The NEB & the Future of Energy in Canada

 

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This week on Terra Informa, Terra Informer Amanda Rooney chats with Hélène Lauzon, the co-chair on an expert panel set up by the federal government to work on investigating the modernization of the National Energy Board. Then, in an archive, Danielle Dalgoy and Riyah Lakhani catch up with electrical engineer Warren Sarauer from the Solar Energy Society of Alberta to talk about the future of renewables back in November 2014.

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National Energy Board Modernization Expert Panel

About two weeks ago Terra Informer Amanda Rooney spoke with Hélène Lauzon. Ms.Lauzon is the co-chair on an expert panel set up by the federal government to work on investigating how the National Energy Board can be modernized.

The National Energy Board regulates international and interprovincial energy projects such as pipelines, powerlines and energy exports. The 5 person expert panel has been travelling across Canada holding discussions with stakeholders and the public. They have even held separate days especially encouraging the participation of Indigenous individuals and groups. Check out Amanda Rooney and Carter Gorzitza’s story about some of what the board has heard so far.

More info at: http://www.neb-modernization.ca/neb-welcome

Solar power in the neighbourhood?

When you were a kid in school and you first learned about solar power, did you think, why don’t they put those on our roof? Terra Informa’s Danielle Dolgoy thought a lot about solar power growing up under Edmonton’s big, sunny skies. It seemed simple enough. Slap a few panels up on the house and school, and stop polluting the water, air, and soil.

As solar technology has improved over the last decade it is rapidly becoming a viable alternative to burning fossil fuels. And as energy industry heads scramble to maintain their dominance over the delivery of the essential thing: energy, certain myths have begun to creep into the conversation.

Some people say that solar power is too costly to produce and thus, is not a real alternative for the everyday consumer. Others say that the process of manufacturing solar panels, or modules as the professionals call them, is just as hazardous to the environment as conventional electricity generation. So why mess with what we already know? They say we should stick with the reliable energy that we’ve always trusted and continue using the infrastructure in place in the same way we always have.

Danielle caught up with business owner, electrical engineer, and solar power enthusiast Warren Sarauer recently, to bust these myths. After she and Terra Informa’s Riyah Lakhani attended Sarauer’s talk on solar energy hosted by the Solar Energy Society of Alberta, called “Solar Energy: How to Generate Your Own Power and Sell It Back to the Grid”, they both wanted to know more about the viability of solar power for themselves and the people they know.

Download program log now.

Photo by Brian Cantoni.

 

Urban Week at the University of Alberta

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The Growroom, released by Space10

This week on Terra Informa, we hear from organizer Hayley Wasylycia about Urban week, and the environmental and planning fun that they will be whipping up around campus!

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Urban Week 2017 & The Growroom

What is urban? Who is responsible for the urban environment? What’s the role of bees? What the heck is an IKEA Growroom? Terra Informers Shelley Jodoin and Carter Gorzitza ask these questions and more of Hayley Wasylycia, an organizer of Urban Week, which is coming to the University of Alberta March 20th to 24th.

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/747808418709982/
YEG Growroom website: growroomyeg.com
Open Source Website Here: www.space10.io/journal/space10-open-sources-the-growroom

Download program log here.

Photo credit to The Growroom released by Space10

YEG Winter City

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Loving Winter City Living

Increasingly Canada’s populations are moving to cities, but even urban living is still affected by the whims of weather. This is Canada after all and we all know how cold it can get in the wintertime. Whether you wear the stubbornness of continuing to exist in a frigid land as a badge of pride, or dream of escaping for a beach vacation as soon as temperatures drop, we’re all familiar with how unpleasant it can be to walk from one place to the next with snow flying into your eyes, wind blowing your skin raw, and each step becoming a shaky gamble on a dangerous slip. The weather, unfortunately, is not something that we can change, but we can discuss how we can make our cities more pleasant during the long winter months. This February, Edmonton hosted the city’s second Winter City Shake Up – a conference that addresses how we can make our cities more lovable, healthy, safe, and accessible and ultimately how we can beat the odds and thrive in the city during the winter season. Guest contributor Jody Zink went to the conference and brings us a variety of interviews discussing solutions to combat the windchill blues by making cities more winter friendly.

Download program log here.

Photo by Benjamin Hollis.

A Little Grain and a Lot of Birds

This week is a special episode that was especially fun to make. Sometimes, when we have an extra cool story that the whole Terra Informa team is invested in, we all go on a field trip together. A couple Sundays ago, we travelled to a Grain Terminal in the City of Edmonton to see some rare birds of prey and meet the folks who watch and photograph them there.

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A Little Grain and a lot of Birds

In class this semester, Edmonton-famous professor and naturalist John Acorn told his students about a special place in the city that attracts hundreds of pigeons each day, who in turn attract rare birds of prey who feed on them. Terra Informer Amanda Rooney took several friends and fellow Terra Informers to the Alberta Grain Terminal in North Edmonton to take it in. In this story, we see hundreds of pigeons, one very lucky sparrow, some merlin falcons, and a prairie falcon.

What’s Happening

Green Drinks: Green Economy

Green Drinks is a gathering of Edmonton’s green-minded professionals to meet new friends, network, and indulge in a local brew. This event takes place at the Yellowhead Brewery on Wednesday, March 1st and featured guests include HEATHER SPEERS, the Project Coordinator for the MacEwan University’s social innovation hub project; Mark Anielski an economic strategist specializing in measuring well-being and happiness and also award-winning author of The Economics of Happiness: Building Genuine Wealth, and many more. Get more info on eventbrite.com.

Aboriginal Law Speaker Series

Also in Edmonton, check out the Aboriginal Law Speaker Series hosted by the University of Alberta’s Aboriginal Law Students Association. The series start March 6th with Eriel Deranger, who we’ve had the pleasure of interviewing on Terra Informa about Alberta Indigenous Peoples and the Climate Crisis. The speaker series is free and more information can be found on Facebook event.

Download program log now.

Photos by Cameron Blais.

Just Sustainability: Social Justice and Nature’s Rights

Lagoon and lush forest in Ecuador.

Lagoon and lush forest in Ecuador.

This week we are bringing sustainability-related pieces from the archives. First, we hear from Dr. Kelly Swing about how Ecuador has enshrined the rights of nature in its constitution. Then we hear an interview with Winona LaDuke, an indigenous economist about the effects of colonization on Indigenous economies and food systems. Finally, we bring you an interview with Julian Agyeman, chair of the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University about how sustainability should be considered holistically.

Download the episode.

Download the program log.

Nature’s Rights in Ecuador

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.

Winona LaDuke, Anishinaabe Activist

Winona LaDuke is an Anishinaabe environmental activist, economist, and writer. She spent her entire career as an unflagging advocate for food and energy sustainability. She’s the kind of person who can tell you centuries of history about the corn her community grows and then rally it together to build a wind turbine. She ran as the U.S vice-presidential nominee for the United States Green Party in 1996 and 2000, and she remains a leader in North America on issues of locally based sustainable development. Terra Informa correspondent Matt Hirji spoke with Winona LaDuke from her home on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota.

More information: Winona LaDuke’s TedxTC Talk – Seeds of our Ancestors, Seeds of Life, Honour the Earth

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.

Image Credit: Alejomiranda, Pixabay.

What’s Happening?

Solar Trade Show: February 25th, Edmonton, Alberta

Free Admission

The Solar Trade Show is an event for everyone: homeowners, business owners, community organizations, job seekers, and Indigenous communities. Presentations and workshops will discuss careers in solar energy and how to finance solar energy projects. The event is organized by the Solar Energy Society of Alberta.

Click here for more info.

 

Words, Words, Words


Open book on top of grass.

We discuss great environmental writing that captures our attention. First off, Gail Anderson-Dargatz, the author of The Spawning Grounds, tells us how she writes about the land as a character. Next, ecology graduate students discuss the different styles of two environmental writers during the conservation movement. Finally, Mika Minio-Paluello discusses co-writing the travelogue The Oil Road and reflects on the journey following the BP pipeline from Central Asia to the Mediterranean.

Download the episode now.

Download the program log.

The Magic of Environmental Writing
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 snowshoeing 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.

The Oil Road
Every single day, one million barrels of oil travels from landlocked Central Asia to the Mediterranean. From there it flows through the trade routes, making British Petroleum—also known as BP—billions of dollars along the way. James Marriott and Mika Minio-Paluello traveled this oil road. They visited rural villages and shining new cities, all tied together by the incredible social forces generated by BP’s pipeline.

The Oil Road is also the name of their book and it is a reflective travelogue on the state of the global oil industry. Mika Minio-Paluello spent a week in Edmonton in 2013. Hear stories of repressive governments, secret police, Canadian attack helicopters, and more.

Gail Anderson-Dargatz  

Gail Anderson-Dargatz is a twice Giller shortlisted author and she released her lastest novel, The Spawning Grounds in 2016. The Spawning Grounds is set in Thompson-Shuswap region of B.C. and it begins with a river’s flow reduced to a trickle leaving salmon unable to reach their spawning grounds. Conflict arises between the white settlers and Indigenous community and three young adults are left trying to navigate the conflict. Gail Anderson-Dargatz shares her writing process and how she writes about the land as a character in this interview.

Image source: Kaboompics, pixabay

Speculating the Future and Utilizing Shame for Good

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This week on Terra Informa, we look to the archives to discuss the future of humanity and the place oil has in that future. First off we have Chris Chang-Yen Phillips with Brandon Schatz talking about science-fiction and its reflection of our current and future states. After that we talk to Jennifer Jacquet about the effectiveness of shaming in modern protest. And lastly we talk with Todd Hirsch about the future of oil in Alberta and the his view on the future economic framework of this province.

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Lenses on the Future

Not everyone likes reading books about the future. Unless you already read science fiction, speculative fiction, or science-fiction as they’re collectively called, you might feel like the whole genre is just about slapstick robots and Orion slave girls. To be fair, some of it is about slapstick robots and Orion slave girls. But Sci-Fi can also teach us a lot about the way we live today. And help us imagine something different. For more on why your summer reading list should venture into the world of ansibles, hyperspace, and pigoons, Chris Chang-Yen Phillips spoke to Brandon Schatz, manager of Wizard Comics in Edmonton. 

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.

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.

Download program log here.

Photo by: Chris Yakimov (https://www.flickr.com/photos/doucy/)

Crime, Bugs and the Physics of Fire Ants

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We all know bugs are important in the function of ecosystems but did you know about their importance in the world of forensics, or in the study of physics? This week on Terra Informa, we go to Chris Chang-Yen Phillips to discuss a murder investigation with a forensic entomologist. And after we hear about the physics of fire ants from our partners over at Science Faction.

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Investigating with Bugs

Piecing together a crime can be a messy business. Police can run up against unreliable witnesses, or destroyed evidence. But what if the animals around a body could tell you a story about what happened? Chris Chang-Yen Phillips has this story from forensic entomologist and Simon Fraser University professor Gail Anderson in Vancouver.

Science Faction

Here is a link to Science Faction’s website. This was the first episode in an 8-part miniseries.
http://sciencefaction.ca/

Download Program Log Here

Photo by: AV Design
https://www.flickr.com/photos/avdezign/