Edmonton’s Secret Orchid Collection and Fungus “Pesticides”

orchid

Photo of yellow and magenta orchids that could be a member of the extensive orchid collection at the Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton. Credit to JP Shen.

This week on Terra Informa, we discuss the orchid collection at Edmonton’s own Muttart Conservatory and learn how fungi can be used as more than just “fun guys” in your garden or farm.

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Orchids in Edmonton

Most citizens of Edmonton are aware of the Muttart Conservatory, but not a lot of them know about the ginormous orchid collection that resides there. You may know orchids as that overly fancy flower stores sometimes sell. Or as something you put in baked goods at times, because fun fact: vanilla is an orchid. How did this collection come to be? And what’s up with orchids, anyway — why do people care enough to form an entire society around them?

Tasmia Nishat speaks with Dave Nixon of the Orchid Species Preservation Foundation, or OSPF for short, to get to the bottom of this. Plant nerds, this ones for you!

Fungus Pesticides

Rebecca Rooney talks to Sunita Rajput, a University of Alberta researcher who conducted research on ways that farmers can use fungus in place of conventional insecticides.

Grant McEwan Bee Tours

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Photo by JP Shen

 

Reflecting on the Fort McMurray Wildfire

This month marks one year since the disastrous Fort McMurray wildfire. In this week’s episode we air an archive about the fire. CJSR volunteers gathered first-hand accounts of people who had to flee and met people who opened up their hearts and wallets to help. Then a University of Alberta wildfire expert provides some analysis of the wildfire.

Download episode now.

This month marks one year since the disastrous Fort McMurray wildfire. In this week’s episode we air an archive about the fire. CJSR volunteers gathered first-hand accounts of people who had to flee and met people who opened up their hearts and wallets to help. Then a University of Alberta wildfire expert provides some analysis of the wildfire.
 Thank you to this week’s contributors from CJSR Radio, Marco Visconti, Skye Hyndman and Pat McIlveen. The show was produced and hosted by Chris Chang-Yen Phillips and Trevor Chow-Fraser.

Download program log now.

Photo by the office of the Premier of Alberta on Flickr.

ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME EVENTS

Agave Bloom

Photo by Joaquim Alves Gaspar

This week, Terra Informer Chris Chang-Yen Phillips ventured to Edmonton’s Muttart Conservatory to learn about a truly once-in-a-lifetime event: the blooming of the agave, an ephemeral plant that only blooms once before it dies. We also look at the decreasing rarity of once-in-a-lifetime storms with Terra Informer Jessica Kozlowski, as well as the truly amazing experience of a life-changing flood described firsthand by Terra Informer Natalee Rawat.

Download episode here.

The Bittersweet Life Cycle of the Agave Plant

A few years back, Terra Informa’s Chris Chang-Yen Phillips headed to Edmonton’s Muttart Conservatory in pursuit of a once-in-a-lifetime story. The Muttart houses exotic plants under its pyramids all year long, but he was there to see one particular plant: an agave. It only blooms once before it dies. Chris spoke to the Muttart’s Jade Dodd, and Brandi Eide, who manages the succulent collection at Arizona’s Desert Botanical Garden.

Ecobabble: The Science of Extreme Storms

What happens when once-in-a-lifetime storms shift to becoming the norm? Terra Informer Jessica Kozlowski discusses the ever-increasing imbalance of large-scale climatic events and why massive natural disasters are becoming more frequent.

A Flood of the Century: the 2005 Maharashtra Floods

In this piece from the Terra Informa archives, Natalee Rawat experienced a real Flood of the Century and lived to tell. In 2005, almost 1 meter of rain fell on the Indian state of Maharashtra on a single summer day. The city shut down completely, and the deluge caused at least 5,000 deaths, and cost 100 million USD. Natalee sat down with Ali Sultani to recall the events of July 26, 2005.

Headlines

Big cats of today are under the same threat as extinct Ice Age cats

A 2017 University of Sussex study identified that the African lion and the Sunda clouded leopard are facing the same extinction threats as the big felines of the ice age. The study determined that during the last ice age a lack of prey was the primary factor in the extinction of the 7 big cats. Read the study here

Enbridge commits to greater disclosure on Indigenous and environmental issues

The Calgary-based natural gas company has declared that they will increase disclosure of factors that go into determining indigenous and environmental issues when making acquisitions. This was decided despite two- thirds of Enbridge shareholders voting against it on May 11. Chief executive Al Monaco states that “We thought, and still do, that the idea of providing more information on our approach to investments and acquisitions was a very good one”, adding that the company would add the information to its corporate social responsibility reporting as an effort to be more transparent. Read the full article here

What’s Happening

Fresh MEÆT micro-fundraising event – May 24, 2017

Fresh MEÆT is a micro-fundraising event hosted by Edmonton’s NextGen in support of local food and urban agriculture initiatives with 7 presenters pitching their best project ideas. Attendees will get to vote for the idea they believe should get the funding. If you are sitting on a great food and urban agriculture project idea of your own, you can submit your own pitch by May 22nd for a chance to present at the event and win prizes!

The event will occur from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm at the ATB Entrepreneur Centre Edmonton, 4234 Calgary Trail Northwest Edmonton, Alberta.

Tickets are $15, with $10 of each ticket going towards the winning initiative. Purchase tickets here

Download Program log here.

Alberta Rural Development Network

terrainformahouse

Photo by Marcel Schoenhardt

This week Terra Informer Shelley Jodoin interviewed Joshua Bénard, a sustainable housing project manager with the Alberta Rural Development Network (ARDN). They discuss ARDN’s aim to create housing that is both sustainable and affordable.

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Alberta Rural Development Network

This week Shelley Jodoin interviewed housing project manager of Alberta Rural Development Network (ARDN), Joshua Bénard.  They discuss how ARDN works with provincial universities and colleges, rural communities, and other organizations to create sustainable housing. You can check out the ARDN’s website here.

Headlines

International Compost Awareness Week, May 7th- 13th

If you live in Edmonton, the city has Compost S’cool starting May 13th, from 10 am to 4 pm on weekends and holidays until Labour day. Compost S’cool is a program meant to help you start your own composting operation; whether it be a large backyard bin or a small bin of worms. You can find them on location between the John Janzen Nature Centre and Fort Edmonton Park, and check out the Facebook page here. 

For listeners not in Edmonton – check out your city’s website or check out the compost council of Canada’s website here for more information. 

Biomimicry Alberta Workshop: Summer Series 2017

Biomimicry in this context is drawing inspiration from the natural world for example, the beak of kingfisher birds have provided the blueprint for more aerodynamic designs in trains. Learn more here. 

The third annual Alberta Biomimicry Workshop will be happening on the University of Alberta campus on June 24 and 25.  Registration is $150 but there is a discounted rate for students! You can find more information here. 

Oil spill busting technology gets $1.7M federal funding boost

UAlberta’s Ingenuity Lab developing nanotech mesh that pulls oil out of water, then releases it so it can be reused. Read the article here.

UAlberta named one of Canada’s greenest employers for ninth year in a row

University recognized for employee programs, innovative facilities. Read the article here.

 

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The Politics of Science

Art Poskanzer

Photo by Art Poskanzer

This week on Terra Informa Lauren Carter spoke with Kate Gibbs, the Executive Director of Evidence for Democracy, about a report she co-authored that surveyed over 400 government scientists about their funding capacity, their freedom to communicate their research, and the outsourcing of government research to external non-Ministry professionals. Then we go to the archives of Science Faction where they discuss three possible ways the world could end.

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Oversight at Risk: The State of Government Science in British Columbia

Is B.C. governmental science well-funded and openly communicated? We interviewed Katie Gibbs, the Executive Director of Evidence for Democracy to give us the run-down. The report surveyed over 400 government scientists about their funding capacity, their freedom to communicate their research and the outsourcing of government research to external professionals. We also asked her about the March for Science that she spoke at on March 22, 2017.

Science Faction: The End

“The End” of Science Faction has arrived! For our 8th and final show, hear from three great Canadian researchers, planetary scientist Dr. Alan Hildebrand, immunologist Dr. Matthew Miller, and climate champion Merran Smith, talk about three possible ways the world could end and how we can avoid TEOTWAWKI (a.k.a. the end of the world as we know it).

What’s Happening

Women in Renewable Energy Networking Meetup- May 8th 2017

Calling all women interested in Renewable Energy! On May 8th, there will be a networking meetup for the new Edmonton Chapter of the organization WiRE, or Women In Renewable Energy. This discussion will focus on building networks for jobs and roles in the renewable energy sector.  All women working in a field related to renewable energy are invited, as are students and developing professionals who are looking for perspectives on joining the renewable energy sector. This event is for women only.

The Guest speaker at this event will be Brandy J. Burdeniuk, an industrial designer, entrepreneur, and founding partner of EcoAmmo Sustainable Consulting, a green building consulting firm.

This event is free to attend, and will be at the Mosaic Centre (Alberta’s First net-zero commercial Building) 2003 91 St SW, Edmonton, AB T6X 1A2. For more information, please check out WiRE’s information page

University of Alberta School of Business, Energy, and Environment– discussing Alberta’s new carbon tax- May 18 2017

Then, for those of you who want to know what’s going on inside the minds of oil and gas business leaders: On May 18th, the University of Alberta School of Business, Energy, and Environment will be hosting an event to discuss the effect Alberta’s new carbon tax will have on business. The Carbon Tax was implemented with the goal of providing financial incentives for businesses and households to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Speakers will include:
Stephen Clark, the Chief Financial Officer of Mullen Group, an oil and gas wells drilling company;
Cam Mitchell, the Vice President in Data Analysis and Forecasting for Solution 105, an energy management consulting company;
Jeju Varghese, the Director of Canadian Operations for Rig Systems, with National Oilwell Varco, a multinational oil corporation based out of Houston Texas.

The event will be moderated by Andrew Leach, an Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta School of Business

The event will occur from 4:30pm to 6:30pm at The Matrix Hotel, 10640 100 Ave NW
Edmonton, Alberta

The cost is $30 per person.
Please RSVP by May 15, 2017.

Download program log now.

There is no Planet B

Earthrise

This week we explore the origins of Earth Day with an ecobabble that spans the decades from 1970 to the March for Science of 2017. Next, we’re revisiting an interview with Chris Hadfield from our archives.

 

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Earth Day: Cause For Protest or Celebration?

Lauren Carter and Dylan Hall hit the streets to find out what the public thinks about Earth Day and the March for Science. You’ll be hearing some of those interviews throughout this ecobabble on the origins of Earth Day.  Earth Day began as the environmentalist movement was making its voice heard with protests and educational teach-ins. Today, Earth Day is celebrated across the planet, although its focus has largely turned from political issues to small-scale individual action. Find out how this transition happened, and how the March for Science is changing that with this ecobabble produced by Lauren Carter.

Chris Hadfield Interview From 2013

Most of us will never know what it’s like being in space. We’ve all seen the pictures of that familiar glowing green and blue orb from the viewpoint of a spaceship. We have rich imaginations and age-long fascinations of what could be out there beyond the sky. But what does it smell like? What does it really feel like to be out there? From the 2013 archives, our own Matt Hirji talked to Commander Chris Hadfield about questions like these.

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Photo by NASA

Do It Yourself! A Tool Library Adventure.

Have a DIY project you’ve been itching to do but just don’t have the supplies? Striving to reduce consumerism and waste? The Edmonton Tool Library has got you covered. We dive into what it’s all about and how you can volunteer or become a member!

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Edmonton Tool Library

This week on Terra Informa, we take a trip to the Edmonton Tool Library, a non-profit that launched in January 2017 and it’s located in the Bellevue Community League. The library shelves are full of donated tools, some well-loved and well-worn, while others barely touched. Members can borrow the tools for their art projects, home renovations, yard clean-ups and more. Terra Informers Shelley Jodoin and Lauren Carter explored the tool library and interviewed two of the board members, Robyn Webb and Leslie Bush. They’ll tell you what a tool library is and how it can save you money, reduce your environmental impact and empower you to take on a do-it-yourself project.

Check out their website where you can view the tool catalogue and sign up for volunteer opportunities. You can also follow them on Facebook and on, Instagram, and Twitter.

Download program log here.

Photos by: Shelley Jodoin

Sustainability Inspiration Wherever You Go

 

Sunshine_at_Dunstanburgh

You can find sustainability inspiration wherever you go. This episode looks at bioremediation as a sustainable alternative for cleaning up oil spills and heavy metals. We also look at sustainability initiatives in two schools in Alberta.

 

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The Ability to Inspire

Think back to a time when you were in school (you might even be a student right now!). How much did you know about sustainability? Did you know what the phrase meant? Did you care? Right now, sustainability education is becoming more and more prevalent in schools, but we still have a long way to go. Listen in this week as Nicole Richard and Paula Daza explore the ways that teachers and students in Edmonton are working on making their schools more sustainable.

At the time of original airing, Nicole and Paula were students at the University of Alberta,  incorporating community service and community learning into their degrees. To learn more about their project We the Future, click here.

Leila Darwish on Bioremediation

In a time when spills, leaks, and environmental disasters are becoming more and more common, how do we clean up in a way that’s both reasonable and responsible? Prevention, of course, is always the best policy, but even the best laid plans go awry, and when they do, one answer is often overlooked: bioremediation. Tasmia Nishat speaks with Leila Darwish, author of Earth Repair, about the healing potential of sunflowers and oyster mushrooms backyard contamination, big spills, and everything in between.

Leila Darwish is also a founding member of Terra Informa and at the time of original airing was the Council of Canadians’ Pacific regional organizer. You can read her blog here.

Headlines

If you would like to learn more about any of the headlines you heard, please click the links below.

Evidence For Democracy Report on B.C. Government Science Confidentiality

Edmonton Farmer Fundraises to Conserve Land for Community Agriculture; Donate here

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Photo by Christopher Down.