Toronto Bans Shark Fins

Toronto has joined other cities around the world in banning the consumption and commercialization of shark fins. The vote was almost unanimous with only three people in council (including the worst mayor Toronto has seen) supporting the killing of sharks for soup. Everyone else on council knew better and supported the ban.

Eric from WildAid sends in the following:

“Toronto’s action is a huge victory in the global fight against an illegal shark fin trade valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Rob Sinclair, Executive Director of WildAid Canada, who has been at the forefront of this campaign for the past five months.

Fins from up to 73 million sharks are used every year to make shark fin soup and related food products. Shark finning is a cruel and wasteful practice – captured at sea and hauled on deck, the sharks are often still alive while their fins are sliced off. Because shark meat is not considered as valuable as the fins, the maimed animals are tossed overboard to drown or bleed to death.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates that 1/3 of the world’s shark species are threatened with extinction, with certain species experiencing declines up to 90%.

While the practice of shark finning is illegal in North America, current laws banning shark finning do not address the issue of the shark fin trade. Therefore, fins are being imported into North America from countries with few or even no shark protections in place.

Bans passed recently in California, Hawaii, Oregon and the state of Washington as well as the Ontario cities of Mississauga, and Brantford.

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Fresh, Local Food in Winnipeg

The University of Winnipeg was once lambasted in the annual MacLean’s ranking of Canadian Universities for having some of the worst campus food in the country (which is saying a lot…). Instead of wallowing in self-pity and eating another Big Mac to dull the pain, they hired a young, idealistic executive chef and completely overhauled their food services program. They now offer real food based around fresh, predominantly local ingredients, and have made this change using a business model that not only provides jobs to inner-city residents, but also manages to turn a profit.

Food is not historically a major priority of university administrations. But having taken over the school’s top job in 2004, [University President Lloyd] Axworthy, the former minister of foreign affairs, grew tired of the harsh reviews. Two years ago, he decided to buy out the contract of its large, multinational catering firm. In its place, the school established its own arm’s-length culinary company, Diversity Foods, in partnership with local non-profit SEED Winnipeg.

Read the rest of the delicious article at The Globe and Mail!

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What You Eat Matters

Jason Schwartzman cares about what you eat. Well, at the very least he has narrated a new short film on the importance of what we eat. The film looks like it covers a lot issues around problematic factory farming and the benefits of traditional farming methods.

Here’s a promo for the film:

And Gene Baur from Farm Sanctuary says:

“The way we eat has profound consequences for our own health, but also for the environment and for animals and every day each of us makes choices about what we support and the way we spend our dollars is very important. Unfortunately, most people have been spending their dollars in a way that’s been supporting an unhealthy, an inhumane and unsustainable system. By becoming more aware and making choices that are more aligned with our values and our interests we are going to see a shift.”

Check out the film’s website platetoplanet.org.

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No Fast Food Day (Eat Real Food)

Some people find fast food to be rather delicious despite the lack of nutrition that it provides. If you’re one of those people today is a good excuse to try something new as today is No Fast Food Day!

This December 17th marks the first No Fast Food Day (Eat Real Day), a day to consider the social, environmental, labour, health and animal impacts of eating processed and pre-cooked fast foods.

By signing this, you commit to skipping chain fast foods on December 17th, and replacing them with something nutritious from your local store, market or restaurant. Make it fun and enjoyable. It doesn’t have to cost more either.

We have a broken food system. Let’s do something about it, and start a discussion. Let’s get the economy and our government to act for health.
…And see how the alternatives tastes.

Check out there Facebook page.

Show your commitment to no fast food here.

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Super Container Gardens

Treehugger has a neat post up on some, I guess, extreme container gardening. Check out the video from the link below, in the meantime here’s a snippit from the article:

Emma has already shown us some beautiful edible container gardens, courtesy of our readers; we’ve seen a gorgeous urban orchard complete with a repurposed dumpster/ping pong table, not to mention an under-used train station turned into a community gardening hub. But the Prinzessinengarten in the Berlin borough of Kreuzberg might just be one of the most creative examples of using reclaimed and salvaged materials to build an urban oasis.

Check it out at Treehugger.

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