Showing posts from March, 2013

"Mystery" Malady Kills More US Bees, Heightening Worry on Farms

New York Times BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A "mysterious" malady that has been killing  honeybees en masse for several years appears to have expanded drastically in the 'States last year, commercial beekeepers say, wiping out 40 percent or even 50 percent of the hives needed to pollinate many of the nation’s fruits and vegetables. Details here. PLT; I see researchers and the media insist on clinging to  the line that Colony Collapse Disorder is a "mystery." ("Quotation marks"are mine.) This is tragic since a main contributing factor is pesticides. Period. While this is acknowledged in the story, it never seems to occur to the brightest mind to simply ban the fucking ones we already know to be the worst offenders!   Please also read:   " Chemical Giants, Regulators & Politicians Fiddle While Honeybees Die!"   "Honey Bee Losses in Manitoba." 

Worst-Case Climate Scenario May Backfire on Activists: Study

Huffington Post WASHINGTON -- Climate activists' strategy of barraging people with information about the consequences of climate change could end up hurting the cause, according to a benchmark study released Thursday. Details here.

Canada's Governing Party Blows a Golden Opportunity to Curb the Brutal Practice of "Shark-Finning" on the High Seas

by Larry Powell                    Robert Sopuck, MP for Bottom-Trawling & Shark-Finning.                                                                              It may be deplorable.  But, for the Harper government (and my own MP, Robert Sopuck), not quite deplorable enough. I'm talking about "shark-finning." Each year, worldwide, an estimated 100 million sharks are caught for their fins, only. The sharks, still alive and bleeding, with their fins cut off, are then dumped back into the ocean, either to die a slow death, or be eaten by other predators.  Shark fins are considered a delicacy. While shark fishing is legal off Canada's coasts, finning was banned here years ago. Still, tonnes of fins obtained elsewhere in this manner, often from endangered species, are imported, yearly. So an NDP MP introduced a private members' bill to help curb the practice by simply banning imports into this country. Sopuck (CPC - Dauphin/Swan River/Marquette), sp

Subsidies Play “Significant Role” in Climate Change, IMF Says

Inter Press Service WASHINGTON (IPS) - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is urging national governments around the world to roll back or eliminate subsidies on petroleum-based energy sources, estimating that this alone could result in a 13-percent decline in global carbon dioxide emissions.  Details here.

Ontario Corn Growers, Beekeepers Await Insecticide Review

Country Guide West PMRA reviewing neonicotinoids after Ont., Que. bee losses last spring. Details here. A corn harvester in MB.  PLT photo PLT: This  story seems to suggest there is some doubt that the insecticides mentioned (i.e. the neonicotinoid "family"), actually harm pollinators. Of course they do! So please stop pussyfooting around the issue by suggesting otherwise....or that somehow PMRA's "tinkering" with label wording will clear this up.   An outright ban is the only way to proceed here (as has already been done in some European countries, with great success, I might add). I realize this will never happen in Canada as long as our "regulators" remain in bed with the chemical giants who profit prodigiously from sale of these disgusting poisons....not to mention farmers who read publications such as this. You farmers are surely a cog in the wheel which is crushing our precious pollinators, too... are you not? I'd love to h

Billion Dollar Cleanup of 2010 Michigan Oil Spill to Proceed

InsideClimate News Enbridge, the Canadian corporation proposing to build the Northern Gateway pipeline in Canada, agrees to comply with EPA order to dredge Kalamazoo River.  Details here. PLT: But the NG line won't spill, will it Enbridge?

Manitoba Upgrades Flood Threat, but Says no Repeat of 2011 Levels

Winnipeg Free Press The province upgraded the spring flood threat today in southern Manitoba to moderate to major depending on how the spring melt goes over the next month. Details here. Lake Manitoba - fall, 2011. PLT photo PLT:  The ravages of man-made climate change transcend politics. Sure, governments can tinker around the edges, digging deeper ditches and building higher dams. But ignorance and/or willful neglect of the underlying cause has long-since passed the realm of the criminal in all political parties. Therefore, suggesting that we'd be better off with a party of a different political stripe is fruitless. None - right, left or centre - has achieved the "eco-wisdom" necessary to adopt any plan that might last longer than a single term in office. If we all want to guarantee that this phenomenon, complete with killer storms, floods, droughts and wildfires continues, just keep living the way we are. (i.e. burn as much fossil fuel as we possibly ca

Small and Medium-Sized Canadian Farms Fall Behind While Big Ones Keep on Getting Bigger

Manitoba Co-Operator Level of on-farm investment favours large Canadian farms.. .Details here. PLT photo PLT: The law of the jungle still rules in the Canadian countryside!

Secrets of the Rich

Billionaires are hiding behind a network of “independent” groups, who manipulate politics on their behalf. By George Monbiot... the Guardian  Conspiracies against the public don’t get much uglier than this. As the Guardian revealed last week, two secretive organisations working for US billionaires have spent $118m to ensure that no action is taken to prevent manmade climate change( 1 ). While inflicting untold suffering on the world’s people, their funders have used these opaque structures to ensure that their identities are never exposed. The two organisations – the Donors’ Trust and the Donors’ Capital Fund – were set up as political funding channels for people handing over $1m or more. They have financed 102 organisations which either dismiss climate science or downplay the need to take action. The large number of recipients creates the impression that there are many independent voices challenging climate science. These groups, working through the media, mobilising gu

US Groups Sue Environmental Protection Agency Over Honey Bee Deaths

(Reuters) - U.S. environmental regulators are failing to protect honey bees and their role in pollinating important food crops, and should immediately suspend use of some toxic insecticides tied to the widespread deaths of the bees, a lawsuit charges. Details here.

Major Canadian Pork Processor, Olymel Hints at a Phase-Out of Gestation Crates - But Not for Awhile

The Manitoba Co-Operator Packer/producer's move ahead of revisions to code of care for pigs. Full story here.

Billion Dollar Caribou - Nature of Things - CBC TV

CBC - TV Through its beautiful and elusive Canadian icon - the woodland caribou - and their passionate advocates, Billion Dollar Caribou will reveal that even in the 21st century, the conservation of natural spaces and the species that live there is much contested territory, mired in controversy, drama and debate. Click  here to watch ! PLT: The first show aired last night  (Thurs.) . So please watch for a repeat! I'm also a day late posting the item, below. But, once again, please note the CBC always repeats the shows, both on CBC TV and CBC New Channel!

Dear Manitobans - Fracking May Well be Coming to a Neighbourhood, Town or Park Near You!

....and there will be "frack-all" you can do about it! Please read the Winnipeg Free Press article,  "Shale gas seen as possible new resource here," then watch and learn of this horrific practice on: CBC -The Nature of Things with David Suzuki - - Shattered Ground As reported in the  Winnipeg Free Press , exploration for shale in Manitoba is underway with the potential for the industry to develop within the next ten years. The potential shale formation runs from the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border to Treheme, including the Manitoba Escarpment, Swan Valley, the Porcupine Hills and around Riding Mountain. Province's geologists are (as of January 2012) four years into a study of the province's shale gas potential. Source: Mary Agnes Welch,  Shale Gas seen as Possible new Resource Here , Winnipeg Free Press, January 21, 2012, It is also reported in the news that Petroleum Services Association of Canada predicted 300 new fracke

Via Rail Passengers Stranded Near Unity, Sask. (& Video)

CBC SK:  Whiteout conditions are said to have contributed to the stranding of more than 150 people near Unity, SK since early yesterday. Details here. A wintry view from the train. Winnipeg to Toronto in Feb.'13. A PLT video. Please also read:  "Climate Change and the CNR. -  Are the two already on a collision course, with train travellers caught in the middle?"

Of GM Foods and Harper's Bully-Boys

Dear Editor, Is it now old-fashioned to expect those who govern us, to do so in a decent, respectful way? If it is, then call me old-fashioned. Even for someone painfully aware of the depths to which our democratic system has sunk, especially since the Harperites took over, I was shocked to learn about a bullying incident which played out on Parliament Hill earlier this month.  The Commons Agriculture Committee was meeting to talk about "low-level presence." Before you doze off, it's a topic which everyone who puts food in his mouth, should care about! This government actually wants Canada to start accepting traces of genetically-modified (GM) genes in the food we import, even though those genes have neither been inspected nor approved by our own domestic regulators! A guest appearing before the committee, Lucy Sharratt of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN), opposed this idea. This was hardly surprising, since CBAN's very reason for being is to

Cancer-Causing Toxins in Household Products

Canadian rock-and-roll legend Randy Bachman will be sharing  Environmental Defence’s campaign message , “We Gotta Change” with thousands of people in cities across the country during his current nation-wide tour -  Vinyl Tap Tour: Every  Song Tells A Story .  He’ll assist in raising awareness both on and off stage about chemicals with links to cancer that are found in many commonly used household products in Canada, and share with fans the effects on human health and the environment. If you’re interested in attending one of Randy’s concerts during his tour, visit  his website  for tour dates and to purchase tickets. Photo courtesy of  Randy Bachman's website

Ottawa Seeks Emergency Cleanup of Abandoned Northern Mine

CTV News YELLOWKNIFE -- Federal officials are scrambling to clean up a crumbling, abandoned northern gold mine that is in imminent danger of releasing massive amounts of arsenic, asbestos and other toxins. Details here.

Arsenic Kills Thousands of Sri Lankans While Health Ministry Slumbers

The Sunday Leader - an English-language, Sri Lankan newspaper. Although the Health Ministry denies that the Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) slowly killing thousands in the North Central, Eastern, Wayamba, Ruhuna and Uva Provinces is due to pesticides and fertilisers containing arsenic being used for agriculture, studies now confirm that the use of fertilizer has contaminated… Details here.

New Research Tracks 11,300 Years of Climate

Winnipeg Free Press Scientists have a good sense of what the Earth’s climate has been like over the past handful of centuries. But what about many thousands of years back? Details here.

Great Lakes Experiencing 'New Stresses'

CBC Radio Pharmaceutical waste, fertilizers and climate change all new threats to fresh water. Full story here.

UK Set to Scupper Ban on Pesticides Linked to Bee Harm

the guardian Environment secretary not expected to support proposal despite poll showing almost three-quarters of the UK public wants ban. Details here. Bumble bees on chives.  PLT photo

It's Just Horse, of Course. But Don't Lie About It!

Laura Rance - Winnipeg Free Press It doesn't matter how you dice it, the discovery of horsemeat in European meat products raises some awkward questions for the global meat industry. Details here. PLT photo

Dead-Pig Tide Shows China Learned Little From SARs

Winnipeg Free Press The dead pigs started appearing on the riverbanks of Shanghai’s iconic Huangpu River on March 4, and by the weekend, state media were reporting that 900 had been found floating in the river, the source of much of the city’s water supply. Details here.

BC Should Protect its Rockies for Grizzlies, Wolverines: Conservation Group

The Tyee A conservation group says British Columbia should establish "safe havens" for wildlife in the southern Rockies to preserve habitat where animals will be able to flee the effects of climate change. Details here.

Fossil Fools Day - March 27, 2013

What do you call an industry that is planning to cook the planet? An industry responsible for destroying land, polluting the air and water and violating the rights of people around the world? An industry who'se business model means burning over three times the amount of carbon our planetary budget can handle? They are Fossil Fools, and on March 27th we're declaring Fossil Fools Day. A national day of student action across Canada, we're going to take aim at the Fossil Fools on our campuses. We'll follow it up on April 1st with a special April Fools online action to send a message to the Fossil Fools! Already nearly a dozen fossil fuels divestment campaigns have started up on campuses across the country, with more ready to launch in the coming weeks. March 27th will be a chance for us all to stand together as one and show Canada and the world the rising student power to take on climate injustice. This has the chance to be the largest student day of

We Are Bradley Manning

Chris Hedges  - TruthDig I was in a military courtroom at Fort Meade in Maryland on Thursday as Pfc. Bradley Manning admitted giving classified government documents to WikiLeaks. Details here.

Dancing the World into Being: A Conversation with Idle No More’s Leanne Simpson

Yes! magazine  Naomi Klein speaks with writer, spoken-word artist, and indigenous academic Leanne Betasamosake Simpson about “extractivism,” why it’s important to talk about memories of the land, and what’s next for Idle No More. Details here.

Will You Help to Protect the Sage Grouse?

Dear Larry, It is like nothing you've ever seen before. This charismatic, five pound bird, with a spikey tail and a plump, brownish-gray body struts, swishes, pops and whistles. He puffs out sacs from his incredible white chest and erects his head back and forth in a beautiful dance trying to attract a mate. You’re seeing the Greater Sage-grouse and he is performing a ritual that has gone on for centuries, a ritual that could be lost forever,   if we don't act now . 

US ‘State Department’ Keystone XL Report Actually Written By TransCanada Contractor

grist a beacon in the smog The State Department’s “ don’t worry ” environmental impact statement for the proposed Keystone XL tarsands pipeline, released late Friday afternoon, was written not by government officials but by... Full story here. PLT: This needs to be called what it is. Fraud.   Please also read: The Unsung Victims of the XL Pipeline , here.

Tar Sands Even More Harmful That Previously Believed?

Dear Larry, New  Ecojustice research confirms  that upgrading oil extracted from  Alberta’s oilsands is indeed a nasty bit of business that puts waterways,  fish and people at risk. The burning and combustion required to transform raw bitumen into  synthetic crude oil comes at a heavy cost: the release of airborne  pollutants — some of which have been found to cause cancer in humans  and impact the development and survival of fish.  Our research shows that these toxic substances are making their way into  the Athabasca River, contaminating a waterway that holds ecological,  cultural and commercial significance for the people who live along its  shores. The river is also a vital life source for many wildlife species; it is  home to more than half of the province’s fish species. Learn more about Ecojustice’s research here But that’s just part of the story. Because even though the oilsands are one  of the biggest industrial projects on the planet, the federal

While Canada Drags its Feet, US and Russia Unite in Bid to Strengthen Polar Bear Protection

the guardian Proposal to ban international commercial trade in polar bear products sets up showdown with Canada over a key vote. Full story here. PLT: Once again, the "regressive Conservatism" of the Harperites rears its ugly head. When, oh when will we be rid of them?

Ice Melt to Expand Arctic Shipping by Midcentury

Los Angeles Times Loss of sea ice due to global warming could open new seasonal shipping lanes through the Arctic Ocean by midcentury, sharply reducing transit times and opening a Pandora's box of safety, environmental and legal issues, according to scientists. Full story here.

China Has Good Reason to Embrace a Carbon Tax

By: Gwynne Dyer The announcement last week by China’s ministry of finance that the country will introduce a carbon tax, probably in the next two years, did not dominate the international headlines. It was too vague about the timetable and the rate at which the tax would be levied, and fossil fuel lobbyists were quick to portray it as meaningless. But the Chinese are deadly serious about fighting global warming, because they are really scared. Details here.

Unsung Victims of the XL Pipeline

by Larry Powell It's nothing but another act of criminal negligence. I n their coverage of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) into the proposed Keystone XL pipeline,  our corporate media have flagrantly ignored the lowly creatures we share Planet Earth with; creatures which will be pushed closer to extinction if this project proceeds. According to that same EIS, no less than 13 animal species, already declared endangered under federal "laws," "could be impacted" by the proposed project.  Impacted? They're already endangered! Ah, what the Hell! Let's run 'em down! They don't count anyway!  Here is the havoc this massive, misguided project will wreck on the plants and animals of our natural world which happen to be in its way. Remember, the passages below are taken directly from the EIS. "• Habitat loss, alteration, and fragmentation;  • Direct mortality during construction and  operation, including collision with

Pressure Mounting to Ban Bee-Killing Pesticides

Glasgow Herald Scottish ministers are under mounting pressure to defy the Westminster government and back a European ban on toxic pesticides which are blamed for killing bees. Details here. Bumble Bees on sunflower. PLT photo PLT; At least civilized societies such as this see the need for action. Sadly, here in Canada, the hearts and brains of the Harperites turned to stone long ago.

A Better Plan Than 'Endless Growth': Enough Is Enough

Common Dreams by Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill The World Economic Forum held its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland last month.  The official theme was "Resilient Dynamism," a catchphrase that makes about as much sense as... Details here.

Loss of Wild Pollinators Serious Threat to Crop Yields, Study Finds

the guardian                                                          Photo credit: Graham Powell photography. Wild bees and other insects are twice as effective as honeybees in producing seeds and fruit on crops.  Details here.