Locus Focus host Barbara Bernstein talks with local, regional and national experts, activists and policy makers about climate change, food policy, land use, salmon restoration, forest management and all the other things that matter in our environment.
A couple months ago, Locus Focus host Barbara Bernstein leaped at the opportunity to interview Stewart Brand, Whole Earth Catalog creator and innovative futurist. But Stewart has changed his views on some key things since the heady days of the late 1960s and early 70s, when his ideas and projects inspired a huge counter-cultural movement. His primary concern now is curbing climate change and he believes that to achieve the goal of drastically reducing our carbon emissions we must embrace technologies that he (and most of the environmental movement) once eschewed - like nuclear power. His most recent book is called Whole Earth Discipline, in which he champions geo-engineering, bio-engineering, urban shanty towns and nuclear power, as well as restoring the earth's natural systems, as the only ways to curb our carbon footprint.
On this episode of Locus Focus we hear the interview that Barbara conducted with Stewart Brand on October 27, 2009, followed by a live interview with Arjun Makhijani, President, Institute for Energy & Environmental Research, and an opponent of the "nuclear renaissance."
Arjun Makhijani is President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research in Takoma Park, Maryland. He earned his Ph.D. from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley in 1972, specializing in nuclear fusion. A recognized authority on energy issues, Dr. Makhijani is the author and co-author of numerous reports and books on energy and environment related issues. He was the principal author of the first study of the energy efficiency potential of the US economy published in 1971. He is the author of Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy (2007).
In 1989 he received The John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism of the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, with Robert Alvarez; was awarded the Josephine Butler Nuclear Free Future Award in 2001 and the Jane Bagley Lehman Award of the Tides Foundation in 2008; and was named a Ploughshares Hero, by the Ploughshares Fund (2006). In 2007, he was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He has many published articles in journals such as The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and The Progressive, as well as in newspapers, including the Washington Post.
Stewart Brand is the president of The Long Now Foundation. Brand is well known for founding, editing and publishing the Whole Earth Catalog (1968-85), which received a National Book Award for the 1972 issue. In 1984, he founded The WELL (Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link), a computer teleconference system for the San Francisco Bay Area. It now has 11,000 active users worldwide and is considered a bellwether of the genre. He is a co-founder and managing director of Global Business Network, a scenario strategy consulting business and part of the Monitor Group, where he works with leading companies and public institutions on their futures.
Brand is the author of many pioneering books including The Clock Of The Long Now in 1999, How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built in 1994 and The Media Lab: Inventing the Future at MIT in 1987.
In these end days of peak oil, the Canadian province of Alberta is on a mission to replace Saudi Arabia as the world's major source of petroleum. The once pristine boreal forests of Northern Alberta are being transformed into gigantic pit mines as energy companies rush to extract some of the last of the earth's petroleum reserves. The quest to extract and refine these thick, dirty tar sands that lie beneath what was once a wilderness of wetlands and salmon-rich rivers, threatens the ecology and economy of North America.
On this episode of Locus Focus, host Barbara Bernstein talks with author Andrew Nikiforuk, a journalist based in Calgary, Alberta, whose award-winning book TAR SANDS: DIRTY OIL AND THE FUTURE OF A CONTINENT, exposes this disaster in the making.
Andrew Nikiforuk is an award-winning author and investigative journalist. Over the past two decades, he has written about energy, economics and the West for a variety of Canadian publications including Maclean’s, Canadian Business, the Globe and Mail, and Reader’s Digest. He has won seven National Magazine Awards since 1989 and top honours for investigative writing from the Association of Canadian Journalists. He won the Governor-General’s award for his 2002 non-fiction book, Saboteurs. In 2006, his book, Pandemonium examined the impact of global trade on disease exchanges and received widespread national acclaim. His latest book, the Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent, examines the continental impact of the world’s largest energy project and is the winner of the 2009 SEJ Rachel Carson Environment Book Award.
Andrew Nikiforuk lives in Calgary with his wife and three sons.
Cap-and-trade systems are being touted across the country as the most likely way to reduce carbon emissions and they have been in practice in Europe for several years. But cap-and-trade is controversial in the eyes of some envrironmentalists—who see carbon trading as a form of 21st century indulgences—as well as industrial polluters who believe cap-and-trade creates unwanted government regulation. Eric de Place with the Sightline Institute believes that if we create the right kind of cap-and-trade system, we can not only get off the fossil-fuels roller coaster, but speed the transition to a clean energy economy that puts the interest of people before interests of polluters. Eric joins Locus Focus host Barbara Bernstein for a conversation about what cap-and-trade is really all about, as they dispel myths from the right and the left.
Eric de Place, senior researcher, contributes research and writing for the , especially on sprawl, economic security, wildlife, and other topics. He also writes for the Daily Score blog and contributes to a number of other Sightline projects, including climate policy in the western states. In 2006, Eric’s work helped defeat ballot initiatives in several Western states that would have severely eroded community and environmental protections. Before coming to Sightline, he worked with the , helping communities develop strategies to alleviate poverty. He has a master's degree in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame. After the world gets fixed, Eric plans to spend much more time reading good books beside remote mountain lakes. Read .
Learn about how you can benefit from carbon trading in your own home, if you choose to do some weatherization. The Energy Trust of Oregon provides homeowner rebates for weatherization projects like replacing drafty old single pane windows with sustainable double-pane insulated ones. http://energytrust.org/
Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute, has come out with a new book PLAN B 4.0: MOBILIZING TO SAVE CIVILIZATION. This plan for how we can (and must) cut global emissions by 80% by the year 2020, suggests existing technologies and know-how that will accomplish what political and industrial leaders around the world seem to find so daunting.
In this 4th edition of Plan B, author Lester Brown argues that food may be the issue that convinces the world of the need to cut carbon emissions 80 percent by 2020. Every major environmental trend from climate change to deforestation and water scarcity affects food supplies. In this completely revised edition, Brown focuses on details of the plan and how it is already emerging in the energy economy.
On this segment of Locus Focus host Barbara Bernstein talks with Lester Brown's colleague at the Earth Policy Institute, Janet Larsen, about how every major environmental trend from climate change to deforestation and water scarcity affects food supplies. We'll discuss the details of Plan B and how it is already emerging in the energy economy.
More on Plan B
Plan B is a worldwide mobilization to stabilize population and stabilize climate. Plan B replaces the fossil-fuel-based, automobile-centered, throwaway economy with a new economic model powered by abundant sources of renewable energy: primarily wind, solar, and geothermal. Its transportation systems are diverse and aim to maximize mobility, widely employing light rail, buses, and bicycles.
A Plan B economy comprehensively reuses and recycles materials. Consumer products from cars to computers are designed to be disassembled into their component parts and completely recycled.
Plan B lays out a budget for eradicating poverty, educating the world’s youth, and delivering better health for all. It also presents ways to restore our natural world by planting trees, conserving topsoil, stabilizing water tables, and protecting biological diversity. With each new wind farm, rooftop solar water heater, paper recycling facility, bicycle path, marine park, rural school, public health facility, and reforestation program, we move closer to a Plan B economy.
Matt Roney is a staff researcher at the Earth Policy Institute, and was closely involved in the research that produced Plan B 4.0.
Portland area farmer Clare Carver (Big Table Farm in Gaston) returns to Locus Focus for a chat with Joel Salatin, farmer, food choice advocate and dream-doer, who runs Polyface Farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. We'll discuss the sustainable agricultural methods they practice, based on polyculture and the interweaving roles of farm animals and crops.
Polyface Farm is a family owned, multi-generational, pasture-based, beyond organic, local-market farm in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, whosewner Joel Salatin was featured in Michael Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma. Polyface Farm (farm of many faces) practices both traditional sustainable agricultural methods as well pioneering new practices that mimic nature and heal the earth. Watch Joel in action on Polyface Farm: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIbXU5iR2P4
Clare Carver and her partner Brian Marcy farm in Gaston, Oregon, at Big Table Farm, named after their desire to provide a gracious and welcoming table for themselves and friends, with a cornucopia of hand-crafted food and wine. They are establishing a working farm, where they raise pasture poultry, pigs, cows and egg-laying chickens, along with a large garden. Inspired by Polyface Farm, they manage an intensive grazing system of farming, that builds soils and sequesters carbon.
How can green chemistry revolutionize the materials we make, how they're used, and the benefits to our health and the environment.
Scientists now say there is substantial evidence that environmental conditions and environmental pollutants—among them synthetic chemicals used in consumer products—have a profound effect on human health. On this program Locus Focus host Barbara Bernstein talks with Portland environmental journalist (and neighbor) Liz Grossman, author of a new book, Chasing Molecules, about the potential for green chemistry to revolutionize the materials we make, how they're used, and the benefits to our health and the environment.
In the late 1970s, an imaginary line was drawn around the Portland area. Inside the line, urban development could flourish. Outside that line the farms and forestland that characterize western Oregon would remain intact. This line, called the urban growth boundary, has saved much of the natural landscape that surrounds the city. But in the thirty years since the UGB was first drawn, it has expanded more than once. Now a lot of people in the region are saying it doesn't need to grow anymore.
On this Locus Focus episode we take a closer look at Portland's Urban Growth Boundary. Urban naturalist Mike Houck, with the Urban Greenspaces Institute; Amy Ruiz, sustainability advisor to Portland Mayor Sam Adams, Metro Councilor Robert Liberty, and urban planning guru Myron Orfield join host Barbara Bernstein to discuss how we can concentrate future development within the current UGB, while at the same time assuring that urban natural spaces and habitat are protected as well.
Eating locally has become a national movement. But how can we eat locally produced food if our nearby family farms are plowed under for subdivisions? Host Barbara Bernstein speaks with Kendra Kimbiraskas, co-president of Friends of Family Farmers, about how her organization is working to protect family farms and sustainable agriculture in Oregon, so you can continue to enjoy locally-grown food.
Friends of Family Farmers is a grassroots organization promoting sensible policies, programs, and regulations that protect and expand the ability of Oregon’s family farmers to run a successful land-based enterprise while providing safe and nutritious food for all Oregonians. Through education, advocacy, and community organizing, Friends of Family Farmers supports socially and environmentally responsible family-scale agriculture and citizens working to shape healthy rural communities. Friends of Family Farmers is building a strong and united voice for Oregon’s independent family farmers, food advocates, and concerned citizens who are working to foster an approach to agriculture that respects the land, treats animals humanely, sustains local communities, and provides a viable livelihood for family farmers.
Locus Focus host Barbara Bernstein continues our journey into the politics of food. This week we explore the original concept of economics, which in Ancient Greece meant "rules of the household." Harriet Fasenfest, writer, cook, gardener, food preserver and backyard economist talks about the art, economics and politics of householding and food preservation.
Born and raised in the Bronx, Harriet Fasenfest has lived in the Northwest since 1978. Now retired from Main Street, she is attempting to raise the bones of home economics from the trash bin of modernity. She teaches classes on food preservation at Preserve and lives happily with her husband and children in Portland, Oregon.
The pressure is on for the United States to emerge from the dark ages of the Bush years and finally pass meaningful legislation to address the coming climate change crisis. So what is happening with the federal Climate Bill and will it have the teeth it needs. Host Barbara Bernstein talks with listeners about what should be in the climate bill and what it will take to get it passed.