Years of Living Dangerously, Biochar, and Water Conservation

Misting sprinklers watering a lawn sidewalk

This week on Terra Informa we hear from Katie MacKissick, a Californian who tells us why she’s proud of her dry, dead lawn. We also share a discussion on Years of Living Dangerously, Showtime’s new documentary series on the effects of climate change, plus a Ecobabble that gives you the dirt on biochar.

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Years of Living Dangerously

They say we’re living in a golden age of television. Hour-long dramas with high production value and season-long narrative arcs like Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, and Game of Thrones have taken over programming schedules and PVRs alike.

This summer, there’s a new drama about men behaving badly and the end of the world, but this one’s no fiction. It’s a documentary series called Years of Living Dangerously and it’s getting rave reviews while delving into the controversial topic of climate change.Terra Informa’s Trevor Chow-Fraser is joined by Eric Athanas for a conversation on this provocative new program.

You can catch Year of Living Dangerously on Showtime or watch for the full series on DVD when it hits shelves on September 7. Click here to watch a full-length, sneak-peek of the first episode on Youtube.

Ecobabble: Biochar

Environmental biologist Tracy Flach explains how new use of an ancient technology could help stabilize our climate and our soil.

Links: Calgary JournalAlberta Oil MagazineAlberta Biochar Initiative

Saving Water: What Works?

It drips through every part of our lives: rinsing veggies for dinner, filling glasses at restaurants, and washing towels and sheets at every hotel. But just because water seems to be everywhere doesn’t mean it is or that always will be, or that we shouldn’t stop to think.

In fact, cause for concern has led the City of Vancouver to request lawn sprinkling regulation while California’s State Water Control Board is expected to institute a mandatory state-wide water restriction.

We all know that cutting back on water usage can be tricky, so to learn what some people are doing,  Terra Informa’s Chris Chang-Yen Phillips reached out to Donny Wong, Waterworks Design Branch Manager for the city of Vancouver, and Katie McKissick, a web cartoonist and writer for Scientific American with an idea that just might stick.

More information: United Nations – The Decade for Action, Water for Life 2005-2015

What’s Happening

North Saanich  Moon Walk

On July 25 from 10:00-11:30 am, enjoy a moon walk along Coles Bay Regional Park in North Saanich, BC. Park staff will guide you on a walk in search of crabs, sea stars, and the elusive moon snail. The event is free and fun for all ages, but be prepared to get wet! Attendees should meet at the information kiosk in the parking lot off Inverness Road and Ardmore Drive.

Guelph Yellow Fish Roads

As part a national environmental action project The City of Guelph, ON, is running a program called Yellow Fish Roads to inform the public about pollution entering rivers and lakes through storm drains. Volunteers are needed to help paint yellow fish symbols next to neighborhood storm drains through out the city and distribute fish shaped door knob hangers to residential homes. This project runs in cities call across Canada. To find out how you can participate in yours visit

Nova Scotia Eastern Shore Property Celebration

On July 26, there will be a Property Celebration on the Eastern Shore . All are invited to attend this community celebration of a new conservation success on the Eastern Shore. While you’re there, consider taking in a boat tour of Nature Trust conservation lands including the newly-protected Borgles Island.

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