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Mi'kmaq Nations To Build Wind Farm 28 March 14

Innergex Renewable Energy and three Mi'kmaq First Nations communities in Quebec are moving ahead with plans to build a wind farm in the Gaspe Peninsula after striking a 20-year power purchase agreement with Hydro-Quebec. The $365-million project will generate 150 megawatts of power. Annual production is estimated at 515,000 megawatt hours, which can power 30,000 homes. The wind project is a partnership between Community Wind Farms Inc, a Mi'kmaq rights organization called Kwilmu'kw Maw-klusuaqn, Firelight Infrastructure Partners, juwi Wind Canada and Innergex Renewable Energy.

The Mesgi'g Ugju's'n wind farm is expected to begin operation at the end of 2016. Chief Claude Jeannotte, chairman of the Mi'gmawei Mawiomi said the project will be a significant contributor to the development of the three participating First Nations.

"It will create wealth and jobs not only for our members, but also for our neighbours in Gaspesie and elsewhere in Quebec. We see great opportunities for the future," he stated in a release.

Construction on the wind farm is scheduled to begin in 2015, after it receives certain pre-construction authorizations later this year. The environmental impact study has been submitted to the Quebec government and an information session was held last month. Negotiations are underway with potential turbine suppliers.

View March 24, 2014 Stockhouse article
View March 24, 2014 The Gazette article
View March 24, 2014 CBC News article
View March 4, 2014 South Shore Now article
View May 13, 2008 CBC News article
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Got Milkweed? Save the Monarchs 28 March 14

The long, cold and temperamental winter that has gripped Canada took its toll on the monarch butterfly populations, with an all-time low number of migratory individuals arriving in Mexico. These extreme temperatures, combined with the chronic eradication of milkweed (the plant on which monarchs exclusively lay their eggs and only food source for caterpillars), have resulted in a population crisis.

We have the power to give the butterflies their breeding and feeding grounds back. The David Suzuki Foundation is launching the Toronto-based #Gotmilkweed campaign in April 2014, with the goal of creating a milkweed corridor right through the heart of downtown Toronto. This corridor, called the Homegrown National Park, will be located at numerous urban green spaces such as schoolyards and parks. It will encourage the return of this iconic butterfly with directly observable results, while raising public awareness of the monarch butterfly's situation.

Manitobans can take their own initiative by buying and planting milkweed from local wild plant nurseries and catalogues, and join the movement to help monarch butterflies recover from their spiraling population decline.

View March 24, 2014 David Suzuki Foundation article
View Prairie Originals report
View Got Milkweed website
View MonarchWatch Milkweed page
Source: David Suzuki Foundation
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Lake Winnipeg Exhibit Opens at Manitoba Museum 28 March 14

A new exhibit at the Manitoba Museum aims to explain the complex issues surrounding the declining health of Lake Winnipeg. Entitled 'Lake Winnipeg: Shared Solutions', this $1-million permanent exhibit is located in the museum's underground Science Centre.

Although Manitobans are aware Lake Winnipeg is a very sick lake, the actual cause and process surrounding its declining health are less known and understood. This exhibit will simplify the complicated process of nutrient loading, known to scientists as eutrophication; highlight the sources of this problem (phosphorous leaching from farms, drainage channels, city effluent, etc.); and raise awareness in order to prevent and mitigate these negative effects.

The centerpiece of this exhibit is an interactive touch-screen game that allows individuals to control what nutrient inflow goes into the lake. The simulation then demonstrates positive effects that come from these actions. This interactive experience is geared to children and adults alike. The aim is to inspire people to understand why Lake Winnipeg is experiencing environmental degradation, and to make their own choices and opinion on what steps must be taken to return Lake Winnipeg to health.

'Lake Winnipeg: Shared Solutions' opens Saturday, March 29 2014.

View March 21, 2014 Winnipeg Free Press article
View March 21, 2014 Global Winnipeg article
Watch March 21, 2014 Global Winnipeg coverage video
View Manitoba Museum Lake Winnipeg: Shared Solutions page
Source: Winnipeg Free Press
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April 1st is Fossil Fools Day 28 March 14

On April 1st, We Are PowerShift is declaring Fossil Fools Day to encourage people to join local action groups, divestment campaigns and others who are taking action against the 'fossil fools'. The goal is to stand up against the Canadian fossil fuel corporations' regime of destroying local communities and the environment all in the name of profit.

Climate change is being felt all across the globe, with sporadic and extreme weather patterns now occurring more frequently and more widespread. Scientifically proven evidence of how detrimental fossil fuel extraction is to the environment and changing climate is now publically recognized and acknowledged, and immeasurable spills, leaks, and explosions have proven how volatile and damaging this industry is.

Despite all of this worrisome evidence, Canada's fossil fuel industry is going full steam ahead with countless proposed developments, expansions, and prospecting. Invasive industries such as fracking, oil pipelines, and bitumen extraction from fragile northern regions such as the Alberta tar sands and the Arctic must be openly and publically opposed, and stopped. Fossil Fools Day is a day to raise public awareness, show the industries and governments the power of the people, and put a stop to this foolish disregard for our Mother Earth.

View Power Shift Fossil Fools page
View Fossil Fools Day Wikipedia page
View Fossil Free Canada Fossil Fools Day page
Source: We Are PowerShift
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Land Changes Across North America - New Atlas 28 March 14

All over the North American continent, natural and human-caused events are altering land cover – whether from insect infestations, forest fires, industrial uses, or urban sprawl. Some of these changes are visible from space and, in collaboration with Canada, Mexico and the US, the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) released a new set of maps and data sets depicting land cover changes in North America's forests, prairies, deserts and cities, using satellite images from 2005 and 2010.

The maps featured in the CEC's North American Environmental Atlas depicts land cover changes in North America's forests, prairies, deserts and cities, using satellite images from 2005 and 2010. These changes can be attributed to forest fires, insect infestation, urban sprawl and other natural or human-caused events. Produced by the North American Land Change Monitoring System (NALCMS), a trinational collaborative effort through by the CEC, these maps and accompanying data can be used to address issues such as climate change, carbon sequestration, biodiversity loss, and changes in ecosystem structure and function.

View March 11, 2014 Commission for Environmental Cooperation article
View October 2013 American Meteorological Society report
View Commission for Environmental Cooperation website
View National Resources Canada Characterization and Monitoring Change of Canada's Land Surface
View U.S. Geological Survey North American Land Change Monitoring System page
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Canada Ranks Last In World On Environment 21 March 14

The Washington-based Center for Global Development assesses 27 wealthy nations annually on their commitment to seven areas that impact the world's poor. Canada came 13th in this year's survey, which will be released Monday. Denmark led the list, followed by Sweden and Norway, with Japan and South Korea at the bottom.

Canada "has the dubious honor of being the only CDI country with an environment score which has gone down since we first calculated the CDI [in 2003]," the report said. "This reflects rising fossil fuel production and its withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol, the world's only treaty governing the emissions of heat-trapping gasses. Canada has dropped below the U.S. into bottom place on the environment component."

Canada dropped from 12th place last year and did far worse in the environmental protection category, where it ranked 27th. Every other country made progress in this area except Canada, the centre said in a report on the rankings.

View November 23, 2013 Media.K-Net article
View November 18, 2013 The Globe and Mail article
View November 18, 2013 The Globe and Mail article
View November 18, 2013 Huffington Post article
View November 12, 2013 International Energy Agency report
View Center for Global Development Commitment to Development Index 2013 page
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The Human Face of Energy East Pipeline 21 March 14

A photographer who has shot for National Geographic Traveller is setting out on a road trip along the proposed route of the TransCanada Energy East pipeline. Robert van Waarden is trying to crowdsource $10,000 to partially cover the costs of his project to put a human face on the proposed $1.2 billion project.

"There is an opportunity to tell the personal story about how people along the line feel," van Waarden says about his motivation to capture stories from a cross section of Canadians stretching from "the fisherman on Grand Manan Island to the farmer in Saskatchewan."

Energy East is a massive project proposed by TransCanada Corp. to bring 1.1 million barrels a day of western oil to eastern markets along a 4,600-kilometre pipeline. It involves converting a 40 year old existing gas pipeline, the development of 72 new pumping stations along the route and new pipelines to connect oil sands in Alberta to Quebec City and then on to St. John, N.B.

"The oil sands are already Canada's fastest-growing source of carbon pollution and the Energy East pipeline would help to accelerate production. Any regulatory review should include not only the impact of the pipeline itself, but also the impact of producing the crude that would flow through it." (Clare Demerse, Federal Policy Director, Pembina Institute)

View March 19, 2014 DeSmog Canada article
View February 6, 2014 Pembina Institute media release
View August 7, 2013 DeSmog Canada article
View Along the Pipeline Indiegogo page
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World Water Day 2014 21 March 14

World Water day is Saturday, March 22 2014 – a day we can reflect how important water is to everyday life, what we can do to better manage it, and how to raise awareness of water-related problems afflicting people and environments. Water, the most primary and universal requirement for life, ironically seems to take a backseat in the quest for 'development' and 'progress'. Our unsustainable habits take their toll on life across the globe, and will continue until we change our fundamental approach to life-giving water.

The theme for the United Nations World Water Day 2014 is water and energy – a theme that hits home for Manitobans. The upcoming public hearings about regulation of Lake Winnipeg, and the current and expanding hydroelectric infrastructure on the Nelson River in northern Manitoba, are examples of developments that affect Manitoba's vast freshwater system. Manitobans have the responsibility, as the lucky stewards of this immense watershed, to educate themselves about risks to their waters, to voice their concerns to regulatory and governmental bodies, and to bring about positive change for the future.

View United Nations Water World Water Day 2014 page
View Walter & Duncan Gordon Foundation Cold Amazon: The Mackenzie River Basin page
View The Council of Canadians World Water Day page
View United Nations' World Water Day YouTube Channel
Source: United Nations Water
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EU Parliament Calls for High Arctic Sanctuary 21 March 14

On March 12, 2014, the European Parliament passed a resolution encouraging more regulatory environmental protection for the fragile high Arctic ecosystem. The resolution a growing international movement of creating an environmental sanctuary around the North Pole; a crusade spearheaded by Greenpeace. This step towards protecting the Arctic against increasing pressure from international industries and developers is complemented by Finland's support of a permanently protected 2.8 million square kilometer Arctic Sanctuary.

International regulatory protection of the high Arctic would result in preservation of innumerable species of fish, marine mammals, and threatened Arctic iconic species such as polar bears and barren ground caribou. Establishing appropriate regulatory mechanisms to control environmental degradation caused by fishing fleets, mining and oil companies would be necessary under the European Union Arctic Strategy.

To properly implement such a groundbreaking strategy, all countries sharing Arctic territory must agree to commit – something that has yet to happen.

"As the European Union sets an impressive precedent for Arctic protection, Canada continues to push forward its pro-business and pro-oil agenda as chair of the Arctic Council," said Greenpeace Canada spokesperson Farrah Khan in a March 12 news release. "To successfully prevent devastating oil spills and the depletion of fish stocks that could destroy the livelihoods of millions, measures such as those proposed by the European Parliament need to be reflected in Canadian law as well as the laws of all Arctic states."

View March 14, 2014 The Maritime Executive article
View March 13, 2014 Nunatsiaq Online article
View March 12, 2014 Greenpeace article
Source: Nunatsiaq Online
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The Great Green Wall Initiative 21 March 14

Climate change and poor land use management have resulted in disastrous land degradation across northern Africa. Countries in the Sahel-Sahara region including Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Chad, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Senegal have united under the 'Great Green Wall Initiative' to restore native plant and animal life to their environments.

A joint effort to reverse food insecurity, over farming and overgrazing is underway, and attempts to mitigate the effects of climate change and extreme weather are in the making. The effects of land degradation are most severe in Sub-Saharan Africa, where roughly 500 million people are trying to make a living from land subjected to increasing desertification – a process where extreme nutrient loss in soil results in a desert-like wasteland.

Jean-Marc Sinnassamy, senior environmental specialist with the Global Environment Facility (GEF), looks at this union of countries as a unique opportunity to unite governments on a strong political base. Sinnassamy stated, "Here, we saw political leaders, heads of state, ministers in different countries wanting to work on common environmental issues and wanting to tackle land degradation issues together."

View Global Environment Facility The Great Green Wall page
View Wikipedia Great Green Wall page
View November 4, 2013 National Geographic article
View December 16, 2013 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations article
Source: Global Environment Facility
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Ontario Bear Hunt May Reopen 14 March 14

In the face of a provincial election where every decision could gain or lose votes, Ontario's Liberal Government may reopen the spring bear hunt for a two-year 'trial' period. Political parties are debating the bear hunt due to the divide that exists between northern and southern Ontario voters. The bears, which occur almost exclusively in the north of the province, were hunted in the springtime until 1999, when Conservative premier Mike Harris cancelled the spring bear hunt.

However, over the last 15 years, the increase in the number of 'nuisance' bear sightings has brought this issue back. A trap and relocate program initiated by the Ontario government to deal with problem bears coming into contact with humans had a 70% success rate, however this program ended in 2012. The spring hunt is proposed as being a financially beneficial solution to the 'nuisance' bear problem. Scientific studies argue reopening the hunt will not make any substantial difference in preventing bears from approaching human.

The government of Manitoba allows both spring and fall season to be open to black bear hunting, with a limit of one adult bear per person per year. Female bears with cubs cannot be killed at any time of the year.

View March 7, 2014 Toronto Star article
View February 25, 2014 The Globe and Mail article
View November 14, 2013 CBC News article
View Manitoba Government Black Bear Hunting page
Sign Ontario Minister of Natural Resources: Do Not Re-Institute the Spring Bear Hunt petition
Source: Toronto Star
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New Ozone-Destroying Gases Discovered 14 March 14

A "very worrying" discovery of four new ozone-destroying gases have left University of East Anglia scientists concerned about potential global implications. Their publication in Nature Geoscience compared current air samples with air samples from archival "polar firm" snow in Greenland. This comparison led to the identification and discovery of three new chlorofluorocarbon gases (CFCs) and one hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) gas. Two of the four gases were found to be significantly increasing in concentration.

"The three CFCs are being destroyed very slowly in the atmosphere – so even if emissions were to stop immediately, they will still be around for many decades to come", stated lead author Dr. Johannes Laube from UEA's School of Environmental Sciences.

Studies lead the scientists to predict that roughly 74,000 tonnes of all four chemicals combined were released before 2012 and were not present in the atmosphere before the 1960's. This leads to the assumption the chemicals are manmade. The sources of the chemicals have not yet been identified.

"We don't know where the new gases are being emitted from and this should be investigated. Possible sources include feedstock chemicals for insecticide production and solvents for cleaning electronic components." said Dr. Laube.

View March 10, 2014 Common Dreams article
View March 10, 2014 The Economic Times article
View March 10, 2014 Discovery News article
View March 9, 2014 Reuters article
Source: Common Dreams
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Manitoba Wildlands2002-2012