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Marvelous monarchs move Minister McKenna

Science Matters | February 23, 2017 | Leave a comment
Photo: Marvelous monarchs move Minister McKenna

(Credit: Natasha MIlisevic)

By David Suzuki with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation communications strategist Jode Roberts.

Federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna had her mind blown recently. Remarkably, it had nothing to do with the political gong show south of the border. McKenna was visiting the hilltop monarch butterfly reserves in rural Mexico. There she saw millions of monarchs clinging to oyamel fir trees in mind-bogglingly dense clusters, surprisingly well-camouflaged for such colourful critters. She then wrote a heartfelt article calling on people in Canada to act before monarchs go the way of passenger pigeons and buffalo.

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Municipal vehicle tax could fund transit, benefit all city-dwellers

Climate & Clean Energy | February 17, 2017 | Leave a comment
Photo: Municipal vehicle tax could fund transit, benefit all city-dwellers

(Credit: City of Toronto via Flickr)

By Gideon Forman, transportation policy analyst at the David Suzuki Foundation

Now that road tolls are out, at least for the foreseeable future, how can Toronto pay for public transit that is vital to our climate goals and congestion relief?

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A carpooler's etiquette list

Queen of Green | February 17, 2017 | Leave a comment
Photo: A carpooler's etiquette list

Make ground rules about eating, drinking, music, phone calls etc. during the commute. (Credit: Washington State Department of Transportation via Flickr)

It's almost two decades since I was in a regular work carpool. Our commute was one hour each way. We were a group of five, so each person drove one day a week.

Carpooling is cost-effective and reduces carbon emissions. If you can carpool, here's an etiquette list to help you all have a smoother group ride:

  • Select a convenient meeting/pick-up spot that's safe and easy to get to by bike or public transit
  • Show up on time
  • Share a contact information sheet
  • Make group agreements or ground rules about eating, drinking, music, chatting, phone calls etc. during the commute
  • Keep a schedule and track driver turns
  • Go scent-free
  • Drive smart
  • Agree on a cost per trip for those without vehicles
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Government must do more to address First Nations' water woes

Science Matters | February 16, 2017 | 3 comments
Photo: Government must do more to address First Nations' water woes

(Credit: Sam Cox via Flickr)

By David Suzuki with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Senior Editor Ian Hanington.

Neskantaga First Nation in Ontario has had to boil water since 1995. "We're over 20 years already where our people haven't been able to get the water they need to drink from their taps or to bathe themselves without getting any rashes," Neskantaga Chief Wayne Moonias told CBC News in 2015. Their water issues have yet to be resolved.

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Keeping oceans wild means leaving Wild West approach behind

Healthy Oceans | February 15, 2017
Photo: Keeping oceans wild means leaving Wild West approach behind

(Credit: Living Oceans Society)

By Panos Grames, Senior Communications Specialist

Glass sponge reefs, gigantic container ships, climate change, humpback whales, rights and title claims, commercial fishing, kayakers, tiny islands with millions of nesting seabirds, recreational fishing lodges, marine mammal breeding grounds, renewable energy sites—these are just a few of the many elements competing for space in Canada's Pacific coastal waters.

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How to garden for butterflies year-round

Queen of Green | February 15, 2017 | Leave a comment
Photo: How to garden for butterflies year-round

Some butterflies rarely visit flowers. They prefer mud, poop (a.k.a. "scat" or "dung"), sap and rotting fruit. (Credit: Annie Spratt)

Want to help butterflies? Think beyond providing flowers for nectar in the height of summer.

Many butterfly species we see in Canada don't migrate. You can provide habitat and food for their entire lifecycle — eggs, larvae, pupae AND adults — throughout the year. You'll need:

Host plants: Adults need a place to lay eggs where their caterpillars will forage. (Plant species that will get eaten and not just look pretty!)

Mud puddles: Some butterflies rarely visit flowers. They prefer mud, poop (a.k.a. "scat" or "dung"), sap and rotting fruit.

Blooms from spring through fall: Don't limit your garden to an end-of-July color extravaganza. You'll need a diversity of native nectar plants to flower over a few months.

Overwintering habitat: Consider not raking leaves to provide a butterfly nursery! Most butterflies in Canada overwinter as caterpillars, others as pupae. A few species winter as adults, hibernating in hollow trees, under bark and firewood piles, or in garden shed cracks and crevices. Few spend winter as eggs.

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Monarch butterflies still need your love

Photo: Monarch butterflies still need your love

Monarch butterflies in Sierra Chincua butterfly reserve in Michoacan, Mexico.

By Jode Roberts, communications,

A couple of weeks ago, it was raining monarch butterflies. I was visiting a hilltop sanctuary near Mexico City where monarchs from Canada and the U.S. Midwest spend their winters. The tiny critters cling to branches in clusters so dense they bend the bows of massive fir trees. When the sun begins to warm up the forest, they start to flit about, often dropping momentarily to the ground. (I'm not kidding; it really feels like it's raining butterflies! Here's video proof.)

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