Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Canadian Pasture and Shelter-Belt Program to Wind Down (Co-operator,April 19) (Letter)

On the chopping block to save money, but not a murmur about the gold-plated Pension Plan that the MP’s have saved for themselves.


Well, it's apparent that Gerry Ritz, born in 1951, never had to deal with the dry and wind years of the 1930’s,when never-ending dust clouds, grasshoppers, and no rain settled on the prairies. 
The settlers of those years knew if they were to survive, changes had to be taken in their farming methods and stop their land base from being blown away. 

The tree and shrub belts were a beginning, but also a challenge, as the scarcity of water, even for themselves and livestock, resulted in many failures and setbacks. But eventually, conditions improved and the trees and shelter belts began to flourish. And they were successful. 
For not only to help prevent the loss of precious topsoil, shelter belts became a refuge and a haven for wildlife, a nesting area and food for birds.
Yes, with modern farming methods and large machinery, they have become somewhat of a nuisance to the aggressive farmers of to-day, so they are ripped away, piled and burned.

The Minister has now proclaimed that shelter belts and pastures are not the way of the future, in that stubble fields and continuous cropping is the salvation for to-day’s producers. 
Guess he's been in touch with Nature at the highest level, and been assured that drought years and winds are a past memory and will never return to challenge, even the modern farmers of to-day.
His crystal ball is due for a cleaning and a complete overhaul. 

If we don’t learn something from lessons of the past, it’s difficult to venture into the unknown future.

John Fefchak,
Virden, Manitoba.


Please also read: "Harperites Chop Trees in Latest Austerity Revelations!"

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Jellyfish Populations on the Rise in Coastal Ecosystems

By Nathan Planetsave - April 23, 2012
Jellyfish populations are growing in the majority of the world’s coastal ecosystems, according to a new study from the University of British Columbia. Details here.

Courtesy of Nerd Alert

Monday, 23 April 2012

Pacific Islands Face Severe Water Threat, UN Says

Bangkok, 23 April 2012 – Climate change will exacerbate water stress in Pacific Islands, particularly small islands that rely on seasonal rain for their freshwater needs, according to a report released by the UN Environment Programme today. Details here

Will the Rural Municipality of Shell River Brush Aside Better Technology in Favour of Another Sewage Lagoon?

by Larry Powell 

Is Council Withholding Crucial Information?

Shell River surrounds the Village of Roblin, in west-central Manitoba. It's where my wife and I live, on a peaceful, rural acreage.

In mid-March, the RM quietly sent in a drill truck to test the soil less than a mile upwind of half-a-dozen rural acreages, including our own, with a view to building a new sewage lagoon. (Read earlier story, with photos, here.)

Test results, we were told, would be known in a couple of weeks.

So, on April 13th, almost a month later, my wife and I appeared before Council.

Well, no, we were told, we couldn't have the test results yet because, according to Deputy Reeve Joe Senderewich, who chaired the meeting, "They were not yet official!"

We weren't sure if that meant they didn't know, or weren't telling us!

Now, after another 10 days and at least one "in-camera" meeting, we understand via the grapevine, that Council may make those results public this Friday, the 27th!

So Council seems to be proceeding quietly with plans for a project which may cost $2 million dollars and have profound effects on us, on others, the groundwater and the environment, without really "coming clean" about what's going on!

Does Council Actually Want to Know if There is a Better Way?

We also asked, is there not better technology available than the old-style, earthen lagoons which, I understand, have been around for a hundred years.

I then told them the story of a potato farmer at Carberry, Al Baron, who had to abandon his farm years ago after local authorities expanded a sewage lagoon, contaminating his land and making it unfit for growing potatoes.

I also know an expert in groundwater contamination, Prof. Bill Paton at Brandon University. He told me, "Manitoba sewage lagoons as designed and loaded do not perform well in our climate. I have not found any Manitoba lagoons that meet effluent license requirements. Many of them also leak to groundwater." (I didn't tell them this part, but should have!)

Anyway, Council told us, there really isn't better technology available here...maybe in Europe.

Not long after that, we learned there is, indeed, a Manitoba company called Blue Diamond Technlogies which has a system already up and running, treating hog waste on a Hutterite colony south of Winnipeg! An official of that company, Devron Kobluk, (originally from Inglis) tells me he believes that technology can apply to the treatement of sewage here and that it would not only be cleaner, but cheaper as well!

Mr. Kobluk tells me his company is quite prepared to meet with the RM of Shell River, to brief them on this. Question is, will they listen?

The most regrettable part of all of this is - we were told this Council knew about Mr. Kobluk and his technology some time ago, and seems to have ignored them!

Why?

Will this Council now agree to hear from Mr. Kobluk's company?

I intend to find out! 

FOOTNOTE: The point is not whether this project proceeds on the site close to me, or somewhere else. I don't think it needs to go anywhere, at least until two things are considered, first...is it really needed and, if so, is other, better technology available. l.p.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Stop the Mass Death of Bees! Tell EPA & USDA to Ban Bayer's "Neonic" Insecticides!

Organic Consumers Asn.
PLT photo  Commercial beekeepers have filed an emergency legal petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to suspend use of a pesticide that is linked to massive honey bee deaths. The legal petition, which specifies Bayer's neonicotinoid pesticide clothianidin, is backed by over one million citizen petition signatures. Click "Go!" to add your voice. Take Action Now!
PLT: An open challenge to Canadian beekeepers....how about similar action here?

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Ocean Acidification Definitively Linked to Oyster Failure

By Nathan - Planetsave On April 13, 2012
The collapse of a commercial oyster hatchery in Oregon has now been linked definitively to an increase in ocean acidification. Details here.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Canadian Researchers Open a Door to Saving Threatened Bats

Bat Conservation International.

Dear supporters,

A research team led by the University of Winnipeg in Canada recently confirmed that the Geomyces 
destructans fungus that causes White-nose Syndrome in North America originated in Europe, where it is still found but does not cause mass deaths of bats. This suggests that European bats may have faced WNS sometime in the past and the bats that survived evolved to have immunological or behavioral resistance to the disease.

This research also demonstrates that the WNS fungus was almost certainly carried, inadvertently, by humans from an infected European cave to North America. Since it was first reported on the muzzles of little brown bats in New York’s Howes Cave, WNS has killed more than 5.7 million bats, according to federal biologists.

This new evidence that humans can carry and spread the fungus reinforces the need for targeted closures of caves used by bats, as well as strict adherence to decontamination procedures outlined by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. We must all do everything we can to prevent or at least slow the spread of this tragic disease. We will continue sending you the latest updates on all White-nose Syndrome developments.

Best regards,

Nina Fascione
Executive Director

P.S.  Learn more about WNS and bat conservation on our website.

Agrochemicals speed the spread of deadly parasites

CLIMATE&CAPITALISM A "crop-duster" applies chemicals to a crop in Manitoba, Canada. A PinP photo. Even low concentr...