Once In A Lifetime!

Some things in our world happen consistently, but so infrequently, that we call them “once in a lifetime events.” It might be the rare Category 5 hurricane that makes landfall, causing untold destruction. It might be more personal—like the Californian hiker who is attacked by a cougar only to be saved by a bear. Or it might be a 7,000 ton meteor strike in Western Siberia exploding into the earth’s atmosphere, causing us all to count our blessings.

This week on Terra Informa, we’ll explore a “once in a lifetime events,” including a personal account of Mumbai’s worst flood on record. We’ll discuss extreme weather more generally, diving into the science and mining stories out of our own experiences. And we’ll start with a story that tries to tease out the pros and cons of once in a lifetime events, by examining the remarkable life cycle of the agave plant. It’s all right here on Terra Informa’s Once In A Lifetime! Theme Show.

Woman naturalist holds up a small flower petal dripping with nectar; plants in the background.

Jade Dodd of Edmonton’s Muttart Conservatory beholds a chip off the mighty agave bloom. Photo by Chris Chang-Yen Phillips.

Download this week’s show

Once In A Lifetime Blooms

For the past couple months, visitors have been flocking to the arid corridor of Edmonton’s Muttart Conservatory. Chris Chang-Yen Phillips was one of them. The Muttart houses exotic plants under its pyramids all year long, but he was there to see a plant with a once-in-a-lifetime story: an agave. It only blooms once before it dies. To find out more, he spoke to the Muttart’s Jade Dodd, and Brandi Eide, who manages the succulent collection at Arizona’s Desert Botanical Garden.
Further Reading:

Once In A Lifetime Weather

It used to be that we could talk about the Storm of the Century. But these days, it seems more like “Storm of the Half-Decade.” Our increasingly extreme climate is breaking weather records left and right. Terra Informer Jessica Kozlowski breaks down the science of extreme weather in this Science Babble segment.

Once In A Lifetime Floods

Speaking of extreme weather, at least one Terra Informer has indeed experience a Flood of the Century and lived to tell the tale. In 2005, almost 1 meter of rain fell on the Indian state of Maharashtra on a single summer day. The city shut down completely, and the deluge caused at least 5,000 deaths, and cost 100 million USD. In her own words, and interviewed by Ali Sultani, here is our own Natalee Rawat recalling the events of July 26, 2005.

What’s Happening?

Why, it’s Freedom to Read Week! February 27th to March 3

This week’s show was too long for a What’s Happening segment. But we did want to highlight some events that will mark the 2013 version of Freedom To Read Week.

Wild in the Wind Speaker Series (Lethbridge)

Lethbridge’s Wild in the Wind Speaker Series has two more events for this year. The series focuses on fish and wildlife research, conservation issues and the ecology of southern Alberta and is hosted by the Alberta Chapter of the Wildlife Society (ACTWS). March 5 is a talk on Lethbridge coulees: Urban Parks and Wildlife Corridors. April 2nd is Backs Against the Fence: Using Citizen Science to Keep Pronghorn Antelope Moving. Both events will take place from noon to 1 in the Lethbridge public library community room.

Skywalk Lecture (Winnipeg; PDF download)

The Millennium library in Winnipeg is hosting a Skywalk lecture entitled Nutrients and Toxic Algae, the Battle for Lake Winnipeg. Eva Pip of the University of Winnipeg’s Biology department will be speaking. She is an expert in a variety of topics including Lake Winnipeg Ecosystem health, algae, and water quality, and is a passionate environmentalist. The lecture will take place Feb 27.

The lecture starts at 12:10 pm in the Carol Shield’s Auditorium.

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