Agriculture is estimated to contribute over 7% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions not including the energy footprint from bringing lamb from New Zealand or asparagus from Chile.

MAKING YOUR VOTE COUNT

This election seems to have many Canadians scratching their heads: What’s it about? Who to vote for

CITIES CAP BOTTLED WATER

The battle over bottled water is on, and cities and town across Canada are leading the way, turning the tide on water bottlers.

HOW CAN AN ELECTION TODAY GET US AHEAD TOMORROW?

With it all but certain now that Canadians are heading into a federal election this fall.

TAX OR TRADE?

If you’ve been following the carbon pricing discussion in the media, you may have the impression that there’s a battle raging in Canada between “cap-and-trade” systems and carbon taxes

Latest News

How to Choose the Right SEO Company

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essentially the art and science into making a website go to the top search results of search engines on a particular targeted keyword by the website owner. Since hitting first page of search results is likely to bring more traffic into a website which in turn results in lots of traffic and potentially lots of sales for the products being sold or advertised, having an SEO Company work for you is in high demand.

digitalmarketingcalgaryIt cannot be denied that there are plenty of good SEO companies out there. If you are planning to reach the top of search engine results or at least have a good page ranking with decent search engine result pages for your website, it is crucial and in your best interest to hire the right SEO Company to do that job for you. Getting to the top pages of search results is highly coveted and thus creates a highly competitive market. If you try to compete with other websites that has the same niche and line of products that you have, so do SEO companies as they compete amongst themselves on who is the best.

There are many trade secrets in SEO and some of them work whereas some of them no longer work. It is crucial that each SEO Company is updated with the things that work because this gives them an edge over their competition. If they have this edge, so will the clients that will hire them for the trade service that they provide. The Calgary Digital Marketing has are among the best as they have been in this business for many years now.

If you are looking to choose the right SEO Company, it is best that you work with ones that are able to do the job right http://www.emethod.ca/ Calgary. This means that they have made plenty of websites reach the first page of Google search results for a particular keyword they are targeting. If they are able to do this on many occasions, it means that they have the skill and capacity to help your website reach dominant success on keywords you are planning to target. Of course, it only makes sense to target keywords that are not highly competed on as it will really be difficult beating the big boys with their big SEO budgets in this game.

Source:

Emethod – Calgary SEO

100 – 1000 Centre Street NCalgary, AB , T2E 7W6

phone : 403-978-1914

Tax Or Trade? With The Right Price, Both Will Drive Down Carbon Pollution

If you’ve been following the carbon pricing discussion in the media, you may have the impression that there’s a battle raging in Canada between “cap-and-trade” systems and carbon taxes, with political parties and media pundits choosing one side or the other.

From our perspective, this “battle” is more a question of rhetoric than reality, because the two options are actually quite similar. Either approach can work well if it’s well-designed, and both can fail if they’re not. In fact, some jurisdictions (Norway and British Columbia are two examples) plan to implement both carbon taxes and cap-and-trade systems, combining the two in an effective and complimentary hybrid approach.

In a nutshell, our conclusion is the environmental and economic effects of a carbon price depend on the emissions price, the sectors it covers, and the way that any revenues the system generates are used. Arguably, those questions matter much more than the choice of cap-and-trade or carbon taxes.

You may have already come across a few myths about carbon pricing. For example, it is sometimes said that a carbon tax is “for consumers”, because it applies to fuels like gasoline and home heating fuel, while cap-and-trade is “for industry”. But that’s not necessarily the case. Consider British Columbia’s carbon tax: as of July 2008, British Columbians will pay a tax on emissions from burning fossil fuels that starts at $10/tonne and rises to $30/tonne by 2012. The BC tax will apply to 70% of the province’s total greenhouse gas pollution, including emissions from industrial facilities, buildings, homes, cars and trucks. And consumers are likely to be involved even if governments opt for a cap-and-trade system that applies only to heavy industry: experience in Europe has shown that some industrial sectors are able to pass cost increases from cap-and-trade on to consumers.

Another questionable assumption is that “polluters can just buy their way” out of a carbon tax. That’s true, but polluters can also “buy their way out” under a cap-and-trade system by paying for emission allowances rather than cutting emissions in their own operations. What matters more is that, in both cases, polluters have a direct incentive to take all available actions to cut emissions wherever these actions cost less than the price on emissions.…

Toxic Chemicals In Products: Federal Action Needed

Despite the upsurge in public concern for environmental and health issues, Canada has one of the western world’s most outdated systems for controlling toxic chemicals in consumer products.  And an increasing amount of the toxic load in our bodies comes from everyday household items.

Passed in 1968, the Hazardous Products Act was scarcely talked about in recent months when lead was found in alarming levels in children’s toys, or when chemicals that pose developmental risks for children were found in plastic baby bottles.  Yet this law is the federal government’s preferred legal tool for dealing with toxins in consumer goods.

It’s easy to see why few wanted to talk about what the government could do under the Act.  Unlike Europe and the United States, Canada doesn’t even have the power to issue a mandatory recall of a product.  The government is restricted to asking companies nicely, or issuing often invisible warnings to consumers.  These voluntary measures usually follow more decisive action that has already been taken in other countries.

In the United States, if a company is made aware of a hazard in one of its products, there is a legal requirement to notify the government.  Companies in Canada have no such obligation.

Fines in Canada are in the range of $5,000 — barely petty cash for major manufacturers and importers.  U.S. fines for similar infractions are $1 million, and in Europe, fines can be up to 5 percent of a company’s revenues.

The government’s new Consumer Product Safety Act would fill many of these regulatory gaps, providing the power to issue recalls and raising fines to a maximum of $5 million.  It would require manufacturers and importers to track information about how and where their goods are produced, and report problems they are made aware of.  And it would introduce a new general safety requirement, prohibiting the marketing of a product that is “a danger to human health or safety.”

The bill is a significant improvement to Canada’s antiquated regime for regulating toxic chemicals, but it could go much further in protecting human health.

While it introduces a range of new tools, there is no requirement for the government to actually use these tools.  In a properly functioning public health protection system, when a problem comes to light with a product on the market, there should be an obligation on the government to inform consumers and to remove or restrict the product.  Under the new law, government may do this, but there is nothing torequire them to.  Think about it — if the government is made aware of a toxic chemical in a children’s toy, there would be no legal requirement for them to even make people aware of it.  Sure, there would be political consequences if the government is found to have been sitting on the information, but this after-the-fact accountability relies on the government and industry getting caught.

Perhaps most importantly, the law provides little new information for consumers on potentially toxic product ingredients.  In Europe, …

Cities Cap Bottled Water

The battle over bottled water is on, and cities and town across Canada are leading the way, turning the tide on water bottlers.  They are small victories, but quickly adding up.

The latest municipality to catch the wave, at the time of writing this, was Waterloo Region in southern Ontario.  But earlier this summer the City of London, Ontario passed a resolution to restrict the sale of bottled water at public facilities.  St. John’s Newfoundland, Nelson B.C. and others have passed similar restrictions and cities and towns across the country are considering the same, including Toronto later this fall.

While the move to restrict the sale of bottled water by municipalities is largely symbolic, it sends a great message.  It promotes sustainable living.  It underlines a commitment to the environment, reducing resource consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and waste.  It puts faith back into municipal water systems.  It protects local sources of water.  And it promotes cost-effective government operations.

If the environmental, health and economic arguments against bottled water are not clear. We really need to commend the dedicated people at the Polaris Institute for holding the hands of municipal law makers as they travelled these turbulent waters. The bottled water industry is nothing to scoff at.  They are the heavy hitters of the beverage community.  Coke, Pepsi, Nestle.  These guys have been influencing governments for a long time and they make big waves with their deep pockets.  Good thing we know how to surf!

Criticism has been minimal, but beverage company executives have been showing up to council meetings to plead their case.  While sales at many of these venues are miniscule for most water bottlers, they know this is could end up being a big loss for them.  It’s the first domino to fall and they know it.

We need all cities and towns to use their influence.  Get your community on board.…

How Can an Election Today Get Us Ahead Tomorrow?

With it all but certain now that Canadians are heading into a federal election this fall, it will be critical for every voter to ask themselves – “with my vote today, what will we achieve in environmental security tomorrow?”

Our report “Tomorrow Today: How Canada can make a world of difference” outlines concrete actions the new government could focus on to ensure we significantly reduce our greenhouse gas pollution, produce and use energy more wisely, protect our wild spaces, fresh water and oceans, and reduce our exposure toxic substances.All of these actions will result in a much better tomorrow.

The question is, will NDP’s Jack Layton, the Conservatives’ Steven Harper, the Liberals’ Stephane Dion, the Bloc’s Gilles Duceppe and the Green’s Elizabeth May step up to make real and meaningful commitments during the election campaign that will address the major environmental challenges we face in Canada?

We have made it as easy as possible for all parties to incorporate the recommended actions in “Tomorrow Today” first into their platforms and then in action when they are sitting in the House. With eleven major environmental organizations representing thousands and thousands of members across Canada, and decades of experience in analyzing and finding solutions to environmental problems, we are very confident these are the right actions for Canada now.

There is no excuse. Every party in this election should have a robust platform on environmental action, and Tomorrow Today makes it that much easier.…

Meeting Canada’s International Obligations On Climate Change

In an article in yesterday’s Globe and Mail, columnist Jeffrey Simpson wrote about how Canada has the worst record of any country that signed Kyoto Protocol.

It’s easy to understand why Canada is being singled out for criticism. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has abandoned Canada’s commitments under the Kyoto Protocol and has shown an aversion to real caps on emissions. He is also refusing to take on new commitments unless developing countries like China and India take on binding targets.

It’s an extremely unjust position. You can’t ask poorer nations to shoulder the burden and do just as much as wealthy nations, especially when we caused the problem. Wealthy countries can afford to develop the technologies that will help us cut our emissions. Without cooperation, technology and incentives, developing countries will be left to make the same mistakes that were made in rich countries.Besides, countries like China and India are included in the Kyoto Protocol. Developing countries were exempt from reductions in the first phase of the Protocol but they will begin to take on commitments in the second phase, which begins after 2012.  As the chart below shows, China’s emissions per person are only about one quarter that of Canada, while India’s are less than one tenth. Over 150 million Chinese and 350 million Indians survive on less than one dollar per day. Both countries lack adequate housing, schools and hospitals for most of their people, and meeting the needs of their people will require their emissions to rise further, and much further if they try to follow in the fossil-fueled footsteps of countries like Canada. The best way to convince these countries to take another path, is for us in the rich countries to lead the way.

Hundreds of millions of Chinese and Indians want a comparable lifestyle and have the same consumer choices as citizens of the rich industrialized countries. By pointing the finger at their emissions before changing our own ways we are essentially saying they should continue to live in poverty so that we can enjoy our air conditioning, SUVs and big-screen TVs.

Little wonder many people in these countries think the climate change issue is a way for industrialized countries to protect their secure position by pulling the ladder up after them, and denying the developing world the chance to share the world’s limited resources. Clearly something more than finger-pointing is required to convince these countries to shift to a low-emission development path.

The way forward
Canada can start by meeting its international obligations. In 1992, Canada signed the UN Climate Convention which required rich industrialized countries like Canada to:

  • Take the lead by reducing its own emissions – the amount was later agreed in the Kyoto Protocol
  • Ensure financial support and transfer of technologies to developing countries to help them control their own emissions
  • Support developing countries in adapting to the impacts of climate change

So what would Canada have to do if it took its international responsibilities seriously?

The key is

The Poo-lluted Shark That’s Closing Ontario Beaches

We’re having some strange weather this summer in southern Ontario.  Record rainfalls.  Localized flooding.  Reports of Tornadoes.  All this after near record snowfalls this winter. While most of this has done great things for my garden, the extreme weather events are wreaking havoc on lakes and rivers, and have briefly closed beaches in cities across Ontario, including Ottawa and Toronto.

This is why people don’t think they can enjoy beaches in our communities. Every once and a while a big storm event washes nasty chemicals and bacteria into the swimming areas, and the influx of water kicks up pollutants settled on the lake and riverbeds causing folks to run from the water.  Even if nature quickly deals with the problem naturally, our perceptions are often much more resistant to change and we stay away in fear.

And this is only the beginning.  If climate change experts are right, then we can expect sever storms events to become more common and beach closures to be more frequent.  More severe storms bring intense rains. Intense rains over short periods of time contribute to higher levels of pollution into our waterways.  More pollution means increased health threats and fewer days at the beach.

It’s sad really. The one place (the beach) where most children experience one of Canada’s vast natural resources (freshwater) is being ruined by another one of nature’s most important gifts (rain).  But it’s not nature’s fault.  We are the ones contributing to the pollution and keeping our kids out of the water.  We’ve destroyed the natural flow of things and without action, the problem will only get worse.

And where is our government?  Last week in Ontario, a huge new infrastructure deal with the federal government was announced that does not mention critical wastewater and stormwater repairs and improvements.

Action must be taken to protect our water and beaches, and limit closures that ruin summer days and our chance to bond with our rivers and lakes.  We can all do things at home that can help, but governments need to make the big investments and laws that will have a lasting impact.

Check with a local health authority to see if a beach is safe for swimming, or check out  www.blueflag.ca for a Blue Flag beach near you.  Blue Flag is the international standard for sustainable beaches tracking not only water quality, but the protection of natural ecosystems and providing onsite services and gives us one examples of how communities are working together to protect our beaches.…

You Are What You Eat. The Questions Is: WHAT Are You Eating?

At three meals a day you would think we would have a better read on what we are eating and feeding to our kids, but in fact a lot of the ingredients remain a mystery. Sadly that sits well with the agriculture industry and some of our elected representatives.

Agriculture is estimated to contribute over 7% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions not including the energy footprint from bringing lamb from New Zealand or asparagus from Chile. Growing concerns of a cancer epidemic are often related to the massive dowsing of herbicides and pesticides used in food production before the product hits our tables. Genetically engineered (GE) food with its unknown health effects, fertilizer use choking our lakes and streams and an increasingly globalized food chain amount to a complex problem in need of some complex solutions.

But one of the easiest ways to make changes in production and consumption habits is to give consumers the information they need to make informed decisions. This is as true for cucumbers and cereal as it is for cars and washing machines. Gasoline efficiency information and energy consumption labelling on household appliances (Energy Star) allows buyers to compare products and make greener decisions. We don’t have that choice with food because there is limited labelling. What makes this worse is that we only buy a car or washing machine every 10 years or so but we consume food, day in and day out.

Like automobile and appliance manufacturers before them, agri-industry is fighting tooth and nail to prevent labelling from expanding because it suits their purposes to keep consumers in the dark, and information vague – if the choice is simply between which apple is reddest, they need to excel at only one variable. Once we begin to provide consumers with more information, there are more variables the industry must manage in order to win over the informed consumer.

What if consumers were routinely provided with information about where a fruit was grown, the carbon footprint to get it to market, the use of pesticides and genetic engineering? Consumers could begin to make informed choices on environmental impact and family health criterion. Extraordinary! And UNACCEPTABLE.

Companies like Monsanto work hard to keep food and agriculture information from consumers – vagueness about the food we eat helps them sell their herbicides and GE seeds to farmers. They lobby politicians hard on this and are aggressive to a fault.

Last week our federal parliament voted against mandatory labeling of GE ingredients in our food. (“Mandatory” labelling is key here, we have had voluntary labelling since 2004 but not a single voluntary label on GE food has been applied to date). Despite the fact that polling shows that the vast majority of Canadians want labelling of GE ingredients in our food, Conservative and Liberal MP’s banded together to defeat the bill. Despite the fact that there is little or no independent research on the long term health impacts of GE food, that over 70% of …

Making Your Vote Count

This election seems to have many Canadians scratching their heads: What’s it about? Who to vote for?  Why vote at all?  The answers to these questions depend on whether you think the environment – and more particularly taking action on climate change right now – really matters.

Let’s put this election in its real context:  We are currently facing the greatest threat to the liveability of our planet in human civilization.  Scientists like NASA’s James Hansen are telling us that our carbon emissions are already well into the red zone.  Other scientists are warning us about the relentless build-up of toxics in our environment and the snowballing extinction of species.

So it’s time to discuss something more substantive than which party has the best TV ads.  It’s time to talk about how we are going to remake Canada’s approach to living sustainably. It’s time to talk about how we are going to keep the natural world that is the foundation of our prosperity healthy and functioning.  It’s a big subject, but it is also one that we should expect any party that wants to form a government to have some big ideas about.

As the people who think, eat and breathe environmental issues on a daily basis, we have plenty to say about what Canada could be doing better and what it needs to be doing right now.  We’ve put these ideas down in a document called Tomorrow Today: How Canada can make a world of difference (available at tomorrowtodaycanada.ca).  It’s a call to action and an agenda for how to transform our country from an environmental laggard – ranked 28th out of 29 developed countries by the OECD on a survey of key environmental indicators – to being a world leader. 

Let’s be clear: There are big changes coming, whether we are ready or not.   Unchecked climate change will devastate our environment and dramatically reshape our world.  A continuing loss of biodiversity is going to leave us more and more vulnerable to sudden and radical shifts in natural systems.  And continuing to dump toxins and pollutants into our atmosphere and waterways is going to leave us scrambling to cope with the massive health and economic impacts of dirty air and water.

So, as the politicians like to say, we need to get ahead of the curve.  We need to make the transition to a more sustainable economy by recognizing the false (in fact, insane) economy of allowing companies to freely pollute.  We need to protect far more of our forests, waters and wetlands because they are immensely valuable assets — assets most countries can only dream of once possessing — instead of treating them as an endless source of cheap resources.  And we need to recognize that we have the world-leading wealth, resources and know- how to be global leaders in sustainability – all we need is the will.

The place to start is with addressing climate change.  Climate change essentially takes all of our other environmental problems

Tax What We Burn, Not What We Earn: Carbon Pricing The Only Way To Get Serious About Fighting Global Warming

With the release of the Liberal team’s carbon tax, finally the debate about putting a price on carbon dioxide pollution has hit the mainstream.

For years the environmental movement and academic economists have been saying the only way we will seriously reduce pollution is by putting a price on it – with a price in place the market will drive innovation and action to get pollution out of our economy.

Over the past year we have even seen industry including the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (www.ceocouncil.ca — search for “carbon price”) get behind pricing carbon dioxide pollution. Why? Because they too know we have to tackle pollution and having a clear price signal is the only way. Provincially we have British Columbia showing real leadership on this file with their carbon tax. Finally the debate is happening in federal politics.

Critical to any carbon pricing system is that it ensures we help protect individuals on low and fixed incomes who are often facing energy poverty.

I think the best quote I have heard this week on this issue is: “let’s tax what we burn, not what we earn”. No matter which government is in power federally and provincially, it’s time to tax what we don’t want – pollution; and reduce the taxes on what we do want – employment, savings and earnings.…

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