Humane Society’s ‘Seals Need Our Help’ Video.

Seals Need Our Help - HSIBelieve it or not, they’re still clubbing harp seal pups in Canada. The “Seals Need Our Help” video is a reminder that even though demand for products containing seal fur is down, and even banned in many countries, the hunt continues. Calling it a hunt is a stretch; it’s more like real-life Whac-A-Mole with a hakapik instead of a padded mallet.


Jubbling Break: Golden Eagle Tries To Snatch A Kid In Montreal.

Won’t even attempt to find Jubbling in this video of a golden eagle trying to snatch and fly away with a toddler. Not so sure about the musical score though. What do you think of the video – legit? [Buzzfeed]

Update: The video is not legit. The Chariots of Fire music should’ve given it away.


How Do You Turn Tar Sands Into Oil? (Hint: It’s Not Pretty)

Tar Sands OilScientific American posted a slide-show outlining the labor intensive, energy consuming, chemically extracted and waste producing steps needed to turn tar sands into oil. The coal industry must love this! Thanks to tar sands oil, big-coal’s new slogan might be: “We suck less!” [Scientific American]


Everything You Didn’t Want To Know About Canadian Tar Sand Oil

Extracting oil from tar sands

Processing plant extracting oil from tar sands.

How do you extract oil from sand? Simply put, you pick up and crush 50,000+ sq miles of earth, heat the heck out of it, and then sprinkle in some chemicals to separate out the oil from the sand and water. That is currently how oil is extracted from the tar sands and there’s enough of it in Calgary’s Athabasca oil sands to make Canada the world’s 2nd largest producer of oil. As oil goes, tar sand oil is not that pretty and it costs 3 times as much to produce as oil from a drilled well. The environmental land damage from this type of surface mining is not calculated in the cost but alone, the amount of resources needed to separate the oil from sand makes tar sand oil the world’s most expensive.

I’d mostly stayed away from the tar sands and Keystone XL pipeline story until I read a great article by Carl Pope in The Huffington Post. Mr. Pope is the former Executive Director of the Sierra Club and if you get a chance, read “The Myths Behind the Tar Sands Stampede.”

Related article: Pollutants from Tar Sands Sites Comparable to Mid-Sized City


Maybe A Sign Of Things To Come…

Gray Seals Blamed For Cod Fishery Collapse The NY Times Green Blog posted an article, “Smarting Over Cod Shortages, Fishermen Blame Seals,” that caught my attention. Last year, the Canadian Fisheries Dept. considered the idea to cull 73,000 gray seals from an estimated population of 350,000 in order to help resurrect their struggling cod fishery. According to an article in Canada’s National Post, the grey seal population doubles every ever 7 years and adult seals can reach a full-grown weight of 500 lbs. Marc Surette, executive director of the Nova Scotia Fish Packers Association points out they at their adult size, gray seals “eat more fish than any fleet could possibly take.”

But Rebecca Aldworth of the Humane Society of Canada doesn’t agree that the gray seals should take all of the blame and points out in the NY Times article:

“Seals and codfish co-existed for millennia. That shows that the problem lies elsewhere.”

Ms. Aldworth then points to “overfishing, by catch from other fisheries and damage to cod spawning grounds from offshore oil exploration” as a possible cause of the cod fishery collapse.

It’s no different here in the Pacific NW; we’ve been blaming sea lions for the drop in salmon stocks for years rather than taking responsibility for development around critical spawning grounds and over-fishing. And more recently, people have been taking action against the sea lions as 7 were recently found shot dead around the Puget Sound.

As our resources dwindle and our population booms, are we headed toward more of this? Speciesism? I hope not because we’re getting closer to the Aztecs and their sacrifice ceremonies meant to keep the sun rising and universe happy. Looking at it today, the idea that cutting out a person’s heart would somehow control the solar system sounds asinine. I hope we don’t have to look back at knee-jerk ideas like clubbing thousands of gray seals for cod fillets the same way we look back at the crazy stuff the Aztecs did. But wait a second, maybe we’re already doing this. [National Post via NY Times]