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Alternatives to Single Use Plastic - You Are The Key

Planet Earth

From being an artist working with things like plastic bags, to developing and executing plans to reduce plastic pollution, Dianna Cohen is part of the solution instead of being part of the problem. She is co-founder of the Plastic Pollution Coalition, a group that addresses the pervasive problem of plastic pollution.

The REFUSE Pledge

Disposable plastics are the greatest contributors to plastic pollution. Designed to be discarded, straws, plastic bottles, plastic utensils, lids, plastic bottles and so many others offer a small convenience but remain forever. REFUSE disposable plastics! Follow the “4 Rs” of sustainable living: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse,...

Her talk at the University of British Columbia is available from the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design)  web site, and is well worth the 5 minutes or so it takes to watch.

Plastic is one of man's greatest achievements - but it is also a major problem on Planet Earth as we discard single-use items such as water bottles and disposable lighters, etc.

I don't know about you, but I've taken to complaining to store employees (with the objective of them pushing the complaints up the line to management and buyers) about the plastic packaging on many items. I make them (the employees) remove the packaging because it is literally dangerous to try to do it yourself with some of the "clam-shell" designs. If they can't/won't do it, I simply don't purchase the product.

How are you dealing with single-use plastic? Do you even think about it? Post your comments here to let others know your experiences and your commitment to reduction of this long-lasting pollutant.

And - take the time and sign the REFUSE Pledge



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Pacific Coast Terminals Port Moody Eagle Nest - First Images

There are several steps in getting a new camera site up and running, and with the Pacific Coast Terminals eagle nest cameras we passed another milestone yesterday.

Ken Cillis and I installed the archive server and network facilities in the Pacific Coast Terminals guard facility at the base of the tree yesterday morning. The cameras were installed several weeks ago (September 21) while the eagles were away fishing in the salmon rivers.

One of the first things I do with a new camera (or two, as in this case) is to set up a time-lapse facility where we grab an image every 5 minutes. This gives us a sense of what we'll see during the day once we go live, and allows us figure out if we need to block portions of the image for security or privacy sake. In this case we were lucky to also capture one of the eagles visiting the nest prior to the new season.

These first two images in our new media gallery album for this site show the nest from the two cameras - one North of the nest looking roughly South, and the other South of the nest looking roughly North. For our purposes, we'll call the cameras by their view, the North camera looking North toward Burrard Inlet, and the South camera looking South toward the CP rail line and Port Moody. The cameras are roughly the same distance from the nest. We could not give a wider view from another tree as we had hoped; there simply was not a convenient branch with a good view.

The focus on these two images is not 100% because I had not yet gotten around to having the cameras do a fine focus yet, but I thought you would appreciate that the eagles are in the area and that we're working hard to get you these new cameras. While these cameras are "fixed focus" they are also very high resolution compared to what we can stream out currently. We will continue to bring you selected full-resolution images as we can - and members will be able to get access to the high-resolution time-lapse videos too. We'll also be able to "zoom" in (electronically) on the nest as the season progresses, and back out as the chicks get bigger and start moving around more.

Thanks to Pacific Coast Terminals for their sponsorship of these cameras - you'll be hearing more about them soon.



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Pipeline Plan Slams into $120 Million Coastal Eco-Pact

Conservation & Preservation

BC's Great Bear Rainforest deal was a landmark mix of public and private investment.

 Oil tankers, say backers, weren't part of the bargain.

By: By Geoff Dembicki, 4 October 2010,

 Two Calgarians and one Ontario aboriginal will help decide the economic future of coastal B.C. They've been appointed to assess one of the most controversial energy projects in the province's history.

Their recommendations could determine whether federal policymakers approve plans by Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. to build a pipeline from Alberta's oil sands to the west coast, and then ship fossil fuels on supertankers to Asia. The proposal carries huge environmental risks. It also revives a fiery economic debate.

How do you develop a pristine eco-system? Or do you develop it at all?


View full article and comments: The Tyee

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Underwater Robot to Explore Ice-Covered Ocean and Antarctic Ice Shelf

Planet Earth


ScienceDaily (Oct. 19, 2010) — Researchers at the University of British Columbia are deploying an underwater robot to survey ice-covered ocean in Antarctica from Oct. 17 through Nov. 12, 2010.


Scientists predict that the sea ice area around Antarctica will be reduced by more than 33 per cent by 2100, accelerating the collapse of ice shelves. Up to hundreds of metres thick, ice shelves are floating platforms of ice that cover almost half of Antarctica's coastline.

The mission will study the effect of ice shelves on the mixing of sea water, and will provide critical data for the Antarctica 2010 Glacier Tongues and Ocean Mixing Research Project led by investigator Craig Stevens at the New Zealand National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research. The field site is located in New Zealand's Ross Dependency in Antarctica and the team includes scientists from New Zealand, Canada, the United States and France.

Until recently, scientists have had limited ability to access ice-covered waters, but the research team's use of a high-tech robot aims to change that.

"Few labs in the world are able to investigate the spatial variability of ocean properties under ice," explains Assoc. Prof. Bernard Laval, head of the UBC Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) and Fluid Mechanics research group.

"Findings from this study will be unique as there have only been a few under-ice AUV deployments globally, even fewer in the vicinity of ice shelves," says Laval, who teaches civil engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science. ...


To read the rest of this story please visit:


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African Spotted Eagle Owl Camera now on Hancock Wildlife Site

Thanks to our friends at, we are now presenting their African Spotted Eagle Owl camera. This pair has nested in a potted plant stand due to pressures on their normal nesting habitat. I use "normal" in a loose fashion, since these owls are every bit as urbanized as our local population of Bald Eagles are here in Vancouver. They sit on the tops of lamp standards and nest in all manner of locations in the urban areas of Southern Africa. 

Just prior to our setting things up here, one of the three chicks fell out of the pot stand and has been being looked after by the local wildlife rehabilitation center - similar to our local O.W.L. center here in the Vancouver area (where we have eagle nest cameras too.)

As of today, Monday October 18, this third chick is back in the nest pot.

Watch this fascinating camera (infrared during night - which is day-time here in North America) and see how the adults handle this re-introduction


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