Climate change may hurt polar bears

A research model by scientists at Toronto’s York University and Edmonton’s University of Alberta attempts to advance the commonly held belief that climate change will lead to a decline of the world’s polar bear population, wrote the Calgary Sun May 26.

The new model looks at how climate change will impact the reproduction of polar bears over the next 40 years. “Failure to incorporate climate change effects into population projections can result in flawed conservation assessments and management decisions,” the researchers wrote in their report.

The information was gathered from populations in the western Hudson Bay and the southern Beaufort Sea. The findings show the world’s polar bear populations will continue to decline as temperatures rise.

Beautiful melodies of songbirds going quiet

In her book Silence of the Songbirds, professor Bridget Stutchbury, distinguished research professor of biology in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, laments the loss of songbirds in North America, wrote Niagara This Week May 25. There are many reasons for this loss. Heavy use of pesticides in Central and South America where many of these birds winter is just one reason. We too in the north are guilty, for some of the birds breed in our boreal forests which are rapidly being depleted through logging and urban sprawl. Because the birds migrate at night, millions of them are killed every year by flying into new, unexpected obstacles – skyscrapers, communications towers, wind farms.

The disinterested might say “So what?” Well, there’s far more to songbirds than the beauty of their plumages and the melody of their calls. One of the reasons for their long flight from South America is for the superabundance of food for them in our northern forests – black flies, mosquitoes etc. The climate and the food make Canada the perfect nesting grounds. Without the return of these pretty creatures, our life here would be much less pleasant, our crops less successful.

Apart from all of this, think of the “heart” of these tiny birds, flying every night for as much as six weeks in a row to reach their destinations. Surely they deserve our help. So buy carefully. Stutchbury suggests buying coffee grown in forests, not on plantations; using toilet tissue made from recycled paper; avoiding use of pesticides on our lawns and gardens.

York music student wins contest to perform with Zameer

Bridgenorth musician Taylor Abrahamse has won an online contest and will perform with singer-songwriter Zameer at Desifest on Saturday, wrote The Peterborough Examiner May 26.

“I’m really, really surprised,” said Abrahamse, in a telephone interview.

Abrahamse is in his second year at York University, but his first year as a music major.