Showing posts from August, 2019

Grassland biodiversity is blowing in the wind

Science Daily Temperate grasslands are the most endangered but least protected ecosystems on Earth. A new study found that milkweeds and other plants that have seeds carried by the wind are an important source for enriching the diversity of plants in these valuable ecosystems. Story here. Grasslands Nat'l. Park, Canada. Milkweed in a roadside ditch in Manitoba. Photos by PinP.

Wild ground-nesting bees might be exposed to lethal levels of neonics in soil.

ScienceDaily In a first-ever study investigating the risk of neonicotinoid insecticides to ground-nesting bees, University of Guelph researchers have discovered hoary squash bees are being exposed to lethal levels of the chemicals in the soil . Story here. Hoary bees forage on a squash flower. Ilona Loser RELATED: New Studies Show Farm Chemicals Are Affecting More Than Bees. Bird Populations are Declining, too. Is modern agriculture's hold on nature becoming a death grip?

The day of the salamander. How a big highway project in southwestern Manitoba is having to "make way" for a little amphibian, or face legal consequences. Larry Powell prepared this video report.

by Larry Powell TEXT VERSION - "The day of the salamander." The summer of the salamander. How the little amphibian forced a big highway project in southwestern Manitoba to work around it, or face legal consequences.   by Larry Powell. Just as a multi-million dollar road improvement project was about to begin - between Shoal Lake and Hamiota in July - salamanders were found in the wetlands along the right-of-way.  Tiger salamanders in captivity. A Wikipedia photo. And not just any salamanders. These were the prairie population of  tiger  salamanders ( Ambystoma tigrinum ), considered a “species of concern” under the Federal Species at Risk Act.   "Turbidity curtains." A  PinP  photo. As a result, so-called “turbidity curtains” (above) were strung along the area affected. They prevent sediment created in this “hot zone” of construction, from spreading throughout the entire slough. That meant, salamanders trapped within the curtains, had to b

Ocean temperatures turbocharge April tornadoes over Great Plains (aka Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta) region

ScienceDaily Do climate shifts influence tornados over North America? New research found that Pacific and Atlantic ocean temperatures in April can influence large-scale weather patterns as well as the frequency of tornadoes over the Great Plains region. Story here. US Dept. of Commerce.

Hogs and Water. A private citizen appeals to the Premier of Manitoba.

Dear Premier Brian Pallister, It’s time for you and your government to stop playing Russian Roulette with the health of our waterways.  Mr. Premier, you need to implement the “precautionary principle” and immediately stop the unbridled expansion of factory pig barns in the province. Scores of huge new barns have been going up - often in the face of opposition from nearby residents - for well over a year now, ever since your government slashed important environmental, health and safety regulations in order to make it happen.   Lake Winnipeg, transformed into the bright, blue-green hue of poisonous algae. Photo by European Space Agency. There’s already plenty of both “circumstantial,” and scientific evidence that hog waste has played a role in reducing Lake Winnipeg to a mucky mess which can be seen from space (above). Pigs have outnumbered people by the millions in our province for many years now. And that imbalance will only be widening with industry expansion. Hog

Hog Watch Manitoba Warns Current Hog Industry Expansion Could Further Harm Lake Winnipeg

(Winnipeg –August 19, 2019) Hog Watch Manitoba(HWM) is warning the public that further increase in the number of pigs raised in Manitoba could bring even greater blue-green algae blooms to Lake Winnipeg and other Manitoba lakes. This summer the extent of the algae blooms in the south basin of Lake Winnipeg is devastating to many cottage communities, including Victoria Beach, Grand Beach and Lester Beach. The current Conservative government in Manitoba has introduced several measures to try to encourage the development of more industrial size hog barns. They ended the moratorium on hog barn development which had been instituted by the former provincial government. They brought in the Red Tape Reduction Bill, removing the prohibition on winter spreading of manure from legislation. Subsequently they brought in Bill 19 which aims to limit local control over new hog barn development. HWM has requested that the government collect data to determine how much phosphorus is running off fie

Fracking Boom in U.S. and Canada Largely to Blame for Global Methane Spike, Study Finds

EcoWatch Image by Pixabay. New research by a scientist at Cornell University warns that the fracking  boom in the U.S. and Canada over the past decade is largely to blame for a large rise in methane  in the earth's atmosphere — and that reducing emissions of the extremely potent greenhouse gas is crucial to help stem the international climate  crisis.  Story here.

'Disgusting and Disturbing': Trump Guts Endangered Species Act in Gift to Big Business

Common Dreams "This administration seems set on damaging fragile ecosystems by prioritizing industry interests over science."  Story here. The embattled burrowing owl. A PinP photo.

Black carbon lofts wildfire smoke high into the stratosphere to form a persistent plume

Science Magazine. In 2017, western Canadian wildfires injected smoke into the stratosphere that was detectable by satellites for more than 8 months. The smoke plume rose from 12 to 23 kilometers within 2 months owing to solar heating of black carbon, extending the lifetime and latitudinal spread. Comparisons of model simulations to the rate of observed lofting indicate that 2% of the smoke mass was black carbon. The observed smoke lifetime in the stratosphere was 40% shorter than calculated with a standard model that does not consider photochemical loss of organic carbon. Photochemistry is represented by using an empirical ozone-organics reaction probability that matches the observed smoke decay. The observed rapid plume rise, latitudinal spread, and photochemical reactions provide new insights into potential global climate impacts from nuclear war.   More here. Smoke-filled skies over San Diego - fall 2007. Photo by Eric Pettigrew.

'Act before it's too late': The prairie province of Saskatchewan, Canada at high risk of water shortages, says global study

CBC News Climate change, resource extraction, agriculture among causes of potential water shortage, says author.  Story here. Echo Lake, SK. Photo by Joe Mabel from Seattle.

Rachel was right

PAN Yet another  scientific study , released today, shows just how deadly our chemical-intensive farming system has become to pollinators and other insects.  Story here, Bumblebees forage on chives in an organic garden in Manitoba. A PinP photo. RELATED: Recent research contradicts a claim by the chemical giant, Bayer, that its newest bug-killer is safe for bees.

To Slow Global Warming, U.N. Warns Agriculture Must Change

The Salt  Humans must drastically alter food production to prevent the most catastrophic effects of global warming, according to a new report from the United Nations panel on climate change.  Story here. An intensive sheep operation.

Industrial fishing behind plummeting shark numbers

Science News Research finds marine predators are significantly smaller and much rarer in areas closer to people. Story here. An ocean "white-tip" shark. Photo by NOAA.

What can a large, but routine highway project teach us about our climate crisis?

Larry Powell explores that question in this picture story - "Thinking Globally. Acting Locally. " Earlier this summer, in a letter in my community newspaper, the Crossroads, I complained about a huge multi-million dollar roadbuilding project south of Shoal Lake, in southwestern Manitoba.   Here’s why. A convoy of dump trucks streams past my window. Despite a standing warning from the United Nations that the  construction sector needs to cut back on its huge carbon footprint “yesterday” if we are to meet our obligations under the Paris Climate Accord, a steady stream of diesel trucks rumbled through town for weeks, from dawn to dusk, right past my living and bedroom windows.  (Above.) And, scant weeks after the Parks and Wilderness Society informed us that biodiversity (the variety of plant and animal life on Earth) is declining faster than at any other time in human history, the trucks were making hundreds of round trips a day, hauling copious loads of grave

Cargill Closes Feed Mills in China Due to African Swine Fever

FarmJournal’s PORK Cargill Inc has closed animal feed-mills in China in recent months, partly because of the devastating spread of African swine fever (ASF) that has reduced demand.  Story here. One of millions of ASF victims. "The incidence and range of many emerging diseases are influenced by the intensification of..livestock systems."  U.N. report - "Agriculture at a Crossroads" 2009

The research is in - stop fracking ASAP!

By  Barbara Gottlieb  | OTHERWORDS Over 1,500 reports show there’s simply no safe way to do it — and it’s harming us all every day it goes on. Story here.