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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.

As always, we try to start the newsletter off on a positive note. So consider taking a listen to this episode of The Decibel Podcast: A cry for kelp? How this seaweed can help fight climate change.

Globe reporter Wendy Stueck went out on a kelp harvest, and returns to tell us why kelp farming could help coastal communities’ green economies, and be used as an innovative and sustainable new material.

Now, let’s catch you up on other news.

University of Victoria engineering student Cam Kinsman keeps an eye on the line during the sugar kelp harvest at the Cormorant farm site in Tofino, B.C., on April 20, 2022.CHAD_HIPOLITO/The Globe and Mail


Noteworthy reporting this week:

  1. Hidden Waters: The story of disappearing and endangered springs in North America
  2. Restoration: Bringing back the culinary and cultural bounty of ancient Indigenous sea gardens in B.C.
  3. Wildfires: Forest fires choke air in Lower Mainland British Columbia and Alberta
  4. Transportation: Air Canada to buy 30 electric-hybrid airplanes, invest US$5-million in Swedish developer
  5. Resources: U.S. lumber industry alleges Canadian softwood producers receiving climate subsidies
  6. A message from The Narwhal: We’re hosting an event this Thursday at the Hot Docs theatre in Toronto and we were wondering if you’d like to join? If so, here’s a 50-per-cent discount code: CLIMATE50

A deeper dive

Farmland Inc.

Jason Kirby writes business features for The Globe. For this week’s deeper dive, he talks about Canada’s largest farmland owner, and what he thinks about a future of climate change.

Canada’s largest farmland owner, Robert Andjelic, and I were part way into our road trip across Saskatchewan, touring some of his land holdings and meeting with farmers for a recent feature story for The Globe, when the conversation turned to whether Mr. Andjelic considers himself an optimist or a pessimist.

That might seem like a silly question. You don’t become a wildly successful businessperson and investor like Mr. Andjelic (first with warehouses in Winnipeg, and now with a farmland portfolio worth around $650-million) without a supreme belief that the risks you take will pay off.

Yet the 76-year-old entrepreneur also has an almost oppressively dour view of global food security, and the effects climate change will have on a hungry world’s ability to feed itself — not to mention the societal unrest he believes could follow those changes.

Robert Andjelic drives between tenant farms south of Whitewood, Saskatchewan on July 17th. Andjelic spends much of the year in his truck touring his farm land and meeting with his tenant farmers and partners.Tim Smith/The Globe and Mail

“Climate change is already doing a number on us,” he says. “It’s going to get a lot worse, because extreme weather events like droughts, floods and hurricanes are getting closer together and much more severe.”

Even in that grim outlook, Mr. Andjelic sees opportunities. It’s a dichotomy that extends to much of Canada’s agricultural sector. On the one hand, climate change poses an increasing threat to both crop and livestock production. Most scientists blame climate change for the drought that crippled Saskatchewan’s wheat harvest last year.

At the same time, Canada’s agriculture sector is positioned to benefit helping more from a changing climate. As Mr. Andjelic points out, Saskatchewan has 30 more frost-free days than it did four decades ago, and growing seasons are expected to lengthen even more in the years to come. In areas of Saskatchewan where irrigation already exists or is being expanded, Mr. Andjelic is urging his farm tenants to add alfalfa to their crop rotation—the famously thirsty crop used as feed for dairy cattle is grown heavily in California, but droughts there make its future uncertain. Meanwhile the U.S. corn belt, which stretches across the warm U.S. Midwest, has marched steadily north into the Canadian Prairies over the last decade.

In short, climate change is going to change Canadian agriculture in myriad ways. “Am I an optimist or a pessimist?” asks Mr. Andjelic, coming back to the question several hours and hundreds of kilometres later. “I would say I’m a realist.”

- Jason

Robert Andjelic walks through a farm yard checking out damage from a storm at one of his tenant farms south of Whitewood, Saskatchewan on July 17th.Tim Smith/The Globe and Mail


What else you missed


Opinion and analysis

Karen Armstrong: To avoid catastrophe, we must regain our respect for nature

Mark Gloutney: Wetlands are a natural remedy for Canada’s sick lakes

Letters to the editor: ‘Climate-change deniers … owe the world an apology.’ 2012 climate report warned of extreme weather, plus letters for Sept. 18


Green Investing

Quebec business veterans raise $250-million for climate impact fund that targets early-stage companies

Pierre Larochelle and Steeve Robitaille say the fund fills an urgent need among companies in their early commercial stages for capital and strategies to scale up.

Idealist Capital aims to cap its fundraising when it hits $500-million. The plan is for the fund to make up to 10 investments of $25-million to $75-million each in areas such as renewable power, energy storage and electric vehicles. Impact funds are structured to generate measurable environmental and social benefits along with financial returns, focusing on United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Also read:


Making waves

Each week The Globe will profile a Canadian making a difference. This week we’re highlighting the work of Dr. Reza Eshaghian doing emergency response for the climate crisis.

MSF Medical Team Leader briefs team before heading out to conduct a malnutrition assessment in Bentiu town, South Sudan.Sean Sutton/Handout

My name is Reza Eshaghian, I’m an emergency physician, 37, from Vancouver who has been working with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) for nine years. We work to help people in the greatest need, and focus on emergency response. This past year, I went on assignment to Bentiu, South Sudan. It was my first time responding to the degradation of health as a result of climate change.

The people of South Sudan have resiliently survived years of colonization and war, and now the climate crisis is at their doorstep. Annually increasing precipitation resulted in massive flooding in parts of the country in 2021. It destroyed over 65,000 hectares of cultivated land, killed over 800,000 livestock, and displaced hundreds of thousands of people. People now face a lack of safe drinking water, healthcare and access to sanitation putting them at increased risk for infectious disease and malnutrition.

I worked with a highly motivated team, most were locally hired. We provided clean water, established sanitation infrastructure, ran mobile clinics, and advocated for a better international response to the crisis. Climate change is affecting us all. On this beautiful planet, we’re all neighbours. Let’s stand together and support each other.

- Dr. Eshaghian

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

A Tunisian student participates in fig picking in the Tunisian town of Djebba, southwest of the capital Tunis, on August 19, 2022. - High in the hills of northwestern Tunisia, farmers are growing thousands of fig trees with a unique system of terracing they hope will protect them from ever-harsher droughts. The "hanging gardens" of Djebba El Olia have been put to the test this year as the North African country sweltered through its hottest July since the 1950s.FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images


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