Night Music: Under The Boardwalk

February 20, 2015

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Meeting A Hero Of Mine

February 20, 2015

Last night was the monthly meeting of the Grandview Heritage Group. It was another packed house and a number of interesting topics were discussed.  However, the highlight was the presence of Jack Burch, former owner, editor and publisher of the The Highland Echo.

Bruce Macdonald recently video-interviewed Jack about growing up in Grandview and we saw the interview last night. Jack, who is now in his 90s, and his  lovely wife Jean, honoured us with their presence. They are both healthy and active and articulate, and they were happy to answer our questions after the video.

Those of you who have read my history of the Drive will know that that history could not have been written without access to the incredible resource that was “The Highland Echo“.  It was our paper, stubbornly local and always opinionated, just like the neighbourhood it represented.  Jack and Jean and their family managed to keep it going for decades as a small family business, competing head-to-head with the rest of the municipal and regional media.

It was a joy to meet with him and have him share his memories with us.

We were equally privileged to receive from him four framed copies of the Echo from various points in its history. These are artifacts we shall treasure and they will, we hope, be an important part of the Grandview Museum that is planned for the near future.

The minutes of last night’s meeting will be up on the Grandview Heritage Group’s website in the next day or so.


What Are We Doing To The Planet? #11

February 20, 2015

The following articles about our negative impact on the earth caught my eye this week:

 

Scientists report that chemicals that are not controlled by a United Nations treaty designed to protect the Ozone Layer are contributing to ozone depletion.

Measurements of [Very Short Lived Substances] VSLS in the atmosphere over the past two decades, provided by collaborators from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the United States, were also analysed. These measurements revealed a rapid increase in atmospheric concentrations of dichloromethane, a man-made VSLS used in a range of industrial processes …

The researchers found that while the amount of ozone depletion arising from VSLS in the atmosphere today is small compared to that caused by longer-lived gases, such as CFCs, VSLS-driven ozone depletion was found to be almost four times more efficient at influencing climate … “The increases observed for dichloromethane are striking and unexpected; concentrations had been decreasing slowly in the late 1990s, but since then have increased by about a factor of two at sites throughout the globe.”

Continued global warming is likely to cause massive coral bleaching around the world this year according to a new report.

Bleaching takes place when corals are stressed due to changes in light, nutrients or temperature – though only the latter can cause events of this magnitude. This causes them to release algae, lose their colour and in some cases die off … In a large scale bleaching event, the damage caused could last for decades – and in some cases, the reefs never recover. Those that do become more susceptible to diseases.

coral bleaching

“It started in 2014 – we had severe bleaching from July to October in the northern Marianas, bad bleaching in Guam, really severe bleaching in the north western Hawaiian Islands, and the first ever mass bleaching in the main Hawaiian Islands,” said said Mark Eakin, Noaa’s Coral Reef Watch coordinator. “It then moved south, with severe bleaching in the Marshall Islands and it has moved south into many of the areas in the western south Pacific. Bleaching just now is starting in American Samoa. In Fiji we’re starting to see some, the Solomon Islands have seen some. We’ve already seen a big event.”

Perhaps of more direct danger to the human race, recent research suggests that global warming will bring new diseases.

Ravens, rodents and rattlesnakes are moving to new locales as rainfall and temperatures shift over time. The pathogens and parasites that infect these organisms move, as well, creating the risk of these diseases spilling over from one species to another. This host-parasite relationship is a bellwether for broader changes in the environment, and understanding it could help people anticipate and respond to deadly diseases and economically devastating blights …

As the average temperature of the planet goes up and as humanity encroaches on wilderness, pathogens and the organisms they infect are moving into new habitats, increasing the risk of infecting native hosts. This is being played out for muskoxen and caribou with geographic expansion on Victoria Island [in Canada]. We see that climate and temperature have dramatic effects on their parasites. The result is often a greater number of infected animals, which in turn leads to mass die-offs. This can spell disaster for communities that hunt these animals for sustenance.

 

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