“My Little Bit Won’t Hurt” – Carbon Emissions & Biomass Burning

The following graph of an Antarctic ice core sample covers Earth’s last 800,000 years. It was done by the British Antarctic Survey (Natural Environment Research Council) and reported on 14 November 2016. {Amos14Nov2016} {Mulvaney2016}. The double graph shows the correlation between atmospheric CO2 in the top graph and temperature in the bottom graph. The CO2 lows are around 190 ppm (parts per million); the highs around 270 ppm. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but obviously is when it comes to Earth’s climate. The graph shows a cycle of approximately 100,000 yrs.

There are lots of highs, lows, zigzags everywhere. As some people love to say, weather changes constantly – changes are normal. They are right, weather does and those zigzags would agree. Throughout those 800,000 years, Earth has had droughts, wildfires, and created large deserts. Earth has had vicious storms, enormous floods, and eroded. It has seen large freshwater lakes created and emptied, has seen incredible changes in sea levels, had islands created, and islands washed away. Earth has had multiple ice ages and had areas become parched. It has also had continental plates move, earthquakes, numerous volcanic eruptions, and has been hit by objects from space. All many times.

However, since most changes were localized or slow enough, most life had time to adapt or migrate. In all those times, there wasn’t such rapid melting of Earth’s Poles, such destruction of the oceans, and ruination of land ecosystems and food systems. Recent CO2 changes have already required plants, insects, animals, and humans to migrate and to die off. {UN} {WWF} {Audubon} {World Meteorological Organization (WMO)}

In those turbulent 800,000 yrs., species have evolved; and others have become extinct. Around 750,000 ya (years ago) Neanderthals came into existence, around 350,000 ya Homo sapiens, around 50,000 ya humans met and mated with Neanderthals affecting 1–3 % of our DNA, and, between 9000 and 7000 ya, humans began to domesticate animals and clear the forest for farming.

By 2000 ya, from the fallout of increasing deforestation, the bones of wild animals in Ireland from 90 archaeological sites were already showing a loss of nitrogen caused by exposed soils’ and consequently plants’ nitrogen sources. {Green13June2018} Since nitrogen is a key to plant’s chlorophyll and to plants’ and animals’ proteins, this was a significant happening. It is much like nitrogen losses in the Maritimes which is why forests have regressed to the plants which were first here, shortly after the ice age, and which required only thin soil: aspen, birch, and spruce. Soil scientists have declared clearcutting is not sustainable. {Keys2016} {Lahey2018}

Besides nitrogen, exposed and warmed soils have also lost calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus to leaching, and CARBON to the atmosphere. {Bandy1999} 2000 ya! “Scientists estimate that the Earth contained approximately 1,000 billion tons of carbon in living biomass 2000 ya. Since that time, humans have reduced that amount by half.” {Schramski2015}

100 Year Ice Age Cycles

Before the years 800,000 before present, building Earth’s present-day atmospheric conditions had taken much of nature’s effort and time. When mosses evolved around 480 mya (million years ago), the Earth’s atmospheric levels of CO2 “are thought to have been 16 times higher than they are now, and average global temperatures are thought to have been 25C, around 10C higher than they are now [2012].” {Lenton2012} Between 330 mya and 140 mya, ferns and conifers could only bring the CO2 down to 3 times the current levels. {Bradshaw2016} Ferns and conifers had 200 million years, but conifers don’t store water and, though they photosynthesize in the winter, are relatively inefficient at photosynthesis compared to flowering plants. {Wohlleben107} {Simonin2018}

140 mya, flowering plants’ (hardwoods) began to evolve smaller genetic material/genome, and could build smaller cells. “In turn, this allows greater carbon dioxide uptake and carbon gain from photosynthesis.” {Briggs15January2018} {Simonin2018} Additionally, a study of 673,046 trees by the US Dept. of Interior found the oldest trees work best, not 40-year-old trees and, looking at them, why wouldn’t the oldest work best? {Stephenson2014} {Quinn16Jan2014} What chance would saplings have? “Research has documented that for many years after a clearcut, a resprouting forest emits more CO2 than it absorbs.” {CarterFEN} “Plantations can sequester only a quarter of the CO2 that functioning woodland can, and converting forests to plantations actually releases carbon trapped in the soil.” {GraberStiehl3March2016} “Scientists say halting deforestation [is] ‘just as urgent’ as reducing emissions.” {Milman4Oct2018} {IPCC4October2018. (UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)}

The graph shows, over the last 800,000 yrs., Earth’s CO2 ppm “natural” range, has been 190 to 270 ppm. The thing is, the Earth’s atmosphere is now [2018] at 410 ppm. There is nothing like 410 ppm on this graph of the last 800,000 years. Additionally, the Earth has never had more CO2 put into its atmosphere per year than this year in 66 MILLION YEARS, two major extinctions ago. {Zeebe et al 2016} {Amos21March2016} What’s happening is not “natural”!

Many rationalize “their little bit won’t hurt”. They wait, wanting someone else to change first. Individuals and families wish to warm and amuse themselves with carbon-fueled energy and play with carbon-run toys and vehicles. People want to make money from creating energy and fuels. They want to call those fallen trees and remnants of harvests just “waste”. That so-called waste could have recycled hard-won forest nutrients and carbon-sequestered soils. They want to cut hardwood trees and shrubs, chip, and send them to England, France, throughout North America and locally for biomass energy or biofuels, and claim it causes no harm. They don’t know or are indifferent to the FACT that the older trees’ and hardwoods’ ability to sequester is far more efficient than the young replacement trees and those future forest nutrients are found in the decaying wood.

There are 7.6 billion people on Earth. It soon will be 10 billion. Even those, who pick up loose kindling to keep a small fire going or cook a picnic meal, are adding carbon to an atmosphere that can’t take much more.

Our Earth is in grave trouble. There is no reason for ignorance. The science is there. We have arrived at the “Final call to save the world from ‘climate catastrophe’” {McGrath8October2018} {UN’s IPCC 8 October2018}. People need to have new eyes. Eyes that appreciate what older trees do. Eyes to see the difference between aspen, poplar, birch, and spruce forests and the older mixed elm, hemlock, oak, beech, ash, and maple forests. Eyes to see what is lost when the sides of forests are opened. Eyes to see and understand what happens to exposed soils. Eyes to see the most important uses for so-called wastes. With new eyes, people can make appropriate changes and work within forest-covered areas. Each of Earth’s 7.6 billion people’s pieces doesn’t have to hurt.

 

Norris Whiston 4945 Highway 311, Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia B0K 1V0 902-657-3476 norrisw@ns.sympatico.ca

Can be shared freely.

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Opportunity to serve as a panelist on Nova Scotia Environment’s Environmental Assessment Review Panel.

The Province has announced the Remediation of Boat Harbour in Pictou County will undergo a detailed Class II environmental assessment process under the province’s Environment Act. This process will be conducted by an Environmental Assessment Review Panel. We are now seeking applications for that panel. Panel members may be asked to participate in future assessment processes as well.

For more information regarding the board & criteria please visit www.novascotia.ca/abc and go to “Current Opportunities” page.

If you are interested in serving as a member of the panel and would like to apply to the board, please visit https://novascotia.ca/apps/abc/ABCs-Online/Login.aspx and apply using our new online application system no later than November 19th 2018.

Thank you in advance for your consideration. Please call 1-866-206-6844(toll free) to access the ABC Inquiries line if you have any questions.

Gold Water Documentary Revealing

Gold Water Documentary Revealing

Cliff Seruntine, documentary filmmaker, has unleashed a visually beautiful, emotionally poignant, intellectually pointed and politically painful film onto the Nova Scotia political, business and environmental landscape. Gold Water highlights the provincial government’s cozy relationship with the gold mining industry and its devastating effect on the Nova Scotia environment, towns and citizens.

Gold Water examines the government’s “open for business” approach to Canadian gold mining companies who are currently operating the Moose River Touquoy Gold Mine with plans for four other Eastern Shore gold mines. Additionally, Gold Water questions how a provincial government, sworn to protect its citizens could be promoting advanced mining exploration and mine development in the Warwick Mountain, French River Watershed near Tatamagouche, NS. The documentary highlights the voices of citizens associated with Sustainable Northern Nova Scotia (SuNNS) as they lay out the case for never putting a gold mine in a watershed that is the sole source water, of a sustainable, thriving, tourist friendly community.

Gold Water highlights the possibility that the provincial government is in fact not working for the welfare of its citizens and in fact has been overwhelmed by the lure of quick revenues associated with gold mining and its boom and bust cycle. A more ominous possibility is offered by Gold Water filmmaker Seruntine and independent journalist Joan Baxter when they both examine the idea of “corporate capture”. The film examines how corporations move many of their experts into government bureaucracies, have them craft regulations favorable to industry, have government members champion the business case and later provide employment for those functionaries when their time in government is completed. This phenomena is well known in the United States but the film asks, is this what is happening in Nova Scotia?

The massive impact of the Moose River (Touquoy) Gold Mine on that now nonexistent town, the devastation experienced by citizens who lived through land expropriation, the impending environmental disaster contained in the Moose River tailings ponds, all of these Moose River realities are compared to the still unknown fate of the French River Watershed and the town of Tatamagouche should any gold mine exploration or development be government permitted.

Gold Water gives viewers an aerial view into the Moose River Touquoy Mine scar scape, just the tip of the long- term environment impact that Nova Scotia citizens will have to clean up after the mining companies are gone. The filmmaker and the voices of SuNNS’ members encourage the viewer to analyse what is happening in the government gold mining lobby and industry partnership encouraging citizens to become active in opposing this short-term boom and bust industry. As Cliff Seruntine says, “ people want something done… it will be an uphill fight …it’s a fight worth making, its starts now with taking a stance to protect our good water and making sure it doesn’t become gold water.”

Link to Gold Water https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Br-em_AafkY&feature=youtu.be Contact Information: Sustainable Northern Nova Scotia

Media Contact Paul Jenkinson Ph: 604-613-5417 (Tatamagouche) Email: pandljenkinson@gmail.com

Government Consultation Document: Vulnerable populations

One of the commitments in the  Government response to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development’s Report “Healthy Environment, Health Canadians, Healthy Economy: Strengthening the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999” was “to develop, engage on, and publish under CEPA a policy on vulnerable populations, which will include a definition of vulnerable populations and the objectives of the program, including the framework for how Health Canada considers vulnerable populations as part of risk assessments.”  This document is a first step to meeting this commitment.

This is a preliminary consultation, and you are welcome to provide comments during the public consultation as well which is planned for fall 2018.  In the interim, we are asking for your comments on this proposed definition, as well as the examples within the document by November 15, 2018.  Please forward all comments to:  hc.esrabdirector-directeurberse.sc@canada.ca.  Please note that there will be a mechanism established for sustained input from stakeholders and experts as we advance consideration of vulnerable populations in a more comprehensive and transparent manner.

 

Document: Consultation vulnerable population

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Sanctuary Webinar Series

The National Marine Sanctuary Webinar Series provides educators with educational and scientific expertise, resources and training to support ocean and climate literacy in the classroom. This series targets formal and informal educators that are engaging students (elementary through college) in formal classroom settings, as well as members of the community in informal educational venues (e.g. after school programs, science centers, aquariums, etc.).

 

Check them out here: https://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/education/teachers/webinar-series-archives.html 

Proceedings of 2018 BoFEP Science Workshop Available

The Proceedings of the 12th Bay of Fundy Science Workshop  (2018) “A Changing Fundy Environment: Emerging Issues, Challenges and Priorities”, Editors: Joshua McNeely, Marianne Janowicz, Blythe Chang, Sarah Chamberlain, Susan J. Rolston, and Peter G. Wellsheld 9-12 May 2018 at the Agricultural Campus, Dalhousie University, Truro, NS, is now available on the BoFEP website.
The 12th workshop was attended by approximately 115 people, mostly from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. It was very encouraging to see so many young people in various positions attend and engage in the discussions. BoFEP was delighted to award Rachel Cadman and Jaya Fahey with the Best Student Poster and Paper presentation respectively. The plenary and public talks were on the North Atlantic Right whale, marine debris and the Bay of Fundy’s future. Paper sessions covered tidal energy, fisheries ecology and management, monitoring and contaminants, integrated coastal management, dykelands and tidal restoration, the new oceans protection plan, and marine protected areas. Three panels were held – ocean literacy and awareness, information use at the science‐policy interface, and future research needs and BoFEP’s continued role as an NGO. An excellent field trip took place, with tidal bore rafting on the nearby Shubenacadie River estuary.

NSEN and the Truro Public Library Launch New Talking Circle Series with Catherine Martin

The first of four traditional Mi’kmaq Learning Circles, entitled “Ego to Eco: Learning the Mi’kmaq calendar to Experience Human and Ecological Health’s Interdependence,” will be held at the Truro Public Library on November 7th from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Reading Room. Catherine Anne Martin will present thoughts on the Mi’kmaq teachings on the interdependence of environmental and human health as exemplified in the Mi’kmaw traditional calendar of thirteen moons that focuses on the natural events of our climate cycle and what other species are doing in each moon cycle.

This focus on the “other” helps humans to be more aware of the ecological needs of all species and how we are a part of those same needs.  Going from our own “ego wants” to “eco needs,” through exposure to indigenous cultural reality, is necessary to change our ways in the cause of the planet’s and our own health. Unmitigated destructive polluting and resource extraction practices, along with our own misplaced focus on egocentric “wants,” has led us to environmental degradation and climate instability. Such issues as wellness, motivation,     

Thanks to Catherine Martin’s gracious gift to lead the 2018 Halifax circles and partial funding from the Halifax Community Health Board of the Nova Scotia Health Authority, this new series has been extended to the Truro region through the co-sponsorship of the Truro Public Library and will continue each month (December 5, January 9 and February 5) at the same location. 

NSEN, with its revitalized new board chaired by Ph.D. Engineering student, Chris White, and the crucial in-kind support of one of Truro’s favourite gathering place has agreed to host Mi’kmaq circles in order to facilitate a more ecologically and inclusive way for people to meet and face our fragile future on the planet. The series looks at components of human health—fitness, wellbeing, motivation and direction through the prism of environmental elements and the eco-centric Mi’kmaq Calendar.

For millennia the unceded Mi’kmaw territory (what is now called the Atlantic Provinces) was sustained by an eco-centric philosophy of a land-based consciousness. The inclusivity and egalitarianism of this philosophy is exemplified by the Mi’kmaq talking circle tradition, an ideal setting for all people living in this time and space to come together to learn how to best survive spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally. The circle format focuses on deep listening in a respectful way to the circle leader and then to each other as a sacred talking stick is passed, allowing each participant to share if he or she so wishes. 

By acknowledging that 1/ putting the needs for a healthy environment before egoic greed, 2/ considering what the fullness of the natural world (of which human animals are a part) offers in each month through the perspective of the Mi’kmaw calendar and 3/ discussing the challenges of  being healthy in a society that most often ignores that nature is in control, will integrate humans to see that we must put nature first and create the political will to protect our environment above everything.

NSEN encourages a repeat of the broad spectrum of last year’s circles’ representation during which Mi’kmaq, Anishnabe, Cree and Haida First Nations, Inuit people from fifteen countries, all ages, genders and economic backgrounds, long time residents of Halifax, new Canadians, professionals from the arts and sciences and persons of all abilities came together to listen to the Circle leader and then to each other. 

Alanis Obomsawin, a renowned Abenaki filmmaker, singer, artist and activist, relayed this pithy and poignant indigenous wisdom:  “When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.”

Media Contact: Joanne Light,  jonilight3@yahoo.ca, 902-429-1571


SCHEDULE AND CONTENT OF 2018 TRURO MI’KMAQ TALKING CIRCLES

 

Catherine Martin

Hosted by Catherine Martin

B.A., Theatre Arts (Dalhousie U.), M. Ed., Media Literacy (Mount Saint Vincent U.) and Member of the Order of Canada and of the Millbrook Mi’kmaw Community in Truro is an independent producer, director, writer, facilitator, communications consultant, drummer and the first woman Mi’kmaw filmmaker from the Atlantic Region.

Mi’kmaq teachings understand human and ecological health are interdependent. Ego to eco-centricity improves fitness, wellbeing, direction and motivation.

 

Schedule of Events 

Wed., November 7 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Martin introduces“Keptekewiku” (frost month) to explore humans, the elements—water, air, earth and fire—and other species’ relations at a time when we may fear more anxiety for the winter to come.

Wed., December 5 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Martin introduces “Kesikewiku” (winter month) to explore relations in the dark and cold time. If we have an unstable climate, how does that affect species in winter?

Wed., January 9 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Martin introduces “Penamujuiku” (frost fish runs’ month) to explore relations when climate change disrupts other species and our own patterns of survival?

Tues., February 5 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Martin introduces “Apuknajit” (snow blinding month) to explore relations when we are blinded by the enormity of environmental and climate health issues and don’t know which way to turn. How can a respect for and understanding of Mother Nature help us?