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Posts from the ‘Environment’ Category

Climate Change and Terrorism

This story first appeared in The Coast on November 26, 2015:

Halifax to Paris, by way of Syria

Climate change is driving conflicts across the world, and we’re starting to see the results.

“When you have drought, when people can’t grow their crops, they’re going to migrate into cities, and when people migrate into cities and they don’t have jobs, there’s going to be a lot more instability, a lot more unemployment and people will be subject to the types of propaganda that al-Qaeda and ISIS are using right now.” Read more

Just as the world agrees to climate change action, NS Liberals impose huge cuts to solar power

How short-term energy-price politics prevent us from making real progress in the fight against climate change.

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On December 14, Minister of Energy Michel Samson stood before the legislature and introduced Bill 141 – Electricity Plan Implementation Act.

“Mr. Speaker,” he said, “I’m pleased to stand for a third time to speak about this important bill…The plan and this bill are built on the input and advice government received from over 1,300 Nova Scotians, experts, and interest groups…This bill clearly puts ratepayers first.”

The bill passed. Its focus is on Read more

Environmental Columns from Halifax Magazine

The following is an excerpt from the April 2015 Halifax Magazine essay called “Time for a Revolution,” by Chris Benjamin.

Once upon a time the world waited breathlessly for someone to perfect the horseless carriage. But soon the gadgetry proved less significant than the infrastructure around it.

A German named Benz built what we now think of as the first car. But it was Henry Ford who came up with efficient means of production to make automobiles affordable for the masses.

And then you had the Read more

Colette Urban: Jan 29, 1952 – June 16, 2013

Last week I saw on my Facebook wall that it was Colette Urban’s birthday. I wrote about Colette’s work, mostly in Newfoundland, as an inspiring, environmentally conscious artist, teacher, small-scale farmer and host of eco-tourists for my book, Eco-Innovators. But she wasn’t much of a Facebook user, so I was surprised, and very saddened, to find she’d died of cancer over a year ago. A great spirit, who had a profound impact on so many, was lost.

There’s a lovely Globe and Mail memorial piece about her, which is well worth a read. But I wanted to also share what I wrote about her in my book, about what pulled her to Newfoundland, perhaps the only province as wild as her. Here it is, with fond memories of hearing her tell the tale:

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Fish farming into the future

This article originally appeared in Saltscapes Magazine‘s Summer 2014 issue.

by Chris Benjamin

I reach Red Bank Road in Hants County, NS after a blue-sky drive through sparkling frozen mudflats in high-tide country. I see a sign that says “Sustainable Fish Farming Canada.” Sustainable Blue is the company’s brand name.

The operation is 500 metres from the Bay of Fundy, near Centre Burlington. This June, its operators had hoped to sell the first Read more

Weather Seals

“Seals Dive Deep for Ocean Data” is a quirky but important story by environment writer Chris Benjamin, commissioned by Science Friday, with major impact on our understanding of climate change. For that we should all be thanking seals, especially elephant seals, for their recent contributions to oceanographic science. They are providing the best available data from extreme ocean latitudes.

Wait, seals?! Why? How!?

Here’s an excerpt from the story:

“Trying to pass a tape measure under a two-ton giant sausage is not entirely straightforward,” says Fedak, who’s based at the Sea Mammal Research Unit at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.
The seals are members of a growing pinniped squadron, numbering in the hundreds, that researchers have flagged over the past 10 years with tags designed by the Seal Mammal Research Unit and tailored to gather details on ocean conductivity, temperature, and depth, collectively called “CTD profiles.”
You can read the whole story, and see some fabulous images provided by marine biologist Mike Fedak, over at the Science Friday blog.

Raucous crowd greets fracking review panel

This story was first published in the Halifax Examiner on Jul 24, 2014:

 

by Chris Benjamin

David Wheeler’s fracking roadshow reached Halifax last night and received its most boisterous heckling yet. Wheeler, president of Cape Breton University and sustainable business guru (he convinced the province to burn trees for energy), chairs an “independent review panel” investigating the potential for fracking in Nova Scotia.

Last night’s meeting was the Read more

Natural Law

This story first appeared in Halifax Magazine in April 2014:

It’s time for Halifax to give its earth, wind and water legal standing

By Chris Benjamin

Coming home from South America, Halifax journalist Silver Donald Cameron was asked the purpose of his trip at customs. “I was making a documentary about the rights of nature,” he said.

“What’s that?” the customs officer asked.

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It’s getting hotter: What do we do about it?

This story first appeared in Dalhousie Magazine in the summer of 2013:

On a cold evening in Nome, Alaska – located just below the Arctic Circle – half the town’s 3,600 people crowd together indoors to meet Dalhousie Earth Sciences researcher Lawrence Plug. It’s a big turn-out for a science lecture, but then Dr. Plug’s topic is Read more

Dam Problems

This story first appeared in The Coast on April 18, 2013:

The Maritime Link is sold as a solution to our environmental problems. So why is no one talking about its negative environmental effects? Read more