Environmental Poetry

Provoked by Poems


Photo by: Australasian Science Magazine

This week on Terra Informa, amidst news of our earliest ever earth overshoot day, Terra Informers Dylan Hall and Amanda Rooney speak with poet Alice Major about her book entitled “Welcome to the Anthropocene”. Alice Major, who was also Edmonton’s first poet laureate, reads poems from her book and answers our questions, including “what is the anthropocene?”.

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Download program log here.

Stories that Sizzle

Nearly-naked cyclists zoom by in Albany, NY

The World Naked Bike Ride is celebrated in many different cities, as Halifax organizer Ben Caplan tells us on this week’s show

The dog days of summer are upon us, and in keeping with the climate, this week’s show is sizzling. From naked cyclists to incendiary writers, and fiery film to free range eggs.

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Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: Act Two

Over the winter holidays, Terra Informa will be re-broadcasting our three part series Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. Thanks for listening!

Terra Informer Morgana Folkmann interviews Gary Lee about his work.

Terra Informer Morgana Folkmann interviews Gary Lee about his work.

In a show recorded before a live audience, Terra Informa brings you stories of spirituality and the way it shapes our attitudes to the natural world. Act Two brings you poetry about Alberta’s landscape and history from Edmonton-based poet Gary Lee, plus stories about faith and our environment from the audience, and another song from singer-songwriter Sierra Jamerson. Tune in next week for the final act, recorded live at Edmonton’s St. John’s Institute.

Download this week’s episode.


Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: Act Two

In a show recorded before a live audience, Terra Informa brings you stories of spirituality and the way it shapes our attitudes to the natural world. Act Two brings you poetry about Alberta’s landscape and history from Edmonton-based poet Gary Lee, plus stories about faith and our environment from the audience, and another song from singer-songwriter Sierra Jamerson. Tune in next week for the final act, recorded live at Edmonton’s St. John’s Institute.

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Eco-Poetry: Upon This Rock

What connects you to a place, causes you to push your roots deep down into it? Are you captured by the rich smell of the soil? By the sight of open skies? Or — is it the realization and enormity of all that has happened beneath your feet? No matter where you’re from, or who you are, people find profound connections to the world around them. Gary Lee, is an Edmonton-based poet, painter, videographer and musician. Gary has travelled around Canada by thumb and by Greyhound, working as a janitor, proofreader, counter-fitter, grain bin builder, addictions worker, maintenance man, sound man, roadie, psychiatric aide, itinerant guerrilla poet, performance artist and musical saboteur. Our own Morgana Folkmann has known Gary Lee since his days as a hitchhiking bard across Canada. We heard them in conversation, as Gary recited his poems Upon This Rock and Power Spot.

Audience Thoughts on Faith and Nature

Host Nikki Wiart asks members of the audience and the Terra Informa crew some questions about faith and nature. What spiritual experiences with nature have you had? Is there a place in nature that speaks to you? Are you part of a faith tradition – and if so, what is the opinion or attitude of that faith toward the environment?

She’s Gonna Save the World

Sierra Jamerson was born into a family of talented leaders as well as gifted musicians, and she’s been performing professionally since the tender age of eleven, singing traditional Black Gospel, jazz, soul and R&B music. Part of that talented family of hers is Tahltan Nation from BC. You might have heard of the Sacred Headwaters in Tahltan territory. It’s the origin point for three powerful rivers that run through British Columbia – the Stikine, the Skeena and the Nass. When natural gas and coal exploration started on their land a few decades ago, her family had something to say about that. In this act, she performs her original song She’s Gonna Save the World, a tribute to the powerful women she’s been inspired by, among community leaders and her family.

Trees for Goals

This week on Terra Informa, good news for fans of the Boston Bruins and reforestation. Stanley Cup of Chowder’s Sarah Connor is on the line talking about the audacious challenge she made to Boston Bruins player Andrew Ference, and the treesforgoals campaign it launched. Then, we ask Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman about the importance of independent media, and talk to Jennifer Wickham – a poet with a message to share about the sacred waters in Wet’suwet’en territories.

Andrew Ference skates with his stick on the ice

Boston Bruins player Andrew Ference helped inspire the Trees for Goals campaign [Photo credit: slidingsideways]

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Sarah Connors on the treesforgoals Campaign
No matter where you are in Canada, chances are you’re happy to have the NHL back on the ice. At the beginning of a 2012 shortened season, the NHL was looking for a way to help give back, in hopes of enticing lost and frustrated fans to come back. Close to the beginning of the 2013 shortened NHL season, Sarah Connors, the managing editor of the blog Stanley Cup of Chowder, contacted Andrew Ference, a defenseman for the NHL club the Boston Bruins, via Twitter and told him she would buy 50 trees to plant, via the Plant a Billion Trees campaign, for every goal that he scored. From there, it took off, and as Kyle Muzyka finds out, the treesforgoals campaign started off as a very casual idea, but turned into something very special. 

More on this story: Donate to the treesforgoals campaign at  Stanley Cup of Chowder@cupofchowdah on Twitter, Plant a Billion Trees

Amy Goodman on Independent Media
In November 2011, Terra Informa correspondent Myles Curry caught up with American broadcast journalist, syndicated columnist and investigative reporter, Amy Goodman. She is the host of the popular independent news show Democracy Now. Myles asked her what media independence means for environmental reporting.

More on this story: Democracy Now!

Environmental Poetry with Jennifer Wickham and “Engussi Wedzin Kwah”
For our Terra Informa segment on environmental poetry, Annie Banks spoke with Jennifer Wickham last November. Jennifer shared her poem “Engussi Wedzin Kwah”, about sacred waters on her traditional Wet’suwet’en territories, and also some of her thoughts on poetry, the role of a poet and what’s currently inspiring her writing and resistance. Jennifer’s book of poetry will be coming out in summer 2013.

More on this story: Unis’tot’en Action CampWe Support the Unist’ot’en and the Wet’suwet’en Grassroots Movement – Facebook Group

What’s Happening

Edmonton Supporting a Green Economy (E-SAGE)
The Common on 109 st and 99 ave are hosting an event for Edmonton Supporting A Green Economy or E-SAGE on Wednesday, the 6th. ‘Good Business’ is the month’s theme and they willl be exploring initiatives taken and being made to make Edmonton a more sustainable city to live and work within. You’ll get to connect with some of Edmonton’s leading figures & thinkers in ‘good business’ and learn what kinds of opportunities exist out there for you!

More information: The Local Good

ExpoPlaza Latina
They say it’s “the only event like this in western Canada.” Vancouver is hosting a conference titled ExpoPlaza Latina on February 7. I bet you’re wondering, what does that even mean? Well, listeners, this event focuses on three industries that are flourishing in Latin America, one of which being Green Technologies. People are invited to attend this conference to understand their trading partners better, create connections, and learn more about what it means to be a sustainable city. The event takes place at the Simon Fraser University in downtown Vancouver, registration is $150 for the full day,

More information: ExpoPlaza Latina website.

APIRG Board Nominations
Are you an Edmonton student looking to get involved in social problems and public interest? The Alberta Public Interest Research Group, or APIRG, is taking nominations for their board of directors until February 15 at 5 pm. This student-run, student-driven, and non-profit group helps to turn ideas into reality. Based out of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, elections for board positions will coincide with student union elections on March 6 and 7. For more information or to download a nomination form, check out APIRG’s website, call 7804920614 or drop by the APIRG office in Hub Mall at the U of A. If you are from Edmonton, head to the APIRG office on February 6 at 12:00 pm for the Elections Information Session.

More information: APIRG

Lake Sturgeon, Green Roofs and Environmental Poetry Part II

This week we feature two stories relating to bodies of water; Girl Gone Wild correspondent Jamie Pratt and Chris Chang-Yen Phillips take a journey in search of Lake Sturgeon and Jennifer Wickham shares her poem, “Engussi Wedzin Kwah” about the sacred waters in her traditional territories. Also, Rebecca Rooney speaks to urban ecologist Jason Aloisio about Green Roofs in a piece from our archives.

The subject of Jennifer Wickham's poem, the river Wedzin Kwah, in Wet'suwet'en Territories.

The subject of Jennifer Wickham’s poem, the river Wedzin Kwah, in Wet’suwet’en Territories. Photo credit to Jennifer Wickham.

Environmental Poetry with Jennifer Wickham and “Engussi Wedzin Kwah”

For our new Terra Informa segment on environmental poetry, Annie Banks spoke with Jennifer Wickham this month. Jennifer shared her poem “Engussi Wedzin Kwah”, about sacred waters on her traditional Wet’suwet’en territories, and also some of her thoughts on poetry, the role of a poet and what’s currently inspiring her writing and resistance. **Correction!** Jennifer’s book of poetry will be coming out in summer 2013.

Link: Unistoten Camp

Chris Chang-Yen Phillips and Jamie Pratt in a boat; photo credit Erik Bisanz.

Girl Gone Wild: Lake Sturgeon

Well every now and again Terra Informa correspondent Chris Chang-Yen Phillips takes a trip with our resident wildlife expert, Jamie Pratt. She’s the creator of the Girl Gone Wild wildlife documentary series, and this time we decided it was time to journey down Edmonton’s North Saskatchewan River in search of an ancient fish — the Lake Sturgeon.

Drayton Valley Western Review
North Saskatchewan River Guide
Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development

Green Roofs

Jason Aloisio is an urban ecologist, working at New York City’s Fordham University. He was recognized in 2011 for his work by the Ecological Society of America at their annual conference in Austin, Texas. From our archives, Terra Informa correspondent Rebecca Rooney ventures to Austin to catch up with him to ask about his research into green roofs.
Jason Aloisio’s green roofs presentation
Article in Nature News on Jason’s research

This week’s “What’s Happening”

Petro, Power and Politics Conference November 23-25, Edmonton
The Parkland Institute will be hosting their 16th annual conference next weekend in Edmonton. The Petro, Power and Politics conference is themed around the issues surrounding oil and gas development.
More information: Petro, Power, and Politics
An Inspired Future – Student Application now open! February 6, Toronto.
Are you a post-secondary student interested in environmental issues and corporate social responsibility? You’ll want to check out the student application to attend the upcoming An Inspired Future conference next February 6th in Toronto.
Film Screening in Vancouver: If a Tree Falls Wednesday November 21st, 4pm, UBC, Vancouver
The UBC Student Environment centre and Cinema Politica UBC are hosting a screening.
University of Guelph: FeedingNineBillion.com
Dr. Evan Fraser releases a new website looking at the global food crisis.
More information: feeding nine billion
Online only: Upcoming Film Screenings in Montreal
6pm Thursday – McGill – BANANAS! sheds light on the case of pesticide use by Dole in Nicaragua.
7pm Monday November 26 – Concordia – David Fedele E-wasteland and the Lightbulb Conspiracy.
More information: Cinema Politica

CSA Sailboats, Power Shift Advocacy, and Environmental Poetry

This week, we hear from a CSA project in Creston, BC that’s making waves rather than fumes; a Power Shift organizer about advocacy in the quest for climate justice; and a slam poet on the role of the artist in a time of environmental crisis.

No more Mr. Gneiss Boat!

Sailing is a well-known past-time for grain farmers. [Photo credit: ritaoksa, via flickr]

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Creston Grains Setting Sail

CSAs – or Community Shared Agriculture – let you get a more personal experience with the farmers who grow your food. You buy a share in their harvest at the beginning of the season, before the seeds have even been planted; growers have a guaranteed market, and shareholders get some certainty about where their food is coming from. But BC’s Kootenay Grain CSA goes above and beyond. If you bought a share of this year’s harvest, you can get it delivered by sailboat. Roy Lawrence has been a grower with the Kootenay Grain CSA for five years now. He speaks to us from Creston, BC.

More on this story: Kootenay Grain CSA

Gearing up for Power Shift

A few weeks ago, we filled you in on Power Shift—a climate justice gathering that’s launching in a matter of days. With activists across the country climbing onto trains, hopping into planes, and banding together in buses and carpools, we decided to get an update. Terra Informa contributor Trevor Chow-Fraser was interested in the advocacy aspect of Power Shift, so he phoned up the organizers to find out more.

More on this story: Power Shift

Environmental Poetry

Beginning this week we will be featuring poetry on Terra Informa. To start us off, Kathryn Lennon caught up with slam poet Johnny MacRae at the 2012 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Saskatoon. Johnny is the inaugural Underground Individual Poetry Slam Champion of Canada, and two-time Vancouver Poetry Slam team member. He is joined by Shayne Avec I Grec, Poet Laureate of the Brandon Folk Music and Art Festival in Manitoba. Johnny shares some of his poetry, and thoughts on the role of poets in a time of environmental crisis.

More on this story: Anthropocalyptica

What’s Happening

The Trick or Treat for Climate Justice

A family-friendly march will be taking place at Ottawa’s Parliament Hill on Monday, October 29th at 11:30 AM. If you’re attending Power Shift, we’d love to see what kind of costumes you’ll be wearing as you trick-or-treat for climate justice. Live tweet us a picture of your green or gruesome getup @terra_informa #terrorinforma!

More information: Power Shift

Environmental Art Talk

On October 24, Bill McKibben, a renowned environmentalist, will be speaking at the University of Alberta at 7:00 PM. His free talk is called “Changing Hearts as well as Minds: Art in the Environmental Movement,” and it will take place in the McMahon Pavilion Auditorium, Campus Saint-Jean.

More information: University of Alberta

Mining and Cell Phones Conference

On October 25th, a first ever inter-community conference entitled “Cell phones good partners, but its mining’s sources affects humanity” will take place at 5:00 PM in the Grand Salon in Edmonton’s Campus Saint Jean. This conference will look at the source of the materials that make up common electronics, and the high cost of mining these materials to human life.

More information: The Edmonton Sun

or call 780-200-3917 / 780-901-3778 / 780-803-1132

2012 Food Secure Canada National Assembly

On November 2, a Food Secure Canada event will take place at the Edmonton EXPO Centre at 7:00 PM. Come hear speakers Eriel Deranger, Pat Mooney, Michael Lewis and Augusta Henriques talk about “Energy, Resilience, and the Future of Food.” This public event is part of Food Secure Canada’s 2012 National Assembly, which brings together different groups collaborating to improve food security in Canada and all over the world.

More information: Food Secure Canada

Owl Banding, Environmental Poetry and the Occupy Edmonton Demonstration

This week Terra Informa has an exciting lineup! We start off the show with an on-the-ground field report on owl banding from the Beaverhill Bird Observatory. Next up we bring you an update on the Occupy Wall Street movement, which was introduced on our show last week. Occupy events have spread to communities around the world, and our correspondent looks for environmental themes amidst the mayhem. And if that’s not enough, we’ve also got a special report on how one artist uses his poetry to promote environmental conservation.

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Saw-whet Owl. Magnificentfrigatebird via Flickr.com.

Joining researchers on an owl banding expedition at the Beaverhill Bird Observatory is an exciting opportunity, one for which correspondent Steve Andersen gladly volunteered! If you picture an owl, odds are good you’re picturing a Great Horned Owl or a Barred Owl, but there is another species which is much smaller. Have a listen to this report to find out more!

Related Resources: Canadian Migration Monitoring Network, BirdNet, Wildlife Society

The Occupy Wall Street movement has spread to various communities across the world. People gathered to march, set up tents in parks and oppose corporate control and economic injustice. Correspondent Kathryn Lennon takes a look at the ways in which occupy events in Canada are focused on the environment.

More on this story: Occupy(ed) Canada, David Suzuki, The Canadian Press

Environmental poetry is a unique way to explore the connection between art and the environment. Many artists draw their inspiration from nature. Poet David James Hudson in Guelph threads themes of environmental conservation throughout his medium, aiming to communicate environmentalism to his audience. Correspondent Rebekah Rooney catches up with him in this report.


Green Groups lose Alberta power plant appeal bid: A bid regarding the approval of a coal-fired power plant in Alberta was overturned by a judge in the province last week. Prior to the decision, environmental advocates have argued that the construction of Maxim Power Corporation’s Milner Plant near Grande Cache was fast tracked to avoid upcoming federal carbon reduction regulations. Proponents, however, argue that the regulator had examined the construction application 28 months before it gave the project interim approval this past June.

More on this story: Reuters, Canadian Business

Environment agency says cuts will limit oversight: The president of the Canadian Environmental Assessment agency told members of a parliamentary committee last week that proposed federal funding cuts would severely undermine her agencies ability to keep an eye on natural resource projects which aim to prevent environmental damage.

More on this story: CBC, Vancouver Sun

Strategy to protect woodland caribou gets failing grade: The federal government’s strategy to protect the country’s woodland caribou has come against harsh criticism by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, which is one of Canada’s leading conservation groups. The group argued that the habitat protection target is not large enough to ensure that the species can overcome it’s endangered status in Canada’s boreal forest.

More on this story: Canada.com

“Potatogate” public land sale cancellation: The Alberta government issued a release last Wednesday announcing the cancellation of the notorious “potatogate” public land sale. This action was a campaign promise of Alison Redford which aims to increase the transparency and accountability of the government. The public land sale involved approximately 65 square kilometers of native grassland which was to be used for an irrigated potato farm.

More on this story: Winnipeg Free Press, Alberta Wilderness Association

Nova Scotia’s new wetlands conservation policy: A new Wetlands Conservation Policy has been implemented in Nova Scotia. This policy seeks to balance both environmental conservation and economic growth. Wetlands serve many important purposes, including providing habitat for fish and other species as well as protecting drinking water.

More on this story: CTV, Ecology Action