Mountain Pine Beetle

Summer Reading

During the summer months there’s nothing quite like soaking up a little sun with the company of a good book. With that in mind, on today’s show we’re going to take a look at a few titles you may want to add to your summer reading list. We interview Adria Vasil, author of the immensely popular Ecoholic series, which aim to help consumers make healthier and more environmentally friendly purchasing decisions. We also  speak with Andrew Nikiforuk about his new book Empire of the Beetle, which examines the causes of the bark beetle outbreaks that have plagued North America in recent years. All that, plus your wrap up of the week’s news headlines.

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The cover of Andrew Nikiforuk's book, Empire of the Beetle, showing a bark beetle superimposed in front of a forest of orange trees.

Andrew Nikiforuk’s new book explores the causes of the recent bark beetle outbreaks that have plagued North American forests.

Ecoholic Body
Adria Vasil is an environmental journalist and author of the best selling Ecoholic series. She’s been a vocal advocate for a healthier environment for more than two decades. After witnessing the Exxon Valdez oil spill as a child, Vasil has dedicated much of her life to investigating the enormous environmental costs of corporate malpractice. But in 2004 her career took a distinctly different path when she began writing a column in Now! Magazine, one of Toronto’s alternative weekly’s. The column, offering tips on how people can mobilize to help the environment through the products they purchase and the daily decisions they make, has spawned three books in the now best selling Ecoholic series that cover everything from the most environmentally friendly cosmetics to how to detoxify your house. To find out more, Terra Informa’s Matt Hirji spoke with Adria Vasil about her career in environmental advocacy and how her latest book, Ecoholic Body, plays into her fight for a more sustainable Earth.

Empire of the Beetle
Andrew Nikiforuk just published an excellent new book on bark beetles, titled Empire of the Beetle. In it he explores some of the current theories on what’s caused the recent outbreaks which have devastated huge swaths of BC’s forests. Climate change is in there, but it’s certainly not the only culprit. Nikiforuk also does a great job of examining the social impacts of bark beetle outbreaks, which is a side of the issue that often gets forgotten about. And he puts the outbreak in western Canada into the larger context of bark beetle outbreaks that have erupted all the way from Alaska to Arizona over the last couple of decades.

Mountain Pine Beetle & New Research On Oil Sands Reclamation

On this week’s show Myles talks with a previous contributor to Terra Informa, Rebecca Rooney, whose recently published research into oil sands reclamation has gained attention in the scientific community and challenged the industry’s public claims  regarding the quality of their reclamation practices.  We also bring our focus to another devastating force in western Canada, the mountain pine beetle, in an interview with researcher Dr. Janice Cooke. All of this and our weekly eco-headlines will give you your fix for Canadian environmental news.

Download this week’s show.

From Dr. Rooney's media presentation on the paper 'Oil sands mining and reclamation cause massive loss of peatland and stored carbon'

News Headlines

World Water Forum declaration falls short on human rights, claim experts

MPs’ plan to streamline environmental oversight draws opposition fire

NDP says leaked documents show feds abandoning fresh water oversight

Environmental crunch worse than thought: OECD 2050 report

Mountain Pine Beetle

Mountain pine beetles are about the size of the head of a match. Even for an insect, they’re pretty insignificant. But their effect on forests is hard to put into words. Over the past decade they’ve turned the mountains and valleys of central BC from lush green to red, wiping out the province’s lodgepole pines for hundreds of kilometres on end. Now they’re slowly moving eastward, with the outbreak well under way in Alberta. What does this summer hold in store for Canada’s forests? And how far east will the mountain pine beetles ultimately advance? We speak with Dr. Janice Cooke for the latest on the outbreak.

Bonus Content: Interviews with Andrew Nikiforuk and Dr. Dezene Huber

Peatland & Stored Carbon Loss Due To Oilsands Reclamation Plans

This week Terra Informa correspondent Rebecca Rooney took a break from reporting on the news, and instead made some headlines of her own. Rebecca holds a PhD in wetlands ecology from the University of Alberta and is the lead author of a new scientific study on the reclamation of the Alberta oil sands. The study quantifies for the first time the changes in the ecology and ecological services offered by the areas which are to be reclaimed after mining operations are complete. Terra Informa correspondent Myles Curry met up with Dr Rooney to get a summary of what these new findings reveal about the tar sands’ cumulative impacts.