Petrol Spectres Haunt The Badlands, ACFN Takes A Stand, And PowerShift Flies Again

Halloween is upon us, and Terra Informa is celebrating with a visit to Alberta’s spookiest landmark: The Atlas Coal Mines. Delve deep into the dark recesses of Canada’s coal mining past, as we learn about Drumheller’s annual Big Boo! haunted mine tours.

Elsewhere in the show, we’ll take you to Fort McMurray to hear from supporters of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, as that band challenges Shell’s plans to expand its tar sands production. And we’ll cross the country to Ottawa, where PowerShift Canada is training hundreds of youth to fight for climate justice.

Indescribably spooky workers changeroom, with uniforms hanging from the rafters, and full body paintings on the wall. Black & White photo, with lots of contrast.

The Atlas Coal Mine is spookier than ghost-babies even on a regular day. Photo by Flickr user newelly54.

Download this week’s show


Terra Informer Kathryn Lennon spent the weekend at PowerShift 2012, which kicked off on Friday, October 26. A convergence of incredible youth from far and wide, PowerShift is raising critical questions about climate justice right now. Listen here as Kathryn brings us some on-the-ground audio from the events in Ottawa-Gatineau.

More info: PowerShift Canada

Atlas Coal Mine Special

With abandoned mine shafts and shadowy equipment looming all around you, Drumheller’s old coal mine sites can be creepy places at any time of the year. But the Atlas Coal Mine goes even further at Halloween – into the paranormal. Today’s host, Chris Chang-Yen Phillips, called up Atlas Coal Mine Executive Director Linda Digby in Drumheller, Alberta to hear more about their haunt for a good time – and the true stories that inspired their Halloween extravaganza.

More info: The Globe and MailDrumheller MailAtlas Coal Mine

Taking a stand with the ACFN

On Tuesday October 23, supporters of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation traveled up to Fort McMurray, Alberta. Their goal? To take a stand with the First Nation as its members presented their arguments to the Energy Resources Conservation Board and the Joint Review Panel.

The groundbreaking constitutional challenge is over the Shell Canada’s proposed Jackpine Mine tar sands project. The project would extend the tar sands further into the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations’ territories and violate the nation’s treaty rights. Terra Informers Trevor Chow-Fraser and Annie Banks spoke with and heard from some of the powerful speakers taking a stand for the ACFN.

More info:

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and the Tar SandsYes MagazineNational Wildlife Federation, Edmonton Journal

Recent Updates:

Financial Post

Edmonton Journal

Winnipeg Free Press

Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

What’s Happening

5th Annual Sustainability Awareness Week

The University of Alberta is holding its 5th Annual Sustainability Awareness Week from October 29 to November 1. Hosted by the U of A’s Office of Sustainability, this week has fifty different activities scheduled across the Augustana, North, Saint-Jean campuses. Space is limited for some events, so visit the Office of Sustainability website to RSVP today.

More info: Office of Sustainability – University of Alberta

Laugh for the Environment

On Saturday, November 3, Toronto’s Second City comedy club will be featuring Laugh for the Environment, and improv comedy show. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Toronto Green Community—a grassroots, non-profit organization dedicated to engaging Torontonians in environmental initiatives at work, home, and everywhere in between. Tickets are $20 and available through Second City either online at secondcity.com or by phoning the box office

More info: Toronto Green Community or by telephone: 416-343-0033

Iona Beach Shore Cleanup

The Lower Mainland Green Team Strikes Again! Help clean up the shore of Iona Beach in Richmond, BC by clearing it of Scotch Broom—a pretty but persistent invasive plant species. The clean up takes place on Sunday November 4 from 9:45am – 1:00pm. Carpooling arrangements can be made on the Green Team’s Meetup page. Instructions, tools, and snacks will be provided. Participants are asked to RSVP for this event.

More information: Meetup.com

CSA Sailboats, Power Shift Advocacy, and Environmental Poetry

This week, we hear from a CSA project in Creston, BC that’s making waves rather than fumes; a Power Shift organizer about advocacy in the quest for climate justice; and a slam poet on the role of the artist in a time of environmental crisis.

No more Mr. Gneiss Boat!

Sailing is a well-known past-time for grain farmers. [Photo credit: ritaoksa, via flickr]

Download this week’s episode

Creston Grains Setting Sail

CSAs – or Community Shared Agriculture – let you get a more personal experience with the farmers who grow your food. You buy a share in their harvest at the beginning of the season, before the seeds have even been planted; growers have a guaranteed market, and shareholders get some certainty about where their food is coming from. But BC’s Kootenay Grain CSA goes above and beyond. If you bought a share of this year’s harvest, you can get it delivered by sailboat. Roy Lawrence has been a grower with the Kootenay Grain CSA for five years now. He speaks to us from Creston, BC.

More on this story: Kootenay Grain CSA

Gearing up for Power Shift

A few weeks ago, we filled you in on Power Shift—a climate justice gathering that’s launching in a matter of days. With activists across the country climbing onto trains, hopping into planes, and banding together in buses and carpools, we decided to get an update. Terra Informa contributor Trevor Chow-Fraser was interested in the advocacy aspect of Power Shift, so he phoned up the organizers to find out more.

More on this story: Power Shift

Environmental Poetry

Beginning this week we will be featuring poetry on Terra Informa. To start us off, Kathryn Lennon caught up with slam poet Johnny MacRae at the 2012 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Saskatoon. Johnny is the inaugural Underground Individual Poetry Slam Champion of Canada, and two-time Vancouver Poetry Slam team member. He is joined by Shayne Avec I Grec, Poet Laureate of the Brandon Folk Music and Art Festival in Manitoba. Johnny shares some of his poetry, and thoughts on the role of poets in a time of environmental crisis.

More on this story: Anthropocalyptica

What’s Happening

The Trick or Treat for Climate Justice

A family-friendly march will be taking place at Ottawa’s Parliament Hill on Monday, October 29th at 11:30 AM. If you’re attending Power Shift, we’d love to see what kind of costumes you’ll be wearing as you trick-or-treat for climate justice. Live tweet us a picture of your green or gruesome getup @terra_informa #terrorinforma!

More information: Power Shift

Environmental Art Talk

On October 24, Bill McKibben, a renowned environmentalist, will be speaking at the University of Alberta at 7:00 PM. His free talk is called “Changing Hearts as well as Minds: Art in the Environmental Movement,” and it will take place in the McMahon Pavilion Auditorium, Campus Saint-Jean.

More information: University of Alberta

Mining and Cell Phones Conference

On October 25th, a first ever inter-community conference entitled “Cell phones good partners, but its mining’s sources affects humanity” will take place at 5:00 PM in the Grand Salon in Edmonton’s Campus Saint Jean. This conference will look at the source of the materials that make up common electronics, and the high cost of mining these materials to human life.

More information: The Edmonton Sun

or call 780-200-3917 / 780-901-3778 / 780-803-1132

2012 Food Secure Canada National Assembly

On November 2, a Food Secure Canada event will take place at the Edmonton EXPO Centre at 7:00 PM. Come hear speakers Eriel Deranger, Pat Mooney, Michael Lewis and Augusta Henriques talk about “Energy, Resilience, and the Future of Food.” This public event is part of Food Secure Canada’s 2012 National Assembly, which brings together different groups collaborating to improve food security in Canada and all over the world.

More information: Food Secure Canada

Banff Springs Snail, PowerShift 2012, and Musician Richard Garvey

Banff Springs Snail

The Banff Springs Snail, Physella johnsoni

On this week’s show we start off small. On Girl Gone Wild this week, Jamie Pratt shares a slimy story on the Banff Hot Springs snail. Then we move to PowerShift, a big undertaking that will mobilize youth around climate justice. We end off with the music of the talented Richard Garvey.

Download this week’s show


Ontario’s Liberals Losing Touch

On September 19, Ontario Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller released the first volume of his 2011/2012 annual report to the Legislature. The report, entitled “Losing Touch,” criticizes members of the Liberal government for failing to respect the public’s right to be involved in environmental planning and policy. According to Ontario’s 1993 Environmental Rights Bill, the government is required to make environmental proposals and decisions available for public comment.

More on this story: Globe and Mail, The Star, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, York Region

Halkirk Wind Farm Nearly Done

Hold on to your hats, Albertans! The village of Halkirk will soon be home to the province’s largest wind farm. Owned and operated by Capital Power, the Halkirk Wind Project is nearing the end of construction and is scheduled to begin commercial operation by the end of this year. The facility will use 83 turbines to generate 150 megawatts of clean power. That’s enough to power 50,000 homes—weather permitting.

More on this story: Global Edmonton, Calgary Herald, Capital Power

Girl Gone Wild: Banff Springs Snail

From the time we’re little, most of us are told to be proud of what makes us unique – what sets us apart. But what if the thing that made you different was also the thing that made you vulnerable? On this week’s edition of Girl Gone Wild, Chris Chang-Yen Phillips brings us the story of the endangered Banff Springs Snail from wildlife documentary filmmaker Jamie Pratt.

More on this story: Parks Canada , CBC Calgary ,Girl Gone Wild Documentaries

 PowerShift 2012 – Building a Climate Justice Movement

Do you want to see a shift in the way we power our society, and who has power? A shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy? More power to the people? Want to learn skills and meet passionate youth from across the country? From October 26-29, youth from across Canada are invited to come together in Ottawa-Gatineau to mobilize around climate and environmental justice. Kathryn Lennon catches up with PowerShift Coordinator Tasha Peters to learn more.

More on this story: PowerShift Canada, Huffington Post

Musician Richard Garvey

The world of contemporary folk music defies clear definitions or explanations. From the birth of sub-sub-genres to use of non-traditional instruments, it has exploded into a borderless menagerie of noise and ideas. However, some would argue that you can’t improve on timeless inspiration. Richard Garvey is a born-and-raised Ontarian whose modest discography echoes a generation of youth that longs for environmental justice and social change.

More on this story: Richard Garvey.ca, CBC Music

What’s Happening

2012 Grassroots Communities Mining Mini-grant Program

October 1 marks the deadline for the final round of applications for the 2012 Grassroots Communities Mining Mini-Grant Program. The mini-grants program supports communities across Canada and the United States that have been adversely affected by mining. The grants will go toward protecting the personal, as well as cultural and ecological well-being of impacted communities. To learn more, visit the Indigenous Environmental Network website at ienearth.org where you can find the application form and additional contact information.

IMPACT! Sustainability Champions Training!

On November 9 and 10, the IMPACT! Sustainability Champions Training program will be coming to Guelph, Ontario. The two day training program, brought to you by The Co-operators and Natural Step Canada, is designed to empower students and help them develop sustainability projects in their own communities. Attendees will have to opportunity hear feedback from peers and mentors by connecting with other sustainability champions. IMPACT! alumni are also welcome. Participation is limited and the application deadline is September 30, so visit thenaturalstep.org to apply online.