Harry Potter’s Owls and Evidence for Democracy

This is Colonel Slade, the barred owl who came to the J.K. Rowling's Owls events put on by Project Hedwig at the Stanley Milner Public Library. She was nipping affectionately at Carly Lynch's finger. (Photo: Chris Chang-Yen Phillips)

This is Colonel Slade, the barred owl who came to the J.K. Rowling’s Owls events put on by Project Hedwig at the Stanley Milner Public Library. She was nipping affectionately at Carly Lynch’s finger. (Photo: Chris Chang-Yen Phillips)

This week on Terra Informa, we get a glimpse of how the magic of our favourite young wizard and his animal friends is inspiring people to get closer to real wildlife, and then we get to talk to Katie Gibbs, Executive Director of Evidence for Democracy, who explains how evidence-based decision making is withering away in the current Canadian political climate.

Download this week’s episode

Project Hedwig Takes Wing

Parseltongue. Gryffindor. Quidditch.

If you recognize any of this words, you know how deeply JK Rowling’s Harry Potter novels have penetrated our culture. As well, some of the most iconic images from the books, and the movie adaptations, have spilled out into the real world.

In Edmonton, a group of Harry Potter fans have taken their passion for the books and turned it into a way to support literacy, youth emergency services, and wildlife rehabilitation. Chris Chang-Yen Phillips, curious about how a powerful story can inspire — and distort — our relationship with wildlife, hopped on his broomstick and travelled to one of their events at Edmonton’s Stanley Milner Public Library this month. Andrea Guay-Colpitts from PotterWatch, and Carly Lynch from the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton under their collaborative fundraising effort, Project Hedwig, are running an Indiegogo campaign to protect Alberta’s owls.

Carly will be doing another presentation for Project Hedwig on Sunday, December 22.

Links: Project Hedwig on Indiegogo, Free Presentation on JK Rowling’s Owls, Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton, Edmonton PotterWatch on Tumblr

Evidence for Democracy

Not long ago, Terra Informa stormed the Conservative Party of Canada’s convention in Calgary to find out what’s driving the party’s environmental policy. One of the most controversial patterns in the federal government’s changes to environmental laws right now is that many of them seem to drive us further and further away from integrating good scientific evidence to make big choices.

Dr. Katie Gibbs is a biologist who’s been drawn into these debates, and is now the Executive Director of the new organization Evidence for Democracy. When she last joined us on Terra Informa, she spoke to us about getting Canadians riled up to Stand Up for Science this fall. In November, she came to speak to Edmonton to speak at the Parkland Institute’s annual conference on the big social and environmental issues of our time. She spoke to Matt Hirji about what she sees as the death of evidence-based decision making in Canada.

That was Katie Gibbs, Executive Director of Evidence for Democracy.

We spoke to her at the Parkland Institute’s conference this November in Edmonton.

Links: Evidence for Democracy

What’s Happening

The group, Albertans for Food Safety, was formed out of the desire for participating in the growing food revolution. This is a global movement towards clean and natural farming methods, away from genetically engineered and chemical-laden foods that have begun to dominate our food supply. December 10th at 7pm at the The U of A  Telus Centre, the group is hosting the Edmonton leg of ‘A Speaker’s Tour’ featuring leading experts, Dr. Shiv Chopra and Dr. Thierry Vrain to raise awareness about genetically engineered and genetically modified foods.
They’re encouraging not only individuals, but families to come fill a space of 300 seats and show support for this free event. Donations are welcomed!

Link: Albertans for Food Safety

If you live in Surrey, BC and love birds, listen up! Starting December 14th, at 9am, join a local naturalist for a series of 2 hour long, free monthly walks to discover beautiful Surrey birds. All you need are comfortable walking shoes, a weatherproof jacket, a pair of gloves and they’ll cover the rest!

Link: current schedule

Citizens of Edmonton don’t be dissuaded from heading outdoors this December!  Wouldn’t it be great fun for the entire family to do some snowshoeing at Elk Island National Park this winter season?  You will have the chance coming up Saturday December 14th.  The Elk Island society is hosting a “snowshoeing with friends” event on Saturday December 14th from 2-4pm, and the snowshoeing is free!  Put on your warmest winter clothes and become one with the winter wonderland that is Elk Island National Park.  To reserve a spot on the snowshoe tour please contact hike coordinator Ian Brusselers at phone number 780-850-6593 or through contact email brussele@ualberta.ca .  Normal parks fees apply for coming into Elk Island National Park.

Link: Elk Island Park Website

If you live in or near St. Catharines, Ontario and you are looking for a fun time and some tasty produce this holiday season; you should head down to the farmer’s market in St. Catharines’ Market square.  There will be Christmas themed events at the market on December 14th and 21st from 10am to 2pm.  The events will include free hot apple cider, many fresh produce stands belonging to local vendors, and horse drawn carriage rides.  You can feel good about your holiday dishes when you know they’ve all been cook with sustainable local produce.

Link: St. Catharines Market website

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