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Is your supermarket ‘climate-friendly’? Here’s how to tell

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this week:

  • Is your supermarket ‘climate friendly’?Here is how to tell
  • “This is it”: A closer look at the popular climate meme
  • Researchers say air pollution is changing how our brains work

Is your supermarket ‘climate friendly’?Here is how to tell

A freezer is depicted as a man pushing a shopping cart in a supermarket. (Agustin Marcarian/Reuters)

I wrote for the first time two weeks ago. the whole thing? More than half a year story. It was for me to take time off from work to catch up on other parts of my life.

But I never stopped thinking about the climate story. A project on Drawdown Toronto caught my attention while on vacation. It is a branch of Project Drawdown, a global non-profit organization dedicated to advancing effective solutions to combat climate change.

They recruited volunteers at a local eco fair in November to map grocery stores that still use powerful greenhouse gas refrigerants called HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons).

drawdown toronto When Drawdown BC both climate friendly supermarket This project was started by another non-profit organization called the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). The goal is to motivate supermarkets to significantly reduce their emissions by switching to greener refrigerants.

HFCs can trap thousands of times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2). Project drawdown Preventing HFC emissions and replacing them with more climate-friendly refrigerants such as ammonia and CO2 is one of the most effective actions to combat climate change.

Meanwhile, the EIA investigation found widespread leaks from grocery stores. In the United States alone, it’s calculated that his HFC leaks from supermarkets cause as much global warming as he burns 22 million tons of coal each year.

I contribute regularly “Citizen Science” App (Also “Regional Science” App) like eBird iNaturalistbirds, insects, and other creature sightings for databases used by scientistsThey offer opportunities to help the public collect a wide range of data that would otherwise be very difficult or impossible to obtain. I also participated and learned a lot.

So I became interested in a supermarket mapping project and signed up to collaborate.

About a week later, Drawdown Toronto contacted me by email and assigned me and another volunteer to a nearby grocery store. I was supposed to go to Shoppers Drug Mart, which is a few kilometers from my house.

Once there, I followed the instructions sent to me by Drawdown Toronto and looked for the label on the top of each refrigerator or freezer in the store. They had sent me an example so I knew what to look for. I took some pictures with my phone (much easier than taking pictures of birds and insects). The employees didn’t ask me what I was doing, but if they had, I would have been happy to explain.

According to the label, the freezer at that particular store was manufactured in 2012 and used HFC refrigerant R404A with a global warming potential of 3,922. This means that over 100 years, 1 ton of R404A can warm the atmosphere by 3,922 tonnes of CO2. This is not good.

After I got home, I emailed the photos to EIA. A few weeks later it appeared as a little red dot indicating the store was using his HFC. Stores using natural refrigerants such as CO2 are shown as green dots, while stores using both are shown as orange dots.

Anyone can add a local grocery store, but there are still many areas in Canada that have no supermarkets mapped.

Avipsa Mahapatra, climate campaign leader at the Environmental Investigation Agency, said she hopes the map will raise awareness, motivate supermarkets to take action, and help shoppers choose more climate-friendly stores. said.

CBC News will soon cover more on HFCs and their impact on the climate, Canada’s refrigerant regulations, and how Canadian grocery stores compare to the rest of the world.

Emily Chan

reader feedback

Vivian Unger:

“Your article about the need to find a more sustainable form of transportation than flying resonated with me. I live on the Atlantic coast of Canada where passenger rail is terribly bad. It runs at full speed due to track conditions and is slower than a bus even if it arrives on time. As far as I know, the liberal government has done nothing to improve rail travel since its inception.

“This is a vast, vast country and we need a way around it. But Canada is the only G7 country that has no high-speed rail at all. This should be seen as a national disgrace. Dealing with [Transportation Minister] Omar Al Ghabra’s top priority. ”

Old issue of What on Earth? I’m here.

CBC News has a dedicated climate page where you can find here.

Also check out our radio shows and podcasts. This week we examine how the ongoing drought in Somalia is causing ripple effects here in Canada. the whole It airs on Sundays at 11:00 AM ET and 11:30 AM in Newfoundland and Labrador. Subscribe in your favorite podcast app or listen on demand. CBC listen.

The big picture: “This is fine.” But what is it all about memes?

Two comic panels depict a yellow dog in a hat sitting at a table and drinking coffee.  In the second panel he said: "This is fine."
The “This is fine” meme consists of the first two panels of KC Green’s 2013 comic strip On Fire. (KC Green)

It’s difficult to quantify the popularity of a particular internet joke, but the “this is fine” meme is arguably one of the more popular examples. Seen above, it’s his two-panel illustration of a mordant dog drinking coffee in a burning room, reassuring the reader that “this is it.” When web users want to satirize society’s lack of urgency for issues such as COVID-19, far-right extremism, and climate change, this is the meme they often pick up.

The graphics are the work of Massachusetts illustrator KC Green and are actually part of a six panel comic strip. on fire (part of him gun show webcomic series), which he posted online about ten years ago. But it’s his omitted two-panel version that got stuck.

Memes have become one of the leading forms of modern storytelling for individuals and organizations alike, and Green’s creations have become an important part of climate change communication. for example, Greenpeace uses green artwork to illustrate Amazon’s deforestation problemYou can purchase items that are marked with “that’s no good” Tired Earth replaces the Green Hound.

of Recent interview on CBC Radio as it happens, Green said the original comic strip was actually meant to reflect his feelings about taking antidepressants and the effect it had on his character. He’s optimistic about the fact that his own comic is being used in a completely different context.

The past decade has “helped me understand my perception of art,” he told host Nil Köksal. “I had a webcomic schedule for myself at the time, so maybe it was just a comic. But people are taking what they want from your art – half the time without your permission.” .

Hot and Stumped: Provocative Ideas on the Web

Researchers say air pollution is changing how our brains work

You can see the skyline through the smoky air under the gray sky.
Metrotown Tower taken through smoke from Burnaby, British Columbia, Friday, October 14, 2022. (Ben Nerms/CBC)

Researchers at the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria have found that exposure to traffic pollution alters how the brain works.

“Air pollution is affecting the way we think, and it can have serious implications for public health,” said the director of UBC’s Air Pollution Exposure Laboratory and one of the researchers on the study. Chris Carsten, , was published in the journal on January 14. environmental hygiene.

Carlsten says that just two hours of exposure to diesel exhaust changed the connectivity of brain functions.

The areas most affected, he says, are related to memory and attention.

Changes in connectivity have been linked to cognitive decline and symptoms of depression, so “traffic pollution disrupting these same networks is worrisome,” said an associate professor of psychology at the University of Victoria and a researcher. Lead author Jodie Gawryluk said:

The study measured brain activity in 25 healthy adults exposed to regular diesel exhaust and filtered air. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) captured bright patches of brain activity that varied between exposure to polluted air and clean air filtered from pollutants.

Carlsten says the images show clear differences between both scenarios, but adds that more research is needed to understand what these differences mean.

Although the results of the study raise more questions, Carlsten says the researchers are certain about one thing: air pollution and climate change are altering how the brain functions.

“We are all exposed [to traffic pollution]It could have a huge impact not just in BC and the region, but globally. [for change].”

Dr. Melissa Lem, president of the Canadian Association of Environmental Physicians, says one-third of Canadians live within 250 meters of a highway.

“This shows that a lot of people are affected by traffic-related air pollution,” she said, with effects ranging from developmental delays in childhood to heart disease, cancer and brain changes. I added that it is

“People may notice brain fog when we are exposed to certain things… lack of concentration… [or feeling] “I’m a little more frustrated and tired,” she said.

Carsten said the pollution levels used in the study were comparable to air pollution in cities such as Delhi, India, and industries such as mining.

“Working in confined spaces and poorly ventilated environments are at greatest risk,” he said.

He added that BC is not immune to these problems as it is exposed to wildfire smoke every year. More research is needed on the effects of wood smoke on the brain, but Carlsten speculates that the results will be similar.

“Diesel exhaust shares many similar characteristics with fire smoke in terms of particles,” Carsten said.

To avoid adverse effects, Rem suggests wearing an N95 mask, especially on smoky days, and investing in a good air filtration system.

“From a wider community perspective, we need to keep more cars off the road,” she said.

“We are facing a climate crisis and an air pollution crisis at the same time, both caused by the burning of fossil fuels. Moving more people from cars to bikes and sidewalks will help us tackle both at the same time. can.”

Artie Tayaparan

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