Toxic Algal Blooms And Warming Waters: The Climate Connection

September 30, 2013

SAMMAMISH, Wash. — A photograph displayed in Jacki and John Williford’s home commemorates a camping trip that would go down in family history.


The most memorable event from that outing in 2011 involved the mussels John and his two children collected from a dock near Sequim Bay State Park on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. The family took them back to their campsite and steamed them in white wine with garlic and oregano.


“It was really good. Like the best mussels in the whole wide world,” remembers their son Jaycee, now 7. “And they were huge.”


But his little sister’s memories of that day aren’t quite as fond.


“They had poison in them.” says 4-year-old Jessica as her parents look on. “They drinked the poisoned water.”


The mussels the Willifords ate around the campfire that night were indeed poisoned. But it was a natural type of poison. The shellfish had sucked up a toxin produced by a certain type of algae called dinophysis.


Dinophysis has been found around the world and documented in Northwest waters for decades. But scientists think it’s becoming more toxic as ocean conditions change, in part due to climate change.


Every year during the warmer months, blooms of algae dot Northwest waters. Some types of algae can release toxins, which poison shellfish and the people who might eat those shellfish.


In recent years, toxic algal blooms have been more potent and lasted longer. That has scientists trying to understand how our warming climate could be contributing to the problem.


But for the Willifords, the science is already hitting close to home.



First U.S. Case of Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning


The Williford’s encounter with what turned out to be diarrhetic shellfish poisoning wasn’t pretty. Soon after their youngest went to bed that night, Jacki and her husband John heard sounds of vomiting coming from the tent.


After a long night spent using pillowcases, towels and every spare article of clothing to clean up the mess, the Willifords decided to cut their vacation short, pack up their things and head home.


“It just broke your heart the next morning to have a 2-year-old sitting in her stroller with a cup and she would just be over there dry heaving into her cup,” Jacki Williford recalls. “I was like, how many two year olds can manage their own cup for throwing up?”


It turns out there wasn’t much public health officials could have done to prevent this family’s experience. The DSP toxin is expensive to detect –- and there had never been a confirmed DSP poisoning in the United States –- although it has made people in Europe and Japan sick.


The Washington Department of Health works with tribes and shellfish growers to test regularly for other naturally occurring toxins in shellfish. Other native algae produce toxins that can cause paralysis and amnesia.


It was only recently that dinophysis joined the ranks of algal troublemakers in the Northwest but it may be perfectly equipped to thrive in our changing waters.




‘Cellular Vampirism’


Neil Harrington watches the waters more closely than most. As a biologist for the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe he monitors shellfish every week for toxic algae contamination. Today he’s taking samples from the very dock on Sequim Bay where the Willifords harvested their toxic shellfish in 2011.


Harrington pulls up a cage full of mussels and oysters and starts picking some out for sampling. These shellfish, alongside water samples from this site, will be taken back to his lab to test for algae-related toxins. Some samples will also be overnighted to the Department of Health lab in Shoreline, Wa., which is a clearinghouse for the latest information on shellfish bed closures.


Harrington is particularly curious about dinophysis. Unlike a lot of algae that just float around and photosynthesize until the water turns phosphorescent or red or green, dinophysis has two tails that allow it to swim through the water. That means it can photosynthesize like a plant and prey on other single-celled organisms.



“So it’s sort of cellular vampirism,” Harrington chuckles. “The analog on land would be a carnivorous plant … a sort of microshop of horrors.”


And this super bug is on the rise in Northwest waters.


Agal blooms and climate change
2012 DSP levels in Puget Sound.


Agal blooms and climate change
2012 DSP levels on Washington coast.


As more people move to the Northwest and more land is developed, more fertilizers and nutrients runoff into waterways.


“The more nutrients you add to a water body, the more algae there is,” Harrington says. “And the more algae you get the more chance there is that some of those algae will be harmful.”


Now add climate change to the equation. As we move into a warmer climate, scientists say, there will be a longer growth season for harmful algal blooms to flourish — both in the marine environment and fresh waterbodies.


Algae thrive in warmer waters. They also like it when snowmelt flushes fresh water into the marine environment.


That influx of fresh water makes for a nice layering effect and dinophysis knows how to use those conditions to their advantage.


“They can go to the surface into that fresher layer and photosynthesize during the day and then they can swim down and access nutrient-rich waters at night,” says Vera Trainer, an expert on harmful algae with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Seattle. “So we believe that there will potentially be an increase in them in the future.”


In an important paper published in 2008, Stephanie Moore, another expert on toxic algae with NOAA, highlighted the concerns in the scientific community about how ocean acidification, the ugly step-child of climate change, could contribute to the rise of toxic algal species. “A more acidic environment would favor, among others, the dinoflagellates — the group of phytoplankton to which most harmful algae belong,” Moore wrote. Vera Trainer, a co-author on the paper, suggests we may be entering a “dinoflagellate regime.”


Trainer’s department at NOAA has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars developing equipment that will monitor algae and toxins in the water column.


In the shellfish beds of Samish Bay south of Bellingham, Wash., Moore is beta testing the latest algae monitoring instrument. It’s called an Environmental Sample Processor and in about three hours, the ESP automatically collects water, analyzes the samples and sends a photograph that shows how many harmful algal species are present in the water at that moment.




Because of its speed and accuracy, Moore says the ESP has the potential to revolutionize harmful algae monitoring. “I would still be driving back from the site in that amount of time and wouldn’t be anywhere close to being able to report on the abundance of five harmful algal species,” Moore says. “So this is a huge advancement in our ability to keep tabs on what’s going on.”


With the ESP, Moore can get word to public health officials much more quickly.


Jerry Borchert is one of those public health officials. He’s the guy responsible for making sure all the shellfish harvested along Washington’s 800 miles of coast is safe to eat. The shellfish industry in the state generates $270 million annually.


At the Department of Health lab north of Seattle, Borchert works closely with his team to analyze thousands of shellfish samples every year. If the toxin levels are too high, he closes beaches to shellfishing.


This summer marked the first time he had to close beaches in south Puget Sound because of high levels of DSP toxin. But the trend, overall, has been upwards in recent decades.


“There’s more closures happening repeatedly,” Borchert says. “They’re starting earlier, they’re lasting longer. They’re happening during the winter time where they never used to occur. It is real. We are seeing more toxic blooms.”


The Department of Health is spending $80,000 per year, on top of its regular budget, to test for the toxin that causes diarrhetic shellfish poisoning. That’s what made the Williford family sick.


And it’s making Borchert’s life harder. He’s had to hire more staff, expand sampling sites and sample more throughout the year.


“Things are constantly changing but changing in a more negative fashion so I have to do more to be prepared for this and it’s ongoing,” Borchert says as his shoulders slump. He has a resigned, tired look in his eye.


“For every one thing we learn it seems to lead to 100 more questions,” he says.


This season the Department of Health closed shellfish beds in six counties around Puget Sound because of high levels of DSP. Fortunately, no one got sick.


But in the years to come, Borchert says he expects to be more and more busy.


Story and audio by Ashley Ahearn. Video and additional reporting by Katie Campbell. Photos as credited.



Agencies Release Draft Columbia Treaty

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — The U.S. agencies responsible for managing the Columbia River under a U.S.-Canada treaty say the treaty should be modernized to better reflect current Pacific Northwest priorities.

The 1964 Columbia River Treaty is an agreement between the two countries for developing and operating the river and its dams for flood control and power.

Either country may give notice beginning in 2014 that it wants treaty provisions changed or terminated. For the U.S., the Bonneville Power Administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are working with other stakeholders to develop recommendations on the treaty.

The agencies released their draft recommendations for public comment Thursday. The working draft notes that the treaty must be modernized to adapt to the impacts of climate change and to include the ecosystem as a focus.


Oregon House Passes Columbia River Treaty Bill


Rep. Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario) carried HB 3491A on the Floor of the House last Thursday, where it was passed unanimously. House Bill 3491A, drafted by Rep. Bentz, directs the Governor to report to the Oregon Legislative Assembly on discussions relating to the Columbia River Treaty. Reports from the Governor are required every 90 days beginning this September.

The Columbia River Treaty is an agreement between the United States and Canada under which Canada constructed and operates three dams in Canada for power generation and flood control and under which the U.S. constructed and operates a dam in Montana for the same purpose. The U.S. and Canada share the power benefits produced from Canadian water storage.

According to the bill’s supporters, December 31st of 2013, a critical date for the Columbia River Treaty is fast approaching. If Canada or the U.S. decided to withdraw from the Treaty, a 10-year notice of such termination could be given by either party in 2014.

HB 3491A provides the legislature with the opportunity to follow and monitor the negotiations and their impact on Oregon.

“The Columbia River Treaty is hugely important to Oregon,” Rep. Bentz said. “Terminated, renegotiated, or left as is, there are significant and direct consequences for our state. Changes in responsibility for flood control, the timing of the flow of water to Oregon, and many other important issues are all on the negotiating table. It is absolutely essential that Oregon fully engage in these discussions and decisions regarding the Columbia River Treaty.”

Rep. Bentz previously urged his colleagues in the House to support HB 3491A when it was heard in his House Committee on Energy and Environment on April 16th. It passed out of Committee unanimously.

“The dams in the Columbia River Basin (made possible by the Treaty) have saved Portland from devastating floods and resulting loss of life. However, allocation of the responsibility for flood control could damage small towns such as Richland, Halfway, and Ontario. Consequences such as these, not to mention the cost of “new” stored water, make this process meaningful to much of our state. We must be involved and invested in this process.”


First Nation launches constitutional challenge to Shell tar sands expansion

  MONTHLY REVIEW                    

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation spokesperson Eriel Deranger speaks out against the oilsands at a recent event in Vancouver.

by David P. Ball
Indian Country Today October 5, 2012

A First Nation whose land sits in the heart of the Alberta oil sands has ramped up its legal battle against the vast industrial development, which has generated controversy because of its massive carbon footprint, untreated tailings ponds and at least three proposed pipelines: Keystone XL, Kinder Morgan and Enbridge‘s Northern Gateway.

The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) on October 1 launched a constitutional challenge based in Treaty 8 alleging that the provincial government and the energy giant Shell Canada, which is looking to expand its Jackpine oil sands mine in the band’s traditional territories, have failed to adequately consult them and thus have in effect violated their treaty rights to use their land traditionally.

The challenge, submitted to the review panel that is evaluating the proposal, calls for mandatory consultation with First Nation treaty signatories. It also demands that their right to access their territories for hunting, trapping, harvesting and other traditional uses be honored. The Chipewyan allege that the Jackpine expansion, by damaging the environment, would prevent them from engaging in those activities and resources and thus violate the treaty.

Treaty 8, which forms the basis for ACFN’s constitutional challenge, is a historic agreement between the Crown and indigenous nations that promised aboriginal people the right to use their traditional lands and natural resources, and to self-governance. The ACFN is hoping to ”set new precedents that may mean changes to the regulatory process,” the band said in a statement.

“Consultation and accommodation—and the way it’s being done—has become shady deals, and coercion does not encompass the idea of free, prior and informed consent,” ACFN spokesperson Eriel Deranger told Indian Country Today Media Network. “The communities here have been bullied—by industry, a pro-industry provincial government and a pro-industry federal government—to just shut up and take what we can get out of a deal.”

Shell’s proposal—already facing a separate ACFN lawsuit to halt or alter it—would see the Jackpine project increase production every day by 100,000 barrels. But the company must first complete a review that begins on October 29, and ACFN says that the 31,429-acre disturbance area of the mine would devastate part of the culturally important Muskeg River, which is where the nation conducts most of its traditional hunting, trapping and harvesting activities.

“What are the costs of pushing the industry through?” Deranger asked. “We’re talking about doubling production in the tar sands. We’re already having problems with the current pace of development. Doubling it is psychotic. Some people think the tar sands and First Nations people can coexist, [but] I don’t know how you could possible rip up thousands of kilometers of boreal forest and traditional territories, de-water, poison and contaminate river systems, and consider that a plausible way for coexistence?”

But Shell insisted that it has, in fact, consulted the First Nation repeatedly, and that it does respect ACFN’s treaty rights.

“Shell has engaged extensively with ACFN over the last 15 years,” spokesperson David Williams told The Globe and Mail. “We’re aware of their concerns around Treaty 8, and our door remains open.”

Deranger acknowledged that some aboriginal people are divided over the benefits of the oil sands (or what its opponents call tar sands) in which a thick oil product, bitumen, is extracted from the earth in an energy-intensive mining and refining process.

“There are First Nations who think the tar sands are great,” Deranger admitted. “People have jobs. People now can afford to take their kids to Edmonton to go to the dentist. These are luxuries for people. But we have to start weighing the costs.”

Those costs—hundreds of toxic tailings ponds, open pit mines, significant emissions and polluted rivers across a giant swathe of Alberta—have not been properly addressed with ACFN, Deranger says.

“How will they potentially mitigate the impacts on traditional and treaty rights from their proposed expansion project in the oil sands?” she asked. “Industry isn’t meeting those standards. We’re not going to make any deals with you anymore. We’re going to fight your projects tooth and nail through a process that already exists.”

Mi’kmaq to Obstruct Traffic to Fight Oil and Gas Exploration at Lake Ainslie

First Nations call for a complete halt to drilling in Cape Breton


Link to Original Article

Ginny Marshall says that although oil and gas exploration in Cape Breton would benefit her economically, the risk of freshwater contamination is too great.PHOTO: BEN SICHEL

AULD’S COVE, NS—Mi’kmaq people from Cape Breton and the Nova Scotia mainland are preparing to set up a “partial blockade” of the Trans-Canada Highway in Auld’s Cove, on the mainland side of the Canso Causeway, the access point to Cape Breton.

By 1:30 yesterday afternoon, about 25 people had gathered, setting up flags and signs, and organizing a teepee and food for the warriors and their supporters.

The blockade is in opposition to exploratory oil and gas drilling by PetroWorth Resources, scheduled to begin later this year on the shore of Lake Ainslie in western Cape Breton.

Peter Bernard (front row left), Ginny Marshall (front row centre-right), Emmett Peters (back row far right) and other Mi’kmaq Warriors and supporters at the site of today’s partial blockade of the Trans-Canada Highway at Auld’s Cove, NS. PHOTO:BEN SICHEL

“We’re going to be slowing the traffic down to a bare stop,” said Ginny Marshall, pipefitter and mother of four from Potlotek (Chapel Island) on Cape Breton. “But we’ll be allowing people to go through,” while handing out information and pamphlets, she explained. “We have to make it known why water is sacred.”

Mi’kmaq communities—andmany non-Indigenous residents around Lake Ainslie—have been clear in theiropposition to exploratory drilling around the watershed, saying that no amount of money is worth risking the pristine water resources that Lake Ainslie supports.

“I’m a pipefitter and I would benefit from this type of job,” said Marshall, referring to the development the province says is necessary to the economically depressed region. “But…I’ve seen all the damages that it does…I cannot tell my children, my child…I didn’t try. I let this go. I knew they were going to destroy the water…and money was too important.”

Emmett Peters of Paq’tnkek (Afton) emphasized the importance of the action for future generations.

“I don’t know if you’re familiar with the 1752 treaty, [which was affirmed in the 1999] Marshall Decision, where we’re allowed to hunt and fish. So they thought about us 300 years previous. That’s how strong that treaty was,” said Peters.

“So now what we’re trying to do is leave something for our children…maybe all it could be is fresh water.”

A ceremony is planned for this morning at the blockade site, to which all people are invited.

“We’re going to put up a teepee and we’re going to have a fire, drummers are going come in and drum, sing the honour song and we’re going to have one of our elders say an opening prayer just so everything goes good,” said Peters yesterday. “We’re leading, but it’s for all human beings.”

Organizers of the action are expecting supporters from Paq’tnkek, Eskasoni, Waycobah, Membertou and Potlotek First Nations. They are also expecting non-Indigenous supporters from the Green Party, Protect Lake Ainslie and the Margaree Environmental Association.

Peter Bernard, a Chief of the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society from Waycobah, estimated this action will last two days.

“We’re trying to do this as peaceful as possible,” said Marshall. But she, Peters and Bernard added that they will not give up if the partial blockade doesn’t affect the changes they are looking for: a complete halt on any oil and gas exploration or drilling at Lake Ainslie.

“If they do drill that [exploratory] well, what’s going to stop them from fracking?” said Paul. “It’s going to cost them millions of dollars to drill that one hole. And just leave it? I don’t think so.”

Marshall said that if the traffic slowdown doesn’t succeed in stopping PetroWorth’s well, a full blockade will be organized.

“We will take your time…we understand your time is your money,” said Marshall. “If no other way is gonna put a stop to this, this is our last resort.”

“We’re so lucky to have a place so safe in the world compared to other places,” said Marshall. “Blue gold is going to be the next commodity…just like oil, it’s gonna be our water, because water is a key element to life.”

PetroWorth Resources could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.

Moira Peters lives and bikes in Halifax. Ben Sichel is a teacher and writer, and editor for the Halifax Media Co-op, where this article was originally published.

US First Nations Present Obama with Mother Earth Accord Opposing XL Pipeline

Rosebud Sioux Nation President Rodney Bordeaux

US and Canadian Indigenous Peoples United To Stop Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline

Monday, December 5, 2011

Washington DC-A delegation of US Tribal leaders gathered together in Washington DC, during the third annual White House Tribal Leaders Summit to call on President Obama to reject a presidential permit for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The leaders presented President Obama with the “Mother Earth Accord” that outlines unique US Tribal and First Nations concerns over Keystone XL, Alberta Tar Sands, the heavy haul in Idaho and Montana, and presented a copy of the Academy Award Nominated Documentary film called “Pipe Dreams”

The 1,700-mile proposed Transcanada Keystone XL pipeline has been mired in controversy since its inception and poses a significant threat to tribal water quality, public health, and cultural heritage in both the United States and Canada.  In Alberta, extraction of tar sands oil has already been linked to a 30% elevated rate of rare cancers and autoimmune diseases in First Nations communities downstream from the project.

President Steele of Oglala Sioux Nation stated, “I will stand against the Keystone XL pipeline as long as it threatens to contaminate the Mni Wiconi water pipeline and threatens the clean drinking water and health of the Oglala people.

The Mother Earth Accord, developed this past September at the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Emergency Summit, demonstrates the unity among the Tribes on both side of the border and the State Department’s failure hold meaningful consultations with US tribes and treaty rights violations. Over twenty Canadian First Nations and US Tribes, as well as private landowners, private citizens, environmental NGO’s, Indigenous peoples organizations and political parties including the New Democratic Party of Canada, the official opposition of the federal Canadian Government, have endorsed it.

According to Chairman Rodney Bordeaux of the Rosebud Sioux Nation, ”I sat next to President Obama, and I asked him to not sign the Presidential Permit, and I feel that he listened to my concerns seriously. I stand with my brothers and sisters on both sides of the border in opposition to this proposed pipeline.”

“While we applaud President Obama’s reaction to the concerns of Tribes, land owners and civil society we are still greatly concerned that the administration has only delayed the decision. We have supported this bi-national delegation of First Nations and Tribal leaders to come to Washington DC to tell President Obama an outright denial of the Presidential permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline is the moral path forward.” Said Marty Cobenais, US Pipeline Campaigner for the Indigenous Environmental Network.

The Indigenous Environmental Network and our allies will continue to support the leadership and grassroots members of First Nations and US Tribes in their opposition Keystone XL and other initiatives that would violate the treaty rights and the human and ecological health of our peoples, lands and way of life.

link to article:


For More information:

US Pipeline Campaigner-Marty Cobenais or call (Cell) 218 760 6632

Canadian Tar Sands Campaigner-Clayton Thomas-Muller or call (Cell) 613 297 7515

To Read Mother Earth Accord-

Youtube links to December 1 2011 Press Event at National Press Club:

New Brunswick: Police and Private Harassment of Anti-Frackers

Shale gas opponents face intimidation

by One Straw Revolution, 10/10/2011

Stephanie Merrill and the NB Media Co-op is reporting that the RCMP and private security firms are placing anti-fracking groups and members under close surveillance and laying criminal complaints against them, while private security firms are harassing ant-fracking protesters.

Shale gas protesters around the province are learning what happens when they speak out publicly against something they feel strongly about. They are being flagged, tagged and targeted – by industry, government and the authorities. While the public heat has been turned up on the provincial government’s plan to explore for shale gas around the province, so too has the security in rural communities and their own government condemning protesters as violent criminals.

At planned events, the police and RCMP security has noticeably increased. According to Sgt. Daniel Landry, of the Codiac RCMP, it’s part of operations for the RCMP to cover large demonstrations. Along with accompanying protesters on march routes, the RCMP also record the goings-on during large demonstrations.

Many people have observed private security and investigative firms following protesters at planned events and in their communities. G4S, a large multinational security firm with 25,000 employees across Canada, followed behind the frACTION Moncton March in a marked vehicle. Securitas, a security firm hired by SWN Resources while doing seismic work in many communities have been also monitoring people.

All this has left many rural New Brunswickers feeling like they are being watched, when it is the industry who, they feel, needs closer surveillance.

One couple from Durham Bridge have had numerous encounters with a private security firm and plain-clothed police officer in their community. Joey and Anna Saindon have been followed on their way to work and have had their pictures taken with telephoto lens cameras while going about their daily routines. When they called the RCMP, they found out that Securitas had already filed a complaint against them. They then contacted Securitas directly and voiced their concerns about being watched; once again, Securitas filed a second complaint with the RCMP.

“We went from a community that might see a police cruiser once every couple of months to seeing multiple cruisers passing by our house every half hour or so,” says Joey Saindon. “For a month or so it really felt like our community was being invaded by Southwestern Resources, Geokinetics, Securitas and RCMP, and there was nothing we could do about it”.

Graham Waugh’s family, from Corn Hill, recently received a visit from the RCMP after he sent an email to Corridor Resources, voicing his displeasure with their upcoming seismic testing program proposed for their pastoral community. Corridor Resources reported Waugh and his email to the RCMP. “Dealing with the authorities is a bit unnerving,” says Waugh, “it makes us feel ashamed to speak up, and like you’ve done something wrong. It feels like an intimidation tactic to pressure people into staying quiet about how they feel and what they are going through.”

In some instances, the intimidation has crossed over into personally threatening territory. Derek and Terri Telasco, founders of BanFracking NB, a group dedicated to fighting shale gas plans throughout the province, have been subjected to threats. In a month, the Purple Violet Press, an independent online media source in N.B, received an anonymous email from someone working in the oil and gas service industry. In the email the sender threatens “retaliation” and to “get even” with the Telasco’s for expressing their views on the shale gas industry by turning “their life into a living hell”.

The Telasco’s were given 48 hours to dismantle their website and Facebook group before the sender would act on their threats. They did not, and their website was subsequently hacked. They reported this, the email threats and their research on who the sender may be to the RCMP. The RCMP have yet to follow up on their complaints.

It seems that wherever there is strong opposition to shale gas exploration, there is intimidation. The shale gas opponents have vowed that they will not be deterred.

With files from the Purple Violet Press:

[Editor’s Note: I received this report in a private email; I did not derive this from the NB Media Co-op website.]

Link to original article:



Green Party NB Supports Opposition to Shale Gas

From the New Brunswick Harbinger, July 11, 2011

The Green Party of New Brunswick supports the ongoing efforts of citizens throughout New Brunswick to protect their communities, their drinking water and their air quality from the hazards of shale gas development. Evidence is continually mounting of deteriorating quality of life and health in regions where hydro-fracking for shale gas is being carried out. In addition, studies show that the methane released through fracking makes this unconventional extraction of natural gas a greater contributor to greenhouse gas emissions than conventional coal. Thus it is a net contributor to climate change.

“Shale gas is a low quality fossil fuel resource, just like the bitumen in the tar sands. We’re at the bottom of the barrel in terms of the energy resource that is left and we need to adapt,” says Roy MacMullin, the Green Party energy advocate. “We are now at the fork in the road. We can either choose to move backwards into even dirtier fossil fuels, or we can build homes that are ultra efficient with geothermal or passive solar, arrange our communities so that public transportation works, and replace dirty and dangerous power plants with renewable energy systems.”

Green Party president Janice Harvey added, “This is a 19th century development mentality. As long as New Brunswick stays mired here, we will always be at the back of the pack as the new green economy develops around us. The 21st century requires new thinking and new direction,” said Harvey.

MacMullin added, “The idea of natural gas being a transition fuel to a sustainable energy economy is history. Energy efficiency and renewable technologies have now developed to such an extent that we could move directly to a sustainable energy economy if investments are directed towards that goal.”

Link to article:

Canada legally required to take action on human right to water: Report

Ottawa – As the first anniversary of the UN General Assembly’s historic recognition of the human right to water and sanitation draws near, the Council of Canadians is releasing a new report today by chairperson Maude Barlow, titled Our Right to Water: A People’s Guide to Implementing the United Nations’ Recognition of the Right to Water and Sanitation. The report is available here.

The report finds that Canada is legally bound to respect the UN vote, and therefore to address the pressing issue of access to water and sanitation in First Nations communities…


Lest we Forget – The new Can-US Regulatory Co-operation Council and Perimeter Security Accord is the next generation of NACC and the SPP.

By Janet M Eaton, Sierra Club Canada,  Trade and Environment
Campaigner,   May 10th, 2011
A  Vancouver Sun May 9th article entitled “Is ‘harmonizing’ code for
cutting standards?”  cites the Canadian government, industry
representatives and consumer group reaction to a  new Canada-US
Regulatory Cooperation Council. [1]   Continue reading