Defender Radio and The Switch
Episode 414: Compassionate Communication

Compassion is something we at The Fur-Bearers talk a lot about – but how do we speak with compassion? And, in a world of seemingly massive cultural, social, and political divides, is it worthwhile?

Compassionate communication is a concept that’s been around for some time – it frequently includes the use of self-awareness, empathy, and honest self-expression. In the case of The Fur-Bearers, it is often cited for how we communicate to others our facts and ethical stances on the use of fur, on wildlife conservation, and in the development of a more compassionate – and empathetical – culture.

But it isn’t always easy – we see, hear, and read the harrowing truths of how animals are treated. We’re exposed to systemic hate of races, cultures, and species in the daily news. And we’re also confronted with the realities of confirmation bias, sensationalism, and misinformation mixed in with reliable information. Sorting through all of this – and finding a way to be more compassionate in our communication is a struggle. And that’s why this week we talked with Dr. Carrie Packwood Freeman.

Dr. Freeman is a tenured associate professor of communication at Georgia State University, hosts a radio talk show, and coauthored a report on how the media should be covering animals.

In this open and honest conversation, Dr. Freeman joined Defender Radio to explore topics of communicating across social divides, internet trolls, compassion in times of conflict, and the daily tools we can use to improve our compassionate communications skills.

Direct download: 2017-01-30_DefenderRadioPodcast.mp3
Category:Season 04 -- posted at: 2:55pm EDT

Episode 413: Oh, The Places They'll Go

Stopping wildlife conflict, protecting individuals, and ensuring co-existence can be a struggle after development. But it can be a whole lot easier if you incorporate it into the planning stages, and that’s exactly what Dr. Lael Parrott hopes to accomplish.

The UBC professor recently spoke to the Kelowna Capital News about her work in the region to create wildlife corridors as part of the development and expansion of the area, particularly surrounding precious agricultural and natural places. By combining variables such as how individual animal species behave at specific times of year and interact with other variables, with detailed geographic information and other data, then running it all through a computer, Dr. Parrott can reasonably predict how wildlife will react and respond to various planning options.

Her work has impressive potential to mitigate existing conflict, too. In Whistler, Dr. Parrott’s team is using the same system of modelling to determine if electric fencing placed in specific areas on the landscape could reduce bear conflict, and, ultimately, save the lives of animals.

To discuss this fascinating work, the system she uses, and why advocates need to be aware of this modern planning tool for wildlife conflict prevention, Dr. Parrott joined Defender Radio.

Direct download: 2017-01-23_DefenderRadioPodcast.mp3
Category:Season 04 -- posted at: 6:18pm EDT

Episode 412: Don't Fence Me In

The Little Smoky caribou herd is in trouble, and the Alberta government is gearing up for a plan that scientists and advocates claim will only waste money – and could actually harm wildlife populations.

Less than 100 of the ungulates remain, and unless something is done, the population – and the species itself – could disappear from Canada forever. Studies have shown that the greatest risk to the caribou is habitat alteration – primarily from the exploration and exploitation of resources that create roads, carve out seismic lines used for geological surveying, and the general fragmentation of the landscape.

Under the apparently false flag of conservation, the Alberta government has infamously slaughtered hundreds of wolves instead of ending habitat fragmentation. Government reports have shown that the province’s experts don’t think this will save the caribou – only repairing the habitat can do that. But instead of doing the one thing science shows will be successful, the government has launched another plan – to build a fence system to effectively farm caribou. Other ungulates and predators found within this fenced area will be killed, and if the breeding is successful, caribou will be released periodically.

Dr. Gilbert Proulx, an independent scientist and head of Alpha Wildlife Research and Management Limited, has coauthored a paper that takes a critical look at the plan to fence in caribou – and why it will ultimately fail. To discuss this paper, the situation facing the Smoky Mountain caribou, and what the public can do to put a stop to a costly and potentially lethal plan, Dr. Proulx joined Defender Radio.

Direct download: 2017-01-16_DefenderRadioPodcast.mp3
Category:Season 04 -- posted at: 5:36pm EDT