Tuesday 26 December 2017

Nature's Boxing Day Specials

Graybar grunts
Graybar Grunts produce a grunting sound by grinding their teeth
“The lasting pleasures of contact with the natural world are not reserved for scientists but are available to anyone who will place himself under the influence of earth, sea, and sky, and their amazing life.” (Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder)

Explore, Admire, Learn
Papiliones, Jonathan Bradley – “butterflies are part of the poetry of nature” – 33 poems about butterflies

Urban Biodiversity: From Research to Practice, Alessandro Ossola & Jari Niemela (eds.) – Interdisciplinary science-based information for urban biodiversity management – rewilding, urban agriculture, engaging the public


Klamath – “Ancient forests of the Klamath Mountains survive as a vivid living window into life’s long history on earth. They are one of a few remaining in the world home to great troves of the ideas life has conjured over 3.8 billion years of evolution.” Watch online (55 minutes): KS Film or Vimeo

River Blue – exploring the impact the fashion industry has on the world’s major rivers and calling for change from top fashion brands – now available on iTunes and dotstudiopro

Forest Man – “Majuli islander Jadav Payeng has been planting trees in order to save his island. To date he has single handedly planted a forest larger than Central Park NYC. His forest has transformed what was once a barren wasteland into a lush oasis.” Watch online (16 minutes) on YouTube

Christmas tree worms
Christmas tree worms filter out tiny plants and animals by pumping water up and over their crowns

Changing the World - Through Science, Art, and Conversation
Citizen Science
Submit a photograph and iNaturalist can now help you identify over 20,000 species. Got one that stumps the computer? That’s great as it will help increase the system’s capacity.

London’s Natural History Museum has been collecting specimens for over 250 years and has about 35 million insects in its collection. They’ve developed Inselect, software that rapidly catalogues and categorizes images digitally. It’s open source and available for anyone to use.

Disruptive Artists
Faviana Rodriguez: “Artists help us imagine how things can look different and they can help tell a story of the future. . . . Problems are often a consequence of habit and of systemic ways of working. Artists can disrupt those habits or those systemic ways by showing complexity and by actually shining a light on what’s really happening, which helps people change focus.”

Hold a Party
Climate for Change is an Australian not-for-profit helping “people who care about climate change have better discussions about why they care with the people they care about.” Hosts invite friends to a conversation with a trained facilitator and guests are invited to take action against climate change. One conversation leads to another.

You can follow EcoFriendly Sask by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, or by email (top right corner). A full list of upcoming events can be found on the EcoFriendly Sask Calendar

Tuesday 19 December 2017

EcoSask News, December 19, 2017

Cedar Waxwing parent feeding juvenile

Upcoming Events
Wildlife Photography (webinar) 
John Marriott, wildlife photographer, talks about ethics, advocacy, and his new book, Tall Tales, Long Lenses: My Adventures in Photography, on a Fur-Bearers’ webinar.

Islands of Grass, Jan. 2 (Saskatoon) 
Branimir Gjetvaj will show images from Islands of Grass at the 7 pm, Jan. 2, meeting of the Saskatoon Camera Club.

Corporate & Industrial Waste, Jan. 3 (Saskatoon) 
Brenda Wallace, City of Saskatoon, will discuss Corporate and Industrial Waste in Saskatoon at the Jan. 3 meeting of the Saskatchewan Energy Management Task Force.

Looking Ahead 
Skills for Social Change, Jan. 12 & 13 (Swift Current) 
Next Up Saskatchewan is offering two workshops in Swift Current:

6:30-9 pm, Jan. 12 - Building Community Connections: A Gathering for People Committed to Social & Environmental Justice

10 am-5 pm, Jan. 13 - Storytelling Workshop: How to Speak about Social Change so People will Listen

Living in the Landscape, Feb. 7 (Saskatoon) 
Join PCAP-SK for an evening celebration of prairie stewardship with keynote speaker Sharon Butala on Feb. 7 in Saskatoon. Registration is required. This event is in conjunction with the Native Prairie Restoration and Reclamation Workshop.

Bohemian Waxwings

Saskatoon Nature Society
Saskatoon Young Naturalists 
Feb. 3, 1-2:30 pm – Chickadee Pishing
Mar. 17, 1-3 pm – Owl Pellet Dissection
Space is limited; register early to avoid disappointment.

Other Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips
Jan. 7, 9-10:30 am – Sanatorium Site Bird Walk
Jan. 20-21 – Beauval Area Winter Birding Trip (members only, email trips@saskatoonnaturesociety.ca for more information)
Check the Saskatoon Nature Society’s website for full details and updated information.

A full list of upcoming events can be found on the EcoFriendly Sask Calendar 

In the News 
The Government of Saskatchewan is requesting input on Crown Resource Land regulations.

Buildings account for almost 1/3 of greenhouse gas emissions. “We need to maintain a sense of urgency . . . . The longer we wait, the higher amount of new infrastructure will lock us in in a high carbon path.”

Wildlife photographs that will make you laugh.

Saskatoon’s winter city strategy. 

Cedar Waxwing

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Wishing all of you a happy, fun holiday season with lots of time spent out of doors enjoying nature. 

Next Tuesday we’ll bring you our Boxing Day Specials - a round-up of unexpected stories, books, movies, and more to stimulate your imagination. EcoSask News will be back in 2018.

EcoSask News is a weekly round-up of local news and events. Email us if you have items you would like us to include. 

You can follow EcoFriendly Sask by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Sunday 17 December 2017

Light Pollution: A Growing Problem

Saskatoon sunset

In the past 20 years, night-time light emissions in North America and Europe have increased by 70%. The Milky Way and the Northern Lights are lost to large percentages of the world’s population due to reflected light from homes, businesses, and streets.

As unfortunate as that is, the loss of the dark has far more serious consequences for both human and animal health.

Health Risks
Here are just a few examples of the impact of light pollution on humans and other animals:

Artificial light lures moths and other night-time insect pollinators away from plants. A recent trial found that light exposure reduced the number of pollinator visits by 62% with 29% fewer species coming to the lighted areas (1).

Almost all small rodents and carnivores and 20% of primates are nocturnal (3). Light pollution increases their mortality rates as they have difficulty foraging, can be detected more easily by predators, and have a harder time getting away because their vision is impaired (2).

Many birds migrate at night using the stars to navigate. Pulled off course due to light pollution or killed in collisions with lighted buildings, many of them never reach their destination.

Female sea turtles, who like to nest on dark, remote beaches, are deterred from laying eggs. The young hatchlings normally head towards the ocean and away from the dark land mass. Millions die each year when they become confused by the bright lights and crawl towards the city instead of the water (2).

Excessive light inhibits frogs’ mating calls and reduces their reproductive capacity (3).

Disruption of the normal rhythm of light and dark has a significant impact on human health: “Disruption of the circadian clock is linked to several medical disorders in humans, including depression, insomnia, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, says Paolo Sassone-Corsi, chairman of the Pharmacology Department at the University of California, Irvine, who has done extensive research on the circadian clock. ‘Studies show that the circadian cycle controls from ten to fifteen percent of our genes,’ he explains. ‘So the disruption of the circadian cycle can cause a lot of health problems” (3).

Two Israeli studies show a statistically significant correlation between outdoor artificial light at night and breast cancer (3).

let it snow

LED Lighting Increases Light Pollution
Greater use of LED lighting has significantly increased light pollution: 

Recent satellite measurements of light pollution underestimate the actual degree of night-time radiance as satellite images aren’t sensitive to the blue-light wavelengths emitted by LED lights (4).

Short-wave LED lighting has greatly increased the amount of light scattered by the atmosphere, causing a glow over areas with little or no lighting (4).

LED lights use just a fraction of the electricity required by incandescent bulbs and last much longer. As a result, “decreases in cost allow increased use of light in areas that were previously unlit, moderately lit, or lit only during the early evening hours” (4).

“LED light bulbs are increasing light pollution because, since they require less electricity to create the same amount of light, people are installing more and more of them. ‘We’ll light something that we didn’t light before, like a bicycle path through a park or a section of highway leading outside of town that in the past wasn’t lit,’ lead author Chris Kyba, a physicist at the German Research Center for Geosciences, said to Phys.org. ‘And so all of those new uses of light offset, to some extent, the savings that you had” (5).

We assume that increased efficiency will lead to decreased demand, but that’s not the case. For example, consumers tend to travel more when they have fuel-efficient cars (6). Research has shown that, “Regardless of historical or geographical context, humans tend to use as much artificial light as they can buy for ~0.7% of GDP” (4).

There are Solutions
“We could instantly reduce the problem by about half if we assured that all outdoor lighting fixtures were fully shielded, meaning that they emitted no light directly above the horizon. . . . We could then further reduce the amount of light pollution in the world if fixtures were properly designed and installed such that the light they emit was confined to the task area, and provided in no greater intensity than needed to safely illuminate the task. Lastly, we could reduce the biological harm of our lights by ensuring that they emit as little short-wavelength (blue) light as possible, by choosing ‘warmer’ lamps,” says John Barentine, the resident physical scientist for the International Dark-Sky Association (7).

A great deal of the responsibility for reducing light pollution belongs with individual property owners. The International Dark Sky Association provides some useful tips when selecting night sky-friendly light fixtures (8).

Further Information
The High Cost of Lighting up the Night 
Traffic Calming Measures to Protect Wildlife in the Swale 

1. Light Pollution Lures Nighttime Pollinators Away from Plants
2. The Effects of Light Pollution on the Environment 
3. Missing the Dark: Health Effects of Light Pollution
4. Artificially Lit Surface of Earth at Night Increasing in Radiance and Extent
5. Energy-saving LED Lightbulbs are Contributing to Light Pollution
6. Jevons Paradox 
7. Switch to Outdoor LED Lighting has Completely Backfired
8. Outdoor Lighting Basics

Tuesday 12 December 2017

EcoSask News, December 12, 2017


Upcoming Events 
CPAWS Saskatchewan Open House, Dec. 14 (Prince Albert)
Meet the CPAWS Saskatchewan staff at an open house from 10 am-4 pm, Dec. 14, in Prince Albert.

Communicating Effectively Online, Dec. 20 (Regina) 
The Regina Public Interest Research Group is offering a workshop on Communicating Effectively Online via Facebook and E-News from 8:30 am-12 noon, Dec. 20, as part of their Toolkit Workshop series.

Looking Ahead 
Learn to Winter Camp, Jan. 13-14 (Lumsden)
SaskOutdoors is offering a winter camping skills workshop Jan. 13-14 in Lumsden.

Snowlandia, Feb. 20-23 (Saskatoon)
Wildernook is offering Snowlandia, an opportunity for young women ages 10-12 to be active outdoors during the winter break from Feb. 20-23.

Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival, Apr. 13 (Saskatoon) 
Spend an evening watching awe-inspiring short films dedicated to showcasing the natural world when Saskatoon Search and Rescue hosts the Best of the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival on Apr. 13.

A full list of upcoming events can be found on the EcoFriendly Sask Calendar 


In the News
Have your say on the Saskatchewan government's Captive Wildlife Survey, which includes important questions regarding wildlife rehabilitation. The deadline is December 31, 2017.

Pronghorn Xing needs your help reporting wildlife sightings in SW Saskatchewan. The data will be used to assist in reducing the number of collisions.

The Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council has developed a strong set of strategic directions that could take the province a long ways towards zero waste.

Meewasin Valley Authority has received generous funding support from the City of Saskatoon and has begun discussions with the University of Saskatchewan and the Province of Saskatchewan. The proposals are based on the needs of each partner and the efficiencies that can be gained by working together rather than independently. You can support Meewasin’s efforts by contacting your MLA and thanking the City of Saskatoon. 

Everyone in the world should be taxed on their energy footprint.

EcoSask News is a weekly round-up of local news and events. Email us if you have items you would like us to include. 

You can follow EcoFriendly Sask by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Tuesday 5 December 2017

EcoSask News, December 5, 2017

frosty river scene

Upcoming Events
Transit Plan Open House, Dec. 6 (Saskatoon)
Complete an online survey or attend a come-and-go open house regarding Saskatoon’s bus rapid transit plan from 5:30-8 pm, Dec. 6.

Wildlife Photography, Dec. 6 (Saskatoon)
Robin and Arlene Karpan will provide advice on photographing wildlife from 3:30-4:30 pm, Dec. 6, as part of the WildEcol seminar series at the U of S.

Environmental Costs, Dec. 7 (Saskatoon)
Monique Martin’s artwork to create conversation around the recent oil spill in Saskatchewan will be installed at the Saskatchewan Craft Council on Dec. 7.

Birds of Christmas, Dec. 11 (Saskatoon)
Lyndon Penner will discuss the birds associated with Christmas at 7 pm, Dec. 11, at Wild Birds Unlimited.

Green Health Leaders, Dec. 12 (webinar)
The Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care’s Dec. 12 webinar will provide an overview of the relationship between health and the environment and build the case for health leaders to become stronger champions for the environment.

Monarch Butterflies in their Winter Retreat, Dec. 14 (Saskatoon)
Blair McCann will show photographs of monarch butterflies in their winter retreat at the Dec. 14 meeting of the Saskatoon Nature Society.

Sustainable Solid Waste Management Workshop, Dec. 15 (Regina)
There will be a workshop on sustainable solid waste management in the RIC Atrium, University of Regina from 12-1 pm, Dec. 15. For more information, contact RPIRG.

A full list of upcoming events can be found on the EcoFriendly Sask Calendar

Newly Protected Grasslands Near Dundurn
Nature Conservancy of Canada has purchased a 65-hectare site near Dundurn consisting of rolling hills made from old sand dunes, which are covered by aspen trees, shrubs, wet meadows, and native grasslands. Several important species can be found on the site, including hairy prairie-clover. Wildlife includes white-tailed deer, mule deer, moose, elk, and olive-backed pocket mouse.

frosted berries

In the News
The Province of Saskatchewan has increased its list of electronics that can be recycled to include: countertop microwave ovens, desktop and portable scanners, floor-standing printers, external storage drives and modems, game consoles (including hand-held and accessories), e-book readers, and portable and vehicle (after-market) GPS systems.

The company building the Nutana condo has been asked to keep bird safety in mind. Meewasin Valley Authority will provide them with guidelines. One MVA board member noted that other buildings, such as the towers at River Landing, pose an even greater risk as they have unbroken walls of glass.

Montana ranchers are helping grizzlies, wolves, and coyote co-exist.

Four crazy ways cool creatures survive cold winters.

Prices have fallen so much that it is now cheaper to build new commercial renewable energy sources than it is to keep existing coal and nuclear power plants running.

EcoSask News is a weekly round-up of local news and events. Email us if you have items you would like us to include.

You can follow EcoFriendly Sask by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, or by email (top right corner).