Latest posts in Science Matters
Canadians expect to have our environment protected, and to know how it's being protected. A report from Canada's Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development shows we're being short-changed.
"In many key areas that we looked at, it is not clear how the government intends to address the significant environmental challenges that future growth and development will likely bring about," commissioner Julie Gelfand said of the report, which used government data, or lack thereof, to assess the government's success or failure to implement its own regulations and policies.
The Amazon rainforest is magnificent. Watching programs about it, we're amazed by brilliant parrots and toucans, tapirs, anacondas and jaguars. But if you ever go there expecting to be overwhelmed by a dazzling blur of activity, you'll be disappointed. The jungle has plenty of vegetation — hanging vines, enormous trees, bromeliads and more — and a cacophony of insects and frogs. But much of the activity goes on at night or high up in the canopy.Continue reading »
B.C. First Nations chiefs recently travelled to Ottawa to urge the federal government to pull the plug on the costliest infrastructure project in the country. At an estimated $7.9 billion and growing, the proposed Site C Dam on the beautiful Peace River in northeastern B.C. has been criticized for spiralling costs, questions about whether the electricity it would produce is even needed, and concerns about the environmental and social impacts of flooding thousands of hectares of prime farmland, irreplaceable cultural sites and wildlife habitat. The government is expected to make a decision in October.Continue reading »
As an elder, I've watched Canada and the world change in many ways, for better and worse. Thanks in part to cheap energy and technological growth, the human population has more than tripled, from 2.2 billion in 1936 when I was born to about seven billion today. As a boy, I could drink from streams and lakes without worrying about getting sick. My father took me fishing for halibut, sturgeon and salmon on the Vancouver waterfront. Pretty much all food was organic.Continue reading »
Children belong outdoors. We know this intuitively, but now an extensive and ever-growing body of research supports it. Kids who spend time outside every day are healthier, happier, more creative, less stressed and more alert than those who don't. Several recent studies even show time in nature or green space helps reduce ADHD symptoms.
But what about teachers who take children outdoors, contributing to their learning and growth? More alert, calm and creative students are a plus to them as educators. Could they also benefit as individuals from taking students outside every day?Continue reading »