Showing posts from October, 2018

Strathclair hog barn operator not in compliance with laws - Hogwatch Manitoba

Dear Editor, Politics, not law, are driving Yellowhead Council’s response to  Hog  Watch Manitoba’s revelations about a hog barn expansion  near  Strathclair.     (See B.G. story, here.) Claims that its “investigation” reveals the operator was “found to  be in compliance with laws and regulations” as reported in the  October 24   Brandon Sun   are false. Council’s informal plan to have taxpayers pay someone to count  the Maple Leaf-owned pigs at this so-called family farm is a  diversion designed to give the offender time to fix problems  documented by Hog Watch. Counting pigs helps them evade their  responsibility to regulate on the maximum number and type of pigs  a barn can hold.   Governments’ honour system has led to the approval of a new barn  without making sure there is sufficient capacity to stor e  manure.    Only after the barn was built, over a thousand pigs put in  it this spring, Hog Watch sounded an alarm and municipal 

Living Planet Report 2018 - Bad News for the World’s Wildlife.

World Wildlife Fund We are pushing our planet to the brink. Human activity—how we feed, fuel, and finance our lives—is taking an unprecedented toll on wildlife, wild places, and the natural resources we need to survive.  On average, we’ve seen an astonishing 60% decline in the size of populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians in just over 40 years, according to WWF’s Living Planet Report 2018. Story here. Carnage on our roads is surely a significant factor as well. Maggots swarm over the carcass of an animal killed on the highway. Roadkill litters a busy highway in Manitoba as the wheels of commerce (and the carnage), keep on rolling. PinP photos.

Cry me a river: Low water levels causing chaos in Germany

Image A river boat in Cologne. CE photo, Uwe Aranas A new island in Lake Constance. A river in Berlin flowing backward. Dead fish on the banks of lakes and ponds. Barges barely loaded so they don't run aground. More here.

Scientists, environmentalists brace for Brazil's right turn

Science Slash-and-burn  forest  clearing along the Xingu River in  Brazil . A NASA satellite photo. Beset by economic woes and dissatisfied with the left-wing politicians in power for most of the past 15 years, Brazil appears poised to make a hard turn and elect a far-right candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, as its next president. His rapid ascent has unnerved local researchers, who worry about the future of Brazilian science, the protection of the country's biodiversity, and its role in the global struggle against climate change. Bolsonaro has vowed to withdraw Brazil from the 2015 Paris agreement, which requires nations to reduce greenhouse emissions to combat climate change, and he plans to eliminate the Ministry of the Environment and fold its duties into the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Supply.  Download the PDF here.

European parliament approves curbs on use of antibiotics on farm animals

TheGuardian Move is aimed at halting the spread of ‘superbugs’ resistant to medical treatment. Details here. RELATED: Starting this December, Canadian farmers will need a prescription to obtain veterinary antibiotics for their livestock. According to a retired University of Guelph professor, John Prescott, the federal regulatory changes mean the agriculture industry will be required to play its part in reducing the use of antibiotics here and around the world. More here.

The owl, the mouse and the murrelet. How manmade climate change could be pushing species to the brink in ways rarely imagined.

by Larry Powell A Scripp's murrelet chick ( Synthliboramphus scrippsi) . Humans hunted its cousin,  the Great Auk, to extinction in the 18 hundreds.  A U.S. Nat'l. Park Service photo. A new study finds, complex changes in climate are threatening yet another species - this time a little diving seabird known as the Scripp's murralet (above). But this time, it isn't because of direct impacts  from severe weather events, as is often the case. Rather, it is how those events are interfering with traditional interactions between a predator, the barn owl (below) and its two main prey, the deer mouse and the murralet. The three species breed on the channel islands, off the coast of California. The study focused on Santa Barbara, the smallest. Barn owl (Tyto alba). Photo by Peter K. Burian. In-depth research by two American and two Canadian scientists, documents a fascinating but insidious train of events that could  be leading to the little seabird&#

Mayor denies news report that a controversial Manitoba hog barn northwest of Brandon has been declared "legal." Newspaper rejects any suggestion of journalistic bias.

by Larry Powell What the fuss is all about. A PinP photo. The mayor of the RM of Yellowhead, Don Yanick is denying yesterday's headline story in the local newspaper, Crossroads This Week,  (see CTW story, below). It reads,  "Hog Barn Found to be Legal."  First of all, says Yanick, Council will not be declaring the operation "legal," even if an inspection clears the owner. (It will simply be allowed to proceed.) So, the bottom line is, the matter is still pending and will be discussed again at the next council meeting on Oct. 23rd. The building in question is a "finisher barn," where mature hogs are prepared for market. It's located in the eastern part of the RM, near the Village of Strathclair.  It became controversial when the citizens' group, Hogwatch Manitoba, brought a formal complaint in September to the Yellowhead council. The complaint alleged the owner, Wim Verbruggen, had built a larger barn than stated in his original ap

PROFIT VS PEOPLE Corporate Power + Climate Change = Geocide

Susan George: We are faced with determined adversaries who care nothing about human rights or climate change. They only want a world in which they can make endless amounts of money using all available resources, no matter what the costs to nature and to human life. Susan George is president of the board of the   Trans National Institute , an international research and advocacy institute committed to building a just, democratic and sustainable world.  She spoke at the Seminar of the International Center for the promotion of Human Rights [CIPDH] and Unesco titled “Interreligious and inter cultural dialogue: consciences and climate change”  in September in Buenos Aires.  Read her lecture here.

Enbridge Pipeline Explosion Forces First Nations Community to Flee

EcoWatch A 36-inch natural gas transmission pipeline owned and operated by Enbridge exploded in rural land north of Prince George, B. C. this week, the Canadian pipeline company said in a media release. Story here. Spills & explosions are no strangers to this corporation. Here, technicians cut and remove a section of pipe in an earlier Enbridge incident - a pipeline oil spill site near Marshall, Michigan. The U.S.  E.P.A .

Farmed Out

George Monbiot's view from the U.K, here.

Gas is not a "bridge fuel" - it's a climate disaster! (Video)


The RM of Yellowhead will ask an independent investigator to solve a dispute over an allegedly illegal hog barn operation in southwestern Manitoba.

The citizens' group HogWatch Manitoba made an official presentation to the RM council two week ago, It claimed the barn owner, Wim Verbruggen had built a bigger barn housing more animals than the rules allowed. A Hogwatch official, Ruth Pryzner, suggested it be shut down because it had deprived any concerned resident the right to be heard. She also feared he may have to spread the waste on fields in winter, which is illegal. That's because he apparently has not expanded his storage capacity to take care of the waste from the barn. But, following a council meeting today, Mayor Don Yanick told PinP, Verbruggen still maintains he is not keeping more animals than he should (He claims it is 297, not the 300 or more he is alleged to be). The Mayor says the RM will ask some independent person to look into the situation to confirm who is right before deciding on any further action. Despite the controversy, the Mayor says he would not be opposed to one or two more barns in the re

Summary for Policymakers of IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5oC approved by governments

Damaged buildings in Hull, Québec three days after the tornado. Photo by  Roc 1981 . INCHEON, Republic of Korea, 8 Oct - Limiting global warming to 1.5oC would require rapid, far- reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, the IPCC said in a new assessment. Details here.

"Manitoba doesn't need a carbon tax. We're already 'green!'" - Premier Brian Pallister.

by Larry Powell Below is a copy of an e-mail I just sent to Chris Hall, host of the CBC Radio program, "The House." It concerns an interview he did this morning with Manitoba's Premier, Brian Pallister on the Premier's move to withdraw from the federal carbon tax plan. If you didn't hear it, Pallister announced to the world that a carbon tax is not needed in Manitoba because both he and his government are already green! Manitoba Premier, Brian Pallister. Photo by Hi Chris! I'm a native Manitoban who has, as a journalist, researcher and citizen, long been immersed in the politics of this province. I could hear the lies dripping from Premier Pallister's mouth as you interviewed him on the carbon tax this morning. His assertion that both he and Manitoba are already green, comes less than a year after his government slashed important legislation. It once provided us with a measure of health and environmental protection from the mass polluti

Climate scientists are struggling to find the right words for very bad news

The Washington Post. A much-awaited report from the U.N.'s top climate science panel will show an enormous gap between where we are and where we need to be to prevent dangerous levels of warming. Story here. Hurricane Florence. NASA

Washington Rolls Back Safety Rules Inspired by Deepwater Horizon Disaster

The New York Times The Trump administration has completed its plan to roll back major offshore-drilling safety regulations that were put in place after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster in 2010 that killed 11 people and caused the worst oil spill in American history. Story here. The Deepwater Horizon oil slick from space. Photo by NASA.

Commercial fishing banned across much of the Arctic

The Guardian International agreement will protect vast areas of sea that have opened up as the ice melts . Story here.  Fishboats in Norway. Photo by Kristian Magnus Kenstad.

We must keep single-use plastics out of our oceans.

Greenpeace -   More here. Poster by Jessica - NOAA marine debris program.

Thawing permafrost may release more CO2 than previously thought, study suggests

folio New research from University of Alberta ecologists show "mineral weathering" can be a significant contributor to Arctic climate change.  More here. Melting permafrost in Alaska. Photo by the US Geological Survey.