Alberta

Gallery 1313 — Marissa Magneson Photography

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.

Throughout the interview Terra Informer, Shawn Hou, presents headlines that demonstrate the ties that art has to identity as well as the climate crisis.

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Links to Indigenous Artists

Juno Award winning musician, Jeremy Dutcher

Visual artist, Kent Monkman

Matika Wilbur’s Project 562

Alberta’s inaugural artist in residence, Lauren Crazybull

Links to Headlines

Prominent AIDs activist and artist, Douglas Crimp, dead at age 74.

United Kingdom Tate Galleries taking a stronger stance on the climate emergency after cutting ties with British Petroleum.

Activists call for London Opera House to sever ties with large oil sponsors, prompting actors to resign from their positions with the company.

Public mural in downtown Vancouver, titled ‘Earth Justice’ is about respecting and preserving the planet.

New York City garbage trucks adorned with murals highlighting and encouraging sustainability.

Protesters in China use guerrilla art as a form of non-violent protest of a bill.

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In the grey —Alberta’s relationship with oil in a changing world

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Image courtesy of The Gateway

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.

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Download program log here.

Exploring the Unseen Environment

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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?

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Download program log here. 

Sustainability in Classrooms and Constitutions

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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.

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Sustainability in Alberta Classrooms

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.

Good Living

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

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Mary Schäffer and Women, Wilderness, and Photography

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This week on Terra Informa,  we’re bringing you an interview with Colleen Skidmore about the story of Mary Schäffer, a distinguished exploring woman in Alberta from the 20th century.

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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.

Download program log here.

Photo credit: Used with permission from University of Alberta Press

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.

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/)

Tiny Organisms, Big Impacts! Moss and Bees

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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.

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Urban Beekeeping

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.

Download Program Log here.

Photo credit to Mike Phobos

Terra Informa Attends the Alberta Energy Efficiency Open House

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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.


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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.

Solar4All Alberta

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.

Terra Informa August 23 Episode Log.

Photo credit to Unsplash.