Biggest Conservation Agreement Ever — 2X the Size of Germany

By Stephen Leahy

UXBRIDGE, Canada, May 18, 2010 (IPS)

The decades-long war in Canada’s northwoods appears to be over. Environmental groups and Canadian logging companies linked arms Tuesday morning and agreed to work together to sustainably manage and protect 720,000 square kilometres of Canada’s boreal forest – an area twice the size of Germany.

“This is the biggest conservation agreement on the entire planet,” said Richard Brooks, spokesperson for participating environmental organisations and forest campaign coordinator of Greenpeace Canada.

The vast northern boreal forest is a broad band that circles the top of the world below the Arctic. It is the last great forest ecosystem – larger even than the Amazon – and the largest terrestrial storehouse of carbon. Made up primarily of pine and spruce trees, Canada’s boreal covers more than five million square kilometers, representing more than a quarter of the remaining intact forest on the planet. Just eight to 10 percent is currently protected.

“This is our best and last chance to save woodland caribou, permanently protect vast areas of the boreal forest and put in place sustainable forestry practices,” Brooks said in a press conference.

“We estimate there is roughly 20 billion tonnes of carbon in the trees and soils that are part of this agreement.”

That is equivalent to the annual emissions from 18 billion cars, he estimated. Continue reading

Burning Oil, Gasoline, Coal Causes Heart Attacks – American Heart Association

Researchers have long proven emissions from cars, trucks, coal plants reduce air quality and affect our health. Yet another study documents the serious health impacts on all of us, specifically our heart and arteries.

Reuters take:

The evidence is stronger than ever that pollution from industry, traffic and power generation causes strokes and heart attacks, and people should avoid breathing in smog, the American Heart Association said on Monday. Continue reading

Why the BP Oil Spill Really Happened

We Can Live Without Oil

“It was a disaster that was going to happen, but business and government simply pretended it was not going to happen.”

[Update: Why the BP spill cannot be cleaned up]

By Stephen Leahy*

UXBRIDGE, Canada, May 10, 2010 (Tierramérica)

The policies and deals that contributed to the massive oil spill under way in the Gulf of Mexico are also jeopardising the Earth’s vital biological infrastructure, according to the Global Biodiversity Outlook 3, published Monday.

The British Petroleum oil spill of 5,000 barrels a day in the Gulf of Mexico, which began Apr. 20 when an explosion caused a rupture at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, will have devastating consequences for marine life and coastal ecosystems for decades, experts say.

Similar business and policy decisions, multiplied thousands times over the last hundred years, have put the biological infrastructure that supports life in jeopardy, according to the Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 (GBO3) report, issued May 10 by the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The report is the most current assessment of the state of the planet’s biodiversity, the living organisms that provide us with health, wealth, food, fuel and other vital services.

In this study, “you can clearly see the outlines of what could be the sixth great extinction event of all life on Earth,” said Thomas Lovejoy, biodiversity chair at the Washington DC-based Heinz Centre for Science, Economics and the Environment, and chief biodiversity adviser to the president of the World Bank. Continue reading