Winona LaDuke

Winona LaDuke and Replanting Ontario’s Wild Rice

In the spirit of the Idle No More protests currently sweeping across Canada, this week Terra Informa digs into the archives to focus on two inspiring First Nations leaders. First we bring you an interview with prominent Anishinaabe/American environmentalist Winona LaDuke. And second, we’ll meet James Whetung and learn of his quest to restore wild rice to Eastern Ontario’s battered waterways. Finally, we’ll let you know what’s happening in environmental news this week.

Winona LaDuke and Replanting Ontario's Wild Rice

T-Shirt photographed (and owned) by Flickr user bicyclemark

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Winona LaDuke

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 around 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 last January.

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

Replanting Ontario’s Wild Rice

Everyday we hear stories about people polluting rivers, chopping down sacred forests or pushing species to the brink of extinction. Such stories make it easy to lose faith in humanity. Never fear though – correspondent Chris Chang-Yen Phillips brings you a story about James Whetung, a member of southern Ontario’s Curve Lake First Nation, who is trying to give something back to the environment for a change. Wild rice is considered a sacred part of Anishinaabe culture, but was virtually wiped out in waterways in Ontario in the 20th century. James Whetung is working hard to replant beds of wild rice in lakes in his area, and teach others how to harvest it again. Tune in to find out more on why he is trying to revive this plant’s place in the watershed, and in his community.

More on this story: Visit Our Table, Northumberland Today (p. 25)

What’ Happening

Overcoming Chronic Food Insecurity

This Wednesday January 9th, The University of Ottawa will host a conference on “Overcoming Chronic Food Insecurity.” Presented by Humanitarian Coalition and the Food Security Policy
Group, this daylong event will feature a session on coordinating food security efforts; an evaluation of the 2011 East Africa Drought Response; and a panel discussion on chronic food crises and ideal humanitarian outcomes. Jennifer Clapp, Professor & Faculty of Environment Chair in Global Environmental Governance at Waterloo University will be guest speaking at this event. Those interested in attending are encouraged to RSVP ASAP.

More Information: Humanitarian Coalition

Travelling 11,000km to Fight Climate Change

Concerned about climate change, but couldn’t make the UN Climate talks in Qatar? Don’t sweat it! On Tuesday January 15, the Saskatchewan Environment Society is bringing last year’s climate talks to the Frances Morrison Library in Saskatoon. Come learn about the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change; the negotiations at Doha in December; and how to get involved yourself, starting at home. The evening will feature guest speaker Megan Van Buskirk, a youth delegate to the 2010, ‘11, and ‘12 UN Climate Negotiations. This event marks the first of a seven part speaker series on sustainability, and best of all it’s free!

More information: Environmental Society

Film Screening—Forks Over Knives

A film screening of “Forks Over Knives” will take place at the Annette Library in Toronto, ON on January 15. “Forks Over Knives” is a food for thought documentary that explores the connection between degenerative diseases and diet, specifically when it comes to processed and animal-based foods. This event runs from 6:15-8:15pm, so don’t rush out on the bill; stick around to chew the fat at the discussion afterwards. A guest speaker from the High Park Veg Group is also expected to attend. This event is hosted by Green 13 and the screening is free so come on down for an eyeful and an earful. Warning: you might walk away hungry for change.

More information: Forks Over Knives, Toronto Public Library

Invest with Conscience

Just because money is green, it doesn’t mean that our investments are too. On Wednesday January 16th, you can learn about “Socially Responsible Investing” or SRI and what it means to be a “Green Investor.” This event is hosted by Green Calgary, a registered charity driven towards making Calgary a more sustainable city. Attendees will get to hear from Gary Hawton, CEO of Meritas SRI Funds and a key player in the expansion of the SRI market in Canada. This event takes place at the Hillhurst United Church in Calgary Alberta.

More information: Eventbrite

Explore the Enchanted Isles!

On Monday January 21, Nature Manitoba will be hosting a presentation on Manitoba’s Enchanted Isles – the remote islands of Lake Winnipeg’s North Basin. Join Dr. Randall Mooi, Curator of Zoology for the Manitoba Museum, who’ll share some of his finding, ranging from rare and unexpected wildlife to the downright strange, like spiders that live in carnivorous plants. The event will be held at the Franco-Manitoban Cultural Center in Winnipeg and begins at 7:30pm, so don’t be lake—err, late. Admission fee is $3, or $2 if you’re already a member.

More information: Nature Manitoba

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Logging on Cortes Island & Winona LaDuke

Today we investigate plans for logging on BC’s Cortes Island and talk to locals who are pushing for more sustainable harvest practices. We also hear from renowned activist, economist, and writer Winona LaDuke, who explains why locally based sustainable development strategies are critical to our future. All the that, plus your wrap up of the week’s news headlines!

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The old growth forest of Cortes Island. Photo by TJ Watt of the Ancient Forest Alliance.

Winona LaDuke
Winona LaDuke is an aboriginal environmental activist, economist and writer. She has spent her entire career as an outspoken, engaging and unflagging advocate dedicated to issues of food and energy sustainability. After running for U.S vice president as the nominee of the United States Green Party in 1996 and 2000, Winona has continued to espouse her critical perspectives on food and energy consumption and has become a leading proponent on issues of locally based sustainability development strategies. But what will happen if non-sustainable consumption practices continue? Terra Informa correspondent Matt Hirji speaks with Winona LaDuke from her home on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota.

Logging on Cortes Island
Logging is a major industry in BC, and one that employs a lot of people. But that doesn’t mean it’s without controversy. On Cortes Island, just off the BC coast, residents are raising the alarm over plans by Island Timberlands to log the area. They say that the company’s plans aren’t sustainable and they’ve gathered thousands of signatures calling for a change.

More on this story: Wildstands Alliance, Ancient Forest Alliance, Petition

News Headlines
A fire in the Fraser Valley, B.C. region knocked out power to residents in both Chilliwack and Abbotsford this past week. A BC Hydro substation caught fire on Friday morning and the cause is still under investigation- as is the possibility of any lasting environmental impact. The damaged transformer contained one-hundred and fifteen-thousand litres of insulating oil which, according to Environment Minister for BC, Terry Lake, could be a real cause for concern. Emergency environmental response officers are on site assessing any potential contamination of nearby ground water or streams. However, the NDP Critic for Environment, Rob Flemming, voiced further concerns about the release of carcinogens from the oil burning. As of yet, no environmental review has been released.

More on this story: Times Colonist, CKNW News, CTV News

The Museum of Science and Technology in Ottawa is suffering controversy over Imperial Oil’s role in their exhibit entitled “Energy: Power to Choose.” The Imperial Oil foundation contributed $600,000 to the exhibit, which opened last year. Imperial’s involvement in the exhibit stirred controversy from its outset, with groups like the Sierra Club of Canada complaining that the foundation’s involvement would call into question the integrity of the exhibit. Emails recently obtained by the CBC reveal that Imperial was indeed making requests to change the “overall tone” of the exhibit.

More on this story: Vancouver Sun, CBC News, Macleans

Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent announced the beginning of discussions to re-introduce bison to Banff National Park. It has been over a century since plains bison roamed the area freely, and Kent hopes to reconnect the species with the habitat where it had previously ranged for thousands of years. Concerns have already been raised about the bison roaming into the town proper or onto the highway, but Kent seemed assured that the dangers would be successfully mitigated by the Parks Service. Resource Conservation Manager, Bill Hunt, said that the bison herds would be managed much the same way as elk are already managed in the National Park, and that precautions will be taken as the size of the herd expands. Don’t expect to see the plains bison roaming the park any time soon, though. Parks Canada is planning an extensive consultation process which could take several years to complete.

More on this story: Edmonton Journal, CBC News, Parks Canada Press Release

Documents obtained by Greenpeace Canada and the Climate Action Network reveal the federal government’s ‘allies’ and ‘adversaries’ in its bid to promote Alberta’s oilsands. The documents list the biodiesel industry, as well as Aboriginal and environmental groups to be adversaries, while energy companies, the National Energy Board, Environment Canada, and business and industry associations are considered allies. The document is a part of a strategy by the federal government to improve Canada’s image in Europe, in response to campaigns by European NGO’s, that the federal government feels “[frame] the issue in a strongly negative light.”

More on this story: CBC News, Vancouver Sun, CTV News

On Friday, January 27 First Nations from Alberta and the Northwest Territories signed the Save the Fraser Declaration opposing the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline as well as the supertanker traffic it would bring to BC’s coast. The formal legal declaration bans tar sands pipelines in the Fraser watershed, and on the north and south coasts of British Columbia. The declaration protects the world’s most critical salmon rivers, and the Pacific North Coast, from the threat of oil spills posed by the proposed Enbridge oil pipeline and supertankers.

More on this story: West Coast Environmental Law, Yinka Dene Alliance