Your Fracking Answers + Warning: May Contain Climate Change

Industrial well and buildings on the horizon of a green field.

How do you deal with issues that seem too big to handle? Well, first, you learn about what the issue entails, and then take some action. Here at Terra Informa we bring you the nitty-gritty of what fracking actually is, what’s up with Alberta’s deregulated electricity market, and a smart answer to the behemoth of the problem that is climate change.

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What The Frack Do We Know?

For some it’s the dirty energy with the dirty-sounding name. For others, it’s a revolutionary new way to provide clean energy. We’re talking about fracking. You probably feel you belong in one camp or the other—but have you thought about why? How well do you really know the actual risks and benefits of fracking?

Trevor Chow-Fraser and Danielle Dolgoy realized they didn’t even know exactly what fracking is. So they researched and talked with experts who do. This story brings together the expertise of Dr. Avner Vengosh, Dr. Daniel Alessi, C. Alexia Lane and Dr. Rick Chalaturynyk. All together, we answer three big questions that we found you had about fracking.

+Bonus! Extended cut with expert policy recommendations starting around the 15 minute mark.


Climate Change Politics and Environmental Security

Terra Informa March 8:Climate Change and Environmental Security (Listen/Download)

On this week’s show, David Kaczan and special guest correspondent Stephen Smiley investigate the emerging issue of environmental security. Environmental issues are sometimes thought to be of concern only to idealistic greenies, wilderness lovers and gentle peacecnicks. But in their latest quadrennial strategic report, the hawks at the US department of defence voiced their own serious concerns – that environmental issues posed a threat to the security of nations. The potential effects of global warming on water supplies, agricultural output and access to valuable resources such as oil, risk being a cause of future conflict. On our own back door, a melting Arctic is opening up vast quantities of untapped mineral and oil wealth. Not surprisingly, military powers in the region are beefing up their fire power. Whilst no one is suggesting that war is imminent, climate change is already affecting diplomatic relations. In other parts of the world, the dangers are real.

Dr. Robert Huebert (Professor of Political Science and Associate Director of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary.)

Greenpeace International recently appointed long-time environmental activist Tzeporah Berman to lead their Climate and Energy campaign ( article). Berman is known in BC for her work during the Clayoquat Sound protests of the early 90s, she co-founded ForestEthics and currently heads PowerUp Canada. She has worked with companies such as Home Depot, Dell, and Staples to improve their environmental records and has won numerous accolades for her work over the past 20 years. But not everyone who looks through her resume has such a glowing opinion of it. In fact, there are members of the environmental movement who are so concerned about her new position within Greenpeace that they’ve launched a campaign against her. Today Steve speaks to Macdonald Stainsby, one of the authors of the newly created website

Greenpeace Greenwash: Greenpeace International hires torchbearer Tzeporah Berman as chief climate campaigner (Vancouver Media Co-op)

Terra Informa March 8:Climate Change and Environmental Security (Listen/Download)

George Monbiot & Petropolis Review

This week show is hosted by Jade Gregg is your host and Jason Melnychuk has the news.

Green Building Activity Sustains Impressive Growth During 2009, Says New Market Assessment By Rob Watson

Ingersoll GM plant gets $90M retooling By CBC NEWS

David Prodan has a review of the Greenpeace film Petropolis by Peter Mettler , a new film about the Alberta tar sands.

Set to a haunting minimal score, Petropolis is a stark portrayal of man versus nature.  The power of this film comes from its blunt and uncensored nakedness.  Despite a lack of characters or plot, it manages to tell the difficult story of a land scarred by corporate greed and disregard for consequence.  There are periodic factoids captioning the film, detailing some of the basic facts around the tar sands. Introducing the film’s premise, all of the captions are set against footage of pristine landscapes, underscoring the travesty before its own elements are portrayed in million-colour clarity.  Like his previous work, most notably portraying Edward Burtynsky’s artistic vision in Manufactured Landscapes, Mettler has constructed a sweeping illustration of the effects of industry on the environment.  Shot mostly from a helicopter, we get a bird’s eye view of some absolutely lush Athabascan waterways and gorgeous expansive northern boreal forest, juxtaposed against the adjacent industrial wasteland that surrounds the boom of Fort McMurray.  The billow of smokestacks and aerial cityscapes all get their fair screen time, but the most effecting imagery comes from three evenly explored sequences, each titled ominously by their simple descriptors, each of these sequences span from distant to nearby perspectives, showing the immense organized scabs of extraction from afar, the thick bubbling boils of each pit and pond real close up, parades of antlike extractors and the labyrinthine twists of refinery. Films like Petropolis have an important place in our current drought of ethical media, bringing an untainted, realistic perspective to the public oversaturated by a glut of biased news stories.  There is much to be said for the film’s simple vernacular – straight up facts and bold, untouched imagery without any spectrum leaning commentary.  If seeing is believing, this kind of filmmaking comes as close to the truth as it gets.  And whatever you take from it being the truth, there is little doubt Petropolis exposes the tar sands project as a man-made blight on a once untouched landscape, and as an ethical dilemma pitting our thirst for oil against a rich natural history of untouched wilderness.

Rebekah Rooney brings us excerpts from a fantastic talk by author and activist George Monbiot. In it he draws ties between food shortages in the developing world and over-consumption in the West, as well as biofuels production and food colonialism.

Next weeks show is on local food and urban environmental issues and we are also launching our editorial blog so be sure to listen in at 5:00pm on CJSR 88.5FM and then check back here for lots of cool links and extra features.

Winter Bike Riding & Distinguishing Civil Disobedince from Terrorism

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Winter Bike Riding Tips From The Edmonton Bicycle Commuters Society

You may have noticed that it snowed last week. Many people take snow as a sign that it’s time to park the bike and hop on the bus, but this is not necessarily the case. More and more people are opting to ride year-round, even in Northern cities like Edmonton, where the temperature can drop below -30 Celcius. This week, Terra informa correspondent Rebecca Rooney interviews Keith Hallgren – experienced winter cyclist, bicycle mechanic, and board member of the Edmonton Bicycle Commuters Society – about winter cycling.

The Edmonton Bicycle Commuters’ Society (EBC) has been a leader in the Edmonton and area environmental and cycling community since 1980. Our goal is to support the bicycle as a healthy and ecologically sound mode of everyday urban travel.

Distinguishing Civil Disobedience from Terrorism with Professor Laurie Adkin

In the space of less than a month, Greenpeace activists have held protests at three facilities related to the Alberta tar sands. Last week premier Stelmach suggested that the activists have been getting off too lightly. Alberta’s solicitor general went a step further and compared the protesters to terrorists. Not surprisingly, those remarks have raised a fair bit of controversy. For more on the implications of politicians equating civil disobedience with terrorism, our correspondent Steve Andersen talked toUniversity of Albert Political Science Professor Laurie Adkin.

Professor Adkin is the author of several books and many paper, her most recent work is titled Environmental Conflict and Democracy in Canada

“By grounding theory in empirical study of the discourses and practices of social actors, political economy, and institutions, Environmental Conflict and Democracy in Canada charts a new course for research in environmental citizenship. It is essential reading for anyone interested in political ecology and the environmental challenges we now face.

The contributors to this path-breaking collection argue that environmental conflicts are always about our rights and responsibilities as citizens and the quality of our democratic institutions. They offer sixteen case studies that range from First Nations resistance to the coastal fisheries crisis, to regulatory battles over genetically modified crops, and to the implications of suburban sprawl. These essays bring the perspectives of science, environmental justice, social movement theory, and institutional design to bear on environmental conflicts, provide a critical assessment of green democratic theory, and present the case for a Gramscian understanding of environmental politics. (UBC Press)”

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Weekly News Report For Oct.13

Solicitor general stands by ‘terrorism’ remarks; Greenpeace lawyer accuses Stelmach of meddling in justice system
Source: EDM – Edmonton Journal By: Archie Mclean
Oct 07 03:15 Page: A4

Alberta’s solicitor general is defending controversial remarks he and the premier made about Greenpeace protesters, saying the comments were not an attempt to influence legal proceedings.

Weed killer debate reopens; Survey shows residents are divided on regulations
Source: CAL – Calgary Herald By: Kim Guttormson

Oct 07 03:05 Page: B1

A city committee will start to refine its lawn chemical bylaw today, making a decision on how far it wants to go in restricting the use of the products on public and private property.

A city survey found 18 per cent of Calgarians strongly support restrictions, even if it results in more weeds on their lawn, while 23 per cent strongly opposed restrictions.

As well, 30 per cent think pesticides are extremely harmful to the health of Calgarians, while 27 per cent perceived them to be slightly harmful or not at all harmful.

Science Matters: Countdown to Copenhagen (Science-Matters-Clima)
Source: CP – Canadian Press  By David Suzuki with Faisal Moola, David Suzuki Foundation

Oct 07 10:00

Many world leaders are already committed to negotiating an agreement in Copenhagen that is ambitious, fair, and binding, and many have started implementing solutions in their own countries. Unfortunately, Canada is falling behind. Our national targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions have been called ineffective, and our performance at a number of recent climate meetings has been labelled “obstructionist”……..

Our inaction comes from fear. Because Canada is a major oil producer, politicians and some businesspeople are afraid that reducing our reliance on fossil fuels will harm the economy. But that’s short-sighted. If we continue to rely on dwindling non-renewable energy supplies, we’ll be left in the dust as the rest of the world moves forward to a green economy, with innovation, jobs, and money from new technologies such as renewable energy infrastructure…….

As a northern nation, Canada is particularly vulnerable to climate change. The impact is magnified near the Earth’s poles, largely because of the loss of ice and snow coverage. Canada also has the longest marine coastline in the world, so sea-level rise would have a dramatic effect with enormous economic consequences. Many Canadians are already feeling the sting of climate change, especially in the North and in other communities that depend on forestry, fisheries, and agriculture……..

We can all take individual action to reduce our emissions, but ultimately, we must let our leaders know that we expect them to seize the opportunity in Copenhagen to create a secure and healthy future for our small blue planet and all the people who share it.

Collapse of the BC Salmon Run

10 million salmon were expected to return to BC´s rivers this fall, but in the end only a fraction of that ever materialized. On Saturday hundreds of people gathered in Vancouver to protest what they see as government inaction on the issue. To find out more, Steve talked to Rick Glumac, one of the rally´s organizers. Alex Hindle interviewed Canadian documentary film maker Shannon Walsh about her new film H2Oil which looks at the resource behind Alberta´s latest boom. John has your wrap up of the week´s headlines and Rebekah hosts.

For the audio of this show and other past shows check out our shows page on the CJSR 88.5 website.