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Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Canada Coaching Countries to Waste Water

Canada, a decade ago, used to do more good than bad in the wider world. Now we’re an international wrecking crew, teaching countries how to waste their water supplies on international disasters like shale oil.

This sort of unproductive activity is also changing our climate. It’s also slowing investment in renewable energy technologies that don’t pollute and consume water or air.

In any case, I have the utmost confidence that solar will continue to collapse at its current rate of -600%.— Chris Turner (@theturner) April 15, 2014

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Our Acidic Ocean

The last time Earth's oceans were this acidic, a six mile-wide asteroid had just smashed into the Yucatan Peninsula:…— Extinction Symbol (@extinctsymbol) March 26, 2014

It’s incalculably high what this will cost us.

350 or bust: Send Water Some Love On World Water Day

Tomorrow is World Water Day; the waters that nurture and sustain life on earth need our protection more than ever. * * World Water Day: Global Synchronized Water Ceremony  

Things Are Good: A Billboard That Finally Has a Reason to Exist: Free Water


In Lima, Peru, there is a new billboard that is selling an idea by providing free water to the local population. Water access is an issue in the area for a variety of reasons which impacts poverty and other water-related issues in the area. A local engineering school wanted to show potential new students what impact they can have on their country and chose to make a billboard a functional piece of infrastructure with simple engineering.

Usually when billboards are mentioned on this site it’s because they are being banned or taxed more to fund city beautification projects. It’s (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Yukon fracking threatens groundwater safety: hydrologist

The Liard River Basin is threatened by proposed fracking (Two Island Films)

Read this Jan. 31 article from the Whitehorse Star on the risks and benefits of hydraulic fracturing of shale gas wells on the Yukon’s groundwater:

The Yukon needs a better understanding of its groundwater system before the government gives hydraulic fracturing a green light.

That was the message this morning from hydrologist Gilles Wendling.

Wendling was the first of eight experts scheduled to make presentations before the select committee regarding the risks and benefits of hydraulic fracturing today and Saturday in the legislative assembly.

In the Yukon there (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Fracking in Canada: Why the Council of Canadians’ new “Fracktivist’s Toolkit” matters

by: Obert Madondo

In this age of the Harper Conservatives and a rampaging fossil fuel industry, Canadian anti-fracking activism requires more than a sense of environmental and social justice. It requires a toolkit of knowledge about what’s happening and how to effectively respond at the local, national and global level.

The Council of Canadians’ new “Fracktivist’s Toolkit” is one such toolkit.

The toolkit empowers Canadians to push back against fracking, protect Canada’s water sources, combat climate change, and partner with First Nations in their ongoing struggle to protect their besieged rights. It was inspired by the Council of (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: David Suzuki: Trading water for fuel is fracking crazy

Fracking protest in New Brunswick (photo: Colin McPhail)

It would be difficult to live without oil and gas. But it would be impossible to live without water. Yet, in our mad rush to extract and sell every drop of gas and oil as quickly as possible, we’re trading precious water for fossil fuels.

A recent report, “Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Stress”, shows the severity of the problem. Alberta and B.C. are among eight North American regions examined in the study by Ceres, a U.S.-based nonprofit advocating for sustainability leadership.

Fracking happening is regions of “high water (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: California rejects green label for BC’s private “run of river”

Construction of a private power project on the Ashlu River (Photo: Range Life)

Read this January 21st story by Megan Hooker in on the California Energy Commission’s rejection of BC’s green label of its private river diversion projects has profound ramifications for the province’s power export industry.

On January 15th, 2014, the California Energy Commission adopted a final report that reaffirms the integrity of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) regarding imported hydropower. After 5 years of hard work, American Whitewater and our partners in the California Hydropower Reform Coalition (CHRC) and river advocates in British Columbia are celebrating this (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: California facing 500-year drought, running out of drinking water

Folsom Lake, California (Associated Press)

Read this Jan. 30 story from the Huffington Post on the 500-year drought facing California today.

California is dry as a bone, and the effects are like something out of an apocalyptic film.

Cities are running out of water. Communities are fighting over what little water there is. Local governments are imposing rationing coupled with steep fines. Fires are ravaging the state. Entire species and industries are threatened.

For California, 2013 was the driest year since the state started measuring rainfall in 1849. Paleoclimatologist B. Lynn Ingram says that, according to the width of old (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Environmental hearing process not working for public

The 3-member panel reviewing Site C Dam has complained about the volume of documents from BC Hydro

Read this Jan. 27 letter to the editor in the Vancouver Sun by David Suzuki Foundation Senior Science and Policy Advisor John Werring on our broken environmental assessment process.

Site C review panel chairman Harry Swain, an acknowledged expert in public environmental policy, says the panel is overwhelmed by the sheer volume of documents BC Hydro has dumped on them in relation to that project.

The panel, supported by paid experts in various fields, has nine months to wade through this mountain of (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: BC’s private run-of-river power projects a ‘horror show’, documents reveal

A map of private power projects – proposed, under construction and in operation around BC (

Read this Jan. 29 Province story on the appalling government mismanagement of private river power projects in BC, only a quarter of which are operating at a satisfactory environmental standard.

The majority of run-of-the-river power projects in B.C.’s South Coast region are not being operated in a satisfactory environmental manner, according to Freedom of Information documents provided to The Province.

“We were told these things were going to be green, we were told they were going to be the next-best thing (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Site C Dam story changes again – now it’s about powering California

The $10 Billion proposed Site C Dam could provide power for export to California, BC Hydro representatives told the Joint Review Panel examining the project on the final day of public hearings, last week in Fort St. John.

A last-minute change to the story that keeps on changing, the new rationale for the dam confirmed the suspicions of some the hearings’ observers. ”We thought we didn’t need the energy,” said the Peace Valley Environment Association’s Andrea Morison, “but we hadn’t heard from Hydro or any other credible source for a long time that it was for the U.S., and we just (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Site C review panel changes mind, asks for ALC’s input on farmland

The Peace River Valley is home to some of BC’s best farmland (Damien Gillis)

Read this Jan. 23 Globe and Mail story by Mark Hume on the Joint Review Panel for the proposed Site C Dam’s last-minute reversal of an earlier decision not to seek the input of BC’s Agricultural Land Commission on the impacts the project would have on farmland. As The Common Sense Canadian reported last week, the Clark Government stripped the ALC of its regulatory oversight of what would constitute the single largest land withdrawal from the ALR in the Commission’s 40-year history.

The Joint Review Panel examining the Site C dam (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Peace Valley’s “extraordinary” farmland could feed a million people, agrologists tell Site C Dam review

The Peace River Valley is one of Canada’s most fertile regions (Damien Gillis)

A pair of highly-respected agricultural experts made a compelling case this week for sparing some of BC’s best farmland from a proposed dam on the Peace River. Together, veteran agrologist Wendy Holm and soil scientist Evelyn Wolterson argued that BC Hydro’s error-ridden study of the flood zone for the $10 billion proposed Site C Dam missed the unique soil and climate values that would enable this land to feed up to a million people – were the focus to shift from hydropower to farming.

Conversely, if a third (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

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…)

350 or bust: Reimagining Crisis As Opportunity

When young anthropologist and social entrepreneur, Cynthia Koenig, reframed the world’s water crisis as an opportunity, she “reinvented the wheel”. Here’s her talk at TEDxGateway: *

The Common Sense Canadian: Audio: Why Site C Dam is a bad deal for taxpayers, environment

The Common Sense Canadian’s Damien Gillis discusses the economic and environmental drawbacks of the $10 Billion proposed Site C Dam on Vancouver Co-op Radio – January 8, 2014. Public hearings into Site C in northeast BC conclude this month – without involving citizens beyond the region of the project. (12 min)

Learn more about Site C Dam

The post Audio: Why Site C Dam is a bad deal for taxpayers, environment appeared first on The Common Sense Canadian.

The Common Sense Canadian: Yet another CNRL leak probed by Alberta regulator in Cold Lake

An earlier CNRL leak in Cold Lake, Alberta (Chester Dawson / Wall Street Journal)

COLD LAKE, Alta. – The Alberta Energy Regulator is investigating another leak from a Canadian Natural Resources (TSX:CNQ) bitumen well near Cold Lake.

The regulator says 27,000 litres of crude bitumen were released underground on Jan. 3 at the company’s troubled Primrose field.

But agency spokesman Darin Barter said the leak has been stopped.

“There was no release to surface,” Barter said Friday. “There’s no aquifers that have been impacted by this incident.”

Barter said the release has been definitively attributed to a failed well (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Site C Dam: Federal panel seeks input from spurned energy watchdog

Location of proposed Site C Dam (photo: Damien Gillis)

Read this Jan. 7 story from Justine Hunter in the Globe and Mail on the concerns of the federal panel reviewing the proposed Site C Dam the BC Government’s stripping of the BC Utilities Commission’s oversight of the project.

The B.C. government has shielded its Site C dam proposal from scrutiny by an independent regulator, but a federal joint review panel is drawing attention to what might be missed as a result.

In a letter to the B.C. Utilities Commission, Ottawa’s environmental review panel has asked for a submission about what (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Food Over 3 Decades Old

Yesterday I ate fruit cake my Mum made for her wedding, and it still tasted good. Few people get to eat food older than they are, and can say they enjoyed it.

One of the greatest things to come out of the 70s was me. Another of those great things was this cake. Both made, in part, by my Mum.

I learned more about the 1970s too by looking in a photo album. Here’s Bengough’s water tower accident. Mum said a vehicle was crushed, and the rink got clipped, but no one was hurt.

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Lana Payne writes that Canadians care plenty about the well-being of hungry children even if the Cons don’t: After a firestorm of shocked responses from Canadians, Mr. Moore apologized for his “insensitive comment” uttered days before Christmas. What he did not apologize for or reassess was his belief in the kind of fend-for-yourself country his remarks support.

The apology came likely because this is the season of goodwill and it is no time to remind Canadians what drives the current federal government, begging the question of why it is tolerated any time of (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: $10 Billion Site C Dam: You pay, no say

If you live in BC, it will cost you, conservatively, $10 Billion – paid through skyrocketing power bills and taxes. It will flood tens of thousands of acres of excellent farmland – sacrifices you will make entirely for the benefit of multinational oil and gas companies.

And here’s the kicker: you have no say in the matter. The environmental hearings into the proposed Site C Dam currently underway in northeast BC have utterly excluded the people who will be paying the lion’s share of the financial costs: you. No hearings in Vancouver, Victoria, or anywhere outside of the Peace Valley, (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Industry seeks right to release water from oilsands tailings ponds

Syncrude tailings pond (photo: David Dodge, Pembina Institute)

EDMONTON – Oilsands producers are talking with the federal and Alberta governments about conditions under which water from the industry’s tailings ponds could be released into the environment.

Officials say releases would only involve treated water and wouldn’t happen until the end of a mine’s life.

Environmentalists are watching the discussions closely and warn that quality standards for released tailings water should be high.

“If they’d be willing to take the water and dump it in the Bow River near Calgary, then perhaps,” said Keith Stewart of Greenpeace.

Alberta has a zero (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Alberta questions downstream impacts of BC’s Site C Dam proposal

BC Hydro’s proposed Site C Dam (artist’s rendering)

by Dene Moore, Canadian Press

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The province of Alberta is concerned that a multibillion-dollar hydroelectric dam proposed in northeastern British Columbia could increase mercury levels in fish and escalate the risk of floods or drought along the Peace River that flows through its province.

Alberta’s Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, which manages lands, forests, fish and wildlife in the province, has filed a 23-page submission setting out its concerns to the panel reviewing the massive project.

Environmental review hearings for the $7.9-billion Site C dam proposal (Read more…)

Carbon49 - Sustainability for Canadian businesses: The Transformational Company: CBSR Summit

The 11th Annual Summit by Canadian Business for Social Responsibility brought together an international panel of leaders to address how corporate social responsibility practitioners can lead their companies onto a transformational path. Keynote speaker John Elkington showed how enterprises can set and achieve bold goals that touch their core business while addressing systemic societal risks and challenges.

Set bold goals that touch your core business

Named by Bloomberg Businessweek as “a dean of the corporate responsibility movement for three decades”, John Elkington led the keynote address to kick off the 11th edition of the signature CBSR event in Toronto. (See video (Read more…)