Nature on the Brink

Courtesy: Courtney Johnson

Courtesy: Courtney Johnson

On Terra Informa this week,we look at stories of nature on the edge. From the Yasuni ITT in Ecuador and the failing fight to keep it protected from developers, to two stories from our archives. One on the Banff Spring Snail; an endangered species, and the other on the idea of ‘just sustainability’ and how a necessary shift in our perspective on what it means to be sustainable may include a cultural shift.

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Ecuador Abandons Unique Amazonian Nature Reserve

Take an area about one fifth of the size of Banff National Park, or around one eighth the size of the city of Edmonton. That’s roughly 120 thousand hectares and that is the size of Yasuni ITT (Ishipingo-Tambococha-Tiputini)  in Ecuador. What makes Yasuni ITT special, however, is that the area contains more reptiles than the entire continent of Europe, as many birds and mammals as the entire country of Canada, and in one hectare, there are more tree species than Canada and the US have combined.

Yasuni ITT was meant to preserve the country’s biodiversity and make a stand against global climate change. But, less than a month ago, the Ecuadorian government announced they were pulling the plug on the initiative, and allowing oil exploration to go forward in the area. Terra Informa’s Nicole Wiart talks to a Professor of Ecology and an Ecuadorian exchange student to get a better idea of what this announcement means for Ecuador.

More on this story: Amazonwatch, The Ecologist, Ecuadorian Government’s Yasuni ITT website

Girl Gone Wild: Banff Springs Snail

From the time we’re little, most of us are told to be proud of what makes us unique – what sets us apart. But what if the thing that made you different was also the thing that made you vulnerable? On this week’s edition of Girl Gone Wild, Chris Chang-Yen Phillips brings us the story of the endangered Banff Springs Snail from wildlife documentary filmmaker Jamie Pratt.

More on this story: Parks Canada, CBC Calgary, Girl Gone Wild documentaries

Just Sustainability

Julian Agyeman is chair of the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University in Boston-Medford, Massachusetts. His research focuses on the intersections between social justice and sustainability, an idea which he terms just sustainability. He describes just sustainability as “the need to ensure a better quality of life for all, now and into the future, in a just and equitable manner, whilst living within the limits of supporting ecosystems”. Kathryn Lennon spoke with him about the need for the sustainability movement to broaden its work beyond ecological and conservation issues, to include issues of inequality and social justice.

More on this story: Julian’s Blog 

What’s Happening

Youth Summit for Biodiversity and Green Solutions

From September 20th to the 22nd, youth in Orillia Ontario are invited to take in the Youth Summit for Biodiversity and Green Solutions. It’s the 4th annual event of it’s kind, brining together young leaders from across the province of Ontario to partake in activities and workshops, everything from bird watching, to learning about First Nation traditional medicine. Its for people in grades 9 to 12, so if you, or someone you know might be interested in building your leadership skills and learning more about conservation, don’t miss it.

Public Lecture on Oil, Gas, Fracking and the Yukon!

In Whitehorse, Yukon on September 17th, be sure to head to Beringia Centre for a public lecture on how the proposed oil and gas and fracking industries might affect people in the Yukon. Journalist and author Andrew Nikiforuk is leading the event, and is also hosting a workshop during the day on understanding the oil and gas industry. It’s 5 bucks at the door, everyone’s welcome!

What is the universe made of? The case of dark matter and dark energy.

Have you ever wondered what the universe was made of? Well, at the University of Alberta on September 18th at 7 p.m. You’re invited to attend a public lecture about dark matter and dark energy. It’s a free event, but to reserve tickets, head to

The 13th Annual Gorge Waterway Cleanup

Grab your boots and gloves and join in on the 13th annual Gorge Waterway Cleanup in Victoria on September 21st. Every year the community gets together to make a difference in the local environment and protect Canada’s shoreline. It begins at 10 a.m. and ends at noon.

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