“If you go out to the woods today…”

If-You-Go-Out-In-The-Woods-Today

…you’re in for a big surprise.”

Have you been out and about lately and happen upon your favourite picnic spot only to find a brand new sub division in its place? It’s happening more and more around my area as with many suburbs of North American cities.
Urban sprawl has more effects on us than we probably realize. The biggest is probably the reliance on automobiles. Suburban communities spend more time in their cars and that leads to major ecological problems like smog and air pollution not to mention the effect it has on our waistlines and ultimately our health. More cars on the road mean higher traffic and higher traffic means billions and billions of dollars wasted on fuel and productivity.

It doesn’t end there. In my research I came across an article in National Geographic that stated we are losing 1.2 million acres of farmland per year. If you add in forests and undeveloped land the number rises to 2 million acres per year. Take a city like Phoenix, Arizona, which is one of the fastest growing communities in the state, and you’ll discover it has been spreading outward at a rate of an acre an hour. With our population growth these numbers will unfortunately continue to rise.

What can you do about it?
Find ways to be less car dependent.
Find out what is happening in your community in regards to road expansion, new mega-stores, suburban development and the stresses on existing water and sewage plants. Take it to the next level.
David Suzuki has a link to Stopping Sprawl in Your Community – http://davidsuzuki.org/publications/resources/2003/driven-to-action—getting-started/

You can also read more here -

http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/habitats/urban-sprawl/

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Footprints – The Big Apple

The-Big-Apple

Before I get into my most recent topic – GMO’s, I’m excited to mention that this ongoing series won an Honourable Mention in the International Photography Awards. It really has motivated me to keep pushing forward with this and I’m excited for things to come!

So now onto the controversial topic of GMO’s….

GMO, which stands for genetically modified organisms, refers to a biotechnology that uses gene splicing techniques in plants and animals that merges DNA from different species.

OK, so what’s the big deal? It was invented to end world hunger right? Well, its not quite that simple. GMO crops were supposed to reduce the use of pesticides and herbicides so farmers could produce more at a lesser cost but instead the opposite has happened. Bugs have become so resistant to these chemicals that it has led to increased use of both! The growing research on the adverse effects to our health and environment has led people to fight for their consumer rights.

In many developed countries like Australia, Japan and all of Europe, GMO foods are banned or at the very least have mandatory labelling due to the fact that the safety of these foods is unproven. Canada and the US does not. In the US, GMO’s are in as much as 80% of conventional processed foods! Scary!

You may ask yourself, what do I do to avoid GMO’s if our foods aren’t labelled? Well, the best choice right now is to buy organic or support companies who do label their foods as NON-GMO.

One last thing I’d like to mention in this rather large topic that I am briefly touching on, is the threat to farmer sovereignty. Biotechnology companies are able to obtain patents that give them the power to sue farmers whose fields have been cross contaminated with inevitable drift from neighboring fields.

The amazing farm I used for my photo DOES NOT use GMO’s and I’d like to do what I can to keep it that way!

The long-term impacts of GMO’s that have been released into our environment irreversably are unknown.

 

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