Halifax, NS – Sierra Club Canada – Atlantic Canada Chapter and the Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition is calling on Newfoundland & Labradors’ offshore petroleum board (C-NLOPB) to fix their process to ensure there is a valid environmental assessment of whether offshore oil and gas development should proceed in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The federal Minister of Environment, Peter Kent, instructed the C-NLOPB to perform thorough, region-wide public consultations to assess the impact of oil and gas activities off Western Newfoundland on the Gulf ecosystem.
“Invitation-only meetings are being held and co-called ‘Open House’ sessions are organized with no valid way for local citizens to express their concerns and share their values and are providing little to no information on the ecosystem and culture,” according to Gretchen Fitzgerald, Director of Sierra Club Canada – Atlantic Canada Chapter.
Leading water scientists have issued one of the sternest warnings yet about global food supplies, saying that the world's population may have to switch almost completely to a vegetarian diet over the next 40 years to avoid catastrophic shortages.
Humans derive about 20% of their protein from animal-based products now, but this may need to drop to just 5% to feed the extra 2 billion people expected to be alive by 2050, according to research by some of the world's leading water scientists.
"There will not be enough water available on current croplands to produce food for the expected 9 billion population in 2050 if we follow current trends and changes towards diets common in western nations," the report by Malik Falkenmark and colleagues at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) said.
The International Joint Commission will be holding a series of Public Hearings in July: Addressing Uncertainty in Upper Great Lakes Water Levels. These hearings will provide information on their studies since 2007 investigating options for better management of changing water levels and flows in the upper Great Lakes system (Lakes Superior, Huron, Michigan/Georgian Bay and Erie).
Sierra Club is encouraging everyone to participate at the meetings. Please come and wear your "Restore Our Water Levels" t-shirt (pictured here). You can buy one for $10 at the IJC meetings or at select marinas and stores around Georgian Bay. Contact us at email@example.com to find a location near you.
In an Open Public Letter sent out on August 31, 2012 – the first-announced deadline for comments on their Report on International Great Lakes Study – the International Joint Commission (IJC) has stated:
“Due to strong public interest, the IJC has extended the deadline for written comment until September 30, 2012.”
Research is questioning the logic behind the federal government's move to streamline environmental assessments.
After tracking thousands of assessments over a decade, the peer-reviewed findings of Derrick de Kerckhove suggest a great majority of Fisheries Act environmental reviews over the last decade were completed well within recommended timelines.
Nor was there a bottleneck of projects being held up by a clogged review process, he said.
"We didn't find any. Even when the input was high, it seemed to be handled very well."
De Kerckhove, a University of Toronto PhD candidate, analyzed 10 years worth of data from Department of Fisheries and Oceans annual reports on the progress of environmental assessments triggered under the Fisheries Act. That legislation generates more such reviews than almost any other — anywhere from 7,700 to more than 12,000 in a single year.
Canada's history (and present state) as a place of mines and sawmills and boom-bust cycles has left a lot of pock marks across the landscape. Sometimes someone deals with them, sometimes nobody does.
Marathon, Ontario, has had a string of hazardous materials spilled/leaked/mishandled out of an abandoned sawmill over the last few years, on top of the already dirty history of operation. Said contamination blessed the surrounding area with everyone's favourite friends “Miss Mercury” and “Captain PCB”.
Food production and bees: Believe it or not, the two go hand-in-hand … like milk and honey.
Bees serve an all-important role in transferring pollen and seeds from one flower to another - a practice that supports at least 30 per cent of the world's food crops and 90 per cent of our wild plants, according to the U.S.-based Natural Resources Defense Council.
But despite a bee's integral role in cross-pollination, news that their population is on the decline is unlikely to come up at the dinner table.
But it is catching the attention of governments around the world, including in Europe, the U.S, as well as here at home, in Canada.
Lakes Michigan/Huron/Georgian Bay water levels are now within a few centimetres of setting a new record low. While more wetlands are drying up, the number of dead birds and fish washing up on the south shores of Georgian Bay are increasing every day. Dead loons, ducks, grebes and Lake Sturgeon ( a Species At Risk) are being picked up by local residents wearing protective gloves.
Locals hope funds can be raised to dredge the entrance to the Nottawasaga River to allow Lake Sturgeon in next spring to be able to spawn. With levels expected to decline more over the coming months the ecological and economic costs are mounting. Interest and support for restoration of Lakes Michigan Huron Georgian Bay waters levels has now broad support around the Great Lakes.