Category: Ecosystems, Wildlife & Biodiversity

  • Leaked report says a ban on bee-killing pesticides will have little impact on industry

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

    A leaked report from Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) will make banning bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides a lot easier.

    An economic analysis of the use of neonicotinoids on soy and corn crops shows a very tiny benefit to a very few farmers. Corn growers in some parts of Ontario may be seeing an economic benefit of only 3.6% while soy planters see almost no benefit (0.4%). These numbers are orders of magnitude lower than the doomsday predictions of the agro-chemical industry.

    “Banning neonicotinoid pesticides will have almost no impact on corn and soy production, and the vast majority of farmers will actually make more money not using them,” said John Bennett, National Program Director, Sierra Club Canada Foundation.

    Read the full story and news release on the Sierra Club Canada website: http://www.sierraclub.ca/en/Bee-Math

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  • You, Me, And The Sea

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    Filed in Ecosystems, Wildlife & Biodiversity , Environment & Climate , on by Worldwatch Institute

    You’re going snorkeling along a coral reef. This is biodiversity on over-drive: Every square centimeter is covered with hundreds of little creatures. You see millions upon millions of tentacle-rimmed mouths—each feeding a tiny individual coral polyp—guarded savagely by resident crabs, fish, and shrimp. Right next door, a myriad of other coral species, with added choice residents and predators, sway in the waves. Algae—the sugar-producing pals of corals—grow in and around these polyps, exchanging sugars, oxygen, and other nice things.

    Long story short, even if you spent your entire life only looking at coral reefs, you’d see tens of thousands of species.

    But coral reefs are in danger. Many have died completely. Seventy five percent of the remaining coral reefs are threatened. And why does any of this even matter in the first place? Because without coral reefs, we’re in deep, deep trouble.

    The obvious problem is that losing coral reefs means losing sea turtles, mollusks, and one third of fish species. Less obvious is the danger we are causing our own wellbeing: even though coral reefs cover less than 1 percent of the Earth’s surface, they provide goods and services worth USD 375 billion each year!

    In some countries, one out of four fish catches depends on coral reefs, providing food for tens of millions of people. ... Read More

  • Pest Control Products Act ‘act’

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

    Government members of the Federal Standing Committee on Health are using their majority to force a very quick review of the Pest Control Products Act (the law that governs the licensing of pesticides in Canada). But why the big rush? To get it over with quickly before the public knows what’s happening? One acute observer described the government members as ‘railroading’ the Act.

    Concerned? John Bennett, Sierra Club Canada’s Executive Director is preparing his remarks to the Committee members and you can too. Read more and voice your concerns today: http://www.sierraclub.ca/en/PCPAalert

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  • GreenPages Directory, Certifications and the Role of Standards

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    Filed in Ecosystems, Wildlife & Biodiversity , Energy , Environment & Climate , on by GreenPages Directory

    One way that you as a conscious consumer can have an impact on an industry is to use your purchasing power to encourage businesses to act responsibly. The GreenPages Directory can help you find the type of company you want to do business with by filtering results according to benchmarks that are most important to you. One basic method for this is to conduct a search that filters according to which certifications and labels a product or business has attained.

    The purpose of any certification or labeling program is to ensure that companies adhere to specific criteria that reach the level of quality standards set by a regulatory body for the given industry. These programs are either officially mandated or they are voluntary, and for our purposes, mandatory regulations can be thought of as legally binding rules set by the government that can include everything from the way a product is manufactured to whether or not it functions as it claims to do. In order for a government label to be mandated, however, it has to be passed by a governmental regulatory agency, folded into a law, and then enforced through inspection. Violation of these standards, for instance a meat-packing firm ... Read More

  • Climate Change Impacting Birds – Interview on Banff Centre Radio

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    Filed in Ecosystems, Wildlife & Biodiversity on by Nature Canada

    Climate change seriously threatens bird species across Canada and the United States according to a new groundbreaking report released by Nature Canada’s partner organization, the Audubon Society. The report concludes that half of all birds studied could see their populations drop dramatically on account of climate change.

    Paul Jorgenson, Nature Canada’s Senior Communications Manager speaks with Banff Centre Radio about the concerning phenomena.

    “There are a few different things that are happening. One is that species are seeing their habitat range just outright decline. It’s contracting by X square kilometres and now, it’s going to be less than that,” says Jorgenson. “But another thing that is happening, which most people have not done a lot of research on but is just as bad, is that we are seeing habitats shift as well.”

    “Even if you had a species whose habitat didn’t decrease too much, it shifted to a new place. That is still a big problem for that species [because] if the new habitat range is right in the middle of a big urban area or the great northern boreal forest and that species doesn’t live well in the boreal forest, then that species can still potentially be wiped out.

    Learn more about how climate ... Read More

  • Bee-ware: Bayer is Back With a New Neonic

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    Filed in Agriculture & Food , Ecosystems, Wildlife & Biodiversity , on by Sierra Club Canada

    Flupyradifurone is a new neonicotinoid pesticide from Bayer. That’s right, another one!

    Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) explained that:

    “Flupyradifurone may pose a risk to bees, non-target beneficial arthropods, and freshwater and saltwater invertebrates when used for foliar application. Flupyradifurone may pose a risk to birds and small wild mammals when used for soybean seed treatment.”

    The neonicotinoid pesticide can enter the environment through a number of different insecticide applications and covers a large number of ‘pests’ in a variety of crops. It can also enter groundwater and aquatic environments through surface run-off.

    Health Canada’s PMRA is accepting comments on Flupyradifurone until this Saturday, November 1st. Do you think Flupyradifurone should be allowed on the market? Share your thoughts today by visiting the Sierra Club website.

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

    http://www.sierraclub.ca/en/bayer-bee-ware

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  • Ontarians want bee-killing insecticide banned

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    Filed in Ecosystems, Wildlife & Biodiversity on by Nature Canada

    Ever heard of an insecticide called ‘neonic’?  Neonicotinoid insecticides are at the heart of a troubling trend: the decline of bee populations. After an analysis of over 800 research papers, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) concluded that these insecticides are killing bees in record numbers.

    Canadians care about bees and according to a recent poll, 92% of Ontario citizens alone want the government to take action to protect bees. In response, Ontario Nature, an affiliate of Nature Canada, is urging the government of Ontario to ban neonicotinoid insecticides.

    Read more about the poll’s findings on Nature Canada’s website (www.naturecanada.ca):

    http://naturecanada.ca/news/blog/ontarians-want-bee-killing-insecticide-banned

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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