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Archive for March, 2011

Indigenous Environmental Network tar sands campaign continues

March 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Interview with Ben Powless (9:25)

I recently had the opportunity to interview Ben Powless, a young Mohawk from Six Nations in Ontario. Ben is a  member of the Indigenous Environmental Network and a Founder of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition. Among other causes, he has been very active in the IEN’s tar sands campaign. He also sits on the board of the National Council for the Canadian Environmental Network, is on the Youth Advisory Group to the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, and is very involved in his local Aboriginal community.

In our interview he discusses the impacts of the tar sands on indigenous communities in northern Alberta, their campaign for a moratorium on future tar sands developments and how the IEN is trying to raise awareness internationally about what is going on in Alberta. He characterizes the tar sands as a violation of the constitutionally-guaranteed rights of First Nations people in Canada.

To download the interview, right click here and select ‘Save as’ or ‘Save target as’.

Arctic Ocean has become less salty, more unstable: scientists

March 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Arctic Ocean has become less salty, more unstable: scientists

More fresh water is pouring into the Arctic Ocean as glaciers melt, raising concern among some scientists.

The fresh water content of the upper layer of the Arctic Ocean has increased by about 20 per cent since the 1990s, say scientists from Germany’s Alfred Wegener Institute.

They predict this increase may alter the world’s ocean currents, with potentially disastrous results.

Campaign to ban the sale of shark fins

March 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Calls to ban shark fin soup growing around the world -  The Independent

Did you know? An estimated 73 million sharks are killed annually to supply Chinese consumers with shark fin soup – a prized delicacy in China. Yes, that’s 73 MILLION every year. Conservation groups say one-third of the world’s shark species are now threatened with extinction. According to the United Nations Environment Program, the shark populations have plunged by 90 per cent in the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea and by 75 per cent in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean within 15 years. This is an atrocity, an unmitigated slaughter in the seas for our own selfish gratification.

“The chorus of condemnation on the shark fin trade is growing louder around the world, with plans to bring the anti-finning campaign to Canada. Currently, California is considering banning the sale and distribution of shark fins, the key ingredient to a Chinese delicacy. If passed, California would join Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, and the US Territory of Guam in enacting a ban. Palau, the Northern Mariana Islands, as well as Honduras and the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, have also passed similar protections for the endangered predators.”

Hooray. It’s about time.

Deconstructionism: To reduce landfill waste, crew ‘deconstructs’ older homes

March 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Tearing down a house? Don’t demolish, deconstruct – The Globe and Mail

Did you know a third of all landfill waste comes from demolished houses? The new trend in house removal is away from demolition and toward eco-friendly deconstruction.

Everything that can be saved -doors, windows, the fireplace mantel, oak flooring, tiles, beams, two-by-fours -is being removed.

New process cleanly extracts oil from tar sands and fouled beaches

March 19, 2011 Leave a comment

If the tar sands aren’t going away any time soon (and it seems certain that they aren’t), new technologies such as this are desperately needed. What do you think?

New process cleanly extracts oil from tar sands and fouled beaches.

“the production of petroleum from tar sands causes environmental damage. Part of the damage comes from the storage of contaminated wastewater from the separation process in large open air ponds. Wastewater from the ponds can seep into groundwater and pollute lakes and rivers. In addition, the requirement for large amounts of water can deplete the supply of local fresh water resources. The Penn State separation method uses very little energy and water, and all solvents are recycled and reused.”

Categories: Energy, Oil, Tar sands

Post-Carbon Institute: 300 years of fossil fuels in 300 seconds

March 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Check this out…”We’re in for the ride of a lifetime.”

Is climate change to blame for the earthquake in Japan?

March 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Who would have thought that plate tectonics and carbon dioxide emissions could ever be related? It is of course impossible to say whether our warming climate is responsible for recent severe earthquakes around the world but some scientists think there is a link. Check out this article from the Montreal Gazette. Aren’t we humans clever?

“Severe earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and most recently Japan have raised the question of whether the world’s tectonic plates are becoming more active and if so what is the cause. Some scientists theorize that the sudden melting of glaciers due to man-made climate change is lightening the load on the Earth, allowing its mantle to rebound upward, causing the plates to become unstuck.”

Earthgauge news March 16

March 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Mass Extinction May Occur Within 300 Years, Scientists Say


In a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, researchers found that if efforts are not made to conserve species that are in danger of becoming extinct, a mass extinction – meaning a loss of at least 75 percent of species – could occur in just 300 years.

Air Pollution Triggers More Heart Attacks Than Cocaine – Huffington Post
Air pollution triggers more heart attacks than cocaine use, a recent study finds. While cocaine users certainly shouldn’t be celebrating, people living in cities with high pollution levels should be concerned.

NOAA climate scientists cleared in U.S. report – Green House – USATODAY.com
Federal climate scientists whose e-mails were leaked in the debate over climate change did nothing wrong, concludes an investigation by the U.S. Commerce Department’s inspector general.

Canada upset by concerns over oil sands – UPI.com
Canadian officials are threatening to pull out of trade talks with the European Union if the EU presses ahead with environmental regulations that would block imports of fuel produced from Canada’s oil sands.

Green economy will promote growth, says UN – Nature.com
Investing $1.3 trillion – or 2% of global GDP – in “green” initiatives each year between now and 2050 will spur significant economic growth in the long run, according to a report published today by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

Extreme winter weather linked to climate change | Reuters
This winter’s heavy snowfalls and other extreme storms could well be related to increased moisture in the air due to global climate change, a panel of scientists said on Tuesday.

Eastern cougar formally declared extinct – The Republic
For decades, many have believed the eastern cougar to be extinct. Now, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has made it official.

World Environment News – Water, CO2 The Priorities For China’s 5-Year Plan
Tackling environmental problems from carbon emissions to water pollution will be a key focus of a new five-year plan in China. The plan for 2011-2015 will include new directives aimed at reversing the damage done by 30 years of untrammeled growth, and it will also aim to give a fillip to clean and renewable energy.

Categories: News

Climate change denier attacks Earthgauge

March 14, 2011 Leave a comment

In response to the many articles and comments I have posted on the topic of climate change, Earthgauge has recently been the target of a series of misleading and inaccurate comments by a climate change denier going by the name of Roger in New Zealand. Our exchange, which was mostly long, tedious and not worth repeating, covered much of the same, tired arguments that climate change deniers raise again and again, despite having been refuted repeatedly by climate scientists.

You can read the post that prompted Roger’s comments and the full exchange here but, for the record, here is my final comment below. I feel it bears repeating some of these points since deniers continue to promote the false notion that the science of climate change is unsettled and there is a legitimate debate still ongoing within the scientific community.

Mark Says:
February 8, 2011 at 10:34 pm   edit

This will be my last comment in this exchange for reasons that I hope will become clear below. Thanks to Roger for his comments. I apologize for the delay in my response but, surprisingly, I do have more important ends to direct my energies. No amount of evidence I can present (and God knows there is a lot of it) seems to make any difference so this discussion has become somewhat akin to trying to convince an anti-Darwinian evangelical about the theory of evolution. At this stage, we’re going round in circles and we could go on for years like this.

Roger cannot and will not bring himself to accept the possibility that human-caused climate change might just be happening. That’s fine. At least 95% of climate scientists believe otherwise but, still, it is his prerogative to believe what he wishes and he is of course entitled to his own opinion. After all, there are not an insignificant number of people alive today who still think the earth was created 6000 years ago or that smoking doesn’t actually cause cancer.

Read more…

Environmentalists Warn of Natural Debt as Budget Cuts Loom – TIME

March 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Environmentalists Warn of Natural Debt as Budget Cuts Loom – TIME

“But the truly scary possibility is that the collapse could come quite suddenly, after what may seem to be a long period of global prosperity. It would only be in retrospect, after the fall, that we would see that what we thought was success was built on eating into our capital, like a consumer maxing out his credit cards to buy a second house. The global rise in food prices, which have hit their highest level globally in several decades, might be an early sign that the agricultural system that sustains (some more than others) nearly 7 billion people with the help of fertilizers and irrigation may be hitting its limits. “When the crisis hits, we’ll act rapidly, but by then it might be too late for hundreds of millions or even billions of people,” says William Rees, an ecologist at UBC.

What’s amazing to me, though, is that the very politicians who are so worried about the public debt — and who want deep spending cuts now to save our future, whatever the cost — utterly dismiss the idea that we could face an equal crisis of natural debt.”

 

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