Tim DeChristopher and his supporters, surrounded by media, raise their fists in the air outside a Utah court house.

We all have decisive moments when the decisions we make can drastically shift the direction of our lives. In some cases, that shift is felt generations later. Taken from our archives, the show includes us talking to some fairly ordinary people who found creative ways to shift the balance of power in favour of the environment. Toby Heaps tells us why he felt the world needed a magazine that focused not on corporate profits, but on corporate social responsibility. Tim DeChristopher recounted the day that he decided a controversial auction of oil and gas leases couldn’t go ahead, and how he stopped it. Finally, Liane Lowe explained how watching a documentary shifted her outlook on the environment. Plus, we take a look back at some of the biggest shifts in environmental resistance throughout history. All that on this week’s archive show courtesy of your pals at Terra Informa!

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Corporate Knights
Where we choose to work can say a lot about ourselves. It can be risky – scary even – to try out something new. Take Toby Heaps, who started itching to write for a magazine that asked whether business and the planet can play nicely together. When he found out no such magazine existed yet, he started one. Chris Chang-Yen Phillips spoke with Toby Heaps, co-founder and president of Corporate Knights.

More on this story: Cutting the Red Tape to Building a Pan-Canadian Electricity SuperhighwayMeet Ralph Nader’s Secret Weapon: Toby Heaps

Tim DeChristopher
Even for those of us who have a connection to an environmental issue, it doesn’t always seem obvious how to act on it. Sometimes the opportunity to shift from ideas to action… finds you. American environmental activist Tim DeChristopher faced that dilemma in 2008 when, in the final days of its administration, the Bush government rushed 116 oil and gas leases to auction without environmental review. Myles Curry spoke to DeChristopher in 2011, before he was sent to a federal prison for the choice he ended up making.

Liane Lowe
Sometimes a piece of art can make you rethink your work. Reading a line in a book that makes things fall into place. Seeing a painting that shows you something new about the place where you live. Or seeing a movie that re-affirms the balance you try to strike. Chris Chang-Yen Phillips talked to Liane Lowe, an environmental accountant in Vancouver, about her experience seeing the documentary Peace Out.

5 Great Shifts
The global environmental movement has come a long way from wilderness land preservation and sustainable yields. While names like John Muir and Henry David Thoreau still dominate the rhetoric of an environmental conservation ethic, its history extends back far longer and from many different places. For example, did you know that the first nature reserve in the world was established by the King of Sri Lanka in 200 BC? For as long as people have carelessly pillaged their immediate environments, there have been equal and opposing forces against them. Terra Informa correspondent Marcus Peterson brings you 5 Great Shifts in Environmental Resistance: An Abbreviated History of Tree Hugging.

More on this story: Chipko Movement (PDF), Green Belt MovementFriends of the MSTDr. Vandana Shiva’s Blog

Book Club: Tim Lilburn’s “Kill-site”

Sun rising over wheat fields, blurry silhouette of a person.

As summer comes to an end, we’re revisiting our book club special on Tim Lilburn’s Kill-site, a collection of poems exploring ecology, colonialism and spirituality through the landscape of Southern Saskatchewan. But don’t be scared off! We’ll also dip into a children’s classic, Dennis Lee’s Alligator Pie.

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What’s After Oil?

Photo by Tim Dawson on Flickr.

One way or another, fossil fuels are no longer going to drive our economy in the future. Either because we’ve given it up or because climate change makes it impossible to keep drilling. What will that world look like for Alberta? And how will we get to that future safely, smoothly and constructively? Today, Terra Informa asks “What’s After Oil?”

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Alberta’s Post-Oil Future

As demand for Alberta’s oil drops lower and lower in the decades to come, how will the province’s economy change? How will we move forward and learn to prosper in new ways? For some perspective on these questions, we turned to Todd Hirsch, chief economist at ATB Financial.

Shaming Our Way Past Petrol

For activists trying to get all of society to shift to a renewable energy future, does it work to shame those keeping us in the past? Shame is divisive and combative. But Jennifer Jacquet thinks shame is a great tool in the activist toolkit. This academic in New York University’s department of Environmental Studies published the book Is Shame Necessary? New Uses for an Old Tool.

What you need to know about the Paris climate talks

The United Nations Climate Change Conference is held once a year, bringing together members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The 2015 conference will be held in Paris, France from November 30 to December 11. Learn why it’s an especially important conference with this EcoBabble.

Shrooms, Man: Can Mushrooms Save the World?

(c) MichaelMaggs on wikipedia

Today, we return to a classic episode from almost three years ago. We’re looking at eco-packaging, those environmentally friendly, biodegradable packing materials that are slowly making inroads into the once unbreachable domain of styrofoam. Listen as we put Ecovative’s mushroom-based packaging through its paces and we talk to an industrial designer and a biomaterials developer about how far we can expect these sustainable materials to go in replacing petroleum based products.

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We Read Seveneves

The third and final book of this summer’s book club! We’ve spent the last couple months reading Seveneves, by Neil Stephenson. We dig into how the book depicts the world’s response to the catastrophe, how much Neil Stephenson likes robots, and what life must be like at the end of the world.


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Be warned, there be spoilers!

Released this year, the novel explores how the human race reacts when the moon explodes, causing catastrophic consequences. The moon fractures into seven pieces at the very beginning of the book. These pieces are predicted to continuously collide with each other until the chunks are reduced to small pieces that will fall to the Earth and burn the surface. Given an estimated two years before the “Hard Rain” that will leave Earth uninhabitable, the human race has to come up with a solution to somehow continue its existence past this disaster.

Do you have your own thoughts on the book or the episode? Leave a comment below, or tweet at us @terrainforma!

Protecting Big Island Woodbend

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Join us on a field trip through Edmonton’s largest natural area—Big Island Woodbend. Our guides are the North Saskatchewan River Valley Conservation Society. Discover what it takes to join their mission: the politics, the passion for nature, and the ignoring of trespassing signs.

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Big Island Woodbend

What’s up in the deep South(west) of Edmonton? Just across the river from well-manicured Windermere, there lies a sprawling natural area—Big Island Woodbend. We met up with the group who has made it their mission to turn the area into a place where all Edmontonians can enjoy and experience nature.

Our guides are Michael Phair and Karen Tang of the North Saskatchewan River Valley Conservation Society. On the trail, you’ll also hear from Danielle Dolgoy, Tasmia Nishat,Carson Fong, Chris Chang-Yen Phillips and Trevor Chow-Fraser.

The Year of the Flood + For the Birds

For the July 2014 Book Club, we dove into Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood, the second volume in the MaddAddam trilogy. We’re revisiting this as part of our Summer of Sci-Fi, so get ready to speed read! For our younger listeners, we also take a peek at Atwood’s For the Birds. Warning: this episode contains spoilers!

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The Year of the Flood

Imagine a future where governments are replaced by cold and calculating corporations, climate change has reconfigured the global landscape, and entire species are annihilated on the daily while gene-spliced hybrids run amok in their stead. This is the not so distant (or unlikely) world against which Margaret Atwood stages The Year of the Flood, the second instalment in the critically acclaimed MaddAddam series.

Woven together by the experiences and memories of survivors Toby and Ren, Atwood’s story presents a glimpse of the world as it might be both before and after the Year of the Flood: a catastrophic pandemic that all but wipes the entire human race from the face of an already broken planet.

For this discussion, the Terra Informa team squeezed into our studio to voice our thoughts and answer some of the questions raised in the book. Special thanks to Megan Clark and to Brandon Schatz from Wizard Comics and Games for joining-in.

For the Birds

Just in case post-apocalyptic lit isn’t your cup of Happicuppa, we’ve decided to include a second book that doubles as an option for our younger listeners.

For the Birds, also penned by Atwood, follows the adventure of a young girl named Samantha whose disdain for the winged is suddenly turned upside down when she’s magically transformed into a bird herself. Along with a crow named Phoebe, Samantha embarks on a migratory adventure to South America while learning about the environmental problems of the day and the dangers faced by birds in turn. Full of fun illustrations by John Bianchi, and feathered with facts supplied by Shelly Tanaka, For the Birds is an informative read for all ages…so long as you can find it.

Next Month’s Book: Seveneves

We’re reading Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves for our August book club. In this mammoth novel, the moon explodes, rendering the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space. But the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers.

If you’d like to join our discussion, send us your thoughts over Twitter, Facebook, or email by August 28, 2015. We LOVE to hear from you and share your thoughts on the show.

Canada Action’s Secret Tory Ties + The End


Last month, Desmog revealed links between the federal Conservative Party, the oil & gas industry, and the grassroots social media organization Canada Action. We’ll hear about Desmog’s investigation and discuss Astroturfing 2.0. This week, we also hear the eighth and final edition of Science Faction.

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What’s At Stake With Twitter Fake?

Canada Action is one of many groups that claims to be volunteer-run, grassroots organizations taking action around environmental issues—by defending the industry. When these groups turn out to be fronts for industry, we call that “astroturfing.” Recently, Carol Linnet and Donald Gutstein revealed evidence to suggest that Canada Action may be much closer to industry and the federal Conservative Party than they have admitted.

We speak with Carol Linnet, Managing Editor of as well as University of Alberta graduate student Jordan Kinder.

Science Faction: The End

“The End” of Science Faction has arrived! For our 8th and final show, hear from three great Canadian researchers, planetary scientist Dr. Alan Hildebrand, immunologist Dr. Matthew Miller, and climate champion Merran Smith, talk about three possible ways the world could end and how we can avoid TEOTWAWKI (a.k.a. the end of the world as we know it).