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.

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.

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.

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

Renewable energy bill in the NB legislature

As part of RAVEN’s work to raise awareness and publish stories about environmental issues in our province, we are faithfully covering “opposition day” activities in the legislature and related goings-on by our political leaders. This week on opposition day, MLAs debated Bill 23, an Act to Amend the Electricity Act, that would allow municipalities and First Nations to work with local energy suppliers of green and renewable energy. Bill 23 passed to committee. You can read our story about it here.

Belledune strike over health and safety concerns

RAVEN’s Abram Lutes published a story today with our partner the NB Media Co-op about the strike and lock-out at the Belledune smelter. You can read the story here. Our focus on Belledune is part of an information-gathering exercise about the Belledune area, following our visit to Pointe-Verte last month.

We are considering an in-depth study of the rural communities in the Belledune region and how they are surviving and in some cases thriving in the context of a large-scale extractive and polluting industrial area in their midst. Stay tuned for more Belledune stories this summer, as part of the RAVEN Summer Institute work.

Why is the RCMP watching a rural action group?

RAVEN’s Tracy Glynn wrote a follow-op article to her piece earlier this week that was also published by the NB Media Co-op. The group, Protect Upham Mountain, is questioning why the RCMP is conducting a surveillance operation on their group. Tracy’s article includes interviews with experts on these kinds of surveillance operations. RAVEN will continue to monitor this story as it has implications for rural champions and activists for the environment across the province. Link to the article here.

Is it a quarry or a mine? Upham residents challenge J.D. Irving project

RAVEN’s Tracy Glynn is working with Upham residents who have created the Facebook group Protect Upham Mountain to share information about a new development. The Upham group members are rural residents who love their way of life. They are trying to find out how the company got the go ahead with their project – a gypsum mine / quarry – seemingly in contravention of provincial government regulations. You can read the story here.

Transitioning to a low-carbon economy in New Brunswick

Chris Rouse presented his business case for a transition to a low-carbon economy in Fredericton recently. His presentation focused on investment into renewables, efficiency, and fuel-switching, with a goal of transitioning 95% of the province’s total energy needs to renewables by 2040.

RAVEN Summer Institute team member Lauren Korn wrote the story for the NB Media Co-op. You can access it here.

Youth speakers increasing at Fredericton climate strike

We partnered with the Conservation Council of New Brunswick and the NB Media Co-op to write a story about the student climate strike outside the Legislature building on May 10. RAVEN team members have been present at all three climate strikes to date and we will continue to show our support for the youth going forward. Their actions and words inspire us!

RAVEN at Qualitatives 2019 conference

Mary Aspinall, who worked as a graduate student research assistant with RAVEN in the fall 2018 term, presented at the Qualitatives 2019 conference in Fredericton today. Mary’s presentation, Looking for the Invisible: Analyzing Latent Content in the News Media, is based on a study conducted with a RAVEN team to analyze Brunswick News editorials focused on rural issues.

The Qualitatives presentation focused on an interesting methodological question: how do you analyze content that does not exist? We found in our study that the editorials had no mentions of environmental degradation and downsides of resource extraction, and only a cursory, negative mention of Indigenous communities, which we would have expected to find. The paper on which the study is based is currently in peer-review.

Video: The People vs The Irving Empire

The People’s Mayday rally in Saint John sparked the creation of a 5-minute video, The People vs the Irving Dynasty, about their action in the port city last week. The video was produced by Max Media, edited by Jon Pederson, and supported by the NB Media Co-op and RAVEN.

Read the article and link to the video on the NB Media Co-op page.

Climate emergency vs profits for industry

The provincial government has the power and the responsibility to act on the climate crisis. The IPCC and the UN are urging the world’s government to take immediate action. RAVEN’s Susan O’Donnell wrote a story about the situation in the Legislative Assembly in New Brunswick. It’s not a good story. Our premier is not sure how much of climate change is based on human activity and believes that industry should be leading the innovations required for a cleaner environment. Read the story here.

Celebrating Indigenous teachings at UNB

David Perley, a collaborator on the RAVEN project, has been moving the University of New Brunswick toward a more respectful approach to Indigenous education in the province. Today RAVEN and our partner, the NB Media Co-op, published an article about how David and his wife, UNB Elder-in residence Imelda Perley, have made a difference during their time at the university. David retires in June and Imelda retired in April.

Read the article by RAVEN’s Susan O’Donnell and Brian Beaton, Celebrating Indigenous teachings at UNB with David and Imelda Perley. David also collaborated with RAVEN’s Tracy Glynn, Shanthi Bell, Rodrigo Hermelo and the UNB Media Lab to create two new videos for the project, also available on the NB Media Co-op site:

David Perley: Establishing a healthy community in rural New Brunswick.

David Perley: A vision for Indigenous university education

RAVEN 2019 Summer Institute

May 6 is the start of the 2019 RAVEN Summer Institute (SI) that will be held in the Education building at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton and branching out to rural areas across the province. The purpose is to explore how we can use alternative media to engage hearts and minds and support action on environmental issues in rural New Brunswick.

For the first six weeks, we will be focusing on written news, including producing written news stories and investigative reports about rural New Brunswick, with RAVEN partner the NB Media Co-op. Stay tuned for updates and visit our People page to see who’s involved from the RAVEN team. We also have invited guests who are friends of the RAVEN project.

RAVEN 2019 video contest winners

The RAVEN 2019 cell phone music video contest theme was “Moving NB to a Green Economy.” Click here for the contest details, including the partners and judges. On this page are the five winning videos that each won $1,000, and the runner up, followed by a video discussion with the artists. The RAVEN project will be running the contest again in 2020: stay tuned!

Winning videos

Winner, Title: Burning. Music: Anne Hedonia. Videographer: Bre Darlison, Dorchester.

Raven 2019 video contest winner: Burning

Winner, Title: Green Dream, Artist: Leland Wong-Daugherty and Michael, Knowlesville

RAVEN 2019 video contest winner: Green Dream

Winner, Title: Every Step You Take Makes a Difference: NB Green Economy. Artist: Celtic Kin Canada, Fredericton

RAVEN 2019 video contest winner: Every Step You Take Makes a Difference: NB Green Economy

Winner, Title: Thrive, Artist: Ryleigh Hatch, Harvey

RAVEN 2019 video contest winner: Thrive

Winner, Title: The Water’s Rising, Artist: Brendan Green, East Brighton

RAVEN 2019 video contest winner: Water’s Rising

Runner up, Title: Eraser Karaoke, Artist: Jon Pederson, Fredericton

RAVEN 2019 video contest runner-up: Eraser Karaoke

Discussion with the artists: clips from the April 24 webinar with participating video contest winners.

RAVEN 2019 video contest discussion with winners

Rail safety and rural community security

Starting in May, the RAVEN project will start a new study of rail safety and rural community security in New Brunswick. This project was prompted by discussions with Bruce Campbell during his tour of New Brunswick as part of RAVEN’s Earth Week events. The study fits into our RAVEN theme: sustainable rural communities and infrastructure.

The NB Media Co-op published two articles related to Bruce’s tour:


Stopping glyphosate spraying in a province captured by industry

RAVEN is supporting our partner, the NB Media Co-op, to produce and share more stories about environmental issues important to rural communities in New Brunswick. There’s a new story today about spraying glyphosate, a topic of considerable concern to many rural residents in the province.

The story, Stopping glyphosate spraying in a province captured by industry” was written by RAVEN’s Susan O’Donnell about a public meeting in Plaster Rock. The meeting was co-organized and chaired by RAVEN’s Rowan Miller. You can read the story here.

Panel on research with Indigenous peoples

RAVEN’s Kim Reeder wrote an article for the NB Media Co-op about a panel presentation at the New Brunswick Graduate Research Conference, “Research for Piluwitahasuwawsuwakon: A sharing circle with Ntutemok,” with Lapskahasit Cihkonagc, Nancy Harn, Stel Raven and Elder Albert Marshall.

You can read the story here.

Beautiful and bountiful Wolastoq

Today – World Water Day – we are celebrating with an article and a video about Wolastoq, produced in collaboration with RAVEN and published by the NB Media Co-op.

The video features David Perley, RAVEN team member and director of the Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre, telling the story of the traditional importance of Wolastoq and why we need to bring it back to health. The short video, Wolastoq: a healthy river is necessary for survival, was a collaboration with several RAVEN team members including Shanthi Bell, Tracy Glynn and Rodrigo Gutiérrez Hermelo.

The article, Wolastoq: a beautiful and bountiful teacher, written by David Perley and friend of RAVEN Brian Beaton, recalls the history of the degradation of the river and the work involved and underway to restore it to health. The story also identifies many of the groups working on restauration projects.

Peace and Friendship Treaties Days

The annual Peace and Friendship Treaties Days at UNB is a celebration of the relationship between Indigenous and settler peoples in Wabanaki territory. This year’s event included a re-enactment of the longhouse gathering to ratify the terms of the 1760 treaty.

RAVEN’s Kim Reeder participated in the gathering and wrote a story for the NB Media Co-op, working with David Perley, RAVEN collaborator and director of the Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre, and Brian Beaton. You can read their story here.

The perspective of the RAVEN project is that understanding the relationships between the first peoples on this territory, European and other newcomers over the past four centuries, and all our relations, will help to guide us as we move forward to build a sustainable future together.

Tell Your Rural Story: Digital Storytelling Workshop in Sussex March 16

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.

Tell your Rural Story: Digital Storytelling Workshop in Sussex

  • When: Saturday, March 16 at 1pm
  • Where: The AX, Sussex

Participants must be 19 years or 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

Take Nashwaak’s fish-bearing brooks off the list for Sisson’s mine waste

RAVEN’s Tracy Glynn wrote this article in the NB Media Co-op on Feb. 27 about a coalition Indigenous leaders, scientists and conservationists who are organizing to protest the federal government’s move to allow Northcliff’s Sisson mine project to use two fish-bearing brooks as dumping grounds for its toxic waste. The article, here, includes information about why there is widespread public opposition to this move. The article also includes this link to send a letter of protest by the March 18 deadline through the website of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick.

Clear the air

Carbon pricing – making polluters pay – is one of the measures being implemented to address the challenge of climate change. Friend of RAVEN Brian Beaton wrote an article about “Clear the Air,” a carbon pricing panel event in Sackville as part of the Tantramar Climate Change Week. You can read his article in the NB Media Co-op here. Tantramar, the rural region of New Brunswick on the border with Nova Scotia, is considered vulnerable to climate change impacts. Earlier for RAVEN, Brian wrote about another panel in Fredericton on this important topic. You can read that post here.

How to make a cell phone video

RAVEN co-investigator Casey Burkholder today delivered a webinar on making cellphilms, aka cell phone videos. This webinar is supporting potential participants of the RAVEN cell phone music video contest.

“Moving NB to a Green Economy” is the theme of a the competition. The winning five videos will each receive $1,000. The competition poster and guidelines can be downloaded from the Facebook site. Also on the site is a link to Casey’s webinar recording.

For a copy of the competition registration form, email: ravenvideocontest@gmail.com. The competition deadline is March 15.

Wabanaki Unity Gathering

The Wabanaki Unity Gathering on Jan. 26 was an important event hosted by the Wolastoq Grand Council. RAVEN’s Susan O’Donnell participated and was asked to write a story for the NB Media Co-op. She spoke with several Indigenous women who highlighted the importance of unity among all nations and peoples to heal the earth, and for humans to see ourselves as part of the web of life. You can read the story here.

Living the good life in rural New Brunswick

In a story for the NB Media Co-op, RAVEN’s Tracy Glynn spoke with rural residents living in Taymouth. Like many rural communities, Taymouth faces many challenges but newcomers choosing to make their home in its rolling hills are part of a different, more hopeful story about rural New Brunswick. Read Tracy’s story here.

Video: Nashwaak residents see a future in farming, not fracking

In a video produced by the NB Media Co-op, the RAVEN team spoke with Nashwaak residents Jim Emberger and Amy Floyd. They talked about the need to create clean rural economies in New Brunswick. Emberger is the spokesperson for the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance and Floyd is a volunteer with the Hayes Urban Teaching Farm. Watch the video here.

A call for second-language training in rural communities

In an opinion article for the NB Media Co-op, RAVEN’s Susan O’Donnell and friend of RAVEN Gerry McAlister called on anglophones to act in solidarity with Acadians and francophones in New Brunswick and respect their rights to services in their own language. We suggested that second-language training should be moved out of urban institutions and into rural communities, supporting local language schools and immersion opportunities run by grassroots groups and local entrepreneurs and designed as projects for rural community development such as small farms, local renewable energy, food security, community forestry, and climate change adaptation activities along our waterways and coastlines. You can read it here.

Pay equity and fracking debated

After the recent provincial election resulted in a historic four-party minority government, the NB Media Co-op stated it would write stories about decisions made in the new Legislature that impact those ignored or misrepresented in the corporate media. For the NB Media Co-op, RAVEN’s Susan O’Donnell covered the recent debate about fracking and pay equity, both issues of interest to many rural residents in the province. Read the story here.

Carbon pricing – Making changes today, taking responsibility and acting

Friend of RAVEN Brian Beaton wrote a story for us about a Carbon Pricing event held in Fredericton in December 2018. Carbon pricing is currently a hot topic across New Brunswick and particularly in rural communities. The panel at the Fredericton event and the lively discussion afterward was an opportunity to share some facts and demystify this useful tool to mitigate climate change impacts. Read Brian’s story here.

Mobilizing to improve the environment in New Brunswick

Jennifer Adam, a law student at the University of New Brunswick and RAVEN volunteer, wrote an article for the NB Media Co-op about the New Brunswick Environmental Network (NBEN) and their “Eco-confluence” event on November 17 that brought together more than 35 groups concerned with the well-being of the province, its citizens, and its environment. Read Jennifer’s story here.

Video: “We never surrendered”

In a video produced by the NB Media Co-op, the RAVEN team spoke with Wolastoq Grand Council Chief Ron Tremblay. He describes the importance of honouring the treaties. He also relates how the 2013 struggle in Elsipogtog and Kent County over exploration for shale gas resulted in the Peace and Friendship Alliance and relationships with allies. You can watch it here.

Spraying glyphosate on forests clashes with Indigenous rights

RAVEN’s Susan O’Donnell attended a public event on Nov. 3 in a community hall in Tobique First Nation. At the meeting, 50 people gathered to discuss how to stop the spraying of glyphosate on the New Brunswick forest. She spoke briefly about RAVEN at the gathering and, for the NB Media Co-op, interviewed several people for a news story. You can read it here.

Filmmaker exposes corporate capture in forestry in New Brunswick

For the NB Media C0-op, RAVEN’s Tracy Glynn spoke with NB filmmaker Charles Thériault for a news story. In the story, Charles spoke about how his troubling encounter with a young man in the northern rural New Brunswick community of Kedgwick made him turn his camera on the forest. Read the story here.

“We never surrendered:” Wolastoq Grand Council Chief

For the NB Media Co-op, RAVEN’s Tracy Glynn interviewed Ron Tremblay, Wolastoq Grand Council Chief for a news story. In the story, Ron is reminding people that the Indigenous Wolastoq people of what is known as the “Saint John River Valley” today “never surrendered one inch of land, one drop of water.” Read the story here.

Meeting on glyphosate ban

Spraying poison on public (Crown) forests in New Brunswick is an issue that has mobilized thousands of rural residents in the province. RAVEN’s Susan O’Donnell wrote a story for the NB Media Co-op about a political meeting organized by Stop Spraying in New Brunswick (SSNB) on October 17 in Fredericton. Read the story here.

Open Farm Day showcases family operations behind food production in NB

Friend of RAVEN Brian Beaton wrote a story for us about Open Farm Day. Every year, people have an opportunity to visit the farms where their food comes from. This year, farms across New Brunswick opened their gates for visitors on Sunday, Sept. 16, to learn and experience the important work being done to provide safe, local food for families and their communities. Read the story here.

RAVEN: Alternative digital media in New Brunswick

After the RAVEN launch, members of the RAVEN team presented a paper at the first UNB Rural Issues Workshop of the academic year. Our paper, “Rural Action and Voices for the Environment: Alternative Digital Media in New Brunswick” can be accessed here. The co-authors are Susan O’Donnell, Tracy Glynn and David Perley. We intend to develop this paper into a longer publication in future.

The RAVEN team received many thoughtful comments about and critiques of our paper, as well as feedback by email after the workshop. The team will be discussing the feedback at their September meeting with a view to refining and improving their project plans. Thanks to everyone who participated in the launch and provided feedback at the workshop!