Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Ontario Needs at Least One Billion More Trees

Trees Ontario urges a green New Year's Resolution: help plant a tree and address a serious tree planting gap in Southern Ontario

TORONTO, December 29, 2009 /Canada NewsWire/ - More than a billion trees need to be planted across southern Ontario to help restore natural cover and protect our watersheds, Trees Ontario has announced.

In a year end summary of tree planting results, Trees Ontario, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the "re-greening" of southern Ontario, reported that we are falling far short of the number of trees needed to help protect our environment.

"Even though more than 3 million trees were planted in the watersheds of southern Ontario in 2009, we are not doing nearly enough tree planting," states Michael Scott, Trees Ontario's President and CEO. "In the 1980's, we helped protect our ecosystem by planting between 20 to 30 million trees each year across our rural landscape."

"Experts tell us that to help restore the natural cover that protects the watersheds and creates woodlots and forested areas, we need at least 30% forest cover. Unfortunately current estimates indicate some areas in southern Ontario have as little as five per cent forest cover.

Southern Ontario has lost 99 per cent of its older growth forest, more than 94 per cent of its upland forests, and 70 per cent of its wetlands. Wildlife has paid a heavy price. There are now more species at risk in areas of southern Ontario than anywhere else in Canada.

To bring Ontario's forests back to minimum levels, at least a billion more trees should be planted across southern Ontario.

In the last few years, the Ontario government has begun to address this as part of its climate change policy. It has made a major commitment to plant 50 million trees by 2020, as its contribution to the United Nations' Billion Tree Campaign."

But we have long since passed the point where we can all sit back and expect our governments to solve these problems," says Michael Scott. "We cannot address this problem without public and corporate support and involvement."

For as little as $5 to cover the cost of planting one tree in 2010, and one seed for a tree to be planted in 2013, corporations, small businesses, individuals and rural landowners can help to solve a serious environmental problem, one tree at a time. Trees Ontario's immediate priority is to generate broad public support and increase annual tree planting levels to at least 10 million over the next five years.

Trees Ontario

Trees Ontario, working with its partners, is the largest, not-for-profit tree planting partnership in North America. It is committed to the re-greening of Ontario through a range of tree planting activities.

The goal of Trees Ontario is to restore the province's tree planting capacity, especially throughout southern Ontario on private lands, by providing funding and planning support for its tree planting partners. These include local Conservation Authorities, Ontario Stewardship Councils, municipal governments and community volunteer groups.

As a charitable organization, Trees Ontario relies on the financial support of donors, organizations, foundation grants and government to support its tree planting programs and initiatives.

This year, with its partners, Trees Ontario planted close to 3 million trees. Its goal is to support the planting of 10 million trees per year by 2015. Help us save the environment. One tree at a time. To participate, donate and to learn more visit the Trees Ontario website at

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

So long, Retirement

MONTREAL, December 16, 2009 /Canada NewsWire Telbec/ - The mass exodus of Canadian baby boomers may not be as dramatic as originally expected. In fact, more than three in ten people (31%) between the ages of 53 and 62 who responded to Desjardins Financial Security's 8th annual Rethink Retirement(TM) survey said they were more than five years away from retirement, and only 23% hope to stop working completely once they retire.

A risky approach

Although it's true that today's retirees remain active longer than previous generations, gradual retirement may not be the answer for everyone. On the one hand, close to half (47%) of the Canadian workers surveyed in the 2009 study indicated they hope to transition to retirement by gradually reducing their hours. On the other hand, only one in five current retirees retired gradually, while close to three quarters of them (72%) made a clean break. Is this due to different expectations or the changing times? Only time will tell. Nevertheless, with the 414,000 job losses that have occurred in Canada since November 2008(1), the question may be whether employers will be able to retain all of these retirees interested in transitioning out of the workplace.

What about those who want to work but can't?

Another consideration is whether employees will actually be able to continue working. According to Statistics Canada, four in ten Canadians over the age of 65 (1.7 million people) suffer from some sort of disability(2) that makes performing daily activities difficult or reduces the quality or type of activities they can participate in because of an impaired physical or mental state, or from some other health problems.

"The unfortunate thing is that people who can't afford to retire at age 65 are unlikely to ever be financially ready, and that's not good news for employers. Older workers are generally better paid than their younger counterparts, so employers are fully justified in expecting their employees to come to work in full possession of their faculties and because they want to be there, not out of financial necessity," adds Karrina Dusablon, Director, Education Centre and Global Management at Desjardins Financial Security.

Do you want to find out more?

Visit the Rethink Retirement section in the newsroom or the Meet the Experts section for interviews with health and retirement experts.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Global Warming Not the Only Thing Threatening Polar Bears

by David DeFranza

Images of polar bears hopelessly adrift on ice rafts are compelling, but the species faces other more subtle threats as well. It has long been known that mercury, which finds its way into snow and water from such human sources as coal-burning power plants, incinerators, and chlorine-producing plants, can travel up the food chain. Now, new research is showing exactly where mercury enters the polar bear diet, with findings that suggest much more severe exposure in... Read the full story on TreeHugger

Help plant a tree and send us an email at our new Treehoo account:

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Who did the recession hurt more: workers or retirees?

MONTREAL, December 3, 2009 /Canada NewsWire Telbec/ - Canadian workers and retirees experienced last year's recession very differently.

According to the results of Desjardins Financial Security's 2009 Rethink Retirement(TM) survey, two in five retirees say their financial situation deteriorated in 2009, compared to three in ten workers. Even more striking is the fact that more than one in four workers (26%) said that things improved, compared to one in ten retirees (8%).

What caused retirees' financial situation to deteriorate? More than one in four respondents cited stock market losses and a higher cost of living. When it came to workers, women were more likely to mention job losses than men (e.g., "the company closed and it took my husband a long time to find another job" or "My husband and I both lost our jobs").

Despite the recession, close to one in five workers surveyed reported that their income went up (raise, overtime, better job), while fewer than one in ten retirees could claim the same.

Is paying off debts the key to staying afloat? A significant number of workers aged 40 and over (26%) paid off their debts, while this number was 18% for all workers.

Seven in ten retirees stated that because of the deterioration in their financial situation, they are just barely covering their expenses.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Toronto Snow-Free in November For the First Time Since Medieval Warm Period

by Lloyd Alter, Toronto

Of course weather has nothing to do with climate, and we in Toronto haven't got hockey sticks right since 1967, and everyone says it has been getting cooler for a decade. But we just went through the first November without a single snowflake since they started keeping records in 1847 and I am greasing my bicycle, not waxing my snowboard. But global warming isn't happening, right? Who is denying what? Just sayin'. More in the Toronto Star: First snow-free November in 162 years?... Read the full story on TreeHugger