Upcycled art exhibition by B.C. artist set to open at Science World next week

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B.C. artist Jan de Beer with upcycled paint.

B.C. artist Jan de Beer with upcycled paint.

Imagine being an artist and creating artwork made entirely from free, upcycled paint.

That’s exactly what B.C. artist Jan de Beer did, and he will be showcasing his pieces in his latest art exhibition, Tides, at Science World (1455 Quebec Street) from May 21 to August 26.

The seasonal art event will shine a light on Product Care Recycling, a not-for-profit organization that offers recycling solutions for household goods like paint and lights. Its PaintShare program provides free and sustainable leftover paint to the public, which is what De Beer was able to work with.

The Diptych 2 by de Beer.

The Diptych 2 by de Beer.

De Beer’s paintings can feature bold and bright colours, as well as cooler tones. His work reflects his commitment to nature, such as the way his Diptych 2 alludes to ocean foam.

So it makes sense that 65 percent of proceeds from his artwork sales go toward the Pender Harbour Ocean Discovery Station (PODS), a new marine and freshwater research and education facility.

Those interested in checking out the new art exhibition can register online for its opening reception, which is free for the public to attend.

De Beer has been creating artwork using recycled materials, including paint and garbage.

De Beer has been creating artwork using recycled materials, including paint and garbage.

Biodiversity crisis is about to put humanity at risk, UN scientists to warn

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The world’s leading scientists will warn the planet’s life-support systems are approaching a danger zone for humanity when they release the results of the most comprehensive study of life on Earth ever undertaken.

Up to 1m species are at risk of annihilation, many within decades, according to a leaked draft of the global assessment report, which has been compiled over three years by the UN’s leading research body on nature.

The 1,800-page study will show people living today, as well as wildlife and future generations, are at risk unless urgent action is taken to reverse the loss of plants, insects and other creatures on which humanity depends for foodpollination, clean water and a stable climate.

The final wording of the summary for policymakers is being finalised in Paris by a gathering of experts and government representatives before the launch on Monday, but the overall message is already clear, according to Robert Watson, the chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

“There is no question we are losing biodiversity at a truly unsustainable rate that will affect human wellbeing both for current and future generations,” he said. “We are in trouble if we don’t act, but there are a range of actions that can be taken to protect nature and meet human goals for health and development.”

The authors hope the first global assessment of biodiversity in almost 15 years will push the nature crisis into the global spotlight in the same way climate breakdown has surged up the political agenda since the 1.5C reportlast year by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Like its predecessor, the report is a compilation of reams of academic studies, in this case on subjects ranging from ocean plankton and subterranean bacteria to honey bees and Amazonian botany. Following previous findings on the decimation of wildlife, the overview of the state of the world’s nature is expected to provide evidence that the world is facing a sixth wave of extinction. Unlike the past five, this one is human-driven.

Mike Barrett, WWF’s executive director of conservation and science, said: “All of our ecosystems are in trouble. This is the most comprehensive report on the state of the environment. It irrefutably confirms that nature is in steep decline.”

Barrett said this posed an environmental emergency for humanity, which is threatened by a triple challenge of climate, nature and food production. “There is no time to despair,” he said. “We should be hopeful that we have a window of opportunity to do something about it over these two years.”

The report will sketch out possible future scenarios that will vary depending on the decisions taken by governments, businesses and individuals. The next year and a half is likely to be crucial because world leaders will agree rescue plans for nature and the climate at two big conferences at the end of 2020.

That is when China will host the UN framework convention on biodiversity gathering in Kunming, which will establish new 20-year targets to replace those agreed in Aichi, Japan, in 2010. Soon after, the UN framework convention on climate change will revise Paris agreement commitments at a meeting in either the UK, Italy, Belgium or Turkey.

Watson, a British professor who has headed both of the UN’s leading scientific panels, said the forthcoming report will delve more deeply than anything before into the causes of nature collapse, chief among which is the conversion of forests, wetlands and other wild landscapes into ploughed fields, dam reservoirs and concrete cities. Three-quarters of the world’s land surface has been severely altered, according to the leaked draft. Humanity is also decimating the living systems on which we depend by emitting carbon dioxide and spreading invasive species.

Watson said the authors have learned from attribution science, which has transformed the debate on the climate crisis by showing how much more likely hurricanes, droughts and floods have become as a result of global heating.

The goal is to persuade an audience beyond the usual green NGOs and government departments. “We need to appeal not just to environment ministers, but to those in charge of agriculture, transport and energy because they are the ones responsible for the drivers of biodiversity loss,” he said.

A focus will be to move away from protection of individual species and areas, and to look at systemic drivers of change, including consumption and trade.

The political environment is changing in some countries due to overwhelming scientific evidence and increasing public concern about the twin crises of nature and climate, which have prompted more than 1 million students to strike from school and led to street protests by Extinction Rebellion activists in more than a dozen countries.

The UK parliament declared a climate emergency this week and the government’s chief climate advisory body recommended an accelerated plan to cut carbon emissions to zero by 2050. Until now, however, the nature crisis has been treated as far less of a priority. “Where are the headlines? Where are the emergency meetings?” asked the school strike founder, Greta Thunberg, in a recent tweet on the subject.

Extinction Rebellion activists said protests that blocked several London streets last month were as much aimed at the defence of nature as stabilising the climate. “They are two sides of the same destructive coin,” said Farhana Yamin, a coordinator of the movement who is also an environmental lawyer and formerly a lead author of the IPCC report.

“The work of IPBES is as crucial as the work done by the IPCC on the 1.5-degree report. That is why Extinction Rebellion is demanding an end [to] biodiversity loss and a net-zero phaseout by 2020. We can’t save humanity by only tackling climate change or only caring about biodiversity.”

Seychelles president makes underwater speech calling for protection for oceans

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The President of Seychelles joined an expedition exploring the Indian Ocean

The President of Seychelles joined an expedition exploring the Indian Ocean

The Seychelles president has gone below the surface of the Indian Ocean to call for better protection for the world's seas.

Danny Faure said that a healthy ocean was "crucial for the survival of humanity" in a broadcast made 124m (406ft) below sea level.

He had joined a British-led expedition exploring the ocean's depths.

Last year, the Seychelles created protected areas of the ocean that were "the size of Great Britain".

During the live broadcast Mr Faure could be seen in the submersible wearing a Seychelles T-shirt.

He told viewers that the ocean was "the beating blue heart of our planet" and said that it was "under threat like never before."

"We have managed to seriously impact this environment through climate change. I can see the incredible wildlife that needs protection. Over the years we have created these problems, we must solve them and we must solve them together."

The broadcast was part of an expedition by Nekton Mission. The mission will explore deep sections of the waters surrounding the Seychelles.

The goal is to gain public support for the country to protect 30% of its national waters by 2020.

The island nation plans to protect 30% of its seas by 2020

The island nation plans to protect 30% of its seas by 2020

The reserves limit tourism and fishing activities in the country to halt further damage to aquatic life. It was the first debt swap designed to protect ocean areas in the world.

According to the UN, only 16% of marine waters under national jurisdiction are covered by protected areas.

The Seychelles aims to protect 30% of its ocean space by next year.

Oceans are one of the seven main themes of this year's UN climate summit in Chile in December.

Small island nations like the Seychelles are among the most vulnerable to the rise in sea levels caused by climate change.

Greta Thunberg nominated for Nobel peace prize

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by Damian Carrington, Environment editor

Greta Thunberg, 15, holds a placard reading ‘School strike for the climate’, during a protest outside the Swedish parliament in Stockholm last November. Photograph: Hanna Franzen/EPA

Greta Thunberg, 15, holds a placard reading ‘School strike for the climate’, during a protest outside the Swedish parliament in Stockholm last November. Photograph: Hanna Franzen/EPA

Greta Thunberg, the founder of the Youth Strike for Climate movement, has been nominated for the Nobel peace prize, just before the biggest day yet of global action.

Thunberg began a solo protest in Sweden in August but has since inspired students around the globe. Strikes are expected in 1,659 towns and cities in 105 countries on Friday, involving hundreds of thousands of young people.

“We have proposed Greta Thunberg because if we do nothing to halt climate change it will be the cause of wars, conflict and refugees,” said Norwegian Socialist MP Freddy André Øvstegård. “Greta Thunberg has launched a mass movement which I see as a major contribution to peace.”

“[I am] honoured and very grateful for this nomination,” said Thunberg on Twitter. Tomorrow we #schoolstrike for our future. And we will continue to do so for as long as it takes.” She has already challenged leaders in person at the UN climate summit in late 2018 and at Davos in January. “Change is coming whether they like it or not,” she said.

National politicians and some university professors can nominate candidates for the Nobel peace prize, which will be awarded in December. There are 301 candidates for the 2019 prize: 223 individuals and 78 organisations.

In 2014, the peace prize was awarded to 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai, “for the struggle ... for the right of all children to education”. She survived a Taliban assassination attempt in 2012.

While some politicians have opposed the school strikes, many have supported them, including Germany’s Angela Merkel and Ireland’s Leo Varadkar. The mayors of Paris, Milan, Sydney, Austin, Philadelphia, Portland, Oslo, Barcelona and Montreal added their backing on Thursday.

“It is truly inspiring to see young people, led by brilliant young women, making their voices heard and demanding urgent climate action. They are absolutely correct that our actions today will determine their futures,” said Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris and chair of the C40 group of cities. “My message to young citizens is clear: it is our responsibility as adults and political leaders to learn from you and deliver the future you want.”

The strikes have also been supported by the former head of the Anglican church Rowan Williams and the head of Amnesty International, Kumi Naidoo. “Children are often told they are ‘tomorrow’s leaders’. But if they wait until ‘tomorrow’ there may not be a future in which to lead,” said Naidoo. “Young people are putting their leaders to shame with the passion and determination they are showing to fight this crucial battle now.

New Year Message from The PODS TEAM

 
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It’s been another incredibly busy year at PODS and although much of what we have achieved has been going on behind the scenes, the PODS Team has not wasted a single day (or night!) in getting PODS firmly off the ground!

The architects and the numerous consultants that we have engaged in order to meet the requirements of the permitting process and make sure we have done all our due diligence, have been hard at work all year - resulting in twenty-one (yes 21!) detailed reports about the viability and practicality of the PODS project.  As a result, I am very pleased to announce that on 13th December the first reading of our rezoning application was passed unanimously and unopposed at the SCRD Planning Committee Meeting.  So, first of all, I would like to thank all those wonderful consultants for doing such a great job on such a tight timeline – your excitement and commitment to PODS is inspiring and extremely reassuring.  I would particularly like to thank Jeremiah Deustcher, our incredible architect and the brains behind the PODS design, who has done so much to help coordinate all these consultants and generally gone way, way beyond the call of duty in every respect!  Thank you Jeremiah!

All through this last year the Board of Directors of the Lagoon Society and the PODS Team have been working diligently on strategic planning and developing the PODS Business Plan as well as creating what we call the PODS Operational Model (POM).  There would be no point in going to all the trouble of building PODS if it wasn’t going to be able to pay for itself and be sustainable in the long-term. We built POM to make absolutely sure we could deliver on that.  POM consists of a gigantic spreadsheet that holds data about all the potential revenue sources, with assumptions that have been widely researched and validated as realistic sources of income, as well as every conceivable cost associated with these activities in very fine detail. Together with a complex combination of algorithms and calculations, POM produces a one-page predicted three-year financial statement and the bottom-line for whatever scenario of different revenue streams you choose.  This amazing tool enables us to calculate not only if PODS is viable, but also if it is sustainable in the long term.  THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT PODS IS BOTH VIABLE AND SUSTAINABLE!!

The draft PODS Business Plan and all the assumptions behind it will be presented at two public meetings coming up in the New Year, one in Madeira Park and one at Irvines Landing. The detailed results of all this hard work will be on display and various consultants will be there to answer questions.  We will be asking everyone for their comments and suggestions. We are here to work with the community to come up with a plan that works for us all.  Announcements about the meetings will be made very soon and we very much look forward to seeing you all there.

We thank you all again for your continued support and encouragement and particularly to all the staff and hundreds and hundreds of volunteers who have brought us this far!!  We could not have done this without you, and the PODS Team salutes this incredible community which we are all so fortunate to be a part of.

Wishing you all a Very Happy New Year and are looking forward to getting down to the nitty gritty on PODS in 2019!!

Warm wishes everyone,

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Michael and The PODS Team

 
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Diver's BioBlitz

Ocean Quest Divers were in town last weekend, completing their Master Diver Program, and helping us with our Citizen Science Project Bioblitz. Staying at local resorts, and contributing to the local winter economy, these divers absolutely love diving Pender Harbour, and enjoyed a  Saturday dive at Martin's Cove, Francis Peninsula, and a Sunday dive at Crosstree lane, Irvine's Landing. Each diver was interviewed after their dive, and a 6 page species list was compiled. Special thanks to our local divers Sam and Vince who shared local knowledge and support.

Highlights include Opalescent squid egg pouches! Copper Rockfish, Lingcod, Decorated warbonnets, Giant nudibranchs, Giant chitons, Swimming scallops, and Crimson anemones. Divers commented on the amazing amount of biodiversity around Pender Harbour and the clarity of the water being excellent.

Merry Christmas everyone!