Views from the Edge

The Ugly, the Bad and the Good

Global carbon dioxide emissions are projected to rise again in 2017, by up to 2 percent. And more than 15,000 scientists issued a warning that we are heading down an unsustainable path and soon it will be too late. Clearly, we are moving in the wrong direction.

Pesticides Ban

Based on scientific evidence showing the damage that neonicotinoids have contaminated landscapes and colonies of bees, the United Kingdom will back a total ban on insect-harming pesticides in fields across Europe. Neonicotinoids are the world’s most widely used insecticide but in 2013 the European Union banned their use on flowering crops, although the UK was among the nations opposing the ban. The European Commission now wants a total ban on their use outside of greenhouses, with a vote expected in December, and the UK’s new position makes it very likely to pass.

Waste Not Want Not

If you buy a Belgian waffle at a food festival this weekend in Ubud, Bali, you’ll be able to eat the wrapper it comes in. A waffle vendor is one of the early customers testing new food packaging made from seaweed instead of plastic: The wrapper is nutritious if it’s eaten, and if it ends up as litter, it naturally biodegrades.

The World She is a Changin'

Solar power was the fastest-growing source of new energy worldwide last year, outstripping the growth in all other forms of power generation for the first time, another key tipping point for moving towards a carbon neutral economy. “What we are witnessing is the birth of a new era in solar photovoltaics [PV]. We expect that solar PV capacity growth will be higher than any other renewable technology up to 2022.” (Dr. Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency)

COP 23

To read more details about the next round of international climate negotiations, click here.

This CBC video, entitled, Climate Change: What to expect and are there really two sides is also informative. 

Integrated Innovations

Small farms in Japan are struggling to survive, but two new farms are experimenting with solar panels and mushrooms growing underneath them. The farms, at two location in northeastern Japan, will produce a combined 4,000 kilowatts of solar power that will be sold to a local utility, while the mushroom farms will yield an annual 40 tones of cloud-ear mushrooms, a crop that is typically imported from China.

Transformative Change

In spite of the dire predictions about Trump's withdrawal from COP 21, American states, cities and business people are leading in spite of this vacuum, given it just makes economic sense, never mind for ecological (GHG reductions) and social sense (a better environment). To date, 20 US states and more than 50 of its largest cities, along with more than 60 of the biggest businesses in the US, have committed to emissions reduction goals.

Leaping Forward on Climate Change

A group of national organizations, including the Canadian Public Health Association issued an open letter to the Canadian government championing the swift and uncompromising implementation of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Climate Change and Glean Growth.

In Memory of Bravery

My father, Milton Clarence James Dale, was a celebrated second world war hero, Distinguished Flying Cross, No. 166 Squadron. He flew Lancaster bombers, and I was surprised a few days before he died in hospital that he yelled, Ann, be quiet, I can't hear bomber command. How much we learn about our parents as people through death, as I realized how dramatically the war must have affected a 17 year old who lied about his age when he first joined the RAF, for him to such vivid memories as he died. My father was a bit of a curmedgeon, and one day he called me up, and began to tease me.

Pathway to Paris

“Art, I believe, has great potential for changing the way we discuss an issue as important as climate change. It makes something not only comprehensible for the mind but also physically tangible – turning thinking into doing.”

 – Olafur Eliasson