Browsing: Environment

In the 1990s, the David Suzuki Foundation embarked on a program to develop community economic projects with coastal First Nations. Between 1998 and 2003, my wife and foundation co-founder, Tara Cullis, established relationships with 11 coastal communities from the tip of Vancouver Island to Haida Gwaii and Alaska, visiting each several times.

Since the 1950s, almost everything about work in the developed world has changed dramatically. Rapid technological advances continue to render many jobs obsolete. Globalization has shifted employment to parts of the world with the lowest costs and standards. Most households have gone from one income-earner to at least two. Women have fully integrated into the workforce, albeit often with less-than-equal opportunities, conditions and pay. A lot of our work is unnecessary and often destructive — depleting resources, destroying ecosystems, polluting air, water and soil, and fuelling climate change.

Three years ago, a group of City of Moncton staffers boarded a plane, bound for Winnipeg. They were on a fact-finding mission to discover if Moncton, N.B. could evolve from building traditional bathtub-like stormwater retention ponds to incorporating naturalized retention basins in neighbourhoods instead.

If you fly over a forest and look down, you’ll see every green tree and plant reaching to the heavens to absorb the ultimate energy source: sunlight. What a contrast when you look down on a city or town with its naked roofs, asphalt roads and concrete sidewalks, all ignoring the sun’s beneficence! Research shows we might benefit by thinking more like a forest.

How much stuff will you give and receive this holiday season? Add it to the growing pile — the 30-trillion-tonne pile. That’s how much technology and goods humans have produced, according to a study by an international team led by England’s University of Leicester. It adds up to more than all living matter on the planet, estimated at around four trillion tons.

Imagine beaches that are free from rubbish, healthy rivers that we can swim in, and people everywhere who are inspired to look after the places we love. This is the vision of non-profit group Sustainable Coastlines. The charity recently launched a crowd-funding campaign to help complete The Flagship Education Centre – a unique and ambitious re-locatable building planned for Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter, and they need your help.

Clean air, water and soil to grow food are necessities of life. So are diverse plant and animal populations. But as the human population continues to increase, animal numbers are falling. There’s a strong correlation. A comprehensive report from the World Wildlife Federation and the Zoological Society of London found that wild animal populations dropped by 58 per cent between 1970 and 2012, and will likely reach a 67 per cent drop by 2020 if nothing is done to prevent the decline.

The Whitsundays is a collection of 74 islands off of Australia’s central east coast and part of the majestic world heritage site, the Great Barrier Reef. Second only to Cairns, it is one of the most popular places for tourists to visit the reef. It attracts nearly 600,000 visitors each year with over 300 tour boats in operation. Due to the popularity of this particularly beautiful and accessible part of the reef, much damage has been caused due to the dropping of anchors. This habitat loss has then become one of the most widespread causes of marine species decline on the Great Barrier Reef.

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.

Something can always be done to help prepare for marine events such as oil spills and coral and if we don’t put efforts in during our lifetime, the current state will not be any better for the next generations to come. We know that all journeys begin with a single step and it has to start somewhere, so at The World Federation for Coral Reef Conservation we work to ensure our actions will see results within years not lifetimes.

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.

There are so many wonderful conservation projects around the world that support our fragile oceans and marine life, but how many do you know of that you can actually become involved in? Many conservation charities provide you with opportunities to donate money, read about their work and fund raise, but maybe not get involved with the actual work itself. There are always the conservation ‘gap year’ options, which definitely get you more hands on with projects. However, more often than not these trips are very far away, costing a small fortune in fees and flights, where a large amount is received by the travel company rather than the project itself.

How many times have many of us, myself included, ignored a sign like this during our misspent adolescent years? Now that I am older (so say the majority!) and wiser (so say a small minority!), I realise the purpose of this type of sign is to protect and conserve nature. Nowadays I pay more attention because nature conservation is a subject close to my heart. Being a diver, I am particularly interested in sustainability of the coastal and marine environment.

Shellfish are often on plates in our homes and in restaurants. Many of these are bivalves – clams, oysters, mussels, abalone, and scallops. Think of how difficult it is to get to the tasty meat of some of these animals. Over millions of years, the bivalves evolved formidable defenses in their hard shells

We made it! Thanks to all of your help, we surpassed our goal of raising $25,000 in online gifts this month! These gifts were matched dollar-for-dollar by a generous supporter, meaning we’ve raised more than $50,000 to support our fight for a brighter environmental future.

Over the past half century, the world has moved increasingly to industrial agriculture — attempting to maximize efficiency through massive, often inhumane livestock operations; turning huge swaths of land over to monocrops requiring liberal use of fertilizers, pesticides and genetic modification; and reliance on fossil fuel-consuming machinery and underpaid migrant workers. This has contributed to increased greenhouse gas emissions; loss of forests and wetlands that prevent climate change by storing carbon; pollution from runoff and pesticides; antibiotic and pesticide resistance; reduced biodiversity; and soil degradation, erosion and loss.