sustainability

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.

 

FunDrive 2013 Pt. 2

Four people speak in recording studio (photo in black and white)

Terra Informa’s Kyle Muzyka (far left) interviews David Herbert and Aliza Dadani, two of the voices behind Activat ED.

This week, hear Part 2 of the annual Terra Informa Fun Drive Live show! The live show features interviews from Canadians of all walks of life and focuses on municipal government and its power to affect a community. With Alberta-wide elections approaching quickly on October 21 this is an excellent time to get educated about the changes that can or can’t be made by your municipal government. In part 2, we spoke to an Edmonton group trying to promote progressive candidates, and to an Edmonton engineering student who’s seen the extremes of environmental issues municipalities try to deal with.

Download this week’s episode

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Nature on the Brink

Courtesy: Courtney Johnson

Courtesy: Courtney Johnson

On Terra Informa this week,we look at stories of nature on the edge. From the Yasuni ITT in Ecuador and the failing fight to keep it protected from developers, to two stories from our archives. One on the Banff Spring Snail; an endangered species, and the other on the idea of ‘just sustainability’ and how a necessary shift in our perspective on what it means to be sustainable may include a cultural shift.

Download this week’s episode

Ecuador Abandons Unique Amazonian Nature Reserve

Take an area about one fifth of the size of Banff National Park, or around one eighth the size of the city of Edmonton. That’s roughly 120 thousand hectares and that is the size of Yasuni ITT (Ishipingo-Tambococha-Tiputini)  in Ecuador. What makes Yasuni ITT special, however, is that the area contains more reptiles than the entire continent of Europe, as many birds and mammals as the entire country of Canada, and in one hectare, there are more tree species than Canada and the US have combined.

Yasuni ITT was meant to preserve the country’s biodiversity and make a stand against global climate change. But, less than a month ago, the Ecuadorian government announced they were pulling the plug on the initiative, and allowing oil exploration to go forward in the area. Terra Informa’s Nicole Wiart talks to a Professor of Ecology and an Ecuadorian exchange student to get a better idea of what this announcement means for Ecuador.

More on this story: Amazonwatch, The Ecologist, Ecuadorian Government’s Yasuni ITT website

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

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.

More on this story: Julian’s Blog 

What’s Happening

Youth Summit for Biodiversity and Green Solutions

From September 20th to the 22nd, youth in Orillia Ontario are invited to take in the Youth Summit for Biodiversity and Green Solutions. It’s the 4th annual event of it’s kind, brining together young leaders from across the province of Ontario to partake in activities and workshops, everything from bird watching, to learning about First Nation traditional medicine. Its for people in grades 9 to 12, so if you, or someone you know might be interested in building your leadership skills and learning more about conservation, don’t miss it.

Public Lecture on Oil, Gas, Fracking and the Yukon!

In Whitehorse, Yukon on September 17th, be sure to head to Beringia Centre for a public lecture on how the proposed oil and gas and fracking industries might affect people in the Yukon. Journalist and author Andrew Nikiforuk is leading the event, and is also hosting a workshop during the day on understanding the oil and gas industry. It’s 5 bucks at the door, everyone’s welcome!

What is the universe made of? The case of dark matter and dark energy.

Have you ever wondered what the universe was made of? Well, at the University of Alberta on September 18th at 7 p.m. You’re invited to attend a public lecture about dark matter and dark energy. It’s a free event, but to reserve tickets, head to gpsa-symposium.eventbrite.ca

The 13th Annual Gorge Waterway Cleanup

Grab your boots and gloves and join in on the 13th annual Gorge Waterway Cleanup in Victoria on September 21st. Every year the community gets together to make a difference in the local environment and protect Canada’s shoreline. It begins at 10 a.m. and ends at noon.