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sustainability

Why is Canada far behind other countries in switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources?

in Opinion/The Nonagenarian’s Notebook by

It is depressingly ironic that, while many other countries are steadily switching from fossil fuels to clean and renewable sources of energy, Canada’s federal and provincial governments squabble over building yet another pipeline to British Columbia—one that, with the existing Trans-Mountain pipeline, would nearly triple the delivery capacity from 300,000 barrels of oil a day to 890,000. And the planned new Kinder Morgan pipeline would carry the thickest and dirtiest oil of all: bitumen. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau blithely claims that this massive increase in the extraction of oil from the tar sands is not incompatible with saving the environment from global warming. He proudly points to his government’s carbon pricing policy as evidence of a commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. He projects emissions will fall by 90 megatonnes by 2022, conveniently not mentioning that this reduction, even if achieved, will still be inadequate. It will fall far below…

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Scorpions, icebergs and cancer cells

in Opinion/The Nonagenarian’s Notebook by

Feedback from readers of my earlier essay “Who benefits from government policies?” was mostly positive, but a few thought I had taken a view of the future so dire that it implied capitulation—that further “resistance is futile.” Let me clarify my thinking, at least to the extent of assuring readers that I have not lost hope. Although I see unchecked capitalism as inimical to life on Earth—as the deadliest enemy of all that is fair, progressive and wholesome—I believe it can be vanquished and replaced. Eventually. And before its demolition of the environment passes the point of no return. I am reserving my rationale for optimism until the very end of this perhaps overly protracted blog. I think it will be helpful first to consider how and why capitalism has become the world’s predominant economic system. This does not necessitate a tedious academic treatise, but can best be done by…

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Who benefits from government policies? Usually just the rich and powerful.

in Opinion/The Nonagenarian’s Notebook by

“When it can be said in any country in the world, “My poor are happy; neither ignorance nor stress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want; the taxes are not oppressive . . . When these things can be said, then may that country boast of its constitution and its government.” –Thomas Paine. Lucius Cassius, a consul whom the people of ancient Rome revered as a wise and honourable judge, was often required to adjudicate disputes involving the laws or policies of the Senate. Time and again, his first question was “Cui bono?” which can be translated as “Who benefits?” or “To whose benefit?” His reasoning was that no political action could be explained unless it was first ascertained who gained from it. The even more illustrious Roman orator and statesman Cicero often quoted this…

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The Maritime Link: Remember how we were going to use it?

in Featured/Opinion by

Muskrat Falls was once touted as the key to long-term economic and energy independence for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. No longer would we be living under the shadow of the bad deal done at Churchill Falls, no longer would we need to burn oil at the aging Holyrood Thermal Generating Station, or face another DarkNL. We would have a transmission link to the mainland through Nova Scotia, giving us access to the energy-hungry eastern United States. Yet, last week the island of Newfoundland began importing mostly coal-fired power from Nova Scotia over the Maritime Link. The Maritime Link consists of two subsea cables that run 170 km across the Cabot Strait between Cape Ray and Point Aconi with the capacity to carry 500 MW of electricity. It was built by Emera to supply Nova Scotia with power from Muskrat Falls and provide NL with access to export markets.…

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Fishers need dialogue, not explanations

in To Each Their Own by

Scientists don’t need to do a better job of explaining themselves to fishers — they need to do a better job of listening to them.

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DIY maple syrup: building a local tradition

in The Good Life by

Eight years into our do-it-yourself adventures in maple syrup, things are getting serious.

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Hate the budget? Time to get some chickens

in The Good Life by

The recent provincial budget reaches deep into the pockets of every citizen of our province. One way to combat ‘the age of austerity’ is to take steps towards self-sufficiency, just like our grandparents did when times were tough.

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Protecting our Traditions: the case for backyard animals

in The Good Life by

When cops come for your backyard chickens, it’s time to rise up and speak out about the importance of sustainable, respectful food-producing practices.

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A plan for the Liberals?

in Letters by

“The time is ripe for real change in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

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Food security for urban homesteaders

in The Good Life by

Self-sufficiency can seem daunting at first. Here are some tips on foraging, community gardening and guerilla gardening to get you started on the path to food security for you and your family.

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The cost of living simply

in Uncategorized by

Homesteading sounds like a wonderful lifestyle, but it is also utterly unattainable for many in Newfoundland and Labrador who are working low-wage jobs and lack capital.

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The apples of my eye

in The Good Life by

Fall is a forager’s delight, with apples ripe for the picking throughout the province — scattered near trails, alongside rivers, in schoolyards and parking lots. You can stockpile them, but then what?

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How to become self-sufficient

in The Good Life by

Gradual steps you can follow on your way to reducing your dependency on others while developing a sustainable and healthy life.

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Why local?

in The Good Life by

‘Eat local’ has become a bit of a buzzword over the past few years here in Newfoundland, yet we still import over 90 per cent of our fresh fruit and vegetables. Here’s why local food is so important.

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Blueberries: the best of nature’s candy

in The Good Life by

Whether it be by taste, smell, touch or memory, the blueberry holds a special place in local Island cultures past and present and is at the centre of memories, stories, recipes and experiences.

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Vermicomposting: Letting worms work for you

in The Good Life by

“All the fertile areas of this planet have at least once passed through the bodies of earthworms.” — Charles Darwin

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Popularity of local food production on the rise in NL

in Journalism by

From Facebook groups to farmers’ markets and community gardens to communal food-sharing programs — the writing’s in the dirt: food security is an important idea and a priority for people all over Newfoundland and Labrador.

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The Garum Experiment

in The Good Life by

How a 2,000-year-old recipe for fish sauce can turn your capelin haul into something exquisite.

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The Dandelion: Nature’s most useful “weed”

in The Good Life by

Dandelion is not the kind of plant that needs an introduction — it grows all around and is considered by many to be a nuisance weed. But do they really deserve the bad image we attribute to them? Let me reintroduce you to this common plant and try to change your perspective on it.

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Roasting your own coffee from green beans

in The Good Life by

Roasting your own coffee is both easy and fun to do. Your coffee will be just the way you like it, every time, and you can enjoy it at a fraction of the cost of firing up your Keurig or visiting your local coffee shop

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