environmental news

Just Sustainability: Social Justice and Nature’s Rights

Lagoon and lush forest in Ecuador.

Lagoon and lush forest in Ecuador.

This week we are bringing sustainability-related pieces from the archives. First, we hear from Dr. Kelly Swing about how Ecuador has enshrined the rights of nature in its constitution. Then we hear an interview with Winona LaDuke, an indigenous economist about the effects of colonization on Indigenous economies and food systems. Finally, we bring you an interview with Julian Agyeman, chair of the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University about how sustainability should be considered holistically.

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Nature’s Rights in Ecuador

When we think of a constitution we think of basic “human” rights. We, as humans, have the right to vote, the right to practice religion, the right to own property. But what about nature? Ecuador was the first country in the world to establish the rights of nature at a national level, including it in the 2008 constitution. Terra Informa’s Nicole Wiart talks to Doctor Kelly Swing of the Tiputini biodiversity station in Ecuador about how this constitutional change is great in theory, but in practice, there are a lot of hurdles to still overcome.

Winona LaDuke, Anishinaabe Activist

Winona LaDuke is an Anishinaabe environmental activist, economist, and writer. She spent her entire career as an unflagging advocate for food and energy sustainability. She’s the kind of person who can tell you centuries of history about the corn her community grows and then rally it together to build a wind turbine. She ran as the U.S vice-presidential nominee for the United States Green Party in 1996 and 2000, and she remains a leader in North America on issues of locally based sustainable development. Terra Informa correspondent Matt Hirji spoke with Winona LaDuke from her home on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota.

More information: Winona LaDuke’s TedxTC Talk – Seeds of our Ancestors, Seeds of Life, Honour the Earth

Just Sustainability

Julian Agyeman is chair of the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University in Boston-Medford, Massachusetts. His research focuses on the intersections between social justice and sustainability, an idea which he terms “just sustainability.”. He describes “just sustainability” as “the need to ensure a better quality of life for all, now and into the future, in a just and equitable manner, whilst living within the limits of supporting ecosystems.” Kathryn Lennon spoke with him about the need for the sustainability movement to broaden its work beyond ecological and conservation issues, to include issues of inequality and social justice.

Image Credit: Alejomiranda, Pixabay.

What’s Happening?

Solar Trade Show: February 25th, Edmonton, Alberta

Free Admission

The Solar Trade Show is an event for everyone: homeowners, business owners, community organizations, job seekers, and Indigenous communities. Presentations and workshops will discuss careers in solar energy and how to finance solar energy projects. The event is organized by the Solar Energy Society of Alberta.

Click here for more info.

 

Speculating the Future and Utilizing Shame for Good

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This week on Terra Informa, we look to the archives to discuss the future of humanity and the place oil has in that future. First off we have Chris Chang-Yen Phillips with Brandon Schatz talking about science-fiction and its reflection of our current and future states. After that we talk to Jennifer Jacquet about the effectiveness of shaming in modern protest. And lastly we talk with Todd Hirsch about the future of oil in Alberta and the his view on the future economic framework of this province.

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Lenses on the Future

Not everyone likes reading books about the future. Unless you already read science fiction, speculative fiction, or science-fiction as they’re collectively called, you might feel like the whole genre is just about slapstick robots and Orion slave girls. To be fair, some of it is about slapstick robots and Orion slave girls. But Sci-Fi can also teach us a lot about the way we live today. And help us imagine something different. For more on why your summer reading list should venture into the world of ansibles, hyperspace, and pigoons, Chris Chang-Yen Phillips spoke to Brandon Schatz, manager of Wizard Comics in Edmonton. 

Shaming Our Way Past Petrol

For activists trying to get all of society to shift to a renewable energy future, does it work to shame those keeping us in the past? Shame is divisive and combative. But Jennifer Jacquet thinks shame is a great tool in the activist toolkit. This academic in New York University’s department of Environmental Studies published the book Is Shame Necessary? New Uses for an Old Tool.

Alberta’s Post-Oil Future

As demand for Alberta’s oil drops lower and lower in the decades to come, how will the province’s economy change? How will we move forward and learn to prosper in new ways? For some perspective on these questions, we turned to Todd Hirsch, chief economist at ATB Financial.

Download program log here.

Photo by: Chris Yakimov (https://www.flickr.com/photos/doucy/)

Speciesism + Science Faction

 

Painting by P. Mathews from 1838 of the Trial of Bill Burns. Burns was prosecuted for beating his donkey under the Martin's Act for cruelty to animals (1822). The case is memorable because the donkey was brought into court.

Painting by P. Matthews (1838) of the trial of Bill Burns, a man prosecuted for beating his donkey.

This week’s theme is speciesism! Speciesism refers to the belief that the human species is superior to all other species. Mark Devries is the filmmaker behind “Speciesism: The Movie,” a film that documents the immense scale of pig farms in North Carolina using drone surveillance. Inspired by the animal rights discussion, we’ve included a podcast episode produced by Science Faction that discusses the evolution of land species from fish.

Download the episode.

Download the program log.

Mark Devries, Speciesism: The Movie

Mark Devries is a filmmaker interested in the ethics of livestock practices used in North Carolina. His documentary, Speciesism: The Movie, shows how large-scale livestock farms raises the issue of animal rights and raises concerns about environmental protection and human health. Tasmia Nishat interviewed Mark Devries about the visual impact of these livestock farms, his ethical concerns, and the methods he used to capture film of private farm property, including using a small plane and drone surveillance.

Science Faction: Fish with Feet

Science Faction is a Canadian miniseries that explains scientific research using 1000 of the most commonly used words. “Fish with Feet” takes listeners on a journey to the lab of Dr. Emily Standen at the University of Ottawa to learn about fish that can walk. They discuss how Dr. Standen’s lab is raising fish out of water and how her work elevates our understanding of the evolution of ancient fish species into land species.

 

 

Sounds of Space & Thoughts for Our Future.

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Future Landscape by Naomi Vona, 2013

This week we take a look into the past and the great void, to shine some light on our current situation. First Shelley and Dylan talk to some Terra Informa Alumni about their experiences with Fun drive this year. Following that we listen to Ronald Wright as he discusses the past, and allows us to use this information when looking into the future. Lastly, we hear from Dr. Abram Hindle about his creative process when making music inspired by outer space.

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Talking Fun drive with some Alumni  

Alumni of Terra Informa talk with Shelley Jodoin and Dylan Hall about their experiences as Terra Informant’s at this years Fun drive.

The Trap of Progress

Last November, The Parkland Institute kicked off its sixteenth fall conference in Edmonton, Alberta. The theme was Petro, Power and Politics, and the opening keynote was delivered by writer Ronald Wright. Wright is best known for having delivered a CBC Massey Lecture which he called A Short History of Progress. For his lecture at the Parkland Institute, Wright drew on this earlier work to discuss our modern environmental crisis, including climate change and loss of biodiversity. To chart our possible future, Wright looks back to examine the collapse of civilizations all across the world. It’s depressing business, and more than one audience member asked the obvious question: is there any hope at all?

The Sound of Science: What the Universe Sounds Like

Alyssa Hindle and Matt Hirji interviewed Dr. Abram Hindle, a local computing science professor and Noise musician. Alyssa’s brother Abram uses his programming background with inspirations from nature and physics to create unique, and very technically based, sounds. Alyssa Hindle and Matt Hirji spoke with Abram Hindle about his Noise performances and music production.

More information:


Download program log here