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A Threat to Winnipeg’s Water Supply?




Kenora, ONWith Winnipeg’s drinking water under threat from a proposed crude oil pipeline, TransCanada’s consultation process is leaving residents and activists with more questions than answers.

In a project called “Energy East,” the TransCanada Corporation plans to convert an existing natural gas pipeline to transport up to 1.1 million barrels of crude oil ­from the tar sands, through Ontario, to refineries in eastern Canada.

Winnipeg-based environmental groups and members of Idle No More are concerned about how close the proposed pipeline will run to Shoal Lake, ON, the source of Winnipeg’s drinking water. A major concern raised by activists is the possibility of a spill so close to the water supply.

Idle No More activist Crystal Greene drove three hours from Winnipeg to attend an Energy East open house in Kenora, ON, which lies 50 kilometres east of Shoal Lake.

“As an Anishnabe-kwe, I see that it’s my role to protect the water, it’s the role of the women to protect the water,” Greene told The Dominion at the September 16, 2013, open house. “I feel like it’s my responsibility to speak up for that lake.”

Shoal Lake is not new to water issues. Residents of Shoal Lake #39 and #40 First Nations have been under a boil water advisory for over 12 years. The community must haul in their drinking water, at a cost of almost a quarter of a million dollars a year. When the Winnipeg aqueduct was built at Shoal Lake nearly a century ago, it cut across a burial ground and split part of the community, now known as Shoal Lake #40, into an island.

The open house in Kenora was staffed by over a dozen TransCanada employees and an Aboriginal relations firm. Staff answered questions and guided visitors through an exhibit, but were unable to provide concrete information about how close the pipeline will run to Shoal Lake. The exhibit’s detailed satellite maps of the pipeline’s path omitted the area west of Kenora to the Manitoba–Ontario border, where Shoal Lake lies. The non-profit advocacy group Council of Canadians lists Winnipeg and Shoal Lake #40 First Nation as being on or near the existing natural gas mainline.

Several Kenora-area activists who came to hand out leaflets about environmental issues were asked to leave the building. Red Lake, ON, resident Lawrence Angeconeb spoke to The Dominion in the parking lot while giving out leaflets. Angeconeb explained that if a leak were to occur in the existing natural gas pipeline, “the gas goes up, rather than down. With oil, if it ruptures, it goes down: into the soil, into the rivers.”

Climate and energy campaigner for the Council of Canadians Maryam Adrangi pointed out that the natural gas pipeline that TransCanada plans to convert for shipping crude is an old pipeline that was originally constructed without the consent of affected communities. “Communities on the ground are still not given the right to ultimately say ‘no,’ even though they are the ones who would have to face the true costs of a pipeline rupture,” she wrote in an email to The Dominion.

The effects of such a rupture could be devastating. In 2010, for example, a pipeline transporting diluted bitumen from the tar sands spilled into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River. Three years later, the oil is still being cleaned up. The diluting agent in the bitumen, necessary for pipeline transportation, vaporized during the spill and the remaining oil sank to the bottom of the river.

Adrangi added that the pipeline enables the expansion of “an already dirty industry which is severely impacting communities living downstream.”

Some Indigenous activists are concerned that their treaty rights, which should protect their land and communities, have been eroded by federal legislation passed last winter. The Idle No More movement took off last October, building on widespread opposition to Bill C-45.

The bill, passed in December 2012, changed environmental protection legislation such as the Navigation Protection Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. Since the changes, pipeline and power line companies are no longer required to demonstrate that their projects will not damage waterways, unless the waterway is on a list prepared by the transportation minister. Idle No More has claimed that this effectively removes protections for the vast majority of Canadian lakes and rivers.

Bill C-45 was accompanied by other omnibus bills, including Bill C-428 and Bill S-212. Together, the bills weakened environmental regulations, changed how appropriations of reserve land occur and decreased federal responsibility to protect waterways.

Greene said that these interlocking pieces of legislation clear the way for development and resource exploitation by eroding Indigenous land rights, which she called the “security net to protecting this land for people of all nations.”

Whether the new legislation has affected TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline consultation process is unclear. Although some media coverage has framed TransCanada’s open house events such as the one in Kenora as consultations, activists say that there was no meaningful dialogue or process to give input.

TransCanada spokesperson Philippe Cannon told The Dominion that the company is in the process of “stakeholder engagement and gathering information” before the company files for approval from the National Energy Board.

TransCanada has delayed filing its application with the National Energy Board until 2014, which may delay its anticipated start date for shipping crude oil. Once the filing is complete, the approval process could take between 18 and 24 months. The National Energy Board is currently conducting hearings on a second pipeline moving oil from western Canada, Enbridge’s Line 9B.

Cannon said that TransCanada’s stakeholder engagement strategy is to organize open houses, meet with landowners, and gather comments through TransCanada’s website. He said the public response to the project has been positive.

Some open houses have seen visible opposition, however, such as the one in North Bay, ON, where 50 people protested the project wearing satirical “SaveCanada” shirts in imitation of TransCanada employees’ attire.

When pressed, Cannon was unable to confirm whether TransCanada’s “stakeholder engagement strategy” represented the entirety of its consultation process. The National Energy Board’s website lists a number of acceptable consultation methods, including open house meetings, radio spots, and questionnaires. The Dominion spoke to about ten concerned area residents who expressed criticism of the open house format, which was not designed to invite residents’ opinions, especially critical ones.

Kenora resident Teika Newton followed the lead of North Bay activists and sported a “SaveCanada” T-shirt at the open house, where The Dominion interviewed her. “[The open house was] presented in a format where community discussion is not encouraged,” she said. “You’re having a lot of one-on-one conversations with people, each person coming in and getting a different piece of the puzzle.”

TransCanada did not organize an open house in Winnipeg, but held one in the community of Île-des-Chênes, 25 kilometres outside the city of Winnipeg. Greene said that the distance made the open house inaccessible to many Winnipeg residents.

Newton was concerned that even if the National Energy Board were to disapprove the project in response to community opposition, “the federal government has the authority to override decisions made by the NEB if it is in the national best interest.”

The Council of Canadians shares similar concerns. Bill C-45 and other omnibus bills passed by the Conservative government have sought to streamline approval processes for energy projects. Adrangi said this means shortening timelines and creating barriers to submitting complaints, such as providing “ten-page documents that interested participants need to fill out.”

In addition to environmental and safety issues along the pipeline itself, activists like Lawrence Angeconeb are concerned about the First Nations communities in Alberta, such as Fort Chipewyan and Fort MacKay, that are directly affected by tar sands production.

Angeconeb said his personal mission is “to get everyone in Treaty 3 and the First Nations communities that surround Kenora to oppose the pipeline as an act of solidarity for the First Nations communities that are affected directly” by the tar sands.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples prescribes a protocol of free, prior, and informed consent for projects that impact Indigenous lands and peoples. Adrangi said that the development of the tar sands, as well as the original natural gas pipeline for Energy East, violated those protocols. “Local people should be agents of local governance, and Indigenous peoples have been and are still being denied that right,” she said.

Outside the open house, Angeconeb added, “They’re saying that they’re approaching First Nations and they’re not really saying who, and that’s just how secretive this whole process may turn out to be.”

The role of Indigenous people in environmental approval processes is one of the many issues that continue to be raised by the Idle No More movement. Over the summer, several members of Idle No More Winnipeg initiated “Water Wednesdays,” a weekly event that connected INM supporters with local environmental organizations to strategize and share stories.

“When they unveiled their plans for the west-to-east pipeline on August 1, I knew that we had to start informing each other of this,” said Greene. “As Indigenous peoples, our entire existence and identity and rights are connected to the land and the water.”

Greene said that the role of treaty rights in protecting land and water is what makes the Idle No More movement appeal to Indigenous and non-Indigenous people alike. “Indigenous rights are our last resort to protecting the land, the air, the water,” she said. “If it wasn’t for the land and the water, there would be no life.”

Shelagh Pizey-Allen lives in Winnipeg.

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7 reasons to go bananas for bananas




(Natural News) Bananas, for the most part, come with a bevy of health benefits, making it a total package all on its own. It’s also one of the most consumed fruits in the U.S., with the average American eating more than 11 pounds of bananas each year (over just 10 pounds of apples, the second most-consumed fruit). Interestingly enough, bananas don’t come from trees — the plant the fruit comes from is technically a herb as the stem does not contain true woody tissue.

Still, no matter where it comes from, bananas offer a range of health benefits, including treatments for digestion, depression, and more. Eating two bananas a day can relieve bloating and increase the number of good bacteria in the gut. People who have mood problems would benefit from eating bananas, thanks to vitamin B6 and tryptophan which help in regulating and boosting mood. The fruit is also great for people with chronic conditions like cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, as it is packed with essential nutrients to improve their condition and help regulate their cholesterol levels.

Bananas have got you covered

People have been eating bananas for a long time, with written records saying that the fruit has been part of our diet for thousands of years. The plant is believed to be native to Southeast Asia, where many varieties of wild bananas still grow today. While the international trade of bananas started by the end of the 14th century, developments in transport — in particular, refrigerated maritime transport — helped make bananas into the most traded fruit in the world. Currently, bananas are grown in 150 countries, with 105 million tonnes produced annually. There are different varieties of bananas; however, the most commonly consumed is the Cavendish variety. (Related: Banana nutrition facts – nine things you probably never knew about this nutritious tropical food.)

In terms of calories, a medium-sized banana only has 95 calories, and it can provide a natural, sustained energy boost without the fat, cholesterol, and sodium of other common snacks. Here are more reasons to add bananas to your diet, if you haven’t already.

  1. It’s high in fiber. Bananas are rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps a person stay full for a long time. It’s one of the reasons that bananas are often part of breakfast in many regions in the world.
  2. It improves heart health. Foods that are high in fiber, such as bananas, lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases like coronary disease.
  3. It helps with digestion. In Ayurveda, bananas are described to have a sweet and sour taste. The sour taste, in particular, can stimulate agni or the digestive juices, which play a major role in digestion and metabolism build-up.
  4. It’s nutrient-rich. Bananas are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, including B-vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, folate, and B6; calcium; potassium; manganese; and magnesium. These play a synergistic role in keeping the body healthy.
  5. It’s one of the best sources of potassium. The fruit is known to be a rich source of potassium, which is important in regulating heartbeat and blood pressure. The brain also uses potassium to stay alert. However, those with advanced chronic kidney disease should seek the advice of a healthcare professional before eating bananas, as this may cause potassium levels in the body to rise to unsafe levels.
  6. It regulates blood pressure. The low salt content in bananas, coupled with its high potassium content, make the fruits ideal in managing hypertension.
  7. It fights anemia. People suffering from anemia would do well to eat bananas, given its high iron content.

Bonus: Start your day with this healthy banana bread recipe

The difference with this banana bread recipe over others is that it uses ingredients like whole wheat flour and naturally sweetened honey, rather than using refined flour and sugar which can send a person’s blood sugar through the roof. (h/t to

What you’ll need:

  • ? cup, melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup honey (or maple syrup, if you prefer)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup, mashed ripe bananas
  • ¼ cup milk or water
  • 1 teaspoon, baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon, vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon, salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 ¾ cups, whole wheat flour
  • nuts or dried fruits of your choice (optional)

How to do it:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F (165 C).
  2. Grease a 9-by 5-inch loaf pan.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the oil and honey. Add the eggs and beat well, then whisk in mashed bananas and milk. (If the coconut oil becomes solid after coming into contact with the cold ingredients, rest it in a warm place like on top of a stove for a few minutes.)
  4. Add the baking soda, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon, then whisk to blend.
  5. Switch to a spatula and stir in the flour gradually until combined. If you have any additional mix-ins, such as walnuts, gently fold them in as well.
  6. Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan and lightly dust with cinnamon on top.
  7. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes. (To see if the bread is properly baked, poke it with a toothpick to the center. The toothpick should come out clean afterward.)
  8. Remove from the oven and let the bread cool in the loaf pan for 10 minutes.
  9. Transfer onto a wire rack to cool for an additional 20 minutes before slicing.

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Multiple studies confirm that astaxanthin destroys cancer cells




(Natural News) As cancer continues to grow in prevalence, people are increasingly looking for ways to prevent the disease and scientists are researching new treatment methods. While pharmaceutical companies continue to pour billions of dollars into developing synthetic drugs that won’t necessarily cure people but will certainly grow their bottom line, other scientists are taking a closer look at the benefits to be gleaned from the compounds provided to us by nature.

We’ve heard a lot about the healing power of foods like ginger and turmeric, but there is another natural compound that is starting to gain traction when it comes to addressing cancer. Astaxanthin, a fat-soluble carotenoid, has been shown to target cancer cells and destroy or disrupt them in every stage of development without damaging normal cells.

You might not have heard of astaxanthin before, but you’ve almost certainly appreciated it if you’ve ever admired the cheerful pink shade of flamingos or the beautiful pink-orange tone of salmon. These animals get astaxanthin by feasting on the algae that produces it or other animal that eat this algae, such as shrimp.

Astaxanthin has already been found to fight inflammation, which is at the root of cancer and other chronic diseases like diabetes. In animal studies, astaxanthin reduced the inflammation seen in mucosal ulcers, effectively preventing adenocarcinoma. Meanwhile, studies in human lymphoma cells found that it could interfere with pro-inflammatory cytokines like tumor necrosis factor-alpha.

That’s not the only way it helps to fight cancer, however. It has also been shown to protect against the oxidative stress caused by free radicals. This should come as no surprise when you consider the fact that scientists estimate its antioxidant power to be 6,000 times greater than that of vitamin C and 150 times higher than the anthocyanin pigments that give blueberries their health benefits.

Astaxanthin has yet another trick up his sleeve when it comes to cancer, promoting the death of cancer cells in liver and oral cancers in studies. It’s a useful finding for liver cancer, which has a high recurrence rate and can be quite difficult to treat. It also helps to improve the ability of healthy cells to communicate, which is something that can stop the development of cancer.

Once you do have cancer, astaxanthin can stop it from progressing and metastasizing into tissues, organs and bones. In addition, it can stunt tumors’ ability to form the new blood vessels needed to sustain them. Studies of lung cancer cells have also indicated that it can help boost the efficacy of conventional cancer drugs like pemetrexed.

In a noteworthy study that was published in the Journal of Marine Drugs, scientists gave mice with prostate cancer either a high or low dose of astaxanthin or a placebo. After 31 days had passed, the scientists discovered that the weight and volume of the tumors in those who were given the high doses dropped by a remarkable 40 percent. Meanwhile, those who received no astaxanthin did not see any tumor shrinkage. The low-dose group did not see any benefits either, which illustrates how important it is that people get sufficient dosages of the pigment.

Do you need more astaxanthin?

After learning about the many benefits astaxanthin provides in fighting cancer, the next question many people have is how they can raise their levels of it. The best way to do this is by consuming food like wild-caught salmon, coho salmon, and red trout. Some other good sources are shrimp, crabs, crayfish, salmon roe, and lobster.

If you’re not a seafood fan or you try to limit your consumption, you can also turn to supplements. However, there’s a high chance of heavy metal contamination given the source of astaxanthin, so this is one case where it is crucial that you get it from a trusted supplier that is lab-verified to be free of contamination.

Cancer is a frightening disease to face, but findings like these are making researchers hopeful that better prevention and treatment methods may be just around the corner.

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Remove 70% of toxins in your body with this one simple exercise




(Natural News) Getting rid of toxins in the body sounds like a monumental task, but it’s surprisingly easy to get rid of a giant proportion of them. In fact, with one simple exercise that requires no equipment other than your body, you can get rid of as much as 70 percent of the toxins that are currently wreaking havoc on your health. Perhaps best of all, you don’t even need to be particularly athletic to pull this exercise off.

Deep breathing has the power to get rid of toxins thanks to its effects on the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is what neutralizes and carries toxins from your cells to the circulatory system, where they should get cycled through your kidneys and liver and then excreted. Unfortunately, however, the lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump the way your circulatory system has the heart keeping everything moving. Instead, your lymphatic system depends on body movement and breathing.

When you don’t move enough and your breaths are too shallow, your body simply cannot detoxify effectively. Your lymphatic system slows, and you might feel a range of symptoms ranging from weight gain and high blood pressure to inflammation and fatigue.

That’s why you need to focus on deep breathing. There are several different approaches you can take. One popular method is belly breathing, which entails sitting or lying flat in a position you find comfortable with one hand on your belly right under your ribs and the other on your chest. From this position, take one deep breath through your nose while letting your belly nudge your hand outward. Ensure your chest isn’t moving as this happens.

Next, with pursed lips, breathe out like you’re whistling. As you feel the hand you’ve placed on your belly go in, use it to push out all the air. Repeat this several more times.

Once you’ve gotten the hang of this technique, you might wish to move on to some more advanced methods. Another good option is 4-7-8 breathing. You can lie down like you did in belly breathing, or you can do this one sitting down if you’d prefer.

Take a slow and deep breath from your belly and count to four in your head while breathing in. Then, hold your breath for a count of seven. Next, you need to breathe out fully while counting silently to eight. It may take some practice, but your goal is to get all of the air in your lungs out as you reach the number eight. This can be repeated several times until you feel yourself calming down.

There are other approaches you can try, including roll breathing and morning breathing.

Other benefits of deep breathing

Although detoxifying is plenty of motivation on its own, deep breathing also triggers your parasympathetic nervous system, promoting a sense of calmness and overall well-being. It’s a great way to reduce stress, which is why many people find that breathing-focused practices like yoga can take the edge off depression, stress and anxiety. It can also help enhance your cardiovascular capacity, so you get the most out of your workouts.

Deep breathing techniques like pranayama have also been shown to benefit the immune system, improve the quality of your blood, and enhance your brain function by supplying it with more oxygen.

The good news is that you can practice deep breathing anywhere you happen to be. It’s easy to fit it into your day, so try to do it as often as possible. You’ll be surprised at what a big difference something so simple can make to your well-being!

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