Showing posts from 2013

2014: The Year of Living Consciously

Murray Dobbin - Two of the big storms hitting Canada in the last year were not just terrifying and incredibly damaging -- they were a little spooky. Details here. Please also read: "Have Our Servants Become Our Masters? Why fossil fuels are no longer our friends."

Climate Change is Always the Issue (letter)

Winnipeg Free Press Get serious. Whenever we discuss fossil fuels, climate change is the issue. Details here. Flooding in Manitoba - 2011 (PinP photo)

Secret Memo Casts Doubt on Claims by the Government of Canada Concerning the Closure of Government Libraries

Andrew Nikiforuk - THE TYEE Goal stated is 'culling' research, not preserving and sharing through digitization. Full story here.

Canadian Government Slashes Funding For Water Protection More than $100 million in cuts are underway at the federal department in charge of protecting Canada’s water and oceans, despite recommendations from top bureaucrats that it needs to increase spending for both environmental and economic reasons. Full story here.

Solar Activity Not a Key Cause of Climate Change, Study Shows

Science News Climate change has not been strongly influenced by variations in heat from the sun, a new scientific study shows. Full story here.

Stop Bayer From Killing Bees!

Sum of + Us Larry, Bayer is suing Europe to overturn the landmark ban on bee-killing pesticides -- and we're excited to announce  we're joining the legal battle to make sure Bayer fails. Europe's bee-saving ban has only just gone into force, but Bayer is fighting in the courts to overturn it. If Bayer wins, it will be a huge setback for the bees -- and so we're asking the European Court of Justice to let us join in the case and defend the ban.

China Rejects Over Half-a-Million Tons of US Corn After Finding an Unapproved Genetically Modified Strain

Winnipeg Free Press BEIJING, China - China has rejected 545,000 tons of imported U.S. corn found to contain an unapproved GM strain, the country's product safety agency announced Friday. Details here.

Outsourcing is Short-Sighted

Winnipeg Free Press My initial impression upon reading your Dec. 16 editorial Gear Canada to create new jobs was that the writer was indulging in sarcasm. Sadly, as I read on I realized that the message is that manufacturing and agricultural jobs are better off going off-shore, allowing goods to crisscross continents and oceans before landing on our plates or stores. Details here.

Legal Expert Warns Canada-EU Trade Agreement Could Damage Sovereignty

International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) The draft agreement "will provide foreign investors into Canada with the most investor-friendly set of corporate rights ever drafted by the Canadian government into a treaty. "  Full story here. IISD legal expert, Howard Mann

In Northern Gateway Pipeline Decision, Economics Trumped All Else

Inside Climate News "Canadians will be better off with this project than without it." - Review Panel. Details here. Related: "Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel doesn’t address aboriginal concerns, says federal adviser" "G ateway Pipeline Recommendations Ignore Citizens - PLEASE TAKE ACTION!"

We Need a Mandatory Ban on Sub-Therapeutic Doses of Antibiotics for Livestock—in the US (and Canada! PLT)

Organic Consumers Association  More than 36 years ago the U.S. Food & Drug Administration acknowledged there was a problem with the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms. In March 2012, the courts forced the FDA's hand. Finally, last week, the  FDA announced a plan to curb the routine use of sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics to treat and fatten up livestock on factory farms. But the mostly voluntary, loophole-riddled “plan” falls far short of what scientists say is needed to stop the spread of antibiotic-resistant superbugs that now pose a real and widespread danger to public health. Details here.  Related: "Food and Drug Administration in the US Moves To Phase Out Widespread Use Of Antibiotics In Meat "

Chemicals Causing Cancer and Infertility Found at Fracking Sites

Huffington Post Hormone-disrupting chemicals linked to cancer, infertility and a slew of other health problems have been found in water samples collected at and near hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," sites in Colorado, according to a new study published in the journal Endocrinology this week. Details here.

Gateway Pipeline Recommendations Ignore Citizens - PLEASE TAKE ACTION!

Make your voice heard Photo  Marco Guada  via Flickr Many people are upset by the Joint Review Panel’s recommendation to go ahead with the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline . However, don’t despair over the holidays -- this is far from over. This recommendation does not mean the pipeline will be built. Right now it’s time to take action. Send a message of support to the 130 First Nations that still oppose the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline .  

Freedom for the Arctic 30!

Greenpeace Hi Larry, Big news! The Arctic 30 have been granted amnesty. Earlier today the Russian government agreed to amend an amnesty bill to include the Arctic 30, and just now the bill was officially adopted by their parliament. This means legal proceedings against them will be halted and they should be home soon. I can almost hear the collective sigh of relief, but the Arctic 30 have said they’re not celebrating. They’ve all spent two months in jail for a crime they didn’t commit, and faced criminal charges that were absurd. As Pete Willcox, captain of the Arctic Sunrise, said: “There’s no amnesty for the Arctic.”

Manitoba Doing Better Than Most in Conserving Woodland Caribou

Winnipeg Free Press A study to see how well Canadian jurisdictions are responding to Ottawa's’s National Recovery Strategy for Caribou gives Manitoba a medium grade.  Details here.

A Greenpeace Cartoon for the Season

PLT: Arctic ice has increased, for now. But global warming  is not over, scientists warn.

What Would "Madiba" Have Done?

by Larry Powell Prime Minister Harper's attendance at the funeral of Nelson Mandela has conjured up some fascinating scenarios for me. While South Africa's repression of its black people will live on in infamy, Canada's treatment of our own indigenous people has hardly been exemplary, either.  So, if Mandela, who so famously led his people out of bondage, were Prime Minister of Canada, what would he do here?  Would he be;  slashing grants to native organizations?  refusing to hold a public inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women?  passing legislation (using closure) which leaves traditional native territories vulnerable to disruptive and polluting projects? rubber-stamping expansion of the tar sands which has, for years, been sickening the people of the Fort Chipewyan First Nation, downstream with rare cancers and other diseases?  cheerleading massive pipeline projects that cross pristine wilderness and fragile marine ecosystems on the door

Arctic Sea Ice Increases Dramatically.

The Independent The bad news is: it's still half the level is was in the 1980s.   Details  here.

Canada's Gabriel Resources Gold Plans Suffer Setback in Romanian Parliament

The Independent A parliamentary vote in Romania has rejected revisions to a new mining law that would have allowed Gabriel Resources, a Canadian mining company, to create Europe’s largest open cast gold mine in a Transylvanian village. Full story here . Related: " Another Canadian Mining Company Faces Criminal Allegations"

Good news! You created a lot of buzz...

        Dear Larry, Thank you for being part of our campaign to help save the bees! I didn’t need to tell you how important the bees and other pollinators were to our ecosystem and food supply--you understood the situation was dire, took action and made a difference. So here are the numbers: Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) comment period on neonicotinoid pesticides closed this past Thursday, December 12th having received  10,241  comments from YOU (via the Sierra Club Canada website). Pat yourself on the back – you deserve it. Obviously we cannot rest on our laurels as there’s much more to be done, but it’s important to take a moment and be proud of our accomplishments to date .

Another Canadian Mining Company "Does its Dirties" to a Sovereign Country - Shame!!!

Dec 11 at 3:08  PM Infinito Gold is threatening a $1 billion lawsuit against Costa Rica for rejecting a toxic, open-pit gold mine after massive protests from local citizens. Tell Infinito Gold to drop its lawsuit against Costa Rica. Dear Larry, Infinito Gold, a Canadian mining company, just  slapped Costa Rica with a $1 billion lawsuit because the nation decided to protect its rainforests rather than host an open-pit gold mine. Costa Rica’s  rainforest is lauded as one of the most beautiful in the world , and is home to many endangered species, including the green macaw. Officials considered approving the gold mine, but the use of toxic chemicals such as cyanide -- which often leaks into and pollutes nearby lakes and rivers -- was  far too great a risk to allow the project to move forward. A subsidiary of  Infinito Gold has announced that a massive lawsuit against Costa Rica is “imminent”, so we need to act now.  If thousands of us stand together against thi

NAFTA Environmental Body Asks Ottawa to Respond to Oilsands Waste Concerns

The Canadian Press  A North American trade body has asked Ottawa to respond to allegations that it has failed to enforce its own laws when it comes to oilsands waste known as tailings. Full story here.

Exploration Company to Lose Drilling (Fracking) Licence Near Newfoundland's Gros Morne Park

InfoTel Multimedia An oil exploration company says it will lose its licence next month to drill wells near Gros Morne National Park in western Newfoundland. Details here.

Ottawa to Designate Crude Oil as Highly Dangerous

The Globe and Mail The federal government will, for the first time, designate crude oil a highly dangerous substance and introduce tougher safety and testing measures for shipping oil by rail.  Details here. Related: " Have Our Servants Become Our Masters? "

Food and Drug Administration in the US Moves To Phase Out Widespread Use Of Antibiotics In Meat

Huffington Post Citing a potential threat to public health, the Food and Drug Administration moved Wednesday toward phasing out the use of some antibiotics in animals processed for meat. Details here. PigsKichiroSato/AstdPrs.jpg

Fracking Protest Leads to Bigger Debate Over Indigenous Rights in Canada

Aljazeera A single campaign in one of   the country's smallest provinces is now a flashpoint for land rights of First Nations communities. Full story here.

Earth's Atmosphere to Take Beating at World Cup

Associated Press The World Cup may be great for planet soccer, but it isn't so good for planet Earth. Details here.

The Government of Canada Shuts Down "World Class" Collection on Freshwater Science and Protection.

Image Dismantling of Fishery Library 'Like a Book Burning,' Say Scientists. Details here. Gimli, Manitoba on Lake Winnipeg. PLT photo

Another Canadian Mining Company Faces Criminal Allegations

OCCRP A subsidiary of the Canadian mining company, Gabriel Resources, is under investigation in Romania for money laundering and tax evasion. According to The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project  (OCCRP) ,  Romanian prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (RMGC). It holds a license to exploit the largest open-pit gold mine in Europe. The project has been stalled in recent years amid widespread protests throughout eastern Europe, mainly from people concerned about its environmental impact.             These photos show the kind of environmental mess created by mining which has gone on in the area since the time of the Romans. (l.) An old mine machine crumbles into dust. (r.)  Acid rock leakage seeps from a drainage pipe.   Gabriel says it will clean things up because it is committed to "responsible mining and sustainable development."  (Photos by Gabriel Resources.) The proposed mine is no stran

The Harperites Approve Yet Another Tarsands Mine, Thumbing Their Noses at Mother Earth and First Nations People.

The Canadian Press  Shell Canada's Jackpine oilsands mine expansion plan has received the go-ahead from Ottawa, despite the environment minister's view that it's "likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects." Details here.

A New Study Hints at Further Trouble Ahead for Earth's Embattled Forests

by Larry Powell Trees around the world, including places like Canada's boreal forest, are dying from drought induced by our changing climate - and have been for years. This has been recognized in peer-reviewed studies, including one by a team of experts at the University of Quebec, published in the respected journal, NatureClimateChange,   two years ago. The Canadian Rockies. PLT photo But a more recent study, this one reported in the Canadian Journal of Forest Research  suggests further trouble ahead, this time in another eco-system. This time, a team of US researchers analyzed the relationship between growth and climate on the six most abundant subalpine tree species (growing on the higher slopes) in California's Sierra Madre mountains - and how that relationship evolved for well over a century.  In an e-mail to PLT, one of the researchers, Christopher Dolanc of the University of California, Davis, states, "Increasing drought-stress may eventually stun

Farm Groups on the Canadian Prairies Want Ottawa to Penalize Railways for Grain Shipment Backlog

Winnipeg Free Press Prairie farm groups frustrated by delays in shipping grain this fall want the federal government to do more to penalize rail companies that don't deliver crops in a timely way. Details here. Surplus grain stored on  a  Manitoba  field. PLT stock photo.

PLT Slams Manitoba for its Blasé Attitude Toward Arsenic

by Larry Powell Why is the Government of Manitoba clinging to its monumentally callous practise of releasing arsenic into the environment? After all, the deadly nature of the poison is hardly a deep, dark secret. Have Premier Selinger and his Minister responsible for the environment, Gord Mackintosh, never heard of the Borgias? They're the infamous Italian family who rose to power in the Church, using arsenic to murder people for their money and property. And that was way back in the middle ages.  Known even then as "The King of Poisons," a single dose the size of a pea was said to dispatch a victim with "violent abdominal cramping, diarrhea, vomiting and shock."  Has no one with our provincial government ever read the classic, groundbreaking book, "Silent Spring?" It was written back in the 60s, but has well stood the test of time. In it, its highly-respected author, Rachel Carson reminded the world that arsenic found in chim

Belo Monte Justice Now! Please Sign Petition (Video)

Will Typhoon Haiyan Change World Attitudes? Don't Hold Your Breath! (Letter)

Dear Editor, You have to wonder how many more monster storms it's going to take before the world takes meaningful action on climate change. Just one example is Haiyan, the "super-typhoon" which devastated vast areas of The Philippines this month. It was the biggest storm to hit land, ever!  A poor Filipino man living and working right here in my home community of Neepawa apparently lost as many as 30 members of his family in this horrible tragedy. As the storm was raging, his country's Chief Climate Negotiator was making a tearful appeal at a UN conference in Poland. He pled for an end to the "madness," of climate change. He asked that we turn away from our addiction to fossil fuels, which is the root-cause of it all.  Many climatologists remain reluctant to link any single storm, including this one, to climate change. But they have repeatedly warned that warmer oceans brought about by rising global temperatures, stoke the ferocity of both wind and w

Climate Change Driving Weather off the Charts

Earth Policy Institute The world is literally moving off the charts. With the global average temperature up over half a degree Celsius since the 1970s and with more warming in store, we are starting to witness weather anomalies so severe we need to update our metrics and extend our graphs. Details here.

UN Court Orders Russia To Release Greenpeace Crew and Ship

Huffington Post BERLIN (AP) — A U.N.-mandated tribunal has ordered Russia to immediately release a Greenpeace ship and its crew in return for a 3.6 million euro ($5 million) bond. Details here.

Green Party of Manitoba Searches for a New Leader

by Larry Powell - GPM member James Beddome, leader of the Green Party of Manitoba for the past five years, (above, centre) has resigned. Beddome told the Party's recent Annual General Meeting in Winnipeg, he was leaving with regret, but that it would be unfair to carry on due to the increasing duties required by his law career. As he put it, "The interests of my (law) clients must come first."  He did make it clear, however, it was not his intention to break his  ties with the party. On the contrary, he added, it was "quite likely" he would continue to serve one way or another, even as a candidate.  I met this dedicated young man with a ready sense of humour, at a public event in Brandon a few years ago. It was both educational and fun as we tried to convince a sometimes reluctant media to carry our message that the provincial government needed to ban harmful pesticides used on lawns just to make them look good.   Now, a scant few years later, the

A Talisman Frackwater Pit in British Columbia Leaked for Months, Kept From Public

the COMMONSENSE CANADIAN A pit storing contaminated fracking water in northeast BC was leaking into the surrounding soil and groundwater for up to six months before owner Talisman formally notified.. Details here.

Feeding the Flame of Revolt

OpEd News - by Chris Hedges New York - I was in federal court here Friday for the sentencing of  Jeremy Hammond  to 10 years in prison for hacking into the computers of a private security firm that works on behalf of the government, including the Department of Homeland Security, and corporations such as Dow Chemical. Details here.

Arctic 30 Day 59: Global solidarity protests

Greenpeace Hi Larry, 263 cities, 43 countries. Today, thousands of people took their outrage over the ongoing detention of the Arctic 30 straight to the doorsteps of Russian embassies and oil giants Shell and Gazprom. In a massive global day of action people all over the world demanded the release of the Arctic 30 and showed the oil companies that we will not let them get away with the silencing of peaceful protest.

Stop the Bee-Killing Lawsuit Against the EU! - Please Donate!

Some +Us In just 3 weeks, Bayer could succeed in defeating the bees' best chance of survival   -- by overturning Europe's landmark ban on the pesticides that are killing them. Details here. Bees on sunflower. PLT photo.

Blame Canada’s Carbon Complacency for the Philippine Typhoon

CommonSenseCanadian Anyone who thinks that this typhoon is not due to the atmospheric disruption and rising sea levels resulting from our changing climate has their head firmly planted in the comfortable soil of ignorance, ideology or both. Details here.

US Backs Away From Years of Commitment to Producing Ethanol Fuel Additive

Huffington Post The Obama administration wants to reduce the amount of ethanol in the nation's fuel supply, acknowledging the biofuel law championed by both parties in 2007 is not working as well as expected. Full story here. Related: Bursting the ethanol bubble.

Harper and Enbridge Join Forces on Lawsuit

Dear Larry, Big Oil and the Harper government have officially tied the knot.  It’s now ForestEthics Advocacy and Co-Plaintiff Donna Sinclair vs.  the Federal Government, the National Energy Board (NEB) and  Enbridge Pipelines Inc. A Federal Appeals Court Judge recently ordered that Enbridge  could  join our lawsuit as a Co-Respondent. In its Motion to  intervene,  Enbridge argued that any delay in its plans to transport  tar sands crude  through its Line 9b pipeline—running from Sarnia  to Montreal and through  Toronto—would hurt its bottom line. In fact,  they said their economic rights  were at stake in describing their  legal  interest in the outcome of this lawsuit. Enbridge's position couldn't be clearer: Profits trump YOUR  DEMOCRATIC RIGHT to speak freely about tar sands pipeline  projects at hearings conducted by the NEB. Well, we have a message for Enbridge that they can't bury under the  weight of their hefty financial

Hydro's Nelson River Sturgeon Plan Problematic: Expert

Winnipeg Free Press  A Canadian expert on lake sturgeon poured cold water Wednesday on Manitoba Hydro’s plans to re-stock the Nelson River with the prehistoric fish after the Keeyask generating station is built. Full story here.

Resurrecting a River

OnEarth Parched for more than half a century, California’s San Joaquin -- and its salmon -- are coming back. Details here.

It's Business That Really Rules Us Now

The Guardian Lobbying is the least of it: corporate interests have captured the entire democratic process. No wonder so many have given up on politics. Full story here.

Writers Come To My Defence For My Letter About Fossil Fuels & Climate Change

PLT: It all began back in October when the Roblin Review  (a weekly paper printed in Roblin, Manitoba, CA),  published  my letter/article which I've dubbed, "Have Our Servants Become Our Masters?" In it, I suggested such fuels had now become a human "addiction" and were no longer our friends because of the role they are playing in climate change, severe weather events and even rail disasters. Another writer, John Titanich responded, accusing me of being out to kill Canadian jobs with a bunch of "disgusting drivel." That, in turn, sparked the two letters, below, (also in The Review) plus my own response, here. Larry Dear Editor, If John Titanich has a little spare time on his hands, I will suggest that he might learn a lot more from some serious reading, as to what is actually happening and taking place on our planet….earth!  We are 100

The Philipine's Chief Climate Negotiator Goes on Hunger Strike to Protest World Inaction on Climate Change (Video)

PLT: Democracy Now captured this brave man's speech (below) at the climate summit in Warsaw. Holding back tears during its dramatic delivery, he took his seat, and wept. Will the world weep with him? One can only hope. Watch the video here. Related: "Have Our Servants Become Our Masters?"

Typhoon Haiyan: What Really Alarms Filipinos is the Rich World Ignoring Climate Change

The Guardian Now that Haiyan has battered the Phillipines, the political elites at the UN climate talks will again leave poor countries to go it alone. Full story here. Please also read:   Typhoon that devastates Philippines linked to climate change.

CLIMATE ALERT! Given Typhoon Haiyan, UN Must Fully Assess Climate Change Risk and Feedbacks

CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION ALERT            PLEASE SEND, SHARE, LIKE, FORWARD! By ClimateArk a project of Ecological Internet, November 10, 2013 TAKE ACTION to have top scientists fully assess climate risk and feedbacks:

Greenhouse Gas Reduction Called Threat to Oil Industry

CBC Alberta freedom of information document shows industry looking for weak regulations. Details here.

Global Treaty on Mercury Pollution Gets Boost from United States

United Nations Environment Program The United States has strengthened the international effort to bring down emissions and releases of a notorious heavy metal after simultaneously signing and ratifying the Minamata Convention on Mercury. Details here.