Views from the Edge

Clever Corvids

After testing 5 captive ravens, a team of Swedish researchers at Lund University believe this clever corvid species considers the future. According to this Guardian article, the ravens completed a series of tests centered on two tasks not typical in the wild. Not only did they learn how to use tools but also figured out how to barter with humans. In one experiment, they determined which tool could be dropped down a tube to release a tasty treat.

Why the SDGs alone aren’t enough

There is a new metric when it comes to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals: the ‘spillover effects’ of each country on the world at large. These spillover effects include pollution, financial secrecy, and contribution to peace abroad. Since these effects are accounted for outside of a country’s borders, they are not represented by national statistics. A country might rank very highly when judged only by its own statistics (such as the US and Switzerland), but this is a lopsided view when looked at in a global context.

Greater Climate Action

This interesting article talks about the problem with climate doomsday reporting and how to move beyond it, in a series of interviews by Desmog Canada. To read the article on-line, click here or to download it, click here. Here are three steps to move beyond despair to hope and action.

1. Positivity ratio of 3:1

Sentiment Analysis: adding the qualitative to the quantitative

One of the challenges of analysing textual data in the social-sciences or humanities is that data often requires a binary categorization: does it fall into this box, or that box? This can be a tough call to make, especially when working with data that needs that extra bit of context to be interpreted. And if your data set is too huge to be read through with that level of care, you might want to use a computer to answer some quick questions and give you the gist of it (by making a word cloud, for instance).

The Time is Now

Right now is the perfect time to share feedback with our federal government, especially when it comes to basic income. To identify poverty reduction strategies in Canada, they are calling on the public to submit ideas on how our various levels of government can address this issue. They are also encouraging Canadians to join the conversation by sharing personal experiences with social support programs.

Breaking News-Climate Leaders

It feels so good to wake up and get some good news for a change, especially given the withdrawal of the United States from COP 21. The National Observer has just reported that two Canadian provinces, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, have already reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels, hitting a national target 13 years earlier than what was required.

Seven Layers of a Food Forest

Blog by Joanna Chin, Doctoral Student, York University-Environmental Studies 

Robert Hart, a pioneer of forest gardening in the UK, had a vision of forest gardening:

“Obviously, few of us are in a position to restore the forests. But tens of millions of us have gardens or access to open spaces such as industrial wasteland, where trees can be planted and if full advantage can be taken of the potentialities that are available in heavily built up areas, new city forests can arise…”

A very thoughtful commentary

In this very far ranging commentary, Noam Chomsky talks about some critical questions: Is Russian hacking really more significant than what we have discussed — for example, the Republican campaign to destroy the conditions for organized social existence, in defiance of the entire world? Or to enhance the already dire threat of terminal nuclear war? 

One Group’s Effort to Keep Nature from Getting Bogged Down

The site of Tidmarsh Farms was a commercial cranberry bog until 2010. It produced 1% of Ocean Spray’s harvest. New, more efficient ways of farming have made farms like Tidmarsh inessential, and so the owners decided to ‘rewild’ the bog by slowly turning it back into the coastal wetland it once was. Through careful planning and construction, the site now has a stream that connects to the ocean. Herring can now swim through this stream in order to spawn. As well, previously scarce white cedars are now growing once again in their native habitat.

The Energy Agenda

The Sustainable Prosperity Institute just released a white paper asking critical questions of the policy and research communities for a low carbon policy research agenda. This paper and our recently released national energy strategy, Re-Energizing Canada: Pathways to a Low Carbon Economy, gives the Federal Government clear evidence on how to become a climate leader by 2050.