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Showing posts from April, 2014

Fukushima a Long Way From Clean Up

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B. McPherson This is not the latest release of tonnes of radioactive water, nor will it be the last. The Fukushima nuclear facility in Japan continues to bleed radiation into the Pacific Ocean. In spite of assurances from the top politicians and TEPCO executives, the situation at the wrecked electrical plant is still not under control. Mistakes and coverups continue to shake the public’s faith in their proclamations. President Abe, in the frenzy to obtain rights to the 2020 Olympic extravaganza assured the selection committee that the situation in Fukushima was under control.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe touched on the Fukushima problem in Tokyo’s final presentation and said the government would never put Tokyo in harm’s way, saying, “The situation is under control. Tokyo 2020 will offer guaranteed delivery.” The Japan Times
The short reply to that is, it is not. Now the people tasked with the multi-year clean-up are admitting it publicly. The manager of the project, Akiro Ono exp…

Canada Declares Humpback Whale No Longer Endangered

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B. McPherson This is what we stand to lose if Enbridge Northern Pipeline is completed. The feds in Ottawa have with the stroke of a pen declared that the North Pacific Humpback Whale is no longer endangered. It is now merely of “critical concern”. It was only in 2005 that the Humpback was red listed as critically endangered.
The SPLASH estimates for the combined Southeast Alaska and British Columbia feeding areas are around 3,000-5,000 (Calambokidiset al.2008)…No comprehensive assessment of North Pacific humpback whales has been conducted by the IWC Scientific Committee. The evidence suggests that North Pacific Humpback Whales have been increasing, following depletion by whaling, but that this recovery is not yet complete.ICUN Red List of Endangered Species
Environmentalists are crying foul at the federal government’s actions. There is a federal requirement that for critically endangered wildlife, the habitat must also be protected. Unfortunately for the humpies, part of their habitat …

Nanaimo Tells Wheelabrator to Go Away

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B. McPherson Disposal by dispersal is not the answer. The power of united people was evident on Monday night. Nanaimo City Council voted to tell Wheelabrator that they weren’t welcome in the city or in the Regional District. This is the culmination of hard work and determination on the part of citizens concerned with the ramifications of building a modern garbage burner in the city.
The pressure has been steady since last July when the Board of the Regional District voted to tell Metro Vancouver that a waste to energy facility in the district was not welcome. Some on the city council kept Wheelabrator and Sea Span’s hopes alive until finally spiking it Monday with a unanimous vote. The councillors and mayor have been inundated with thousands of letters urging them to forbid the incineration of garbage in our environs. The Friday preceding the council meeting saw a well-organized, peaceful protest march of a couple of hundred marchers. Bear in mind that Nanaimo City has a population of…

China Coal Plants Are Killing Quarter Million Annually

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B. McPherson Dirty coal is killing people in China China’s great push to establish itself as the leading industrial nation has come at a heavy price. Currently there are 2 300 operating coal fired electrical plants in the country. Noxious emissions are calculated to kill about 275 000 people each year.
The figures are staggering.
WHO's Global Burden of Disease reportestimated that 1.2 million people died prematurely in China in 2010 due to air pollution. Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in July found that air pollution has caused the loss of more than 2.5 billion years of life expectancy in China – shaving5.5 years off the average life expectancy. Greenpeace
Pollution and In particular, air pollution has become a flash point in the PRC. The expanding middle class in China has been objecting to the rampant pollution which sickens their children and shortens their lives.
Coal fire emissions may send their damage down the generations. A …

European Bumblebees Threatened With Extinction

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B. McPherson Bumblebees are part of the free services we receive from Mother Nature
Spring in Europe will see fewer bumblebees. Bumblebees are those large, wild bees that don’t look as if they could get off the ground, but they do. They are docile creatures that only ask that we leave them some forage and don’t poison them. Unfortunately about a quarter of the 68 species residing in Europe are red-listed or critically endangered. Nearly half of the species are in decline.
A study done by the International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN) has warned people that the loss of these species will be catastrophic to food producers.
The study, which contributes to the European Red List of pollinators and is part of the Status and Trends of European Pollinators (STEP) project, stresses that three of the five“most important insect pollinators of European crops”are bumblebee species. RT
Bumblebees are important pollinators of many of our food crops. Some food crops like English peas are sel…

Hungary, Toxic Sludge Village Remakes Itself

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B. McPherson An environmental good news story
October 2010 the world watched a toxic red sludge engulf a small Hungarian town. The village of Devescer was flooded a with two metre deep wall of burning, toxic mud that escaped from a holding pond, the by product of the aluminum industry. The disaster killed 10 and seriously injured 150 more.
It looked as if the town was finished. Houses were ruined and had to be demolished. Farm land was rendered useless for food crops. But that’s not what happened. This is ultimately a good news story. Today Devescer stands an example of resilience and smart thinking.
The town has reinvented itself as an environmentally sustainable village. The site of the two metre flood has been cleared of sludge. Farmland was planted with fast growing trees and the forested land with more mature trees have been turned into parkland. The fast growing poplars are both a carbon sink while they are growing and a source of energy for heating when they are burned. Geothe…

Fukushima Refugees Allowed to Return to the Hot Zone

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B. McPherson For those returning to the hot zone the prospect of radiation trumps the "cages". A little over three years after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station was wrecked, 350 people have been allowed to return to Tamura City. It lies within the 20km exclusion zone. The refugees have been assured that the area is safe for habitation.
The former residents, 80 000 of them, have been assured of many things since the explosions at the electrical facility spread radioactivity over the area.
The Japanese government has joined with the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) to reassure people of their quick responses to the dangers of radiation and their quick and efficient response to safety issues. However over the past three years, the facts have often been contrary to the official stories.
This excerpt from Fukushima Update says it as well as anyone can:
Because we all know TEPCO would never misreport the radiation surrounding Fukushima. Oh wait: “From April to Septem…

Japan to Stop Hunting Whales in Southern Sanctuary

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B. McPherson Sea Shepherd, Australia and other conservationists cheer the court decision Score one for the whales in the Southern Sanctuary. The UN International Court of Justice(ICJ) has ruled that Japan’s whaling fleet is not engaging in scientific research in its forays to the Southern Ocean.
Australia brought the matter of the Japanese whalers to the international court to rule whether the killing of whales – up to 1000 each season – was for scientific purposes which is allowed, or for commercial purposes which is not.
The Japanese government has maintained that they need to harpoon whales for science. The selling of whale meat in the markets there is simply a by product of the activity. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has been front and centre for the past decade trying to stop the slaughter of the cetaceans. This season, the group that has been fighting, literally, the whalers have named their group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Australia due to legal tangles.
The Sea…