Peat fires will become more common in Canada

CBC News / Sonya Buyting, Emily Rendell-Watson / 01 August 2020

As a result of climate change, peatlands are becoming hotter and drier, and thus more susceptible to the type of blazes we’re witnessing in Siberia.

“We now know that peatlands around the world, from the Arctic all the way to the tropics, are indeed vulnerable to wildfire,” said [ecosystem ecologist Merritt] Turetsky.

Calling peat-burning one of the most important environmental topics, Turetsky said “the Arctic literally has a fever and is literally on fire.”

Peat fires not only release CO2, but other, more potent greenhouse gases such as methane, as well as particulate matter, “which is the stuff that gets into our lungs, it can cause respiratory disease and asthma attacks,” said Turetsky.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

How to be eco-friendly in a pandemic

The Guardian / Emine Saner / 29 July 2020

With planes grounded, roads clear, emissions slashed and less noise and light pollution, at first it seemed the coronavirus pandemic might have an environmental benefit. But now the temporary respite is over and, as we venture back outside, it is clear that in other ways, things have got worse. Online shopping (with its excess packaging), disposable masks and gloves, the manufacture of visors and screens and an increase in takeaway food and drink have meant a boom in plastic just as people were starting to wake up to its environmental impact. The International Solid Waste Association estimates that single-use plastic has grown by up to 300% in the US. Some of it is necessary for now – the disposable personal protective equipment (PPE) that health and care workers use, for instance – but for the rest of us, if we are to live with this pandemic for the foreseeable future, it’s probably time to get into better habits. Here is some advice from experts.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Loss of bees causes shortage of key food crops, study finds

The Guardian / Oliver Milman / 29 July 2020

A lack of bees in agricultural areas is limiting the supply of some food crops, a new US-based study has found, suggesting that declines in the pollinators may have serious ramifications for global food security.

Species of wild bees, such as bumblebees, are suffering from a loss of flowering habitat, the use of toxic pesticides and, increasingly, the climate crisis. Managed honeybees, meanwhile, are tended to by beekeepers, but have still been assailed by disease, leading to concerns that the three-quarters of the world’s food crops dependent upon pollinators could falter due to a lack of bees.

The new research appears to confirm some of these fears.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Collapse: a helpful guide for the perplexed

Small Farm Future / 27 July 2020

I won’t attempt anything but a cursory description of the literature analysing potential collapse, though I’d be interested to hear other people’s suggestions for worthy contributions to it. Inevitably, that literature varies from the learned to the loopy. One of the cornerstones of collapse literature in modern times has been the Limits to Growth report emerging from researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and first published in 1972. Despite its academic pedigree, critics have long sought to position the report as more loopy than learned, but with increasing difficulty over the years as actual trends have pretty much tracked the ones modelled by the LTG authors (see this, for example, or this). Meanwhile, various new currents of thinking have emerged around energy, climate and economic futures that take forward the ‘business as usual is not an option’ package of LTG.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Lanark County moves forward with Climate Action Plan

Lanark County / Media Release / 27 July 2020

Since adopting its Climate Action Plan in January 2020, Lanark County has taken some decisive actions towards achieving goals for sustainability.

Protecting and enhancing the natural environment is a core strategy in the county’s 2005 Strategic Plan, and council established “climate and environment” as one of its top five priorities for this term.

“We need a holistic approach with a multitude of strategies in order to reach a level of sustainability in our county,” explains CAO Kurt Greaves. “Climate change and environmental degradation are defining challenges of our time.”

A work plan outline set goals for this year and includes strategies related to grant research and applications, homes, forests and farms, industry, waste diversion, transportation, municipal buildings, and public engagement. A number of actions are already underway.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Media brief: Geothermal energy and its potential in Canada

Clean Energy Canada / 26 July 2020

As Canada navigates the energy transition, a spectrum of zero-emission energy sources will be increasingly needed. Many parts of Canada are home to the natural conditions required for the extraction of geothermal energy, specifically in parts of Western Canada. It is also home to many workers with expertise in oil and gas extraction—a skillset that could also be applied to the geothermal industry. However, the geothermal industry is less developed in Canada than in comparable countries around the world.

Geothermal developments extract naturally-occurring underground energy in the form of heat to generate power and/or to heat nearby infrastructure. While wind and solar energy are variably-producing (daylight and weather conditions vary), geothermal is able to constantly produce near zero-emission, renewable energy, making it potentially useful complementary resource where feasible. It is also a near emissions-free source of heat and so presents advantages in Canada’s cooler climate.

This media brief explores the global geothermal picture, how Canada fits in, and some of the projects currently underway in Canada.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

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The Transition Framework

Transition initiatives share many of the same goals as other groups, and work collaboratively with a variety of organizations in their local areas. Transition differs in that it focuses specifically on preparing communities for the changes associated with unprecedented resource depletion and transitioning away from fossil-fuel dependency.

— Transition U.S.
TB Projects

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