The Steve Show

This week, we say goodbye to Steve Andersen. An activist, bike enthusiast, and Terra Informa producer and correspondent, Steve helped guide and create Terra Informa over the last six years. A former Terra Informer shares a story about Steve’s magic, we take a listen to our favourite bike reports and garbage segments from Steve’s work, and we interview Steve himself.

How do you balance being in the news and making it? How easy is it have a microphone on while you’re unfurling a protest banner in midair? All this and more, as we wish Steve luck in his next chapter.

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Terra Informa, with Handsome Steve Andersen.

This week, we say goodbye to Steve Andersen as he passes the torch onto a new rogue’s gallery of Terra Informers. (Photo credit: Akex Hindle)

A fellow Terra Informer looks back on Steve’s magic, passion, and secret life fighting crime (maybe)
Marcus Peterson was a Terra Informer who worked with Steve for a number of years on the show. He sat down with Chris Chang-Yen Phillips to share stories about Steve’s time on Terra Informa.

Steve’s Segments: Bicycle Traffic Report and Garry the Garbage Guy
Two of Steve’s popular recurring segments were the Bicycle Traffic Report and Garry the Garbage Guy. He wasn’t afraid to dive right in, whether it was standing beside busy road with bicycle traffic reporter Karly Coleman or literally dumpster diving with Garry Spotowski, Terra Informa’s garbage and recycling expert. From our archives, two of our favourite selections from those two segments.

Steve covers the Gulf oil spill
Of course, Steve also tackled difficult stories, like the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. From our archives, Steve Andersen speaking with John Hocevar, the director of Greenpeace USA’s oceans campaign. We reached him in Grand Isle, Louisiana just after BP’s Deep Horizon rig exploded, gushing oil into the Gulf.

Steve in Studio
Finally, we wanted to sit down with the man himself. Chris Chang-Yen Phillips asked Steve Andersen to join him in studio to reflect on six years of work guiding Terra Informa.

News Headlines

Bhutan goes all-organic
Bhutan has made a recent pledge to convert to a 100% organic agricultural system.
The goal of the Ministry of Agriculture is for Bhutan to go organic by 2020.

More on this story: Samdrup Jonkhar Initiative, Bhutan Times, NPR

Barriere Lake Algonquins fight illegal logging
In Quebec, the Algonquins of Barriere Lake and supporters have been opposing the illegal logging taking place on Barriere Lake land.
This week, the opposition has resulted in concessions being made by the company attempting to log Barriere Lake land and the Quebec government.

More on this story: Barriere Lake Solidarity, Rabble, Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement Ottawa

BC Grand Chief predicts long battle over Northern Gateway Pipeline
Grand Chief Steward Philip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, called the proposed Enbridge pipeline the largest issue faced by B.C.’s First Nations communities.
Philip stated that there would be a long fight if the project is allowed to move forward, both in the courtroom and on the land.

More on this story: The Globe and Mail, Ottawa Citizen, Vancouver Sun

Hundreds of millions in India hit by historic blackout
Most power has been restored after what’s being called the “worst blackout in history” in India this week.
An estimated 620 million people were without power due to the outages.

More on this story: CBC, The Globe and Mail

Satellites record largest summer sea ice loss
In June, the Arctic experienced the largest sea ice loss in recorded satellite history, that of 1.1 million square miles of ice, equivalent to the size of Alaska, California, Florida, and Texas combined.

More on this story: Nunatsiaq, The Guardian

What’s Happening

On this week’s What’s Happening, there are two upcoming wildlife viewing events taking place in the Yukon and two job postings in Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories.

Yukon Wildlife Talks
On Friday, August 10 from 9:30 – 11:30 pm, Environment Yukon biologists will be teaching participants about bat biology, habitat and conservation at the “Going Batty! Bat Viewing!”.

On Tuesday, August 14, there will be an evening walk about squirrels, entitled “Are You a Nut?”. Meghan Larivee, biologist and squirrel enthusiast, will be talking about the small critters that most people ignore.
Meet at the Robert Service Campground at 7pm.

Visit the Environment Yukon site for more information.

Vancouver Job Postings
And, in Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories, the BC Association of Farmers Markets is looking for a Strengthening Farmers’ Markets Project Coordinator. The position is part-time and temporary and the deadine to apply is August 13, 2012.

And The Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House [DTES NH] is seeking a full time Program Lead for the Community Drop-in and Right to Food Initiatives who will oversee the DTES Right to Food Network, food related partnerships, the Building Welcoming and Inclusive Neighbourhoods (BWIN) Program, and provide leadership to the Community Drop-In Program.

More information at Good Work Canada and Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House

Cloud Computing, Gulf of Mexico Oil Disaster, and Ecological Communities

Today we investigate the potential environmental benefits of cloud computing, a system where computer resources, like data and applications, are no longer stored on your home computer but rather accessed from servers on the internet. We also take a look back at the BP oil spill and its effect on the Gulf of Mexico. We find out just what’s meant when scientists refer to ecological communities. And we’ll hear about the need to protect the bluefin tuna.

photo by badjonni (Flickr Creative Commons)

Environmental News Headlines

US inquiry into the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster

Sea lice from BC fish farms spreding

Extracting energy from frozen gas hydrates in the NWT

Plastic waste polluting Manitoba lakes

New renewable energy projects:

Wind farm in Tumbler Ridge, BC
Wind farm in Chatham-Kent, Ontario
Tidal energy in the Bay of Fundy

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Cloud Computing

Earlier this week computer giant Microsoft released a report on cloud computing that stated that if companies implemented a cloud computing solution to their IT needs, they could cut electricity use and emissions by up to 90%. Now, Terra Informa correspondent Brett Tegart takes a critical look at the report and cloud computing. Can it live up to the promise?

BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster

A few months ago the eyes of the world were focused on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. It was the most serious spill ever to hit the US, but there’s still debate as to exactly how much oil entered the Gulf. There’s also uncertainty as to the environmental repercussions that will result. This week, Seon-Ah looks into the ongoing story of the Gulf oil spill.

Frontline (PBS) The Spill

The Breakdown (The Nation): What Is the True Cost of BP’s Oil Spill?

Ecological Communities

Often when we use the word community we’re talking about the support and companionship we get from the social network we belong to. But when ecologists use the term they mean something totally different. This week Rebecca Rooney helps clarify what it is they mean with this week’s EcoBabble on – the community.

Protection of Blue Fin Tuna

One of the world’s most highly prized fish, the northern bluefin Tuna, is severely endangered. An international meeting of nations held in March decided, however, that the risk of further collapse or extinction of this species did not warrant an international trade ban. In this opinion piece, David Kaczan discusses the reasons for the failure of the ban to pass, and what it means for the bluefin tuna. This piece originally aired in May.

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The Oil Spill’s Unseen Culprits & Victims, Royalties Defined, and Sea Shepherd

On this week’s show…

Alongside our usual review of the week’s environmental news headlines, today we bring you a Green Screen review of the TED Talk given by marine ecologist and author Carl Safina about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. We also have a new Eco Babble defining what is meant by the term royalties – those fees paid by resource extraction companies to the provincial government owning the resources. Finally, we reach back into the archives for an editorial piece on the controversial ecowarrior organization Sea Shepherd.

Photograph by James Nachtwey for The New Yorker.

Environmental News Headlines

Northern Uranium Mine – Public Hearings

Federal Government – Oil Sands Assessment Report

St. Lawrence Lowlands – Hearings on Shale Gas Drilling

Central B.C. – Copper-Gold Mine Receives Federal Endorsement

Utah – Approved Oil Sands Mine

Ontario – Four More Coal-Fired Plants Shut Down


Green Screen Review: Carl Safina, “The Oil Spill’s Unseen Victim’s and Culprits”

This week Rebecca Rooney brings us a slightly unconventional Green Screen Review.  Usually these segments review films or documentaries on environmental subjects, but online videos are becoming an increasingly common excuse to eat popcorn.  Instead of reviewing a full length film, this week Terra Informa has a review of a 20 min online video recorded at the 2010 TEDxOilSpill conference last June.  The video is titled The Oil Spill’s unseen culprits, victims, and was delivered by author and scientist Carl Safina.  In it, he lays out some of the context in which the Gulf oil spill occurred and argues that the spill was no accident, but was the result of negligence which he describes as only a symptom of a larger problem with American democracy.

This TED talk is available to be streamed or downloaded for free here.


Ecobabble: Royalties

Royalties – what are they? Why do oil corporations hate them? Why do governments keep decreasing them? After you listen to this week’s Ecobabble, you’ll be able to draw your own conclusions. Andy Read and Marcus Peterson bring us an easy-to-listen guide on the convoluted world of taxes, mineral rights, and ownership.

Sea Shepherd

A dangerous and high stakes game of cat and mouse is played out every Antarctic summer season. The Japanese whaling fleet partakes in an annual hunt of approximately 1000 whales, however it is pursued by an environmental group called the Sea Shephard. Terra Informa takes a look at the past and present of the whaling issue. What does international law say on the issue? Who are the protesters? are they acting irresponsibly or courageously and will they succeed in their goal?

False Solutions to Climate Change and Cycling Quebec’s Route Verte

Today Brett brings us a review of “Hoodwinked in the Houthouse: False Solutions to Climate Change”, a newly released publication that aims to shed light on climate changes fixes that aren’t all they’re made out to be. Our bicycle traffic reporter, Karly Coleman, is a little further from home than usual. She talks to us from Ottawa about cycling in central Canada and Quebec’s La Route Verte. And Rebekah interviews researcher Christine Robichaud about her work on the importance of caribou in bear diets.

Hoodwinked in the Hothouse Cover

Cover of Rising Tide North America's Publication 'Hoodwinked in the Hothouse'

Environmental News Headlines (with Tasneem Karbani)

Anti-Oilsands Campaign

Campaign targets Alberta tourism

Editing error on Rethink Alberta

Oilsands critics urge boycott of Alberta tourism

“Eco-fascists” in the Flathead Valley?

BC Minister apologizes for ‘eco-fascist’ email (2)

Receding Himalayan Glaciers

Glaciers melting faster than anywhere else in the world

New photos show the receding glaciers

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Update

Spill under control (2)

UK urged to ban North Sea drilling

Engineers concerned about low pressure readings

Review of Rising Tide North America’s Publication ‘Hoodwinked in the Hothouse: False Solutions to Climate Change (Second Edition)’

Only a few years ago, some companies were saying climate change wasn’t a problem. Now, as its impacts become apparent, many of the same corporations are scrambling to present solutions and quick fixes to avoid new environmental regulations. This week, Brett Tegart reviews Rising Tide North America’s newly updated pamphlet Hoodwinked in the Hothouse (download), an environmental inquisition rooting out the climate change solutions that are false, foolhardy and doomed to failure.

Bicycle Traffic Report: Vacation Edition

Terra Informa’s bicycle traffic reporter Karly Coleman is away on vacation at the moment. But even when she’s on holidays she’s never far from a bicycle. Today Steve talks to her about cycling while away from home and some of the facilities that are available in central Canada.

La Route Verte

Best of Terra Informa

Originally aired in February 2009, in this science short  Rebbekah Rooney interviews Christine Robichaud to gain an understanding of the importance of caribou in bear diets.

Terra Informa is always looking for more volunteers. If you feel like joining the team or giving us a suggestion for a news story, drop us a line at terra@cjsr.com or phone us at the Terra Informa listener line at 780-492-2577, extension 236. That’s, 780-492-2577, extension 236.

Hurricanes, Canadian Politics & The BP Oil Disaster

Greenpeace’s Oceans Campaign Director speaks to us from Grand Isle, Louisiana to give a first hand report of the damage. The NDP’s Linda Duncan tells us about a motion she tabled to re-examine Canada’s regulations for offshore oil drilling. And we talk to atmospheric and oceanographic scientists about the possibility of a hurricane hitting the oil spill, and what effect that could have.

Oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill pools against the Louisiana coast along Barataria Bay Tuesday, June 8, 2010. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

more pictures of the gulf oi spill (The Big Picture) (Greenpeace USA Flikr) (NASA Aqua)

For the last two months the news has been full of reports of the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which seems to just be getting worse and worse. Today we’re dedicating the whole episode to taking an in depth look at the disaster, and what it means for Canada. To start things off, Steve Andersen talks to John Hocevar, the director of Greenpeace USA’s oceans campaign, in Grand Isle, Louisiana. Grand Isle is a small community located directly on the Mississippi delta and has been heavily effected by the oil spill. In this interview Steve gets John to describe the damage he’s seeing at the site of the BP oil spill.

How to stop oil spills: Kickstart an energy revolution (Greenpeace USA)

With the persisting oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, offshore drilling has become an issue of major concern here in Canada.  Tasneem Karbani spoke with the New Democratic Party’s environment critic Linda Duncan about her recent motion that unanimously passed in Parliament calling for a review of the regulations and policies surrounding unconventional oil development in Canada.

Parliament unanimously supports NDP call for review of risky oil projects

Linda Duncan website

June first was the opening day of the Atlantic hurricane season and scientists are predicting it will be an unusually active year.  With the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico still growing and recent estimates putting the amount of oil released at double what was previously thought, what will happen if a hurricane passes through it?  What effect on the oil spill would a hurricane have and is it possible that spill this large could have an effect on a hurricane?  Terra Informa regular Rebecca Rooney interviewed the experts and filed this report.

Tracking the Oil Spill in the Gulf (New York Times)

NY Times Oil Spill Tracker


Dr. Phil Klotzbach, 2010 Hurrican Season Predictions

Doron Nof, PhD, Physical Oceanography at Florida State University

For more on the Canadian dimension to the BP oil spill check out the blog post Myles Curry wrote about arctic offshore drilling.

Thanks for listing, send us an email (terra@cjsr.com) or just post a comment if you have any questions or suggestions.

Mushroom Hunting & Orbital Solar Power

This weeks show has a wide variety of awesome stuff for you, Rebekah Rooney and Tasneem Karbani started off the show with the environmental news headlines. For the features, new volunteer Brett gives a run down on orbital solar technology, Myles Curry introduces a new segment called Local Campaigns with a look at RePower Alberta, and Ellis Agbenyega tackles the term “greenwashing” in another installment of EcoBable. Steve Anderson hosted and produced the show.

The Morel of the story is ...

Morel Mushroom Found in Southern Alberta (By annkelliott on Flikr)

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Environmental Headlines

Calgary takes #1 spot in Eco city ranking

Mercer, a global consulting company, has released a Quality of Living Survey, which examined 221 international cities to produce an Eco-City Ranking

but…. A United Nations report released in April found that Calgary was among the worst polluters. It ranked 5th out of 50 international cities surveyed Here is a video of Jim Prentice(Minister of Environment) responding to that ranking.

Gulf oil spill continues to worsen

Obama orders six-month freeze on offshore drilling and expansion

Gulf oil spill is public health risk, environmental scientists warn

US coast guards harass journalists covering BP’s oil spill disaster

At a UN conference nations agree to an increase in aid from rich to poor countries to protect the Earth’s forests and curb global carbon emissions.

Oslo Forest Climate Conference

Canada has not committed a specific sum of money to the initiative, Jim Prentice (Minister of Environment) attended the conference and pledged Canada’s support of the REDD initiatives (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and degradation)

Trial of an anti-whaling activist from New Zealand begins in Japan

Peter Bethune, a Sea Shepherd campaigner, who tried to arrest the captain of the ship is faced with charges of trespassing, forcible obstruction of business, destruction of property, and illegal possession of a knife

A report from The Guardian reveals that Australia will be asking the international court of justice to end Tokyo’s annual whale culls in the Southern Ocean.

Overfishing pressure is predicted to combine with the Deep Horizons Gulf oil disaster to devastate the Bluefin population which spawns in the Gulf of Mexico

The Centre for Biological Diversity has filed a formal scientific petition to protect the Atlantic Bluefin tuna under the USA’s Endangered Species Act.

Orbital Solar Power

New Terra Informa correspondent Brett Tegart sheds some light on the possibilities  and practicalities of  the cutting edge technology, orbital solar power.

Local Campaigns

Across Canada there are countless groups and individuals working on environmental issues and causes in their communities that face a daunting task in spreading their message. This week on Terra Informa we introduce a new recurring segment called ‘Local Campaigns’ highlighting these often under reported efforts. Myles Curry debuts this segment with a look at a new green jobs and renewable energy campaign called RePower Alberta.

RePower Alberta Website

Sierra Club Prairie Chapter

Greenpeace: Stop the tar-sands

Urban Mushroom Hunting

Did you know that one Portabella mushroom can have more potassium than a banana? Did you also know that some species like the edible Honey Mushroom produce a bioluminescent light? For many people, the world of fungi and mushrooms is mostly a mystery. In fact, there are about 38,000 varieties of mushrooms and it is estimated that there are over a million species of fungi, but only about 10% have been officially described in the scientific literature.

Terra Informa correspondent Marcus Peterson attended a presentation on mushroom hunting for urbanites by the Alberta Mycological Society, one of the few mycological societies in Canada and the only one between Vancouver and Toronto. Although mushroom hunting can be a minefield fraught with lethal fungi, after this show, you’ll feel much more confident about going out and identifying your first morel.


Jargon seems to creep into discussions of just about everything these days, and the environment is no exception. So every now and again, in our Eco Babble series, we take a look at a common term whose meaning isn’t quite as clear as it should be. Today’s term is greenwashing and Ellis Agbenyega will clear it all up.

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Oil Spill Update, Thoughts on Blue Fin Tuna, EcoBabble & The Bicycle Traffic Report

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Huffington Post Article Describing The Difference Between The Pictures

This week on Terra Informa we welcome a new volunteer, Shannon White, who brings us this selection of environmental news headlines.

Syncrude dismissal bid rejected by judge (CBC News)

Gulf oil spill could effect rules in the arctic (Globe & Mail)

Australia suspends emissions trading proposal (New York Times)

The big environmental news story this week, however, is the continued release of oil from a ruptured deep sea well into the Gulf of Mexico. Terra Informa corespondent Andy Read brings us an update on this alarming situation and what efforts are being made to halt the leak. Andy brings us the latest information as of the 1st of May, however please note that the details of this story are changing on a daily basis. Terra Informa will provide further updates as the situation unfolds.

NASA Satellite Pictures of Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

From disaster can come a new direction for US energy (By Edward Luce, Financial Times)

BP Oil Spill Worsens With No Solution in Sight, 210,000 Gallons a Day Spew into Gulf of Mexico (Democracy Now! May 3, 2010)

With summer right around the corner, a lot of people are taking to their bikes. Beautiful weather makes cycling a pretty fantastic way to get around. But what do you do when it rains? Well, no need to ditch your bike on account of a morning shower or even a day-long downpour. Steve talks to our Bicycle Traffic Reporter, Karly Coleman, to find out what you can do to keep cycling fun, even in the rain.

The lexicon surrounding climate change can be pretty complex. Add the united nations to the mix and it can become incomprehensible. Terra Informa corespondent Myles Curry, in another installment of our new Eco Babble segment, defines the main institutions of the United Nations concerned with climate change. After this segment you will never get the UNFCCC mixed up with IPCC and you will be able to talk with confidence to all your friends about COPs and what these organizations actually do.

One of the world’s most highly prized fish, the Bluefin Tuna, is severely endangered. An international meeting of nations held in March decided, however, that the risk of further collapse or extinction of this species did not warrant an international trade ban. In this opinion piece, David Kaczan discusses the reasons for the failure of the ban to pass, and what it means for the Bluefin Tuna.

Disaster for bluefin tuna at CITES meeting (Greenpeace)

This weeks posts on Terra Bloga

Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill Update & The Canadian Dimension by Myles Curry

Cleanit green it community composting fundraiser by Andy Read

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