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Environment

Special Feature

June 2018

How Cape Town citizens narrowly avoided running out of water

By Sydelle Willow Smith

The city's population was restricted to using just 50 litres of water per person per day. By comparison, Canadians use five times that amount. Here, we take a look at how they managed.

Feature

June 2018

5 countries taking the plastic problem seriously

By Pieta Woolley

These countries show us Canadians what actively fighting plastic pollution really looks like.

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May 2018

A Kinder Morgan protest in photos and song

By Kimiko Karpoff

A faith leader reflects on protesting the pipeline with the Water Protectors from the Tsleil-Waututh nation.

Feature

April 2018

4 natural alternatives to plastics

By Susan Nerberg

Can we phase out petrochemicals when it comes to making plastic? These researchers think so.

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April 2018

5 reasons we seriously need to protect our oceans from plastic

By Susan Nerberg

The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2050, the plastic in the ocean will outweigh the fish.

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April 2018

Tea bags and other surprising places plastics lurk

By Susan Nerberg

Hidden plastics rarely get recycled and often can’t be reused. Here we make some of the invisibles visible.

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April 2018

How Canadians became so addicted to plastic

By Susan Nerberg

First introduced as Bakelite in 1907, fully synthetic plastics weren’t mass produced until the mid-century.

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April 2018

What that recycling logo actually means

By Susan Nerberg

Contrary to popular belief, its presence doesn’t guarantee the product is reusable or recyclable.

Feature

April 2018

10 easy ways to kick our nasty plastic habit

By Susan Nerberg

It's not as hard as you think.

Special Feature

September 2017

Bat patrol

By Elena Gritzan

One of nature’s least loved creatures is in crisis — and we could all end up paying the price

Feature

June 2017

Bug bites

By Kieran Delamont

Feature

April 2017

The fight for Qat’muk

By Pieta Woolley

A Supreme Court of Canada case pits a resort developer against B.C.’s Ktunaxa First Nation. At issue: does the development infringe on religious freedom?

Feature

April 2017

‘Grizzlies not gondolas’

By Pieta Woolley

Feature

February 2017

The secret lives of cows, chickens and pigs

By Larry Krotz

What really happens on farms today? Many urbanites believe the worst. The writer heads into the countryside to see if the stereotypes are true.

Feature

January 2017

The new agrarians

By Lois Ross

In the next 15 years, almost half of Canadian farms will change hands. Meet seven millennials who view agriculture as a career — and moral calling.

Feature

September 2016

Waste not

By Elena Gritzan

This jar contains one year of the Johnson family’s garbage. A growing movement of ‘zero-wasters’ is urging the rest of us to start talking trash.

Special Feature

June 2016

Spirit bear

By Pieta Woolley

Feature

May 2016

Are vegans right?

By David Macfarlane

The writer is in the midst of a radical six-month change of diet. He’s discovering that no cheeseburger tastes as good as being ethical feels.

Special Feature

April 2016

Hell and high water

By Josiah Neufeld

The writer visits the shifting shorelines of Bangladesh and discovers tens of millions of people on the brink of climate disaster

Feature

April 2015

Why kicking carbon makes dollars and sense

By Alanna Mitchell

Giving up fossil fuels will not only save life on Earth — it will also save us money

Feature

March 2015

Extreme downsizing

By Anne Bokma

For tiny house enthusiasts, sometimes less is more

Feature

February 2015

Faux trade?

By Pieta Woolley

Buying fair trade coffee doesn’t hurt. But it doesn’t help as much as we might imagine.

Feature

June 2014

The communitarians

By Anne Bokma

What happens when 100 people move out of the mainstream and attempt to create their own private utopia?

Feature

May 2014

Divestment strategy

By Christine Boyle

A healthy profit shouldn't come at the expense of a sick planet, say activists. They're encouraging schools, churches and other institutions to freeze out fossil fuels.

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March 2014

Communes for grown-ups

By Anne Bokma

A 1960s ideal gets a modern makeover in cohousing projects designed for living in close quarters

Feature

January 2014

The epoch we have wrought

By Alanna Mitchell

Welcome to the Anthropocene — a new geological era triggered by human industry

Feature

September 2013

Did Canadian oil poison this town?

By May Warren

Last spring, a pipeline carrying diluted bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands ruptured in a small Arkansas town. People began to get sick. And now they want answers.

Feature

July 2013

Saved by a salamander

By Lisa Van de Ven

How an endangered amphibian became the unlikely hero in a community’s fight to stop a quarry expansion in Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment

Feature

June 2013

Losing the hooded grebe: Part 2

By Alanna Mitchell

A team of scientists races against time to prevent a small Argentine water bird from vanishing forever

Feature

June 2013

Standing up to big gold

By Roxana Olivera

A fight pitting Indigenous Peruvians against a multinational mining company highlights the real cost of the global boom in precious metals

Society

Sandy and Allan Wilson.

“Thank you for being my dopted parents”

by Allan Wilson

Eighteen years after his teen son died of cancer, this writer celebrates a new type of fatherhood when he becomes legal guardian of a man with disabilities.

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Editorials

The United Church Observer's editor and publisher, Jocelyn Bell. Photo: Lindsay Palmer

Observations: #MeToo

by Jocelyn Bell

Our hope is that by giving voice to these #MeToo stories, a new conversation about sexual misconduct can begin.

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Video

ObserverDocs: Playing by Heart

by Observer Staff

United Church music director Kara Shaw was born prematurely, became almost totally blind and was later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Today, the 28-year-old showcases her unique musical ability, performing piano on local and national stages.

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Society

June 2018

Why some women of colour are hesitant to say #MeToo

by Jacky Habib

Three women share their stories in the hope of creating safe spaces they never had.

Environment

May 2018

A Kinder Morgan protest in photos and song

by Kimiko Karpoff

On April 28, 2018, faith leaders from many traditions, including the United Church, stood in solidarity with Water Protectors from the Tsleil-Waututh nation to protest the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion in Burnaby, B.C.. Kimiko Karpoff captured the day in pictures.

Faith

June 2018

After 93 years, this will be the United Church's last General Council meeting

by Mike Milne

When the United Church meets in July, top priorities will be a streamlined governance structure and Indigenous ministries.

Justice

June 2018

#MeToo in the United Church

by Trisha Elliott

9 women share their stories of harassment and sexual assault in the United Church.

Columns

May 2018

On grief and the healing power of gardening

by Paul Fraumeni

A writer reflects on how growing tomatoes is helping him find peace while dealing with the loss of loved ones, including his son.

Editorials

June 2018

Observations: #MeToo

by Jocelyn Bell

Our hope is that by giving voice to these #MeToo stories, a new conversation about sexual misconduct can begin.

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