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The NEB & the Future of Energy in Canada

 

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This week on Terra Informa, Terra Informer Amanda Rooney chats with Hélène Lauzon, the co-chair on an expert panel set up by the federal government to work on investigating the modernization of the National Energy Board. Then, in an archive, Danielle Dalgoy and Riyah Lakhani catch up with electrical engineer Warren Sarauer from the Solar Energy Society of Alberta to talk about the future of renewables back in November 2014.

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National Energy Board Modernization Expert Panel

About two weeks ago Terra Informer Amanda Rooney spoke with Hélène Lauzon. Ms.Lauzon is the co-chair on an expert panel set up by the federal government to work on investigating how the National Energy Board can be modernized.

The National Energy Board regulates international and interprovincial energy projects such as pipelines, powerlines and energy exports. The 5 person expert panel has been travelling across Canada holding discussions with stakeholders and the public. They have even held separate days especially encouraging the participation of Indigenous individuals and groups. Check out Amanda Rooney and Carter Gorzitza’s story about some of what the board has heard so far.

More info at: http://www.neb-modernization.ca/neb-welcome

Solar power in the neighbourhood?

When you were a kid in school and you first learned about solar power, did you think, why don’t they put those on our roof? Terra Informa’s Danielle Dolgoy thought a lot about solar power growing up under Edmonton’s big, sunny skies. It seemed simple enough. Slap a few panels up on the house and school, and stop polluting the water, air, and soil.

As solar technology has improved over the last decade it is rapidly becoming a viable alternative to burning fossil fuels. And as energy industry heads scramble to maintain their dominance over the delivery of the essential thing: energy, certain myths have begun to creep into the conversation.

Some people say that solar power is too costly to produce and thus, is not a real alternative for the everyday consumer. Others say that the process of manufacturing solar panels, or modules as the professionals call them, is just as hazardous to the environment as conventional electricity generation. So why mess with what we already know? They say we should stick with the reliable energy that we’ve always trusted and continue using the infrastructure in place in the same way we always have.

Danielle caught up with business owner, electrical engineer, and solar power enthusiast Warren Sarauer recently, to bust these myths. After she and Terra Informa’s Riyah Lakhani attended Sarauer’s talk on solar energy hosted by the Solar Energy Society of Alberta, called “Solar Energy: How to Generate Your Own Power and Sell It Back to the Grid”, they both wanted to know more about the viability of solar power for themselves and the people they know.

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Photo by Brian Cantoni.

 

Urban Week at the University of Alberta

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The Growroom, released by Space10

This week on Terra Informa, we hear from organizer Hayley Wasylycia about Urban week, and the environmental and planning fun that they will be whipping up around campus!

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Urban Week 2017 & The Growroom

What is urban? Who is responsible for the urban environment? What’s the role of bees? What the heck is an IKEA Growroom? Terra Informers Shelley Jodoin and Carter Gorzitza ask these questions and more of Hayley Wasylycia, an organizer of Urban Week, which is coming to the University of Alberta March 20th to 24th.

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/747808418709982/
YEG Growroom website: growroomyeg.com
Open Source Website Here: www.space10.io/journal/space10-open-sources-the-growroom

Download program log here.

Photo credit to The Growroom released by Space10

YEG Winter City

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Loving Winter City Living

Increasingly Canada’s populations are moving to cities, but even urban living is still affected by the whims of weather. This is Canada after all and we all know how cold it can get in the wintertime. Whether you wear the stubbornness of continuing to exist in a frigid land as a badge of pride, or dream of escaping for a beach vacation as soon as temperatures drop, we’re all familiar with how unpleasant it can be to walk from one place to the next with snow flying into your eyes, wind blowing your skin raw, and each step becoming a shaky gamble on a dangerous slip. The weather, unfortunately, is not something that we can change, but we can discuss how we can make our cities more pleasant during the long winter months. This February, Edmonton hosted the city’s second Winter City Shake Up – a conference that addresses how we can make our cities more lovable, healthy, safe, and accessible and ultimately how we can beat the odds and thrive in the city during the winter season. Guest contributor Jody Zink went to the conference and brings us a variety of interviews discussing solutions to combat the windchill blues by making cities more winter friendly.

Download program log here.

Photo by Benjamin Hollis.

A Little Grain and a Lot of Birds

This week is a special episode that was especially fun to make. Sometimes, when we have an extra cool story that the whole Terra Informa team is invested in, we all go on a field trip together. A couple Sundays ago, we travelled to a Grain Terminal in the City of Edmonton to see some rare birds of prey and meet the folks who watch and photograph them there.

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A Little Grain and a lot of Birds

In class this semester, Edmonton-famous professor and naturalist John Acorn told his students about a special place in the city that attracts hundreds of pigeons each day, who in turn attract rare birds of prey who feed on them. Terra Informer Amanda Rooney took several friends and fellow Terra Informers to the Alberta Grain Terminal in North Edmonton to take it in. In this story, we see hundreds of pigeons, one very lucky sparrow, some merlin falcons, and a prairie falcon.

What’s Happening

Green Drinks: Green Economy

Green Drinks is a gathering of Edmonton’s green-minded professionals to meet new friends, network, and indulge in a local brew. This event takes place at the Yellowhead Brewery on Wednesday, March 1st and featured guests include HEATHER SPEERS, the Project Coordinator for the MacEwan University’s social innovation hub project; Mark Anielski an economic strategist specializing in measuring well-being and happiness and also award-winning author of The Economics of Happiness: Building Genuine Wealth, and many more. Get more info on eventbrite.com.

Aboriginal Law Speaker Series

Also in Edmonton, check out the Aboriginal Law Speaker Series hosted by the University of Alberta’s Aboriginal Law Students Association. The series start March 6th with Eriel Deranger, who we’ve had the pleasure of interviewing on Terra Informa about Alberta Indigenous Peoples and the Climate Crisis. The speaker series is free and more information can be found on Facebook event.

Download program log now.

Photos by Cameron Blais.

Words, Words, Words


Open book on top of grass.

We discuss great environmental writing that captures our attention. First off, Gail Anderson-Dargatz, the author of The Spawning Grounds, tells us how she writes about the land as a character. Next, ecology graduate students discuss the different styles of two environmental writers during the conservation movement. Finally, Mika Minio-Paluello discusses co-writing the travelogue The Oil Road and reflects on the journey following the BP pipeline from Central Asia to the Mediterranean.

Download the episode now.

Download the program log.

The Magic of Environmental Writing
Do you ever wonder why some authors can make their words ring out and sizzle right off the page, but some can’t write a catchy sentence to save their life? Terra Informer Chris Chang-Yen Phillips has been curious for a while about the difference between two writers from the early days of the American conservation movement: Aldo Leopold and John Muir. Why is there so much poetry, so much fire in Leopold’s books? Chris was snowshoeing in Kananaskis a little while ago with ecology grad students Paul Cigan and Sonya Odsen. You can imagine his glee when he overheard them talking about just this question.

The Oil Road
Every single day, one million barrels of oil travels from landlocked Central Asia to the Mediterranean. From there it flows through the trade routes, making British Petroleum—also known as BP—billions of dollars along the way. James Marriott and Mika Minio-Paluello traveled this oil road. They visited rural villages and shining new cities, all tied together by the incredible social forces generated by BP’s pipeline.

The Oil Road is also the name of their book and it is a reflective travelogue on the state of the global oil industry. Mika Minio-Paluello spent a week in Edmonton in 2013. Hear stories of repressive governments, secret police, Canadian attack helicopters, and more.

Gail Anderson-Dargatz  

Gail Anderson-Dargatz is a twice Giller shortlisted author and she released her lastest novel, The Spawning Grounds in 2016. The Spawning Grounds is set in Thompson-Shuswap region of B.C. and it begins with a river’s flow reduced to a trickle leaving salmon unable to reach their spawning grounds. Conflict arises between the white settlers and Indigenous community and three young adults are left trying to navigate the conflict. Gail Anderson-Dargatz shares her writing process and how she writes about the land as a character in this interview.

Image source: Kaboompics, pixabay

Speculating the Future and Utilizing Shame for Good

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This week on Terra Informa, we look to the archives to discuss the future of humanity and the place oil has in that future. First off we have Chris Chang-Yen Phillips with Brandon Schatz talking about science-fiction and its reflection of our current and future states. After that we talk to Jennifer Jacquet about the effectiveness of shaming in modern protest. And lastly we talk with Todd Hirsch about the future of oil in Alberta and the his view on the future economic framework of this province.

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Lenses on the Future

Not everyone likes reading books about the future. Unless you already read science fiction, speculative fiction, or science-fiction as they’re collectively called, you might feel like the whole genre is just about slapstick robots and Orion slave girls. To be fair, some of it is about slapstick robots and Orion slave girls. But Sci-Fi can also teach us a lot about the way we live today. And help us imagine something different. For more on why your summer reading list should venture into the world of ansibles, hyperspace, and pigoons, Chris Chang-Yen Phillips spoke to Brandon Schatz, manager of Wizard Comics in Edmonton. 

Shaming Our Way Past Petrol

For activists trying to get all of society to shift to a renewable energy future, does it work to shame those keeping us in the past? Shame is divisive and combative. But Jennifer Jacquet thinks shame is a great tool in the activist toolkit. This academic in New York University’s department of Environmental Studies published the book Is Shame Necessary? New Uses for an Old Tool.

Alberta’s Post-Oil Future

As demand for Alberta’s oil drops lower and lower in the decades to come, how will the province’s economy change? How will we move forward and learn to prosper in new ways? For some perspective on these questions, we turned to Todd Hirsch, chief economist at ATB Financial.

Download program log here.

Photo by: Chris Yakimov (https://www.flickr.com/photos/doucy/)

Crime, Bugs and the Physics of Fire Ants

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We all know bugs are important in the function of ecosystems but did you know about their importance in the world of forensics, or in the study of physics? This week on Terra Informa, we go to Chris Chang-Yen Phillips to discuss a murder investigation with a forensic entomologist. And after we hear about the physics of fire ants from our partners over at Science Faction.

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Investigating with Bugs

Piecing together a crime can be a messy business. Police can run up against unreliable witnesses, or destroyed evidence. But what if the animals around a body could tell you a story about what happened? Chris Chang-Yen Phillips has this story from forensic entomologist and Simon Fraser University professor Gail Anderson in Vancouver.

Science Faction

Here is a link to Science Faction’s website. This was the first episode in an 8-part miniseries.
http://sciencefaction.ca/

Download Program Log Here

Photo by: AV Design
https://www.flickr.com/photos/avdezign/

Photos, Fires, Iron and Earth

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They say photos speak louder than words, but what words have the people taking the photos? This week, we’ll listen to the thoughts of photographers Edward Burtynsky and Sara Lindstrom. As well, Kerry Oxford, a spokeswoman for Iron & Earth, voices the environmental conscience of those who work in the Alberta Oil Sands, the men and women directly exposed to the dilemma of our modern existence.

Download episode here.

Iron & Earth

If support for the oil sands and support for the environment were concentric circles, Iron & Earth is an organization that is occupying the apparent no man’s land in between. But Iron & Earth’s position is that the two aren’t mutually exclusive. Terra Informer Tasmia Nishat spoke to Kerry Oxford about how the organization aims to bridge the gap.

Environmental Photographer of 2016 – Sara Lindstrom

Raised in Sweden, Sara Lindstrom is a globetrotting photographer who won the 2016 Atkins Ciwem environmental photographer of the year award with the above photo of a wildfire in the southern Alberta rocky mountains. Terra Informer Shelley Jodoin speaks with Sara about the winning shot, and her goal of using her impressive photography talent to inspire people to take care of the earth.

Burtynsky’s Photos Speak For Themselves

Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky has photographed extreme landscapes made by humans: abandoned marble quarries, mountains of e-waste, never-ending freeways, infinite suburbs. Rather than putting any judgement on the people who created these landscapes, he tends to let his photographs speak for themselves.

Terra Informa’s Trevor Chow-Fraser works at the University of Alberta’s Office of Sustainability and helped bring Edward Burtynsky to Edmonton for International Week in January 2014. That’s how Chris Chang-Yen Phillips got a chance to speak to the photographer about his approach.

Download program log here.