Christmas market in Munich, Germany. Photo credit: Mark Pegrum.
This week on Terra Informa we’re talking about renewable energy and how students from across campuses, disciplines, and countries, are exploring what sustainability means to them, and to our shared future. In this episode, you’ll hear us chat with Janina Fuchs, a student from Ludwig Maximillion Universtat in Munich, Germany, about her research on student energy perspectives in Munich and Alberta. We’ll also give you some background on energiewende, the German renewable energy transition strategy, and ABBY-Net, a research exchange between German and Alberta students that Janina Fuchs and our very own Terra Informer Sonak Patel participated in this past summer.
Photographer Marissa Magneson stands in front of the outcome of a collaboration with with West Coast carver, Joshua Prescott. Retrieved from marissamagneson.com
It is no question that art holds powerful implications for how we view our surroundings, others and ourselves. In 2019 communities of Indigenous artists are coming to the cultural forefront to dispel misrepresentations of Indigenous people as well as centering and celebrating indigenous resilience, sovereignty and cultures.
Terra Informers spoke with Cree, Métis and Norwegian photographer, Marissa Magneson at the 2019 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences that took place in June. Magneson presented a talk titled “Re-Framing History: Flipping Artistic Perspective of Indigenous Identity” which explores how art is used to shape and reshape our understanding of people, history, and places.
This week we are lucky to have co-authors Elizabeth Gierl and Sofia Osborne read their feature article entitled “In the Grey” that was published in the April 2019 edition of the University of Alberta’s student magazine, The Gateway. In the piece, Gierl and Osborne set out to explore climate change, the Global oil market and Alberta’s complex relationships to the industry in the province. They also pose a question glossed over in mainstream discourse regarding Alberta’s oil production – who will even be buying it?
After the authors read their piece, Terra Informer Charlotte Thomasson sat down with them to delve into some of the research that went into the piece as well as to reflect on the current situation for energy production in the province as well as globally.
Terra Informa in CJSR’s Studio A. From the top clockwise: Sofia Osborne, Dylan Hall, Olivia Debourcier, Charlotte Thomasson, Amanda Rooney, with Carter Gorzitza behind the camera!
This week we decided to shake things up on Terra Informa and take a page from one of our favourite podcasts, Radiolab! Specifically, an episode called Breaking Bad News Bears in which they tasked their reporters to pitch and produce a story about either breaking news or bears. So we sent our volunteers out to report on either a breaking news story OR something that fits into the category: the unseen environment
We ended up with stories ranging from ancient organisms (both big and small) to deleted provincial parks and murmurations. We’re pretty sure that our reporters did an amazing job! What do you think?
That bite in the September autumn air is a tell-tale sign of back to school. This week, we dug into our archives and uncovered a 2016 piece about sustainability in Alberta schools, as well as another archive that helps us consider the pros and cons of including the environment in national constitutions.
Right now, sustainability education is becoming more and more prevalent in schools, but we still have a long way to go. In 2016, Nicole Richard and Paula Daza spoke with the teachers of Brightview Elementary School and the students of the Sustainability Club from Cochrane High School about how students can be inspired by sustainability and environment-focused education. Nicole and Paula, students from the University of Alberta, incorporated this type of community engagement into their degrees through their project called We the Future.
When we think of a constitution we think of basic “human” rights. We, as humans, have the right to vote, the right to practice religion, the right to own property. But what about nature? Ecuador was the first country in the world to establish the rights of nature at a national level, including it in the 2008 constitution. Terra Informa’s Nicole Wiart talks to Doctor Kelly Swing of the Tiputini biodiversity station in Ecuador about how this constitutional change is great in theory, but in practice, there are a lot of hurdles to still overcome. Nicole Wiart talks to Doctor Kelly Swing.
This Week’s Headlines
St. Albert to Destroy Invasive Koi (CBC) – Click here
Meetings between Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Over the Trans Mountain Pipeline (CBC) – Click here
Smart Traffic Lights in Ottawa (National Observer) – Click here
If you live near the Rocky Mountains Alberta, you might have heard the name Schäffer before. There’s a hike in Jasper by Maligne lake called Mary Shäffer Loop and there’s a ballroom named after Mary Schäffer in the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. At the University of Alberta, one of the residences on the University of AB campus is called Shäffer Hall.
But who was Mary Schaffer? University of Alberta historian of photography, Dr. Colleen Skidmore, asked herself this same question before she embarked on writing her latest book: “Finding Mary Schaffer: Women, Wilderness, Photography”. Amanda Rooney and Sofia Osborne spoke with Dr. Skidmore to gain more insight into who Mary Schaffer was and why we still know her name today.
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.
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.
This week’s episode features two stories about itty bitty organisms packing a big environmental punch. Learn about mosses with Tasmia Nishat and from the archives, get the scoop on urban beekeeping in Edmonton with Chris Chang-Yen Phillips.
There are plenty of frontiers in urban agriculture: community gardens, backyard chickens—beekeeping might be the one that makes neighbours and politicians the most nervous. But after years of debate and a pilot project eased us into the idea, Edmonton has finally opened the doors to backyard beekeeping.
Edmonton’s City Council changed its bylaws in April 2015 to allow residents to get their own licensed beehive. So what does it look like (and sound like) to get a delivery of thousands of bees?
Chris Chang-Yen Phillips joined Kyla Tichkowsky, Steph Ripley and Lisa Lumley to find out.
Last month, Terra Informers Amanda Rooney and Tasmia Nishat attended the Energy Efficiency and Community Energy in Alberta Open House. There, they spoke with an MLA on Leduc’s ambitious solar initiative, Solar4all Alberta, and community members interested in making the public feedback process more inclusive.
MLA Shaye Anderson on Leduc’s Solar Electricity Initiatives
The city of Leduc recently installed Canada’s largest rooftop solar system at the Leduc Recreation Center. Terra Informa spoke with MLA Shaye Anderson about the installation, and about sustainability in general.
With a name like Solar4All Alberta, you can guess what Solar4All’s mandate is. But what are they asking for, specifically, from the government? Terra Informa finds out.
Queers and Pals Attend Energy Efficiency Forum
With public forums like these, how do we make sure that they are inclusive? We spoke with community members Parker Leflar and Rebecca Jade about how to make sure marginalized groups aren’t left out of the conversation.
The Fermi Paradox i.e. Counting the little green men & big blue planets
Paul Gilster enjoys one of the most unlikely of day jobs: writing full-time on the science of space travel as the lead journalist for the Tau Zero Foundation. You can find his nearly daily updates on the website Centauri Dreams. Trevor Chow-Fraser got in touch with Paul to help us understand one of the central mysteries of outer space, the question we’ve all had at some point when looking up at the stars—are we alone in the big vast universe? Or, is there life up there in the stars? And if so, well why the heck haven’t they come calling? That’s the question scientists call the Fermi Paradox.