If you’re reading this on the web or someone forwarded this e-mail newsletter to you, you can sign up for Globe Climate and all Globe newsletters here.
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.
Noteworthy reporting this week:
- Hidden Waters: The story of disappearing and endangered springs in North America
- Restoration: Bringing back the culinary and cultural bounty of ancient Indigenous sea gardens in B.C.
- Wildfires: Forest fires choke air in Lower Mainland British Columbia and Alberta
- Transportation: Air Canada to buy 30 electric-hybrid airplanes, invest US$5-million in Swedish developer
- Resources: U.S. lumber industry alleges Canadian softwood producers receiving climate subsidies
- 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
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.
“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.”
What else you missed
- Pesticide used in attempt to eradicate invasive fish species in Nova Scotia lake
- ‘Clairvoyant’ 2012 climate report warned of extreme weather
- Sperm whales’ clicking dialects are evidence of ‘non-human culture’, say scientists
- Pacific Islands students target UN court as key weapon to fight climate change
- Patagonia founder gives away $3-billion company to climate-change causes
- Worries over wetlands, turtles rejected as Nova Scotia approves road for housing development
- Some Indigenous leaders concerned about reconciliation with new monarch
- New $84.4-million water system in Abbotsford, B.C., aims for climate resilience
- LVMH to turn off lights earlier at night in French stores as part of energy-saving measure
- Climate adaptation coalition says Canada needs hard targets on disaster resilience
- Children, women hit by disease in Pakistan’s stagnant waters after floods
- Twelve die under collapsed structures amid heavy rains in India
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
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.
- ESG backlash weighs on sustainable investing in Canada
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.
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
Guides and Explainers
- Want to learn to invest sustainably? We have a class for that: Green Investing 101 newsletter course for the climate-conscious investor. Not sure you need help? Take our quiz to challenge your knowledge.
- We've rounded up our reporters' content to help you learn about what a carbon tax is, what happened at COP 26, and just generally how Canada will change because of climate change.
- We have ways to make your travelling more sustainable and if you like to read, here are books to help the environmentalist in you grow, as well as a downloadable e-book of Micro Skills - Little Steps to Big Change.
Catch up on Globe Climate
- As temperatures rise, so does risk to athlete health
- Mercury in the Arctic puts Indigenous communities, wildlife at risk
- Climate change is making it harder for you to sleep
- Hydrogen is a big bet game, Canada could hit the jackpot