Globe Climate: Standing at the intersection of a global pandemic and environmental racism

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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.

Thanks to the pandemic, seed purchases across Canada surged last year and once again have exploded this spring, overwhelming distributors. Companies are experiencing some of their highest sales ever.

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For many, gardening is more than just a hobby; it’s a steady source of fresh ingredients during unstable economic times. For others, having a little patch of veggies to take care of has provided a bit of mental health support.

Now, let’s catch you up on other news.

Noteworthy reporting this week:

  1. Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole told a B.C. audience questioning his climate-change plan that he has consulted with Gordon Campbell, but the former premier told The Globe and Mail he supports the kind of carbon tax the Tory leader opposes.
  2. The organizations that represent academic research within the Group of Seven nations have a message for world leaders: We need to address environmental challenges with the same kind of scientific expertise that proved crucial to tackling COVID-19.
  3. Tax and Spend: Carbon pricing holdouts eye holes in federal price floor. The result has been that the national minimum carbon price has, so far, been less of a reality and more of an aspiration.

A deeper dive

Sierra Bein is the writer of Globe Climate. For this week’s deeper dive, she introduces a new partnership.

What happens when a deadly pandemic and environmental racism collide?

Globe Climate will be partnering with The Narwhal, a non-profit magazine, to help bring you more stories about the natural world, climate change and the environment. And to answer questions like this.

In last week’s Narwhal newsletter, they highlighted Raina Delisle’s reporting in an in-depth feature that looks at how industrial projects have made COVID-19 the latest pollutant. As predicted, there were outbreaks at Coastal GasLink camps. Industrial projects bring hundreds to thousands of transient workers from across Canada into remote communities, where they typically live in shared accommodations. So came the spread to Indigenous communities. Now, elders have died. On top of that, experts warn we’ll see more pandemics in the future if we continue to exploit the environment.

The Narwhal is a team of investigative journalists who highlight evidence-based news and analysis. They are seen as a pioneer of non-profit journalism in Canada and are committed to building a team that includes Indigenous voices to better reflect the communities they serve.

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This week, you can also check out their latest newsletter to help break down everything you need to know about Line 5. As the battle over the 65-year-old pipeline picks up steam, they’ve got the explainer to help you make sense of it all, courtesy of cross-border journalist Hilary Beaumont.

We’re excited to share more stories and to support independent Canadian journalists, we hope you are too! Keep an eye out for Narwhal stories in Globe Climate each week.

– Sierra

What else you missed

  • A new survey suggests grizzly bear numbers in Alberta’s central Rocky Mountains have doubled since 2005.
  • Canadian officials are challenging American allegations that fishing gear from Canada is to blame for the entanglement of a North Atlantic right whale found dead off South Carolina.
  • A discovery in South Africa’s Kalahari Desert reveals that a fondness for crystals is more than a New Age fad. It may be as old as culture itself.
  • Nepal has ordered schools to close for four days after air pollution climbed to hazardous levels, forcing millions of students to stay home across the country.

Opinion and analysis

Adam Radwanski: Joe Biden’s new climate plans should jolt Ottawa

Andrew Gonzalez, Mary O’Connor, Sarah Otto: Harmonizing, co-ordinating scientific initiatives key to filling gaps in knowledge of Canada’s biodiversity

Scott Niedermayer: Old-growth forests work hard for us. Now, we need to work for them

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Margaret Munro: The Delta in danger – The beleaguered ecological hot spot on Vancouver’s doorstep

Gary Doer: Thanks to previous builders, we’ve learned our lessons. Let’s take a long-term view when judging hydro projects

Patrick Bateman: Canada’s and America’s Climate goals are dependent on hydro collaboration

Environment and the arts

Sir David Attenborough (shown) has encountered some of the world’s most extraordinary animals and plants. But many of these wonders now seem set to disappear from our planet forever.

BBC / Courtesy of PBS

Earth is doomed, probably, says David Attenborough in Extinction

Extinction: The Facts (Wednesday, PBS, 8 p.m.) is one of the most terrifying programs of the year. The show is the latest work by David Attenborough, and it makes no concession to your mixed feelings about economic progress at any cost being a good thing. There is nothing mixed about the feeling of exasperation that is the engine of the documentary.

He says this: “I may not be here to see it, but if we make the right decisions at this critical moment, we can safeguard our planet’s ecosystems, its extraordinary biodiversity and all its inhabitants.”

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Making waves

Each week The Globe will profile a Canadian making a difference. This week we’re highlighting the work of two groups who came together to create the The National Climate League Pod.

NCL podcast cover art


The Climate Reality Project Canada in collaboration with McGill University presents The National Climate League Pod.

The podcast was launched alongside the 2020 National Climate League Standings (NCL), an initiative measuring the performance of municipalities across Canada on 30 sustainability indicators and ranks which cities are thriving in each of these areas.

The podcast uncovers indicators from the NCL and highlights exchanges between Climate Reality Leaders and academics on how research and citizen action can inspire each other. Listen to the most recent episode or Download the 2020 NCL.

And if you want to get involved to help ensure a better quality of life for your communities, you can get involved. You don’t need a professional background to apply, you only need to be willing to make a change for the better in your community. Contact Dean Evangeliou:

Do you know an engaged individual? Someone who represents the real engines pursuing change in the country? Email us at to tell us about them.

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Photo of the week

A bee collects nectar from the blooming trees along the banks of the Landwehr Canal in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district on April 2, 2021 as the sun shines.


Catch up on Globe Climate

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