Turning Perspectives Upside-down

It's a visualization of the Blatchford Redevelopment, on the site of the old City Centre Airport. Photo credit: Perkins + Will/City of Edmonton

A visualization of the Blatchford Redevelopment, on the site of Edmonton’s old City Centre Airport. Photo credit: Perkins + Will/City of Edmonton

This week on Terra Informa, two new stories that have us envisioning, and then questioning our future environmental perspectives, with a story on the new Edmonton Ambleside Ecostation and the Blatchford Redevelopment project, in “Treadmill”, and then a story about one woman’s deep shift in her perspective on knowledge of our planet in this week’s Eye-opener. We’ll also revisit a really fun story about the red squirrel of the Yukon and the tricks it employs to stay alive in the great North with “The Little Squirrel that Could”.

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Big Picture Science: Exploring Our Roles on This Planet

This week Terra Informers explore the roles humans can play on this planet.  Big picture Science, the role of researchers in understanding our affect on the planet, is explored during this year’s CONFORWest conference.  Also, the impact one person can have through a new and unique recycling movement or even the support of free range foods in highlighted.

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Big Picture Science: Exploring our roles on this planet

View from the shores of Patricia Lake, Jasper National Park, Alberta. Abandoned row boats sit just off the water’s edge of this crystal clear lake showing how the human touch on the planet creeps into every corner of nature in ways we often forget. Photo Credit: Jessica Kozlowski

CONFORWest 2013

It seems like the farther you go in school, the more specialized you have to be.  You can start off wondering what dirt is made of, and end up spending five years studying how one species of soil mite affects carbon emissions to the atmosphere.  But some scientists want to see the bigger picture: Where does their work fit in? What does it mean?  That’s why a few dozen of them headed to the Rockies this April for a conference that got them outside, and got them talking to each other.

Terra Informa’s Chris Chang-Yen Phillips has more.

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Greys Recycling

Rajan Ahluwalia was raised as an environmentally conscious child. He started recycling as a young schoolboy in Mumbai, India and decades later he is spearheading a recycling project, in Edmonton that will change the way the world thinks of recycling paper. Natalee Rawat spoke to Rajan about his recycling initiatives taking place within the next year in Edmonton.

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Ecobabble:  What does it mean to be a free range egg?

Scrambled, poached, sunny side up. Whether they came before the chicken, or the chicken before them, eggs are a breakfast staple. Terra Informa’s Nicole Wiart brings us an EcoBabble – where she enlists some local farmers to try to break down the term “free range.” It’s just one of the many terms that you can find on a carton of eggs – but as you’ll soon find out, defining free range is not as simple as it sounds.

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What’s Happening in Canada!

There is a composting and vermaculture workshop May 1st in Toronto at the Toronto Tool Library. Composting is a great way to improve your soil and ensure that anything that you grow can be bountiful and organic. Learn to improve your gardens, lawns, and trees while minimizing your home’s waste. The cost is 20 dollars if you bring your own composting bin, and 30 if you wish for them to provide you with one that you may take home after.

Do you enjoy using the Mill Creek Ravine? Would you like to help out with the spring clean up and meet some of your ravine neighbors? The Keepers of Mill Creek and other surrounding communities will be at the creek in Edmonton on May 6th from 10am to 1pm. Come help keep Mill Creek Ravine beautiful!

There is a permaculture design program being held in Nelson BC from May 6th to the 31st. Learn the basic permaculture design principles and techniques, as well as develop the practical skills necessary to implement sustainable designs for your farm. The cost is $1700 for a 6-hour-per-day course.

See up to 40 different species of birds up close and personal at the McIntyre Marsh Bird Banding Station in Whitehorse from April 27th through to May 26th 7 a.m to noon on weekends and holidays.

Commentary on The Cove & Climate Change Data

Terra Informa March 21, 2010 (listen/Download)Mandy with Dolphins

This week we have an episode of our recurring segment Garry the Garbage Guy for you. Also, we have a green-screen movie review by Alex Hindle, who will share his thoughts on the Academy award winning documentary film, The Cove. And Terra Informa correspondent David Kaczan brings us a special feature on the recent surge in climate denial. But first here is this week’s selection of environmental news headlines.

Liquid CO2 highway to keep GHGs out of atmosphere (Alberta Environment)
600 ducks died at Syncrude site in 1979, trial told (By Alexandra Zabjek, Edmonton Journal)
Probe turns up lead in bison, Bullet fragments in meat blamed (By Darcy Henton, Edmonton Journal)
Climate-change scientists ‘muzzled’, Ottawa’s interview rules reduce coverage, document says (By Mike De Souza, Canwest News Service)
New analysis compares U.S. and Canadian investments in sustainable energy in 2010 (Tim Wies Pembina Institute) Liquid CO2 highway to keep GHGs out of atmosphere (Alberta Environment)

Alex Hindle brings us a Green Screen Movie Review of the multiple award winning documentary, including the Oscar for best documentary, The Cove (check how the movie makers used their Oscar opportunity to advance social media activism). This movie explores a town (Taiji Japan) that appears to be devoted to the dolphins and whales which play off their coast line. However, behind this picturesque exterior lies it’s gruesome underbelly. Driven by a multi-billion dollar dolphin entertainment industry and an illegal dolphin meat trade. This movie unearths the chilling side of an industry long thought to have been “closed for business”.

Help Save Japanese Dolphins

Sea Shepperd

Bonus Video Footage

Totally unrelated site (*wink)

Steve Anderson revisits Garry the Garbage Guy to discuss the development of a new ECO Station in Edmonton in 2009. ECO stations allow for the safe disposal of household products that are poisonous, corrosive, flammable or any other product that can be harmful to human health or the environment. Everything from paints to computer parts can be disposed of at these stations which continue popping up around Edmonton.

List of what can be accepted at Eco Stations

Climate Scientists are telling us that our carbon intensive economies are creating an ever worsening climate problem. Scientific research into this topic first started in earnest almost 30 years ago, and the evidence has got stronger ever since. Whilst there are still uncertainties, and future projections are limited in their predictive power, the case for action seems clear. Why then, do we seem to be going backward at the moment? Next on Terra Informa, David Kaczan provides a commentary on this issue, and makes some suggestions for how the debate should move forward from here.

Check out Myles’s thoughts on the first annual #yegswap on this weeks terra bloga post.

Terra Informa March 21, 2010 (listen/Download)

Thanks of visiting and listening in this week, we are always looking for new volunteers, collaborations and ideas so post a comment or send us an email (terra [at] cjsr [dot] com)

Linda Duncan interview and a look at Edmonton recycling

Terra Informa February 21, 2010 (Download/Listen)

This week David Kaczan speaks with Linda Duncan about Canada’s environmental movement and the role of students and Steve Anderson goes recycle-splunking with Garry the Garbage Guy.  Jade Gregg hosts the show and Myles Curry brings us the News.

The Vancouver Olympics which is claimed by the organizers to be the Greenest Games Ever has been met with substantial resistance by various environmental groups on the grounds that the organizers failed to look comprehensively at the games environmental impacts. Forest & tree loss, impact on wetlands and the carbon footprint of all the construction projects in preparation for the Games are excluded from VANOC’s ‘green’ calculations while it continues to market itself as environmentally conscious because of efforts like offsetting officials air travel.

The environmental critique of the Olympics is largely focused on how the green image masks the direct impacts of the games, corporate involvement and its spin-off developments- upon the communities and livelihood of indigenous peoples. RBC, a top Olympic sponsor but also a major oil sands financier, continues to profit from the erosion of First Nations and human right in Athabasca while marketing themselves through the Olympics as environmentally friendly. The Indigenous Environmental network was quoted in saying that

“The reality is that you cannot offset or mitigate the horrific impacts on human and ecological health that are attached to the massive development that the 2010 Olympic Games represent and, even more insidious, you cannot offset or mitigate the massive destruction to human health and ecological harm that is represented by the dozens of corporate sponsors of the Olympics.”

Greenest Games Ever? Frontline Voices Confront Olympic Greenwash by Sakura Saunders (Vancouver Media Co-op)

“Greenest Games Ever” What environmental legacy will the Olympics leave for British Columbians? by Pina Belperio

The Greenest Olympics Ever Are Still Pretty Dirty By Ian Yarett (Newsweek)

Rethinking the Olympics: Discussion of the impact of the 2010 Olympics on the environment, on the indigenous, on civil liberties, and on social justice issues. (AW@L Radio)

Hope is fading for the Green president that many hoped Baraka Obama would become after he pledged $8.3 billion this week in loan guarantees needed to build the first nuclear reactors in the US in nearly three decades. The move represents a new federal commitment to the nuclear power sector. While nuclear development in itself is cause for environmental resistance this move has initiated a sea change in relations between environmentalist and Barak Obama.

The Nuclear announcement represents a full reversal on environmental strategy by the president and betrayal of the American environmental movement. President Obama campaigned heavily on Green Jobs and renewable energy. Things began to fall apart with the forcing out of Obama’s Green Jobs advisor, Van Jones, by right wing media. The failure to produce domestic climate change legislation for Copenhagen greatly influencing the failure of conference left the President distanced and out of touch with the movement. This week’s announcement in support of an obsolete, dangerous and ecologically destructive technology abandons the premise that he would lead a green power revolution.

With calls for resistance coming out from many environmental groups Obama is now facing opposition from many groups that helped him become elected.

“A Bad Day for America”: Anti-Nuclear Activist Harvey Wasserman (Democracy Now!)

Yvo de Boer, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, has quit after four years, and his departure is raising concerns about the worldwide effort to rein in global warming. Yvo De Boer is making the move because he believes that

“The time is ripe for me to take on a new challenge, working on climate and sustainability with the private sector and academia.”

However, De Boer’s departure with no apparent replacement increases the uncertainty about the state of the framework convention on climate change going into to the next major round of talks in Mexico. With the failure in Copenhagen, the stalled domestic legislation in the US and the East Anglia controversy creating a period of grave uncertainty, it is a profound political and institutional shock for someone with so much experience to leave the system at a time when it needs to be stabilized.

Climate Chief Calls it Quits (Living On Earth 02/19/2010)

After Yvo de Boer, what are we looking for in our new climate change chief? (Guardian UK)

A Paper published this week in Environmental Research Letters, reports that the biological and cultural diversity of the Peruvian Amazon is under increasing threats form hydrocarbon developments. Rapid proliferation of oil and gas exploration zones now threatens the region’s biodiversity, indigenous peoples, and wilderness areas.

Researchers found that more of the Peruvian Amazon has recently been leased to oil and gas companies than at any other time on record. There are now hydrocarbon concessions covering over 41% of the Peruvian Amazon, up from just 7% in 2003 with the total amount of area leased to oil and gas companies on track to reach around 70% of the region. Nearly one-fifth of the protected areas and over half of all titled indigenous lands in the Peruvian Amazon are now covered by hydrocarbon concessions. And over 60% of the area proposed as reserves for indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation are covered by oil concessions.

As a solution to this disturbing trend the authors highlight Ecuador’s Yasuni-ITT Initiative, which seeks international contributions in exchange for leaving the massive oil fields untapped beneath a mega diverse Amazonian national park as means of ensuring reduction in Co2 emissions.

Second Hydrocarbon Boom Threatens the Peruvian Amazon (Science Daily)

“Keep the Oil in the Soil”: Ecuador Seeks Money to Keep Untapped Oil Resources Underground (Democracy Now!)

This week Terra Informa brings you a discussion with NDP Environment Critic, Linda Duncan. Linda Duncan is a lawyer by trade, and a fierce advocate of Canadian environmental issues. She has worked as Environment Canada’s Chief of Enforcement, founded her own environmental law center in Edmonton, and was a senior adviser to the Indonesian, Bangladeshi and Jamaican governments on environmental protection. Today she is a member of the Canadian Parliament. David Kaczan spoke to Linda Duncan late last month, about her time in politics, and the role of students in today’s environmental movement.

This week our waste and recycling expert, Garry the Garage Guy, is back! Today he and Steve have ventured out into the cold of Edmonton’s winter for a recycling reconnaissance mission. That’s a fancy way of saying… that they’re digging through people’s garbage. Well, more accurately, they’ll be rummaging through a recycling dumpster from a downtown apartment building. Their goal: to see just what ends up in the city’s recycling stream.

Terra Informa February 21, 2010 (Download/Listen)

Lobbying Government, Edmonton´s Transit Expansion, and more on Revolution Wear

Terra Informa January 24 2010 (Listen & Download Here)

Photo By one42chrisp on Flickr

Terra Informa January 24 2010 (Listen & Download Here)

Public Transit in Edmonton may be about to undergo something of a renaissance, at least, if the city Mayor gets his way. Edmonton wants to expand its single light rail line into a comprehensive citywide network. The cost? At least $3 billion, but that hasn’t stopped the Mayor calling for at least three lines to be completed in the next six years. It would be a major shift for this car dominated city, as David Kaczan discovers when he talks to city councillor Don Iveson (blog). Councillor Don Iveson tells Dave about plans to fast-track the $3 billion expansion of Edmonton´s single light rail line into a comprehensive citywide network.

Carrying on the theme of David’s segment Myles blogs about Edmonton’s plans for public transit developments and the potential for green jobs in Alberta.

Here is the inspirational map of Edmonton Transit mentioned in the blog and David’s segment.

The best thing about politics is all the  possibilities for awesome jokes. This week Andy & Rebekah gives us an excellent demonstration of hilarious and educative political humor with a ‘how-to’ on effectively advocating your own environmental concerns with elected officials. Get your pens and pencils ready because this segment is as funny as it is informative &  remember 1)know your issue, 2) communicate effectively 3)be professional.

Last week Jade told us about Revolution Wear (Facebok), a socially and environmentally conscious fashion show at McMaster University. Today she follows up with an interview with Sapphire Singh, one of the show´s founders.All fund raised by this event go back to grassroots organizations, Hamilton Freeskool and OPRIG are the prefered designations for the proceeds of this year’s 7th annual fashion show entitled: “starting from scratch”…

Photo By Ryan Tir

Terra Informa January 24 2010 (Listen & Download Here)

The Day The Earth Moved

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This Week Alex Hindle host’s and Jade Gregg brings us a weekly news summary.

Earth’s General Store, a long-time Edmonton shopping destination for the environmentally conscious, began it’s move into it’s new location at 9605 Whyte Ave.  But store owner, Micheal Kalamanovich doesn’t like doing anything the conventional way, so he sent out a call for winter cyclists to help move the store’s inventory to the new location by bicycle!  The bicycle convoy took place on Sunday January 10th.  Terra Informa correspondent Rebekah Rooney participated in the event, being called “the day the earth moved… by bicycle.” Today, she shares with us what happened. For more information about Earth’s General Store, and to keep track of when things are open, check out their website (

The ever intriguing Garry the Garbage Guy is back in studio with Steve Andersen to tell us why education programs are such a big part of what Edmonton´s Waste Management Branch does. Garry also highlights the programs and tours that are available to the public on a wide range of recycling topics.

Edmonton Waste Management Departments website on recycling.

In an interview from 2008 Steve Andersen talks to Dr Andrew Weaver of the University of Victoria, a lead author for the United Nations´ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the action needed at a federal level.

This week On Coming soon on Terra Bloga Myles Curry takes a look at the recent Joint Review Panel approvals for the Mackenzie Valley Gas Project and how they trade off arctic ecosystems to appease American distaste for the dirty oil of the Alberta tarsands.

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Alberta Gov´t Bets Big on Carbon Capture and Storage


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In the past month the Alberta Government has announced the final two projects to be funded from the Province’s $2 billion Carbon Capture and Storage Fund. David Kaczan investigated the details of one of these new projects, and  asks just what can carbon capture and storage do to minimize our carbon footprint.

On November 20th a symposium on sustainable agriculture was held at the University of Guelph. Speakers talked about permiculture, SPIN farming, community gardening, and urban farming as activism. Steve Andersen brings us this report.

This past summer Garry Spotowski, Terra Informa’s garbage and recycling expert, took us to his friend Tanis’ house for a first hand look at backyard composting. Today he visits Tanis again as she’s getting her composer ready for winter. Here’s Garry the Garbage Guy.


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Urban Environmentalism & Mercury Pollution


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This week John Harvey bringing us Omar Yaqub – executive director of Sustainability Works. Omar discusses the Greater Edmonton Alliance sustainability works project that aims to make eco-retrofits more plausible for low income families while creating green jobs in the city of Edmonton.

Sustainable Works Fact Sheet

After a health warning was announced pertaining to mercury levels in some Albertan fish, Demmi Connolly took a look into how mercury accumulates in fish, some of the effects of mercury and what can be done to help stop rising mercury levels.

Minamata, Japan Information

Garry the Garbage Guy is back with another report on the world of garbage and recycling. Today he’ll be telling us about the origins of Edmonton’s recycling program — how the city moved from landfilling anything and everything to having one of the most comprehensive waste diversion programs in North America.


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