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Industrial damage threatens Blueberry River's way of life

Science Matters | July 21, 2016 | 1 comment
Photo: Industrial damage threatens Blueberry River's way of life

Within Blueberry River First Nations traditional territory, there are 9,435 oil and gas facilities, primarily test facilities (6,210) and battery sites (1,120).
(Photo Credit: 2016 Atlas of Cumulative Landscape Disturbance)

By David Suzuki with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Science Projects Manager Rachel Plotkin.

Industrial activity has profoundly affected the Blueberry River First Nations in northern B.C. A recent Atlas of Cumulative Landscape Disturbance, by the First Nations, the David Suzuki Foundation and Ecotrust, found 73 per cent of the area inside its traditional territory is within 250 metres of an industrial disturbance and 85 per cent is within 500 metres.

In other words, in much of the territory, which once supported healthy moose and caribou populations, it's difficult if not impossible to walk half a kilometre before hitting a road, seismic line or other industrial infrastructure. Local caribou populations are threatened with extinction mainly because of habitat disturbance caused by industrial activity and ensuing changes to predator-prey dynamics.

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Cycling in Toronto: A personal reflection

Photo: Cycling in Toronto: A personal reflection

By Gideon Forman

I'm mostly a walker and runner, not a bicycle rider, but I find myself drawn to cycling nevertheless. Why is that?

I like what it does to Toronto, my city, and appreciate the cyclist's physical presence. The steady pumping of thighs as the rider progresses up Beverley Street, up St. George, at human speed, human scale.

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How to choose the best herbs to grow

Queen of Green | July 18, 2016 | Leave a comment
Photo: How to choose the best herbs to grow

Grow chives, dill, peppermint, parsley, basil, rosemary, thyme, sage, lemon balm, cilantro and lavender in containers! (Credit: Jennifer Higgs)

My container garden varies year-to-year. But it always includes plants to help bees. Some are just for eating. And most are staples in my DIY cosmetics recipes!

Plants for DIY recipes:

I quizzed Tara, herbalist with the Rocky Mountain Soap Company (@RockyMtnSoap), for her tips and tricks:

If you could grow only one herb, what would it be?

Peppermint! It aids digestion and treats nausea and headaches. You can use it in teas, tinctures, compresses, poultices, salves, syrups and in water.
For example, combine peppermint with elder and yarrow to treat fevers. Or use as a cold tea for a compress to relive puffy or swollen eyes. (Lindsay: I've used it to treat sunburn!)

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The future of hydro in a warming world

Science Matters | July 14, 2016 | 1 comment
Photo: The future of hydro in a warming world

The Hoover Dam on the Colorado River is operating at 30 per cent capacity, and new turbines have to be installed at lower elevation because of low precipitation and drought. (Credit: Allan via Flickr)

By David Suzuki with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Senior Editor Ian Hanington.

People have harnessed energy from moving water for thousands of years. Greeks used various types of water wheels to grind grain in mills more than 2,000 years ago. In the late 1800s, people figured out how to harness the power to produce electricity. Throughout the 20th century and into the 21st, hydropower has expanded, producing about 17 per cent of the world's electricity by 2014 and about 85 per cent of renewable energy — and it shows no signs of slowing.

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How to make laundry soap

Queen of Green | July 12, 2016 | 4 comments
Photo: How to make laundry soap

Bring costs and waste down: Buy ingredients for this recipe in bulk! (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

I've been making laundry soap for a decade. It's cheaper than store-bought eco-friendly options and works just as well. I make this recipe once a month:

Liquid laundry soap recipe

Preparation time: 10 minutes or less
Yield: seven litres
Shelf life: six months

Ingredients:

7 L (28 cups) hot water
250 ml (1 cup) baking soda
250 ml (1 cup) liquid castile soap
80 ml (1/3 cup) salt

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Dark earth could herald a bright future for agriculture and climate

Science Matters | July 7, 2016 | 8 comments
Photo: Dark earth could herald a bright future for agriculture and climate

(Credit: Eden Graham via Flickr)

By David Suzuki with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Senior Editor Ian Hanington.

Feeding more than seven billion people with minimal environmental and climate impacts is no small feat. That parts of the world are plagued by obesity while starvation is rampant elsewhere shows part of the problem revolves around distribution and social equity. But agricultural methods pose some of the biggest challenges.

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How to treat a mosquito bite

Queen of Green | July 6, 2016 | 7 comments
Photo: How to treat a mosquito bite

Get quick itch relief from a few familiar ingredients you have in your pantry: baking soda, vinegar and Epsom salts. (Photo credit: Nicole Bridger)

To prevent being "treeprived," you grab yourself some Vitamin "N" and end up with a mosquito bite. (Living in Canada, we're fortunate an annoying itch is likely all we'll get...)

This shows:

  1. You need to brush up on mosquito bite prevention techniques.
  2. You taste better. (One study shows skeeters find blood type O more enticing than A.)
  3. You're an animal.

I brush up on mosquito bite remedies every spring or summer I travel to Alberta to visit family and friends. (In Vancouver many people don't even have screens on windows!)

Get quick itch relief from a few familiar ingredients you have in your pantry:

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