Green Roofs

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:
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

Rachelle van Zanten on the Northern Gateway Pipeline

Today acclaimed slide guitarist Rachelle van Zanten speaks to us about her music, how it has been influenced by the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline, and local opposition to the pipeline in her home town of Burns Lake, BC. We also talk to ecologist Jason Aloisio about his work on green rooftops. Plus, we look into the movement to hold Canadian mining firms accountable for their actions overseas, and why such work is so badly needed.

Download this week’s show.

Enbridge workers remove a section of pipeline in 2010 after a repture spilled 800 000 gallons of oil into Michigan's Kalamazoo River. The posibility of a spill is a major concern for residents living along the route of Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline. Photo by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Rachelle van Zanten is a Canadian singer-songwriter and acclaimed slide guitarist. She’s released two solo albums, is a regular at North American music festivals, and tours internationally. However, she still manages to find the time to get involved with a variety of environmental happenings around her home town of Burns Lake, BC. One of the big issues facing the town is the possible construction of the Northern Gateway Pipeline, which if approved, would pump half a million barrels of diluted bitumen every day from Alberta to the pacific coast. Like many people in this part of the world, van Zanten is no fan of pipelines and their potential for spills. Our reporter Myles Curry met up with van Zanten on the shore of Francois Lake late last summer to talk about the pipeline proposal, her music, and how she’s combining the two.

Jason Aloisio is an urban ecologist, working at New York City’s Fordham University.  In August he was recognized by the Ecological Society of America at their annual conference in Austin, Texas. Terra Informa correspondent Rebecca Rooney caught up with him in Austin to ask about his work on green roofs.

More on this story: Jason Aloisio’s green roofs presentation, article in Nature News on Jason’s research, Jason’s blog

Canada is the mining capital of the world. But our miners don’t just dig up minerals here, they head overseas in the search of bigger finds and bigger profits. However, the environmental, human rights and labour laws in many countries are deficient by Canadian standards, and at the moment, Canadian companies can get away with acting in ways that would not be acceptable back home. Environmental and human rights groups aren’t impressed, and they’re pushing for change. Our correspondent David Kaczan travelled to Toronto to investigate the movement for mining accountability overseas.

Alberta sells off native prairie grasslands & New York’s green roofs

Last year there was public outcry when Albertans learned their province was planning to sell off a large parcel of prairie grasslands to a private company intent on plowing it under to become irrigated farm land. Now the same area is on the chopping block again and there’s a battle brewing. On today’s show we hear from one woman who’s fighting the development. We also talk to a researcher in New York who has been studying green roofs — rooftops that are planted to vegetation — and we explore the concept of the green tax shift.

Download this week’s show.

Prairie grassland in southern Alberta. Photo by Brett Snyder.

Public Land Sale in Alberta

In the Fall of 2010 Alberta’s Sustainable Resource Development ministry was criticized by media and public interest groups for what was seen as a secret attempt to sell off public land. If the deal had gone ahead, the 6,500 hectare parcel of native prairie grasslands in southwestern Alberta would have been converted to an irrigated potato farm. Amidst the public outcry the company, SLM Spud Farms, withdrew from the deal.

Now, a year later, the Ministry is trying once again to sell the land to intensive agriculture interests, but this time through an open bidding process. The land is currently habitat for several species at risk, is itself a rare ecosystem, and is actively used as grazing land by several cattle ranches. To find out more about this story, Terra Informa reporter Ian Mackenzie spoke to the Alberta Wilderness Association’s conservation specialist, Carolyn Campbell.

More coverage of this story:


Green Tax Shifts
What’s tax got to do with the environment? Well, potentially quite a bit, as David Kaczan explains in this week’s Ecobabble segment. Some economists and politicians are talking about a “Green Tax Shift”, a new way of designing the tax system to creates jobs while reducing pollution such as carbon emissions, traffic congestion, and acid rain. If you’ve heard the term “green tax shift” but never knew what it meant, this week we have the answer for you.

Green Roofs
Jason Aloisio is an urban ecologist, working at New York City’s Fordham University. He was recently recognized for his work by the Ecological Society of America at their annual conference in Austin, Texas. Terra Informa correspondent Rebecca Rooney was there and caught up with him to ask about his research into green roofs.

More information on this story:

News Headlines

Ottawa launches reviews of fracking industry
CBC News
Vancouver Sun
Calgary Herald
CBC News – Protest in Nova Scotia

US groups use obscure trade law against tar sands
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Winnipeg Free Press

BC introduces small appliance recycling
Vancouver Sun
Times Colonist
Kamloops Daily News
For depot locations and a complete list of acceptable items, visit

5000 litres of synthetic-based mud spills from offshore rig
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CTV News

Imperial Oil fined for spilling chemical into Mackenzie River
Calgary Herald
Toronto Sun
CBC News

Yukon election and the environment
CBC News

Federal report on geothermal shows huge potential
Vancouver Sun
CBC News
New Brunswick Business Journal