Your Fracking Answers + Warning: May Contain Climate Change

Industrial well and buildings on the horizon of a green field.

How do you deal with issues that seem too big to handle? Well, first, you learn about what the issue entails, and then take some action. Here at Terra Informa we bring you the nitty-gritty of what fracking actually is, what’s up with Alberta’s deregulated electricity market, and a smart answer to the behemoth of the problem that is climate change.

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What The Frack Do We Know?

For some it’s the dirty energy with the dirty-sounding name. For others, it’s a revolutionary new way to provide clean energy. We’re talking about fracking. You probably feel you belong in one camp or the other—but have you thought about why? How well do you really know the actual risks and benefits of fracking?

Trevor Chow-Fraser and Danielle Dolgoy realized they didn’t even know exactly what fracking is. So they researched and talked with experts who do. This story brings together the expertise of Dr. Avner Vengosh, Dr. Daniel Alessi, C. Alexia Lane and Dr. Rick Chalaturynyk. All together, we answer three big questions that we found you had about fracking.

+Bonus! Extended cut with expert policy recommendations starting around the 15 minute mark.

Ecobabble: Alberta’s Deregulated Electricity Market

The proliferation of natural gas fracking in Alberta affects how electricity is generated there. When you hear Albertan politicians talk about the province’s electrical grid, one thing they’re fond of trumpeting is Alberta’s deregulated electricity market. But what do they mean when they say our electricity market is “deregulated”? That no one is watching what happens at power plants?

Fortunately, that’s not what they’re talking about. To find out what it DOES mean, Terrainforma’s Trevor Chow-Fraser and Chris Chang-Yen talked to Gordon Howell, a solar engineer in Edmonton. He works in designing solar electric systems with Howell-Hayhew Engineering, and when they ran into him at the Zero 2014 Conference, Gordon had a lot to say about deregulation. To find out more about deregulation, click here!

Climate Change Warning Labels

Here’s something we bet you didn’t know: The creator of those graphic warning labels on cigarette packages, a man named Oral Mews, wanted to make sure his name was on his art–so he made sure the series included an “Oral Cancer” warning.

A reminder of the implications of our consumption.

A label that would make us think twice about our consumer choices.

Rob Shirkey, the founder of Toronto-based advocacy group Our Horizon, wants make an impact along very similar lines on the way we think about energy. If you’re intrigued, check out Our Horizon’s home page or Ted Talk for more information.

What’s Happening

Saint John Plant Exchange

East Branch Library, Westmorland Road – Saint John, New Brunswick

The East Branch Library will be hosting a Plant Exchange Drop-In all day on May 29. Exchange your greenery for new-to-you perennials, annuals or house plants!

Defend Our Climate Rallies

If you’re passionate about energy issues, you might want to join one of the Defend Our Climate rallies across Canada on May 10. The Defend our Climate events are being organized by activist group LeadNow to call for a just, safe, and clean energy future. If you’d like to add your voice to the conversation on pipelines, energy subsidies, and renewable power in Canada, click here.

Greenpeace Action Camp

Camp Meywasin, Lake Wabamun – Edmonton, Alberta

Greenpeace is giving you the opportunity to put a few more tools in your activist toolbox. The tar sands action camp is a three day event for both the seasoned veteran and the person just hoping to get started, while meeting new like-minded folks and learning different strategies for getting engaged. The camp explores issues facing us today, but more importantly, gives you the tools to do something about them. Workshops will cover everything from environmental justice, volunteer recruitment, media and messaging, non-violent direct action, and campaign planning.

The three day camp will help brush-up on your skills or develop new ones, all in a safe, inclusive environment. Seasoned trainers guide you through the sessions and chefs cook up your meals, so all you have to do is show up with a willingness to participate.

The camp is happening from June 6th – June 8th. A bus will take participants from Edmonton to the camp and back. Contact for more information.

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