storytelling

Literature in the Face of Climate Crisis

 

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Photo cred: congerdesign

This week on Terra Informa, we’re diving into the world of storytelling and literature. How can the humanities help us prepare ourselves for the environmental troubles we are facing today and into the future? What do works of fiction have to do with environmental activism?

Download episode now.

Shakespeare and the Ecological Crisis

Terra Informer Sofia Osborne interviews Dr. Carolyn Sale, an associate professor in the department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta who will be teaching a course in the upcoming fall semester on Shakespeare and the Ecological Crisis. Dr. Sale and Sofia talk about the pressing issue of our current ecological crises, why we can’t seem to do anything about it, and how the humanities can help us think about how to be primed and ready actors in the uncertain world we live in.

Storytelling as Environmental Activism

Keeping on with the literary theme, Terra Informer Sydney Karbonik reads a paper she wrote about storytelling and how it can relate to environmental activism.

Headlines

A Tale of Two War Rooms

One of the campaign promises made by Jason Kenney and the United Conservative Party was the creation of an “energy war room” run by the Environment Minister and a public relations team. This “energy war room” would support work to challenge any critics of Alberta’s oil and gas industry. Intent on “[rebutting] every lie told by the green left”, Kenney has promised that this energy war room will receive 30 million dollars of funding.

This  didn’t sit well with many Alberta environmentalists, and especially not with members of the group Climate Justice Edmonton. Members of Climate Justice Edmonton have started a GoFundMe page for their own war room, but this one comes with a much more environmentally-friendly agenda. With a goal of raising 30 thousand dollars, Climate Justice Edmonton will use the funds to support their work having face-to-face conversations with Albertans about the need for a just transition to 100% renewable energy, training more environmental activism organizers, and engaging in creative direct action for Indigenous rights along with climate justice.

Some specific projects on the horizon for Climate Justice Edmonton include collaborating with the  Beaver Hills Warriors, a local collective of Indigenous youth, to build an Indigenous food sovereignty movement, as well as talking to and training other Albertans on how to build a Green New Deal for the province. As of May 2, 2019, Climate Justice Edmonton has raised over 14 thousand dollars towards their 30 thousand dollar goal.

What’s Happening

Alberta Bike Swap Farewell Ride

On Saturday May 11, come on down to the Alberta Bike Swap Farewell Ride at the Edmonton Expo Center to buy, sell, or donate a bike. Consign a bike between 8am and 2:00pm, shop for a used bike from 2:30-4pm, or donate a bike any time between 8am and 4pm. Admission is $2 per person or free for kids under 12. 

Founded in 2011 by Laura and Chris Grant, the Alberta Bike Swap is an annual bicycle consignment event billed as the “safe place to buy, sell, or donate” a bike. Given the time and financial commitments, this is the last year Laura and Chris will be organizing the event. 

Arbor Day Tree Story Sharing

Did you know the City of Edmonton celebrates Arbor Day on May 11th? This holiday encourages individuals to plant trees, taking place at different times in different places during the spring, varying by climate and planting season. In Edmonton, grade one students began receiving conifer seedlings to plant in the early 1950s. Soon after, grade one students all over Alberta began to receive seedlings.

Do you remember where you planted your Arbor Day tree? Is it still standing by your childhood home? The City of Edmonton is encouraging people to submit their stories about what their Arbor Day trees mean to them to an interactive map of the City that identifies trees that grade one students of the past have planted.

Download program log here.

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Dad’s World Was My Refuge

 

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Photo by Sofia Osborne

This week on Terra Informa, Sofia Osborne (a Terra Informer herself) reads us a piece she recently wrote for The Tyee, an independent, Canadian, online magazine. The story recounts Sofia’s experience being isolated on Saturna Island this past December during the worst wind storm in BC Hydro history. We’ll chat about the piece, the future of dealing with these massive storms, and journalism!

Download episode now.

Supreme Court rules on Redwater

On January 31, Canada’s Supreme Court overturned a 2015 lower court decision regarding the Redwater Case, ruling that the Redwater Energy Corporation cannot walk away from the clean-up costs of abandoned wells after claiming bankruptcy.

Back in 2015, Redwater Energy Corporation went bankrupt and it’s trustee argued the energy company should be able to pay back their creditors before they finance the cleaning up of old oil and gas wells. The lower courts agreed with the trustee, meaning that energy companies were able to walk away from old wells. The Orphan Well Association and the Alberta Energy Regulator appealed the lower court’s decision, and the case ended up in the Supreme Court, where the 2015 ruling was overturned. This means that now, bankruptcy cannot be used as a license to ignore environmental clean-up.

Alberta has a LOT of abandoned, or ‘orphaned’ wells. Recent numbers released by the Orphan Well Association show that there are 1,553 abandoned wells in the province  that still need to be reclaimed. Sharon Riley, who you might remember from Sofia’s interview about environmental investigative journalism that we aired earlier this year, published a great walkthrough of the Redwater case for The Narwhal. 

Mysterious Guillemot deaths

The bodies of hundreds of dead guillemot birds have washed up in the Netherlands over the past month. It is estimated that 20,000 of the seafaring birds have died, with the cause of death currently unknown. Hundreds of sick birds have been taken to sanctuaries for treatment, and dissections have been performed on the bodies of deceased birds to try and determine the cause of death. Biologist Mardik Leopold stated that the otherwise clean birds were “skinny, with gut problems, which is indicative of starvation”. One suggested cause of this mass casualty  is the loss of 291 shipping containers during a storm in early January. The contents of the lost containers is currently unknown. 

Recompose corpse composting

Do you often think about how you can minimize your environmental footprint?

What about…. after death?

A Washington State bill has passed the state Senate, and is now headed to the House. If it passes the House, it would make be legal to compost human remains in the state of Washington. A company called Recompose, founded by Katrina Spade, hopes to offer people the choice to be composed into soil after they die, instead of being buried or cremated. Recompose has been working with the University of Washington to assess the safety of this composting process in terms of environmental and human health. The process is reported to use approximately one eighth of the energy required for cremation. The Recompose founder states that burial and cremation must remain for those who prefer it, but that the composting of human remains will provide another option for those who are interested in a greener final footprint.

Download program log here.

National Aboriginal Day: Resistance through Music and Education through Storytelling

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This week on Terra Informa we revisit a couple of strong First Nations speakers, first we listen to singer songwriter Sierra Jamerson and then hear a traditional story told by Dwayne Donald.

Download episode here.

Sierra Jamerson on B.C.’s Sacred Headwaters

Sierra Jamerson was born into a family of talented leaders and gifted musicians, and she’s been performing professionally since the tender age of eleven, singing traditional Black Gospel, jazz, soul and R&B music.

Part of that talented family of hers is in the Tahltan Nation in British Columbia. You might have heard of the Sacred Headwaters in Tahltan territory. It’s the origin point for three powerful rivers that run through British Columbia—the Stikine, the Skeena and the Nass. When the oil and gas industry tried to start mining in the area, Sierra’s family was at the forefront of Tahltan resistance.

Chris Chang-Yen Phillips spoke with Sierra Jamerson during a live taping at the St. John’s Institute of Edmonton in 2013.

The Story of the Buffalo Child

Math, geography and… storytelling? Teachers are regularly focused on a particular style of education that focuses on a prescribed curriculum. However the standard curriculum can lack voice, perspective and meaning without including one key aspect. Story. Dwayne Donald has challenged the norms on how we view education and curriculum through his unique position in the academic and Aboriginal communities. Dwayne toes the space between how and what we teach with his powerful message on curriculum.

Yvette Thompson spoke with Dwayne Donald, Professor in the Department of Education at the University of Alberta in September 2014. Today, we’re playing the story of The Buffalo Child, as told by Dwayne Donald.

Terra Informa Program Log

Photo Credit: Richard Throssel