See Canada’s Environment in Google Earth

Tides Canada has teamed up with Google Earth to allow the world to see Canada’s precious environment using Google’s technology. Now you can visualize things like the boreal forest and the migration of many wild animals.

It’s one thing to say that the Canadian boreal forest is the largest intact forest ecosystem on earth, Ms. Moore said. Google Earth allows Internet users to “fly in and say, ‘Oh, here’s where the caribou migrate, here’s where billions of birds migrate and nest, here’s where the aboriginal communities live.’”

The Pew project was created in conjunction with the Canadian Boreal Initiative, whose executive director, Larry Innes, calls it a validation of the importance of the forests issue.

“It’s a very visual way for people to relate to an area that, for most of us, is not immediately accessible,” Mr. Innes said. Without Google, he added, a similar project would have been prohibitively expensive and difficult.

Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore has used Google Earth Outreach to depict the effects of climate change. Actor Ted Danson has advocated for the protection of oceans, and actress Sigourney Weaver has narrated a tour of the Amazon. A project that exposed the effects of coal mining on Appalachian mountaintops led to many of the mines being put on hold or stopped.

Read the rest of the article here.

Kimberly-Clark and Greenpeace Agree Boreal Forests are Amazing

Kimberly-Clark (the makers of Kleenex) and Greenpeace have signed an historic agreement that pledges the protection of the Boreal forest. This is a huge victory for Greenpeace, but it’s even better for those that need the boreal forest to live – that’s you and me.

Implementing the Kimberly-Clark policy

Implementation of the policy will lead to protection of the world’s most endangered forests, increased support for sustainable forest management through Forest Stewardship Council certification and the increased use of recycled fiber in Kimberly-Clark products.

During the evolution of this policy, Kimberly-Clark stopped buying more than 325,000 tonnes of pulp a year from logging operations in the Kenogami and Ogoki Forests. The company managing these forests was unwilling to protect endangered forest areas in them and supply Kimberly-Clark with Forest Stewardship Council certified pulp.

The Boreal Forest and climate change

Protection of the Boreal Forest is crucial to world efforts to stop climate change. This forest is the largest terrestrial storehouse of carbon on the planet, storing 27 years worth of greenhouse gas emissions or 186 billion tonnes. If this carbon is released into the atmosphere it will add to the threat of catastrophic climate change.

Under the policy Kimberly-Clark has set a goal of ensuring that 100 per cent of the fibre used in its products will be from environmentally responsible sources. It will greatly increase its use of recycled fibre and fibre from forest certified to Forest Stewardship Council standards. By 2011, it will also increase the use of recycled and FSC fibre [from North America sources] to 40 per cent from 29.7 per cent in 2007. By 2012, the company will no longer use pulp from the Boreal Forest unless is it certified to the standards of the Forest Stewardship Council.


Respect: A photo odyssey celebrating Canada’s boreal forest is currently on exhibit at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto and it looks amazing. I encourage anyone in or near Toronto to check it out.


Images tell stories that might otherwise not be heard. Nowadays, we like snapping pictures to capture our very own. We use our cameras to record life’s moments, both momentous and mundane. We cherish these photos because they allow us to recreate our personal experiences. We also seek out other types of photos, ones that evoke emotions, questions and answers. For photography to elicit this collective human experience we need professionals.

Thus, I asked nine Canadian photojournalists to take part in RESPECT, not only because they are among the best, but because of their dedication and skill in telling poignant stories through imagery. I had the privilege of working with some of Canada’s finest: Allen McInnis, Kazuyoshi Ehara, Jim Ross, John Woods, Todd Korol, Dan Riedlhuber, Jeff Bassett and Andy Clark. In 2009, a newcomer joined this select club: Chris Young, a British-born photojournalist who has worked in Canada for the past two years. Their photographs convey the essence of the Boreal Forest and the meaning of our journey.

This journey began in Quebec and took us westward through Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Colombia and the Yukon between October 2006 and July 2007. We were guided by Phillip Wilmer, affectionately nicknamed Douglas the aviator, whose knowledge of the land is truly unique. Phillip is more than just the project’s pilot: he shapes the project vision, he lifts our spirits when things aren’t going so well, he embodies the passion of a forest explorer. The going was tough; we encountered many challenges before, during and after the assignment – from turbulent weather to adverse flying conditions to unexpected interruption to delays for equipment repair. While the photographers captured the forest from above, I ran interviews on the ground – discovering rich details that could later be used in photo captions. Throughout the crossing, we were constantly awed by the majestic landscapes of the Boreal Forest and its fragility; we took in breath-taking views few have had the privilege to see. We worked hard to get results and the outcome is truly outstanding.

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.

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