Beers and Icebergs


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. 


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.

You’d better Believe It’s Still Summer

Up here in Edmonton, it’s sometimes hard to remember that summer officially lasts until the end of September. So, to keep the heady heat of summer fresh in our minds, this week we’re having a small celebration of the outdoors. We’ll sip beers on Edmonton’s street-side patios, and listen to birds in the hot, dry BC interior. All that and a little more on this it’s-still-summer-edition of Terra Informa.

Download this week’s episode

Large crowd socializing on treelined street, green canopy overhead.

Photo credit: reallyboring on Flickr.

Sustainable Microbreweries

Nicole Wiart has had her fair share of drinking on the patios this summer. It got her thinking about who makes her beer and where it comes from. She started digging around Edmonton to find out what it means to be a local, Canadian microbrewery. What challenges do small sustainable businesses face? You’ll hear from a local brewmaster and two associate professors at the University of Alberta talking local beer.

Ecobabble: Biochar

Environmental biologist Tracy Flach explains how an ancient technology being used in a new way could help stabilize our climate and our soil.

BioBlitz in the Flathead Valley

Birding can be a relaxing past-time, a way to connect with the world around you. This summer though,

This summer, amateur birders, ornithologists, and aquatic scientists turned a pleasant hobby—birding—into a tool of resistance to coal and gas development in BC’s Flathead River Valley. Chris Chang-Yen Phillips reached Greg Ross, a birder from Cranbrook, who took part in the “BioBlitz.”