Preserving Canada’s Boreal Forest

The Ontario government recently announced that a patch Canada’s boreal forest twice the size of England will be protected. The De-Smog Blog describes the greatness of the boreal forest and what the recent announcement means.

Canada’s Boreal Forest is important when it comes to global warming and greenhouse gas emissions. Canada’s Boreal forest is the world’s largest terrestrial storehouse of carbon, exceeding even the total carbon stored in the Amazon.

North America’s Boreal Forest stores up to 11% of the world’s terrestrial carbon. Roughly 56% of all the carbon is stored in peat. The remaining carbon is pooled in above-ground vegetation, rocks, and soil. At 186 billion tons, Canada’s Boreal carbon storage alone is equal to near 27 years of the world’s carbon emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels.

You can download a comprehensive fact sheet on global warming and Canada's Boreal Forest here. (pdf)

Last year, 1,500 scientists from 50 countries called on Canadian governments – federal, provincial and territorial – to protect the 5.6 million square kilometres of boreal forest in Canada, which holds about 186 billion tonnes of carbon.

“Upcycling” Gets Corporate Interest

Upcycling takes items that would otherwise be wasted and makes them into useful products. James, who works for Terracycle, wrote to let me know that they have teamed up with Kraft to make some upcycled bags. I wonder how people will react to branded recycling.

Kraft will become the first major multi-category corporation to fund the collection of used packaging associated with its products. Several Kraft brands, including Balance bars and South Beach Living bars, Capri Sun beverages, and Chips Ahoy! and Oreo cookies, are now the lead sponsors of TerraCycle Brigades. These nationwide recycling programs make a donation for every piece of packaging a location collects.

“Sustainability is about looking out for future generations. Kraft is proud to partner with TerraCycle, an innovative company who has made it their mission to reduce the impact on landfills and to educate consumers on the importance of recycling,” says Jeff Chahley, Senior Director, Sustainability, Kraft Foods. “TerraCycle’s model of rewarding ’brigade hosts’ is a novel way of collecting packaging waste that would otherwise have been sent to landfills. It’s so cool to see trash turned into merchandise that’s unlike anything else on the market.”

Wave Energy for Desalination

CETO Wave Energy has designed a system that uses tidal power to both pump water and desalinate it! Desalination is a growing necessity in areas lacking fresh water that have access to sea water; however, it is energy and cost intensive. By using a renewable resource, it makes desalination a viable option.

Unlike other wave energy systems currently under development around the world, the CETO wave power converter is the first unit to be fully-submerged and to produce high pressure seawater from the power of waves.
By delivering high pressure seawater ashore, the technology allows either zero-emission electricity to be produced (similar to hydroelectricity) or zero-emission freshwater (utilising standard reverse osmosis desalination technology). It also means that there is no need for undersea grids or high voltage transmission nor costly marine qualified plants.

Sustainable Seafood

Greenpeace recently ranked grocery chains in how environmentally friendly their seafood is (full report as a PDF) and it seems that grocery stores are responding. Giant Food is already changing their way.

Giant Food announced support for the principles of the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions, a coalition of nonprofit groups that works with retailers to change the way they buy seafood.

Giant said it is committing to work toward buying environmentally responsible products, making information on seafood products readily available and supporting policy changes that have positive environmental impact. The company’s seafood buyers are now also ranking their purchases on how plentiful the species is, how it is caught and what effect fishing has on the species’ natural habitat.

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