Exploring the eighth continent with Canopy Meg

Trees and forests could hold the key to the survival of life on our planet. Meg Lowman started climbing trees when she was still a painfully shy primary school student, in a small town in upstate New York. They became her closest companions whenever her human classmates started bullying her. She eventually became a pioneer of canopy science, and created a system of forest walkways that now extends around the world. She's been hailed as "Einstein of the Treetops", but is better known by the nickname, Canopy Meg. Paul Kennedy visited the self-described "arbonaut" in person to ask her whether trees can save the world.

The Dangers of Denialism

"Denial is about hiding from the truth. Denialism builds a 'new and better' truth." Keith Kahn-Harris, a researcher and lecturer at the University of London, says the challenge of confronting denialism is that denialists don't see themselves as rejecters of truth. They see themselves as having the actual truth, one that the rest of us can't see or accept. Keith Kahn-Harris in conversation with IDEAS producer Naheed Mustafa.

The Life Course — trauma, migration and 'renoviction' in Vancouver

PhD student Mei Lan Fang's parents survived the Cultural Revolution and immigrated to Canada with dreams of settling in a country where human rights are protected and social mobility is possible. After years of financial struggle in Vancouver, the family verged on homelessness. Mei uses her family's own experience of migration from China to help her understand the life struggles of Vancouver's marginalized seniors in a virtually impossible housing market.

The 1919 Winnipeg General Strike: 100 years later

It was the biggest labour action in Canadian history: on May 15, 1919, over 35,000 workers took to the streets of Winnipeg for six weeks. It began peacefully and passionately; it ended in lethal violence, and disagreement over what it meant. Contributor Tom Jokinen talks to experts on how the strike happened, why it occurred in Winnipeg — and through the use of archival tape, brings us the voices of people who were right there, on the streets, and on strike.

Cata$trophe: Adam Tooze tells the real story of the 2008 financial meltdown

Historian Adam Tooze wrote Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World as the decade was unfolding. The giant waves from the crash of 2008 are still hitting shore, both politically and economically. The 2019 Gelber Prize-winner talks with Peter Armstrong, CBC's Senior Business Correspondent, about how what happened on Wall Street was just the start, and how flaws in the globalized banking system came to affect regions, nations, and individual lives.

Old Masters: Decoding prehistoric art with Jean Clottes

The songs and stories of prehistoric humans are gone. All that remains of their culture is their art. It's the one thing that can bridge the vast, silent chasm of time between then and now. IDEAS contributor Neil Sandell introduces us to the French archaeologist Jean Clottes, a man who’s devoted his lifetime trying to decipher the rich, enigmatic world of cave art.

Things Fall Apart: The origins and future of American democracy

Harvard historian James Kloppenberg traces the long and tortuous tradition of American liberal democracy. He argues that the United States has arrived at such a precarious place in its political evolution that the very conditions that make democracy possible are under threat.

Data for Social Good

We live in a glut of data. Individually we produce vast amounts of information about ourselves simply by living our lives: where we go, what we like, where we shop, our political views, which programs we watch. Each day we produce 2.5 quintillion bytes of data and the rate is growing. In the last two years alone we’ve generated about 90 per cent of the data that’s out there. IDEAS contributor Anik See looks at this tremendous amount of data and how some people are harnessing it, not for surveillance or selling, but rather for the public good.

Remembering Jean Vanier: The Rabbit and the Giraffe, Part 2

"Community is a sign that love is possible in a materialistic world." Jean Vanier, who founded the L'Arche movement in 1963 for people with profound disabilities, quickly learned that "normal" people have much to learn about being human by watching those we perceive as weak. Jean Vanier died on May 7 in France. He was 91. IDEAS pays tribute to a Canadian humanitarian and visionary with this encore presentation of documentary series by producer Philip Coulter.

Ideas for May 2019

Highlights this month include: "The Invisible Shoes of Stutthof Concentration Camp" (May 1) -- David Mairowitz tells the story of the discovery in 2015 of hundreds of shoes found at the former Stutthof Nazi concentration camp in Poland; and "The 1919 Winnipeg General Strike" (May 15), Tom Jokinen looks back at the biggest labour action in Canadian history: on May 15, 1919, over 35,000 workers took to the streets of Winnipeg for six weeks.

Remembering Jean Vanier: The Rabbit and the Giraffe, Part 1

"Community is a sign that love is possible in a materialistic world." Jean Vanier, who founded the l'Arche movement in 1963 for people with profound disabilities, quickly learned that "normal" people have much to learn about being human by watching those we perceive as weak. Jean Vanier died today in France at the age of 91. IDEAS pays tribute to a Canadian humanitarian and visionary with this encore presentation of documentary series by producer Philip Coulter.

The Enright Files on moral challenges faced by Christianity

Some of the crises facing contemporary Christianity are obvious, such as the ever-widening revelations of sexual abuse perpetrated by Catholic clergy and the role of bishops in covering it up. Some are less obvious, such as the embrace of anti-immigrant, xenophobic political movements in countries with large Christian majorities. On this month's edition of The Enright Files, conversations about the moral challenges modern Christianity is confronting.

Ideas in the Afternoon for May 2019

Ideas in the Afternoon airs Mondays at 2:05 pm on CBC Radio One.

Joseph Conrad, Prophet of a Global World

Seen from today, the novelist Joseph Conrad's early 20th century views on the world, particularly on race, can be offensive. But at the same time, his observations were deeply prescient of modern times. V.S. Naipaul, who was also a harsh critic, once wrote about how Conrad managed, a hundred years ago, to "meditate on my world, a world I recognize today"? A feature interview with Harvard historian Maya Jasanoff, who tackles that question in her acclaimed biography of Conrad.

The Invisible Shoes of Stutthof Concentration Camp

In 2015, the poet-musician Grzegorz Kwiatkowski made a strange discovery at the site of the former Stutthof concentration camp in Poland — something he calls “a carpet of abandoned shoes.” But these were more than shoes: they're both artifacts and symbols of the Holocaust — as well as a flashpoint of nationalist denialism and historical amnesia — especially in the current climate of authoritarianism, and the rising ghosts of neo-fascism.

Utopian Dinner Table: How to feed the world in 100 years

One hundred years from now the planet will have 3-billion more people to feed. Global food security expert Evan Fraser considers possible solutions by contrasting two distinct visions of utopia -- one found through embracing science and technology, and the other arguing for overthrow of capitalism.

The Written City: Dany Laferrière's Paris

Dany Laferrière is one of the most celebrated writers in Canadian literary history. He has over 27 books to his name, and a raft of awards and honours — including the Order of Canada, and the Prix Medicis. In 2013, he was elected to the prestigious Académie Française in Paris — where he now lives. Radio-Canada contributor Danny Braun met up with Laferrière to talk about the his latest book, Self-Portrait of Paris with cat.

Award-winning authors on borders, real and imagined

Winners of the 2018 Governor General's Literary Awards address our challenge to create an original piece of writing on the theme of borders. In forms ranging from poetry to fiction and personal essay, they reflect on the idea of divisions, and on the other side, reconciliations. They give their views on the way borders, boundaries and limits — real and imagined, psychological and political — are at work in our world and lives now.

Turn it off: Music to drive you crazy

One sound invented two centuries ago was said to drive all those who heard it insane, even to to the point of suicide. Contributor Chris Brookes takes us into the astonishing history of the glass harp, from the parlour to the paranormal — and even to death metal — and shows how the sounds we create shape our understanding of the world.

The Bison and the "B"

It was a simple file folder, enigmatically labelled "B". But it was the key to learning how a secret society of scientists in the federal government in the 1920s, thwarted an ill-conceived plan to move plains bison into Wood Buffalo National Park because it would have mixed incompatible species. But the "Brotherhood" did much more than that. Author and naturalist Briony Penn tells the story of the B, and how over the decades they quietly shaped the environmental movement and how we think about nature.

Paul and Ed's Excellent Adventure

World-famous environmental photographer Edward Burtynsky and IDEAS host Paul Kennedy both grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario. In fact, their childhood homes were less than 300 metres apart, and paperboy Paul delivered a daily dose of newspaper comic strips to eventual visual artist Ed. They return to their old home town and revisit their roots, including the site of the now-dismantled GM Plant # 1, where both of their fathers worked; and the new subdivision that's recently replaced Meadowvale School, where they both started kindergarten, so many decades ago.

Human Rights Under Attack: Gareth Peirce on The New Dark Age

For more than 40 years, Gareth Peirce has fought to expose miscarriages of justice and free the wrongfully accused. Based in London, she was instrumental in freeing members of the Guildford Four, who were falsely convicted of carrying out the IRA bombing of a British pub. More recently, she has been representing members of the new suspect community — Muslims falsely accused of being terrorists. Peirce warns eroding human rights under the guise of national security, is a profound attack on democracy.

The Sudbury Effect: Lessons from a regreened city

Forty years ago, nickel mines and smelters around one Northern Ontario city had created one of the most dramatic examples of environmental devastation in the history of this planet. These days, Sudbury boasts the cleanest air of any city in Ontario.

True Crime Bloodline

From the investigative journalism of "In the Dark" and "Murdered and Missing", to the lurid horror of "Dirty John", to the eccentric storytelling of "My Favourite Murder", we're a culture hungrily consuming tales of murder and the criminal mind. It's a darkly popular form of entertainment in this era of podcasts and streaming docu-series -- particularly for women. Yet True Crime narratives have been hugely popular for more than 400 years.

Lonely Together: The plight of urban isolation

There have never been as many cities across the world as there are right now, nor with such high populations. Yet urban loneliness is a virtual pandemic, and one with huge social, medical and financial consequences. Why are cities the new capitals of isolation?