environmental news

The Climate Activist Experience

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Photo credit: Hannah Cunningham

This week on Terra Informa we talk with OurTime and Climate Justice Edmonton organizers Stephen, Madison, and Chen about who these organizations are and what they do, experiences from the front lines of climate action, and how each one found a community to keep them going.

Download episode now.

Download program log here.

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Planning for Resilience in a Changing Climate

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Photo by Rohit Varma on Flickr

This week, we talk about the importance of resilience, or how to minimize the damage of the climate crisis. We will be providing you with some of the latest information on climate crisis and impacts. We’ll also hear from Terra Informer Sonak Patel sitting down with Nicole Bonnett to discuss her research into resilience planning on Vancouver Island. 

Download episode now.

 ‘Urban climate centre’ in Edmonton

Canada’s federal government has given the city of Edmonton 22 million dollars to develop an urban climate centre as part of the Low Carbon Cities Canada project. The centre will work on projects such as “retrofitting energy-efficient infrastructure in commercial and residential buildings and creating jobs from low-emission initiatives”. 

The past July this year was the hottest month in recorded history

NBC News MACH

The Independent

Iceland has lost its first glacier to the impacts of climate change

The Guardian

Chiefs from British Columbia are calling on the Canadian government to pull its financial support of the Thirty Meter Telescope Project in Hawaii

Global News

Berkeley, California has become the first city in the United States to ban natural and fossil gas hook-ups for new buildings

The Guardian

Ethiopia broke the record for the most trees planted in a single day, with the estimated number being around 350 million seedlings

The Guardian

Download program log here.

CBC Change the Debate

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Photo Credit: Hannah Cunningham

This week on Terra Informa we focus on the proposed climate action policies of each major federal party in the upcoming 2019 election and speak with Stephen Buhler of Our Time, the group who organized “CBC Change the Debate” rallies across Canada just two weeks ago. We talk about the importance of climate action at the federal scale, why Canadians should be demanding the federal government seriously respond to the climate crisis, and share some audio from the Edmonton demonstration.

Download episode now.

Federal climate change platform, by party

We did a quick dive in to each major political parties published climate change and environment platform. Listen to this weeks episode for a summary or follow the links to the plan itself and media commentary.

Conservative

A Real Plan

The Narwhal

Global News

Green Party

Mission Possible

Green Party news release

Liberal

Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change

National Observer

NDP

Power to Change: a new deal for climate action and good jobs

Global News

The Tyee

Stephen Buhler, Our Time

Stephen Buhler, a former worker in the Alberta oil and gas sector, and current organizer with both Our Time and Climate Justice Edmonton, talks about his experience advocating for serious climate action and the intention behind the “CBC Change the Debate” rally.

Street opinions, general public

Terra Informers checked in with participants at the “CBC Change the Debate” rally the night of, then asked general public on the University of Alberta campus what their take was on climate change and the federal election.

Download program log here.

Workers and the Future of Energy

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Photo by Daniel Jones on Flickr

This week on Terra Informa, Andrea Wiebe met with Lliam Hildebrand of the Iron and Earth Organization about their work advocating for oil and gas development to incorporate more renewable energy. They discussed how oil and gas sector workers can adapt to and support the low carbon transition. 

Download episode now. 

UCP STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT

Following the cancellation of the provincial carbon tax in June, the Alberta government is seeking feedback and conducting engagement on its new plan to cut greenhouse gases. Named the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction Program, the government is meeting with over 150 stakeholders, including representatives of the oil and gas sector, mining, and agriculture sector, among others. The public is also invited to weigh in on this plan, through an online survey. 

Online survey to provide feedback: Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction Engagement

Global News: Alberta seeks feedback on greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan

Global News: Alberta makes it official: Bill passed and proclaimed to kill carbon tax

CBC PROTEST

On Wednesday, July 17th, environmental groups around the country are planning to demonstrate outside CBC headquarters. Demonstrators are asking that the CBC host a federal leaders’ debate on the climate crisis and a green new deal. With over 11 million Canadians tuning in to the leaders’ debates, environmental groups are demonstrating to highlight the importance of informing the public about each candidate’s strategy to address the climate emergency. As the CBC finalizes plans for election coverage, demonstrators from coast to coast will be gathering outside studios during the six o’clock news to encourage the broadcaster to host this debate. Edmontonians interested in this demonstrating can visit the CBC studios in City Centre Mall at 10062 102 Ave.

Facebook page: Edmonton calls on the CBC to Change the Debate

Transmountain Pipeline Expansion Updates

The Transmountain Expansion Project has been the centre of a large debate about economic development and environmental conservation, as well as a discussion about the responsibilities of project proponents and the rights of affected communities.

Vancouver Sun: Conservationists file legal challenge to Trans Mountain pipeline reapproval

CBC News: First Nations launch new court challenge to Trans Mountain pipeline

CBC News: Environmental groups file new challenge to Trans Mountain pipeline expansion approval

Global News: Several B.C. First Nations launch legal challenge of re-approved Trans Mountain pipeline

Download program log here. 

Soakin’ Up The Sun With Solar Power

33762667904_71bea17c2b_oPhoto by Jorden Esseron on Flickr

This week on Terra Informa, we discuss solar energy, including topics such as the definition of solar, how it works, the pros and cons to solar,  and who the solar power leaders are around the world.

Download episode now

One of Canada’s Largest Solar Installations on Vancouver Island Built by T’Sou-ke Nation

Terra Informer Steve Anderson spoke to T’Sou-ke Chief Gordon Planes and project manager Andrew Moore about the importance of collective decision-making and planning for energy efficiency when switching to renewables.

Inspiration on How to Engage with a Changing Energy Landscape

Terra Informer Dylan Hall shared stories about thoughts and questions around solar energy. 

What’s Happening

 Renewable Electricity Program Cancellation and Solar in Alberta

Alberta’s Renewable Electricity Program, instituted by the previous NDP government as a competitive bidding program for commercial-scale energy generation, has officially been cancelled by the UCP leadership as of June 10, 2019. Premier Jason Kenney made a campaign promise to fix the program, which operated three rounds of public auctions in December 2017 and 2018, guaranteed operators a minimum electricity price, and secured over 1,300 MW of renewable electricity for the Alberta grid. The UCP says the existing contracts from these first three auctions will be honoured, but the fourth round of auctions anticipated in 2019 will not take place.

Renewable Electricity Program

Edmonton Convention Center Integrated Solar

On Thursday June 27, the City of Edmonton announced it will be upgrading the Edmonton Convention Center to replace about half of the 696 glass panels that form the buildings sloped atrium, with transparent solar panels. The announcement is exciting news as this is one of the largest integrated-solar designs in Canada, which means solar panels are built right into the design of the building, rather than as a separate ground or roof top-array.

Edmonton Journal: Largest ‘building-integrated’ solar cell installation in country coming to Edmonton Convention Centre

Smith Solar Farm and River Valley Rezoning

The City of Edmonton has sent the E.L Smith Solar Farm back to administration and Epcor for further engagement and review on June 19th. The E.L Smith Solar Farm is an approximately 10 MW electricity generation project proposed by Epcor to be developed on 54 acres of land owned by the company and located south of the existing E.L Smith water treatment plant, in the Edmonton River Valley.  The $26 million solar farm is intended to help power the water treatment plant and construction includes the installation of up to 45,000 solar panels, the connection of these panels to the treatment plant and the electrical grid, the removal of select trees, and fencing around the plant.

Edmonton Journal: ‘Go elsewhere’: Epcor’s 23-hectare river valley solar farm plan faces stiff opposition

CBC: Edmonton council puts river valley solar farm proposal on hold

EPCOR: Project Overview

 

Download program log here. 

 

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

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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.

Endangered Habitat, Past and Present

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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

 

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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.