History’s industrial strategy haunts us today

First came 50 years of progress. Then came 50 years of dead fish, stagnant water, methylmercury poisoning, silt buildup and dams collapsing

History’s industrial strategy haunts us todayWhat goes around comes around, they say. The oblique turn of a phrase may apply to the news that a 100-year-old dam will be demolished in Fredericton, N.B. Things fall down and are torn down all the time, so why would this story be of interest? I was a reporter in New Brunswick when the…

Reducing emissions would save money for oil sands producers: study

Researchers looked at 15 strategies that would decrease sector’s energy use intensity and found increased profits from all

Reducing emissions would save money for oil sands producers: studyInvestment in new energy-efficient, greenhouse gas mitigation strategies by oil sands producers could net them some important profits, according to a model developed by a research group at the University of Alberta. Engineering professor Amit Kumar and his team investigated 15 strategies covering all areas of the oil sands sector – in situ extraction, upgrading and…

Dam dynamics often fail fish

It seems strange how little we know about fish, their habits and whether the help we’re trying to give them is actually helpful

Dam dynamics often fail fishMany of us who received our education on fish migration via TV nature programs have missed a few important things. All I remember is that salmon can leap several feet in the air over cascades to get upstream to spawn. Somewhere in these documentaries I recall an industrialist taking full credit for installing a fishway…

Alberta’s desperation opens the door to environmental ruin

The government of Premier Jason Kenney has decided to end a 44-year moratorium on open-pit coal mining in southern Alberta

Alberta’s desperation opens the door to environmental ruinDesperate times sometimes lead to catastrophic measures. In Alberta, the beleaguered provincial government is in a financial situation that could be characterized as desperate, suffering from the double-whammy of collapsed resource revenues and, of course, the massive spending required to address the social wildfire known as the COVID-19 pandemic. The desperate measure that the United…

Pollinators in peril and need our help

Pollinators are responsible for about one out of every three bites of food people eat. Without them, we would starve

Pollinators in peril and need our helpWe hear with alarming frequency that honey bees are in decline around the globe due to mysterious diseases, climate change, pesticides and habitat loss. But what of the other pollinators – solitary bees, bumblebees, pollen wasps, bee flies, ants, midges, hoverflies, butterflies, moths and beetles? How are they faring? Pollinators don’t have to be tiny…

Is dam removal the wave of the future?

Research suggests it makes more ecological and economic sense to dismantle dams than to restore or maintain them

Is dam removal the wave of the future?Urban studies researcher Richard Florida has made a reputation with a lot of interesting ideas, many of which are controversial. One of his ideas is that people like to live near water, and that leads to prosperity in cities located on rivers, streams, lakes and oceans. My perspective on this theory is that settlers to…

Paris emissions targets carry extra costs for Canada’s economy

The gap between expectations and existing policy is wide. Closing that gap will cost thousands of jobs and devastate whole economic sectors

Paris emissions targets carry extra costs for Canada’s economyBy Mark Milke and Lennie Kaplan Canadian Energy Centre Aspirations are important in life but it’s always helpful to be clear on the means to the desired end, especially if others are involved. A case in point: General commitments by governments in Canada to significantly reduce carbon emissions by 2030, i.e., the Paris commitment. In…

No evidence predator control will save caribou: study

U of A scientists suggest renewed emphasis on securing habitat rather than culling wolves or fencing in pregnant caribou

No evidence predator control will save caribou: studyAddressing potential threats from predators has not slowed the dramatic decline of mountain caribou in British Columbia and Alberta, according to a new study by scientists from threeWestern Canadian universities. Biologists reassessed data from research published in 2019. The original research has been cited as showing that killing wolves and fencing pregnant caribou are solutions to…

Don’t squish that spider!

We may be genetically programmed to fear spiders, but they're here for a reason. Leave them alone to eat other insects

Don’t squish that spider!“The itsy-bitsy spider climbed up the water spout. …” So many people are afraid of spiders, but I’ll bet almost none of them can tell you why. According to a new study out of Columbia University, it may be genetic. Our ancestors had to fear spiders – in Africa, where our roots all take us,…
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