Bike-Powered Compost Pickup and the State of the Great Lakes
On this week’s show we find out how Pedal to Petal combines composting and business in a unique way. Then we talk to Lake Ontario Waterkeeper about the state of the world’s largest system of freshwater lakes.
Satellite image of the Great Lakes, from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.
Pedal to Petal: A Bike-Powered Compost Pick-Up Company
Fall is coming for most of us, but one business in Victoria pedals hard all year long. Earlier this year, Terra Informa caught up with Pedal to Petal, Victoria’s Bicycle Powered Compost Pickup Company. They describe themselves as “a permaculture-based collective of bicycle loving food security activists who are taking direct action to reduce carbon emissions and landfill waste and to feed the soil and the city’s hungry”. They do this through a bike-powered kitchen scrap pick-up service, building edible landscapes, and composting. Here’s Trevor Van Hemert of Pedal to Petal speaking to Kathryn Lennon about their “ground-breaking” compost set-up and how to run a business that thinks outside the box.
On September 7th, the Canadian and US governments renewed their commitments to cleaning up Canada’s fresh water bodies by amending the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. This new plan expands the scope of concern to include issues like impact of climate change, and the protection of lake species and habitats. To get a better sense of the problems currently facing the Great Lakes, we contacted Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, a charity that’s working to help make the lakes safer, cleaner, and healthier for the public. Hamdi Issawi speaks to Vice President of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, Krystyn Tully, on the state of the Great Lakes.
It’s been a burning issue for years, but Quebec’s asbestos industry is finally ending. Newly-elected Parti Quebecois Premier Pauline Marois called asbestos mining an “industry from another era” during the recent election. Her party has promised to cancel a $58 million loan that would have helped re-open the Jeffrey mine, and use the money to help diversify the area’s economy. Epidemiologists have been extremely critical of Canada’s export of chrysotile asbestos to countries in the global south like India and Thailand. The World Health Organization estimates that around 100 000 people die every year from asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma and lung cancer. The federal government has announced it will now stop blocking international efforts to list chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous material. The Parti Quebecois also supported the asbestos industry before it lost power to Quebec’s Liberal party in 2003.
Canada Draws International Criticism for Cuts to Ozone Monitoring
On September 16th, the world celebrated the 25th anniversary of a landmark ozone layer treaty, but atmospheric scientists from around the world had harsh words for Canada’s cuts to ozone monitoring. Canada has been critical in implementing the Montreal Protocol. It was signed in 1987 to stop ozone layer depletion from chemicals like CFCs in fridges and aerosol sprays. Over the past year though, the federal government has cut funding to monitoring sites like Nunavut’s PEARL research station. Dalhousie atmospheric researcher Tom Duck told the Toronto Star that because Canada has been collecting such important data across the Arctic, the cuts have been “devastating for the whole field”.
Environment Canada also confirmed this week that it is replacing scientists in charge of the World Ozone and Ultraviolet Data Centre with IT experts. Mark Weber, an atmospheric scientist from Germany’s University of Bremen, told Postmedia that the new leader is “not sufficiently qualified for doing such a job”.
They say when the rain falls, it doesn’t fall on one man’s house. But Tropical Storm Leslie’s winds and thunderstorms didn’t rock the Atlantic provinces equally last week. Newfoundland Power crews were clearing away fallen trees and power lines the morning after the storm, after about 5000 homes lost power. But communities there were reportedly spared much of the flooding that hit towns in Nova Scotia. Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale chalked that up to better investment from all levels of government in infrastructure like roads and culverts in her province. A Federation of Candian Municipalities report this September said about one third of Canada’s infrastructure urgently needs repair.
Shell’s Jackpine Mine Expansion to Exceed Emissions Cap
You may recall Alberta Environment Minister Diana McQueen recently came on Terra Informa to talk about the pollution limits in the new land use plan for the Lower Athabasca oil sands region. Well, less than two weeks after those limits were announced, Shell has predicted it will exceed them. Shell has filed documents with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency that predicts its Jackpine mine expansion will push sulphur dioxide levels over the new regional cap. A spokesperson for Alberta Environment said the models Shell used deliberately overestimate emissions to help the government set appropriate pollution controls on the plants.
PARK(ing) Day is an annual worldwide event where artists, designers and citizens transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks. Participants transform parking spaces into places for people to congregate. This year, Winnipeg-based planners, landscape architects, designers, and organizations will transform parking spots in the downtown area. Wander around the temporary parks for free all day long!
In the US, 50% to 60% of frogs are malformed probably because of chemical contamination. How can we avoid the same fate in Alberta? Brian Eaton is a herpetologist working with Alberta Innovates. In this talk, he discusses the benefits of his work as to industrial development, forestry regulations, wetland assessments and tar sands development.