In The News

CBC: Could the city of Guelph run solely on renewable energy?

March 6, 2017

A city run entirely on renewable energy. It might seem like a pipe dream, but it's a goal some communities around the globe are setting. Residents in Guelph are being asked to start a conversation on the topic by Emerge Guelph, an organization that offers advice to residents on how to save money on energy and how they can help the environment. "We know that, in theory, it's possible. It is absolutely possible to be a 100 percent renewable energy city," said University of Guelph assistant professor and energy expert Kirby Calvert, who will be part of an event later this month. "The question is what we're willing to do to achieve that." It could mean solar panels. It could mean wind turbines. It could mean harnessing geothermal energy. Or it could mean buying energy from another entity that produces the renewable energy. Read the full article here.

CTV News: ‘Oldest record of life on Earth’ found in Quebec

March 6, 2017

The oldest known signs of life on Earth have been found in northern Quebec, buried in a sheet of potentially 4.3 billion-year-old bedrock that once formed the bottom of the planet's first ocean. An international team of scientists found fossilized traces of bacteria in iron ore samples taken from the Nuvvuagittuq Greenstone Belt, a rare surviving chunk of the planet's early crust now situated at the northern tip of Quebec. The discovery pushes the scientific timeline for life on Earth back by 100-600 million years, to an era when the no longer molten-hot planet was covered by shallow oceans and dotted by volcanic islands. Study co-author Jonathan O'Neil, of the University of Ottawa, says the fossilized remains are the "oldest record of life on Earth," and could offer clues about the emergence of life on our planet and others. The fossilized remains were found near what's thought to have once been a hydrothermal vent, where swirling heat, chemicals and minerals may have given rise to the first single-celled organisms. "We're not talking about these complex forms of life on the early Earth, but this is where we think it actually happened," O'Neil told by phone on Wednesday. He added that the discovery may make it easier to find life on other planets, because it demonstrates that ancient sea floors are prime spots for finding the early signs of life. Read the full article here.

CBC: What’s in your chicken sandwich?

March 2, 2017

If you're one of many Canadians who opt for chicken sandwiches at your favourite fast food restaurant, you may find the results of a CBC Marketplace investigation into what's in the meat a little hard to swallow. A DNA analysis of the poultry in several popular grilled chicken sandwiches and wraps found at least one fast food restaurant isn't serving up nearly as much of the key ingredient as people may think. In the case of two popular Subway sandwiches, the chicken was found to contain only about half chicken DNA. Will Mahood, a loyal customer who considered Subway chicken sandwiches a lunchtime staple, was alarmed by the findings. To Mahood, messages from fast food companies can make it sound like "you're taking it straight from a farm and it's just a fresh piece of meat." DNA researcher Matt Harnden at Trent University's Wildlife Forensic DNA Laboratory tested the poultry in six popular chicken sandwiches. Read the full article here.