On June 6, much of the world will be celebrating World Environment Day, the annual United Nations day to raise awareness and action for the environment. As the UN puts it, World Environment Day is an "opportunity for everyone to realize the responsibility to care for the Earth and to become agents of change."
As consumers get more savvy, they are increasingly demanding products that are organic, ethically sourced and produced in an environmentally responsible way. Consumers are increasingly aware of the negative effect chemicals have on their health and will buy organic iterations of their favourite products whenever they can.
Industrial agriculture has made it possible to produce large amounts of food efficiently, but comes with problems, including pollution, reduced biodiversity, pesticide resistance and consequent increased chemical use, destruction of forests and wetlands, and human health issues such as antibiotic resistance.
I can think of many times when I ignored what I saw in a person or a situation. Initially, it seems so much easier to see what we prefer to see, rather than face the unpleasant truth of what's actually there. Still, what I've realized is that no matter how difficult it is to acknowledge the signs of trouble in our relationships or environment, it's always better to do so.
Today known as Ozersk, City 40 is considered the founding place of the Soviet Union's nuclear weapons program, where the first Soviet plutonium-based bomb, known as "First Lightning," was made. Since its founding, the city has been surrounded with double barbed-wire fences and monitored by armed guards.
The island of Hispaniola, shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti, is a unique case study that explains how the exploitation of natural resources can directly affect the fate of a nation. That the two countries have starkly different trajectories is largely related to how they have historically managed their natural environment.
Ontario is taking a comprehensive approach to cutting emissions, which is a good thing. While some folks may love to hate the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, the reality is that it's the reason Ontario is Canada's clean technology leader. And the coal phase out was the right move, too, which is why it's being emulated by Alberta, why Ontario hit its 2014 GHG emissions target, why our air is now smog-free, and why people like me, who care about the environment and our kids' future, can breathe more easily.
Whether included in an existing law such as the Canadian Environmental Protection Act or by way of a new statute, national and enforceable air pollution standards would be a step towards a more equitable society, in which disadvantaged communities aren't left bearing more than their fair share of the national environmental health burden.
It sometimes sounds as though pipeline proponents are the true environmentalists among us. Commentary in favour of the pipelines has followed suit with generous explanations of our current needs and the realities of energy consumption. They ask: are opponents of the pipelines in denial about our current reliance on fossil fuels? And if these bleeding hearts do admit that we do need fossil fuels to power our country, are they comfortable importing Saudi oil forever? I believe that such questions willfully miss the point.
By not telling Canadians the truth about the government's almost certain inability to control future carbon emissions, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is guilty of downplaying the greatest issue ever to face the country and the world -- an issue that will have dire consequences for our children and grandchildren.
Sometimes, if not most of the time, a policy sounds really good on paper. But once implemented, it does not work as intended and produces poor results. Experts then say: "Politicians didn't enact it properly, it wasn't exactly what we recommended." But once a policy has been adopted, don't try to get rid of it even if its effect is not what was promised.
When it comes to climate change, Bailey doesn't think we're doomed. He does think that the balance of the scientific evidence indicates that man-made global warming likely poses a significant problem for humanity, but he believes that human ingenuity can most likely solve that problem well before the end of the century.
Planting trees is one way Canadians can take positive action today to help the communities of tomorrow. That's why we have launched the third annual Tree Canada 10,000 Tree Challenge, encouraging individuals and corporations to make donations to increase our communities' canopies in honor of Earth Day.
To help us accomplish this evolution, we ought to look to those who helped ignite the environmental movement in the first place -- the whales. Their troubled past shows us how we have erred, and their continued friendly overtures towards our kind offers valuable insights into how we might shape the future differently.
The population of California sea lions has been on a steady climb since the end of commercial hunting in the 1970's, and are now estimated to number around 240,000. Climate change is adding to the challenge and has played havoc with the sea lions' natural food supply, resulting in the death and stranding of thousands of sea lions and pups along the entire Pacific Coast.
The world of global travel is changing. It's becoming more accessible and affordable; some might even say it's a necessity. Experts predict that air travel will double by the mid-2030s. It's boosting our economies, creating access to opportunities in local, national and international markets, and fueling adventure like never before. But it's also impacting our planet.
Young people are inheriting this world and we need to have a place at the table in discussing its future. We need systems that work for us, not just the generations before us. Policy makers, politicians, and other influencers have not generally reflected age diversity (or any diversity, let's be real).
In a recent panel discussion, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna assured Albertans that the Liberal government would not risk damaging "national unity" by acting quickly on climate change. For some, her comment begs the question: when exactly will the Liberals be ready to start acting on their emissions reductions targets?
The proponents of Raven Coal failed because of their short-sightedness. A risky, 16-year coal mine project is unsustainable in every sense of the word and Central Vancouver Island rightfully rejected this model of long-term pain for short-term gain. So what does this mean, and where do we go from here?