Forest Fires of Northern Ontario Continue to Burn (courtesy of CBC.ca)
Episode10: Forest Fires of Northern Ontario
This episode features Art Osbourne, someone who has been working closely with the fires as part of the Ministry of Natural Resources. He offered up to date information on the state of the fires, their place in the history of forest fires, and what the impacts forest fires has had to northern communities.
This year in Ontario, forest fires have already matched their 10-year average, and have more than quadrupled the area that has been burned; fires are becoming more intense and greater in scale. What does this mean, if anything? Many projections for future climate scenarios predict dryer, hotter weather for longer periods of time in the summer, leading to conditions ripe for fires. This trend hasn’t evolved yet, but the impacts the fires have had this year indicate that increases in fires will undoubtedly contribute to major social and economic depression.
Forest fires in Ontario have more than quadrupled the area burned from the 10-year average
With many communities forced to evacuate, the disruption these fires have caused reaches beyond their ecological impact. Remote or isolated communities were brought to urban centres, facing the possibility of having no home to go back to. Some have begun to relocate, but the fires are still being closely monitored by the MNR- new fires still continue to ignite daily.
The Largest Fire this year is Sioux #70. This is Sioux #11, a fire still large in size.
Posted in Canada, Climate Change, Community Radio, Environment, Forest Fire | Tagged Forest Fire | Leave a Comment »
- Courtesy of Ashlee Wilcox, Ph. D. candidate for the project Joanna had worked on.
Episode 09- Climate Change and Identity
Is climate change still controversial? In spite of some pretty convincing evidence, some still strongly believe that our climate isn’t changing. But even these are a minority- most people understand that the global climate is not static, but on a trajectory. Humanity’s contribution is the topic of debate.
But that dispute is not the topic for this show- The Panda’s Thumb recognizes that climate change is happening, alarmingly accelerated at the mercy of humans. So isn’t it about time we do something about it?
The guest on this show is Joanna MacDonald, a fourth year University of Guelph student who has been researching the impacts of climate change on youth in the Arctic. She found that along with altered ecosystems, the north is experiencing a changing culture- ice fishing, for example, is affected by shorter and milder winters, impacting the livelihood of many people and threatening traditions.
I was living in Fiji last year for a while, and was made abruptly aware just how difficult developing policy to address climate change can be for small island nations. Many friends I had spoke with, from atolls across the Pacific, told me of how their nation and community are making strong efforts to deal with a changing climate- something they have already begun to experience. Where can they move to if their island is engulfed, or made no longer habitable? Will they still hold a national identity- and sovereignty- at the UN?
These questions are among the many that our society will have to answer. This show uses community knowledge to investigate environmental issues- and climate change is far from localized- but creating sustainable communities is where we have to begin.
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National Parks Project
Episode 08- National Parks Project
This week, The Panda’s Thumb explores an innovative project that’s redefining how Canada’s National Parks are being used. National Parks Project gathered together some of Canada’s most talented musicians and film makers, transported them to remote locations (for the most part!), and gave them a few days to interpret the landscape through art.
The result? A beautifully crafted album with distinct scores, each capturing a unique perspective of a place which is often definitive of a national identity; and a film that contextualizes the landscape in a personal, yet accessible interpretation of the Parks.
I interviewed Ryan Noth, a producer for the project who was with it from the beginning. In this episode, he describes the growth of an idea into a project greater than he had imagined. With full support from Parks Canada, this project is setting a precedent for innovative interactions between art and wilderness.
Posted in Art, Canada, Community Radio, Environment, National Parks Project, Nature | Leave a Comment »
Pesticide free gardens and lawns in Ontario
The latest episode from The Panda’s Thumb investigates Ontario’s ban on cosmetic and residential use pesticides. If you missed the live broadcast, check it out- Episode 07- Cosmetic Peticide Ban
Cosmetic pesticides have been phased out of Ontario since 2009- gone are the days when homeowners could leisurely spray their lawns, gardens, trees, and any sort of life form with a lethal mixture. Which is cerainly not a BAD thing.
Homeowners, unlike certified turfgrass managers and farmers, generally don’t have access to training on hazardous chemical handling. And those chemicals are dangerous, not just to insects and “pests”. They can kill humans too! In fact, pesticides are a top choice for suicide because of this (a different conversation- why these farmers of cash crop, industry controlled farms are committing suicide).
Pesticides are hotly debated outside of cosmetic and residential use. But that in and of itself would take an entire episode to investigate. So I just focused on residential, non-agricultural uses.
Guest starring is Nicole Markwick, a U of G student who is working on a project witht he Turfgrass Institute. They’re trying to implement a program that makes the transition easy for turfgrass managers switiching to pesticide-free management. And although these techniques have been around far longer than pesticide uses, it is thought to be more labour intensive.
And an interesting development might be taking place in rural towns-a black market for banned pesticides. Farmers, who can access these chemicals, are rumoured to be selling them to friends and others who can’t access them. And towns close to the US border are sneaking them across. There needs to be more of an incentive to go pesticide free!
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Some people protest in large numbers of peaceful demonstrators. Some people may use violence as a means of grabbing the attention of blinded policymakers, incentive-driven corporations, and a sedated society. But others choose to raise their voice through mediums they know best- the arts.
Everyone has their own motivation for being an activist- and can express their opinions through whichever method they feel is right for them. In this episode, I looked at the reasons why one community activist chose to share his perspective and frustrations through a multi-media theatrical production.
Episode 05- Environmental Activism Through the Arts
James Gordon has been actively involved in the community of Guelph for many years. Singer/songwriter, director andactivist, his latest production, Nastee Business, opens tonight at 8 pm. If you can’t make this show, you have two more chances both tomorrow night and Thursday night.
Posted in Activism, Community Radio, Environment, Theatre | Tagged Activism | Leave a Comment »
Some absolutely wonderful folks from Transition Guelph stopped by the station for the last episode- a live interview which explores our oil dependency, peak oil, the economy, and their inextricable link with the environment.
Sally and Chris from Transition Guelph explain the reasons for making Guelph a transition community, and what that entails. An investigative and informed insight into greater global issues, Chris and Sally are able to illuminate what communities can do to mitigate environmental, economical, and social collapse- and while still being wildly entertaining and full of wit!
Check out Episode 04- Transition Guelph
Posted in Community Radio, Environment, Nature, Peak oil, Tranisition Guelph | Leave a Comment »
Wednesday, June 22nd at 7:30pm
Guelph Unitarians Facility, 122 Harris St (at York Rd.), Guelph
Carl Cosack, who was featured in the last episode on the Melancthon Mega Quarry, will present the impacts of the Mega Quarry to the ecosystem, environment, economy, and culture of the surrounding area (including Guelph!).
FREE Event, with available parking. Or Bus #4
Hanson Permanente Quarry in Western California-- This is what a Quarry looks like
Picture compliments of the Indigenous Artists and Writers Collective (check them out!)
Posted in Energy, Environment, Nature, Quarry | Leave a Comment »