Environmentalism

It’s Time to Talk About Bugs

White-lined sphinx moth from Wikimedia Commons

Did you know that insects take up the most space on the taxonomic web of life? Did you know that about 75% of flowering plants are pollinated by insects? You might have also heard that insect biodiversity is on the decline. Sadly, what you may have hear is right. In a paper published in the Journal ‘Biological Conservation’lead authors Francisco Sánchez-Bayo and Kris A.G.Wyckhuys state “almost half of insect species are rapidly declining and a third are being threatened with extinction”.

Can you imagine a world without insects? To some it may sound like a dream come true but insects are integral to the functioning of our world! From the food we eat to the waste we excrete, we have insects to thanks (we would literally be swimming in detritus if not for decomposers!). Tune into this episode where we show these important little creatures some well-deserved attention!

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Checking out bugs with Peter Heule: Q&A with the Royal Alberta Museum’s live animal supervisor

Terra Informer Olivia deBourcier interviewed Peter Heule, a live animals supervisor at the Royal Alberta Museum, about bugs. Originally aired on The Gateway Presents, we’ll hear about butterfly migration, what animal science is all about, how kids understand bugs better than grown ups think, and what a wild world there is left to discover!

The Good News: The Big Bee!

In light of the bad news about insect populations, there is hope! Recently, the world’s BIGGEST BEE, thought extinct for 38 years, has been found alive on the Indonesian islands of the North Moluccas. As long as an adult thumb, with jaws like a stag beetle and four times larger than a honeybee this dinosaur of a bee continues to be threatened, particularly by deforestation for agriculture, but the very fact that it persists suggests that extinction is not inevitable! Hannah Cunningham explains in this ecobabble the ways that we can all help pollinators keep on keeping on!

From planning what you plant, building bee hotels (a simple DIY bee hotel) to reducing your use of pesticides, there are many ways you can make your world more pollinator friendly

Related Links

National Geographic

The Guardian

Environmentalism and Student Politics

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This week on Terra Informa, we’re talking about all things Sustainability. Listen in to hear what our UAlberta undergraduate SU presidential candidates, Akanksha Bhatnagar and Andre Bourgeois are thinking about the future of sustainability resources on campus, the position they are taking on the environmental issues of today, and a sneak preview of their platform. Then we’ve got you covered with this week’s environmental events. Happy Listening!

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Headlines

B.C. Provincial Budget Fund 1 Billion$ for climate action

The breakdown is as follows: $107 million will incentivize zero-emission vehicles and fund new charging stations. $58 million will go towards increasing energy efficiency of buildings and $18 million will help Indigenous and remote communities move to cleaner energy. Industry, who are responsible for the majority of emissions, will get $168 million in incentives to reduce their greenhouse gases. Another $299 million is allocated for initiatives that have not yet been developed or finalized, allowing new programs to get up and running quickly. $111 million over three years to fight wildfires, including response and prevention, and another $13 million for forest restoration.

There will also be:

  • A new child tax credit, giving families as much as $3400 dollars a year for children under 18.
  • Eliminate interest on provincial student loans
  • Increased support payments to extended family members who care for children when their parents can’t.
  • A raise $179/month for Foster parents
  • Increased income and disability assistance rates by $50 a month
  • And a plan to decrease poverty projected to be released in the Spring

Protecting Water in Ontario’s First ever Green Bill

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De-Extinction: Should We Resurrect Extinct Animal Species?

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Giant Tortoise in Floreana Island’s breeding program (photo courtesy of galapagos.org).

What if we could bring extinct animal species back from the dead? This week, Terra Informer Sofia Osborne brings us a story about de-extinction: the use of selective breeding, cloning, and genetic engineering to “resurrect” extinct species. This technology poses a lot of moral and ethical questions—would these “de-extincted” animal species be authentic? Could they ever be wild? Do we owe it to the species we’ve driven to extinction to bring them back? And who should decide whether we use this technology? Listen now to dive into these questions and more.

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Reading List: Looking for more information on de-extinction? Check out these reads:

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Zoological illustration of Passenger Pigeons from 1907 (Wikimedia Commons)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Talking Indigenous-led Environmental Assessment with The Firelight Group

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This week on Terra Informa, we have an interview with Dr. Ginger Gibson, one of the directors and founders of the Firelight Group, an organization that works to support Indigenous peoples and governments defending their rights and their land. Terra Informer Dylan Hall spoke with Ginger about the Firelight Group and the successes they’ve seen, particularly in Indigenous-led environmental review as a route for Indigenous Nations’ to express their right to self-governance despite a colonial Canadian state. More information about the Firelight group can be found at their website: www.thefirelightgroup.com, and the report on Indigenous-led environmental review spoken of in the interview can be found here.

Headlines

85 people have been arrested after protesters occupied five bridges in London, England on Saturday, November 17th in one of the largest acts of civil disobedience in UK history. The blockade was organized as part of a campaign run by Extinction Rebellion, a new group that aims to force governments to recognize and treat the threats of climate change and extinction as a crisis. Extinction Rebellion has organized various other acts of protest during the month of November, resulting in an additional 60 people being arrested for acts of civil disobedience. This Saturday was the climax of two weeks of protest, with approximately six thousand people taking part in the campaign. The group is calling for governments to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025 and to establish a “citizens assembly” to device an emergency plan of action. Extinction Rebellion now has offices based in central London and has eleven international events planned to take place in Canada, the United States, Germany, Australia, and France.
More information here: https://rebellion.earth/

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Photo by Forest and Kim Starr

Advice from Buffy Sainte-Marie

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This week on Terra Informa, we hear some of Buffy Sainte-Marie’s advice for young people – words of wisdom for young activists, how music can be an expression of play, and how creativity is a connection to the Creator. Terra Informer Sydney Karbonik and three of her friends get to choose one question each to ask Sainte-Marie at the Edmonton Folk Fest this past summer.

Then we get to dig into the archives and hear from Eriel Derange, an indigenous rights advocate and a member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. Deranger highlights the climate crises 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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Headlines

On the evening of Tuesday, October 9th, a natural gas pipeline operated by Enbridge ruptured, starting a large fire just north of Prince George, BC. [click here]

A massive oil refinery explosion, operated by Irving Oil, has caused a thick black smoke to cover the east side of the Saint John’s, NB. [click here]

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Youth Voices on Climate Change

In this week’s radio documentary, reporter Andrea Wiebe follows the experiences of youth from around the world as they collaboratively prepare and present a paper on climate change at the International Panel on Climate Change conference held in Edmonton in March.

The group of students collaborated via video chat in the months leading up to the conference in the hopes of bringing youth voices to the conference and influencing policy on climate change internationally. The topic they focused on was reflected the theme of the conference: cities and climate change.

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What’s the Deal with Canada’s updated Environmental Legislation?

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Photo by Ezra Jeffrey on Unsplash

You may have heard the news that last month the Canadian Federal Government overhauled a number of different pieces of legislation including the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, Navigable Waters Act, Fisheries Act and the National Energy Board Act. These pieces of legislation inform the way that government protects the environment so these changes are significant. What will this all mean and how will these changes affect how implementation of legislation? No need to go read the new acts! Save yourself some time and let the Executive Director of the Environmental Law Centre explain the implications of these changes.

Terra Informer, Caitlin Macnab, spoke with Jason Unger to discuss whether these changes spell out greater transparency, public participation and environmental protection. Listen on!

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Making Winter Cities Accessible

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This week we dug into the archives and found a story from last year. In February of 2017, Edmonton hosted the city’s second Winter City Shake Up – a conference that addresses how we can make our cities more lovable, healthy, safe, and accessible and ultimately how we can beat the odds and thrive in the city during the winter season. Guest contributor Jody Zink went to the conference and brings us a variety of interviews discussing solutions to combat the windchill blues by making cities more winter friendly.

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Photo by: Jeff Wallace

The Role of Municipalities in Climate Adaptation

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This week we’re reairing an episode from our archives! This past June Amanda Rooney and Charly Blais sat down with Danielle Koleyak, an environmental project manager with the city of Edmonton. We talked about how municipalities are taking leadership in climate mitigation while also making strides for adaptation. We also spoke with Danielle 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.

Since then it has been announced that the City of Edmonton will be hosting the inaugural  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cities and Climate Change Science conference in March 2018. For more information click here.

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What’s Happening

International Mountain Day

Canadian Mountain Network is hosting a Mountain Festival in celebration of International Mountain Day. There will be a number of fascinating and free events! Highlights include: Wade Davis, the Keynote speaker at the festival, speaking  about his book “Into The Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest”,  a panel discussion on biodiversity, contaminants, and Indigenous food security in mountain places, and a talk given by photo historian and University of Alberta Professor Colleen Skidmore on her new book “Searching for Mary Schäffer: Women Wilderness Photography”. 

Change for Climate Talks

On Thursday, December 7, the City of Edmonton is hosting the Change for Climate Talks, an event to inspire Edmontonians into climate action. The event at the Art Gallery of Alberta will feature 11 speakers who will each get 7 minutes to talk about a climate-change related topic. The speakers include Edmonton’s poet laureate Ahmed (Knowmadic) Ali, Anna Ho from Paths for People, and Edmonton’s historian laureate Chris Chang-Yen Phillips.

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Photo by: EROVIKOVA FOTO

 

 

Environmentally Themed Music: The Moulettes

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This week Terra Informer, Charlotte Thomasson, got in touch with UK rock band The Moulettes.  Formed in 2002, the band’s latest album, Preternatural, has taken on an environmental theme. Charlotte spoke with celloist Hannah Miller about the inspiration for Preternatural, as well as coral reefs, Bjork, and inspiring the masses to take on big issues!

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Photo by Linus Nylund on Unsplash