British Columbia

Dad’s World Was My Refuge

 

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Photo by Sofia Osborne

This week on Terra Informa, Sofia Osborne (a Terra Informer herself) reads us a piece she recently wrote for The Tyee, an independent, Canadian, online magazine. The story recounts Sofia’s experience being isolated on Saturna Island this past December during the worst wind storm in BC Hydro history. We’ll chat about the piece, the future of dealing with these massive storms, and journalism!

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Supreme Court rules on Redwater

On January 31, Canada’s Supreme Court overturned a 2015 lower court decision regarding the Redwater Case, ruling that the Redwater Energy Corporation cannot walk away from the clean-up costs of abandoned wells after claiming bankruptcy.

Back in 2015, Redwater Energy Corporation went bankrupt and it’s trustee argued the energy company should be able to pay back their creditors before they finance the cleaning up of old oil and gas wells. The lower courts agreed with the trustee, meaning that energy companies were able to walk away from old wells. The Orphan Well Association and the Alberta Energy Regulator appealed the lower court’s decision, and the case ended up in the Supreme Court, where the 2015 ruling was overturned. This means that now, bankruptcy cannot be used as a license to ignore environmental clean-up.

Alberta has a LOT of abandoned, or ‘orphaned’ wells. Recent numbers released by the Orphan Well Association show that there are 1,553 abandoned wells in the province  that still need to be reclaimed. Sharon Riley, who you might remember from Sofia’s interview about environmental investigative journalism that we aired earlier this year, published a great walkthrough of the Redwater case for The Narwhal. 

Mysterious Guillemot deaths

The bodies of hundreds of dead guillemot birds have washed up in the Netherlands over the past month. It is estimated that 20,000 of the seafaring birds have died, with the cause of death currently unknown. Hundreds of sick birds have been taken to sanctuaries for treatment, and dissections have been performed on the bodies of deceased birds to try and determine the cause of death. Biologist Mardik Leopold stated that the otherwise clean birds were “skinny, with gut problems, which is indicative of starvation”. One suggested cause of this mass casualty  is the loss of 291 shipping containers during a storm in early January. The contents of the lost containers is currently unknown. 

Recompose corpse composting

Do you often think about how you can minimize your environmental footprint?

What about…. after death?

A Washington State bill has passed the state Senate, and is now headed to the House. If it passes the House, it would make be legal to compost human remains in the state of Washington. A company called Recompose, founded by Katrina Spade, hopes to offer people the choice to be composed into soil after they die, instead of being buried or cremated. Recompose has been working with the University of Washington to assess the safety of this composting process in terms of environmental and human health. The process is reported to use approximately one eighth of the energy required for cremation. The Recompose founder states that burial and cremation must remain for those who prefer it, but that the composting of human remains will provide another option for those who are interested in a greener final footprint.

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Energy Alternatives for British Columbia

Silver factory against a grey sky, with black soil all around.

Listen up Canada, today’s whole show is focused on alternative energy in British Columbia. It may be all the way across the country, but there’s a lot we can all learn from their experience. We’re talking the pros and cons of cleaner, cheaper, more economically productive energy schemes—from big hydro to little and to the ground beneath your feet.

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A Dam Good Repeat: Site C Special

Artists Rendering of Proposed Site C Dam on the Peace River

This week on Terra Informa, we’re bringing you a whole show dedicated to one topic: the Site C mega dam proposed for British Columbia’s Peace River region. With an 8 billion dollar price tag, and coming with weighty cultural and environmental impacts, this dam proposal hasn’t been given an easy ride.

It was four years ago that the BC government decided to put the dam to regulatory review. Now, in the fall of 2014, they are on the cusp of announcing their final decision—we’re expecting it some time in November.

To prepare for this decision, we want to brush up on this controversial project. So for yours and ours listening pleasure, here’s a damn good special Terra Informa put together back in May of 2010.

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Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: Act One

Over the winter holidays, Terra Informa will be re-broadcasting our three part series Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. Thanks for listening!

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In a show recorded before a live audience, Terra Informa brings you stories of spirituality and the way it shapes our attitudes to the natural world. Act One features two intimate and thought provoking segments. First, a singer-songwriter whose connection to BC’s Sacred Headwaters put her family at the heart of a major confrontation. Second, an interview with one of the world’s leading naturalists who grew up in the Bible Belt, but now lives in Ecuador.

Thank you to the St. John’s Institute of Edmonton for hosting this special night of live radio.

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Wasting Sea-Stars and Maude Barlow’s Blue Future

Curling swirl of a wave seen from underwater; aqua and red tints.

It’s a wet and wild episode on this week’s Terra Informa. West Coast correspondent Melati Kaye brings us a ghoulish story about a precious ocean creature that is—literally—disappearing before our very eyes. From such dark waters we’ll drift into the murky depths of resource wars, privatization and other contentious issues of water security. Fortunately, our guide is crystal clear: prolific author and Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow.

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Anti-Fracking, Sardine Decline, and Oil Sands Karaoke

Fishing boat in waters with forested mountains behind.

On this week’s Terra Informa, first we will be focusing on the anti-fracking longhouse issue in New Brunswick through Ron Tremblay’s narrative. Then we will look at the problem of sardine fishery depression on the west coast. Afterwards, we will turn to Charles Wilkonson’s latest documentary film, Oil Sands Karaoke and what it tells us about how Canadians are dealing with the oil industry.

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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.

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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.”

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: Act One

In a show recorded before a live audience, Terra Informa brings you stories of spirtuality and the way it shapes our attitudes to the natural world. Act One features two intimate and thought provoking segments. First, a singer-songwriter whose connection to BC’s Sacred Headwaters put her family at the heart of a major confrontation. Second, an interview with one of the world’s leading naturalists who grew up in the Bible Belt, but now lives in Ecuador.

Thank you to the St. John’s Institute of Edmonton for hosting this special night of live radio.

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Singing The Sacred Headwaters

Sierra Jamerson was born into a family of talented leaders and gifted musicians, and she’s been performing professionally since the tender age of eleven, singing traditional Black Gospel, jazz, soul and R&B music.

Part of that talented family of hers is in the Tahltan Nation in British Columbia. You might have heard of the Sacred Headwaters in Tahltan territory. It’s the origin point for three powerful rivers that run through British Columbia—the Stikine, the Skeena and the Nass. When the oil and gas industry tried to start mining in the area, Sierra’s family was at the forefront of Tahltan resistance.

Further reading

Biology & The Bible Belt

Dr. Kelly Swing is the co-founder of the Tiputini biodiversity station in the Amazon, and in all respects, this guy has an impressive resume and an even more impressive google search. He’s a go-to source for organizations and people all over the world, including National Geographic and theh David Suzuki Foundation.

Kelly grew up in the bible belt of North Carolina, but has lived in Ecuador for the past 20 years. He was raised in a very Christian home, going to church sometimes up to three times a week. But from an early age, he has always been interested in nature. So, upon going to college, he focused on biology and chemistry, and somehow managed to keep a balance of both religion and science in his life.

Further Reading

Live Show Sponsors

The St. John’s Institute is a 95 year old cornerstone of Edmonton’s Ukrainian Orthodox community. It operates a student residential centre near the University of Alberta, and runs many educational, spiritual, cultural and outreach programs.

CJSR-FM is a Canadian campus-based community radio station, broadcasting at 88.5 FM in Edmonton, Alberta. Thes radio station is volunteer-run and seeks to enlighten and entertain through high quality and diverse programming that constantly challenges the status quo.”

Eating Insects

This week on Terra Informa, we ask whether it’s time to start filling your fridge with grubs and katydids. Plus, why activists in the Maldives believe climate change and democracy are so tightly interwoven, and how one BC First Nation has become self-sufficient on renewable energy.

A man shows off a small black insect on his tongue

A recent UN report suggests adding more insects to our plates. (Photo: Brandon Shigeta)

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Eating Insects

When we in North America think ‘delicious” our minds aren’t generally drawn to a fat and juicy caterpillar or a crispy chili-fried tarantula. However, after a recent UN report called for the world’s population to start consuming more insects as a more sustainable source of protein, fats, and minerals, while being easy and quick to produce, we may soon find insects of varying shapes and colours squirming their way onto our plates. Morgana Folkmann talks to entomophagist and advocate Dave Gracer about eating the things. Ryan Abram also shared his eating adventures in South East Asia.

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Climate and other changes in the Maldives

Maldives is a tiny island nation in the Indian Ocean which has been described as “ground zero” for climate change. Former President Mohammed Nasheed, of the Maldivian Democratic Party, is known for his climate change leadership. He came to power in 2008 as the nation’s first democratically elected president, following 30 years of authoritarian rule. In 2009, President Nasheed garnered international attention by holding an underwater cabinet meeting to highlight the threat of climate change to low-lying nations. Dressed in scuba-gear, the president and his cabinet signed a document calling for global cuts to carbon emissions. On February 7, 2012, President Nasheed was ousted from power by the police and military, and replaced by Vice President Mohamed Waheed. Peaceful protestors in the cities of Male and Addu have been confronted by violence from Maldives security forces. In March 2012, Terra Informa correspondent Kathryn Lennon spoke with Zaheena Rasheed, a young Maldivian democracy and climate justice activist.

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Solar Powered First Nation in BC

Intro: All across Canada, communities are working to improve their sustainability. Some are expanding their public transit systems, others are retrofitting public buildings to increase energy efficiency. But one town has really set the bar high. The T’Sou-ke Nation (http://www.tsoukenation.com/) on the southern tip of Vancouver Island has built such extensive photovoltaic and solar heating systems that they’re now largely self-sufficient. For much of the year, they actually sell power back to the grid.  Their success has been drawing attention, and other communities are hoping to follow suit. For more on the story, Steve Andersen talked to Chief Gordon Planes and project manager Andrew Moore. This story originally aired back in October of 2011.

What’s Happening

Canadian Environment Week
This week is Canadian Environment Week, with World Environment Day falling on June 5th. World Environment Day is part of the UN Environment Programme, and the theme for this year is “Think.Eat.Save… an anti-food waste and food loss campaigns that encourages you to reduce your foodprint.”

Windfall Ecology Festival – Newmarket
The Windfall ecology festival is happening in Newmarket ON from June 4-6. The event is free, family friendly will celebrate sustainable living and renewable energy with eco-exhibits, seminars, music, food, and environmentally conscious products and services.

Great Bear, Green Screen, and Great Lakes

This week, we talk about two “great” things in the Canadian ecosystem, the Great Lakes and the Great Bear.
And, we have the inside look at a documentary called The Carbon Rush, that tries to connect viewers emotionally with the impact of carbon credit programs in the global south.

Great Bear, Green Screen, and Great Lakes

The Spirit Bear has become symbolic of the Great Bear Reserve of Northern BC. Photo Credit: Valard LP

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Canadians for the Great Bear 

The use of charismatic megafauna is an important tactic used to raise attention to important issues. The proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline threatens many species in the Northern Western BC area, but the WWF had seemed to choose the Great Bear as an ambassador to the ecosystem they are trying to protect. Kyle Muzyka talks with the WWF vice president of conservation and pacific, Darcy Dobell, about the use of the Great Bear as an ambassador, and how the pipeline is merely an obstacle in the scheme of things.

More information on Canadians for the Great Bear:

Green Screen: The Carbon Rush

Next up, Chris Chang-Yen Phillips brings us a Green Screen review of The Carbon Rush. It’s a documentary that tries to do something brave – making viewers connect emotionally with the hidden underbelly of carbon markets. But does it live up to its own hype?

More information:

State of the Great Lakes

The Canadian and US governments recently renewed their commitments to cleaning up Canada’s fresh water bodies by amending the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. This new plan expands the scope of concern to include issues like impact of climate change, and the protection of lake species and habitats. To get a better sense of the problems currently facing the Great Lakes, we contacted Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, a charity that’s working to help make the lakes safer, cleaner, and healthier for the public. Last fall, Hamdi Issawi spoke to Lake Ontario Waterkeeper’s Vice President, Krystyn Tully, on the state of the Great Lakes.

More information: