Sierra Club Blog Posts

This page shows a collection of all of Sierra Club Canada's blog posts, shown in chronological order. To view the full post, click on its title.

Intersection redesign is an example of Urban Forestry Master Plan in action

A long awaited roundabout is going to mean the end of some long standing trees on the Halifax Common.


Work is beginning this week on the conversion of the North Park and Cunard Street intersection into a roundabout and will causes significant changes to the surrounding area. Most noticeably this will involve reshaping the intersection into a traffic circle, including the use of some land that was formerly green space on the North Common. 


There are casualties in all great campaigns, and in this case it will be several old trees that have overlooked the Common for decades. But it’s not all bad news in this corner of Halifax, because the removal of those trees is guided by the Urban Forestry Master Plan (UFMP), which aims to ensure long-term sustainable development of the city’s treed habitats. The plan was approved by council in 2012. ... Read more »

Psst...secrets can hurt you

Anyone who knows me knows I’m not good at keeping secrets, and I particularly don’t like when governments work in secret. Governments feed us a lot of malarkey about why secrecy is essential, but 9 times out of 10 there’s no justifiable reason.

Here are some government plans developing in secret that everyone should know about.

SECRET #1

At an undisclosed location in Ottawa this week, 400 delegates from Pacific Rim countries are negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) - the latest ‘free trade’ deal our government says we just have to have.... Read more »

PEI caught between Cavendish and a hard place

There's been a moratorium on deep water wells for over a decade on PEI. It was established in 2002 because of major drought conditions that year, linked to the overuse of groundwater by these wells.

They pose a danger to the Island in particular because its residents depends heavily on groundwater. For example, the city of Charlottetown runs entire rivers dry with its water consumption; Winter River hasn't flowed for several summers now. Clearly this is a delicate water table.

When the PEI Potato Board requested the moratorium be lifted in 2012, all fingers were pointed at Cavendish Farms as the motivator behind this request. Potatoes are a thirsty crop and if Cavendish wanted higher yields, they needed to exploit groundwater.... Read more »

Indigenous Insights in Point Pleasant Park

Did you know that Saturday, June 21st is National Aboriginal Day? Halifax is going to be the site of some fantastic opportunities to learn about indigenous traditions, culture, and knowledge! You can learn more about the day's events on the Aboriginal Day Live website.

 

After all the excitement of the 21st has waned, we invite you to join us with Elder Billy Lewis for a walk and talk in Point Pleasant Park, where he will be talking about the importance of various plants to indigenous peoples as medicines, foods, for their cultural importance, and as part of a healthy environment. Mr. Lewis is an arborist, master gardner, and long time supporter of building healthy communities through stewarding a healthy environment.

 ... Read more »

Northern Gateway: Isn’t it time to reject the past and embrace the future?

June 17, 2014

Today the federal cabinet approved the Northern Gateway Tar Sands pipeline.

It’s a decision that could define our times. We are witnessing the final stages of a protracted wrestling match between our future and our past.

Can we afford to let this decision stand? Aren’t our children--born and unborn--depending on us?

I’m not going to go into all the reasons why we must end our fossil fuel addiction, and move on to a clean energy future. You’ve heard it before.

But this decision could be different. It could be a game-changer. The Northern Gateway Tar Sands pipeline could be a turning point because of the huge opposition in British Columbia —unparalleled in Canadian history:... Read more »

Small steps save fish, big steps save rivers

By Zack Metcalfe

zack.metcalfe@gmail.com

The single greatest challenge in my life has always been avoiding despair when facing the mistakes of the last century. Several months ago I read a book called Here On Earth, by Tim Flannery, and in one chapter he describes a terrible mistake made long before I was born. The spent nuclear reactors of Russian power plants were dumped into the Arctic Ocean. Time and tidal forces will eventually penetrate their casings and cause unimaginable harm to the oceans.

Problems like this are beyond my power to rectify, as so many of the world's problems are. I imagine diving into those icy depths and hauling each reactor back onto land, but this is of course ridiculous; perhaps it's a coping mechanism.... Read more »

Nova Scotia review on fracking confirms we still know nothing

By Zack Metcalfe

zack.metcalfe@gmail.com

Even now, after several reviews of fracking in this country, we aren't certain what it's doing to our air and water. 

One such review, conducted by the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA), discovered the body of research into hydraulic fracturing was incomplete - there were no reliable studies on the environmental impacts.

There were reports of people lighting their tap water on fire and gas wells leaking methane into the atmosphere, but for all the panel's efforts, they couldn't deliver anything conclusive. The research simply hasn't been done.

In their conclusion they say, "authoritative data about potential [environmental] impacts are currently neither sufficient, nor conclusive."... Read more »

Halifax Diverse Naturalizes Your Yard

Do you know the impact that gardening with native plants can have on local wildlife? Bill Freedman does! As a professor of ecology and long-time practitioner of the principles of naturalization, he wants to spread the word about the benefits of using native plants in your garden. Walking his own talk, Dr. Freedman naturalized his own yard years ago, curating a collection of native plants where a lawn once dwelled, now home to a vibrant collection of greenery, exploding with colour throughout the various growing seasons.

 ... Read more »

City Birds and Cities for Birds

Mark Butler of the Ecology Action Centre discusses how individuals and cities can make yards and urban areas more friendly for birds. Specifically, we must eliminate risks to birds such as cats, but we also must stop eliminating important habitat. What constitutes important habitat might surprise you however...

 

Learn more about our programs on the Halifax Diverse facebook page, or subscribe to our mailing list by emailing halifaxdiverse@gmail.com with subscribe me in the subject line, or by clicking here.

The Tale of One Birder

In the lead-up to our June 1st bird walk led by Kate Steele of the Nova Scotia Bird Society, fellow birder and photographer extraordinaire Russel Crosby writes about how he got into birding, and gives novices a few tips. Join us on June 1st on the Shearwater Flyer Trail to put your learning into practice!

 

As a long time birder I occasionally get asked about how I initially got into bird watching as a hobby, but I don’t remember any one specific event that led to a lifetime love of birds. My first interactions with birds were through my older brothers who were serious duck hunters before I was even old enough to fire a gun. Although I did go on a few of their early hunting trips where I witnessed ducks being killed, I opted instead to observe birds rather than to try to shoot them. My father supported my burgeoning hobby and bought me books he thought would interest me. They did!

 ... Read more »

   

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