What we need from nature

Nature means many things to many people, some of us drawn to the cascading rhythm of beaches or rocky shorelines, others to the quiet dignity of ancient forests, others still to public gardens and the ornateness of urban green space. While some people seek out these places very intentionally, I dare say the majority of...

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Dorian

I knew it was coming.. .the sudden darkness and interior silence which marks the loss of power. I filled my bath tub and several containers with drinking water, gathered firewood and prepared a store of canned food days in advance. That hurricane (tropical storm) Dorian would spare my local power lines never occurred to me,...

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Sanity and other things lacking

The harm we’ve done our atmosphere is one of the most thoroughly studied phenomena in human history, the subject of international scientific inquiry and consensus for decades now. The same ironclad scientific methodology which allowed us to reach the moon, land rovers on Mars, exchange our thoughts by way of smartphones and internet, split the...

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Renewable Revolution

In the space of a few years around 2010 something wonderful happened, permanently altering our electrical landscape and bringing a sustainable future within the grasp of even us humble Maritimers. I’m talking about solar power, the price of which dropped a staggering 400 per cent in those aforementioned years, followed by ongoing improvements in output...

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When whales wash ashore

There is only one population of North Atlantic Right whales left on Earth, and it can be found off our coastline every summer, building the fat stores necessary for a southern winter. Were fate kinder, their skin would be a smooth, dignified black, but sharing these waters with human beings has covered them with unseemly...

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The Local Climate – Pilikan

The Pilikan House is a living lab on the Middleton campus of the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC), designed and equipped to produce as much energy as it in turn consumes, championing what the science folk call net zero housing. I was downright giddy when I arrived for a tour. “The house has the potential...

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Penguins of the North

A few weeks ago I took to the Bay of Fundy, catching a boat from Grand Manan Island to our oceanic border with the United States. In these hotly contested waters can be found a small stretch of land, Machias Seal Island, protected by the Canadian Wildlife Service as a migratory bird sanctuary for the...

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Our investment in calamity

I first became aware of climate change in 2004 when, in my teen years, comedian Rick Mercer jumped on my television to promote the One Tonne Challenge, an imperfect attempt by our federal government to place the burden of decarbonization on citizens rather than industry or leadership. The program was a short-lived failure, but was...

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Bird trouble

The Migratory Bird Convention Act (MBCA) is a fine piece of legislation, stipulating in no uncertain terms than an exhaustive list of our native birds – chiefly those who come and go with the seasons – cannot be legally killed, nor their nests lawfully destroyed. It’s an emblem of protection for those species who face...

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Uncounted costs

Open pen aquaculture has suffered a great many criticisms these past few decades, but the most damning of all was shared with me only recently by a thoughtful New Brunswick marine biologist. As she explained it, the reason open-pen aquaculture remains so profitable, is because it’s not paying all its bills. These pens, stuffed with...

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