Summer and CO2 in the air

Two people placing a small plant into the ground.

Ahhh. Summer has arrived, and Terra Informa’s got your gardening Q’s covered with our new segment, Dispatches from the Dirt. Of course, it’s hard to enjoy the weather if the skies are black with fumes—and making you sick. This begs the question, how does one find out if the environment is the cause of certain illnesses in the first place? Finally, we get an economist’s guide to the complex climate change negotiations from a Killam Prize winner.

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The Debut of Dispatches from the Dirt

We’ve got a hot new column for you guys. This summer, Danielle Dolgoy, amateur gardener and a food sustainability enthusiast, brings us tips, tricks, and titillating tales from the garden with her segment Dispatches from the Dirt. Over the summer, Dispatches from the Dirt will answer questions about what to plant, when to plant it, and how to make the most out of limited space and a short growing season. You’ll also hear stories from people working on Edmonton’s Living Bridge, and shout outs to garden happenings around town and across Canada.

What is the Living Bridge project? It entails bringing together gardeners with all levels of experience to grow whatever food and flowers they can coax out of the soil along an area that was once an old railroad bridge, and Terra Informa’s Danielle Dolgoy happens to be a part of it. Situated on the edge of downtown Edmonton, the bridge is a crossing point for the downtown bike route, so if you’re ever going that way, head on over through the garden to check out what’s growing!

Links: Living Bridge EdmontonSustainable Food Edmonton

John Whalley on the Economics of Climate Negotiations

We’ve been covering environmental award-winners lately, and we’ve got one more for you: 2012 Killam Prize-winning economist John Whalley of the University of Western Ontario. He has spent a long career applying thoughtful economic analysis to global problems, including one of the most internationally contentious issues: the United Nations climate negotiations. Trevor Chow-Fraser sits down with John Whalley to find out an economist’s spin on the negotiations.

Links: Dr. John Whalley, FRSC

Is That Why I’m Getting Sick?

Say you experience nausea, headaches, and fainting, and have no idea why. That’s the situation the Labreque family was faced with and eventually, they pointed fingers at fumes coming from bitumen storage tanks near their farm outside of Peace River, in northern Alberta. The links between their health problems and Baytex Energy’s oil operations in Peace River convinced the Labreque family to leave their home and most of their belongings, which drew the attention of British medical journal The Lancet. This March, the Alberta Energy Regulator told Baytex it had to contain the emissions from its bitumen tanks by August.

But, with illnesses such as the one the Labreque’s were faced with, how do they we know it’s environmentally related? How and when are doctors and researchers able to make links between industrial operations and health problems in a community? Chris Chang-Yen Phillips finds out.

Links: The Lancet, Edmonton Journal

What’s Happening

Bikeology Festival – June, Edmonton

June is Bike month in many communities across north america. In Edmonton, the annual Bikeology festival kicks off with events in the heart of the city, which allows for easy access, uses City park space and emboldens passers-by to join in.  With events like Bikey breakfasts, mocktails on the bridge, bike talks, Critical Lass and Kidical Mass, bike writers nights and more, big and small are invited to celebrate all things bicycle.

With events like Bikey breakfasts, mocktails on the bridge, bike talks, Critical Lass and Kidical Mass, bike writers nights and more, big and small are invited to celebrate all things bicycle. Find out more information here.

Rivers to Ocean Week – June 8 to June 14

This country and water go hand in hand. We are the stewards of one-fifth of the world’s fresh water and can proudly claim about two million lakes, not to mention enough rivers, marshes, swamps, bogs, fens, sloughs and ponds to make a duck quack! With three mighty oceans offering us more than 200,000 kilometres of coastline — the longest coastline in the world — Canada is truly a watery wonderland.

From wetlands, ground water and springs to creeks, streams, lakes, rivers and oceans, our water is connected through watersheds. The Canadian Wildlife Federation or CWF wants you to celebrate Rivers to Oceans Week, with them, from June 8 to 14. Rivers to Oceans Week recognizes this connectedness and reminds us that taking care of our water is a shared responsibility.Are you a foodie, a clean freak, an animal lover, kiddo, an artist or a beauty buff? You can take one of the many Water Challenges that CWF has designed to help recognize our connectedness and our shared responsibility for water. Check out the CWF’s website for more information.

Medicinal Plants Workshop – Arboretum Centre, Guelph, Ontario, June 17 from 6-8 PM

In Herbal Medicine, plants from the forest, garden and meadow are valuable in the treatment a variety of health conditions. Join Guelph naturopathic doctor, Elizabeth Cherevaty ND for this guided “herb walk” through the Gosling Wildlife Gardens, woods and meadows of the Arboretum as she highlights uses and habitats of important medicinal plants including motherwort, mayapple, blue cohosh, bloodroot, red raspberry, Joe Pye weed, hawthorn and black walnut. Each participant will receive a colour booklet detailing the plants and their uses. The tour starts outside and then will be followed by an introduction to Herbal Medicine and ways to use the plants at home. Please note this course is not intended to provide instruction in harvesting or preparation of medicinal plants. The fee is $35.00 and registration and payment is required by June 10.

Visit the website or contact Ranee Pararajasingham at or 519-824-4210 exit 52358 for more information.

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