Visit to South Knowlesville

Friends of RAVEN Amy Floyd and Leyland Wong-Daugherty organized a learning event in the South Knowlesville community today. The visit began with a pot-luck followed by a sharing circle at the Knowlesville Art and Nature Centre. Visitors to the community, including from the RAVEN project, learned about the history of the South Knowlesville Community Land Trust, the legal options for forming community land trusts, and the experiences of community members in intentional communities in a rural environment.

We also visited the off-grid straw bale round house in the community, and the ARK – Arts Republic of Knowlesville, located in an old farmhouse undergoing a retrofit with straw bale insulation.

On the first weekend of June, South Knowlesville is the site of the Praxis festival, a Permaculture-Inspired Art Festival. Praxis and South Knowlesville are also involved in an ongoing RAVEN project to produce a video about rural activism and rural environmental projects in New Brunswick.

Thank you to the South Knowlesville community for hosting the visitors today!

Climate action: update

RAVEN’s Rachel Bensler, who is leading the Fossil-Free UNB campaign, was invited to speak at the Nov. 29 climate strike outside the NB Legislature in Fredericton. Susan O’Donnell’s story about the rally and the lack of political action inside the legislature was published by RAVEN partner, the NB Media Co-op. You can read the story here.

RAVEN at OURMedia conference in Brussels

RAVEN’s Tracy Glynn made a presentation today at the OURMedia conference in Brussels. Tracy’s presentation, “Biting the hand that feeds: Media Co-operatives challenge corporate control” told the international conference participants about the NB Media Co-op and its partnership with the RAVEN project, and how the NB Media Co-op has survived to celebrate its 10th anniversary this year.

RAVEN is very pleased to be represented at the OURMedia conference. The OURMedia gatherings bring together scholars and activists who are studying and making cooperative and independent media, often in difficult political environments and certainly in challenging economic circumstances. Click here for the conference program.

Action on glyphosate spraying

RAVEN’s Susan O’Donnell published a story today about the new bill introduced in the NB Legislature to end the practice of spraying the poison glyphosate on Crown lands and waters. The bill also provides for a fair deal for private woodlot owners that will contribute to more sustainable development in rural communities in the province. You can read the story here, published by RAVEN partner, the NB Media Co-op.

RAVEN at Eco-Confluence event

RAVEN is a member of the New Brunswick Environmental Network (NBEN), which is having its annual conference and AGM today. At the event, Eco-Confluence 2019, RAVEN’s Rachel Bensler presented an update of the Fossil Free UNB campaign and Susan O’Donnell led a workshop: “Sharing our environmental stories: Media cooperatives in New Brunswick.” The workshop featured a presentation by RAVEN partner, Projet Aulnes about their video co-operative and new project, Maritime Spaces.

The flip to low-carbon mobility – A letter from New Brunswick’s future #19

Matthew Hayes writes the latest letter from the future NB published today. Matthew’s letter is focused on the transit system in Fredericton and offers practical solutions to build a better public transit system based on a decrease in personal vehicle ownership. You can read his article here.

RAVEN at NBEN Sustainability Education Alliance conference

RAVEN’s Susan O’Donnell spoke at the Sustainability Education Alliance (SEA) conference in Sackville today. SEA, an initiative of the NB Environmental Network, is focused on supporting a network of leaders and activists committed to improving the culture of sustainability education. Susan is leading a team on Art and Sustainability Education.

RAVEN team meeting October 2019

Today the RAVEN team met to hear from NB Media Co-op partner representative Sophie Lavoie about her experience participating in the Wabanaki Land-Based Learning course and the opportunities for working together with First Nations in that region of the province. We also reviewed the success of the RAVEN Voices for the Environment Week events. You can read the meeting minutes here.

RAVEN and NB Media Co-op staff nominated for environmental award

RAVEN and NB Media Co-op members Tracy Glynn and Susan O’Donnell were nominated for an environmental journalism award by the Conservation Council of New Brunswick. Although they did not win, the packed award ceremony, the Eco Hero Gala, in Fredericton was an excellent opportunity to network with other environmental supporters and activists across the province.

The ceremony was held on the 50th anniversary of environmental activism by the CCNB.

At the ceremony, Sarah Blenis of the Protect Upham Mountain group won a community leadership award. Sarah was spokesperson for the group profiled in several articles written by Tracy Glynn and published in the NB Media Co-op.

Unearthing Justice: How to protect your community from the mining industry – presentations in Fredericton, Saint John and Sackville

Mark your calendars!

Joan Kuyek, community organizer, author and co-founder of MiningWatch Canada, will be launching her latest book, Unearthing Justice: How To Protect Your Community from the Mining Industry:

The New Brunswick events are supported by RAVEN – Rural Action and Voices for the Environment at the University of New Brunswick, the Canada Research Chair in Global and International Studies at St. Thomas University, the Department of Politics and International Relations at Mount Allison University, MiningWatch Canada and Between the Lines.

About Unearthing Justice

The mining industry continues to be at the forefront of colonial dispossession around the world. It controls information about its intrinsic costs and benefits, propagates myths about its contribution to the economy, shapes government policy and regulation, and deals ruthlessly with its opponents.

Brimming with case studies, anecdotes, resources, and illustrations, Unearthing Justice exposes the mining process and its externalized impacts on the environment, Indigenous Peoples, communities, workers, and governments. But, most importantly, the book shows how people are fighting back. Whether it is to stop a mine before it starts, to get an abandoned mine cleaned up, to change laws and policy, or to mount a campaign to influence investors, Unearthing Justice is an essential handbook for anyone trying to protect the places and people they love.

Order your copy directly from Between the Lines – or ask your local independent bookstore. Books will also be available at the launch events in NB.

Updates on the Fossil-Free UNB campaign

Two updates to share:

  • Good news from the UNB Student Union, the organization that represents the 6,000 undergraduate and professional students at UNB Fredericton. Last night at their meeting, they endorsed the current Fossil-Free UNB campaign, with the caveat that divestment cannot be used as an excuse by the UNB administration to raise student fees. Thanks to RAVEN students Rachel Bensler and Patrick Donovan who made the successful presentation to the student union at their last meeting in September.
  • Today Rachel Bensler (the UNB student leading the Fossil-Free UNB Orange Square campaign) and Susan O’Donnell (RAVEN project lead investigator) met with the UNB Board of Governors investment committee. You can view a copy of our presentation here. Our meeting ended with a commitment by the committee to share information with us about their fossil fuel investments. Here’s the link to the UNB divestment campaign.

If you have a connection to UNB, have a look at Orange Square petition, the list of people who have signed already, and the email to add your signature. The link is here.

The FF UNB campaign’s next step is to create a booklet with information about the contribution of the fossil fuel industry to the climate crisis, the importance of divestment from fossil fuel infrastructure, the investments of UNB in fossil fuels, questions and answers about divestment, and how to get involved in the campaign.

RAVEN in new action group on the Sisson Mine project

RAVEN is an associate member of the New Brunswick Environmental Network (NBEN). Along with other member groups we are forming a new NBEN Caucus addressing the Sisson Mine project.

In announcing the new group, the NBEN pointed out that this proposed mine and its tailings pond would be one of the largest tungsten mines in the world, and has potential to seriously impact the Nashwaak watershed.  The member groups initiating this new Caucus include the Council of Canadians Fredericton Chapter, the Sierra Club Canada Foundation Atlantic Canada Chapter, and the RAVEN Project. We will keep everyone informed as the caucus actions develop.

And then, faster than we thought possible… A letter from New Brunswick’s future #17

Erin Seatter writes the Letter from the future NB this week, dated 2040, from Vancouver. In that year, people have re-built our society after realizing that nobody else was going to do it for us. You can read Erin’s letter here, published by RAVEN partner, the NB Media Co-op.

Sept 27: Women resisting extractivism

The RAVEN project and the NB Media Co-op’s Voices for the Environment week brings you this event on Sept. 27.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/2111324139175403/

The Women Resisting Extractivism and Bridging the Scholar-Activist Divide

When: Friday, Sept. 27 at 2:00pm
Where: Brian Mulroney Hall Rotunda, 3rd Floor, St. Thomas University, Fredericton, Unceded Wolastoqey Territory

Resource extraction – including open-pit mines, mountain top coal removal, gas storage in salt caverns, fracking for shale gas, massive tailings dams and the dumping of mine waste into natural fish-bearing water bodies – is facing fierce resistance right here on unceded Wabanaki territory and across the world. Rural and Indigenous women are among those occupying the front lines of resistance movements against resource extraction. The women defending their land and livelihoods do so while facing gender-based violence.

Hear from scholar-activists on the latest struggles against resource extraction on Turtle Island and beyond. How can scholars contribute to a more just world in the face of runaway resource extraction and climate change? What is the potential for a decolonial feminist praxis?

Panelists:

Ramona Nicholas, Wolastoqey grandmother, UNB Elder-in-Residence and Knowledge Keeper, PhD Candidate and MiningWatch Canada board member, on the struggle to protect Wolastoqey territory from the Sisson mine project.

Sherry Pictou, Mi’kmaw woman from L’sɨtkuk, Professor of Women’s Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University, on Indigenous feminist resistance to resource extraction.

Shannon Bell, Professor of Sociology at Virginia Tech and author of Our Roots Run Deep as Ironweed: Appalachian Women and the Fight for Environmental Justice, and Fighting King Coal on the women resisting coal in Appalachia.

Chair: Tracy Glynn, Instructor, St. Thomas University and University of New Brunswick, doctoral researcher with RAVEN and MiningWatch Canada board member.

With a photovoice exhibition and refreshments. All welcome.

Organized by RAVEN Rural Action & Voices for the Environment.

Supported by: NB Media Co-op, Peace and Friendship Alliance, MiningWatch Canada, Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network- BTS, Canada Research Chair in Global & International Studies, STU’s Environment & Society Program and UNB’s International Development Studies Program.

Contact: raven.unb@gmail.com.

Shannon Elizabeth Bell’s visit to UNB

During our Voices for the Environment Week, RAVEN and our research partner the NB Media Co-op invited professor Shannon Bell to visit us. Shannon is with the department of Sociology in Virginia Tech, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

You can meet Shannon at two other RAVEN events: the RAVEN project birthday party on Thursday evening and the Friday panel, the Women Resisting Extractivism. See the Voices for the Environment week in the paragraph below for details of those events. At the Friday panel, Dr. Bell will also be displaying photovoice panels from her work in rural coal-mining communities in West Virginia.

If you are interested in Dr. Bell’s work, please check out her paper: Bridging Activism and the Academy: Exposing Environmental Injustices Through the Feminist Ethnographic Method of Photovoice

You can read and download her paper here. The abstract is below.

Abstract
The neoliberal rejection of a strong role for governmental regulation of industry has led to increasingly negative consequences for the environment and the people who are forced to bear a disproportionate share of the health and safety hazards created by corporate polluters. The voices of the victims of environmental injustice often go unheard in the policy arena, while an arsenal of paid industry lobbyists exerts undue influence and power over legislative and regulatory agency processes. In this paper, I argue that we as social scientists are frequently positioned in such a way that we could serve as links between the people we study and policymakers, providing an avenue for exposing the ways that neoliberal policies negatively affect the health, safety, and well-being of disenfranchised groups. Through presenting a “Photovoice” project I conducted with 54 women living in five coal-mining communities in southern West Virginia, I demonstrate how feminist activist ethnography, as a distinct type of activist research, can be used for social science inquiry while simultaneously providing an opportunity for research participants’ stories to be heard—and acted upon—by those with political power.

Sept 26: RAVEN’s 1st birthday party!

During our Voices for the Environment Week, RAVEN is celebrating its first birthday. Our project was launched a year ago.

On September 26 we are inviting all RAVEN friends to join our first birthday party at a rural farm near Fredericton. Friends of RAVEN Tom Beckley and Louise Comeau kindly offered to host the celebration gathering starting at 4pm. Louise says their bountiful garden will provide enough food for the RAVEN friends who join us – and please do!

Address: #848 Route 616, Keswick Ridge, NB. Directions:

  • From the south side of the Wolastoq (St. John River), cross the river to the north side at the Mactaquac Dam Bridge and turn left onto Route 105. Continue for about 2km, turn right onto Rocky Road and continue till it ends. Left onto Route 616 and continue until Tom and Louise’s laneway on the left, #848 Route 616.
  • From the north side of the Wolastoq, follow Route 105 until McKeen’s Corner / intersection with Route 616 and head up to laneway #848 on Route 616.

Sept 25: Teach-in on citizen responses to the climate crisis

During our Voices for the Environment week, RAVEN and our research partner the NB Media Co-op invite you to the Wednesday, Sept 25 event: a teach-in with STU professor Janice Harvey about citizen responses to the climate crisis.

Join us at noon in room 120 of Marshall D’Avery Hall (UNB Education Building, 10 Mackay Dr.) It’s the big room inside the main entrance across from the cafeteria. Parking is behind the building. Visitor parking passes are free for all UNB events, from the facilities / security building inside the UNB entrance on King’s College Rd.

Dr. Harvey will lead the teach-in with her thoughts about actions that activists and social movements take or could take to raise public awareness of the climate crisis, specifically looking at civil disobedience and non-violent direct action. A talking circle format will support participants to share experiences with and reactions to different types of citizen environmental activism.

RAVEN and more than 100 environmental groups in the province are members of the New Brunswick Environmental Network (NBEN). As a background resource for the teach-in, participants can download an information booklet from 2004 prepared by NBEN: Legal Information for Environmental Groups:

English:https://www.nben.ca/en/information-and-resources-for-engos-legal

French:https://www.nben.ca/fr/legal

RAVEN student on CBC radio

Rachel Bensler, a RAVEN research assistant, was interviewed by CBC radio in a segment that played this morning. The focus was “eco-anxiety” and she also spoke about the fossil fuel divestment campaign at UNB. You can listen to the interview, on Information Morning – Fredericton, from this link. Rachel you made some excellent points, well done!

Information on the divestment campaign, Fossil-Free UNB is here.

Sept 24: UNB and STU students for fossil fuel divestment

During our Voices for the Environment Week, RAVEN and our research partner the NB Media Co-op invite you to the Tuesday, Sept 24 event: discussion with the UNB and STU students leading the Orange Square campaigns for fossil fuel divestment at each of the universities.

The campaigns were launched on Sept. 20 at the Climate Strike and rally at UNB.

Join UNB student Rachel Bensler and STU student Hannah Moore at noon in room 120 of Marshall D’Avery Hall (UNB Education Building, 10 Mackay Dr.) It’s the big room inside the main entrance across from the cafeteria. Parking is behind the building. Visitor parking passes are free for all UNB events, from the facilities / security building inside the UNB entrance on King’s College Rd.

University divestment campaigns are happening globally. The RAVEN project is supporting the student-led Orange Square divestment campaign at UNB that is working together with the Orange Square student-led campaign at STU.

Here is the info and update page on RAVEN’s support for the UNB campaign.

Poetry for the climate crisis: a spoken word workshop with El Jones

As part of our Voices for the Environment week, the RAVEN project at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) in Fredericton and the NB Media Co-op have invited spoken word poet El Jones from Halifax to lead a workshop: Poetry for the Climate Crisis. 

The workshop will be held at UNB on Saturday, Sept. 21 from 9am to 1pm and Sunday Sept. 22 from 9am to noon. 

The workshop is free of charge and stipends will be offered to participants who need compensation to take time off work or for childcare costs. There will be a $20 refundable deposit to hold your spot, which will be returned at the workshop.

If you are interested to participate, please register at the link below. We are planning to keep registration open until midnight on Saturday, Sept. 14, but will keep it open longer if we need to.

On the following Monday, registrants will receive an email confirming if they have been selected to participate, with further details. The workshop is limited to 10 participants.

link to register: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/climatepoetry

Global week of climate action kicks-off in Fredericton

RAVEN’s Susan O’Donnell published a story in the online NB Media Co-op about the first day in the week of global climate action, Sept. 20. The story focused on events in Fredericton. Read the story here. The events started with Poetry for the Climate Crisis, sponsored by RAVEN and the NB Media Co-op and continued with the Climate Strike organized by Fridays for Future Fredericton and finally, with a march to the premier’s office organized by Extinction Rebellion New Brunswick.

Continuing the slow decline, but that’s okay – A letter from New Brunswick’s future #16

Cheryl Johnson writes the latest Letter from the future NB, dated 2049. In that year, different groups of people “are working together and sharing their knowledge and compassion. We have to be united, or life is too hard otherwise.” You can read Cheryl’s letter here, published by RAVEN partner, the NB Media Co-op.

Fossil Free UNB and Orange Square campaign is launched!

The Fossil-Free UNB and Orange square campaign is urging the UNB administration to work with us to divest university investments from fossil fuel companies. More about the campaign here.

On its launch date, Sept. 20, the campaign collected almost 200 signatures! The petition and list of signatories is available on the Orange Square page of the RAVEN site. Stay tuned for further activities and updates in October…

Sept 20: Poetry for the climate crisis

Facebook Event link: https://www.facebook.com/events/399570750697094/

RAVEN and our research partner the NB Media Co-op began our Voices for the Environment Week with an outdoor poetry event: Poetry for the Climate Crisis, featuring our guest El Jones from Halifax and four dynamic poets living in New Brunswick: Sue Sinclair, Rebecca Salazar, Lauren R. Korn and Emily Skov-Nielsen.

This kick-off event was at noon on Friday, Sept. 20 at the UNB campus in Fredericton at Poets’ Corner at the UNB Quad in front of the HIL library.

The event included the launch of the Orange Square campaigns for fossil fuel divestment at the University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University.

Our event collaborated with the student-led Fridays for Future Climate Strike at the same time and location.

Poets’ Bios

El Jones is a spoken word poet, an educator, journalist, and a community activist living in African Nova Scotia. She was the fifth Poet Laureate of Halifax. El was recently named the Nancy’s Chair of Women’s Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University for the 2017-2019 term. Her book of spoken word poetry, Live from the Afrikan Resistance! (Roseway Press) was published in 2014.

Sue Sinclair is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently Heaven’s Thieves, winner of the Pat Lowther Award for the best book of poems by a Canadian woman. She edits for Brick Books and teaches creative writing here at the University of New Brunswick, where she is also editor of The Fiddlehead.

Rebecca Salazar is the author of poetry chapbook Guzzle (Anstruther Press), released in 2016. Originally from Sudbury, Ontario, she is currently a PhD candidate and Vanier scholar in New Brunswick.

Lauren R. Korn is an M.A. student of Creative Writing at the University of New Brunswick. She was a research assistant for RAVEN during its 2019 Summer Institute.

Emily Skov-Nielsen is the author of the chapbook Volta (Anstruther Press), and an MA in English/Creative Writing graduate from UNB. Her poems
have appeared in numerous literary journals across Canada. Her first full-length book of poetry will be published by Brick Books in fall 2020.

Voices for the Environment week Sept 20-27

This year September 20 to 27 is the global week of action on the climate crisis. As members of the local and global movements for social justice and environmental action, RAVEN and our research partner the NB Media Co-op will be hosting “Voices for the Environment” week.

Below is the list of events with links to the details of times and locations including Keswick Ridge, and the University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University in Fredericton.

Friday, September 20, noon: Poetry for the Climate Crisis with El Jones, Sue Sinclair, Rebecca Salazar, Lauren R. Korn and Emily Skov-Nielson, followed by Fridays for the Future Climate Strike. More info and poster here.

Saturday and Sunday, September 21-22, 9am to 1pm: Spoken word poetry workshop with El Jones – Poetry for the Climate Crisis. More info and registration link here.

Tuesday, September 24, noon: UNB and STU students Rachel Bensler and Hannah Moore speak out about fossil fuel divestment at the universities.

Wednesday, September 25, noon: STU Prof Janice Harvey’s teach-in on citizen responses to the climate crisis.

Thursday, September 26, 4pm: RAVEN’s first birthday party in Keswick Ridge. All RAVEN friends invited to share a harvest meal!

Friday, September 27, 2pm: The Women Resisting Extractivism and Bridging the Scholarship-Activist Divide: Ramona Nicholas, Sherry Pictou, Shannon Bell, Tracy Glynn. Plus a photovoice exhibition!

Who saved the world? Girls! A letter from New Brunswick’s future #15

Lauren R. Korn worked with RAVEN during the summer, writing articles on environmental and rural community issues published by our partner, the NB Media Co-op. This week, Lauren has contributed to the Letter from New Brunswick’s Future series with a strong vision of a future province where reproductive and other rights are respected. You can read Lauren’s article here.

Water in New Brunswick: rights and the environment versus big business

In his final story as RAVEN’s environmental action reporter, Abram Lutes wrote about water infrastructure in New Brunswick. You can read Abram’s article here. Privatization of water infrastructure is a very contentious topic, with CUPE in particular speaking out against it. As Abram’s article relates, both Moncton and Saint John operate their water infrastructure through public-private partnerships.

Local governance and adaptions to the climate crisis – A letter from New Brunswick’s future #14

The latest installment in the Letter from New Brunswick’s Future series is written by Adje Prado. Adje imagines a local governance structured around watersheds, what a brilliant concept! You can read his article here. RAVEN is working in partnership with Adje on a project about rural community adaptations to climate change.

Poetry for climate action

Christine Wu is working with RAVEN on the Poetry for the Climate Crisis event September 20 plus the spoken word poetry for the Climate Crisis workshop led by El Jones September 21-22.

Christine, a poet and creative writer, published a story in the NB Media Co-op with her thoughts on poetry for climate action. You can read Christine’s story here.

Flooding highlights support system disparities in rural New Brunswick

RAVEN’s Lauren R. Korn published another article today about rural New Brunswick, this one about the impact of flooding on mental health in the province’s rural communities. She interviewed Julia Woodhall-Melnik, who is working with her research team at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John. You can read Lauren’s article here.

RAVEN’s further engagement with UNB on fossil fuel divestment

In July, RAVEN sent a letter to the UNB strategic planning group to request that the university’s new strategic plan include divestment of fossil fuels. We asked the university administration to work with us and other members of the university community on the divestment campaign. You can read the letter here.

In August, we contacted the secretariat of the university’s board of governor’s (the governing body) and the university president, with a copy of our letter and asked again for collaboration on the divestment campaign. The secretariat confirmed on August 20 that our request was circulated to the board of governors. We look forward to a positive response!

“What was their name again?” Letter from NB’s future #11

Alain Deneault writes about a future NB when people in rural communities are using as community centres the abandoned gas stations once owned by … what was their name again? You can read his letter here, published by the NB Media Co-op in English and by the publication Astheure in French, as part of RAVEN’s Letter from the future NB series.

The joys of rural life – Letter from NB’s future #10

Teri McMackin wrote this week’s Letter from NB’s future, from Petitcodiac in August 2030. She describes a wonderful rural lifestyle that could be possible in 20 years if the right choices are made now. You can read Teri’s letter here.

RAVEN’s Daniel Tubb and Abram Lutes are the series editor. The letters are published by RAVEN partner the NB Media Co-op.

How our unknown future is affecting our mental health

RAVEN’s Lauren Korn wrote an article published by the NB Media Co-op today about the mental health impacts of the climate crisis, a topic that is only starting to be explored. Her article includes information from a report released recently by the Conservation Council of New Brunswick. You can read Lauren’s article here.

RAVEN calls on UNB to end fossil fuel investments

RAVEN is based at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) which is currently developing its strategic plan for the future. This week, RAVEN’s principal investigator Dr. Susan O’Donnell sent a letter to the UNB strategic planning committee asking the university to include divestment from fossil fuels in its strategic plan.

The key text of the letter states:

The RAVEN project would like to work with the UNB administration on a campaign to end any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and to divest from direct ownership and commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds. We believe this campaign at UNB will support not only an ethical financial portfolio but also the wellbeing of its current and future students and rural communities across the province, who deserve to have a future not defined by climate chaos.”

The letter can be accessed here.

Language and the Green New Deal

RAVEN’s Lauren Korn, a UNB M.A. student in Creative Writing, shares her interesting perspective on language and the Green New Deal. The article includes an interview with Margo Sheppard the primary organizer of the Green New Deal meeting in Fredericton in June. You can read Lauren’s story here. RAVEN was a partner in the June meeting event.

The influence of corporations on higher education in NB

The RAVEN project is based at the University of New Brunswick. Like all such educational institutions across Canada, UNB has representatives of corporations on its governing body. How might this influence research at our university and other institutions across the province? RAVEN’s Abram Lutes explored this question today in a story for RAVEN partner, the NB Media Co-op. Read the story here.

Russell Diabo on the termination of Indigenous rights

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) held their annual meeting in Fredericton this week, and policy and legal analyst, and environmental and Indigenous rights activist Russell Diabo spoke at the University of New Brunswick on the last day of the event. RAVEN’s Abram Lutes covered the story for our project partner, the NB Media Co-op. Diabo’s talk has implications for First Nation communities across the province and across Canada. You can read the story here.

Local food for local communities: Letter from NB’s future #8

Stephanie Coburn writes the latest letter from New Brunswick’s future. NB Media Co-op publishes the letters in collaboration with RAVEN. You can read Stephanie’s letter here. She is a farmer with a vision for how local food production can sustain local communities in the province. Her letter, from July 2040, explains how this would work. It’s a wonderful vision.

Environmental Impact Assessment for Milltown Dam project

RAVEN’s Kim Reeder writes about the EIA for the Milltown Dam project. NB Power is proposing to remove the generating station and dam, which will open up new possibilities for the St. Croix River. The EIA will be interesting for several reasons, including that the river is on the international boundary with the US. Read Kim’s article here.

RAVEN in Sussex: July 26

Tell Your Rural Story with PhotovoiceFacebook: 

https://www.facebook.com/events/2301098299966546/

Want to tell the story of your community through photographs? Join folks from Sussex and surrounding communities in a photovoice project this July/August. Photovoice is a wonderful way of showing the world what matters in your community. 

When: Friday, July 26 at 6:00pm
Where: The AX, 12 Maple Ave., Sussex

With a light meal. Participants must be 19 years and older. 

This project has been reviewed by the Research Ethics Board of the University of New Brunswick and is on file as REB 2018-099.

For more information, contact Tracy at raven.unb@gmail.com.

For more information about RAVEN, visit: raven-research.org.

Taking back our resources: A letter from NB’s future #7

Chris Rouse is the author of the latest letter from New Brunswick’s future. NB Media Co-op publishes the letters in collaboration with RAVEN. You can read Chris’ letter here. Chris writes his letter from his home in the Kingston Peninsula in July 2050, reflecting on how New Brunswickers took back control of their energy generation… and about his love story.

More on the Milltown dam story

RAVEN’s Kim Reeder is following the story of the end of the NB Power Milltown Generating Station and the removal of the dam on the St. Croix River. Her second story for the NB Media Co-op on this issue discusses the issues raised in the Open House meeting in St. Stephen with the local community on July 11. You can read her story here.

Truth-fullness: A letter from NB’s future #6

Ajay Parasram is the author of the newest contribution to the series: A letter from New Brunswick’s future. NB Media Co-op publishes the letters in collaboration with RAVEN. You can read Ajay’s letter here. Ajay, writing from K’jipuktuk [Halifax] in 2030, looks back on the time when workers and all community members refused to work on destructive projects and began sharing truths.

Milltown plant closure has environmental impacts

The NB Power generating station in Milltown is the oldest operating hydro-electric station in Canada. In June, NB Power announced it was closing the plant. RAVEN’s Kim Reeder wrote an article about the potential positive impacts on the environment. You can read her story here, published in the NB Media Co-op.

RAVEN at the Sackville EOS Eco-energy home show

RAVEN’s Susan O’Donnell and Brian Beaton learned about the latest thinking and practices for sustainable homes at the show in Sackville on July 6. Brian Beaton wrote a story about the event published in the NB Media Co-op. You can read Brian’s story here.

A voice critical of spraying glyphosate is purged

In her article for the NB Media Co-op, RAVEN’s Tracy Glynn writes about Rod Cumberland, recently let go of his teaching position at the Atlantic Forestry College in Fredericton. Cumberland is a well-known critic of the practice of spraying glyphosate on planted forests, and therefore is a foe of this industrial forestry practice in the province. You can read Tracy’s article here.

Go east, young woman: Letter from the future #5

What would happen if fallow farms were made available to homesteaders. Could it bring back people to our province to work on the land? Friend of RAVEN Leland Wong-Daugherty imagines it in A letter from New Brunswick’s Future #5. You can read it here.

Everyone is invited to submit an idea for the Letter from the future series. Here’s the link to all the letters and the call for submissions.

A just transition for workers at NB Power’s Belledune plant

RAVEN’s Abram Lutes was with the team that recently visited the Belledune industrial facilities. NB Power’s Belledune plant is the last in the province to burn coal as its energy source. The federal government has mandated that burning coal to generate energy must end by 2030. In this article for the NB Media Co-op, Abram writes about a recent task force report on a just transition for workers at the Belledune plant and others across the country. You can read the article here.

More links between fossil fuels in NB and human rights internationally

RAVEN’s environmental activism reporter, Abram Lutes, published another story today in the NB Media Co-op that links oil imported, refined and exported in New Brunswick with human rights violations internationally. You can read his story here.

Abram’s earlier story about “blood coal” from Columbia and the NB Power Plant in Belledune was published in June.

Rural community development success in Newfoundland

During his visit with the RAVEN team to St. Andrews, Brian Beaton attended a presentation by Bonavista, NL mayor John Norman. Afterward, Brian wrote this story for the NB Media Co-op about how the community rallied from the loss of the cod fishery to build a strong community identity and revitalize heritage and community spaces. You can read his story here.

Rural assemblies: Letter from the future #4

What would happen if rural community members took governance into their own hands and organized rural assemblies? RAVEN’s Abram Lutes imagines it in A letter from New Brunswick’s Future #4. You can read it here.

Everyone is invited to submit an idea for the Letter from the future series. Here’s the link to all the letters and the call for submissions.

RAVEN visits Bocabec and St. Andrews

We’re starting to get up to speed with some of the activities happening in the Bocabec / St. Stephen / St. Andrews area of the province. On June 25, RAVEN’s Kim Reeder, Brian Beaton and Susan O’Donnell met in Bocabec with two local multi-talented people – they are writers, activists, entrepreneurs, artists, visionaries. We discussed common interests and potential future plans together. Afterwards we attended a community gathering in St. Andrews to hear from the mayor of Bonavista, NL about how he and his team are building a “sense of place” and community regeneration through heritage restoration.

La Barque + Projet Aulnes

The RAVEN team returned yesterday from our visit to Belledune, Pointe-Verte and the beautiful Baie-des-Chaleurs. We were pleased to spend time with the local hosts for our visit, Projet Aulnes, located in La Barque cooperative in Pointe-Verte. Our visit this week is a follow-up to our earlier visit in April.

RAVEN is pleased to announce that Projet Aulnes has agreed to be a partner in the RAVEN project moving forward. We will share more news in future as we develop our common project of work. Stay tuned!

RAVEN 2019 video contest – more!

RAVEN’s cell phone music video contest received so many interesting videos. The judges had a challenge to choose the five winning videos and the runner up. You can see those videos here

We asked the other video makers if we could also share their work, and three agreed to it. Thank you for making the videos available!

New Brunswick to green economy by the Linnansaari Family

RAVEN cell phone video contest entry: Green Economy

Alternative Methods by Sasha Leger, with Alex Cormier and Matthieu Gaudet

RAVEN cell phone music video contest: Alternative methods

Be an Eco Hero by Kathleen Maclean

RAVEN cell phone video contest entry: Be an Eco Hero

Belledune Community Meeting: June 18

Everyone is welcome to join a community gathering at La Barque Co-operative in Pointe-Verte on Tuesday, June 18 from 5 to 7pm. La Barque is hosting visitors working on a collaborative project focused on the Belledune region. The project is using research, art, video, digital media and sustainability education to promote sustainable rural communities and healthy environments in a region with heavy industry. At the gathering at La Barque, the visitors will share information about their project and their impressions of their tour of the Belledune industrial facilities earlier in the day. The gathering is organized by project members at Productions Aulnes in La Barque for visitors from the NB Environmental Network (NBEN), Université de Moncton, and RAVEN at the University of New Brunswick.
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Tout le monde est invité à se joindre à la réunion communautaire de La Coopérative la Barque à Pointe Verte, le mardi 18 juin de 17 à 19 heures. La Barque reçoit les visiteurs qui travaillent sur un projet collaboratif qui se concentre sur la région de Belledune. Le projet utilise la recherche, les arts, des vidéos, des médias numériques et l’éducation à la viabilité pour promouvoir les collectivités rurales durables et des environnements sains dans une région avec des industries lourdes. Lors de la rencontre avec les membres de La Barque, les visiteurs pourront échanger des renseignements sur leurs projets et leurs impressions de la tournée des installations industrielles de Belledune plus tôt dans la journée. Cette rencontre est organisée par les membres du projet Productions Aulnes de La Barque pour les visiteurs du Réseau environnemental du Nouveau-Brunswick (RENB), de l’Université de Moncton, de l’université du Nouveau-Brunswick et le Conseil de conservation du Nouveau-Brunswick.

RAVEN at the Congress 2019

This week RAVEN’s Tracy Glynn, Kim Reeder, Mary Aspinall, Amy Savile and Susan O’Donnell are presenting our first papers at academic conferences during the 2019 Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Kim is at the Environmental Studies Association of Canada (ESAC) satellite conference in Newfoundland and yesterday Susan was able to participate in Vancouver at her presentation by video. Kim’s abstract is here. The paper is based on our study with partner CSRNO in northwestern New Brunswick that we are preparing to submit to peer review.

On Monday, Mary presented to the Canadian Sociological Association conference and today to the Canadian Communication Association conference in Vancouver. Both of Mary’s presentations are based on a manuscript currently in peer review co-authored by Susan, Tracy and Tom Beckley.

Amy and Tracy, and Susan, are making their presentations today to at the Canadian Sociological Association conference in Vancouver. The first presentation is based on a paper currently in preparation for peer review by Amy, Tracy and Susan.

You can read the abstracts for Mary, Amy, Tracy and Susan here. We are all busy at the Congress. In Vancouver about 9,000 people have registered although with more than 80 conferences happening at the same time, the groups in each session are small and great for conversations. We will be coming home with many new ideas to shape RAVEN’s activities over the next year.

Learn, love, act

RAVEN’s Lauren Korn wrote an article for the NB Media Co-op: Learn, love, act: An interview with NatureNB’s Vanessa Roy-McDougall. Lauren’s interview highlights how everyone can make a practical contribution to decrease the degradation of our environment: appreciate our wild spaces, understand how ecosystems work, and protect and sustain them. NatureNB is an organization that provides the resources to help people do just that. You can read the article here.

RAVEN’s invitation to the Green New Deal meeting in Fredericton: June 18

RAVEN invites all our friends and supporters to the Green New Deal community event in Fredericton. If you live nearby please car-share with your neighbours to join us. These important discussions are happening across the country this month. Come and have your say and listen to what other community members think about shaping a better future for all of us.

This Town Hall meeting will be held Tuesday, June 18th from 7pm to 9pm in Fredericton (Cathedral Memorial Hall, 168 Church St.) An event page is here.

You may have heard that the non-partisan Green New Deal initiative has been generating excitement across Canada since May, when 60 NGOs committed themselves and their memberships to it. Since then, more than 90 committed organizations and 50,000 citizens have endorsed the Pact for a Green New Deal. You can read the text here.

The event partners are the Fredericton Chapter of the Council of Canadians, RAVEN, the Wolastoqey Grand Council, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) – Local 054, the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, Nature Trust of New Brunswick, the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance, NB Community Harvest Gardens, Environment Committee of the United Church of Canada, Fredericton Anti-Poverty Association, No-One is Illegal.

Tell your rural story: Hampton: June 25

RAVEN and the Friends of Hammond River Valley are co-hosting a workshop at the Lighthouse River Centre, 1075 Main St. in Hampton, June 25, 7-9pm. Everyone is welcome!

Do you work on land, water and air protection? Clean energy? Regenerative farming? Sustainable forestry? Are you interested in telling your rural community’s story in a collaborative way?

Learn about storytelling methods, photovoice (photography and storytelling), cellphilming (taking films with cell phones) and participatory video.

Here’s the Facebook event page:https://www.facebook.com/events/447811945788333/

Or contact raven.unb@gmail.com for more information.


Gagetown community talks climate action

RAVEN’s Lauren Korn visited the Gagetown community event on climate action earlier this week. She wrote a story for the NB Media Co-op, which you can read here. Friend of RAVEN Marilyn Merritt-Gray is co-chair of the rural group VOICES – Voices for Sustainable Environments and Communities. Great to see that space was made at the meeting for students in the community to share their views. So inspiring to see the youth taking a strong stand on their future. The article includes information about a proposed Gagetown youth caucus. Thanks Lauren.

RAVEN at ECHO meeting, U de Moncton

RAVEN’s Susan O’Donnell participated at the annual meeting of the ECHO network from May 28 to 30, hosted by the ECHO partners Université de Moncton and the New Brunswick Environmental Network. A highlight was the day trip to rural communities along the Northumberland Straight, including the Kouchibouguac National Park, an information session on “The Irving Influence” by a number of environmental champions at the Irving Eco Centre, a memorable visit with the students and local leaders and community members at the school in Cocagne and an Acadian kitchen party at the nearby Ferme Marcel-Goguen. RAVEN and the ECHO partners are currently planning a visit to Belledune in June, to develop a common project over the summer.

RAVEN visits Upham residents concerned with a proposed gypsum mine

RAVEN team members Tracy Glynn and Daniel Tubb visited Sarah Blenis and Cheryl Johnson in Upham, New Brunswick on May 24. Sarah and Cheryl are at the forefront of organizing residents’ concerns with the proposed Hammond River Holdings gypsum mine.

Sarah’s parents moved to Upham in the 1980s and she has lived in the community all her life. Cheryl is a newcomer from Ontario, who has spent almost two decades in the area. The women share a love of the Hammond River, its mountains, and its forests. The only meat Cheryl and her family eats is the rabbit, deer, and partridge she and her family hunt.

Cheryl opened a binder and revealed an archive of editions of The Brief, the NB Media Co-op’s monthly printed broadsheet publication. The June edition of The Brief will feature a story about how Upham residents are concerned about a gypsum mine owned by J.D. Irving, which threatens local wetlands, the Hammond River, and the quality of life of rural residents.

Both women have studied the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the mine and are concerned that how the project is being granted loopholes by the province. Experts, who have reviewed other EIAs, have expressed their own concerns. The NB Media Co-op broke a story two weeks ago about how Upham residents are under surveillance by the RCMP over their concerns around the proposed mine.

Over a sun room table, the four discussed ways that RAVEN could support storytelling in rural New Brunswick. Watch for details of a storytelling workshop by RAVEN in nearby Hampton in late June.

After the meeting, Cheryl drove Tracy and Daniel to the entrance to the site of the proposed mine, a location which has been clearcut, and which is surrounded by stunning mountains, forests, wetlands and rural dwellers.

Will J.D. Irving get their way once more, or will Upham residents who don’t want the mine be able to stop it? What is clear is that Upham residents have chosen to raise their voices in an effort to protect their community.

RAVEN team meeting May 2019

The RAVEN team met today. The agenda included introducing the (wonderful!) new and returning students for the summer (listed on the people page) and discussing the ongoing engagements with rural communities in New Brunswick. The minutes are here. Following the meeting we welcomed RAVEN friends who arrived to participate in the presentation about the “buzz” phase of resource extraction, by visiting researcher Marieka Sax from the University of Northern British Columbia.

NB Power’s “blood coal”

As a follow-up to his story earlier this month about the strike at the Belledune smelter, RAVEN’s Abram Lutes published this story about the Belledune NB Power plant’s use of coal from Columbia. The coal is mined in ways dangerous for the miners and local communities. This story aims to help us understand how the energy we use here in NB has consequences for other rural people living far away. RAVEN’s Tracy Glynn, a mining activist, is quoted in the story. You can read it here.

Rural innovation: using technology to keep schools in communities

RAVEN is studying the broadband infrastructure in rural New Brunswick. We plan to produce a report describing the limits and opportunities of telecommunication services across the province to support rural communities, including identifying the gaps and producing recommendations to address local needs. In future, moving to a green economy will mean that rural community members will have a choice where and how they can access education and health services. These choices will be essential to move beyond a fossil fuel economy. RAVEN’s Brian Beaton wrote a story to kick off this study in the NB Media Co-op. You can read the story here.

RAVEN visit to Knowlesville

Members of the RAVEN team made a follow-up visit to Knowlesville on May 25-26, a rural community we first visited in March. Similar to RAVEN’s first visit, we enjoyed a potluck supper with community residents and friends, and we discussed plans for the upcoming community festival.

The PRAXIS project festival, June 7-9 in Knowlesville, is a permaculture-inspired art festival with music, workshops and many other events. The RAVEN team will be participating this year with a video crew. We hope to capture the excitement and vision inspired by this unique rural community in New Brunswick. Everyone is welcome to participate – look out for the RAVEN crew!

The festival will take place on the South Knowlesville Community Land Trust. Community members are developing a rural neighborhood “where urban and rural sensibilities can be brought together to create a wellspring of opportunities for the inhabitants and surrounding community.”

Visit from NBEN SEA

Today the NB Environmental Network (NBEN) Sustainability Education Alliance (SEA) coordinator Tzomi Burkhart visited the RAVEN office in the UNB faculty of education. SEA has been a partner in our 2019 cell phone music video contest. Tzomi joined us for a meeting with partners at the Université de Moncton, NBEN and Productions Aulnes. Together we are planning a tour of the Belledune industrial facilities and community meeting at La Barque cooperative in Pointe-Verte in June. Stay tuned for details!

Guest speaker on resource extraction May 27

All friends of the RAVEN project are invited to participate in the guest speaker event at UNB on May 27 – noon in room 221 of the Marshall D’Avery (Education) building on the Fredericton campus. We are planning to have an interesting discussion after Marieka’s talk about the links to resource extraction projects in rural New Brunswick.

“Community Impacts of the Buzz of Natural Resource Extraction: From northern Peru to northern British Columbia.”

Marieka Sax, CIRC Research Lead, UNBC Prince George

In a rural and remote corner of the northern Peruvian Andes, members of an indigenous community are faced with the allure and risk of endorsing a prospective mining operation. While not yet operational, the mine has already produced social impacts with over a decade of exploration, consultation, and protest. Similar processes can be observed in resource-rich areas of Canada, where communities experience the ongoing buzz of resource extraction in between waves of economic boom and bust that reflect volatile commodity prices. This presentation takes a closer look at the Peruvian case, and introduces the buzz concept to think through community impacts of resource extraction over a project’s total lifetime.

Cell phone videos from the Hayes Farm-ers

Earlier this week, RAVEN’s Casey Burkholder and Tracy Glynn worked with farmers and other friends of the Hayes Urban Teaching Farm in Fredericton to create short videos with their cell phones. We’re sharing three of them here, with two more to come. Happy May long weekend everyone!

Where does your food come from?
NB Food Safety Now
The Lack of Recycling in New Brunswick

A message from NB’s future

RAVEN co-investigator Daniel Tubb today published an interesting article in the NB Media Co-op today imagining New Brunswick in 2030 “to think about how we met our climate change obligations. It is fiction, but it need not be.” You can read his article here.

Daniel has promised more of these thought-pieces and we’re looking forward to them.

Any friends of RAVEN who would like to contribute an article along these lines is invited to contact RAVEN: raven.unb@gmail.com

RAVEN at Hayes Urban Teaching Farm

RAVEN’s Casey Burkholder and Tracy Glynn spent the morning today with 10 students learning about regenerative farming with the Hayes Urban Teaching Farm in Fredericton North. Casey led the group in a cellphilming workshop.

Three groups produced short films about food and recycling that you can view online here. Two more videos are in production.

Casey and RAVEN doctoral student Alicia Noriega are working on analyzing the content of the videos. We look forward to the results of their analysis. Thanks to course instructor Corinne Hersey for inviting RAVEN to give a digital storytelling workshop with the students at Hayes Urban Teaching Farm.