Environment

Comparison photos of the McCarty Glacier in Alaska. Image: 1909 by Ulysses Sherman Grant and 2004 by Bruce F. Molnia.
Environment News

Human Activity Responsible For Global Warming: UN Report

A group of scientists associated with the United Nations has just issued a report on “climate change.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has confirmed that human habits and activity is responsible for global warming and for higher sea levels.

If this continues, according to the report, there will be more dramatic changes in plant and animal life.

Some critics believe that the current situation is more likely due to short-term factors or weather cycles. They believe that the climate situation will change on its own eventually.

But the UN report says the reality is clear and the facts are there.

Luckily, because humans cause the problem, humans can help solve the problem.

Image: Ks0stm
Environment News

NBA Star Donates $1-Million To Oklahoma Relief Efforts

To help his home city “bounce back” after a terrible storm, NBA player Kevin Durant has donated $1-million.

The number of people harmed by a recent tornado in the U.S. state of Oklahoma was greatly reduced, thanks to a special early-warning system.

On Monday, a major tornado hit Moore, a suburb of Oklahoma City.

A tornado is a violent storm that usually looks like a whirling funnel.

Residents were warned there was a big storm coming, and possibly a tornado, days before it arrived.

When it actually hit, sirens blared, giving people a 16-minute head start to find shelter.

Earth; Image: Chris Hadfield, Canadian Space Agency (CSA)
Environment News

Earth Day Becomes Earth Month

Yesterday was Earth Day.

The annual celebration of the environment was first held in 1970.

But it wasn’t until 1990 that 141 countries put on special events at the same time to make people aware of environmental issues.

Now Earth Day is celebrated every April 22 in more than 150 countries.

In Canada, because there are so many events happening to commemorate Earth Day, the country now celebrates Earth Week and even Earth Month in some places.

Rain in the distance in California. Image: Brocken Inaglory
Environment News Science

City Services Gearing Up To Battle Climate Change

Cities need to watch the weather closely in the future to make sure that city services are always in good working order, according to a new report being studied by the City of Toronto.

That’s because the changing climate–including severe weather and warmer temperatures–may affect cities’ infrastructure. In this case, “infrastructure” refers to services that support the city, such as roads, public transit and energy plants.

The report, requested by the Toronto Environment Office, summed up the past 10 years of serious weather events in and around Toronto.

In the last decade, several records were broken due to the weather. For instance, there was one day in which there was an unusually high demand for power during a very hot summer. This kind of high demand can put a strain on the city’s ability to provide power.

An all-time record 409 mm (millimetres) of rainfall was set at Trent University during this time. Four hundred and nine millimetres is equivalent to 14 billion litres of water in five hours.

Also, in the past 10 years, Toronto had its earliest ever official heat wave.

These kinds of weather events will likely continue and could affect the infrastructure of Toronto and other cities.

Chris Hadfield on December 19, 2012. Image: NASA.
Environment News Science Technology

Hadfield Brings Space Life Down To Earth

When Chris Hadfield was nine years old, he watched Apollo 11 land on the moon and decided he wanted to become an astronaut.

That was in 1969, and about half a billion people around the world watched the same grainy images of the moon landing on TV.

It seems incredible, but with today’s technology and social media websites, people can see and hear what the astronauts are doing on the International Space Station every day.

We can watch videos of them, check out the view of Earth from the space station, and even have casual “conversations” with the astronauts.

Salmon. Image: Earth'sbuddy
Environment News Science

Scientists Criticize Iron-Dumping Experiment

Scientists around the world have criticized a group of Canadians for dumping more than 100 tonnes of iron dust into the Pacific Ocean last summer.

The group, called the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation, is supported by the village of Old Massett, British Columbia.

About 700 people live in the village, which is located on the Haida Gwaii islands.

They used to make their living by fishing for salmon, but now there are not enough salmon and 70 per cent of the villagers don’t have jobs.

Last July, the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation paid $2.5 million to an American businessman named Russ George to dump a mixture of iron sulphate and iron oxide dust into the ocean about 370 kilometres west of the islands.

They hoped the iron would cause more plankton to grow in that part of the Pacific.

They believed that more plankton would help increase the number of salmon in the area.

Mars seen through the Hubble Space Telescope. Image: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team
Environment News Science

No Signs Of Life On Mars… Yet

Scientists have not found any signs of life on Mars yet, but they say a robotic vehicle called “Curiosity” is helping them learn a lot about the planet’s history and climate.

Curiosity landed on Mars in August 2012 after travelling through space for more than eight months.

It was sent to Mars by scientists from NASA in the United States.

Curiosity is a motorized vehicle called a “rover” which is controlled by scientists back on Earth.

It is about the size of a car and has six wheels that allow it to travel across the planet’s surface and climb over sand and rocks.

It also has a robotic arm, cameras, and instruments such as a scoop, drill and microscope that allow it to examine things it finds on the surface.

Then it transmits the information back to Earth.

The main purpose of Curiosity’s mission is to find out if anything could live on Mars, either now or in the past.

On Nov. 2, NASA scientists held a press conference to discuss what Curiosity had found in its first two months on Mars.

Runners during the New York marathon on Verrazano bridge, 2005. Image: Martineric
Environment News

NYC Marathon Cancelled In Aftermath Of Superstorm Sandy

Two days before this year’s New York City Marathon was to take place, it was cancelled.

The marathon is one of the largest in the world, with more than 47,500 runners, most of whom travel from out of town to the city for the 42.2-kilometre run.

The run was to have been held on Sunday.

New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg cancelled the event because New York was still trying to clean up after having been hit by a devastating storm.

Superstorm Sandy hit the Caribbean and the eastern coast of Canada and the United States last week.

It came onto land in New Jersey on the east coast of the U.S., on Monday, Oct. 29.

Family Portrait. Image: Eric Ward
Environment News

The “Average Canadian Family” Has Changed

Do you think you live in an average family?

According to the latest Census of Population, published by Statistics Canada, “average” has changed.

Every five years, Canadians are asked questions about their families and their life.

For instance, “How many people live here?” and “What are their ages?”

Some new information from the 2011 was recently published.

That census counted 9.4 million families in Canada, up 5.5 per cent from 2006.

The other thing a census tells us is what Canadian families look like.

For instance, in 1961 (according to that census) the average family comprised 3.9 people.

In 2011 (according to the most recent census) the average family comprises 2.9 people.

Portrait of Astronaut Neil Armstrong, commander of Apollo 11 mission. Image: NASA.
Environment News Science

Neil Armstrong, First Man On The Moon, Will Long Be Remembered

Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, has died. He was 82 years old.

Armstrong was an American astronaut and the commander of the Apollo 11 spacecraft on its mission to put men on the moon.

Apollo 11 was launched on July 16, 1969, and began orbiting the moon three days later. On July 20, Armstrong and his co-pilot, astronaut Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin, took off from Apollo 11 in a small landing craft called Eagle. A third astronaut, Michael Collins, remained in the main ship, orbiting the moon until they returned.

Hundreds of millions of people around the world watched on TV as the Eagle landed on the moon. When Armstrong stepped out of the ship and onto the moon’s surface, he said, “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.”*

Armstrong and Aldrin explored the moon for more than two hours and collected about 50 pounds of moon rocks. They left behind a plaque which said: “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”

The Eagle remained on the moon for about 21 hours and then rejoined Apollo 11 for the return trip to Earth. Once the astronauts were back on Earth, they spent 16 days in quarantine to make sure they had not brought back any germs from space.