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Oil prices drop as global warming rises

Science Matters | January 22, 2015 | Leave a comment
Photo: Oil prices drop as global warming rises

(Credit: eckiblues via Flickr)

By David Suzuki with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation's Senior Editor Ian Hanington

With oil prices plunging from more than $100 a barrel last summer to below $50 now, the consequences of a petro-fuelled economy are hitting home — especially in Alberta, where experts forecast a recession. The province's projected budget surplus has turned into a $500-million deficit on top of a $12-billion debt, with predicted revenue losses of $11 billion or more over the next three or four years if prices stay low or continue to drop as expected. Alberta's government is talking about service reductions, public-sector wage and job cuts and even increased or new taxes on individuals. TD Bank says Canada as a whole can expect deficits over the next few years unless Ottawa takes money from its contingency fund.

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The fallacy of balance as a means to protect at-risk species

Photo: The fallacy of balance as a means to protect at-risk species

It's 1990. You're listening to Eddie Vedder and the salamanders lost half their habitat. (Photo credit: drunkside via Flickr)

By Rachel Plotkin

Take a moment to time travel with me. It's the early 1980s, Depeche Mode is in the tape deck. One hundred hectares of nearby forest is coveted by developers and home to a salamander threatened with extinction.

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How to have outdoor winter family fun

Queen of Green | January 21, 2015 | Leave a comment
Photo: How to have outdoor winter family fun

Want to make the most of winter? Have we got a challenge for you! (Credit: Katie Loftus)

At this time of year I often wish I were somewhere warm and sunny. In winter, the temperate west coast rainforest experience is, well... dark and wet.

Then I discovered bird bingo!

As keen Winter Family Challenge testers, my two-year old and I saw a huge flock of red-breasted mergansers diving, a double-crested cormorant feasting on a fish — all while a bald eagle perched nearby.

Has your family got what it takes to play bird bingo? Sign up today and join our Winter Family Challenge!

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This winter, make a family resolution to get outside

Photo: This winter, make a family resolution to get outside

By Rachelle Delaney

This January, the David Suzuki Foundation invites families coast to coast to resolve to get outside together.

Don't hide inside from chilly weather! From animal tracking and birdwatching to sledding and skating, there are so many ways to have fun outdoors in winter. Plus, it's great for your health—outdoor winter play can strengthen the immune system, sharpen your mind and decrease stress. And you'll be nurturing a nature connection that will last all year.

That's why we're asking Canadians to sign up for the Winter Family Challenge, pledging to get outside at least once a week as a family.

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Digging out of Canada's mining dilemma

Science Matters | January 15, 2015 | Leave a comment
Photo: Digging out of Canada's mining dilemma

(Credit: Tony Hisgett via Flickr)

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

It sometimes seems people in the mining and fossil fuel industries — along with their government promoters — don't believe in the future. What else could explain the mad rush to extract and use up the Earth's resources as quickly and wastefully as possible?

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Try tree-free paper

Queen of Green | January 13, 2015 | Leave a comment
Photo: Try tree-free paper

Harvested bamboo grown in China to make paper products. (Credit: Albert Addante)

You use hankies instead of facial tissue and rags instead of paper towel — good for you!

But globally, humans cut down 27,000 trees per day just for toilet paper.

Now you can perform the "toddler test" with tree-free toilet paper (it unravels just as fast) and clean up cat puke with tree-free paper towel. Even wheat straw — which makes excellent bedding for cows and horses — can make paper.

I quizzed Albert of Caboo:

What makes tree-free paper products eco-friendly?

Trees need to be replanted and can take up to 30 years to grow. Bamboo and sugarcane are grasses. They grow back without replanting and are harvested every two years.

The sugarcane used is a byproduct of the sugar manufacturing industry (sourced from Thailand) — Caboo turns this waste into a new product. And bamboo (grown in the Sichuan province of Western China) minimizes carbon dioxide and generates up to 35 per cent more oxygen than an equivalent stand of trees1:

  • One hectare of bamboo sequesters 62 tons of CO2 per year
  • One hectare of young forest sequesters 15 tons of CO2 per year
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B.C.'s trawl fisheries recognized for conservation achievements

Healthy Oceans | January 12, 2015 | Leave a comment

By Scott Wallace, senior research scientist

Seafood assessments are usually released to little fanfare. But today's Seafood Watch assessment release should be heralded as a significant milestone for Canada's Pacific groundfish fisheries. For nearly 150 years commercial groundfish fisheries off B.C.'s coast have targeted species such as halibut, lingcod, soles, flounders, Pacific cod and rockfish. The fishery has gone through periods of exploration, over-exploitation, stability and boom-and-bust. Now, it is honing in on sustainability.

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