The Local Climate – Lights Out

Hurricane Dorian struck down a great many power lines this past September, including the one which electrified my house, saddling me with the indignity of a small generator while some neighbours had to abandon their homes altogether, seeking warmth and water where the grid hadn’t yet failed. This was the case for hundreds of thousands...

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The Local Climate – Bison Blunder

Newfoundland once qualified as a “remote island,” its ecosystem forming more or less free of the continent, largely lacking in mammals and catering heavily to birds and marine life. In the absence of predators these animals of wing and fin flourished, giving rise to the feathered kingdom described by some of our earliest explorers. But...

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The Local Climate – Radical Environmentalists

In a recent Canadian Press article, an interviewee blamed “radical environmental groups” for a downturn in the number of new oil wells being drilled this year across Canada, and sluggish overall growth for fossil fuels. The quote stuck with me. I’m more disappointed than angered by this sentiment. I’ve been accused of radicalism, idiocy and...

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The Local Climate – Other Side of the Coin

Put simply, conservation works. When government takes the time to understand a species’ decline and cooperate with local NGOs to enact timely and meaningful change, the most at-risk species under their purview recover. Go figure. A 2005 review of the Endangered Species Act, for example, established in the United States in 1973, estimated that an...

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The Local Climate: A Squirrel Diet

To recap, I wrote a column this spring expounding on the climatic consequences of eating meat and dairy, and shamelessly promoted veganism. In it I quoted a landmark study published last year in the journal Science, concluding that, while meat and dairy only provide 18 per cent of the world’s calories and 37 per cent...

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The Local Climate: Forest for the Trees

The Boreal covers something like 60 per cent of Canada’s landmass, dominated by spruce, aspen, larch and pine, among others. It stretches from Alaska to Newfoundland, and houses the majority of the species which define Canadian wilderness, such as bear, moose, wolf and caribou. Sometimes called the Songbird Nursery of North America, it’s where 1-3...

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Collision of Worlds

Invasive species are a problem with no easy solution, and, in my experience, are so often misunderstood by the general public, so if you’ll bear with me, I’ll start from the top. We live in a time of unprecedented biodiversity, so much so that we clever apes have failed to identify even half of this...

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Money and Morality

I probably won’t say anything here you don’t already know in your bones, but here goes – the banks of the world financing fossil fuels has been climatically imprudent for sometime, and is now officially immoral. A huge amount of our energy mix still comes from fossil fuels (including the gasoline which took me to...

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Look both ways before buying a car

In a recent column I expounded on the encouraging fact that Canada’s electrical grid derives 67 per cent of its juice from renewable sources, chiefly hydroelectric, wind and solar in descending order. If you include nuclear, which is carbon free though not renewable, the number jumps to 82 per cent. This is our nation’s single...

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The Local Climate – Green Collar

We often talk in terms of expunging fossil fuels from our energy diet, which can frame the discussion in a negative and at times contentious light. More often we should be talking in terms of adding clean energy, and acknowledge the otherworldly progress it’s made without anyone noticing. While the rest of us have been...

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