Monday, 27 February 2012

Start of Trial on Gulf Oil Spill Is Delayed Amid Talk of a Settlement

John Schwartz - New York Times - Feb 26'12
NEW ORLEANS — The civil trial over America’s biggest oil spill has been delayed for a week as efforts to settle the multibillion-dollar litigation intensify. Details here.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Canada Still Refusing to Issue Order to Protect Caribou

Manitoba Wildlands - Feb. '12
For the second time Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent has declined to issue an emergency order to protect woodland caribou. Details here.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Harper - The Man Who Killed the Family Farm?

Bill Redekop - Winnipeg Free Press 02/25/2012
PLT photo
Roving rural columnist finds Harper's decision to dismantle the wheat board goes against the grain for many Manitoba farmers. Details here.

Global Day of Action: Occupy Our Food Supply

Feb 24, 2012 by Common Dreams
Food justice advocates rise up to confront corporate control of our food system. Details here.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Back to the Start (Video)

            Coldplay's haunting classic "The Scientist" is performed by country music legend Willie Nelson for the soundtrack of the short film entitled "Back to the Start." The film, by film-maker Johnny Kelly, depicts the life of a farmer as he slowly turns his family farm into an industrial animal factory before seeing the errors of his ways and opting for a more sustainable future. Both the film and the soundtrack were commissioned by Chipotle to emphasize the importance of developing a sustainable food system.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Does Big Oil Now Have Some Science on its Side? Hardly!

by Larry Powell

It's hardly surprising that Big Oil is already brandishing the latest scientific study on the Alberta oil-sands as a weapon in its crusade to peddle bitumen to the world. 

The study was done by a noted Canadian climatologist, Andrew Weaver and a colleague at the University of Victoria. 

This is the part Big Oil likes.

If all of the oil-sand's reserves considered "economically viable" were developed, the resulting rise in global temperatures would be "almost undetectable," when compared to massively larger, global deposits of coal.

But there are other parts of the study you won't hear Big Oil quoting. 
For example, what if all of the tarsand's reserves known to be there, (known as "oil-in-place and seven times larger than Saudi Arabia's) are developed, over time?  In that case, Earth's temperature would rise up to ten times as much as in the last scenario! And that would represent almost half of the man-made warming the planet has already experienced over the past 100 years!

Surely, that would be detectable!

While total oilsands development might seem unlikely, given improved technologies and the almost messianic bent of this and (heaven forbid), future governments to exploit the resource, surely it is not imposssible, either. 

To quote from the study;

"Greenhouse-gas emissions resulting from expanding oil-sands production are Canada’s fastest-growing emissions source, and have the potential to contribute significantly to anthropogenic climate change. This is accentuated by the fact that the oil sands are more energy-intensive to produce than conventional crude oil — and have a greater ‘well-to-wheel’ carbon footprint."

"If North American and international policymakers wish to limit global warming to less than 2 °C, they will clearly need to put in place measures that ensure a rapid transition of global energy systems to non-greenhouse-gas-emitting sources, while avoiding commitments to new infrastructure supporting dependence on fossil fuels."

One of the report's authors, Prof. Weaver, said this in a recent, online video: "The tar sands are an interesting example of end-to-end environmental degradation, whether it be excessive use of water, toxic sludge that affects eco-systems, or greenhouse gas emissions."

After carefully reading the study myself, I remain convinced (as do these scientists) that untrummelled development of the tar sands is still just wrongheaded

But my main message to honest activists everywhere would be this: Let's show the world we are not like the cranks or vested interests we all reject - that we can actually learn from the science we are presented with.  

It is therefore time to redouble our efforts to slay the ugly elephant in the room - coal. 

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Andrew Weaver on Tar and Climate

Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Could Hurt Canadian Economy

(Source - Wikipedia) A report put forth by economist and former Insurance Corporation of BC CEO, Robyn Allan, in early 2012, states that this proposed pipeline could actually hurt non-oil based sectors of the Canadian economy. Allan stated in the report that the project's success depends on continual yearly oil price increases, by about $3/barrel. She also stated that an increase in oil prices will lead to "a decrease in family purchasing power, higher prices for industries who use oil as an input into their production process, higher rates of unemployment in non-oil industry related sectors, a decline in real GDP, a decline in government revenues, an increase in inflation, an increase in interest rates and further appreciation of the Canadian dollar." 

Coal the True Climate Change Bad Guy, Analysis Shows

Globe & Mail Feb 19-'12

One of the world’s top climate scientists has calculated that emissions from Alberta’s oil sands are unlikely to make a big difference to global warming and that the real threat to the planet comes from burning coal. Details here.
PLT: Quite a shocker for those of use who, like myself, have been fighting the tar sands, tooth and nail. While this hardly turns the tar sands into "clean, alternative energy," I believe we should all begin paying more attention now to finding better ways of producing energy we now produce from coal (and fracking) here in Canada!

Manitoba's Green Party Leader Takes Newspaper to Task for Misleading Editorial

From the Blog of James Beddome, Leader, Green Party of Manitoba.
GOOD NEWS! The Manitoba Government is finally going to follow the lead of the other 6 provinces in Canada which have put in place bans on the aesthetic or non-essential use of pesticides. This is a first step that Greens have been calling for, for years.     Full story here

Saturday, 18 February 2012

All Sizzle, No Steak - (an HONEST View of the State of our National Parks)

Dec '11 Alternatives - Jeff Gailus
LAST JUNE, I returned to Banff National Park after a long absence. Details here.
PLT: Jeff's article, which actually appeared in "Alternatives" late last year, has proven timely, if not prescient, in pointing out the chasm between the hype of Parks Canada and the reality when it come to the condition of our national parks. Now, Harper & his minions have pushed through a scandalous scheme for an icefields "lookout," involving the blasting out of the side of the mountain, once again illustrating the misplaced priority of this government to attract even more tourists rather than protect natural ecosystems. 
(Those damn mountains. They do get in the way of the scenery, don't they? This photo I took of the Columbia Icefield this past summer - above - where the lookout will be built - shows just how lousy the view is without something concrete and steel to stand on! Sarcasm intended.)

Friday, 17 February 2012

Town Council in Terrace, BC Does the Right Thing - Opposes Pipeline!

Terrace Daily Online Feb '12

Terrace citizens have reacted strongly to Terrace City Councils decision to oppose the Northern Gateway Pipeline project. Details here.

Supporters of the Canadian Wheat Board Launch Another Court Fight

Canadian Press - 02/15/2012
WINNIPEG - Supporters of the Canadian Wheat Board have launched yet another court challenge. The Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board filed Tuesday a class-action lawsuit in Federal Court asking the court to restore the board and give farmers $17 billion in damages. Details here.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Monsanto Set to Appeal French Poisoning Verdict

Feb 15, 2012 Manitoba Co-Operator
U.S. agribusiness giant Monsanto said Tuesday it will appeal a French court ruling that found it responsible for the poisoning of a farmer who inhaled a weed killer, in the first such case to reach court in France. Details here.
Please also read: "Canada Fiddles While Concerns Fester Over 'Roundup'"

Sobering Future of Wildfire Dangers in U.S. West, Researchers Predict

ScienceDaily (Feb. 14, 2012) — The American West has seen a recent increase in large wildfires due to droughts, the build-up of combustible fuel, or biomass, in forests, a spread of fire-prone species and increased tree mortality 
from insects and heat. Details here.Mark Thiessen - Nat'l Geographic
High winds and hot temperatures fanned a 1996 
wildfire in the foothills around Boise, 
Idaho, into an inferno that burned for seven days.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Ottawa Dithers Over Health Concerns About "Roundup"

- by Larry Powell
Despite copious evidence that the globally-popular weed-killer may be harmful to crops, wildlife, livestock and humans, the Government of Canada seems in no hurry to act. Last June, Health Canada (the federal Department which regulates pesticides) told me, it was aware of such evidence, but, that, "It did not raise immediate risk concerns that would have triggered regulatory action." 

Then, in November, the Federal Court ordered the Minister of Health, Leona Aglukkaq, to reconsider a decision she had made in August, 2009. That's when she refused a citizen's request for a "special" review of the product. The Minister settled instead for a longer-range, routine re-evaluation. That didn't begin until some two years later and won't be finished for about another two. 

The court ruling came down almost three months ago. 

The Minister is still "reconsidering" whether to call that  special review.
A "crop-duster" sprays a field in western MB. (PLT photo)
Ask most conventional farmers about Roundup, they'll tell you. It's a chemical they spray regularly on their canola, soybeans, corn or, in some cases, sugar beets, to get rid of weeds. Sometimes, they also apply it in the fall to cereal crops like wheat and barley to dry them out, in preparation for harvest.

The seeds used to grow the crops have been altered to resist Roundup, by adding a gene from another species. It’s called genetic modification (GM) or transgenics. These "genetically-modified organisms," (GMOs) allow the Roundup to kill the weeds, but spare the crops. Hence the term, "Roundup-Ready" (RR).

In addition to food crops, forestry companies use Roundup (and similar formulations) to keep down unwanted weed growth which would otherwise smother re-plantings after clear-cutting.

It is also used "cosmetically" on lawns and gardens to keep them free of such nuisance weeds as dandelions. Several provinces have already banned, or are considering a ban on the use of Roundup (and other chemicals) for these purposes. While these "cosmetic uses" are coming under increasing regulatory scrutiny, use of the product in agriculture and forestry is largely uncontrolled.

Roundup has, for years, been the top-selling herbicide for Monsanto, the US-based company which makes it. It has also been referred to as Monsanto's "flagship" product and a key to its enormous commercial success. There are now almost 200 "copy-cat" formulations of Roundup under different brand names on the market. But Roundup, first registered in 1976, still dominates.

And, it works. "RR" crops are, for the most part, clean and weed-free.

But an examination of the research done into the safety of Roundup over the years, offers many disturbing glimpses into a product which achieves such pristine monocultures. 

Soy Story - The Argentine Experience

Argentina has seen an explosion in plantings of "Roundup-Ready" soybeans in the past decade or so; 19 million hectares (47 million acres) in 2009 alone.

The pilot of a spray plane, covered in a severe skin rash.
This has meant a corresponding spike in the use of Roundup, to an estimated 200 million litres a year.

Other countries in South America, including Brazil, have experienced similar upward spirals in soy production.

Well over 90 percent of soybean crops have been genetically-modified and therefore require Roundup to succeed.

Just over a year ago, a team of international experts published what was (for a scientific research paper), a surprisingly damning indictment, not only of glyphosate, but of the very wisdom and sustainability of government ventures into vastly-expanded soybean production.

The study, called, "GM Soy. Sustainable? Responsible?" not only published results of research done by team members themselves, but summarized research done elsewhere. And it documented the findings of a commission conducted by the central Argentinian State of Chaco in 2010.

The Commission found that, from 2000 to 2009, childhood cancer rates tripled in the town of La Leonesa and birth defects increased almost fourfold over the entire state. Those results corresponded with greatly increased spraying of glyphosate and other agrichemicals in the region during that period.

Scientific studies referred to in the paper, cite an association between glyphosate and at least two kinds of cancer, multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, (NHL), a cancer of the blood. An increased rate of NHL had been repeatedly observed among farmers for years, suggesting an association between use of pesticides, including glyphosate and the risk of the disease.

In laboratory tests, one team member, ‪Andrés‬ Carrasco of the University of Buenos Aires, found that glyphosate causes malformations in frog and chicken embryos similar to those in humans, at one-tenth the rate allowed in Argentina.

In an obvious attempt to counter critics who claim that lab tests are really "engineered" scenarios which don't truly replicate real situations, Prof. Carrasco noted that "experimental animals share similar developmental mechanisms with humans."

Another researcher,  Dr Damian Verzenassi of the School of Medical Sciences at Argentina's National University of Rosario puts it this way. "One cannot keep thinking about human health as though it were unconnected with the health of ecosystems."
Similar Research not Confined to South America
Many authors have reported that in the past 30 years there has been a significant decline in amphibian populations in several different parts of the world.

In 2005, a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh, Rick Relyea, 
carried out research which pointed the finger directly at Roundup. He concluded that the weed-killer "Can cause extremely high rates of mortality to amphibians that could lead to population declines."  Prof. Relyea, with the University's Department of Biological Sciences, noted that earlier tests in the laboratory had already shown that the herbicide may be highly lethal to North American tadpoles. So he set up tests exposing three species of frogs, both larvae and juveniles, to Roundup, outdoors, in what he called "more natural conditions." After a single day, "the Roundup had killed up to 86% of the juveniles and, in three weeks, up to 100% of the larvae." 
Roundup in Canada

While Canadian plantings of soybeans pale in comparison to Argentina's, they are growing rapidly. 
According to the Canadian Soybean Council, overall soybean production reached a new high of 1.5 million hectares (3.7 million acres) in 2010, an 8-fold increase over 1973.

Even if one removes the soybean sector from the equation, Roundup use on GM canola (an oilseed crop - r.) in Canada is massive and has been growing since that crop came into widespread use on the prairies. According to the Canola Council of Canada, seeded acreage grew, from 4% of total canola acreage in 1996 to 70% in 2000! And the goal of the Council is to boost canola production by 65%, to 15 million tonnes in the next three years! 

Actual figures on sales of Roundup itself are hard to come by in Canada.

But, in Argentina, official figures show sales of the herbicide spiralled from one million litres a year in the 1990s to nearly 300 million litres today.

The View From a Canadian Farm
Yet Canadian farmers don't seem to be buying into the horror stories emerging out of Argentina.

Take Ron Gendzelevich, for example. He owns Quarry Seed on a 4,000-acre farm near Stonewall, Manitoba, north of Winnipeg. He describes his farm as an "experimental ground" where he sources hardy varieties of edible soybeans for northern climates and sells them. Some 80% are "Roundup Ready."

Gendzelevich says, "I'm probably the first one to defend the environment." But, "For the most part, urban people just don't understand.  GM has been given a monster terminology that just isn't justified in most cases. Given the number of people we have to feed, we've got to make and grow as much as we can. The bigger issue is world population. If we are going to allow it to grow unchecked, we have to boost production because, which is better, to have a slightly safer world, with people starving, or a very small degree of risk with people being fed? That's the bigger question."

Gendzelevich adds, other farmers are using chemicals on other crops which are even more toxic than Roundup, including 2-4-D. "When I went to convert soybeans to RR, my Roundup use went up massively but my overall herbicide use went down dramatically. That's because you're dealing with a product that has the ability to kill weeds a little bit better. Before, you had to use 3 or 4 herbicides to do the overall same job as one can do and I think what you're finding is, you were putting a substantial amount more herbicides or chemicals on the ground in the olden days than today."

The soybean producer admits he doesn't know a lot about the Argentine experience. But, "I see a person swigging whisky and smoking, talking about how farmers are poisoning the world, I don't take 'em with any respect.  I'd like to see the evidence."

                                                          The Evidence

A body of research done here in Canada seems to counter claims by Roundup's maker, Monsanto, that it is safe.  

Five years ago, a graduate student at the University of Manitoba, Jennifer Magoon, (PLT photo, above) found statistically significant links between the use of crop sprays and serious health problems with infants born in farming areas of the province where such sprays were commonly used.

Those problems included low birth weights, spina biffida, respiratory distress, jaundice, Down syndrome, cleft palate, retinal degeneration and cataracts. Her findings do not mention Roundup. But she singled out herbicides as the class of crop chemical she was most concerned with.

In 1997, the Ontario Farm Family Health Study surveyed almost 19 hundred male farmers in Ontario who'd been exposed to several chemicals, including glyphosate in their faming activities. It concluded that their partners were "more than twice as likely" to miscarry or give birth, prematurely.

In 2,001 another phase of the same study, surveyed almost 4 thousand pregnant farm women in the same province. All had been involved in farming activities, milking cows, cultivating or seeding the fields and sometimes helping their partners mix and apply the herbicides. 395 of those women experienced miscarriages. All had been exposed to a variety of pesticides, including glyphosate.

In the words of the study, "Among older women (over 34) exposed to glyphosate, the risk of miscarriage was three times that for women of the same age who were not exposed to this active ingredient."

The French Connection

In 2009, laboratory findings by a leading French researcher, Gilles-Eric Séralini, proved consistent with that Canadian research. In his lab at the University of Caen, the molecular biologist demonstrated that, within 24 hours, the active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, was totally lethal to three different kinds of human cells (umbilical, embryonic and placental), at just a fraction of the concentrations used in agriculture and equal to those found in human and animal feed!

Séralini was "surprised" to also discover that other ingredients in Roundup, besides glyphosate, were not the harmless substances the public had been led to believe. On the contrary, Roundup, as a mixture, was, in every test, always twice as deadly as glyphosate alone! One of those other ingredients (polyoxyethylene tallow amines, POEA), stated the researcher, has been clinically shown to cause "high mortality in fish and amphibians." Regulators had been legally classifying  "POEA" as simply "inert."

He also concluded, Roundup's residues "May thus enter the food chain, and glyphosate is found as a contaminant in rivers."

Séralini also concluded glyphosate is probably an "endocrine disruptor." According to the Environmental Protection Agency in the 'States, that means it can affect the human brain, nervous and reproductive systems, even blood sugar levels by disrupting the normal functioning of hormones in the human body, including estrogen and testosterone.

Can Roundup (glyphosate) Actually Damage Crops?

Extensive, multi-year research by an Agriculture Canada team led by Miriam Fernandez, published some two years ago, showed that use of glyphosate was actually a significant factor in the incidence of Fusarium head blight (FHB) and Common root rot (CRR) in wheat and barley crops planted up to 18 months after such application. Both FHB and CRR are considered serious diseases in these important cereal crops in places like eastern Saskatchewan, where the trials were conducted. (The study appeared in the European Journal of Agronomy in 2009.) While tillage practices were also found to have some effect, the team concluded, "Previous glyphosate use was consistently associated with higher FHB levels" … and "significantly increased" risk of the plant diseases.

Can Fusarium Also Harm Animals and Humans?

According to the Mold and Bacterial Consulating Laboratories, fusarium toxins "have been shown to cause a variety of toxic effects in both experimental animals and livestock and are also suspected of causing toxicity in humans. They also produce vomitoxin, which in turn results in a serious feed refusal and vomiting in animals fed contaminated feed."

In November, the Federal Court of Canada heard a complaint launched by Josette Wier, an environmental activist from the north-central BC town of Smithers. She was the same person who had been turned down after requesting the Minister to conduct a special review in 2009. Under Canada's Pest Control Products Act, anyone may ask for such a review, which the Minister "shall perform, unless there is reasonable certainty that no harm will result from exposure to the pesticide." 

Ms. Wier had grown concerned that herbicides similar to Roundup, which logging companies were spraying on forests near her home, were harmful to human health and the environment. (The two products were "Vision," by Monsanto and "Vantage" by DowAgro. Both contain POEA, that suspect ingredient mentioned earlier. It apparently allows the glyphosate to spread more evenly on the waxy surface of leaves.)

The applicant cited several studies already mentioned in this story, in documents she presented to the court. But during the proceedings, the judge, Mr. Justice Kelen, narrowed the case down to this: Were those herbicides, "Vision" and "Vantage," harming frogs and salamanders in "transitory wetlands" (ones which come and go), in clear cut areas where the forest has been directly sprayed and replanted? He found that there wasn't enough information on this potential aspect and that the Minister's 2009 decision was neither "transparent nor intelligible" in this regard.

The court also found that Health Canada "erred in law" by arguing that a "special review" was not needed because the routine re-evaluation was underway. The judge found that it does not have to be one or the other - both are allowed to "co-exist" under the legislation. He found further that a special review could be both "targeted and possibly quicker" than the re-evaluation.

Despite its seemingly decisive tone, the ruling isn't really binding, at all. As Andrew Baumberge of the Federal Court explains, "The Court is not meant to make the decision in the place of the federal government office/official"

At the time of this writing, some 11 weeks after the judgement, a spokesperson at Health Canada says the Minister, Leona Aglukkaq (l.) is still "reconsidering" the matter.

Reaction to the Court Ruling

The individual who started it all, Ms. Wier, refuses to accept it as a defeat. "The ruling is only a small victory, but a victory, nevertheless. In the 10 (?) years that the Act has been in place, I believe only one special review has been conducted.

"I truly feel that I am doing the job of government and that government has become the enemy.  Scientific facts mean nothing, as they are so embedded with industry and Monsanto, Dow Chemicals etc... are so powerful.

"So only what is left is this awful job going through the court and wasting enormous amounts of time and money.  I guess if changes are to happen, one should not expect any result soon, even in one's lifetime. But what counts is to keep the flow going."

(Emphases mine - l.p.)
PLT: Ms. Wier needs to be commended for her efforts. While her campaign appears to be in limbo for the moment, she has exercised her democratic rights under the Act and gotten the Federal Court to support her! Make no mistake! That is a win! Now, perhaps other individuals can follow her example and hold the feet of the politicians and bureaucrats to the fire, to do what is right for our health and our environment.  
But, it also seems clear, if lessons are to be learned from all of this, sadly, not many appear to have sunk in. 
A recommendation from that student researcher, Ms. Magoon, for example, to reduce pesticide use, seems to have been largely ignored. 
GM soybeans continue to be hailed at agricultural events in Canada as the "Cinderella crop" of the future. 
Even provincial Departments of Agriculture continue to act more like agents for Agribusiness than advocates for farmers or consumers. 
Government crop specialists who write regular articles in the newspaper, frankly, cannot be counted upon to relay the kind of information contained in articles like this. Instead, they simply advocate business as usual - holding out the promise of GM crops and continued reliance on crop sprays as the only option for the future. 
One bright spot has been a growing movement by provinces to ban the use of such products on lawns and gardens. Manitoba will become the latest of several to do this, over the strong objections of conventional farmers and the organizations which represent them. l.p.

Is 'Prescription for Disaster' Our 'Most Optimistic' Climate Future?

February 11, 2012 by Common Dreams
New data indicates warming of 2C now planet's "most optimistic" scenario Details here.

Monday, 6 February 2012

The Cancer in Occupy

By Chris Hedges Truthdig Feb 6 - '12
The Black Bloc anarchists, who have been active on the streets in Oakland and other cities, are the cancer of the Occupy movement. Details here.

The True Cost of Mad Cow Disease in the West Midlands (England)

Justine Halifax, Birmingham Mail - Feb 6 2012
Birmingham could be facing a disease timebomb following the outbreak of the human form of mad cow disease or vCJD, health experts say. Details here.

PLT photo

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Corporations Have No Use for Borders

By Chris Hedges - Truthdig Jan 30-'12

What happened to Canada? It used to be the country we would flee to if life in the United States became unpalatable. No nuclear weapons. No huge military-industrial complex. Universal health care. Funding for the arts. A good record on the environment. But that was the old Canada. Details here.

Minister of Natural Resources Prepares to Help his Boss, Stephen, Sell Out Canada!

PLT: Just heard Joe Oliver spouting off on CBC Radio. Boy, does he like to have it both ways! On the one hand, he loves to brag that the TAR Sands are the 3rd largest oil reserve in the world and THE biggest single, industrial project. 
Alberta tar sands. Courtesy of Beautiful Destruction
Well, what about greenhouse gas emissions then? They must be significant, too? Naaah, they're tiny compared to everybody else. 
He and Steve will soon be visiting China, hobnobbing with the "ethical" members of the Communist Party, selling out as many of the Canadian people's resources as they can get away with. These Dudes are out of control!

Fatal Deception - Investigative Report Exposes Canada's Asbestos Policies - CBC Video

Is the federal government relying on junk science to justify its support for re-opening asbestos mines in Quebec? Click here and watch the program, "Fatal Deception."

Friday, 3 February 2012

Cosmetic Pesticides Face Ban in Manitoba

Winnipeg Free Press
 Feb 1'12
Manitoba will soon join most other Canadian provinces and ban cosmetic pesticides -- sprays such as WeedEx and Roundup that keep lawns perfect by killing weeds and bugs. Details here.
PLT photo

CPAWS Update on Developments in Jasper National Park

Jasper viewParks Canada announced it will delay its decision on Brewster Travel Canada's proposed development of the  Glacier Discovery Walk in Jasper National Park.
Public opinion matters!

Parks Canada is now reviewing over 2,000 letters it has received on this issue. They are also reconsidering its environmental impact. 
Write a letter
CPAWS opposes this proposed development because we fear it would set a dangerous precedent for renewed commercial development in our mountain national parks.  If this goes ahead, what will be next?
As well, the long term impact of it on wildlife, including mountain goats and big horn sheep, can’t be predicted with confidence. There just isn’t enough data.
Please help show that public concern is still growing. Take a minute now to send a letter to Parks Canada on this issue.
It’s easy. When you click here, you’ll  find suggestions for points you may wish to make in your letter, and an easy form that you can send directly to Parks Canada and the Minister of the Environment.

Write a letter
Thank you for helping to protect our precious national parks.
The CPAWS conservation team

Let's Protect the Spirit Bear - Stop the Pipeline! (Video)

Thursday, 2 February 2012

2011 - A Year of Weather Extremes, With More to Come

Analysis by Janet Larsen and Sara Rasmussen*
WASHINGTON, Feb 1, 2012 (IPS)  
According to NASA scientists, this was the ninth warmest year in 132 years of recordkeeping. Details here. 

Prairie sunset PLT photo

Monsanto petition tells Obama: ‘Cease FDA ties to Monsanto’

By Elizabeth Flock Washington Post Jan 30 2012

A two-year-old Food and Drug Administration appointment is stirring up online protests once more. Details here.

Peat Mines OK'd Despite Manitoba Ban

By Mychaylo Prystupa, CBC News: Feb 2, 2012
Three peat mining companies were authorized to level thousands of hectares of Manitoba's boreal forest, just days after….Details here.

Fired Environmentalist Sees Conspiracy

Frances Russell Wpg Free Press 02/1/2012
A B.C. environmentalist claims in a sworn affidavit the Harper government labelled him and his organization, ForestEthics, an "enemy of the government of Canada" and…Details here.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Harper Names Top Advisor

Paths Less Traveled would like to congratulate Wiarton Willy on his appointement as Stephen Harper's Chief Advisor on Climate Change!
 PLT photo

We’ll Frack Alberta’s Next Election, Vow Landowners

30th January 2012 - Andrew Nikiforuk -
Drilling accident fuels rebellion demanding halt to hydraulic fracturing. Details here.