World Climate Deal Further Away Following Disappointing Peru Talks

By Nick Fillmore,  Canadian freelance writers

With yet another United Nations-hosted climate change conference making very little real progress, a near miracle will be required if countries are to reach a meaningful and binding global agreement on carbon emissions in Paris next December.climate change peru

The ‘Lima Call for Climate Action’ document, agreed to on Sunday by 194 countries, is not a new “deal” for the climate. It is a 12-month work plan leading to COP21 a year from now.

The major change – a victory for rich countries – expects countries with rising economies, such as China, India and South Africa, to take action on climate change in much the same way rich countries will contribute.
In another setback, developing countries gave up on a 20-year feud that caused considerable animosity between South and North. Rich countries will no longer be expected to carry the burden of cutting carbon emissions in the South with contributions of $10-billion a year to underdeveloped countries. Continue reading

Giving Instead Of Buying: This Holiday Season, Are You Buying A Meaningful Gift?

News from Niagara, Ontario’s Brock University

(A Brief Note from Niagara At Large publisher Doug Draper – For those of us who already have enough cheap plastic crap from Mall Wart or whatever other big box shopping venue there is, and yet would still like to participate in the Holiday Season by giving something special to others in need, I could not resist posting the info below from Brock University.)

December 19th, 2014 -Plan Canada’s talking goat (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w49QMhKf69s) encourages you to help improve the lives of children in developing countries.

The gift of a goat can help keep a family in need alive.

The gift of a goat can help keep a family in need alive.

So when a talking goat tells you to give a charitable gift, do you do it?

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/in-the-charity-world-cash-is-the-new-goat/article22130056/

Todd Green, a professor at Brock University’s Goodman School of Business studies ethical gift-giving and what motivates you to give socially meaningful gifts.

His research shows that making the decision to give an ethical gift — whether it be purchasing a goat, supporting an environmentally friendly company or selecting a fair-trade gift — depends on the giver and the recipient and often leads to inconsistent behaviour by consumers.

So for all the last minute shoppers wondering whether to buy a goat, Green will be available for interviews until December 23 to talk about socially responsible gift-giving and the motivations behind giving a meaningful gift this holiday season.

 Visit Plan Canada at https://plancanada.ca/GiftsofHope/products/1-All-gifts/47-Goat/ … for more information on offering a goat as a gift this Holiday Season or any other time of the year.

(Niagara At Large invites you to share your views on this post below.)

New York State Governor Bans Fracking In His State – Now What Will Ontario Do?

A Brief from Niagara At Large publisher Doug Draper

Environmentalists on both sides of the Canada/U.S. border have not won many battles in recent years, but this December 17th, 2014 they won a big one.nyfracking2

On that date, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, his health commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker and an expert panel assembled by the state two years ago said no to any plans involving hydraulic fracturing – or what is more commonly called “fracking” for gas in deep layers of shale rock – across their state.

The decision to ban fracking in New York State also has important implications for residents in Ontario given that petro-chemical corporations were interested in using a wastewater plant in Niagara Falls, New York to dump treated chemical effluent from the fracking process to the Niagara River and Lake Ontario (sources of drinking water for millions of Ontario and New York residents), and that Ontario is still in the process of deciding whether fracking should be allowed in rural regions here.

A story on the front page of the December 18th edition of The Buffalo News quoted Zucker, the state’s health commissioner, summing up the decision this way; “The potential risks are too great,” he said. “They are not even fully known.” Continue reading

Even Now – In This Second Decade Of The 21st Century! – Low-Density Urban Sprawl Continues To Threaten What Is Left Of Our Natural Spaces In The Golden Horseshoe

By John Bacher

Tragically few seem to appreciate the wonders of our relatively well ecologically restored landscape around the eastern edge of Lake Ontario where most of the province’s population lives.

Courtesy of the Richmond Hill Naturalists is a photo of a threatened forest - like so many others being threatened by not smart, but stupid low-density growth across Niagara and other what are left of our green places across the Niagara/Hamilton/GTA area. .

Courtesy of the Richmond Hill Naturalists is a photo of a threatened forest – like so many others being threatened by not smart, but stupid low-density growth across Niagara and other what are left of our green places across the Niagara/Hamilton/GTA area. .a

In the 1950s, part of what is now the core of Ontario’s Greenbelt, the Oak Ridges Moraine, was a sand blow desert, bereft of trees. The Niagara Escarpment was a naked rock pile. Development even crowded into stream flood plains, resulting in eighty seven deaths when Hurricane Hazel hit six decades ago.

One of those responsible for the green transformation with its significant increase in forest cover even in the heavily urbanized Don watershed was the visionary ecologist, Charles Sauriol. An ignored prophet before Hurricane Hazel, he then rescued river valleys and the Niagara Escarpment with the help of conservation authorities and his Nature Conservancy of Canada. Continue reading

Shipments Of Love Canal Toxic Wastes To Ontario Turned Back

A Brief Update from Niagara At Large publisher Doug Draper

Plans to incinerate some of the world’s most infamous toxic waste in Ontario have been snuffed out by the company on the verge of carrying out the operation.

A historic photo of barrels of toxic chemicals to be buried at the Love Canal site before a school and heibhourhoood homes were later built around and on top.

A historic photo of barrels of toxic chemicals to be buried at the Love Canal site before a school and heibhourhoood homes were built around and on top.

The waste in question – collected over decades of cleanup and containment efforts at the Love Canal dumpsite in Niagara Falls, New York – was already being trucked through border crossings in Niagara to an incinerator in the Sarnia, Ontario area when the U.S.-based company that owns and operates it decided to turn the trucks around.

According to a December 16th CBC report, the company, Clean Harbors of Massachusetts, buried plans to incinerate numerous tonnes of waste laced with dioxin, PCBs, chlorobenzenes and other manmade poisons from the Love Canal site, following protests from people in the Sarnia, Ontario area. Continue reading

Just When We Thought It Was Safe, Love Canal Is Back!

By Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

It is a bit surprising to learn that the name ‘Love Canal’ can still pack a public punch.

A sign posted at the Love Canal site in Niagara Falls, New York more than three decades ago by some of its now long-gone residents.

A sign posted at the Love Canal site in Niagara Falls, New York more than three decades ago by some of its now long-gone residents.

 As one of the first and very fiew reporters for a Canadian newspaper that was covering the Love Canal when people from that Niagara Falls, New York neighbourhood were still struggling, some 34 years ago, to get away from the chemical buried under and around their homes, the name was synonymous with man-made poisons capable of causing suffering and death.

So much so at the time that then-U.S. president Jimmy Carter wrote two unprecedented national emergency orders to compensate residents for the value of their ravaged homes and no other community at the time in the United States or Canada was willing to accept this waste for treatment and reburial in a co-called “secure landfill site” or for destruction in a high temperature incinerator. In fact, any argument environmentalists made back then for excavating the Love Canal poisons from their grave near the Niagara River and shipping them off to another community for incineration was nixed by U.S. environmental officials. 

‘No other community on this continent,’ and paraphrase fairly here, ‘is going to accept shipments of Love Canal wastes,’ one senior administrator for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation told me at the time. 

Now here we are, all these years later, with reports this December 11th, 2014 in the Sarnia Oberver and CBC Radio on wastes from the Love Canal area – wastes that include the likes of mirex, PCBs, chorobenzenes and the most toxic strain of a Vietnam War-era poison used in Agent Orange – being trucked off to the Sarnia, Ontario area for apparent safe diestruction in an incinerator operated by a company called Clean Harbours hazardos wastes there. Continue reading

Another Sign Of Our Times

A Brief Note from NAL publisher Doug Draper 

A sorry note for our Greater Niagara Region neighbours in Buffalo, New York.

This sign courtesy of New Jersey friend Claudia Farber

This sign courtesy of New Jersey friend Claudia Farbe

It’s bad enough Buffalo already has an infamous reputation internationally as a place where the winter monster dumps just about as much snow in the world as it does in the North and South Poles and Siberia combined. Now this.

While my wife Mary and I were on Cape Cod, Massachusetts late this November for a Thanksgiving gathering with some of our American friends, one member of the group – Claudia Farber from New Jersey – showed us a photo of a sign she took at the entrance to a popular store on the Cape. 

The sign at the Birdwatcher’s General Store in the Town of Orleans on the Cape was an obvious reference to a snow storm this past November that dumped so much snow in the Buffalo area, a state of emergency was declared, and it read as follows; ‘Notice – All shoplifters will be arrested and taken to Buffalo.’ 

Maybe the author of the sign should go to Buffalo where he or she may very well discover that there are far greater things happening, in a positive way in Buffalo, than snowfall.

Just another word on that major dump of snow this past November, most of it fell on towns around the city proper. In fact, according to U.S. National Weather Service statistics, Erie Pennsylvania and Grand Rapids, Michigan were buried in more snow during the same period than the City of Buffalo.

Niagara At Large invites all of our friends  and readers to share an image of a sign they feel depicts something about our  interesteing and crazy times. You can email a jpeg image to drapers@vaxxine.com .

(Niagara At Large invites you to join in the conversation by sharing your views on the content of this post below. For reasons of transparency and promoting civil dialogue, NAL only posts comments from individuals who share their first and last name with their views.)