Showing posts from 2015

Faith vs. Science. Why Can't We Have Both?

by Larry Powell  Do you ever wonder why so many people of faith, especially on the Christian right, still deny the science of climate change? There was yet another example of this in Ken Waddell's editorial, "Assessing change," before Christmas. It appeared in his newspaper, "The Neepawa (MB) Banner." As we all know, Ken has been a respected leader in our community for a long time, in journalism, politics and religion, sometimes adorning his articles with passages from the Bible. In his editorial, he refuses to accept the conclusion now long endorsed by an overwhelming consensus of scientists - that  the burning of fossil fuel by we humans is the major culprit behind our planetary climate crisis.  He even calls the federal and provincial governments "certifiably nuts" for the ways in which they've embraced the recent Paris climate accord.  No one could ever fault Ken for "beating around the bush!" And I don't either - just for bei

Farm Expansion Driving US Native Bee Declines

The Ecologist Bumble bees on chives. PinP photo. Wild bee decline is closely associated with the advance of intensive farming and habitat loss, a new study shows. It follows an earlier paper that linked 'delayed action' decline of wild bees to exposure to pesticides including fungicides - previously considered 'bee-safe'. More here.

2015 Was The Costliest US Wildfire Season Ever

climate progress Burning through over 9.8 million acres — an area roughly the size of Massachusetts and Connecticut combined — the 2015 wildfire season was the most expensive on record. More here.

Need for More Disaster Planning in Rural Manitoba

Manitoba Co-Operator Hoarfrost buildup on power lines has become all-too-common in Manitoba. This was the scene in Dec. 2012. PinP photo. A seminar Jan. 14 in Portage la Prairie will look at how the risk environment is changing in rural Manitoba. Details here.

Thanks, Climate Change. Extreme Weather Wreaking Havoc Across Globe

CommonDreams 'Biblical' flooding in the UK has forced hundreds of evacuations, while fatal storms in U.S. have killed at least 43 people. More here.

There's A Way to Save Our Future. So Why Aren't More People Talking About It?

Common Dreams PinP blogger, Larry Powell,  plants a cover crop on his organic  acreage in Manitoba. (Circa 2000)  PinP photo. Transitioning to organic regenerative agriculture practices 'offers the best, and perhaps our only, hope for averting a global warming disaster.' More here.

Raven Thundersky, Indigenous Health Advocate, Dies at 50

CBC News 'The last thing she did was smile,' Thundersky's daughter Raven-Dominique Gobeil says. Story here.

World's Lakes Are Warming Surprisingly Quickly Due to Climate Change

CBC News Clear Lk. MB.  PinP  photo. Canadian lakes and those that are ice-covered in winter are warming twice as fast as others. Story here.

Life and Death

George Monbiot - the Guardian The remarkable decline in violence between humans suggests that we could also restrain our violence against the planet. More here.

Are we Going to Sit Back And Wait For the Next Mine Waste Disaster?

New Internationalist ‘If the dam had collapsed at night, everyone would have died.’ These chilling words came from…. More here.

Liability for Climate (In)Action: Who Will be Next?

CIEL Center for International Environmental Law This summer, we celebrated a big win for the climate.  In a lawsuit brought by Urgenda and nearly 900 co-plaintiffs against the Dutch government ( Urgenda Foundation et al. v. The Netherlands ), the District Court of The Hague found that the government “acted negligently” when it adopted an unambitious climate policy that poses a threat to human rights in the Netherlands. More here.

The ‘Unfolding Global Disaster’ Happening Right Under Our Feet.

CLIMATEPROGRESS Organic squash in Manitoba.   PinP  photo. With all that’s going on in the world — from record-breaking warm spells to rapidly melting ice sheets — it’s easy to ignore something so seemingly mundane as dirt. But scientists at the University of Sheffield’s Grantham Center for Sustainable Futures suggest that we ignore dirt at our own peril. Details here.

UK to Allow Shale Gas Fracking Beneath National Parks

Reuters British lawmakers have voted in favour of the use of fracking to extract shale gas under national parks, weakening a decision against fracking in national parks made earlier this year and giving shale gas explorers access to more resources. More here.

Climate Denial Alive & Well in Neepawa, Manitoba, Canada. A Prominent, Local "Opinion Leader" Knocks the Climate Deal at the Paris Summit.

The editorial, below, appeared in the latest issue of the Neepawa Banner. It was written by Ken Waddell, the paper's publisher and long-time political, journalistic and religious voice in the community.


onEarth The Paris climate agreement just took away one of climate skeptics’ favourite arguments for inaction. More here.

All's Not Well

on Earth - NRDC Meadowlark  PinP  photo. North Dakota’s oil and gas boom is scaring away grassland birds. More here.

They're Killing the Peace River Valley in BC Now

The Tyee The $9 billion flaying, then drowning of a fertile zone has begun. We still don't know why. More here. More here.

The Shrimp Industry’s Slave Labor Problem Is Even Worse Than We Thought

Munchies Earlier this year, the Associated Press conducted a startling undercover investigation which found that seafood caught by slaves in Myanmar was reaching the shelves of American supermarkets. But now, AP says that a further investigation has revealed that global restaurants and stores—including supposedly conscientious retailers like Whole Foods—are also selling shrimp peeled by slaves. More here.

Don’t Talk About “Trade” at the Global Climate Talks!

IATP Is there an understanding between world governments that any new climate deal shall not include any mention of trade? Some fear that may be the case. More here.

The Story of Drought

IATP Drought has always been a part of the human experience. But the story of drought is more than dry fields. It is the story of famine, migration and conflict. It also is the story of creativity, invention and reorganization. Drought and the issues surrounding it drive much of our technological, political, economic and ecological decision-making. More here.

The World Agrees at Last

The Canadian Chamber participated in the COP21 Climate Conference, which ran from November 30 to December 11. Canadian Chamber staff produced periodic briefing notes to keep our membership apprised of the proceedings and the potential impact for Canadian business. F or  more information,  click here . The World Agrees at Last On Saturday,  history was made as the world adopted the first-ever universal agreement on climate change . The Paris Agreement differs from all previous COP agreements in the sense that it provides a framework for a bottom-up approach to fighting climate change, whereby each country submits its own voluntary plan of action (its INDC). Previous agreements had attempted to implement top-down approaches (e.g., emissions reductions targets by certain years) that placed a heavy burden on developed countries while placing relatively little responsibility on developing nations, as seen in the Kyoto Protocol. The Paris Agreement is legally

NASA: 2015 Will Be ‘A Scorcher Relative To All Other Years’ On Record

ClimateProgress November was so hot globally it’s now over 99.999 percent certain 2015 will be the hottest year on record — driven overwhelmingly by record levels of carbon pollution in the air. More here.

Stop the Wolf cull in BC - PLEASE SIGN!

AVAAZ We can properly protect the mountain caribou and wolves by stopping industrial encroachment on their habitat. PLEASE SIGN HERE.

COP21 Deal Signed, Ending Fossil Fuel Era: Experts

NATIONAL OBSERVER History was made today in Paris as the leaders of 195 nations agreed to an ambitious, science-based pact to move the world away from the fossil fuels that are to blame for the rapid increase in global temperatures. More here.

Scientists Warn: The Paris Climate Agreement Needs Massive Improvement

The Nation The current text doesn’t even mention “fossil fuels” and lacks strong language on human rights. More here.

Rachel Notley Assassination Chatter 'Needs to Stop,' Wildrose Leader Says

CBC News 'I have a zero tolerance policy for such comments,' Brian Jean says after death threats appear online. More here.

Acid Trip: Great Lakes Could Face Similar Acidification Risk as the Seas

TheDailyClimate Acidification is not just for oceans—the Great Lakes could acidify, too, as our carbon emissions increase. Here's why you should take note. More here.

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean is opposing same changes protecting farm workers he once agreed with

PRESSPROGRESS It sounds like Brian Jean is  flip flopping once again. The leader of Alberta's Wildrose Party has been  making hay over Bill 6 lately, new legislation that seeks to correct Alberta's potentially unconstitutional labour laws by  extending Workers' Compensation Board coverage to paid farm workers and bringing workplace safety up to par with other Canadian provinces . "What goes around comes around," Jean recently told one rally  opposing these changes. Funny thing about that, mind you – Jean didn't seem to think the proposed WCB changes he's currently opposing were such a bad idea eight months ago. MORE HERE.

Vultures are Revolting. Here’s Why We need to Save Them

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC The scavengers do the dirty work of cleaning up after death. With their numbers plummeting, we’re learning how much we need to keep them alive. More here.

Have Investment Treaties Put a Scare Into Government Regulators, Who Are Supposed to Protect Our Health and Environment? Many such treaties give foreign investors a free hand to sue sovereign governments for pretty much any amount they choose, if those regulations interfere with a company’s business plan. Read about Ontario’s experience here.  RELATED: " Free Trade: Path to Prosperity - or Back Road to Corporatism?"

When Planting Trees Hurts the Environment

THE NATION In Paris this week, policy-makers are considering an ambitious new plan to cover 50 million acres of South American land with trees. That might not be a good idea. More here.

Floods (Story & Video)

Hi Larry, As you read this email, vast swathes of the UK are underwater. Buckling from the strain of torrential rains, rivers have overflowed and flood defences have been breached. Hundreds of families have been forced to evacuate their homes [1]. David Cameron has pledged to help people suffering in the wake of the destruction. That’s a start. But in the aftermath of such ferocious storms,  we need to make sure he joins the dots to climate change .

Canada Shocks COP21 With Big New Climate Commitment

NATIONAL OBSERVER Canada has surprised a world of nations and negotiators in closed-door climate talks in Paris by endorsing a bolder, more ambitious target for cutting greenhouse gases than the UN climate change summit is officially aiming for. More here.

'Huge Error': Former US Military Chief Admits Iraq Invasion Spawned ISIS

CommonDreams The U.S. is poised to repeat all the same mistakes in Syria that it made in Iraq after 9/11, says former head of Defense Intelligence Agency. Story here.

The Contrails Conspiracy Is Not Only Garbage, It's Letting Aviation Off The Hook Too

George Monbiot  - The Guardian The real issue – global warming caused by aircraft emissions – calls on us to act. But focusing on ‘chemtrails’ absolves people of the responsibility to do so. More here.

Palm Oil

Dear Larry, The fires in Indonesia have been called “a crime against humanity” – and our investigators are on the ground now gathering evidence to expose the companies responsible and hold them to account.  Can you take your support to the next step and help us by donating £5 per month?

Dow moving ahead with Enlist corn in Canada despite US setback

AgroNews Dow AgroSciences is moving ahead with plans for Enlist corn in Canada, despite a significant regulatory setback in the United States. More here.

A dirty deal: How the Trans-Pacific Partnership threatens our climate  The deal fails to even mention the words “climate change”—a clear sign it is not “a 21st-century trade agreement,” as some have claimed. More here.

’Twas the Night Before Christmas…Larry takes crass liberties with the classic old poem & science itself to serve his own narrow, selfish ends!

by Larry Powell ‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the land  global warming was here.  It was grand!  It was grand!  Cars would start!  Ice would melt!  Folks wore their light clothes! While up through their chimneys mere wisps of smoke rose! On the air one could hear mindless broadcasters say, "It's seven degrees. Hope this thaw lasts 'til May!"  But up at the pole it was not Santa's day. Two of his reindeer had just passed away. Dasher and Dancer  had sadly drowned while playing with mates confined to the  ground.  There was a river they could normally cross but its ice had grown thin in the tenuous frost.  So the two were not helped by the fact they could fly  and the deep, clear water is where they did die.  The Great Bears of the north met similar ends just as learned scholars did portend.  Christmas day dawned - but alas, 'twas not white! Lawns were brown - fields were black. I t just didn't seem right!  The skis and toboggans the kid

Ecojustice files complaint with Competition Bureau against climate denial groups

NATIONAL OBSERVER Ecojustice, on behalf of a group of prominent Canadians, has filed a complaint with the federal Competition Bureau, asking it to investigate false and misleading representations made by climate change denier groups. More here.

How palm oil cultivation in Borneo is threatening the ecosystem everywhere

The Washington Post Ahead of the Paris Sustainable Innovation Forum , COP21, taking place this month, In Sight spoke with wildlife photographer and filmmaker Mattias Klum, who will be among the many conservationists and activists speaking on environmental issues that threaten the Earth’s ecosystem. Klum has traversed the world as a photographer and filmmaker for National Geographic, documenting ecosystems from the Galapagos to the Okavango Delta in Botswana. But he believes that one of the Earth’s most pressing environmental concerns is palm oil cultivation in Indonesia and Malaysia, illustrated here in his stunning series of photographs. More here.

New Platform Reveals How Much Carbon Is Locked in Tropical Forests – and How Much Was Lost

WRI Between 2001 and 2013, greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation across the world’s tropical forests were, on average, larger than Russia’s economy-wide emissions in 2012. That’s 2,270 million metric tons (Mt) of carbon dioxide every year . More here.

Genetically Modified Mustard is Unsafe for Us. Stop potential approval of its cultivation Vandana Shiva This ‘new’ mustard in our kitchen could soon be harmful to us. More here. 

The World Mourns One of its Greats: Maurice Strong Dies, His Legacy Lives On.

Image " This is not just a technical issue. Everybody's actions are motivated by their inner life, their moral, spiritual and ethical values. Global agreements will be effective when they are rooted in the individual commitment of people, which arises from their own inner life." More here.

Exxon Targets Journalists Who Exposed Massive Climate Cover Up

CommonDreams 'We’ve often wondered if Exxon actually hates our children because they so consistently stand in the way of safeguarding their future,' campaigner said, 'it turns out they apparently hate good journalism as well.' Story here.

Outsmarting Nature?

etc     GROUP Many of the world's largest agro-industrial corporations are pushing forward the poorly-defined idea of "Climate-Smart Agriculture"(CSA) to re-market industrial agriculture as 'climate-ready'. This report uncovers how some advocates of CSA are embracing the extreme genetic engineering tools of synthetic biology ("Syn Bio") to develop a set of false solutions to the climate crisis. More here.

EPA Pulls Registration for Dow’s Enlist Duo Herbicide Citing High Toxicity Levels

Centre for Food Safety Toxic pesticide banned on genetically engineered crops. More here.

States of Terror

Chris Hedges - OpEd News Another jihadi terrorist attack in the United States will extinguish what remains of our anemic democracy. Fear will be even more fervently stoked and manipulated by the state. The remnants of our civil liberties will be abolished.  We will beg our masters to save us. We will be paralyzed by the psychosis of permanent war. More here.

New Maps Show Vast Logging, Oil Palm and Plantation Concessions in Sarawak

WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE Sarawak, a Malaysian state on the richly forested island of Borneo suffers from high rates of deforestation .  But understanding this dynamic is made difficult by government secrecy and lack of transparency . More here.

The Tawdry Fall of the Postmedia Newspaper Empire

National Observer “'I’m not going to lose my job over a fart joke,'” Dan Murphy recalls Wayne Moriarty, editor-in-chief of  The Province newspaper, saying.  Story here.

The Cartoon That Got a Cartoonist Fired!


Nestlé Admits Slavery and Coercion Used in Catching its Seafood

CBC News Global audit by the food giant finds abuse of workers who catch seafood from Thailand. Story here.

What Alberta's New Climate Policy Really Means.

Cam Fenton - Friends, The government of Alberta made a pretty major announcement this week. They rolled out plans for a climate policy that includes a phase out of coal power, a price on carbon, and a cap on tar sands emissions. This announcement is huge. Some people are even calling it historic. But, like a lot of announcements related to climate change these days, it’s historic, it’s game changing -- and it’s neither of those things all at the same time.

New Report Digs the Dirt on the Corporate Criminals Sponsoring Climate Talks

Common Dreams Inviting major polluters to pay for the talks compared to 'hiring a fox to guard a hen house.’ Story here.

Listen to Robert Redford's Plea for Climate Action. PLEASE SIGN! (Video + Petition)


Rachel Notley Announces Alberta's Climate Change Plan

NATIONAL OBSERVER Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced today that she is imposing a limit on oil sands emissions and phasing out all coal power usage in her province by 2030 in a major push to curb greenhouse gas emissions.  STORY HERE.

TPP Fine Print: Biotech Seed Companies Win Again Big concerns about the deal’s impact on public health, workers, the environment and the legal rights of corporations are already being raised. Story here.

Behind Bars: Canada's Fur-Farmed Mink and Fox

NATIONAL OBSERVER Animal advocates say Canada needs tighter legislation to protect fur-farmed animals, but other industry stakeholders disagree. Caught in between the battle are Canada's mink and fox, forgotten on farms while the debate rages on. Story here.

Pipeline Reviews “Contaminated From the Get-Go.” Green Leader 'Liz May.

NATIONAL OBSERVER Green Party leader Elizabeth May denounced National Energy Board (NEB) reviews of both the Energy East and Trans Mountain Pipeline proposals as frauds – and warned that Justin Trudeau faces a legal mess.   Story here.

New ‘Superbug’ Gene Found in Animals, People in China

Manitoba Co-Operator London | Reuters — A new gene that makes bacteria highly resistant to a last-resort class of antibiotics has been found in people and pigs in China — including in samples of bacteria with epidemic potential, researchers said Wednesday. Story here.

Strategic Incompetence

George Monbiot The agencies supposed to protect the living world have been neutered, and polluters and wildlife destroyers now have a free hand. Story here.

Pesticides Stop Bumblebees From Pollinating Apple Trees, Research Shows

theguardian An abundant apple tree. PinP  photo. New findings on neonicotinoids have important implications as many food crops and wildflowers rely on bee pollination to reproduce. Details here.

Declining Snowpack Threatens Water Supply for Billions Worldwide

CommonDreams 'Water managers in a lot of places may need to prepare for a world where the snow reservoir no longer exists.' Story here.

Canada to Ban Tankers on North Pacific Coast in Blow to Enbridge

BloombergBusiness Canada plans to formally ban oil tanker traffic on the northern coast of British Columbia, adding another hurdle to Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway pipeline proposal. Story here.

Climate Scientist Michael Mann: Exxon Story 'Confirmed Things We Long Suspected'

inside climate news In this interview, Mann, a key figure in the climate wars, reacts to the recent revelations about what Exxon knew about global warming science. Story here.

Investors Urge Exxon to Take Moral Responsibility for Global Warming

  inside climate   news Faith-based shareholder groups have begun filing resolutions, as Exxon faces a NY probe and rising calls for federal prosecution of its climate duplicity.   Story here.

As Mining Giant Flails, Human Toll from Brazil Dam Disaster Ticks Up (& Video)

CommonDreams Mud and wastewater from the burst dams are complicating search and rescue efforts while raising health and environmental concerns. Story here.