Canadians: Support the Science Integrity Project


Polling opens for the Canadian election on October 9th with the final day to vote on the 19th. This election, the organization Evidence for Democracy (and many more!) are asking you to vote with science in mind.

The Canadian Conservative party blatantly ignores scientific facts in their policies and this has led to some horrible practices in Canada. The good news is that you can change that this October by voting for knowledge, look into the Science Integrity Project

Our project reflects the collective wisdom of 75 leaders — in science, indigenous knowledge, public policy, civil society, and governance — who are concerned about the erosion of an evidence-based approach to public policy decision-making in Canada.

Why SIP:
The Science Integrity Project was created in response to growing concerns [1] that many public policy decisions made in Canada — and in its cities, provinces and territories — are not consistently supported by solid information derived from the best available evidence — from science and indigenous knowledge.
What is SIP:
Through a series of in-depth interviews and a national forum, we developed principles for improved decision making on the basis of the best available evidence.

Check out the Science Integrity Project

Read More

Solar and Wind Continue to Succeed, Coal Keeps Failing

Coal continues its downward trend to obsolescence thanks to the rise of installed solar and wind capacity. In many places around the world coal is more expensive than renewable energy and as a result it has driven costs down elsewhere.

The future is clearly one that won’t use coal as an energy resource. We need to keep the carbon in the ground, and we’re slowly starting to leave coal alone.

For the first time, widespread adoption of renewables is effectively lowering the capacity factor for fossil fuels. That’s because once a solar or wind project is built, the marginal cost of the electricity it produces is pretty much zero—free electricity—while coal and gas plants require more fuel for every new watt produced. If you’re a power company with a choice, you choose the free stuff every time.
It’s a self-reinforcing cycle. As more renewables are installed, coal and natural gas plants are used less. As coal and gas are used less, the cost of using them to generate electricity goes up. As the cost of coal and gas power rises, more renewables will be installed.

Read more.

Read More

Be Healthy by Getting Dirty

Hygiene is harming us. The overuse of antibacterial everything and the kill-all solution of antibiotics seems to be doing harm to us. Don’t get me wrong – we need antibiotics and antibacterial solutions. The thing is that we’ve used them too much.

The good news is you don’t have to be so worried about over-cleaning everything. People, kids in particular, need to have some dirt, germs, and grime around them so their immune system develops.

Most recently, it’s been discover that exposure to certain bacteria can hold back asthma.

To check if the missing bacteria are protective, the researchers inoculated germ-free mice with the FLVR bacteria and found airway inflammation improved in adult offspring of the mice compared with those without the FLVR bacteria.

The findings support the “hygiene hypothesis” of how sterilizing everything may come with a health cost in the long term.

“Maybe we’ve actually cleaned up things too much in our quest to get rid of all these infectious diseases,” Finlay said. “I really do think we have to retool how we behave.”

Read more.

Read More

Be a Part of the Future: Sign the Leap Manifesto


Canada has been destroying it’s own environment (and trashing international environmental policy) for way too long. As a result of this ignorant neglect a bunch of prominent Canadians have produced the Leap Manifesto.

And it’s good. Really good.

Here’s just a snippet of the Leap Manifesto:

A leap to a non-polluting economy creates countless openings for similar multiple “wins.” We want a universal program to build energy efficient homes, and retrofit existing housing, ensuring that the lowest income communities and neighbourhoods will benefit first and receive job training and opportunities that reduce poverty over the long term. We want training and other resources for workers in carbon-intensive jobs, ensuring they are fully able to take part in the clean energy economy. This transition should involve the democratic participation of workers themselves. High-speed rail powered by just renewables and affordable public transit can unite every community in this country – in place of more cars, pipelines and exploding trains that endanger and divide us.

And since we know this leap is beginning late, we need to invest in our decaying public infrastructure so that it can withstand increasingly frequent extreme weather events.

Moving to a far more localized and ecologically-based agricultural system would reduce reliance on fossil fuels, capture carbon in the soil, and absorb sudden shocks in the global supply – as well as produce healthier and more affordable food for everyone.

The Leap Manifesto has gotten international attention too because of the upcoming Canadian federal election.

A powerful movement in Canada, animated by a compelling and positive vision for the climate and economy, can force the hand of whichever government comes to power in October. Even if the entire political class has forgotten this, Canadians haven’t.

Check out (and sign!) the Leap Manifesto.

Read More

Economic Discussion of Climate Change Gets Real

We’ve already seen climate refugees and climate wars, yet the business world has been rather slow to react. Many businesses operate with the denial of the economic effects of climate change. Today the head of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has warned the financial world that climate change is the biggest challenge we will collectively face. And we have to do so now!

It’s really good to finally see bankers, economists, and corporate entities catch up to the knowledge put forth by hundreds of organizations from the last millennium.

The U.K. central bank’s Governor Mark Carney, who also chairs the Financial Stability Board, as well as the Group of 20 advanced and developing nations’ task force on financial regulation, said climate change could undermine stability in three ways–by causing banks and insurers direct losses from extreme weather, by creating future liabilities for financial firms and their clients from those seeking compensation for climate-related losses and by the unexpected costs of shifting toward a low-carbon economy.

“The combination of the weight of scientific evidence and the dynamics of the financial system suggest that, in the fullness of time, climate change will threaten financial resilience and longer-term prosperity,” Mr. Carney would say in a speech to insurers in London, according to a text of his remarks.

Read more.

Read More