Help bring the bees back

ON THE GARDEN PATH by Carolyn Herriot

The honeybee Apis mellifera was brought to North America by European colonists in 1662 to pollinate their crops. Before European honeybees were imported to North America, generations of growers depended upon the 4,000+ species of native bees that lived there. In Canada, there are 800 species of native bees. These bees do not live in communal hives; they are solitary, dwelling in little caves in the ground or in bark crevices in trees where they raise their young.

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VIFF’s eco docs

FILMS WORTH WATCHING by Robert Alstead

It seems more like a decade than a year since VIFF last came round. Make that two decades. With Copenhagen’s failure fast becoming a dot in the rear view mirror, one filmmaker has returned to footage from the first “Earth Summit” in Rio for inspiration. In Severn, The Voice of Our Children, Jean-Paul Jaud frames his thoughts for the future of the human race around the resonant words of David Suzuki’s daughter in 1992, when, at 12 years of age, she told delegates at the Rio Earth summit, “What you do makes me cry at night.” Now 29, and living in Haida Gwaii, Severn is still crying, but the mother-to-be is not totally without hope. Jaud balances a teary-eyed and elegiac tone with some encouraging portraits of organic pioneers around the world. I particularly liked the detailed portrait of Takao Furuno, a sage Japanese rice farmer who has used fish and ducks to fertilize rice fields and control pests, with a 30 percent increase in crop yield over industrial farming methods.

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More drilling, more disasters

SCIENCE MATTERS by David Suzuki with Faisal Moola

The Gulf of Mexico disaster is just the latest in a long history of “accidents.” As Canada considers drilling for oil in the Arctic now that ice seems to be less of an impediment, we should remember that in October 1970, a blowout at a natural gas well on King Christian Island in the Arctic Ocean created a massive flame, as up to 5.6 million cubic metres of gas a day spewed for more than three months. It was the second blowout in the Arctic since drilling began the year before. Around the same time, the drilling consortium, Panarctic Oil Ltd., was slapped with a huge fine for dumping junk steel, waste oil and other garbage into the Arctic Ocean.

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NEWSBYTES

Be ocean wise

The Ocean Wise logo on a restaurant menu, seafood-counter or seafood product is the trusted symbol of ocean-friendly seafood choices. With more than 360 partners and over 2,800 locations across Canada, Ocean Wise makes it easy for consumers to make sustainable seafood choices that ensure the health of our oceans for years to come. Learn more at www.oceanwise.ca.

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Arctic adventure for hope

article and photos by Ezra Manson

From August 4-20, 16-year-old Ezra Manson, along with 78 other international students, participated in a an exploration of the northern reaches of Nunavik and eastern Baffin Island, with the goal of developing the knowledge, skills, perspectives and practices needed to become polar ambassadors and environmentally responsible citizens. Despite modern influences and conveniences, Inuit have retained their language, core knowledge and beliefs. Future decisions regarding Arctic sovereignty, governance and development will affect Arctic environments, societies and international relations. Youth have a key role to play in shaping the world of today and the world of tomorrow. www.studentsonice.com/arctic2010

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