As leaves change colour and drop from trees, and a chill in the air signals the approach of winter, many of us are thinking of the fall harvest and hearty soups and dishes that will soon warm our bellies.
Browsing: David Suzuki
I’ve often thought politicians inhabit a parallel universe. Maybe it’s just widespread cognitive dissonance, coupled with a lack of imagination, that compels them to engage in so much contradictory behaviour. Trying to appease so many varying interests isn’t easy.
In late September, Inuit artist Annie Pootoogook died tragically in Ottawa. Pootoogook was an award-winning illustrator from Cape Dorset, Nunavut. Her ink-and-crayon depictions of everyday life in the north — families sitting to eat a meal of seal meat or shopping at the Arctic co-op — received international acclaim. In contrast to the idealized vision many Canadians have of the north, of majestic rock and ice landscapes or charismatic wildlife like polar bears, Pootoogook’s drawings often reflected the crushing poverty northern families face and its devastating impacts on their health and well-being.
Salmon have been swimming in Pacific Northwest waters for at least seven million years, as indicated by fossils of large saber-tooth salmon found in the area. During that time, they’ve been a key species in intricate, interconnected coastal ecosystems, bringing nitrogen and other nutrients from the ocean and up streams and rivers to spawning grounds, feeding whales, bears and eagles and fertilizing the magnificent coastal rainforests along the way.
In July, Solar Impulse 2 became the first airplane to fly around the world without using fuel. At the same time, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration has been working on electric planes. These developments mean air travel and transport could become more environmentally friendly, with less pollution and fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and planes would be quieter.
Humans are the world’s top predator. The way we fulfil this role is often mired in controversy, from factory farming to trophy hunting to predator control. The latter is the process governments use to kill carnivores like wolves, coyotes and cougars to stop them from hunting threatened species like caribou — even though human activity is the root cause of caribou’s decline.
It’s been shocking to watch news of the Brexit vote in Britain, Donald Trump’s promise to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S. and the ongoing threats and violence against ethnic minorities in many parts of the world. I’m not a political or social scientist, but my training as a biologist gives me some insight.
Under the federal Species at Risk Act, the boreal woodland caribou recovery strategy requires provinces to develop range plans by 2017, outlining paths to recovery. Because caribou need large, intact areas, degraded habitat must be restored so industrial and natural disturbances affect no more than 35 per cent of each range.
The shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy is occurring mainly at the power plant level. But what about transportation? Can we significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by switching to cleaner fuels? Or is this just an attempt to keep 20th century technology chugging along while trading one set of environmental problems for another?