Forest Fires and Science Faction on Spider Silk

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Spider Web by Jeanne Menjoulet

This week, we have an archive show that delves into the science of forest fires and forest rejuvenation, and how climate change disrupts that cycle. Then on Science Faction, we learn about how spider silk can be used by humans in many strange and unexpected ways. Hear from Utah State University’s Dr. Randy Lewis & BioArt Laboratories’ Jalila Essaïdi about “Spider Silk Superpowers.”

Download episode now.

Headlines

What makes dogs so friendly? Study finds genetic link to super-outgoing people.

Ever wonder what makes your pup’s smiley lick-kisses and excited full body wiggling so infallible every time you walk in the door? New research into the genetic basis for the friendliness of dogs may have revealed some clues. Read more here.

Environment groups wait for charges in year-old Husky oil spill in Saskatchewan

Husky Energy is awaiting charges stemming from a major oil spill in Saskatchewan a year ago, when one of their pipelines leaked 225, 000 liters of oil onto the riverbank near Maidstone, Saskatchewan, contaminating the water sources of 3 different cities. Read more here.

Bears Are Being Milked for Bile. Vietnam Pledges to Rescue Them.

Vietnam has pledged to rescue around one thousand bears from Vietnamese farms keeping them captive in order to extract and sell their bile. Bile, a liquid found in gall bladders to aid digestion, has a long history in traditional Asian medicine, but there is no proof of its effectiveness in treating many of the conditions it is sold to cure. The practice of extracting bile often results in inhumane treatment of the bears, with farms keeping often malnourished bears in small cages. Read more here. 

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Paleobotany And Permaculture from our Archives

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Fern by Steve Bridger

We venture back to the archives to hear a piece by Dylan Hall and Whitney Caine as they talk permaculture with Kaz Haykowsky and Marcheen Makarewicz, two University of Alberta students who started a permaculture landscaping company. Then we hear a piece by Tasmia Nishat talking with Dr. Eva Koppelhus about plant spore fossils!

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Permaculture

What is this permaculture? Gardening design principles, an international social movement, eco-philosophy, or all of the above? Permaculture can be hard to pin down and the term has grown almost as many interpretations as there are practitioners.

Coined in the 1970’s by two Australians – David Holmgren and Bill Mollison – Permaculture was initially a contraction of permanent agriculture and has also come to mean permanent culture. The dual meaning of the word is fitting, as any hope of a permanent culture depends on a permanent food supply!

Kaz Haykowsky and Marcin Makarewicz are two students from the University of Alberta who have started a ‘Food Not Lawns’ business: Spruce Permaculture. Dylan Hall and Whitney Caine spoke with them about their personal interpretations of Permaculture.

If you are interested in Spruce Permaculture – Check out their website!

Paleobotany

If you were to casually mention Paleobotany in a casual conversation, you’d probably get a “paleo-what-now??”

Basically, it’s the study of plant fossils. You can also get a little more crazy and talk about palynology, the study of plant spore fossils.

Dr. Eva Koppelhus, a professor of paleobotany at the University of Alberta, thinks the subject is underrated and at least deserves some of the glory that dinosaurs receive.

Here Tasmia Nishat talks with Dr. Koppelhus about the finer points of plant fossils, and why they’re super cool.

What’s Happening

Ornithologists and bird enthusiasts alike across the country cried foul earlier this month after the federal government announced that the grey jay will not be crowned as Canada’s national bird.

For 18 months the Royal Canadian Geographical Society ran its “National Bird Project”. The undertaking included an online contest as well as public debates and consultations with bird experts. After receiving nearly 50 000 votes, the grey jay was voted number one, claiming victory over the common loon, snowy owl, and black-capped chickadee.

Despite the strong response from the public, the federal government did not sanction the project and are, “not actively considering proposals to adopt a bird as a national symbol”. The Society believes; however, that the government has not cooked their goose on the proposed idea and hopes that the project has encouraged the public to learn more about Canadian birds found across the country. 

Read more here.

Download program log here.

Faith + Futurism

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”The Swiss Alps – God’s Country” by edwademd

This week on Terra Informa, we have two great pieces from our archives. First we have a story on faith and climate justice. Terra Informer Trevor Chow-Fraser talks to Bishop Susan Johnson to hear more on what inspires people of faith to get involved in international climate negotiations. Then we talk to Alex Steffen, Planetary Futurist, journalist, and sustainability advocate. He thinks it’s time to stop looking at the second hand on our watch and look up and begin to think about what kind of world we’re leaving to our grandchildren. Matt Hirji sits down with him at the University of Alberta’s International Week 2014.

Download episode now.

Faith and Climate Justice

Previously we heard from three guests—an analyst, an activist, and a Bishop—about Fast for the Climate, a campaign based off of the hunger strike that thousands of people took part in during the Warsaw climate change talks. This week, Trevor Chow-Fraser wanted to hear more on what inspires people of faith to get involved in the international climate negotiations. To figure it out, Trevor step back and ask them how they first came to connect their faith with the environment.

Alex Steffen, Planetary Futurist

In today’s fast paced milieu, chasing the here and now can blind us from the dangers that lie ahead —  just past the horizon. Our conversations are often dominated by present concerns… with very little credence given to the impacts that our current decisions will have on our world in the future. Alex Steffen is a self-described planetary futurist. He sits down with Matt Hirji while at the University of Alberta’s International Week.

Headlines

Toronto the resilient: how the city plans to adapt to climate change in 2050

The city of Toronto has put forward a bill called Transform TO, calling to reduce the cities greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by the year 2050. Plans to meet this ambitious goal include the increased use of solar panels, dense urban centers and new homes that minimize greenhouse gas output. The city also plans to divert 95% of waste from landfills by increasing recycling and reuse programs. Read more here. 

Bear 148

Bear 148 was caught in Canmore this week after what seems was hundreds of encounters with humans. You may know this grizzly for when she became viral after joining a rugby practice in Banff, as well as many other encounters she has had with people. Bear 148 was not known to be aggressive, though in a recent incident she charged a man pushing a stroller while he was walking his dog. After this she was captured and released back into the far end of her home range to minimize human interaction. Parks staff say this comes as a reminder about the balance between keeping animal habitat and maintaining the safety of visitors in the park. Read more here. 

Ancient fungi could help Canada’s future northern forests

Research from the University of British Columbia has found a symbiotic fungi helping trees to migrate during times of high temperature stress due to climate change. These fungi had been laying dormant for thousands of years and were able to survive due to specialized spores. Jason Pither and Brian Pickles have been leading the new research. Read more here.

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Your Fracking Answers

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This week on Terra Informa, we re-air an award winning episode answering questions about fracking.

Download episode now.

All About Fracking

For some it’s the dirty energy with the dirty-sounding name. For others, it’s a revolutionary new way to provide clean energy. We’re talking about fracking. You probably feel you belong in one camp or the other—but have you thought about why? How well do you really know the actual risks and benefits of fracking? Trevor Chow-Fraser and Danielle Dolgoy realized they didn’t even know exactly what fracking is. So they researched and talked with experts who do. This story brings together the expertise of Dr. Avner Vengosh, Dr. Daniel Alessi, C. Alexia Lane and Dr. Rick Chalaturynyk. All together, we answer three big questions that we found you had about fracking.

Headline Links

—-> The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau – pm@pm.gc.ca
—-> The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc – dominic.leblanc@parl.gc.ca
—–> http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2017/2017-06-24/html/reg2-eng.php

Fill out the listener survey for CJSR volunteers and let us know by Wednesday, July 5.

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Photo by Agencia ID

Jems from our Archives: Tale of the Evan’s Cherry

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Weeping Cherry Tree in Bloom by Todd Heft

This week on Terra Informa we re-air a piece from 2014 that we almost lost track of! It’s the tale of the Evan’s Cherry, a prolific fruit in the Edmonton region. This story takes you through the adventure of past Terra Informer, Danielle Dolgoy, who went to some lengths to figure out how this plant came to be so ubiquitous.

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Headlines

Concern for Iqaluit’s Water Supply

It’s hard living in Northern Canada. Beyond the issues of melting permafrost and boil advisories, there’s a new concern for Iqaluit’s water supply. A study published this year by York University and University of Waterloo Researchers used hydrologic modelling to conclude that Iqaluit may face a water shortage within 5 years. Read more here. 

Seoul Street

South Korea’s capital city of Seoul recently opened “Seoul Street” — a kilometer-long green walkway built on a former highway. The project is part of a larger movement to make the city of 10 million people more pedestrian-friendly. It’s similar to High Line, another green walkway built on a former road in New York City. Seoul Street is a forest microcosm with 24,000 trees, potted plants and flowers. Read more here.

The Wolastoq Grand Council’s Campaign to Restore St. John River’s Maliseet name

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples includes the right “to designate and retain their own names for communities, places and persons.” This is what Grand Chief Ron Tremblay had in mind when he proposed the name change of the St. John’s River to the traditional Maliseet name, Wolastoq. Wolastoq means “beautiful, bountiful river.” So far, the New Brunswick government has rejected the idea, given that the river passes through Maine and changing the name would require co-operation with the US government. Read more here. 

Listener Survey

CJSR is volunteer-powered radio. Volunteers serve on our board, keep our music library fresh, make award-winning news programming, keep our equipment running, and of course spin music live for everyone out there in radio-land. What are your favourite shows? Who are your favourite hosts? Fill out this listener survey and let us know by July 5th!

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Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation

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Photo by EROVIKOVA FOTO

This week we have an interview about how municipalities are taking leadership in climate mitigation while also making strides for adaptation. Amanda Rooney and Charly Blais sat down with Danielle Koleyak, an environmental project manager with the city of Edmonton. Then we have a story about how the health care industry can mitigate its contribution to climate change, brought to you by Climate Radio.

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Municipalities and Climate Adaptation

In light of the United States pulling out of the Paris Agreement and the striking response from municipalities that in turn adopted the Paris agreement on their own, we thought that we would explore how municipalities can push for action and plan on how to adapt to climate change and environmental issues. Amanda Rooney and Charly Blais sat down with Danielle Koleyak, an Environmental Project Manager with the City of Edmonton. We spoke with her about Edmonton’s newly developing climate change adaptation and resilience strategy and about the power that local leaders and municipalities have in addressing climate change issues.

Climate Change in the Health Care Setting

Segment from Climate Radio: The health care industry has a critical role to play in climate change mitigation. Global Green and Healthy Hospitals, GGHH, is a network that brings together hospitals, health systems, and health organizations from around the world under the shared goal of reducing the environmental footprint of the health sector and contributing to improved public and environmental health. We caught up with Nick Thorp, the Global Community Manager of GGHH, and he explains what they are doing to improve public and environmental health. 

What’s Happening

Biomimicry Workshop

Do you enjoy the strange mix of nature, technology and science?  Biomimicry Alberta is hosting a two day workshop in Edmonton on June 24th and 25th. The workshop will explore strategies from the natural world and investigate how they can inform human design and technology. The weekend will include providing a broad introduction to the concept of biomimicry with a focus on the insect world– and the program includes presentations from local naturalists and researchers. This workshop is intended for students and professionals from any discipline and background interested in design and sustainability. Register for the workshop here

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Riding the Trans Canada Trail

 

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Photo by Edmund Aunger in Cochrane, Alberta on the Trans Canada Trail

After spending the last two years on the Trans Canada Trail, Sarah Jackson is set to become the first woman on record to complete the 11,500 km hike.

This week, we have a story about the Trans Canada Trail. We have an interview with Edmund Aunger, a cyclist with a petition to make the Trans Canada Trail safer, and we have a follow-up interview with Paul Labarge, Chairman of the Board of the Trans Canada Trail Organization to get his perspective.

Download the episode.

What’s Happening

Deadline set for Canada to improve an Albertan National Park

The United Nations has given Canada 9 months to outline a plan intended to improve the health of the country’s largest national park, Wood Buffalo National Park, or risk having the park added to the UN’s list of endangered world heritage sites.The park is home to one of the world’s last self-regulating bison herds and the only remaining nesting ground for the endangered whooping crane. Read more here. 

Same-sex vulture couple hatch abandoned egg

A monogamous pair of male griffon vultures at the Artis Amsterdam Royal Zoo in the Netherlands have successfully hatched an abandoned egg after zookeeper Job van Tol noticed the egg on the zoo’s aviary floor. Van Tol reports that the vulture couple are working together to protect and feed their adopted offspring and the chick appears to be doing fantastically. Read more here. 

International solar SUN-day

This Sunday, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and the Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project present International Solar SUN-day at Hawrelak Park, an international effort being held in more than 20 countries around the world, celebrating the summer solstice weekend. In addition to educating the public on the science of our sun, this free event will have specialized solar telescopes and access to real time solar cameras for safe and stunning views of the Sun. Click here for more information on this event.

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Tuning in to Haida Gwaii

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Cox Island in the Haida Gwaii’s, with a red ship sailing through the waters at its shore.

This week on Terra Informa, we’ll hear two stories about Haida Gwaii; one about a non-profit working to bring renewable energy to the community and another about the man behind cutting down the sacred Golden Spruce.

Renewable Energy for Remote Communities

If you live in the city, try to think back to the last time you flipped a light switch and nothing turned on. Now, imagine depending on a plane full of diesel to come into town before you get power back on again! If you live in a remote community in Canada today, this is likely the energy system you rely on. For you, moving towards a more local renewable energy system is about more than just climate issues.

In an interview we originally broadcast in 2012, Chris Chang-Yen Phillips speaks to Alia Lamaadar , the former CEO for Cleantech Community Gateway. We’ll learn about Cleantech Community Gateway, a non-profit working to help the communities of Haida Gwaii build a new energy system.

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.

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Photo by Stef Olcen