On this weeks episode of Terra Informa the sounds of bark beetles in New Mexico are transformed into music for the ears. Also, the forces behind stopping shark finners as well as the protective measures put in place to gives the sharks a safe future are explored. Finally, the Red Squirrel of the Yukon is revealed to have more skills than meet the eye.
The Acoustics of Bark Beetles
David Dunn, sound artist and composer produced an album in 2006 called The Sound of Light in Trees: The Acoustic Ecology of Pinyon Pines, in collaboration with the Acoustic Ecology Institute. With tiny microphones, he records the sounds of bark beetles in New Mexico’s pinyon pines. Beyond a fascinating listening experience, this is an innovative approach to the ecology of insects, and to monitoring bark beetle populations.
More on this story: The Sound of Light in Trees: The Acoustic Ecology of Pinyon Pines
Catching shark finners on the high seas
Have you ever wondered how shark finners get caught? The US strengthened its laws against shark finning in 2011, banning the practice for almost every shark species in American waters. Paul Raymond is a special agent with NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. He’s helped enforce the US laws protecting sharks. Chris Chang-Yen Phillips reached him in Florida to ask how they do it.
The Little Squirrel That Could
The Red Squirrel of the Yukon Territory weighs less than half a pound. They can be seen spending their days collecting pine cones, and scampering up trees. They are an animal that wouldn’t be out of place in your favorite children’s cartoon. Not a very formidable presence when you consider their imposing surroundings in the great wilderness that is the Yukon. But as we’ll soon find out, the red squirrel has a little trick up its sleeve.
Matt Hirji spoke with University of Alberta biologist Stan Boutin to find out more.
Garlic Mustard is a native species to Europe and Asia that were originally introduced to North America as a medicinal and culinary herb. The species is very invasive to our environment and can be destructive to native biodiversity and habitat. It causes long term negative effects in soil and reduces available plants for wildlife such as deer, birds and insects. It’s been listed as a prohibited noxious weed in the Alberta Weed Control Act. Mill Creek ravine is one of few known locations in Edmonton where this non-native species occurs.
To prevent further distribution and reduce the negative impact on other areas in Mill Creek, the Edmonton Naturalization Group and the City of Edmonton organize Garlic Mustard pulls in Mill Creek. They are looking for volunteers to come and help remove this weed on Saturday, May 25, 2013, 9:30–11:30am
For more information visit our website at terrainforma.ca
or visit Edmonton Pest Control
Does Solar electricity, solar hot water, geothermal heating, water collection, retrofit or new construction interest you? After many years of arranging tours of homes in Edmonton, the Eco-Solar Tour is branching out to commercial buildings. This year, they will be conducting the second Eco-Solar Tour of Energy Efficient Buildings. The Tour will feature businesses that are doing their part to reduce their energy use and to improve the working environment for their employees. The Eco-Solar Tour of Energy Efficient Buildings will feature one energy efficient building, per day, for nearly two weeks, starting on May 28th and finishing on June 6th.
Each weekday, from Monday to Friday, one building will be open for touring from noon until 4 pm.
Check out more details of the tours at http://www.ecosolar.ca/
This week on Terra Informa, it’s time to move on. Students from Rhode Island’s Brown University want their school to stop investing in companies that profit from accelerating climate change. Then, Jennifer Cockrall-King wants cities to embrace urban agriculture, and Nicholas Mickelsen sings the praises of moving out to the farm.
Brown University students Do the Math
One of the most powerful ways university students in North America can use their school to send a message is by influencing where it invests. That’s university students across the US are rallying to pull their university’s endowment fund out of fossil fuel companies. They’re part of the national Do the Math movement across the US – inspired by environmental activist Bill McKibben – to divest from companies controlling oil and gas reserves. Student groups are hoping to blunt the businesses’ ability to accelerate climate change. Tammy Jiang is a student of public health at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. She’s a member of the Brown Divest Coal Campaign, and Terra Informa’s Chris Chang-Yen Phillips asked her how they’re hoping to accomplish that.
- Bill McKibben – Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math (Rolling Stone)
- Do the Math campaign
- University unlikely to divest from coal in May (Brown Daily Herald)
Food and the City
Farming? In the city? Urban agriculture seems like a far fetched idea, especially living in Canada, where our growing season only lasts a couple of months. Terra Informa’s Nicole Wiart interviewed Edmonton food journalist Jennifer Cockrall-King on her new book “Food and the City.” Urban agriculture projects are popping up in Canada and all over the world, and its a trend Jennifer thinks might be the answer to many of the problems in our over industrialized food system.
The Farm and the Country
Many young people in the English-speaking world choose to travel abroad and teach English in a foreign country. The enriching experience of extended cultural travel does not have to be restricted to the realm of teaching English. Terra Informa’s Miro Radovic recently sat down with young Edmontonian Nicholas Mickelsen to discuss a program that enabled him to spend almost a year on an organic farm in Europe as a WWOOFer with the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms network.
Edmonton: Scales, Tails, Hoots & Howls: A Closer Look at River Valley Biodiversity
Edmontonians, with spring upon us, wouldn’t it be lovely to learn about the biodiversity of animals that Edmonton has to share? Come to the John Janzen Nature Center on Sunday May 26 from 11 AM to 3 PM to see and hear the scales, tails, hoots, and howls of Edmonton’s creatures. These include salamanders and garter snakes to name a few. Also, a number of outdoor nature games will be going throughout the day to celebrate the awakening of springtime and life in Edmonton. The John Janzen nature center is located at Whitemud Drive and Fox Drive,
Residents of Victoria, BC; be sure to come out and support the Mustard Seed Food bank on May 31, 2013 at Synergia (SINNER-GIA). This special event showcases local musicians and the $15 dollar admission goes directly to the Mustard Seed Food bank to support families and individuals struggling to afford food with the rising cost of living. The event will take place at the Victoria event Centre on Broad Street in Victoria.
Live Below the Line
As Canadians, we are fortunate to have vast lands full of clean water and nutritious food. The same cannot be said for many around the world. Live Below the Line is a campaign that’s challenging the way people in Canada think about poverty. It is a campaign to help us understand the difficulties of living on a miniscule food budget, the way many impoverished families around the world have to. If you want to take the challenge and find a greater compassion and understanding for those families, live below the line asks Canadians to try and live on just $1.75 of food and drink each day for 5 days.
On this week’s episode of Terra Informa, we tackle a wide variety of subjects. One of them being organic alternatives to products, both in food and in pesticides. We also have discussion on how one makes writing an art, as well as the sounds of spring as brought to you by five-year-olds. All on this week’s episode of Terra Informa!
Mosaic Minds just wrapped up it’s third unconference this past weekend. They’ve hosted unconferences on community building and renewable energy in the past. This time, the sessions were surrounding a very important and popular topic – FOOD. Natalee Rawat asked co-founder of Mosaic Minds, Anna McRobbie to explain what an “unconference” means and how it is separates itself from a traditional conference and later she interviews David Laing, of the Seeds, Feeds and Needs Cooperative. David facilitated a session at Mosaic Minds. He talks about the community and his Cooperative built on organic farming.
Sounds of Spring
What does spring sound like? Well on a farm, there’s chirping chicks, bawling lambs, and clucking chickens. In this next segment, Terra Informa’s Nicole Wiart joined a group of 5 year olds as they toured through her Aunt and Uncle’s farm to check out all of the new and noisy baby animals.
Below are some pictures of Nikki’s adventures on the farm!
What makes a naturalist’s books light up?
Do you ever wonder why some authors can make their words ring out and sizzle right off the page, but some can’t write a catchy sentence to save their life? Terra Informer Chris Chang-Yen Phillips has been curious for a while about the difference between two writers from the early days of the American conservation movement: Aldo Leopold and John Muir. Why is there so much poetry, so much fire in Leopold’s books? Chris was showshoeing in Kananaskis a little while ago with ecology grad students Paul Cigan and Sonya Odsen. You can imagine his glee when he overheard them talking about just this question.
What’s Happening in Canada in the Near – Future:
Dr Gabor Mate will be presenting Living Well in Toxic Culture at 7pm, on Thurday May 9th, in Thunder Bay, Ontario at the Victoria Inn. He will be looking at how a society dedicated to material pursuits rather than genuine human needs and spiritual values, stresses its members; undermines healthy child development; and contributes to chronic illness. Using a holistic approach he provides a perspective that enlightens and empowers people to promote their own healing. Tickets are $25 at the door, or online at Eventbrite.ca. It is a fundraising event, and proceeds go to the Canadian Mental Health Organization.
Help make Surrey streets more vibrant by encouraging active and sustainable transportation. There is a community event in Surrey on Saturday May 11th from 1 to 3:30 pm at the Semiahmoo Library. Participants will learn about current challenges facing Surrey streets and will share their perspectives through an interactive street audit exercise. For more info email firstname.lastname@example.org. Program registration is appreciated, but drop ins are welcome.
Up North in Whitehorse from Tuesday May 7th to Tuesday May 21st, 7 to 9pm, the MItcham Community House is offering classes on Vegetable Gardening for beginners. Enjoy the benefits of home-grown food. Bring $5 to the first class to pay to the tutor for your starter kit. You can contact the organizers at email@example.com.
This week Terra Informers explore the roles humans can play on this planet. Big picture Science, the role of researchers in understanding our affect on the planet, is explored during this year’s CONFORWest conference. Also, the impact one person can have through a new and unique recycling movement or even the support of free range foods in highlighted.
It seems like the farther you go in school, the more specialized you have to be. You can start off wondering what dirt is made of, and end up spending five years studying how one species of soil mite affects carbon emissions to the atmosphere. But some scientists want to see the bigger picture: Where does their work fit in? What does it mean? That’s why a few dozen of them headed to the Rockies this April for a conference that got them outside, and got them talking to each other.
Terra Informa’s Chris Chang-Yen Phillips has more.
Rajan Ahluwalia was raised as an environmentally conscious child. He started recycling as a young schoolboy in Mumbai, India and decades later he is spearheading a recycling project, in Edmonton that will change the way the world thinks of recycling paper. Natalee Rawat spoke to Rajan about his recycling initiatives taking place within the next year in Edmonton.
Ecobabble: What does it mean to be a free range egg?
Scrambled, poached, sunny side up. Whether they came before the chicken, or the chicken before them, eggs are a breakfast staple. Terra Informa’s Nicole Wiart brings us an EcoBabble – where she enlists some local farmers to try to break down the term “free range.” It’s just one of the many terms that you can find on a carton of eggs – but as you’ll soon find out, defining free range is not as simple as it sounds.
What’s Happening in Canada!
There is a composting and vermaculture workshop May 1st in Toronto at the Toronto Tool Library. Composting is a great way to improve your soil and ensure that anything that you grow can be bountiful and organic. Learn to improve your gardens, lawns, and trees while minimizing your home’s waste. The cost is 20 dollars if you bring your own composting bin, and 30 if you wish for them to provide you with one that you may take home after.
Do you enjoy using the Mill Creek Ravine? Would you like to help out with the spring clean up and meet some of your ravine neighbors? The Keepers of Mill Creek and other surrounding communities will be at the creek in Edmonton on May 6th from 10am to 1pm. Come help keep Mill Creek Ravine beautiful!
There is a permaculture design program being held in Nelson BC from May 6th to the 31st. Learn the basic permaculture design principles and techniques, as well as develop the practical skills necessary to implement sustainable designs for your farm. The cost is $1700 for a 6-hour-per-day course.
See up to 40 different species of birds up close and personal at the McIntyre Marsh Bird Banding Station in Whitehorse from April 27th through to May 26th 7 a.m to noon on weekends and holidays.
This week, our team tackles food quality on two levels. While one story is about tackling the concern of food quality in places such as schools, the other talks about a recipe for a quality, healthy, and unbaked dessert.
As well, we take a look at another way the National Hockey League is assisting in resource renewal, this time with water, its own DNA.
Gallons for Goals
Ice hockey without water is obviously impossible. The Bonneville Environmental Foundation, the organization behind the NHL’s implementation of Gallons for Goals, realizes this, and plans to restore 1,000 gallons of water for every goal scored in the NHL this season. Over three million gallons have been restored, which seems like a lot. However, Terra Informa’s Kyle Muzyka speaks to B-E-F’s Tiffany Meyer, and finds out that it’s a very small contribution to a much larger goal.
Natalee’s Recipe for Cara-medallions
Hungry for something healthy? Here is a recipe from Terra Informa’s very own Natalee Rawat, on how to create a delicious, unbaked dessert. Make them yourself, or get them at Pangaea Market in Edmonton, Alberta. The members of Terra Informa double as food critics, and we gave them five stars!
Here’s the ingredients:
Process: Dates, walnuts, raw cacao, citrus essential oil, cardamom essential oil, vanilla and dehydrated cranberries
Roll the batter out after its mixed evenly and use a cookie cutter to shape it!
I’m sure many of us have expressed concern at the quality of food at public institutions like hospitals and schools. Recently, Terra Informa’s Miro Radovic had the chance to talk to K, a member of the People`s Potato — a student initiative started over a decade ago at Concordia University in Montreal to address several food related issues on campus.
This week, we talk about two “great” things in the Canadian ecosystem, the Great Lakes and the Great Bear.
And, we have the inside look at a documentary called The Carbon Rush, that tries to connect viewers emotionally with the impact of carbon credit programs in the global south.
Canadians for the Great Bear
The use of charismatic megafauna is an important tactic used to raise attention to important issues. The proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline threatens many species in the Northern Western BC area, but the WWF had seemed to choose the Great Bear as an ambassador to the ecosystem they are trying to protect. Kyle Muzyka talks with the WWF vice president of conservation and pacific, Darcy Dobell, about the use of the Great Bear as an ambassador, and how the pipeline is merely an obstacle in the scheme of things.
More information on Canadians for the Great Bear:
Green Screen: The Carbon Rush
Next up, Chris Chang-Yen Phillips brings us a Green Screen review of The Carbon Rush. It’s a documentary that tries to do something brave – making viewers connect emotionally with the hidden underbelly of carbon markets. But does it live up to its own hype?
State of the Great Lakes
The Canadian and US governments recently renewed their commitments to cleaning up Canada’s fresh water bodies by amending the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. This new plan expands the scope of concern to include issues like impact of climate change, and the protection of lake species and habitats. To get a better sense of the problems currently facing the Great Lakes, we contacted Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, a charity that’s working to help make the lakes safer, cleaner, and healthier for the public. Last fall, Hamdi Issawi spoke to Lake Ontario Waterkeeper’s Vice President, Krystyn Tully, on the state of the Great Lakes.