Whenever I meet a Hummer, tension rises in my chest, unkind thoughts develop in my head and my hands tighten and tremble, as if they want to signal something. I've long wondered why that happens, and I think I've finally figured it out. It has something to do with a song, economics and the courteous way to walk your dog.
Ontario and the states of Ohio and Michigan have reached an agreement to reduce the amount of phosphorous entering the western basin of Lake Erie by 40 per cent. Phosphorous is a key nutrient in water, but when present at high concentrations can lead to harmful algal blooms which can impact water quality, ecosystem health, fisheries, tourism and property values.
When climate scientists refer to "tipping points" it is usually bad news -- a moment beyond which elevated levels of greenhouse gas emissions will result in extreme weather and catastrophic damage to life upon this planet. Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment may be seen as another "tipping point" -- towards ensuring that communities of faith take up the moral challenge to preserve and protect creation.
June 8 is World Oceans Day. In Canada, it's a time to celebrate the rich marine life in three great oceans off the longest coastline of any nation -- trillions of plankton, billions of fish, millions of seabirds, thousands of whales and myriad other creatures great and small. Yet, we have little to celebrate when it comes to looking after this natural legacy
So when we discuss our "security" over the next few months, let's not forget that it really doesn't matter how much the RCMP can find out about me at the push of a button, or how mad our foreign policy makes a regional band of over-armed zealots, if the natural security underwriting all of our health and wealth is left unguarded.
Just as human activity is harming the diversity of visible life, it's also diminishing microbial diversity. As researchers learn more about the profound ways good microbes keep people healthy, they're also seeing how our urbanized, indoor lifestyles have transformed our microbiomes, increasing the risk of disease.
Every few years there's a revolution in children's food and the way it's presented. The most current trend is pouched food and from what I can tell, its popularity is only increasing. They are convenient and clean with no spoon necessarily required. But are they necessarily the best choice for your family?
On Tuesday April 21st, Joe Oliver presented his first budget as Finance Minister. Its 518 pages have been universally described in less than flattering terms. It is really the Conservative platform dressed up as a budget -- long on promises, short on funding. It's been obvious for years that climate change is not a priority for this government, but to produce a 518 page document that is the basis for the Conservatives' next election platform and not mention the existential threat of the century is truly appalling.
My father, Robert Hunter, had coined the term "mind bomb" as an expression that our greatest tool for revolution was our own consciousness. He believed that mass media (early broadcast media at the time) could help spark that consciousness shift and a societal shift by changing the story of our times. The reality is the tides are turning. Despite the stories of impossibility in the fight against climate change, there are some new stories being written of possibility. It will still take many more of us -- millions and billions of us -- to continue to share these news stories and to create the "mind bomb" moments.
Earth Day is an important date on the calendar that puts the spotlight back on the planet. However, as we all grow more interconnected around the world with a greater ability to have an impact -- both positive and negative -- it's equally important to recognize that the principles of Earth Day can't be ignored the other 364 days of the year.
Periods of instability that punctuate oil price history, highlight the importance of energy sector reform, which can be made all the more effective if paired with climate change considerations. To avoid climate change pitfalls created by falling oil prices it is necessary to approach environmental reform in new and innovative ways.
As the provinces' experience with carbon pricing proves, we don't need to choose between our environment and our economy. In fact, they go together. Indeed, Canada must be able to take advantage of the billions of dollars in investment that will be made in green technologies. Justin Trudeau is already doing the important work that needs to be done.