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Clean drinking water should be a human right in Canada

Science Matters | November 27, 2014 | Leave a comment
Photo: Clean drinking water should be a human right in Canada

By David Suzuki with contributions from Michael Dan, a neurosurgeon, philanthropist and First Nations advocate who accompanied David Suzuki to Shoal Lake.

Canada is among the world's wealthiest nations, but our wealth is not equitably distributed. Many communities, particularly northern and Aboriginal, suffer from poor access to healthy and affordable food, clean water, proper housing and other necessary infrastructure. An ironic example of this disparity is at Shoal Lake, about two hours east of Winnipeg. There, two First Nations, Shoal Lake 39 and 40, are next to the City of Winnipeg's main drinking-water supply, but Shoal Lake 40 has been on a boil-water advisory for decades.

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Helping childhood cancer patients with sustainable herring

Healthy Oceans | November 25, 2014 | Leave a comment
Photo: Helping childhood cancer patients with sustainable herring

(Credit: Fishermen Helping Kids with Cancer)

A team of local fishers raised $225,000 in four years for cancer patients at B.C. Children's Hospital by selling folks the humble, but delicious, herring.

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How to watch ice (and other stuff in nature)

Queen of Green | November 25, 2014 | Leave a comment
Photo: How to watch ice (and other stuff in nature)

Contribute to global warming understanding. (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

Watching ice is not like watching paint dry. And the world needs more ice watchers.

Whatever your high school science grade, volunteer to be a citizen scientist!

Contribute to global warming in a good way — by adding to scientific understanding about it.

Thanks to observant citizens that submit their records to IceWatch, scientists learned that the freeze-thaw cycles of northern water bodies are changing.

Note the freeze and thaw dates of lakes and rivers in your community to help monitor the effects of climate change on the Canada you love. And recruit that neighbour, uncle or your Grandma who has scribbled with pencil on the calendar for years each time the water they watch freezes and breaks up.

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We can all be 21st-century scientists

Science Matters | November 20, 2014 | 2 comments
Photo: We can all be 21st-century scientists

This winter, you can volunteer for NatureWatch's IceWatch and join others in contributing to the scientific understanding of global warming.

By David Suzuki with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Science and Policy Director Mara Kerry.

Our ancestors may not have called themselves "citizen scientists" or organized to collect data for scientific inquiry, but they were keen observers of the natural world. Their survival often depended on being able to tease apart nature's complexity — where to find game and when to sow seeds, collect berries and prepare for winter or bad weather.

But our modern, technology-obsessed lives increasingly divorce us from nature, with consequences for our health and well-being. Numerous studies now remind us of what we know intuitively: Spending time in nature makes us feel better — helping with depression, attention deficit disorder, recall and memory, problem-solving and creativity. People who spend more time outside are also physically healthier.

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How to lower your foodprint

Queen of Green | November 17, 2014 | Leave a comment
Photo: How to lower your foodprint

Renu’s husband, Tom, and son, Coen, now enjoy homemade bread and canned goodies.

Your "foodprint" — the choices you make about what you eat — can make as big a difference for the environment as how you get around.

This fall, a team of Queen of Green coaches are helping a community of Canadian families go from ordinary to extraordinary when it comes to eating more sustainably. You read how they tackled waste. Prepare to be inspired as they reduce their foodprints during Module 2 (of 4)! (Go ahead, be a copycat.)

Meet Renu, Tom and son, Coen, of B.C.

Renu aims to do:

  • More home cooking
  • Fine-tune composting
  • Grow more food
  • She courageously advocated for healthier choices at her son's daycare and tries hard to provide edibles without packaging when it's her day to contribute.

Thanks Queen of Green Coach Cynthia for offering meaningful things to do!

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IPCC report is clear: We must clean up our act

Science Matters | November 13, 2014 | 1 comment
Photo: IPCC report is clear: We must clean up our act

Germany, the world's fourth-largest economy, now gets a third of its energy from renewable sources, and has reduced carbon emissions 23 per cent from 1990 levels and created 370,000 jobs. (Credit: David via Flickr)

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

It's become a cliché to say that out of crisis comes opportunity. But there's no denying that when faced with crises, we have choices. The opportunity depends on what we decide to do.

What choices will we make when confronted with the fact that 2014 will likely be the hottest year on record? According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, global land and sea temperatures up to September's end tie this year with 1998 as the warmest since record keeping began in 1880. "If 2014 maintains this temperature departure from average for the remainder of the year, it will be the warmest year on record," a NOAA statement says.

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Why I pick up garbage

Queen of Green | November 9, 2014 | Leave a comment
Photo: Why I pick up garbage

Picking up litter makes neighbourhoods better. (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

My two-year-old loves to pick up garbage — cigarette butts, plastic wrappers, paper coffee cups, etc.

And although my first reaction was to get upset — because it's dirty and gross — I can't, because I taught him!

If I say "That's garbage!" he gets a look of determination and responsibility. He picks up said disgusting, used, dirty you-name-it and marches off to a trash can.

This is a good thing, right? If he doesn't pick it up, who will?

My neighbourhood Starbucks and Dairy Queen don't send out garbage pickers, city garbage collectors only deal with bins, paper cup and cigarette manufacturers are nowhere to be found... That leaves you, me and my toddler.

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