Rachelle van Zanten on the Northern Gateway Pipeline

Today acclaimed slide guitarist Rachelle van Zanten speaks to us about her music, how it has been influenced by the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline, and local opposition to the pipeline in her home town of Burns Lake, BC. We also talk to ecologist Jason Aloisio about his work on green rooftops. Plus, we look into the movement to hold Canadian mining firms accountable for their actions overseas, and why such work is so badly needed.

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Enbridge workers remove a section of pipeline in 2010 after a repture spilled 800 000 gallons of oil into Michigan's Kalamazoo River. The posibility of a spill is a major concern for residents living along the route of Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline. Photo by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Rachelle van Zanten is a Canadian singer-songwriter and acclaimed slide guitarist. She’s released two solo albums, is a regular at North American music festivals, and tours internationally. However, she still manages to find the time to get involved with a variety of environmental happenings around her home town of Burns Lake, BC. One of the big issues facing the town is the possible construction of the Northern Gateway Pipeline, which if approved, would pump half a million barrels of diluted bitumen every day from Alberta to the pacific coast. Like many people in this part of the world, van Zanten is no fan of pipelines and their potential for spills. Our reporter Myles Curry met up with van Zanten on the shore of Francois Lake late last summer to talk about the pipeline proposal, her music, and how she’s combining the two.

Jason Aloisio is an urban ecologist, working at New York City’s Fordham University.  In August he was recognized by the Ecological Society of America at their annual conference in Austin, Texas. Terra Informa correspondent Rebecca Rooney caught up with him in Austin to ask about his work on green roofs.

More on this story: Jason Aloisio’s green roofs presentation, article in Nature News on Jason’s research, Jason’s blog

Canada is the mining capital of the world. But our miners don’t just dig up minerals here, they head overseas in the search of bigger finds and bigger profits. However, the environmental, human rights and labour laws in many countries are deficient by Canadian standards, and at the moment, Canadian companies can get away with acting in ways that would not be acceptable back home. Environmental and human rights groups aren’t impressed, and they’re pushing for change. Our correspondent David Kaczan travelled to Toronto to investigate the movement for mining accountability overseas.

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