Monthly Archives: August 2014

  • Psst…secrets can hurt you

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    Filed in Energy , Environment & Climate , on by Sierra Club

    Is our Canadian government justified in keeping certain policies under wraps? Sierra Club Canada Executive Director John Bennett claims it is not. “Governments feed us a lot of malarkey about why secrecy is essential, but 9 times out of 10, there’s no justifiable reason,” says Bennett.

    Just last month, at an undisclosed location in Ottawa, 400 delegates from Pacific Rim countries negotiated the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), the latest ‘free trade’ deal our Canadian government claims we need to have.

    The Trans Pacific Partnership has an added insult to democracy. It will make countries guarantee the construction of energy export infrastructure. Essentially, Canadians citizens are being told to accept that Northern Gateway, Kinder Morgan and EnergyEast pipelines are beyond the capabilities of either provincial or federal governments to halt. In fact, the federal government is selling out our rights for nearly nothing. No wonder the negotiations are being done behind closed doors.

    Read more on John Bennett’s blog, originally published on the Sierra Club Canada website (www.sierraclub.ca): http://www.sierraclub.ca/en/secretscankill

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  • Green Life: Do Wind Farms Increase Global Warming?

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    Filed in Energy on by Sierra Club

    Hey Mr. Green,

    An article I read recently claimed that wind farms increase ground warming and drying for miles around. Have you heard such claims before? Is there validated research confirming or denying them. And if the claims are accurate, then how does the impact compare with the impacts of burning coal and oil? 

    —Glen, in Kokomo, Indiana

    Fox News online made such claims, whose headlines blared the clamant prophecy that, “Wind farms are warming the earth, researchers say.” In fact, the researchers said nothing of the sort.  Based on satellite data, they only found a correlation between an increase in nighttime temperature of .72 degrees C over a decade near the locations of large wind farms in West Texas. In other words, wind farms have less effect on the earth’s climate than the hot air from the contrarian crowd at Fox News.

    Read the entire story in Sierra Magazine, originally published on the Sierra Club website (www.sierraclub.org): http://sierraclub.org/sierra/2014-4-july-august/green-life/do-wind-farms-increase-global-warming

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  • No one will notice…‘til she blows

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    Filed in Ecosystems, Wildlife & Biodiversity , Energy , Environment & Climate , on by Sierra Club Canada

    The National Energy Board (NEB) is continuing its undemocratic approach to satisfying its most influential stakeholder: the oil industry. On July 11th, the NEB said it was going consider a request from Chevron and Imperial Oil to soften the rules for offshore drilling in the Arctic.

    Their decision might very well lead to an ecological disaster in the Canadian Arctic where Imperial Oil and Chevron want to operate outside the rules for drilling. According to John Bennett, Executive Director of Sierra Club Canada, “it’s a case of pinching pennies that could risk billions”.

    Read more on John Bennett’s blog, originally published on the Sierra Club Canada website (www.sierraclub.ca): http://www.sierraclub.ca/en/blog/john-bennett/no-one-will-notice%E2%80%A6%E2%80%98til-she-blows

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  • The Organic Trade Association and the World of Organics

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    Filed in Agriculture & Food , Ecosystems, Wildlife & Biodiversity , Healthcare & Nutrition , on by Cliff

    Article By Laura Batcha, Executive Director and CEO of the Organic Trade Association (OTA) for the GreenMoney Journal. 

    As more and more world attention focuses on threats from global warming and its impact on agriculture, organic production practices and principles are providing hope to an environmentally challenged planet.

    Studies continue to mount showing that organic farms are able to support more species biodiversity than their conventional counterparts. In fact, in one of the latest studies, researchers from the United Kingdom, Sweden and Switzerland published findings in 2014 in the Journal of Applied Ecology showing that different agricultural methods affect the diversity of life on farms. Their research found that on average, organic farms support 34 percent more plant, insect and animal species than conventional farms. In addition, organic farms had 50 percent high diversity in pollinator species such as bees.

    “Organic methods could go some way towards halting the continued loss of diversity in industrialized nations,” according to Sean Tuck of Oxford University’s Department of Plant Science, lead author of the study.

    For farmers who diligently work the earth using organic practices—starting with rejuvenating and building healthy soils, this is not news. However, it is a message that they desire consumers, agricultural agents, and policymakers to ... Read More

  • Northern Gateway: Isn’t it time to reject the past and embrace the future?

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    Filed in Energy , Environment & Climate , on by Sierra Club Canada

    On June 17, 2014, the federal cabinet approved the Northern Gateway Tar Sands pipeline.

    Sierra Club Canada Executive Director John Bennett says that the Northern Gateway Tar Sands pipeline “could be a turning point because of the huge opposition in British Columbia —unparalleled in Canadian history”. Namely:

    • 130 First Nations and over 10,000 residents have said no to the project and told the environmental assessment panel that it was simply too risky and they wanted nothing to do with it. Period.
    • Over 300 independent, respected scientists asked the government to reject the conclusion of the panel based on numerous scientific errors and dubious assumptions.
    • There are at least five legal challenges from First Nations, with many more in works.

    Read more on John Bennett’s blog, originally published on the Sierra Club Canada website (www.sierraclub.ca):

    http://www.sierraclub.ca/en/SayNo

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  • Grabbing headlines: Nature Canada speaks up on Northern Gateway

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    Filed in Energy , Environment & Climate , on by Nature Canada

    As one of only two environmental coalitions present during the hearings on the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker project, media took a strong interest in Nature Canada’s position on the federal government’s disappointing decision to give the Northern Gateway the greenlight on June 17, 2014.

    Speaking on the risks of the Northern Gateway project in an interview with media after the federal government’s approval of the project, Paul Jorgenson, Senior Communications Manager at Nature Canada said that, “we know for a fact that the project has a 25% risk of catastrophe, which if you think about it is worse than Russian roulette.”

    Read more on Jorgenson’s interview with Global BC, Radio Canada and CHED 630 on this blog post, originally published on Nature Canada (www.naturecanada.ca):

    http://naturecanada.ca/news/blog/in-the-news-nature-canadas-reaction-to-the-decision-to-approve-northern-gateway/

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  • Why Monsanto Will Never Rule the Food World: The Three-Prong Movement That’s Stopping the Beast in Its Tracks

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    Filed in Agriculture & Food , Ecosystems, Wildlife & Biodiversity , Environment & Climate , Fair Trade, Finance & The Social Economy , on by Cliff

    by John Roulac, founder of Nutiva

    The issue of how we grow and process our food, while it’s always been important, is now a hot topic both at the kitchen table and on Wall Street. From the recent scandal about a chemical used in yoga mats being found in Subway bread to the rising awareness of GMOs and demands to label their presence in foods, the public is fast awakening to the need for safe, whole, natural nourishment.

    The elephant in the room is that agriculture, not transportation, is globally the greatest contributor to greenhouse gases—an issue that gets glossed over by Al Gore and 350.org alike. The media, whether in the recent New York Times food reportage or in the May 2014 National Geographic cover story on “The New Food Revolution,” all fail to mention the three most pressing food issues: the climate change connection; the vast subsidies to corn, soy, and wheat; and the massive increase in the use of Monsanto Roundup with its human health and ecosystem impacts.

    Central to the conversation are the questions How do we grow our food in a more sustainable way?and Who decides? Should America lead the world in turning over our heritage of ancestral seeds to Monsanto or DuPont for them ... Read More

  • Why Impact Investors Must Come To Terms With the Biological Bottom Line

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    Filed in Ecosystems, Wildlife & Biodiversity , Environment & Climate , Fair Trade, Finance & The Social Economy , on by Cliff
    Why Impact Investors Must Come To Terms With the Biological Bottom Line

    By Paul R. Ehrlich and M. C. Tobias, co-authors of “Hope on Earth”

    When Nicholas Stern released the ‘Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change’ (October 30, 2006) for the British government, it was already clear that global warming, weather anomalies and the consequences of unheeded business-as-usual greenhouse gas emission syndromes represented a huge challenge for portfolio management that had unambiguously put governments on notice. Despite continuing havoc amongst the participating nations to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, it had become clear that they should prepare for accelerating depletion of every major life-support system, and the corresponding societal chaos and economic loss which would result from escalating global temperatures and their impacts on climatic patterns and thus on biodiversity. Climate disruption presented new, but sobering opportunities; epiphanies regarding the true capacity of taxation to collectively cap the shadow now cast upon every financial market worldwide and on the future of civilization itself.

    More recently, in her essay for GreenMoney, “Building a Sustainable Global Economy,” Mindy Lubber, President of CERES, wrote, “This should alarm every investor looking for long-term value creation, because climate regulatory risks alone could cost ... Read More