Storming the 2013 Con Con


It was a fascinating journey into the heart of a world that us Terra Informers don’t often glimpse. But it’s one that is necessary to gain understanding of where we’re heading in the coming years. Canada as a country has shifted in fundamental ways when it comes to environmental policy under the ruling Conservative party.

This year’s Federal Conservative convention, or (as it’s popularly known) Con Con, was held in Calgary from October 31- November 2. Terra Informa contributors, Chris Chang-Yen Phillips and Trevor Chow-Fraser were able to attend and observe the policy-making in action and get to the bottom of where the Conservative government, and thinkers are headed in terms of environmental policy.

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This week on Terra Informa, stories about being exposed – on your bike and where you live. Musician Ben Caplan walks us through how organized Halifax’s naked bike ride. Then, Calgary resident Tamara Lee tells us about the surprising bonds revealed by the floods that devastated her neighbourhood in June.

Nearly-naked cyclists zoom by in Albany, NY

The World Naked Bike Ride is celebrated in many different cities, as Halifax organizer Ben Caplan tells us on this week’s show (Photo credit: Sebastien Barre)

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How To Ride A Bike Naked (with lots of other people)

Ben Caplan is a singer-songwriter hailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia. A few years back, he helped organize a local event for World Naked Bike Ride. Since you really only want to do this sort of thing in the heat of summer, Trevor Chow-Fraser asked Ben to help put together a little how-to guide for hosting a Naked Bike Ride in your town. More Info

How To Put a City Back Together

Sometimes being exposed is really obvious, like when you’re riding naked on a bike. But sometimes we uncover things you can’t really see — you can only feel. Terra Informa’s Chris Chang-Yen Phillips was in Calgary recently, and was thinking about the Sunnyside neighbourhood, where he has some family history. It experienced some of the worst flooding during the disaster in June, and most people had only hours to evacuate their homes. He stopped at one home with a tiny library on their front lawn, and met Sunnyside resident Tamara Lee. On top of maintaining the Pooh Corner Little Free Library, she’s a bit of a community hub, and she’s helped organize the Bow to Bluff citizen-led development process in the neighbourhood, which recently won the the Canadian Institute of Planners national Innovation Award for 2013. But she had no idea how quickly and how high the river would rise in her area, and she had no idea how strongly the city would rally together in the days to come.

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What’s Happening

Next Up Applications

Next Up out of Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, and Saskatoon is calling for applications into it’s 2013-2014 program. Next Up fuels young people committed to social and environmental justice. Application deadlines are coming up in September, so if you want to be part of this life-changing leadership program, head to

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Flood Relief Concert

On August 15, some home-grown Albertan talent are coming together to fundraise for flood relief efforts in southern Alberta. The line up for Alberta Flood Aid includes Nickelback, Jann Arden, Corb Lund, and Loverboy. It will be held at McMahon Stadium in Calgary. Tickets are $30, $50 and $100.

Heritage Festival

It’s heritage festival time again in Edmonton. Starting August 3rd, William Hawrelak Park hosts a 3 day showcase of Canada’s vibrant multicultural community. Food, dance music, crafts, and more.

Terra Informa Live Show – Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Edmonton listeners, Terra Informa has a treat for you! On Thursday, August 1, we’re hosting Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, a LIVE show. You’re not going to want to miss an hour of interviews, poems, and songs all centered around religion and the environment. It’s taking place at St. John’s Institute at 7 pm, refreshments included — and it’s FREE! Check out our website or FaceBook page for more details.

Floods, Warnings, and Exciting Proteins

Calgary has been in the news lately after it’s disastrous floods, and a couple of our contributors happened to be caught up in the chaos. Then we’ll be hearing about ‘climate change warning labels’ and what they could do to change perceptions on climate change, and then about a newly developed source of food in ‘plant-based eggs’, a type of egg made of plant protein that tastes “kind of herby”.

Floods, Warnings, and Exciting Proteins

East Village in Calgary, during the Alberta floods 2013 (credit: Ryan L. C. Quan)

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Climate Change Warning Labels

Rob Shirkey, is the founder of Toronto-based advocacy group Our Horizon.
He wants us to connect the dots between our actions and climate change, and he’s doing it in a unique way. We’ve all seen those cigarette warning photos of diseased gums and lungs. Shirkey takes this idea on a larger scale.

What’s Behind Alberta’s Floods?

It’s brought together a mayor, a premier and a prime minister.
It’s forced over a hundred thousand people from their homes.
Chris Chang-Yen Phillips and Trevor Chow-Fraser have the story on what’s behind the disaster that’s hit Alberta, and what’s ahead.

Links to more information:

Plant-Based Eggs

Which came first? The chicken? Or the egg? In Josh Tetrick’s California-based facility, the eggs they’re scrambling are coming to you from broken-down plant protein. Hampton Creek Foods was founded on the
sensibility of sustainability, and concern for the planet. How to feed a rapidly growing population of more than 7 billion people? Food technology is an undeniable part of our future and Tetrick shares his motives behind creating the first plant based egg.

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What’s Happening

Pet Waste Composting Workshop

On Thursday, June 4th, Hearthmakers Energy Cooperative in Kingston Ontario is hosting a hands-on workshop teaching pet owners how to safely dispose of pet waste.  By outlining how composters, manure digesters, and mini-septic systems work, pet owners can safely break down the waste in their own back yards and provide fertilizer for non-edible trees and bushes. The workshop is free, and all participants will leave with a completed pet waste composter ready to install at home.

Register here.

EPIC: The Sustainable Living Festival (July 6 – 7)

This upcoming weekend of July 6 and 7, EPIC: The Sustainable Living Festival is happening in Vancouver at the VanDusen Botanical Garden. It’s the newest outdoor summer festival celebrating sustainability, culture and community. Join in on an awesome weekend of live music, dozens of beer and wine vendors, delicious eats provided by Green Table restaurants and on-site food trucks, and a huge sustainable living marketplace.

Learn more and buy tickets: or follow the twitter feed @EPIC_Fest