Archive for the ‘Animals & Environment’ Category


The Valley of Headless Men – Nahanni Canada


The Nahanni Valley of Canada’s Northwest Territories has been called one of the last truly unexplored places in the world. Lying above the 60th Parallel, it is accessible only by air, water or a long overland journey from the village of Tungsten. As a result, much of the area remains unexplored, despite being declared a national park in 1976, and a World Heritage Site in 1978.

Native tales tell of an unknown evil lurking within 200 Mile Gorge, and most avoid the area. Local oral history also tells of a mountain-dwelling tribe known as the Naha. The Naha were feared by the region’s Dene people, as they often descended to raid nearby villages. These tales end with the rapid, mysterious disappearance of the Naha. No trace of this tribe has ever been found.

The eerie nickname attached to 200 Mile Gorge is the Valley Of The Headless Men. This name comes from a series of unexplained incidents in the Gorge during the Gold Rush of the early 20th century. Two brothers, Willie and Frank McLeod left in 1906 in an attempt to reach the Klondike through Nahanni. Nothing was heard from them for the next two years. Rumours spoke of the two finding the “mother lode” of gold. Despite this, no efforts were made to find them. In 1908, another prospecting expedition discovered two bodies, later identified as the McLeod brothers. Both had been decapitated. This incident would likely have been marked up as just another macabre tale of North had they been the only headless bodies.  In 1917, the body of a Swiss prospector by the name of Martin Jorgenson was found next to his burned cabin. Decapitated. In 1945, the body of a miner from Ontario, whose name seems to be lost to history, was found in his sleeping bag, without a head. A trapper named >John O’Brien was found frozen next to his campfire, matches still clutched in his hand. I cannot find any reference to the state of his head.

Theories abound as to what happened to these men, and others (up to 44 people are said to have disappeared there). Some put these attacks down to grizzly bears, some feuding  prospectors, others natives. Some say the area is naturally heated by hot springs, and is practically a tropical paradise, a Shangri-La if you will, with the valley floor covered in gold nuggets. These theories often speak of the valley being a haven for the Sasquatch. Some even claim the valley is an entrance to the “Hollow Earth”. My view lies somewhere in-between all these. I believe that the native Naha people discovered this sheltered valley, and settled there. Theoretically, food would be plentiful if the valley is the veritable paradise described in some reports. These people then likely became highly territorial over their lands, and killed any trespassers. The decapitation is reminiscent of certain other tribal practices designed to instill fear in their enemies. The image provided is for reference only, and as far as I am aware, there are no images of the 200 Mile Gorge available online.


Canadian Environment Law Assc. Publishes Report About CETA Negative Environmental Effects


Improve the Canadian and European-Union trade agreement to better protect the environment, says Canadian Environmental Law Association

TORONTO, Oct. 14, 2011 /CNW/ -Today, the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) published a report about the negative environmental effects that could result from the Canadian and European-Union trade agreement, currently in its final stages of negotiations. The proposed trade agreement is the most comprehensive trade agreement to which Canada has ever been a party. It is set to be negotiated in Ottawa from October 17 – 21; its 10th and likely final round. According to CELA’s report, if major drafting changes are not made, the ability of government, both national and local, to enact public interest environmental measures could be compromised.


Theresa McClenaghan, CELA’s Executive Director, says “it is critical that trade agreements to which Canada is a party are carefully drafted so that public interest environmental laws are protected. Otherwise, economic arguments can be used against enacting or enforcing strong environmental laws.”

Some of the most controversial elements potentially proposed for the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) include the unprecedented liberalization of essential public services, such as water, and the inclusion of a controversial investor-state dispute settlement clause. The narrow definition of ‘environmental laws’ and narrow exceptions for those ‘environmental laws’ from stringent liberalization provisions are also of concern. All of these proposals would restrict national and sub-national levels of Canadian government from enacting environmental laws in the public interest.

CETA is only the second time in Canadian history where parties to a trade agreement include provinces, and the first time that municipalities are bound. These cause CELA further concern because CETA, as presently drafted, will open up local regulations and policies of provinces and municipalities to direct competition and challenge from European corporations.

CETA’s impact on future economic, social, and environmental development in Canada and the EU will be considerable. For these reasons, the Canadian Environmental Law Association’s report insists that this agreement presents a critical opportunity for the inclusion of clear and strong environmental safeguards to ensure sustainable economic development in Canada and improve on environmental standards established in pre-existing trade agreements.

For the CELA analysis and drafting recommendations, see the report at

For further information:Theresa McClenaghan, Canadian Environmental Law Association, 416-960-2284 ext. 219, c: (416) 662-8341


Organic Week rolls out across Canada


OTTAWA, Oct. 13, 2011 /CNW/ – Canada celebrates the second annual Organic Week from October 15-22, with hundreds of event partners and participating retailers showcasing organic products across the country.

OrganicWhether you’re a farmer, a food manufacturer or a good old-fashioned eater, you’re invited to join the organic harvest celebration: from film screenings and special menus in restaurants across the country, to community feasts and winery tours, to food-security meetings and organic tastings at farmers markets and retailers, both large and small. Find events in your area by visiting the Organic Week website:

“Organic Week is a party we’re throwing for everyone who loves good, wholesome organic food, and who cares about the environment,” said Organic Week co-organizer Matthew Holmes, of the Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA). “Today it’s easier than ever to find organic products, with the new Canada Organic logo and mandatory standards overseen by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Organic Week is a way of raising awareness that good things grow in Canada.”

Organic Week has also organized a special contest for people wanting to share some of their best organic ideas: the Organic Breakfast Challenge is open to anyone in Canada who has a great recipe, picture, or memory of “Mom’s favourite” meal. A winner will be selected every day during Organic Week and will receive a basketful of great organic goodies and coupons from participating companies. Anyone can enter from the Organic Week website or Facebook page.

COTA and the Canadian Organic Growers are grateful for the generous donors that make Organic Week possible: Canadian Health Food Association, Earthbound Farms, Good Food Revolution, Manitoba Harvest, Mill St. Brewery, Nature’s Path Foods, Organic Meadow, Southbrook Winery, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, Whole Foods Markets, Ambrosia Organic Apple Growers, Beau’s All Natural Brewing, Beretta Organics, Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, Front Door Organics, Grainworks Ltd., Homestead Organics, Horizon Organic Dairy, Nature’s Fare Markets, Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt, Ontario Natural Food Co-op, Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada, Poplar Grove, Silk Soy Beverage, SunOpta, Taste of Nature, The Big Carrot and Wholesome Sweeteners.

The Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in Canada. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers’ associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. COTA’s Board of Directors is democratically elected by its members. COTA’s mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy.

For further information:Matthew Holmes
(613) 482-1717

Organic Week website:
Organic Week on Facebook:
Organic Breakfast Challenge:
Organic Week on Twitter:
Organic Week event hashtag: #oweek


Paleolithic Dog Fossils Show Early Relationship With Humans


This skull of a dog found with a bone in its mouth may be an early indication of man’s relationship with his best friend.

Image: Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences

Palaeontologists have unearthed the remains of three prehistoric dogs, including one with the bone from a mammoth in its mouth, a finding they claim could be an early indication of man’s relationship with his best friend.

A team, led by the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, claims that the brains of the paleolithic dogs were also removed after their death which could indicate a human’s attempt to release the animals’ spirits.

This is because the dog skulls show evidence that humans perforated them in order to remove the brains, and as better meat was available, it’s unlikely that the brains served as food, the team says.

Mietje Germonpr, who led the team, said many northern indigenous peoples believed that the head contains the spirit or soul. “Some of these peoples made a hole in the braincase of the killed animal so that the spirit might be released,” she added.

And, in the case of the third dog with a mammoth bone in its mouth, the palaeontologists believe that the bone may have been inserted in the animal’s mouth by a human after it died, signifying a ritual burial, the ‘Daily Mail’ reported.

Germonpr said the mammoth bone could signify “that the dog was ‘fed’ to accompany the soul of the dead person on its journey’.

Another team member, Prof Rob Losey at the University of Alberta, said that the study shows that the dog domestication occurred much earlier than previously thought.

He said: “The distinctive treatment given some of the remains also is compelling, and this indicates to me that a special connection had developed between people and some canids quite early on — long prior to any good evidence for dogs being buried.”

The ‘Journal of Archaeological Science’, which has published the findings, reports the skulls discovered clearly showed signs of domestication as they’re significantly shorter than those of fossil or modern wolves, have shorter snouts, and wider braincases and palates than wolves possess.

The dogs were described as large, with an estimated body weight of just over five stone and shoulder height at least 24 inches, resembling a larger and heavier Siberian husky.

The palaeontologists believe the animals were used for hauling meat, bones and tusks from mammoths and firewood.

The dogs are thought to have lived on a diet of mammoth tusks and meat, died when they were between four and eight years old, and suffered from numerous broken teeth during their lifetimes.



World’s Largest Green Building Conference & Expo in Toronto October 4 – 7


[from Author: I will be at the Green Building Expo. I have signed up for many educational sessions with some amazing speakers, but I think I am most looking forward to the discussion I get to attend with Steve Zornetzer Associate Director for Research – NASA HQ! Please connect with me via Twitter & perhaps we will see eachother there! Profile: TheVillageGreen]

Greenbuild’s economic impact on local economy an expected $26 million CAD with 25,000 delegates

TORONTO, Sept. 28, 2011 /CNW/ — The U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) annual conference and expo is making its way to Toronto next week to celebrate “what’s next” in green building. Greenbuild is the world’s largest green building conference and expo and is expected to make an economic impact of $26 million CAD, bringing 25,000 delegates from over 115 countries to the event. A release from the Metro Toronto Convention Centre earlier this week also stated that Greenbuild will generate a positive impact on the local economy of over $58 million from delegate spending.

Toronto was selected by USGBC as the host city for the conference for several reasons, including its growth in the green building movement with nearly 300 building projects registered and seeking LEED certification and 44 green building projects already LEED-certified in the Toronto area.

“Toronto and the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) have been a tremendous force in the recent growth of the green building movement in Canada,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chair, USGBC. “Toronto’s building market has continued to boom and prosper and it’s the perfect backdrop for the 10th anniversary of Greenbuild.”

Held in conjunction with the Canada Green Building Council, Greenbuild promises to inspire and educate with hundreds of educational sessions; dozens of master speakers; one and two day summits focused on green jobs, residential and affordable green building, and the international green building marketplace; more than 1,000 companies showcasing the most innovative green building products and services in the world’s largest expo hall dedicated to green building; and top-notch plenary speakers that include New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, former Prime Minister of Canada Kim Campbell, ABC News political commentator Cokie Roberts, medical anthropologist and physician Dr. Paul Farmer and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The opening plenary event will also feature Grammy award-winning band, Maroon 5.

“It’s appropriate that the first Greenbuild outside of the United States is being held in Canada because it demonstrates the huge impact LEED, and the close partnership between the USGBC and CaGBC, have had on green building in Canada,” said Thomas Mueller, President and CEO, CaGBC. “There is no doubt that Greenbuild will be a game changer for Toronto and for Canada by taking green building to the next level in terms of industry and government recognition and international trade.”

About U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) The U.S. Green Building Council is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. With a community comprising 79 local affiliates, nearly 16,000 member organizations, and more than 168,000 LEED Professional Credential holders, USGBC is the driving force of an industry that is projected to contribute $554 billion to the U.S. GDP from 2009-2013. USGBC leads an unlikely diverse constituency of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofit organizations, elected officials and concerned citizens, and teachers and students. For more information, visit, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

About Greenbuild The U.S. Green Building Council’s Greenbuild International Conference & Expo convenes the industry’s largest gathering of representatives from all sectors of the green building movement. Three days of extensive educational programming, workshops, a vast exhibition floor and ample networking events provide unrivaled opportunities to learn about the latest technological innovations, explore new products, and exchange ideas with other professionals. Greenbuild is the three time recipient of IMEX Green Meetings Award and the 2011 show will be held on Oct. 4-7, 2011, in Toronto, Canada. This past year’s conference in Chicago, Ill. drew more than 28,000 attendees and featured more than 1,800 exhibit booths. Visit for more information.


First National Tree Day in Canada During Forest Week


First National Tree Day

National Forest Week

Inaugural event brings Canadians together in cities across the nation

[Please read here about Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement News recently.]

OTTAWA, Sept. 21, 2011 /CNW/ – Today Canadians from coast to coast to coast came together for the inaugural National Tree Day to celebrate the great benefit trees provide – clean air, wildlife habitat, reduced energy demand and a connection with nature.

“Canada’s first ever National Tree Day represents a historic milestone. It demonstrates Canadians’ commitment to improving our environment,” said Dorothy Dobbie, Tree Canada Chair, and former Member of Parliament.  “It’s a day of awareness to reflect on how protecting trees ensures a better quality of life for all Canadians.”

Today, a seeding will be planted at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa on behalf of all Canadians by Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources, Royal Galipeau, Member of Parliament, Tree Canada and representatives from TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, MAJESTA and TELUS.

“The federal government is proud to help celebrate Canada’s first National Tree Day,” said the Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources. “Forests are not only an important part of our heritage, they are also essential to our future. Every tree planted today helps preserve our forests for future generations. For this reason, the Government of Canada is making strategic investments to support the renewal of the forest sector and to create new opportunities for hundreds of forest communities across Canada.”

National Tree Day was created through a private Members’ motion in the House of Commons brought forward by Royal Galipeau, Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Orléans.

“By creating National Tree Day, the House has asked Canadians to spend just one day reflecting on the link between their lives and that of the tree,” said Royal Galipeau, Member of Parliament.  “Canadians will dedicate trees, plant trees, learn about trees and appreciate the impact the tree has had on Canada’s economic success as a nation.”

Trees have a way of bringing people together to celebrate a shared heritage. With over 80% of Canadians living in cities and towns, our urban forests are vital to our quality of life, and this recognition will go a long way toward ensuring that they continue to be planted and cared for in urban locations.

“Canada is a global leader in sustainable forest management.  From the maple leaf to the mighty pines, trees are synonymous with our Canadian identity.  For every tree that is planted today, we are preserving our future for tomorrow,” said the Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of the Environment.  “We are proud to recognize Tree Canada, a not-for-profit, charitable organization and its partners, who are working together to engage Canadians through educating them about the benefits of sustainable urban tree management.”

Canadians are encouraged to participate in National Tree Day in any way they can.  A National Tree Day celebration can be neighbours gathering to plant trees in a park or at a nearby school, a class project or a large community event.  For every person who stops and thinks about how they can help grow and maintain trees, Canada becomes a cleaner, better country.

In support of National Tree Day, Tree Canada and key sponsors, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, MAJESTA, and TELUS, will celebrate with tree planting and educational events in St. John’s, Charlottetown, Fredericton, Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Victoria, Whitehorse, Yellowknife, and Ottawa. The majority of sites are members of the Alliance of Natural History Museums of Canada, a national network formed in 2003.

“The Canadian Museum of Nature and other natural history museums are important destinations for Canadians seeking information about nature and the environment,” says Meg Beckel, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Nature. “As such, we were pleased to work with Tree Canada and its partners to ensure the success of this first National Tree Day.”

For information on how to organize a National Tree Day event, how to successfully plant and maintain urban trees, or to learn more about the importance of trees in any community, additional information can be found at


About National Tree Day

National Tree Day provides an opportunity for Canadians to learn about the importance of trees in urban environments and gain the tools to help grow and maintain these important ecological areas.

National Tree Day was created through a private members motion in the House of Commons. The motion to declare National Tree Day was presented by Royal Galipeau, M.P. Ottawa-Orléans, at the urging of Tree Canada, and received consent from the House of Commons on March 2, 2011.

As a result of these efforts, Wednesday of National Forest Week in September each year now will be known as National Tree Day.

National Tree Day is important for Canadians

National Forest Week

  • Over 80% of Canadians live in urban areas
  • Trees reduce residential heating costs by 10-15% (through windbreak)
  • Each healthy tree can reduce air borne dust particles by as much as 7,000 particles per litre of air, thus a healthy tree is a free standing air conditioner and purifier
  • The Canadian forest products industry is an environmental steward, responsible for more than 600,000 jobs with annual revenues representing roughly 2 percent of our GDP.

About Tree Canada
Tree Canada is a not-for-profit charitable organization established to encourage Canadians to plant and care for trees in urban and rural environments. A winner of the Canadian Environmental Award (2007), Tree Canada engages Canadian companies, government agencies and individuals to support the planting of trees, the greening of schoolyards, and other efforts to sensitize Canadians to the benefits of planting and maintaining trees. To date, more than 77 million trees have been planted, more than 450 schoolyards have been greened, and Tree Canada has organized nine national urban forest conferences. More information about Tree Canada is available at


Landmark Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement – Mark on Land of Sustainability


An Agreement Making Its Mark on the Land of Sustainability

The Forest Products Association of Canada announced today that on the occasion of the International Year of the Forests and Canada’s National Forest Week, The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) and the Royal Geographic Society of Canada will hold a panel discussion on the landmark Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement. Info further in post about this landmark agreement that united big forest companies and staunch environmentalists and perhaps gives us an opportunity to learn about the challenges ahead.

The panel includes Avrim Lazar, President and CEO of FPAC, Richard Brooks, Forest Campaign Director, Greenpeace Canada and Tim Gray, Program Director, the Ivey Foundation. The panel discussion will be held at the Canadian Museum of Nature, 240 McLeod St. in Ottawa on September 19th.

In past posts, I have discussed some of the difficulties with language and interpretation of sustainability and sustainable development under the law in Canada.  Forest & property management has been a very large focal point of the UN’s Agenda 21, the model for sustainability throughout the world.  I can only stress the value of becoming familiar with the agreement and the positions taken by all the parties that have been working on it.

It is being billed as a “landmark” agreement.  I stress, that means important.

Here is the link to the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement website:

Here is the link to the actual Agreement itself in .PDF format:

I encourage all to really try to appreciate the language that has been placed into the document.  Irregardless of anything you may believe in, have seen, read or heard, it is still very important to see for yourselves, engage and communicate.  Please take the time to watch over our beautiful land here in Canada.

But what do I know?

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