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Showing posts from May, 2019

Conservationists find protected areas worldwide are shrinking

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PHYS ORG Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan, Canada. A PinP photo. A large international team of researchers reports that the amount of land designated as protected around the globe is shrinking. Story here.

A warming Arctic produces weather extremes further south!

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PHYS ORG The Northern Hemisphere Jet Stream can be seen crossing Cape Breton Island in Eastern Canada. A NASA photo. Atmospheric researchers have developed a climate model that can accurately depict the frequently observed winding course of the jet stream, a major air current over the Northern Hemisphere. It demonstrates that the jet stream's wavelike course and subsequent extreme weather conditions like cold air outbreaks in Central Europe and North America are the direct results of climate change.  Story here.

Jane Fonda Speaks Out on Behalf of Greenpeace. "The Environment Needs Our Help!" (Video)

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Stop using taxpayers’ money to destroy the world: Guterres

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UN News Fires around Fort McMurray, Alberta, 2016.  The red dots show active fires. The European Space Agency. The idea that subsidizing fossil fuels is a way to improve people’s lives could not be more wrong, says  Antó nio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, because it means spending taxpayers’ money to “boost hurricanes, spread droughts, melt glaciers, bleach corals: destroy the world.” Story here.

Soil communities threatened by destruction, instability of Amazon forests

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Science Daily  In this image, intact forest is deep green, while cleared areas are tan (bare ground) or light green (crops, pasture, or occasionally, second-growth forest). The fish-bone pattern of small clearings along new roads is the beginning of one of the common deforestation trajectories in the Amazon.  A NASA photo. The clearing and subsequent instability of Amazonian forests are among the greatest threats to tropical biodiversity conservation today.  Story here.

Will the rich escape climate apocalypse?

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New Internationalist The dirty grey is smoke from Alberta wildfires this year. Photo by NASA. The billionaire class is preparing for doomsday. Only problem is, the rest of us aren't invited.  Story here.

Albertans lose more than they gain with carbon tax repeal

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PEMBINA  INSTITUTE Slave Lake, Alberta, June 2011. The aftermath of the wildfire  that  destroyed one third of the town. Photo by Mrsramsey. Pembina Institute reacts to repeal of Alberta’s Climate Leadership Act. Story here.

Manitoba's "Protein Advantage"

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A few months ago, the Government of Manitoba invited input from the public on a proposal to expand production of protein-rich food, whether plant or animal-based, in this province. It claims, meeting this fast-growing global demand offers much bigger opportunities than those which have existed before, for both farmers and investors. The province has embarked on a massive expansion of its industrial pork industry by relaxing both health and environmental regulations and obviously hopes through this new initiative,  to make it even bigger. In this in-depth article, long-time farm activist and livestock producer, Ruth Pryzer, offers many valuable insights into why this all needs to be taken with several grains of salt. PinP

Reckless farming is harming the planet. This could save it

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CNN Business   A common site on the Canadian prairies at seeding time. Two big tractors with air seeders and chemical tanks attached, ready to roll. A PinP photo. The United Nations released a dire warning   recently: Climate change is here and it's a clear and present danger to our entire planet. Of course, we didn't need another report to tell us that — we see it in extreme and unusual weather, disappearing wildlife and falling farm yields. But there is one major cause of this global catastrophe that doesn't get the attention it deserves: industrial-scale chemical agriculture. Story here.

Plastic Proliferation Threatens the Climate on a Global Scale

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CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW. A crab trapped in a plastic cup. The plastic pollution crisis that overwhelms our oceans is also a significant and growing threat to the Earth’s climate. At current levels, greenhouse gas emissions from the plastic lifecycle threaten the ability of the global community to keep global temperature rise below 1.5°C. With the petrochemical and plastic industries planning a massive expansion in production, the problem is on track to get much worse. Story here. 

‘Extraordinary thinning’ of ice sheets revealed deep inside Antarctica

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The Guardian Antarctica. Wikimedia public domain.  New research shows affected areas are losing ice five times faster than in the 1990s, with more than 100m of thickness gone in some places. Story here.

Two-thirds of world's longest rivers throttled by mankind: study

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PHYS ORG The design of the "site c" dam in B.C. Almost two in three of Earth's longest rivers have been severed by dams, reservoirs or other manmade constructions, severely damaging some of the most important ecosystems on the planet, researchers said Wednesday.  Story here.

Microplastics in freshwaters

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PHYS ORG Microplastics  in sediments from the rivers Elbe (A), Mosel (B),  Neckar (C), and Rhine (D). Note the diverse shapes (filaments,  fragments, and spheres) and that not all items are microplastics  (e.g., aluminum foil (C) and glass spheres and sand (D),  white arrowheads). The white bars represent 1 mm.  PhotoS by Martin Wagner  et al. As small as a grain of dust—but of great global significance. The word microplastics is familiar to many, but the dangers are virtually unexplored. In recent years, plastic pollution has become an ever-increasing burden on the environment. Countless videos and media reports draw attention to this problem. While the dangers of large plastic pieces for animals are impossible to overlook, there is practically nothing about the dangers posed by microplastics. But what are microplastics anyway?  Get the answer here.

Jury rules Roundup gave a California couple cancer - orders the manufacturer, Bayer, to pay $2B.

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by Larry Powell (Opinion) A pesticide collection depot in Manitoba. A PinP photo. It’s a record settlement in a Roundup case, so far. In Canada, there are no signs of similar court actions, even though   Roundup is generously applied here, too.   Sadly, our Canadian regulators seem far from vigilant in protecting the public against harmful chemicals. For example, less than a year ago, the PMRA re-registered a fungicide so its main uses can continue . That same product has just been banned in the EU as a possible carcinogen! And the same corporation, Bayer, is busily registering (or trying to register) its latest insecticide for use, worldwide, including Canada. Never mind that scientists are questioning Bayer’s claim that it is not harmful to pollinators.  The PMRA has been stone-silent on my own requests to justify this apparent inaction in either of these cases. I call it governance by neglect.  It is to be hoped that punishing fines like this will

Nunavut's ill-advised hunting proposal

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Science A polar bear and her two cubs. Photo by Alastair Rae. The government of one of Canada’s northern territories may soon adopt a recommendation which may well threaten the ability of the polar bear to reproduce. Story here.

Replanting oil palm may be driving a second wave of biodiversity loss

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PHYS ORG A palm oil plantation in Malaysia, poisoned to make way for new growth. CEphoto, Uwe Aranas The environmental impact of palm oil production has been well publicized. Found in everything from food to cosmetics, the deforestation, ecosystem decline and biodiversity loss  associated with its use is a serious cause for concern. What many people may not know, however, is... story here.

Bee Alert: Is a Controversial Herbicide Harming Honeybees?

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Yale Environment 360 Recent court cases have focused on the possible effects of glyphosate, found in Monsanto’s Roundup, on humans. But researchers are now investigating whether this commonly used herbicide could also be having adverse effects on the health and behaviour of honeybees. Story here. RELATED:  Scientists cast doubt on claims by the chemical giant, Bayer, that its newest pesticide is safe for bees.  -  by Larry Powell

It's Time for a Green New Deal - Build it With Us!

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DETAILS HERE.

World is ‘on notice’ as major UN report shows one million species face extinction

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UN News Service A hard-hitting report into the impact of humans on nature shows that nearly one million species risk becoming extinct within decades, while current efforts to conserve the earth’s resources will likely fail without radical action,  UN biodiversity experts say. The Chatham penguin, once endemic to the Chatham Islands, off New Zealand. Its bones indicate it likely became extinct shortly after Polynesians arrived about 450 years ago. Image by Sean Murtha. RELATED: "The Sixth Extinction - an Unnatural History." (A book review.) Also, please watch this "Life Below Water," video, below .

Climate Change Has Made Droughts More Frequent Since 1900

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The Smithsonian Photo by Tomas Castelazo Tree ring data from various parts of the world show that greenhouse gas increases have impacted soil moisture for over 100 years. Story here.

Farm Country: Don’t Get Fooled Again

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By Cherie Mortice - Common Dreams. Smithfield Food's pig-breeding facility, Virginia. Sows in cruel gestation crates. Photo by US Humane Society. Big ag companies killed family farms and polluted our water, while politicians blamed our immigrant neighbours. Let’s not turn on each other again. Story here

Make EU trade with Brazil sustainable

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Science The Amazon, near Manaus.  Photo by Neil Palmer (CIAT) . Brazil, home to one of the planet's last great forests, is currently in trade negotiations with its second largest trading partner, the European Union (EU). We urge the EU to seize this critical opportunity to ensure that Brazil protects human rights and the environment.  More here. --> Related:  Attacks on Brazil's ecological paradises.

New research finds that “marine reserves” – tracts of ocean where fishing is banned – are protecting fish, the coral reefs where they live and vast undersea "gardens," a lot more than once thought.

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Large-scale commercial fishing has, for years, been depleting fish-stocks in many places around the world - especially in coral reefs in the tropics. In response, several countries have designated certain areas of the sea as "marine reserves," where neither fishing nor other development is allowed. Now, a team of scientists from US and Australian universities has produced compelling new evidence . It shows  these reserves have not only been helping stocks rebound, but are also protecting massive coral "food webs" - beds of sea-grasses and algae - important reservoirs for carbon storage.   by Larry Powell In this satellite photo, "halos" appear as pale blue circular bands  surrounding tiny dark spots. The spots are likely  small patch reefs  or other shelter for small fish and invertebrates  that protect  them  from predators. Each halo is probably  about 10 meters wide.  The more there are, the healthier  marine life there is likely