Friday, January 30, 2009
North Essex: Change in pesticide law applauded
North Essex: Change in pesticide law applauded - but farmers not sohappy
A ban on certain pesticides has been hailed as good news by anenvironmental group.
Roger Mainwood, spokesman for Concerned Residents of Wivenhoe (CROW),commended the European Parliament after it announced that permits for22 types are likely to be withdrawn.
He said: “This is not an immediate ban, so some of the pesticides willbe in use for another five years.
“Farmers will therefore be given a big phasing-out period where lesstoxic alternatives can be brought in.
“According to the Soil Association, the vast majority of farmers don'tregularly use pesticides anyway.”
Mr Mainwood added that CROW members will be especially satisfied thatthe ban includes the herbicide glufosinate.
In 2001, the group protested against the trial of genetically-modifiedmaize at Sunnymead Farm in Wivenhoe, where glufosinate was used on thecrops.
“If the farmer had been allowed to grow GM crops after the trial, wewould have had years of glufosinate use by now,” said Mr Mainwood, wholives in Belle Vue Road.
However, news of the ban has not been welcomed by all parties - withopponents fearful of its possible affect on crop production.
Local farmer Guy Smith, who sits on the council of the NationalFarmers' Union, said: “I need these tools to keep me competitive.
“In tennis terms, it would be like sending Andy Murray out with acatgut racket to play Roger Federer who is allowed to use the bestgraphite racket.
“If I've got less tools in my box, I won't be able to compete withcountries that have lower standards.
“More and more food will have to be imported from abroad.”
Mr Smith, who runs Wigboro Wick Farm in St Osyth, says that he hasnever been personally affected by pesticides in his 30 years in theindustry.
He added: “People automatically assume that if something's naturalthen it's safe and if it's man-made it's not.
“But that's not always the case.
“Weedkillers are less dangerous than the weeds they kill, like deadlynightshade and hemlock.”
Jan 28, 2009,
The News & Observer / McClatchy-Tribune
Group urges NCSU to end deal with Bayer
A German activist group is attacking N.C. State University foragreeing to collaborate on research with Bayer CropScience andaccepting a $1 million endowment from the company to establish a chairin sustainable development.
"Bayer has a long history of giving precedence to profits over humanrights and a sound environment," the Coalition Against Bayer Dangerswrote in a recent letter to university officials. "By helping thiscorporation to greenwash its image, you reduce the concept ofsustainable development to absurdity. We therefore urge you to stopthis cooperation."
Bayer CropScience's endowment and collaboration with the university'sCollege of Agriculture and Life Sciences was announced last week inconjunction with a symposium at the university titled "Stewards of theFuture: Research for Global Sustainability Tomorrow."
Bayer CropScience has its U.S. headquarters in Research Triangle Park,where it employs 450 people. It's a subsidiary of Bayer AG, acorporate behemoth based in Germany whose businesses span thepharmaceutical, materials and agribusiness sectors.
The Coalition Against Bayer Dangers has been monitoring -- andcriticizing -- Bayer for decades, but it has stepped up its efforts inthe wake of the controversy surrounding one of Bayer's best-sellingpesticides and the disappearance of millions of U.S. honeybees. InAugust, the group filed a complaint in Germany alleging Bayerknowingly polluted the environment. Company officials have rejectedthe contention that its pesticides played a role in the bees'disappearance.
Johnny Wynne, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences,said he has not seen the letter and knows of no reason "at thisparticular point" to end the collaboration.
Wynne said the school has had discussions with Bayer CropScienceofficials on sustainability issues such as reducing greenhouse gases,protecting water supplies and biodiversity.
"I have not had any concerns about working with them in these areas,"he said.
Bayer CropScience spokesman Jack Boyne said he was unaware of thecoalition's protest, but he added, "The Coalition Against Bayer Dangeris an activist organization with a very clear bias against Bayer."
"The $1 million that Bayer has put forward to establish a chair ofsustainable development, I think, is a very noble activity," Boynesaid. "N.C. State has a very long history of collaboration with theprivate sector. If you look at Centennial Campus, I would say that thecentral focus of that is to foster this collaboration."email@example.com
to Dr. Johnny Wynne, Dean N.C. College of Agriculture and LifeSciences (CALS)
to Dr. Tom Rufty, Bayer CropScience Professor of SustainableDevelopment
to Dr. James Oblinger, Chancellor North Carolina State University
Sustainable Development Chair: Reject Bayer Endowment
Dear Johnny Wynne, Tom Rufty and James Oblinger,
last week North Carolina State University announced that BayerCropScience created a $1 million endowment and that Tom Rufty willhold the chair of sustainable development the endowment makespossible. Johnny Wynne is cited as saying: “We are honored to haveBayer as a collaborator in our research efforts to find solutions tothe complex problems that issues like global climate change,population growth, and food and water shortages present.”
The Coalition against BAYER Dangers, which has been monitoring Bayerfor 30 years, criticises this cooperation.
Bayer has a long history of giving precedence to profits over humanrights and a sound environment. The corporation has fought againstalmost all agreements on environmental issues, be it the KyotoProtocol for the protection of the climate, the new European laws onchemicals, the phasing out of CFCs or recent EU efforts to reduce theuse of pesticides.
Bayer started hundreds of partnerships and sponsorships withuniversities, medical societies, environmental groups or educationalorganizations - particularly in fields where the company iscriticised. Bayer has been abusing these cooperations to deflectcriticism by watchdog groups or the media and to exploit the goodimage of their partners to present a corporate humanitarian image.
Bayer CropScience´s business is especially problematic:
* Bayer CropScience continues to sell pesticides from WHO hazardclasses Ia (extremely hazardous) and Ib (highly hazardous), includingthiodicarb, parathion-methyl, fenamiphos, ethoprop, azinphos-methyland triazophos. Particularly in conditions of poverty, the risk-freeuse of such pesticides is impossible. The company thus holdsresponsibility for fatal poisonings of thousands of agriculturallaborers each year. In 1995 Bayer announced that it would remove allhazard class I pesticides from the market, a promise that is beingcontinually broken. * A Greenpeace study last year showed that Bayer CropSciencepesticides pose the biggest threat to human health and theenvironment, compared to other international producers. * Bayer´s facilities are highly dangerous. At Bayer CropScience´sInstitute plant, large quantities of methyl isocyanate, the chemicalthat killed and injured over 100,000 in Bhopal/India, and phosgene, anerve agent used in World War I are produced and stored. Last August ahuge explosion occured in the plant. Two workers died, thousands ofresidents were at risk. * Bayer´s herbicide glufosinate is classified as reprotoxic. Thesubstance is on an EU black list and will not receive furtherapprovals in Europe. Despite grave dangers to consumers and operatorsglufosinate is one of the best-selling herbicides in the US. * Despite bans in more than 50 countries Bayer CropScience isstill marketing endosulfan, a pesticide that is a leading cause ofpoisoning worldwide. Endosulfan is acutely toxic, is known to disruptthe hormone system, can damage the human reproductive system and hasbeen linked to cancer among other human health effects. * Last year German authorities blamed Bayer´s clothianidin for thedeaths of millions of honeybees. The German government suspended theregistration for eight seed treatment products, including Bayer´sclothianidin and imidacloprid. Italy and France banned the substancesas well. * Bayer CropScience is one of the few western companies that dobusiness in Burma despite the catastrophic human rights situationthere. Bayer has a subsidiary in Rangoon and is planning trials therewith hybrid rice. * Bayer CropScience has several types of rice in its product rangethat are resistant to glufosinate. The rice type LL 601 was present inthe food chain for many years despite not being authorized forconsumption anywhere in the world. The European Union and Japanimposed import bans on imports, numerous rice growers in the UnitedStates lost export markets and sued the company.
The Coalition against BAYER Dangers has documented hundreds of caseswhen BAYER´s products or factories have harmed people or theenvironment. The company has only stopped the production of hazardousproducts when pressured to do so by the public.
By helping this corporation to greenwash its image you reduce theconcept of Sustainable Development to absurdity. We therefore urge youto stop this cooperation.
Philipp Mimkes, Hubert Ostendorf, Axel Koehler-Schnura, Jan Pehrke,Uwe Friedrich
Board of the Coalition against BAYER-dangersCoalition against BAYER Dangerswww.CBGnetwork.orgCBGnetwork@aol.comTel: (+49) 211-333 911 Fax: (+49) 211-333 940please send an e-mail for receiving the English newsletter KeycodeBAYER free of charge
Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009
Valley GOP leaders target pesticide rulesEnvironmentalists cry foul over GOP clean-air move
By E.J. Schultz / Bee Capitol Bureau
SACRAMENTO - Bugs have invaded state budget talks as debate heats upabout clean-air rules farmers must follow when spraying for pests.
Environmentalists say GOP leaders Mike Villines of Clovis and DaveCogdill of Modesto are seeking to weaken regulations that are criticalto cleaning the polluted air in their Valley districts.
The demands are part of a long-running push by Republicans to getconcessions on a host of environmental regulations in return forsupporting a state budget deal that could include tax or fee hikes.
Cogdill said environmentalists are trying to "stop all business andindustry." The GOP pesticide proposal would simply put into law arecent court decision, he said, "so we don't have to keep fighting thebattle over and over again."
The minority GOP enjoys rare leverage at budget time. State spendingplans require a two-thirds majority vote, meaning a handful ofRepublicans must sign on.
Clean-air activists say the pesticide regulations should not be partof budget talks, which are taking place behind closed doors with nopublic involvement.
"What [Villines and Cogdill] have put on the chopping block will haveserious health implications for residents of the San Joaquin Valley,"said Sarah Sharpe, environmental health director for Fresno MetroMinistry, a faith-based group that advocates for clean air. "There'sno place for these conversations in the budget."
Lawmakers and Gov. Schwarzenegger are struggling to close a $42billion budget shortfall through June 2010.
The pesticide rule in question concerns smog-making gases, calledvolatile organic compounds or VOCs, emitted by pesticides. Pesticidescontribute to about 6% of the smog problem in the Valley, the mostrecent state figures show.
The Valley's bad air has created numerous public health problems,including high asthma rates.
In 2006, a federal judge ruled that the state Department of PesticideRegulation ignored clean air laws for pesticides. The judge orderedregulations that would cut pesticide emissions in the Valley by 20%from 1991 levels.
But in August, the department won an appeal to overturn the ruling.Officials are now finalizing new regulations that call for a smallerdecrease - a 12% cut from 1990 levels.
Republicans are seeking to put that figure in statute, according tolanguage of a proposal circulating in the Capitol. And the proposalwould loosen rules in Ventura County to allow for more emissions thanwhat the pesticide department is calling for.
The proposal appears aimed at undermining efforts by environmentalgroups to re-establish the stricter limits - either throughregulations or in court.
"We're going to do everything in our power to stop [the Department ofPesticide Regulation's] misguided regulations and Republicans' attemptto further steal public health protections from rural residents," saidBrent Newell, legal director for the Center on Race, Poverty & theEnvironment.
The rules target "fumigants," pesticides that are injected into thesoil to kill pests and disease. The department says the looser limitwill still "meet our obligation to reduce pesticide emissions, but doso in a way that avoids placing an unreasonable or disproportionateburden on fumigant pesticide users," according to regulatorydocuments.
Farmers fear the stricter limit could force some growers to stop usingpesticides in years when the region approaches the emissions limit. Asa result, "we are not going to be able to farm the same amount ofacres. We are not going to be able to produce the same amount offood," said Barry Bedwell, president of the Fresno-based Grape andTree Fruit League.
The department's proposal would set allowable emissions at 18.1 tonsper day, 2.1 tons less stringent than what environmentalists want. Inrecent years, pesticide VOC emissions have ranged from 17.3 tons perday to 21.4 tons, according to the pesticide department.
Estimated annual average emissions from all sources was 380 tons perday in 2006, according to the state Air Resources Board.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
The Nanaimo Daily News
Filmmaker tells story of secrecyPaul Manly's latest documentary tells troubling tale of SPP
by Derek Spalding
Nanaimo's Paul Manly still needs to put finishing touches on hislatest film, but the owner of Manly Media says he has put together acomprehensive documentary that outlines discussions between NorthAmerican leaders that have drastic implications for democracy andhealth standards in Canada.
Manly's film analyzes both the Security and Prosperity Partnership andthe Trade Investment Labour Mobility Agreement, criticizing the twoprocesses that the filmmaker describes as an erosion to Canada'shealth regulations, civil liberties and democratic rights.
Talking to a wide array of experts who oppose these agendas the full-length feature outlines the breadth and depth of the SPP and TILMAgiving citizens suggestions to speak out in opposition.
The Nanaimo filmmaker was shooting his documentary in December 2007when he captured footage of protests of SPP discussions between NorthAmerican leaders in Montebello, Que., where police officers thereposed as activists in the crowd and appear to be instigating a riot.Quebec provincial police said officers infiltrated protesters, butdenied they acted as "agent provocateurs" to instigate violence. Thevideo shows an undercover officer taking a swat at the mask of a riotofficer without facing any repercussions.
Manly's film had hundreds of thousands of internet views moments afterhe posted the footage online.
The SPP secret discussions and the phony protestors illustrate directthreats on Canadian democratic freedom, according to the filmmaker,but his documentary digs much further. He has collected as much as hecan through other people's freedom of information requests andcompiled what he says is a damaging account of the discussions andpossible implications.
"The Security and Prosperity Partnership is not a trade agreement.Nothing has been signed," said Manly. "We're talking about harmonizedregulations and standards -- standards that are going down."
Manly expects little action taken against the police for theMontebello incident, "that's just the way these things go," heexplained, but he wants to make people aware of the discussions thathe says has implications for all Canadians.
He spoke to experts and activists for his film, but received noresponses from the federal government about either project.
He had to gather information reported in other media in order to tellhis story. The difficulty he's had finding the information is tellingof the secret agenda by corporations and North American leaders, heexplained.
"They're not interested in talking, which is consistent with how theydealt with it all along," Manly said. "Both processes involveharmonizing regulations between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, andrather than doing it through legislation, they're doing it throughcorporate working groups. That's how the democratic process isundermined."
His film includes segments on lowered Canadian standards for pesticideuse and shared homeland security with the U.S. He disagrees with theharmonized regulations between the three countries, which, instead ofraising U.S. standards, lower Canadian ones, he explained.
Manly encourages people to follow recent trends that focus on shoppingand growing locally.
If the market shifts and people support local economies there will beless of a risk to introduce "tainted" products that come fromcountries with lower standards than Canadians.
"A lack of regulations means people die," he said.
You, Me, and the S.P.P: Trading Democracy for Corporate Rule premieresat 7 p.m. on Feb. 5 in the main drama theatre at Vancouver IslandUniversity, sponsored by the Human Rights and International SolidarityCommittee of the VIU Faculty Association, the VIU Students Union andthe Nanaimo Global Film Festival. Admission is by donation and allproceeds pay for promoting the film.
Manly will hold a special preview screening for VIU students on Feb. 5in the afternoon in building 356, room 109 at 2:30 p.m.
You, Me and the S.P.P. is also scheduled to screen in Courtenay at theWorld Community Film Festival on Feb. 7 and again at the NanaimoGlobal Film Festival on the weekend of March 20.
© The Daily News (Nanaimo) 2009
Jan 29th, 2009
Corporate Knights Magazine announces Canada’s most sustainable cities
Attention: News/National/Business Reporters and Assignment Editors
(Toronto, Canada, January 29, 2009) Today, Corporate Knights Magazineunveiled the third-annual Corporate Knights Most Sustainable Cities inCanada list. The comprehensive ranking identifies Canadian citieswhose practices leave the smallest environmental footprint possibleand create a healthy, thriving population.
The top cities in the 2009 Corporate Knights Sustainable CitiesRanking are as follows:
Large city category: Edmonton, ABMedium city category: Halifax, NSSmall city category: Yellowknife, NT
With the lowest unemployment rate of all cities and the second-lowestunemployment rate of immigrants, Edmonton wants to be an “innovationcentre for value-added and green technologies and products,” and ismeasuring progress by the percentage of green collar jobs created.Edmonton is also the only city in our consideration set to haveinclining block pricing on water to encourage conservation.
The Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) is one of the fewmunicipalities that have insecticide and pesticide bans throughout thecity. HRM is integrating sustainability into its decision-makingthrough its corporate-wide Sustainability Transition Team. But whileHalifax has the largest proportion of Canadian-born visible minoritiesin the country, no visible minorities sit on its city council.
Yellowknife is the only small city with a LEED-certified building, andthe city has integrated energy efficiency into its building bylaws andhas also conducted an energy audit on all of its facilities. It alsosupports creativity with an annual arts competition for local artists.The City of Yellowknife Downtown Enhancement Committee also providesannual funding for building murals that are painted by local artists.
The cities at the bottom of the ranking struggled with poor airquality, lack of systematic waste diversion programs or greenhouse gas(GHG) reduction targets, and lack of sustainability programs likegreen business incentives or retrofit programs.
Corporate Knights examined 17 cities, including Canada’s top tencities by population and the largest city in each province andterritory.* This year’s ranking was strengthened by a three-membernational advisory board, composed of lead advisor The Natural StepCanada (TNS) and advisors Greening Greater Toronto (GGT) and SmartGrowth BC (SGBC).
“Sustainability presents enormous opportunities for Canadians in themost important task there is: creating safe, healthy and vibrantcommunities for this and future generations,” says Chris Lindberg,Director of Partnerships and eLearning, TNS. “The Natural Step Canadais pleased to work with Canadian communities and progressiveorganizations such as Corporate Knights to make real change happen forthe benefit of all.”
The advisory board helped Corporate Knights to identify areas wherethe magazine could make its methodology more robust by suggesting newand improved metrics that better encompass a city’s strengths andweaknesses.
“Sustainable cities are created by good government policies andprograms, and by the actions taken by those who work and live in thosecities,” says Peter Johnson, Chair, Measurement and PerformanceWorking Group, GGT and director with the Sustainable BusinessSolutions practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. “The indicatorsselected are intended to provide a snapshot into how cities areevolving.”
Cities were assessed based on five categories: Ecological Integrity,Economic Security, Governance and Empowerment, Infrastructure andBuilt Environment, and Social Well-Being. Publicly availableinformation, including Statistics Canada data, and a city surveyconducted by Corporate Knights were used to determine city scores.
Corporate Knights found that several cities had strong affordablehousing programs, with smaller cities excelling in this area. Wastediversion targets were also set in most cities surveyed.
Overall, cities are doing a good job of self-regulating: setting GHGemission reduction targets for the city corporation, banning pesticideon city-owned property and mandating environmentally friendly designfor new city buildings. But Corporate Knights hopes that there is roomto grow.
“We challenge councils to extend these programs to the whole city, andfully integrate what are often seen as side initiatives,” says MelissaShin, Managing Editor.
The full results of the Ranking, including the surveys completed byeach city, are available on www.corporateknights.ca and are summarizedin the Responsible Investing issue (Vol. 7.3) of Corporate Knights,distributed in the Globe and Mail today.
*Note: Due to lack of data, Iqaluit was omitted from this year’sranking.
To schedule interviews with Melissa Shin, Managing Editor, contact:Don Huff, 416-972-7404, firstname.lastname@example.org
About Corporate Knights: Founded in 2002, Corporate Knights Inc. is anindependent Canadian-based media company focused on promoting andreinforcing sustainable development in Canada.
SourcesThe Anielski InstituteCanada Green Building CouncilCK surveyEnvironment CanadaThe Frontier Centre for Public Policy – Local Government PerformanceIndex 2008HIFIS National Database, Homelessness Partnering Secretariat – HRSDCLife Satisfaction and Trust in Neighbours study - by Barrington-Leighand HelliwellMoneySense 2008 “The Best Places to do Business in Canada”Municipalities’ websitesMunicipalities’ tourism bureausStatistics Canada
University of Alberta study authored by Prof. Sean Cash, Prof. EllenGoddard, and Ryan Lacanilao
All data is the most recent available and must not be older than fiveyears.
Individual City Information: all scores out of 10With the lowest unemployment rate of all cities and the second-lowestunemployment rate of immigrants, Edmonton (7.31) had our highestEconomic Security score. The city wants to be an “innovation centrefor value-added and green technologies and products”, and is measuringprogress by the percentage of green collar jobs created. Edmonton isalso the only city in our consideration set to have inclining blockpricing on water (cost/L increases as more water is consumed) toencourage conservation.Opportunity to improve: Edmonton annually inventories its GHGemissions for the community and the city corporation, and it isfinding that its annual emissions continue to increase.
The Halifax Regional Municipality (6.94) (HRM) had the highestGovernance and Empowerment score of all cities. One of the fewmunicipalities to have insecticide and pesticide bans throughout thecity, HRM is integrating sustainability into its decision-makingthrough its corporate-wide Sustainability Transition Team. Themunicipality also requires bike lanes on certain types of new roads.Opportunity to improve: Halifax has the largest proportion of Canadian-born visible minorities in the country, but no visible minorities siton its city council.
Yellowknife (6.14) is the only small city with a LEED-certifiedbuilding, and the city has integrated energy efficiency into itsbuilding bylaws and has also conducted an energy audit on all of itsfacilities. Along with a high population density, these factors cametogether to give Yellowknife the top Infrastructure and BuiltEnvironment score. It also supports creativity with an annual artscompetition for local artists. The City of Yellowknife DowntownEnhancement Committee also provides annual funding for building muralsthat are painted by local artists.Opportunity to improve: Yellowknife should consider a ban oninsecticides and pesticides.
Calgary’s (6.96) light-rail transit is powered entirely by wind-generated electricity. The city is also planning to implement an anti-pesticide by-law by 2010. Calgary also offers rebates in buildingpermit fees for builders constructing to Built Green, LEED standards,or the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) Go Greenprogram. These factors contributed to a high Infrastructure and BuiltEnvironment score.Opportunity to improve:The city has not yet set GHG emission reductiontargets and has bulk water pricing.
Strict waste management regulations and a long-term, community-basedsustainability plan boosted Hamilton’s (5.95) governance andempowerment score. The city’s vehicle fleet is one of the greenest inCanada, and a landfill gas-to-energy project and a new efficientdistrict cooling system should help to improve its ranking in comingyears. Its citizens have the highest reported life satisfaction ratesin the country – perhaps aided by a hearty number of city-held publicarts events last year.Opportunity to improve: The city is still lacking GHG reductiontargets for the community as a whole.
Led by its mayor of 30 years, Hazel McCallion, Mississauga (6.26)excels in gender representation in government: 8 of its 11 councillorsare women. An impressive waste diversion rate of 50% and a largeproportion of the budget allocated to conservation resulted in a highecological integrity score. The city was one of the few in Ontario tooffer an affordable home ownership program.Opportunity to improve: The city could consider financial incentivesto attract green businesses.
Montreal’s (5.96) ambitious GHG reduction target is complemented bythe city’s innovative “Bixi” bike share program and a plan to doubleits network of bike paths by 2014. Montreal’s 2009 budget allocated arecord $322 million to accessible, energy-efficient public transit.Host to over 32 public arts events last year, the largest communitygarden network in the country, and the fewest fast food stores percapita of all cities, Montreal’s top score was in the Social Well-being category.Opportunity to improve: Montreal struggled in the Ecological Integritycategory with high rates of water use and poor air quality. Highunemployment rates aided to a poor showing in Economic Security.
Ottawa (7.03) offers various retrofit rebate, incentive, andaffordable home ownership programs, leading to the highest score inthe Governance and Empowerment category. The city exceeded its targetof 20% reductions by 2007 from 1990, and has a green building policyfor city buildings.Opportunity to improve: Ottawa does not yet have an organic wastecollection service, contributing to a poor waste diversion rate, andhas one of the shortest bike path networks relative to city size ofall cities.
Quebec City (6.69) is currently undergoing a GHG inventory. The cityalso holds several sustainability-themed days and weeks, such asCulture Days, Open Library Days, Car-Free Days, Environment Week, andPublic Transportation Week. The city’s high Governance and Empowermentscore was partly due to its strong gender diversity on its citycouncil (almost one-third are female) and its ban on pesticides andinsecticides.Opportunity to improve: The city could consider retrofit programs andfinancial incentives for green businesses.
Saint John (5.60) provided an extensive report on its sustainabilityinitiatives. The city has held over 25 public meetings in the past sixmonths aimed at addressing the community concerns relating tosustainable development, and about one in 20 citizens activelyparticipated in their community visioning process. Saint John hasrecently begun work on its $88 million harbour cleanup, and the use ofgrey water has been included in its new water strategy. Of all thecities studied, Saint John’s citizens have the most trust in theirneighbors.Opportunity to improve: Saint John’s Social Well-Being score wasbrought down by high obesity rates and a low percentage of thepopulation with university degrees.
Saskatoon (6.12) is a leader in affordable home-ownership initiativesand its best showing was in the Governance and Empowerment category.The city has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, aswell as the lowest rate of long term debt per household, suggesting ahealthy economy. The city has recently become a member of Carpool.ca,earning all of its citizens access to the service.Opportunity to improve: High rates of domestic water-use and lax GHGtargets (a 6% reduction of 1993 levels by 2013) contributed to poorecological integrity. The city suffers from a high rate of crime, andhas only one farmers’ market.
St. John’s (5.10) has completed a Cycling Master Plan to provide 226km of cycling and multiuse paths around the city. It has also recentlycompleted an Affordable Housing Study and is ending its practice ofproviding hourly water rates to ships in June 2009. St. John’s is alsopart of the Partners for Climate Protection Program.Opportunity to improve: The city currently has no waste diversionprogram, but will begin curbside recycling in May 2010. With all thestudies the city has just completed, we look forward to seeing how St.John’s fares in future years.
Toronto (7.28) excelled in all areas and had the highest EcologicalIntegrity score of all cities. The city offers an impressive range ofretrofit and development incentive programs, including the new Eco-Roof incentive program and Green Condo loans which encouragedevelopers to consider sustainable design. Toronto does a GHGinventory for its own operation and has long-term city-wide goals –including an innovative smog reduction target. It is one of the onlycities to have a municipal ban on pesticides.Opportunity to improve: Toronto is one of the least dense cities,signaling urban sprawl that can threaten biodiversity and increasecommuting distance.
Whitehorse (5.16) has created a Strategic Sustainability Plan and haspartnered with the Energy Solutions Centre and Yukon Government toconduct a feasibility study in implementing a district-heatingproject. The “Wheel 2 Work Whitehorse” program encourages citizens tocycle to and from work or for work related errands as often aspossible between May 1 and September 30, and the city has over 850 kmof cycling paths. The city also has an ambitious waste diversiontarget of zero waste.Opportunity to improve: The city could consider financial incentivesto attract green businesses up north.
Winnipeg (5.74) has already met its GHG reduction target of reducinglevels by 20% from 1998. It had average scores in all five categories,and was set apart as having the smallest ecological footprint of allthose measured. The city has recently made significant investments inimproving public transit infrastructure, and is one of the few tooffer tax incentives for retrofitting older homes.Opportunity to improve: Currently, Winnipeg has a declining blockwater rate (thus encouraging mass consumption) and no limits on thenumber of garbage bags allowed per household. The city’s ecologicalintegrity was compromised by no measure of waste diversion and a lackof budget allocation to conservation.
Vancouver (6.60) has 14 LEED-certified buildings, second only toToronto. The city also has a low obesity rate and low unemployment.With four female and three visible minority city councillors out of10, Vancouver has the best combined diversity score of all cities. Itsrelatively low crime rate and high number of farmers’ markets led tothe highest Social Well-Being score of all cities.
Opportunity to improve: Vancouverites spend a relatively high percentof their income on housing, and it is one of the most expensive placesin Canada to live.
January 27, 2009
The Ottawa Citizen
Obama rolls out green agenda for U.S.
Policy sets sights on energy independence
By Steven Edwards, with files from Nicolas Van Praet and JulietO'Neill, Canwest News Service; with files from National Post
U.S. President Barack Obama announced a sweeping revision of U.S.environmental policy yesterday that included a pledge to "lead" oncombating climate change and developing alternatives to oil as anenergy source.
He declared energy independence as his administration's centralenvironmental policy goal, saying that achieving it would bring vitaleconomic and security dividends.
He also cleared the way for new rules to force automakers to producemore fuel-efficient and less-polluting cars.
Mr. Obama brushed aside concerns of the ailing auto industry in boththe United States and Canada about the impact on vehicle sales thattougher regulations would have.
"Our goal is not to further burden the already struggling industry,"Mr. Obama said. "It is to help America's automakers prepare for thefuture."
But of particular concern to auto industry executives was Mr. Obama'sorder for the Environmental Protection Agency to review whether U.S.states can themselves set "tailpipe" emissions standards.
The administration of George W. Bush had, through EPA, spurned a bidby California and 13 other states to impose their own strict limits onvehicle carbon-dioxide emissions.
In California's case, this bucked a tradition whereby Washington hashabitually allowed the state to go its own way to counter its smog-prone Los Angeles area.
EPA is expected to follow its review by issuing an approval of theapplications.
The Bush administration had agreed with automakers that granting suchwaivers could necessitate the production of two lines of vehicle --one to meet the stricter standards of certain states, and another tosell in the rest of the country.
This would increase production costs at a time when the financialcrisis has already depressed sales.
"What the entire industry is looking for is one standard goingforward," said David Adams, president of the Association ofInternational Automobile Manufacturers of Canada.
"It creates a challenging spectre for any automaker in terms of tryingto produce vehicles to meet different standards."
Canadian environmentalists, however, urged this country's governmentto follow Mr. Obama's example on greening the economy.
"That's the star that Canada should be hitching its wagon to, not theold standards of the Bush administration," said Dale Marshall of theDavid Suzuki Foundation.
California and the 13 states -- which include New York and New Jersey-- account for about half of the U.S. market for cars and lighttrucks.
They say they're seeking stricter emissions controls to reduce thetypes of gases that are widely believed to contribute to globalwarming through the creation of a "greenhouse" effect.
On fuel efficiency, Mr. Obama instructed the Department ofTransportation to set by March miles-per-gallon standards for modelyear 2011. This would give automakers an 18-month period to retool.
He argued yesterday the creation of a "new energy" economy throughinvestment in solar, wind and other alternative energy sources wouldcreate "millions of jobs" as it ends the U.S.'s dependence on oilsourced in countries that aren't always friendly to Western interests.
"It will put 460,000 Americans to work with clean-energy investmentsand double the capacity to generate alternative energy over the nextthree years," he said of measures in his administration's economicrecovery plan, which is currently before Congress.
"It will lay down 3,000 miles of transmission lines to deliver thisenergy to every corner of our country. It will save taxpayers $2billion a year by making 75 per cent of federal buildings moreefficient. And it will save working families hundreds of dollars ontheir energy bills by weatherizing two-million homes."
In what was widely interpreted as a swipe at the skepticism the Bushadministration had for the global-warming phenomenon, Mr. Obama saidhis government would "not deny (the) facts," but be "guided by them."
© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen
========================Warning Industry Propaganda Below========================
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Lawn and Landscape
Ruling on Herbicide Finalized
On Jan. 16, the MAA Research Task Force (Task Force) signed anagreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), whichpermits the continued use of MSMA. The agreement ends use of the theherbicide ingredient in residential turf at the end of 2010. Theannouncement comes about two years after the second comment periodended regarding the propsosal on the regulation of MSMA. (Click herefor background information.)
MSMA sale for the use on golf courses, sod farms and highway rights ofway will continue until Dec. 31, 2012, with use of stocks permitteduntil Dec. 31, 2013. During 2012 (before the discontinuation of theseuses), EPA, through one of the Agency’s external peer-review groups,will evaluate the scientific information available on any risk posedby inorganic arsenic. The use of MSMA will continue beyond 2013should the review result in a conclusion that there is no healthconcern at the doses of exposure resulting from the relevant uses.EPA will also take into account additional information available onthe benefits conferred by MSMA. This is particularly important due tothe increased problems of weed resistance to products other than MSMA,particularly in the Southeastern United States.
The Task Force is hopeful that the reviews described above will enableEPA to extend these use patterns beyond 2013 and to declare themeligible for re-registration.
The directions for use of MSMA for these applications will be revisedas follows:
One broadcast application will be allowed on newly constructedcourses.
Application on existing courses will be limited to spot treatment (100squre feet per spot), not to exceed 25 percent of the total course inone year.
Two broadcast applications will be allowed per crop. A 25-foot bufferstrip will be required for those fields bordering permanent waterbodies.
Two broadcast applications will be allowed per year. A 100-foot bufferstrip will be required adjacent to permanent water bodies.
Other MSMA Uses
Certain uses of MSMA will not be permitted after Dec. 31, 2010 (saleof MSMA for these uses will stop on Dec. 31, 2009). Those uses are:
* Residential turf * Forestry * Non-bearing fruit and nuts * Citrus, bearing and non-bearing * Drainage ditch banks, railroad, pipeline, and utility rights ofway, fence rows, storage yards and similar non-crop areas * Bluegrass, fescue and ryegrass grown for seed (this use may becontinued till 2013).
MSMA uses in Florida, other than for cotton, will cease andregistrants will delete the uses of the related products DSMA, CAMAand DMA (cacodylic acid and its sodium salt), by end of 2010.
The Long Term Outlook for Uses of MSMA Other than Cotton:
The Task Force strongly believes that there is growing scientificevidence that low doses of inorganic arsenic do not pose a concern tohuman health or to the environment. If an EPA science review, toconvene in 2012, concurs with this position, then inorganic arsenicresulting from uses of MSMA will not pose a concern, and the TaskForce will petition for restoration of some or all of MSMA uses.
Wednesday January 28, 2009
Federal budget recognizes value of green industry services
Canadian homeowners are now eligible for the Home Renovation TaxCredit outlined in the Harper Government's 2009 Federal Budget.Families can claim a 15 per cent non-refundable tax credit foreligible home renovation expenditures for work performed, or goodsacquired after Jan. 27, 2009 and before Feb. 1, 2010. The credit willapply to expenditures in excess of $1,000, but not more than $10,000,resulting in a maximum credit of $1,350 ($9,000 x 15 per cent).
Download Home Renovation Tax Credit pamphlet here.
Examples of HRTC eligible and ineligible expenditures:
Eligible- Building an addition, deck, fence or retaining wall- Painting the interior or exterior of a house- Resurfacing a driveway- Laying new sod
Ineligible- Purchase of tools- Maintenance contracts (furnace cleaning, snow removal, lawncare, pool cleaning, etc.)
CNLA, Landscape Ontario and the other provincial horticultureassociations have been raising awareness among politicians regardingthe value of landscapes, gardening and greenscapes for the last fewmonths. By educating them about the environmental and economicbenefits of green spaces, the ornamental horticulture industry hassuccessfully emphasized the importance and the value of the work ofour members.
January 30, 2009
The Ottawa Citizen
Economy will likely be golf's No. 1 story
Those at the PGA Merchandise Show admit that 2009 will be achallenging year for many companies.
By Gord Holder
There will be, Cindy Davis says, three big golf stories in 2009. Oneis the return of Tiger Woods, who has been sidelined since havingreconstructive knee surgery last June. Another will be Michelle Wie'sfirst full LPGA Tour season.
Swamping them both, though, is the economy.
There is not a unanimous opinion among the thousands of industryrepresentatives in town for the annual PGA Merchandise Show on theimpact of the current state of economic affairs on the sport, butthere are shared viewpoints.
"We are still using the same marketing methods to attract ourbusiness," says Davis, the president of Nike Golf. "People are stillbuying golf balls and people are still playing rounds of golf, albeitit may be influenced by this economy right now. People are stillplaying the game."
Nike Golf Canada general manager John Sibley says there aredifferences between the economies of Canada and the United States.
"We are fortunate we don't have sub-prime (mortgage problems)," Sibleysays. "We don't have the debt load that a lot of Americans experience.We don't have people that have mortgages that are far in excess oftheir home values. The metrics on the Canadian market are a little bitbetter, so we're hopeful that that means even more encouraging thingsin Canada. We are not immune to the recession that is happening, tothe retail softening, but I think we are in a better position to maybewithstand it."
Jason Pouliot, owner of Tennessee-based SeeMore Putter Company, sayssome companies will survive and be in position to grow when the golfbusiness rebounds.
"The big guns," as he calls them, "are still selling putters. Thesmall guys that try to do business like the big guns are the ones introuble."
That's a reference to such costs as major advertising campaigns andendorsement fees for tour pros. SeeMore, Pouliot says, does not paypros to use its putters, but rather entices them with quality productsand all the servicing they require.
He says SeeMore's business was 10 per cent better last year than itwas in 2007, and that was the year sales went through the roof becauseof Zach Johnson's Masters victory. The 2008 Masters champion, TrevorImmelman, also uses a SeeMore now, joining a lineup that includesfellow PGA Tour player Vaughn Taylor and the LPGA's Karrie Webb,Sophie Gustafson and Brittany Lang.
Pouliot's 2009 goal is to double SeeMore's sales. He says there'sdefinitely more optimism generally since Barack Obama became U.S.president on Jan. 20.
"Cautiously optimistic is the best description for the next sixmonths," he says.
Mark Seabrook, owner of the Canadian Golf and Country Club in Ashton,says course owners must prepare for the possibilities of decreasedrevenue and increased costs, partly because of new Ontario pesticidecontrol regulations. As well, maintenance schedules, staffing levelsand new expenditures must be reviewed.
"On the positive side," Seabrook says, "the Sens not making theplayoffs this year will free up some 'recreational dollars' that canget spent in the spring on golf."
The executive director of the Ottawa-based National Golf CourseOwners' Association, Jeff Calderwood, is also "cautiously optimistic,"saying golf has historically been more stable than other industries.As well, Canada's economy will do better than many others around theworld, and Ottawa will do better than other Canadian cities.
"That doesn't mean it's going to be easy," Calderwood says. "I thinksome of the corporate spending is going to contract a little bit, someof the charity events are going to contract a little bit.
"I think some of the membership sales are likely to feel pressure, butsome of that (spending) will be redistributed, and public play may getsome of it."
At the individual level, the impact may be more noticeable. Ottawa'sAndrew Jensen, a first-year pro in 2008, says this year's plans willdepend on finances. Massachusetts pro Susan Choi, who benefited fromthe visibility attached to being a participant in an edition of GolfChannel's Big Break reality series, is still trying to arrange payingsponsorships for her campaign on the U.S.-based Duramed Futures Tour.
"Because of Susan's personality, they're all very positive at thebeginning, but pulling the trigger is the key," says her coach, BillMcInerney. "It's funny. People are afraid to say no, so people have atendency not to get back to you.
"In terms of giving her equipment, there's no problem, but, in termsof giving her money to support her career, it's a problem."
Charlottetown's Lorie Kane, an LPGA Tour regular since 1996, hasmanaged to renew all her corporate sponsorship agreements and to add anew one, with the Toronto-based women's clothing company TabiInternational, to replace another lapsed contract.
Kane says she's "lucky from the endorsement side.
"I do see it, though, from the standpoint that we have lost sometournaments on tour, and I truly believe that this is a year thatplayers will have to go beyond and above what we've done," Kane said.
"We're going to have to make sure we attend all those pro-am partiesand do the little extra things because people are looking at makingsure they're getting value for their dollar. Companies will cut back,but they still have to market and they still have to sell."
Davis says her company is well positioned financially, and, secondly,Nike is Nike.
When times like this happen, people go to brands they trust, and thatswoosh of Nike is a brand they trust," Davis says.
"I do think when this is said and done, with regard to Nike Golf, thatthis will end up being an opportunity to show gains."
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St. John's Daily Spray Advisory
My Past Articles
More enforcement needed for pesticide spray regulations
The Western Star (Corner Brook) - Final - 10-01-2002 - 413 words
Karen Griffin - Judie Squires says someone needs to patrol the companies that spray residential areas for pesticides because she's observed nine violations of the Environmental Protection Act in her Paradise neighborhood alone…
Spray woes: Province falling down on monitoring pesticides
The Telegram (
Judie Squires - environment to become poisoned? A temporary ban on all residential pesticides has to be put into place, to protect us, our wildlife and our environment as a whole. Judie Squires
Government lax on cosmetic pesticide regulation: advocate
The Telegram (
Stokes Sullivan, Deana - Despite increased awareness about adverse health effects from pesticides, Judie Squires, a member of the Pesticide Working Group of
Woman doesn't expect cosmetic pesticide ban any time soon
The Western Star (Corner Brook) - 08-30-2004 - 712 words
Stokes Sullivan, Deana - Despite increased awareness about adverse health effects from pesticides, Judie Squires, a member of the Pesticide Working Group of Newfoundland and Labrador, isn't optimistic that the province will ban the…
Province lagging behind in pesticide control
The Telegram (
Squires, Judie - it to do is to prohibit the cosmetic use of synthetic pesticides altogether in order to protect our citizens and the environment. Judie Squires writes from Portugal Cove-St. Philip's…
The two sides to pesticide use
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Judie Squires - health of your families. When
Inquiry implicates BTk
The Telegram (
DEANA STOKES SULLIVAN - of trees. The live spores can be inhaled by humans and animals exposed to BT. Judie Squires, secretary of the Northeast Avalon Group of the Sierra Club, says despite claims that…
Delayed pesticide laws 'disappointing'
The Telegram (
DEANA STOKES SULLIVAN - at the end of this year. These products will only be sold to certified dealers. Judie Squires, secretary of the newly formed Northeast Avalon Group of the Sierra Club, isn't…
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Time for provincial lawn pesticide regulation
The Telegram (
pesticides. Please join me in lobbying our province for a pesticide ban Judie Squires Portugal Cove...