Science Matters archives

  • Photo: It's time to nix neonics

    It's time to nix neonics

    October 12, 2017

    If we care about the quality and security of our food sources — and the species and ecosystems they rely on — the time for neonics is over. Sustainable and affordable agricultural and pest management practices exist. It's time to ban bee-killing pesticides. More »

  • Photo: Bye-bye, bug splatter: Is this the new silent spring?

    Bye-bye, bug splatter: Is this the new silent spring?

    October 5, 2017

    Masses of monarch butterflies fluttering across Toronto's waterfront. Painted ladies (often mistaken for monarchs) descending on Montreal. Combined with the hottest September ever recorded in the Great Lakes region, it's been a strange time in Eastern Canada. We should savour the joys of these captivating critters while we can, because their future — and that of insects generally — is uncertain. More »

  • Photo: Environmentalism is a way of being, not a discipline

    Environmentalism is a way of being, not a discipline

    September 28, 2017

    I'm often introduced as an environmentalist. I prefer to be called a father, grandfather, scientist or author, as these terms provide insight into my motivation. Environmentalism isn't a discipline or specialty like law, medicine, plumbing, music or art. It's a way of seeing our place in the world and recognizing that our survival, health and happiness are inextricably dependent on nature. To confront today's environmental crises, everyone — garage mechanics, construction workers, dentists, politicians and judges — has to see the world through an environmental lens. More »

  • Photo: CO2 and food: We can't sacrifice quality for quantity

    CO2 and food: We can't sacrifice quality for quantity

    September 21, 2017

    Like life itself, science is complex. Reductive strategies that look at phenomena and reactions in isolation miss the big picture. Our species faces an existential crisis. Overcoming it will require greater wisdom and knowledge and a better understanding of nature's interconnectedness. Tackling climate disruption and feeding humanity are connected. It's past time to ignore the deniers, reassess our priorities and take the necessary measures to slow global warming. More »

  • Photo: Can emissions shrink while the economy grows?

    Can emissions shrink while the economy grows?

    September 14, 2017

    What does climate change have to do with economic growth? Canada's prime minister and premiers signed a deal in December to "grow our economy, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and build resilience to the impacts of a changing climate." The Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change outlines plans for carbon pricing, energy-efficient building codes, electric vehicle charging stations, methane emission regulations and more. More »

  • Photo: Nature offers solutions to water woes and flood risks

    Nature offers solutions to water woes and flood risks

    September 7, 2017

    Ultimately, we must work with nature to prevent and adapt to problems such as flooding, water scarcity, wildfires and climate disruption. When we work against nature, we work against ourselves. More »

  • Photo: Study finds Exxon misled the public by withholding climate knowledge

    Study finds Exxon misled the public by withholding climate knowledge

    August 31, 2017

    Given climate change's serious implications, the fact that fossil fuel companies, aided by compromised governments and shady "think tanks" and media outlets, would put fossil fuel profits ahead of human health and survival is an intergenerational crime against humanity. We should commend Oreskes and others for their tireless efforts to bring this truth to light. More »

  • Photo: When times get dark, we must shine brighter

    When times get dark, we must shine brighter

    August 24, 2017

    Are we entering a new Dark Age? Lately it seems so. News reports are enough to make anyone want to crawl into bed and hide under the covers. But it's time to rise and shine. To resolve the crises humanity faces, good people must come together. More »

  • 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 »