Defender Radio and The Switch

Defender Radio and The Switch

Defender Radio and The Switch bring experts and solutions to wildlife advocates and animal lovers around the world. Hosted by award-winning journalist Michael Howie, Defender Radio and The Switch are produced by The Fur-Bearers ( and released weekly. Learn more at


February 12, 2024 43 mins

Improving the lives of dogs across Canada and around the world is a hefty goal – but by talking about the lives of wild dogs, Dr. Valli Fraser-Celin is getting closer to reaching that goal every day.

Dr. F...

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It’s grey, generally cold, damp, and rather unpleasant in early February across Canada. Fortunately, it’s a great time of year to get outside and start planting! Now, I know I’m out on a bit of a limb here, but late winter and early spring are actually ideal for sowing many vital, native plant species across Canada. To tie this into how it h...

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Killing neck snares are cruel devices that experts and scientists have shown to be ineffective and inhumane. Yet they remain common across Canada. A new documentary series, Trapped In The Past, is challenging why killing neck snares remain legal to use, what impact they have on wildlife, and how a lack of updated regulations puts wildlife, p...

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Eating a plant-based diet is a great way to be healthy and reduce your impact on the environment and climate crisis. Making the change can be intimidating, especially if, like me, you grew up on meat and potatoes.

Fortunately, folks like Candic...

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January 15, 2024 4 mins

Are you an active gardener looking for ways to reduce your impact on the local environment? Rain barrels are a great, accessible place to start! Join me for a quick conversation about the known - and perhaps less known - benefits of using rain barrels around your home. 

Have you had success with rain barrels, or created an innovative solution? Let me know at @HowieMichael on Instagram or by emailing


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January 8, 2024 44 mins

Beavers are incredible animals who have complex social lives, engineer essential ecosystems, and can help us develop climate resilience. In Canada, beavers were nearly wiped out by fur trappers, but their populations slowly returned, though not to their pre-colonization levels. But in Britain, European beavers haven’t had the opportunity to ...

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December 18, 2023 11 mins

Gift giving is wonderful and generous, but around the holidays can generate a lot of waste. Dr. Elisabeth Ormandy (TEDx speaker, UBC Professor and zero waste enthusiast) is making The Switch to zero waste gift giving! 

These tips can make a big impact on local waste during the holiday season, and we’d love to hear from you! Tag @howiemichael on Instagram or email with your zero waste gift giving tips and get...

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Tigers are at risk of extinction around the globe. But in India, hard fought conservation has seen the population double since 2006. While this is fantastic news, it does create new challenges to face: such as how to manage poachers, and negative encounters between tigers and animals kept as livestock, and the people who live in the tigers’ ...

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November 27, 2023 60 mins

Some days are hard. The world feels like it’s falling apart, forests are burning, ecosystems are breaking down, and hope can be a long, long way away. But you’re not alone in this feeling – and there are ways to manage and cope that not only support you but can make for a healthier community and planet.

Climate Grief, From Coping to Resilience and Action is a new book from Dr. Shawna Weaver...

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Giving Tuesday is a huge opportunity for non-profits and charities across the country to raise desperately needed funds to keep campaigns going. But Canadians are giving less overall to charities – and that means Giving Tuesday is even more important. Hear more about how only a few dollars or a share can make impact for people, wildlife, and...

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November 13, 2023 46 mins

Wolves are iconic, majestic and absolutely essential apex predators. But what do Canadians think about wolves? That was the primary question driving a survey developed by Drs. Valli-Laurente Fraser-Celin and Stephanie Rutherford in conjunction with The Fur-Bearers earlier this year.

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November 7, 2023 4 mins

Political leaders from across the spectrum have debated the taxation and cost of home heating in Canada recently; while noses are thumbed back and forth, there’s a couple easy steps we can all take in our homes to reduce our energy usage as we enter the chilly season. Let's talk about drafts and how to reduce them without breaking the bank!<...

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Any time spent watching chimpanzees is valuable; they show tool use, complex social structures and behaviours, and, according to the latest science, are often quite adorable. It’s no surprise that humans are fascinated by chimpanzees, as we share 98.8 percent of our DNA with them.

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Wildlife rehabilitators are incredible people: they dedicate their time, personal or professional, to assisting wild animals who are injured or orphaned. It takes a lot to successfully navigate the provincial bureaucracies, fundraising, administration, and volunteer wrangling – let alone actually caring for the animals. I regularly stand in ...

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September 25, 2023 32 mins

Beavers are an essential animal to the North American landscape. They create and maintain wetlands that are home to at-risk and endangered species; they clean runoff from agricultural lands; they sequester carbon; they improve habitat for salmon and other fish species; and they even help mitigate wildfires. Sadly, beavers are trapped and killed across Canada and the United States for their fur, but also when th...

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September 11, 2023 48 mins

We spend our lives with dogs, sharing joy, sorrow, companionship, and often surprisingly deep friendships. But often, we can be perplexed by our best friends’ behaviours, or make assumptions about why they’re barking, rolling over, or refusing to let you have the ball after demanding that you throw it for them.

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December 19, 2022 20 mins

This is a repost from last year's popular Defender Radio Solstice Special!

The Squirrel Who Stole Solstice was written and directed by Marisa King. Starring Kristi Boulton, Marisa King and Michael Howie. Original holiday carol by Julian Sark.

The Squirrel Who Stole Solstice was written and Directed by Marisa King! Marisa voiced Nutty! Marisa King is an actor, director and long-time animal advocate based in Toronto, Ontario.  You ca...

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Ethical skincare expert Tricia Stevens of batch skincare joined The Switch to share tips on how to identify ethical and sustainable ingredients and products while choosing skincare and beauty products. 

batch skincare, launched by industry experts with decades of experience, also prioritizes kindness, effectiveness, progress, fairness and giving back. The Fur-Bearers is one of the first organizations that is benefitting from the ki...

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Solutions to the climate crisis are multifaceted and require innovative thinking. It also means the way we’ve been doing things, particularly with development, need to change. Imagine the vast array of asphalt, concrete, tar shingles, and metals that cover cities; they don’t absorb water, and they retain heat – the opposite of what is desperately needed in many communities. What if we took all that infrastructure and made it green?


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Fairtrade is a recognized sustainability term worldwide. Did you know that fairtrade practices are also applied in fashion? Kemp Edwards, sustainable business expert, President & CEO at Econic Apparel and Ethical Profiling, and Principal at Vert2Grow, joins The Switch to share how people can make a difference in the world through how they buy clothes.

Show notes & Links

Find Kemp Edwards through his sustainable, ethical businesses,...

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