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.


Xerces Society
Across North America, monarch butterflies are leaving their summer breeding grounds and making their epic journey to spend the winter in Mexico or along California's coast. Unfortunately, all is not well in the monarch world. Details here.

Farm Runoff is Speeding Demise of Protective Coastal Areas -- Study

PLT photo
Pollution from agricultural production degrades coastal salt marshes more quickly than previously thought, according to a study published in the journal Nature. Details here.

Pollution as Harmful as Malaria, TB in Developing World - Study

NEW YORK, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Pollution from factories and mines is putting the health of 125 million people at risk worldwide and is as dangerous in the developing world as malaria or tuberculosis, according to a…Full story here.
PLT photo
For a Canadian perspective, please read about a US-based corporation which was given permission a couple of years ago, to actually increase industrial emissions at its Manitoba wood products plant.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Framing the Future: Embracing the Low-Carbon Economy

National Round Table on the Environment (NRTE)
Framing the Future: Embracing the Low-Carbon Economy outlines the potential economic opportunity for Canada as the world transitions to a low-carbon economy. Details here.

PLT: This is the last report from the NRTE, which the Harperites have killed. Heaven forbid they should retain an advisory to give them such "radical" advice! Make no mistake, this government represents industry, the top 1%, period. Not you. Not me.

Winnipeg Man Gets Six-Figure Fine Under Federal Wildlife Legislation

Environment Canada

WINNIPEG, Man.– October 22, 2012 – An Environment Canada investigation led to the recent sentencing of Jayson Daeninck and his company, Saltwater Connection, on 18 charges under…full story here.

Harper's Sneaky Canada - Elizabeth May Tells it Like it is

Monday, October 22, 2012

Farmers say Entire Organic Industry at Risk in GM Alfalfa Debate

PLT : Is the heavy hand of Corporatism about to descend on farmers who simply want to produce a decent, clean product? Could be! Just read on......
Global National
GUELPH, Ont. – There’s a new genetically modified crop on the horizon that some say is jeopardizing the entire Canadian organic farming industry. Details here.

PLT photo

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Should Genetically Altered Food be Labeled?

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

California to vote Nov. 6, but effects could be far-reaching. Details here.

Photo credit: Greenpeace

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Native Village Defends Ocean Experiment; Canada Launches Probe

(Reuters) - Leaders of a tiny, native village off Canada's remote northwest coast on Friday defended their decision to dump 120 tons of iron dust into the ocean as a legal experiment to revive salmon stocks, but Canada said it was investigating a possible breach of environmental law. Full story here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

In India, GM Crops Come at a High Price

India Ink

Technology which Indian farmers are buying to kill pests, does not come cheap. Details here.

Hundreds of Litres of Toxic Oil Spilled in West Vancouver Waterway

North Shore Outlook
Hundreds of litres of industrial oil containing toxic PCBs spilled into a West Vancouver waterway Sunday, polluting a salmon creek and duck pond….full story here.

Monday, October 15, 2012

2012 Saw Warmest September On Record Across The Globe, says NOAA

Huffinigton Post
According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the globe recorded its warmest September on record, tying with 2005 for the title. Full story here.

Lake Winnipeg Predicament a Human Creation

Letter to the Editor:

As I read "The province wants public thoughts on environmental plan" in the Free Press, I can’t help, but think that Lake Winnipeg is already green, far too green, in fact.

This is a man-made situation. Lake Winnipeg is not polluting itself. We, the people are the cause for allowing the abuse and pollution to these waters.
It is apparent that respect and gratitude is not a requirement in to-day’s society and how to take care of water that sustains all life. 

We are not alone. There are neighbouring provinces and the United States that also make their contributions of pollution. An action often referred to, as ‘out of sight, out of mind’.

I am skeptical of yet another plan for "Think Saving Lake Winnipeg", and here’s why.
On June 2, of 2011, Premier Selinger presented his Plan to Save Lake Winnipeg. In that plan there was to be an International Summit that would bring together the stakeholders and levels of government throughout the Winnipeg watershed to co-ordinate phosphorus reduction to the Lake Winnipeg waters. This has not been accomplished, and, 16 months have elapsed.

Seemingly, it is much less complicated to keep making plans than doing what is so necessary to accomplish the needed action and results to Save Lake Winnipeg.

This misrepresents the crucial situation that presently exist in the waters of Lake Winnipeg. 

John Fefchak;

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mr. President: The Earth Does Not Have Forever

Climate Ark
Listening to the US Presidential election, you wouldn't know Earth faces ecological emergencies including abrupt climate change and ecosystem collapse in water, forests, and food. Details here.

PLT photo

Exposure to Traffic Air Pollution in Infancy Impairs Lung Function in Children

ScienceDaily (Oct. 12, 2012) — Exposure to ambient air pollution from traffic during infancy is associated with lung function deficits in children up to eight years of age…Details here.

Modified Crops Increase Herbicide Use: Researcher

The Seattle Times
A Washington State University researcher says genetically-modified crops have led to an increase in herbicide use, contrary to claims by proponents of the crops. Details here.

PLT photo

Saturday, October 13, 2012

More Tornadoes and Rain, Milder Winters, in Saskatchewan Forecast

Winnipeg Free Press
SASKATOON - Researchers say a changing climate in Saskatchewan will mean more tornadoes and more rain, but also milder winters. Details here.

A twister 36 kilometres east of Regina. 
(Submitted by Kathy Rosenkranz)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Transcanada Seizes A Grandmother On Her Own Property as The Tar Sands Blockade Digs In

The Canadian fossil fuel giant Transcanada is encountering increased resistance from the “Tar Sands Blockade” in eastern Texas. Details here.

PLT: Given the bullying tactics of this stinking company, is it any wonder resistance is increasing? Surely the power of The Corporation over the people is now absolute. That a Canadian-based corporation is involved, in this case, makes this Canadian nauseous. If I get the chance, I will throw up on its CEO. 

Communication Breakdown: How Canadians Were Let Down on E. Coli Response

The Globe and Mail

PLT photo
Millions of Canadians have been fed a bunch of B.S. by those whose responsibility it is to prevent, contain and explain such public health disasters. Full story here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Report Blames Pesticides for Illnesses

San Francisco Chronicle

Pesticides pervade the environment, from the air we breathe to the food we eat, and they are making children sicker than they were a generation ago, a new report warns. Details here.

Please also read: "Field of Nightmares" exploring the dark side of Roundup. 

Crop-duster in western Manitoba, CA. PLT photo


Monday, October 8, 2012

So You Don't Think Climate Change is Worth Fighting? Read on.

The Human Toll of Inaction Could Exceed 100 Million Deaths Between Now and 2030 Alone!

•Climate change and the carbon economy as estimated here are responsible for 5 million deaths each year today and cause illness in tens of million people globally comparable to the third leading cause of preventable death with a similar societal impact as tobacco use (see: Health Impact Climate/Carbon)

• The carbon economy claims the largest share of this impact, in particular
due to toxic air pollution, at over 4.5 million deaths a year today 

• Climate change is estimated to be responsible for 400,000 deaths
each year, particularly due to hunger and communicable diseases in the
lowest-income countries 

Arsenic in Our Food

Consumer Reports magazine: November 2012.
Our findings show a real need for federal standards for this toxin. Full story here.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Why Lake Winnipeg's Degredation is a Prairie-Wide Environmental Calamity

by Jim Harding
Industrial-agricultural contaminants and Regina’s poorly treated sewage are degrading the Qu’Appelle Valley lake chain. This is a microcosm of a much larger…Full story here.

Please also read, Lake Winnipeg Predicament a Human Creation, (a letter to the editor by John Fefchak).

THE END OF GROWTH – first in a series

by Jim Harding
In 1972 the book Limits to Growth was published. This year, forty years later, the book The End of Growth came out. Full story here.

At Last. Someone Gets to the "Bottom" of Climate Change!

by Danny Dimwit


Wow! Sure has been windy lately, huh?

We had two big trees blow down right beside our own house near Roblin late one night back in July. The top 8 or 10 feet of 6 others were ripped off and came crashing down at the same time.

I even had a heart attack after cleaning up the mess in my yard. (Needed open-heart surgery - bypasses, the whole 9 yards!)

(Later, I talked to a lady who had a bit of a heart attack, too, while cleaning up a campground near Portage, further to the east. She said a big wind kind of like a tornado had passed through!)

The storm at our place (I think they called it a plow wind), damaged our sun porch, buckled our garage door and damaged our car. Cost a couple of thou to fix.

As bad as it was, other poor souls in our neck of the woods also suffered damage from the wind which could have been even worse. We saw trees down everywhere, including some on top of houses and trailers in Roblin. Did you?

Word is, folks were even taking food to the dump because their power was out for so long, it spoiled.

Lately, those damn grassfires whipped by the wind, have even been burning houses and forcing folks out of their homes south of the Peg. They've been without power for days now!

A couple of years ago, and last year, too, I guess, we sure did have a lot of flooding. Our farmers couldn't grow crops on millions of acres because of it, apparently. Now, this year, it's drought. Yields weren't what they'd hoped for earlier. Apparently crop diseases that are usually rare, were more common 'kuz of the lack of rain.

I've heard that some folks who lived along the lakes still aren't even back home, yet. Bummer!

But this is nothing new, is it? We get bad weather all the time, don't we?

And those people who call themselves "experts," with the government and the universities, telling us that we, you and me, are behind this "athro por jenik," or whatever, change in our weather! What a bunch of pointy-heads!

I only got my high school, but I talk to folks in the coffee shop! They may not have fancy degrees, but they know things! And they say this weird weather is natural. It's just part of natural shifts in weather patterns, sun flares, the tilt of the earth, 'n such...things we got no control over. Apparently there even used to be a big lake covering a lot of the province. So there! That proves it!

And that fella, Tim Ball, he knows. He was a professor once. And he goes around telling farmers they better hope for more global warming! The pointy-heads claim they get their information from satellites, weather stations, models they make using computers, observatories on mountains, tree rings and ice-cores. Not sure where Tim gets his from. But I just know he's out there in the arctic and in the deserts, gathering the proof he needs for what he says!

And those pictures you see in the news of polar bears swimming up north and all the ice melting….that's just those pointy-heads, doctoring the photos so they can get more research money. They must be doing something crooked, kuz Tim says the planet is actually cooling down, not heating up!

They try to tell us the bad storms are worse and happening more than they used to. What a crock!

I remember, when I was a kid, back in the 40s and 50s.....well, OK, I don't remember almost getting killed in my house, or houses burning, or so many crops being wiped out, or floods destroying so many cabins, communities being evacuated or highways caving in quite like this. 

OK, maybe not.

But the warm weather! Hey, so what if it is getting hotter out there!  Those warnings from the pointy-heads that our kids may face a planet unfit to live in when they grow up, is just more blather! After all, you can always crank up the A/C in your car. That's what I do!

I say, if this is global warming, bring it on!
PLT: The facts of this tale, we know to be true, unlike the name we have ascribed to the "author." The scarey part is, the conclusions Danny draws are disturbingly similar to real opinions one hears all too often on the street!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Wildfires Prompt Manitoba to Clamp Travel Restrictions on Southeastern Area

Government of Manitoba News Release.

Hot, dry conditions and high winds are driving grass and brush fires in several areas including fires near the communities of St. Malo, Richer, Milner Ridge and Vita.
For latest conditions, check here.
Firefighters battle a raging brush fire that is threatening 
homes in Winnipeg.  WINNIPEG FREE PRESS) 
                FIRE UPDATE
New Travel Restrictions Introduced

The Office of the Fire Commissioner, Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship, and the Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization continue to support municipalities and fire departments with fires in southeast Manitoba.

Hot, dry conditions and high winds are driving grass and brush fires in several areas including fires near the communities of St. Malo, Richer, Milner Ridge and Vita.  Non-essential personnel are asked to avoid these areas as conditions are changing quickly.

Municipal and provincial staff are also working with the municipalities of Grahamdale and St. Laurent to address fires.

The community of Vita issued an evacuation order earlier today.  Area residents are being directed to a reception centre in Steinbach.  The bridge west of the community has burned and there is no access from the west on PR 201.

Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship is providing three water bombers to address the fires near Vita and Richer.  Two water bombers from Ontario are also providing assistance.

The department is also introducing backcountry travel restrictions in the eastern region effective immediately.  This includes the area east of PR 302 to the Ontario border and south of the TransCanada Highway to the U.S. border.  Backcountry travel is now allowed by permit only.

Monday, October 1, 2012

2012 US Drought: Pick Your Poison

By Brian Bienkowski The Daily Climate

As harvest season gets underway, farmers find drought-stressed crops are susceptible to toxins and contaminants, further reducing yields. Details here.

By Charles Abbott WASHINGTON

Global Fisheries Approaching Collapse

A new report by the Sustainable Fisheries Group (SFG) has confirmed the suspicions held by many researchers that the thousands of fisheries that there isn’t much data on, that’s nearly 80 percent of the world’s fisheries, are in steep decline but could potentially recover to a degree if they are properly managed. Full story here.

Photo credit:  Ecology Action Centre.

Pipeline Whistleblower: Cracks in The System

By Andrew Nikiforuk, Today,

An insider ties poor weld inspections to rising rate of ruptures. Part two of a Tyee investigation. Full story 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...