Talking Hadwin’s Judgement

(c) MPF on Wikipedia

Why did Hadwin cut down Haida Gwaii’s sacred Golden Spruce? The people behind a just released NFB documentary shares their insights. Plus, Science Faction joins in to tell us about fish with feet.

Download Episode

Hadwin’s Judgement

If you were living in British Columbia in 1997, you may remember the story about forest engineer Grant Hadwin and the Kiidk’yaas or Golden Spruce.

It was a rare Sitka spruce tree that grew along the Yakoun River. Its glowing golden needles sparkling against the lush green forest. Regarded as sacred to the Haida Nation, the tree met a tragic and completely surprising fate. Hadwin cut down the Kiidk’yaas in protest against the logging industry.

Hadwin confessed to his horrific act and was summoned to court, but failed to appear. In fact, Hadwin has been missing since February 14, 1997 and is presumed dead. But his story lives on and the symbol of the Golden Spruce has evolved. An award-winning book called The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant has now inspired a documentary film called Hadwin’s Judgement, directed by British filmmaker Sasha Snow.

Natalee Rawat spoke to the two before the film’s debut at Toronto’s Hot Docs film festival.

Book Club: The Golden Spruce

John Vaillant’s The Golden Spruce is a Governor General’s Award winning book. And it’s the selection for our next book club. Pick up a copy at your local library or independent book store. Then share your thoughts by emailing or tweet us @terrainforma and we’ll feature your thoughts in the book club special the week of May 25, 2015.

Science Faction: Fish With Feet

This month on Science Faction we visit the laboratory of Dr. Emily Standen at the University of Ottawa to learn about fish that can walk. This story about present-day Polypterus fish walking is actually a story about our distant past & how it is that ancient fish gave rise to four-legged land animals, including us.

Understanding Ontario’s Cap & Trade Deal


Ontario recently announced that it would join Quebec in one of the largest carbon pricing systems in North America. We’re sharing as much as we could find out about what’s in the deal, and what needs to be in the deal, to make it effective. We also drift down the North Saskatchewan River in search of an ancient fish, the Lake Sturgeon.

Download Episode

Ontario’s Plan To Price Carbon

Put your thinking caps on! Carson Fong and Erin Carter are going to explore cap and trade, the carbon pricing system that Ontario announced that they will be implementing. For expertise, we’ll hear from Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner, Tom Chervinsky from Canadians for Clean Prosperity, and Chris Ragan a professor in economics at McGill University.

Girl Gone Wild: Lake Sturgeon

Every now and again, Chris Chang-Yen Phillips takes a trip with our resident wildlife expert, Jamie Pratt. She’s the creator of the Girl Gone Wild wildlife documentary series, and this time we decided it was time to journey down Edmonton’s North Saskatchewan River in search of an ancient fish — the Lake Sturgeon.

Links: Drayton Valley Western ReviewNorth Saskatchewan River GuideAlberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development.

The Hum of Life


Gotta love those oscillations in the air… also known as sound! We explore the art of handcrafting your own sound all the way from Iceland, and the ambience of animals.

Download Episode

What Páll Makes

While traveling in Iceland last month, Terra Informa’s Chris Chang-Yen Phillips visited Húsafell to meet with Páll Guðmundsson, an artist whose local and naturally inspired work makes his home feel like one-of-a-kind.

Aleutian Seabirds

The petrel is a bird that spends its entire life at sea, only landing on remote islands to copulate. But, things have gone from bad to worse for this seabird in recent years and many biologists are hatching up ideas to help the petrel population survive in an era of marked by climate change and overfishing. Some of these ideas even have 80s rockers tapping their toes and thinking about our responsibility to protect the world’s most vulnerable ecosystems. Matt Hirji talked to Rachel Buxton about her research into the area.

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

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.

Alberta Election Special 2015


On May 5, 2015, Albertans will head to the polls and elect a new provincial government. It has been three short years since the last election and seven months since Jim Prentice won the Progressive Conservative leadership and became premier. Like us, you may be wondering: how does the environment factor into the platforms of the different parties? What are their climate strategies and their stance on the oil sands? We’ve done some digging and now we want to give you the answers you need!

Learn how the Progressive Conservative, Wildrose, Liberal, New Democrats and the Alberta Party stack up when it comes to their environmental policies. If you’re planning to vote and you care about conservation and climate change, you don’t want to miss this show.

Download Episode

Thank you to the many guests who helped out with this show, including:

  • Linda Osinchuk, Wildrose candidate for Sherwood Park; former mayor of Sherwood Park Strathcona County
  • Laurie Blakeman, MLA for Edmonton-Centre since 1997; now running for the Liberals, Greens and the Alberta Party
  • Dave Cournoyer, writer and political analyst at
  • Sean Kheraj, assistant professor of Canadian and environmental history at York University.
  • Chris Severson-Baker, Managing Director of the Pembina Institute.

Star Light, Star Bright…on a Cloudy Night


This week we take a trip to the University of Alberta Observatory in hopes of seeing a twinkling night sky. Unfortunately, it was cloudy! But we still got to have some very interesting conversations with the people there, including the speaker for the night, James Pinfold, a Physics professor at the University of Alberta and a founding member of the ATLAS experiment taking place in the Large Hadron Collider.

Download this episode now.

What’s space to you?

Many other people also came out to the observatory despite the poor visibility. We wanted to find out: what would they think if they could no longer see the stars? And why would they spend a Thursday evening listening to a guy talk about hydrogen?

James Pinfold

A big concern for astronomers—amateurs and pros alike—is light pollution. Gazing at the stars gives us important knowledge about our place in the universe. Without that, we lose perspective.

But some might say, you know, there’s so much up there that we can’t see anyway. What can’t we see? and why we can see what we can? —those are questions Trevor Chow-Fraser had. Luckily there was a world famous particle physicist at the observatory that night. Thank your lucky stars! James Pinfold is a founding member of the ATLAS experiment and the spokesman for the MoEDAL experiment, both taking place at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.

Alan Luck and Sherrilyn Jahrig

Kathryn Lennon wanted to know how industry and municipalities are tackling this problem. In a piece she wrote and recorded back in 2012, she spoke with Alan Luck, Energy Engineer at Shell’s Scotford Upgrader in Alberta. And with Sherrilyn Jahrig, Director of Light Efficient Communities and the Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve Coordinator for the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

Water Revolution + Remaking Memory

Black & White photo of dusty landscape, water in the distance.

This week brings another amazing episode of Science Faction, our collaborators in Montreal. They’ll discuss research into changing memory—using only the most common words in the English language. Before that, the University of Alberta’s Nicholas Ashbolt talks about the coming water crisis, something we’re already seeing unfold in California.

Download Episode

Nicholas Ashbolt

California is currently in the fourth year of a drought that’s said to be the worst in a thousand years. Below average precipitation and above average temperatures have depleted reservoirs, destroyed crops, and caused wildfires. The state has just announced a 25% consumption reduction mandate, the first ever in California. The situation is a high profile catastrophe that is drawing attention to just how delicate our water systems can be.

But such a scenario may hit a little closer to home in the near future. Due to climate change and a rapidly increasing population, Calgary is expected to have a severe water shortage within the next 50 years. The city is predicted to have to reduce its water consumption per capita to less than half of what it is now. Fifty years may sound like a long time, but these types of large scale problems require many years to solve. And it only takes one exceptionally dry winter for a water crisis to surface unexpectedly.

Terra Informa’s Carson Fong spoke to Nicholas Ashbolt from the University of Alberta School of Public Health about the water issues we currently face.

Remaking Memory

Have you ever had a bad memory that you wanted to change into something better? This once impossibility is now possible, at least for mice, thanks to research led by Nobel laureate Dr. Susumu Tonegawa of the RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics.

Return of Misinforma

Flickr - Kanichat

Back by seasonal demand, it’s the return of Return of Misinforma: the show that turns up the heat on environmentalists. (For best results, return on April 1st).

We ask the questions that are too controversial for you to ask yourself—like what to do with Iceland? Do we really need water? Plus a special investigative feature on Canada’s radical, extremist environmentalists. And of course, it’s time for the annual Ezra Levant Award for Excellence in Excellence in Journalism!

Download episode

What’s Pissed Off Chris

Photo Credit:

Terra Misinforma’s regular shock columnist Chris Chang-Yen Phillips has an idea he’d like to get off his chest. It’s about a certain Scandinavian nation that’s become a hot tourist destination for those in search of a union of lava fields and icy slopes.

Reflections on Water: A Debate

Another great use for water.

What’s water really good for besides hockey, hosing down activists, and raining on parades? As far as natural resources go, water’s just a drop in the bucket, and we’ve decided to wash our hands of it. But unlike most media outlets, we try to get you both sides of every story, even if the other is patently wrong. So, to stand up for the big blue—or green, or whatever colour gets you hippies out of bed these days—eco-conscious Canadian Nelly von Hoser joined us in studio for a short and shallow conservation—errr—conversation on the merits of water.

Spawns of Seitan: Canada’s Terrifying Ecoterrorists

You hear news on Terra Misinforma all the time about the misguided misdeeds of Canada’s environmentalists. Fortunately, our great government is starting to catch on. In recent years, politicians, pundits and police have all identified environmentalists as the leading threat to the nation. To tell us more, we’ve got Trevor Chow-Fraser, who went undercover in his fight to remain vigilant against domestic extremism in the name of environmentalism.

Our most excellent awards segment

(Photo Credit:

The one and only Ezra Levant.

It’s that time of year when we celebrate the best of the best. Yes, it’s time to hand out the Ezra Levant Award for Excellence in Excellence in Journalism. In a tribute to the paragon of journalism that we, as Canadians, dream of reaching in our own work, the Ezra Levant Award for Excellence in Excellence goes to…

(Well, you’ll just have to listen to find out silly)

Women In Agriculture + Fracking In Fox Creek

(c) Gppande on Wikipedia

It’s interesting what you can see when you frame it through a different lens. Feeding the world is a problem, but would you have guessed that sexism is part of it? And when you think of earthquakes, do you think of oil and gas? In this episode, we explore the phenomena of food shortages and “seismic events” through these lenses.

Download Episode

Women in Agriculture

We’re going to have a tough time feeding the world in coming decades. Already, 800 million people are malnourished, according to the UN’s World Food Programme. That’s one in nine people worldwide.

Climate change and water shortages will only make things more difficult. We’ll have to find ways to grow more food. We’ll need more land, new farming techniques, pesticides and seeds.

And we’ll have to strengthen gender equality too. According to the UN, women’s inability to access resources keeps up to 150 million people hungry. In Africa and South America, giving women more say over agriculture could make all the difference. Trevor Chow-Fraser speaks to Dr. Amy Kaler of the University of Alberta, as well as Jane Frances Asaba and Selina Rodriguez from Edmonont’s Lady Flower Garden.

Fracking-Related “Seismic Events”

When you think of earthquakes the first place to come to mind certainly isn’t Alberta, But thats exactly what happened in Fox Creek this year, Gregg Wolff finds out what led to an earthquake in the middle of the prairies, and if fracking had anything to do with it.

What’s Happening

Water City 2040 – March 24 @ 6 PM, Guelph

WaterCity 2040 is a scenario planning initiative that launched last year. It aims to bring community and decision makers together to develop strategies to solve problems the water system may face in the future. Come out to be a part of the 25 year water vision.

Green Neighbours 21 – March 25 @ 7 PM, Toronto

Come out with your ideas about how we can act locally against global warming. The time has come to make real plans to fight this global emergency. The event will be discussion based, and everyone will be able to voice their concerns.

Panel on Environmental Careers – March 26 @ 6 PM, Toronto

The Centre for Social Innovation will be having a discussion panel on Environmental Careers. The panelists will discuss how you can step into the environmental sustainability field. The four panelists come from diverse backgrounds, but they’re all currently working in the field. The panel is put together by the Conservation Council of Ontario along with the Career Skills Incubator. Note that due to overwhelming demand, seating will be on a first come first served basis, so arrive early!