Oil Sands Projects Ignore Environment – New Report


Canada’s oil sand companies continue to pollute the air, water and landscape of a large portion of northern Alberta to supply America’s oil.

Canadian pollution regulations are far less stringent than the US and voluntary for the most part. Now a groundbreaking study by the Pembina Institute and the World Wildlife Fund, released Thursday, shows government reliance on industry to voluntarily do the right thing for the land, water and air of northern Alberta has failed.

For the complete story on the Oil Sands Project that supplies much of America’s oil see: Destroying Canada’s Boreal Forest for America’s Oil – 30-page eBook

See also:

Oil Sands Toxins Poison Food

Global Economy Going Green?


By Stephen Leahy

Jan 9 (IPS) – There appears to be hope for the planet yet.

After much urging and dire threats, the global economy, much like a stubborn and temperamental toddler, is starting to reluctantly turn towards sustainability, according to the “State of the World 2008” report released by the Worldwatch Institute Wednesday.

“Innovative green efforts by governments and business are becoming commonplace,” said Gary Gardner of Worldwatch, a U.S.-based environmental think tank.

Continue reading

Experimental Biotech Drugs Flourish in China

nature-biotech.pngJan 7 (IPS) – China’s booming medical biotechnology industry is producing controversial drugs and gene therapy treatment programmes for domestic use, as well as to treat critically ill foreigners seeking potential cures unavailable elsewhere.

China’s Beike Biotechnologies harvests stem cells from the umbilical cord or amniotic membrane and injects them into patient’s spinal region. More than 1,000 patients, including 60 foreigners, have been treated for a variety of conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, autism, brain trauma, cerebral palsy and spinal cord injury, according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

“We met foreigners there who were happy with Beike’s treatments,” said Peter Singer of the McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health at the University of Toronto and co-author of the study. Continue reading

Kenya’s Troubles thru a Photojourno’s Eyes [pix]



Kyle Douglas is a young professional bike racer in Europe while his friend Mike Berube, a photojournalist, is currently in Nairobi, Kenya documenting the unrest there.

Here’s Kyle’s take:

“Most nights I come home and I fix my bikes, work on writing up my race reports for the family and friends back home. Mike meanwhile has to go out in to a country that is polluted with violence and risk his life so that we can read about it as we drink our morning coffee!

Kyle, who is the son of two good friends of mine, asks Mike ten questions about his life. One of them:

What Kind of story will you tell your grand kids?

racer-kyle-in-europe.jpgI would tell them to be aware of the world and events and to show compassion and help those in need of a voice, shoulder, friend or someone to listen too… And to speak out against wrong in the world. Protest peacefully either by painting, writing, photography… whatever it takes… and in that protest… to help and show others [how] to protest so that people may live safe and happy like them.

Two amazing young men.

Climate Refuge in Polar Cities?


By Stephen Leahy

Jan 2 (IPS) – Dan Bloom thinks it’s time to figure out how to build self-sustaining cities in the polar regions because climate change will eventually make most of Earth uninhabitable.

These polar cities may be “humankind’s only chance for survival if global warming really turns into a worldwide catastrophe in the far distant future,” Bloom told IPS.

Bloom isn’t a scientist or any other kind of expert. A U.S. citizen in his late fifties living in Taiwan teaching English, he’s lived all over the world as a reporter-editor, teacher-translator and author. And now Bloom wants to shake people out their everyday indifference to the great emergency of our age: climate change.

“Life goes on as usual here in Taiwan. No one is doing anything and they don’t want to talk about it,” he says. Continue reading

Smoking Rewires Teenagers’ Brains


Not my usual beat but two important health finding. From New Scientist magazine – 5 Jan/08

PARENTS may now have another reason to worry about their children smoking. Nicotine may cause the teenage brain to develop abnormally, resulting in changes to the structure of white matter – the neural tissue through which signals are relayed.

Leslie Jacobsen of Yale University School of Medicine has found that teenagers who smoke, or whose mothers smoked during pregnancy, are also more likely to suffer from auditory attention deficits, meaning they find it harder to concentrate on what is being said when other things are happening at the same time. Continue reading

Welcome to Global Warming Year 2008

I’m guessing 2008 will be the year of learning two new things about climate change:

1. How difficult it is to reduce carbon emissions.

This not a technical issue nor even an economic one. It is institutional. Those who long denied climate change still have enormous influence.

2. Adapting to climate change means difficult moral choices.

Are we going to focus our efforts in the developed world to buffer ourselves from the impacts and build walls to keep climate refugees out?

Or are we going to focus on helping those who will be most affected by a world-changing problem that the developed world caused?

Wisdom before action. Compassion before fear.

— Stephen