Idle No More

Winona LaDuke and Replanting Ontario’s Wild Rice

In the spirit of the Idle No More protests currently sweeping across Canada, this week Terra Informa digs into the archives to focus on two inspiring First Nations leaders. First we bring you an interview with prominent Anishinaabe/American environmentalist Winona LaDuke. And second, we’ll meet James Whetung and learn of his quest to restore wild rice to Eastern Ontario’s battered waterways. Finally, we’ll let you know what’s happening in environmental news this week.

Winona LaDuke and Replanting Ontario's Wild Rice

T-Shirt photographed (and owned) by Flickr user bicyclemark

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Winona LaDuke

Winona LaDuke is an Anishinaabe environmental activist, economist and writer. She spent her entire career as an unflagging advocate for food and energy sustainability. She’s the kind of person who can tell you centuries of history about the corn her community grows, and then rally it together to build a wind turbine. She ran as the U.S vice presidential nominee for the United States Green Party in 1996 and 2000, and she remains a leader around North America on issues of locally based sustainable development. Terra Informa correspondent Matt Hirji spoke with Winona LaDuke from her home on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota last January.

More information: Winona LaDuke’s TedxTC Talk – Seeds of our Ancestors, Seeds of Life, Honour the Earth

Replanting Ontario’s Wild Rice

Everyday we hear stories about people polluting rivers, chopping down sacred forests or pushing species to the brink of extinction. Such stories make it easy to lose faith in humanity. Never fear though – correspondent Chris Chang-Yen Phillips brings you a story about James Whetung, a member of southern Ontario’s Curve Lake First Nation, who is trying to give something back to the environment for a change. Wild rice is considered a sacred part of Anishinaabe culture, but was virtually wiped out in waterways in Ontario in the 20th century. James Whetung is working hard to replant beds of wild rice in lakes in his area, and teach others how to harvest it again. Tune in to find out more on why he is trying to revive this plant’s place in the watershed, and in his community.

More on this story: Visit Our Table, Northumberland Today (p. 25)

What’ Happening

Overcoming Chronic Food Insecurity

This Wednesday January 9th, The University of Ottawa will host a conference on “Overcoming Chronic Food Insecurity.” Presented by Humanitarian Coalition and the Food Security Policy
Group, this daylong event will feature a session on coordinating food security efforts; an evaluation of the 2011 East Africa Drought Response; and a panel discussion on chronic food crises and ideal humanitarian outcomes. Jennifer Clapp, Professor & Faculty of Environment Chair in Global Environmental Governance at Waterloo University will be guest speaking at this event. Those interested in attending are encouraged to RSVP ASAP.

More Information: Humanitarian Coalition

Travelling 11,000km to Fight Climate Change

Concerned about climate change, but couldn’t make the UN Climate talks in Qatar? Don’t sweat it! On Tuesday January 15, the Saskatchewan Environment Society is bringing last year’s climate talks to the Frances Morrison Library in Saskatoon. Come learn about the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change; the negotiations at Doha in December; and how to get involved yourself, starting at home. The evening will feature guest speaker Megan Van Buskirk, a youth delegate to the 2010, ‘11, and ‘12 UN Climate Negotiations. This event marks the first of a seven part speaker series on sustainability, and best of all it’s free!

More information: Environmental Society

Film Screening—Forks Over Knives

A film screening of “Forks Over Knives” will take place at the Annette Library in Toronto, ON on January 15. “Forks Over Knives” is a food for thought documentary that explores the connection between degenerative diseases and diet, specifically when it comes to processed and animal-based foods. This event runs from 6:15-8:15pm, so don’t rush out on the bill; stick around to chew the fat at the discussion afterwards. A guest speaker from the High Park Veg Group is also expected to attend. This event is hosted by Green 13 and the screening is free so come on down for an eyeful and an earful. Warning: you might walk away hungry for change.

More information: Forks Over Knives, Toronto Public Library

Invest with Conscience

Just because money is green, it doesn’t mean that our investments are too. On Wednesday January 16th, you can learn about “Socially Responsible Investing” or SRI and what it means to be a “Green Investor.” This event is hosted by Green Calgary, a registered charity driven towards making Calgary a more sustainable city. Attendees will get to hear from Gary Hawton, CEO of Meritas SRI Funds and a key player in the expansion of the SRI market in Canada. This event takes place at the Hillhurst United Church in Calgary Alberta.

More information: Eventbrite

Explore the Enchanted Isles!

On Monday January 21, Nature Manitoba will be hosting a presentation on Manitoba’s Enchanted Isles – the remote islands of Lake Winnipeg’s North Basin. Join Dr. Randall Mooi, Curator of Zoology for the Manitoba Museum, who’ll share some of his finding, ranging from rare and unexpected wildlife to the downright strange, like spiders that live in carnivorous plants. The event will be held at the Franco-Manitoban Cultural Center in Winnipeg and begins at 7:30pm, so don’t be lake—err, late. Admission fee is $3, or $2 if you’re already a member.

More information: Nature Manitoba

Updrafts and Uprisings

Updrafts and Uprisings

Northern Saw-Whet Owl photographed by Rick Leche

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Girl Gone Wild: Owls

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.

More Info:

Idle No More

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.