A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Milkweed & Monarchs

We here don’t have a large part of our property open enough to have lots of milkweed growing but being aware of the link between milkweed and the monarch butterfly make a point of mot cutting any down that does show up in our open areas. Over the more than 10 years we have been privileged to own this property we have noted a decline in the number of milkweed flowering or even showing a few leaves, some years we hardly see any. We are thus surprised and pleased to see a massive increase in the milkweed population this year, we have never seen such a large number of plants on our property, unfortunately this coincides with a report that this year also has seen the largest decline in monarch migration on record.

Is this coincidence or is this natures way of evening out the balance given the destruction of the monarchs forest wintering areas in Mexico, I don’t know, only time will tell but meanwhile I will be looking for them to be laying their eggs on my milkweed. Thus far I have not seen any and have no idea how the rather strange weather patterns will effect them, will the extreme heat send them further north, will heavy rain effect their egg clusters? Its not something I have taken a great deal of time investigating but given what I believe to be an increasing fragility of our natural environment you may be sure I will celebrate that first sighting of a monarch on one of our plants and hope that it signals a return to balance and a return of the monarch population.

Yahooo, just saw the first Monach this year and the milkweed is in full flower awaiting their arrival!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

No Emergency Preparedness Needed?

Owen over at Northern Reflections brings this to our attention:-
Phil Gibson writes: The prime minister’s approach to risk management moves money away from investments in people in order to spend it on technology. This way the private sector gets to spend it instead of other levels of government. Another consequence has been a reduction in support for heavy urban search and rescue teams (HUSAR) in Vancouver, Calgary, St. Boniface, Toronto and Halifax. Meanwhile, a training center for first responders that was run by Public Safety Canada has been shut down and the Canadian Center for Emergency Preparedness has ceased operations, its assets transferred to a community college.

Harper's take on safety is beginning to run thin even in Alberta. Vic Toews may be gone, but he still leaves a bad smell where he has been. Brian Cornforth, president of the Alberta Fire Chiefs Association was not impressed when Toews showed up in High River:
Chief Cornforth blasted Public Safety Minister Vic Toews for “posing” amid the flood recovery operation in High River, saying politicians with no operational role have no business getting in the way. The chief said he is particularly incensed by the program cutbacks to public safety and HUSAR when he hears about misspending in Ottawa.

There are no doubt many other 'cuts' that have taken place that effect public safety and emergency response, one that comes immediately to mind is the closing of key Coast Guard stations on the west coast that service the very waters that are being proposed to carry increased oil tanker traffic. The same tankers that those Con ad's tell us must now be double hulled....a requirement that has been in place both internationally and in Canada for many years.
That there is also an increasing reliance on industry, particularly the transport industry, to 'regulate itself' both on safety issues and spills, and that the ever disappearing government oversight is both under staffed and mostly toothless in the face of increasing environmental and man-made catastrophes tells us exactly where this governments priorities sit.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Pollination in Jeopardy

ELMWOOD, ONTARIO - Local beekeepers are finding millions of their bees dead just after corn was planted here in the last few weeks. Dave Schuit, who has a honey operation in Elmwood, lost 600 hives, a total of 37 million bees.
“Once the corn started to get planted our bees died by the millions,” Schuit said. He and many others, including the European Union, are pointing the finger at a class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids, manufactured by Bayer CropScience Inc. used in planting corn and some other crops. The European Union just recently voted to ban these insecticides for two years, beginning December 1, 2013, to be able to study how it relates to the large bee kill they are experiencing there also.
Local grower Nathan Carey from the Neustadt, and National Farmers Union Local 344 member, says he noticed this spring the lack of bees and bumblebees on his farm. He believes that there is a strong connection between the insecticide use and the death of pollinators.