Extreme Storms

Dad’s World Was My Refuge

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Photo by Sofia Osborne

This week on Terra Informa, Sofia Osborne (a Terra Informer herself) reads us a piece she recently wrote for The Tyee, an independent, Canadian, online magazine. The story recounts Sofia’s experience being isolated on Saturna Island this past December during the worst wind storm in BC Hydro history. We’ll chat about the piece, the future of dealing with these massive storms, and journalism!

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Supreme Court rules on Redwater

On January 31, Canada’s Supreme Court overturned a 2015 lower court decision regarding the Redwater Case, ruling that the Redwater Energy Corporation cannot walk away from the clean-up costs of abandoned wells after claiming bankruptcy.

Back in 2015, Redwater Energy Corporation went bankrupt and it’s trustee argued the energy company should be able to pay back their creditors before they finance the cleaning up of old oil and gas wells. The lower courts agreed with the trustee, meaning that energy companies were able to walk away from old wells. The Orphan Well Association and the Alberta Energy Regulator appealed the lower court’s decision, and the case ended up in the Supreme Court, where the 2015 ruling was overturned. This means that now, bankruptcy cannot be used as a license to ignore environmental clean-up.

Alberta has a LOT of abandoned, or ‘orphaned’ wells. Recent numbers released by the Orphan Well Association show that there are 1,553 abandoned wells in the province  that still need to be reclaimed. Sharon Riley, who you might remember from Sofia’s interview about environmental investigative journalism that we aired earlier this year, published a great walkthrough of the Redwater case for The Narwhal. 

Mysterious Guillemot deaths

The bodies of hundreds of dead guillemot birds have washed up in the Netherlands over the past month. It is estimated that 20,000 of the seafaring birds have died, with the cause of death currently unknown. Hundreds of sick birds have been taken to sanctuaries for treatment, and dissections have been performed on the bodies of deceased birds to try and determine the cause of death. Biologist Mardik Leopold stated that the otherwise clean birds were “skinny, with gut problems, which is indicative of starvation”. One suggested cause of this mass casualty  is the loss of 291 shipping containers during a storm in early January. The contents of the lost containers is currently unknown. 

Recompose corpse composting

Do you often think about how you can minimize your environmental footprint?

What about…. after death?

A Washington State bill has passed the state Senate, and is now headed to the House. If it passes the House, it would make be legal to compost human remains in the state of Washington. A company called Recompose, founded by Katrina Spade, hopes to offer people the choice to be composed into soil after they die, instead of being buried or cremated. Recompose has been working with the University of Washington to assess the safety of this composting process in terms of environmental and human health. The process is reported to use approximately one eighth of the energy required for cremation. The Recompose founder states that burial and cremation must remain for those who prefer it, but that the composting of human remains will provide another option for those who are interested in a greener final footprint.

Download program log here.

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George Kourounis Chasing Climate

California National Guard help battle the Rim Fire near Yosemite

Photo by: California National Guard 

This week on Terra Informa, we dip into the archives to bring back an interview with the infamous George Kourounis, a world-renowned storm chaser, adventurer, and host of the international TV show Angry Planet. His work has taken him around the world to document extraordinary natural events like tornadoes and bizarre wildlife phenomena. Terra Informer Dylan Hall spoke with George Kourounis about the different calibers of fear he’s experienced in his amazing career, documenting the Fort McMurray wildfire days after the city was reopened, and documenting climate change.

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Download program log here.

Photo by: California National Guard 

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.