Investigating in Alberta

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Continental no. 9 oil well at Woodbend, Alberta. Photo Credit: Provincial Archive of Alberta.

This week we present a single interview between Terra Informer Sofia Osborne and Sharon Riley. Riley is an investigative journalist covering energy and the environment in Alberta for The Narwhal, an independent online magazine that reports on the basis that climate change is a real and happening issue.

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De-Extinction: Should We Resurrect Extinct Animal Species?

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Giant Tortoise in Floreana Island’s breeding program (photo courtesy of galapagos.org).

What if we could bring extinct animal species back from the dead? This week, Terra Informer Sofia Osborne brings us a story about de-extinction: the use of selective breeding, cloning, and genetic engineering to “resurrect” extinct species. This technology poses a lot of moral and ethical questions—would these “de-extincted” animal species be authentic? Could they ever be wild? Do we owe it to the species we’ve driven to extinction to bring them back? And who should decide whether we use this technology? Listen now to dive into these questions and more.

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Reading List: Looking for more information on de-extinction? Check out these reads:

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Zoological illustration of Passenger Pigeons from 1907 (Wikimedia Commons)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Myrtle and Charlie Ed, Revisited

 

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Photo Credit: torange

This week on Terra Informa, we return to “The Ballad of Myrtle and Charlie Ed”, a documentary from our archives, presented by Anthony Goertz. This is a story about discovering a story – one filled with charm, heart, and a great elephant escape!

Headlines cover Canada’s reception at COP24, Chinese internment of Uyghurs and Muslims in East Turkistan, and new research on cooperative bat behaviour. 

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Canada at COP24

Last month, in Katowice, Canada was being called out at COP 24called out at COP 24 in Poland to step up and fill a leadership void in climate talks at the conference.  Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, assures that the Paris targets will be met, but has not yet announced a plan that would come close to doubling emissions cuts, as required to keep warming to one and a half degrees Celsius, as outlined necessary by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report.

Chinese interment of Uyghurs over mineral resources

In East Asia, China continues its crackdown on Uyghurs  and Muslims in East Turkistan, forcing over a million people into internment camps and prisons. Detention of East Turkish citizens secures this mineral-rich region for the Chinese state. Competition for mineral resources is increasing, with resource extraction used to justify the degradation of the environment and genocide of people in poorer nations by those with wealth.

At Terra Informa, environmental issues are social justice issues.  Raw wealth feeds wealthy countries and fuels their greenhouse gas emissions. Poor countries end up the least able to adapt to climate impacts like floods and droughts, both because they don’t have the money, and because their degraded ecosystems are less resistant to change.

News on bats!

In news on bats: a new study shows how, in the face of food unpredictability, a number of species of bats will forage cooperatively in social groups. When food sources are predictable bats forage and eat alone as other bats may pose a threat to the individual bat’s access to food. But in cases of social foraging, bats actively help each other find food sources.

Edward Hurme, a UMD biological sciences graduate student in Maryland Biology Professor Gerald Wilkinson’s laboratory says that the next steps for this research are to look into what strategies are utilized by the bats, whether bats prefer to follow other bats of their own species, and if they can differentiate between individuals or not.

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Sponge Reefs of the Pacific Canadian Deep

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Photo credit: Canadian Geographic

This week, Terra Informer Jeremie Mahaux speaks with Nathan Grant, a graduate student at the University of Alberta. In their interview, we’ll hear about the Hecate Strait Marine Protected Area off the coast of northern British Columbia, as well as Nathan’s research on a fascinating and uniquely Canadian animal: glass sponges. Wanna hear about what a marine field scientist gets up to on the daily? What kind of food do they get to eat on coast guard ships? We’ll find out! 

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Headlines

Alberta NDP shelving oil sands emissions cap

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Winter Cycling & Christmas Tree Debacles

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This week we bring you two wintry archives! First a debate: which is more sustainable? An artificial or a real Christmas tree? Carson Fong finds out! Then winter cycling – sounds scary? Turns out it might not be as awful as it sounds.

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Headlines

The Calgary Board of Education and Bullfrog Power have teamed up to fund ‘Good Day Sunshine’, a recently announced initiative to install five new solar PV systems on Calgary elementary schools. [click here]

Environment and Parks Minister Shannon Phillips announced at the University of Alberta last week that the Alberta Youth Climate Action Council is now live and taking applications for youth aged 18-26 interested in giving feedback on climate change issues across the province. [click here]

A pilot study conducted by Texas State University and Bat Conservation International test-drove some new technology that reduces bat mortality from wind turbines by up to 54%! [click here]

Winter cycling

We take a trip down memory lane and revisit Terra Informers Carson and Trevor’s interview the president of the Winter Cycling Federation, Timo Perälä. Timo’s advice on navigating the mental blocks of winter cycling is perfectly timed with our snowy streets and recently expanded bike network.   

Which is greener?

In another archive, Terra Informer Hamdi explores the environmental debate between artificial and real Christmas trees, and how each stacks up in terms of contributing to climate change.

What’s happening

If you’re celebrating the holidays in the Edmonton area, come visit the U of A Forestry tree sale in the Corbett Hall parking lot near the University of Alberta hospital. Some friendly U of A Foresters will be there to greet you Monday to Friday from 3pm to 9pm and Saturday/Sunday from 9am to 9pm until December 21 or until the trees sell out. 10% of proceeds are donated to the United Way. [click here]

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Photo by: Martin Reis

Camping, climbing and COP24

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Crypt Lake Trail @ Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Photo Credit: Daveynin 

This week on Terra Informa, we dig in to COP24 and follow a conversation between new Terra Informer Kesia and outdoor enthusiast Yuliya Fakhr. Kesia and Yuliya explore the independence and liberation experienced in the Great Outdoors, the connection between spirituality and nature, and what it’s like to be a first-time rock climber. 

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Headlines

A recent study in the journal Nature Communications states the current climate policies of China, Canada, and Russia will drive climatic change of more than five degrees Celsius, resulting in catastrophic warming.  The authors state the metrics presented in the paper “translates the lack of ambition on a global scale to a national scale”, and that these findings should be a motivation for civilians, knowledge-holders, and decision-makers to hold governments accountable.

A new study from School of Planning at the University of Waterloo brings to light the way cars and urban planning often go hand-in-hand with elections and political views. The study discusses the effectiveness of urban planning efforts to make cities more environmentally  sustainable. Canadian researchers find that reliance on cars has led to car-centric urban planning which is further propagated by voters choosing politicians that want to maintain these unsustainable lifestyles.

On November 26 2018, ENvironnement JEUnesse applied to bring a class action against the Canadian government before the Superior Court of Québec on behalf of Quebecers aged 35 and under. They are suing the government for inaction on climate change, in light of the recent recommendation from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to avoid any delay as the Earth’s temperature is on the rise.

COP 24

Delegates and government leaders are meeting this week for COP24, the United Nations’ 24th annual climate conference in Katowice, Poland. This year’s conference is being referred to as “Paris 2.0” because it is expected to deliver the set of rules that will govern the Paris Agreement along with the tools for its effective implementation.

Interestingly, this year you can participate, too. The UN created a “People’s Seat” for you to “virtually sit” and share your views alongside government leaders at the climate talks. To join the effort, tag your thoughts with hashtag #TakeYourSeat on social media.

Civic engagement is critical! Individuals can help by holding our politicians accountable – anything from voting and letter-writing to protesting are ways to demand that your government is working in your interest and the interest of future generations.

Download program log here.

Talking Indigenous-led Environmental Assessment with The Firelight Group

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This week on Terra Informa, we have an interview with Dr. Ginger Gibson, one of the directors and founders of the Firelight Group, an organization that works to support Indigenous peoples and governments defending their rights and their land. Terra Informer Dylan Hall spoke with Ginger about the Firelight Group and the successes they’ve seen, particularly in Indigenous-led environmental review as a route for Indigenous Nations’ to express their right to self-governance despite a colonial Canadian state. More information about the Firelight group can be found at their website: www.thefirelightgroup.com, and the report on Indigenous-led environmental review spoken of in the interview can be found here.

Headlines

85 people have been arrested after protesters occupied five bridges in London, England on Saturday, November 17th in one of the largest acts of civil disobedience in UK history. The blockade was organized as part of a campaign run by Extinction Rebellion, a new group that aims to force governments to recognize and treat the threats of climate change and extinction as a crisis. Extinction Rebellion has organized various other acts of protest during the month of November, resulting in an additional 60 people being arrested for acts of civil disobedience. This Saturday was the climax of two weeks of protest, with approximately six thousand people taking part in the campaign. The group is calling for governments to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025 and to establish a “citizens assembly” to device an emergency plan of action. Extinction Rebellion now has offices based in central London and has eleven international events planned to take place in Canada, the United States, Germany, Australia, and France.
More information here: https://rebellion.earth/

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Photo by Forest and Kim Starr

PINHOLE CAMERAS AND CHANGING OCEANS

Terra Informa Nov 20 blog photo

Credit to Timkal for the image

This week we dive into an interview with Natalie Baird, a Masters student using participatory art methods to document Inuit knowledge in Canada’s north, and explore how this knowledge can be applied to climate change. Natalie’s work takes place in Pangnirtung – an Inuit community in Nunavut, located on Baffin Island. In the interview, Hannah and Natalie talk about sharing local knowledge, the accessibility of climate change science, how to make a pinhole camera, and much more. Headlines include the launch of the brand new Energy Efficiency Canada program, and the announcement of new (and much-needed) funding for conservation of Species at Risk. 

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Headlines

Efficiency Canada launched this week, aiming to be the “National Voice for an Energy Efficient Economy”. Efficiency Canada is a multidisciplinary agency focusing on advocacy and communication in regards to pushing for renewables in Canada. The project was started by Carleton University. With a focus on economic growth in the lens of renewable resources, the organization has already released a report of 2019 budget priorities for the federal government.

On November 9th the government of Canada released news they are committing over $9 million to almost 100, local-level conservation projects. over the next 3 years. Half of the projects will be funded by the Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk, which works with Indigenous communities to implement the Species at Risk Act.

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