland caribou. 

Senate Recommendations on a Grey Seal Cull: the Good, the Bad, the Outrageous

International Fund for Animal Welfare

The Canadian Senate, our Senate, has just released its report on the “management” of grey seal populations on Canada’s East Coast and recommends spending millions in taxpayer dollars on an “experiment” that is so incredibly flawed that, whatever the result, it will be entirely unreliable.  Details here.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Winnipeg Busted for Illegal Poop Discharge

Government of Manitoba

Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship advises charges have been laid against the City of Winnipeg under the Environment Act as a result of the city’s South End Water Pollution Control Centre releasing a large amount of partially treated sewage into the Red River over a prolonged period of time.  Details here.

"Sandy," AKA "Frankenstorm" Lashes the East Coast

New York Times: Hurricane Sandy, now battering the Bahamas, is expected to head up the East Coast over the weekend and possibly collide with a winter blast, producing what weather forecasters fear could be a historic and potentially devastating storm for a large swath of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic early next week. Details here.
Residents find higher ground as the water level continues to rise in Leogane, Haiti, Friday. Leogane has endured five consecutive days of rain due to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

PLT: The deafening silence emanating from the US campaign trail about climate change can only be further evidence of the disconnect between politicians and power on the one hand, and reality and science on the other. How many "Frankenstorms" will we have to endure before they remove their heads from their a...., er I mean, the sand and start telling it like it is?
Please also read: "IT'S GLOBAL WARMING, STUPID!"

Canadian Canola Production - a Riches-to-Rags Tale?

Manitoba Co-Operator - Commodity News Service Canada
A healthy canola field. PLT photo
 Canadian canola exports during the 2012-13 crop year were expected to come in at a record-high level -- but smaller-than-anticipated production is now predicted to dim those prospects. Full story here.

PLT: Crop production stories, chalk-full of numbers such as this one, are both important and interesting, I'm sure. But, as a consumer with an environmental conscience, I am frequently disappointed at the lack of context in such stories in the overall scheme of things. For example, in my own rural area, coffee-talk is rife with reports of a rare canola disease this year which, I am told, is a fungus spread by an insect which thrives in warm weather. That bug was apparently carried from the south where record heat and drought enabled it to thrive. I THINK the disease is called Aster Yellows (Phytoplasma) (l).  It was, this year, worse than it has ever been and shattered the hopes many farmers had harboured earlier in the season, for bumper crops. (At least one farmer told me he believes it cut his expected yields by almost one-half.) Yet little of this seems to reach the public airwaves.

So just when are the media going to begin telling you, the farmer, the truth about what climate change is doing to you and the world's food supply, and how you, with your ever-larger, fuel-guzzling, greenhouse-gas-producing machines, may be contributing to it, yourself?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Italy's Earthquake Case Reeks of Hypocrisy

Puzzling, isn't it?

Several scientists in Italy were recently tried, convicted and sentenced on criminal charges for failing to predict the unpredictable - a tragic and deadly earthquake there a few years ago.

I didn't realize governments were all that interested in what scientists have to say, anyway. After all, leading climatologists the world over have been warning for decades that our planet is headed for a crisis due to human-caused climate change - a science that has accumulated years of painstaking data and meteorological records to back its findings. Nevertheless, such warnings have been systematically ignored by Presidents, Prime Ministers and governments everywhere.

If it was possible to bring a class action against political leaders the world over (beginning with Canada's Stephen Harper) I'd be leading the charge.

Think about it. A few hundred people died in the earthquake - a disaster, to be sure. But millions have died by now due to the catastrophic effects of climate change and millions more will, in future, thanks to the kind of ongoing criminal negligence being practised at the political level.  PLT

Help Malala - She Deserves the Nobel Prize!

 P l e a s e  sign the petition, here!

Ash Cloud

By George Monbiot, the Guardian
How conservatism turned into an orgy of destruction. Details here.

PLT: Sounds like Canadian-style corporatism is metastasizing!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Climate Scientist Sues for Defamation

The Daily Climate

Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann sues National Review, Competitive Enterprise Institute for 'maliciously' attacking his personal reputation. Details here.
PLT: At left is Michael Mann's now-famous "hockey stick graph" which has drawn the anger, vitriol and even threats from many climate cranks. Mann and other scientists constructed the graph to show global patterns of annual surface temperature. Despite evidence that the graph is an accurate portrayal, the cranks continue to spew their hatred at this distinguished man.

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...