Tuesday 16 September 2014

EcoSask News, September 16, 2014

sunrise and geese

Heritage Tomato Seeds, Sept. 18
Join Permasask and the local heritage tomato seed savers on Thursday, Sept. 18 from 6-8 pm for a potluck supper and seed saving workshop.

Field Trips
Young Naturalists
Sept. 28, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm – Sandhill Crane Field Trip (space is limited; register in advance)

Golden Eagles
Sept. 25, 8 am – Birding at St. Volodymyr Church Park
Oct. 2, 9 am – Birding & Petrofka Bridge Orchard

Other Nature Society Field Trips
Sept. 27, 8:30-10 am – Cosmopolitan Park Bird Walk
Sept. 27, 1:30-9 pm – Outlook District Crane & Goose Trip

Check the Saskatoon Nature Society’s website for full details (e.g. some trips require rubber boots, others will be cancelled if the weather is bad).

Eleven, Paul Hanley
Paul Hanley’s new book, Eleven, is now available for purchase. Contact Paul directly to make arrangements (978-4797, paulhanley@sasktel.net). Paul is also interested in speaking to groups and organizations.

In Eleven, Paul argues that the forces eroding the present social-ecological order are also preparing humanity for a cultural transformation that will make a resilient world of 11 billion possible.

Redberry Lake Discovery Trail
The Redberry Lake Discovery Trail, supported by a $5,000 grant from EcoFriendly Sask, is now open. The 2.2 km. trail, designed by the Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve, includes stations which explain things like how to make an Insect Hotel, which creatures call a rock garden home, and how to make a nest box.

Local Myths
Two news stories got a lot of attention this past week. Here's some background information.

Myth #1: Wolves are a Problem
The province is offering 100 new licenses to kill wolves in response to an alleged increased number of livestock kills. Wolves are an invaluable part of the environment as the video, How Wolves Make Rivers, demonstrates. And anyway, wolves aren’t the real problem:

“if livestock is your business, you've got a lot of problems, but wolves aren't even close to one of them. Remember that wolves killed roughly 8,100 head of cattle in 2010. The USDA's National Agriculture Statistics Service estimates that 1,055,000 head of cattle were felled by respiratory problems in that same year. Over a million. Digestive problems took out another half a million head. And let's not pretend the inhumane manner in which agribusiness raises cattle didn't have something to do with that. Write off another 500,000 each to the weather and various problems with calving. Hell, just flat-out cattle rustling accounted for nearly twice as many lost head of cattle as wolves. Predators are only 5.5 percent of total cattle losses, and wolves are only 0.23 percent of the total.” (Stop Shooting Wolves, You Maniacs)

“I spoke with an Idaho biologist who has worked with both the FWS and the wolf reintroduction program. He argues that human populations continue to ‘overuse’ hunting in the name of sport and this has reduced deer and elk populations, not just in Idaho, but in the Great Lakes and Alaska. The result? Wolves have been forced to look elsewhere for food and sustenance. This results in cattle being attacked because the regular food chain has been disrupted. Hunting wolves won't stop this problem unless all the wolves are killed.” (Heed the Call of the Wild: Don’t Cull the Wolf)

Myth #2: Glass is Recycled in SK
If you’re like me, you’ve been carefully washing used glass jars and setting them aside for recycling. Because that’s what the City told us to do. However, this week we learned that a lot of the glass gets broken and has to be sent to the landfill. The glass jars that aren’t broken are carefully set aside at the landfill for possible future recycling. This is what happens in Regina as well.

“Better than half of the glass that comes into the [Loraas] company's Saskatoon facility ends up shattered and buried in its landfill north of the city. The balance of the unbroken glass is stored in a makeshift pile at the same landfill for future recycling.” (CBC News)

Unfortunately, glass is cheap to make (“recycling glass is only 33 per cent more energy-efficient than making glass from scratch”) and recycling rates are low, even in Alberta, which has three end-markets for recycled glass.

EcoSask News is a weekly round-up of local news and events. Email us if you have items you would like us to include. Additional upcoming events can be found on our Calendar

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