Latest posts in Notes from the Panther Lounge

Asbestos ban is a victory for health but leaves a painful legacy

January 5, 2017 | Leave a comment
Photo: Asbestos ban is a victory for health but leaves a painful legacy

Asbestos mine industry (Crédit: Musée McCord/Wikimedia Commons)

By Diego Creimer

One of the most celebrated films in the history of French-Canadian cinema, Mon oncle Antoine, opens with shots of an asbestos mine in Black Lake (now Thetford Mines) in the 1940s. Beginning in the late 19th century, the Thetford Mines and asbestos regions of Quebec progressed and grew richer thanks to this group of minerals, the health risks of which were little understood at the time. The heat-resistant properties of asbestos made it useful for many industrial applications, including brake pads, handles for pots and pans and residential construction, among others. As the years went by, asbestos was everywhere. It was used domestically and exported. It surrounded us, like a bear hug leading to a slow death.

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Christmas trees 2.0: Toward truly ecological natural trees!

December 14, 2016 | Leave a comment
Photo: Christmas trees 2.0: Toward truly ecological natural trees!

By Louise Hénault-Ethier, Scientific Projects Manager

Natural versus artificial: Which is greenest?

If you answered natural, congratulate yourself. A local natural tree is more ecologically friendly than an artificial tree, unless you keep the artificial one for more than 20 years, according to a 2009 Quebec study. This life-cycle analysis compared a spruce tree growing 150 kilometres from Montreal to a plastic tree imported from China. Greenhouse gas emissions and raw materials were the main determinants of this conclusion. Artificial trees can also release volatile chemicals called phthalates, which disrupt our hormones (endocrine disruptors).

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Five tips for getting your letter to the editor published

December 7, 2016 | Leave a comment
Photo: Five tips for getting your letter to the editor published

By Gideon Forman

One of the best ways to tell government to protect the environment is writing a letter to the editor. The letters page is one of the most popular parts of a newspaper — and it's not just your friends and neighbours who read it. Local members of Parliament, provincial legislators and city councillors keep an eye on it to stay abreast of their constituents' concerns.

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Monarch butterfly year in review: #2016sucks

December 7, 2016 | 2 comments
Photo: Monarch butterfly year in review: #2016sucks

By Rachel Plotkin

This has been a rough year. We lost pop culture icons Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, Prince and Muhammad Ali. And, according to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, monarch butterflies may not be far behind.

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When it comes to engaging diverse audiences, the messenger matters

November 30, 2016 | Leave a comment
Photo: When it comes to engaging diverse audiences, the messenger matters

(Photo Credits: Winnie Hwo)

By Winnie Hwo, Senior public engagement specialist

A year ago, the David Suzuki Foundation published a Sustainable Diversity Report based on our work to reach "beyond the choir." After that, 45 people from all walks of life came together to discuss the report's key findings and to strategize about next steps.

As a result of this initial gathering, 11 people came together to form the Sustainable Diversity Network. Its mandate was described as follows:

Our goal is to mix cultural inclusiveness with environmental stewardship. We aim to advance our understanding of sustainability and expand the environmental movement by celebrating voices and stories that are often unheard or unacknowledged.

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