Curing the plastic pollution pandemic

By Adria Vasil
While COVID has disrupted the movement away from single-use plastic, it could be helpful in the long run

On a sweaty Sunday in August at Toronto’s Woodbine Beach, swarms of people flock to the lake’s edge trying to escape the world’s woes, at least for an afternoon. But scan the (mostly) socially distant gaps between the beach towels and lawn chairs and you’ll find telltale signs of the summer of COVID. Record levels of dumped takeout cups, forks, straws and pale-blue disposable surgical masks dot the sand just inches from the waterline. 

Just when the movement against single-use plastic was picking up steam, COVID-19 scared us into consuming 250 to 300% more single-use plastic than we used pre-pandemic, according to estimates from the International Solid Waste Association. A good chunk of that has been tough to avoid: particularly the 129 billion face masks and 65 billion gloves now used globally every month. Of course, we’re also valiantly fulfilling our civic duty to stay home and binge-watch Netflix while ordering record levels of plastic-wrapped deliveries – which explains how Uber Eats revenue grew by 103% in the second quarter of this year and Amazon earnings surged by 40%. Not surprisingly, Ontario reported that residential waste was up the equivalent of more than 600 full garbage trucksfor the period of March 9 to April 13 alone.

Continue Reading...

Tim Nash’s sustainable stock showdown: Canopy vs The Green Organic Dutchman

In honour of the first legal 4/20 celebration in Canada, we're exploring which pot stocks will create the cleanest hit

We all know that investors shouldn’t buy high, but where does that leave investors in cannabis? In honour of the first legal 4/20 celebration in Canada, we’re exploring which pot stocks will create the cleanest hit for sustainable investors.

Before we get started, I need to communicate that cannabis stocks are much riskier investments than the typical big companies we look at in this column. A high Beta suggests heavy volatility, so only invest if you’re ready to put on a safety belt and go along for an intense ride.

Continue Reading...

Igniting citizen science

By Adria Vasil and Grace Robiou
Public participation in scientific experiments gives citizens a newfound respect for their environment.

This article was originally posted on the Environmental Protection Agency's blog, It's Our Environment. To view the original link, please click here.

Citizen science is forcing us to rethink how science is performed, for whom science is conducted, and its role in our society.

In essence, citizen science refers to the participation of the public in the activities and tasks of scientific experimentation. The main objective of citizen science is to engage non-scientists by having them contribute ideas to a scientific endeavor. Basically, citizen science motivates non-scientists to develop new knowledge that contributes to a better understanding of the role of science in our society. Just like citizen journalism has gained relevance over the past few years, with blogs and tweets carrying the news of the moment, citizen science is also gaining ground. Most scientific disciplines will soon have some elements of citizen science involvement in their investigations.

Continue Reading...

Our radioactive reality

By Adria Vasil and Linda Keen
Support it or not, the four decades of highly toxic nuclear waste is here for the long haul. So what are we doing about it?

Nuclear waste. When these two words are spoken, the camps are drawn.

Nuclear proponents say, “No problem, all is well. We’re talking minor amounts. This shouldn’t be a barrier to building new reactors or refurbishing old ones.”

Nuclear opponents say, “Along with issues such as safety, security, nuclear weapons use and high costs, waste management is yet another reason to reject nuclear as an energy option.”

Continue Reading...