mining

Return of Misinforma

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Back by seasonal demand, it’s the return of Return of Misinforma: the show that turns up the heat on environmentalists. (For best results, return on April 1st).

We ask the questions that are too controversial for you to ask yourself—like what to do with Iceland? Do we really need water? Plus a special investigative feature on Canada’s radical, extremist environmentalists. And of course, it’s time for the annual Ezra Levant Award for Excellence in Excellence in Journalism!

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What’s Pissed Off Chris

Photo Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iceland

Terra Misinforma’s regular shock columnist Chris Chang-Yen Phillips has an idea he’d like to get off his chest. It’s about a certain Scandinavian nation that’s become a hot tourist destination for those in search of a union of lava fields and icy slopes.

Reflections on Water: A Debate

Another great use for water.

What’s water really good for besides hockey, hosing down activists, and raining on parades? As far as natural resources go, water’s just a drop in the bucket, and we’ve decided to wash our hands of it. But unlike most media outlets, we try to get you both sides of every story, even if the other is patently wrong. So, to stand up for the big blue—or green, or whatever colour gets you hippies out of bed these days—eco-conscious Canadian Nelly von Hoser joined us in studio for a short and shallow conservation—errr—conversation on the merits of water.

Spawns of Seitan: Canada’s Terrifying Ecoterrorists

You hear news on Terra Misinforma all the time about the misguided misdeeds of Canada’s environmentalists. Fortunately, our great government is starting to catch on. In recent years, politicians, pundits and police have all identified environmentalists as the leading threat to the nation. To tell us more, we’ve got Trevor Chow-Fraser, who went undercover in his fight to remain vigilant against domestic extremism in the name of environmentalism.

Our most excellent awards segment

(Photo Credit: http://www.canada.com/Ezra%2BLevant%2Bbrings%2Bback%2BMuhammad%2Bcartoons%2Bduring%2Blaunch/4637742/story.html)

The one and only Ezra Levant.

It’s that time of year when we celebrate the best of the best. Yes, it’s time to hand out the Ezra Levant Award for Excellence in Excellence in Journalism. In a tribute to the paragon of journalism that we, as Canadians, dream of reaching in our own work, the Ezra Levant Award for Excellence in Excellence goes to…

(Well, you’ll just have to listen to find out silly)

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Return of Misinforma

Flickr - Kanichat

Note: For best results, enjoy on April 1st, 2014.

It’s that time of year again! Spring has sprung across Canada and around the world. Why, consider all the lovely, errr, April showers that are gracing the east coast and central Canada. The blossoms are in bloom in Vancouver, at least. Whether you’re a gardener looking to get a head-start on seeding, or you’re in the ice-melter “Safe-T-Salt” racket, there may be something to gain from all the intensified solar heat due to the greenhouse gas effect and changing oceanic temperatures due to melting polar ice caps.

At Terra Misinforma, we’re always turning up the heat on environmentalists and this week’s no different. We ask the questions that are too controversial for you to ask yourself—like what to do with Iceland? Do we really need water? Plus a special investigative feature on Canada’s radical, extremist environmentalists. And of course, it’s time for the annual Ezra Levant Award for Excellence in Excellence in Journalism!

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A telling tailings tale and the disappearing Greater Sage Grouse

The Greater Sage-Grouse, an endangered bird, sits peacefully on the ground.

Sorry to be pushing you to extinction, Mr. Grouse, although you sure do look fabulous. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Wild Rose province bears two dubious distinction that we’ll explore this week. Alberta is home to some of Canada’s most endangered animals, and it is also the location of Canada’s worst ever coal tailings spill. Our reporters give you an update on the aftermath of October’s Obed Mine spill. But first, we explore the human stakes in the fight to save Canada’s Greater Sage-Grouse.

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Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: Act One

Over the winter holidays, Terra Informa will be re-broadcasting our three part series Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. Thanks for listening!

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In a show recorded before a live audience, Terra Informa brings you stories of spirituality and the way it shapes our attitudes to the natural world. Act One features two intimate and thought provoking segments. First, a singer-songwriter whose connection to BC’s Sacred Headwaters put her family at the heart of a major confrontation. Second, an interview with one of the world’s leading naturalists who grew up in the Bible Belt, but now lives in Ecuador.

Thank you to the St. John’s Institute of Edmonton for hosting this special night of live radio.

Download this week’s episode

(more…)

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: Act One

In a show recorded before a live audience, Terra Informa brings you stories of spirtuality and the way it shapes our attitudes to the natural world. Act One features two intimate and thought provoking segments. First, a singer-songwriter whose connection to BC’s Sacred Headwaters put her family at the heart of a major confrontation. Second, an interview with one of the world’s leading naturalists who grew up in the Bible Belt, but now lives in Ecuador.

Thank you to the St. John’s Institute of Edmonton for hosting this special night of live radio.

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Singing The Sacred Headwaters

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.

Further reading

Biology & The Bible Belt

Dr. Kelly Swing is the co-founder of the Tiputini biodiversity station in the Amazon, and in all respects, this guy has an impressive resume and an even more impressive google search. He’s a go-to source for organizations and people all over the world, including National Geographic and theh David Suzuki Foundation.

Kelly grew up in the bible belt of North Carolina, but has lived in Ecuador for the past 20 years. He was raised in a very Christian home, going to church sometimes up to three times a week. But from an early age, he has always been interested in nature. So, upon going to college, he focused on biology and chemistry, and somehow managed to keep a balance of both religion and science in his life.

Further Reading

Live Show Sponsors

The St. John’s Institute is a 95 year old cornerstone of Edmonton’s Ukrainian Orthodox community. It operates a student residential centre near the University of Alberta, and runs many educational, spiritual, cultural and outreach programs.

CJSR-FM is a Canadian campus-based community radio station, broadcasting at 88.5 FM in Edmonton, Alberta. Thes radio station is volunteer-run and seeks to enlighten and entertain through high quality and diverse programming that constantly challenges the status quo.”

Impacts of Resource Extraction on First Nations Communities

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.

Download this week’s show.

People with placards stand in front of a large black sign reading, "Tar Sands are Toxic".

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.

Erin Konsmo
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.

More on this story: Report on “The 2nd Declaration For Health, Life and Defense of Our Lands, Rights and Future Generations” (PDF)

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.

More on this story: Watch “To The Last Drop” on Aljazeera’s website, read the Indigenous Environmental Network’s report “Risking Ruin: Shell’s Dangerous Developments in the Tar Sands, Arctic and Nigeria” (PDF)

Lesbia Morales
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.

More on this story: Listen to Lesbia Morales’ full talk

News Headlines

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.

More on this story: Globe and Mail, Edmonton Sun, Huffington Post

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?”

More on this story: Toronto Star, Yahoo News

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.

More on this story: LA Times, Huffington Post, Eurekalert.org

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.

More on this story: Vancouver Sun, Vancouver Straight, Energy Harvesting Journal

All That Glitters: The Gold Special

This week on Terra Informa, we’re looking at the shiny element that has come to symbolize glitz, glamour, and gigantic mining controversies: gold. How did ancient societies bring gold up from the ground? Are Canadian gold companies good for Guatemala?  We speak to a Guatemalan organization that focuses on land rights and mining, and feature Toronto-based singer-songwriter Caleb Lance’s song ‘Gold.’ And this week we’re welcoming two new volunteers: Annie Banks and Jess Warren. Get ready for a show that really shines.

A thick bar of gold sits on a bed of gold coins

Gold: It’s in our necklaces, our laptops, and the fanciest desserts. But digging it up is rarely pretty. [Photo credit: BullionVault]

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Ecobabble: Gold
Shiny new volunteer Jess Warren brings us a look at the very first ancient gold mines in Mesopotamia, how much gold we’ve dug up worldwide, and some of the messy methods we use to extract it. Wonder no more about sluicing and heap leaching.

Gold in Guatemala
Are Canadian gold companies good for Guatemala? Goldcorp is one of Canada’s largest gold-mining companies. Based in Vancouver, it has been operating extensively in Guatemala for the last decade. A study in November 2011 from Tufts University, Searching for Gold in the Highlands of Guatemala, Economic Benefits and Environmental Risks of the Marlin Mine found that Guatemala receives only 42% of the mine revenues, and local communities receive only 5% of revenues, while the environmental risks posed to local communities are exceptionally high. At Goldcorp’s recent AGM in April, a shareholder proposal was presented calling for Goldcorp to take responsibility for adequate closure of the Marline Mine, to ensure that Guatemalans aren’t left with the long-term costs of clean-up.

Terra Informa correspondant Kathryn Lennon spoke with Oscar Lionel, with the help of a translator. Oscar is an employee of Ceiba, in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Ceiba is a Guatemalan organization that focuses on land rights, mining and food sovereignty. She also hears from Valerie Croft, a member of the network, Breaking the Silence.

More on this story: Another Guatemalan environmental activist (Oscar Galvez) attacked

Gold- Music by Caleb Lance
Caleb Lance is a singer-songwriter based in Toronto.  His music is influenced by his experience in the outdoors, he was a geography and environmental studies major at Wilfrid Laurier.  This song you’re about to hear, Gold, was inspired by the story of a man in Malartic Quebec, who was forcibly evicted from his childhood home to make way for a gold-mine project, by Osisko Mines. This is Canada’s largest open pit mine.Caleb is set to release his debut album, Keep My Name. This song Gold, is off his new album.

News Headlines 

Canadian food security issues raised by UN representative
On Wednesday May 16, United Nations special rapporteur on the right-to-food Oliver De Schutter raised concerns about food security in Canada. De Schutter also raised concerns about Canada’s relations with Indigenous people. In his report De Schutter described “a system that presents barriers for the poor to access nutritious diets and that tolerates increased inequalities between rich and poor, and aboriginal and non-aboriginal peoples.” Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq called De Schutter “ill-informed” and “patronizing.” In contrast, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami Mary Simon welcomed De Schutter’s findings.

More on this story: The Globe and Mail, Nunatsiaq, National Post

Federal government closes Experimental Lakes Area
This week, the Harper government announced the closure of Canada’s Experimental Lakes Area. The ELA is a world-renowned aquatic research facility that has been providing the globe with award-winning water research for more than 40 years. The government claims it is closing the 40 year program simply because it does not fit with their mandate.

More on this story: Net News Ledger, CBC.ca

Indigenous-led campaign launches report against Shell
The Indigenous Environmental Network and the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation are launching an Indigenous-led campaign against Shell and its projects. A report, entitled “Risking Ruin: Shell’s dangerous developments in the Tar Sands, Arctic and Nigeria”was publicly launched on Friday, May 18th in London, England. The report profiles the Indigenous communities impacted by Shell’s projects in places like Alberta, Alaska and the Niger Delta.

Report available online: Risking Ruin
More on this story: Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and the Tar Sands, Indigenous Environmental Network

Tahltan Nation opposes Red Chris Mine
The Tahltan Nation has expressed opposition to the Red Chris copper and gold mine. In specific, the Tahltan Nation opposes the Province’s decision to issue a Mines Act permit to Red Chris. The proposed mine would be a 30,000 tonne per day open pit mine in the Todagin Plateau area of Tahltan territory. The mine would seriously damage Todagin Mountain and would turn a pristine valley and a lake into a tailings pond, according to a report from the Tahltan Central Council.

More on this story: Tahltan Central Council (PDF), The Globe and Mail, APTN

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.

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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.

Mining in the Old Growth Forests of Ontario’s Temagami

Years ago, the Ontario government promised to turn the old growth red pine forests of Ontario’s Temagami region into a provincial park. The catch was that they first had to wait for old mining claims in the area to lapse. But last year a small Calgary-based company renewed one of its mining claims in the Temagami, putting hopes of a park in jeopardy. Today we talk to long time resident Bruce Hodgins about what the move will mean for the area. We also take a look at the environmental problems that arise from palm oil plantations, and we’ll hear about the benefits of back yard composting and how you can get started. All that, plus a visit by the Raging Grannies, in this week’s edition of Terra Informa.

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Anima Nipissing Lake in the Temagami region of Ontario. Photo by Robert Body.

The Toronto Star recently revealed that Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources wants to open up 340 acres of red pine forest in northern Ontario’s Temagami region for mining. The Wolf Lake Forest Reserve is part of what’s believed to be North America’s largest old-growth red pine forest. It’s one of many relatively undisturbed areas the provincial government promised years ago to turn into provincial parks once old mining claims there lapsed. That’s how the Chiniguchi Waterway Park beside the Wolf Lake reserve was created. But the small Calgary-based company Flag Resources renewed one of its mining claims in Wolf Lake last year, and it appears the Ministry of Natural Resources would like to support its activity there. They’ve said that if the reserve is reclassified for “general use,” they’ll be adding other land to Chiniguchi Waterway Park to replace it. We spoke to Bruce Hodgins, the President of Temagami’s Camp Wanapitei, to find out more. Hodgins was arrested when he was part of a peaceful protest in 1989 against expansion of logging near Camp Wanapitei, and is very concerned about the plans to allow more mining in the Wolf Lake area.

More on this story: CBC News , Sudbury Star, CBC Archives (1990), OtterTooth

Tropical deforestation poses threats to global biodiversity and the livelihoods of forest peoples. It is also a driver of climate change, as the tropical forests store much more carbon than the land covers that typically replace them. In the tropical forests of Southeast Asia, logging is frequently followed by conversion to palm oil plantations. An industry moratorium on buying soybeans from deforested areas in Brazil that began in 2006 greatly diminished soy’s role as an agent of deforestation, and proved that reducing the demand for commodities that drive deforestation is effective at limiting further deforestation. The Union of Concerned Scientists hopes that a similar strategy will work with palm oil in Indonesia and Malaysia. Rebecca Rooney brings us the full story.

More on this story: Huffington Post, Madison and Rhiannon vs the Girl Scouts, Project ORANGS, Girls Scout Cookies FAQ – Palm Oil

North Americans households are notorious for the amount of garbage they produce, but did you know that there’s a simple, painless way to put a huge dent in the amount of material you send to the landfill? For the average home, somewhere around 40% of solid waste is organic material. That means that an earthworm composter under the kitchen sink or a compost heap in the backyard can cut by almost half the number of garbage bags you put out on the curb each week. To find out a little more about composting and how it works, we caught up with Anna Vesala. She completed the City of Edmonton’s three week Master Composter & Recycler program several years ago, and now provides information about waste reduction at community events around the city

Hydroelectric in Labrador, Solar in BC & the Overseas Conduct of Canadian Mining Firms

On today’s show, we talk to a BC First Nation that’s leading the way in energy self-sufficiency. They tell us why they built one of the largest solar arrays in the country, and how they did it. We also investigate the proposed Lower Churchill hydroelectric project in Labrador. Proponents tout it as a source of carbon-free power for generations to come, but is it really green? Plus, we look into the conduct of Canadian mining companies operating overseas. Some companies’ environmental and human rights records are drawing the ire of NGOs. We investigate efforts to hold them responsible.

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Churchill Falls, fourty years after having its water diverted by the Upper Churchill hydroelectric project. Photo by Infernocow.

Overseas Conduct of Canadian Mining Companies

Globally, Canada is a giant in the mining industry. 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 lacking by Canadian standards. And at the moment, Canadian companies can get away with behaviour that wouldn’t be acceptable back home. Environmental and human rights groups aren’t impressed, and they’re pushing for change. Today we investigate efforts to improve the accountability of mining companies operating overseas.

Solar Powered First Nation in BC

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 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, we talk to Chief Gordon Planes and project manager Andrew Moore.

Lower Churchill Hydro Project in Labrador

One of the few environmental issues that made it onto the table in this spring’s federal election was a proposal for a hydroelectricity project on the Lower Churchill River in Labrador. And although it does promise huge amounts of carbon-free electricity, much of it for export, some people in Labrador are pretty concerned about the environmental impacts of such a megaproject.