This and that for your Tuesday reading.
- Chris Hedges weighs in on the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s entrenchment of corporate control over mere citizens, while PressProgress highlights just a few of the more obvious dangers it poses. And Blayne Haggart points out that the TPP has nothing at all to do with free trade. TPP-like agreements are no longer exclusively or even primarily about reducing traditional trade barriers. As Harvard economist Dani Rodrik notes in his 2011 book The Globalization Paradox, with some exceptions (such as Canada’s dairy industry), tariffs have never been lower. Any gains from further reductions would (Read more…)
One of the American institutions most alert to the threat of global warming is the military. The Pentagon has issued several reports stating that the greatest threat to U.S. national security is climate change. Ironically, the military itself is the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter.
The Department of Defense devours about 330,000 barrels of oil a day, more than the great majority of the
Barcelona is going to build a road bridge which may be the cleanest bridge yet. Of course it’ll have pedestrian walks and bike paths, however, what makes the bridge really noteworthy is that it will clean the air.
Concrete is notoriously energy-intensive to create so any carbon offset is beneficial. The Barcelona bridge will make use of photocatalytic concrete.
But the real prize of this thing is its basic building material, photocatalytic concrete. The principal of photocatylitics is that ultraviolet light naturally breaks down dirt, both natural and synthetic. It’s that old adage about sunlight being the best disinfectant. Photocatalytic (Read more…)
SHOULD THE FINANCIAL BURDEN of removing all plastic debris from the Great Lakes fall on the shoulders of the 36 million people within the basin, researchers now have an estimate of the cleanup costs: $486-million (US).
Findings from the Ecohydrology Research Group at the University of Waterloo published this month in the Journal of Great Lakes Research has taken a critical step in filling the knowledge gap of how plastic waste interacts in freshwater systems as opposed to saltwater seas and oceans.
“We know more and more about ocean plastics, but, paradoxically, we have little information on the distribution and (Read more…)
Just think how many cleanup- and remediation-related profits might be lost if we’d retained the capacity to contain a fuel spill before it spreads.
Local man fishing in Toronto Harbour.
THE LATEST STUDY from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and the University of Toronto analyzed government data on mercury, dioxin/furans and polychlorinated biphenyl(PCB) in local and migratory fish populations from 1975 to 2011.
What they found was not surprising, per se, but it did confirm that efforts to curb pollution in the Toronto waterfront over the past four decades have shown positive results in the health of sport fishes, said Satyendra Bhavsar, a research scientist with the ministry and the universities of Toronto and Windsor.
Their study, published in (Read more…)
The Chinese documentary Under the Dome (I can’t find english subtitles, sorry) has taken China by storm. The documentary was released on last week and is already changing the conversation about pollution in the country. This could mark a massive change in how China enforces their pollution laws and improves how they treat nature.
Chai Jing’s documentary was released on 28 February, less than a week before China’s annual parliamentary session begins. China’s central government is expected to pass an ambitious new law that hopes to impose tough new regulations on China’s coal-burning polluters. But in China, passing a law (Read more…)
We humans are doing a good job to pollute our planet. Not in too distant future it may become unlivable.
You may watch the video here.
This and that for your Tuesday reading.
- Jack Peat argues for trickle-up economics to ensure that everybody shares in our common resources (while also encouraging economic development): Good capitalism is the ability to promote incentives and opportunity in equal measure. Sway too far one way and the potential of human capital is stifled, sway too far in the other direction and the willingness to realise this potential also goes amiss. Of late, bad capitalism has manifested itself in incentives over opportunities, and has become a parasitic drag on our economic growth as a result.
A recent IMF study has (Read more…)
China’s rate of economic development has caused massive change in the country and that includes the impact on waste management. Waste from consumer goods, industry, and other “good” things for the economy causes huge problems around the world. China is now at a turning point that can see interesting solutions to problems the developed world has had an easier time dealing with.
The sheer amount of pollution in China is causing people in the city to protest government policies. Environmental consciousness is growing in China.
Chinese waste management stands at a watershed moment. Rising environmental consciousness among the educated, urban (Read more…)
Here, on the need to take downside risks into account in discussing industrial development – especially when our water, land and lives are at stake.
For further reading…- The CP and Jenni Sheppard report on the many warning signs which should have identified the causes of the Mount Polley spill before it turned a town’s water toxic. Stephen Hume rightly concludes that the spill can be traced to a lax regulatory culture. Alison Bailey’s report points out that similar ponds set up for larger mining projects could cause even more damage. And Nature Canada discusses the deliberate choice (Read more…)
We recent looked at Illinois banning microbeads, which will cut back on plastic pollution in large bodies of water. But what about the plastics that are already in the oceans? That’s where Ocean Cleanup comes in.
Right now, the young organization is raising $2 million through crowd funding to do a large-scale cleanup of plastic trash floating in the ocean. They have successfully completed a pilot study and are about to start a larger feasibility study before moving on to the final goal. Now is your chance to help contribute to saving the oceans!
At least one million seabirds, (Read more…)
Assorted content for your weekend reading.
- Lana Payne discusses the need to address inequality through our political system. But that will require significant pressure from exactly the citizens who have decided they’re not well served by today’s political options – and Trish Hennessy’s look at Canadian voter turnout reminds us of the desperate need for improvement.
- Meanwhile, Tim Harford points out just how far we’ve gone in focusing on dollars over all other considerations – as even Scotland’s referendum on independence is being spun mostly as a matter of dueling fiscal projections rather than community, culture or other (Read more…)
Coal is one of the worst sources for energy given that its contribution to destruction of our planet is unmatched. There have been attempts to make coal branded as “clean coal” but even then, the radiation emitted from coal power plants is too high and the pollutants released into the air is still too much.
President Obama has decided to transition America’s power supply system away from coal and to better, cleaner alternatives. This is a good step in stemming the amount of pollution the country dumps into the air. Let’s hope that there is more money into sustainable power (Read more…)
This and that for your Sunday reading.
- The Globe and Mail joins the chorus calling for Canada to welcome more citizens, rather than exploiting cheap and disposable workers. But Bill Curry reports on yet another corporate lobby group demanding that the Cons actually expand the flow of temporary labour to secure profits at the expense of workers.
- Andy Radia discusses the laughable attempt of the Cons to rebrand themselves as anything other then enemies of the environment after eight years of constant attacks on regulations and advocates alike. And Daniel James Wright points out that the organization chosen (Read more…)
Is it possible that the Planet Earth can become a totally barren planet in the not too distant future? In particular if the CO2 emissions and pollution continue at the current or accelerated rate?
It is getting really bad in Beijing. People on the streets wear masks as well as commuters in the trains wear masks.
Harper government will like us to believe that Alberta’s oil-sands are safe. However, a recent study has shown that that is not the case.
New federal research confirms that Alberta’s oilsands are polluting ground water and seeping into the Athabasca River. The industry has maintained that toxic chemicals are contained safely in tailing ponds, but new research shows this isn’t the case.
Read more here.
The following commercial – and similar commercials – are shown every day, singing the songs of fracking and how it is supposedly safe. The reality is quite different. Fracking causes serious health and environmental problems, including drinking water pollution and disposal of fracking waste-water (the latter is a common theme in the news in Nova Scotia where they are struggling with disposal of wastewater).
The Nova Scotia, and more so the New Brunswick, governments are enthusiastic about fracking. Some fracking has been done in Nova Scotia and it is very problematic for reasons stated above. Yet oil and shale gas (Read more…)
High 5′s to people are aren’t old men! [on average, 19 times out of 20, +/- 3.6% of the time.]
My apologies if you’re a man, or over 55, but those two demographics love the Big Oil, and they’re giving you all a bad name!
I know lots of men and people over 55 who know that moving to a post-carbon energy infrastructure is the only sustainable future. The problem is convincing their peers that getting rid of their Lexus [it used to be Hummer] is in everyone’s best interest.
Maybe it’s because some of those (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.
- John Cassidy makes the case to call the U.S.’ war on poverty a success – pointing out that there has been a meaningful reduction in poverty over the past 50 years connected almost entirely to government programs. But lest that be taken as an indication that there’s no need to do more, Jared Bernstein points out that if economic growth had been distributed as it was in the postwar boom, poverty would have been eradicated by the mid-1980s – rather than persisting among tens of millions of Americans today as inequality (Read more…)
Winnipeg, Oct. 26, 2013: Retired scientist Dennis Le Neveu spoke at a forum on the environmental hazards of fracking, sponsored by Idle No More Manitoba. Photo: Paul S. Graham
Fracking is a process used to extract oil and natural gas. It involves drilling horizontal wells into rock formations and injecting a mixture of fresh water, chemicals and sand under high pressure to fracture the rock and release the oil and gas.
Fracking has been linked with contaminated water aquifers, air pollution and earthquakes.
In Manitoba, the gas extracted with the oil is hydrogen sulfide, a toxic gas that is lethal (Read more…)
This and that for your Sunday reading.
- Andrew Nikiforuk writes that air quality in Alberta’s Upgrader Alley may be among the worst in North America, including dangerous concentrations of cancer-causing chemicals. And Danny Harvey points out that the planet as a whole stands to be damaged by excessive tar sands development which is utterly incompatible with meaningful action to combat climate change.
- Andrew Jackson discusses how preferential tax treatment of stock options both exacerbates inequality and warps incentives for big business: One objectionable aspect of paying already well-remunerated executives in the form of stock options on top of (Read more…)
TransCanada Pipelines’ proposed “Energy East” pipeline project, which is intended to transport Alberta tar sands crude to eastern Canada, is meeting growing opposition from First Nations, environmentalists and citizens who live along the planned route.
The Winnipeg chapter of the Council of Canadians, along with Idle No More and the Boreal Forest Network held a public forum on the issue on October 22, 2013. Speakers included Maryam Adrangi, the Council of Canadians’ Energy and Climate Campaigner, and Crystal Green, Michael Kannon and Nina Was’te of Idle No More. The forum was moderated by Susan McCrea of the Boreal Forest (Read more…)