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Volkswagen scandal is a sorry sign of the times

Science Matters | October 1, 2015 | 6 comments
Photo: Volkswagen scandal is a sorry sign of the times

(Credit: Erik bij de Vaate via Flickr)

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

Volkswagen was caught cheating on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emissions tests by installing "defeat devices," which allowed its diesel vehicles to pass nitrogen oxide emissions checks but spew up to 40 times allowable pollutants once they were completed. The scandal has resulted in plummeting share prices, CEO Martin Winterkorn's resignation and up to $18 billion in fines, as well as recalls, stop-sale orders, impending lawsuits and possible criminal charges.

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National cap-and-trade system part of NDP plan

Photo: National cap-and-trade system part of NDP plan

(Credit: Jamie McCaffrey via Flickr)

By Theresa Beer, Senior Communications Specialist

As energy and climate issues dominate environmental discussions this federal election, the New Democratic Party has released its plan for a national cap-and-trade system that sets emissions limits for polluters. The announcement came just ahead of a survey released by the David Suzuki Foundation in partnership with the Environics Institute for Survey Research that confirmed public support for domestic policies to tackle carbon emissions is on the rise in Canada.

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Crawlin' upstream: The Homegrown Park Crawl 2015

Photo: Crawlin' upstream: The Homegrown Park Crawl 2015

The Homegrown Park Crawl filled Toronto streets and parks with joyous musical parades last weekend (Photo by Easy Camera Art)

Last weekend, thousands of Toronto residents came out to celebrate the green spaces along the former Garrison Creek in the third annual Homegrown Park Crawl. The volunteer-run event is part of the David Suzuki Foundation's Homegrown National Park Project, which aims to bring nature home to the heart of Canada's largest city, one fun, green intervention at a time.

This year's event featured great weather and food from some of the city's top chefs and restaurants, including Pizzeria Libretto, FRANK Restaurant, Banjara Indian Cuisine and The County General. Participants crawled upstream from park to park and through residential streets in the downtown west end, accompanied by four superb local musical acts: MIDNIGHT VESTA, Turbo Street Funk, Maracatu Mar Aberto and The Woodshed Orchestra. The event included making fish and butterfly crafts, seed-paper making with the University of Toronto's BIOzone, writing love letters to Toronto's green spaces with the Love Lettering Project and an interactive dance performance by Julia Aplin Dance.

Thanks to our amazing team of volunteers and community partners, plus these generous folks who provided fabulous food and drink:

Pizzeria Libretto, Banjara Indian Cuisine, Cookie Martinez, Two Bite Saloon, Chocosol, Harvest Kitchen, Jon's Pops, Coffee Pubs, Le Dolci, Tallboys, Wenona Craft Beer Lodge, My Crème Caramel, The County General, Treeline Catering, FRANK restaurant, The Vegan Duchess

This event would not be possible without the generous support of our event partners and sponsors: Gervais Party & Tent Rental, Impact Canopies, Southbrook Vineyards, Steam Whistle Brewery and Universe.

Stay up-to-date on all the Homegrown fun by joining our Homegrown National Park Project Facebook page.

Why the David Suzuki Foundation won't tell you who to vote for

Photo: Why the David Suzuki Foundation won't tell you who to vote for

Credit: Cristian V. via Flickr

By Theresa Beer, Communications Specialist

At the David Suzuki Foundation, we strive to be an important voice on environmental issues and policies in Canada, and we know our community depends on us for information about ways to make a difference. We know, too, that federal elections are an important part of deciding the future of our country. And so, during this election, we are sharing our insights on significant issues through an environmental lens.

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How to leave the leaves

Queen of Green | September 29, 2015 | Leave a comment
Photo: How to leave the leaves

Those brown, dead leaves are the planet's butterfly nursery.

If I know you, you can't stop helping pollinators — planting a butterfly garden, getting your yard off grass, signing the Monarch Manifesto and more. Well, you won't believe what I want you to do (or not do) now...

DO NOT rake your leaves! (Because butterflies begin in leaves, as larvae.)

Those brown, dead leaves are the planet's butterfly nursery. They're home to butterfly larvae, microbes and worms. And leaf litter is where many species of butterflies and moths overwinter as pupae. Animals like toads, shrews and salamanders benefit from leaf litter to hide and hunt, too.

This fall, let your rake collect only dust.

Can't leave all of your leaves where they fall? Here are a few other ideas:

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It's time to talk about a new vision for the economy

Science Matters | September 24, 2015 | 2 comments
Photo: It's time to talk about a new vision for the economy

A cornerstone of our current economy, consuming goods, may give us fleeting pleasure, but it isn't making us happier. Studies show the pleasure derived from food, sex, exercise and time with loved ones or doing meaningful work takes much longer to fade. (Credit: Mikey G Ottawa via Flickr)

By David Suzuki with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Environmental Economist and Policy Analyst Michelle Molnar.

The federal leaders' debate on the economy focused on important issues — jobs, deficits, infrastructure spending, pipelines, climate change — but no one talked about a different vision for Canada's economy. What if we challenged our leaders to answer the dilemma posed by American journalist Charles Bowden: Imagine the problem is that we cannot imagine a future where we possess less but are more? Not being able to even imagine an economy without continual growth is a profound failure.

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The millennial vote: problems and solutions

Photo: The millennial vote: problems and solutions

(Credit: Theresa Thompson via Flickr, modified)

By Catherine Owsik, Digital Strategy Coordinator

If you're in your 20s, you've heard the reasons why voting is important: it's our democratic right, one vote does make a difference and less than 40 per cent of eligible voters under the age of 30 voted in the last election — and that's shameful.

Now there's one more important thing we millennials need to know: how to vote when it's become more difficult.

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