Saturday, 5 May 2018

Satellite Reveals Troubling Retreat of Patagonian Glaciers (Video)


The right-wing government of Manitoba, Canada, “chops” a valuable tree-growing facility

The provincial government is selling a massive tree-growing operation near Hadashville that produces and stores seeds for every type of tree grown in Manitoba. More here.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Just Say NO to 285 new hog factories in Manitoba!


Letter to the Editor
Virden Empire-Advance
May 3, 2018 01:57 PM
Rural people could wake up one morning to find a factory hog barn next door, and there will be nothing they can say or do about it if the hog industry gets its way and the Pallister government passes Bill 19, The Planning Amendment Act.
Bill 19 gives local councils and planning districts the “choice” to get rid of the mandatory conditional use approval process for large livestock operations, along with all the legal protections the public currently has. In so choosing, municipalities give away the ability to set conditions such as requiring manure storage covers and shelterbelts to attempt to control odour and require development agreements to make the hog factory pay for road building and maintenance, instead of taxpayers.
All municipalities will have to review their zoning by-laws and decide within one year if they want to control large factory hog and poultry operations, cattle and sheep feedlots on behalf of the people they are supposed to protect from harm or open the municipality to uncontrolled and unlimited livestock growth. Bill 19 changes the rules so that 25 people have to make formal objections to get a Municipal Board review. Immigrants and permanent residents are disqualified from participating. Imagine not being able to say anything about decisions that could harm your investment in a home, farm and community.
Livestock operations would merely have to get a Provincial manure storage permit and water rights licence to get building. These processes are secret and “business information” is private, protected by law. So, nobody will be able to find out if provincial officials and industry are doing things right. Last fall, many rules were weakened. For example, almost all of the oversight of the construction of manure storages was given to the engineers building them in the name of “red tape reduction”. Provincial regulators allowed manure storages to be built in high water tables, flood plains, marsh and ground water sensitive areas. This practice will get worse.
The last “line of defense” for rural people against inadequate and weakened provincial regulations are local councils who put the interest of their constituents first. Those who truly care about what happens to people’s health, quality of life and homes, non-industrial farmers livelihoods, animal welfare and our air, water and environmental health.
Why is this Bill before the legislature? Because a 2017 internal advisory brief to cabinet identified “public conflict” and “public pressure” as impediments to the hog industry getting what it wants – 285 more pig factories so that Maple Leaf and HyLife Foods can increase their profits by exporting 95 per cent of Manitoba produced pork while leaving rural people to suffer the consequences.
Why would any intelligent farmer want to invest in an industry where hog finisher producers lost money in eight out of the past nine years? Manitoba Pork Council’s numbers, not mine.
Councils and rural people must raise their voices now, loud and clear against Bill 19 before it’s too late.
Ruth Pryzner
Alexander, Manitoba

Transit union head says city of Winnipeg uninterested in grants for electric buses

The Winnipeg Free Press
The union that represents Winnipeg Transit staff says city hall is missing out on an opportunity to access loans and grants to electrify the transit fleet. Story here.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Diseases spread by ticks, mosquitoes and fleas more than tripled in the U.S. since 2004

The Washington Post
A wood tic - Manitoba, CA. PinP photo.
The warmer weather of spring and summer means the start of tick and mosquito season and the diseases they transmit, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, West Nile and Zika. More here.

Pollution from Canadian refineries an ‘embarrassment’ compared to U.S.


The Irving Oil Refinery in St. John, New Brunswick, Canada. Photo by Cusack5239
Sarnia’s Imperial Oil refinery emitted 10 times more fine particulate matter, seven times more carbon monoxide and 49 times more sulphur dioxide than the Detroit plant. More here.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Melbourn's water supply at risk due to "collapse" of forests caused by logging.

The Guardian

Logging in Australia. Photo by Peter Campbell
Tree-felling helped trigger ‘hidden collapse’ of mountain ash forests, ecologists say. More here.

The second-largest ice sheet in the Arctic - Canada's Milne sheet, has collapsed.

This animation shows the sheet rapidly receding, losing almost half its mass.