Local activists have launched TheWildConnection.ca a campaign to protect the corridor along Highway 31 A between Kaslo and New Denver from intensive recreational development. We talk to veteran activist KL Kivi and Nicky Blackshaw about their bold new initiative.
Back on December 18th, Nelson City Council approved the Nelson Next proposal for battling the climate crisis and reaching emission targets. It’s got some exciting and bold features to it… but is still evolving. The City’s Climate Change Coordinator Kate Letizia is coming on to tell us about Nelson Next.
We have some, a few environmental events and some tasty online options to peruse and we’ll have some music, and finish off like always with our weekly Environmental News bits.
Listen to the show or download here:
Environment News for Jan 5 2021
On Dec. 17, Canada’s Oceans and Fisheries Minister announced 19 fish farms in the Discovery Islands, northeast of Vancouver Island, must close by June 30, 2022. The farms will also be allowed new fish to farms in the area.
The minister said the decision was largely the result of consultations with the region’s seven First Nations, which had overwhelmingly expressed concern about the operations in their traditional territories.
The Discovery Islands farms are located along key migration routes for juvenile wild salmon and critics charged the operations posed threats to wild fish stocks. Sea lice infections were said to be coating juvenile salmon as they headed from the Salish Sea to the open ocean.
Mowi Canada West is the largest aquaculture operator in the region. It owns 13 of the area’s salmon farms, and nine were empty of fish when the decision came down.
Ottawa announced $60 million to protect Canada’s largest national park after the UN warned it would be added to a list of World Heritage sites in danger due to industrial impacts from hydro development and the Alberta oilsands
In 2014, the Mikisew Cree sent a petition to UNESCO, about the threat to Wood Buffalo National Park. After the resultant monitoring a 2017 UN report was highly critical of Canada’s failure to protect one of the world’s largest freshwater deltas. The report called for “major and timely” and to work more closely with First Nations to improve monitoring of the delta and do an assessment of the oilsands’ leaking tailings ponds.
The 44,000-square-kilometre park is home to one of the largest free-roaming wood bison herds in the world and the last remaining nesting ground of the endangered whooping crane. The flood plain is suffering from dropping water levels in the Peace-Athabasca Delta and deterioration linked to climate change, hydro dams on the Peace River and pollution from the oilsands.
Only two cycles (eight years) ago, the Fraser River had a sockeye return of over 2 million. The 2020 return will be less than 300,000, a third of the already low pre-season forecast of just over 900,000.
Sockeye returns for the Nass River did not allow for anything but some Nisga’a food fisheries. The Skeena also had a smaller run. Most First Nations had some access to sockeye for food, but there were no fish available for the marine fishery.
Sockeye, pink, coho, and chum returns on the north and central coast were insufficient to support fisheries and there are many reports of poor spawning in key wild salmon streams.
The decline in BC’s salmon over the past 40 years, the worst being this year’s return, is a slow moving environmental disaster much like the collapse of the East Coast cod fishery almost thirty years ago. Again, governments are making short-term political choices to benefit industries when science calls for more conservation.
Twenty-year-old Jamie Hunter of Nelson has been named one of the top 25 youth environmental activists in the country by The Starfish, a national youth-led organization that supports young activists.
Jamie told the Nelson Star he was surprised to be selected.
“I’m not sure exactly what made them pick me,” he said.
Jamie Hunter, a frequent guest on The EcoCentric, is a co-founder of the Nelson chapter of Fridays for Future and Stop Ecocide Canada. Stop EcoCide is part of the global campaign “make large-scale and systematic destruction of nature” an international crime.
The Canadian chapter of Stop Ecocide is attempting to get the support of the federal government, one MP at a time. Jamie Hunter has met with MPs from all parties and he thinks a private members bill is in the works.
A factory worker from India, a sheep farmer from New Zealand, and a bus driver from the UK could end up working side by side on the best approaches to solving the climate crisis, if they’re among the 1,000 people chosen at random to take part in a first-ever global citizens’ assembly leading up to next year’s United Nations climate conference in Glasgow.
One organizer is calling the UN-sanctioned effort the “biggest experiment in global democracy ever attempted”.
The Citizens Assembly is slated to rubn over several months following a lottery in spring or early summer. The organizers want to involve millions of people around the world in local and national events.
The project website lays out a five-point plan: understanding the reality of the current global situation, prioritizing hopes for life in 2040, agreeing on actions that match the future citizens want, generating action plans, and launching into action during a “‘moment’ when the eyes of the world are on the citizen plans”.
The city of Montreal has released a 10-year climate plan to cut emissions by 55% from 1990 levels by 2030. Environmental groups like Équiterre say the plan is a “very pragmatic and serious” effort based in climate science.
Montreal’s 122-page plan contains 46 concrete commitments to get to the 55% reduction. Making buildings more energy-efficient and reducing the local heat island effect by planting 500,000 trees and establishing Canada’s first zero-emission zone in a downtown core.
With 30% of the city’s annual emissions attributable to fossil fuel-powered vehicles, greening transportation is central to the plan. It will boost transit usage partly with a new 67-kilometre automated light-rail network starting in 2022 and encouraging uptake of electric vehicles.
The City also says it will set out to encourage greening and densification, and establish “bylaws and supporting programs to increase the energy efficiency and resilience of all types of buildings.” Also in the works: the implementation of a system of “rating and disclosure” to help large buildings track energy consumption and emissions, and programs to convert “100% of municipal building stock operations to zero carbon.”
Mayor Valérie Plante noted that the suffering imposed by the pandemic has also “highlighted the importance of having a resilient city on a human scale.” To that end, she said, her city plans to nurture a “green and inclusive” recovery.
Joe Biden has nominated one of Monsanto’s best allies to head the US Department of Agriculture.
Tom Vilsack served for eight years under President Obama and was given the nickname “Mr. Monsanto”. He approved more new genetically modified organisms than any Agriculture Secretary in history.
Some of these include:
• Ethanol-only corn. Unsuitable for human or animal consumption, Syngenta’s ethanol corn has the potential to destroy the genome of edible corn where cross contamination occurs.
• Innate potatoes. The former Monsanto scientist who invented this “RNA interference” GMO exposed the dangers of his work four years after Vilsack approved it. He found an accumulation of toxins in the potatoes, and even scarier, he found their double-stranded RNA enters the human bloodstream, where it can influence our own cell function.
• Arctic Apples. These ever-green apples don’t turn brown when they bruise or start to rot, and even retain their bright green pigment when they are juiced. These GMOs were also created using RNA interference technology.
Pollution from car tires that washes into waterways is helping cause a mass die-off of salmon on the US west coast, researchers have found.
In recent years, scientists have realized half or more of the coho salmon, also known as silver salmon, returning to streams in Washington state were dying before spawning.
The cause of the die-off has remained a mystery but a new study, published in Science, has seemingly found a culprit. When it rains, stormwater carries fragments of old car tires into nearby creeks and streams. The tires contain certain chemicals that prevent them breaking down but also prove deadly to the coho salmon.