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Earthgauge radio podcast February 9, 2012: Canada’s National Parks and Tzeporah Berman of Greenpeace International

February 9, 2012 Leave a comment

The iconic view in Canada's first national park in Banff, Alberta

[audio https://earthgauge.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/earthgauge-radio-podcast-feb9-2012.mp3]

On Earthgauge radio this week, we take a look at the state of Canada’s National Parks and we speak with the well-known and influential Canadian environmentalist Tzeporah Berman.

In our first interview on today’s podcast, I speak with the award-winning author and environmental educator Jeff Gailus. He wrote an article in the current issue of Alternatives Journal called ‘All Sizzle No Stake’, in which he reflects on the current state of Canada’s national parks in the wake of Parks Canada’s 100th anniversary last year.  There was a lot of self-congratulatory back slapping at the Agency to mark the 100th anniversary milestone but Jeff makes the case that our national parks are in fact not in great shape and there are important reasons why all Canadians should be concerned about how our parks are being managed. Parks Canada’s 100th birthday may have been celebrated in Canada’s uncritical media, but that doesn’t mean our national parks are in good shape.

Also on the program today we have an extended 2-part interview with the well-known and influential Canadian environmental activist Tzeporah Berman who at various times been called everything from an ‘eco-terrorist’ to an ‘enemy of the state’. She is currently the co-director of Greenpeace International‘s Climate and Energy Program but she has a long history in Canada’s environmental movement dating back almost 20 years to her involvement as a key organizer in the unprecedented logging protests in British Columbia’s Clayoquot Sound on Vancouver Island in the early 90s. For her role she faced nearly one thousand criminal charges and up to six years in prison. She later co-founded ForestEthics and took on the lingerie company Victoria Secret to pressure them to stop using paper made from old-growth forests. She is also the author of a recent memoir called This Crazy Time: Living Our Environmental Challenge. In our interview we talk about her book, which reflects on her many years as an activist. Despite being criticized heavily and even vilified by both industry and government, as well as some other environmentalists, she makes no apologies for her strategies over the years, saying some conservation agreements would not have been possible without negotiation and engagement. She explains why she feels it is not enough for the environmental movement simply to oppose, we also need to propose solutions when protests and activism have captured the attention of media and government leaders.

We also have our usual segment with Kathy of Ecology Ottawa who updates us on local environmental events and campaigns. I’ve listed a few of the upcoming events below and you can click here to see a complete list with full details.

Contact us at earthgaugeradio ‘at’ gmail.com. Please do get in touch if you have story ideas, a comment on something you’ve heard or want to get involved or contribute to the show. You can also download our podcasts on iTunes. Just type “earthgauge” into the search bar and you’ll find us.

Right click here to download today’s podcast.

Upcoming local environmental events

City Council Meeting – Environmental Advisory Committee
When: February 9, 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Where: City Hall, Andrew S. Haydon Hall
Organizer: Joël Monfils, 613-580-2424 ext 26837, Joël.Monfils@ottawa.ca

Green Drinks Ottawa
Green Drinks is an open invitation to anyone interested/working/studying all things environmental. Come and join the group for interesting and inspiring conversation. Green Drinks is an informal, self-organizing network that meets every second Thursday of the month. For more information, contact: greendrinksottawa@gmail.com.
When: February 9, 5:30 to 7:30 pm
Where: Fox and Feather Pub & Grill, 283 Elgin street

February 11, 2012
Family Snowshoeing Adventures
The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) is offering snowshoe clinics; fun half-day sessions for families to learn snowshoeing techniques. Clinics include a scenic, informative nature hike through the conservation area’s trails with one of the RVCA’s outdoor interpreters. The cost, including snowshoe rental, is $15 per adult and $10 per child, or $40 for a family package (five person family maximum). Two sessions will take place on February 11th, one from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m, and the next from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m., at Foley Mountain Clinics in Westport. Please contact Rebecca Whitman at 613-273-3255 or rebecca.whitman@rvca.ca to register or for more information.

Climate Change Conference 2012
In December, Canada announced it would withdraw from the Kyoto Accord – an international emission treaty to fight global climate change. What are the repercussions of Canada leaving the Kyoto Accord? Where do we go from here? Learn about what happened at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban this year from those who were there. Join in to discuss The Good, The Bad and The Ugly about climate change in Canada.
When: February 15, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm
Where: University of Ottawa – Alumni Theatre, Jock Turcot Building

Weekly Environmental Choir Rehearsal
Just Voices is Ottawa’s only environmental and social-justice themed choir. They have been singing at events around the capital since 2003. They welcome new members at any time, and prior musical experience is not necessary. For more information, visit http://www.justvoices.ca.
When: February 15th and 22nd, 7:00 to 9:00 pm
Where: The Bronson Centre, 211 Bronson Ave

City Council Meeting – Environment Committee
When: January 31, 9:30 to 11:30 am
Where: City Hall, Andrew S. Haydon Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West
Organizer: Carole Legault, 613-580-2424 x28934
CaroleA.Legault@ottawa.ca

February 22, 2012
Exploring Your New Farm Dream Workshop
Offered by Just Food and FarmStart, this four-part series of workshops is a course for people who are thinking about starting a commercial farm business (as in, farming with the intent to make a profit rather than as a hobby or a pastime). Developed by the New England Small Farm Institute, the course helps aspiring farmers learn what it would take to start and manage their own farm dream and decide whether this is the right path for them. The first session will be held on February 22nd, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. For more information and to register, visit http://www.farmstart.ca/explorer/

Latest Alternatives Journal podcast: Seeing the forest for the trees

February 2, 2012 Leave a comment

[audio https://earthgauge.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/alternatives-podcast-jan11-forests-final-mixdown.mp3]

From forest management to conservation to celebrating the beauty of the world’s forests, the latest issue of Alternatives
Journal looks at the general theme of forestry. Author Jeff Gailus (The Grizzly Manifesto) takes a critical look at Parks Canada in their 100th year to peek behind the curtain to see how they really measure up. This issue also features Andrew Nikiforuk on the wake of the pine beetle, Margaret Atwood on the Greenbelt movement, and the best photos of 2011 from the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.

Click the audio player above to hear my podcast version of the magazine, in which I feature the following interviews:

Jeff Gailus on Parks Canada’s 100th anniversary (13:20)

Tenille Bonoguore discussing the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (10:40)

Will Turner on Conservation International’s 10 global forest hotspots (14:12)

Right click here to download the podcast.

Greening our commercial buildings

February 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Soaking Up the Sun to Squeeze Energy Use to Zero – NYTimes.com.

Great article from the Times. Did you know commercial buildings use 18% of total energy consumed in the U.S. each year? This article describes innovation at its best. An affordable solution that will save both money and energy. Here’s an excerpt:

Most office buildings are divorced, in a way, from their surroundings. The energy lab’s Research Support Facility building is more like a mirror, or perhaps a sponge, to its surroundings. From the light-bending window louvers that cast rays up into the interior office spaces, to the giant concrete maze in the sub-basement for holding and storing radiant heat, every day is completely different.

The backdrop to everything here is that office buildings are, to people like Mr. Blocher, the unpicked fruit of energy conservation. Commercial buildings use about 18 percent of the nation’s total energy each year, and many of those buildings, especially in years past, were designed with barely a thought to energy savings, let alone zero net use.

Tough Energy and Environmental Questions for 2011

January 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Tough Energy and Environmental Questions for 2011.

A good article by Rafe Mair of the Common Sense Canadian to start 2011. It is always interesting to read comments such as the following from a former member of the B.C. Legislative Assembly (as Mair was under the conservative-leaning Social Credit government).

“…with our governments money talks and big time money talks big time. It must be remembered that corporations don’t give a rat’s ass about the environment. They would pollute all water, destroy wildlife, and desecrate the environment generally. Every tiny bit of environmental restraint has been and always will be imposed by government and it will be resisted and ignored by the corporate world.”

Cheerful words to brighten your new year!  Worth a read. Happy 2011!

Plants in peril

October 3, 2010 Leave a comment

Not to be a total downer (see the uplifting post below on the state of the world’s rivers), but according to new research released this week, more than a fifth of the world’s plant species faces the threat of extinction, a trend with potentially catastrophic effects for life on Earth. Up until now, the earth’s mammals were thought to be more seriously imperiled by the risk of extinction but the study, entitled Sampled Red List Index for Plants, concludes that plants are just as threatened as mammals. The research provides a major baseline for plant conservation and is the first time that the true extent of the threat to the world’s estimated 380,000 plant species is known.

Why should we care about some trees and shrubs? Quite simply, because plants provide the foundation for most of the world’s ecosystems and are vital for providing food, clean water and soil, medicine and regulating our climate. And the reason for the demise of plants? You guessed it – humans. One of the greatest threats facing plants today, is the conversion of natural habitats for agriculture or livestock use. The report says that human activities (81 percent) far outweigh natural threats (19 percent) to plant biodiversity and are being fueled by agriculture, logging, plantations and livestock. And the most threatened habitat is tropical rainforest.

Read more…

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