Showing posts from March, 2018

"In Hogs We Trust." Part IV The environmental costs of intensive livestock operations.

Last October, just before the provincial government relaxed regulations to allow for many more hogs to be produced in this province, George Matheson, Chair of the industry group, “Manitoba Pork,”  testified  before a legislative committee.  In an astonishing display of corporate hype, Matheson seemed to think he could, with a single statement, obliterate years of solid scientific research, conducted in his own province. “Hog manure is not getting into our rivers and lakes,” he declared. “The vast majority…about 85 per cent, is injected into the soil of farmland or immediately incorporated into the soil. This method of application essentially stops manure from running off the land. I cannot overemphasize this point. This means manure does not get into rivers and lakes. In fact, it is illegal for manure to leave a field.”    In her long career with the University of Winnipeg’s biology department,  Dr. Eva Pip  (below) has come to a dramatically different conclusion. Af

Waterbirds affected by low water, high salt levels in lakes

ScienceDaily A recent study shows food sources for migratory birds decline with low water levels and high salt content in lakes. Story here. The American avocet.  Photo credit - US Fish & Wildlife.

Climate change promotes the spread of mosquito and tick-borne viruses

ScienceDaily The  mosquito that carries the Zeka virus. Scientists find that global warming has allowed disease-bearing insects to proliferate, increasing exposure to viral infections. Story here.

A smallholder farmer describes her thriving pig+crop farm in Africa

ILRI - The International Livestock Research Institute Photo by ILRI Emma Naluyima  is a smallholder farmer and private veterinarian in Uganda who has integrated crop growing and livestock raising to build a thriving, profitable and environmentally friendly farm enterprise for her and her family. More here.

Historical lead exposure may be linked to 256,000 premature deaths from cardiovascular disease in adults in the USA each year

THE LANCET New estimates suggest that 256,000 premature deaths from cardiovascular disease - including 185,000 deaths from ischemic heart disease - in the USA may be linked to historical lead exposure in middle-aged and older adults (people currently aged 44 years or over). This according to an observational study following 14,300 people for almost 20 years, published in  The Lancet Public Health  journal. More here.

Increasing tree mortality in a warming world

ScienceDaily Source:: Tropical Trees. Author: Paul Hamilton. Trees in the tropics, especially important for the planet, face increasing threats.    More here.

Invasive Group A strep cases rising in Canada, But the reason is a medical mystery

CBC News A year after losing both legs and an arm, a Winnipeg mom has no idea why infection struck. More here. RELATED?  Could the Manitoba government’s return to a deregulated hog industry actually contribute to a world health crisIs?

Big Step Forward on Agricultural Pesticides in Quebec, Canada.

Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. A "crop-duster" in Manitoba. PinP photo. The Government of Quebec has imposed a ban on five pesticides that are commonly used in the agricultural sector – three neonicotinoid pesticides (neonics), atrazine and chlorpyrifos. More here.

Suffocation of 1500 pigs another sign of perils of Industrial Style Hog Barns

--> Hog Watch Manitoba Sows in steel crates. (Winnipeg) - Hog Watch Manitoba has learned of a recent incident in which all of the 1500 pigs in one barn suffocated when the ventilation system failed. Most pigs raised in this province live in closed barns on slatted floors above pits containing their own urine and feces. This creates high levels of ammonia and sulfur dioxide. If the ventilation system in the barn fails the buildup of noxious gases in combination with lack of oxygen causes suffocation within a couple of hours. “This is simply one more example of the inhumane conditions that we are forcing these animals to live in” says Vicki Burns, Hog Watch Manitoba. “We have contacted Manitoba Pork to ask for information about this incident but have received no response to date. Without cooperation of industry we are not able to determine what caused this problem but it may be related to the deterioration of fire safety as the alarm system obviously failed.” Ho

Water Stress is Driving Conflict and Migration. How Should the Global Community Respond?

World Resources Institute Lake Erie We are running up against the limits of our freshwater resources. We are mismanaging our water resources too, through waste and pollution.  Story here.

Monarch Butterfly Migration Could Collapse, Scientists Warn

EcoWatch PinP photo. The yearly count of monarch butterflies overwintering in Mexico, released Monday, shows a decrease from last year's count and confirms the iconic orange and black butterfly is still very much at risk.  Story here.

Wetter summers in warming climate bring disease and crop-failure risks

THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA Warmer, wetter summers could produce unexpected impacts, such as disease outbreaks and crop failures. More here.

Thawing permafrost causing the 'browning' of northern lakes

Science Daily As the ice melts, the organic carbon found in permafrost is being released once again after ages of confinement in the soil. It is making its way into Arctic and subarctic lakes and ponds, and modifying their composition. More here. Arctic Lake. A US Fish & Wildlife photo.

Asia’s hunger for sand takes a toll on endangered species

Science Across Asia, rampant extraction of sand for construction is eroding coastlines and scouring waterways. More here.

The terrifying phenomenon that is pushing species towards extinction

The Guardian Scientists are alarmed by a rise in mass mortality events – when species die in their thousands. Is it all down to climate change? More here.

Scientists Haven't Seen a Single North Atlantic Right Whale Calf This Season

EcoWatch The North Atlantic right whale is already one of the most endangered whales, with fewer than 450 of the iconic marine mammals left on the planet. More here. A right whale with calf. Photo by NOAA.

Pesticides put bees at risk, European watchdog confirms

BBC News Most uses of insecticides known as neonicotinoids represent a risk to wild bees and honeybees, the European Food Safety Authority has confirmed. More here. PinP photo.