The wildfires burning from coast to coast in Canada have Canadians worried about their livelihood, neighbours, and the planet itself. Finding good news in fires is tough, but in the context of the climate crisis knowledge about to fight fire is good news. The best way to stop wildfires is to prevent them from happening in the first place, and that means eliminating all fossil fuel emissions. Researchers continue to connect the extreme weather events the planet has been experiencing to industry actions.
If we’re to avoid more extreme wildfires then we need to act now, and perhaps we’ll save brave politicians in the future literally make certain companies pay for the damage they wrought.
“Last year, there were a number of studies that directly attributed the increase in emissions and associated climate warming with the massive heat waves that hit Europe,” said Baltzer, the Canada Research Chair in Forests and Global Change.
“I think we’re increasingly seeing scientists make stronger statements, which we need to be doing — stronger statements about the fact that, yes, these changes in climate are human-caused and they are driving these massive catastrophes that we’re seeing around the world.”
Baltzer, who was also not involved in the study, said the findings aren’t surprising, given previous research.
But she said the data helps draw links between previous research and the emissions from the world’s largest fossil fuel companies. “It’s really important to demonstrate those links.”
Maybe, maybe not. It’s the end of May and hopefully you haven’t been mowing. The No Mow May campaign encourages people with lawns to let them grow during the month of May to let insects and other critters thrive. This makes sense, and if you have a lawn then you still let it go during May.
If you’re fortunate enough to have access to land that you can alter to your preference then you may want to think about what plants you have. The best solution to help the planet and make your life easier is to plant native plants.
“There’s so much good intention out there,” she explains, but No Mow May oversimplifies the complex relationships between native pollinators and the plants that support them. “(There’s) all of this misinformation that comes from not understanding what a native bee is versus a non-native bee, what a native spring plant is versus a non-native spring plant.”
Instead of ditching our lawn mowers, Sheila says we should learn more about native pollinators and plants in the places we live and how they help one another in nature. Last year, sheco-wrote a bookalongside writer, editor and community advocate Lorraine Johnson that unpacks the complexity of native pollinators and how to create habitats that support them.
The global housing crisis has numerous causes, and one of them is AirBnB. Of course there are competitors to the short term rental company but the impact of their presence on the housing market has been staggering in places with high level of tourism like Montreal. Back in March people died when a fire broke out in an AirBnB, the hotel wasn’t obeying occupancy laws among other issues. The public outcry at this tragedy was meaningful and led to policy changes. The Quebec government has introduced legislation to curtail the exploitation and high risks of running a AirBnB. Not only will the policy protect occupants of AirBnBs it will help alleviate pressure on their housing market.
“This new law represents a pretty significant step forward there, because it is really kind of tightening the constraints,” said McGill University Prof. David Wachsmuth, the Canada Research Chair in Urban Governance.
“That’s a really good template that I think other provinces, and certainly Ontario and British Columbia, the other big provinces, should be looking to emulate.”
Under Quebec’s new proposed law, titled “An Act to fight illegal tourist accommodation,” rental companies such as Airbnb would be obligated to keep records of each advertised accommodation’s registration certificate.
They would also have to validate the registration numbers of those establishments and designate a Quebec-based representative to make it easier to actually reach someone from the rental company.
The bill also provides for the creation of a public registry of tourist accommodations, to be maintained by the tourism minister or by a body recognized by the minister.
Fines against individuals who don’t comply would range between $5,000 to $50,000, while companies could face fines of $10,000 to $100,000 per posting.
Plants are one of the most obvious good things that there can be, and certain plants are excellent at cleaning specific chemicals out of the air. We all know that plants clean the air, but what aspects of air they clean can change from plant to plant. Researchers tried to find which plants are best at cleaning gasoline vapour out of indoor air. Gasoline contains four chemical compounds which are also found in products that use volatile organic compounds (like fire retardent on a couch); so by studying which plants work best they can create an efficient plant based purifier.
The researchers and Ambius designed a Small Live Green Wall (SLGW) using indoor plants known for their phytoremediation abilities. Phytoremediation is the proper term for using plants to clean up contaminated soil, air and water is phytoremediation.
They tested nine SLGW systems, each containing devil’s ivy (Epipremnum aureum), arrowhead vine (Syngonium podophyllum), and spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum). A control was prepared that contained only potting mixture and no plants. The SLGWs were placed in sealed perspex chambers, exposed to volatile organic compounds, and then analyzed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.
If you’re looking for a simple list of what plants you can put inside today to start cleaning your indoor air then here you go:
Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata): Snake plants are excellent at removing formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, and toluene from the air. They are known for their ability to thrive in low light conditions and require minimal maintenance.
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum spp.): Peace lilies are known for their beautiful white flowers and their ability to remove common indoor air pollutants like formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene. They prefer shady areas and moderate watering.
Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum): Golden Pothos, also known as Devil’s Ivy, is a popular choice for indoor spaces. It is effective at removing formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, and carbon monoxide. It is an easy-to-care-for plant that can tolerate low light conditions.
Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata): Boston ferns are known for their high transpiration rates, which helps to humidify the air and remove formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene. They thrive in bright, indirect light and require consistent watering.
Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens): Areca palms are effective at removing formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene from the air. They are also known for their ability to add moisture to the environment. Areca palms prefer bright, indirect light and regular watering.
Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis): Aloe vera plants not only have medicinal properties but also help in purifying the air by removing formaldehyde and benzene. They prefer bright, indirect light and minimal watering.
Dracaena (Dracaena spp.): Dracaena plants come in various species like Dracaena marginata, Dracaena reflexa, and Dracaena fragrans. They can effectively remove formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, and xylene. Dracaenas thrive in moderate to bright indirect light conditions
Those frisky felines are at it again! This time one of them is dishing out advice on how to improve your working life by communicating and acting with others. Jorts the cat is a Twitter celebrity that helps students understand their rights and workers understand theirs too. The key thing about the effectiveness of Jorts is not only that he’s a cat but that he communicates the struggle of modern American workers in a way that the average person can understand.
AG: In your year of public activism, you’ve been a source of information for many, especially around workers’ rights. Why is this important to you?
JTC: Especially in the United States, many workers do not know their basic rights. For example, we have a legally protected right to talk about our wages, yet forbidding that is a widespread‘policy’ in many workplaces. In truth, it is against the law to retaliate against workers for talking about their wages.
Everyone needs to talk about their wages, because so often there are big discrepancies for no real reason. These gaps are especially large comparing white men to any other demographic. (If you’re a white man, you especially should talk about your wages.)