Today’s Globe and Mail has a great editorial on the recent bird deaths in Alberta. The Globe’s editors make several important points: 1. Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board has only 100 inspectors, but there are 297,000 active and abandoned oil and gas wells in the province. How in the world are they expected to properly inspect them all? 2. There are some important dates coming up — this month Alberta Environment will decide whether Syncrude should face charges for the deaths of 500 waterfowl who were killed upon landing in a toxic tailings pond. And October 6, a hearing begins on whether EnCana should be allowed to drill 1,275 wells… read more →
A leak of between 60 and 90 barrels of oil was discovered Monday, Sept 8 by a survey crew five kilometres east of Ralston, within Canadian Forces Base Suffield. The oil leaked from a suspended well licensed to Calgary-based Harvest Energy and killed over 300 birds. See story. The spill wasn’t in the Suffield National Wildlife Area, which is part of the CF Base. This time. This accident illustrates why industrial activities do not belong in a NWA. The Suffield NWA currently has over 1,000 wells and a different energy company, Encana, is proposing to drill another 1,275 shallow gas wells and build 220 km of pipeline. Suffield is an… read more →
A recent article in the journal Nature suggests that old growth forests continue to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and mitigate climate change for hundreds of years. The authors make a strong recommendation to keep old growth systems intact as a strategy of mitigation. Nature Canada has worked for decades to protect old growth forests primarily in protected areas like National Parks and National Wildlife Areas. In the past we did it to protect biodiversity and now there is another huge reason to establish protected areas!
Online community member Jim Dubois sent me these terrific images of a crab spider (family Thomisidae) and I’m finally getting around to posting them. Here’s what Jim had to say: “I finally found a crab spider. It’s about 1″ across the front legs, and has a small victim that was about 3/8″ of an inch long. The spider’s a goldenrod spider, [Misumena vatia] and the meal’s a little halictid bee, a tiny wild bee.” “You can see the pollen all over the bee, it was having a pretty good day to this point. I find those spiders fascinating, the way they sit in a flower bloom with their legs out… read more →
Ever wonder how much water it takes to produce some of the everyday household items we use? Or what about some of our favourite foods? Waterfootprint.org is a Web site run by UNESCO that calculates how much water is needed to produce a product from start to finish. Here are a couple examples: cup of coffee – 37 gallons (140 litres)an apple – 19 gallons (70 litres)a banana – 27 gallonsa sheet of paper – 3 gallons (10 litres)a pair of leather shoes – 4,400 gallons (16,600 litres)hamburger – 2,400 litres (how many litres is this?) According to the site, the average person has a virtual water footprint of about… read more →
The Good Old Guard Gospel Singers are a bluegrass band in Colorado who have turned their protests against local oil and gas development into song. Check out the little ditty called “EnCana Bluegrass Blues.” The chorus goes : “What have they done to the old home place? How did they blow it down? How did they poison my water and hay? By drilling for gas in the ground.” Local ranchers and farmers in Northwest Colorado, who find themselves in the middle of a 5 million acre energy gold rush, with over 30,000 drilled wells, are increasingly convinced that their health is being negatively affected by the drilling operations. Local health… read more →
Steven Spielberg. Quentin Tarantino. Michael Moore. You? You can join an elite group of award winning video directors by entering Nature Canada’s Favourite Places Video Contest. OK, so it’s not the Oscars, but it’s just as good. If you are looking for a little fame and even less fortune – and have even a little bit of creativity – this is your golden opportunity! Nature Canada’s Favourite Places Video Contest showcases your favourite place to get in touch with nature.Upload your video to YouTube, fill out the Nature Canada registration form, check out the rules, tell your friends to vote and that’s all there is to it. This is the… read more →
The global demand for water is enormous – and growing. About 3,800 cubic km of freshwater are withdrawn annually from the world’s lakes, rivers and aquifers, twice the volume extracted 50 years ago. Canada has some of the world’s most extensive water resources. But we also consume far more per person than in other countries. Each of us uses about 260 litres of water each day – about 10 times the global average. Without clean, abundant freshwater life on earth would not exist. The majority of the world’s population depends on freshwater environments to provide water for drinking, irrigation, food, employment and recreation. So what can be done to preserve… read more →
Last weekend my wife and I decided to try out a baby backpack that a friend lent us, so we made the short drive into Quebec to visit Gatineau Park, one of the real treats of living in the Capital Region. Gatineau Park — which, at 70 years old this year, is one year older than Nature Canada — is a 361-square kilometre jewel of a park located where the Canadian Shield and the Saint Lawrence lowlands meet. Those who are familiar with the park’s history know that it took pressure from nature lovers and conservationists to cajole the government of the day to establish the park (thank you to… read more →
A very interesting article from the Globe and Mail on the impact of wind turbines on bats. Unfortunately, whatever source of energy we humans decide to produce, there will be impacts on other species. Another reason to focus on conserving energy!