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Good Fire

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Good Fire

Amy Cardinal Christianson and Matthew Kristoff

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In this podcast we explore the concept of fire as a tool for ecological health and cultural empowerment by indigenous people around the globe. Good Fire is a term used to describe fire that is lit intentionally to achieve specific ecological and cultural goals. Good fire is about balance.
 
Group of five guys who make podcasts. WPoddcast every saturday (in theory). The WP consists of: Blaine Williams Jacob Andersen Kristoff Kounlavong Alfred "Alfie" Marten Matt Dardano Artwork done by Dan Bartholomew: dantoons1910.deviantart.com
 
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Your Forest Podcast by Matthew Kristoff From The Wild with Kevin Kossowan Episode highlight Kevin Kossowan of the TV show, From The Wild, speaks about using local ingredients to create elevated culinary experiences and develop a meaningful connection with the planet we inhabit. Resources Kevin’s website: http://www.kevinkossowan.com/ From The Wild:…
 
Nature. What is it? Where does Nature end and Human-made begin? Where do we draw the line? Why would we draw the line? Questions like this keep Philosopher Dr. Martin Bunzl busy. Martin says the point of philosophy is to get us to question our assumptions. By questioning our assumptions, we are able to re-imagine our reality and dig deeper into the…
 
As stewards of the land, it is the duty of all environmental professionals to look after all forest values forever. We have gotten good at managing for plants and animals, water, and recreation. Unfortunately, Indigenous values have been left behind. Indigenous people have been left behind. The only way we can properly account for Indigenous values…
 
We ask a lot of our forests. We demand food, water, and wood for shelter, but we also ask it to be natural, biodiverse, healthy, and ever-lasting. To many, these things seem at odds. How could we extract resources while maintaining healthy and sustainable ecosystems? With extensive research, forethought, and the right tools we can balance all these…
 
How does music impact your life? Does it make you happy or sad, giddy, or intense? Does it make you relax or reflect on life? Does it change the way you think about and relate to reality? It does all those things for me. So, I wanted to explore the intersection between art and science and how one can make us think differently about the other. Ben C…
 
Humans love the outdoors. We love to observe it, recreate in it, listen to it, and we depend on its resources to drive our economy and build cool stuff. Unfortunately, the way we go about extracting some of these resources can sometimes leave nature worse for wear. In comes land reclamation to save the day! Reclamation of environmental resources is…
 
What does true equity look like? Why is it important? How do we accomplish it? Jessica has spent her career looking for answers to these questions. Turns out, it’s on us. We have to do the hard work to make true equity and diversity a reality. We have to look our own bias in the face and allow it to change us. We need to ask the hard questions and …
 
Sustainability can be confusing. We all want it, but how do we achieve it? Jake Kheel makes it understandable. In his new book “Waking The Sleeping Giant: Unlocking the Hidden Power of Business to Save the Planet” Jake details one companies sustainability journey. Jake explains how chasing sustainability has changed not only their business but the …
 
Archeological finds in the boreal forest have exploded in the past 5 years. Hundreds of new sites have been located with evidence of vast populations of Indigenous people living deep into the boreal forest, not just on the fringes like what was previously hypothesized. This changes the way we think about the boreal. It was never an untouched landsc…
 
Your Forest Podcast by Matthew Kristoff Recycling Is Dead with Raz Razgaitis Episode highlight Raz Razgaitis, CEO of FloWater, talks about water security, the failure of the plastics recycling system, and how his company is making clean drinking water democratized and pure while eliminating plastic waste. Resources FloWater: https://www.drinkflowat…
 
Finding solutions to our ever-lengthening list of environmental management problems can seem nearly impossible. We have a desire to solve an issue, create opportunity, make the world a better place, but we don’t know how, or where, to begin. Collaboration is the key. But how do we begin collaboration in a way that will create a meaningful and lasti…
 
How do we ensure sustainable forests forever? Not just the trees, but the wildlife, water, soil, recreation opportunities, etc. Forests are moving targets, and we can’t possibly expect to control every aspect. So we try to control the ones that are easier to measure. One such control is the trees. We know all there is to know about the trees. How m…
 
Wildlife is probably the most relatable aspect of nature. We all want to see squirrels, deer, bears, and lynx. But do we know how best to manage a working landscape to ensure those species continue to thrive? That is the question we talked about today. How do we begin to look at forest management from the perspective of the critters? How do we inco…
 
What is a forest? How do we define it? Is it the trees? The wildlife? The soil or the water? What about a place to find food or a spiritual connection? Forests are all of these things. So when we talk about sustainable forest management shouldn’t we be talking about all of these factors? Today’s conversation was about how to move forest management …
 
What is the story of Canada? Discovery? Conquest? What about Treaty? Most of us think of Treaty as a different set of laws and rights pertaining only to Indigenous people. Turns out, it affects and includes all of us. Treaties are the story of how this country came to be. Treaties stand as a symbol of how sovereign nations can form bonds of mutual …
 
We all want healthy forest ecosystems, clean water, and vibrant communities. We can achieve these goals through sustainable forest management (SFM). However, we need to continue to push the boundaries of what SFM is in order to ensure we don’t miss something. This means constant research, consultation and not being afraid to change how we do things…
 
We have all seen the news footage of wildfires raging through our wild places, threatening homes and lives. Many of us have even been impacted by the threat of these fires or lost our homes to them. Others will have experienced the mid-afternoon blanket of smoke that blots out the sun and turns on the streetlamps. As a society, we are becoming more…
 
Ever wonder what your backyard looked like 10,000 years ago? 100,000 years ago? 1,000,000 years ago? I did, so I went looking for someone with some answers. The boreal forest covers 33% of the world’s forested area making it the biggest forest in the world. Canada contains 28% of the world’s boreal forest and I wanted to learn how it came to be the…
 
We speak to a lot of researchers and environmental professionals on this podcast. I thought maybe it was time to get a different perspective. Someone who is familiar with the goings-on but does not have a direct stake in the game, perhaps allowing for a more objective view. Tony is a journalist and has been writing about forestry, renewable energy,…
 
We all understand that climate change is bad and that we should do something to stop it, but why then do we all struggle to put our money where our mouth is. People want to invest in companies that are taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint, but they fear being made to look like a fool. Carbon markets used to be seen as a scam, a way for peo…
 
Sustainability is a buzz word in our society today. Everyone hears the word, but do we really understand the idea? Sustainability encompasses all aspects of human life, it helps us to define our success on this planet from economic prosperity, social justice, healthcare, happiness, and of course environmental integrity. Sustainability is the way fo…
 
Getting outdoors during this pandemic has been stressful. Which it is not supposed to be. Where are the lines we don’t want to cross? The lines between keeping yourself and the public safe and enjoying your outdoor activities. Should you see friends outside? What about traveling to your favorite lake or hiking trail? The Alberta Conservation Associ…
 
So a global pandemic has ruined your hiking plans. Clearly, there are more important things to worry about right now, but getting out in nature is how many of us relax and reset. How can we enjoy the outdoors and help ourselves manage the stress of our situation without putting public health at risk? How can we connect to nature when we are stuck i…
 
The majority of northern Alberta is covered in thick forest, but it may have looked very different only 100 years ago. What is now dense mixedwood forest once contained a vast network of grasslands, supporting the iconic bison and a multitude of First Nations people. This landscape has been changed, not because people took it over, but because they…
 
Imagine traveling across the grasslands of North America and needing to take a three-day rest stop between destinations because there is a heard of 100,000 Bison slowly grazing their way across the landscape. That would have been the norm less than 200 years ago. Before the commercial hunt of the late 1800s, tens of millions of these bovine behemot…
 
How can we find proof of what happened in the past? Written accounts by the people of the day are helpful, but how can we prove what they are saying is factual and not just one person’s biased assessment? Luckily, when it comes to our natural world we have the most reliable eye witness…trees. Tree rings hold within them the story of the past, they …
 
Where does your drinking water come from? What protects your home from floods? Where is 60 percent of all the carbon stored in Canadian soils? What provides habitat for countless species of ducks, songbirds, insects, and rodents? … Wetlands. The National Boreal Program of Ducks Unlimited Canada watches over the roughly 1 million square Kilometers o…
 
An ice age relic living among us, Caribou are perhaps a remnant of an age long gone. Woodland Caribou are a beautiful, important, and yet many claim, a very poorly adapted species. In the cold northern wetlands of the Boreal forest, they have survived by living out of reach of predators. Woodland Caribou occupy a delicate niche that is highly susce…
 
Many people spend much of their time in the outdoors hoping to achieve something. Whether it’s hiking to the peak of a mountain, catching the biggest fish, harvesting an animal, or running the furthest distance, we often forget to enjoy the little things. Bruce is a lifelong outdoor writer, and he prides himself on being able to capture the emotion…
 
Living harmoniously with wildlife is not something western society has been able to do very well in the past. That being said, in the last few decades we have witnessed a societal push for more sustainable management of our wildlife species and wild places. With these values in mind we find ourselves asking what can we do better? How can we alter o…
 
Climate change has already begun to cause problems for forest management in Canada. These challenges can be difficult to recognize, and even more daunting to solve. However, with some change in perspective, we can begin to find simple solutions to large problems. Sheri and Mark have dedicated their professional lives to finding ways to help industr…
 
Indigenous people have lived in the Boreal forest since time immemorial, depending on the land for the health of their culture and community. Since colonization, it has become increasingly more difficult for them to acquire what they need as more and more people utilize the resources for their own purposes. As environmental professionals we have a …
 
The final episode of the Good Fire Podcast is an incredible conversation that helps to try and summarize some of the ideas we have discussed over the last 10 episodes. Jay Mistry has been working with and doing research in South America with Indigenous peoples for years, and she has a great perspective on many of the issues we have discussed. We ta…
 
How can we sequester more carbon, reduce the use of herbicide, produce more wood fibre, all while approaching a more "natural” method of forest regeneration? Phil thinks there may be a way. We discuss how the Boreal forest regenerates naturally, how we have historically regenerated after forest harvest and why there is such a gap between these two …
 
I think when most people imagine a firefighter they picture a man. Women, it would seem, are still trying to shake the stigma of historical gender roles. Across the colonized world these gender roles have created a mold through which we all perceive and think about our world. Vanessa is trying to break that mold. Through her own life experiences cl…
 
Wildfire management has long been the domain of colonial governments. Despite a rich history of living with, managing, and using fire as a tool since time immemorial, Indigenous people were not permitted to practice cultural fire and their knowledge was largely ignored. As a result, total fire suppression became the prominent policy. With the most …
 
More Fire Stories from Fire Keeper Pierre Kruger. These live recordings are a great way to try and understand some indigenous perspectives when it comes to the role of fire in our natural world. This episode we get to hear a full detailed account of a cultural burn that was done at the workshop. Pierre compares what was done on that burn with what …
 
Cultural burning is important for many reasons, from berry production to habitat creation it promotes sustainable ecosystems and communities. Water is one giant part of that equation. What is the connection between fire and water? How can burning more or less often, higher or lower intensities, affect water quality and fish habitat? Don Hankins has…
 
Forests hold many values for human kind. From housing species at risk and cleaning our water supply to economic prosperity and cultural empowerment. Objectivity, in deciding which of these values needs attention, is needed to make sure we don’t get over-focused on one specific issue while neglecting the others. The Forest Resource Improvement Assoc…
 
For generations, since colonization, authority over the land and how to manage it has been held firmly by colonial governments, despite that land being sustainably managed for thousands of years prior to European contact by Indigenous peoples. Firesticks is an organization that aims to change the system and create more opportunities for Indigenous …
 
‘Good Fire’ is a podcast series about cultural burning around the world. I was fortunate enough to get to be a part of the conversations, even though my contribution was often one of ignorant questions. It is a great series that delves into the conversations around cultural burning and its impacts on local communities and environment. Today’s episo…
 
Indigenous people have a rich history of working with and understanding fire. Pierre Kruger remembers a time when burning was common and has countless stories describing the lessons learned. This is the first of three Fire-Keeper stories we will release during the course of this podcast series. These stories consist of traditional knowledge and des…
 
Cultural burning exists around the world. This week we spoke with Trent Nelson and Tim Kanoa about the huge forward strides they have taken to get cultural burning back on the landscape on the other side of the globe, in Australia. We discuss the deep cultural ties to burning, what has been lost, and what can be gained by having it back on the land…
 
What makes biodiversity so important? Why is it so often discussed in environmental writing? How do we measure what a healthy amount of biodiversity looks like? Can you have too much, to little? What about human impact and its effect on biodiversity? Tara Narwani is the science communicator at The Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI), a…
 
In 1919, soldiers were returning home from World War 1, the average family was getting around using horses, and the new population of Canada was seeking to settle into farm country and prosper. Clearing land was an essential part to homesteading back then, as such, many fires were lit to burn brush to build “productive” agriculture land. With no re…
 
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