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Showing posts from June, 2019

Climate change puts health at risk and economists have the right prescription

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PHYS ORG  by Christopher Ragan And Courtney Howard,  The Conversation Wildfire smoke from Alberta descends on central Manitoba, two provinces away. 2017. A PinP photo.  Doctors and economists may seem like strange partners.  We spend our days working on very different problems in very different settings. But climate change has injected a common and urgent vocabulary into our work. We find ourselves agreeing both about the nature of the problem and the best solution. It is essential that we put a price on carbon pollution.    Story here.

Is relentless industrial development threatening the beautiful Birdtail River? Lucrative highway contracts have brought an explosion of noise and congestion to a picturesque valley in western Manitoba. (Letter)

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Dear Editor, If ever there was an example of just how numb we've become to the planetary crisis we all face, it’s surely playing out in plain sight right here, right now, in Shoal Lake. As many of my neighbours will already know, big dump trucks have been lumbering by in front of our homes for about a week now. Beginning before dawn, they sometimes become a steady stream that lasts much of each day, coming and going, until about dusk.   These heavy diesel "twenty-two-wheelers" with long, steel boxes, have been moving gravel (or some similar material), from a big mine along the Yellowhead to the west, to a big maintenance project along Highway 21 to the south. One of the many trucks working on the project in question, ready to be loaded at the mine. Since the trucks pass right by our front window, I’ve been able to do a rough count. At about 150 round trips per day, they must be set to move hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of material before the ope

Canada's Permafrost Is Thawing 70 Years Earlier Than Expected, Study Shows. Scientists Are 'Quite Surprised'

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TIME Of course, "The Big Thaw" is not confined to Canada. This Alaskan permafrost has melted, causing one of this lake's banks to collapse.  As a result, its waters are draining into a river,  then into the sea,  perhaps leading to the lake's disappearance! NPS Climate Change Response  Photo (C.Ciancibelli) The Canadian Arctic permafrost is thawing 70 years earlier than expected, a rate shocking a group of scientists who released the findings of their long-term study this month. More here.

Canada becomes first G7 country to ban shark fin imports

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The Guardian Shark fins for sale in Canada. Photo by Hakai MAGAZINE  Measure which also bans sale of fins awaits royal assent. Story here.

"Artifishal." The fight to save wild salmon. (Video)

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Deadly gas: Cutting farm emissions in half could save 3,000 lives a year

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Bureau of Investigative Journalism Spreading manure on a harvested corn field. Photo by Chesapeake Bay Program. Thousands of deaths could be avoided each year if air pollution from UK farms were halved, new analysis has revealed. But the government's failure to act means the most damaging sectors are under no obligation to cut their emissions.  Story here.

More research on African swine fever is urgently needed: No cure, no vaccine and no treatment yet exists for this lethal pig disease

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ILRI The swelling around the kidneys & the muscle hemorrhages shown here are typical of pigs with African swine fever. Karen Apicelli - USDA. African swine fever is a highly contagious viral disease affecting domestic and wild pigs. It kills nearly 100% of the pigs it infects. The good news is that the African swine fever virus does not infect or harm humans. The bad news is that it devastates household and national economies. Particularly in Africa and now in China and Vietnam, it can destroy the livelihoods. More here.

An Alberta wildfire specialist links Fort Mac "megafire" and BC's 2017 fire season to climate change

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The Energy Mix On May, 2016, the Landsat 7 satellite (NASA) acquired this false-colour image of the wildfire that burned through Fort McMurray. Advanced technology allows it to penetrate clouds and smoke to reveal the hot spots associated with active fires. Smoke appears white & burned areas appear brown. More than two thousand wildfires hit British Columbia in 2017. Another massive one consumed much of Fort McMurray, Alberta a year earlier. Mike Flannigan, A University specialist in wildland fire, says both were connected to climate change.  Story here.

Remote lakes in New Brunswick, Canada, remain dangerously polluted, half-a-century after being drenched with the insecticide, DDT, says study.

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It's no secret that the now-infamous bug-killer, DDT , persists stubbornly in the environment. Still, what scientists found in lake sediments they recently analyzed in the Atlantic province, 50 years after it was last used there, shocked them. The sediment in all five lakes they tested (representing numerous watersheds), were laced with DDT at levels up to 450 times beyond what would be considered safe for key aquatic species and even entire food webs. by Larry Powell A plane sprays DDT on bud worms in Oregon, 1955.  Photo by Forest Health Protection. In some ways, it was like a real war. In the early fifties, governments and the forest industry teamed up in New Brunswick to launch a massive aerial assault against spruce bud worms.  The pests had probably been eating their way through conifer stands in eastern Canada and the U.S. for thousands of years. But now, they were causing hundreds of millions of dollars of damage yearly to forests of mostly spruce a

Plant Species Have Been Disappearing 500 Times Faster Than Normal, Thanks to Humans

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Smithsonian.com Omar Monsgur exhibits endangered plants in Puerto Rico. US Fish & Wildlife photo. Researchers call the results “frightening” because it’s likely “gross underestimate” and the problem is probably much worse. Story here.

Older forests resist change, climate change, that is

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Science News A  forest in Maritime Canada. A PinP photo. With age, forests in eastern US and Canada become less vulnerable to climate change, study finds.  Story here .

'Existential' Risk of Climate Crisis Could Lead to Civilizational Collapse by 2050, Warns Report

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Common Dreams Drivers near Ponoka, Alberta face smoke from wildfires burning further north. 2019 photo by TaqaSanPedroAko. "The world is currently completely unprepared to envisage, and even less deal with, the consequences of catastrophic climate change." More here.

Loss of Canadian Arctic sea ice stokes summer heat waves in southern U.S.

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PHYS ORG Drift ice in the Arctic ocean. Wickimedia commons. Over the last 40 years, Arctic sea ice thickness, extent and volume have declined dramatically. Now, a new study finds a link between declining sea ice coverage in parts of the Canadian Arctic and an increasing incidence of summer heat waves across the southern United States. Story here.

Downpours of torrential rain more frequent with global warming

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PHYS ORG Flooding in Saskatchewan. A PinP photo. The frequency of downpours of heavy rain—which can lead to flash floods, devastation, and outbreaks of waterborne disease—has increased across the globe in the past 50 years, research led by the University of Saskatchewan (USask) has found. Story here.

Climate change is already affecting global food production—unequally

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PHYS ORG A soy field in Canada. A PinP photo. The world's top 10 crops— barley, cassava, maize, oil palm, rapeseed, rice, sorghum, soybean, sugarcane and wheat—supply a combined 83 percent of all calories produced on cropland. Yields have long been projected to decrease in future climate conditions. Now, new research shows climate change has already affected production of these key energy sources—and some regions and countries are faring far worse than others. Story here.

Manitoba's Opposition NDP Leader, Wab Kinew, Favours Cap & Trade Over Carbon Tax.

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Backyard chickens. Climate chicken.