Monday, February 27, 2006

Response Received.

Rather quickly too. Credit for that.

The harp seal population in Canada is healthy and abundant.
The population is nearly three times what it was in the
1970s. This is due, in great part, to the strict conservation
measures Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has in place,
and our commitment to the sustainable management of all seal

In Atlantic Canada there has been, and continues to be, a hunt
for harp and hooded seals. Sealing brings important economic
benefits to small communities where other opportunities may
not exist. Seals are an important natural resource, that,
when harvested in a responsible manner, provide valuable
income to thousands of Canadian sealers and their families.

In September 2002, veterinarians from the Canadian Veterinary
Medical Association (CVMA) issued a Special Report on Animal
Welfare and the Harp Seal Hunt in Atlantic Canada. Independent
observations of the seal hunt made by representatives and
veterinarians of the CVMA were reported, and compared to
observations made by the International Fund for Animal
Welfare (IFAW). The study concluded that a large majority of
seals taken during the hunt (98 per cent) are killed in an
acceptably humane manner.

The hunt of harp (whitecoat) and hooded (blueback) seal
pups has been banned in Canada since 1987. Regulations also
prohibit the trade, sale, or barter of the fur of these pups.

Management measures for the seal hunt are based on sound
conservation principles and a commitment to strong,
peer-reviewed scientific advice. Quotas are set at levels
that make the continued health and abundance of the herd the
main priority. Following extensive consultations with industry
stakeholders, a new multi-year management plan is being
developed prior to the major sealing activity in 2006.

To help ensure proper conservation, DFO will continue to
conduct at-sea surveillance and dock-side checks, monitor
quotas, check sealers for proper licences and observation
permits, as well as ensure humane hunting practices,
compliance with Marine Mammal Regulations, and the proper use
of hunting instruments.

I'll ask CVMA to confirm the above claim. If they do, I'll contact the various organizations that disregard it and ask them for their take.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

2006 Seal Hunt

I've joked in the past that knowing that Christine doesn't read this allows me to get a way with a few things. In this case, I'm truly glad she doesn't read it because this topic makes her blood boil.

Heard a guy on the radio the other say that the performance of the men's Olympic hockey team made him embarassed to be a Canadian. Yeah, okay. For me it's the annual seal hunt out east.

I've yet to hear one convincing argument in favour of it. At least one Green Party candidate in Newfoundland (though I believe there a second one later as well) withdrew from the election because she felt that the Party's stance against the hunt was not realistic, yet she never illustrated why she felt it was needed. It's not that I haven't heard the arguments, just that they don't justify the action to me. Or for that matter, justify the boycotts and the horrible perception that is created by it. And even if they did, I'm still opposed to the methods used.

The Humane Society of the United States is optimistic that recent events and measures taken will breed some results this year. I'm not so sure, but I'll be tracking it during the month and doing my little part. I've begun by writing to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and asking exactly how they do justify this. I look forward to their response.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

NASCAR Foundation

Just prior to setting off for Florida to watch the Daytona 500, I commented that it wasn't the most "green" event to support. Christine put my mind at ease somewhat when she pointed out that Nascar supports a great many charities. So I'd made a mental note to look into this at some point.

She's quite right! Take a look at their supported charities. It's a pretty significant list, most directed towards fighting illnesses and poverty, particularly among children.

Good on them, and I hope Christine enjoys the Nascar Day pin I've just sent away for on her behalf. :-)

Friday, February 24, 2006


EarthJustice. Yeah, baby. As a superhero buff, I've so got to dig that name! Makes me feel like joining will make me a part of my favourite superhero group (Alpha Flight, for the record, and for fairly obvious reasons)...

Here's how EarthJustice describe themselves:

"Earthjustice is the nonprofit law firm for the environment, representing - without charge - hundreds of public interest clients, large and small. Earthjustice works through the courts to safeguard public lands, national forests, parks, and wilderness areas; to reduce air and water pollution; to prevent toxic contamination; and to preserve endangered species and wildlife habitat."

Sounds good to me but, as previously stated, I tend to be reluctant to shell out my hard-earned bling (I sound even older when I try to talk like that...I really should stop) to charities (regardless of the heavenly tax benefits that they always sell you on when you're considering it) that I've just learned about.

So for EarthJustice, like I do with many such endeavours (Bullfrog Power, Green Party of Canada, International Fund for Animal Welfare), I decided I'd keep an eye on them. I set up a Google Alert so that whenever they made the news, I'd get a link to the story. Great little tool, that.

It took all of two days for them to show a blip on my radar screen.

"An environmental group waited too long to seek a ban on fishermen who sometimes catch birds and turtles with swordfish lines, a federal appeals court said yesterday in dismissing the case.

Upholding a lower court's ruling, three judges with the 9th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals found that EarthJustice missed a 30-day deadline to challenge the National Marine Fisheries Service for reopening commercial longlines fishing for swordfish from Hawai'i."

Dudes! Granted, whatever little coin I can provide won't make a major difference, but I'm not willing to provide it for you to be going around missing deadlines!

No doubt EarthJustice does a lot of good, and I'll continue to track them, but this wasn't a great way to make a first impression. I like the idea on paper, I just want to see a better execution.

Listening to: "Love Spreads" by the Stone Roses.

Wind-Powered Torch.

Solid move by the neighbours to the South:

ARLINGTON, Va., Feb. 21, 2006 - The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has contracted with Pepco Energy Services, a subsidiary of Pepco Holdings, Inc., to supply renewable power to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, both operated by the National Park Service.

The three-year contract calls for Pepco Energy Services to supply an estimated 27 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity generated from 100% renewable resources to the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum on Ellis Island. Windmills will generate the energy.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Down with Planes!

Yay! I had come across this article some time ago and was reminded of it while I ws fuming on a delayed Northwest flight on Monday. Coincidentally, I've stumbled into it again today.

It's lengthy, so I'll only copy a portion and provide the link to the rest, but my recent irritation has convinced me to follow their lead. I have a trip to Halifax planned in June for which I'll likely fly, but that's it. Any other football-related trip will be by train or bus. In fact, I've taken the pledge described in the article.

Down with planes (figuratively)!

Michael Gibson's new year's resolution was a tough one, but nothing to do with giving up cigarettes, alcohol or junk food. He has decided to stop flying.

'I just realised that all my other efforts to be green - recycling, insulating the house, not driving a giant 4x4 - would be totally wiped out by a couple of holidays by air,' said Gibson, 32, from Manchester. He's not alone. Suddenly and spontaneously, growing numbers of travellers are deciding they must give up, or at least cut back on, their far-flung weekend city breaks and long-haul holidays in the sun.
The arguments against flying are compelling. One return flight to Florida produces the equivalent carbon dioxide to a year's motoring. A return flight to Australia equals the emissions of three average cars for a year. Fly from London to Edinburgh for the weekend and you produce 193kg of CO2, eight times the 23.8kg you produce by taking the train. Moreover, the pollution is released at an altitude where its effect on climate change is more than double that on the ground.

More frightening is the boom in the number of people flying, fuelled by cheap flights with carriers such as Ryanair and Easyjet. In 1970, British airports were used by 32 million people. In 2004, the figure was 216 million. In 2030, according to government forecasts, it will be around 500 million. The trouble is that the people most likely to be aware of these figures, are the ones who probably enjoy popping over to Europe for a weekend. It makes for a large amount of guilt, and a lot of denial.

Now, it seems, we are on the cusp of the guilt turning into action. Next month sees the launch of the first formal campaign to limit flying. Flight Pledge, will focus on a website ( on which people can commit to cutting back on flying. There's a choice of a gold pledge - a promise to take no flights in the coming year - or silver, representing a maximum of two short-haul or one long-haul flight. The idea, says John Valentine, its creator, is to collect enough signatories to press the European Union into taxing aviation fuel, thus increasing air fares and stifling the growth in air travel.

The Good and Bad about Organics

"Organic" is a term that sounds like something a treehugger should like, but I never really knew specifically why I'd be expected to. I'd heard that some of the so-called benefits aren't really all that significant. So like many issues related to being environmentally-conscious, I was unsure as to whether it was something I should investigate and pursue more, or whether I was spending more time and coin for very little upside. The article below helps answer the question somewhat:

The Good and Bad about Organics

February 22, 2006 — By Lisa Roberts, Orlando Sentinel
A Consumer Reports survey recently found that organic produce can cost as much as double the price of traditionally grown products. Is it worth the extra money to keep clear of pesticides? Not always, the magazine concludes, pointing to an analysis of USDA data by the Environmental Working Group of Washington, D.C.

Based on thousands of samples, the nonprofit research group came up with the "dirty dozen" -- vegetables and fruits that have high pesticide residuals, even after washing. They are apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, imported grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, red raspberries, spinach and strawberries. Lowest in residual pesticides are asparagus, avocados, bananas, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet corn, kiwi, mangos, onions, papaya, pineapples and sweet peas.

Although proponents say organics are tastier, safer and more nutritious, "no clear scientific evidence [of that] exists," says Tejal Parekh, a registered dietitian at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Orlando. Organics might have no pesticide residue, but studies have yet to show that ingesting such residue causes health problems. However, there is little argument that organic farming, which shuns pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, does less harm to the environment than conventional methods.

If you can afford to buy organics in place of the dirty dozen, "certainly it would be beneficial to you," Parekh says. Other organic produce, though, might not justify its higher price. If you find the price too steep, there's no reason to cut down on fruits and vegetables. Just give everything a good scrubbing before preparing it.

However, "if you are eating a lot of meat, poultry and dairy foods, then you might want to make some of those foods organic, too, especially if you have children," Parekh says. "You won't get all the antibiotics and hormones given to those animals."

On its Web site, the Organic Trade Association ( says organic products cost more because the industry must meet stricter regulations in the growing, harvesting, transporting and storing of the products. That makes the process more labor- and management-intensive. Also, farming tends to be on a smaller scale.
Listening to: Bellyaching about the Canadian hockey team.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I'm Burnt, I'm Broke, I'm Back!

Paraphrasing former Redskins great John Riggins there...

Christine and I returned from the Daytona 500 last night to jubilant kisses from Oscar. There was also a number of them from me to my computer after going internet-less for a staggering four days. Truly, I thought I might perish.

It wasn't until this morning that I got into the e-mail address I use for my THIT stuff and found a slightly overwhelming 46 newsletter and Google alerts waiting. Oh dear. That'll take a little time to sort through but I'll get caught up before too long.

In the meantime, allow me to express my deep-rooted hatred for the airline industry. May all their upper management types find themselves spiraling towards the deepest and darkest pits of hell. The airlines suck, they know they suck, and I don't believe that they care that they suck. Any flight that I take now which includes a connection turns into an exercise in frustration created by delays, gate changes and under-staffing. Hell, I'm even exhausted by being woken up to be asked if I want a refreshing beverage!

I'd love to be able to say that I'm swearing off flying but that's not probably not realistic. I will, however, make every effort to make my way around through some other means until I hear, by word of mouth, that the industry has gotten its collective head out of its collective ass. Keep me posted, people.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Good Boy.

Rufus, a colored bull terrier, poses with his trophy after winning Best in Show at the 130th annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show , Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2006, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Must be the smile. :-) Next year, Oscar, you're going in.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

You Callin' Me Out, Punk?

M'Man Dave throws down a mean challenge and he wanted me
to pass it along to other folks.

Dear friend,

I just took the Nature Challenge at

The David Suzuki Foundation has researched
the top 10 ways Canadians can conserve nature.
The challenge is to pick three and do them over
the next year. That's it!

It's a great way to get involved and really do
something tangible to help make our world a better

I encourage you to visit to learn

Thank you.

I'd sort of overlooked this originally but signed up anyway. I already do most of them but thought the reminder might be good.

However I stumbled into something; The Nature Challenge Calculator. Again, I approach such things with some skepticism, but I found it interesting at least. Give 'er a look.

I Believe I Have Achieved Success.

All right, so Christine seemed to enjoy that meal enough, and the house is free of projectile vomiting. I think the end result was rather satisfying, even if the execution was stressful. My timing was way off; the damn water didn't seem to want to boil and the eggplant was ready far faster than I expected, and so on. Whatever. Bottom line, Christine got a well-deserved break.

So only three sleeps from now we take off to Florida for the Daytona 500. There's a terrific "green" activity for ya! Nascar auto racing. No problem, I'm sure those gentlemen are all driving hybrids...

Anyway, one battle at a time. I'm more concerned about food choices while there. I can't imagine that they have many vegetarian options at the track. Should be interesting. I gather I'll be eating an awful lot of French fries.

In any event, I doubt I'll be able to post between February 17th and the 21st, so the two of you who actually visit on occasion will have to find something else to do with those 45 seconds. Hey, make it something green!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Ah-Ha! I Think I Have It!

I think even I can swing this:

Eggplant Penne with Fresh Tomato and Olives

  • 1/3 eggplant
  • 1 ripe plum tomato
  • 8-10 black olives
  • 1 cup penne (whole wheat or flour)
  • fresh garlic cloves or garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • olive oil
  • lemon (optional)

Cut the eggplant into rounds, then 1/2- inch slices. Toss with salt and pepper. In a pan, heat olive oil on high and then toss in the eggplant. Crush a few cloves of garlic and saute them with the eggplant, or use a little garlic powder. Cook on medium for about 10-15 minutes, or until tender and browned. (I prefer the eggplant a little blackened, it lends a smokier taste to the dish.)

Bring water to a boil for pasta. Slice the tomato and put it in a coriander (say what?!). Submerge the tomato slices in boiling water for about 10 seconds. Remove and set aside. Pit and tear the olives.

Boil penne until tender. Remove eggplant and pasta. Put tomato, eggplant, pasta, and olives in a bowl together, tossing with a little olive oil, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the dish.

Serve immediately, and enjoy!

Serves: 1 large or 2 small

Preparation time: about 20 minutes

**I had to look up "coriander" to be sure...but I think she means a colander. It can't possibly be a calendar. Will investigate.


Whoo! Christine doesn't know this yet, but I have tomorrow off so I can make dinner for her. It'll be a nice change for her because she makes most of the meals. I say "most" because I made it one night early last week, and I think I also made dinner once when it snowed real badly here back in January 1998 or so.

I'm going to scout through the VegWeb site that I've had linked for some time for some ideas. They have a great variety and I'm sure I can find something that even I can handle. I've got my eye on some veggie penne thing that seems manageable. It's probably no secret that I'm not particularly proficient in the kitchen so wish me luck!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Everyone Needs a Hobby...

Oscar would kick his @$$....

LONDON (AP) - He is reluctant to call himself a human fox, but several times a year John Whetton is chased through the British countryside by scarlet-coated huntsmen and their packs of hounds.

"I get caught very, very rarely," Whetton said Friday. "But, when I do, the worst that can happen is you get licked to death."

Whetton, a former Olympic middle-distance runner who ran in Tokyo and Mexico City in the 1964 and 1968 Games, is a volunteer for the Readyfield Bloodhounds hunt, a fox-less hunt held in central England.

The alternative event has gained popularity since Britain's Hunting Act came into force last February following a bitterly fought political battle over the sport.

All traditional fox hunting and other kinds of events in which dogs chase and kill prey were outlawed under the legislation.

It has led to an upsurge in popularity for drag-hunting and bloodhounding, forms of the sport which see dogs chase a trail of scent - or an athlete - rather than a live fox.

Whetton, 64, said he typically runs 24 kilometres during hunts and gives himself a clear head-start on the bloodhounds.

"I always get a 20-minute start on the hounds and I sweat, so the scent is strong and the hounds go crazy," he said.

"The great thing about it is that it gives me the chance to run over beautiful countryside and it keeps you fit."

The ex-athlete began pitting himself against hounds in 1985 and has since persuaded wife Christine and step-daughter Danella to take up the challenge.

"It's a competition. You are competing against them (the hounds). You want to get to the end before they do," said Whetton of Nottinghamshire in central England.

In 1964, Whetton placed eighth in the 1,500-metre race at the Tokyo Olympics. Four years later, he placed fifth in Mexico City.

He later became a lecturer of physiology at Nottingham Trent University, retiring two years ago.

Credit Where it's Due.

I mentioned being subscribed to many newsletters and action alerts and such. Recently, one of them (I believe the Clean Air Alliance, but don't quote me) asked its recipients to write to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty to question the province's plans for cleaner energy sources.

Damned if, roughly a week later, I don't reach into my mailbox to find a letter from Mr McGuinty. Not only do I appreciate just the basic gesture, but particularly so because it wasn't a form letter. It was specific to my comments and questions.

My overwhelming laziness prevents me from typing out the whole thing, but the meat of it is:

We are on track to achieving our goal of 10% of Ontario's generation coming from renewable sources by 2010.

The projects, which include eight new wind farms and a waterpower project, will spur economic development in the renewable energy sector and will bring an estimated $2 billion in new investment to Ontario.

Keep up the great work, you sexy bastard! Peace out!
Okay, so I made up that last part.

I have to admit that I'm not overwhelmed by a 10% mark, however I view it like someone trying to lose weight; to lose 100 pounds, you can't get there without going through the process of losing 10 pounds first. Hopefully 10% is just the start and once reached they can look towards the next 10%.

In any event, I'd be lying if I said I've been a huge of this guy, but this is a good way to earn points. I was pleased to receive a response specific to what I wrote (especially since at first glance I thought I was being called up for jury duty!).

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Smart Seafood

M'man Dave (Suzuki) includes the following in his newsletter.

Smart seafood
Confused about which type of fish to choose at your favourite restaurant or grocery store? We can help you make an informed decision.

Rockfish (sometimes sold as: Red Snapper or Yellow eye). These fish can live to be more than 100 years old, and are not reproductively mature until their late teens. They are often caught by trawling methods destructive to ocean floor habitats and are taken in by fisheries that have problems with bycatch. These fish are extremely vulnerable to overexploitation and their stock status is poorly understood.

Pacific Black Cod (e.g. Sablefish). Sablefish, found only in the north Pacific, have buttery flesh. Most of the U.S. and Canadian catch is exported to Japan where it is prized for sushi. In B.C., most Sablefish are caught using traps suspended deep in the water on long lines. Meanwhile, most Sablefish fisheries on the Pacific coast outside of B.C. almost exclusively use hooks or trawlers to catch these fish. The trap method of Sablefish fishing is considered to be a sustainable one – the rate of bycatch is very low and it does not harm ocean bottom habitats. Because the populations are abundant and the fishery is well managed, British Columbia sablefish are the best choice, with Alaskan sablefish a good alternative.

Those of you who know us know that we're mostly vegetarian now. Even Oscar is, though I don't believe he's realized it yet. I say "mostly" because I have certain conditions under which I would (usually with a guilty conscience) eat meat, and Christine to this point still eats fish, so I don't believe that we can claim the vegetarian tag officially yet.

When we told people about our decision, one comment that surfaced often was "I could never do that, I love meat too much". Fair enough, we're not trying to get other people to do it (and make no mistake, we didn't suddenly come to despise the taste of meat either). However, I thought the above was a good little tip for those who like the idea, but consider it to too big a plunge to take. You can still help without making a huge sacrifice. I hope that there are more to come.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Save Some Paper, Save Some Trouble.

This is so small and silly that I'm even reluctant to post it. It's another one of those "painfully obvious yet easy to overlook" things I mentioned in a previous post, like not letting the water run when you brush your teeth.

Want to do a small favour for the environment, while ridding yourself of a pain in the @$$? Go paperless with your bank.

I was working out my *chuckle* finances, still coming to the conclusion that 0.00 + 0.00 = 0.00, when I saw the option to "go paperless" and have the bank stop sending me statements. So not only do they not send statements, they also won't send all that other promotional crap that comes with it, that I barely glance at anyway.

The "catch" is that they ask that I log on at least every 30 days or some such, which is not a problem since I log on every two weeks right after I get (barely) paid anyway. If something were to happen and I couldn't access a computer for several weeks, well...I would probably spend a few days weeping openly in the fetal position. But upon recovery (presumably) I could simply ask them to resume their paper-ish ways.

No need to store it, no need to recycle long as you stay on top of your stuff, it seems safe.

Makes sense to me. I think Annika would approve.

In fact, Lenga probably would too...

Cheer up, Yogi! You Won!

More good news, this time a little closer to home.

When I started this little project, I subscribed to several newsletters and such from various environmental groups. Many of them today are giddy following news of a victory in a lengthy battle.

Vancouver, BC — A coalition of four leading environmental groups today, along with industry leaders and indigenous groups, celebrated success after a decade long campaign to protect the globally unique Great Bear Rainforest. Today's long awaited government announcement protects one third of the Great Bear Rainforest from logging and will require the use of more sustainable logging practices for the remaining area. The agreement also sets a new precedent for decision making for local indigenous groups (First Nations), giving them the right to define what happens on their land.

The total area protected from the chainsaw equals 5 million acres, twice the size of Yellowstone Park and equal to 6300 of New York’s Central Park. This total includes new and previous protection areas, plus special no logging zones.
ForestEthics, Greenpeace and Sierra Club of Canada, BC Chapter have worked toward this solution for almost a decade, using tactics that ranged from blockades to boycotts to boardroom negotiations, all in a bid to protect as much of the Great Bear Rainforest as possible.

The Great Bear Rainforest Agreement means:

1. 5 million acres is protected from logging
2. The application of better, lighter-touch forestry by March 2009
3. Comprehensive First Nations involvement in management over their entire traditional territory
4. The diversification of the economy based on conservation

New Species Discovered in Isolated Jungle

When you keep track of these things regularly, you tend to come across a higher percentage of "doom and gloom" stuff, so the story below makes for a nice change of pace.

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - A team of scientists exploring an isolated jungle in one of Indonesia's most remote provinces said they discovered dozens of new species of frogs, butterflies and plants - as well as large mammals hunted to near extinction elsewhere.

The team also found wildlife that were remarkably unafraid of humans during their rapid assessment survey of the Foja Mountains, which has more than a million hectares of old growth tropical forest, Bruce Beehler, a co-leader of the monthlong trip, said in announcing the discoveries Tuesday.

Two Long-Beaked Echidnas, a primitive egg-laying mammal, simply allowed scientists to pick them up and bring them back to their camp to be studied, he said.

Their findings, however, will have to be published and then reviewed by peers before being officially classified as new species, a process that could take six months to several years.

The December 2005 expedition to the eastern province of Papua was organized by the U.S.-based environmental organization Conservation International and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences.

"There was not a single trail, no sign of civilization, no sign of even local communities ever having been there," said Beehler, adding that two headmen from the Kwerba and Papasena tribes, the customary landowners of the Foja Mountains, accompanied the expedition.

"They were as astounded as we were at how isolated it was," he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Washington. "As far as they knew, neither of their clans had ever been to the area."

Papua, the scene of a decades-long separatist rebellion that has left an estimated 100,000 people dead, is one of Indonesia's most remote provinces, geographically and politically, and access by foreigners is tightly restricted.

The 11-member team of U.S., Indonesian and Australian scientists needed six permits before they could legally fly by helicopter to an open, boggy lakebed surrounded by forests near the range's western summit.

The scientists said they discovered 20 frog species - including a tiny microhylid frog less than two centimetres long - four new butterfly species, and at least five new types of palms.

Because of the rich diversity in the forest, the group rarely had to stray more than a few kilometres from their base camp.

"We've only scratched the surface," said Beehler, vice-president of Conservation International's Melanesia Center for Biodiversity Conservation, who hopes to return later this year with other scientists.

One of the most remarkable discoveries was the Golden-mantled Tree Kangaroo, an arboreal jungle-dweller new for Indonesia and previously thought to have been hunted to near extinction, and a new honeyeater bird, which has a bright orange face-patch with a pendant wattle under each eye, Beehler said.

One of the reasons for the rainforest's isolation, he said, was that only a few hundred people live in the region and game in the mountain's foothills was so abundant that they had no reason to venture into the jungle's interior.

There did not appear to be any immediate conservation threat to the area, which has the status of a wildlife sanctuary, he said.

"No logging permits are given to this area, there is no transport system - not a single road," Beehler said.

"But clearly with time everything is a threat. In the next few decades there will be strong demands, especially if you think of the timber needs of nearby countries like China and Japan. They will be very hungry for logs."

Sunday, February 05, 2006

You go, Metro!

Montreal, February 2, 2006 – Two weeks after it was launched throughout grocery stores in Quebec, Metro’s reusable grocery bag is a hit with consumers. Up to now, over 600,000 bags have been sold in Metro, Metro Plus and Super C stores, reducing in a spectacular way the use of conventional plastic bags.

“We’re very pleased to see how well our customers have responded to our plea to reduce the number of plastic bags used in grocery stores and that ultimately end up in the environment”, mentioned Serge Boulanger, Vice-President, Marketing at Metro. “Over the next few weeks, we’ll make sure that customers are indeed using the bag to go grocery shopping or for any other type of shopping”, adds Mr. Boulanger.

Developed in partnership with Boissons Gazeuses Environnement (BGE) and RECYC-QUÉBEC, the bag, which is made of 100% recycled plastic, is machine washable. It is big enough to replace 2 to 3 conventional grocery bags and can be used to return “Québec Refund” returnable containers to authorized retail outlets.

It's estimated that Metro stores have prevented the use of roughly 1.2 million plastic bags as a result of this effort.

NASA Chief Backs Agency Openness.

A follow-up to a story I included earlier, about a gentleman who claimed that NASA was suppressing some of the information that he was trying to share with the public:

A week after NASA's top climate scientist complained that the space agency's public-affairs office was trying to silence his statements on global warming, the agency's administrator, Michael D. Griffin, issued a sharply worded statement yesterday calling for "scientific openness" throughout the agency.

"It is not the job of public-affairs officers," Dr. Griffin wrote in an e-mail message to the agency's 19,000 employees, "to alter, filter or adjust engineering or scientific material produced by NASA's technical staff."

The statement came six days after The New York Times quoted the scientist, James E. Hansen, as saying he was threatened with "dire consequences" if he continued to call for prompt action to limit emissions of heat-trapping gases linked to global warming. He and intermediaries in the agency's 350-member public-affairs staff said the warnings came from White House appointees in NASA headquarters.

Other National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientists and public-affairs employees came forward this week to say that beyond Dr. Hansen's case, there were several other instances in which political appointees had sought to control the flow of scientific information from the agency.

They called or e-mailed The Times and sent documents showing that news releases were delayed or altered to mesh with Bush administration policies.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

All right, back to business. I think I explained earlier (when I donated to the David Suzuki Foundation) that with my early pay each month I'd contribute to some organization or charity of some kind, at least to some small degree.

This month, the big winner is the Nature Conservancy Canada group. In their own words...
NCC is Canada’s only national charity dedicated to preserving ecologically significant areas through outright purchase, donations and conservation easements...Since 1962 we have secured a long-term future for more than 1,400 properties, comprising 1.8 million acres of magnificent woodlands and seashores, internationally significant wetlands, threatened prairies, and a host of other precious natural places. And in the process, we’ve won the confidence of Canadians who want to protect their natural heritage for generations to come.
Indeed. Christine recently read, and told me about, an article about them in the Ottawa Citizen and I liked their approach. So I'm in!

Never Mind That! Fight For CLEAR Energy!

From the CIA World Factbook on Iran:

Languages: Persian and Persian dialects 58%, Turkic and Turkic dialects 26%, Kurdish 9%, Luri 2%, Balochi 1%, Arabic 1%, Turkish 1%, other 2%

Okay, then find whoever compiled the Persian, Turkic, Kurdish, Luri, Balochi, Arabic and Turkish to English dictionary and throw his ass in jail for fraud.

I hope that's photoshopped, but the one below doesn't appear to be.

Stand Up For Your Rithts!!

Iran's girls attend in a rally to support Iran's nuclear program in Tehran on Friday, Feb. 3, 2006. (AP Photo/Hasan Sarbakhshian)

That's great, sweetheart. Just promise me that if there's a nuclear reactor near your home, you'll never work there.

Friday, February 03, 2006

What's Swedish for Common Sense Again?

Take a bow, all you blue-eyed blond(e)s!

By 2020 Sweden wants to be the first country worldwide no longer using oil for energy purposes.
At the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Sweden was ranked number one in Europe with regards to environmental protection. The various environmental programs in Sweden include numerous commercial energy projects that help minimize dependency on expensive fuel imports. These installations clearly demonstrate the viable production of environmentally sustainable and renewable energy based on locally available resources such as residential, commercial and industrial waste as well as biomass.
Sweden is a globally acknowledged world leader in the use of bioenergy, offering tax incentives and state funding to stimulate new technologies and systems.

All the clean living will probably help others to look like the lovely former Miss Sweden, Annika Duckmark.

Yeah, I know she has absolutely nothing to do with this story...but I came across her picture while researching this and I can't take my eyes off her. She's no Lenga the Giraffe, but she's pretty sweet on the eyes nonetheless...Great Ceasar's Ghost...

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Hello Gorgeous!

New link for the IFAW, an organization that I've been keeping my eye on for a little while. I've linked the Canadian version of the site specifically. If you're not Canadian, find your version of the site from the flags across the top.

IFAW was founded in Canada in 1969 to confront the cruel commercial slaughter of harp and hooded seals. Today, it is the world's leading international animal welfare organization, and one of the largest animal welfare organizations in Canada.

We are a pragmatic and dedicated family of professionals who believe that animals suffer far too much from commercial exploitation, habitat destruction, and needless cruelty. We are joined in this belief by more than 50,000 caring Canadians.

50,001 now, baby!

Speaking of babies, the young lady above is Lenga, a two-month old giraffe (obviously...hell, even I knew that...though I believe I've been spelling "giraffe" with one "f" my whole life) currently calling a zoo in Frankfurt, Germany home.

Pups Used as Drug Couriers

This story is going around some now.

In this 2005 photo released by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2006, five of the ten puppies who were used by Colombian drug Traffickers as canine drug mules are shown in Colombia. The ten puppies, including Labrador retrievers, were rescued during a recent raid on a laboratory in Colombia where authorities claim that they were being surgically implanted with packets of liquid heroin and transported to the United States, federal authorities said Wednesday.

Reminds me of those "The more people I meet, the more I love my dog" bumper stickers.

So apparently, this vetenarian would stitch bags of drugs into the bellies of these pups and fly them into the States. Once the dog arrived at their destination, I can only imagine by what means the drugs were recovered.

Something mentioned on TV earlier however, that I have yet to see in print (though you'll excuse me if I choose to not dwell on this story), is that the little guy at the right has apparently been approved to be trained as a drug-sniffing dog. I hope that was accurate; it would make a positive ironic twist to an otherwise disgusting story.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


New link: Saskabush, a good Canadian satire site.

Despite being a supporter of theirs, I couldn't help but be cracked up by this in one of their articles:

OTTAWA (SBP) -- At the current pace of advancement, the Green Party will become a majority government in about 203 elections from now. Taking an average of roughly 3 years between elections and the 0.2% growth with each election, it will be a mere 609 years before the Greens can use their party platform as a matter of majority influence.

I shall wait patiently.


Hee-hee! You've probably already seen it but it bears preserving.

(AFP) - A baby hippopotamus that survived the tsunami waves on the Kenyan coast has formed a strong bond with a giant male century-old tortoise, in an animal facility in the port city of Mombassa, officials said.

The hippopotamus, nicknamed Owen and weighing about 300 kilograms, was swept down Sabaki River into the Indian Ocean, then forced back to shore when tsunami waves struck the Kenyan coast on December 26, before wildlife rangers rescued him.

"It is incredible. A-less-than-a-year-old hippo has adopted a male tortoise, about a century old, and the tortoise seems to be very happy with being a 'mother'," ecologist Paula Kahumbu, who is in charge of Lafarge Park , told AFP.

"After it was swept and lost its mother, the hippo was traumatized. It had to look for something to be a surrogate mother. Fortunately , it landed on the tortoise and established a strong bond. They swim, eat and sleep together," the ecologist added. "The hippo follows the tortoise exactly the way it follows its mother. If somebody approaches the tortoise, the hippo becomes aggressive, as if protecting its biological mother," Kahumbu added.


Holy crap! I'm becoming a big believer in this stuff!

There are countless uses for hemp fibers. The long bast fibers have been used for making ropes, clothing, and canvas, more recently they have found their way into shoes, socks, fine textiles, carpets, brake/clutch linings, and caulking, just to name a few uses. The hurds can be used for various papers like printing paper, specialty papers like Bibles, also smoking papers, newsprint, cardboard and packaging materials. The hurds are also used to make various building materials, to replace glass fiber in insulation and in making things like surfboards and skateboards, fiberboard (MDF), in cement blocks, in car manufacture, and biodegradable plastics. The hurds also make premier horse bedding (just ask the Queen of England about it). Anything made from cotton, wood or petroleum can be formulated from hemp!

I knew about a few of these, but certainly not all of them. I might try a few products and see if they float my boat. I first need to clarify whether they're actually active though, because the site states that their "stored" is closed, but if they still do online ordering I'll likely take the plunge.