Saturday, November 25, 2023

Massive B.C. coal mines are about to get a new owner. Why some are worried about Glencore’s record


Coal mine at Tumbler Ridge, B.C.  Jeffrey Wynne

    If the sale goes through, the company will inherit a contamination problem decades in the making, deepening uncertainty about a long-anticipated international inquiry into the region’s cross-border pollution. Story here.

Live zebra mussels found in Clear Lake at Riding Mountain National Park, says Parks Canada


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Public engagement sessions to be held this winter: Parks Canada.

Governments fail again to protect against another invasive species. (Letter)

 re: Fast action needed on Clear Lake zebra mussels, Lake expert warns.(Brandon Sun, 24 Nov.)

Zebra mussels were first detected in Canada in the Great Lakes in 1988. 
Just another faux pas (blunder) by our government(s).
The best time to act was more than 3 decades ago, when U of Wpg., Prof. Eva Pip warned the province of this pending invasion. She was deemed as an alarmist, irresponsible and unprofessional. Now we know different!  How sad.

Governments are very lackadaisical about situations on the horizon, that could become a threat and problematic, but are always ready and prepared to spare no effort to "shut the door" on such invasive species…..AFTER they have entered.

Why is that?….or haven't you noticed..... many will just say…"Who Cares".

John Fefchak.

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Giant Sequoias Are in Big Trouble. How Best to Save Them?


by Jim Robbins

Daniel G Rego photo.

California’s ancient sequoias — some of which have stood more than 1,000 years — are facing an existential threat from increasingly intense wildfires linked to climate change. But federal efforts to thin forests to reduce fire risks are drawing pushback from conservation groups. Story here.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

GOOD NEWS! Some mangrove forests are rapidly expanding

 Royal Society Journals

A mangrove forrest, close up. Photo by Jeff Kelleway

     The expansions are occurring on low-lying islands of the Great Barrier Reef, creating new habitats and protecting coastlines from storms and sea level rise. They're also capturing carbon and helping tiny islands grow. Mangroves of the Howick Islands in the northern Great Barrier Reef have been mapped for the first time since 1974. The new maps show that the mangrove forests have extended at rates of up to five metres a year, adding over 10,000 tonnes of new biomass. Watch video, below.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Diesel vehicles in oil sands operations contribute to regional pollution


Wildfires, cigarette smoking and vehicles all emit a potentially harmful compound called isocyanic acid. The substance has been linked to several health conditions, including heart disease and cataracts. Scientists investigating sources of the compound have now identified off-road diesel vehicles in oil sands production in Alberta, Canada, as a major contributor to regional levels of the pollutant. Their report appears in ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Story here.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Opposition persists to proposed sand mining project in southeastern Manitoba


Silica sand. Photo by  ರವಿಮುಂ

Springfield councillor says survey results will be shared with council, provincial election candidates. Widespread opposition persists in southeastern Manitoba to an Alberta-based company's proposed plan to mine for pure silica sand in the rural municipality of Springfield, two local councillors say. Story here.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Critical Concerns about Manitoba’s Minerals Strategy

                                MiningWatch CANADA

Last week, the Government of Manitoba released the Critical Minerals Strategy: Driving Sustainable Growth. For years, Manitoba’s environmental community has been raising the alarm about the short and long-term implications of mining on the environment and the health of mining-adjacent communities.

There is a need for a more thoughtful and detailed strategy that meaningfully addresses the environmental concerns and interests of the public and Indigenous communities. DETAILS HERE.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Canada burns - Canada’s relentless battle with record heat and devastating wildfires

Jamie Sandison - Canada's National Observer

My analysis of data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reveals a staggering revelation — more than 150 monthly temperature records have been broken across Canada this year. Details here.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Danielle Smith Rips Off the Mask

The Tyee

Alberta Premier,
Danielle Smith.
Her combative, gaslighting persona was put away for the election campaign. It was back this week. Details here.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Climate change more than doubled the likelihood of extreme fire weather conditions in Eastern Canada

World Weather Attribution

During May and June 2023 Canada witnessed exceptionally extreme fire-weather conditions, leading to extensive wildfires that burned over 13 million hectares. Story here.

Extreme heat in Canada, US, Europe and China in July 2023 made much more likely by climate change


Following a record hot June, large areas of the US, Canada, Mexico, Southern Europe and China experienced extreme heat in July 2023, breaking many local high temperature records. Details here.

Please also read; 

Climate crisis made spate of Canada wildfires twice as likely, scientists find

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Being a child in this climate is daunting. Are we doing enough to help?

National Observer

“There is no rain in our community. We walk for more than eight hours every day to get water,” Drought forced Dawele*, 14, from Ethiopia, to drop out of school.she explains. “Because of this, I couldn’t attend class and was forced to drop out. I love mathematics and want to be a teacher, but now I don’t know what my future will be.” Dawele is just one of 15 million people in the Horn of Africa who can no longer go to school because of severe drought.  STORY HERE.

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Greenhouse gas emissions at ‘an all-time high’ causing unprecedented rate of global warming - global scientists

EurekAlert - Peer-Reviewed Publication


Human-caused global warming has continued to increase at an “unprecedented rate” since the last major assessment of the climate system published two years ago, say 50 leading scientists.         STORY HERE.

Friday, August 11, 2023


AUG 2019

Dear Yellowheadians, 

Earlier this summer, in a letter in the Crossroads, I complained about a huge multi-million dollar roadbuilding project on Highway 21, south of Shoal Lake. While I wasn't crazy about the noise or the violation of my personal space, that's not why I'm writing this. 

Here’s why.

The United Nations warned some time ago 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. Yet, either out of ignorance, apathy or downright defiance, a steady stream of diesel trucks rumbled through Shoal Lake for weeks, from dawn to dusk, right past my living room window. 

Scant months ago, the Parks and Wilderness Society reminded us that world biodiversity (the variety of plant and animal life on Earth) is declining faster now than at any other time in human history. Yet that did not stop the trucks from making hundreds of round trips a day, hauling copious loads of gravel from a mine which has, for years, been transforming a beautiful stretch of the Birdtail Valley west of here, into an ugly hub of commerce.

Yet my letter was met with a deafening silence. Why? I have no idea. But one very disturbing possibility has come to mind since. Could it be that many simply do not believe that climate change is real; that we humans are behind it; or that its consequences are already widespread, deadly and getting worse? 

A study by UBC seems to raise the chilling possibility that this is, indeed, the case. It finds that school curricula in at least a few places in Canada, including Manitoba, present the science as not being settled yet!  It pains me to say this, but - if this is what is being taught - it's a lie! The science is settled! There’s an overwhelming and longstanding consensus among the world’s top climatologists. We humans are altering the nature of our atmosphere by the amount of fossil fuels we're burning. This is trapping heat close to the earth’s surface. And, if we do nothing, the only home we have could morph into a place that’s not just inhospitable, but downright deadly, even for the healthiest among us! Ironically, the month just past, when the road construction was at its peak, was globally, the warmest July on the human record!

So, would Planet Earth have been spared from a worst-case scenario had my "least favourite" road project not gone ahead? Of course not! But are we doomed to that worst-case scenario if every community in the world barges ahead with “business as usual,” as mine, sadly, is doing?  Absolutely!

Larry Powell

Shoal Lake, MB.

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

New research finds that more than 90% of global aquaculture faces substantial risk from environmental change

Peer-Reviewed Publication


Many of the world’s largest aquatic food producers are highly vulnerable to human-induced environmental change, with some of the highest-risk countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa demonstrating the lowest capacity for adaptation, a landmark study has shown.

Read another version here.

Please also read; Toxic Tides, the tragedy of fish farming everywhere.

Friday, July 7, 2023

Letters: Winds of change turn against pork industry

The Manitoba Co-Operator - by Vicki Burns

Manitoba hog producers would do well to pay very careful attention to California’s Prop 12 and the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding it. Story here.

Friday, June 23, 2023

Increased risk of extreme rainfall due to warming

Journal: Nature

Climate warming is causing a decrease in snowfall and increase in rainfall at high altitudes in the Northern Hemisphere, and is predicted to increase the risk of extreme rainfall, suggests a study published in Nature

The intensity and frequency of extreme precipitation events is expected to increase as global warming continues to affect the planet. Of particular concern are extremes in rainfall, which often cause more damage than similar snowfall events due to their instantaneous runoff, increasing the risk of floods, which can cause infrastructure damage and landslides. Precisely how increases in global temperature will affect extreme rainfall events remains unclear. 

To assess how climate change might be driving a shift in precipitation patterns, Mohammed Ombadi and colleagues combined data from climate observations from between 1950 and 2019 with future projections, up to 2100, taken from Earth system models. Their results suggest that warming is causing an increase in rainfall extremes within regions of high elevation in the Northern Hemisphere, particularly in regions usually dominated by snowfall. On average, the intensity of extreme rainfall events is estimated to increase by 15% per 1 °C of warming. These patterns are seen both in the historical observations and future projections. The estimated rate of increased rainfall in high altitudes is approximately double that of low altitudes, highlighting the increased vulnerability of mountainous regions to extreme precipitation.  

These results may guide infrastructure and mitigation strategies to avert the damage such rainfall events could cause, as well as making predictions of their occurrence more precise, the authors conclude. 

Manitobans deserve transparency, not unsubstantiated environmental claims from their pork sector.

Hog Watch Manitoba - June 23rd, 2023.

    Hog Watch Manitoba, a non-profit, advocacy group, says it believes a recent claim by Manitoba Pork about how much water it is using, needs more proof.     

    In a newspaper ad, the industry organization declares, “Hog farms today require 40% less water per kilogram of pork produced, compared to fifty years ago.”   

    Larry Powell of Hog Watch says this doesn’t tell the whole story. 

    "Even if consumption per unit has gone down, what does it matter when that figure is surely being eclipsed by rising animal numbers? There are well over three times as many pigs on Manitoba farms now as there were half-a-century ago. 

    "Not only that, the use of slurry, which has been spread on vast farm fields in this province for decades, is more than 80% water. It's been on the increase since the nineties. 

    "A University of Manitoba study concluded that pigs produced 346 thousand tonnes of dry manure in 2007 alone. Since the spreading of slurry was a common and growing practise, even back then, it must surely have added up to a staggering total.

An industry photo.

    "Besides, research by the industry itself shows finisher pigs can waste up to 25% of the water they use, even from 'well-managed' nipple-drinkers."

    Powell adds, there's good reason the public deserves full disclosure on this vital issue. 

    "Experts have long been warning, 'As climate change tightens its grip, multi-year droughts are taking a severe toll, especially on cattle and grain producers. With drought and heatwaves becoming a worsening problem on the semi-arid Canadian prairies, competition for a diminishing supply of water will become a major problem in the future. And excess use of water by this industry may be a threat to both local and regional water sources.'

    "So if Manitoba Pork wants to be seen as a good corporate citizen, the people of this province need more assurance than this, that our finite supply of freshwater can sustain it, indefinitely into the future."

    Hog Watch Manitoba is a non-profit organization, a coalition of environmentalists, farmers, friends of animals, social justice advocates, scientists and concerned citizens. We are promoting a hog industry in Manitoba that is ethically, environmentally, and economically sustainable. 

    Data for this statement comes from Statistics Canada, Environment Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and the MB Clean Environment Commission.

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Writer condemns the wisdom of allowing factory farms to proliferate in Manitoba

 Letter to the editor.

"The entire pork industry in Manitoba is facing a difficult time. That includes the hog farmers as well as the processors," GM Cam Dahl of MB Pork told the Brandon Sun, 17 June,2023.

 Without the benefit of taxpayers’ dollars (read: government support), the Manitoba hog industry (not farming) would have collapsed many years ago. 

Born and raised on a farm, I appreciate the proper raising and care of swine. Pigs produced in a factory-type situation however, live in conditions that are far removed from achieving humane animal stewardship status. 

Bad ideas and poor operating principles are very costly for the animals, our environment and society. 

It was some 24 years ago that the Filmon Progressive Conservative government unfurled the red carpet and opened Pandora’s box for the hog Industry to come into Manitoba. Now, since being elected in 2016, the Pallister and Stefanson regimes—through their Red Tape Reduction Act—have taken the cue to further expand the industry by discarding much of the legislation that had been put in place to protect our environment, Lake Winnipeg, and Manitoba water sources. 

Yes, it is very clear that Mr. Pallister and Premier Stefanson’s ministers have been busy reading the Filmon manual on how to manage the Manitoba government on the value-added concept of economics regarding the hog Industry. 

I often think there are those who will not be pleased with anything short of a regulatory footprint so light it allows hog barns to be built on floating platforms in the middle of Lake Winnipeg.  

This hog industry of Maple Leaf Foods and foreign-owned Hylife Foods is a meat exporting business. Manitobans consume about six per cent of their production. The rest is shipped away, leaving Manitobans to deal with all the waste and pollution that is leaves behind.

Unfortunately, polluted water, toxic air, health concerns and the plight of rural residents is not a consideration to Manitoba’s government. 

This political transgression of ruination is upon us, affecting the future of our children and generations that follow. 

John Fefchak
Virden , MB

Wednesday, June 14, 2023



The future-oriented straw bedding concept
PureLine products

Pig production on straw that meets the animals’ needs and is still profitable – is that possible? Yes! With the sustainable and animal-friendly Xaletto® straw bedding concept, both piglet rearing and pig finishing are profitable, either in closed houses or in ventilated barns with open-air run.

Xaletto® is the result of a collaboration between Big Dutchman, the feed producer Bröring and an experienced farmer. Prerequisites for the success of the Xaletto® concept include:

  • a well-adjusted ventilation concept
  • an ideal feeding concept
  • optimal water management
  • labour-saving straw management

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

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 the month of September as early as the 2030s even under a low emissions scenario — about one decade earlier than previously projected — suggests a study published in Nature Communications

Thursday, May 18, 2023

United in Science: We are heading in the wrong direction

Geneva, 13 September 2022 (WMO) - Climate science is clear: we are heading in the wrong direction, according to a new multi-agency report coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which highlights the huge gap between aspirations and reality. DETAILS HERE.

Friday, May 12, 2023

Substance or showmanship? What's the key to success at the polls? According to the "At Issue" panel - the answer might surprise you! (Letter)

Dear Editor,

And here I thought there were things governments could do to make our planet safer from the ravages of manmade climate change - offer subsidies to those who give us cleaner energy alternatives, or regulations to those who pollute. 

Then, those of us who want to save our earthly home from climate catastrophe, can simply vote for the Party that seems most likely to do these things.

The “At Issue" panel on CBC TV reminded me just how wrong I was, when they recently discussed the topic of Alberta, now facing epic wildfires amidst an election campaign.

The guest panelist from Alberta thought “Danielle,” (Premier Danielle Smith) was “generally acting as a Premier” in the face of the crisis. (I wonder if she knows him as “Jason?”) The other panelists generally thought the way the Premier was handling things would probably be seen as "a plus,” too.

Never mind that, it wasn't that long ago that Smith considered the science of climate change, “unsettled,” or now describes the federal program to transition away from fossil fuels, “an existential threat.” 

Neither does it apparently matter that, when Premier herself, Rachel Notley moved to phase out coal and place a cap on oil sands emissions.

I believe this panel, which mostly offers intelligent insight into world affairs, missed the mark this time.

They also insulted Alberta voters by suggesting they'll be basing their votes - not on solid, science-based policies which will make or break a successful, long-term counter-offensive against these"Hellfires" - but rather on a death-bed display of “showmanship” in the final days of a campaign.

Larry Powell


Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Crab populations are crashing. Could losing their sense of smell be one of the important reasons why?

University of Toronto

Thayne Tuason took this shot at

Ocean Shores WA in 2020. He labelled it, "dungeness crab die off..."  and commented, "Some people might contend they were just "molting", but these crabs looked mostly dead to me and not just a bunch of empty shells as would have been the case if it was them naturally shedding their exoskeleton.

    A new U of T Scarborough study finds that climate change is causing a commercially significant marine crab to lose its sense of smell, which could partially explain why their populations are thinning.
Story here.

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Thursday, April 13, 2023

No room for error on water

Letters - Winnipeg Free Press

I wish to add to the comment made by Karen Lalonde (“Project a risk to aquifers,” Letters, Feb. 28) that “there are other companies in Manitoba producing silica sand but not going through aquifers to attain it.” While this is true, this statement implies that drinking water is not affected by traditional silica sand mining methods.

In the case of the Wanipigow Sand Mine, Canadian Premium Sand will use massive amounts of groundwater to wash their sand before exporting it. That groundwater presently drains to Lake Winnipeg, the Manigotogan and the Wanipigow rivers via fish-bearing creeks and underground springs. Four communities obtain their drinking water from the Wanipigow and Manigotogan rivers, and many cottagers along Lake Winnipeg use wells. In fact, the whole ecosystem well past the mine’s boundaries will likely be affected.

A mine can’t take millions of gallons of water out of a watershed without affecting life.

Four years after Canadian Premium Sand received its licence, the public has yet to see the hydrogeological report that would confirm the effects of this project on the ecosystem, the wells and the water people drink. Why hasn’t the government demanded clear, transparent reporting to the citizens most affected?

Let us agree on one thing — the problem is a shoddy environmental-review process and enforcement of the 98 conditions attached to the Wanipigow Sand Licence issued four years ago. This government is failing to protect the water of all of its citizens.

We agree: there is no room for error when it comes to water. The invasive process being proposed for the Sio Silica mine threatens drinking water on a massive scale. Camp Morning Star stands with citizens opposing the Sio Silica Mine. We all deserve thorough research and answers regarding these projects before they license the processing plants. Show us the science! Water is life!

M.J. McCarron

Camp Morning Star


Massive B.C. coal mines are about to get a new owner. Why some are worried about Glencore’s record

THE NARWHAL Coal mine at Tumbler Ridge, B.C.  Jeffrey Wynne ,      If the sale goes through, the company will inherit a contamination proble...