Locus Focus

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.

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The consequences of tar sands development for people in its path
 

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Episode Archive

Locus Focus

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Wed, 05/06/2009 - 8:00am - 9:00am
Short Description: 
The recent oubreak of swine raises questions about how many people or livestock can live crowded con

The recent outbreak of H1N1 Flu (or swine flu) is raising questions about potential links between pandemics and population stability. For a few days last week a large hog farm in Veracruz was being blamed for the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico, and although that connection has been challenged the question remains: how do our practices of raising crops and livestock as well as the constraints of unrestrained population growth create conditions for potential pandemics.

This installment of Locus Focus takes on that controversial issue among environmentalists: how do we (or should we) limit population growth, especially growth due to immigration. Our guest Leon Kolankiewicz is an environmental scientist and national natural resources planner. He has a B.S. in forestry and wildlife management from Virginia Tech and an M.S. in environmental planning and natural resources management from the University of British Columbia. His professional experience includes stints with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, University of Washington, University of New Mexico, and as an environmental planner with the Orange County, (Ca.) Environmental Management Agency. Mr. Kolankiewicz is the author of Where Salmon Come to Die: An Autumn on Alaska’s Raincoast.

Locus Focus

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Wed, 04/29/2009 - 8:00am - 9:00am
Short Description: 
A look at the most local way to eat - growing your own food in backyard or community gardens

 

 

It's time to plant your garden and this morning we talk with two Portland gardening proponents who work to make gardening accessible and enjoyable to everyone. We'll talk with Renee Moog, the coordinator for the SE Natural Techniques Demonstrations Garden at 57th and Cooper (sponsored by the Metro Natural Gardening Program), and Leslie Pohl-Kosbau who founded and still directs Portland's community garden program. Learn why gardening is a revolutionary act and how growing your own vegetables doesn't just improve your own life - it helps make the planet a better place to live.

 

Locus Focus

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Wed, 04/22/2009 - 8:00am - 9:00am
Short Description: 
An interview with Sixties activist Mark Rudd about his new memoir: Underground: My Life with SDS and

41 years ago this week students at Columbia University began an occupation of their campus that shut down the university and resonated around the world. Last year many of these activists gathered at Columbia to remember and reassess this life-changing event. Among them was Mark Rudd, who was one of the leaders of the strike and later went on to help found the ultra-left Weatherman faction of SDS. After spending 7 years underground, he emerged in 1976 and began to reconstruct his life based upon non-violent principles.

Locus Focus on 04/15/09

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Wed, 04/15/2009 - 8:00am - 9:00am
Short Description: 
A conversation with economist Chuck Collins on restructuring tax codes to fuel economic recovery

If the most affluent 400 Americans as of 2006 had paid as much of their incomes in taxes as the top 400 did in 1955, the federal treasury would have collected an additional $35.9 billion more in revenue in 2006 just from these 400 ultra-rich individuals. Guest Chuck Collins (Locus Focus' official economist) co-authored a Tax Day report "Reversing the Great Tax Shift: Seven Steps to Finance Our Recovery Fairly,” which offers proposals that would raise $450 billion of revenue to support economic recovery. 

 Here are some of the reports modest proposals:
Introducing a modest financial transaction tax that will chill speculation and generate $100 billion a year.
Implementing an estate tax reform that taxes inheritances over $2 million at progressive rates.
Setting an emergency tax rate on extremely high incomes that would generate over $60 billion a year.
Eliminating the tax preference on capital gains and dividend income, generating $80 billion.
Closing overseas tax havens for individuals and corporations, generating $100 billion.
Scrapping $18 billion in tax breaks that subsidize excessive CEO compensation.
 
“By seriously taxing the top, as we did in the 1950s, we could raise the revenues we need to better invest in infrastructure, education, and retrofitting our energy system,” says Chuck Collins, an IPS senior scholar and co-author of the new IPS brief. “Appropriately targeted, higher taxes on the top would also serve to dampen the speculative frenzy that has cratered our economy.”

 

At 8:20 we're joined by journalist Reese Erlich, whose new book Dateline Havana: The Real Story of U.S. Policy and the Future of Cuba explores Cuba’s strained history with the United States and the power of the Cuba Lobby. We'll talk about Obama's new Cuba policy and what impact that may have on improving the relationship between our countries.

 

Reese Erlich is the author of The Iran Agenda: The Real Story of U.S. Policy and the Middle East Crisis and co-author of the best-selling Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn’t Tell You. He reports regularly for National Public Radio, Latino USA, Radio Deutche Welle, Australian Broadcasting Corp. Radio, and Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Radio. He also writes for the San Francisco Chronicle, St. Petersburg Times, and Dallas Morning News.

Locus Focus on 04/08/09

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Wed, 04/08/2009 - 8:00am - 9:00am
Short Description: 
Is nuclear power a solution for climate change?

In 1980 investigative journalist Karl Grossman wrote a book called "COVER UP: What you are not supposed to know about Nuclear Power." That was a year after the meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power facility in Pennsylvania scared the nation into rethinking its faith in nuclear power as a source of energy too cheap to meter. After a thirty year hiatus, however, nuclear power is back on the table, this time touted as a carbon emission-free source of electricity. But Karl Grossman is still here to tell us what we're not supposed to know about Nuclear Power.

Locus Focus

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Wed, 04/01/2009 - 8:00am - 9:00am
Short Description: 
Does it make sense to replace the current bridge across the Columbia with a 12 lane megabridge?

Consensus is growing that the future bridge across the Columbia River on I5 will be a 12 lane mega bridge. But many people in the community disagree and are raising their voices in concern that such a massive infrastructure will encourage the kind of car and oil dependent way of life that many in the Northwest profess to want to change. Guests Mara Gross with the Coalition for a Livable Future, Metro Councilor Robert Liberty and Joe Kurmaskie, who is helping organize a rally on April 5 to oppose the mega bridge proposal, will discuss Columbia River Crossing alternatives that will not encourage sprawl and increase our carbon footprint.

A grassroots coalition of Portlanders and Vancouverites opposed to the current scope and direction of the Columbia River Crossing project will host an Opposition and Alternatives Rally at Waterfront Park. The event is schedued for noon, Sunday, April 5th, on the lawn of Portland's Waterfront Park - just north of the Hawthorne bridge. Rally organizers call this the opening salvo in a sustained campaign to block funding for the project in its current form, and to offer alternatives that match the desires of a community to be fiscally responsible, address environmental challenges and tackle livability issues effecting the region.  

"This part of the world has made truly sustainable choices in the past, an urban growth boundary, investment in mass transit, bicycle infrastructure and the stoppage of the Mt Hood Freeway and Harbor Highway," rally organizer Joe Kurmaskie said. " Innovative decisions that have made us an attractive city to live in or visit. Putting up a four billion dollar, 12 lane mega-bridge will change all that, and not for the better.

"The project is based on models done before peak oil and the arrival of an economic crisis that's changing every aspect of people's lives, including their transportation choices. The CRC is 20th century thinking applied to a very different world today. The Coalition For A Livable Future has long said that we can not hope to build our way out of congestion. As proposed, this bridge promotes single occupancy vehicle use, invites unchecked sprawl to southern Washington and opens the door to widening I-5 through the heart of Portland."

The Waterfront Park rally will include speakers, calls to action, information booths, distribution of lawn signs and tangible steps citizens can take to oppose the project, as well as the announcement of teach ins by smarterbidge.org, and other organized events in the future. Speakers will include elected officials, transportation experts and community leaders explaining their opposition to the project while proposing alternatives.

So far, confirmed to speak are former Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury (who give’s Al Gore’s climate change presentation all over the country), Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz (the only city council member who voted against moving forward on a 12-lane CRC bridge), and Metro Councilor Robert Liberty (who voted against the project in the past and has offered specific alternatives) and  Bicycle Transportation Alliance advocate and educator Michelle Poyourow.

Locus Focus

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Wed, 03/25/2009 - 8:00am - 9:00am
Short Description: 
In the past week there has been intense outrage over AIG executive bonuses and other manifestations

In the past week there has been intense outrage over AIG executive bonuses and other manifestations of corporate greed. How do we go beyond the angry mob mentality? Guest Rob Johnson, who co-wrote "Too Big to Bail: The 'Paulson Put,' Presidential Politics, and the Global Financial Meltdown" with Thomas Ferguson, provides a larger context for understanding the current financial crisis and analyzing the knee-jerk responses that currently rule in the mass media.

Robert Johnson was formerly a managing director at Soros Funds Management and chief economist of the Senate Banking Committee.You can read a recenty article by Johnson and Ferguson at http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090309/ferguson_johnson?rel=hp_picks

Locus Focus

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Wed, 03/18/2009 - 8:00am - 9:00am
Short Description: 
Why we need to make the Holgate Channel Ross Island lagoon wake-free or non-motorized zones - and wh

Between Ross Island and the east bank of the Willamette lies the Holgate Channel, a patch of natural paradise only a couple miles south of downtown Portland. Sitting above the river on the eastbank, with osprey and eagles and blue herron as your companions, you have no idea you're anywhere near a city. . .except for the roar of jet skis and motor boat engines - not to mention the bass enhanced stereo systems booming across the river. Bob Sallinger, Urban Conservation director for the Portland Audubon Society has been working hard to create a wake-free zone in the Holgate Channel and ban motorized craft outright from neighboring Ross Island Lagoon. Tune in to hear why he believes this is necessary to make the Holgate Channel a safer place for humans and wildlife.

Bob Sallinger is the Conservation Director for the Audubon Society of Portland where he has worked since 1992. His current responsibilities include managing the Audubon Statewide Important Bird Area in Oregon, recovery of imperiled species, promoting wildlife conservation in the Portland Metropolitan Region, and overseeing the Society's wildlife rehabilitation center. He has a particular interest in anthropogenic impacts on wildlife and promoting wildlife stewardship in urban ecosystems. His favorite pastime rappelling off Portland area bridges to monitor the region's growing population of bridge nesting peregrine falcons. Bob has a B.A. in Biology from Reed College and a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Coalition for a Livable Future and the East Multnomah County Soil and Water Conservation District. He lives in Northeast Portland with his wife Elisabeth Neely, two children, a dog, a cat (indoor!) and a couple of chickens

Locus Focus

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Wed, 03/11/2009 - 8:00am - 9:00am
Short Description: 
Now that the Bush adminstration is history how do we hold Bush and his advisors and their cronies in

The Bush administration is now history but its legacy continues to tear the world apart. Senator Patrick Leahy wants to create a Truth and Reconciliation Commision, modeled after ones in South Africa and Latin America - to probe the potentially criminal actions of this administration but many people are calling for stronger measures to hold these culprits accountable for the pain and destruction they have caused. A couple weeks comedian Bill Maher suggested executing a couple bankers who "poisoned our financial markets with tainted investments" as a warning to other greedy financial captains. A more serious proposal has been offered in an commentary for New American Media by today's Locus Focus guest Roberto Cintli Rodriguez.

Locus Focus

Categories:
Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Wed, 03/04/2009 - 8:00am - 9:00am
Short Description: 
Nuclear energy, long discredited as a dangerous and costly source of power, is now being ressurected

Thirty years ago this country's nuclear program came to a halt after the disasterous accident and meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear facility in Pennsylvania. Since then we are still debating how to safely store in perpetuity countless tons of high level radioactive waste that is the legacy of this program that once promised "energy too cheap to meter," but resulted in massive cost-overuns and environmental hazards. So why has the nuclear option returned to the table as we look for alternatives to carbon emitting climate changing fossil fuels? What forgotten lessons of the 1970s do we need to remember?

Audio

BEAUTIFUL & ABUNDANT: BUILDING THE WORLD WE WANT

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program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 03/26/2012

No one understands the fundamental realities of life on earth better than the farmer. The farmer understands that each habitat can support a certain number of living things sustainably, and to exceed natural limits creates lasting damage. Farmers have been the engineers of humanity’s miraculous success on this planet for the past 3,000 years, and they will necessarily be the engineers of our future. On this episode of Locus Focus we are joined by farmer, author, entrepreneur and business leader Bryan Welch in a discussion about human population growth, economic vitality and the future of the business of agriculture.

Welch says, "As human population growth stabilizes, as it surely must, the farmer will define the value of crops in new ways. Simple trading of simple commodities will no longer offer the same financial incentive. Instead, farmers will be judged on the nutrition of their crops and the conscientiousness of their practices. Already farmers are pioneering this brave new world of agriculture, and reaping great benefits."

Bryan Welch runs Ogden Publications, the world’s largest media company focused on the environment and sustainability. Welch’s company also manufactures earth-friendly household products, and he and his wife raise organic, grass-fed cattle, sheep and goats on their Kansas ranch. He’s the author of Beautiful & Abundant: Building the World We Want.

HOW FORESTED RIPARIAN ZONES KEEP STREAMS HEALTHY

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program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 03/19/2012

For a long time we've known that streams shaded by riparian forests provide healthier habitat for salmon and other wildlife. A new study led by Daniel Sobota at Oregon State University confirms that riparian zone forests not only provide streams with needed shade to support salmon, they also help clean up high levels of nitrate pollutants from human activities that infiltrate waterways. In the study Sobota and his colleagues looked at nine streams in Oregon’s Willamette Valley that flowed through forest, agricultural or urban landscapes. Among their goals was to discover how much nitrogen was absorbed by the streams near the source, and how much went downriver. On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Daniel Sobota about his study's findings that substantiate the crucial role riparian forests play in maintaing healthy streams flowing through urban areas and agricultural lands.

Daniel Sobota is originally from the Washington, DC, area. He received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Virginia Tech in 2000, and Master of Science and Ph.D. in Fisheries Science from Oregon State in 2003 and 2007, respectively. He has worked as a research associate at Washington State University (Vancouver campus) and is currently a research associate with the National Academy of Sciences in residence at the US Environmental Protection Agency in Corvallis. His research focuses on effects of land use activities on nutrient cycling in streams, rivers, and watersheds.

HANFORD NUCLEAR RESERVATION: A REGIONAL NUCLEAR NIGHTMARE

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program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 03/12/2012


We're marking the anniversary of the nuclear castrophe at the Fukushima Nuclear Complex in Japan by looking at a potential nuclear nightmare much closer to home. For nearly 70 years the Hanford Reservation - birthplace of the Plutonium bomb that devastated Nagasaki - has been stockpiling massive quanties of high level radioactive waste. For over thirty years, the U.S. Department of Energy has been purporting to clean up this cold war legacy. Hanford's extensive contamination was supposed to be cleaned up decades ago, but at the end of last year the DOE announced that it had once again failed to meet yet another deadline to empty aging storage tanks that have been leaking high level radioactive waste for decades.

On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Rachel Monto, assistant director of Heart of America Northwest - an organization that bills itself as "The Public's Voice for Hanford Clean-Up" - about the latest developments in the ongoing saga of Hanford clean up. We'll discuss her organization's plans to pursue legal action to realize meaningful clean up of Hanford at long last. We'll also talk about Heart of America's campaign to stop plans to use Hanford as a national radioactive waste dump.

THE VIEW FROM OAKS BOTTOM - with Portland Parks & Recreation Ecologist Mark Wilson

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program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 03/05/2012

The city of Portland is noted for its proximity to outstanding natural areas—Mt. Hood, the Columbia Gorge, Oregon's North Coast. But Portland is also a great place to live because of the abundance of natural areas within the city itself. On this episode of Locus Focus we return to one of the city's nature jewels: Oaks Bottom, a 170-acre wildlife refuge complex of wetlands, meadows and woods, 4 miles SE of downtown Portland as the crow flies, and maybe a bit further if you're following the route of one of the bottoms' many Great Blue Herons. Why is Oaks Bottom such a treasure for Portland residents and what is being done to enhance its wildlife habitat? We'll hear from Portland Parks and Recreation ecologist Mark Wilson who returns to Locus Focus to tell us the latest nature news from Oaks Bottom and the adjoining Willamette River.

A LITTLE BIT OF OAKS BOTTOM HISTORY:

Oaks Bottom is a floodplain wetland located along the east bank of the Willamette River. The City of Portland acquired the landfill property from the Donald M. Drake Company at the beginning of 1969 to block its development as an industrial park. The area was believed, at the time, to be one of the few remaining marshland areas in Portland, and local residents were strongly opposed to its development as industrial property. The nine-acre south meadow is a former “construction debris landfill.” The former floodplain wetlands of the north meadow was originally slated for development and filled with clean fill from the excavation of the I405 freeway and US 26’s Vista Tunnel. Portland Parks &Recreation purchased the entire tract of land to link oak and riparian woodlands to the adjacent wetlands. The 26-acre North Meadow now shelters an amphibian habitat area. Portland Audubon, SMILE, PSU and ODF&W were instrumental in the saving of the 170 acres of Oaks Bottom and it was designated as Portland’s first wildlife refuge in 1988.

OREGON'S CITIZENS UTILITY BOARD - Celebrating Director Bob Jenks' 20th anniversary

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Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 02/27/2012

This year Oregon's Citizens' Utility Board is celebrating the 20th anniversary of their executive director Bob Jenks' tenure at the helm of CUB. CUB itself has been around since 1984 but many Oregonians probably don't know how much they owe this advocacy group. In its three decades of service, CUB has saved Oregon ratepayers $5.3 billion. It's also led the way for Oregon's investment in energy efficiency, by helping create the Energy Trust of Oregon in 2002 and working for passage of the state's 25% Renewable Energy Standard. CUB has worked to ensure that Oregon takes the lead on the national stage in battling climate change, most notably by helping to negotiate the closure of the Boardman plant in the Gorge, which will be the first 1970s-era baseload coal plant in the United States to shut down due to climate concerns. On this episode of Locus Focus, Bob Jenks joins us to talk about CUB's achievements past and present and its vision for a clean, sustainable and affordable energy future for Oregon.

Bob Jenks is the Executive Director of CUB and a national expert on utility-related issues. Bob started working for CUB in 1991, and has participated in nearly every major Oregon Public Utility Commission case since that time, including dozens of cases dealing with utility mergers, rates, and deregulation. He also regularly represents ratepayers before the Oregon Legislature. Bob has on numerous occasions been flown across country to speak on utility issues before such groups as the California Legislature, the Northwest Public Power Association, and the Consumer Federation of America. Bob sits on the board of Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center, and is the Oregon representative of the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates (NASUCA). Bob is a native Oregonian, and has an economics degree from Willamette University.

WEIGHING THE PLIGHTS OF TWO ENDANGERED POPULATIONS: Marbled Murrelets and Oregon Timber Counties

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Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 02/20/2012

In the 1990s the spotted owl became the icon for environmentalists' struggle to save the remaining old growth forests in the Pacific Northwest. But the spotted owl is not the only specie that needs old growth forests to survive. Twenty years ago the Marbled Murrelet was added to the list of threatened species whose populations have been severely declining due to intensive logging in old growth forests. For over a decade, Oregon was engaged in developing a habitat conservation plan that would have provided a modicum of protection for marbled murrelet. But it has abandoned that effort. On this episode of Locus Focus we hear from representatives from the Center for Biological Diversity and Audubon Society of Portland, who are suing the state of Oregon over clearcutting practices in the coastal Elliott, Tillamook and Clatsop state forests, that threaten even further the remaining populations of Marbled Murrelets. Bob Sallinger with the Audubon Society and Noah Greenwald with the Center Biological Diversity talk about how the state’s practices are harming, harassing and leading to the demise of the federally protected marbled murrelet, which comes inland to nest and breed in mature and old-growth forests.

Bob Sallinger, Audubon Society of Portland Conservation Director, has worked for Audubon since 1992. Bob’s passion for conservation was developed early exploring the woods of Massachusetts and later on solo hikes from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail and from Canada to New Mexico on the Continental Divide. Bob has a B.A. in Biology from Reed College and a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School. He currently serves on the Portland Parks Board and the Board of Directors for the Coalition for a Livable Future and the East Multnomah County Soil and Water Conservation District. He lives in Northeast Portland with his wife Elisabeth Neely, two children, a dog, cat, goats and chickens.

Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity Endangered Species Director, directs the Center’s efforts to protect new species under the Endangered Species Act, to ensure that imperiled species receive effective protections and that we have the strongest Endangered Species Act possible. He also works to educate the public about the importance of protecting biodiversity and about the multitude of threats to the survival of North American wildlife. Before he joined the Center in 1997, Noah worked as a field biologist, surveying northern spotted owls and marbled murrelets and banding Hawaiian songbirds.

HIGH VOLTAGE: The Fast Track to Plug in the Auto Industry, Revisited

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Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 02/13/2012

Transportation accounts for about a third of all carbon dioxide emissions in America. Cars and trucks are the biggest source of our smog pollution, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. Gas prices are rising, the dependence on foreign oil is an ongoing concern, and local air pollution is not improving. This makes a powerful case for cleaner cars. Are electric cars the answer?

On this episode of Locus Focus, we revisit the subject of electric cars with Jim Motavalli, author of High Voltage: The Fast Track to Plug in the Auto Industry, which describes the history of the electric car, the race to produce a new generation of all-electric vehicles and now, the tipping point, where half of all new cars heading into showrooms around the world will be at least partly electric. We talk about the challenges still facing all-electric cars: will they really attain enough market share to matter, how can their driving range be extended and how will they be made affordable.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jim Motavalli first started reporting on the dream of electric cars in the late 1980’s during the SUV boom in Detroit and when cheap gas seemed infinite. He is the author of Forward Drive and several other books. He regularly writes about clean cars for The New York Times' Automobiles section, CBS, NPR’s Car Talk and MNN.com. Jim also has a weekly syndicated Wheels column. He lives in Connecticut.

More information about High Voltage: The Fast Track to Plug in the Auto Industry is available at Books on KBOO

AUTHOR CARL SAFINA: VOYAGE OF THE TURTLE & VIEW FROM LAZY POINT

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Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 02/06/2012

"[Sea] turtles don't think about their next generation, but they risk and provide all they can to ensure that there will be one. Meanwhile, we profess to love our offspring above all else, yet above all else it is they from whom we daily steal. We cannot learn to be more like turtles but from turtles we could learn to be more human. That is the wisdom carried within one hundred million years of survival. What turtles could learn from us,  I can't imagine." (Carl Safina, Voyage of the Turtle)

For decades Carl Safina — consummate environmental journalist and activist — has traveled the world following the migrations of sea turtles and other endangered species — and figuring out how to apply their lessons to the human experience. When he is not trekking across the globe he follows the arc of seasons from the The View from Lazy Point, his home on the eastern tip Long Island. On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Carl about his journeys far and near, finding solace and delight in the power and resilience of living things, giving hope that we can learn to embody our connection with the natural world before we discover that we have destroyed it.

Carl Safina is a prominent ecologist and marine conservationist and president of  Blue Ocean Institute, an environmental organization based in Cold Spring Harbor, New York. A winner of the prestigious Pew Fellowship, MacArthur Fellowship and Guggenheim Fellowship, Safina has written five books — Song for the Blue Ocean: Encounters Along the World's Coasts and Beneath the Seas; Eye of the Albatross: Visions of Hope and Survival; Voyage of the Turtle: In Pursuit of the Earth's Last Dinosaur; Nina Delmar: The Great Whale Rescue; The View from Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World, and due out in April of 2011, A Sea in Flames: The Deepwater Horizon Oil Blowout. Safina’s new TV series, Saving the Ocean, premiered on PBS in April 2011.

Follow more of Carl's adventures on his blog.

FRIENDS OF FAMILY FARMERS - Growing a New Generation of Sustainable Farmers

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Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 01/30/2012

More and more people are concerned about where their food comes from, how it is grown and who grows it. But if more of us want to eat locally grown, sustainable food, we also need to grow a new generation of farmers commited to sustainable agricultural principles. Who is going to ensure that new farmers can find affordable land close to markets and can navigate the unpredictable and often turbulent waters of full-time farming? We are fortunate in Oregon to have an organization dedicated to just that. On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Leah Rodgers, field director for Friends of Family Farmers, about how her organization supports family farmers across the state who are dedicated to sustainable agriculture. We'll learn about some of their current projects including listening sessions with farmers across the state and iFarm, which connects new and young farmers with the land and resources they need to get starte. We'll also hear the latest on the 2012 Food and Farm Bill and why the Farm Bill matters as much to urban eaters as rural farmers.

Friends of Family Farmers is the only statewide agricultural organization working to promote and protect socially responsible family farming, ranching and healthy rural communities in Oregon. Their programs include a farmer campaign; programs designed for urban eaters such as the monthly InFarmation (and Beer); farm to school programs; and keeping tabs on the corporate agriculture lobby and the state agencies charged with promoting and regulating agricultural activities. They also monitor and make the public aware of the threats to Oregon agriculture from factory farms moving into rural communities.

SCARED SICK - An Interview with Author Robin Karr-Morse

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Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 01/23/2012

When we talk about environmental health hazards, we usually are referring to toxins in the environment outside our bodies. But there are environmental health hazards inside our bodies as well. Chemicals and hormones triggered by stress and trauma can wreak havoc on our nervous systems and ultimately result in serious disease. In her new book Scared Sick, Portland family therapist Robin Karr-Morse, explores how many adult diseases, ranging from fibromyalgia to diabetes, as well numerous psychological disturbances, are rooted in childhood trauma. On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Karr-Morse about how the wide array of stresses and trauma hurled at us from birth on, are overtaxing our innate "flight or fight" response and leading to a cascade of health problems that start in early childhood.

Robin Karr-Morse is a family therapist at the Parenting Institute in Portland, Oregon and author of Ghosts from the Nursery and Scared Sick.

Comments

Global Warming

Barbara, I hope you might forward my comments to your guest. I was only able to listen to part of today's program but I am very interested. I want to raise my concerns about two prevailing frames that arise on your show and throughout serious discussion of climate change that I believe do great damage to the efforts to raise the awareness of the public and help them understand the urgency needed when addressing this issue.
First is the frame that global warming is happening slowly and will continue to do so. I do not believe the facts support such an assertion and not only does no one know that warming will not suddenly serge forward it seems to be doing exactly that. A report out last week raised the projected temperature for the planet by the end of the century to 9F from 4F degrees. That means that we are going to hit 4F by---2040? Until recently no one imagined the arctic ice cap could melt in anything like our lifetimes but in fact it will and it may do so as soon as 2013! The problem with the frames that give people the impression that GW is a slow process is that it provides fauls comfort, "Oh, technology will fix it before it happens," or "It is not my problem." Neither one is the case but too many people still think that way. So please start using a different frame from "by the end of the century," or “future generations." Instead say "within our life times," and stress the urgency. After all it is much more accurate to say catastrophic climate change is happening right now.

The second frame is that one cannot attribute any given weather event to global warming. That is only partly true. In fact one might say that you cannot not attribute any given weather event to climate change such is the post-industrial influence on the pre-industrial trajectory of the climate---we have departed the Holocene and are in the Antropocene some scientist tell us. It is like a basketball launched toward a basket that gets tipped by one of the players. Its trajectory is for ever changed. I think it is more accurate to say that the weather everywhere and everyday has been influence to some degree by GW. This is important because the frame that one cannot tell if an event is caused by climate change is asking them not to believe there own "eyes," experiences, or impressions which are often very astute. For instance in Oklahoma where I grew up we used to have thunderstorms in April and the 100F days did not come until late July. This year they had wild fires near Oklahoma City in April and the temperatures have been in the hundreds throughout much of this June---that has increasingly become the trend and is consistent with climate change projections. Now Oklahomans should by all rights believe that what they are experiencing is in fact global warming. It may be noted that Inhofe is a Senator from Oklahoma and one of the most radical global warming deniers and obstructionist in government.
I have been keeping up with this issue for a long time now and am alarmed at the rapidity that things are taking place. I truly believe we are probably in for crop failures, water shortages, and mass migrations here in North America, in this country, within our lifetimes and whereas I think there is a fine line to be drawn to not panic or send people into despair I think scientist tend to be much too measured in their statements. It is as though there is smoke billowing out of the projection room and the scientists don’t want be caught dead yelling fire in a crowded theater because there is no "proof" that there is in fact a fire.
Scientist have long dismissed the near term risk of a methane/co2 release from the arctic or the ocean meanwhile there is growing indications that that is exactly what is happening. As a NASA scientist you should know that a huge methane release was detected on Mars a few years ago and that is within a much more static system than ours----that should give us pause!
The public needs to be prepared in case there is a sudden spike in methane from the Arctic so I hope in the future Barbara you will direct your discussions of climate change toward the rapidity of changes already taking place and the potential danger of being too complacent and smug about what we know and what we think we do or do not know. Thank you.

Global Warming

I recently interviewed Phil Mote who has replaced climate change denier George Taylor as Oregon's State Climatologist. Like any careful scientist Mote does not feel comfortable attributing specific weather events to climate change. But he gave me a analogy that I like: It's like playing Russian Roulette and adding a second bullet to the chamber of the revolver. If you blow your head off it doesn't really matter whether it was the original bullet or added bullet that did you in.

Solar Energy

I echo Bruce's concerns and add commentary based on  Mon - 14 - Sep show.

While I support solar energy, I warn against pie-in-the-sky proposals that make it sound like we can find new sources to keep living our wasteful lives. The scale of the problem is lost when we pretend that putting solar panels on 100 roofs signifies real change.

There is some hope to be found in using solar power efficiently. This does NOT include powering electric resistance heaters with photovoltaics. It does mean passive solar heating, solar hot water, and solar clothes driers (AKA clotheslines).

When you have used conservation and innovation to convert the wasteful electric grid into a sustainable system, then we can begin the conversation about supplimenting the system for our transportation problems. Until then, the only real sustainable alternatives to petroleum are wind, human, and animal powered vehicles. Coal and nuclear, the primary sources of new electricity, are polluting uses of nonrenewable resources.

Walk, ride a bicycle, sail (without motor), and use horse and ox cart, if you are truly concerned about the serious threat of climate change. Park your car forever. We cannot afford cars any longer.

- Vernon Huffman

   Corvallis, OR

today's show & "socialism"

i think now is a good time to talk more about what socialism actually is - common ownership of the means of production - and what is is not - redistributing wealth. you are right to continue pointing out that what obama is talking about is a progressive tax structure, not socialism.

the progressive tax idea actually comes from adam smith himself, "It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion." [from book 5, ch.2 on taxes]

Intro Music

The intro music to Locus Focus is a song by Hugh Masakela called "Change." It's on his album "Time," which came out a few years ago. I plan on playing the song each week until Robert Mugabe relinquishes power in Zimbabwe.

brain gender

Did you see the piece in the NY Times re schizophrenia and autism having possible roots in parental dna - that is mother mix:father's mix? That is female characteristics manifesting as schizophrenia from mother dna and autistic characteristics from father's?

 

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