Canadian scientists are racing to test a remedy that they hope will save bats from a deadly fungus that has already killed millions of the winged mammals across the continent. Story here. Hibernating healthy Virginia big-eared bats in W.V. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
In a normal year, Kevin Bradley, a professor of weed science at the University of Missouri, would have spent his summer testing new ways to control a troublesome little plant called water hemp. This has not been a normal year. Details here.
The European Parliament, representing 28 countries and more than 500 million people, has voted to phase out the popular weedkiller, glyphosate over 5 years. It was also banned immediately in households. Story here.
A container of "Roundup," the most famous formulation containing glyphosate, in a collection depot in Manitoba. PinP photo.
A major new study by several co-authors in North America suggests methane emissions in the Canadian oil and gas sector are significantly higher than currently estimated and reveals critical gaps in current reporting requirements. Story here.
Despite having their “threat level" lowered a bit recently, snow leopards are still faced with the same consumer demand which is driving the poaching and trafficking of tigers and leopards across Asia.Story here.
Snow Leopard taken at Marwell Wildlife Park, Hampshire, UK
Clovelly Oil is not quite a household name, as far as oil and natural gas companies go, though it recently gained attention when its oil and natural gas storage rig exploded on October 15 in Louisiana. Story here.
Wildfires like this can send harmful air particles continent-wide. Wikimedia Commons.
"For decades, pollution and its harmful effects on people's health, the environment, and the planet have been neglected both by Governments and the international development agenda. Yet, pollution is the largest environmental cause of disease and death in the world today, responsible for an estimated 9 million premature deaths." Story here.
RELATED: Please watch my TV newscast, below, which aired some months ago. A segment contained within it references the severe cost of pollution on the world's population.
Major dam and irrigation projects are drying up the wetlands that sustain life in the arid Sahel region of Africa. The result has been a wave of environmental refugees, as thousands of people flee, many on boats to Europe. Story here. Egypt's Aswan High Dam. Photo by Hajor.
We are still living in the long 20th Century. We are stuck with its redundant technologies: the internal combustion engine; thermal power plants; factory farms. We are stuck with its redundant politics: unfair electoral systems; their capture by funders and lobbyists; the failure to temper representation with real participation. Story here.
A new scientific study has found that warm ocean water is carving an enormous channel into the underside of one of the key floating ice shelves of West Antarctica, the most vulnerable sector of the enormous ice continent. Story here.
WINNIPEG - Green Party leader James Beddome wasn't the least bit subtle Wednesday about what he thinks of the Pallister government's red tape reduction bill.
"This bill stinks!" Beddome declared to a rally on the steps of the Manitoba legislature.
"It's part of a Conservative agenda that tells us all regulation is bad," Beddome said. "Government efficiency means don't do our homework; if there's no data, there's no problem." Environmental activists led by the Wilderness Committee and Hog Watch Manitoba protested Bill 24, an omnibus bill going to public hearings sometime later this month, warning that within its reductions to regulations were changes that would allow the expansion of industrial hog barns that would further jeopardize the health of Lake Winnipeg.
Speakers could not agree on how many sets of regulations are threatened by red tape reduction - 12, 14, and 15 were all cited
- but did agree that lifting the former NDP government's moratorium on hog barn expansion will produce more toxins that will eventually wash into Lake Winnipeg.
"We're not opposed to raising pigs in Manitoba," said Hog Watch head Vicki Burns, but it must be done humanely and without harming the environment.
"We haven't seen the improvements in Lake Winnipeg we need to see," said Eric Reder, campaign coordinator for Wilderness Manitoba.
NDP environment critic Rob Altemeyer accused Premier Brian Pallister of copying Stephen Harper's playbook, by packing so many issues into an omnibus bill in hopes some would slip by unnoticed.
Three out of every four samples of honey tested in a global survey released this week, were tainted with neonicotinoids, the world's most widely-used insecticide.
A five-member Swiss research team tested almost two hundred honey samples from every continent except Antarctica (including several remote islands), for the five main compounds in the "neonic family" of pesticides (acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, thiacloprid, and thiamethoxam).
At least one of those compounds was found in 75% of all samples tested. (Fourty-five percent contained two or more, while ten percent showed traces of four or five.)
The levels detected were considered too low to pose a risk to people who actually eat honey. But, for adult bees, honey is their only food in winter and when flowers aren't blooming. While "neonics" may not always kill the pollinators outright, they've been shown to have "sub-lethal effects," which probably damage the way they grow,learn, fend off disease, navigate and reproduce.
The test results show that "neonics" are now used everywhere, and that bees, probably including thousands of wild varieties, as well, are exposed to the toxins in their food, worldwide.
"Neonics are suspected of being a key factor for a global decline not just in honeybees," states the report, "but in pollinators, generally. And, despite some recent efforts to decrease their use - the contamination (documented in this latest research), confirms the inundation of bees and their environments with these pesticides."
And while "neonic" levels in the honey are considered low for human consumption, the research paper also hints - that may not be the end of the story.
"There are increasing concerns about the impact of these systemic pesticides, not only on...honey bees ....but also on...humans."
Other research has already documented harm "neonics" are also doing to insect-eating birds such as swallows, either by poisoning them directly or depriving them of the bugs they normally eat.
Another study demonstrates negative effects on the rare Japanese crested ibis. It was found to have better breeding success when "neonics" were removed from its environment.
Researchers hope a total ban such as the one France will soon introduce, may reverse "neonic" readings there, over time. But, despite a partial moratorium imposed by the EU a few years ago, readings in Europe were still among the highest.
The report warns that "pesticide cocktails," where more than one "neonic" compound may be used at once, "may increase harm" even more.
The researchers, headed by Edward Mitchell of the University ofNeuchâtel, Switzerland, call on authorities to tell the public more about how many pesticides are being used in their areas, and to make that information easier for scientists to interpret and understand.
Reaction to the research study from other experts in the field, has been swift and, in some cases, angry.
Dave Goulson, Professor of Biology at the University of Sussex (r.) laments, "Despite repeated warnings from scientists that they are impacting the bees, butterflies, aquatic insects and more...few governments have listened. "We would expect to find them in honey. Entire landscapes all over the world are now permeated with highly potent neurotoxins, undoubtedly contributing to the global collapse of biodiversity.
"Some of us have been pointing this out for years. It is hard not to feel a sense of deja vu: Rachel Carson was saying the same things more than 50 years ago, but we seem not to have learned any lessons. It is high time that we developed a global regulatory system for pesticides, to prevent such catastrophes being repeated over and over again."
Meanwhile, Chris Connolly of the University of Dundee, Scotland (l.), calls these latest findings “Alarming and sobering." He says "neonics" are being overused, unnecessarily and ought to be "heavily restricted."
Dr. Connolly fears, while the chemical may not kill bees outright, it might "hinder their ability to forage on, and pollinate, our crops”
It's been said that one out of every three spoons full of food we put in our mouths are made possible by pollinators.
MORRIS - They were at the forefront of one of Manitoba’s worst natural disasters, and 20 years later, municipal officials and provincial experts gathered in Morris to share their perspective of what became known as “The Flood of the Century”. Story here.
Leading suspect — climate change — doesn’t fully explain what is happening to leatherback turtles in the US Virgin Islands. Story here. Little leatherbacks leave their nest in Aruba. Photo by Elise Peterson
This investigation is the first chapter in an unprecedented seriesinvestigating the power and influence of the oil and gas industry, and its impacts on Canadian communities. Story here. A Trans Canada Pipeline facility in Nebraska. shannonpatrick17Nebraska, U.S.A.