tar sands

Mega Loads and Bug Fungus

This week on Terra Informa we go from Mega Loads to mini pesticides, and a round up of the week’s biggest Canadian environmental news stories. Myles Curry talks to Northern Rockies Rising Tide  about the transportation of Tarsands MegaLoads through pristine wilderness on sketchy roads. Rebekah Rooney brings us a science short on the use of a peculiar fungus as an alternative insecticide. And of course we start the show off with our weekly examination of Canada’s environmental news headlines.

 

Community Resistance to the Tarsands Mega Loads

Download this week’s show.

Environmental News

In Alberta an army of 600 workers has been deployed to prevent the spread of the mountain pine beetle. The Alberta Government is spending 15 million dollars on the effort, aims to cut and burn trees already infested in an effort to kill larvae.

Vancouver Sun, Whitecourt Star



Vancouverites will be banned from throwing kitchen scraps in the trash at the end of next year, organic waste will be diverted to composting facilities by way of separate green bins for each household. Most metro Vancouver cities plan to cut garbage collection to once every  two weeks, with organic waste collection every week.

Vancouver Sun, BC Local News


In Toronto, a team of scientists has published compelling evidence for a link between man made global warming and an increase in heavy rainfall. A second study from the UK, also published this week corroborates the Canadian scientist’s findings. They found that recent increases in dramatic deluges cannot be explained by natural fluctuations alone and that the probability of heavy downpours grew by 7 percent in the second half of the twentieth century and the chance of large floods doubled under the human influenced model.

Washington Post, Scientific America, Time blogs



In Quebec, the provincial government has signed a draft accord on investment and development of the mining industry with the Government of India, the accord covers the mining of asbestos. Critics have accused Quebec of exporting a product unacceptable to Canadians for the sake of rejuvenating an old mine and the jobs it brings. A group of investors has asked the Quebec government for a guaranteed loan of 57 million dollars to expand the mine and boost production for export.

AOL News, Rediff



The controversial seal hunt began last week. Animal rights activists have vowed to document and photograph the hunt in detail, and use the photos in their campaign in Europe against Canada’s seal products. A group of European countries has already slapped a ban on such products from Canada, prompting the federal fisheries minister Gail Shea to announce that Ottawa will be seeking intervention against the ban from the World Trade Organisation.

The Globe and Mail, Montreal Gazette, CBC

Local Campaigns: Tarsands Mega Loads

Correspondent Myles Curry brings us another edition of Local campaigns this week, but its local defined in a new way. In this edition Myles talks to a organizer in the American North West who is mobilizing communities against, and bringing media attention to a not so well known extension of the tarsands- the Tar sands Mega Loads. For more on what the mega-loads are, how they connect to the tarsands and what communities are doing in resistance, here is Myles with this weeks edition of Local Campaigns.

Northern Rockies Rising Tide

Science Short: Insect Fungus

You might think an insect is a pretty strange substrate for fungus to grow on, and you might have a pretty hard time imagining what that could have to do with the environment.  Arthropods are the preferred host for the parasitic fungus Beauveria bassiana, and scientists have worked out how to use it as a biocontrol agent on insect pests.  Scientists like Sunil Rajput, a former graduate student from U of Alberta’s Department of Biological Sciences.  His research focused on a fungus’s potential as an alternative to chemical insecticides in pest management in greenhouses.  Correspondent Rebecca Rooney asked him about his research findings and filed this Science Short report.

Dumpster Diving and New Findings on Tar Sands Pollution

This week Dr. David Schindler speaks about his latest findings which were published just last week. His research team looked at air and water pollution surrounding tar sands mines and found that contrary to the claims of industry and government, mining is having serious impacts on the Athabasca water shed. We also hear from an Edmonton dumpster diver who tours Terra Informa through the offerings of local garbage bins. And as always, we start things off with a wrap up of the news headlines from the past week

Photo by Mike Sheehan

Environmental News Headlines

First up, Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach is calling for government scientists to sit down with dissident academic David Schindler to review his controversial claims about Albertaís environment.

Environment Canada has completed regulations that will require an average renewable-fuel content of five per cent in gasoline as part of an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
A campaign to boycott tarsands-sourced gasoline among several large chain stores has fallen flat after clothiers The Gap, Timberland and Levi Strauss withdrew their commitment from the agreement.

And finally, Edmonton, a city that boasted one of the first municipal composting plants in North America will soon be getting a trash-to-biofuel plant.

Dr. David Schindler on Water Quality in The Athabasca

The controversy over the impact that the oil sands has on the watershed of the Athabasca seems to get muddier and muddier (pun definitely intended). There seems to always be two entirely different sets of data. Whether its cancer rates in the population downstream from the production sites, the amount of birds landing on tailings ponds or the level and source of contamination of the Athabasca water shed; there always seems to be two different and contradicting sources of data. One of these being p ublished in academic journals by University experts and the other held confidentially and jointly by industry and the government. When government scientists disputed David Schindler’s claim that the oil sand mines were increasing water pollution in the Athabasca watershed to potentially lethal levels, Doctor Schindler had to test their claim. The government officials had stated that these increased levels of pollution were due to naturally occurring deposits of tar sand at the surface, not the disruption of the natural land by the mine sites. On Monday August 30th, David Schindler published a new report that tested the claim of the government scientists and held a press conference at the University of Alberta. Terra Informa was there to catch Dr. Schindler’s explanation of his results.

Dr. David Schindler is a University of Alberta professor in Ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry and experimental ecology and holds a number of honorary degrees and awards from across Canada. From 1968 to 1989, he founded and directed the Experimental Lakes Project of the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans and his work has been widely used in formulating ecologically sound management policy in Canada, the USA and in Europe. David Schindler’s newest report on the Athabasca watershed was released on August 30th, 2010.

Dumpster Diving

Bin-diving, containering, D-mart, dumpstering, tatting, or finding “recycled” food – call it what you will, it’s a trend that’s catching on. Falling under the umbrella of “Freeganism”, dumpster diving is for some not only a necessity, but a political act. It is an anti-consumerist lifestyle whereby people employ alternative living strategies based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources. And what better way to minimize your consumption of resources than to eat someone else’s garbage? Terra Informa Correspondent Marcus Peterson ventured out into the field on an expedition to find out what diving is all about.

False Solutions to Climate Change and Cycling Quebec’s Route Verte

Today Brett brings us a review of “Hoodwinked in the Houthouse: False Solutions to Climate Change”, a newly released publication that aims to shed light on climate changes fixes that aren’t all they’re made out to be. Our bicycle traffic reporter, Karly Coleman, is a little further from home than usual. She talks to us from Ottawa about cycling in central Canada and Quebec’s La Route Verte. And Rebekah interviews researcher Christine Robichaud about her work on the importance of caribou in bear diets.

Hoodwinked in the Hothouse Cover

Cover of Rising Tide North America's Publication 'Hoodwinked in the Hothouse'

Environmental News Headlines (with Tasneem Karbani)

Anti-Oilsands Campaign

Campaign targets Alberta tourism

Editing error on Rethink Alberta

Oilsands critics urge boycott of Alberta tourism

“Eco-fascists” in the Flathead Valley?

BC Minister apologizes for ‘eco-fascist’ email (2)

Receding Himalayan Glaciers

Glaciers melting faster than anywhere else in the world

New photos show the receding glaciers

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Update

Spill under control (2)

UK urged to ban North Sea drilling

Engineers concerned about low pressure readings

Review of Rising Tide North America’s Publication ‘Hoodwinked in the Hothouse: False Solutions to Climate Change (Second Edition)’

Only a few years ago, some companies were saying climate change wasn’t a problem. Now, as its impacts become apparent, many of the same corporations are scrambling to present solutions and quick fixes to avoid new environmental regulations. This week, Brett Tegart reviews Rising Tide North America’s newly updated pamphlet Hoodwinked in the Hothouse (download), an environmental inquisition rooting out the climate change solutions that are false, foolhardy and doomed to failure.

Bicycle Traffic Report: Vacation Edition

Terra Informa’s bicycle traffic reporter Karly Coleman is away on vacation at the moment. But even when she’s on holidays she’s never far from a bicycle. Today Steve talks to her about cycling while away from home and some of the facilities that are available in central Canada.

La Route Verte

Best of Terra Informa

Originally aired in February 2009, in this science short  Rebbekah Rooney interviews Christine Robichaud to gain an understanding of the importance of caribou in bear diets.

Terra Informa is always looking for more volunteers. If you feel like joining the team or giving us a suggestion for a news story, drop us a line at terra@cjsr.com or phone us at the Terra Informa listener line at 780-492-2577, extension 236. That’s, 780-492-2577, extension 236.

Total Upgrader Hearing, Tailings Defined, & Underground Coal Fires

This week’s show includes an Ecobabble segment defining “tailings,” a piece on fires in underground coal mines and how difficult it is to snuff them out, and the first part in our coverage of the ongoing hearing about French oil giant Total’s application to build an upgrader in Alberta and the media circus that accompanies it.

A Current Construction Project in Alberta's Industrial Heartland, Similar to the Proposed Total Upgrader

Environmental News Headlines

Oil spill update

US appeals court opens doors to new drilling

Abandoned oil wells in Gulf of Mexico

BP aims to fix leak by 27 July

Oilsands

Federal politicians cancel oilsands pollution probe

Climategate

Climategate’ scientists honest

Scientists cleared of manipulating data on global warming

Solar Plane

Solar Impulse completes first solar-powered flight

Solar plane lands after 26-hour flight

Underground Coal Fires

When the very ground beneath your feet catches fire, how can you extinguish the blaze?

This week, Brett Tegart looks at underground coal fires- how they start, how they affect the environment and how they can be snuffed- or if they can.

Total Upgrader Hearing

A couple weeks back, Terra Informa brought you a story about a group of concerned citizens on a tour through Alberta’s former agricultural heartland, an area now known as the industrial heartland. The region is home to numerous petrochemical facilities and residents are upset about the vast swaths of prime agricultural land that have been lost to industry, the pollution that it creates, and its impact on their way of life. To top things off, the Alberta Cancer board has found elevated rates of cancer in the region.

Well, many of the people who went on that tour were shocked at what they saw. They decided to pack an upcoming government hearing into a proposal by French oil giant Total to build another bitumen upgrader in the heartland. Terra Informa correspondent Marcus Peterson was there for the two-week long hearing process, including the dramatics of its first day

Cancer alley: Citizens call attention to tar sands impacts north of the city

Extended Look Into the Total Upgrader

Ecobable

We often cover stories about mining here on Terra Informa and you may have heard us mention tailings. But what exactly are they? Here’s Rebekah with another installment in our recurring series, Eco Babble, where we cut through the jargon and explain just what’s meant by some the terms that pop up in environmental news.

Louis Helbig’s Birds Eye View of the Tar Sands

Photo By Louis Helbig, Part of his Beautiful Destruction Exhibition & Titled ‘Tailings Ponds & Upgrader’

Environmental News Headlines

House of Commons Passes Motion to Review All Laws and Regulations Pertaining to Unconventional Energy Development

Linda Duncan Calls For Immediate Review of Oil and Gas Rules

Stelmach Welcomes Review of All Laws on Energy Development  (By Archie McLean, Edmonton Journal)

Nunuvat Government Changes Position on Polar Bears Protection Status

Downgrade Polar Bear Protection Status, Says Nunavut Government

Approval Gained for Seismic Testing in Proposed Arctic Conservation Area

Inuit, Nunavut Government, and the federal government agree to launch a feasibility study towards establishing a Parks Canada National Marine Conservation Area in Lancaster Sound(CPAWS News Release)

Arctic Seismic Testing Useful: Nunavut Minister (CBC News)

Arctic Bay Opposes Seismic Testing in Lancaster Sound (Nunatsiaq Online)

Government report Admits Climate  Change Policies will be 1/10 as Effective

Greenhouse-gas targets way off mark: Ottawa (By Mike De Souza, Canwest News Service)

New federal climate plan admits minimal action on emissions (By Matthew Bramley, Pembina Institute)

A Climate Change Plan for the Purposes of the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act

 

Bicycle Traffic Report with Carly Coleman

Cycling is often considered a solo sport: Lance Armstrong leading the pack up the Alps… but one of the best things about cycling is the community that develops around it.  This week Terra Informa’s bicycle traffic reporter Karly Coleman talks to Steve Andersen about summertime cycling events and how they draw together a community of wonder and delight.

Aerial Photography of the Alberta Tar Sands

Louis Helbig is an Ottawa-based artist/photographer specializing in aerials. He is a commercial pilot and a self-taught photographer whose work has been exhibited and published in Canada and internationally. For his latest exhibition, he has taken on the monumental task of documenting the Tar Sands from the air in northern Alberta. Drawing nation-wide and international praise and admonishment for his latest and biggest project titled Beautiful Destruction – Alberta Tar Sands Aerial Photographs, Louis intends to stimulate largely absent Canadian public debate on the world’s largest industrial development located in our own backyard. Louis Helbig recently took some time off to talk about his project with Terra Informa correspondent Marcus Peterson.

Louis’ exhibition Beautiful Destruction is currently being shown at the Rivoli (334 Queen St. West, Toronto) until July 8, 2010. It is also being showcased this weekend at the New Art Festival, Central Park (Glebe), Ottawa on Saturday & Sunday June 5th & 6th from 10AM-5P. In addition, it will be shown at the Ottawa City Hall Art Gallery, Ottawa, for the 2010 Exhibition Season, from July 23 to Sept 26, 2010. Some of his Tar Sands photos will also be part of a feature in the July issue of Readers’ Digest, which reaches about 1 million people.

Alberta Tar Sands Aerial Photographs (YOU NEED TO CHECK THESE OUT!!!)

EcoBabble: Eutrophication

Maybe you’ve seen the phosphate free symbol on dish detergent or laundry soap and wondered why phosphates are bad?  Maybe you’ve heard about lakes turning green and filling up with slimey algae and wondered what’s responsible?  Terra Informa correspondent Rebecca Rooney enlightens us this week with an ecobabble on a major environmental issue around the world: eutrophication.

Download This Weeks Show Here

Terra Informa March 14, 2010

Terra Informa March 14, 2010 (Listen /Download)

This week on Terra Informa Dave Kaczan and Steve Smiley look into whether Canada is getting good value for its petroleum resources and what effect resourse dollars are having on our democracy. Matt Israelson has a review of Andrew Nikiforuk’s book “Tar Sands”. And Rebekah Rooney brings us another of her Science Shorts, this time looking at effects of urban habitat on amphibians.

Here is this week’s selection of environmental new stories, brought to us by Eric.

A proposed plan to preserve, protect and restore Alberta’s wetlands has been scrapped by the Alberta government, according to a lobby group representing oil and other resource companies. Conservationists are alarmed by a statement released by the Alberta Chamber of resources which says that it has convinced the government to reverse a plan to require oilsands and mining companies to fully restore the wetlands they mine. Alberta currently has no regulations for how companies use wetlands after they mine it. The proposed “no net loss” policy was supposed to go in effect last April. Environment Minister Rob Renner says he hasn’t made a decision yet on the subject. (article by John Cotter [CP])

The Alberta government is cutting royalty rates for conventional oil and gas. Premier Ed Stelmach announced on Thursday that rates for oil and gas will be cut as much as 20%. Oilsands projects are not included in the change. The move has had mixed reactions from the opposition. NDP Leader Brian Mason suggested that Stelmach is reacting to pressure from the oil and gas sector, but Wild Rose Alliance Leader Danielle Smith argued that Stelmach owed Albertans an apology for increasing the rates in the first place. The reduction in royalties will cost the government $828 million over the next three years. (Edmonton Journal article)

The judge preciding over Syncrude’s trial for the infamous duck incident has ordered that statements made by Syncrude be examined for legal admissibility before they are allowed as evidence. Calling a Voir Dire, Judge Ken Tjosvold decided that statements made by more than 20 employees during the weeks after the April 28th incident must be examined by the court. Syncrude has pleaded not guilty to charges under the Alberta Environmental Protection Act, and the Federal Migratory Birds Convention Act. It could face up to $800,000 in fines and its executives could spend up to six months in jail if the company is found guilty. (Edmonton Journal article)

Related to the trial, on Wednesday, Greenpeace activists presented Premier Ed Stelmach’s Spokesman with two blown up photos of ducks from the tailings pond incident. The photos have been entered as evidence at the trial against Syncrude. During a press conference on Monday, Stelmach said he had not seen the pictures. NDP Leader Brian Mason also tabled photos of the Ducks “mostly for the benefit of the premier” in the legislature. (Edmonton Sun article)

A study lead by the University of Calgary has concluded that Carbon Capture Technology is indeed possible. But in a strange twist of fate the only way it will be economically feasible is if the government imposes a large carbon tax. Managers of the study concluded that they could safely inject Carbon dioxide into rock formations on a large scale. But the cost of doing so means it would only happen if there was a significant price on carbon. Authors of the study listed prices ranging from $50-$100 per tonne. The current price on carbon is a $15 per tonne, which is not enough to warrant the expense of CCS, say the study’s authors. (Calgary Herald Article)

Youtube videos (above) launched by the satirical lobby group “No more grizzlies”, which depicts grizzly bears destroying cities with laser vision, among other things. The campaign was launched by the Alberta Wilderness Association as a way to spread the message that Alberta’s grizzlies are in trouble.The campaign was launched after sustainable resources minister Mel Knight suggested he was open to allowing a limited grizzly bear hunt in the future. No grizzly bear hunts will be permitted in 2010.

Energy and resources, especially oil, drive the Western Canadian Economy. We hear a lot about the environmental damage that results from this, but today we investigate the possible political and economic implications of such dependency. What does Canada have to show for its fossil fuel wealth compared to other oil rich countries? And is there a danger that oil wealth is distorting sectors of our economy, not to mention our democracy? To answer these questions, Terra Informa’s David Kaczan spoke to Dr. Gordon Laxer, director of the progressive think tank the Parkland Institute, based in Edmonton.  Gordon Laxer is a Political Economist and has written extensively on such topics for both an academic and broader audience.

Check out the Events featured on the show here.

Terra Informa March 14, 2010 (Listen /Download)

A proposed plan to preserve, protect and restore Alberta’s wetlands has been scrapped by the Alberta government, according to a lobby group representing oil and other resource companies. Conservationists are alarmed by a statement released by the Alberta Chamber of resources which says that it has convinced the government to reverse a plan to require oilsands and mining companies to fully restore the wetlands they mine. Alberta currently has no regulations for how companies use wetlands after they mine it. The proposed “no net loss” policy was supposed to go in effect last April. Environment Minister Rob Renner says he hasn’t made a decision yet on the subject. (article by John Cotter [CP])

The Alberta government is cutting royalty rates for conventional oil and gas. Premier Ed Stelmach announced on Thursday that rates for oil and gas will be cut as much as 20%. Oilsands projects are not included in the change. The move has had mixed reactions from the opposition. NDP Leader Brian Mason suggested that Stelmach is reacting to pressure from the oil and gas sector, but Wild Rose Alliance Leader Danielle Smith argued that Stelmach owed Albertans an apology for increasing the rates in the first place. The reduction in royalties will cost the government $828 million over the next three years. (Edmonton Journal article)

The judge preciding over Syncrude’s trial for the infamous duck incident has ordered that statements made by Syncrude be examined for legal admissibility before they are allowed as evidence. Calling a Voir Dire, Judge Ken Tjosvold decided that statements made by more than 20 employees during the weeks after the April 28th incident must be examined by the court. Syncrude has pleaded not guilty to charges under the Alberta Environmental Protection Act, and the Federal Migratory Birds Convention Act. It could face up to $800,000 in fines and its executives could spend up to six months in jail if the company is found guilty. (Edmonton Journal article)

Related to the trial, on Wednesday, Greenpeace activists presented Premier Ed Stelmach’s Spokesman with two blown up photos of ducks from the tailings pond incident. The photos have been entered as evidence at the trial against Syncrude. During a press conference on Monday, Stelmach said he had not seen the pictures. NDP Leader Brian Mason also tabled photos of the Ducks “mostly for the benefit of the premier” in the legislature. (Edmonton Sun article)

A study lead by the University of Calgary has concluded that Carbon Capture Technology is indeed possible. But in a strange twist of fate the only way it will be economically feasible is if the government imposes a large carbon tax. Managers of the study concluded that they could safely inject Carbon dioxide into rock formations on a large scale. But the cost of doing so means it would only happen if there was a significant price on carbon. Authors of the study listed prices ranging from $50-$100 per tonne. The current price on carbon is a $15 per tonne, which is not enough to warrant the expense of CCS, say the study’s authors. (Calgary Herald Article)

Youtube videos (above) launched by the satirical lobby group “No more grizzlies”, which depicts grizzly bears destroying cities with laser vision, among other things. The campaign was launched by the Alberta Wilderness Association as a way to spread the message that Alberta’s grizzlies are in trouble.The campaign was launched after sustainable resources minister Mel Knight suggested he was open to allowing a limited grizzly bear hunt in the future. No grizzly bear hunts will be permitted in 2010.

Alternative Energy Possibilities and Perspectives

Terra Informa February 15, 2010 -Geothermal, Sustainability Projects, and Oil Sands Part 2 (Download/Listen Online)

This week’s episode brings lots of bonus features and is focused on a loose theme of alternative energy, with segments looking at biofuel transportation, geothermal power generation and a critical look at the Alberta oil sands. First off Steve Anderson did the hosting and Eric Bowling compiled the news summary.

The Alberta government is investing $2 million dollars into what is it describing as a “one stop action center” which will provide advice to municipalities on how to reduce energy costs in their facilities as well as host energy efficiency workshops around the province. The center located at the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association was built with recycled materials and a solar panel, has its own wind turbine and co-generation unit, and several other high efficiency upgrades.(Edmonton Sun Article)

The Alberta government is reducing air and water quality monitoring as part of a 5.4%, or $17.5 million cut in its environmental portfolio, the government says it will focus its environmental monitoring on developing areas, such as the oil sands and Edmonton’s industrial parks. The cuts in the environmental budget also include a slowing of Carbon Capture and Storage development as well as investments in public transportation. Alberta’s Sustainable Resource Development ministry is receiving cutbacks of $42 million, or a 12 per cent cut and has put on hiatus the popular Junior Forest ranger and Aboriginal Forest ranger programs,  made cuts to numerous fish and wildlife programs and eliminating dozens of jobs in its department.

Whole Foods and Bed Bath and Beyond, have included not buying so called “dirty oil” into their own climate change plans and announced that they will not purchase fuel that comes from Alberta’s oil sands. Whole Foods  have asked their suppliers to not provide any diesel or gasoline that has its origins in Alberta. Bed, Bath and Beyond is being a little less strict, stating its policy will be to prefer fuels with less carbon emissions where possible. Both companies are listed in the Fortune 500.

The University of East Anglia in England has ordered a review of its research into climate change. An external body of scientists, selected by the royal society, will re-examine papers produced by the Climate Research Unit that recently came under fire when over a thousand emails were illegally posted to the internet. The University is also funding a separate team of scientists to investigate the CRU’s handling of information, as well as whether it properly followed Britain’s Freedom of Information Laws.

Greenpeace is asking fans and members alike to support two Japanese activists that  were charged in 2008 after taking a box of whale meat from a mail depot and giving it to Japanese state prosecutors.  The box was labelled “cardboard” but contained fifty pounds of salted whale meat. The Japanese prosecution began an investigation into the activists claims, but ended the investigation the same day the activists were arrested and charged with theft and trespass. If convicted, they could face up to ten years in prison. Their trial began on Monday.  Greenpeace has set up a petition in defence of the two activists. Sign the petition and share the link with your friends.

The founders of Driven to sustain, a non-profit project designed to promote global environmental awareness in the media, have been traveling around north America in a van power by waste vegetable oil. This week Cloe and Tyson share some of their experiences with Terra Informa.

Wondering how geothermal works? What opportunities exist in Alberta? or the green jobs potential for geothermal? well good thing you’re listening to Terra Informa because correspondent and blogger Myles Curry interviews the University of Alberta Energy Clubs geothermal expert, Ryan Saunders, about these topics and a whole lot more. So much more that we couldn’t fit it all in. The full interview features a more in depth discussion of all things geothermal along with a conversation about the university of Alberta energy club. The geothermal bonus features don’t end there, On Terra Bloga Myles explores the potential benefits and feasibility of using abandoned wells for geothermal power generation in Alberta as described in an Energy Club report title GeoNow: A novel approach to geothermal energy in Alberta.

Did you know that in order to extract just one barrel of oil, developers of the Oil Sands must use an average of at least 3 barrels of fresh water? Melina Laboucan-Massimo, from Greenpeace and the Lubicon First Nation was one of the panellists of the stakeholder discussion. She mentioned that in some instances the in-situ process has required 18 barrels of fresh water to loosen the sands from the oil, only to produce one barrel of oil. Jade Gregg’s second segment on the University of Alberta Oil Sands Delegation 2010 focuses on the water, air, land and society  in Northern Alberta’s Oil Sands communities. The delegation ran from Jan 30th-31st in Fort McMurray. Last week Jade brought us day one of the delegation which included a presentation and discussion with Suncor on corporate social responsibility. This week we focus in on day two which consisted of a trip to the Oil Sands Discovery Centre and a stakeholder panel discussion at the Redpoll Centre with the United Way. Here are a selection of pictures that Jade took of the delegations trip.

For all of our Edmonton listeners there is an important event sponsored by the Greater Edmonton Alliance on Feb 22 at City Hall in support of local foods. Here is an excerpt of a blog post Myles wrote about the event.

The Greater Edmonton Alliance is calling for citizens to pack Edmonton city hall on February 22 to show support for the final stage of the effort to include a local food system strategy, and increase the sustainability of, Edmonton’s 10 year municipal development plan (MDP). Twice before with great success GEA has called upon the citizens of Edmonton to flood city hall in support of local food initiatives and demonstrate through a tactful form of protest which makes city council accommodate, and acknowledge, to extraordinary ends the passion of Albertans for a healthy local source of food…..We need to pack City Hall once again to send a message to the provincial government that we are not waiting for their leadership to start creating the kinds of communities we need in a future of climate change and peak oil. This is a fight for local foods but it is also a fight for the long term sustainability of Edmonton, this is the perfect opportunity to begin taking action to create the post carbon society we so desperately need. (Closing the Deal for Farmland Protection)

Terra Informa February 15, 2010 -Geothermal, Sustainability Projects, and Oil Sands Part 2 (Download/Listen Online)

A Photo of Oil Sands Extraction Equipment by Jade Gregg while on the UofA Oil Sands Delegation

The Alberta Oil Sands

Terra Informa Febuary 7 2010 (Download/Listen Here)

Rebekah Rooney  on the banks of a constructed wetland in the oilsands

Rebekah Rooney sampling vegetation on the banks of a constructed wetland in the oilsands

This week have a show with two stellar segments looking at the Alberta oil sands. First here is a quick summary of the news, brought to us by Alex Hindle, along with some extra links.

A new national park is to be established in in Labrador. Federal environment minister Jim Prentice announced last Friday that the planned Mealy Mountain National Park in central Labrador will encompass 11,000 sq kilometers of land, approximately twice the size of prince Edward island, making it the largest national park in the maritimes, Quebec and Ontario.

Last Thursday saw the commencement of the third session of the 27th provincial legislature in Alberta. In the speech from the throne, Lieutenant Governor Norman Kwong spoke of the progressive conservative’s plans to remove environmental regulatory hurdles to lure energy investment to the province. The move is supposedly intended to repair relations and business with energy companies that were allegedly injured by the province’s 2007attempts to increase royalties on oil and gas development.

Last Friday, the US based Pew Environment Group released the findings of a study pointing to the tremendous cost associate with arctic climate change. The report estimates that waning sea ice and permafrost will cost the world economy between 61 and 370 billion in 2010. The cost figure is a representation of the impact that arctic warming has on global climate change. Because the arctic acts a global air conditioner, it essentially buffers the whole planet against temperature upswings. However, as stated in the report, the arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the planet. This is compounded by the fact that the arctic permafrost is a depository of methane, a major greenhouse gas, that is released as the temperature warms, exacerbating the existing problem. (Pew Group Press Release)

The Bob Barker, a vessel operated by the Sea Shepherd conservation Society was rammed on Saturday by one of the Japanese ships whose whaling operations it was actively disrupting. Bob Barker was blocking the slipway of the japanese’s fleets factory ship when another Japanese boat, the Yushin Maru 3 hit it on the starboard side, penetrating its hull. No injuries were reported onboard the Barker, and the ship was able to continue its operations. (Sea Shephard News Release)

In keeping with our oil sands mining theme this week,  David Kaczan brings us an interview with Terra Informa’s very own Rebekah Rooney.  When she’s not covering breaking environmental news for Terra Infoma, Rebekah works as an ecologist and phd candidate at the University of Alberta. Her research focuses on evaluating the success of wetland reclamation efforts in the surface mineable area of the Athabasca deposit.  Already over 500 km2 of land has been destroyed to access the buried bitumen, and about 65% of that land was once wetlands.  Meeting their legal reclamation obligations requires mining companies to construct wetlands to replace some of the ones they destroyed, but how can we tell whether the wetlands they construct are adequate?  Are Canadians being saddled with a reclamation debt or are the companies putting the landscape back as good as new?  David Kaczan finds out when he chats to Rebekah Rooney.

Terra Informa correspondent Jade Gregg had the opportunity of joining the University of Alberta Oil Sands delegation 2010. About 30 University students were chosen to participate in the delegation which ran Jan 30th to 31st in Fort McMurray. The project included representatives from the University’s PC party, Liberal party, NDP party, the Centre for Student development, ECOS, APIRG, the School of Business, Aboriginal Council on Campus, the Council of Canadians, Greenpeace on campus and many more. As the first of it’s kind, the forum is meant to provide students with greater awareness regarding issues related to Oil Sands extraction in Alberta, so that we may all, as a diverse group of stakeholders, develop solutions. Suncor, Fort McMurray Food Bank, Fort McMurray Multi-Cultural Center, Everyone’s Downstream, and Oil Sands Discovery Center are just some of the organizations that contributed this year. Jade brings us the low down from up north…

Terra Informa Febuary 7 2010 (Download/Listen Here)

Last Thursday saw the commencement of the third session of the 27th provincial legislature in Alberta.  In the speech from the throne, Leuitenant Governor Norman  Kwong spoke of the progressive conservative’s plans to remove environmental regulatory hurdles to lure energy investment to the province.

Sea Shepherd, the Revolution Wear fashion show, and Everyone´s Downstream 3

Terra Informa January 18 2010 (Download & Listen Here)

Terra Informa January 18 2010 (Download & Listen Here)

This week Rebekah brings us the news and here are the headlines and links.

On January 14th, the olympic torch made its way through Edmonton, but not all who gathered in Churchill Square at the end of the relay route were there to celebrate.  The Vancouver Media Coop reported that dozens of protestors were also in attendance, chanting slogans including “Homes not Games” and “No Olympics on Stolen Native Land.”  3 protestors were detained by police, but were later released without charges.

No2010 (http://no2010.com/node/18).

The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games claim of the 2010 olympics will be the “greenest ever.”

Science Daily reported that a new study may help explain a dramatic increase in atmospheric methane concentrations that occurred millenia ago.

India is holding public meetings on genetically modified food crops .  The meetings commence following the commercial release of a genetically modified eggplant amid a storm of opposition.  The eggplant has been genetically modified to resist pests using genetic material from a soil bacteria.

(http://www.globalissues.org/news/2010/01/14/4188)

A dangerous and high stakes game of cat and mouse is played out every Antarctic summer season. The Japanese whaling fleet partakes in an annual hunt of approximately 1000 whales, however it is pursued by an environmental group called the Sea Shephard. Last week the environmentalists lost a high speed trimaran after a collision with a harpoon ship, yet they vow to continue putting up a fight. Terra Informa takes a look at the past and present of the whaling issue. What does international law say on the issue? Who are the protesters? are they acting irresponsibly or courageously and will they succeed in their goal??

Jade takes a look at Rev Wear (Revolution Wear. Check out some of the pictures here, here and here. The facebook group mentioned in the show can be found here.

This past weekend, the third annual Everyone’s Downstream conference, put on by oilsandstruth.org was held in Edmonton. It looks into the impacts of the Alberta tar sands and brings together members of effected communities. But attendees weren’t just from Alberta. There were people from Quebec who were concerned about pipelines in their communities. Others from Toronto were fighting the Royal Bank for it’s enormous investments in the tar sands. And people from BC were worried about the super tanker traffic that a proposed new port would bring. Across the country, everyone was being effected by some aspect of the tar sands. To find out more, Steve Andersen talked to Warner Naziel of the Wet’suwet’en [wit-soo-it-en] Nation on the BC coast about what’s happening in his community.

Terra Informa January 18 2010 (Download & Listen Here)

Stand with Fort Chipewyan

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Terra Informa Jan 3 2010

The website is back in action after a winter break and we have a great show to start the new year.

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To start David Kaczan takes a look at the pros and cons of nuclear power at a time when global warming is leading some environmentalists to reconsider the technology and Alberta is debating the development of a nuclear energy sector. Here is a link to the Alberta government report mentioned in the program

Next members of the group Stand with Fort Chipewyan tell us about the health problems and human rights issues surrounding   that the northern community faces as a result of industrial pollution from the Alberta tar sands, and what they’re doing to draw attention to the issue.

Stand With Fort Chipewyan on Facebook

Avnish Blog-Straight Outta Edmonton

Write a letter to your MLA expressing your concerns regarding the Alberta government´s response to Fort Chipewyan’s health issues

To cap off the show John Harvey speaks to a couple who are touring North America in a biodiesel-powered van, visiting sustainability projects and sharing the knowledge they gain with school kids along the way.

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