carbon offsets

Permaculture, Composting, and Carbon Offsets

With spring upon us, we thought that today we’d spend some time in the garden. We begin the show with a look at permiculture and how it works. Then we meet up with Anna Vesala who tells us about the ins and outs of composting. In the second half of the show we switch gears a bit and take a look at carbon offsets. Two of our correspondents, with very different opinions, share their thoughts on why offsets do and don’t work.

Download this week’s show.

A network of paths running between raised garden beds. Many different plans growing in the foreground, a croud of people gathered in the background, and trees in the distance.

Students in an Into to Permaculture course touring a garden. Photo by Nick Ritar and Kirsten Bradley.

Permaculture
Permaculture is an agricultural philosophy that focuses on optimizing the interactions between the different organisms in a garden in order to create a system that’s self sustaining and doesn’t rely on constant human interventions. Today Ron Berezan, affectionately known as the Urban Farmer, explains the basics of how permiculture works.

Composting
North American households are notorious for the amount of garbage they produce, but did you know that there’s a simple, painless way to put a huge dent in the amount of material you send to the landfill? For the average home, somewhere around 40% of solid waste is organic material. That means that an earthworm composter under the kitchen sink or a compost heap in the backyard can cut by almost half the number of garbage bags you put out on the curb each week. To find out a little more about composting and how it works, we caught up with Anna Vesala. She completed the City of Edmonton’s three week Master Composter & Recycler Program a few years back, and now provides information about waste reduction at community events around the city.

Carbon Offsets
Most of us think little of hopping on a plane and heading off for a quick break, especially when airfares are on sale. But air travel is one of the world’s fastest growing sources of carbon emissions. For those who are concerned about their personal impact on the planet, avoiding plane travel is a good start. And for flights you insist on taking, offsetting the carbon emissions might help alleviate the damage. But the world of offsets is tricky – lots of companies, not much regulation. To help make sense of it all, David Kaczan sorted through the details so you don’t have to.

More on this story: Pembina/Suzuki Report on Carbon Offsets, Background Info

CheatNeutral.com
David’s opinions of carbon offsets certainly aren’t the only ones on the topic. Some people are pretty skeptical about the value of offsets, and one of them is our very own Scott McAnsh. Scott tells us about a website called CheatNeutral.com that pokes a bit of fun at the idea of offsetting carbon emissions.

District Heating, Geoengineering & Carbon Offsets

On this week’s show we take a look at Yellowknife’s ambitious plans to heat their downtown core using geothermal energy tapped from a defunct gold mine. We explore geoengineering, the intentional large-scale manipulation of environmental processes. And we demystify the complexities of carbon offsets, explaining what you need to look for when making a purchase.

Download this week’s show.

Exhaust trail from a passenger jet. Photo by François Roche.

News Headlines

Alberta’s river water conservation plan
Vancouver Sun
Public Interest Alberta

Ontario orders environmental review of proposed mega mine
Toronto Star
CTV

Alberta’s new air quality index
Fort Saskatchewan Record
Environment Canada
Alberta Environment

Obama administration refuses to allow increased air quality standards
San Francisco Chronicle
New York Times

 

District Heating in Yellowknife

These days we hear a lot about our carbon footprints. The climate is warming, and if we don’t do something to reduce the amount of CO2 we’re releasing… well, it’s bad news. But that can be easier said than done. Especially here in Canada, where a lot of our emissions are from heating our homes and offices.

Well, Yellowknife has come up with a pretty innovative solution. City councilors have a plan to cut the greenhouse gas emissions of the entire community. They want to convert an old unused mine near town into a brand new source of geothermal power. And it’s got people talking. When you live as far north as they do, finding a cleaner way to heat your buildings can make a huge difference for the environment, and your pocket book.

Yellowknife Con Mine Energy Project

 

Carbon Offsets

Most of us think little of hopping on a plane and heading off for a quick break, especially when airfares are on sale. But air travel is one of the world’s fastest growing sources of carbon emissions. For those who are concerned about their personal impact on the planet, avoiding plane travel is a good start. But for those flights you insist on taking, offsetting the carbon emissions might help alleviate the damage. But the world of offsets is tricky – lots of companies, not much regulation. To help make sense of it all, we’ve sorted through the details so you don’t have to.

Guide to Purchasing Carbon Offsets by the Pembina Institute and the David Suzuki Foundation

Carbon Offsets & A Solar Powered Town

The T’Sou-ke Nation on Vancouver Island has built one of Canada’s largest solar installations and made a name for itself as leader in sustainable power. They tell us how they did it, and what they’re doing to help other communities that want to follow their lead. We also look into carbon offsets: their pros and cons, and what to look for when buying them. All that, plus your weekly round up of the new headlines from across the country, on this week’s edition of Terra Informa.

Download this week’s show.


The Pembina Institute and David Suzuki Foundation consumer guide to carbon offsets.

One of the solar arrays at the T'Sou-ke Nation on Vancouver Island.