Science Matters archives

  • Photo: Eating less meat will reduce Earth's heat

    Eating less meat will reduce Earth's heat

    May 19, 2016

    Estimates of how much animal agriculture adds to greenhouse gases range widely, from about 14 to more than 50 per cent of total global emissions. Agriculture exacerbates climate change in a number of ways. Clearing carbon sinks such as forests to grow or raise food can result in net greenhouse gas increases. Farming, especially on an industrial scale, also requires fossil fuel-burning machinery, as does processing and transporting agricultural products. More »

  • Photo: Ain't nothing like the real thing -- but virtual reality comes close

    Ain't nothing like the real thing — but virtual reality comes close

    May 12, 2016

    Some proponents claim virtual reality will stimulate children to spend more time outside. But why bother when the virtual world seems better than the real one? I'm sure innovation and creativity will continue to drive the technology to new frontiers. I'm just as sure there will be enormous unexpected and damaging consequences if we aren't careful. More »

  • Photo: Divest from damage and invest in a healthier future

    Divest from damage and invest in a healthier future

    May 5, 2016

    Wastefully exploiting and burning fossil fuels is outdated. There's no reason to put money into industries that destroy the natural systems that make human life possible. But there are many reasons to stop giving them money. It's time to invest in a healthier future. More »

  • Photo: A healthy biosphere means healthier humans

    A healthy biosphere means healthier humans

    April 28, 2016

    Our health is tied to air, water and food from the soil. That means we should keep them clean, and stop dumping toxic wastes into them. Our health is also improved by exercise, which should be part of the way we live. Outdoor exercise is especially good. Caring for ourselves and the biosphere would pay many times over in improved health and happiness. More »

  • Photo: Shocking migratory changes bring electric rays to Canada's Pacific

    Shocking migratory changes bring electric rays to Canada's Pacific

    April 21, 2016

    The Pacific electric ray is just one of many marine canaries warning us of changing ecosystems. We’d be wise to listen to these signals. More »

  • Photo: Nature calms the brain and heals the body

    Nature calms the brain and heals the body

    April 14, 2016

    Spending time in nature regularly is not a panacea for mental health but it's an essential component of health and psychological resilience. Nature helps us withstand and recover from life's challenges. Even city dwellers can find nearby nature — a garden, local park or trail — to give their overworked brains a break. More »

  • Photo: Got milkweed? Monarchs still need your help

    Got milkweed? Monarchs still need your help

    April 7, 2016

    Although milkweed is spreading and monarch numbers have bounced back from historic lows, the population remains more than 80 per cent lower than 20 years ago. This summer, the great-grandkids of butterflies we welcomed last year will return to Canada. I encourage you to continue bringing them home, one milkweed plant at a time. More »

  • Photo: Geothermal: Tapping Earth's abundant energy

    Geothermal: Tapping Earth's abundant energy

    March 31, 2016

    Rapid advancements in renewable-energy and power-grid technologies could put the world on track to a mix of clean sources fairly quickly — which is absolutely necessary to curtail global warming. Geothermal energy should be part of that mix. More »

  • Photo: Environmental deficit tarnishes Canada's rights record

    Environmental deficit tarnishes Canada's rights record

    March 24, 2016

    Many Canadians see our country as a human rights leader, but a United Nations committee says we should do better. In early March, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights concluded that Canada's lack of environmental protection and climate action mars our rights record. More »

  • Photo: World Water Day reminds us not to take clean water for granted

    World Water Day reminds us not to take clean water for granted

    March 17, 2016

    Earth's oceans, lakes, rivers and streams are its circulatory system, providing life's essentials for people, animals and ecosystems. Canada has one-fifth of the world's freshwater, a quarter of its remaining... More »