environmental news

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.

Download episode now. 

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

Download program log here.

Your Fracking Answers

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This week on Terra Informa, we re-air an award winning episode answering questions about fracking.

Download episode now.

All About Fracking

For some it’s the dirty energy with the dirty-sounding name. For others, it’s a revolutionary new way to provide clean energy. We’re talking about fracking. You probably feel you belong in one camp or the other—but have you thought about why? How well do you really know the actual risks and benefits of fracking? Trevor Chow-Fraser and Danielle Dolgoy realized they didn’t even know exactly what fracking is. So they researched and talked with experts who do. This story brings together the expertise of Dr. Avner Vengosh, Dr. Daniel Alessi, C. Alexia Lane and Dr. Rick Chalaturynyk. All together, we answer three big questions that we found you had about fracking.

Headline Links

—-> The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau – pm@pm.gc.ca
—-> The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc – dominic.leblanc@parl.gc.ca
—–> http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2017/2017-06-24/html/reg2-eng.php

Fill out the listener survey for CJSR volunteers and let us know by Wednesday, July 5.

Download program log now.

Photo by Agencia ID

Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation

blooming onion

Photo by EROVIKOVA FOTO

This week we have an interview about how municipalities are taking leadership in climate mitigation while also making strides for adaptation. Amanda Rooney and Charly Blais sat down with Danielle Koleyak, an environmental project manager with the city of Edmonton. Then we have a story about how the health care industry can mitigate its contribution to climate change, brought to you by Climate Radio.

Download episode now.

Municipalities and Climate Adaptation

In light of the United States pulling out of the Paris Agreement and the striking response from municipalities that in turn adopted the Paris agreement on their own, we thought that we would explore how municipalities can push for action and plan on how to adapt to climate change and environmental issues. Amanda Rooney and Charly Blais sat down with Danielle Koleyak, an Environmental Project Manager with the City of Edmonton. We spoke with her about Edmonton’s newly developing climate change adaptation and resilience strategy and about the power that local leaders and municipalities have in addressing climate change issues.

Climate Change in the Health Care Setting

Segment from Climate Radio: The health care industry has a critical role to play in climate change mitigation. Global Green and Healthy Hospitals, GGHH, is a network that brings together hospitals, health systems, and health organizations from around the world under the shared goal of reducing the environmental footprint of the health sector and contributing to improved public and environmental health. We caught up with Nick Thorp, the Global Community Manager of GGHH, and he explains what they are doing to improve public and environmental health. 

What’s Happening

Biomimicry Workshop

Do you enjoy the strange mix of nature, technology and science?  Biomimicry Alberta is hosting a two day workshop in Edmonton on June 24th and 25th. The workshop will explore strategies from the natural world and investigate how they can inform human design and technology. The weekend will include providing a broad introduction to the concept of biomimicry with a focus on the insect world– and the program includes presentations from local naturalists and researchers. This workshop is intended for students and professionals from any discipline and background interested in design and sustainability. Register for the workshop here

Download program log.

Tuning in to Haida Gwaii

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Cox Island in the Haida Gwaii’s, with a red ship sailing through the waters at its shore.

This week on Terra Informa, we’ll hear two stories about Haida Gwaii; one about a non-profit working to bring renewable energy to the community and another about the man behind cutting down the sacred Golden Spruce.

Renewable Energy for Remote Communities

If you live in the city, try to think back to the last time you flipped a light switch and nothing turned on. Now, imagine depending on a plane full of diesel to come into town before you get power back on again! If you live in a remote community in Canada today, this is likely the energy system you rely on. For you, moving towards a more local renewable energy system is about more than just climate issues.

In an interview we originally broadcast in 2012, Chris Chang-Yen Phillips speaks to Alia Lamaadar , the former CEO for Cleantech Community Gateway. We’ll learn about Cleantech Community Gateway, a non-profit working to help the communities of Haida Gwaii build a new energy system.

Hadwin’s Judgement

If you were living in British Columbia in 1997, you may remember the story about forest engineer Grant Hadwin and the Kiidk’yaas or Golden Spruce.

It was a rare Sitka spruce tree that grew along the Yakoun River. Its glowing golden needles sparkling against the lush green forest. Regarded as sacred to the Haida Nation, the tree met a tragic and completely surprising fate. Hadwin cut down the Kiidk’yaas in protest against the logging industry.

Hadwin confessed to his horrific act and was summoned to court, but failed to appear. In fact, Hadwin has been missing since February 14, 1997 and is presumed dead. But his story lives on and the symbol of the Golden Spruce has evolved. An award-winning book called The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant has now inspired a documentary film called Hadwin’s Judgement, directed by British filmmaker Sasha Snow.

Natalee Rawat spoke to the two before the film’s debut at Toronto’s Hot Docs film festival.

Download program log now.

Photo by Stef Olcen

 

Edmonton’s Secret Orchid Collection and Fungus “Pesticides”

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Photo of yellow and magenta orchids that could be a member of the extensive orchid collection at the Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton. Credit to JP Shen.

This week on Terra Informa, we discuss the orchid collection at Edmonton’s own Muttart Conservatory and learn how fungi can be used as more than just “fun guys” in your garden or farm.

Download episode now.

Orchids in Edmonton

Most citizens of Edmonton are aware of the Muttart Conservatory, but not a lot of them know about the ginormous orchid collection that resides there. You may know orchids as that overly fancy flower stores sometimes sell. Or as something you put in baked goods at times, because fun fact: vanilla is an orchid. How did this collection come to be? And what’s up with orchids, anyway — why do people care enough to form an entire society around them?

Tasmia Nishat speaks with Dave Nixon of the Orchid Species Preservation Foundation, or OSPF for short, to get to the bottom of this. Plant nerds, this ones for you!

Fungus Pesticides

Rebecca Rooney talks to Sunita Rajput, a University of Alberta researcher who conducted research on ways that farmers can use fungus in place of conventional insecticides.

Grant McEwan Bee Tours

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Photo by JP Shen

 

ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME EVENTS

Agave Bloom

Photo by Joaquim Alves Gaspar

This week, Terra Informer Chris Chang-Yen Phillips ventured to Edmonton’s Muttart Conservatory to learn about a truly once-in-a-lifetime event: the blooming of the agave, an ephemeral plant that only blooms once before it dies. We also look at the decreasing rarity of once-in-a-lifetime storms with Terra Informer Jessica Kozlowski, as well as the truly amazing experience of a life-changing flood described firsthand by Terra Informer Natalee Rawat.

Download episode here.

The Bittersweet Life Cycle of the Agave Plant

A few years back, Terra Informa’s Chris Chang-Yen Phillips headed to Edmonton’s Muttart Conservatory in pursuit of a once-in-a-lifetime story. The Muttart houses exotic plants under its pyramids all year long, but he was there to see one particular plant: an agave. It only blooms once before it dies. Chris spoke to the Muttart’s Jade Dodd, and Brandi Eide, who manages the succulent collection at Arizona’s Desert Botanical Garden.

Ecobabble: The Science of Extreme Storms

What happens when once-in-a-lifetime storms shift to becoming the norm? Terra Informer Jessica Kozlowski discusses the ever-increasing imbalance of large-scale climatic events and why massive natural disasters are becoming more frequent.

A Flood of the Century: the 2005 Maharashtra Floods

In this piece from the Terra Informa archives, Natalee Rawat experienced a real Flood of the Century and lived to tell. In 2005, almost 1 meter of rain fell on the Indian state of Maharashtra on a single summer day. The city shut down completely, and the deluge caused at least 5,000 deaths, and cost 100 million USD. Natalee sat down with Ali Sultani to recall the events of July 26, 2005.

Headlines

Big cats of today are under the same threat as extinct Ice Age cats

A 2017 University of Sussex study identified that the African lion and the Sunda clouded leopard are facing the same extinction threats as the big felines of the ice age. The study determined that during the last ice age a lack of prey was the primary factor in the extinction of the 7 big cats. Read the study here

Enbridge commits to greater disclosure on Indigenous and environmental issues

The Calgary-based natural gas company has declared that they will increase disclosure of factors that go into determining indigenous and environmental issues when making acquisitions. This was decided despite two- thirds of Enbridge shareholders voting against it on May 11. Chief executive Al Monaco states that “We thought, and still do, that the idea of providing more information on our approach to investments and acquisitions was a very good one”, adding that the company would add the information to its corporate social responsibility reporting as an effort to be more transparent. Read the full article here

What’s Happening

Fresh MEÆT micro-fundraising event – May 24, 2017

Fresh MEÆT is a micro-fundraising event hosted by Edmonton’s NextGen in support of local food and urban agriculture initiatives with 7 presenters pitching their best project ideas. Attendees will get to vote for the idea they believe should get the funding. If you are sitting on a great food and urban agriculture project idea of your own, you can submit your own pitch by May 22nd for a chance to present at the event and win prizes!

The event will occur from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm at the ATB Entrepreneur Centre Edmonton, 4234 Calgary Trail Northwest Edmonton, Alberta.

Tickets are $15, with $10 of each ticket going towards the winning initiative. Purchase tickets here

Download Program log here.

Alberta Rural Development Network

terrainformahouse

Photo by Marcel Schoenhardt

This week Terra Informer Shelley Jodoin interviewed Joshua Bénard, a sustainable housing project manager with the Alberta Rural Development Network (ARDN). They discuss ARDN’s aim to create housing that is both sustainable and affordable.

Download episode now.

Alberta Rural Development Network

This week Shelley Jodoin interviewed housing project manager of Alberta Rural Development Network (ARDN), Joshua Bénard.  They discuss how ARDN works with provincial universities and colleges, rural communities, and other organizations to create sustainable housing. You can check out the ARDN’s website here.

Headlines

International Compost Awareness Week, May 7th- 13th

If you live in Edmonton, the city has Compost S’cool starting May 13th, from 10 am to 4 pm on weekends and holidays until Labour day. Compost S’cool is a program meant to help you start your own composting operation; whether it be a large backyard bin or a small bin of worms. You can find them on location between the John Janzen Nature Centre and Fort Edmonton Park, and check out the Facebook page here. 

For listeners not in Edmonton – check out your city’s website or check out the compost council of Canada’s website here for more information. 

Biomimicry Alberta Workshop: Summer Series 2017

Biomimicry in this context is drawing inspiration from the natural world for example, the beak of kingfisher birds have provided the blueprint for more aerodynamic designs in trains. Learn more here. 

The third annual Alberta Biomimicry Workshop will be happening on the University of Alberta campus on June 24 and 25.  Registration is $150 but there is a discounted rate for students! You can find more information here. 

Oil spill busting technology gets $1.7M federal funding boost

UAlberta’s Ingenuity Lab developing nanotech mesh that pulls oil out of water, then releases it so it can be reused. Read the article here.

UAlberta named one of Canada’s greenest employers for ninth year in a row

University recognized for employee programs, innovative facilities. Read the article here.

 

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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.

Download the episode.

Download the program log.

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.