Earthgauge radio podcast February 9, 2012: Canada’s National Parks and Tzeporah Berman of Greenpeace International
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.
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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, Joë[email protected]
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: [email protected].
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 [email protected] 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
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/
Earthgauge interviews with James Hansen, Bill McKibben and Maude Barlow from Keystone XL protest in Washington, D.C. [#nokxl]
Click the audio players below to hear my interviews from the Keystone XL protest in Washington, D.C. last weekend with NASA scientist James Hansen; author and activist Bill McKibben and the Council of Canadians’ Maude Barlow.
It was a rare pleasure to have the opportunity to speak with Dr. James Hansen, renowned NASA scientist and one of the world’s leading climatologists. He heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, a part of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. He is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University.
Right click here to download the interview (3:18).
If there is one individual who can be credited with building the U.S. climate change movement to the level of influence it has reached today, it is Bill McKibben. In addition to being an author and journalist, McKibben has been a tireless environmental and climate activist. He is the author of several books and is a frequent contributor to various magazines including The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, Orion Magazine, Mother Jones, The New York Review of Books, Granta, Rolling Stone, and Outside. He is also a board member and contributor to Grist Magazine.
Right click here to download the interview (1:55).
Maude Barlow is another person I’ve been trying to interview for some time. In our discussion, she is refreshingly upbeat in her assessment of the prospects of stopping both Keystone XL and the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipelines. Sure enough, mere days after the Keystone protest in D.C., President Obama announced that he would be delaying until 2013 his decision on whether or not to grant a permit to TransCanada to construct the pipeline.
Maude Barlow is the National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and chairs the board of Washington-based Food and Water Watch. She is the recipient of 11 honorary doctorates as well as many awards, including the 2005 Right Livelihood Award, the Citation of Lifetime Achievement and the 2009 Earth Day Canada Outstanding Environmental Achievement Award. In 2008/2009, she served as Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly and was a leader in the campaign to have water recognized as a human right by the UN. She is also the author of dozens of reports, as well as 16 books, including the international bestseller Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and The Coming Battle for the Right to Water.
Right click here to download the interview (2:50).
I had the privilege of speaking with the well-known scientist and broadcaster Dr David Suzuki when he was in Montreal last week to give a speech at McGill University to promote his latest book called ‘The Legacy: An Elder’s Vision for Our Sustainable Future‘. For over 30 years as the host of CBC’s The Nature of Things, Suzuki has opened the eyes of Canadians to the beauty and fragility of our planet. He is also the co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides science-based education, advocacy and policy work, and acts as a catalyst for social change.
Suzuki’s latest book is a sort of final lecture from a man who has dedicated his life to education and public service. In the book, Suzuki talks about his formative years as a young geneticist as well as the inspiration he has found from Aboriginal societies who have fought for the survival of their lands and traditional ways of life. Now that he is an “elder” as he describes it, the book is also a reflection of Suzuki’s own legacy and his vision for a sustainable future.
Click the audio player above to hear my conversation with him (8 mins). The interview can be downloaded by right-clicking here and selecting ‘Save as’ or ‘Save target as’.
You can also hear Suzuki’s entire speech at McGill by clicking the audio player below or right-clicking here to download.
A founding member of the Quebec environmental NGO Equiterre, Steven Guilbeault has established himself in recent years as one of Quebec’s, if not Canada’s, leading voices on environmental issues. He has taken a leadership role in numerous environmental campaigns and has recently been particularly active as a climate change campaigner, writer and spokesperson. He coordinated Greenpeace Canada‘s Climate and Energy campaign for 10 years before returning to Equiterre. Guilbeault is also serving as the co-president of the international Climate Action Network and is the president of special committee on renewable energy established by Quebec’s Ministry of Natural Resources.
Guilbeault has participated in the majority of United Nations meetings on climate change and he published his first book on climate change in 2009. He was recently identified by Le Monde as one of the 50 most important people working in sustainable development in the world.
Click the audio player to hear my interview with Steven Guilbeault from the 2010 Millenium Summit in Montreal in which we discuss the climate crisis, the current state of renewable and alternative energy and the links between climate stabilization and poverty alleviation.
Right click here to download the interview and select ‘Save as’ or ‘Save target as’.
The May/June 2010 issue of E Magazine features a cover story with Tim DeChristopher – a 28 year-old activist from Utah who is facing a possible sentence of 10 years in federal prison and fines up to $750,000. His crime? In 2008, DeChristopher went to an auction that was leasing more than 100,000 acres of federal (i.e. public) land for oil and gas development. The leases were approved in the dying days of the Bush II administration, despite the fact that the land in question bordered Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and Dinosaur National Monument.
Posing as a bidder, DeChristopher won the right to develop 22,500 acres of land for which, of course, he had neither the capability nor the intention of doing. His goal was simply to take the land out of the hands of oil and gas companies.
Despite the fact that officials in the Obama administration subsequently canceled leases on 77 parcels from the Utah auction, effectively agreeing that the auction should never have gone ahead, DeChristopher is nonetheless being prosecuted for his actions. His trial date is to begin in September in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City. For his part, DeChristopher (who has subsequently become recognized as something of an environmental cult hero) says he has no desire to go to jail but he would do the same thing again given the chance.
With this action, Bidder 70, as DeChristopher has become known, represents what seems to be a resurgence in direct action environmental protest, which was such a hallmark of the movement in years gone by but seems to have fallen by the wayside for environmental organizations who have chosen negotiation and compromise as their strategy of choice in recent years.
As we careen toward potentially catastrophic climate change, could this and other such actions represent the beginning of a return to a more radical form of environmental activism? Click the audio player below to hear my interview with DeChristopher for CKUT radio. He explains what exactly he did and what motivated him to do it. He also discusses the legal consequences of his protest action and the new organization he has subsequently founded called Peaceful Uprising.
To download the interview, right click here and select ‘Save As’ or ‘Save Target As’.