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Earthgauge News – Nov. 5, 2017

November 6, 2017 Leave a comment

Edition #5 of the Earthgauge News podcast for the week of Nov. 5, 2017.

A weekly Canadian environmental news podcast featuring stories from across Canada and around the world.

Join me here every Monday or subscribe in iTunes or your favourite podcast catcher.

On the show this week:

  • Parts of the historic Rideau Canal in Ottawa has been declared a contaminated site
  • Woodland caribou in Canada continue to decline
  • Nova Scotia watersheds are bouncing  back from decades of acid rain damage
  • BC coastal killer whales will be given additional federal protections
  • Hundreds of sea turtles have been found dead off the coast of El Salvador.
  • 25,000 people marched in the streets of Bonn ahead of the COP23 climate talks
  • Eco-friendly furniture is becoming the way of the future

Earthgauge News – Oct. 30, 2017

October 31, 2017 Leave a comment

Edition #4 of the Earthgauge News podcast for the week of Oct. 30, 2017.

A weekly Canadian environmental news podcast featuring stories from across Canada and around the world.

Join me here every Monday or subscribe in iTunes or your favourite podcast catcher.

On the show this week:

  • Could owning a car become a thing of the past? 
  • The calming effects of nature
  • Giant oil companies are paying less taxes in Canada than elsewhere
  • The state of Victoria in Australia is the latest place to ban plastic bags
  • Fossil fuel consumption in Canada is projected to peak by 2019, but global CO2 levels shot up at record levels in 2016. 

 

Greenland Inuit Village Fights for Survival

January 26, 2014 Leave a comment
Uummannaq

The people of Uummannaq are trying to adapt in order to survive. Photo: Mark Brooks

My documentary on the impacts of climate change in the Greenlandic village of Uummannaq aired in December on the Deutsche Welle international radio program Living Planet. I recorded and produced this report while working as the on-board journalist during the 2013 Students on Ice Arctic Expedition.

Located on a small island off the Greenland coast, 600 km (372 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, Uummannaq is one of many Inuit communities in the North that are already experiencing the impacts of climate change. Not only is the massive Greenlandic ice sheet melting, sea ice is starting to disappear too. This is causing serious difficulties for those working in the local fishing industry who depend on reliable sea ice conditions for their daily catch.

Uummannaq-fishermen

Fishermen in Uummannaq. Photo: Mark Brooks

Traditionally, fishers here worked on a dog sled on the sea ice in winter and by boat when the ice melted in the summer. But now, as the ice is melting earlier and becoming less stable, there is a period of several months in the spring when the ice is not strong enough to hold dog sleds but can also not be penetrated by small fishing boats. This is leading to a host of social and economic problems for the small community.

Click here to listen to the documentary. The text of the story with accompanying photos is available on the DW web site.

Deutsche Welle Living Planet 2013 Arctic Diary

September 30, 2013 Leave a comment

This week, Deutsche Welle Living Planet broadcast the first of my audio diaries from the Students on Ice 2013 Arctic Expedition. This first audio postcard captures the reflections of Canadian high school student Gerrit Wesselink as he travels up the western coast of Greenland and across the Davis Strait to Baffin Island and the eastern Canadian Arctic. Gerrit talks about his experiences on the trip, which include polar bear sightings, zodiac cruises in a field of giant icebergs and witnessing first-hand the impacts of climate change in the Arctic.

Click here to listen to the audio diary.

DW Living Planet is an award-winning international program that explores environmental issues facing the world today and analyzes environmental policies,  new technologies,  innovative projects and the state of the planet’s environment.

EG Radio May 16: Our last show of the season! The human costs of climate change with Andrew Guzman

May 16, 2013 Leave a comment

[audio https://earthgauge.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/earthgauge-podcast-may16-2013.mp3]9780199933877

This week is our last show before the summer break! I’m taking a few months off to recharge the batteries so we’re ready to come back strong in September for an all new season. On today’s program, we’re going to hear an interview from our friends at Generation Anthropocene who talked recently with international law expert Andrew Guzman. He has taken a step back from analyzing climate change in terms of precise temperature changes, melting glaciers and meters of sea level rise and breaks down all the ways climate change will affect humanity, from environmental refugees to changing disease patterns to social conflict. His new book, Overheated: The Human Cost of Climate Change, illustrates how nearly all of our human systems interact with climate and will feel the effects of even a 2 degrees C rise in average global temperatures.

We’ll also have our usual update from Kathy of Ecology Ottawa on local environmental events and campaigns. This week’s listing includes the Great Glebe Green Garage Sale happening on May 25. It’s a huge annual event in Ottawa that you won’t want to miss.

Right click here to download the whole program.

Interesting times indeed on the environmental front these days and the summer ahead should be an eventful one. Earlier this week the world passed an ominous milestone when atmospheric concentrations of CO2 passed the 400 parts per million (ppm) threshold for the first time in human history. That’s right folks, when the industrial revolution began, the concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere was roughly 280 ppm but after a couple hundred years of burning fossil fuels such as coal and oil, we have emitted enough carbon into the air to push CO2 levels to 400 ppm. The last time the world saw this level of CO2 in the air was several million years ago, when the Arctic was ice-free, savannah spread across the Sahara desert and sea level was up to 40 metres higher than today. Many scientists believe these conditions are expected to return in time, with devastating consequences for civilization, unless emissions of CO2 from the burning of coal, gas and oil are rapidly curtailed. But despite increasingly severe warnings from scientists and a major economic recession, global emissions have continued to soar unchecked.

The world’s governments have agreed to keep the rise in global average temperature to 2 degrees C, the level beyond which some scientists feel catastrophic warming could become unstoppable. We’ve already seen about 1 degree of warming but the International Energy Agency warned in 2012 that on current emissions trends the world will see 6C of warming, a level scientists warn would lead to chaos. With no slowing of emissions seen to date, there is already mounting pressure on the UN summit in Paris in 2015, which is the deadline to settle a binding international treaty to curb emissions.

Writing in the Guardian newspaper, the excellent columnist George Monbiot called the 400 ppm milestone a moment of symbolic significance on the road to idiocy. It represents “a profound failure of politics, in which democracy has quietly been supplanted by plutocracy. Without a widespread reform of campaign finance, lobbying and influence-peddling and the systematic corruption they promote, our chances of preventing climate breakdown are close to zero.”

Meanwhile back here in Canada, this comes at a time when the voters in B.C. have returned the Liberal government of Christy Clark to power, much to everyone’s surprise. The NDP, who just about everyone expected to win the election, had opposed both the proposed Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan tar sands pipelines from Alberta to the BC coast. The Liberal government has not ruled these projects out. Instead Clark has set some stringent conditions that must be met before her government will give its support, at least to the Gateway proposal. Let’s remember that the production of tar sands crude is estimated to emit 14 to 20 percent more planet-warming gases than the conventional oil that is typically found in U.S. refineries.

Will the pipeline projects now go ahead? And what about Keystone XL? A decision by President Obama on this project is expected in the coming months. Against this backdrop, we hear an interview today with international law expert Andrew Guzman, courtesy of the excellent podcast Generation Anthropocene, in which Guzman discusses his new book ‘Overheated: The Human Cost of Climate Change‘.

Climate change is simple

April 5, 2013 Leave a comment

Sometimes it helps to remind ourselves of the basic science of climate change and why scientists are so certain that the planet is warming and humans are to blame. David Roberts is a climate change and environment columnist at Grist. I’m not so sure about the somewhat distracting musical soundtrack in the background but it’s worth a look in any case.

“We are stuck between the impossible and the unthinkable. For the rest of your life, your job is to make the impossible possible.”

EG Radio January 31 2013: Obama and climate change | Lisa Friedman | Idle No More

January 31, 2013 Leave a comment

This week on Earthgauge Radio, we’re talking about President Obama’s new commitment to climate change, the growing problem of environmental “refugees”, and the environmental dimensions of the Idle No More aboriginal movement. We  have 3 interviews on today’s show:

  • Lisa Friedman, Deputy Editor of ClimateWire
  • Stephen Hazell, environmental lawyer and the founder of Ecovision Law 
  • John Smol, biology professor at Queen’s University and Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change

U.S. President Barack Obama’s inaugural address last week gave special prominence to taking action on climate change. Will this translate into concrete action and what does this mean for Canada? Today we take a look at what Obama can actually accomplish and what he won’t be able to do given the fierce resistance of some members of Congress and of course the fossil fuel lobby in Washington. We speak to journalist Lisa Friedman of ClimateWire about the international climate change situation, what Obama is up against in the coming four years, and the growing problem of climate and environmental “refugees”.

Lisa Friedman interview (right click here to download):

Also on the program today Earthgauge contributor Juanita Bawagan gives us a primer on the changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act and the overhaul of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. It’s been said that these and other fundamental changes to environmental legislation and regulations in Canada have been at least partially responsible for fuelling the Idle No More movement that has galvanized Aboriginal Canadians right across the country. Juanita will explain why many First Nations are so upset with what the Harper government has done to environmental protections in Canada.

Also on the program we have our usual update from Kathy of Ecology Ottawa on local environmental events and campaigns.

Earthgauge Radio airs Thursday mornings from 7-8 AM on CKCU 93.1 in Ottawa. Podcasts on iTunes and earthgauge.ca. Stream live on www.ckcufm.com. Check out our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/EarthgaugeRadio where we post environmental news stories from around the world.

Right click here to download today’s show.

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