Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Unsurvivable heatwaves could strike heart of China by end of century

The Guardian
The most populous region of the biggest polluter on Earth – China’s northern plain – will become uninhabitable in places if climate change is not curbed. Story here.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Extreme global weather is 'the face of climate change' says leading scientist

A farm family is isolated by widespread flooding in Saskatchewan, Canada. Circa 2005. PinP photo.
Prof Michael Mann declares the impacts of global warming are now ‘playing out in real-time.’  Story here.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Rivers in the Sky: How Deforestation Is Affecting Global Water Cycles

Yale Environment 360
Producing charcoal in the rainforest.
By User Kelberul on de.wikipedia 
A growing body of evidence indicates that the continuing destruction of tropical forests is disrupting the movement of water in the atmosphere, causing major shifts in precipitation that could lead to drought in key agricultural areas in China, India, and the U.S. Midwest. Story here.

How TransAlta used a university-sanctioned research project to lobby for the coal industry

CBC news
Energy giant TransAlta paid the University of Alberta $54,000 to hand-pick one of its researchers to produce a study and other materials it used to lobby the provincial government to try to protect the coal industry, documents obtained by CBC News reveal. Story here.

Monday, July 23, 2018

‘Powerful Evidence’ of Global Warming’s Effect on Seasons Found in Troposphere

Scientists studying the troposphere—the lowest level of the atmosphere—have found "powerful evidence" that climate change is altering seasonal temperatures. More here.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Sahara dust may make you cough, but it's a storm killer

Texas A&M University
The bad news: Dust from the Sahara Desert in Africa -- totaling a staggering 2 to 9 trillion pounds worldwide -- has been almost a biblical plague on Texas and much of the Southern United States in recent weeks. The good news: the same dust appears to be a severe storm killer. More here.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Wildfires rage in Arctic Circle as Sweden calls for help

The Guardian
Sweden worst hit as hot, dry summer sparks unusual number of fires, with at least 11 in the far north. More here.

Is B.C. headed for another devastating summer of wildfires?



Ashcroft Reserve wildfire as seen across Loon Lake, BC. July 2017 Photo by Shawn Cahill.
With warm weather, a high snowpack and floodwaters rising throughout the province, it may seem like B.C. is set to repeat last year’s weather patterns, which led to a catastrophic summer of fires. But it’s still too early to reliably predict…. More here.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Mercury linked to dramatic decline of migratory songbirds: study

RCI Radio Canada International
The Cape May warbler, while not named in this story, also migrates from the 
West Indies to the Boreal forests of Canada. A PinP photo.
Examination of tail feathers suggests that mercury is one of the determining factors for the steep declines of many songbird populations that migrate long distances to and from North America. More here.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Historic Floods in Japan Kill More Than 100, Force Millions to Flee

At least 109 people have died in Japan following historic flooding and mudslides over the weekend that prompted evacuation orders covering about five million people, The Guardian reported Monday.

New research confirms the common house fly spreads serious hog diseases. Is Manitoba's factory hog industry dragging its heels?

by Larry Powell
The house fly. Photo by USDA

A veterinarian at the Walcott Veterinary Clinic in Iowa, Grant Allison, captured flies at swine operations which had tested positive for both diseases in Iowa and Minnesota. In his words, "Flies replicate in moist conditions that could involve manure. So there's an intimate relationship between manure and viruses and flies. The idea that flies might be a possible vector was immediately obvious. We came up with a plan and started by finding an outbreak and trapping flies to see if the flies were positive."

They were.

Not only were they carrying live viruses for both diseases, they were spreading them to healthy pigs and making them sick. What's more, the flies were even found to be infectious in January, usually considered the off-season for such harmful vectors.

Dr. Allison recommends putting a larvicide in the hog feed as one tool in a program to achieve effective fly-control. He believes an extensive program of spraying or fogging would pose too many dangers to the health and safety of workers.

What he does not mention is using anaerobic digesters (ADs) as a possible means of tackling this very problem. These complex pollution control devices use microbes in the absence of oxygen to break down pathogens in slurry, the liquid waste of hogs. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency confirms that, not only do ADs drastically reduce offensive slurry odour (making slurry less of an attractant), they "lower pesticide expenses because of reduced fly hatching."

Trouble is, at the behest of the hog industry that ADs are too expensive, the Manitoba Government last year removed a requirement that they be built along with any new barns. As a result, there is said to be not a single AD in operation anywhere in the province. And it's not believed there are any plans for any in the future, either.

Meanwhile, PEDv has ravaged Manitoba's hog population since a serious outbreak began over a year ago. While mortalities, especially among piglets, were obviously high, the industry won't give numbers. And the province says it doesn't know, because it doesn't keep track. 

The U.S. study was published in "Farm Journal's Pork" earlier this year.


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Nights Are Warming Faster Than Days. Here’s Why That’s Dangerous.

The New York Times
A Canadian prairie sunset. PinP photo.

July kicked off with searingly hot temperatures for most 
Americans (& many Canadians) this year. More here.

More bad news for the world’s oceans - out of Canada!

by Larry Powell
Pacific oysters - with salt and lime. By Guido - Flickr.

A team of Canadian researchers has found that BC’s premier oyster-growing region off the east coast of Vancouver Island, is “highly contaminated” with micro plastics. The team, from Simon Fraser University, says it is now important to find out if the oysters themselves are ingesting the plastics. If they are, it could have implications for the health and quality of the product itself, Canada’s oyster-farmers, in general and the entire industry, worldwide.

The scientists found micro-plastics at all 16 sites sampled within Lambert Channel and Baynes Sound, indicating "widespread contamination of these regions with these particles." That is Canada's prime growing area for the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas).

It is also feared the microplastics could accumulate trace metals which, in turn, could harm the oysters and other organisms on the sea-bottom. 
Dynabeads, a magnetic form of microbead, 
similar to the ones referenced here.Photo by Kunnskap.

Three types of micro-plastics were recovered and identified, with microbeads being the most common.


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Link between river outflow and coastal sea level

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Sea levels in coastal areas can be affected by a number of factors: tides, winds, waves, and even barometric pressure all play a role in the ebb and flow of the ocean. For the first time, however, a new study has shown that river outflow could play a role in sea level change as well. More here.

Vietnam's Mekong Delta. The Mekong, the world's 12th longest river, fans out into tributaries and empties into the South China Sea in Southeast Asia. European Space Agency

Monday, July 9, 2018

Manitoba beekeepers fight to come back after extreme honeybee die-offs

Long, cold winter could be to blame for some 
beekeepers losing more than half of their bees. More here.

A Manitoba beekeeper tends to his hives.
A PinP photo.

Costco takes stand on insecticides

Costco is saying no to neonics. More here.
A corn-harvester in Manitoba. 
Nat'l. Institutes of Health.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Anti-pipeline activists are fighting to stop Line 3 on the US-Canada border. Will they succeed?

Bill McKibben for The Guardian.

Pipe loaded on a train in Manitoba, destined for God-knows-where. A PinP photo.
The oil industry is building yet another pipeline - but Native American groups and progressive activists are fighting back. More here.

Friday, July 6, 2018

More help from the public trough for the corporate hog sector

by Larry Powell

Manitoba’s hog industry is delighted with the latest infusion of money into swine research. Ottawa has just announced that another $18.5 million will be spent over 5 years to look into the nutrition, health and care of the nation’s swine herds, along with their "environmental sustainability" and the quality of the pork. Canadian taxpayers will pay almost $13 million of that amount, the rest from industry.

This is in addition to more than $30 million already spent over the past decade (by both industry and taxpayers) for other so-called “agri-science” research.

The group representing pig producers and processors, Manitoba Porkhails the announcement as “Great news!” It says the research will be “industry-led,” and will “bring together experts in the public and private sectors to help increase the competitiveness of the Canadian pork sector.”  (Conveniently, the industry statement makes no mention of the apparent provision in the federal grant for a study into its own "environmental sustainability.")

And earlier this year, $176 million began flowing across Manitoba’s farm sector from both federal and provincial taxpayers. Among those eligible for financial help are “agri-processors.” These would include the province’s two big hog slaughterhouses, HyLife and Maple Leaf Foods (both of whom have been reporting profits to their shareholders of late).

And this is all part of a larger, $3 billion "investment" by federal, provincial and territorial governments to “help farmers manage significant risks that threaten the viability of their farm and are beyond their capacity to manage.” This seems to be a reference, in part, to swine diseases which have devastated herds in Manitoba and elsewhere for over a year now.  For more on this, please read “In Hogs We Trust - Part 111 - From Malaysia to Manitoba. The magnitude of livestock diseases, worldwide.”

For a more in-depth account of government subsidies flowing to this “high-maintenance” industry, please read, “In Hogs WeTrust, Part 11 - the price we pay for corporate pig$”

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Newest Canadian UNESCO World Heritage Site announced

CBC news
Pimachiowin Aki Canada's 1st mixed cultural and natural heritage site. More here.

For more background, watch this brief video PinP produced last year, before the site was approved.

Massive B.C. coal mines are about to get a new owner. Why some are worried about Glencore’s record

THE NARWHAL Coal mine at Tumbler Ridge, B.C.  Jeffrey Wynne ,      If the sale goes through, the company will inherit a contamination proble...