Author Archives: Friends of Nature

Our Youngest Board Member Won 2 Volunteer Awards!

Dear Friends:

Friends of Nature are proud to report that Maria Kirby Breen, our youngest Board Member and our Membership Director, has received both a Volunteer Award from the Municipality of the District of Chester and the Youth Volunteer Award for all of Nova Scotia.
Maria Kirby Breen
This picture shows Maria about to receive the award from our MLA, the Honourable Hugh MacKay, and Floyd Shatford, the Deputy Warden of the Municipality.  Syd Dumaresq is reading the citation illustrating why Maria richly deserves the award.  Rudy would be so proud!Syd Dumaresq, Chair, Friends of Nature

ECO-RALLY #2 – PICTOU RISING! A Conversation with Joan Baxter

Dear Friends,

Please join us for ECO-RALLY #2 – PICTOU RISING! “A Conversation with Joan Baxter”!

http://www.friends-of-nature.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/ECO-RALLY-2-Pictou-Rising.jpgWhen: TUESDAY, APRIL 2– 7PM
Where: MARGARET’S CENTRE, 2 WESTWOOD BLVD., UPPER TANTALLON, NS 

Incisive, no nonsense, take no prisoners. Joan Baxter’s brilliant exposé “The Mill – Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest” tells the story of shocking government/industry collusion and a community that refuses to take it. Having destroyed the Pictou Landing First Nation’s Boat Harbour, now Pictou’s Northern Pulp mill wants to dump its effluent in the Northumberland Strait. An extraordinary battle is playing out on our province’s north shore and Baxter’s award-winning book is at its very centre.

Journalist, anthropologist, development consultant, mother of two much of Joan’s career was in Africa. Home again at last, she now applies her deep knowledge of direct investment in Africa, extractive industries, regulatory capture, environmental rights and justice, food sovereignty and sustainable farming and food systems, to life here in Nova Scotia and Canada.

Interviewing Joan on stage, former CBC journalist Jennifer Henderson. Now with the Halifax Examiner, her publisher calls Henderson “a reporter’s reporter.” Expertise in a host of current local issues like the QE2 replacement, tidal power, NSP, and the state of our nursing homes.

Homemade snacks, tea and coffee provided.

Pay-What-You-Can

For information and media inquiries, call 902-823-1404.

Sponsored by Five Bridge Wilderness Heritage Trust, Friends of Nature, Healthy Forest Coalition, St. Margaret’s Bay Stewardship Association, Transition Bay St Margarets, Woodens River Watershed Environmental Organization.

Download the PDF here: ECO-RALLY #2 Pictou Rising

Legal Action for Nova Scotia’s Species at Risk

Dear Friends:

Jamie Simpson, one of our board members, is acting for Bob Bancroft and three other groups in launching this action to require the NS Government to  live up to their legislated requirement to protect species at risk.

Friends of Nature fully supports this action. Great work Jamie and Bob!


Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moose
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moose

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 24, 2019   Halifax, Nova Scotia

Wildlife biologist Bob Bancroft and nature organizations launch legal action for Nova Scotia’s species at risk

Mr. Bob Bancroft and three of Nova Scotia’s naturalists’ societies say it is time to ask the courts to intervene on behalf of Nova Scotia’s most at-risk wildlife and plants.

“The Department of Lands and Forestry has mandatory legal obligations under the Endangered Species Act that have not been fulfilled,” explains retired Acadia University biology professor Dr. Soren Bondrup-Nielsen, president of Blomidon Naturalists Society, one of the parties to the legal proceedings.  “We’re simply asking the Court to tell our government to do what it is already required to do by law.”

In court documents filed today, the applicants allege that the Department of Lands and Forestry (formerly the Department of Natural Resources) has failed to meet its legal obligations with respect to 34 species, including mainland moose, wood turtle, bank swallow, and a host of other species designated at risk in Nova Scotia.

“The Department has not yet identified core habitat for our mainland moose, a requirement that is now over-due by more than a decade,” says wildlife biologist Bob Bancroft, president of the Federation of Nova Scotia Naturalists (also known as Nature Nova Scotia).

The legal documents allege that the Department of Lands and Forestry has not yet identified a single acre of core habitat of threatened and endangered species, despite the legal requirement to do so under the Endangered Species Act.

Other short-comings noted in the documents include failures to appoint recovery teams and create recovery plans within the time-frames required under the Act.

“This is a rule of law case,” notes Jamie Simpson, lawyer for the applicants.  “The Act requires the Minister of Lands and Forestry to do certain things towards the recovery of species at risk in Nova Scotia.  We are asking the Court to uphold the rule of law and require the Department to abide by the Act.”

The Department’s short-comings with respect to species at risk has been reported several times.  In 2015, the East Coast Environmental Law Association published a report calling on the Department to address the alleged violations of the Species at Risk Act.  In 2016, the Office of the Auditor General of Nova Scotia published a review of the Department’s track-record on species at risk, noting the alleged failure to fulfill mandatory requirements under the Act.

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For more information:

Bob Bancroft: 902 386 2501 , wild1@eastlink.ca

Soren Bondrup-Nielsen: 902-582-3971,  soren@bondrup.com

Jamie Simpson: 902 817 1737, jamie@juniperlaw.ca

 

64th Annual General Meeting Recap

Dear Friends,

Friends of Nature held our 64th Annual General Meeeting on October 11, 2018 in Chester NS. The meeting was followed by a showing by the Ecology Action Centre of the excellent documentary on the evils of Biomass electrical generation titled “Burned”.

The documentary was followed by a discussion lead by our friend Ray Plourde, Wilderness Director of the EAC. Attendance was over 60 people, which was encouraging on a dark and stormy night.

The attached document below is an outline of my Chair’s report, which summarizes our activities over the past year, starting with a tribute to our dear Friend and Founder: Rudy Haase.

Syd Dumaresq, Chair Friends of Nature

Lahey Report Critiques

Dear Friends:

Our colleague Ray Plourde from the Ecology Action Centre has released a detailed critique of the Lahey Report on forestry practices.

The Lahey report was released to Government in August of this year. As of today no comments have been received from Government.

Here are links to Ray’s critique, a critique from Healthy Forests Coalition and the Lahey Report itself.

Excellent reading.

With thanks to Ray and also the Health Forest Coalition.

Syd Dumaresq, Chair, Friends of Nature

Burned Documentary

“Burned” Documentary Screening and Annual General Meeting

Would you like to know more about the devastating effects of clear cutting our forests to provide fodder for giant electrical generating furnaces not only in here Nova Scotia but also in Europe, as we export shiploads of wood chips there???

The Friends of Nature, Canada’s oldest environmental conservation group, in collaboration with the Ecology Action Centre will present the documentary Burned followed by a discussion moderated by Ray Plourde, Wilderness Coordinator for the EAC, on the devastating effects of biomass electrical generation.

The screening will follow the Friends of Nature Annual General Meeting to which the public is invited.

Date: Thursday October 11, 2018
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: St Stephen’s Anglican Parish Community Centre, 60 Regent St., Chester, NS.

Contact: Syd Dumaresq, syd@spda.ca (902) 456-4772

Burned Documentary

No Pipe Protest Pictou

Friends of Nature was well represented at last Friday’s No Pipe Protest in Pictou.

Brad Armstrong and Syd Dumaresq from the Friends of Nature Board were there as well as many of our members and friends from sister organizations. Congratulations to Ray Plourde and the EAC and others for getting thousands of people and 300 boats to Pictou to protest this incredibly backward proposal.

No Pipe Protest Pictou, Nova Scotia

Imagine if the mill decided to dump 70 to 80 million liters of effluent into Pictou Harbour every day. There would be blood in the streets. What makes them think the solution is merely to pipe said affluent out into the Strait, mid way between NS & PEI?

Here is a terrific article by Ray Plourde from Friday’s paper: http://thechronicleherald.ca/opinion/1582218-opinion-northern-pulp%E2%80%99s-pipe-plan-is-an-ask-too-far

No Pipe Protest Pictou, Nova Scotia

Stop the madness!

Forest Alerts – NOPIPE – Pictou Mill Rally – July 6

Dear Friends,

Friends of Nature strongly supports this No Pipe Rally. The idea of piping that pollution from the mill in Pictou into the Northumberland Strait is ludicrous. Keep reading below for more information.

Best regards
Syd Dumaresq, Chair, Friends of Nature.

The Healthy Forest Coalition Presents: Forest Alerts

No Pipe Rally in PictouNo Pipe Rally in Pictou

Your help is needed! Please make plans to attend the big No Pipe Rally in Pictou – July 6 – Noon to 2 PM. And please help spread the word far and wide. What happens next will affect our land, water, air and forests for years to come. Please come and bring lots of friends!

The Healthy Forest Coalition strongly supports the Friends of Northumberland Strait and Northumberland Fisherman’s Association in their efforts in the organization of this rally and we urge you to take part. These two groups have also made efforts to spread of awareness about some of the consequences that can be associated with not only the proposed straight effluent pipe, and it’s subsequent impacts on the surrounding marine ecosystems, but also the impacts of the excessive reliance on clearcut practices on our forests.

The following has been published on the Friends of Northumberland Strait Facebook event for the #NOPIPE: Land and Sea Rally.

Protect Our Strait!
Be a voice politicians cannot ignore!
Northern Pulp’s proposal to discharge 70-90 million litres of treated pulp waste into the Northumberland Strait daily has drawn broad concern from fishermen, citizens, businesses, municipalities, tourism associations, sport fishing groups and environmental organizations. They all say too much is at stake:

– ​Health of the Northumberland Strait and its many marine species
– $2 billion in fish exports annually
– $200 million in Northumberland Shore tourism revenue annually
– $56+ million sport fishing industry annually
– Small business
– Property values
– Social well-being and quality of life

Make July 6th a day to raise your voice for No Pipe in Our Strait. Join us to be a force that politicians cannot ignore.

RALLY BY LAND
12:00 pm Citizen March
Gather at Pictou Exhibition Grounds & bring your favourite NO PIPE sign! March will take approximately 15 minutes.

1:00 pm Rally Centre Stage, Hector Quay Marina
Cheer fishing boats into harbour, listen to messages of support, show we are united and strong.

RALLY BY SEA
All boats welcome!
12:30 pm All boats meet at the mouth of Pictou Harbour
12:30 pm Small watercraft to gather along Pictou waterfront shore
– If you have a VHF radio, switch to channel 68 for further instructions and to hear Land Rally activities.
– RCMP and Coast Guard will be in the harbour to ensure everyone’s safety. Boat Safely!
– Any passengers wishing to join rally activities on land, may be dropped off at Hector Quay Marina before 12:30pm.

For more information, please visit:
https://www.nopiperally.com/
https://www.friendsofthenorthumberlandstrait.ca

Please attend this pivotal rally in support of the both sustainable fisheries and forestry in Nova Scotia! Large number of attendees are essential to demonstrate that these are issues that Nova Scotians care about and are willing to stand up for.

Recruit your friends to join you and don’t just share the link on social media, or over mass emails, please call your friends, spread awareness about the issues and invite them to join you at this essential rally!

Let us know if you will be driving to Pictou and are willing to bring others along with you, or if you are looking for a ride yourself. You can get in touch with us by replying to this email.

A group calling themselves “Our Rising” will also be providing a small bus to take folks from Halifax. You can get in touch with them over Facebook here.

Everyone is also invited to stay after the event and join us for lobster and refreshments at the Pictou Lobster Carnival!

Forestry: Chipping our forests on the cheap

Public land and wildlife continue to be destroyed, yet are absent from industry costs

Pulp companies use softwoods like spruce to manufacture paper products. They obtain leases to cut wood on Crown land, in forests owned by the public.

The leases allow them to cut hardwood trees on Crown land.

When other energy prices, such as natural gas, soar, it becomes economic to burn hardwoods in the Point Tupper biomass plant to produce electricity, at an efficiency rate of less than 21.5 per cent. To put this in perspective, a woodstove can have an efficiency rate about 80 per cent to produce heat.

Margins go up and margins go down, but one important aspect not factored into this equation as corporations adapt to profit, is the cost to wildlife. Animals are crushed under heavy equipment as they cower in their dens. Songbirds made their homes in these forests.

They are nowhere on the financial statement. The cost to wildlife can be the ultimate price…

Read the rest of  this terrific article on forestry which our friend and FON Conservation Award winner Bob Bancroft recently published in the Herald: http://thechronicleherald.ca/business/1543413-commentary-chipping-our-forests-on-the-cheap


 

Also a friendly reminder that if you haven’t renewed your Friends of Nature membership this would be a great time to do so. You can renew or join on our website! It’s important to our conservation efforts that we are able to tell politicians we represent a large number of Nova Scotians.

Many thanks for your interest and support.

Syd Dumaresq, Chair Friends of Nature.

Presentation to the Independent Review of Forest Practices

Yesterday, December 7, 2017 a delegation from Friends of Nature made a presentation to the Independent Review of Forest Practices, led by Professor Bill Lahey. Our presentation was well received and resulted in a healthy discussion with Mr Lahey.

A copy of our brief is follows . . .

December 7, 2017
Presentation to Bill Lahey

Ken MacRury – Woodlot owner
Brad Armstrong – Conservation Director, Friends of Nature & woodlot owner
Syd Dumaresq –Chair, Friends of Nature

The current state of the forestry in Nova Scotia is reminiscent of the coal and steel industry that existed in the 1950’s and 60’s when valiant efforts on the part of all levels of government were made to save a dying industry that had served its time and was no longer viable. The industry died, not because Nova Scotia ran out of coal but because it was no longer able to compete in the global economy. We suspect that something similar is happening with the forest industry. We believe that both Stora and Bowater saw the future and took the actions they did. Stora moved to Argentina where trees grow five times faster, labour rates are lower, taxes are lower, and supply lines are shorter. The two remaining pulp and paper plants are being propped up with government subsidies which are likely to disappear.

As others have said, in the 1800’s Nova Scotia was producing the finest lumber in North America, for ship building, for export to Europe and the USA; by the early 1900’s the big trees were mostly gone so we started the pulp and paper mills making newsprint, toilet paper and eventually super calendar paper, mostly for export; and in this century the supply of trees has become so constricted that we are reduced to making biomass, mostly for export. The trees for the two remaining paper mills and for the saw mills are being supplied at rock bottom stumpage fees from Crown lands or from private woodlands where supply most often depends on a rural poverty motivator.

Friends of Nature believe the forest industry is dying in its present form, it’s just that most people have not yet realized that fact. Instead of discussing a paradigm shift the discussion is about minor shifts that may or may not extend the current situation.

This province has the capacity to grow wonderful large trees of high value but only if we give the forests time. The race to the bottom is being fueled by a desperate search for profits in an industry that is becoming more uneconomic every year.

A paradigm shift will not be easy or painless, jobs will be lost, companies will go bankrupt, but overall the province will emerge a better place and an industry will be rebuilt. Friends of Nature suggest that the Province should look at the sunsetting of current forestry practices over a long term renewal program for the forest. The first to go should be whole tree harvesting which should immediately stop on all crown lands, next would be clearcutting, say 25 years to be completely eliminated on all crown lands. After that the province would allow only selective harvesting on crown lands with a size or age range for trees harvested.

The main purpose of crown land would be to create a carbon sequestration forest that would be the lungs of the province, taking in carbon and breathing out oxygen.

The province would be able to sell carbon credits derived from the crown lands on a regulated market, which would help finance the transition from machine intensive clear cutting to selective forestry.
Nova Scotia would become a world leader in forestry.

There was a very interesting article in the Herald in November by Soren Bondrup- Nielsen, a retired professor from Acadia, which supplies interesting support documentation for such a radical transformation.

He provides real numbers. When we look at two of them, jobs in the forest industry and volume harvested, we see that employment in the industry has fallen from a high of 12,000 in the late 1990’s to about 5,500 today and we suspect this is still falling. The volume harvested in cubic meters hit a high point in the late 1990’s of six million cubic meters and has decreased to 3.5 million cubic meters in 2016.

Those numbers seem to speak of an industry in rapid decline and would again seem to mirror what happened in the coal and steel industry during its decline and eventual failure. Prof. Bondrup-Nielsen advocates the growth of large diameter trees and carbon sequestration in the forests of Nova Scotia which would allow for a supply of large logs harvested selectively for the value added sawmill industry and the sale of carbon credits under a cap-and-trade system.

Friends of Nature believe those objectives would be supported by most Nova Scotians.

During the transition period noted above we strongly recommend:

• Implementation of FSC certification on all crown lands. The only large amount of
wood left, except on private lands, is in south western NS. This is part of the former Bowater lands that was already FSC certified. With FSC certification we, the public, has input in all the harvest plans ( After all we own the crown lands). FSC is a much better standard of forestry, eg bigger buffers, longer harvest rotations, public input and protection of the forest canopy.
• An immediate halt to forest biomass for generation of electricity
• An immediate reduction of 50% in clearcutting on crown land
• A halt to the export of wood pellets for biomass
• More input from indigenous peoples in forest policy

Friends of Nature Conservation Society