Latest posts in Notes from the Panther Lounge

Singer-songwriter Wanting Qu believes in the right to a healthy environment

November 7, 2014 | Leave a comment
Photo: Singer-songwriter Wanting Qu believes in the right to a healthy environment

(Credit: Huang Chen-Chang)

By Winnie Hwo – David Suzuki Foundation Public Engagement Specialist

Wanting Qu came to Canada 14 years ago as a 16-year-old international student from Harbin, China. Today, she is an award-winning, platinum-selling singer-songwriter, managed by Nettwerk Music Group co-founder Terry McBride.

Even though she has a larger fan base in Asia than Canada, Wanting chose to make her home in Vancouver. She just completed international and cross-North America tours.. But she is not taking any rest. When she is not creating new music, in both English and Mandarin, she is doubling as Tourism Vancouver's first tourism ambassador to China. In promotional videos, Wanting travels Vancouver and the province, showcasing the region's natural beauty and seafood.

On Sunday, November 9, Wanting will embark on another mission, as a guest performer at the David Suzuki Foundation's Blue Dot Tour at the Orpheum. Wanting will perform her hit song, "You Exist in My Song", which has been viewed more than 27 million times on YouTube.

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An environmental bill of rights for Canada? Yes, please!

October 30, 2014 | Leave a comment
Photo: An environmental bill of rights for Canada? Yes, please!

Parliament passed the original Bill of Rights in 1960, paving the way for these rights to be enshrined in the Canadian Charter in 1982.

By Lisa Gue, Environmental Health Policy Analyst

True or false? Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms explicitly protects our right to live in a healthy environment.

If you answered "true," you're in good company. Polling shows more than half of Canadians erroneously believe the Charter includes a provision on environmental rights (another 19 per cent aren't sure).

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What Mount Polley can teach us about the Red Chris mine

October 24, 2014 | Leave a comment
Photo: What Mount Polley can teach us about the Red Chris mine

Kluea and Todagin Lakes, immediately downstream of the proposed tailings facility of Imperial Metals Red Chris mine. (Credit: Carr Clifton)

By Wade Davis, Honorary Board Member

The highest levels of corporate integrity and responsibility should be the standard for any new mine in Canada, and especially for one with as much potential as Imperial Metals' Red Chris project, situated at the heart of the Sacred Headwaters in remote northwest British Columbia. Imperial Metals has acknowledged that all exploration, regulatory and construction costs will be reclaimed within two years of the mine's anticipated three decades of active production.

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What the Flup? Bee-ware of new pesticide flupyradifurone

October 22, 2014 | Leave a comment
Photo: What the Flup? Bee-ware of new pesticide flupyradifurone

By Lisa Gue, Researcher and Analyst

While dithering over neonicotinoids — bee-killing pesticides banned in Europe — Canadian regulators are poised to approve a closely-related poison called flupyradifurone. We call it the new "F"-word.

Take action! Tell the government to reconsider its "kill bees first, ask questions later" approach to regulating pesticides.

Like neonics, flupyradifurone attacks the nervous system of insect pests. Both are systemic pesticides that are taken up by plants and move through their tissues into pollen, fruits and seeds. Both are also persistent, sticking around in the environment and, with repeated applications, building up over time.

Health Canada says flupyradifurone may pose a risk to bees, birds, worms, spiders, small mammals and aquatic bugs — familiar words to anyone following Canada's slow-motion review of neonics. When first introduced, neonics were touted as safer for humans than other insecticides. Treating seeds with systemic pesticides instead of spraying crops should be better for the environment, too, right? Wrong. We now know that dust from corn seed treated with neonics is implicated in large-scale bee die-offs during planting season in Ontario and Quebec. Not only is this is alarming in its own right, the dead bees are the proverbial canaries in the coal mine, signalling broader ecological consequences.

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Richmond blazes trail on environmental rights

October 16, 2014 | Leave a comment
Photo: Richmond blazes trail on environmental rights

(Credit: Francis Lynn)

By Sophika Kostyniuk, National Organizing Manager

People power, passion and perseverance. These are the key ingredients that helped convince Richmond city council to make environmental rights a top priority for the B.C. municipality, now and into the future.

A mere four months have passed since a small group of committed citizens gathered together for two days of community organizing training in Richmond. Over the course of those two days, they mapped out the Richmond Blue Dot 1 campaign — a campaign designed to bring together motivated and concerned citizens and galvanize them to work toward positive change in their community. It was the first of its kind in Canada.

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