Parkland Institute

Post stories tagged with Environment

Where energy, the environment and economics meet

For those of us who live in cities, or rural areas without oil derricks or sour gas wells, the environmental damage created by the energy sector seems abstract. We go for drives in the country and everything seems hunky-dory. Then, we read the headlines. In Drayton Valley, just 20 minutes from my in-laws' farm, Petenco Resources had a nasty pipeline break that released salt water into a wetland just last year (which they neither reported to Alberta Environment nor cleaned up afterwards).


Nuclear energy for Alberta: Whose idea?

There are only two things in Alberta politics of which I am certain: Energy Minister Mel Knight will keep his word to present Alberta's policy on nuclear energy by the end of the year and, regardless of public input to the contrary, he will announce that nuclear power is the right fit for the province. On May 3, 2007, two days before the Tories cast their ballot for a potential nuclear future for Alberta at their annual convention, EAC and AECL gave a private presentation to Alberta Conservative MLAs.


Alberta at the Crossroads

Dirty oil, the Global Green New Deal, and money

Dirty oil campaigners want a full dead stop to the tar sands. Alberta's economic establishment wants full steam ahead, but Albertans don't seem to be accepting an either/or scenario. The public wants a balance between the economic security of non-renewable resource development and environmental health.


At least it’s a start?

The legislative foundations for protecting Species at Risk in Alberta

If provinces are expected to take the lead role in protecting endangered species, what has Alberta done? The divorce of management decisions from scientific assessments of species’ health is a recurring theme in wildlife management in Alberta.


The long road to wildlife recovery in Alberta

Man-made roads continue to threaten species

As Alberta becomes increasingly fragmented by industrial access, roads will play an enormous part in the future of wildlife, both endangered and common. Access management is increasingly being recognized as one essential tool in the management of species at risk. But it is important to keep in mind the whole picture.


Emissions thicken the air in Alberta

The tar sands' biggest customer has second thoughts

As tar sands extraction expands full steam ahead, a perfect storm of internal and external opposition could derail some of the voracious growth at the world?s largest energy project.


The limits to growth: a re-examination

A look at the classic book that can still change the world
The planet is finite in its resources, in its ability to produce food, and in its capacity to absorb our wastes. Yet, population and industrial output continue to grow exponentially. The conflict arising from these realities is now becoming apparent. Food and petroleum products are becoming rapidly more expensive and the concentration of greenhouse gases continue to rise. The possibility that these very problems would appear was predicted more than 30 years ago in a best-selling book called The Limits to Growth, a report for The Club of Rome's Project on the Predicament of Mankind. This predicament was, and still is, that while mankind has knowledge of all of the socioeconomic problems challenging the world, it's unable to solve them.


A little green goes a long way

While environmental issues feel daunting, there's lots you can do (like reading this issue before recycling it)
There are more than 3 million people in Alberta, and I would guess that most back alleys in the province look something like mine—a mix of black and blue bags. It's evidence of some degree of effort, but not a full commitment to the cause. It illustrates that most of us put in some effort when it's easy (what's easier than throwing random recyclables into a bag?).


Reclamation illusions in oil sands country

Lack of legislation, financial preparedness, undermine reclamation efforts
After more than 40 years of scraping away swathes of trees, muskeg, and soil in northeastern Alberta to get at the tarry black gold underneath, Alberta's first oil sands reclamation certificate was finally issued in March to great applause. Roughly 1 km2 of land (104 ha), Syncrude's Gateway Hill, was declared "reclaimed" by the Government of Alberta.


Canadian mining companies: Unwelcome guests

Binding legislation still needed to curb human rights, environmental violations
On Nov. 2, 2007, gold hit $807.70 an ounce, a 28-year high. Millions of Latin Americans, Africans and Asians, exposed to the environmental and social damages of Canadian mines operating in their community, had no reason to rejoice. Neither did the Canadian Network for Corporate Accountability (CNCA) whose members participated in the Government of Canada's National Roundtables on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the Canadian Extractive Industry in Developing Countries from June to November 2006. The roundtables affirmed the need for major policy and law reform to ensure that Canadian companies comply with international human rights and environmental standards.


Sensitive environmental area slated for new highway

New U.S.-Fort McMurray highway proposal bad news for native prairie
A proposal to open the Wild Horse border crossing for 24-hour service and expand a north-south transportation corridor along Alberta's eastern border would have dramatic environmental impacts.


Alberta’s grizzlies: going, going…

New government figures for Alberta?s beleaguered grizzly bears now peg the provincial population at fewer than 500 bears, considerably lower than previous estimates. Only five years ago, the population was believed to be around 1,000 bears, but even this was enough to warrant a recommendation by the government?s Endangered Species Conservation Committee to list grizzlies as a ?threatened? species. The government has so far ignored that recommendation, but now even that figure of 1,000 seems to have been overly optimistic.


Alberta’s quicksand

Tar sands development is causing increased rates of cancer, decreased water levels, loss of carbon sinks, and a plethora of other health and environmental problems
The tar sands are a dangerous and dirty source of energy, and the fallout from their development is spreading around the world. For years, tar sands have been grabbing headlines as a highly profitable business opportunity for major oil companies, but the money flowing to shareholders and executives hasn't materialized out of nowhere— profits are high because of a huge drain on Alberta's natural and human resources.


Alberta Grizzly 101: the facts about Grizzly bears

Grizzly bear issues in Alberta easily become mired in technical terms, complicated reports, and acronyms
Perhaps it is time to take a step back and answer some of the questions that are often directed at the Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) concerning Alberta's grizzly bears. We have a better idea than we have ever had before of the grizzly population in Alberta: the first three years of an in-depth five-year survey, the population is now believed to be less than 500 bears. (This compares to a 2002 population estimate of 1,000 bears.). This article addresses the role of the hunt and habitat in eventually recovering the population.