Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Microplastics in freshwaters

Microplastics in sediments from the rivers Elbe (A), Mosel (B), Neckar (C), and Rhine (D).Note the diverse shapes (filaments, fragments, and spheres) and that not all items are microplastics (e.g., aluminum foil (C) and glass spheres and sand (D), white arrowheads). The white bars represent 1 mm. PhotoS by Martin Wagner et al.
As small as a grain of dust—but of great global significance. The word microplastics is familiar to many, but the dangers are virtually unexplored. In recent years, plastic pollution has become an ever-increasing burden on the environment. Countless videos and media reports draw attention to this problem. While the dangers of large plastic pieces for animals are impossible to overlook, there is practically nothing about the dangers posed by microplastics. But what are microplastics anyway? Get the answer here.

Jury rules Roundup gave a California couple cancer - orders the manufacturer, Bayer, to pay $2B.

by Larry Powell (Opinion)
A pesticide collection depot in Manitoba.
A PinP photo.
It’s a record settlement in a Roundup case, so far.

In Canada, there are no signs of similar court actions, even though  Roundup is generously applied here, too. 

Sadly, our Canadian regulators seem far from vigilant in protecting the public against harmful chemicals. For example, less than a year ago, the PMRA re-registered a fungicide so its main uses can continue. That same product has just been banned in the EU as a possible carcinogen!

And the same corporation, Bayer, is busily registering (or trying to register) its latest insecticide for use, worldwide, including Canada. Never mind that scientists are questioning Bayer’s claim that it is not harmful to pollinators. 

The PMRA has been stone-silent on my own requests to justify this apparent inaction in either of these cases. I call it governance by neglect. 

It is to be hoped that punishing fines like this will eventually call this monstrous Corporation to heel and make it more accountable to the public good.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Nunavut's ill-advised hunting proposal

A polar bear and her two cubs.
Photo by Alastair Rae.
The government of one of Canada’s northern territories may soon adopt a recommendation which may well threaten the ability of the polar bear to reproduce. Story here.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Replanting oil palm may be driving a second wave of biodiversity loss


A palm oil plantation in Malaysia,
poisoned to make way for new growth.
CEphoto, Uwe Aranas
The environmental impact of palm oil production has been well publicized. Found in everything from food to cosmetics, the deforestation, ecosystem decline and biodiversity loss associated with its use is a serious cause for concern. What many people may not know, however, is...story here.

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Bee Alert: Is a Controversial Herbicide Harming Honeybees?

Recent court cases have focused on the possible effects of glyphosate, found in Monsanto’s Roundup, on humans. But researchers are now investigating whether this commonly used herbicide could also be having adverse effects on the health and behaviour of honeybees.

Monday, 6 May 2019

It's Time for a Green New Deal - Build it With Us!

World is ‘on notice’ as major UN report shows one million species face extinction

UN News Service
A hard-hitting report into the impact of humans on nature shows that nearly one million species risk becoming extinct within decades, while current efforts to conserve the earth’s resources will likely fail without radical action, UN biodiversity experts say.
The Chatham penguin, once endemic to the Chatham Islands,
off New Zealand. Its bones indicate it likely became extinct
shortly after Polynesians arrived about 450 years ago.
Image by Sean Murtha.
Also, please watch this "Life Below Water," video, below.

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. https://twitter.com/ECCC_CIS/status/1290740808170307584?s=2...