By Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands, B.C.
On Monday, January 21st, 2013
The International Energy Agency is warning that shooting past two degrees Celsius average global temperature will have “dire consequences.” And the World Bank is talking about 3.5 degrees of warming as being “devastating.” These are not environmental agencies. They are conservative, economically-oriented institutions. They are “establishment” with a capital E. Their language is increasingly alarmed, and yet nothing happens.
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.
Our friends with Friends of the Greenbelt are featured in this article in Alternatives Journal. Check it out -- if not for the Greenbelt content then for the super-cool aerial photo of the Humber River outflow to Lake O.
Maybe we can call the latest political 'controversy' involving Stephen Harper ATV-gate.
During their week-long visit to the north, Harper and his wife Laureen inadvertently rode into the middle of an ongoing debate about the use of all-terrain vehicles in the Yukon's delicate ecosystems.
According to iPolitics, the Harpers' off-road adventure through sand dunes near Whitehorse on Monday has touched a nerve with local environmental activists, who have spent years trying to keep all-terrain vehicles from tearing up the territory's "pristine wilderness."
Ottawa - The Canadian government was among a group of developed countries at a UN conference last week opposing language intended to protect human health and the environment from mercury pollution. At the United Nations treaty negotiation session (INC4) held in Punta Del Este, Uruguay last week, Canada and its partners refused to include stronger language, even though it was supported by two-thirds of delegates engaged in the international negotiations.
"Developed countries should not stand in the way of the rest of the world on the issue of including health in international environmental agreements," said Eric Uram of the Sierra Club. "Everything in nature is connected, and people and the environment cannot operate on separate planes. Protecting the health of the planet is an international responsibility that needs to be supported by all countries."
The break is over and we only have a few days to convince the Ontario government not to weaken its already inadequate enforcement of the Endangered Species Act.
The Natural Resources Ministry wants to stop issuing permits to developers wanting to build in areas where endangered species are living. Instead of being required to obtain a permit (as is the case now) when working in sensitive habitat areas home to endangered or threatened species, developers and industry would only have to voluntarily comply with existing rules and regulations. In our business "voluntary regulation" is an oxymoron; a misnomer for deregulation or the wholesale gutting of regulation (remember voluntary labeling of GM foods – 10 years later we’re still waiting for that to happen).
OTTAWA - Canadian courts should order Chevron to hand over its Canadian assets to compensate Ecuadorian villagers for the toxic legacy they are forced to live with as a result of the cost cutting polluting practices of the company. This court action comes just the Canadian government is attempting to gut environmental laws.
“We have launched #BlackOutSpeakOut because Environmental laws are essential to protect public health and the environment. Without them companies like Chevron will leave a toxic legacy for our children,” said John Bennett, Executive Director of Sierra Club Canada.
Buried within the more than 400 pages of this spring’s federal omnibus budget bill is an invitation for resource companies to open a new frontier in Canadian oil: the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The gulf, which touches the coastlines of Canada’s five easternmost provinces, is the world’s largest estuary. It’s home to more than 2,000 species of marine wildlife — an ecosystem integral to the health of our Atlantic and Great Lakes fisheries.
Ontario’s last coal-burning power plants will close by the end of this year, Premier Dalton McGuinty is expected to announce Thursday.
The closure is either one year earlier than scheduled, or six years late, depending on your perspective.
The current deadline for closing the coal plants is Dec. 31, 2014 — which makes the new deadline a year early. But the McGuinty government had ridden into office in 2003 promising to close the coal plants by the end of 2007.