Nestlé​ admits slavery and coercion used in catching its seafood – Business – CBC News

Impoverished migrant workers in Thailand are sold or lured by false promises and forced to catch and process fish that ends up in global food giant Nestle SA’s supply chains.

Source: Nestlé​ admits slavery and coercion used in catching its seafood – Business – CBC News

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The Earth Manifesto

The_Earth_Manifesto_bookmarks_Page_1Somehow we haven’t solved the climate crisis yet. Who knew?

Not much consolation, I know, but it means “The Earth Manifesto” is still valid as one attempt to explore an answer to the question of why, when the planet is in obviously in peril, more people have not yet found the motivation to act. The book describes an approach based on “engaged ecology” and offers a step-by-step process that would guide anyone to step up as a citizen of the planet.

If you don’t have a copy yet, and are in Vancouver tomorrow (Sunday, Sept. 27), I’ll be at the Word Vancouver event downtown outside the Vancouver Public Library from 1pm – 3pm. Look for me at the Writer’s Union table where I’ll have some books available. Come pick one up for $16 (tax included) or just to say hello, grab a free bookmark, commiserate, and maybe offer each other a sliver of hope in this degenerate age for a better world.

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Music is what you make

lesotho-playerIf Jimi Hendrix grew up in Lesotho rather than Seattle he might have done something just like this — applied his genius to make amazing sounds no matter what tools were at hand.

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Who carries a spear to work?

borneo-spear-webI don’t really have an answer to the question, other than this picture. Shot years ago in Borneo. If she spoke English I would have asked.

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If Pollution Kills Why No Arrests?


“Trafficjamdelhi” by NOMAD – Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

India’s reliance on fossil fuels is turning out to be a lethal decision. The World Health Organization reports that of the world’s 20 most polluted cities, 13 are in India. How bad is it? Take three years off your lifespan and you’ll get the idea.

And it’s going to get worse:

To meet its goal for coal-fired electricity, the Power Ministry says the country will double coal production to 1 billion tons within five years, after already approving dozens of new coal plants.

Link to a CBC story on the disturbing news, based on reporting from AP.


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Olive Ill Worries

OliveAnother reminder, as if we needed one, of our changing world. Centuries-old olive groves in Italy are in peril, according to an article in the Guardian. A foreign bacteria causing olive leaf scorch is the culprit. It seems likely to spread.

What to do? It’s never easy to know when sailing into uncharted waters. Stock up on olive oil now before it’s too late?

One response I often turn to: take a lesson from nature. We know biodiversity = strength. Maybe it’s a good time to plant more types of olives in more places. This strategy is the opposite of one-species orchards that end up being susceptible to a single pathogen.

We can actually grow olives in Vancouver, or at least olive trees. Whether we’ll ever get summers warm enough to make a reasonable crop is still to be proven, but I hear some of the Gulf Islands are producing trees with olives worth squeezing. Even without the fruit they’re great-looking trees.

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New Take on Traditional Christmas Tree

ec new year planting

For all those who bought a cut tree this Christmas and are now looking for the easiest or greenest way to get rid of it…all I can say is you shoulda been there.

We had a good time with the First Annual (we hope) New Year Planting Day for all those who chose the native Douglas-fir as their living Holiday Tree this year.

We woke up to storm warnings, but Vancouver people are used to precipitation. Anyway the snow never happened and even the big rains held off until we were done. Instead we had a healthy turnout to Everett Crowley Park where we all helped the Park Board in its ongoing reforestation of the former industrial dump site.

Best part was seeing the families come out to start a new tradition. Now instead of choosing between an artificial or a cut tree, families can get together over the computer or at one of our year-end distribution events to choose their living Holiday Tree. If they chose the native variety they knew they could extend the festivities in an environmentally-conscious way by planting their tree out together in the community.

We had some fantastic feedback I wish I had videotaped. Some were enthusiastic about the whole idea and wanted us to pass their thanks on the City, Park Board and anyone else involved. A few asked if we would do it again next year (answer: absolutely, if we’re still able). One young family took even more pictures than usual of their newly planted tree and newly planted kid together…it turned out the boy was named Everett, and Dad said as soon as he saw we would be growing this forest in Everett Crowley Park he knew they had to join in.

See you next year?

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5 Things I Learned Getting Arrested

burbaby mtn 2


5 Things I Learned Getting Arrested for Protesting Kinder Morgan’s Burnaby Mountain Pipeline

1.Wear pants that don’t need a belt to stay up. After you get arrested they take your belt and shoes when they put you in a cell for processing at the RCMP Burnaby station. Thick socks might be a good idea too.

2. Go with others, it’s way more fun. I went up the mountain alone but stepped over the line the same time as a group including Klabona Keepers from the Sacred Headwaters in northwestern B.C. In the station’s loading bay the sound of 10 beautiful, strong women singing a warrior’s chant echoed off the cement walls in a way I will never forget.

3. Be polite to the cops and they might be polite to you. Ultimately you could say they’re working for the corporate criminals behind the pipeline scheme threatening our environment, but we’re all just players in a bigger game. If you’re there to make a point by standing up to the bullying tactics of a Texas billionaire, you may as well have the cops work for you by processing your arrest in a respectful manner.

4. Listen to First Nations folks who’ve been here before. It doesn’t seem fair that they keep having to do the heavy lifting on these things, but the Native resistance to the corporate takeover of our ecology is historic, multi-layered, diverse, educational and inspiring. The keep those sacred fires burning for us all.

5. Burnaby Mountain is a good place to draw the line. This is where the Alberta tar sands, the largest industrial project in history, are supposed to hit the “greenest city.” Ten minutes on Google will tell you why it’s a bad idea to bring 890,000 barrels of bitumen to our shores. If you believe the planet’s future is too important to leave to corporations, and climate change must be addressed faster than the speed of normal politics, the protests at Burnaby Mountain are continuing.

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Bees Like City Buzz

Maybe for some of the same reasons we do (like diversity), bees prefer cities to the countryside, according to this citizen-science study in the U.K.

Colleague Dr Helen Roy, also from CEH, said: “This was an exciting result. I think we can think of cities as quite hostile environments for wildlife. But this shows that we can create oases for wildlife in our cities.”

Take that, back-to-the-lander yokels. Cities rule.



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Tree Saves Man’s Life!

Man kills tree: not news.

Tree saves man (actually 850 men, women and children): our kind of news. And we even have the science to back it up.

You already knew the urban forest is valuable, and for all kinds of reasons from biodiversity enrichment to providing a natural link to the living earth for us spiritually downtrodden urban residents. But did you know that trees actually save lives?

This report from David J. Nowak in Environmental Pollution does the math. It found trees in the United States in 2010 saved 850 lives by cutting air pollutants.

Other substantial health benefits include the reduction of more than 670,000 incidences of acute respiratory symptoms (range: 221,000-1,035,000), 430,000 incidences of asthma exacerbation (range: 198,000-688,000) and 200,000 school loss days (range: 78,000-266,000).

Of course even one life is priceless, but the report authors did come up with a value for the health effects of trees on people in the U.S.: $6.8 billion.

We’re not sure if anyone has done a similar study for Canada. But you don’t need to crunch the numbers to get the point…and decide to plant more trees.

street trees 1


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