Sea Shepherd & Tar Sands Pollution

A new documentary chronicling the life of Sea Shepherd’s founder has just been released, titled Eco-Pirate: The Story of Paul Watson. So for anyone who’s thinking about seeing the film, we thought we’d give you a little background.

The federal government has just released its proposed environmental monitoring plan for the tar sands. The plan may have been developed in less than a year, but for critics of the industry it has been a long time coming. For years, scientists and environmental groups had heaped criticism on the monitoring systems tasked with overseeing the tar sands industry. Last fall the release of two reports by renowned ecologist Dr. David Schindler marked a tipping point. They clearly linked pollution of the Athabasca watershed to tar sands extraction — a claim both industry and the Alberta government had long denied.

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Image from the film Eco Pirate: The Story of Paul Watson

Quebec’s Climate Action Camp & Australia’s Legal Fight Against Whaling

This week on Terra Informa we talk to one of the organizers of the upcoming Climate Action Camp in Quebec. We investigate what the camps are, how they started and what they’re trying to achieve. Then we switch gears and go all the way to Australia to learn about the Australian Government’s effort to fight Japanese whaling through the UN International Court of Justice. And as always, we get the show started with a wrap up of the week’s environmental news headlines.

Quebec Climate Action Camp Poster

Weekly Environmental News Headlines

Alberta Oilsands

ERCB leniency with Imperial Oil

Criticism from the Pembina Institute


China closing down polluting factories (2)

World-wide climate change effects

Floods and mudslides on three continents, as drought hits Africa

Record temperatures

Effects on rice production

Oil spill update

Reports that leak is sealed (2)

Tropical storm halts drilling

Endangered species still at risk

Quebec Climate Action Camp

Climate Justice as a concept and as a movement is gaining traction around the world as people search for equitable and just solutions to climate change.

Climate Justice is a vision to dissolve and alleviate the unequal burdens created by climate change. As a form of environmental justice, climate justice is the fair treatment of all people and freedom from discrimination with the creation of policies and projects that address climate change and the systems that create climate change and perpetuate discrimination.

The current growth the Climate Justice movement is experiencing amongst environmental and social justice advocates has largely been spurred and sustained by the use of climate action camps as a tactic of mobilization. Right now Climate Justice Montreal is organizing a climate action camp in Quebec, adding Canada to a growing list of countries that are the site of this radical form of environmental mobilization. To provide us with some insight into the workings, purpose and perspectives of the Quebec Climate Action camp, Terra Informa correspondent Myles Curry spoke to Cameron Fenton—an organizer of this event—from the site of the camp in Dunham, Quebec.

Stop the Flow of Destruction: A Primer on Climate Justice and the 2010 Climate Action Camp

Australian Legal Action Against Whaling

There aren’t many issues that rouse the ire of animal lovers and conservationists more than whaling. The International Whaling Commission placed a ban on Commercial Whaling in 1986 in an effort to prevent the big species from becoming extinct, after decades of intensive industrial hunting by many countries. Today whale watching is a bigger industry than whaling, but a small handful of countries persist with the old practice. Japan, Norway and Iceland all have annual and controversial hunts. In particular, the Japanese hunt, conducted under the guise of ‘scientific whaling’, is stridently opposed by environmental groups and many governments. Years of negotiations have failed to convince Japan to stop, so the Australian Government is taking the issue a step further. It has launched legal action against Japan in the International Court of Justice. To find out some background to the case, and just how likely it is to succeed, our Terra Informa correspondent caught up with Australian Lawyer Clytie Shimmin, on a beach on the Pacific Coast of Australia. David Kaczan filed this report from Brisbane.

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Mushroom Hunting & Orbital Solar Power

This weeks show has a wide variety of awesome stuff for you, Rebekah Rooney and Tasneem Karbani started off the show with the environmental news headlines. For the features, new volunteer Brett gives a run down on orbital solar technology, Myles Curry introduces a new segment called Local Campaigns with a look at RePower Alberta, and Ellis Agbenyega tackles the term “greenwashing” in another installment of EcoBable. Steve Anderson hosted and produced the show.

The Morel of the story is ...

Morel Mushroom Found in Southern Alberta (By annkelliott on Flikr)

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Environmental Headlines

Calgary takes #1 spot in Eco city ranking

Mercer, a global consulting company, has released a Quality of Living Survey, which examined 221 international cities to produce an Eco-City Ranking

but…. A United Nations report released in April found that Calgary was among the worst polluters. It ranked 5th out of 50 international cities surveyed Here is a video of Jim Prentice(Minister of Environment) responding to that ranking.

Gulf oil spill continues to worsen

Obama orders six-month freeze on offshore drilling and expansion

Gulf oil spill is public health risk, environmental scientists warn

US coast guards harass journalists covering BP’s oil spill disaster

At a UN conference nations agree to an increase in aid from rich to poor countries to protect the Earth’s forests and curb global carbon emissions.

Oslo Forest Climate Conference

Canada has not committed a specific sum of money to the initiative, Jim Prentice (Minister of Environment) attended the conference and pledged Canada’s support of the REDD initiatives (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and degradation)

Trial of an anti-whaling activist from New Zealand begins in Japan

Peter Bethune, a Sea Shepherd campaigner, who tried to arrest the captain of the ship is faced with charges of trespassing, forcible obstruction of business, destruction of property, and illegal possession of a knife

A report from The Guardian reveals that Australia will be asking the international court of justice to end Tokyo’s annual whale culls in the Southern Ocean.

Overfishing pressure is predicted to combine with the Deep Horizons Gulf oil disaster to devastate the Bluefin population which spawns in the Gulf of Mexico

The Centre for Biological Diversity has filed a formal scientific petition to protect the Atlantic Bluefin tuna under the USA’s Endangered Species Act.

Orbital Solar Power

New Terra Informa correspondent Brett Tegart sheds some light on the possibilities  and practicalities of  the cutting edge technology, orbital solar power.

Local Campaigns

Across Canada there are countless groups and individuals working on environmental issues and causes in their communities that face a daunting task in spreading their message. This week on Terra Informa we introduce a new recurring segment called ‘Local Campaigns’ highlighting these often under reported efforts. Myles Curry debuts this segment with a look at a new green jobs and renewable energy campaign called RePower Alberta.

RePower Alberta Website

Sierra Club Prairie Chapter

Greenpeace: Stop the tar-sands

Urban Mushroom Hunting

Did you know that one Portabella mushroom can have more potassium than a banana? Did you also know that some species like the edible Honey Mushroom produce a bioluminescent light? For many people, the world of fungi and mushrooms is mostly a mystery. In fact, there are about 38,000 varieties of mushrooms and it is estimated that there are over a million species of fungi, but only about 10% have been officially described in the scientific literature.

Terra Informa correspondent Marcus Peterson attended a presentation on mushroom hunting for urbanites by the Alberta Mycological Society, one of the few mycological societies in Canada and the only one between Vancouver and Toronto. Although mushroom hunting can be a minefield fraught with lethal fungi, after this show, you’ll feel much more confident about going out and identifying your first morel.


Jargon seems to creep into discussions of just about everything these days, and the environment is no exception. So every now and again, in our Eco Babble series, we take a look at a common term whose meaning isn’t quite as clear as it should be. Today’s term is greenwashing and Ellis Agbenyega will clear it all up.

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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.


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)