Archive Show

A repeat broadcast of an earlier episode, or part of an earlier episode.

People’s Social Forum and Greenland Ice Sheet Melt

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This week on Terra Informa, we have two gems from our archives for you. First, we look back on the 2014 Peoples’ Social Forum and how that event brought diverse groups of people together to collaborate on building strategies to create social change. Next up, we have a story on the massive Greenland ice sheet melt of summer 2012, when 97% of the ice sheet melted in just four days.

 

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Messy, Loud, and Joyous (2014 People’s Social Forum)

We see all kinds of groups fighting for their own unique and equally worthy causes every day. In one corner you’ve got people defending refugee rights. In another you’ve got a group bringing down the cost of healthy food in Nunavut. Over by the door you’ve got an activist fighting against mining in her community. Often this is how civil society works in Canada. You’ve got a room full of people in NGOs, unions, Facebook groups, all fighting for their own cause, without seeing how they could support each other.

2014’s Peoples’ Social Forum in Ottawa brought together thousands of people from across Canada who want to shift the direction the country is going. And it basically said, to have the future any of us want, we’ve got to build a future together. Terra Informa’s Chris Chang-Yen Phillips was in Ottawa at the 2014 Peoples’ Social Forum a few years ago. Here’s his take on the messy, loud, and joyous business of bringing all these groups together.

Greenland ice sheet melt

In July 2012, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientist Son Nghiem noticed that 97 percent of Greenland’s ice sheet surface melted in just four days. Since Greenland’s Arctic ice sheet is massive – covering almost the entire island, and kilometres thick in most places. NASA estimates that if it all melted, global sea level would rise by about twenty feet. Son Nghiem’s first instinct was to double-check the data.  Chris Chang-Yen Phillips reached Son Nghiem in California for this story that summer, and with ice on our minds after the 2,240 square miles, trillion-ton piece of the Larson-C ice shelf broke off last month in Antartica, we thought we would re-air his piece.

 

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Photo by NASA

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Beers and Icebergs

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Iceberg by Julien O

Icy beers and icebergs, this week on Terra Informa we’re sharing two archive pieces. First, Terra Informer Nicole Wiart, a self-proclaimed beer-lover, talks to Neil Herbst, the co-owner of local Edmonton microbrewery Alley Kat about the challenges to their business’s sustainability efforts and with some University of Alberta experts on barriers to sustainability for small businesses. Then, we speak with James Balog, an acclaimed National Geographic photographer, videographer, and public speaker about his work documenting and the effects of climate change on melting glaciers.

Download episode here. 

Headlines

Canada’s ‘walking dead’ are on thin ice. Can they be saved?

It’s no secret that caribou are a disappearing species on the Canadian landscape, but can they be saved? On Thursday, July 27th Environment and Climate Change Canada released a proposal to try and save these beloved creatures, but it comes at the hand of heavy criticism. Many critics believe the government isn’t doing enough to protect Caribou habitat, putting needs of industry first. One industry representative argues that populations continue to dwindle even in areas that industry doesn’t operate. New legislation rolling out in 2017 and 2018 should put more protective barriers on the species and will have to be implemented quickly as populations continue to dwindle. Read more here. 

Paw power: China plans 100 panda-shaped solar plants on new Silk Road

The Panda Green Energy Group is creating solar farms, organized in the shape of a panda face when viewed aerially. The province of Shanxi (Shahn Chi), China is the first to get one such farm, but the company plans to build 100 more across the nation. The friendly faces are expected to cost 3 billion dollars total – in turn building 5 gigawatts of generating capacity – enough to power 500 000 homes annually per panda plant.  There are also currently talks of expansion into Canada, Australia, Germany and Italy.  Read more here.

New diesel and petrol vehicles to be banned from 2040 in UK 

The United Kingdom government has announced that from 2040 onwards, new diesel and petrol vehicles will be banned. The government is also encouraging local jurisdictions to develop nitrogen dioxide emission reduction plans in the next eight months, a timeline which has been shortened from its original 18 months. Nitrogen dioxide, a gas harmful to lungs, is especially found near highways and in cities. While some welcome the policy announcement, critics claim that the target will not encourage changes in the short term beyond what is already underway. Some expect electric vehicles to mostly replace fossil-fuel based vehicles by 2030 in the United Kingdom purely based on cost and other factors. Read more here.

Download program log here.

Finding Meaning in Nature

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This week on Terra Informa, we bring from the archives a piece on positive psychology. Last year, Terra Informer Dylan Hall spoke with PhD student Holli-Anne Passmore about how connecting with nature enhances our well-being and helps us find meaning in life. Holli-Anne’s work has reached international audiences as well as psychology lectures at the University of British Columbia in Kelowna and MacEwan University in Edmonton.

Download episode now.

For more information on Holli-Anne Passmore: https://people.ok.ubc.ca/hapassmo

Download the program log here.

Photo by: Mitchell Joyce (https://www.flickr.com/photos/hckyso/)

Indigenous Rights, Climate Action and Storytelling

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Protesters gathered outside the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers Investors Conference, June 16, 2008. Photo by ItzaFineDay via Flickr

This week on Terra Informa, we dive into the archives to bring you two pieces with an indigenous focus. First Dwayne Donald, a Professor in the Department of Education at the University of Alberta emphasizes the importance of storytelling in education through his unique position in the academic and Aboriginal communities. Today, we bring you the story of The Buffalo Child, as told by Dwayne Donald. We also revisit an interview with Eriel Deranger, an indigenous rights advocate and a member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN). She highlights the current climate crisis faced by Indigenous peoples of Alberta and the moral and legal obligation of governments to work with Indigenous peoples in building progressive and aggressive climate change solutions.

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Supreme Court vetos seismic testing plans in Nunavut

The Supreme Court of Canada has overruled the National Energy Board’s approval for a consortium of Norwegian energy companies to perform seismic testing near Clyde River, Nunavut. The Court found that the NEB did neither clearly nor sufficiently consult the community and failed to assess the impact of the proposed seismic testing on the treaty rights of the Inuit. Though Clyde River’s former mayor Jerry Natanine, who first took the case to court, has said that the community is not entirely opposed to development, he applauded the decision for the ‘seemingly impossible case.’

More on this story:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/supreme-court-ruling-indigenous-rights-1.4221698
http://www.nunatsiaqonline.ca/stories/article/65674clyde_river_scores_big_win_for_nunavut_inuit_at_the_supreme_court/

Fort McMurray aspen forests bounce back from 2016 wildfires

In Alberta, scientists with the Canadian Forest Service and the University of Alberta found that the Aspen forests damaged by the 2016 Fort McMurray fires are recovering. They have found around 100 new sprouts for every mature or dead tree counted and that growth is strongest where the fire hit the hardest. The findings will also be used to guide logging and oil sands companies reclamation efforts.

Legal action taken against 100 companies responsible for emitting majority of global greenhouse gases

This month, two California counties and a city decided to take legal action against 37 oil and coal companies for their roles in climate change-related damages including rising sea levels which may threaten San Francisco’s airport, BART subway, and highways. The group is claiming that these companies, like tobacco companies, misled the public and created a ‘public nuisance.’ This lawsuit follows a recent report that since 1988, 100 companies have been emitting more than 70% of global greenhouse gases This report affirmed a similar study published in 2013 which found that just eight companies have been responsible for more than 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions since 1885.

More on this story:
http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Marin-San-Mateo-County-sue-big-oil-over-climate-11294549.php
http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/08/just-90-companies-are-blame-most-climate-change-carbon-accountant-says
https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/jul/10/100-fossil-fuel-companies-investors-responsible-71-global-emissions-cdp-study-climate-change

Download program log here.

Forest Fires and Science Faction on Spider Silk

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Spider Web by Jeanne Menjoulet

This week, we have an archive show that delves into the science of forest fires and forest rejuvenation, and how climate change disrupts that cycle. Then on Science Faction, we learn about how spider silk can be used by humans in many strange and unexpected ways. Hear from Utah State University’s Dr. Randy Lewis & BioArt Laboratories’ Jalila Essaïdi about “Spider Silk Superpowers.”

Download episode now.

Headlines

What makes dogs so friendly? Study finds genetic link to super-outgoing people.

Ever wonder what makes your pup’s smiley lick-kisses and excited full body wiggling so infallible every time you walk in the door? New research into the genetic basis for the friendliness of dogs may have revealed some clues. Read more here.

Environment groups wait for charges in year-old Husky oil spill in Saskatchewan

Husky Energy is awaiting charges stemming from a major oil spill in Saskatchewan a year ago, when one of their pipelines leaked 225, 000 liters of oil onto the riverbank near Maidstone, Saskatchewan, contaminating the water sources of 3 different cities. Read more here.

Bears Are Being Milked for Bile. Vietnam Pledges to Rescue Them.

Vietnam has pledged to rescue around one thousand bears from Vietnamese farms keeping them captive in order to extract and sell their bile. Bile, a liquid found in gall bladders to aid digestion, has a long history in traditional Asian medicine, but there is no proof of its effectiveness in treating many of the conditions it is sold to cure. The practice of extracting bile often results in inhumane treatment of the bears, with farms keeping often malnourished bears in small cages. Read more here. 

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Paleobotany And Permaculture from our Archives

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Fern by Steve Bridger

We venture back to the archives to hear a piece by Dylan Hall and Whitney Caine as they talk permaculture with Kaz Haykowsky and Marcheen Makarewicz, two University of Alberta students who started a permaculture landscaping company. Then we hear a piece by Tasmia Nishat talking with Dr. Eva Koppelhus about plant spore fossils!

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Permaculture

What is this permaculture? Gardening design principles, an international social movement, eco-philosophy, or all of the above? Permaculture can be hard to pin down and the term has grown almost as many interpretations as there are practitioners.

Coined in the 1970’s by two Australians – David Holmgren and Bill Mollison – Permaculture was initially a contraction of permanent agriculture and has also come to mean permanent culture. The dual meaning of the word is fitting, as any hope of a permanent culture depends on a permanent food supply!

Kaz Haykowsky and Marcin Makarewicz are two students from the University of Alberta who have started a ‘Food Not Lawns’ business: Spruce Permaculture. Dylan Hall and Whitney Caine spoke with them about their personal interpretations of Permaculture.

If you are interested in Spruce Permaculture – Check out their website!

Paleobotany

If you were to casually mention Paleobotany in a casual conversation, you’d probably get a “paleo-what-now??”

Basically, it’s the study of plant fossils. You can also get a little more crazy and talk about palynology, the study of plant spore fossils.

Dr. Eva Koppelhus, a professor of paleobotany at the University of Alberta, thinks the subject is underrated and at least deserves some of the glory that dinosaurs receive.

Here Tasmia Nishat talks with Dr. Koppelhus about the finer points of plant fossils, and why they’re super cool.

What’s Happening

Ornithologists and bird enthusiasts alike across the country cried foul earlier this month after the federal government announced that the grey jay will not be crowned as Canada’s national bird.

For 18 months the Royal Canadian Geographical Society ran its “National Bird Project”. The undertaking included an online contest as well as public debates and consultations with bird experts. After receiving nearly 50 000 votes, the grey jay was voted number one, claiming victory over the common loon, snowy owl, and black-capped chickadee.

Despite the strong response from the public, the federal government did not sanction the project and are, “not actively considering proposals to adopt a bird as a national symbol”. The Society believes; however, that the government has not cooked their goose on the proposed idea and hopes that the project has encouraged the public to learn more about Canadian birds found across the country. 

Read more here.

Download program log here.

Faith + Futurism

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”The Swiss Alps – God’s Country” by edwademd

This week on Terra Informa, we have two great pieces from our archives. First we have a story on faith and climate justice. Terra Informer Trevor Chow-Fraser talks to Bishop Susan Johnson to hear more on what inspires people of faith to get involved in international climate negotiations. Then we talk to Alex Steffen, Planetary Futurist, journalist, and sustainability advocate. He thinks it’s time to stop looking at the second hand on our watch and look up and begin to think about what kind of world we’re leaving to our grandchildren. Matt Hirji sits down with him at the University of Alberta’s International Week 2014.

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Faith and Climate Justice

Previously we heard from three guests—an analyst, an activist, and a Bishop—about Fast for the Climate, a campaign based off of the hunger strike that thousands of people took part in during the Warsaw climate change talks. This week, Trevor Chow-Fraser wanted to hear more on what inspires people of faith to get involved in the international climate negotiations. To figure it out, Trevor step back and ask them how they first came to connect their faith with the environment.

Alex Steffen, Planetary Futurist

In today’s fast paced milieu, chasing the here and now can blind us from the dangers that lie ahead —  just past the horizon. Our conversations are often dominated by present concerns… with very little credence given to the impacts that our current decisions will have on our world in the future. Alex Steffen is a self-described planetary futurist. He sits down with Matt Hirji while at the University of Alberta’s International Week.

Headlines

Toronto the resilient: how the city plans to adapt to climate change in 2050

The city of Toronto has put forward a bill called Transform TO, calling to reduce the cities greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by the year 2050. Plans to meet this ambitious goal include the increased use of solar panels, dense urban centers and new homes that minimize greenhouse gas output. The city also plans to divert 95% of waste from landfills by increasing recycling and reuse programs. Read more here. 

Bear 148

Bear 148 was caught in Canmore this week after what seems was hundreds of encounters with humans. You may know this grizzly for when she became viral after joining a rugby practice in Banff, as well as many other encounters she has had with people. Bear 148 was not known to be aggressive, though in a recent incident she charged a man pushing a stroller while he was walking his dog. After this she was captured and released back into the far end of her home range to minimize human interaction. Parks staff say this comes as a reminder about the balance between keeping animal habitat and maintaining the safety of visitors in the park. Read more here. 

Ancient fungi could help Canada’s future northern forests

Research from the University of British Columbia has found a symbiotic fungi helping trees to migrate during times of high temperature stress due to climate change. These fungi had been laying dormant for thousands of years and were able to survive due to specialized spores. Jason Pither and Brian Pickles have been leading the new research. Read more here.

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Your Fracking Answers

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This week on Terra Informa, we re-air an award winning episode answering questions about fracking.

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All About Fracking

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.

Headline Links

—-> The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau – pm@pm.gc.ca
—-> The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc – dominic.leblanc@parl.gc.ca
—–> http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2017/2017-06-24/html/reg2-eng.php

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Photo by Agencia ID