Canadian Institute for Business and the Environment
Fisherville, Ontario, Canada
Tel. 416 410-0432, Fax: 416 362-5231
Vol. 15, No. 5, August 26, 2010
Last issue we told you that this issue would focus on some of the environmental issues that are likely to be on the public policy agenda in the next six months. When we compiled the issue we found - - - too many! So we have narrowed the scope a little and will concentrate on some more, especially those related to greenhouse gas emissions, in our next and future issues.

Our editorial this issue is from Steve Davey, editor and publisher of Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine where it first appeared in the latest issue of that magazine. We thought so highly of Steve's commentary that we asked him for permission to reprint it in GL. Along with Steve Davey's comments we are also highlighting in other articles that the BP Gulf mess is likely to have a profound impact on environmental policy not just for the petroleum industry but also for other industry sectors that depend on technology to minimize risk.

One of the most profound policy documents that we have found recently comes from the US National Research Council. According to this book, summarized below, when externalities are taken into account, electric cars may not be the solution that many people think they are. We will expand on this aspect in a future issue of GL. Meanwhile scientists see ARGS as a new pollution-enhanced threat. We introduce you to the topic in a couple of articles. Canada's committee on this threat has disbanded!

Perhaps not surprisingly, the shipping industry wants to continue to pollute the air and cause risks to public health. Maybe large freight shippers such as the automobile industry should start insisting that the ships that carry their products switch to low sulphur fuel. We have overshot Earth's Overshoot Day for 2010 but unfortunately we are not expecting the Taxpayers Federation that announces Tax Freedom Day to notice.

ENGOs, First nations, and the industry signed a precedent-setting agreement in May on the Boreal Forest which may serve as a model for environmental protection . GL will be watching with interest. Canadian Parks and Wilderness and Mountain Equipment Coop are seeking to get at least 50% of Canada's public lands under protection. Toronto Environmental Alliance has identified six priorities for this fall's municipal election and WWF Canada has a plan for the planet. The US Federal Trade Commission is revising its Green Guides, which could mean significant changes in claims made by greener products. We bring you a preview.

In addition to our review of some key policy pipeline issues we print a couple of very interesting Letters to the Editor about what their prestigious authors are doing. Sharing of information is an exciting and essential part of movement towards Sustainability.

Department of Fisheries and Oceans is proposing to allow farmed fish to be described as organic even when antibiotics and other inputs that would not be permitted in other organic products are used. Canada's organic industry should be horrified by this attack on the Organic Standard of Canada. Meanwhile the wild salmon are running in hugely unexpected numbers. Once again our ability to predict numbers is challenged by the fish, fortunately at least for now in a good direction.

We cannot recall that GL has even published a review of a play. Many readers will remember Ray Rivers from his days with the Canada Centre for Inland Waters of Environment Canada. Ray has now morphed into a musician and playwright. Lambs in Winter by Ray Rivers is a play with a loose connection to climate change. It is one of two fringe festival plays we review in this issue.

Following our new practice of awarding one of the organizations or people that are mentioned in the current issue a 'good environment' recognition and another a 'black hat' award we nominate as follows for this issue: Prof. Gunter Pauli, Founder of ZERI, for his 'good environment' efforts and, ignoring BP which has already received enough negative publicity, we nominate Fisheries and Oceans Canada for the 'black hat' for proposing to mess around with the Canadian definition of 'organic' in the context of farmed seafood until aquaculture management practices are improved. 

In our next issue: actions and policy on climate change. For some reason, Canada may not figure too highly in what promises to be a very full issue! Meanwhile enjoy the rest of the summer and let us know by email to of any comments you have about this issue or anything else to do with environmental and sustainable development policy. We would also like to receive your press releases and, if you would like to submit an article or editorial for publication in GL, please contact us at the same email address so that we can talk to you about it.

By Steve Davey

The Deepwater Horizon Drilling platform exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010, tragically killing 11 workers and setting off the largest oil spill on record. Thanks to live underwater video feed, the whole world could see the brown plume of oil blasting out of the broken well head, at rates estimated to be between 6,000 to 60,000 barrels per day.

Some three months later, on July 16, BP announced that it had finally been able to cap the 1,500 metre deep well, shutting off the flow of oil. However, only when two relief wells are finished, and the well is sealed off permanently, will the threat of further oil release be eliminated. The total amount of oil released is staggering, ranging from 500,000 to five million barrels of oil.

In a July 15, 2010, statement to a US Senate Appropriations Committee, Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Lisa P. Jackson explained that the US Coast Guard (USGC) is the incident-specific chair for the gulf spill and that her agency is one of many providing support. EPA's monitoring and sampling activities provide the USCG, the Gulf states, and local governments with information about the potential impacts of the oil spill on the health of residents and aquatic life along the shoreline.

EPA is collecting samples for chemicals related to oil and dispersants in the air, water and sediment, supporting and advising USCG on efforts to clean reclaimed oil and waste from shorelines, and closely monitoring the effects of dispersants in the subsurface environment.

On May 10, 2010, EPA and USCG issued a Directive requiring BP to implement a monitoring and assessment plan for both subsurface and surface applications of dispersants, which are part of its oil spill response. For subsea monitoring, toxicity data generated from monitoring to date did not indicate significant effects on aquatic life, according to Ms. Jackson. She added that the EPA is closely watching dissolved oxygen levels, which so far had remained in the normal range.

She also stated that the USCG, in consultation with EPA, issued directives to BP on June 29, 2010, on how the company should manage oil, contaminated materials and liquid and solid wastes recovered in clean-up operations from the oil spill in the affected Gulf states. These directives create enforceable requirements, implementation procedures and oversight plans related to BP's handling of waste materials. The directives require BP to give EPA and state agencies access to facilities, or locations where waste is temporarily or permanently stored.

So now what happens?

As with past spills, the environmental, legal, political, social and economic ramifications, caused by this disaster, will likely be felt for decades. According to some reports, Prince William Sound in Alaska has still not fully recovered from when the tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground on March 24, 1989, and released some 260,000 to 750,000 barrels of crude oil into its waters.

According to a report by the World Resources Institute ( ), the dockside value of fish brought in from the Gulf of Mexico is approximately $997 million per year. Assuming that this value can be distributed according to primary production levels, each square kilometre affected by the spill can be thought of as generating $3,261 in annual commercial fisheries value. A twenty percent loss of this ecosystem service value over a twenty year period would imply a present value loss in the order of $350 million, or $875 million if loss of value is closer to 50%.
The report also says that, from the Yucatan Peninsula to Key West in Florida, the oil spill has jeopardized recreation, tourism, property values along the coast, and the ability of coastal marsh areas to sequester carbon dioxide and provide storm and hurricane protection.

I am sure that most people are unaware that there have been natural gas drilling rigs in Lake Erie for almost 100 years. Also, that there are still an estimated 46.1 million barrels of oil and 3.01 trillion cubic feet of natural gas under it. In total, it is estimated that 311.7 million barrels of oil and 5.23 trillion cubic feet of natural gas still lie under the US side of the Great Lakes.

While drilling has been banned in the Great Lakes since 2005, many groups believe the ban should be lifted, as there have been virtually no environmental problems to date.

Hopefully, the Deepwater Horizon disaster will stiffen the resolve of regulators on both sides of the border to maintain the ban on drilling in the Great Lakes, no matter how much oil costs in the future.

Depending on where it occurred, on top of any environmental damage, an oil leak in the Great Lakes could cut off drinking water supplies for up to 40 million people. Certainly the odds of anything going wrong would be very low. but I'll bet that's what BP was thinking before April 20, 2010.

*Steve Davey is editor and publisher of Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine. E-mail:


Many environmentalists and Sustainable Development advocates have been promoting for years the linkages between the environment and the economy, sometimes even reminding society that all of our economy depends on the environment and that environmental harm will eventually lead to damage to the economy. This concept may now be becoming more mainstream. Most of our articles in this month's feature are about how foolish we humans are to only measure economic interest without regard to other costs such as damage to the environment. Too often regulators and profit-takers just count the economic benefits as positive without subtracting the other costs, the externalities such as community, health and environment. Some say that industry should be made to pay the whole cost instead of transferring the costs of damage to health and environment to society. A similar theme is in ENGOs campaign on setting aside land for protection and non-development. A Lancet medical story about superbugs suggests that antibiotic resistant organisms and pollution are linked; a kind of pollute now and pay later.


An editorial in the June issue of the journal Nature suggests that the BP damage to the Gulf of Mexico could result in a push towards pricing ecosystem services in the marketplace.

While BP has promised to pay into an escrow fund of $20 billion to compensate fishermen, hotels, charter boat operators and other Gulf businesses, some ecosystem services damaged are ownerless. Examples include reduced carbon sequestration due to loss of marsh plants, loss of ocean plankton hastening climate change, and greater future hurricane damage to Gulf settlements due to loss of protective marshes.

Some ways of integrating ecosystem costs with economic costs are discussed. Robert Constanza from the University of Vermont known, for his estimates of the value of ecosystem services, suggests that the BP disaster has cost at least $34 billion and could be as high as $670 billion. He recommends that BP should have been asked to post a $50 billion bond before getting permission to drill. This might have encouraged the company to invest in a $500,000 blowout preventer. Another option is that companies be required to carry insurance for ecosystem damage claims. The editorial reminds us that research on ecological economics was also strengthened after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska.

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


A new book from the US National Research Council details some of the hidden costs or "external effects" which are not recognized or taken into account in decision-making. This market failure builds "a case for government interventions in the form of regulations, taxes, fees, tradable permits, or other instrument needs to be addressed by government that will motivate such recognition."

The US Congress directed the US NRC to study the external costs and benefits of energy related to environment, health, security and infrastructure which are not reflected in market pricing. The report evaluated those energy technologies that represent the largest portion of the US energy use over their life cycles - including fuel production, energy production, distribution and use to disposal of waste products.

Estimates of burdens such as air pollution emissions were converted by mathematical models to estimate ambient concentrations and exposure which were in turn linked to effects. These effects were then given a monetary value to assess damages. For example, a primary focus was air pollution and money values were assigned to effects on human health, on yields of crops, buildings, recreation and visibility of outdoor views. Premature death due to such illness as chronic bronchitis and asthma were the largest of the monetized damages. A death called “chronic exposure mortality” is monetized at $5.91 million per case and chronic bronchitis at $320,000 per case. Other health cost examples are general cardiac $17,526 per hospital admission and asthma $240 per ER visit.

Some of the effects couldn't be converted to money value, for example effects of air pollution on ecosystem services or nongrain agricultural crops. Even the estimates as presented have large uncertainties. Climate change damage is discussed separately from other damages. The year was 2005 due to the availability of data with a scenario also for the year 2030.

Among some of the points were:
In total, the estimate of various external costs ended up at $120 billion in 2005 which is considered to be an underestimation of the damages. These damages can never be reduced to zero. The report doesn't claim to provide a guide to policy. However, the study shows that policy goals need to include not only economic efficiency but other equally valid policy goals such as managing pollution and other burdens. There is also evidence that some of the population that is more vulnerable than others to certain external effects. The report suggests that policy initiatives relating to reducing emissions, improving energy efficiency, shifting to cleaner electricity generating mix (the report suggests, renewables, natural gas and nuclear) can significantly reduce the damages of external effects.

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


A Lancet study on antimicrobial resistant genes ARGs highlights how considering only the monetary cost of something could be very costly in the long run.

Europeans and North Americans travelling to India and Pakistan for cheap cosmetic and other surgery may bring back bacteria carrying readily-spread genes which are resistant to most available antibiotics. The popular press in the UK promoted the idea of travelling overseas for surgery because it would save the National Health Service money. The authors of the Lancet study strongly advise against such proposals because the potential for the international spread of this resistance is "clear and frightening."

GL: So what is this story about health have to do with the environment? For a number of years now, antimicrobial resistant genes have been identified as emerging environmental contaminants. Since penicillin was first introduced commercially in the early 1940s, some estimates are that over 50% of global antibiotic use is in agriculture. Growing evidence indicates that the spread of antibiotic resistance is facilitated by human-caused pollution.

In a Science magazine article in 2008 and in other subsequent articles, Prof. José Martínez of the Departamento de Biotecnología Microbiana, Centro Nacional de Biotecnología in Madrid has made the case for the need for more understanding of antibiotic resistance and the environment. Some of his points are:
Antibiotics are widely used in agriculture and fish farming as well as in human medicine. Contamination of river and ocean waters by these as well as by fertilizers and pesticides, heavy metals and other stressors in polluted environments can potentially increase gene transfer and recombinations which result in antibiotic resistance also in human pathogens. The more humans there are with insufficient wastewater treatment, the more human disease organisms are released into soil and water which means the antibiotic resistant gene adapts to co-existing with human disease organisms. Some microorganisms cannot survive antibiotics or other toxic conditions so increasing pollution favours those organisms which can survive. While much is unknown about the human-driven changes of natural ecosystems which disseminate resistance, the author concludes, "Yet, the relevance this is likely to have for the future of human health is clear."

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


The Canadian Committee on Antibiotic Resistance, a federal government initiative which was begun in 1998, dissolved itself in 2009 because its existence depended too much on the volunteers on the Board, there was no lead agency within the government to take any action, and insufficient funding and staffing. The group thought Canada should have a comprehensive strategy for dealing with the issue under the auspices of the federal Public Health Agency.(1)

The CCAR's final report in September 2009 highlights how improper use of antibiotics in humans combined with improper use in animals such as pigs, chicken, fish and cattle around the world has led to a crisis. And in regard to the environment, the report says, "We are just now learning how antimicrobial resistance is impacting our environment and in turn how much environmental contamination can have an impact on humans."

Human Systems and Ecosystems Are Connected

Tom Edge of Environment Canada' National Water Research Institute wrote in the report about resistance and environmental health including:
(Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


In the editorial written in the June 10 issue of Acid News (1), Christer Agren wrote about the joint proposal Canada and the United States had submitted in March 2009 to the International Maritime Organization to designate an Emission Control Area to apply more stringent air emission standards for large ships operating within 200 nautical miles of the coasts of Canada and the United States. In March, IMO adopted the ECA which will require certain ships to burn low-sulphur marine fuel or use scrubbers to eliminate sulphur oxide emissions if using high sulphur heavy fuel. The changes begin effective 2012 with standards changing in 2015 and 2016 and cover sulphur, nitrogen oxides and fine particulates.

Agren writes of a letter an industry group of freight transport, transport buyers and ports. wrote to the EU on new sulphur limits in Emission Control Areas in the Baltic, North Sea and the English channel.. The letter highlighted the negative consequences of the rules including:
Agren writes that the letter provides no evidence of these claims, and "the shipping industry has evaded its fair share of responsibility and instead markedly increased its emissions." Some ocean-going ships burn dirty fuels with 3,000 times the sulphur of road vehicles and even in ECAs are allowed to burn fuel with 1,500 times more sulphur.

He cites the US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that by 2030 the North American ECA limits will prevent 32,000 deaths, 1.5 million working days lost and more than 5 million cases of acute respiratory symptoms. The health benefits are estimated to be US$110 to $280 billion per year compared to costs of US3.1 billion. The health benefits far outweigh the costs even before factoring in environmental benefits such as less acidification of ecosystems. Agren says one quarter of all sulphur emissions deposition in Sweden, Norway and Denmark come for the shipping in the Baltic Sea and North Sea ECAs. He recommends that the EU implement a full Emission Control Area for all around Europe which covers all the major air pollutants (sulphur, PM and NOx). He also cites studies which indicate that lowering shipping emissions is cheaper than reducing emissions on the land. He ends the editorial with "It is not acceptable for the shipping industry to transfer the cost of its pollution to society at large. The IMO regulation must be fully implemented.

Note (1): Acid News is from the Air Pollution and Climate Secretariat and published by The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation based in Goteborg Sweden. Among its mission is to observe political trends and scientific developments, to serve as an information centre primarily for European environmental organizations but also for media, authorities and researchers, and to participate in development of European policy on air quality and climate change as well as meetings of the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Members of the Board are one each from Friends of the Earth Sweden, Nature and Youth Sweden, The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, and the World Wide Fund for Nature Sweden.

Agren, Christer. Shipping must pay its bill. Editorial. Acid News. No. 2 June 2010.
Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


While some economic groups have a day showing when taxpayers stop paying taxes and start earning money for themselves, The Global Footprint Network, Oakland, California, announced August 21st as Earth's Overshoot Day: the day when the global ecological budget has been spent. From that date, the network says humans are financing their consumption on credit which does damage to the planet.

Mathis Wackernagel, known to Canadians for his work with Bill Rees on the ecological footprint, is President of The Global Footprint Network.

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


In May 2010, 21 companies of the Forest Products Association of Canada and nine environmental groups signed an agreement that when fully implemented is said to stop new logging on 29 million hectares of Boreal Forest. The "Do not Buy" campaigns by Canopy, ForestEthics and Greenpeace were put on hold until implementation. The agreement sets out commitments to make a plan including:
Forestry Companies Participating in the Agreement:
AbitibiBowater, Alberta Pacific Forest Industries, AV Group, Canfor, Cariboo Pulp & Paper Company, Cascades Inc., DMI, F.F. Soucy, Inc., Howe Sound Pulp and Paper, Kruger Inc., LP Canada, Mercer International, Mill & Timber Products Ltd, NewPage Port Hawkesbury Ltd, Papier Masson Ltée, SFK Pulp, Tembec Inc., Tolko Industries, West Fraser Timber Co.
Ltd, Weyerhauser Compnay Limited - all represented by the Forest Products Association of Canada.

Environmental Organizations Participating in the Agreement:
Canadian Boreal Initiative, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Canopy (formerly Markets Initiative), the David Suzuki Foundation, ForestEthics, Greenpeace, Ivey Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, and the Pew Environment Group’s International Boreal Conservation Campaign. The Hewlett Foundation is a major funder.
Some native groups also endorse the framework agreement.
Gl notes that there is no information about what has happened since May on the website.

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


Conservation groups seek to protect species and habitat by removing the land and sea from development and resource extraction. The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and Mountain Equipment Co-op are calling on Canadians to act to get at least half of Canada's public land and water under protection forever compared to the current 10%. Forever wild means no industrial activities including on First Nations lands. Where private companies do have land leases allowing logging or oil and gas exploration, these companies should set aside wild areas.

CPAWs 2010 Review of the State of Canada's Parks reviews how some of the key species are doing in the parks:
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. The Big Wild.

CPAWS. 2010 Review The State of Canada’s Parks: How is Wildlife Faring in Canada’s Parks?


The Toronto Environmental Alliance and other engos identified six environmental priorities for Toronto's next Mayor and Council:
1. Build Transit City and Fund it
2. Achieve 70% Waste Diversion by 2012
3. Buy and Support Locally-Produced Green Products
4. Build Transportation Infrastructure everyone can use
5. Implement the City’s Sustainable Energy Strategy
6. Provide tools to Prevent Pollution

GL notes that although some say that the marketplace is full of products with green labelling, evidence of one's own eyes indicates that green products meeting even minimal environmental standards are still a small portion of the total available. It is laudable of TEA to move beyond the local food concept to recommend products which at one and same time are local and green even if not very realistic at this point. And the devil is in the details for some of the other goals. Haldimand County where GL is located is the recipient of sewage sludge "diverted'" from Toronto's Ashbridges Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant to many complaints of breathing problems, concern about water pollution of streams and Lake Erie, and horrendous odours affecting even those used to the smells of manure. So the details of how waste is diverted to reach that 70% goal is as important as meeting the goal.

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


WWF Canada has worked on conservation issues for most of its existence since 1967 but says it has expanded its work over time "from protecting particular wildlife species and habitats to protecting life on Earth – including our own." It lists its priority areas for the next five years as “climate, water, and people” where Canadian leadership can have the most impact. Among the components of the plan are:
Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


Before its disastrous impact on the Gulf, BP had a record of polluting and poor management practices. The explosion at a Texas oil refinery which killed 15 people and injured 170 wasn't a small event but other infringements of laws and best management practices could have led to corporate management and regulators to take preventative action. The company was fined over $87 million for the Texas event about which we wrote, "GL often thinks that most fines are of no material significance to really big companies. This one seems significant but may not be. BP globally earned $35, 239 million profit before interest and taxation from continuing operations in 2008, the highest of the three years 2006-2008. A $87 million fine is about .25% of the above profit which if applied similarly to a Canadian earning $60,000 a year would be about a $150 fine."

A similar lack of enforcement even though on a much smaller scale was in the nearest big city to GL. In Hamilton, Ontario, a local activist recently posted photos of barrels of toxic chemicals stored in various warehouses some owned by the same person. The sites had been "inspected' by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment since the 1990s but the barrels were still there despite fines.

Poor Enforcement Puts Many at Risk

In what is probably the biggest recall of eggs ever, a recent US recall of 380 million eggs contaminated with Salmonella bacteria on the shell is from one supplier, Wright County Egg of Galt, Iowa connected to Austin J. DeCoster and/or his son who is also connected with Quality Egg which supplies to Hillandale which has also issued a recall for 170 million eggs. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency states that the eggs are not supposed to have entered Canada because none of the five grading stations used by Wright have permission to export to Canada. GL notes the careful wording; it may be only some reassurance given that at least some of the companies involved have a record for ignoring the rules.

DeCoster has three decades of various law infringements including some fairly gut wrenching stories about the work given to illegal immigrants, pollution, and animal cruelty. The State of Iowa enacted a law along the lines of "three strikes" for "habitual violators" and DeCoster was designated one in 2000. Penalties were enhanced from $5,000 to up to $25,000 per day per violation and he was prohibited from any new construction or expansion of animal feeding operation structures. GL couldn't find any further records of enforcement on the Iowa Department of Natural Resources website so the idea of targeting repeat infringers may be a good one but needs some tweaking especially as DeCoster has operations in other states. It is also easy to change ownership of a company without changing who is in charge.

In 2003, the US Food and Drug Administration found that DeCoster, as owner of DeCoster Feed now morphed into Quality Eggs, the current feed and chick supplier, was using drugs without a FDA Medicated Feed License Inspectors found "significant deviations from current Good Manufacturing Practice for Medicated Feeds, with controls inadequate to ensure identity, strength, quality and purity of the new animal drugs for these feeds." Equipment used for mixing one kind of medicated feed, which included a broad spectrum antibiotic, was not cleaned out to prevent mixes of drugs. Without cleanout, feed was contaminated with drugs not allowed to be fed to laying hens. Several of the medicated feeds had no master formula to list what drugs were in the feed and records of drug inventory overall were lacking.

Gallon Environment Letter. BP Fined $87 Million, Vol. 14, No. 9, November 18, 2009

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


Various officials from the US Federal Trade Commission have been speaking for over a year about the revision of the FTC's Green Guides. An Ad Age article said that the revised drafts will be issued "before the end of the summer."

The original guides are over 12 years old. When the Competition Bureau issued its "new" guide in Canada based on the ISO 14021 labelling standard in 2008, GL's parent company commented at the draft stage that this standard wasn't really updated as it didn't take into account how companies were changing their environmental advertising.

Among some of the changes of direction the FTC might take include:
The green guides are not law but an interpretation of deceptive adverting laws already on the books. Green marketing may also be affected by other FTC initiatives not specific to green marketing for example, rules covering paid bloggers or those who receive free samples, internet advertising and other social media where companies may not themselves appear to be involved in the marketing.

The FTC has also been sending more warning letters and charging those who infringe the deceptive advertising law through green marketing. Jeff Neff writing in Ad Age suggests that this may disadvantage smaller companies who cannot afford legal costs to defend themselves.
Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


            Subject: the Blue Economy

I have been subscribed to the Gallon Letter for years. Perhaps you may be interested in the 100 cases I am releasing each week for the next 2 years presenting a new competitive model that affects the world economy.

We offer this information open source and maybe it may be of interest to your readers.

I submit that the green economy cannot take off unless we are broadly embracing innovations inspired by natural systems permitting us to outcompete the present production and consumption model.

gunter pauli
Prof. Gunter Pauli
Founder of ZERI
Author of The Blue Economy
GL: In 1991 to 1993, Pauli was president of Ecover, the company that makes green cleaning products but that is just a small sampling of his credentials. During his time there, the company built what it calls an ecological factory.made with recycled and recyclable materials and other features. He is speaking on "Launching The Blue Economy" at The World Congress on Zero Emissions Initiatives in Hawaii Sept 13-17, 2010 hosted by the Enterprise Honolulu, the O‘ahu Economic Development Board. Pauli is on other parts of the agenda as are others speaking on various ZERI and other projects. If you get depressed by all the negative news, here is a more optimistic agenda.

Case: Asphalt

GL followed up on one of the 100 innovations, the idea of different approaches to roadbuilding. One example is companies who scrape the old asphalt off the road, recondition it in the same location and use it again for road resurfacing. Another is using waste material such as from all those drink containers that mostly aren't recycled.

Another example is porous asphalt. The cases are also good jumping off points to investigating what others are doing. For example, porous road material is used extensively in a number of countries including Japan, the Netherlands and less commonly in Canada and the US.

Disadvantages are that material costs are higher because of additional layers including a stone recharge layer, material changes e.g. limestone clogs so stone may need to be more expensive stone such as granite chips and more damage due to road grading equipment. Advantages include reducing stormwater runoff which flows through the road surface and filters toxic chemicals instead. Other benefits may be improved skid resistance, reduction of spray on pedestrians and other cars as well as noise reduction. In cold climate, porous pavement means different snow clearing during the winter as sand could clog the pores.

Zeri. Asphalt: Renaissance of the Roads and the Stimulation of a Mature Industry.

Schaus, Lori Kathryn. Porous Asphalt Pavement Designs: Proactive Design for Cold Climate Use. A thesis presented to the University of Waterloo in fulfilment of the thesis requirement for the degree of Master of Applied Science in Civil Engineering Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, 2007

            Subject: Yasuni

Dear Editor,

I have followed the Gallon Newsletter for many years and thought you may be interested in the following OP-ED which I published today in CNN International:

Vogel, Joseph Henry. Opinion: Yasuni- and the New Economics of Climate Change. CNN. Edition: International. August 23, 2010.

Cheers, JOE

Joseph Henry VOGEL, PhD
Professor of Economics
University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras

GL: see also the heads-up letter from Dr. Vogel and additional information in GL Vol. 15, No. 3, June 17, 2010.


The Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reforms are opposed to the proposed organic standards for farmed fish. Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans is holding a consultation which is ending August 30. The group says that the standard is proposed to apply not only to closed containment but also to open-water net cages. The standard doesn't equate to the land-based organic standard. Fish keepers will be allowed to use antibiotics and other chemicals not allowed in land organic agriculture. Nor do they have to handle the waste responsibly. John Driscoll writes: "These draft standards, as they are currently written, are simply permissive: they do not seem to require open net finfish aquaculture operations to make any substantial or measurable changes in the use of chemicals, the siting of farms, the handling of wastes, or the prevention of disease and pest transmission from farmed to wild stocks. Perhaps I am wrong and if so, I am very open to hearing otherwise."

GL's editor thinks that the Government of Canada has to be very careful as a flawed organic standard for a open-sea aquaculture production system which is regarded by many with considerable evidence as unsustainable.  It could undermine the credibility of the National Organic Standard label for agriculture. The draft notice was posted for public review 2010-06-30 and ends 2010-08-30 during a busy season outside for those active in the organic movement. This is too important to slide away into the summer season.

Farmed and Dangerous. Organic Farmed Salmon?

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


The Pacific Salmon Commission, a Canada-US agency set up to implement the Pacific Salmon Treaty in 1985 monitors salmon stock and implements management plans. Salmon runs vary in different areas and in relation to different salmon species but some salmon migrations have been sorry sights due to fish in poor condition and low numbers. However, this year, the sockeye salmon run into the Fraser River is estimated by the Commission to be 25 million fish which is the largest return since 1913. It doesn't mean that the salmon fishery is safe but it is a tremendously good sign. GL recommends to our readers who have never seen the salmon run to add it to their life list if possible. To see salmon churning up the water and eagles or bears eating their fill and to watch the spawning, the laying of the eggs and the death of the fish which follows is an unforgettable experience. In addition to the value of the salmon for economic and recreational value, this stupendous migratory event is just one of many that is priceless.

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


The environment was background to a couple of plays at the Hamilton Fringe Festival held July 16-25.

The Plastimet fire in Hamilton, Ontario July 1997 which filled the air with smoke for four days from the burning of the recycling plant was supposedly interwoven in the play New Talent about how a young woman takes up life as a prostitute escort ( in theory there is supposed to be no censorship of fringe plays). Her fictional firefighter father eventually dies of cancer caused by the fire. Fringe President and playwright Brian Morton explains that the play is about how systems which are supposed to protect us fail. GL didn't see much of interest in this story of a common and sordid event. The fire was not significant to the action going on in the seedy motel room. GL thinks it shows how able people can ignore even in-your-face-environmental disasters

Another play Lambs in Winter touched on how the Boomers' ideals about free love, anti-war and anti-establishment have morphed into something else although perhaps not so different after all. Once protestor Tony played by Allan Price has become a money-is-priority man; when the stock market crashes on the verge of his retirement, he shows himself willing to compromise his principles even more. Richard played by Julian Nicholson who also directs was seen in his youth as less committed to the activism is now more liberal and socialist in his views than the once-radical Tony at least in verbal sparring. He and Tony argue about climate change as Tony rants in typical neo-conservative style about how climate change is fraud.. Tony's wife Katherine (Karen Skidemore) prefers to discuss population control after a trip to Vietnam which involved much less high-level thinking as she later admits. Playwright Ray Rivers himself plays the guitar with songs of the 1960s such as "The Times They Are A-Changin’" as well as acting parts throughout the play where waiters and other spare folks are needed.

In the play, Rivers doesn't seem to choose sides in any of the issues which include also abortion, the collapsing economy, and gosh-golly, maybe not the free love of the past but some oldies version of it. However, underlying the play is a lament as Rivers observes, "We are the lambs in winter - we lost our innocence years ago. No more way to change what we've become than the sun that melts the snow." GL thinks that Rivers may be expecting too much from these old activists who now mingle in fashionable society, live in too-big houses and focus most of their attention on protecting their investments. Perhaps they should get credit for the historical role they played in changing attitudes, laws and practices for the better those many years ago.

Ray Rivers is not only a musician and playwright but also an environmental consultant, President of Rivers Consulting (Campbellville, Ontario).

One of the corporate sponsors of the Fringe Festival was a craft brewery Nickel Brook (Better Bitters Brewing Co.) They provided a bar where musicians and actors could perform short pieces of creative entertainment. Nickel Brook located in Burlington, Ontario was also at the Green Living Show. GL's editor has been buying their organic lager and Green Apple Pilsner (not organic) ever since.

Rivers, Ray. Lambs in Winter.

Nickel Brook. Burlington, Ontario.


The media loves to tell us how the 500 square kilometre Chernobyl exclusion zone has become a haven for wildlife. We are not sure which organizations are behind such stories so we will leave it to you to guess.

Real scientific study indicates that the stories are not true. The animals and birds in the Chernobyl zone are still suffering from the effects of radiation exposure and the biodiversity is still reduced compared to pre-accident levels. We have to wonder why the media have for so many years reported such unlikely and unscientific misinformation.

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