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Up in smoke

By Andrew Reeves
Pollution costs Canadian economy tens of billions annually

Pollution and its impacts on human health and assets cost Canadians tens of billions of dollars each year, according to a recent report from the Winnipeg-based International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).

The study, one of the most comprehensive reports ever undertaken on pollution and its costs in Canada, is based on a review of published international research that attempts to break down how pollution impacts society. IISD associates and report authors Robert Smith and Kieran McDougal estimate that consequences for lost human health and well-being alone top $39 billion annually; smog impacts reached $36 billion in 2015.

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Hacking the watershed

By Andrew Reeves
How the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation is corralling a tech-savvy younger generation to tackle freshwater issues

So, how do you think it went?” he asks. “Amazing,” replies another man standing in a line of young people wearing blazers, hoodies and loud sneakers. “The T-shirts you guys made?”  continues the first: “Can’t be beat.” The two men then refocus on the hors d’oeuvres being offered in the lobby of the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo, Ontario.

After more than two hours of semi-final presentations for the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation’s AquaHacking Challenge, a panel of judges was determining which five teams will advance to September’s finals. The judges have been deliberating for 30 minutes. Until they’re done, there’s nothing anxious hackers can do but eat and drink.

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Regional reductions

By Andrew Reeves
Nine Eastern states cut power plant emissions extra 30 per cent

A regional coalition of nine eastern states has agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants an additional 30 per cent between 2020 and 2030, eliminating an extra 132 million tonnes of GHG emissions.

Representing over $2.8 trillion (U.S.) in GDP, the initiative from Connecticut, Maine, Delaware, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Maryland, Rhode Island and Massachusetts constitutes a sweeping bipartisan commitment at the state level to curb climate changing emissions. And as U.S. President Donald Trump continues to tear down the previous administration’s climate policies, many are looking to cities, states and coalitions like this to pick up the slack.

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Leadership vacuum

By Andrew Reeves
More CEOs than ever fired for ethical failures

CEOs of large and small companies alike are increasingly being let go as a result of workplace indiscretions, including sexual impropriety, insider trading, bloated resumes and fraud.

A recent study from PwC on CEO success found that forced turnovers of chief executives due to ethical lapses rose by 36 per cent in the period 2012-2016 over 2007-2011. The sharpest increases came from BRIC nations, Western Europe, Canada and the United States. Within those groups, long-serving CEOs and those heading larger companies were at greatest risk.

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Advertising and children’s health

Health Canada considers junk food ad ban aimed at youth

A nation-wide ban on the marketing of unhealthy food to children under 17 has been proposed by Health Canada.

On the chopping block is everything from television, print and online advertising to product labelling and in-store displays for cereals, granola bars, chips and energy drinks.

While Quebec has had a similar ban in place since 1980 covering advertising to children under age 13, the proposed national ban is the first of its kind in Canada. Similar bans exist at various age thresholds in the U.K., Ireland, Norway and Sweden, among others.

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