environmental news

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”

orchid

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

Download program log now.

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.

 

Download program log now.

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.

 

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.

Download Episode.

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.