U: INTERVIEWS
Welcome to the Interviews page

Whether you saw U: The Comedy of Global Warming, heard about this site from a friend, or just stumbled upon us on a surfing expedition, thanks for checking out the interviews page.  Extended clips of the interviews we conducted for the show are being posted periodically.  Check these pages every once in a while to watch the video library as it grows.

Scroll down to find the videos.  Click on the videos to view them.

If you’d like to know who was who in the show, many of the interview subjects can be found on the internet, and links to them are provided in the list at the bottom of this page.  Most, but not all of them have photos posted on the linked sites.

The twenty-two interviews we managed to capture averaged an hour in length and followed a more or less consistent line of questioning.

UTHECOMEDY_POSTCARD_v5
More About the Interviews

These interviews were conducted as raw material for inclusion in the multi-media play U: The Comedy of Global Warming. Because we ended up with far more footage than we could possibly include in a piece of theatre with a running time of 90-100 minutes, finding a way to share all the information we gathered was one of the driving forces behind the creation of Albertaville.

Although we spoke with a lot of well-known scientists, activists and politicians, we can’t pretend these interviews represent a carefully composed or comprehensive range of opinion on the subject of climate change.For instance, though we tried, we never managed to speak with an atmospheric scientist, or a climatologist or an oceanographer, which is unfortunate considering the issue.

Of less concern, the list of people we talked to is also anything but “balanced,” at least in the sense of the word that the media often uses when referring to reporting that pits pro and con “experts” against each other, sometimes (though not always) without critically examining whether the appearance of debate is merited in the first place. You won’t find any deniers or skeptics here, though we certainly wanted to talk to some.  On the other hand, you will find that while these people broadly agree with each other on numerous basic points, they do represent a range of opinions on other matters.

Interview dates: March – April 2009.
Interviewer: Ian Leung
Cameraman: Mike McLaughlin

For most of these sessions, the camera, tripod and sound equipment were generously donated free of charge by the Arts Resource Centre of the University of Alberta – much thanks to Lee Ramsdell and also Grant Wang and Sandra Graf for their support in this.

About the Interviewees

So whom did we interview and why?Pretty much whomever we could that we knew or discovered along the way had something important or authoritative to say about climate change.  We also included a small group of regular citizens as an informal sounding of public awareness and opinion on the issue.

About the Interviewees, continued

The number and range of people we were able to talk to was also limited by money, time and chutzpah.

Our limited budget required that interview subjects be local, which is to say from Edmonton (except for Calgary’s Chris Turner, with whom we were determined to speak).It also meant that after a certain point we had to stop for lack of funds.We had a two-month period – March and April of 2009 – in which to conduct as many interviews as we could, after which we really had to move on to the viewing and editing stage.

As for chutzpah, we confess it was a few weeks before we screwed up the courage to call the Honourable Rob Renner, Alberta’s Minister of the Environment. Considering the critical nature of the show, we didn’t even bother asking the Honourable Mel Knight, Alberta’s Minister of Energy, to sit down for a chat. And while we’d always hoped to interview a real oil & gas executive, we were pretty certain that once we got to describing the nature and content of the play their interview would become part of, any sane CEO would decline for understandable reasons. So we never called one.

On the other hand, these twenty-two people aren’t anywhere near everyone we did try to talk to. Some people expressed an interest but were completely unavailable. Others we never managed to sync schedules with, despite the best efforts of everyone. It would only be fair to all to mention that among this group were a number of professors at the University, representatives from the Sierra Club and the Council of Canadians, carbon capture and storage scientists at the Alberta Research Council, MLA Brian Mason and a couple of skeptical citizens.

Many people we did speak with gave us the names of more people we only wish we could have talked to.Some didn’t return our calls for whatever reason and again, to be fair to Federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice, Andrew Nikiforuk and some aboriginal representatives – who were probably already very busy with other very important stuff (and we do mean that) – we only managed to call some of them once.A very few turned us down, among them, after (to his credit) a long period of consideration and negotiation with his communications people, Rob Renner.  We also had an enlightening and engaging off-the-record conversation with the one oil lobbyist we did call, who also declined to appear in an interview for the same, understandable reasons we thought oil and gas executives would turn us down.

THE SCIENTISTS

Dr. Martin Sharp
Glaciologist
on Sea Level Rise

THE POLITICIANS

Laurie Blakeman
M.L.A. Edmonton Centre
on Alberta’s Climate Change Strategy

THE ACTIVISTS
VIDEOS
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CONCERNED CITIZENS
VIDEOS
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THE SCIENTISTS

Dr. Suzanne Bayley, Zoology, University of Alberta
Dr. Andrew Derocher, Zoology, University of Alberta
Vicki Sahanatien, Doctoral Candidate, Zoology, University of Alberta
Dr. Arturo Sanchez-Azofeifa, Ecologist, Earth Sciences, University of Alberta
Dr. David Schindler, Zoology, University of Alberta
Dr. Martin Sharp, Glaciologist & Chair of Earth Sciences, University of Alberta
Dr. Colleen Cassady St. Clair, Zoology, University of Alberta

THE POLITICIANS

Laurie Blakeman, M.L.A. Edmonton-Centre
Linda Duncan, M.P. Edmonton-Strathcona
Ben Henderson, Edmonton City Councillor Ward 4
Don Iveson, Edmonton City Councillor Ward 5
Rachel Notley, M.L.A. Edmonton Strathcona
Kevin Taft, M.L.A. Edmonton Riverview

THE ACTIVISTS

Mary Griffiths, former Pembina Institute Senior Researcher
Mike Hudema, Tar Sands Activist, Greenpeace
Mike Kennedy, Senior Economist, Pembina Institute
Gordon Laxer, Director, Parkland Institute

CONCERNED CITIZENS

Alex Bramm, University Student
Holly Cinnamon, University Student
Leslea Kroll, Playwright & Activist
Mandy Stewart, University Student
Chris Turner, Author & Journalist

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