Friday, August 20, 2021

Nearly Half the World's Children at 'Extremely High Risk' for Facing Effects of Climate Crisis, Report Finds

Common Dreams

 OCHA/Giles Clarke. Displaced children stand in the shredded remains of tents in Abs settlement, Yemen, for internally displaced persons. Located just 40 km from the frontlines, the settlement is regularly damaged by passing sandstorms.

"Virtually no child's life will be unaffected" by the climate emergency, said the director of UNICEF. Story here.

Monday, August 16, 2021

New polling shows Canadian voters are very concerned about the impact of industrial farming


TORONTO - The global charity World Animal Protection commissioned a public opinion poll to find out where Canadians stand on issues related to our food system, including animal welfare, the environmental impacts of industrial animal agriculture and the overuse of antibiotics. An EKOS research online survey of 2,143 Canadians conducted last month shows that Canadians have many concerns about the harmful effects of industrial animal agriculture.

And with a potential election looming, the charity hopes all political party leaders will address such issues on the campaign trail.

When it comes to safeguarding human health, 60 per cent of Canadians agreed with many experts who have identified antibiotic overuse on farm animals as contributing to a rise in antibiotic resistant bacteria (aka "superbugs"). Superbugs make it harder for humans to respond to treatment from antibiotics.

A recent report from the charity even found antibiotic resistance genes (which are the building blocks of superbugs) in waterways near industrial pig farms in Manitoba. This is concerning because once in the environment, superbugs can reach humans in multiple ways.This includes swimming in or eating fish from contaminated waterways. Superbugs can even be transmitted through eating crops that have been watered with contaminated sources.

The routine overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture is also recognized by the World Health Organization and the United Nations (UN) as a significant contributor to the emergence of superbugs. Currently, 700,000 people die each year from untreatable infections. This number is estimated to grow to 10 million by 2050 if action isn't taken to stop antibiotic overuse.

The online survey showed 60 per cent of Canadians support phasing out the prophylactic use of antibiotics in industrial farming. The strongest support for this came from women (65 per cent) and BC residents (68 per cent).

Lynn Kavanagh, Farming Campaign Manager for World Animal Protection says, "Demand for high amounts of animal protein fuels intensification, which in turn fuels the reliance on prophylactic antibiotic use. We need to adopt a healthier farming system which necessitates reducing how much meat and dairy we consume."

Canadians are making this connection. One out of three Canadians report reducing or eliminating their consumption of animal products over the past 12 months. The two main reasons cited are health (41 per cent) and to reduce the impact on climate change (31 per cent).

Over the course of this summer wildfires have raged across BC – a wake-up call to the dire consequences of climate change. And as the latest UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, released earlier this week shows us, we need to act now.

Industrial animal farming is a major contributor to the climate crisis. It accounts for 70 per cent of all agricultural land use and is responsible for 18 per cent of greenhouse gases. Almost half (47 per cent) of Canadians are concerned about the possible environmental effects of animal consumption, especially young voters under 35 (61 per cent).

To support a healthier, more sustainable food system two thirds of Canadians support providing financial incentives to farmers to transition away from the industrial model of farming to more sustainable systems.

Preventing the next pandemic is also on the minds of Canadians. The poll shows 82 per cent believe preventing future pandemics are very or somewhat important issues when deciding who to vote for.

There is a strong link between industrial animal farming and pandemics. Previous pandemics such as the avian flu and swine flu have come from farms and some scientists predict the next pandemic could come also from a farm. In industrial farms across Canada and around the world animals are kept in overcrowded, stressful and unsanitary conditions, making it easy for diseases to spread.

Furthermore, the United Nations Environment Programme in a recent report, cites 'increased demand for animal protein' and 'unsustainable agriculture intensification' (mostly of animals) as two of the top seven drivers of pandemic risk. 

"The time is now for all political parties to show Canadians how they plan to address the impacts of industrial animal farming," says Kavanagh. "Human health and animal health are connected, and the government has an opportunity to promote a food system that protects the environment and public health."

About World Animal Protection

From our offices worldwide, including China, Brazil, Kenya and Canada, we move the world to protect animals. Last year, we gave more than 220 million animals better lives through our campaigns that focus on animals in the wild, animals in disasters, animals in communities and animals in farming. For more information visit

SOURCE World Animal Protection

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Loophole keeps bee-killing pesticides in widespread use, two years after EU ban


Investigation finds EU countries have issued at least 67 different 'emergency authorisations' for outdoor use of three neonicotinoids since ban came into force in 2018.
Story here.

Monday, August 9, 2021

UN sounds alarm on 'irreversible' climate impacts, but offers hope

CBC News

Two plumes of smoke from the Long Loch wildfire and the Derrickson Lake wildfire, British Columbia 2021. BC Wildfire Service.

This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels': UN Secretary General António Guterres. Story here.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021


I wrote this letter a couple of years ago about a road construction project past my door. I realize it was a "minority" if not an "oddball" position to be taking. Now that our world is descending, and not so slowly anymore, into a kind of Hell on earth, with wildfire smoke insinuating iself iyour lungs and mine, hooddball do I seem now?

See "comments," at bottom.


If ever there was an example of just how numb we are to the planetary crisis we are now in, 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 on the street in front of our homes for about a week now. Beginning before dawn, they sometimes approach a steady stream that lasts all day until about dusk. 

The mine supplying the raw product has been expanding for years along the banks of the Birdtail River. I’ve been out there a few times over the past few years. I’ve captured dramatic shots of the copious dust it kicks up when in full operational mode (visit and heard the clamour of the machines echoing up and down an otherwise peaceful valley. Prevailing westerlies carry the dust right over (and no doubt into) the river water. Such sediment has long been proven to be bad news for fish and other aquatic life. 

This seems to matter not, however. Neither does the fact that internal combustion engines are big contributors of greenhouse gases and climate change (which the experts predict will be in “runaway mode,” or beyond our ability to turn around, in about a decade). 

Apparently, we are also supposed to ignore the medical fact that being exposed to diesel fumes, even for a short time, can cause coughing, eye, nose, throat irritation. Long-term exposure, can lead to serious health effects, including cancer. So just how long will this highway “improvement” project last? I have no idea, do you? 

And, by the way, did you take part in the vote that gave them our permission to do this? Oh, that’s right! There wasn’t one, was there?

The Arctic may be sea-ice-free in summer by the 2030s

  Nature Communications                                                 Photo by Patrick Kelley   The Arctic could be sea-ice-free during th...