canadian politics

Changing the Conversation

A snaking river winds its way through a wide mountain valley

The Wind River is one of six navigable rivers that make up the vast waterway system of the Peel River Watershed.

This week, don’t fear the tears. Terra Informa takes a hard look at a threatening future and has to ask the question, what are we thinking? We’ll get an analysis of the troubled plans for a parcel of Canada’s North that stretches far beyond the horizon. And a person who spends all their time thinking about the far future tries to get the rest of us to look beyond the next quarter. We’re examining the at times ineffective processes that we have in place to protect the land and plan for the future.

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Updrafts and Uprisings

Updrafts and Uprisings

Northern Saw-Whet Owl photographed by Rick Leche

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Girl Gone Wild: Owls

This week, Chris Chang-Yen Phillips is up in a tree with Jamie Pratt, creator of the Girl Gone Wild documentary series. They’re investigating – hoo else? — Alberta’s owl species. Listen in to hear owl calls, the dark symbolism of putting an owl on your barn door, and the shocking truth about Harry Potter’s pet owl Hedwig.

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Idle No More

From round-dance flash mobs in front of the Prime Minister House, and West Edmonton Mall, road blockades, and rallies across the country, Idle No More has been called a movement, an awakening…..
It has been called the largest, most unified, and potentially most transformative Indigenous movement at least since the Oka resistance in 1990.

Terra Informa’s Chris Chang-Yen Phillips and Kathryn Lennon bring us some interviews from Idle No More in Edmonton, on December 21st, 2012.

Great Backyard Bird Count

Whether you live in the heart of the city, out in the country, or on the Arctic coast, birds bring a little sunshine into the winter months. Every February, bird watchers team up for one of North America’s largest bird counts, but this isn’t an event that’s limited to professionals. From seasoned experts to novices, Canadians are breaking out the binoculars to help scientists better understand where birds are found and how their distributions change with time. Dick Cannings is one of the organizers of the Great Backyard Bird Count. Back in February, Steve Andersen called Dick to ask him how it works.

Part 1 – Rough Waters & Divided Valleys: Voices from the route of the Northern Gateway Pipeline

Welcome to the home of a special edition of Terra Informa. We are pleased to present our two part radio documentary ‘Rough Waters & Divided Valleys: Voices from the route of the Northern Gateway Pipeline’.

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Download Part 1-Rough Waters & Divided Valleys: Voices From the Route of the Northern Gateway Pipeline (29:09)

Part 2 Coming This Week!

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In the summer of 2011, members of Terra Informa set out on a journey to follow the path of the proposed Northern Gateway from its starting point in Edmonton to its terminus in Kitimat, on the coast of British Columbia. When we started our journey and our research, it was clear that this pipeline was going to create a storm of debate. Media coverage would be extensive, and probably influential. But we also wondered whether it would really capture the full range of thoughts and feelings held by those directly affected. This documentary is our attempt to delve a little deeper. It is the result of conversations we had over thousands of kilometers traveled, in communities with the most to gain, and the most to lose. What we found is that a seemingly simple pipeline is creating turbulence in some communities, while building solidarity in others.
For more on the Northern Gateway Proposal and our documentary, including FAQ’s, reports on the project and bonus audio,  check out our special section of the website.

Community Car Coops and the Real Cost of Cheap Food

Today we investigate the growing trend of community car shares. Members tell us how the systems work and why they love this increasingly popular way of getting around. Plus author and academic Michael Carolan fills us in on his new book, The Real Cost of Cheap Food, which examines the enormous environmental and social costs of the modern food industry.

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Market in Santo Tomás, Guatemala. Photo by auntjojo.

Environmental News

University of British Columbia study reveales a chronic under-reporting of fish catches from the Arctic Ocean in the period between 1950 and 2006.

Study Abstract, Globe and Mail, Vancouver Sun, CBC

The water flea has had its genome sequenced and published in the prestigious journal Science.  This represents the first crustacean genome to have been studied.

Study Abstract, CBC, Nature, Scientific America

Greenland wants to work with Nunavut to improve Arctic environmental protection

CBC

Environment Canada Fines Nova Scotia  Electronic Scrap Exporter

Environment Canada Release, News Wire, Recycling Today

Prairie artists oppose Oil Company Enbridge’s sponsorship of arts and music festival

Pipe-up Against Endbridge Release, Montreal Gazette, Prophagandhi News

Real Cost of Cheap Food

Michael Carolan is a sociologist who’s got some interesting things to say about how our food is made. Food certainly looks cheap at the supermarket, and the average north American pays far less for food relative to incomes than people did only a generation ago. But Michael Carolyn argues that this cheapness is a product of bad agriculture policies that are pushing the costs onto the environment, onto other countries, and onto future generations. Michael Carolyn is based at Colorado State University, and later in the year his new book will start hitting the shelves. It’s called The Real Cost of Cheap Food. Next he joins Terra Informa correspondent David Kaczan to explain its arguments.

Community Car Shares

Well, what if you could have a car whenever you wanted one, but you only had to pay for it when it was in use? What if your car could become a pickup truck when you needed to make a run to the lumber yard? And then a minivan when your friends wanted a ride to the hockey game? Well… then you’re probably a member of your local car share. With more on the growing trend, here’s Steve Andersen.

List of Canadian Car Shares
Vancouver Car Co-op
Edmonton Car Share

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.

Linda Duncan interview and a look at Edmonton recycling

Terra Informa February 21, 2010 (Download/Listen)

This week David Kaczan speaks with Linda Duncan about Canada’s environmental movement and the role of students and Steve Anderson goes recycle-splunking with Garry the Garbage Guy.  Jade Gregg hosts the show and Myles Curry brings us the News.

The Vancouver Olympics which is claimed by the organizers to be the Greenest Games Ever has been met with substantial resistance by various environmental groups on the grounds that the organizers failed to look comprehensively at the games environmental impacts. Forest & tree loss, impact on wetlands and the carbon footprint of all the construction projects in preparation for the Games are excluded from VANOC’s ‘green’ calculations while it continues to market itself as environmentally conscious because of efforts like offsetting officials air travel.

The environmental critique of the Olympics is largely focused on how the green image masks the direct impacts of the games, corporate involvement and its spin-off developments- upon the communities and livelihood of indigenous peoples. RBC, a top Olympic sponsor but also a major oil sands financier, continues to profit from the erosion of First Nations and human right in Athabasca while marketing themselves through the Olympics as environmentally friendly. The Indigenous Environmental network was quoted in saying that

“The reality is that you cannot offset or mitigate the horrific impacts on human and ecological health that are attached to the massive development that the 2010 Olympic Games represent and, even more insidious, you cannot offset or mitigate the massive destruction to human health and ecological harm that is represented by the dozens of corporate sponsors of the Olympics.”

Greenest Games Ever? Frontline Voices Confront Olympic Greenwash by Sakura Saunders (Vancouver Media Co-op)

“Greenest Games Ever” What environmental legacy will the Olympics leave for British Columbians? by Pina Belperio

The Greenest Olympics Ever Are Still Pretty Dirty By Ian Yarett (Newsweek)

Rethinking the Olympics: Discussion of the impact of the 2010 Olympics on the environment, on the indigenous, on civil liberties, and on social justice issues. (AW@L Radio)

Hope is fading for the Green president that many hoped Baraka Obama would become after he pledged $8.3 billion this week in loan guarantees needed to build the first nuclear reactors in the US in nearly three decades. The move represents a new federal commitment to the nuclear power sector. While nuclear development in itself is cause for environmental resistance this move has initiated a sea change in relations between environmentalist and Barak Obama.

The Nuclear announcement represents a full reversal on environmental strategy by the president and betrayal of the American environmental movement. President Obama campaigned heavily on Green Jobs and renewable energy. Things began to fall apart with the forcing out of Obama’s Green Jobs advisor, Van Jones, by right wing media. The failure to produce domestic climate change legislation for Copenhagen greatly influencing the failure of conference left the President distanced and out of touch with the movement. This week’s announcement in support of an obsolete, dangerous and ecologically destructive technology abandons the premise that he would lead a green power revolution.

With calls for resistance coming out from many environmental groups Obama is now facing opposition from many groups that helped him become elected.

“A Bad Day for America”: Anti-Nuclear Activist Harvey Wasserman (Democracy Now!)

Yvo de Boer, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, has quit after four years, and his departure is raising concerns about the worldwide effort to rein in global warming. Yvo De Boer is making the move because he believes that

“The time is ripe for me to take on a new challenge, working on climate and sustainability with the private sector and academia.”

However, De Boer’s departure with no apparent replacement increases the uncertainty about the state of the framework convention on climate change going into to the next major round of talks in Mexico. With the failure in Copenhagen, the stalled domestic legislation in the US and the East Anglia controversy creating a period of grave uncertainty, it is a profound political and institutional shock for someone with so much experience to leave the system at a time when it needs to be stabilized.

Climate Chief Calls it Quits (Living On Earth 02/19/2010)

After Yvo de Boer, what are we looking for in our new climate change chief? (Guardian UK)

A Paper published this week in Environmental Research Letters, reports that the biological and cultural diversity of the Peruvian Amazon is under increasing threats form hydrocarbon developments. Rapid proliferation of oil and gas exploration zones now threatens the region’s biodiversity, indigenous peoples, and wilderness areas.

Researchers found that more of the Peruvian Amazon has recently been leased to oil and gas companies than at any other time on record. There are now hydrocarbon concessions covering over 41% of the Peruvian Amazon, up from just 7% in 2003 with the total amount of area leased to oil and gas companies on track to reach around 70% of the region. Nearly one-fifth of the protected areas and over half of all titled indigenous lands in the Peruvian Amazon are now covered by hydrocarbon concessions. And over 60% of the area proposed as reserves for indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation are covered by oil concessions.

As a solution to this disturbing trend the authors highlight Ecuador’s Yasuni-ITT Initiative, which seeks international contributions in exchange for leaving the massive oil fields untapped beneath a mega diverse Amazonian national park as means of ensuring reduction in Co2 emissions.

Second Hydrocarbon Boom Threatens the Peruvian Amazon (Science Daily)

“Keep the Oil in the Soil”: Ecuador Seeks Money to Keep Untapped Oil Resources Underground (Democracy Now!)

This week Terra Informa brings you a discussion with NDP Environment Critic, Linda Duncan. Linda Duncan is a lawyer by trade, and a fierce advocate of Canadian environmental issues. She has worked as Environment Canada’s Chief of Enforcement, founded her own environmental law center in Edmonton, and was a senior adviser to the Indonesian, Bangladeshi and Jamaican governments on environmental protection. Today she is a member of the Canadian Parliament. David Kaczan spoke to Linda Duncan late last month, about her time in politics, and the role of students in today’s environmental movement.

This week our waste and recycling expert, Garry the Garage Guy, is back! Today he and Steve have ventured out into the cold of Edmonton’s winter for a recycling reconnaissance mission. That’s a fancy way of saying… that they’re digging through people’s garbage. Well, more accurately, they’ll be rummaging through a recycling dumpster from a downtown apartment building. Their goal: to see just what ends up in the city’s recycling stream.

Terra Informa February 21, 2010 (Download/Listen)

The Day The Earth Moved

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This Week Alex Hindle host’s and Jade Gregg brings us a weekly news summary.

Earth’s General Store, a long-time Edmonton shopping destination for the environmentally conscious, began it’s move into it’s new location at 9605 Whyte Ave.  But store owner, Micheal Kalamanovich doesn’t like doing anything the conventional way, so he sent out a call for winter cyclists to help move the store’s inventory to the new location by bicycle!  The bicycle convoy took place on Sunday January 10th.  Terra Informa correspondent Rebekah Rooney participated in the event, being called “the day the earth moved… by bicycle.” Today, she shares with us what happened. For more information about Earth’s General Store, and to keep track of when things are open, check out their website (www.earthsgeneralstore.ca)

The ever intriguing Garry the Garbage Guy is back in studio with Steve Andersen to tell us why education programs are such a big part of what Edmonton´s Waste Management Branch does. Garry also highlights the programs and tours that are available to the public on a wide range of recycling topics.

Edmonton Waste Management Departments website on recycling.

In an interview from 2008 Steve Andersen talks to Dr Andrew Weaver of the University of Victoria, a lead author for the United Nations´ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the action needed at a federal level.

This week On Coming soon on Terra Bloga Myles Curry takes a look at the recent Joint Review Panel approvals for the Mackenzie Valley Gas Project and how they trade off arctic ecosystems to appease American distaste for the dirty oil of the Alberta tarsands.

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