Health and environment

Human health issues affected by the environment

U.S. Pentagon: Climate Change an Immediate Security Threat

The U.S. Pentagon’s latest report, the 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap, calls climate change an immediate threat to national security. The forward, by U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, sets the tone: “Rising global temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, climbing sea levels, and more extreme weather events will intensify the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty, and conflict. They will…

Powerful reports by environmental commissioners

Congratulations to both the federal and provincial environmental commissioners, who continue to strenuously remind our governments how far they fall short on environmental stewardship, and who both issued powerful reports this week. Bees, Algonquin Park, “Chemical Alley”, urban sprawl, climate change, weak environmental assessment, inadequate commitment to environmental monitoring in the oil sands: there is no…

Urban Forests Across Canada Valued at $51B

TD Bank issued a report on September 24, 2014, providing an economic valuation of urban forests in the greater Halifax, Montreal and Vancouver areas, estimating that these forests contain more than 100 million trees which carry an estimated worth of $51 billion (Halifax: $11.5B; Montreal: $4.5B; Vancouver: $35B). TD claims that for each dollar spent…

Herbicide Spray Drift a “Normal” Farm Practice?

Organic farmers in Nova Scotia filed a lawsuit against a neighbouring farm for damages allegedly caused by a herbicide which drifted onto their property. In particular, the plaintiffs claimed that the herbicide caused damage to their crops, the miscarriage of four horses, and personal injury. The defendant farmer claimed immunity under section 10(1) of Nova…

Can the threat of personal liability stop fluoridation?

Opponents of fluoridation have started to threaten councillors with personal liability for fluoridated water, in the hope of changing municipal policy on water treatment. The province created this problem, and they should fix it.

Class Action for Harming Bees with Neonicotinoids

This is the first Canadian class action lawsuit filed for harm caused by Neonicotinoid pesticides, potentially responsible for the worldwide collapse of bee and other pollinator populations.

Municipal Anti-Wind By-Laws Inoperative

Another Ontario municipality’s attempts to block wind energy development have been thrown out by the courts. Municipalities cannot use anti-wind by-laws to frustrate Renewable Energy Approvals (REA), under the Green Energy Act, S.O. 2009, c. 12 (“Green Energy Act”).

Should Children Have a Right to a Healthy Environment?

On June 17, 2014, several environmental groups in New Brunswick circulated for comment a draft environmental bill of rights for children. Called “A Bill of Rights to Protect Children’s Health from Environmental Hazards,” it is the first of its kind in Canada. If passed, the law would confer on every child “the right to protection…

Wind opponents lose health challenges around the world

A recent report  by the Energy and Policy Institute documents the rejection of anti-wind health claims by 48 courts and tribunals in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the US. In one anomalous US case,  two turbines which had had a known problem were ordered to be shut down 12 hours a day, four hours…

Toronto zoning change to promote Tower Renewal

Toronto contains the second largest concentration of high-rise apartments in North America. Most were built half a century ago, during the City’s post-war expansion. The Tower Renewal Project is a major initiative to update these buildings, and make them part of green and equitable future Toronto. Improved energy efficiency, reduced car dependence, increased recycling, more usable green space…

More anti-wind power appeals dismissed

Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) recently dismissed two more anti-wind power appeals, this time relating to the same project. One of the appeals had a new feature: whether wind turbines interfere with weather forecasting radar. July 9, 2014, Fata v. MOE, ERT Registry Nos.: 13-145/13-146.

Environment Minister: more consultation on used batteries

Ontario’s new Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Glen Murray, has intervened decisively to stop Waste Diversion Ontario from approving now two controversial proposed Industry Stewardship Plans: one from Call2Recycle for used batteries, and one from Product Care Association for used paints and coatings, before his new waste reduction law is introduced and passed.

Waterkeepers want notice of sewage bypasses

Congratulations to Lake Ontario Waterkeeper for their innovative application to the Ontario Environmental Commissioner, to force Toronto to give public notice when it bypasses sewage into Lake Ontario due to wet weather- about three times a month.