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Showing posts from June, 2012

Mystery Deaths of Cattle Linked to Bermuda Grass

B. McPherson
The deaths of 15 head of cattle in Texas touched off a firestorm of rumour and speculation, but it seems that the cause was a convergence of conditions creating a deadly result. Roping Corriente calves were turned out on a field of Trifton 85 Bermuda grass. They promptly died of what has turned out to be cyanide poisoning(prussic acid poisoning). Speculation circulated that the Trifton 85 was a genetically altered organism but that is not the case. This variety of Bermuda grass is the result of careful breeding and the forage crop has been used successfully since 1992 without any reported fatalities.
The US Department of Agriculture is investigating whether this particular field and neighbouring fields that have tested high in prussic acid have undergone mutations. A variety of grass in the ancestry of Trifton 85, stargrass, is known to be able to produce prussic acid under some conditions.
There have been some suggestions as to what has prompted the deaths of the cattle…

Enbridge Spills 1400 Barrels of Crude

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B. McPherson This video covers just another of Enbridge's leaky pipelines. Enbridge Inc. has had a spill of about 1400 barrels(230 000 litres) of crude oil north of Edmonton. Their Athabasca pipeline normally carries 345 000 barrels of oil per day. The company employees rerouted around the pumping station and commenced pumping operations until the Alberta regulatory agency ordered a shut down.
This is the second significant oil spill this month. The Red River, farms, ranches, low lying land and lakes have been fouled by the black sludge.

"Once again Albertans are left to deal with the toxic effects of yet another pipeline spill in Alberta," said Mike Hudema, climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace. "This latest spill comes from the company that wants to build mega-tar sands pipelines to both the East and West coasts, Enbridge."YahooFinance
I looked up “Enbridge Spill” hoping to get some up to date information on the latest fouling of land by oil and was met…

Did GM Corn Kill the Cows?

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B. McPherson A little song about where big Agro seems to be taking us.
Syngenta, the makers of GM corn Bt176 have been hauled into court. The corporation faces criminal charges for suppressing information from one of their own studies into the safety of the engineered product. This GM product has been discontinued since 2007.
The corn labelled Bt176 contains a bacterial gene that confers resistance to the corn borer maggot. You may know the Bt part best from the reference to aerial spraying containing the Bt (Bacillus thurugiensis) element. The trouble started when a German farmer who participated in an approved study feeding his dairy cattle Bt176. His cows started getting sick and dying. At the end of it he had lost 65 dairy cattle. Syngenta compensated him for five cows but denied responsibility. He took them to court and lost, leaving him in further debt.

During a civil lawsuit brought against the company by the farmer however, Syngenta refused to admit that its GM corn was the ca…

America Is Burning – Is This the New Normal?

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B. McPherson

The US fire season has opened with conflagrations in over 100 places. New Mexico is suffering its biggest fire yet. Colorado pine forests have been hit hard. A dry winter combined with high winds, high temperatures, steep slopes and lightning strikes have combined to make for explosive conditions.
The biggest fire currently burning in Colorado is the High Park. It erupted from a lightning strike and spread over 8000 acres in one day. Currently it has charred 60 square miles of forest. The New Mexico fire has spread over 42 square miles as of Monday.
Last year saw massive fires in many parts of the American West. The wildfire in Texas resulted in losses of billions of dollars and damage to thousands of acres of land. With good record keeping, some troubling trends are starting to emerge. The temperature is up, not much, but it is significant. The snow pack is diminishing and melting earlier. With changing weather patterns, more lightning strikes increase the chances of fi…

Oil Pipeline Breaks Fouling Alberta’s Red River

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B. McPherson
An oil pipeline broke in Alberta dumping about 3000 barrels of sour crude oil into the Red River. The small town of Sundre shut down its water wells when they were alerted to the spill. The spill was noted by a non-profit group who smelled the oil traveling in the river and notified the owner of this pipeline, Plains Midstream Canada, a subsidiary of an American company. Apparently the drop in pipeline pressure didn’t trigger any safety alarm. They do have a toll free emergency hotline. This company had a large release of oil from a pipeline April 29th of last year which allowed millions of gallons of oil into the soil and waterways.
The foreign owned company has cleaned up all “recoverable” oil. The name of the pipeline is Rainbow, you know, like the rainbows you see on an oil slick. This same company wants to twin this pipeline.
Mother Nature has been blamed for the oil spill. It seems that heavy rains washed soil away that covered the pipe allowing it to bend and brea…

Peru Set to Renege on Amazon Protection

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B. McPherson
The greed for oil and gas has the Peruvian government breaking promises to never explore for gas in the Amazon Reserve.

“The reserve is the territory of several vulnerable uncontacted tribes, and a crucial buffer zone for the Manu National Park, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for having a biological diversity that ‘exceeds any other place on Earth.’” Survival International
The original exploration for oil in the region was by Shell Oil who cut exploration roads allowing loggers into the region that hosts uncontacted tribes. The result for the people contacted, was death in huge numbers. Some from physical abuse but many, many more from disease. Shell pulled out of the Camisea region which had no oil but has big gas deposits.
Peru pledged to leave the reserve as a sanctuary for the uncontacted people, but now has designated a block of land in the reserve for exploration. In an ironic twist, they have named the block Fitzcarrald. Fitzcarrald was a rubber baron i…

Win a trip to the Great Bear Rainforest!

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Forest Ethics Advocacy is sponsoring this competition

Got talent? The Great Bear Rainforest needs you to participate in our 'Great Bear's Got Talent' contest! The winner gets an all-expense paid trip for two from Vancouver into the Great Bear Rainforest.

ForestEthics Solutions is working with Greenpeace and Sierra Club BC to raise awareness about the Great Bear Rainforest - home to thriving schools of salmon, grizzly bears, coastal gray wolves, bald eagles and iconic species like the white Spirit Bear. An outpouring of public support will inspire the provincial government and other organizations to complete the forest safeguards the Great Bear needs to survive and thrive.

How it works: You createan artful and stirring homage to this majestic rainforest and enter it in the contest. 

Your tribute can be anything: song, dance, painting, animation, or any other art form. It just needs to celebrate the magic of the Great Bear Rainforest to qualify. You can also pa…