Writing this from Beresford on the Baie des Chaleurs, looking forward to tomorrow morning and the start of the Espaces Maritime Spaces event, Belledune edition, with our RAVEN partner Projet Aulnes. RAVEN’s Tracy Glynn, Susan O’Donnell and Amy Floyd will be participating. After a day of workshops, the broadcast show will be produced in the evening and feature a range of topics, including the RAVEN project.
RAVEN’s work with photovoice is led by researcher Tracy Glynn. In this new story published by the NB Media Co-op, Tracy presents the photo stories of rural residents Beth Nixon, Stephanie Coburn, Teri McMackin, Cheryl Johnson, Deborah Carr and Rick Roth. Check out the stories and photographs here.
RAVEN’s partner the Aulnes Projects is a community development cooperative in Pointe-Verte on the Baie des Chaleurs near Belledune. We are collaborating on their new project, Maritime Spaces, with the first show scheduled for February 28-29. From the website:
Maritime Spaces, a road show program, offers discussions in formulas that are outside the box for a sustainable and clean future in New Brunswick. The topics covered are under the three themes dear to Aulnes Projects: sustainable socio-economic development, preservation of the environment and social justice.
The first edition of this Maritime Spaces program will focus on a collaborative project taking place in the Belledune region. Components of this project will explain how they are using research, arts and environmental sustainability education to promote sustainable communities and healthy environments, even in a region marked by heavy industry.
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!
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.
“The New Brunswick government has given a conditional approval to a J.D. Irving-owned gypsum mine near the Hammond River in Upham leaving rural residents upset by the government’s lack of attention to how the mine could affect their well water and roads.” So begins the update by RAVEN’s Tracy Glynn on the ongoing struggle of residents in the area to protect their local water supply and local roads. You can read Tracy’s story here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Amy Floyd writes this week’s Letter from New Brunswick future. Amy’s vision is inspiring and makes economic sense. Read it here. The impact of the scheme is explored in different social areas. Thought-provoking.
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 Kim Reeder and her collaborators in Charlotte County wrote this week’s Letter from New Brunswick’s future: The tale of Skutik, written from the perspective of Skutik, the St. Croix River. You can read the story here.
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.
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.
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’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.
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’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.
In her review and discussion of a new book, Chop Suey Nation, RAVEN’s Lauren Korn explains how the dreams of many Chinese immigrants brought them to opening restaurants across rural Canada. You can read her article here, published in the NB Media Co-op.
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.
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!
What would need to happen to ensure that rural communities and all communities in NB are better connected in the future? The NB Media Co-op published letter from the future #2 written by RAVEN’s Susan O’Donnell. She wrote it from Belledune in 2050. You can read it here.
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.
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’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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
In this video made by the RAVEN project, David Perley, director of the Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre at the University of New Brunswick and RAVEN collaborator, speaks about what it will take to ensure that rural communities, including his home community of Tobique First Nation, are healthy and sustainable. You can watch the video from this page.
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:
- The Lac-Mégantic rail disaster’s fallout, by Sophie M. Lavoie, the NB Media Co-op partner on the RAVEN project.
- The Lac-Mégantic disaster, New Brunswick, and Irving companies: an interview with Bruce Campbell, by RAVEN’s Susan O’Donnell.
La Barque Co-op in Pointe Verte is a non-profit community-run innovation, learning and training centre situated in a former school. Members of the co-op live all across the Chaleur. Organizations based in La Barque include Productions Aulnes, run by a team with significant experience in community television and radio production.
Today, Productions Aulnes’ team Renelle LeBlanc and Danis Comeau hosted a visit by RAVEN’s Susan O’Donnell. After a tour of the dynamic La Barque spaces and activities, the group joined a zoom meeting with colleagues from the University of Moncton’s ECHO project, the RAVEN project at University of New Brunswick, and the Sustainability Education Alliance (SEA) of the NB Environmental Network.
The focus of the meeting, and the reason for the visit, was to develop a collaborative project about Belledune. SEA will be taking the lead to support the group with next steps. We will continue to post updates as they become available. Anyone wanting to join the group is welcome to contact RAVEN: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
RAVEN and the NB Media Co-op and partners will be hosting a visit by author Bruce Campbell to New Brunswick. Bruce is launching his book: The Lac-Mégantic Rail Disaster: Public Betrayal, Justice Denied and RAVEN is facilitating community gatherings (bilingue) on the topic of “Rail Transport and Safety for Jobs, Communities and the Environment.” Mark your calendars:
- April 23 – Edmundston, 4pm: Café Lotus Bleu, 52 Chemin Canada
- April 24 – Fredericton, 7pm: new location: Conserver House
- April 25 – online webinar, starts at 5pm
- April 26 – Saint John, 3pm: Free Public Library Central Branch, with partners the Saint John Free Public Library and Council of Canadians Saint John
For a copy of the poster, click here.
Background story and book theme: The July 6, 2013 Lac-Mégantic rail disaster is a tragedy unparalleled in Canadian history. It resulted in major loss of life, massive environmental destruction and the evisceration of a small Quebec town. Blame landed squarely on the shoulders of three front-line employees of the Montreal, Maine, and Atlantic Railway Company. But a jury acquitted them. Lac-Mégantic is the story of a rail industry writing its own rules subordinating safety to profit, a booming US oil industry based on fracking, fighting any obstacles to selling their dangerous product, and a rogue US railway operator cutting costs and cutting corners.
Author and special guest: Bruce Campbell is currently Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University, and Senior Fellow, Ryerson University Centre for Free Expression. He is a former Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, one of Canada’s leading independent think-tanks, and the author of three major reports and numerous media commentaries on the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster, for which he was awarded a Law Foundation of Ontario Community Leadership in Justice Fellowship. Bruce spent 2016 as a visiting professor at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law.
Hosts: RAVEN (Rural Action and Voices for the Environment) is an activist research project at the University of New Brunswick. We promote the voices of rural champions working to build sustainable environments and communities in New Brunswick. The NB Media Co-op has membership and contributors province-wide, voluntarily writing and sharing news and opinions and facilitating dialogue on issues concerning New Brunswickers that are all too often marginalized in corporate media, including the environment, social justice, women, Indigenous issues, labour, etc.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For the NB Media Co-op, RAVEN’s Susan O’Donnell wrote a story that will affect more than 350 rural postal workers in New Brunswick. The rural workers and their union are celebrating a legal decision in September that will give them a big pay raise and better benefits. Read the story here