Welcome to Fort McMoney,
an interactive documentary game. [more inside]
For several months
, bitumen from the Athabasca oil sands has been leaching out of the ground
near Cold Lake, Alberta
, so far amounting to roughly half of the oil leaked in the Enbridge-caused disaster
in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Nearby sites of high-pressure steam injection used to extract the bitumen (and which is already associated with violent seismic activity in natural gas fracking operations) are suspected to have caused fractures that push bitumen "sideways" and out to the surface. As Vice
reporter Sarah Berman notes, "The oozing leaks will continue until the underground pressure subsides. How long that will take is anybody’s guess.
" While tons of contaminated vegetation and dead animals have been removed from the sites, access to the region and to government data by First Nation representatives has been repeatedly denied
It is still June 13 for the Parliament of Canada
, where voting has continued overnight on the "omnibus budget bill
), due to 159 separate amendment votes that have been forced by the opposition. None are likely to pass
, but the arduous process is meant to function as a protest
against legislation which many critics have argued
goes far beyond the scope of a traditional budget. [more inside]
The Canadian oil sand mines refused us access, so we rented this plane to see what they were up to
: A slideshow of oil extraction from above Alberta's tar sands fields. (Warning: surreally-coloured pools of water inside) [more inside]
Despite the federal election focus
on BC ridings, Vancouverites are having a hard time looking past the municipal
. Things are quite dramatic in the urban planning scene. The city's regional growth plan was recently paralyzed by disagreement from Coquitlam
. TransLink announced permanent cuts to bus service during Earth Week, describing it as "service optimization,"
highlighting its own chronic funding issues
. The city successfully stopped a "megacasino" project
after community backlash, but the $3 billion freeway Gateway Project
continues despite ongoing protests.
As the city struggles to find its way to the goal of Greenest City 2020
, it's a good time to look at the paths not taken, via this excellent podcast on Vancouver's relationship with roadways
. Part of a series called "Moving Through
" from the Museum of Vancouver
. [more inside]
— No matter where we live, the Great Lakes affect us all. And as species of fish disappear and rates of birth defects and cancer rise, it seems one thing is clear: the Great Lakes are changing and something's not quite right with the water. An interactive documentary film from the National Film Board of Canada
. [more inside]
Ahead of the global climate talks, nine photographers from the photo agency NOOR photographed climate stories
from around the world. Their goal: to document some of the causes and consequences, from deforestation to changing sea levels, as well as the people whose lives and jobs are part of that carbon culture. Warming threatens lifestyle of Russian herders
| Refugees flee drought, war in East Africa
| Greenland’s shrinking ice hurts natives [more inside]
Scraping Bottom: The Canadian Oil Boom.
"Once considered too expensive, as well as too damaging to the land, exploitation of Alberta's oil sands
is now a gamble worth billions."
Oil sands will pollute Great Lakes The environmental impacts of Alberta's oil sands will not be restricted to Western Canada, researchers say, but will extend thousands of kilometres away to the Great Lakes, threatening water and air quality around the world's largest body of fresh water.
*****Report: How the Oil Sands Got to the Great Lakes Basin*****
Policy makers around the lakes, in both Canada and the U.S., are largely unaware that the tar sands will lead to massive industrial development in their region, and consequently have no strategy to minimize the environmental impacts. [more inside]
Ducks die a crude death.
) have a new emblem -- hundreds of ducks coated and killed in oily toxic sludge
. About 500 birds landed and died
in an oil sands pond. The pond full of toxic sludge sits along a major flight path for migrating waterfowl. [more inside]
No wonder why Canada won't meet their Kyoto targets
A University of Alberta researcher is calling on Canadian beer drinkers to go green and toss their energy-guzzling beer fridges, found in one of three households across the country.
"The vast tar sands of Alberta in Canada hold oil reserves six times the size of Saudi Arabia's. But this 'black gold' is proving a mixed blessing for the frontier town of Fort McMurray, fuelling both prosperity and misery. As the social and environmental toll mounts, Aida Edemariam reports on the dark side of a boom town" - Mud, Sweat and Tears.
A Canadian public servant who leaked Conservative green policy documents, was taken away in handcuffs and fired
- Jeffrey Monaghan calls the government's actions "a profound threat to the public interest" and "an extension of a government-wide communications strategy pinned on secrecy, intimidation and centralization."
The documents outlined the Conservative's dismissal of the Kyoto Protocol and were to be released to the public a week later. Let the media panic begin: some have
focused on Monaghan's political activism, others accuse
corporate media of scapegoating Monaghan. Question is - if the documents were to be released to the public anyway, is this even whistleblowing? The environment minister says no
. NDP environment critic Nathan Cullen says yes
. Liberal leader Stephane Dion calls the Tories' actions "an attempt of intimidation ... although I have no sympathy at all for leaks."
is the largest body of water in North Dakota, and it's growing. Landlocked and continuously fed by surrounding rivers and lakes, its size corresponds to the amount of rainfall and can vary dramatically
. In fact, recent changes
aren't even on the map
yet. With more rainfall on the horizon, the government of North Dakota is building an artificial outlet
for the lake, channeling the water northwards. But Manitoba doesn't want the water, fearing that an invasion of Devils Lake species will seriously upset the Red River's ecological balance and harm the Manitoban fishing industry
. Nonetheless, the ND government seems determined to prevent the loss of any more trees and farmland
and roadways and villages
Hinterland Who's Who
Back in the mid 1906s the Canadian government made what have now become the longest running public service annoucments ever. They're also possible the most boring, but that can't stop them from being amazingly popular. Don't forget to check out the spoofs.
However you spell it, it sounds like good news.
After five years of lobbying by the Aborigines, Australia set aside a huge chunk of the central Outback yesterday as the country’s largest national park. At 38,000 sq mi (98,000 sq km), Ngaanyatjarra is twice the size of Switzerland. This comes on the heels of the Canadian government's plans
for ten new national parks and five new marine conservation areas over the next five years, a move greeted with skepticism
by some. (And then there are those that say national parks are obsolete anyway)
. Has anyone been to any of these places?
As the Alberta government ratchets up its campaign against the Kyoto Protocol
(and the Canadian government's support thereof), two environmental groups release a report that argues that Canadians could cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent
and save $30 billion a year in the process by 2030 (PDFs of the report summary
and full report
). And, if reducing emissions starts at home, you can apparently cut your own energy bills and emissions in half
simply by stopping leaks and drafts in your house.
Canadian Prime Minister surprises with pledge to put Kyoto accord to Parliament.
Until now, with resistance from the oil-rich western provinces, Canada has been luke-warm on Kyoto. PM Jean Chretien surprised all of us (a pleasant surprise, for many) by making the announcement today at the Summit in South Africa. The PM recently announced that he'll be leaving office in 18 months - leaving him with a lot of power and little accountability - possibly working on his own legacy rather than for the good of his country. So far so good.
Click for Clean Air.
"Canada argues that clearcutting our old-growth forests and replanting them, and building nuclear reactors in developing countries, is more effective than reducing fossil-fuel pollution. It also wants to buy "pollution rights" from countries like Russia that are burning less fossil fuel because their economies have collapsed."
Not that Canada's alone in the above, and not that the solution is a click away, but you have to start somewhere. For those of you who aren't Canadian, David Suzuki is a respected scientist and public figure who's been worth listening to since...since...forever.
If you're not Canadian, you can still participate.....