Crisis in Attawapiskat First Nation and Restoring China’s Yangtze River

The Attawapiskat First Nation in northern Ontario declared a state of emergency last month over a chronic lack of basic needs such as clean water, housing and electricity. We take a closer look at the causes of this emergency and what is currently being done to help. And in China, the deteriorating state of the powerful Yangtze River has encouraged one University of Alberta professor, and others, to take steps toward environmental restoration and agricultural transformation. Tune in to find out more!

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The Qutang Gorge along the Yangtze river. Chen Hualin via Wikipedia.

In northern Ontario, the Attawapiskat First Nation declared a state of emergency last month over a chronic lack of basic needs such as clean water, housing and electricity. This relatively isolated Cree community of about 2,000 has fly-in access only for most of the year. The federal government offered $2.5 million in housing assistance and the Canadian Red Cross has also offered immediate aid. Attawapiskat’s Housing Manager, Monique Sutherland, speaks to Terra Informa correspondent Chris Chang-Yen Phillips about this dire emergency.

More on this story: CBC News (1), CBC News (2), The Globe and Mail

In China, the Yangtze River boasts being one of the longest rivers, and one of the biggest in terms of discharge volume, in the world. Beginning from its base in the glaciers of Tibet, it flows through China to Shanghi. Despite its immense importance to the Chinese both culturally and economically, the many competing uses of this river has left it in a deteriorating state. Dr. Larry Wang, a professor at the University of Alberta and recent recipient of an honorary degree, and others set out to restore this precious ecosystem and to transform the lives of farmers in China’s Yunnan province. With his childhood friend, Sam Chao, he co-founded ECO, the University of Alberta Ecological Conservancy Outreach fund. Our correspondent, Kathryn Lennon, caught up with Dr. Wang about his work with the Yangtze River.

Seeds of Change: The ECO Story (2008), an award-winning documentary directed by Ava Karvonen, tells the story of the childhood friends, and the ECO project.

More on this story: University of Alberta (1), University of Alberta (2), You Tube


Shale gas extraction: In Fredericton, hundreds of people gathered outside the legislature on Wednesday to protest shale gas extraction in the province. Inside, the Progressive Conservatives announced plans for new regulations on shale gas extraction, saying that they would protect human health and drinking water while retaining the economic benefits of oil and gas extraction.

More on this story: CBC News, Canada East, Winnipeg Free Press

Winnipeg waste water treatment: The city’s main waste water treatment plant is one of the worst polluters in the country. The province had already ordered upgrading of the facility, but plans have stalled due to a disagreement between the two levels of government.

More on this story: Winnipeg Free Press (1), Winnipeg Free Press (2)

Alberta study on crude oil: Prompted by the controversy surrounding the Keystone XL pipeline controversy, the Albertan study addressed warnings by environmental groups alleging that crude from the northern Alberta oil sands was more damaging to pipeline walls compared to conventional oil, which could increase the risk of spills. The study found that crude from the province’s oil sands is no more corrosive to pipelines than conventional oil, but it points out that there is no definitive peer-reviewed research on the issue.

More on this story: Reuters

Potential GHG solution found in super slime!: The hunt for super slime has officially begun in Nova Scotia. Scientists are eying this slime as a possible solution for GHG’s. Ironically, this ‘super-algae’ plucked from creeks and ponds can only be harvested from Canada’s industrial epicenters like Alberta’s oil patch and southern Ontario’s industrial corridor. The algae stemming from these places seems to suck up carbon dioxide faster than their cleaner counterparts.

More on this story: Vancouver Sun

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