Thursday, August 27, 2009

Green Union is on a break...

See you after Labour Day.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The throwaway society & seas of plastic

Talks Capt. Charles Moore on the seas of plastic

Excellent presentation by Captain Charles Moore from the Algalita Marine Research Foundation about the proliferation of plastics in our oceans. Tip of the hat to Dora Robinson for this video. Moore discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (twice the size of Texas)while sailing in the Pacific Ocean.

Check out this video for more information.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Winds of change rock Wolfe Island

More windmills. More controversy (among some). More NIMBYism (among a few).

And if opinion might be split locally about the merits of the Wolfe Island Wind Project, there can be no argument about that appraisal. The turbines are a dominating – some say overbearing – omnipresence.

The project is the second-largest in Canada and a submarine cable to the mainland delivers enough wind-generated juice to provide power for tens of thousands of homes.

Owner Canadian Hydro boasts that wind power "creates no air pollution or greenhouse gases (which contribute to climate change), leaves behind no hazardous or toxic wastes and uses no water."
Part of the problem with the wind model that's been rolled out in Ontario (and probably most other places) is that energy generated is not used locally but "shipped" elsewhere. If local residents knew that their own power was generated locally, there would be more support. Which brings us to the larger problem that many of the areas with the best wind are not densely populated.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

1st Ministers Conference

A good op-ed from Rick Smith of Environmental Defence about the importance of not letting Alberta & Saskatchewan off the hook at the expense of the rest of the provinces in righting climate change.

Clean energy, not photo-op, should be premiers' priority

If the premiers all agreed in general terms about the level of pollution cuts needed and the system to accomplish this, then Ottawa's job would be relatively straightforward.

But Alberta and Saskatchewan, instead of wanting to make pollution cuts, actually want to increase their contribution to global warming by exploiting the tar sands.

All the talk about technology reducing tar-sands emissions is sadly that – just talk. If new technology like carbon capture and storage can in fact be proven effective, it's years away, which is time we don't have if we are serious about battling global warming.

Unfortunately, Harper is all too sympathetic to tar-sands development, meaning he will be predisposed to building a national pollution system that makes Quebec, Ontario and other provinces pick up the slack for growing tar-sands pollution.

If we are to meet national reduction targets, then having one sector grow its pollution can only come at the expense of other sectors making even deeper cuts to accommodate it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Blue vervain or Verbena hastata

Blue vervain has been blooming in the OPSEU garden for the past month and just keeps on giving. It grows only to a couple feet tall, making it useful in the garden but it will form colonies by slow growing rhizomes and will seed about so don't try to force it into a formal design.

The ideal location for blue vervain is slightly moist soil in full sun but we are having good luck even on the sandy soils around OPSEU. It is very adaptable and despite sandy conditions it has not showed any signs of drying up.

Though Verbena should not be taken in excess as it is mildly toxic, it has been used medicinally in teas as a mild sedative to calm nervousness or insomnia as well as for colds and fevers where it helps induce sweating.

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