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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.
The May long weekend is traditionally the start of gardening season in Canada, when our days get warmer and nighttime temperatures tend to stabilize. If you’re looking for inspiration for your home garden, we’ve rounded up tried-and-true tips from experts across the country, including the best vegetables to grow in small spaces and advice for making pollinator gardens thrive.
Not only can home gardens help fight climate change, research also shows that nurturing plants can even reduce stress. So whether you have a sprawling backyard or a tiny condo balcony, it’s a great time to freshen up your outdoor space.
Now, let’s catch you up on other news.
Noteworthy reporting this week:
- Wildfires: Heavy wildfire smoke blankets Western Canada as Alberta awaits more rain
- Extreme weather: Maritime farmers holding breath as record-dry spring wrings region
- Recovery: B.C. communities focus on recovery from devastating wildfires
- Housing: How a growing number of architects and builders are looking for ways to reduce carbon by using less concrete
- Energy: Breaking down UCP and NDP energy policies in Alberta
- Clean fuel: Ottawa’s new clean fuel policy will add up to 17 cents to gas prices in 2030, watchdog reports
- Conservation: To save the Fraser River’s white sturgeon, B.C.’s angling guides go fishing for data
- Diet: For decades, China has strived to eat more meat. Can it be persuaded to do the opposite?
- Construction: How Ontario’s rules for dealing with excavated dirt aim to clean up the industry
- From The Narwhal: New hope for flood-prone Peguis First Nation means evacuees could come home
A deeper dive
Fire weather for a new planet
Ryan MacDonald is a senior editor at The Globe heading the climate, environment and resources team.
Cooler temperatures and some much-needed rain are giving people in Alberta hope that the wildfires that have burned since early May will soon be tamed. There is hope that those who were evacuated will soon return home; some don’t have homes to return to.
At The Globe, we have regular meetings to discuss how to cover wildfire season in Canada. Inevitably, these meetings happen during a moment of crisis as it did with the “unprecedented” wildfires in Alberta. We scramble to cover an event that is threatening people’s lives and livelihoods.
That’s why I want to draw your attention to John Vaillant’s essay: We built a volcano, and then threw Alberta in. It’s a worthy, considered read that looks at how we got here.
The central point of Vaillant’s essay is that “after two hundred years of relentless combustion, our fossil-fuel-driven civilization has become its own volcano.” From there, Vaillant argues that fire has become the thing that drives us, empowers us and enriches us.
His arguments are born out of the research for a book about the devastating wildfire that forced 90,000 people to flee Fort McMurray in 2016. The fire came to be known as “The Beast” – hence the title of John’s book “Fire Weather: The Making of a Beast.”
Vaillant cites the creation of the Fire Weather Index as evidence of how climate change is fuelling a new kind of “fire weather”. To change the weather, we must change how we do things as a country and, crucially, reduce our emissions.
Related reading: In similar vein, Charles Brindamour and Blair Feltmate look at the wildfires as a reason for the federal government and the private sector to commit more money to adapt to extreme weather. An investment in climate resiliency will protect both people and the economy, they argue.
What else you missed
- Quebec sets out plan to reach 60 per cent of greenhouse gas reduction target by 2030
- Extreme weather has killed two million people, cost $4.3-trillion over past half-century, UN agency says
- Young climate activists turn water in Rome’s Trevi Fountain black in protest
- European Union governments agreed the bloc should ban the destruction of unsold textiles, part of the EU’s push towards reducing waste.
- When fighting wildfires, satellites provide ‘eyes in the sky’
- Oil drilling project near mouth of Amazon River rejected by Brazil’s environmental regulator
Opinion and analysis
Editorial board: The Liberals promised two billion trees by 2030. Only 2 per cent have been planted. What’s going wrong – and what needs fixing
Eric Reguly: The ugly downsides of Canada’s costly obsession with electric vehicles
Laura Cameron and Angela Carter: Feds should not waste their $15-billion Canada Growth Fund on carbon capture for oil
Campbell Clark: There is no cost-free climate plan
Amanda Lewis: What we lose when the forests burn
Teck Resources’ coal business raises questions about ESG successes
In fending off a hostile takeover bid from mining giant Glencore, Vancouver-based Teck Resources highlighted its successes with ESG issues and urged investors to consider Glencore’s failures as a reason to spurn the Swiss company’s offer. But that strategy now opens the door for shareholders, regulators and would-be partners to cast a critical eye on Teck’s own record. The company has paid millions in fines related to pollution from coal-mining operations in British Columbia’s Elk Valley and is still working to stem the contamination of watersheds in the region.
- Is throwing cash at it the best way to grow the clean energy economy?
- Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Friday that his government is prepared to commit more money to Stellantis to keep the company’s electric-vehicle battery plant in the province, as Ottawa signalled that a deal with the auto maker is close.
- Canada and South Korea pen new deal on clean-energy supply chains for critical minerals
Each week The Globe will profile a Canadian making a difference. This week we’re highlighting the work of Bashar Rahman doing a fundraising campaign.
My name is Bashar, and I am a 21-year-old climate activist based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. I have been living in Vancouver for the past two years as I pursue a Bachelor of International Economics degree on a full scholarship at the University of British Columbia as a first-generation low-income student.
I have been working on a project called Stories of Change, where I pedal across Bangladesh to capture and amplify the inspiring stories of climate resilience in the country. By sharing these stories, I aim to highlight the innovative solutions and the incredible people behind them. You can follow our journey on the website: storiesofchange.co.
Throughout my work, I have learned that small, localized actions can make a significant impact on our environment. To slow climate change and build a more resilient future, I encourage people to support community-led initiatives, embrace sustainable practices, and actively engage in climate discussions. Together, we can foster hope and drive positive change in the face of the climate crisis. You can also support the project here.
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 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
- Wildfires are another climate change wake-up call
- The Inuit greenhouse powered by renewable energy
- Ottawa and Ontario don’t share the same vision for electricity’s future
- Environmental education with a cosmic twist
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