science

Just Sustainability: Social Justice and Nature’s Rights

Lagoon and lush forest in Ecuador.

Lagoon and lush forest in Ecuador.

This week we are bringing sustainability-related pieces from the archives. First, we hear from Dr. Kelly Swing about how Ecuador has enshrined the rights of nature in its constitution. Then we hear an interview with Winona LaDuke, an indigenous economist about the effects of colonization on Indigenous economies and food systems. Finally, we bring you an interview with Julian Agyeman, chair of the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University about how sustainability should be considered holistically.

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Download the program log.

Nature’s Rights in Ecuador

When we think of a constitution we think of basic “human” rights. We, as humans, have the right to vote, the right to practice religion, the right to own property. But what about nature? Ecuador was the first country in the world to establish the rights of nature at a national level, including it in the 2008 constitution. Terra Informa’s Nicole Wiart talks to Doctor Kelly Swing of the Tiputini biodiversity station in Ecuador about how this constitutional change is great in theory, but in practice, there are a lot of hurdles to still overcome.

Winona LaDuke, Anishinaabe Activist

Winona LaDuke is an Anishinaabe environmental activist, economist, and writer. She spent her entire career as an unflagging advocate for food and energy sustainability. She’s the kind of person who can tell you centuries of history about the corn her community grows and then rally it together to build a wind turbine. She ran as the U.S vice-presidential nominee for the United States Green Party in 1996 and 2000, and she remains a leader in North America on issues of locally based sustainable development. Terra Informa correspondent Matt Hirji spoke with Winona LaDuke from her home on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota.

More information: Winona LaDuke’s TedxTC Talk – Seeds of our Ancestors, Seeds of Life, Honour the Earth

Just Sustainability

Julian Agyeman is chair of the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University in Boston-Medford, Massachusetts. His research focuses on the intersections between social justice and sustainability, an idea which he terms “just sustainability.”. He describes “just sustainability” as “the need to ensure a better quality of life for all, now and into the future, in a just and equitable manner, whilst living within the limits of supporting ecosystems.” Kathryn Lennon spoke with him about the need for the sustainability movement to broaden its work beyond ecological and conservation issues, to include issues of inequality and social justice.

Image Credit: Alejomiranda, Pixabay.

What’s Happening?

Solar Trade Show: February 25th, Edmonton, Alberta

Free Admission

The Solar Trade Show is an event for everyone: homeowners, business owners, community organizations, job seekers, and Indigenous communities. Presentations and workshops will discuss careers in solar energy and how to finance solar energy projects. The event is organized by the Solar Energy Society of Alberta.

Click here for more info.

 

Speciesism + Science Faction

 

Painting by P. Mathews from 1838 of the Trial of Bill Burns. Burns was prosecuted for beating his donkey under the Martin's Act for cruelty to animals (1822). The case is memorable because the donkey was brought into court.

Painting by P. Matthews (1838) of the trial of Bill Burns, a man prosecuted for beating his donkey.

This week’s theme is speciesism! Speciesism refers to the belief that the human species is superior to all other species. Mark Devries is the filmmaker behind “Speciesism: The Movie,” a film that documents the immense scale of pig farms in North Carolina using drone surveillance. Inspired by the animal rights discussion, we’ve included a podcast episode produced by Science Faction that discusses the evolution of land species from fish.

Download the episode.

Download the program log.

Mark Devries, Speciesism: The Movie

Mark Devries is a filmmaker interested in the ethics of livestock practices used in North Carolina. His documentary, Speciesism: The Movie, shows how large-scale livestock farms raises the issue of animal rights and raises concerns about environmental protection and human health. Tasmia Nishat interviewed Mark Devries about the visual impact of these livestock farms, his ethical concerns, and the methods he used to capture film of private farm property, including using a small plane and drone surveillance.

Science Faction: Fish with Feet

Science Faction is a Canadian miniseries that explains scientific research using 1000 of the most commonly used words. “Fish with Feet” takes listeners on a journey to the lab of Dr. Emily Standen at the University of Ottawa to learn about fish that can walk. They discuss how Dr. Standen’s lab is raising fish out of water and how her work elevates our understanding of the evolution of ancient fish species into land species.

 

 

Sounds of Space & Thoughts for Our Future.

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Future Landscape by Naomi Vona, 2013

This week we take a look into the past and the great void, to shine some light on our current situation. First Shelley and Dylan talk to some Terra Informa Alumni about their experiences with Fun drive this year. Following that we listen to Ronald Wright as he discusses the past, and allows us to use this information when looking into the future. Lastly, we hear from Dr. Abram Hindle about his creative process when making music inspired by outer space.

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Talking Fun drive with some Alumni  

Alumni of Terra Informa talk with Shelley Jodoin and Dylan Hall about their experiences as Terra Informant’s at this years Fun drive.

The Trap of Progress

Last November, The Parkland Institute kicked off its sixteenth fall conference in Edmonton, Alberta. The theme was Petro, Power and Politics, and the opening keynote was delivered by writer Ronald Wright. Wright is best known for having delivered a CBC Massey Lecture which he called A Short History of Progress. For his lecture at the Parkland Institute, Wright drew on this earlier work to discuss our modern environmental crisis, including climate change and loss of biodiversity. To chart our possible future, Wright looks back to examine the collapse of civilizations all across the world. It’s depressing business, and more than one audience member asked the obvious question: is there any hope at all?

The Sound of Science: What the Universe Sounds Like

Alyssa Hindle and Matt Hirji interviewed Dr. Abram Hindle, a local computing science professor and Noise musician. Alyssa’s brother Abram uses his programming background with inspirations from nature and physics to create unique, and very technically based, sounds. Alyssa Hindle and Matt Hirji spoke with Abram Hindle about his Noise performances and music production.

More information:


Download program log here

Dandelions: Aesthetic Crime or Unexplored Potential?

DandelionFlower.jpg

This week’s episode includes a story on dandelions from guest contributors Jacques Gartner and Brendan Wyant and an ecobabble on weeds from Chris Chang-Yen Phillips.

Download episode here.

What if we could make use of something that people typically try to throw away? That was one of the questions we wanted to explore when Jacques Gartner and Brendan Wyant began their project on dandelions. Dandelions are a contentious issue; the topic comes up every spring as the little yellow petals begin to appear. People often resort to spraying herbicides on them purely for aesthetic reasons. Locally the city of Edmonton has typically regarded the dandelion as a weed and has resorted to spraying herbicides to eliminate them. Recently however the city of Edmonton has cut down drastically on its spraying practices resulting in numerous complaints.

Download Program Log here.

Photo by Greg Hume

Bugs Can Show Us a Thing or Two

White-lined sphinx moth from Wikimedia Commons

This week, we’re taking cues from creepy crawlies—for solving crime, and for innovative new technologies. And we’re beginning a new partnership with the show Science Faction. Today, they’ll divulge the fascinating secrets of fire ants.

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Piecing Together a Murder using Bugs

Piecing together a crime can be a messy business. Police can run up against unreliable witnesses, or destroyed evidence. But what if the animals around a body could tell you a story about what happened? Chris Chang-Yen Phillips has this story from forensic entomologist and Simon Fraser University professor Gail Anderson in Vancouver.

Science Faction: The Physics of Fire Ants

This week because, we’re starting our inaugural partnership with the show Science Faction. They’re committed to telling unbelievable science stories, with none of the jargon. Once a month you’ll get a tagged-team show, and this month, we hear about one of the most fascinating family of insects out there: the ant. Specifically, the fire ant. What you’ll find out will surprise you.

Science Faction starts at the 14 minute mark.

What’s Happening

BioBlitz with Wildlife Society and Beaver Hills Initiative – January 18th

On Sunday, January 18th, from 1 – 4 PM, at the Strathcona Wildlife Center, the Alberta Chapter of The Wildlife Society & Beaver Hills Initiative will be hosting a fun-filled BioBlitz . Activities include: meeting a live owl and some cold-blooded friends; a short talk on how biologists count moose from above, find clues from scat, and learning about the fascinating world of beavers; heading out on the trail with a professional biologist to learn more about the study of wildlife through tracks, signs and sounds; short demonstrations on using wildlife cameras, radio telemetry and the art of tracking, and a scavenger hunt. At the end there’ll be a hot drinks and campfire snacks. You can walk, ski or snowshoe (equipment rentals available) – fun for the whole family!

Edmonton WaterCity 2040 – January 19th

On Monday, January 19, the Edmonton Transformative Leaders of the Future Team are putting on their first in a series of events that examine future scenarios for the City of Edmonton. The event will explore Edmonton WaterCity 2040, a scenario planning initiative that maps out a sustainable water strategy for the next twenty five years. Attend the event to learn about how the initiative applies innovative thinking and design strategies to create a water system that is resilient, responsible, and responsive. You don’t need to be a water expert to attend! The event starts at 6PM and takes place at the University of Alberta.

Sustainable Building Advisor Program – January 16 to May 2

The Sustainable Building Advisor (SBA) Program is a comprehensive certification program that trains you in practical, forward-thinking ways to design, construct and manage buildings that are resource efficient, environmentally responsible, cost effective, and healthy for all occupants. The SBA Program is applicable to new construction and existing buildings, in both the commercial and residential sectors.

The program is delivered in the form of interactive lectures taught by subject experts, with hands-on exercises and field trips to exemplary projects. The course culminates with a final presentation based on team projects and an exam that earns you the designation Certified Sustainable Building Advisor, (CSBA). The early bird deadline is November 14, 2014.The program is being provided through the Canada Green Building Council.

Which costs matter most? FunDrive 2014, Part One

It’s our annual community radio fundraiser, and we’re bringing some special guests into the studio! Today, we present an interview with science journalist Torah Kachur. She’s always on the quest for fascinating, fun, geeky and sometimes freaky science news. She shares the journey she’s taken over the past half decade, and why radio is the best. Then, Dr. Alan Lockwood tells us why coal is anything but the best, and why Alberta’s power plants are costing more than we think.

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Friend or Food? And Other Musings

Image Credit: Tanakawho

Image Credit: Tanakawho

This week on Terrainforma, we speak with David Schindler and Kamal Bawa about the chasm between science and policy. Danielle gives us the rundown on edible container gardening, and Kieran O’Donovan questions what makes for acceptable meat-eating.

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Cold and Warmth

This week, Terra Informa presents a show live from the 2013 Cold & Warmth Winter Salon, hosted by the Latitude 53 art gallery. We’ve got crowds buzzing around like hot molecules, an interview about Edmonton’s Winter City Strategy, and a rap about the most magical temperature of all.

Cold and Warmth

Warm up with Terra Informa’s live show at the Latitude 53 Winter Salon, themed around Cold and Warmth.

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