Climate Caravan to Cancun (COP16) & Dr. Schindler on Athabasca Pollution

This week we talk to Canadian climate change activist, Russell Charlton, who is in Cancun, Mexico for this year’s UN climate change talks. Russell was part of a caravan that headed south, visiting communities that have been directly impacted by climate change and industrial developments along the way. He tells us about his experiences. We also bring you a talk that Dr. David Schindler gave last week detailing the work he has done to prove that toxins in the Athabasca River are indeed the result of northern Alberta’s tar sands industry.

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Climate Caravan to Cancun

Delegates from around the world are currently gathering in Cancun, Mexico for the latest round of UN climate talks to discuss global efforts to address climate change. It’s not just government officials converging on Cancun, however, many individuals, environmental groups and indigenous peoples are packing the city to have their voices heard and to hold delegates accountable to the grassroots demands for climate justice. Next on Terra Informa, Myles Curry talks with Russell Charlton about traveling to Cancun in a climate caravan.

La via Campesina International Caravan

Russells PIA website

Effects of Oil Sands Development on the Athabasca River Ecosystem

Dr. David Schindler is the Killam Memorial Professor of Ecology at the University of Alberta.  An internationally renowned aquatic ecologist, his current research focuses on fisheries management in mountain lakes, the biomagnification of organochlorines in food chains, the effects of climate change and UV radiation on lakes, and global carbon and nitrogen budgets.  With his most recent research, Dr. Schindler has stirred up quite a controversy in Alberta.  He and his collaborators have published 3 papers (1) (2) (3) in extremely prestigious scientific journals that address the question of whether oil sands extraction and upgrading in the region north of Fort McMurray, Alberta is releasing toxic metals and organic pollutants into the Athabasca river.  Their results contradict what he calls the propaganda put forward by the Alberta Government, who have long claimed that any measurable toxins in the Athabasca are simply the product of natural seeps and that the oil sands mining and upgrading activities do not contribute to the river’s contaminant load.  The Province has based this conclusion on monitoring carried out by the Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program, better known as RAMP.  Dr. Schindler presented a summary of his results to the University of Alberta’s Biological Sciences Department and offered his explanations for why his results differ so significantly from those of RAMP.  Terra Informa correspondent Rebecca Rooney recorded his presentation, and brings us a two part special.  Today we have part 1 of Measuring the Effects of Oil Sands Development on the Athabasca River Ecosystem.

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