Artists Acting for the Environment

(c) Stefan Thompson: A Carving of an Animal on a Tree

Time to get artsy-fartsy. First, we interview musician Sierra Jamerson about her family’s resistance to development in B.C.’s Sacred Headwaters. Then, jack-of-all trades artist Stefan Thompson on the artist’s environmental impact and his responsibility to nature.

Download episode

Sierra Jamerson on B.C.’s Sacred Headwaters

Sierra Jamerson was born into a family of talented leaders and gifted musicians, and she’s been performing professionally since the tender age of eleven, singing traditional Black Gospel, jazz, soul and R&B music.

Part of that talented family of hers is in the Tahltan Nation in British Columbia. You might have heard of the Sacred Headwaters in Tahltan territory. It’s the origin point for three powerful rivers that run through British Columbia—the Stikine, the Skeena and the Nass. When the oil and gas industry tried to start mining in the area, Sierra’s family was at the forefront of Tahltan resistance.

Chris Chang-Yen Phillips spoke with Sierra Jamerson during a live taping at the St. John’s Institute of Edmonton in 2013.

Links: Sierra Jamerson’s Music, Tahltan First Nation

Stefan Thompson on EcoArt

Creating something new when you are so familiar with the old is challenging. Pulling out the rug from underneath you, diverting from what has become normal, diving into the unknown. Canadian artist Stefan Thompson has tested his hand at shifting his focus to environmental consciousness with great results. Yvette Thompson spoke with Stefan about his art, his inspiration, and what he believes we can learn from his eco experiment. Stefan works in several mediums, and is starting to explore natural sculpture.

Links: Thompson’s WebsiteThompson’s DeviantartGreen Planet Paints

Whats Happening

Sustainability: Food and Water Security in Our Valley

The Council of Canadians is hosting an event on Vancouver Island on Wednesday, Oct. 1 at the Duncan United Church. From 6:30 – 9:00 Rodger Hunter of the Cowichan Watershed group and Dan Ferguson of the Cowichan Agricultural Society will present a sustainability talk. This is a free event and all are welcome. Organizers ask that you bring finger food to share, coffee, tea and juice will be provided. For more information you can email:

Reversing Climate Change: Using Carbon to Fight Carbon

In Hamilton, McMaster University’s Origins Institute is hosting a public lecture on October 14th at CIBC Hall. The event starts at 8:00 pm and will feature Dr. Frank Shu from UC San Diego.

Cash Mob Does 104 Street 

And for all our listeners in Edmonton with a shopping problem, why not put that cash and energy towards supporting local businesses? Cash Mob and the Local Good are teaming up to organize Cash Mob Does 104 Street. On Tuesday, October 7th at precisely 6:55 pm, would-be impulse buyers are meeting on the northeast corner of 104th street and Jasper Avenue to flash mob an unsuspecting shop on the 104th street district to peruse, purchase, and profess their love for buying local and supporting independent retailers.

Mabou Farmer’s Market

And for all the Capers out there tuning in, be sure to check out the Mabou Farmer’s Market every Sunday, from 11am to 2pm, at the Mabou Arena. Home baking, potted plants, wooden & leather goods. Local vegetables, photos, NS wines. Make friends with a farmer, support local and heritage products, and take home something tasty.

Tackling Climate Change, Balancing Development

People's Climate March

Today we’re live at the People’s Climate March in Edmonton. Reflecting on the challenge of tackling climate change, we’ve selected some pieces dealing with sustainability and social justice. Learn about Ecuador’s constitutionally enshrined ‘rights of nature,’ hear from Julian Agyeman on just sustainability, and meet a teacher bringing permaculture into the classroom.

Download Episode

Good Living

When we think of a constitution we think of basic “human” rights. We, as humans, have the right to vote, the right to practice religion, the right to own property. But what about nature? Ecuador was the first country in the world to establish the rights of nature at a national level, including it in the 2008 constitution. Terra Informa’s Nicole Wiart talks to Doctor Kelly Swing of the Tiputini biodiversity station in Ecuador about how this constitutional change is great in theory, but in practice, there are a lot of hurdles to still overcome. Nicole Wiart talks to Doctor Kelly Swing.

Bringing Permaculture Back To School

When you were a kid in school, did you ever wonder what the point of subjects like math and science were? For instance, how they applied to the real world? What could that have to do with a food forest and an aquaponics system, or how permaculture projects can help people become more connected to their communities?

Dustin Bajer teaches at Jasper Place High School in Edmonton and is the brain behind the permaculture project started there in 2010. He has some interesting answers to these questions. Morgana Folkmann spoke to him over the phone this past week.

Just Sustainability

Julian Agyeman is chair of the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University in Boston-Medford, Massachusetts. His research focuses on the intersections between social justice and sustainability, an idea which he terms just sustainability. He describes just sustainability as “the need to ensure a better quality of life for all, now and into the future, in a just and equitable manner, whilst living within the limits of supporting ecosystems”. Kathryn Lennon spoke with him about the need for the sustainability movement to broaden its work beyond ecological and conservation issues, to include issues of inequality and social justice.

What’s Happening

Climate Fast on Parliament Hill

For the third year, people will be standing and fasting on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa. They will be there every day from September 28 to October 2. The peaceful action will call on policy makers to end fossil fuel subsidies, put a price on carbon and make a green energy plan for Canada.

Want to get involved? Fasters need volunteers to help out in Ottawa. You can also pledge to make your own fast on October first. Be sure to write to your political representatives, and tell your friends and family why you are fasting.

Backyard Biodiversity Exhibit

On a different note, Vancouver’s Beaty Museum has a new exhibit opening on Saturday, September 27. Come to a family-friendly celebration of BC writers and illustrators. Read, write, draw and discover backyard biodiversity with some of BC’s best children’s writers and illustrators. There will be story time under the blue whale and a puppet show too!

Treeplanting in Shediac

On Saturday, September 27, the Nature Conservancy of Canada is hosting a tree planting event in Shediac, New Brunswick. Help speed up the natural regeneration of a Barachois Acorn habitat, providing much needed homes for endangered piping plover. No experience necessary. Snacks and equipment are provided. Register online.

Wild Mushrooms Foraging

On Saturday, September 27, in Glassville, New Brunswick you can learn to forage—safely—for wild mushrooms. The Falls Brook Centre is bringing in naturalist Nelson Poirier to show you the ropes. Learn to identify wild mushrooms, avoid the poisonous ones and pick out the tastiest ones. Register online.

Understanding Obama’s Climate Plan

This week on Terra Informa, we take a look at the United State’s plans to tackle climate change, and we visit a very special friend from the world of Hogwarts. Also, we’re revving up for Fundrive, CJSR’s fundraising event that’s coming up at the end of this month!

Download Episode

America’s Climate Plan

Nine months ago, the world was anticipating the U.S’s decisions on climate change. It had been almost four years since his ambitious Cap and Trade bill died in the Senate. Four years since the talk-but no walk at the Copenhagen climate summit. And the decison on Keystone XL pipeline had been delayed a number of times.

In June 2014, the White House finally made a big climate announcement. And with the UN aiming for a major international climate agreement in 2015, there could be more on the way this year.

Mae Stevens shares her insights on the plans with Trevor Chow-Fraser.

Project Hedwig Takes Wing

Even if you haven’t read J K Rowling’s Harry Potter books, you’ve probably heard of Gryffindor, Voldemort and quidditch. Harry Potter has been an integral part of many a childhood, and is entrenched in our pop culture consciousness. Some of the most iconic images from the books and the movie adaptations have spilled out into the real world.

In Edmonton, a group of Harry Potter fans have taken their passion for the books and turned it into a way to support literacy, youth emergency services, and wildlife rehabilitation.

Chris Chang-Yen Phillips traveled to one of their events at Edmonton’s Stanley Milner Public Library. He spoke with Andrea Guay-Colpitts from PotterWatch, and Carly Lynch from the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton to bring you this fantastical story.

What’s Happening

Herb Walk: Plants, People, and Planetary Peace
September 18, London, Ontario, The Living Center
Learn about the many common, renewable, edible and medicinal wild plants growing in your neighborhood. What are the edible species that fill our ecosystems during our growing season? The walk costs $25, and if you’re interested, click here to register.

City of Ottawa Wildlife Speaker Series
September 18 7-9 PM, Ottawa, Ontario, Ben Franklin Place

People and deer have a long history together. White-tailed deer are valued as a game species, and for their grace and beauty, but they can also become a pest to farmers and gardeners. Motor vehicle collisions involving deer are a major safety concern, especially during the fall.

The City of Ottawa has invited experts from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to present information on white-tailed deer ecology and biology to improve our understanding of these wild neighbours. For more information, email

The Evolution of Animal Complexity, a Developmental Perspective
September 18 4PM, Edmonton, Alberta, CCIS 1-160

Recent advances in total genome sequencing raise fascinating questions about the relationship between genomic complexity and morphological complexity. These questions are particularly intriguing for living animal groups that diverged early in life’s history. Dr. Mark Martindale will discuss recent discoveries in both ctenophores (comb jellies) and cnidarians (sea anemones and jellyfish) that suggest a new way of thinking about the evolutionary origins of new animal body plans.

P.S It’s folks like you that help keep community radio like us going! If you’d like to show your support and pre-pledge, then head on over this way! Thanks.

Save The Petrels! Veggie Eggs



This week on Terra Informa, we discuss how bringing life into the world can change perception of life on the whole planet. We will cover the demise of the sea-faring petrels and how to reverse its population trends. And finally, we introduce a new generation of egg.

Download episode

Eye-opener: Aurélie Arnaud on Giving Birth

From time to time, we bring you Eye-openers: moments that have dramatically shifted how you look at the environment. This week, Chris Chang-Yen Phillips brings you a story from Aurélie Arnaud, a Montreal woman whose experience as a mother has sharpened the way she see the state of the planet.

Aleutian Seabirds

This next story is little ditty about a seabird in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. 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.

Plant-Based Eggs

Which came first? The chicken? Or the egg? In Josh Tetrick’s California-based facility, the eggs they’re scrambling are coming to you from broken-down plant protein. Hampton Creek Foods was founded on the sensibility of sustainability, and concern for the planet. How to feed a rapidly growing population of more than 7 billion people? Food technology is an undeniable part of our future and Tetrick speaks to Natalee Rawat about his motives behind creating the first plant based egg.

What’s Happening

Environment and Sustainability Series: Beekeeping - September 16, Montreal, Quebec

The PGSS Environment Committee and Green Drinks Montreal will again be offering a once monthly series on all things related to the environment and sustainability. This year, events will take place from 5-7pm in the Thomson House basement located on theMcGill downtown campus. The first event on September 16 will be on urban apiculture (beekeeping) and honey production. There’ll be folks responsible for the hive at Thomson House this summer on hand to talk about urban bees, answer questions and maybe even provide some honey tasting. Light refreshments will be served. All welcome!

Hike Nova Scotia Fall Guided Hike Series - September through November, Nova Scotia

Hike Nova Scotia and 17 host organizations across the province have partnered up to offer the 2014 Fall Guided Hike series in September, October and November. There are 43 hikes led by local folks and participants qualify to win “trail prizes.” Hike NS thanks its partners for organizing the hikes on the ground. Check out the list of events here:

Urban Fruit Trees | Beyond the Backyard Urban Gardening Workshop - September 14, Toronto, Ontario

September is the best time to order your fruit tree for an early spring delivery, but how do you pick the best one for your sites unique conditions? Join Susan Poizner  of fruit tree consulting company Orchard People at Evergreen Brickworks at 1 PM as she takes you through the process of evaluating your site, exploring pollination requirements, root stock properties, harvest times, disease resistance and more.

Ashbridge Estate Tour - September 9, Toronto, Ontario

Come explore the living heritage of historic Ashbridge Estate from 6-8 PM located on Queen Street East and Greenwood Avenue. Discover trees planted by the Ashbridge family during their two centuries of living here, and find out how the land has changed over time. Learn about conservation arboriculture techniques used today to maintain the beautiful old trees on the property. Hear the story behind Emma’s Willow, planted over one hundred years ago and still going strong! The suggested donation is $5, and registration is recommended.

Book Club: Tim Lilburn’s “Kill-site”

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

It’s the end of summer, and that means a conclusion to the Terra Informa Summer Book Club. This month, we read Tim Lilburn’s Kill-site, a collection of poems exploring ecology, colonialism and spirituality through the landscape of Southern Saskatchewan. For the children’s segment, we tackle a classic, Dennis Lee’s Alligator Pie.

Have you enjoyed taking part in the Book Club? Is this something you would like us to keep up? Let us know on Twitter or by sending us an email.

Download Episode

Tim Lilburn’s Kill-site

From the publisher:

To his virtuoso collection of new poems, Tim Lilburn brings a philosopher’s mind and the eyes and ears of a marsh hawk. This series of earthy meditations makes the strange familiar and the familiar strange. Lilburn’s close study of goldenrod, an ice sheet, or night opens into surprising interior and subterranean worlds. Pythagoras lurks within the poplars, Socrates in stones, people fly below the ground. Elsewhere, the human presence of motels and beer parlours is ominous. Kill-site is an exploration of a human’s animal nature. Lilburn invites the reader to: “Go below the small things… then / walk inside them and you have their kindness.” Though a natural progression from Lilburn’s last book, To the River, in Kill-site, the poet moves toward a greater understanding of the human, of sacrifice.

Dennis Lee’s Alligator Pie


Before Dennis Lee published Alligator Pie in 1974, the only poetry most Canadian children knew by heart was Mother Goose. Reading to his own daughters, the Governor General’s Award-winning poet had noticed that the “jolly millers, little pigs and queens” of the old rhymes were no longer “home grown” and recognizable. So he started experimenting with a new kind of nursery rhyme, “not abolishing Mother Goose, but letting her take up residence among hockey sticks and high-rises.” Alligator Pie was an immediate hit, and generations since have grown up chanting Lee’s toe-tapping nonsense about laundromats, skyscrapers, rattlesnakes, and windshield wipers.

Rain Gardens & the Peoples’ Social Forum

Kelly Pike

This week, completely unintentionally, we’re all in Ontario! We’ve got a story from Hamilton for anyone with a roof over their heads—did you know it might be making life harder for your local wetland? Rain gardens can help, and we’re going to find out how to make them. We’re also stopping in on the Peoples’ Social Forum in Ottawa, where thousands of community activists and organizations are cooking up a social change soup. We’ll find out how they intend to work together to build Canada’s future.

Download Episode


The Tale of the Evans Cherry

photo 2

This week, we’ve got a special segment of Dispatches of the Dirt brought to you by Terrainforma’s Danielle Dolgoy and Hamdi Issawi. Find out how the magical Evans Cherry came to be in Edmonton’s supposedly unforgiving climate!

Download Episode


On Music and Remediation

Oyster mushrooms can be used in the remediations of pollutants such as petrolium and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

Oyster mushrooms can be used in the remediation of pollutants such as petroleum and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

This week we talk to two remarkable people whose environmental concerns figure prominently in their work. First, we reconnect with Leila Darwish, the author of Earth Repair, for an explanation and illustration of bioremediation. Then, singer-songwriter Morgan MacDonald shares how environmental issues strike a chord in his music.

Download Episode