Reconnecting with the St. Lawrence River

The majestic St. Lawrence River has been a great influence on the cultural, as well as the natural, history of Quebec and Canada.  Unfortunately, during the course of the last century, this mighty river has suffered greatly due to pollution.  Although water quality has improved  during the past decade, the St. Lawrence still has a bad reputation when it comes to recreational use.

The David Suzuki Foundation hopes to dispel myths about the state of the St. Lawrence with a week of activities along the river in June aimed at encouraging people to reconnect with the great waterway.  From June 7 to 15, the Semaine du St-Laurent will feature activities throughout Quebec, including a family fishing day at Valleyfield, swimming at Montreal’s Old Port and a downtown barbeque of sustainable seafood from the St. Lawrence.  For more information, click here to see The Gazette’s May 27th article.

The St. Lawrence, it’s our River!  Le Saint-Laurent, c’est notre fleuve!” 


There’s a Buzz about Bees!

The European Union plans to restrict the use of three pesticides to protect bee populations.  Bees are critically important to the environment by providing pollination for a wide variety of crops and wild plants, thereby ensuring biodiversity.  In the past decade, beekeepers have noticed a steady decline in the bee population which could have dire long-term consequences for the environment.  This proposed ban by the EU of three neonicotinoid pesticides on plants and cereals that attract bees is welcome news to farmers, beekeepers and environmentalists.  To read more about it, click here.

flowers, cartoon, grass, insects, bees

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Earth Day 2013

Come to the library to celebrate Earth Day and partake in our special events (see March 23 blog for details).

Also, take a look at our Reference island display featuring some of our library’s resources on the environment and consult our handout for useful links and a list of our most recent resources.  For more resources, search our on-line catalogue using such subjects as environmental protection, sustainability, recycling, ecology, pollution.

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Lead and our health

Lead is extremely toxic and poses a very dangerous health risk to people. It can lead to brain damage and learning difficulties.  Children are especially vulnerable to this toxin.  During the Industrial Revolution the use of lead was prevalent and also during the 1920s when lead was added to gasoline. There is an excellent article in the Jan./Feb. 2013 issue of Mother Jones linking violent crime, lower IQs and lead throughout the 20th century.

In Canada unleaded gasoline was introduced in 1975 and leaded gasoline was finally phased out by 1990.   Because lead concentrations in our air have declined since the 1970s, the blood lead levels of Canadians have also seen a steady decline by about 70%.  However, lead exposure is still something we should be aware of, since, for example, it can be found in soil and in older homes due to leaded paint.  See the Health Canada website for information on how to minimize your risks when renovating older homes.  And to find out more about how you can limit your exposure to this dangerous substance, click here.

The legacy of Rachel Carson

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On a farther shore : the life and legacy of Rachel Carson  by William Souder  was published in 2012 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the environmental classic Silent Spring by Rachel Carson.

Rachel Carson had a profound influence on the environmental movement when it was in its infancy and was instrumental in bringing the world’s attention to the detrimental effects of pesticides, especially DDT.  For more information on her life and legacy, click here.