indigenous rights

Indigenous Rights, Climate Action and Storytelling

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Protesters gathered outside the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers Investors Conference, June 16, 2008. Photo by ItzaFineDay via Flickr

This week on Terra Informa, we dive into the archives to bring you two pieces with an indigenous focus. First Dwayne Donald, a Professor in the Department of Education at the University of Alberta emphasizes the importance of storytelling in education through his unique position in the academic and Aboriginal communities. Today, we bring you the story of The Buffalo Child, as told by Dwayne Donald. We also revisit an interview with Eriel Deranger, an indigenous rights advocate and a member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN). She highlights the current climate crisis faced by Indigenous peoples of Alberta and the moral and legal obligation of governments to work with Indigenous peoples in building progressive and aggressive climate change solutions.

Download episode now. 

Supreme Court vetos seismic testing plans in Nunavut

The Supreme Court of Canada has overruled the National Energy Board’s approval for a consortium of Norwegian energy companies to perform seismic testing near Clyde River, Nunavut. The Court found that the NEB did neither clearly nor sufficiently consult the community and failed to assess the impact of the proposed seismic testing on the treaty rights of the Inuit. Though Clyde River’s former mayor Jerry Natanine, who first took the case to court, has said that the community is not entirely opposed to development, he applauded the decision for the ‘seemingly impossible case.’

More on this story:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/supreme-court-ruling-indigenous-rights-1.4221698
http://www.nunatsiaqonline.ca/stories/article/65674clyde_river_scores_big_win_for_nunavut_inuit_at_the_supreme_court/

Fort McMurray aspen forests bounce back from 2016 wildfires

In Alberta, scientists with the Canadian Forest Service and the University of Alberta found that the Aspen forests damaged by the 2016 Fort McMurray fires are recovering. They have found around 100 new sprouts for every mature or dead tree counted and that growth is strongest where the fire hit the hardest. The findings will also be used to guide logging and oil sands companies reclamation efforts.

Legal action taken against 100 companies responsible for emitting majority of global greenhouse gases

This month, two California counties and a city decided to take legal action against 37 oil and coal companies for their roles in climate change-related damages including rising sea levels which may threaten San Francisco’s airport, BART subway, and highways. The group is claiming that these companies, like tobacco companies, misled the public and created a ‘public nuisance.’ This lawsuit follows a recent report that since 1988, 100 companies have been emitting more than 70% of global greenhouse gases This report affirmed a similar study published in 2013 which found that just eight companies have been responsible for more than 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions since 1885.

More on this story:
http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Marin-San-Mateo-County-sue-big-oil-over-climate-11294549.php
http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/08/just-90-companies-are-blame-most-climate-change-carbon-accountant-says
https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/jul/10/100-fossil-fuel-companies-investors-responsible-71-global-emissions-cdp-study-climate-change

Download program log here.

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Just Sustainability: Social Justice and Nature’s Rights

Lagoon and lush forest in Ecuador.

Lagoon and lush forest in Ecuador.

This week we are bringing sustainability-related pieces from the archives. First, we hear from Dr. Kelly Swing about how Ecuador has enshrined the rights of nature in its constitution. Then we hear an interview with Winona LaDuke, an indigenous economist about the effects of colonization on Indigenous economies and food systems. Finally, we bring you an interview with Julian Agyeman, chair of the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University about how sustainability should be considered holistically.

Download the episode.

Download the program log.

Nature’s Rights in Ecuador

When we think of a constitution we think of basic “human” rights. We, as humans, have the right to vote, the right to practice religion, the right to own property. But what about nature? Ecuador was the first country in the world to establish the rights of nature at a national level, including it in the 2008 constitution. Terra Informa’s Nicole Wiart talks to Doctor Kelly Swing of the Tiputini biodiversity station in Ecuador about how this constitutional change is great in theory, but in practice, there are a lot of hurdles to still overcome.

Winona LaDuke, Anishinaabe Activist

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 in 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.

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

Just Sustainability

Julian Agyeman is chair of the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University in Boston-Medford, Massachusetts. His research focuses on the intersections between social justice and sustainability, an idea which he terms “just sustainability.”. He describes “just sustainability” as “the need to ensure a better quality of life for all, now and into the future, in a just and equitable manner, whilst living within the limits of supporting ecosystems.” Kathryn Lennon spoke with him about the need for the sustainability movement to broaden its work beyond ecological and conservation issues, to include issues of inequality and social justice.

Image Credit: Alejomiranda, Pixabay.

What’s Happening?

Solar Trade Show: February 25th, Edmonton, Alberta

Free Admission

The Solar Trade Show is an event for everyone: homeowners, business owners, community organizations, job seekers, and Indigenous communities. Presentations and workshops will discuss careers in solar energy and how to finance solar energy projects. The event is organized by the Solar Energy Society of Alberta.

Click here for more info.