Conspiring with Plants

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At Terra Informa, we conspire with our houseplants! [Top row, left to right: Andrea Wiebe, Sofia Osborne, Amanda Rooney. Bottom row, left to right: Hannah Cunningham, Shelley Jodoin, Carter Gorzitza]

Maybe you’ve heard of the Anthropocene, but have you heard of the Planthropocene?

After reading an article entitled “How to grow livable worlds: Ten not-so-easy steps“, Terra Informer Amanda Rooney wanted to share the idea of the Planthropocene with listeners! Amanda got to speak with the author of the paper, Natasha Myers, about her relationship with plants, planthropology and how you might reconceptualize your relationship with plants.

Dr. Natasha Myers is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at York University. You can find many of Dr. Myers publications, articles and other resources on her website.

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Headlines Links

The Green New Deal – link 1, link 2

Norway’s Divestment from oil and gas exploration stocks – link 1, link 2, link 3, link 4, link 5

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Cyclist’s Death, Plant ID Cards, and CoalWatch

This week on the show, we’re hopping on our bikes and asking why plants need ID cards. We take you out on the streets and to a cycling town hall to try to figure out how a death can change the way we see cycling safety in Edmonton. Then we speak to the creators of a set of indigenous plant identification cards in Victoria. Finally, we stick around on the island to catch up with a local campaign fighting a coal project near Comox.

On October 2nd, tune in to CJSR 88.5 FM in Edmonton to hear Terra Informa live! Our cycling story on the podcast this week is a preview of our live show theme: Life and Death. It’s all part of FunDrive week at CJSR, where we ask listeners like you to help us keep the magic going at the radio station. Thanks for your support!


Memorial bike for Isaak Kornelsen on Edmonton’s Whyte Ave. (Photo credit: Chris Chang-Yen Phillips)

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Death’s impact on cycling in Edmonton

Sometimes no matter how hard you push an issue, it barely budges. Then a tragedy happens, and suddenly everything comes into focus. That’s what happened in Edmonton a little while ago. Whyte Avenue is one of the busiest streets in Edmonton, and one of the most dangerous for bikes. But it took the death of a young cyclist in August to get the whole community talking about it. Chris Chang-Yen Phillips has the story.

More on this story: Edmonton Bicycle Transportation Plan, Conrad Nobert’s blog at Green Edmonton

ID cards for plants

Have you ever wondered about which plants are indigenous to the area you are living in?  What are the different uses for the plant and what are the plant’s names?  What has contributed to the dwindling of indigenous species of plants in some areas and what are the impacts?  Terra Informa’s Annie Banks asked John Bradley Williams and Jennifer McMullen to tell us about a set of Indigenous plant identification cards that they’ve created.  The cards help readers identify plants on the unceded Coast Salish Territories of Vancouver Island.  John Bradley and Jen describe the cards and the ideas behind their creation.

Cards will be available for pick up and purchase at the Saanich Adult Education Centre. c/o Diana Henry, SAEC Admin Assistant, 250-652-2214 (ex. 237) or by email:
You can also purchase the cards on Etsy (currently out of stock).

Local Campaigns: CoalWatch

Sticking around on Vancouver Island, locals are getting hot under the collar about a proposal for a new coal mine in the Comox valley.  The proposal, known as the Raven Coal project, would see construction of an underground mine to extract around one million tonnes of coal for export per year.  The coal would be trucked to the island’s west coast, loaded onto ships and sent to Asian steel mills.  The company, Compliance Coal, says 350 full time jobs would be created along with millions in royalties.  They also say that operations won’t affect water catchments and are hidden from view.  That hasn’t stopped the criticism rolling in though.  To find out what the locals are concerned about, we spoke to John Snyder, president of anti mining group ‘Coalwatch’.  From our archives, correspondent David Kaczan has this week’s “local campaigns” interview.

More on this story: CoalWatch, Newswire, Parksville Qualicum Beach News

Native Plants, Survival Celebration Camp and Wild About Bison

On this week’s show, we take a ramble through a garden with Edmonton’s Naturalization Group to learn about the importance of native plants species. Then we hear about the Survival Celebration Camp for Sustainable Earth, in Northern Saskatchewan. Finally, we bring you the surprising success story of bison conservation in a new segment called Girl Gone Wild. We’ll close off with a run-down of “What’s Happening” in environmental events across the country this week.

Download this week’s episode.

Jamie Pratt, filmmaker and creator of the "Girl Gone Wild" documentary series

Jamie Pratt, filmmaker and creator of the “Girl Gone Wild” documentary series

News Headlines

BC Publisher Proposes Kitimat Oil Refinery
BC newspaper publisher David Black is proposing what he calls a safer, greener twist on the Northern Gateway Pipeline story. The owner of over a hundred community papers and websites wants to build an oil refinery in Kitimat. Black says the $13 billion refinery would produce diesel, gasoline and kerosene for export to Asia.
Brazil court suspends construction of Amazon dam
A federal judge in Brazil has ordered a halt on construction of the massive Belo Monte hydroelectric dam. Local indigenous people occupied the construction site during June’s Rio+20 conference. Members of five local tribes being displaced by the project say the builders and the government have not lived up to their promises. The builders initially promised things building health facilities and schools, and roads for communities who used to get around by boat, whose river routes are already drying up. Judge Souza Prudente said construction on the dam must be suspended until the indigenous groups are properly consulted. The Norte Energia consortium building the dam will have an opportunity to appeal the judge’s decision.
Toronto gets a peek at new LRT cars at expo
If you’re visiting Toronto’s CNE summer expo this month, you’ll get a sneak peek at the new cars for the Eglinton LRT line. The provincial transit agency Metrolinx is showing off the prototype for the two of the cars from its new light rail vehicles. The Eglinton Avenue line will create a much faster east-west transit route through Toronto, but its future has been tossed up and down many times over the last year by local politicians. The CNE runs in Toronto until September 3rd.
More on this story: Toronto Star, Torontoist

Native Plants of Edmonton and Area

When you’re walking through a park in your city or in the backroads of your town, you probably pass all sorts of plants.  Do you know which plants are indigenous to the area and which are not?  Gail Fennell and Liz Deleeuw are stewards at the John Janzen Nature Centre and members of the Edmonton Naturalization Group, an informal group of people in the Edmonton area who like to grow native plants and promote their use in gardening and landscaping to a wider public. They take Terra Informa’s Morgana Folkmann for a walk through one of their demonstration gardens in Edmonton and explain the importance of their fight to maintain the native plant species of Edmonton and area.

More on this story: Edmonton Naturalization Group, and Alberta Native Plant Council

Survival Celebration Camp

Annie Banks recently spoke with Candyce Paul of the Committee for Future Generations about the Survival Celebration Camp for Sustainable Earth in Northern Saskatchewan. What was this gathering all about and what was achieved over this weekend in South Bay on Lac Île-à-la-Crosse? What are the issues at stake for northern communities, what are elders concerned about and what’s next for the Committee for Future Generations?

More on this story: Survival Celebration Camp for Sustainable Earth, The Meadow Lake Progress

Wild About Bison

There’s not much better than a well-done nature documentary. Just sitting back and letting Morgan Freeman tell you everything you need to know about penguins. Not many of them, though, are made independently by smart, funny young people. That’s why we’re starting a new segment called Girl Gone Wild, following the adventures of Edmonton filmmaker Jamie Pratt. She’s the creator of the Girl Gone Wild documentary series. For her first appearance on Terra Informa, our correspondent Chris Chang-Yen Phillips sat down with her in Edmonton’s river valley to ask about to the hairy star of the pilot episode: bison.

More on this story: Girl Gone Wild Documentaries, IUCN Red List, Parks Canada, PBS

 Whats Happening August 21

Friday and Saturday August 24 and 25, the Growing Green! Festival 2012, in Bridgewater, Nova  Scotia, on Mi’kmaq territories. This festival is dedicated to sustainability and features 2 days of events, including a free outdoor concert, street festival, outdoor movies, art show and a local food banquet.
See for more information.

And on the west coast, the Squamish Nation, Tanker Free BC and the
Wilderness Committee are co-hosting a concert in support of Coast
Salish First Nations fighting oil tankers in their waters. The event,
called “Save the Salish Sea”, will take place at Waterfront Park in
North Vancouver, unceded Coast Salish territories on Sunday September
2nd. The organizers of the event are looking for volunteers, so if you
want to take part in making this concert a reality, check out the
links on our website for how you can get involved.

Also, there is an event happening next weekend on Sunday Aug 26, in
Edmonton, Plains Cree and Blackfoot territories, called the Farming in
the City Guided Bus Tour.
Ever wonder where the tasty food sold at local farmer’s markets comes
from? Come along on a guided tour of local farms to find out more
about the produce, the soil and the farmers themselves.
The tours will be leaving from 11331 73 St Northwest, every 45
minutes, from 8:30am until 4:15pm. The tours are approx. 3 hours in
Tickets are $10 per person or $25 for a family. Check out the website
for links to where you can buy tickets and find out more!