Science Matters archives

  • Photo: Wildfires are a climate change wake-up call

    Wildfires are a climate change wake-up call

    August 17, 2017

    Wildfires are sweeping B.C. Close to 900 have burned through 600,000 hectares so far this year, blanketing western North America with smoke. Fighting them has cost more than $230 million — and the season is far from over. More »

  • Photo: We only have one Earth, and we're overshooting its capacity

    We only have one Earth, and we're overshooting its capacity

    August 10, 2017

    August 2 was Earth Overshoot Day. Unlike Earth Day or Canada Day, it's not a time to celebrate. As the Earth Overshoot Day website explains, it marks the time when "we will have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the whole year." That is the definition of unsustainable and means we're using up the biological capital that should be our children's legacy. We would require 1.7 Earths to meet our current annual demands sustainably. More »

  • Photo: Environmental Protection Act review could strengthen human rights

    Environmental Protection Act review could strengthen human rights

    August 3, 2017

    Governments change — along with laws, regulations and priorities. It's the nature of democracies. In Canada, we've seen environmental laws implemented, then weakened or overturned, then strengthened and re-instated. But the basic necessities of health, well-being and life shouldn't be subject to the shifting agendas of political parties. That's why Canada should recognize the right to a healthy environment in its Constitution — something 110 countries already do. More »

  • Photo: Local action needed to resolve world's biggest problems

    Local action needed to resolve world's biggest problems

    July 27, 2017

    Humans are an astonishing anomaly. As many species teeter on extinction, our populations grow in size and complexity. From exploring space to eradicating diseases and other remarkable achievements, human curiosity has pushed the outer limits of our physical universe. Yet our ability to embrace shared values has been challenging. More than a billion people live in poverty, inequality gaps are expanding, and we face unprecedented environmental challenges that threaten our survival. More »

  • Photo: Plastic straws suck

    Plastic straws suck

    July 20, 2017

    Of all the plastic products we use and take for granted, plastic drinking straws are among the most unnecessary. Designed to be used once and discarded, their only real purpose is to keep your mouth from touching a glass or ice. It made more sense in the days when contaminated vessels were more of an issue. More »

  • Photo: Butterflyways blooming throughout the land

    Butterflyways blooming throughout the land

    July 13, 2017

    Pollinator pathway. Bumblebee highway. River of Flowers. Bee Line. These have all described habitat corridors created to help pollinators like bees and butterflies. We can add Butterflyways to the list. More »

  • Photo: Orca survival depends on protecting chinook salmon

    Orca survival depends on protecting chinook salmon

    July 6, 2017

    Two of British Columbia's most iconic species, chinook salmon and southern resident killer whales, are in trouble. The whale depends on the salmon for survival. Is it time to manage chinook fisheries with killer whales in mind? The fate of two of British Columbia's most iconic animals and the ecosystems and economies that depend on them rests in our hands. More »

  • Photo: Nature offers the best defence against flooding

    Nature offers the best defence against flooding

    June 29, 2017

    Despite recent investments, Canada lags behind other G7 nations in flood preparation and climate change adaptation. It's time we recognized the importance of intact nature and built green infrastructure as central to flood-prevention efforts. Nature can help us — if we let it. More »

  • Photo: Bicycling never gets old!

    Bicycling never gets old!

    June 22, 2017

    Two centuries after their invention, bicycles are still the most efficient and beneficial form of transportation we have. Get out and ride if you can! It's good for you and the planet. More »

  • Photo: Trump is a pariah in the face of climate crisis

    Trump is a pariah in the face of climate crisis

    June 15, 2017

    In withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, U.S. President Donald Trump demonstrated monumental ignorance about climate change and the agreement itself. As Vox energy and climate writer David Roberts noted about Trump's announcement, "It is a remarkable address, in its own way, in that virtually every passage contains something false or misleading." More »