Sierra Jamerson was born into a family of talented leaders and 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 in the Tahltan Nation in British Columbia. 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 the oil and gas industry tried to start mining in the area, Sierra’s family was at the forefront of Tahltan resistance.
Chris Chang-Yen Phillips spoke with Sierra Jamerson during a live taping at the St. John’s Institute of Edmonton in 2013.
The Story of the Buffalo Child
Math, geography and… storytelling? Teachers are regularly focused on a particular style of education that focuses on a prescribed curriculum. However the standard curriculum can lack voice, perspective and meaning without including one key aspect. Story. Dwayne Donald has challenged the norms on how we view education and curriculum through his unique position in the academic and Aboriginal communities. Dwayne toes the space between how and what we teach with his powerful message on curriculum.
Yvette Thompson spoke with Dwayne Donald, Professor in the Department of Education at the University of Alberta in September 2014. Today, we’re playing the story of The Buffalo Child, as told by Dwayne Donald.
In the past month, we’ve been privileged to see some of the biggest names in Canada’s environmental scene, including David Suzuki and Naomi Klein. We’ll share our analysis of these latest tours, today. But we’re even more excited to bring you conversations with two activists who shared the stage with these bigger names. While lesser known, their life journeys and struggles are well worth paying attention to.
Terra Informa’s Chris Chang-Yen Phillips and Nikki Wiart walk the streets of Cold Lake First Nation, Alberta in search of residents willing to share their views on the summer oil spill.
This week on Terra Informa we are re-airing an important piece that was recorded in the area of the Cold Lake First Nation, where several leak sites have brought attention to Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.’s high-pressure steaming process of bitumen extraction. The story was originally aired nearly a year ago, and since then, not a lot has changed for the people who reside in this area, the CNRL operation there, or the Alberta Energy Regulator’s approach to projects of this sort.
The Wind River is one of six navigable rivers that make up the vast waterway system of the Peel River Watershed.
This week, don’t fear the tears. Terra Informa takes a hard look at a threatening future and has to ask the question, what are we thinking? We’ll get an analysis of the troubled plans for a parcel of Canada’s North that stretches far beyond the horizon. And a person who spends all their time thinking about the far future tries to get the rest of us to look beyond the next quarter. We’re examining the at times ineffective processes that we have in place to protect the land and plan for the future.
This week on Terra Informa, we ask whether it’s time to start filling your fridge with grubs and katydids. Plus, why activists in the Maldives believe climate change and democracy are so tightly interwoven, and how one BC First Nation has become self-sufficient on renewable energy.
A recent UN report suggests adding more insects to our plates. (Photo: Brandon Shigeta)
When we in North America think ‘delicious” our minds aren’t generally drawn to a fat and juicy caterpillar or a crispy chili-fried tarantula. However, after a recent UN report called for the world’s population to start consuming more insects as a more sustainable source of protein, fats, and minerals, while being easy and quick to produce, we may soon find insects of varying shapes and colours squirming their way onto our plates. Morgana Folkmann talks to entomophagist and advocate Dave Gracer about eating the things. Ryan Abram also shared his eating adventures in South East Asia.
Maldives is a tiny island nation in the Indian Ocean which has been described as “ground zero” for climate change. Former President Mohammed Nasheed, of the Maldivian Democratic Party, is known for his climate change leadership. He came to power in 2008 as the nation’s first democratically elected president, following 30 years of authoritarian rule. In 2009, President Nasheed garnered international attention by holding an underwater cabinet meeting to highlight the threat of climate change to low-lying nations. Dressed in scuba-gear, the president and his cabinet signed a document calling for global cuts to carbon emissions. On February 7, 2012, President Nasheed was ousted from power by the police and military, and replaced by Vice President Mohamed Waheed. Peaceful protestors in the cities of Male and Addu have been confronted by violence from Maldives security forces. In March 2012, Terra Informa correspondent Kathryn Lennon spoke with Zaheena Rasheed, a young Maldivian democracy and climate justice activist.
Intro: All across Canada, communities are working to improve their sustainability. Some are expanding their public transit systems, others are retrofitting public buildings to increase energy efficiency. But one town has really set the bar high. The T’Sou-ke Nation (http://www.tsoukenation.com/) on the southern tip of Vancouver Island has built such extensive photovoltaic and solar heating systems that they’re now largely self-sufficient. For much of the year, they actually sell power back to the grid. Their success has been drawing attention, and other communities are hoping to follow suit. For more on the story, Steve Andersen talked to Chief Gordon Planes and project manager Andrew Moore. This story originally aired back in October of 2011.
Canadian Environment Week
This week is Canadian Environment Week, with World Environment Day falling on June 5th. World Environment Day is part of the UN Environment Programme, and the theme for this year is “Think.Eat.Save… an anti-food waste and food loss campaigns that encourages you to reduce your foodprint.”
Windfall Ecology Festival – Newmarket
The Windfall ecology festival is happening in Newmarket ON from June 4-6. The event is free, family friendly will celebrate sustainable living and renewable energy with eco-exhibits, seminars, music, food, and environmentally conscious products and services.
This week, Chris Chang-Yen Phillips is up in a tree with Jamie Pratt, creator of the Girl Gone Wild documentary series. They’re investigating – hoo else? — Alberta’s owl species. Listen in to hear owl calls, the dark symbolism of putting an owl on your barn door, and the shocking truth about Harry Potter’s pet owl Hedwig.
From round-dance flash mobs in front of the Prime Minister House, and West Edmonton Mall, road blockades, and rallies across the country, Idle No More has been called a movement, an awakening…..
It has been called the largest, most unified, and potentially most transformative Indigenous movement at least since the Oka resistance in 1990.
Terra Informa’s Chris Chang-Yen Phillips and Kathryn Lennon bring us some interviews from Idle No More in Edmonton, on December 21st, 2012.
Great Backyard Bird Count
Whether you live in the heart of the city, out in the country, or on the Arctic coast, birds bring a little sunshine into the winter months. Every February, bird watchers team up for one of North America’s largest bird counts, but this isn’t an event that’s limited to professionals. From seasoned experts to novices, Canadians are breaking out the binoculars to help scientists better understand where birds are found and how their distributions change with time. Dick Cannings is one of the organizers of the Great Backyard Bird Count. Back in February, Steve Andersen called Dick to ask him how it works.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Halloween is upon us, and Terra Informa is celebrating with a visit to Alberta’s spookiest landmark: The Atlas Coal Mines. Delve deep into the dark recesses of Canada’s coal mining past, as we learn about Drumheller’s annual Big Boo! haunted mine tours.
Elsewhere in the show, we’ll take you to Fort McMurray to hear from supporters of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, as that band challenges Shell’s plans to expand its tar sands production. And we’ll cross the country to Ottawa, where PowerShift Canada is training hundreds of youth to fight for climate justice.
The Atlas Coal Mine is spookier than ghost-babies even on a regular day. Photo by Flickr user newelly54.
Terra Informer Kathryn Lennon spent the weekend at PowerShift 2012, which kicked off on Friday, October 26. A convergence of incredible youth from far and wide, PowerShift is raising critical questions about climate justice right now. Listen here as Kathryn brings us some on-the-ground audio from the events in Ottawa-Gatineau.
With abandoned mine shafts and shadowy equipment looming all around you, Drumheller’s old coal mine sites can be creepy places at any time of the year. But the Atlas Coal Mine goes even further at Halloween – into the paranormal. Today’s host, Chris Chang-Yen Phillips, called up Atlas Coal Mine Executive Director Linda Digby in Drumheller, Alberta to hear more about their haunt for a good time – and the true stories that inspired their Halloween extravaganza.
On Tuesday October 23, supporters of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation traveled up to Fort McMurray, Alberta. Their goal? To take a stand with the First Nation as its members presented their arguments to the Energy Resources Conservation Board and the Joint Review Panel.
The groundbreaking constitutional challenge is over the Shell Canada’s proposed Jackpine Mine tar sands project. The project would extend the tar sands further into the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations’ territories and violate the nation’s treaty rights. Terra Informers Trevor Chow-Fraser and Annie Banks spoke with and heard from some of the powerful speakers taking a stand for the ACFN.
The University of Alberta is holding its 5th Annual Sustainability Awareness Week from October 29 to November 1. Hosted by the U of A’s Office of Sustainability, this week has fifty different activities scheduled across the Augustana, North, Saint-Jean campuses. Space is limited for some events, so visit the Office of Sustainability website to RSVP today.
On Saturday, November 3, Toronto’s Second City comedy club will be featuring Laugh for the Environment, and improv comedy show. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Toronto Green Community—a grassroots, non-profit organization dedicated to engaging Torontonians in environmental initiatives at work, home, and everywhere in between. Tickets are $20 and available through Second City either online at secondcity.com or by phoning the box office
The Lower Mainland Green Team Strikes Again! Help clean up the shore of Iona Beach in Richmond, BC by clearing it of Scotch Broom—a pretty but persistent invasive plant species. The clean up takes place on Sunday November 4 from 9:45am – 1:00pm. Carpooling arrangements can be made on the Green Team’s Meetup page. Instructions, tools, and snacks will be provided. Participants are asked to RSVP for this event.
Today Erin Konsmo of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network tells us about the effects of pollution on the reproductive health of First Nations communities. We’ve got a review of To the Last Drop, a film about the impact of the Athabasca tar sands on downstream communities. And to round things off we have excerpts of a talk by Lesbia Morales of the Campesino Committee of the Highlands on Mayan resistance to mining in Guatemala — mining which is done mainly by Canadian companies.
Residents of Fort Chipewyan and their supporters gather outside the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers’ investors conference in 2008 to protest the impacts of the tar sands industry.
This week we’re excited to be kicking off a new segment on youth and environmental justice. I was fortunate enough to speak with Erin Konsmo of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network, an organization by and for Indigenous youth that works within the full spectrum of sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice across the United States and Canada. Oftentimes pollution is thought of as impacting the land and the water but what about the impacts that pollution, industry, contaminants and environmental degradation have on nearby communities and individuals and their sexual and reproductive health? And why is this critical for environmentalists to learn more about? What is environmental violence and how are communities defining, responding to and resisting environmental violence? Here is my interview with Erin.
To The Last Drop
In our latest Green Screen Movie Review, we take a look at “To The Last Drop”, a film that focuses on the impacts that the tar sands industry is having on the downstream community of Fort Chipewyan.
On Friday, June 1, Lesbia Morales spoke to a crowded room in the Stanley Milner Library in downtown Edmonton. Morales had traveled from Guatemala to speak about Mayan resistance to mining in Guatemala, mining which is done mainly by Canadian companies. Morales is the president of the CCDA or Campesino Committee of the Highlands, and she described a recent march that took over 1,500 people from the Northeast of Guatemala to the capital city, to share their demands with the president and the press. Morales described the impacts of mining to campesino and Indigenous people in Guatemala and the numerous projects and initiatives that the Campesino Committee of the Highlands engages in.
Rainbow Lake Oil Spill
An oil spill caused by a ruptured pipeline was discovered by employees of another energy company while they were flying over the site. An estimated 22 000 barrels of a mixture of oil and water have been spilled into northern Alberta’s muskeg. Some have estimated this to be the third largest oil spill in Canada’s history. The cause of the pipeline rupture is still unknown. The spill comes just less than a year after the Rainbow pipeline, owned by Plains All American Pipeline Ltd., spilled more that 28 000 barrels of oil in northern Alberta.
Lush Cosmetics Anti-Oilsands Campaign Lush announced this week plans to turn their 44 Canadian stores into polling stations to encourage customers to vote against Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline. Enbridge’s plans calls for bitumen extracted from the oilsands to be piped across Northern B.C. before being loaded on to supertankers for refining in California and Asia. Recognizing that the Harper government supports oilsands development, Lush is now prompting customers to join Indigenous and environmental groups in trying to stop the project. Storefronts show oil spill imagery and raises the question: “Your land. Your water. Your jobs. Your choice?”
Climate Change Responsible for Collapse of Harappan Civilization
The reason for the decline and collapse of the Harappan civilization, one of the world’s earliest and least known cultures, has been discovered. The Harappans spanned what is now Pakistan and were at their height about 4000 years ago. It was an urban society with large cities, a distinctive style of writing and extensive trade that reached as far as Mesopotamia. Unlike Egypt and Mesopotamia, however, the Harappans did not attempt to develop irrigation to support agriculture. Instead, they relied on the annual monsoons, which allowed the accumulation of large agricultural surpluses — which, in turn, allowed the creation of cities. The disappearance of this once great civilization has been a mystery, until now. Scientists have discovered that there was an eastward shift of annual monsoons around 3900 years ago, which citizens of the Harappan civilization followed. Their society collapsed, and people moved eastward, living instead in small farming communities, rather than large cities. Agricultural knowledge actually grew after this move, but the civilization’s culture and writing system were forgotten.
Science Prodigy Raymond Wang
Meet Raymond Wang, a fourteen year old from Vancouver. He’s a finalist at this year’s Google Science Fair. His eureka moment? Rain hitting his roof. Wang invented a piezo-electric rooftop panel that generates electricity from wind and rain. He hopes to combine it with a flexible solar panel to generate power no matter what the weather outside. The grand prize winner at the Google Science Fair wins $50,000 and a 10-day trip to the Galápagos Islands with National Geographic Expeditions.
This weeks show was originally aired in June 2010, however despite efforts from a number of different groups the Enbridge pipeline proposal to build an oil pipeline from the refineries in Edmonton to a new super tanker port in Kitimat on British Columbia’s coastline still remains on the table.
This week we bring you a special edition focusing on this proposal which has become one of the most controversial infrastructure proposals in decades. Later in the show we’ll examine environmental and economic perspectives on this proposal, but firstly we look at the potential effects on the First Nations communities along the route.
To build their controversial pipeline, Calgary Energy Company Enbridge will have to cross the territories of forty first nations. Unfortunately for Enbridge, these nations for the most part have registered staunch opposition to the development, despite the offer of millions of dollars in compensation. In June of last year, Terra Informa investigated some aboriginal perspectives in an effort to understand why opposition is so strong.
In a reoccurring segment we call Local Campaigns, Terra Informa correspondent Myles Curry investigated the No Tanks campaign. Based out of Vancouver, this organization is building community opposition to increased oil tanker traffic along Canada’s west coast.
There has been a significant push to proceed with the Northern Gateway Project and understanding what the potential economics of the pipeline is crucial to understanding why it is so important to Enbridge to proceed. Next on the show Andy Read is takes a critical look at the economics and politics of Canada’s petroleum market and where the Northern Gateway Pipeline fits in.
There have been a number of recent incidents with oil pipelines and oil spills in general. With the Northern Gateway proposal, there will of course be some environmental impacts. Terra Informa correspondents Marcus, Brett and Robyn investigated the potential impacts this project and the spin-off effects it will have on the environment.