Little Bighorn, MT -- Some say George Custer died for the White Man's sins. What I hadn't heard before was that Sitting Bull, the great Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux chief and author of victory at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, had later died because of Canada's sins. Yet this seemed to be what the National Park Service Ranger, a former high school history teacher and adjunct university professor, appeared to be telling us as we sat listening in the shadow of Last Stand Hill.
When he concluded I approached, said I was from Ontario...and asked what exactly he had meant.
"The truth is, Canada did not really want Sitting Bull and his people on their side of the border," was the reply. "There were too few buffalo to sustain life, the Canadian government withheld food rations and the Sioux were essentially starved out."
But did this mean Canada killed Sitting Bull?
He offered a wan smile. "Well, to be honest, that's just conjecture. The fact is Sitting Bull was killed in 1890 at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in South Dakota by an Indian policeman attempting to arrest him. You could therefore argue that, had he been allowed to stay in Canada, he would have escaped that fate."
This did not fit my view of Canada as a kinder, gentler place when it came to relations with First Nations or, for that matter, refugees.
Virginia Tech researchers are gathering valuable information about the impact of pesticide exposure on honey bee colony health in Virginia, helping both the apicultural and agricultural industries to reduce the loss of managed bee colonies.
Corporate politics is business as usual inside the United States, as I am once again shocked to report the EPA has sided with industry lobbyists over public health in approving a highly dangerous pesticide that the European Union recently decided to ban over fears of environmental devastation.
In May 2010, the temperature in Pakistan soared to more than 128 degrees – the hottest temperature ever recorded in Asia. Just a few months later, extreme monsoons left more than a fifth of the country underwater. Around the same time, Russian authorities declared the worst heat wave in 1,000 years; tens of thousands died as heat and smoke from wildfires overwhelmed Moscow.
Floods, droughts and heat records grab headlines, but it can be hard to know what they mean. We've all heard that while climate change makes extreme weather more likely, it's difficult to tie any particular weather event directly to climate change. When it comes to weather, a certain amount of out-of-the-ordinary is ordinary. So how do we know when extreme weather is the result of natural variations and when it's a sign of something more?
We can't live without birds. Beyond being fascinating and beautiful, they play a crucial role in keeping the world habitable for all life, including people. They disperse seeds, pollinate plants, control insects, provide food and are indicators of the overall health of ecosystems. They also create recreational and economic opportunities, through the immense popularity of birdwatching.
So we should be concerned about the findings of the report, "State of the world's birds: indicators for our changing world": One in eight -- or 1,313 -- species of Earth's birds is in danger of disappearing.
"The status of the world's birds is deteriorating, with species slipping ever faster towards extinction," notes the assessment by Birdlife International, a global partnership of conservation organizations. This represents rapid acceleration of a troubling trend: 151 bird species are believed to have gone extinct since 1500.
Two honeybee colonies — made up of nearly 50,000 pollinators — now live on the roof of the Fisher's Landing New Seasons Market, part of the regional chain's new "Bee Part of the Solution" campaign. The company did the same in April at its store in Happy Valley, Ore.
The goal is not only to provide the bees with a safe place to raise their brood and make honey, but spark further dialogue on the precarious plight of the important insects. By next spring, the rooftop bees' ranks could grow to more than 120,000.
The Portland beekeeper who was hired to help kick-start the campaign said it might just raise awareness about dwindling bee populations and ongoing threats to their survival, such as pesticides, parasites and disease.
"A piece like this is a great way to start that conversation," said Damian Magista, owner of honey company Bee Local.
Salmon farming linked to devastating virus. Shouldn't the CFIA be on top of this?
Burying bad news
When Dr. Fred Kibenge's lab at the University of PEI found that British Columbia's salmon were testing positive for a potentially devastating virus linked to salmon farming worldwide, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) responded by asking the Office of International Epizootics (OIE) to strip Kibenge's lab of its international certification.
“Dr. Kibenge had the temerity to announce positive test results and the result is his lab is being analyzed by you … I suggest to you that the federal government is going to try and take away his OIE certification as a punishment for this…I predict within the next 12 months Canada will go after his credibility; isn't that right?”
-Lawyer Greg McDade, questioning CFIA and DFO during the Cohen Commission hearings
Greg McDade was right, but how did he foresee this? Has McDade just been around the game long enough to know how these things work? When McDade predicted that the CFIA would do exactly this back in December 2011 during the Cohen Commission’s hearings on the ISA virus, no one took much notice, but in hindsight his prediction was dead on.
The advent of farming was a key moment in human history. By intensively exploiting the surrounding land early farmers could gather enough food to stay in one place all year round, allowing large permanent cities to develop. The large quantity of food produced also meant that not everybody had to spend all their time working the fields. Some could specialise as craftsmen and learn the skills needed to develop new and better technology. Nearly every subsequent invention is a result of experts being able to innovate rather than work the fields.
The United Nation’s highest court begins hearings on Japanese whaling in the Antarctic. Australia has taken the matter to the International Court of Justice in a last ditch attempt to save the mammals from extinction.
Albert Einstein said “If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.”
Why? Einstein said this because the survival of human beings and honey bees is intimately interconnected. According to National Geographic, a full 1/3 of the food in our grocery stores is created with the help of pollinators, most of which are bees. Every time you eat a slice of apple pie, cut up a tomato for a salad or drop a slice of lime into your drink, you are enjoying a produce item that would quickly go extinct if bees disappeared from the farms and gardens of the world. And agriculture would not be the only area to suffer from a shortage of pollinators. Honey bees are also a key factor in the procreation of native plant and flower pollutions throughout the world, which, in turn, support entire ecosystems.
Team ASUNM, a collaborative effort between Arizona State University and University of New Mexico, has come together to address the inefficiencies of urban sprawl and to create a model for sustainable desert living, dubbed SHADE (Solar Home Adapting for Desert Equilibrium), which is an entry in the Solar Decathlon 2013 competition that takes place on October 3-13, 2013 in Irvine, California.
Using external vertical screens and a solar canopy for shade, the SHADE home experiences a stable, consistent temperature with the use of a radiant cooling system used alongside an air cooling unit. Team ASUNM is exploring the residential application of thermal storage to chill water at night to create ice that cools a glycol solution during the day.
The deep seas are taking in more heat than expected, which is taking some of the warming off the Earth’s surface, but it will not do so forever.
Despite mixed signals from warming ocean surface waters, a new re-analysis of data from the depths suggests dramatic warming of the deep sea is underway because of anthropogenic climate change. The scientists report that the deep seas are taking in more heat than expected, which is taking some of the warming off the Earth’s surface, but it will not do so forever.
"Some of the heat (from human-caused global warming) is going into melting sea ice and heating the surface, but the bulk is going into the oceans,” said climate researcher Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, a coauthor on a new research paper reporting on the deep ocean warming in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Ape conservation is important because apes' culture is so similar to ours. Read about ape culture and conservation at Animal Planet.
I'm sitting on a grassy hillside, surrounded by 20 close relatives. No, it's not a family picnic. I'm in the East African nation of Tanzania, and I am watching an extended family of wild chimpanzees. As I sit quietly taking notes and shooting video, the chimpanzees go about their day. Three males sit side by side grooming one another, their long fingers combing through one another's black hair. A mother lies on her back, using her legs to dangle her infant above her. A few yards away, several females groom the alpha (top-ranking) male, whom researchers have named Frodo. Frodo has ruled this family group for three years. He has successfully fought off several challenges to his leadership, although some day another male chimpanzee will likely overthrow him.
Suddenly we hear a pant-hoot—a loud, wailing call—from the next valley. Everyone in the group leaps up and replies with the same call. Another group of chimpanzees is announcing its approach. When the newcomers arrive, they exchange excited greetings with members of the first group before settling down to more grooming.
Over the past decade, beekeepers, farmers and scientists have been tracking the collapse of honeybee colonies.
Beekeeper John Van Blyderveen is troubled by the silence in his laneway in Ontario's Oxford County.
The familiar summertime buzz of bees hovering over the lush cherry blossom trees is noticeably absent. The flowers sit untouched.
"This is extremely unusual for this being a bee farm, there are no bees here," Van Blyderveen says. "This is really sad."
This increasingly familiar scene, which is playing out across North America and Europe, worries beekeepers, farmers and scientists who have been tracking the collapse of honeybee colonies over the past decade.
Hetch Hetchy Valley, far from being a plain, common, rock-bound meadow, as many who have not seen it seem to suppose, is a grand landscape garden, one of Nature’s rarest and most precious mountain temples. As in Yosemite, the sublime rocks of its walls seem to glow with life, whether leaning back in repose or standing erect in thoughtful attitudes, giving welcome to storms and calms alike, their brows in the sky, their feet set in the groves and gay flowery meadows, while birds, bees, and butterflies help the river and waterfalls to stir all the air into music—things frail and fleeting and types of permanence meeting here and blending, just as they do in Yosemite, to draw her lovers into close and confiding communion with her.
Did you know that more than 6,000 additives and chemicals are used by food manufacturers to process and produce our food? Today’s conventional food system is heavily dependent on toxic chemicals and synthetic inputs that pose threats to our health – especially children’s. Check out our infographic to learn more about what we’re feeding our children and the health risks associated with some of their favorite foods.
Sustainable oyster farmers have turned Brazil's Bay of Guaratuba into a model of eco-friendly food production. They are producing some of the tastiest oysters in the world and educating locals about how to be green.
Fifty years after Germany began using nuclear power, the country is once again looking for a suitable nuclear waste storage facility. Search priorities include transparency, safety and scientific criteria.