nature

The Sky’s the Limit: SFU announces Trottier Observatory and Studio

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A feature I produced and directed for the SFU Faculty of Science for SFU’s Creative Services. Some phenomenal motion graphics and drone helicopter footage went into the making of this short.

SFU has unveiled its plan for a $4.4 million facility on its Burnaby campus dedicated to engaging children and youth in science.

A Big Festival Born in a Small Town

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banff film festBANFF MOUNTAIN FILM FESTIVAL TOUR TRAVELS TO KALISPELL

Nice video trailer on the Festival tour home page!

The small Alberta town of Banff, where the population is only slightly higher than the elevation, may seem an unlikely candidate to spawn the largest mountain film festival in North America. But if you look closer, at its illustrious Banff Centre of arts and culture, at its stunning mountainous surroundings, perhaps it all makes sense.

From Oct. 31 to Nov. 8, more than 10,000 moviegoers crowded into theaters throughout Banff, a town of just over 8,000 in Alberta, for the famed Banff Mountain Film Festival. From 277 total entries, 62 films were chosen for the festival. Screenings included outdoor adventure films and documentaries serving as in-depth cultural examinations. Winners in various categories were named.

The event is held by the Banff Centre, an institution that film festival director Shannon O’Donaghue describes as a “leading center for professional development for artists” in Canada. Roughly 5,000 artists from across the world train at the center annually, in fields such as mountain culture, aboriginal arts, drama, opera, dance and literary arts, among others. The center is geared toward “mid-career artists,” O’Donaghue said, differing from traditional university art schools.

“We have a lot of residencies and workshops,” O’Donaghue said. “It’s a really special place, actually. There’s nothing like this in another small town in Canada.”

Just days after the festival ended, two vans – equipped with top-of-the-line digital projectors – embarked on a mission to show 25 selected films across Canada and the United States. The films will also be taken to countries across the globe as part of the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour, which will hold more than 500 screenings in 30 countries, O’Donaghue said.

Outside of Canada, the first stop for the tour is Montana. On Nov. 13, films will be shown in Great Falls, followed by back-to-back screenings in Kalispell at Flathead High School on Nov. 17 and 18 at 7 p.m. As in past years, the Flathead Nordic Ski Patrol is organizing the Kalispell event as a fundraiser for the nonprofit.

Read the entire article here.

350 on Ice at Treble Cone, Wanaka, New Zealand

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Amazing flickr photos of “350” actions around the world here.

Meanwhile, here at home in Vancouver, we saw 10,000 join in the biggest march since the Iraq War protests of 2003.

Yogi Berra told us “The Future Ain’t What it Used to Be.” The future is not some distant paradigm that justifies our pacifism. We are bearing witness to effects of climate change every day. Christina Ora from the Solomon Islands knows this all to well as her people are steadily being displaced by rising water levels. She told her story to the inspired crowd of 10,000 Vancouverites on Saturday.

Read more here.

Cold Water Classic hits Tofino

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World’s best drop in to tame Tofino’s waves
Vancouver Island’s top shredders ready to match their skills against the pros in the first tour stop on Canadian shores
BY IAN WALKER, VANCOUVER SUN
OCTOBER 24, 2009

It started out on a remote corner at the edge of the world, where the Indian Ocean pounds the isolated Tasmanian shoreline. Then up to the northern town of Thurso, Scotland, renowned for its reef breaks. South Africa’s treacherous Cape Peninsula was the next stop, surfers attacking the powerful swells under the towering cliffs of the Table Mountain Range.

Fog, snow, freezing temperatures and ice-cold water are just a sample of what could await competitors during the fourth stop of the O’Neill Cold Water Classic, which gets under way today through next weekend in Tofino.

That’s right, Tofino. The 6 Star ASP World Qualifying Series event is the first pro surf contest to grace Canadian shores and is being dubbed the sport’s coldest by organizers. While that’s up for debate — to be honest, the waters of Scotland were colder — Vancouver Island’s rugged western coastline, idyllic beach breaks, cedar-lined shore and majestic snow-capped mountains make it one of the coolest surf contests on the planet.

“Maybe some people take it for granted due to a lack of understanding, but everyone here knows how big this is,” said Noah Cohen, an O’Neill-sponsored surfer who was born and raised in Tofino. “Not only is it a World Qualifying Series stop, but it’s a six star event — and there’s not many of them around the world. For surfers in the area it’s huge. Not just for the chance to compete, but to see a surf contest of this level with a world-class international field.”

Read the whole article here.

Campaign Against Emissions Picks Number

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350

By ANDREW C. REVKIN

Campaigners against global warming have drawn on an arsenal of visually startling tactics over the years, from posing nude on a Swiss glacier to scaling smokestacks at coal-fired power plants.

On Saturday, they tried something new with the goal of prodding countries to get serious about reaching an international climate accord: a synchronized burst of more than 4,300 demonstrations, from the Himalayas to the Great Barrier Reef, all centered on the number 350.

For some prominent climate scientists, that is the upper limit for heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, measured in parts per million. If the gas concentration exceeds that for long, they warn, the world can expect decades of disrupted climate patterns, rising sea levels, drought and famine. The current concentration is 387 parts per million.

Organizers said their goal, in the prelude to global climate talks in Copenhagen in December, was to illustrate the urgent need to cut emissions by pointing out that the world passed the 350 mark two decades ago. Yet while agreeing that unabated emissions pose serious risks, some prominent scientists and economists focusing on climate policy said the 350 target was so unrealistic that the campaign risked not being taken seriously — or could convey the wrong message.

“Three-fifty is so impossible to achieve that to make it the goal risks the reaction that if we are already over the cliff, then let’s just enjoy the ride until it’s over,” said John M. Reilly, an economist at M.I.T.

“The message needs to be that there are risks at the current level, and those risks increase the further we push the system,” he said.

In a prominent recent study, scientists concluded that carbon dioxide levels were almost certainly headed beyond any levels experienced on the planet in the last 15 million years.

Read the entire article here.

Mayor releases plan to make Vancouver the world’s greenest city by 2020

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Love everything about this. If we’re making sacrifices, make them meaningful and make the city a healthier place to live while we’re at it.

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BY GERRY BELLETT, VANCOUVER SUN
VANCOUVER — Mayor Gregor Robertson announced an ambitious 10-year plan Tuesday to make Vancouver the world’s greenest city by 2020.

Robertson presented the plan to Gaining Ground-Resilient Cities conference at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

“As in many other cities, Vancouver’s ecological footprint is far too large despite having decisions made decades ago to keep freeways out of the city, protect our watershed and to protect agricultural lands surrounding the city,” Robertson told hundreds of delegates to the three-day conference.

“We are still far too reliant on cars and on food from far away,” he said.

“Every day, we produce too much waste, consume too much energy and water.”

Read the whole article here.

Great commercial!

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The power of wind.