environmental news

Growing super plants with fish!

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Have you ever wondered what the heck aquaponics is? Is it the same as hydroponics and isn’t that just some kind of high tech way to grow pot? As it turns out, while there is definitely a relation to hydroponics, but it’s nothing to do with Mary Jane, although aquaponic systems do seem like a smoking good idea.

A unique form of agriculture with aquatic growing systems that combine fish and plants into one symbiotic environment, aquaculture technology is sustainable, incredibly water efficient, and super cool. Stay tuned to learn all about it with us, as Charly Blais and Andrea Gallivan chat with Edmonton-based designer and entrepreneur Jonathan Luckhurst of Sea to Sky Aquaponics whos main focus has been bringing aquaponics to students across Canada.

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Photo by: Bryghtknyght in Brooks, Alberta

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Wolves in Alberta’s Athabasca Oilsands

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Interested in environmental research? Wolves? Moose? Wolves eating moose? The oilsands? Maybe a bit of monkey chat? Well we’ve got an episode for you!

This week on Terra Informa, we have an full episode interview with researcher Eric Neilson, on his on the effects of human disturbance in the Athabasca oilsands region, on the hunting behaviour of wolves.

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Photo by: Doc List (Flickr)

RiverFest 2017 and Bioremediation

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This week on Terra Informa, we delve into the recent EPCOR RiverFest, chat with a man who trekked the entire River Valley, and look back on an archive piece about bioremediation.

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EPCOR RiverFest

A couple of weeks ago, Edmonton had its very first River Valley festival, the EPCOR RiverFest, which ran from September 15-17, 2017. Terra Informer Jason Wang speaks with Larry Wall, Executive Director of the River Valley Alliance, the nonprofit organization who put on the event, about this community celebration of the natural treasure of the Capital Region. He also talks to Hank Van Weelden, a local adventurer who trekked the entirety of Edmonton’s river valley during the festival to raise awareness about the need to conserve this landscape, as well as the recreational activities available.

Leila Darwish on Bioremediation

In a time when spills, leaks, and environmental disasters are becoming more and more common, how do we clean up in a way that’s both reasonable and responsible? Prevention, of course, is always the best policy, but even the best laid plans go awry, and when they do, one answer is often overlooked: bioremediation. Tasmia Nishat speaks with community organizer Leila Darwish, author of Earth Repair, about the healing potential of sunflowers and oyster mushrooms backyard contamination, big spills, and everything in between.

 

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Photo by: Jeffrey Hansen-Carlson

Bat Issues and Sustainability Classes

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This week on Terra Informa we bring you two stories. First we discuss the challenges facing bats today and then bring you to a new school pilot project centered around reducing single-use plastics.

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Have you ever wondered how bats fit into our urban environment? This week we talk with Erin Lowe from the Alberta Community Bat program about the challenges facing bats and how to live with them happily. 

Listen further and you will hear Laura Bamsey and Marnie Olson talk about the impact sustainability pilot projects can have on students and the environment. Learn about the power of awareness and early education, and how the elements society has collaborated with the lonely whale foundation to bring these programs to life.

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Photo by: Radu Privantu 

ICEBERGS: THE TRUTH ABOUT THE MELT

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This week on Terra Informa, we discuss the 5800 square kilometre iceberg that broke off this summer in the Antarctica.

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Larsen C

The ice shelf named Larsen C was the largest segment to break off compared to its predecessors; Larsen A and Larsen B. It’s deterioration was being monitored for decades and its break in July attracted international attention. Anxiety around this event includes ice shelf vulnerability, rising ocean levels, and a change in ocean currents, among many. In talking with Dr. Juliana Marson we discover which fears are valid and which are merely scientific communication gone wrong.

 

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Photo by: University of Alberta

Cooking Up Better Food Policy in Canada

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This week on Terra Informa, we discuss the ongoing consultations about Canada’s food policy with master food strategists Juanita Gnanapragasam and Kathryn Lennon.

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Canada’s Food Policy

The federal government explains on their website that “A Food Policy for Canada will set a long-term vision for the health, environmental, social, and economic goals related to food, while identifying actions we can take in the short-term. A food policy is a way to address issues related to the production, processing, distribution, and consumption of food.”

Consultations about the policy are being carried out by the federal government across Canada. Although they didn’t organize one in Alberta, luckily our AB food organizations have our backs and organized their own consultation event called “What’s Your Recipe for a Better Food System? Towards a National Food Policy…” This event will be happening on Wednesday September 13, 2017 from 6-9 pm at the Edmonton Food Bank (Annex) 11434-120 Street. If you’re not in Edmonton or you’ve missed the 13th – no need to worry! You can contact your local MP or email the federal government at foodpolicy-politiquealimentaire@canada.ca. The hashtag being used for this discussion is #Foodpolicy4Canada.

Terra Informer Amanda Rooney spoke with representatives from two organizations present at the upcoming event on Wednesday; the University of Alberta’s Sustainable Food Working Group and the City of Edmonton. 

Juanita Gnanapragasam talks about her work on making food culturally inclusive and what she believes a food policy could bring to Canada. Ms. Gnanapragasam is a student at large member of the University of Alberta’s Sustainable Food Working Group.

Terra Informa alumni Kathryn Lennon also weighs in on what a national food policy might entail and the role of federal government in our food systems. Kathryn now works for the City of Edmonton as a Principal Planner in Policy Development working on the city’s food strategy alongside the Edmonton Food Council.  

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Photo by Lou Stejskal on Flickr

Paths for People… and Bikes?

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This week on Terra Informa, we discuss multi-use trails with Paths for People, a citizen’s advocacy group here in Edmonton. In June 2017, Paths for People released some new multi-use trail policy recommendations.

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Paths for People

Have you wondered about how walking and biking fits into the urban Edmonton transportation conversation? This week, we sat down with Conrad Nobert, the Executive Director of Paths for People. Conrad co-founded Paths for People in 2015 after Isaak Kornelson, a University of Alberta student and athlete, was struck by a car and killed in 2012 on Whyte Avenue. Isaak’s tragic passing encouraged Conrad to bring his community together and talk about safe cycling in Edmonton. In June, Paths for People released a new set of policy recommendations for the City of Edmonton, reimagining the what safe transportation in Edmonton can look like. We asked him about Paths for People’s mission, some of their recommendations, and ongoing work by the City of Edmonton to change how its citizens move around.

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Photo by More Bike Lanes Please (https://www.flickr.com/photos/7603714@N08/)

Indigenous Rights, Climate Action and Storytelling

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Protesters gathered outside the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers Investors Conference, June 16, 2008. Photo by ItzaFineDay via Flickr

This week on Terra Informa, we dive into the archives to bring you two pieces with an indigenous focus. First Dwayne Donald, a Professor in the Department of Education at the University of Alberta emphasizes the importance of storytelling in education through his unique position in the academic and Aboriginal communities. Today, we bring you the story of The Buffalo Child, as told by Dwayne Donald. We also revisit an interview with Eriel Deranger, an indigenous rights advocate and a member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN). She highlights the current climate crisis faced by Indigenous peoples of Alberta and the moral and legal obligation of governments to work with Indigenous peoples in building progressive and aggressive climate change solutions.

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Supreme Court vetos seismic testing plans in Nunavut

The Supreme Court of Canada has overruled the National Energy Board’s approval for a consortium of Norwegian energy companies to perform seismic testing near Clyde River, Nunavut. The Court found that the NEB did neither clearly nor sufficiently consult the community and failed to assess the impact of the proposed seismic testing on the treaty rights of the Inuit. Though Clyde River’s former mayor Jerry Natanine, who first took the case to court, has said that the community is not entirely opposed to development, he applauded the decision for the ‘seemingly impossible case.’

More on this story:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/supreme-court-ruling-indigenous-rights-1.4221698
http://www.nunatsiaqonline.ca/stories/article/65674clyde_river_scores_big_win_for_nunavut_inuit_at_the_supreme_court/

Fort McMurray aspen forests bounce back from 2016 wildfires

In Alberta, scientists with the Canadian Forest Service and the University of Alberta found that the Aspen forests damaged by the 2016 Fort McMurray fires are recovering. They have found around 100 new sprouts for every mature or dead tree counted and that growth is strongest where the fire hit the hardest. The findings will also be used to guide logging and oil sands companies reclamation efforts.

Legal action taken against 100 companies responsible for emitting majority of global greenhouse gases

This month, two California counties and a city decided to take legal action against 37 oil and coal companies for their roles in climate change-related damages including rising sea levels which may threaten San Francisco’s airport, BART subway, and highways. The group is claiming that these companies, like tobacco companies, misled the public and created a ‘public nuisance.’ This lawsuit follows a recent report that since 1988, 100 companies have been emitting more than 70% of global greenhouse gases This report affirmed a similar study published in 2013 which found that just eight companies have been responsible for more than 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions since 1885.

More on this story:
http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Marin-San-Mateo-County-sue-big-oil-over-climate-11294549.php
http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/08/just-90-companies-are-blame-most-climate-change-carbon-accountant-says
https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/jul/10/100-fossil-fuel-companies-investors-responsible-71-global-emissions-cdp-study-climate-change

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