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Environment

350 or bust: Indians And Cowboys Join Together To Reject & Protect

Posted April 24, 2014 by Christine

On April 22, an alliance of pipeline fighters — ranchers, farmers, tribal communities, and their friends — called the Cowboy and Indian Alliance rode into Washington DC and set up camp on the National Mall. For 5 days, they will hold ceremonies and demonstration to remind him of the threat this tar sands pipeline poses […]

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Canada

Changes to Department of Fisheries regulations are more bad news for Canada’s fish

Posted April 24, 2014 by Anonymous

OTTAWA – The Green Party of Canada condemns new Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) regulations that will effectively undermine the federal government’s ability to protect Canadian waters from toxic pollution.

The DFO’s new “Regulations Establishing Conditions for Making Regulations under Subsection 36(5.2) of the Fisheries Act” were enacted on April 23.

These new regulations give the Department unprecedented powers to  “permit deposits of deleterious substances” into fish habitats, in situations where the water is already controlled under provincial or other federal authorities.

“These regulatory changes are yet another nail in the coffin for Canada’s fisheries and aquatic ecosystems,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and Member of Parliament for Saanich–Gulf Islands. “By removing this important level of federal oversight, the DFO is opening the door to pollution in our waters and irreparable damage to fish and their habitats.”

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Contact: 

Nicholas Gall
Communications Coordinator
Green Party of Canada
(613) 614 4916
nicholas.gall@greenparty.ca

Changes to Department of Fisheries regulations are more bad news for Canada’s fish #cdnpoli

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Environment

Cowichan Conversations: AUSTRALIANS FOR COAL. What is your investment dollar doing?

Posted April 24, 2014 by Richard Hughes

This video is about coal company culture and climate. Crude Language warning!

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Environment

reeves report: Canada-Ontario Agreement targets aquatic invasives in Great Lakes

Posted April 24, 2014 by awreeves

Beefing up protections against aquatic invasive species like Asian carp has taken a prominent place in the latest Canada-Ontario Agreement (COA) governing how both governments aim to work together on protecting the Great Lakes.

Asian carp in U.S. water.

“Aquatic invasives have altered Great Lakes ecosystems and caused significant disruptions to many of the benefits those ecosystems provide to Canadians,” the agreement states. “The continued introduction of AIS is one of the most significant threats to biodiversity in the Great Lakes.”

Queen’s Park and Ottawa released a draft copy of the eighth such agreement to be signed since (Read more…)

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Endangered Species

Why was the humpback whale taken off the ‘threatened species’ list?

Posted April 24, 2014 by rabble staff
Stephen Leahy
Thursday, April 24, 2014

Photo: Mike Baird/flickr

This week the federal government was legally obligated to establish protected habitat for threatened North Pacific humpback whales. Instead the Harper government suddenly moved to take the humpback off the “threatened species” list. That would eliminate the legal requirement under Canada’s Species At Risk Act for protecting habitat along the British Columbia coast.

The government based the downgrade on a recommendation made by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), the independent scientific body that designates which wildlife species are in trouble, in 2011.

This week the federal government was legally obligated to establish protected habitat for threatened North Pacific humpback whales. Instead the humpback was taken off the “threatened species” list.

read more

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Environment

On natural gas and other, rampant resource extraction in B.C.: Interview with Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition

Posted April 23, 2014 by Roger Annis

“We are often mistaken as environmentalists, but we are not fighting for the environment for the sake of the environment… We are advocating for our economy and our community which depend upon a healthy environment.”—Dana Hibbard 

Interview with Dana Hibbard of the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition

Dana Hibbard is the LNG Outreach and Education Coordinator of the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition. She lives in Hazelton, B.C., located on the Skeena River, approximately 250 km northeast of the coastal port city of Prince Rupert. The following interview was conducted by rabble.ca blogger Roger Annis in April 2014.

read more

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Environment

Canadian cities and the future of democracy

Posted April 23, 2014 by rabble staff

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Canada is now past 80 per cent of the population living in urban areas. Cities are showing a capacity to solve problems together a…

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Environment

Widows of Chemical Valley — Part 1 Ada

Posted April 23, 2014 by rabble staff
Is this show currently playing?

April 23, 2014

In Sarnia Ontario’s Chemical Valley, life can be end painfully because of industry’s silent killers. About 1000 workers a year die each year on the job in Canada.

In Sarnia Ontario’s Chemical Valley, life can be end painfully because of industry’s silent killers. About 1000 workers a year die each year on the job in Canada. Many more die slow painful deaths.

 

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Canada

Earth Day 2014: Climate crisis requires leadership

Posted April 22, 2014 by Anonymous

OTTAWA – Today marks the 44th anniversary of the planet’s first Earth Day – April 22, 1970.  Today, the Green Party of Canada celebrates the accomplishments of Canada’s environmental movement over the past four decades and looks ahead to a vibrant green future.   

In 1970, by remarkable coincidence, both Green MPs, Elizabeth May and Bruce Hyer, were organizers in the first ever Earth Day, with Hyer working as an Earth Day coordinator for the State of Connecticut, and May leading an Earth Day event with students at her high school. 

Today, the Member of Parliament for Saanich–Gulf Islands and Leader of the Green Party of Canada, is in Sidney, BC for “Earth Day for an Oil-Free Coast.” May will join acclaimed Canadian artist Robert Bateman, Chief Vern Jacks of the Tseycum First Nation, and members of the Sierra Club-BC and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation at a public event to raise awareness of the risks of  oil tanker traffic on the BC coast. 

“We solved most of the environmental challenges of the 1970s and we can do the same with 21st century problems. The solutions are nearly infinite.  All that stands in our way is a Cro Magnon-like commitment to the status quo,” said the Green Leader. “Our problem is that not all the fossils are in the fuels. We urgently need courageous and enlightened leadership.”

“In the early 1970s, we succeeded in banning DDT and other toxic pesticides, even though everyone told us it couldn’t be done,” said Bruce Hyer, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay–Superior North and the Green Deputy Leader. “The climate crisis is a very different challenge, but I am so inspired to see Canadians from coast to coast to coast getting together and putting pressure on our government to take action.”

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Contact:

Nicholas Gall
Communications Officer
Green Party of Canada
(613) 614 4916
nicholas.gall@greenparty.ca

#EarthDay2014: Climate crisis requires leadership

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Environment

Celebrating Earth Day 2014

Posted April 22, 2014 by Cheri Lucas Rowlands

Ecologists and entomologists. Natural history buffs. Bloggers with green thumbs. We’re among many WordPress.com users focused on nature and the environment. Today, let’s celebrate the work of some of these bloggers.

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Environment

‘If you know our land, you know our life’: An Earth Day call for reconciliation

Posted April 22, 2014 by Anonymous

In March I travelled to Edmonton for the last National Event of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Both professionally and personally, I am on a journey of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, which is also a journey of reconcilia…

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Capitalism

Climate change, capitalism and our climate crisis mismatch

Posted April 22, 2014 by rabble staff

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

This is a story about bad timing.
One of the most disturbing ways that climate change is already playing out is t…

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Cancer

Ten Years of Eating Organic Foods Does Little To Reduce Your Risk of Cancer

Posted April 22, 2014 by Arya M. Sharma, MD

There is a widespread belief that conventional use of pesticides, antibiotics and other factors in “industrial” farming may promote the incidence of cancers – a risk that could be avoided by eating “organic”. According to a paper by Kathryn Bradbury and colleagues, published in the British Journal of Cancer, this may not quite be the case. […]

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Environment

Effects Regarding Highly Efficient Air Conditioners About The Ecosystem

Posted April 21, 2014 by Anonymous

Air conditioning unit as well as atmosphere will not usually enhance the other person, especially for this reason appliance’s high energy needs to awesome a home. Recently, modern technology provides improved the standard air conditioner, which makes it smaller sized, better and also less noisy than previously. There are many critical impacts built to environmental surroundings by highly efficient air conditioners.

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Environment

Now the Green Gestapo are coming after your meatballs

Posted April 19, 2014 by JR

James Delingpole:IKEA … are considering changing the recipe of their most popular food line – meatballs – in order to help save the world from global warming:… “On methane…we are aware of the meat issue with greenhouse gases. We are looking at a…

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Allan's Perspective

This will drive ya crazy!

Posted April 17, 2014 by Allan W Janssen

Anne Marie Hayes, president of a non-profit organization called Teens Learn to Drive, says that as a parent, she would not want her daughter in a vehicle with an instructor who had had his teaching licence revoked in the past three years. Folks, do ya remember “Drivers-Ed” back in high school? Well, it’s still around…………….., […]

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Ecology

BC’s New Landscape and Ecology Eradication Projects!

Posted April 17, 2014 by Stephen Elliott-Buckley

Once upon a time, before we knew much about ecology and systems theory, corporations just went around raping and pillaging the countryside, polluting whatever they wanted. This came back to me grotesquely in a Mad Men episode a few years ago when Don Draper takes his family out for a picnic in the countryside. When […]

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Environment

5 Easy Ways to Keep Our Planet Healthy | NewSpring Energy

Posted April 16, 2014 by Anonymous

Here are 5 easy ways to make our daily commitment to keep our planet healthy, clean and beautiful.11 Zoom(s)

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Environment

Flimflam sham

Posted April 16, 2014 by Norm Farrell

When conducting hearings on Northern Gateway, the National Energy Board Joint Review Panel denied participation to many and held sessions behind closed doors to limit opposition voices. Its decision favoured multinational industry over affected Canadian citizens and ran contrary to the bulk of testimony heard, including expert claims that “world-leading” standards will not protect our coast from heavy oil spills.

The Northern Gateway review was revealed as a sham and that revelation made authorities uncomfortable. The BC government has had its own experience with bogus assessments – Narrows Inlet comes to mind – so it developed a changed strategy.

The Ministry of Environment has claimed this as its purpose:

“Responsible for ensuring sustainable development of the province’s land, water, and resources while protecting environmental values.”

Ignoring its stated role, to ensure development at one large and controversial project does not produce evidence that the fix is in and decisions already made, Environment Minister Mary Polak simply removed her department from further review. Fortuitously, she had booked time with Vaughn Palmer’s Voice of BC and the two of them will be able to explain government actions before controversy mounts.

Jumbo Glacier Resort exempted from environmental process, CBC News, April 15, 2014

“Environmentalists and the B.C. NDP are questioning the motives behind a government bill signed Monday night that looks set to clear the way for the controversial Jumbo Glacier Resort — and others like it — to avoid any further costly, environmental reviews.

“The order exempts prospective year-round ski resorts in B.C. from the Environmental Assessment process completely…”

The lowdown on changes to BC’s environmental laws, by West Coast Environmental Law.

Update 4:50 pm April 16, 2014

Who knows what pressures caused this quick turnaround. The initial decision was so fundamentally flawed that even the people behind it had to realize its stupidity. RossK asked what was going to be next, would surgeons be allowed to operate without review of qualifications? Would lawyers be allowed to practice without passing the bar?

* * * * *

The following was published at Northern Insight August 22, 2012 and, with current developments, it’s worth re-posting.

Bob Mackin has an interesting piece in The Tyee about a newspaper tycoon and BC Liberal abettor. David Black’s bluster was about about oil refining but the part of Mackin’s story that caught my eye involved one-time Province newspaper publisher Paddy Sherman.

In 1958, Sherman was both a news reporter and an avid mountain man. Apparently, vocation served avocation when he wrote a front page promotion for an unlikely BC ski resort. There was no financing and little substance to the extravagant plan but that didn’t bother The Province. Sherman wanted the facility to proceed so they gave it maximum splash.

Mackin provides another newspaper’s eventual headline:

“Grandiose Garibaldi Scheme Falls Flat on Its No-Assets.”

Some months ago, I tracked the life story of Jumbo Glacier Ski Resort. The proposal has reappeared occasionally since it was first reported in a July 1991 edition of the Vancouver Sun:

“A Japanese-backed company is planning to build a $250-million year-round ski resort on a series of spectacular glaciers west of Panorama…”

In 1993, The Province was calling Jumbo Glacier Resort a certainty involving European and Asian investors. Two years later, newspapers said the project was proceeding with support from a consortium of Canadian, U.S. and European investors. In 2012, the Times Colonist repeated promises the ski hill would soon be operational. NW’s Bill Good and others try to paint Jumbo as a victim of regulatory foot dragging but actually Jumbo has been an unfinanced scheme with proponents hoping that media play would attract investors. Shills in the corporate “news” operations are willing partners.

By the way, don’t plan your ski vacation at Jumbo just yet.

Media may have people like Bob Mackin aiming to report accurately and sincerely but it has many more who earn a living by shilling for special financial interests. Sometimes, the promoted is a ski hill, fish farming or “ethical oil.” Other times, it is a pipeline operator, car dealer or land developer.

The shill factor in media, especially in new media, is illustrated by a report in ZDNet.

A Federal judge overseeing the Oracle vs. Google patent lawsuit said that search giant has failed to comply with a request to document all payments to bloggers and writers covering the trial.

“…U.S. District Judge William Alsup said in his order:

“The August 7 order was not limited to authors “paid . . . to report or comment” or to “quid pro quo” situations. Rather, the order was designed to bring to light authors whose statements about the issues in the case might have been influenced by the receipt of money from Google or Oracle. For example, Oracle has disclosed that it retained a blogger as a consultant. Even though the payment was for consulting work, the payment might have influenced the blogger’s reports on issues in the civil action…

“Google suggests that it has paid so many commenters that it will be impossible to list them all…”

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Activism

What Yoko Ono Knows About Fracking

Posted April 14, 2014 by Stephen Elliott-Buckley

Today we are fresh off the tar soaked heels of Enbridge’s lie and spin machine in Kitimat, leading to a vote AGAINST their toxic future. In Kitimat, in a non-binding plebiscite, the people of Kitimat, but not the first peoples who live outside the town boundary, voted about 60-40 to kick out Enbridge. They’re liars, […]

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Canada

Greens celebrate results of Kitimat plebiscite on Northern Gateway

Posted April 13, 2014 by Anonymous

NANAIMO – Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands today congratulates the people of Kitimat, BC on voting No in a plebiscite on the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline. The final re…

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Allan's Perspective

Saturday Morning Confusion About XL Pipeline!

Posted April 12, 2014 by Allan W Janssen

Dear Readers: First of all we have some news from the town of Kitimat, way out in the wilds of British Columbia. You know about Kitimat, that’s the place where the XL pipeline is supposed to feed into a marine terminal for shipping oil overseas! Well, the tree huggers have been poring all sorts of […]

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Environment

A Self-Sufficient Udora Homestead a4 Lovingly FOR SALE! | soma earth

Posted April 10, 2014 by Anonymous

When I moved here, I didn’t even know that the two hundred acres of meadows, forests and rivers where included with a small yearly com…9 Zoom(s)

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Climate Change

So, yeah, climate change is just not happening, is it?

Posted April 10, 2014 by trashee

A few interesting graphics forwarded to me by a colleague. (17) Trashy, Ottawa, Ontario

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Canada

Greens welcome David Robinson as Natural Resources Critic

Posted April 8, 2014 by Anonymous

OTTAWA – The Green Party of Canada is pleased to announce that Dr. David Robinson has taken on the Natural Resources portfolio on the Party’s Shadow Cabinet.

A Professor of Economics and the Director of the Institute for Northern Ontario Research and Development (INORD) at Sudbury’s Laurentian University, Robinson is an accomplished academic and longtime advocate for environmentally and socially responsible resource development.

“I am very pleased that Dr. Robinson will be taking on our Natural Resources file,” said Elizabeth May, Green Party Leader and Member of Parliament for Saanich–Gulf Islands. “With the Canadian economy more dependent than ever on reckless and short-sighted resource development, it is absolutely essential that our party remains committed to a profitable and sustainable economy, one based on meaningful employment and wise use of resources, not a race to the bottom in serving as a resource colony for other countries’ manufacturing and processing.”

“Dr. Robinson has a real first-hand understanding of the issues that Canadians, and Northern Ontarians in particular, are currently facing in terms of our resource economy,” said Bruce Hyer, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay-Superior North and the Green Party’s Democratic Reform Critic. “He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of the mining and forestry sectors, and will be a great addition to our team.”

Dr. Robinson can be reached at david.robinson@greenparty.ca

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Contact:

Nicholas Gall
Communications Officer
Green Party of Canada
(613) 614 4916
nicholas.gall@greenparty.ca

Greens welcome David Robinson as Natural Resources Critic

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Activism

Honing In On Friday’s #WaveOfAction

Posted April 2, 2014 by Stephen Elliott-Buckley

We need to think about two things for this Friday’s Occupy Movement reboot in the Worldwide #WaveOfAction: When thinking about pursuing social, political and economic equality, what is the list of things we need to change, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally? Who do we need to build coalitions with to listen to them, support them, […]

People who read this page, also read:

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Climate Change

What does the wolf say? (About human effects on climate)

Posted March 6, 2014 by Erich Jacoby-Hawkins
What does the Wolf say?
In discussions about the human-caused climate crisis, I sometimes see an odd argument: that the world is too large for tiny humans to change a major system like climate. I always find this to be a strange assertion, and the Yellowstone wolves illustrate why.

Early in the 20th century, wolves were extirpatedfrom Yellowstone National Park in the American northwest, as part of widespread general anti-wolf campaigns. Not long after, it became clear the wolf was an important part of the park ecosystem, as the elk rapidly multiplied and overgrazed the vegetation. Park management resorted to trapping, moving, and eventually killing elk to preserve the rest of the park. Eventually they killed too many and stopped, then the elk resurged, and the problem recurred.

The idea grew to restore wolves to naturally control elk. In 1995 and 1996, 31 wolves brought from Canada were released in the park. With plentiful prey, their numbers grew, exceeding 100 before stabilizing. Killing about 22 elk per wolf each year, they not only reduced elk population, they also changed herd behaviour, pushing them back from open riverbanks into less favourable habitats and even naturally reducing their birth rate. Many other changes in predator and prey relationships followed: wolves hunted and reducedthe overpopulated coyote pack, which led to a resurgence of foxes; wolves pushed cougars back to the high mountain slopes; wolf kills became food for a variety of other scavenging species. Changes in predation of birds and small animals in turn affected the roots, buds, seeds and insects they ate, allowing the natural flora to re-establish and the beavers to return.

The restored vegetation strengthened the soil. Rivers that had eroded their banks and meandered returned to flowing straighter courses. That’s right, as a direct result of the introduction of 31 wolves, mighty rivers actually changed their courses and flows! The transformations of physical geography are extensive and ongoing. You can watch a wonderful short video on this here.

How can so few wolves cause such big changes, just by doing what comes naturally? Quite simply, all things are connected in a living web; whatever we do affects everything else. We humans may feel disconnected but we’re not, and one person’s actions, magnified by modern technology and multiplied by 7 billion people can distort that web, especially when we all lean in the same direction.

Every year our species adds nearly 35 billion tonnes of additional greenhouse gasses to our atmosphere. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, we’ve increased atmospheric carbon levels from about 280 parts per million to 400, and are on course to have doubled it within a few more decades.

In addition to putting all this fossil carbon into the air, we’ve cleared continents of forests, washed eons of topsoil into oceans, removed entire species from existence as we either hunt them or push them out of their habitat, extending our reach from miles underground to the edge of space and beyond. How can anyone believe we can stretch or cut all those ties and not affect the planet’s life-support systems in profound ways?

We are the first and only species to comprehend the pervasive effects of our personal, national, and global actions. We have a solemn duty to understand how, and modify our behaviour to enhance the web of life, not degrade it. For our own sake, if nothing else.

Published as my Root Issues column in the Barrie Examiner as “Modifying our behaviour will spare the web of life
Erich Jacoby-Hawkins is a director of Living Green and the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation
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Environment

Ride this year’s horse to the rescue

Posted February 6, 2014 by Erich Jacoby-Hawkins
Which of these horses is a community volunteer?
That’s easy, the one that’s worth it’s weight in gold!

The New Year is often a time for making resolutions for personal improvement, such as giving up bad habits like smoking or developing good new ones, like exercise or better diet.

Well, now we’re at Chinese New Year, and in honour of one of the world’s oldest civilizations, perhaps this is a good time to make some resolutions that relate to the community and wider world.

One thing our community can always use is good, dedicated volunteers. Many things that society desperately needs seem to fall through the cracks of the capitalist market economy or fail to draw funding from vote-hungry governments. Yet the need is real, and the value you create by volunteering your time is incalculable.

As I write this, I am doing my overnight shift for Barrie’s Out of the Cold program, providing overflow space for men and women who find themselves without a space at any of the permanent shelters. It’s genuinely a life-saving program, because spending the night outside in the kind of winter we’ve been having can literally be a death sentence. The program runs 7 days a night for almost 6 full months, requiring about 1400 volunteer spots.

Although most positions are filled when the season begins, the overnight shift is always the hardest to keep staffed, and there remains a need for replacements and substitutes, male and female. It’s a pretty quiet shift; usually you can get some work done, or some reading. The breakfast shift also needs more people. If you can help out even just once a month, please find the online application at www.barrieoutofthecold.org/apply.php.

Another program always needing more volunteers is the Barrie Free Clothing Centre, which provides for the wardrobe needs of people who can’t afford to shop at the mall. Four-hour daytime shifts on weekdays or weekends are available, where you can help sort, fold, hang, and distribute clothing to the over 600 regular clients. To get involved with this project, visit www.Facebook.com/NiftyThrifty, email rightmove@sympatico.ca or call 705-252-6005.

Another worthy Lunar New Year’s resolution is to live more lightly on our Earth. As I was replacing a broken-down CD player last week, I noticed the new eco-fee on the bill. This is applied to new electronics based on their weight class, designed to cover the cost of recycling them at the end of their working lifespan. It’s a lot like the deposit you pay on beer, wine, or liquor bottles, or that we paid on pop bottles in my youth, except that instead of bringing your empties back to the store, you bring your old electronics to a licensed e-waste recycler who pays you for them, drawing upon the funds put into the stewardship fund with new purchases.

To make this process easier for you, we are excited to be hosting our 5th annual Earth Hour Super-Drive on March 29thin support of Off the Rack Barrie Free Clothing Centre and the Elizabeth FryGrocery Assistance Program. Bring your old electric items (anything with a chip, plug, or battery) and we’ll weigh them and pay you cash by the pound. We’ll also be accepting clothing and food donations. Watch this column or visit www.BarrieGreenParty.ca for more details.

Published as my Root Issues column in the Barrie Examiner as “Keep those resolutions and start volunteering
Erich Jacoby-Hawkins is a director of Living Green and the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation
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Bizarre/Oddities

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Posted January 29, 2014 by Allan W Janssen

Traffic inches along the connector of Interstate’s 75 and 85 as snow blankets Metro Atlanta on Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 28, 2014 as seen from the Pryor Street overpass. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is preparing to declare a state of emergency as a winter storm coats the region with snow and ice. State transportation officials said […]

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Environment

U.S. environmental group puts Canadian fisheries on its target list

Posted January 7, 2014 by The Canadian Press

WASHINGTON – A prominent U.S. environmental group is targeting seafood imports from countries that…

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Environment

Polar Ice Caps Grow 29% from 2012 to 2013

Posted December 22, 2013 by Mulder

And here we had everyone threatening global warming was going to melt the ice caps by the summer of 2013. Well lo and behold, they are actually growing. A chilly Arctic summer has left 533,000 more square miles of ocean covered with ice than at the same time last year – an increase of 29 […]

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Environment

Salmon spawn in East Vancouver?

Posted November 12, 2013 by Darren

The other day–I can’t recall where–I read a story about salmon spawning in East Vancouver. It turns out that they spawn in Still Creek, near the…

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Environment

Storm pics

Posted July 20, 2013 by Debra

April Reign

So yesterday July 19 marks year 27 of married life. also huge storm. There was either a mini tornado or a downburst and there is so much damage. We ran into the building hall at one point it seemed like all the windows were going to blow in. Windows were slightly opened and by them […]

April Reign – In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.

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Climate Change

Place your Keystone bets

Posted July 5, 2013 by Nancy Leblanc

Joe Romm is betting it’s off:

Harder writes:
To the surprise of everyone outside the White House, Obama mentioned the pipeline in his speech. It was a politically savvy move for three reasons: 1) He called out the elephant in the room and thus avoided both criticism from groups like the Sierra Club and the subsequent media coverage of his omission; 2) He took ownership of the issue, showing everyone on every side of the fight he is personally involved; and 3) He shifted the debate over the pipeline from one of economics to one about the effects on climate change.

I agree with #2 and #3 — which is precisely why I think the speech makes it less likely he will approve Keystone. Obama owns KXL and he’s said the deciding factor is climate, not economics. As a new Scientific American article sums things up, “If built, the Keystone XL pipeline will be a spigot that speeds tar sands production, pushing the planet toward its emissions limit.”

And folks who have been around Washington politics a lot longer than I have think it would be very un-savvy to spend so much time laying out a strong moral case for climate action and then bringing up Keystone IF the president is planning on approving it. He would have been far better off not talking about Keystone at all in that case. As it is now, he will rightfully be called an extreme hypocrite if he ultimately opens the spigot to the dirty tar sands.

There’s no question Obama could approve Keystone, but I believe the smart money has shifted from betting he will to betting he won’t.

CTV was reporting that Peter Kent may be moving on and therefore would be out as Environment Minister. Not sure there’s much a new Canadian minister might do to sway the Obama administration but Keystone has got to be figuring into Harper’s thinking. Is Rempel, currently the Parliamentary Secretary to Kent, the one?

Whoever it is, they’re also going to have to deal with this burgeoning – and very warranted – focus on petcoke. This oil sands byproduct gained greater visibility recently given the Koch brothers’ piling of it on the Detroit waterfront to the discomfort of Windsorites looking on from across the river.

We, for the most part, won’t burn it for fuel due to its high emissions levels and the “Environmental Protection Agency will no longer allow any new licenses permitting the burning of petroleum coke in the United States.” So it is largely being shipped overseas to China and Mexico, nations that don’t care much about emissions levels. Shouldn’t we Canadians be concerned about that? Particularly if Keystone were to be approved, with the amounts of petcoke that will be produced.

Over to you, next Harper environment minister.

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Environment

SWN rebuffed in New Brunswick back woods

Posted June 24, 2013 by Miles
Local families chase off ATV, security truck hit and run, UN observers arrive

BROWNS YARD, NEW BRUNSWICK – By Sunday, June 23rd, SWN Resource Canada’s highly contested and protested seismic testing along highway 126, in Kent County, New Brunswick, had almost wrapped up.

But the seismic test along the highway is only one of several planned testing lines, and the company’s attempts to begin another line of seismic testing – this time along the back roads of Kent County – was yesterday halted in its tracks by community members living in the vicinity of Browns Yard.

SWN’s seismic testing of the back roads areas of Kent County – conducted with All-Terrain Vehicles known as ‘Bombadiers’, and dynamite charges – is slated to be extensive, with approximately 150kms of testing expected to take place.

Yesterday’s resistance, conducted firstly by local families and the action group known as ‘Upriver Environment Watch’, suggest that SWN’s task in the woods of New Brunswick, where there is local knowledge, deep forests and intense opposition to the testing, will be a tough slog indeed.

At about 2pm, an SWN-contracted truck with a trailer parked itself along highway 490. The truck was abandoned by the SWN-contracted workers, but it was an announcement of their presence to the vigilant community.

A small group of local familities – about 15 people in all, including young children – then gathered. A Bombadier, two geophones, a surveyor’s tripod and a SWN antenna, were spotted. Whoever had positioned the equipment had done so on a private piece of land adjacent to the dirt highway.

The driver of the Bombadier approached the surveying equipment, potentially to recover it from the gathering crowd, only to be chased away from the equipment by the crowd. The driver sped south along a dirt road and did not return to the scene.

An SWN-contracted security truck appeared on the scene about ten minutes later. The driver of the truck did not speak to the gathered crowd, but as he was driving away he struck local resident Dave Morang hard enough with his driver’s side mirror to bend the mirror backwards. The driver did not stop.

Morang, injured, requested that an ambulance needed to be called. An Emergency Response team later took Morang to hospital on a spinal board and a stretcher. His condition is currently unknown.

“I can’t believe they didn’t stop,” Morang told the Halifax Media Co-op before the ambulance arrived. “They hit me hard enough with his mirror that it bent it. He would have known that. How many laws can they break?”

About 20 minutes later, RCMP appeared in force, with 26 officers and 14 cars and paddy wagons stationing themselves along the dirt road. The call through social media, however, had beaten them to the punch, and by the time they arrived the gathered crowd had swelled to about 100 non-Indigenous and Indigenous people.

RCMP consulted for about twenty more minutes, before apparently deciding that the best course of action would be to pick up SWN’s antenna and geophones. Photographs indicate that SWN’s equipment appears to have been somehow bent and otherwise broken.

With nothing left to do, and with a gathered crowd which now included Chief Aaren Sock of Elsipogtog First Nation, the police packed up and retreated down the dirt road from which they had appeared.

Chief Sock, whose band council late Saturday night issued a Band Council Resolution inviting United Nations Observers to Elsipogtog, was not impressed with SWN’s unwanted incursions into Kent County, or the arrests of his people while in ceremony.

“Message for SWN: You’re not welcome in my territory,” Sock told the Halifax Media Co-op. “Nothing personal.”

After the RCMP departed with SWN’s equipment, those gathered continued to cheer and drum. They then began to slowly trickle back to their respective communities.

It was later discovered that SWN’s abandoned truck – the original sign of their presence – had had its windows smashed, doors dented and bumpers knocked off. As of press time, it is not known how this damage might have happened.

A packed community hall meeting in Elsipogtog, open to the general public, took place later in the evening. The topic of the meeting was not only how to stop SWN, but how to get shale gas out of New Brunswick, and all of the Maritimes. With UN observers now in place, representatives from various Warrior societies from across the Maritimes have been welcomed to Elsipogtog. They were greeted at the meeting with a standing ovation.

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Environment

Message from Ian Gartshore

Posted April 18, 2013 by davids

Ian Gartshore, the Green Party candidate in the British Columbia riding of Nanaimo, sent me this message.

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