Globe Climate: Is Canada’s largest farmland owner an optimist or pessimist?

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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.

As at all times, we try to begin the newsletter off on a positive note. So consider taking a take heed to this episode of The Decibel Podcast: A cry for kelp? How this seaweed may help fight climate change.

Globe reporter Wendy Stueck went out on a kelp harvest, and returns to inform us why kelp farming could help coastal communities’ green economies, and be used as an modern and sustainable recent material.

Now, let’s catch you up on other news.

University of Victoria engineering student Cam Kinsman keeps an eye fixed on the road throughout the sugar kelp harvest on the Cormorant farm site in Tofino, B.C., on April 20, 2022.CHAD_HIPOLITO/The Globe and Mail

Noteworthy reporting this week:

  1. Hidden Waters: The story of disappearing and endangered springs in North America
  2. Restoration: Bringing back the culinary and cultural bounty of ancient Indigenous sea gardens in B.C.
  3. Wildfires: Forest fires choke air in Lower Mainland British Columbia and Alberta
  4. Transportation: Air Canada to purchase 30 electric-hybrid airplanes, invest US$5-million in Swedish developer
  5. Resources: U.S. lumber industry alleges Canadian softwood producers receiving climate subsidies
  6. A message from The Narwhal: We’re hosting an event this Thursday on the Hot Docs theatre in Toronto and we were wondering if you happen to’d wish to join? In that case, here’s a 50-per-cent discount code: CLIMATE50

A deeper dive

Farmland Inc.

Jason Kirby writes business features for The Globe. For this week’s deeper dive, he talks about Canada’s largest farmland owner, and what he thinks a few way forward for climate change.

Canada’s largest farmland owner, Robert Andjelic, and I were part way into our road trip across Saskatchewan, touring a few of his land holdings and meeting with farmers for a recent feature story for The Globe, when the conversation turned as to if Mr. Andjelic considers himself an optimist or a pessimist.

Which may appear to be a silly query. You don’t develop into a wildly successful businessperson and investor like Mr. Andjelic (first with warehouses in Winnipeg, and now with a farmland portfolio value around $650-million) with no supreme belief that the risks you’re taking can pay off.

Yet the 76-year-old entrepreneur also has an almost oppressively dour view of worldwide food security, and the results climate change may have on a hungry world’s ability to feed itself — not to say the societal unrest he believes could follow those changes.

Robert Andjelic drives between tenant farms south of Whitewood, Saskatchewan on July seventeenth. Andjelic spends much of the 12 months in his truck touring his farm land and meeting along with his tenant farmers and partners.Tim Smith/The Globe and Mail

“Climate change is already doing a number on us,” he says. “It’s going to get rather a lot worse, because extreme weather events like droughts, floods and hurricanes are getting closer together and way more severe.”

Even in that grim outlook, Mr. Andjelic sees opportunities. It’s a dichotomy that extends to much of Canada’s agricultural sector. On the one hand, climate change poses an increasing threat to each crop and livestock production. Most scientists blame climate change for the drought that crippled Saskatchewan’s wheat harvest last 12 months.

At the identical time, Canada’s agriculture sector is positioned to learn helping more from a changing climate. As Mr. Andjelic points out, Saskatchewan has 30 more frost-free days than it did 4 many years ago, and growing seasons are expected to elongate much more within the years to return. In areas of Saskatchewan where irrigation already exists or is being expanded, Mr. Andjelic is urging his farm tenants so as to add alfalfa to their crop rotation—the famously thirsty crop used as feed for dairy cattle is grown heavily in California, but droughts there make its future uncertain. Meanwhile the U.S. corn belt, which stretches across the nice and cozy U.S. Midwest, has marched steadily north into the Canadian Prairies over the past decade.

Briefly, climate change goes to vary Canadian agriculture in myriad ways. “Am I an optimist or a pessimist?” asks Mr. Andjelic, coming back to the query several hours and a whole lot of kilometres later. “I might say I’m a realist.”

– Jason

Robert Andjelic walks through a farm yard testing damage from a storm at one in all his tenant farms south of Whitewood, Saskatchewan on July seventeenth.Tim Smith/The Globe and Mail

What else you missed

Opinion and evaluation

Karen Armstrong: To avoid catastrophe, we must regain our respect for nature

Mark Gloutney: Wetlands are a natural treatment for Canada’s sick lakes

Letters to the editor: ‘Climate-change deniers … owe the world an apology.’ 2012 climate report warned of maximum weather, plus letters for Sept. 18

Green Investing

Quebec business veterans raise $250-million for climate impact fund that targets early-stage firms

Pierre Larochelle and Steeve Robitaille say the fund fills an urgent need amongst firms of their early business stages for capital and techniques to scale up.

Idealist Capital goals to cap its fundraising when it hits $500-million. The plan is for the fund to make as much as 10 investments of $25-million to $75-million each in areas equivalent to renewable power, energy storage and electric vehicles. Impact funds are structured to generate measurable environmental and social advantages together with financial returns, specializing in United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Also read:

Making waves

Each week The Globe will profile a Canadian making a difference. This week we’re highlighting the work of Dr. Reza Eshaghian doing emergency response for the climate crisis.

MSF Medical Team Leader briefs team before heading out to conduct a malnutrition assessment in Bentiu town, South Sudan.Sean Sutton/Handout

My name is Reza Eshaghian, I’m an emergency physician, 37, from Vancouver who has been working with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) for nine years. We work to assist people in the best need, and deal with emergency response. This past 12 months, I went on project to Bentiu, South Sudan. It was my first time responding to the degradation of health consequently of climate change.

The people of South Sudan have resiliently survived years of colonization and war, and now the climate crisis is at their doorstep. Annually increasing precipitation resulted in massive flooding in parts of the country in 2021. It destroyed over 65,000 hectares of cultivated land, killed over 800,000 livestock, and displaced a whole lot of 1000’s of individuals. People now face an absence of secure drinking water, healthcare and access to sanitation putting them at increased risk for infectious disease and malnutrition.

I worked with a highly motivated team, most were locally hired. We provided clean water, established sanitation infrastructure, ran mobile clinics, and advocated for a greater international response to the crisis. Climate change is affecting us all. On this beautiful planet, we’re all neighbours. Let’s stand together and support one another.

– Dr. Eshaghian

Do you already know an engaged individual? Someone who represents the true engines pursuing change within the country? Email us at to inform us about them.

Photo of the week

A Tunisian student participates in fig picking within the Tunisian town of Djebba, southwest of the capital Tunis, on August 19, 2022. – High within the hills of northwestern Tunisia, farmers are growing 1000’s of fig trees with a novel system of terracing they hope will protect them from ever-harsher droughts. The “hanging gardens” of Djebba El Olia have been put to the test this 12 months because the North African country sweltered through its hottest July for the reason that Nineteen Fifties.FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images

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