Showing posts from February, 2013

Manitobans Want a Pesticide Ban


Save Lake (Winnipeg) Or Live By 'Open-Air Sewer'

Winnipeg Free Press. Author warns province of growing threat. Full story here.

Manitoba Bans Peat Mining In Parks

as well as the site nominated for the UNESCO world heritage  site. Government of Manitoba. No New Peat Licences in the Province  Until Peatland Stewardship Strategy in Place Manitoba is banning peat mining in provincial parks and in the nominated  UNESCO World Heritage Site on the east side of Lake Winnipeg as one of several new peatland protection initiatives through TomorrowNow - Manitoba's Green Plan, Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh announced today. Peat bogs (r.) provide habitat for rare plants.  They also store vast amounts  of carbon,  which  helps  mitigate  the impacts of climate change.  Source:   Wilderness Committee.    "I am proud of our record on parks and protected areas.  Seven million hectares of land, which amounts to almost 11 per cent of the province, are already fully protected and we will continue our work on reducing industrial developments in parks," said Mackintosh.  "While I recognize the

The Green Party of Manitoba Calls for a Moratorium on Mining in Provincial Parks

GRANDVIEW:  The Green Party of Manitoba condemns the NDP government for allowing the Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting company to start construction of a mine in Grass River Provincial Park without approval or public consultation. “If allowed to proceed, the Reed Lake Mine will destroy the woodland Caribou herd which the Park was intended to protect,” says Kate Storey, Green Party councillor and former researcher of the Reed Lake woodland caribou herd. Kate uses radio telemetry to track movements  of woodland caribou at  Reed Lake Grass River Provincial Park is a small park surrounding Reed Lake. This park is a rare area of ideal woodland caribou habitat. Woodland caribou depend on the islands of Reed Lake for protection of their young calves from wolves. Every spring the caribou mothers leave their wintering grounds in old growth forest and swim out to the many islands on Reed Lake where their calves are born in safety. Kate examines a caribou calf. 

Editorial: Unmuzzle Our Scientists

Edmonton Journal A bid by Ottawa to impose sweeping confidentiality rules on an Arctic science project is the latest in a disturbing trend that suggests federal environmental scientists are being systematically silenced from communicating their findings to the public. Details here.

Record Area of Biotech Crops Used in 2012 - Report

Reuters U.S. farmers still lead world in planting GMO crops. Details here. PLT: Unelected agrifood giants like Bayer and Monsanto continue to throw their weight around, dictating the shape of our world food system, while yellow-bellied, elected "lawmakers" sit back and say nothing. They are no better than those who hunker down while the school yard bully beats up on little kids.  

The War on Weeds

The Dominion - News From the Grassroots Canada Goldenrod - a favourite food plant for pollinators - one of the  hundreds  of "weeds"  on Manitoba's hitlist for eradication. PLT photo Manitoba farmers grapple with impacts and legality of municipal herbicide use. Full story here.

Climate Change and the CNR.

Are the two already on a collision course, with Canadian train travellers caught in the middle? by Larry Powell  Uneventful?  Forgettable? Our Via Rail trip from Winnipeg to Toronto this week, would hardly fall into either of those categories. First,  as we waited to board,  our train, The Canadian, was over two hours late arriving at the Winnipeg station from the west.  Larry on a less "eventful" ride  to  Toronto a few years ago. PLT photo. Some of the  passengers who got off there made mention of white-out conditions before their arrival. But others seemed to think the delay was  mainly due to the number of freight trains they had to yield to by pulling over and stopping on sidings along the way. The CNR owns the rail line so their freights always have the right-of-way over trains carrying passengers. This has been the case for many years, so that part has not changed. What seems to be changing is the frequency and duration of those stops. For example,

Going Green, Making Green (Video)

CBC TV - The National  Duncan McCue looks at the booming business of renewable energy in the United States, in spite of its reputation for an addiction to cheap energy. Watch the video here. PLT: Obama puts Harper to shame by recognizing climate change for what it is and doing something about it. Harper has been criminally negligent on this file and ought to be brought up on charges.

India's Rice (Potato and Wheat) Revolution

John Vidal - The Guardian Organic Canadian potatoes. PLT photo In a village in India's poorest state, Bihar, farmers are growing world record amounts of rice, potatoes and wheat with no GM, and no herbicide. Is this one solution to world food shortages? Details here. PLT:  These breakthroughs need to be shouted from the rooftops. Do North American farmers even know about this?  Here in my home province of Manitoba, Canada, commercial potato-growers spray their crops up to 5 times a season with potent fungicides. How healthy is that?  Excellent story, John!

Bhutan Set to Plough Lone Furrow as World's First Wholly Organic Country

The Guardian By shunning all but organic farming techniques, the Himalayan state will cement its status as a paradigm of sustainability. Details here. PLT: How refreshing! If only our neanderthal leaders in North America would watch, listen and learn from this! 

Time's Running out to Protect the Peel!

Show Details Photo Credit - National Geographic. Dear Larry, Time’s running out to  show your support for the Peel ! An historic decision is about to be made about the future of Yukon’s world-famous  Peel Watershed. The  Yukon Government  is about to throw out six years of hard  work and compromise by a diverse range of  stakeholders on the Peel Commission's  proposed management plan for the region, in favour of a proposal  they developed  unilaterally  which would allow roads  and  surface access throughout the region. The battle for the protecting Peel Watershed has become as much an issue of  supporting democracy as it  is one  of  protecting  the landscape. Speak up now to  protect the Peel. We need YOUR voice  to support the Peel Commission’s Final Recommended Plan  for the  Peel. If we don’t  act  now to protect the  Peel, it will be too late.  Take action NOW!

Starving Polar Bears (podcast)

living on earth Polar Bears have long been the poster species for the problem of climate change. But a new paper in Conservation Letters argues that supplemental feeding may be necessary to prevent polar bear populations from going extinct. Polar bear expert Andrew Derocher from the University of Alberta joins Host Steve Curwood to discuss how we can save the largest bear on the planet. Details here. OR; Listen to the podcast, here:

Prairie Conservation and Endangered Species Conference

On February 19 - 22, 2013 the Alberta Prairie Conservation Forum and the Alberta Society of Professional Biologists will jointly host the 10 th Prairie Conservation and Endangered Species Conference (PCESC). Details here. PLT photo (r.) Cape May Warbler. "Use of certain insecticides to control spruce budworms causes steep declines in Cape May Warbler numbers. Logging, especially in the western portion of the species' range, may eventually pose risks to the Warbler because of reduced availability of the mature forests needed to support spruce budworms." (Source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology )

Chalk River's Spent Reactor Rods to be Shipped Through Valley

Ottawa Citizen 'Expedited' approval being sought for shipment of highly radioactive material. Details here. PLT: PSSST...Government of flash.... Nuclear is not "alternative" or "sustainable" energy! It is misguided, expensive and dangerous. Find another way!

Obama Climate Change Poll Finds Majority Supports 'Significant Steps' To Tackle Problem

Huffington Post WASHINGTON -- A wide majority of Americans support President Barack Obama's call to take action on climate change, according to polling… Details here.

Saskatchewan Predicts 'Above-Normal' Spring Runoff

Manitoba Co-Operator That's assuming about-average precipitation from here out.  Details here.  

Six Unions: One Voice

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives This Wednesday, February 13, the six unions operating on the University of Manitoba campus will unite with one voice. Details here.

Manitoba's Sustainable Pastures

Perennial polycultures and Managed Intensive Rotational Grazing (MIRG) By Lydia Carpenter - Manitoba Eco-Journal Permanent Pasture stands can be maintained by use of perennial polycultures that imitate the diversity of natural ecosystems. A diverse grouping of plants consisting of grasses, forbs, and woody species can make up a perenni- al polyculture and be used as pasture for grazing animals (ruminants), including cattle, sheep and goats. Animals on a perennial polyculture can contribute to nutrient cycling and an increase in soil organic matter. Established, maintained and healthy perennial pastures have also been shown to have a large capacity for carbon sequestration. On our farm in Western Manitoba, we have counted over 30 different species of both native and non-native perennials and biennial forages, including nitrogen-fixing legumes such as alfalfa, pea-vine and various species of clover. These plants populate our permanent pasture that maintains a flock of sheep, a

Safeguarding Manitoba's Seal River

Manitoba Eco-Network The largest remaining undammed river in this province's north, the wild, unspoiled essence of the Seal and the lands that feed it, hold a mythic quality in the hearts and minds of those aware of it natural richness. Details here.  Another Manitoba river which, to me, evokes similar sentiments, is the Waterhen, above. PLT photo.

Curbing Food Waste for Human and Environmental Health

World Watch Institute It is said that the US alone wastes enough food to fill every empty stomach in Africa! Details here.  PLT: This is sooo outrageous! When will something be done? Organic salad. PLT photo

Oklahoman Youth Pastor Suspended From KXL Construction Equipment, Locked to Machinery.

Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance A youth pastor locked himself to machinery being used to build the  Keystone XL tar sands pipeline near  Schoolton, Oklahoma this morning. He's taking action to protect the North Canadian River  and  the health of the towns and land it runs through from being irreversibly  damaged by leaks and spills... Details here.  

Lake Winnipeg Most Threatened in World in 2013

'This is the red flag'           CBC News Lake Winnipeg has earned a disturbing new title from the Global Nature Fund (GNF), as the Threatened Lake of 2013. "That this huge Canadian lake is faced with problems similar to those of lakes in more densely populated countries is hard to believe," stated the organization, which is based in Berlin, Germany. Details here. Please also read:  " Of Parrots and Parables. The Silent Majority Must Speak Out." (PLT: Beautiful, if you don't look too close.)

New Era of Food Scarcity Echoes Collapsed Civilisations

Analysis by Lester R. Brown  - Inter Press Service WASHINGTON - The world is in transition from an era of food abundance to one of scarcity. Over the last decade, world grain reserves have fallen by one third. World food prices have more than doubled, triggering a worldwide land rush and ushering in a new geopolitics of food. Full story here. Mayan ruins at  Chichen Itza  Mexico. PLT photo

How I Spent My Summer Vacation (Letter-to-the-Editor)

Dear Editor, Remember when school would start and your teacher would ask you how you spent your summer vacation? While school is now a dim and distant memory for me, last summer is anything but. I spent about ten days of it, flat on my back in the Regina General Hospital, after a near-death experience.  It all started on a dark and stormy night in late June. Like many other folks living in a huge area of the eastern prairies, we suffered property damage in the thousands when a dangerous "plow wind" of well over 100kph struck about midnight, while we were in bed.  (Sadly, it was consistent with what our top scientists have been warning us about for decades: That the climate we humans are changing by our addiction to fossil fuels, is bringing "weather events" which have become way more severe and frequent than they once were.)  The wind buckled our garage door (above), damaged our car inside, blew the tops off several of the spruce trees in our shelter belt

A Case for Civil Disobedience

By: John Bennett - Sierra Club of Canada - Wpg. Free Press OTTAWA — All the benefits Roslyn Kunin attributes to life in Canada in her recent column, including peace and order and good government, came about through civil disobedience. The suffragettes who won women the right to vote did not shy away from it. Details here. First Nations Protestor - Regina. PLT photo

Spruce Point Minesite Mess - a Black Eye for Manitoba (Video)

Wilderness Committee Please also read: Mine Proposed in a Manitoba Provincial Park.

Wildlife in a Warming World

  National Wildlife Federation (US) 'Only by rejecting dirty energy and embracing clean energy solutions — will we begin to alter the path we are on to catastrophic climate change.' Details here . Red Wing blackbird. PLT photo       

Booming Coal Exports Threaten the Great Barrier Reef

living on earth UNESCO is threatening to take the Great Barrier Reef off its list of World Heritage sites in the wake of Australia’s decision to build new coal transport facilities on the Queensland coast. Tim McDonnell of Mother Jones magazine's Climate Desk joins host Steve Curwood to explain how an increase in shipping could damage the vulnerable reef. Details here. PLT: Just when you think human idiocy has reached rock bottom, behold! A new low! If I were an insensitive, heartless beast, I'd be tempted to say I have no sympathy for the victims of the terrible floods and wildfires which have swept that continent in recent years. But I'm not, so I won't! Photo credit - Tourist Destinations

Mine Proposed in a Manitoba, Canada Park

Manitoba Wildlands The Manitoba government is reviewing a new copper mine  in Grass River   Provincial Park. An environmental license  has not been granted. Forest   in the project area has been  cleared, and work on the mineshaft already   commenced  before the public comment period even began. The public  has   until February 19, 2013 to provide comments. Details here. Moose in a SK park. PLT photo PLT: I know at least one NDP "insider" who is dumbfounded because his party and other "progressives" like the Greens have so much in common, yet can't seem to get together in some sort of union. Perhaps this story will help explain why!  Interestingly, a recent Manitoba Wildands poll shows 100% of those asked, want no mines at all in our provincial parks.  So who does our provincial government represent? Rich mining interests or the people?

North Dakota Went Boom

New York Times Magazine It’s hard to think of what oil hasn’t done to life in the small communities of western North Dakota, good and bad. It has minted millionaires, paid off mortgages, created businesses; it has raised rents, stressed roads, vexed planners and overwhelmed schools; it has polluted streams, spoiled fields and boosted crime. Full story here.

US Energy Secretary Steven Chu Resigns, Chastises Climate Deniers And Clean-Energy Critics

Huffington Post In a wide-ranging and sometimes defiant letter to staff announcing his resignation on Friday, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, while highlighting his agency's achievements over the last four years, blasted critics of the administration's investment in the renewable energy market, suggesting that opponents were living in the "Stone Age." Details here.

Harper Names Top Adviser!

Paths Less Traveled would like to congratulate Wiarton Willy on his appointement as Stephen Harper's Chief Advisor on Climate Change!  PLT photo

EU Stands Strong Against Canadian Tar Sands Lobbying

Climate Action Network Canada The European Commission's plan to label dirty fuel could throw a curve ball in Canada's mission to diversify tar sands exports. Full story here.