On 7 January 2014, Terra Informa broadcast live from Edmonton’s City Hall to celebrate the 30th anniversary of our home station, CJSR 88.5 FM. This week is Part One of that show. Hear stories about artist Richie Velthuis’ delicate carvings in ice and the echoes of Chinese immigrants on Edmonton’s food culture. Join us next week for Part Two with Linda Duncan – Alberta’s sole NDP MP, an environmental lawyer, and a recurring guest on Terra Informa over the past few years.
This week on Terra Informa, two new stories that have us envisioning, and then questioning our future environmental perspectives, with a story on the new Edmonton Ambleside Ecostation and the Blatchford Redevelopment project, in “Treadmill”, and then a story about one woman’s deep shift in her perspective on knowledge of our planet in this week’s Eye-opener. We’ll also revisit a really fun story about the red squirrel of the Yukon and the tricks it employs to stay alive in the great North with “The Little Squirrel that Could”.
This week, hear Part 2 of the annual Terra Informa Fun Drive Live show! The live show features interviews from Canadians of all walks of life and focuses on municipal government and its power to affect a community. With Alberta-wide elections approaching quickly on October 21 this is an excellent time to get educated about the changes that can or can’t be made by your municipal government. In part 2, we spoke to an Edmonton group trying to promote progressive candidates, and to an Edmonton engineering student who’s seen the extremes of environmental issues municipalities try to deal with.
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.
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.
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.”
This week on Terra Informa, it’s time to move on. Students from Rhode Island’s Brown University want their school to stop investing in companies that profit from accelerating climate change. Then, Jennifer Cockrall-King wants cities to embrace urban agriculture, and Nicholas Mickelsen sings the praises of moving out to the farm.
Brown University students Do the Math
One of the most powerful ways university students in North America can use their school to send a message is by influencing where it invests. That’s university students across the US are rallying to pull their university’s endowment fund out of fossil fuel companies. They’re part of the national Do the Math movement across the US – inspired by environmental activist Bill McKibben – to divest from companies controlling oil and gas reserves. Student groups are hoping to blunt the businesses’ ability to accelerate climate change. Tammy Jiang is a student of public health at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. She’s a member of the Brown Divest Coal Campaign, and Terra Informa’s Chris Chang-Yen Phillips asked her how they’re hoping to accomplish that.
- Bill McKibben – Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math (Rolling Stone)
- Do the Math campaign
- University unlikely to divest from coal in May (Brown Daily Herald)
Food and the City
Farming? In the city? Urban agriculture seems like a far fetched idea, especially living in Canada, where our growing season only lasts a couple of months. Terra Informa’s Nicole Wiart interviewed Edmonton food journalist Jennifer Cockrall-King on her new book “Food and the City.” Urban agriculture projects are popping up in Canada and all over the world, and its a trend Jennifer thinks might be the answer to many of the problems in our over industrialized food system.
The Farm and the Country
Many young people in the English-speaking world choose to travel abroad and teach English in a foreign country. The enriching experience of extended cultural travel does not have to be restricted to the realm of teaching English. Terra Informa’s Miro Radovic recently sat down with young Edmontonian Nicholas Mickelsen to discuss a program that enabled him to spend almost a year on an organic farm in Europe as a WWOOFer with the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms network.
Edmonton: Scales, Tails, Hoots & Howls: A Closer Look at River Valley Biodiversity
Edmontonians, with spring upon us, wouldn’t it be lovely to learn about the biodiversity of animals that Edmonton has to share? Come to the John Janzen Nature Center on Sunday May 26 from 11 AM to 3 PM to see and hear the scales, tails, hoots, and howls of Edmonton’s creatures. These include salamanders and garter snakes to name a few. Also, a number of outdoor nature games will be going throughout the day to celebrate the awakening of springtime and life in Edmonton. The John Janzen nature center is located at Whitemud Drive and Fox Drive,
Residents of Victoria, BC; be sure to come out and support the Mustard Seed Food bank on May 31, 2013 at Synergia (SINNER-GIA). This special event showcases local musicians and the $15 dollar admission goes directly to the Mustard Seed Food bank to support families and individuals struggling to afford food with the rising cost of living. The event will take place at the Victoria event Centre on Broad Street in Victoria.
Live Below the Line
As Canadians, we are fortunate to have vast lands full of clean water and nutritious food. The same cannot be said for many around the world. Live Below the Line is a campaign that’s challenging the way people in Canada think about poverty. It is a campaign to help us understand the difficulties of living on a miniscule food budget, the way many impoverished families around the world have to. If you want to take the challenge and find a greater compassion and understanding for those families, live below the line asks Canadians to try and live on just $1.75 of food and drink each day for 5 days.
This week, Terra Informa presented our show live at the Cold & Warmth Winter Salon, hosted by the Latitude 53 art gallery. We’ve got crowds buzzing around like hot molecules, an interview about Edmonton’s Winter City Strategy, and a rap about the most magical temperature of all.
Winter Salon Photo Gallery
The Most Magical Temperature of All
A year ago, Chris Chang-Yen Phillips was driving down an icy freeway with his mom when a dashboard light flashed on. That little light led him down a rabbit hole towards discovering the most important temperature for life on Earth: 4 Degrees Celsius. That’s because we rely on water to do something almost no other chemical can do at 4 degrees. Instead of getting gradually denser as it cools like most other molecules, it gets densest at that temperature, then starts expanding again. Girl Gone Wild wildlife documentary creator Jamie Pratt joins Chris on stage to explain why it does this, and why you’d better not mess with the benthic zone.
Understanding temperature means understanding the movement of molecules. Terra Informer Jessica Kozlowski enlisted Kathryn, Chris, and the crowd to demonstrate what it might sound like when hot fast moving molecules and the cold slow moving molecules in air collide. This formation of average temperature is some seriously above average fun!
Winter City Strategy
The subject of hot and cold is very polarizing. Especially in Edmonton. We call our selves a winter city, and like to boast about how cold it gets here. But are we a winter city, or a whimp-er city? Now that it’s warming up, these pothole streets are a good reminder that we can’t seem to adapt our physical infrastructure to cold. And remember that giant snow storm a few week ago? Could traffic snarls, and damage to people, roads, cars been avoided if people didn’t still feel they have to go out? Maybe our economy is not well adapted to cold either. So what can history teach us about how to adapt to our surroundings? City of Edmonton archivist Elizabeth Walker joined Kathryn Lennon on stage to give us a historical perspective on how people lived with winter in Edmonton.
Cold Frames Workshop in Toronto
In Toronto, learn how to keep your plants warmer longer using the paradoxically named Cold Frames. Evergreen Brick Works presents the first edition of its Urban Agriculture Workshop series. Learn to design and build cold frames and raised beds for your garden. Keep food growing longer into the fall and even through the winter! This takes place Tuesday, April 2nd at Evergreen Brick Works. And they are asking for a 20$ donation.
Summit Series Lecture in Edmonton
In Edmonton, the Canadian Mountain Studies Initiative presents the latest installment of its Summit Series. The lecture will bring together three speakers—each from a different disciplinary home—to share their research on mountain environments and cultures. You’ll hear about invasive plants and their surprising effect on bumble bees in the Colorado Rockies. Learn about your body’s adaptations to high altitude. And explore the poetry and natural history of a Rocky Mountains park. It all happens Friday, April 5th at the University of Alberta.
Over-Wintering Birds Day in Johnson’s Crossing, Yukon
In the Yukon, we’ve got an event about a flock of amazing over-wintering birds. Join Adam Skrutkowski on the banks of the Teslin River where you’ll see the hardy swans that overwinter at Johson’s Crossing. Adam will share his photos taken over the past months, and you’ll learn how these birds survive the cold weather. Bring a picnic lunch—but not for sharing with the birds. That’s happening the morning of Sunday, April 7th in Johnson’s Crossing.
We’ve got a report on the controversial “Four Major Rivers Restoration Project” in South Korea. We take a look at ecosystem markets and how they can be used to protect the environment. And we bring you coverage of “People and the Planet: Building Solidarity in Environmental Struggles,” a talk on grassroots indigenous environmental initiatives and environmental racism.
Courtesy South Korean Government
Review of the week’s top news stories
Ecobabble: Ecosystem markets
Economists are sometimes criticized for failing to account for the effects of human activity on the environment. Often the services provided by an ecosystem, and the damage we do it, are simply labelled “externalities” and ignored. In today’s Eco Babble, David Kaczan tells us about Ecosystem Markets, and how they allow economists to bring environmental costs into the picture.
People and the planet: Building solidarity in environmental struggles
Marcus Peterson reports back from a panel discussion titled “People and the planet: Building solidarity in environmental struggles.” The discussion focused on examples of grassroots indigenous initiatives addressing environmental issues and highlighted the links between environmental struggles and issues of activism, labour, indigenous rights, globalization, and capitalism in general. Featured guests include: Eriel Tchekwie Deranger, Freedom From Oil Campaigner with the Rainforest Action Network; Melina Laboucan-Massimo, Climate and Energy Campaigner with Greenpeace; and Chelsea Flook, Associate Director of the Sierra Club’s Prairie Chapter.
Four major rivers Korean restoration project
The Korean Prime Minister has argued that the project promotes development in economy, environment, and culture. This project is to invest 14 trillion won ($12,461,000,000) to four rivers to do bank revetment, restore the ecological function of streams, to make bike roads near stream, and so on. However, the project has drawn criticism from environmental and religious organizations in Korea for the potential environmental damage that could result. Correspondent Seon-ah Gu reports.
This week we have an episode of our recurring segment Garry the Garbage Guy for you. Also, we have a green-screen movie review by Alex Hindle, who will share his thoughts on the Academy award winning documentary film, The Cove. And Terra Informa correspondent David Kaczan brings us a special feature on the recent surge in climate denial. But first here is this week’s selection of environmental news headlines.
Liquid CO2 highway to keep GHGs out of atmosphere (Alberta Environment)
600 ducks died at Syncrude site in 1979, trial told (By Alexandra Zabjek, Edmonton Journal)
Probe turns up lead in bison, Bullet fragments in meat blamed (By Darcy Henton, Edmonton Journal)
Climate-change scientists ‘muzzled’, Ottawa’s interview rules reduce coverage, document says (By Mike De Souza, Canwest News Service)
New analysis compares U.S. and Canadian investments in sustainable energy in 2010 (Tim Wies Pembina Institute) Liquid CO2 highway to keep GHGs out of atmosphere (Alberta Environment)
Alex Hindle brings us a Green Screen Movie Review of the multiple award winning documentary, including the Oscar for best documentary, The Cove (check how the movie makers used their Oscar opportunity to advance social media activism). This movie explores a town (Taiji Japan) that appears to be devoted to the dolphins and whales which play off their coast line. However, behind this picturesque exterior lies it’s gruesome underbelly. Driven by a multi-billion dollar dolphin entertainment industry and an illegal dolphin meat trade. This movie unearths the chilling side of an industry long thought to have been “closed for business”.
Steve Anderson revisits Garry the Garbage Guy to discuss the development of a new ECO Station in Edmonton in 2009. ECO stations allow for the safe disposal of household products that are poisonous, corrosive, flammable or any other product that can be harmful to human health or the environment. Everything from paints to computer parts can be disposed of at these stations which continue popping up around Edmonton.
Climate Scientists are telling us that our carbon intensive economies are creating an ever worsening climate problem. Scientific research into this topic first started in earnest almost 30 years ago, and the evidence has got stronger ever since. Whilst there are still uncertainties, and future projections are limited in their predictive power, the case for action seems clear. Why then, do we seem to be going backward at the moment? Next on Terra Informa, David Kaczan provides a commentary on this issue, and makes some suggestions for how the debate should move forward from here.
Thanks of visiting and listening in this week, we are always looking for new volunteers, collaborations and ideas so post a comment or send us an email (terra [at] cjsr [dot] com)