Showing posts from January, 2014

Scientists Question Why Ottawa Hired Top oil Lobbyist to Advise Government on Lakes Facility Studying Pollution

National Post One of Canada’s most prominent oil lobbyists was hired to advise the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on the Experimental Lakes Area, a freshwater research facility that the federal government ordered shut in 2012. Details here.

California May Have Hit Its Driest Point In 500 Years And The Effects Are Frightening

Huffington Post Cities are running out of water. Communities are fighting over what little water there is. Local governments are imposing rationing coupled with steep fines. Fires are ravaging the state. Entire species and industries are threatened. Full story here.

NGO Community Condemns Yukon Government Peel Announcement

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) Whitehorse – The Yukon Conservation Society (YCS) and CPAWS Yukon are condemning Yukon Government’s announcement today that they are throwing out the Peel Watershed Planning Commission’s Final Recommended Plan and instead implementing government’s own unilateral plan for the region.  This new plan will see 71% of the region opened up for staking. Full story here.

Enbridge - Another Cautionary Video

Rail Versus Pipeline is the Wrong Question

Dr. David Suzuki Debating the best way to do something we shouldn't be doing in the first place is a sure way to end up in the wrong place. Details here. Related: "Have our Servants Become our Masters?" "More Oil Spilled From American Trains ini 2013 Than in the Four Previous Decades."

Hundreds of Millions of Hectares, Nearly the Size of Brazil, Face Degradation Threat - UN Report Warns

United Nations Implications on Food Security and Natural Systems. Details here.

The "Shame on Canada" Music Video

Why Climate Deniers Have No Scientific Credibility: Only 1 of 9,136 Recent Peer-Reviewed Authors Rejects Global Warming    James Lawrence Powell . I have brought my previous study (see  here  and  here)  up-to-date by reviewing peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals over the period from Nov. 12, 2012 through December 31, 2013. I found 2,258 articles, written by a total of 9,136 authors. Only one article, by a single author in the  Herald of the Russian Academy of Sciences , rejected man-made global warming. I discuss that article  here . Full story here.

NOAA Says World in 2013 Was Fourth Hottest on Record

PhysOrg Sunset. PLT photo. The average world temperature was 58.12 degrees (14.52 Celsius) tying with 2003 for the fourth warmest since 1880, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Tuesday. Full story here.

More Oil Spilled From American Trains in 2013 Than in Previous 4 Decades, Federal Data Show

McClatchy Washington Bureau A Canadian National freight, as seen from a Via Rail passenger train, parked on a siding. These "close encounters" are a common occurrence in Canada, where passenger trains need to yield the right-of-way to the freights. (PLT movie.) More crude oil was spilled in U.S. rail incidents last year than was spilled in the nearly four decades since the federal government began collecting data on such spills, an analysis of the data shows. Details here.

Sochi Residents Blame Games for Ecological Damage

(Reuters) - The first warning of the problems that eventually swept away Irina Vorochkova's house near Russia's Olympic city of Sochi came when the garden began shifting, then the ground slid away downhill towards a river. Details here.

The Insurance Industry Licks its Wounds in the Wake of Catastrophic Storm Damage in the Year Just Passed

Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog Earth set a new record for billion-dollar weather disasters in 2013. Full story here. Southern Alberta, summer, 2013.

Alberta Leads the Country in "Exploiting" Natural Places

iPolitics While this may not come as a shock to Neil Young, who’s  compared the oil sands to Hiroshima , a national study suggests that  Alberta has disturbed more natural landscape than any other province . The analysis by Global Forest Watch adds that Wild Rose Country also has two of the three areas in Canada where the rate of disturbance is the highest. Those disruptions included everything from roads to seismic lines to clearcuts to croplands. “This is a simple monitoring analysis that should be done and could very easily be done by the feds,” the report’s author Peter Lee said Monday. “(But) they’re not doing it.”

It's Hitting the Fan Over Sewage in Manitoba (Again)

Winnipeg Free Press Opponents outraged as St. Clement's lagoon OK'd. Details here. Related:  The Rural Municipality of Shell River, Manitoba, Scraps Plans for a New Sewage Lagoon at a Controversial Location "Born of the Stump"

Born of the Stump - by John Fefchak

Preamble by  by Larry Powell This article sprouts from the fertile mind of John Fefchak, a writer from Virden, Manitoba and a regular contributor to this blog. (It's a refinement of a piece he did, which appeared here some time ago.) I believe you'll find it both funny and provocative. In it, he speaks of modern-day policy-makers forsaking their God-given duty to care for planet Earth. Instead, they have turned their backs on ancient biblical teachings and  abandoned their sacred duty as stewards of our water resources, from which all life springs. "There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jessie,  and a branch shall grow out of his roots." Isaiah 11:1-10  by John Fefchak  INTRODUCTION….THE AGREEMENT. Before there was anything, there was GOD, a few angels and huge swirling globs of rocks and water with no place to go.  The angels asked GOD: "Why don't you clean up this mess"? So GOD collected rocks from the huge swirling

Neil Young Responds to Criticism From Prime Minister’s Office Over Native Rights and Oilsands Issue

That Eric Alper Canadian musician Neil Young has responded to a statement issued by Prime Minister Harper’s office following comments Young made about the Alberta oilsands and the federal government. Full story here.

Eric Marshall 'Disturbed' by Dismantling of Namesake Science Library in Canada

The Tyee "I don't want to have my name associated with empty shelves," biologist says. For nearly three decades, the now-retired scientist built from scratch one of the world's finest collections on freshwater science at the University of Manitoba. Details here.  A dumpster at the Fisheries and Oceans  Canada library in Mont-Joli, Que.,  in an image sent by a federal union official. Related: Secret Memo Raises Questions About Why Government has Closed Libraries Scientists Decry the Dumping of Canadian research

Climate Change Rattles Mental Health of Inuit in Labrador

CBC News 'Grief, mourning, anger, frustration' over environmental changes. Details here.

Manitoba Government Needs to Support Organic Farmers - Green Party

WINNIPEG: “The Green Party of Manitoba is the only party that thinks that putting pesticides on food is a bad idea,” says interim Green leader Alain Landry. “And Manitobans agree. They are increasing the demand for pesticide-free food, and our government is neglecting the organic option.”

CBC Covers Organic Food Issues Well. Conventional? Not So Much!

by Larry Powell The CBC is to be commended for breaking the story about phoney organic products being sold in Canada, including the infamous bakery in BC. It has given this matter extensive coverage, and rightly so.

This Is What Global Warming Looks Like

Climate Central Global warming has accelerated during the past three decades, which have each been unusually warm. In fact, the most recent decade from 2001-2010 was the warmest since instrumental records began in 1850, according to the  World Meteorological Organization (WMO).  While the rate of global warming has slowed in the past several years, possibly due to natural climate variability, the long-term temperature trend clearly shows that we’re living on a warming planet. Full story here.

How Fair is The National in its Coverage of Our Food Production Methods?

PLT: As you may have noticed, the CBC is giving wall-to-wall coverage to  the story about pesticide residues being found in organic food. So, what about the story posted earlier this week on PLT, * "Pesticides Contaminating Prairie Wetlands,  which has huge implications for both our environment and our health? Well, not so much. At least not yet, anyway. So far, it seems to have been reported regionally, only, on CBC Saskatchewan. So I sent the email, below (with a link to that story) to The National this evening. "Hi, Peter. Will The National be carrying *this story? Like the story about pesticides in organic food, I believe it too holds implications for food safety, not to mention a threat to an entire eco-system! Thanks!" We'll see if Peter uses his considerable experience and judgement as a veteran journalist and does the right thing, by giving equal treatment to this latter story, too! If he does not, why not remind him? His email is:

U.S. Government Could Eliminate Restrictions on Corn, Soybean Seeds Modified to Resist Weed Killer

Winnipeg Free Press The federal government in the U.S. has proposed eliminating restrictions on the use of corn and soybean seeds genetically engineered to resist a common weed killer.  Full story here. Ground sprayer - PLT photo

Pesticide 'Contaminating' Prairie Wetlands in Canada: Scientist

CBC News Researcher suggests pesticide may be linked to insect, bird declines. Details here. Please also read:   " Pollinator Protection - Europe Shows Us How It's Done"  (letter)

Concerns About A New Pesticide In Saskatchewan

CBC Radio - Regina University of Saskatchewan Biologist Christy Morrissey is raising some early flags about Neonicotinoids, a controversial family of pesticide used for crops like canola and wheat. She shares her findings with Sheila Coles of CBC Regina. Full story here.

In 2 1/2 Minutes, a Child Shows Us Why We Should "Go Organic!" (Video)

UpInspire This 3rd grader shocked everyone with her experiment that shows the difference between organic and conventional. It changed my mind forever. Watch video here.

Two Big Names Perform For First Nations Beset With "Big Oil" Misery

Neil Young  has announced that he will perform  four benefit shows in his native Canada to raise  money for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation  (ACFN)   Legal Defense Fund . The   “Honour The Treaties”   Very Special Guest,  Diana Krall  will also perform. The  ACFN  refer to themselves as K'ai Taile  Dene, meaning "people of the land of the willow.”   A Legal Defense fund was set up to support the ACFN’s legal challenges against oil companies and government that are obstructingtheir traditional lands and rights. As people of the land theACFN have used andoccupied their traditional lands in the Athabasca region for thousands of years,hunting, trapping, fishing and gathering to sustain themselves and continue spiritualcultural rights passed down through generations. The ACFN’s legal challenges will ensure the protection of their traditional lands, eco-systems and unique rightsguaranteed by  Treaty 8 , the last and largest of the nineteenth centur

Fate of Exxon's Burst Pegasus Pipeline to Be Decided in 2014

Inside Climate News Several other major pipelines intended to transport diluted bitumen from Canada's tar sands could be affected by the Pegasus outcome. Details here.

Canadian Approval of GE Salmon Egg Production Draws Criticism From US Safety Watchdog

Center for Food Safety The Center for Food Safety has denounced the Canadian government’s decision to approve commercial production of genetically modified (GM) salmon eggs on Prince Edward’s Island (PEI). Full story here.

The Silence of the Labs - The Fifth Estate - CBC TV

In the past few years, the government of Canada has cut funding to hundreds of renowned research institutes and programs. Ottawa has dismissed more than 2,000 federal scientists and researchers and has drastically cut or ended programs that monitored smoke stack emissions, food inspections, oil spills, water quality and climate change. Now some scientists have become unlikely radicals, denouncing what they call is a politically-driven war on knowledge. In 'Silence of the Labs', Linden MacIntyre tells the story of scientists - and what is at stake for Canadians - from Nova Scotia to the B.C. Pacific Coast to the far Arctic Circle. Go here to watch video. PLT: This episode will air on January 10th .

The City of Medicine Hat, Alberta and an Oil Company Want Sage Grouse Protection Order Quashed

Canadian Press A southern Alberta city and an oil and gas company are asking the courts to quash a federal emergency order that protects the sage grouse. Full story here.

They’re Feeding WHAT to Cows?

OnEarth 'Poultry litter' is exactly what it sounds like: the filthy stuff scraped off the floor of a chicken coop. Feeding it to cattle (yes, that happens) risks the spread of mad cow disease—yet the FDA has done nothing to stop it. Full story here.

Wal-Mart Recalls Donkey Meat in China

BBC News Wal-Mart has recalled a donkey meat product in China after tests showed that it contained DNA of other animals. Full story here.

The Leader of Canada's Green Party Says Democracy is ‘Slipping Away’ in This Country Green Party leader Elizabeth May says the ballot-box question in 2015 should focus on what's happening to our democracy in Canada. Full story here. Related: " A Wakeup Call From Canada's Green Party Leader. Will Anyone Listen? "

CEO Earnings are a Stark Contrast to the Average Canadian Income

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Five years after a global recession knocked the wind out of Canada’s labour market,  the compensation of Canada’s CEO elite continues to sail along.  Details here. Fall of 2011. Ordinary Canadians  rally at  the Manitoba legislature  to protest against  corporate  greed.  Has anything changed? (PLT Photo)

Could a User Fee Curb Excessive Antibiotics Use?

Summit County Citizens Voice Cattle on a prairie feed lot. PLT photo. Massive use of antibiotics for food (livestock) production is only marginally beneficial and poses a huge long-term risk to human health, researchers in Canada say. Details here.