environmental news

Sharing is Caring: Urban planning, entrepreneurship, and collaborative consumption

5093309_28776acb
Photo by: Matt Harrop

This week on Terra Informa, sharing is caring. We’ll be discussing what sustainability means to urban planning, getting recent planning graduate, Sonak Patel’s thoughts on shared economies, and then talking toolsharing with Graham Hansen, an entrepreneur interested in collaborative consumption. 

Download episode now.

Sustainability and Urban Planning

Terra Informer Elizabeth Dowdell speaks with Sonak Patel, a recent graduate of the school of urban and regional planning at the University of Alberta. How do city planners incorporate sustainability into the function and layout of the communities we live in? Does sustainability mean new bike lanes and green spaces, or does it go deeper? Get the answers to those questions, and some other questions about planning you might not even know you had.

For more, check out the Resilient Cities website.

Toolsharing and Collaborative Consumption

Next up, Terra Informer Sydney Karbonik interviews entrepreneur and CEO Graham Hansen. Graham’s interests in collaborative consumption and shared economies inspired him to start ToolShare, a website that connects people who have tools to people who need tools. 

Download program log here.

Advertisements

Endangered Habitat, Past and Present

prairie-873906_1920

Photo cred: ErikaWittlieb

This week at Terra Informa we deep dive into a recent World Wildlife Fund report on conservation lands across Canada, hear from University of Alberta professor Rene Belland about less promoted endangered species, and visit an archive from 2010 about a public land sale known as “Potatogate”.

Download episode now.

WWF asks “how much is enough?”

Terra Informer Hannah Cunningham goes in depth on a recent World Wildlife Fund report that asks how much land is needed to conserve at-risk species and how Canada has been handling the challenge. The report is titled “Wildlife Protection Assessment: A national habitat crisis”  and and maps out key ecological gaps in Canada’s existing protected area network while highlighting places that should be considered high-priority areas for protection.

Rene Belland talks Porsild’s Bryum

Terra Informer Hannah Cunningham interviews University of Alberta professor and “Moss Boss” Dr. Rene Belland about endangered species that don’t get the same attention as our polar bears and killer whales, but are no less at-risk. Watch this video from the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute about the recovery of an endangered species of green, cushy, water-loving moss named Porsild’s Bryum to see the Moss Boss in action!

Public Land sales and Potatogate

We revisit an archive from 2010 featuring Terra Informers Alex Hindle and Ian Mackenzie, with an interview of Alberta Wildlife Association conservation specialist Carolyn Campbell about a proposed sale of endangered prairie grasslands. The story investigates the massive sale of 16,000 acres of Crown grass lands to private developers – known as POTATOGATE. The sale tried to be secretive, but was unearthed by engaged citizens and media, who responded with fury. Did the land sale go through? Listen to find out or read about the history of Public Land sales in Alberta here.

Download program log here.

Literature in the Face of Climate Crisis

 

PIXNIO-238771-5700x3800

Photo cred: congerdesign

This week on Terra Informa, we’re diving into the world of storytelling and literature. How can the humanities help us prepare ourselves for the environmental troubles we are facing today and into the future? What do works of fiction have to do with environmental activism?

Download episode now.

Shakespeare and the Ecological Crisis

Terra Informer Sofia Osborne interviews Dr. Carolyn Sale, an associate professor in the department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta who will be teaching a course in the upcoming fall semester on Shakespeare and the Ecological Crisis. Dr. Sale and Sofia talk about the pressing issue of our current ecological crises, why we can’t seem to do anything about it, and how the humanities can help us think about how to be primed and ready actors in the uncertain world we live in.

Storytelling as Environmental Activism

Keeping on with the literary theme, Terra Informer Sydney Karbonik reads a paper she wrote about storytelling and how it can relate to environmental activism.

Headlines

A Tale of Two War Rooms

One of the campaign promises made by Jason Kenney and the United Conservative Party was the creation of an “energy war room” run by the Environment Minister and a public relations team. This “energy war room” would support work to challenge any critics of Alberta’s oil and gas industry. Intent on “[rebutting] every lie told by the green left”, Kenney has promised that this energy war room will receive 30 million dollars of funding.

This  didn’t sit well with many Alberta environmentalists, and especially not with members of the group Climate Justice Edmonton. Members of Climate Justice Edmonton have started a GoFundMe page for their own war room, but this one comes with a much more environmentally-friendly agenda. With a goal of raising 30 thousand dollars, Climate Justice Edmonton will use the funds to support their work having face-to-face conversations with Albertans about the need for a just transition to 100% renewable energy, training more environmental activism organizers, and engaging in creative direct action for Indigenous rights along with climate justice.

Some specific projects on the horizon for Climate Justice Edmonton include collaborating with the  Beaver Hills Warriors, a local collective of Indigenous youth, to build an Indigenous food sovereignty movement, as well as talking to and training other Albertans on how to build a Green New Deal for the province. As of May 2, 2019, Climate Justice Edmonton has raised over 14 thousand dollars towards their 30 thousand dollar goal.

What’s Happening

Alberta Bike Swap Farewell Ride

On Saturday May 11, come on down to the Alberta Bike Swap Farewell Ride at the Edmonton Expo Center to buy, sell, or donate a bike. Consign a bike between 8am and 2:00pm, shop for a used bike from 2:30-4pm, or donate a bike any time between 8am and 4pm. Admission is $2 per person or free for kids under 12. 

Founded in 2011 by Laura and Chris Grant, the Alberta Bike Swap is an annual bicycle consignment event billed as the “safe place to buy, sell, or donate” a bike. Given the time and financial commitments, this is the last year Laura and Chris will be organizing the event. 

Arbor Day Tree Story Sharing

Did you know the City of Edmonton celebrates Arbor Day on May 11th? This holiday encourages individuals to plant trees, taking place at different times in different places during the spring, varying by climate and planting season. In Edmonton, grade one students began receiving conifer seedlings to plant in the early 1950s. Soon after, grade one students all over Alberta began to receive seedlings.

Do you remember where you planted your Arbor Day tree? Is it still standing by your childhood home? The City of Edmonton is encouraging people to submit their stories about what their Arbor Day trees mean to them to an interactive map of the City that identifies trees that grade one students of the past have planted.

Download program log here.

Exploring the Unseen Environment

20190315_173645

Terra Informa in CJSR’s Studio A. From the top clockwise: Sofia Osborne, Dylan Hall, Olivia Debourcier, Charlotte Thomasson, Amanda Rooney, with Carter Gorzitza behind the camera!

This week we decided to shake things up on Terra Informa and take a page from one of our favourite podcasts, Radiolab! Specifically, an episode called Breaking Bad News Bears in which they tasked their reporters to pitch and produce a story about either breaking news or bears.  So we sent our volunteers out to report on either a breaking news story OR something that fits into the category: the unseen environment

We ended up with stories ranging from ancient organisms (both big and small) to deleted provincial parks and murmurations. We’re pretty sure that our reporters did an amazing job! What do you think?

Download episode now. 

Download program log here. 

Avocado Toast and Environmentalism

avocado-bread-breakfast-1656685

Photo Cred: Wendy Wei, Pexels

This week on Terra Informa, we examine the social ways we construct environmentalism, who gets left out of the discussion, and what this means for actually ‘going green’.

When you think of an environmentalist, what kind of person do you imagine? Does gender, race, or income influence this image? Is it all about eating organic avocado toast?

Terra Informer Dylan Hall had the chance to investigate the complex and social ways we understand environmentalism and environmental practices by interviewing Dr. Emily Huddart Kennedy, sociology professor at the University of British Columbia. We hear a snippet of a talk given by Dr. Kennedy in February, at the University of Alberta’s International Week, followed by a deeper investigation and interview with Dylan.

Download episode now.

Climate Strike!

This Friday, March 15, 2019, join the Global Day of Action and march for climate change. Young people in dozens of countries, on every continent, will be striking together to bring attention to the climate crisis and the millions of young people who will suffer the consequences of increased global temperatures, rising seas, and extreme weather.

Here in Edmonton, the Youth Climate Strike will be held at the Alberta Legislature from 12-2pm. You can email yegstudentstrike@gmail.com to add your school to the list.

Download program log here.

It’s Time to Talk About Bugs

White-lined sphinx moth from Wikimedia Commons

Did you know that insects take up the most space on the taxonomic web of life? Did you know that about 75% of flowering plants are pollinated by insects? You might have also heard that insect biodiversity is on the decline. Sadly, what you may have hear is right. In a paper published in the Journal ‘Biological Conservation’lead authors Francisco Sánchez-Bayo and Kris A.G.Wyckhuys state “almost half of insect species are rapidly declining and a third are being threatened with extinction”.

Can you imagine a world without insects? To some it may sound like a dream come true but insects are integral to the functioning of our world! From the food we eat to the waste we excrete, we have insects to thanks (we would literally be swimming in detritus if not for decomposers!). Tune into this episode where we show these important little creatures some well-deserved attention!

Download here

Checking out bugs with Peter Heule: Q&A with the Royal Alberta Museum’s live animal supervisor

Terra Informer Olivia deBourcier interviewed Peter Heule, a live animals supervisor at the Royal Alberta Museum, about bugs. Originally aired on The Gateway Presents, we’ll hear about butterfly migration, what animal science is all about, how kids understand bugs better than grown ups think, and what a wild world there is left to discover!

The Good News: The Big Bee!

In light of the bad news about insect populations, there is hope! Recently, the world’s BIGGEST BEE, thought extinct for 38 years, has been found alive on the Indonesian islands of the North Moluccas. As long as an adult thumb, with jaws like a stag beetle and four times larger than a honeybee this dinosaur of a bee continues to be threatened, particularly by deforestation for agriculture, but the very fact that it persists suggests that extinction is not inevitable! Hannah Cunningham explains in this ecobabble the ways that we can all help pollinators keep on keeping on!

From planning what you plant, building bee hotels (a simple DIY bee hotel) to reducing your use of pesticides, there are many ways you can make your world more pollinator friendly

Related Links

National Geographic

The Guardian

Dad’s World Was My Refuge

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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!

Download episode now.

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.

Download program log here.

Asking the questions and LICHEN the answers with Amanda Schutz

person touching stone

Photo by Elle Hughes on Pexels.com

This week on Terra Informa, we have an interview from illustrator and designer, Amanda Schutz. You may have seen her nature inspired artwork and whimsical designs all over Edmonton, particularly at the newly opened Royal Alberta Museum. Terra Informers Charlotte Thomasson and Kesia Dias got the chance to sit down with her and find out about all things lichen.

Download episode.

Headlines

Canada Food Guide Changes 

A new Canada Food Guide has launched this week with updates to both what Canadians should be eating, and how to treat food and meals more socially. Major changes to the guide include three food groups instead of four, a focus on eating plant-based foods, using nutrition labels, and being aware of food marketing tactics. [click here]

Protest in Support of the Wet’suwet’en People 

On Tuesday January 22nd, Climate Justice Edmonton and Indigenous organizers planned and executed a blockade of Jasper Ave and 104th street. The blockade was organized as a round dance and lasted approximately 45 minutes. This round dance protest was in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people of Unist’ot’en territory. Their land was forcibly entered in early January by the RCMP in order to continue the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

What’s Happening

Keepers of the Athabasca Fundraiser

If you’re in Edmonton this week and care about water, justice, and good music, come to 9910 February 7th for a fundraiser show in support of the Keepers of the Athabasca organization. The show features performances from local favourites Jessica Jalbert, Caity Fisher, Jom Comyn and Feed Dogs. Tickets range from $12-25 and are available on Eventbrite. This is an 18+ event, so sorry folks, but no minors.

Find tickets and info here!

 

Download this episode’s program log here