Worse birth outcomes, higher pregnancy risk in poorest rural regions

Alberta researchers identify gradients of risk for preterm births, small and large size at birth, smoking and drug use by mothers

Worse birth outcomes, higher pregnancy risk in poorest rural regionsThe highest concentration of adverse birth outcomes and related maternal risk factors occur in rural areas of Alberta with the lowest socio-economic status, according to new research from the University of Alberta. “When it comes to perinatal health, postal code can be as important as your genetic code,” said perinatal epidemiologist Maria-Beatriz Ospina, assistant professor of obstetrics…

Animal grazing reducing biodiversity around the world

Study of unprecedented scale shows less variety of herbivores and pollinators in grazed areas worldwide

Animal grazing reducing biodiversity around the worldLivestock grazing is reducing the biodiversity of herbivores and pollinators worldwide, according to a new study led by University of Alberta researchers that examined the impact of grazing on a larger scale than ever before. “We looked at the effects of livestock grazing on every continent except Antarctica and what it means for biodiversity,” said Alessandro…

Pandemic drives need to boost rural wireless services

Where COVID-19 outbreaks happen in population-dense urban settings, people want to move. But they need services

Pandemic drives need to boost rural wireless servicesWith the potential for the COVID-19 to accelerate migration from cities to rural areas, it’s time for all levels of government to stop their dithering and accelerate efforts to provide broadband and cellular wireless services to rural and remote populations. The infighting between provincial, federal and municipal authorities has gone on for at least two…

Is dam removal the wave of the future?

Research suggests it makes more ecological and economic sense to dismantle dams than to restore or maintain them

Is dam removal the wave of the future?Urban studies researcher Richard Florida has made a reputation with a lot of interesting ideas, many of which are controversial. One of his ideas is that people like to live near water, and that leads to prosperity in cities located on rivers, streams, lakes and oceans. My perspective on this theory is that settlers to…

Applying barnyard lessons to the pandemic aftermath

For many, the current economic climate is very difficult. There are serious challenges ahead

Applying barnyard lessons to the pandemic aftermathIt had rained all day and as I walked that evening with my wife, I noticed the worms on the road, clambering to escape the torrents of water that were flooding their living spaces. Finding a discarded drink cup, I started collecting them for our garden. Counting them as I went, I was taken back…

COVID-19 lessons can improve health, legal systems

Client interfaces in law and medicine are as moribund as they were a century ago. It’s time to use technology to better advantage

COVID-19 lessons can improve health, legal systemsIn the time of the 1918-19 Spanish flu, the world was very different. Of course, there was no Internet, TV or social media. In fact, there wasn’t even any radio until a few years later. All the news was provided by the newspaper and almost all long-distance transportation was by rail or ship. We’ve come…

Pet shops have a better chance of survival than farmers

Farmers were naive to expect much help from a government that’s obsessed with city-slicking ideas

Pet shops have a better chance of survival than farmersThe Canadian Federation of Agriculture really set the bar high with its $2.6-billion aid request last week. When a federal program barely worth $252 million was announced, the disappointment felt throughout the farming community wasn’t surprising. The funds were indeed underwhelming and won’t be enough to get some of those producers to stick around. Many…

Embracing the country life

Part 2 of the retirement dilemma: city mouse or country mouse? It's time to put an end to urban living

Embracing the country lifeWe began to embrace country life in 2004 when we bought recreational property at the north end of the Sunshine Coast, two ferry rides and about 100 km of driving up-coast from Vancouver. Still living in Calgary, we knew it was time to start planning for retirement and the post-work world. Our 24 acres fronts…

The retirement dilemma: city mouse or country mouse?

Part 1: Defining the attributes of your successful retirement community

The retirement dilemma: city mouse or country mouse?Who says you have to go on living in the same location when you retire? The choice is yours. City or country retirement is ultimately a personal decision. But it draws significantly on your prior life, and the skills and personal attributes you can bring to the retirement community you choose. How you retire is…

Split firewood and enduring friendships

A weekend rigorously scheduled, egalitarian, task-focused and bathed in a bonding humour

Split firewood and enduring friendshipsThe chainsaw, sledge and wedges are back in the woodshed. The winter wood is split and stacked. Steve and Dave have headed home to their busy lives; Johnnie and James have promised to redouble their efforts to attend next year. And I’m once again pondering the strength of a growing tradition: Wood Camp at Skelhp.…
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