alternative pesticides

Mega Loads and Bug Fungus

This week on Terra Informa we go from Mega Loads to mini pesticides, and a round up of the week’s biggest Canadian environmental news stories. Myles Curry talks to Northern Rockies Rising Tide  about the transportation of Tarsands MegaLoads through pristine wilderness on sketchy roads. Rebekah Rooney brings us a science short on the use of a peculiar fungus as an alternative insecticide. And of course we start the show off with our weekly examination of Canada’s environmental news headlines.


Community Resistance to the Tarsands Mega Loads

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Environmental News

In Alberta an army of 600 workers has been deployed to prevent the spread of the mountain pine beetle. The Alberta Government is spending 15 million dollars on the effort, aims to cut and burn trees already infested in an effort to kill larvae.

Vancouver Sun, Whitecourt Star

Vancouverites will be banned from throwing kitchen scraps in the trash at the end of next year, organic waste will be diverted to composting facilities by way of separate green bins for each household. Most metro Vancouver cities plan to cut garbage collection to once every  two weeks, with organic waste collection every week.

Vancouver Sun, BC Local News

In Toronto, a team of scientists has published compelling evidence for a link between man made global warming and an increase in heavy rainfall. A second study from the UK, also published this week corroborates the Canadian scientist’s findings. They found that recent increases in dramatic deluges cannot be explained by natural fluctuations alone and that the probability of heavy downpours grew by 7 percent in the second half of the twentieth century and the chance of large floods doubled under the human influenced model.

Washington Post, Scientific America, Time blogs

In Quebec, the provincial government has signed a draft accord on investment and development of the mining industry with the Government of India, the accord covers the mining of asbestos. Critics have accused Quebec of exporting a product unacceptable to Canadians for the sake of rejuvenating an old mine and the jobs it brings. A group of investors has asked the Quebec government for a guaranteed loan of 57 million dollars to expand the mine and boost production for export.

AOL News, Rediff

The controversial seal hunt began last week. Animal rights activists have vowed to document and photograph the hunt in detail, and use the photos in their campaign in Europe against Canada’s seal products. A group of European countries has already slapped a ban on such products from Canada, prompting the federal fisheries minister Gail Shea to announce that Ottawa will be seeking intervention against the ban from the World Trade Organisation.

The Globe and Mail, Montreal Gazette, CBC

Local Campaigns: Tarsands Mega Loads

Correspondent Myles Curry brings us another edition of Local campaigns this week, but its local defined in a new way. In this edition Myles talks to a organizer in the American North West who is mobilizing communities against, and bringing media attention to a not so well known extension of the tarsands- the Tar sands Mega Loads. For more on what the mega-loads are, how they connect to the tarsands and what communities are doing in resistance, here is Myles with this weeks edition of Local Campaigns.

Northern Rockies Rising Tide

Science Short: Insect Fungus

You might think an insect is a pretty strange substrate for fungus to grow on, and you might have a pretty hard time imagining what that could have to do with the environment.  Arthropods are the preferred host for the parasitic fungus Beauveria bassiana, and scientists have worked out how to use it as a biocontrol agent on insect pests.  Scientists like Sunil Rajput, a former graduate student from U of Alberta’s Department of Biological Sciences.  His research focused on a fungus’s potential as an alternative to chemical insecticides in pest management in greenhouses.  Correspondent Rebecca Rooney asked him about his research findings and filed this Science Short report.