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2012-08-30  |  John Bennett

By John Bennett and Paul Beckwith

I'm sharing my space this week with climatologist Paul Beckwith because an enormous cyclone blew over the North Pole all this month - an event that has kept scientists around the world up at night.

It’s very rare for there to be such a storm in the summer. In the past a storm like this would arise in winter and blow snow around on top of a thick ice cover. This summer, over thinner ice, the wind creates large waves which, combined with warm temperatures of air and water, are causing havoc with a keystone of the global climate.

Arctic ice physically reflects most of the incoming solar radiation harmlessly back into space, keeping the surface temperatures cold. When water replaces the melting ice it absorbs much, much more sunlight and thus increasingly heats up the ocean and atmosphere. This extra heat melts even more ice in a vicious heat amplifying feedback cycle.

No computer models predicted...

2012-08-19  |  John Bennett

The federal government recently surprised many when Health Canada announced a $1.8 Million study on health impacts of living near wind turbines. Electricity generation and health are both largely provincial responsibilities - so this is major deviation by a government that has strictly avoided straying into areas of provincial jurisdiction.

Could the study have been prompted by the Conservative’s wish to capitalize on the unpopularity of turbines in some rural Ontario ridings, in the process helping the province’s official opposition, Tim Hudak’s Conservatives? A two-for-one. Scarce health resources being misused for clearly partisan reasons; it’s all about politics (you can read more on this in a recent blog...

2012-07-11  |  John Bennett

There are many coincidences in life. Every day - in a world with billions of things happening - there are bound to be events that just seem to be related. There are also deliberate acts that seem to be coincidence.

As consumers of news it’s our job to read between the lines and decide for ourselves what’s coincidence and what’s deliberate.

Two things happened yesterday:

1) Hundreds of lab-coated scientists marched on Parliament Hill proclaiming the death of evidence (a nice play on the Death of Innocence because there really has been a change in Ottawa where facts and figures no longer play a role in policy formulation); and

2) The Harper government announced Health Canada would study the (already well-studied) health effects of living near wind turbines.

Was it a coincidence or was it deliberate? I suspect...

2012-06-28  |  John Bennett

Finally an honest oil CEO speaks the truth on climate change. According to ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, climate change is happening, but who cares - we can adapt. So fears about climate change, drilling, and energy dependence are overblown.

He said the oil industry’s biggest challenge is "taking an illiterate public and try to help them understand why we can manage these risks." That would be me and you.

I don’t know about you, but I feel reassured. Here, I’ve been thinking all this time the oil industry didn’t believe in science or just didn’t understand.  Now the head of the biggest oil company in the world is admitting we will see floods, droughts, rising sea level and freaky powerful storms on a scale never seen before, but hey,...

2012-05-20  |  Malaika Aleba

 

On Tuesday, May 16th , my good friend Kasia Szewczyk began a cycling journey she will never forget. Departing from Barcelona, Spain,where she picked up her touring bicycle that is made from recycled parts, she commenced a 3,500-kilometre solo cycling odyssey through Europe that  will end  in Istanbul, Turkey. It is not every day that a 23- year-old forgoes regular showers, a comfortable bed, and a normal social life to set off alone across a continent; but Kasia is a woman on a mission. She has the goal of raising $10, 000 to help World Literacy Canada support women’s education and literacy programs in Uttar Praddesh, a Northern State in India where both poverty and population run high. As if her fundraising campaign is not enough, Kasia will also be giving presentations on permaculture, a system of ecological design for sustainability in all aspects of the human experience.      No stranger to traveling great distances, Kasia was...

 
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