Friday, 15 June 2018

This is Giant Mine



TheNarwhal 
Giant Mine - 2008. Photo by WinterCity296 WinterforceMedia
This gold mine was once so dangerous that it killed a toddler who ate snow two kilometres away. Canada’s second-largest environmental liability is inside Yellowknife city limits — and intrinsically tied to the city’s history and future. The federal government has now inherited the billion-dollar cleanup effort that could span a century. More here.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Climate change is wiping out the baobab, Africa’s ‘tree of life’


Ameenah Gurib-Fakim - the Guardian

The trees are a scientific wonder, once capable of living for thousands of years, but now becoming endangered species. Story here.

Boab trees. photo by ChatDaniels

Three trillion tonnes of ice lost from Antarctica since 1992


Nature Research Press

Antarctic ice. Photo by Greenpeace

The Antarctic Ice Sheet lost about 3 trillion tonnes of ice between 1992 and 2017. This figure corresponds to a mean sea-level rise of about 8 millimetres. While it could take a thousand years for a total "meltdown," all of Antarctica’s ice sheets, contain enough water to raise global sea level by 58 metres. So they're a key indicator of climate change and driver of sea-level rise. See video, below.


RELATED: Antarctic ice melting faster than thought, studies show.


Firestorm: How Wildfire Will Shape Our Future - a new book by Edward Struzik


The Science Writers and Communicators of Canada is pleased to announce the winners of this year's book awards for books published in 2017.  The winner in the general audience category  is Firestorm: How Wildfire Will Shape Our Future by Edward Struzik.
A summary.

For two months in the spring of 2016, the world watched as wildfire ravaged the Canadian town of Fort McMurray. Firefighters named the fire “the Beast.” It acted like a mythical animal, alive with destructive energy, and they hoped never to see anything like it again. Yet it’s not a stretch to imagine we will all soon live in a world in which fires like the Beast are commonplace. A glance at international headlines shows a remarkable increase in higher temperatures, stronger winds, and drier lands– a trifecta for igniting wildfires like we’ve rarely seen before.

This change is particularly noticeable in the northern forests of the United States and Canada. These forests require fire to maintain healthy ecosystems, but as the human population grows, and as changes in climate, animal and insect species, and disease cause further destabilization, wildfires have turned into a potentially uncontrollable threat to human lives and livelihoods.

Our understanding of the role fire plays in healthy forests has come a long way in the past century. Despite this, we are not prepared to deal with an escalation of fire during periods of intense drought and shorter winters, earlier springs, potentially more lightning strikes and hotter summers. There is too much fuel on the ground, too many people and assets to protect, and no plan in place to deal with these challenges.

In Firestorm, journalist Edward Struzik visits scorched earth from Alaska to Maine, and introduces the scientists, firefighters, and resource managers making the case for a radically different approach to managing wildfire in the 21st century. Wildfires can no longer be treated as avoidable events because the risk and dangers are becoming too great and costly. Struzik weaves a heart-pumping narrative of science, economics, politics, and human determination and points to the ways that we, and the wilder inhabitants of the forests around our cities and towns, might yet flourish in an age of growing megafires.

Edward Struzikhas been writing about scientific and environmental issues for more than 30 years. A fellow at the Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, his numerous accolades include the prestigious Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy and the Sir Sandford Fleming Medal, awarded for outstanding contributions to the understanding of science. In 1996 he was awarded the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship and spent a year at Harvard and MIT researching environment, evolutionary biology, and politics with E.O. Wilson, Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin. His 2015 book, Future Arctic, focuses on the effects of climate change in the Canadian Arctic and the impacts they will have on rest of the world. His other books include Arctic Icons, The Big Thaw, and Northwest Passage. He is an active speaker and lecturer, and his work as a regular contributor to Yale Environment 360 covers topics such as the effects of climate change and fossil fuel extraction on northern ecosystems and their inhabitants. He is on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Arctic Resources Committee, a citizens’ organization dedicated to the long-term environmental and social well-being of northern Canada and its peoples. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta.

If you want to buy the book, click here.
Firestorm: How Wildfire Will Shape Our Future by Edward Struzik

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Opposition Member of Parliament accuses Canada of buying 'lemon' from Kinder Morgan after estimated size of oil spill multiplies by 48 times


NATIONAL
OBSERVER
The "Kinder Morgan police" arrest those who protest against the project. Photo by Mark Klotz
NDP MP Nathan Cullen is accusing the Trudeau government of buying "the biggest lemon in Canadian history," after a dramatic revision of the estimated size of an oil spill that occurred right before it announced a $4.5 billion deal to buy the pipeline involved in the incident. More here.

Ocean Conservation Is an Untapped Strategy for Fighting Climate Change


WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE
Mangroves in Benin. Such vegetation provides an important 
buffer from the ravages of ocean storms and currents. Photo credit - Ji-Elle. 
The ocean contributes $1.5 trillion annually to the overall economy and assures the livelihood of 10-12 percentof the world’s population. But there’s another reason to protect marine ecosystems—they’re crucial for curbing climate change. More here.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Taxpayers Still Shelling Out Billions Annually in Fossil Fuel Subsidies


EcoWatch

The world's richest countries continue to subsidize at least $100 billion a year in subsidies for the production and use of coaloil and gas, despite repeated pledges to phase out fossil fuels by 2025. More here.



Alberta's tar sands. Photo by Howl Arts Collective

Measuring ecosystem disruption caused by marine heatwaves

 Nature Above, healthy bull kelp. Below, bull kelp degraded by a marine heatwave. DeWikiMan Marine heatwaves can displace therma...