The Toronto Field Naturalists have been promoting a love of nature in Toronto since 1923.
This charitable, non-profit organization stimulates public interest in natural history and encourages the preservation of our natural heritage.
October Photo Spotlight
Chocolate Tube Slime Mold by Ken Sproule
Rocky Mountain Bees Adapting to Reduced Flower Availability
A recent study of bees in the Rocky Mountains has shown that their tongues have become shorter over the last 40 years. Shorter tongues allow bees to get nectar from a wider variety of flowers. This adaptation has occurred because the deep-nectar flowers are in short supply due to warmer, drier weather caused by climate change. The change could be measured because area bees were archived 40 years ago that allowed for the comparison with today's bees. Although this is positive news in that it shows that the bees are adapting relatively quickly to environmental changes, it also is problematic in that it puts even more stress on the deep-nectar plants which don't get pollinized.
Nature.com has a good article
with more information on this if you want to read more.
The Southern Ocean Has Doubled its Intake of Greenhouse Gases
The Southern Ocean has always been important carbon sink, soaking up billions of tons of carbon dioxide annually. In the 1980s and 1990s the ocean's ability to uptake carbon was decreasing and predictions at the time were that it would continue to decline. A recent study in Science that used millions of field observations to get a more comprehensive view on the situation has found that the Southern Ocean has increased the amount it is absorbing by almost double that of the last decade. This is good news since greenhouse gases are the most significant driver of climate change. However, the study also noted that the ocean's ability to absorb carbon shouldn't be taken for granted as it can change again.
Disposables Are Increasing the Amount of Garbage We Create
Statistics Canada's latest data shows that the amount of trash we are producing is growing despite the improvements to recycling and composting programs. The culprit appears to be the disposable products that are appearing on store shelves in ever increasing numbers.
Disposable coffee pods have had the most criticism aimed at them (and for good reason) but many other single-use products are filling up our landfills or ending up in the environment. Disposable cleaning wipes have been found in large numbers along the Don River during Great Canadian Shoreline clean-ups. Single-serve food is often wrapped in non-recyclable plastic that is meant to be thrown out.
Unfortunately disposable products are even worse when you take into account the amount of energy and pollution that manufacturing them produced compared to making something that can be reused.
The best thing to do for the environment is to not purchase single-use or disposable products.
LED City Street Lighting
Cities are starting to switch their street lighting over to using LEDs now that barriers have been overcome by technological improvements. Trials have shown an energy savings of 50-70% with LED street lighting and the city of Los Angeles, who started installing 140,000 LED street lights in 2013, has already reported energy savings of 63%.
LEDs provide more directed light than traditional streetlights so could reduce light pollution if used properly. But if installed so that their light goes up (directly or by reflection) then they increase light pollution as they emit more blue and green light than high-pressure sodium lights. They don't emit ultraviolet light which makes them less attractive to nocturnal insects. LEDs are more environmentally friendly during disposal since they don't contain mercury or lead, and don't release poisonous gases when damaged.
The city of Mississauga has replaced over 40,000 of their streetlights with LEDs. The town of Grimsby upgraded more than 2,600 lights to LEDs. The city of Toronto doesn't own its streetlights. It sold them to Toronto Hydro is 2006 and rents them back to light the streets. The current agreement between Toronto Hydro and the City of Toronto will be re-negotiated in 2016, which gives the city an opportunity to look into upgrading our streetlights to LEDs.
Have Your Say on Wetland Conservation
The Ontario government is developing a Strategic Plan for Ontario Wetlands and they want your input. The plan will identify a provincial vision, goals and objectives for wetlands in Ontario and set out a series of actions that the government will undertake over the next 10 to 15 years to improve wetland conservation across the province. Your feedback will identify current challenges and opportunities and help guide future actions. Visit the Environmental Registry
to submit your comments before the October 30th
For more news and things you can do to make a difference click here