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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.
The steelhead trout population is clinging to the edge of survival, with just 261 fish expected to make their way home to breed in B.C. The provincial government and independent experts maintain that the science is clear that strong – and politically difficult – action is required to avert extinction.
Yet Ottawa thwarted efforts to help the endangered species. But not before an intense behind-the-scenes battle over what the science called for.
Check back with us next week to hear more from reporter Justine Hunter about the story behind the headline.
Now, let’s catch you up on other news.
Noteworthy reporting this week:
- Climate risks: Oakville, Ont., residents discovered they may be forced to soak up the risks of expanding floodplains. Amid climate change and rampant sprawl, this is just an example of what flood risks mean for thousands of Canadian landowners.
- Energy news: Hydro-Québec has made a formal bid to help power New York City, the latest in a battle to secure long-term electricity deals in the U.S. in the face of mounting opposition. Meanwhile, some hope to see Canada’s growing canola production capacity redirected to produce biofuels, which are reported to produce 80 per cent fewer greenhouse gases than conventional diesel.
- Pipelines: Enbridge Inc. will continue to operate the Line 5 pipeline in defiance of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s May 12 deadline to shut it down. The Canadian government formally intervened in the legal battle last week.
- From the Narwhal: Five hundred kilometres north of Yellowknife, a group of Dene wildlife officers, elders and researchers is blending traditional knowledge and contemporary science to study the disappearing Bathurst herd.
A deeper dive
Dig deep to find your green thumb
Sierra Bein is an editor and writer of Globe Climate. For this week’s deeper dive, she talks about getting ready for the season.
It’s that time of year, when many of us start thinking about what to put in the garden. And as we learned last year when the pandemic began, plants and gardening were pretty important for many Canadians’ wellbeing.
Reporter Marty Klinkenberg even took a break from his usual sports writing and covered gardening as a beat last year. From community gardens, to urban farming, to the business of seed companies, everything green-thumb related was closely watched.
Just a few weeks ago, we told you about your brain on trees, and the psychological benefits of interacting with nature in a global crisis.
If there is someone this week who proves the power of plants, it’s DJ Freedem. His online community for Black plant enthusiasts sows seeds for new ways to address racism. He, quite by accident, founded the Underground Plant Trade. But now its forum boards reach all over the world.
This year, if you’re looking to get started consider heirloom seeds, one of the pandemic’s biggest gardening trends. They’re the seeds of prized vegetables – the juiciest tomatoes, the highest-yielding peas, the hardiest spinaches. We’ve got a list of recommendations with distinct flavours that can all still be sown this year.
If you aren’t quite in the mood yet, check out these books to get inspired. Immerse yourself in the historic Camino de Santiago. Explore the connection of gardening, growth and death with professional gardener and memoirist Marc Hamer. Or take a look at a must-have resource for growing local with native species.
Speaking of letting native plants run their course: Rewilding can be a boon for urban environments. Even David Attenborough believes it’s an essential part of mitigating the climate crisis and keeping our planet livable. In fact, the right to de-regulate nature and let native species grow freely is still being fought for in some cities.
While you’re here, take a look:
- Get artsy: 11 sculpture gardens across Canada where you can view art while taking a walk
- First person: Grandma needed to see vegetables, not flowers, in our garden
What else you missed
- Dream job 2.0: As companies get serious about the environment, sustainability consultants are in demand.
- Some herds of bighorn sheep, Alberta’s provincial animal, are heavily contaminated with selenium from old coal mines, says research from a retired senior government biologist.
- British Columbia failed to adequately manage a conservation lands program aimed at protecting habitats for fish and wildlife species that are some of the most diverse in Canada, the auditor general says.
- A mayor in the Northwest Territories was watching for movement in slabs of ice and snow sitting on top of one of two rivers threatening his community.
Opinion and analysis
Konrad Yakabuski: Like it or not, natural resources are still the only way forward for Newfoundland
Adam Radwanski: Playing catch-up on sustainable finance, Ottawa strikes new “action council”
Andrew Clark: The great American gas shortage that isn’t actually a gas shortage
Onyen Corp. offers ESG reporting platform to small businesses
Laurie Clark’s experience is in designing trading systems, a skill set that went into the technology of her venture, Onyen Corp.
Onyen’s target market is made up of small and mid-size resource companies that must up their ESG disclosure game, but don’t have the deep pockets to hire departments of sustainability experts. The software allows companies to fill in answers to numerous pointed questions about such things as responsibilities of the board of directors, climate risk and work-force diversity and inclusion, and it generates ESG reports in nearly two dozen accepted formats. It works in similar fashion to tax software, allocating data automatically.
- Tesla’s Musk reverses course on taking bitcoin, citing climate concerns
- How big is Bitcoin’s carbon footprint?
Each week The Globe will profile a Canadian making a difference. This week we’re highlighting the work of Meredith Meeker who is both an ecologist and environmental focused podcast host.
My name is Meredith Meeker, I am an ecologist, podcast host and total bird nerd. I’m from Toronto, and from an early age, I was aware of the urban sprawl that was happening around me. I remember as a child, realizing that large areas of farmland and forest had turned into subdivisions, and I was incredibly sad thinking about the animals that had lost their home. Now, as an adult, and as an ecologist, I use my voice to advocate for wildlife, and to ensure that new development respects their habitat.
There are many ways our communities and homes can be more sustainable:
- Plant native. Whether a balcony or backyard, flowers and shrubs go a long way to provide urban wildlife a necessary respite.
- Keep all your pets on-leash or inside. The urban wildlife will thank you.
- Reduce your waste. This tip is only limited by your imagination. You can start to divert waste by even just eating more leftovers or using bamboo toothbrushes.
If you are looking for more tips or want to learn more about what it’s like to work in the environmental field, check out my podcast.
Do you know an engaged individual? Someone who represents the real engines pursuing change in the country? Email us at GlobeClimate@globeandmail.com to tell us about them.
Photo of the week
Catch up on Globe Climate
- High stakes in the Line 5 energy dispute
- Canadian youth demand action over words ahead of COP26
- If Canada is going to meet its new greenhouse gas emissions goal, it is going to have to be tactical
- This is your brain on trees