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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Episode Archive

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

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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?

Locus Focus on 02/25/09

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Wed, 02/25/2009 - 8:00am - 9:00am

Pratap Chatterjee talks about why the privatized, outsourced military Barack Obama has inherited from the Bush administration will prove a done deal.  Pratap Chatterjee's article, "The Military's Expanding Waistline, What Will Obama Do with KBR?," appears at http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175036

Pratap Chatterjee is an investigative journalist and producer and the program, director/managing editor of Corpwatch. He is the author of Iraq Inc.: A Profitable Occupation and The Earth Brokers. He hosted a weekly radio show on Berkeley station KPFA, was a global environment editor for InterPress Service, and wrote for the Financial Times, the Guardian, and the Independent of London. He has won five Project Censored awards as well as a Silver Reel from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters for his work in Afghanistan, and the best business story award from the National Newspaper Association (U.S.), among others. He has appeared as a commentator on numerous radio and television shows ranging from BBC World Service, CNN International, Democracy Now!, Fox, and MSNBC. The winner of a Lannan Cultural Freedom Award in 2006, he lives in Oakland, California.

Locus Focus

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Wed, 02/18/2009 - 8:00am - 9:00am
Short Description: 
A look at the political and psychological as well as economic implications of the new economic stimu

President Obama has just signed an 787 billion dollar stimulus package into law. So what does it all mean and what can we hope for? Locus Focus Resident Economist Chuck Collins joins Locus Focus host Barbara Bernstein to discuss the political and psychological implications - as well as economic - of the struggle to get this package enacted. Is it big enough to really have any impact? What else is needed to turn the economy around?

Chuck Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy (IPS) and directs IPS’s Program on Inequality and the Common Good. He is an expert on U.S. inequality and author of several books, including Economic Apartheid in America: A Primer on Economic Inequality and Insecurity (New Press, 2005). He coordinates a national effort to preserve the federal estate tax, our nation’s only tax on inherited wealth. He co-authored with Bill Gates Sr., Wealth and Our Commonwealth, a case for taxing inherited fortunes.

In 1995, he co-founded United for a Fair Economy (UFE) to raise the profile of the inequality issue and support popular education and organizing efforts to address inequality. In 1997, he co-founded Responsible Wealth, a project of UFE to bring together business leaders and investors to publicly speak out against economic policies and corporate practices that worsen economic inequality. He was Executive Director of UFE from 1995-2001 and Program Director until 2005.

Locus Focus

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Wed, 02/11/2009 - 8:00am - 9:00am
Short Description: 
What are the links between economic stimulus and health care?

This week the news is about Obama's economic stimulus package passing the Senate and about to be enacted into law. Last week it was about Tom Daschel, Obama's nomination for Secretary of Health and Human Services, having to withdraw his name because of his problems with the IRS. So what are the connections between economic stimulus and health care? Barbara Dudley, a regular guest on Locus Focus, joins host Barbara Bernstein, in a discussion about these links. . .and more.

Audio

RECOVERING A LOST RIVER: An Interview with Author Steven Hawley

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Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 05/02/2011

In the Pacific Northwest, the Snake River and its wilderness tributaries were once some of the world’s greatest salmon rivers. As recently as a half century ago, they retained some of their historic bounty, with millions of fish returning to spawn. Now, due to four federal dams, the salmon population has dropped close to extinction. Efforts at salmon recovery through fish ladders, hatcheries, and even trucking them over the dams have failed.
 
On this episode of Locus Focus, host Barbara Bernstein talks with Steven Hawley, journalist and self-proclaimed “river rat.” In his new book RECOVERING A LOST RIVER, he recounts the story of the Snake River, its salmon, and its people and raises the fundamental questions of who should exercise control over natural resources and which interests should receive highest priority. Hawley's book also offers surprising counterpoints to the notion of hydropower as a cheap, green, and reliable source of energy, and challenges the wisdom of heavily subsidized water and electricity.

Steven Hawley, an environmental journalist, was among the first to write about the historic agreement to tear out Edwards Dam on the Kennebec River in Maine. Since then, his work has appeared in High Country News, Bear Deluxe, National Fisherman, OnEarth, Arizona Quarterly, the Oregonian, and Missoula Independent. He lives with his family along the Columbia River.

More information on breaching the Snake River Dams:

latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2009/05/salmon-recovery-snake-river-dams-columbia-river-endangered-species.html

http://www.wildsalmon.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=91&Itemid=63

HANFORD'S NUCLEAR LEGACY & LESSONS UNLEARNED FROM FUKUSHIMA

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program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 04/25/2011

The nuclear crisis that was triggered by the massive earthquake in Japan on March 11 has raised many questions about the vulnerability and safety of nuclear power installations throughout the world. But we've heard little discussion about the on-going saga of the radioactive wasteland two hundred miles upstream from Portland, at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

This World War II era complex not only houses a vast legacy of toxic chemical and high-level radioactive wastes. It is also the site of the Pacific Northwest's singular nuclear power reactor. And a couple months ago, the Seattle-based watchdog group Heart of America Northwest exposed a secret plan to use a Plutonium-based fuel (called MOX), similar to the fuel in the No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex. As we recall the desperate images of workers deploying fire trucks and helicopters to dump seawater on the crippled reactor, we need to remember that cooling the No. 3 reactor was of particular concern because the Plutonium fuel has a greater risk for significant plutonium release and subsequent plutonium contamination of areas around the plant.

On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Gerry Pollet with Heart of Americal Northwest about his group's efforts to expose and prevent MOX from becoming the fuel of choice at Hanford's remaining nuclear reactor. We'll also talk about the latest developments in the long drawn out drama of cleaning up Hanford's toxic legacy. What lessons must the Hanford handlers learn from Fukushima?

Heart of America Northwest lawsuit exposes secret plan of Energy Northwest (formerly WPSS) to use Weapons Plutonium to fuel commercial reactor at Hanford -  read Seattle Times front page March 19, 2011   Same experimental Plutonium fuel as causing highest risk of radiation release in Japanese reactor meltdown  read complaint

SPEAK OUT to PROTECT THE NORTHWEST FROM HANFORD BEING USED (again) as a NATIONAL RADIOACTIVE WASTE DUMP:

Hearings on USDOE's Plan to send 12,000 truckloads of EXTREMELY radioactive "GTCC" waste to Hanford for burial – will these trucks be coming through your community?: Portland Thursday May 19th 6:30 PM  Doubletree Hotel Lloyd Center

Click here for our Fact Sheet

, including how to send in your comments by mail or email

Gerald Pollet, J.D., Executive Director & Attorney is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Heart of America Northwest. Gerry chairs the Hanford Advisory Board’s committee overseeing USDOE’s Hanford budgets, management and contracts. He has testified by invitation to U.S. Senate and U.S. House Committees, is frequently quoted in national and regional media. He also serves as general counsel for Legal Advocates for Washington, which provides legal advice on non-profit, electoral and hazardous waste law. Gerry also has been serving on the board of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, and the Washington Coalition for Open Government. His work on Hanford and prior work on economics of electric utility forecasting has led to frequent requests that he lecture about the lessons of Hanford and the role of nuclear power in fighting global warming. In 2002, Gerry was honored as the “National Grassroots Activist of the Year” by the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability for his leadership in the seven year effort to shutdown and dismantle the FFTF Nuclear Reactor. Gerry was also honored with the Paul Beeson Peace Award by Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility in 2005.

Portland Climate Action Now!

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Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 04/18/2011

In October 2009 the Portland city council adopted a climate action plan, setting in place the city’s ambitious sustainability roadmap to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050. A year and a half later the city is putting the action plan to work with its Portland Climate Action Now! campaign. As daunting a challenge as climate change presents, the city is helping its residents understand how individual choices we make everyday can have a huge impact on our collective carbon emissions. What we eat, how we heat and power our homes, how we get around, what we buy and what we throw away, make up more than half of all local carbon emissions. On this episode of Locus Focus we're joined by Portland mayor Sam Adams, and Michael Armstrong—with the city's bureau of Planning and Sustainability—to talk about how the Portland Climate Action Now! campaign will help Portland residents make a real difference, by showing them how to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in four areas: Healthy Home, Getting Around, Your Stuff, and Food Choices.

Sam Adams is the Mayor of Portland, Oregon.

Michael Armstrong used to be the deputy director of the Portland Office of Sustainable Development, before it merged with the Planning Bureau. Now he heads the sustainability division of the Portland's Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

 

Here's a link to the Climate Action Progress report that came out last year: http://www.portlandonline.com/bps/index.cfm?c=49989&a=327050

Update on Nuclear Disaster in Japan with Nuclear Expert Arjun Makhijani

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Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 04/11/2011

Day-to-day coverage of the ongoing nuclear disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power complex has slipped from the headlines. But the severity of the nuclear crisis in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan continues to unfold. Right after the earthquake, nuclear expert Arjun Makhijani was on Locus Focus discussing the short term and long range impacts from the damage to the Japanese nuclear facilities. He focused in particular on the danger of spent fuel rod pools overheating, something no one was talking about at the time. Shortly afterwards, the coolant in several of the Fukushima spent fuel rod pools evaporated resulting in fires and radioactive releases.

On this episode of Locus Focus, Arjun Makhijani returns to give us an update on what we know and what we still don't know about the nuclear crisis in Japan, and its implications for the future of nuclear power here and in the rest of world.

Arjun Makhijani is President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research in Takoma Park, Maryland.  He earned his Ph.D. in engineering at the University of California, Berkeley in 1972, specializing in nuclear fusion.A recognized authority on energy issues and nuclear issues in particular, Dr. Makhijani is the author and co-author of numerous reports and books on topics such as nuclear defense systems, radioactive waste storage and disposal, nuclear testing, disposition of fissile materials, energy efficiency, and ozone depletion.  He is the principal editor of Nuclear Wastelands: a Global Guide to Nuclear Weapons Production and Its Health and Environmental Effects, published by MIT Press in July 1995, and subsequently nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Since the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and ensuing nuclear crisis in Japan Dr. Makhijani has been a consistent voice in calling out the nuclear industry as well as government and international nuclear regulators to address the root causes and longterm implications of this crisis. He has written numerous papers on the crisis, that are widely available on the web.

Changing Planet, Changing Health: A Conversation With Author Dan Ferber

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 04/04/2011

Climate change not only threatens the earth's ecosystems—it is damaging the health of people around the world. While early warning signals of ecological havoc brought on by climate change are being detected in arctic regions, its serious health impacts are most notable in the tropics. But as the planet continues to warm, we're beginning to see tropical diseases and the pests that spread disease moving into temperate regions around the globe. On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with science writer Dan Ferber, co-author of a new book, Changing Planet, Changing Health. Dan's book takes us to places like Mozambique, Honduras, and the United States for an on-the-ground investigation of how climate change is altering patterns of disease. We'll talk about the surprising links between global warming and cholera, malaria, lyme disease, asthma, and other health threats. We'll also discuss solutions for shaping a healthy global economic order in the twenty-first century.

Award-winning journalist Dan Ferber specializes in putting a human face on groundbreaking stories on science, technology, health and the environment. As a contributing correspondent for Science and a contributor to national magazines such as Reader’s Digest, Popular Science and Audubon, he’s covered topics from malaria to cancer, from air-pollution to coral reefs, from fire modeling to wetland conservation. His work on Changing Planet, Changing Health helped him tie such threads together and grasp the fundamental interconnections human health, healthy ecosystems, and a livable climate. Ferber holds a bachelor’s degree in zoology from Duke, a Ph.D. in biology from Johns Hopkins University and a masters in journalism from the University of Illinois.

Changing Planet, Changing Health was co-written by Dr. Paul Epstein, whose life's work investigating the links between climate change and human health is detailed in the book.

Fred Kirschenmann: Building Community Through Sustainable Farming

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Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 03/28/2011

Oregon is touted as one of the epicenters for the local food movement. As if to reinforce its credentials, there have been food related conferences up and down the Willamette Valley since the year began. Coming up on April 16 is one more conference, this time at the University of Portland in North Portland and it's called Food for Thought. The big name at the conference is food writer Michael Pollan who will be speaking in the evening. But throughout the day there will be several panels, featuring an assortment of interesting folks. This episode of Locus Focus features one of the speakers at a panel on sustainable and local food. He was also a plenary speaker at February's Food Justice Conference in Eugene. He's farmer and sustainable food advocate Fred Kirschenmann and on this show he picks up the conversation started a month before, how food and farming is all about creating and strengthening communities on the road to rebuilding networks of family farms and the infrastructure to support them.

Frederick Kirschenmann is the President of his family's 3,500-acre certified organic farm in south central North Dakota. He helped to found Farm Verified Organic, Inc., a private certification agency, and the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society and has served on the USDA's National Organic Standards Board, the North Central Region's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) administrative council and the Henry A. Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture board of directors. He is the Board President of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. Dr. Kirschenmann won the National Resource Defense Council’s Growing Green Thought Leader award in 2010.

The Heavy Haul: Fighting Goliath

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Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 03/21/2011

While we worry about melting nuclear reactor cores and fuel rods in Japan, another environmental crisis is brewing closer to home. On this episode of Locus Focus we find out why the Alberta Tar Sands endanger the world and how its industrialized tentacles are trying to creep across the United States.

For the past couple months a convoy of trucks carrying megaloads three stories high and weighing 650,000 pounds each, have been wending their way through the scenic corridors of the Clearwater and Lochsa Rivers in Idaho, over Lolo Pass, and up the remote and pristine byways of Montana. These trucks are part of proposed 300-load "Heavy Haul" on its way to the Tar Sands pits of NE Alberta. The behemoth machines are manufactured in South Korea, shipped across the Pacific Ocean and then up the Columbia and Snake Rivers where they wait at the Port of Lewiston, Idaho, for permits to continue on narrow, twisty mountain roads to their destination: one of the largest and most polluting industrial operations in the world.

Many people living along this route are not only unhappy with the prospect of transforming the landscape of their pristine mountain homes into a permanent industrial corridor. They have organized and are fighting back. This route is one of the many proposed tentacles connecting the Tar Sands operations in Alberta with a petroleum-thirsty customer base in the lower 48 states. On this episode of Locus Focus we delve more deeply into the longterm consequences of industrializing the wildlands of the Pacific Northwest and Rockie Mountains. We'll be talking with Zack Porter (campaign coordinator for All Against the Haul in Missoula) and Linwood Laughy (with Fighting Goliath), as we look at how the  Heavy Haul is just one more in a myriad of reasons why the massive operation to extract petroleum from the Alberta Oil Sands is unsustainable and will cause permanent destruction to ecological and human systems, as it exacerbates the climate crisis.

What you can do:

Read THE HEART OF THE MONSTER, by David James Duncan and Rick Bass, and follow their fight to save salmon, forests, & communities throughout Idaho, Montana, and, ultimately, the world.

Find out what's happening locally at www.fightinggoliath.org

NUCLEAR CRISIS IN JAPAN & SELF-DEFENSE AGAINST GMO FOOD

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Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 03/14/2011

NUCLEAR CRISIS IN JAPAN

On this episode of Locus Focus we initially planned to focus on the USDA’s recent decision to deregulate round-up ready alfalfa. But first we need to reflect upon last Friday’s earthquake and tsunamis that have devastated Japan. As horrific as the earthquake and tsunamis destruction is, the potential catastrophe that would result if the cores of any of Japan’s stricken nuclear reactors melt down stretches the limits of imagination. The official response to the nuclear reactor crisis in Japan is frustrating to say the least, so we'll be talking with nuclear expert Arjun Makhijani, President of the Institute for Energy & Environmental Research, to help us understand what is really at stake with Japan’s crippled nuclear reactors.

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).

SELF-DEFENSE AGAINST GMO FOOD

When the USDA deregulated the growing of Roundup Ready (GMO) alfalfa last month, Ronnie Cummins with the Organic Consumers Association wrote a dispatch revealing collusion between three big time organic food companies and the forces (i.e. Monsanto) that shaped the USDA's decision. Whole Foods, Stonyfield Farms and Organic Valley argue that Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack only allowed for two options: allowing organic and GMO farmers to co-exist by regulating how GMO crops are grown or allowing total deregulation of GMO crops. They say that organic farmers need legal protection from cross-contamination of GE crops as well as compensation if their crops are contaminated. Cummins believes that by supporting "co-existence," Whole Foods, Stonyfield and Organic Valley are selling out the rest of the organic food movement, still bent on stopping the profileration of GMO food. On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Ronnie Cummins about why he believes that Whole Foods' claims that it is still part of the fight to hold back the expansion of GMO crops is greenwashing.

Ronnie Cummins is the national director of Organic Consumers Association and co-author of Genetically Engineered Food: A Self-Defense Guide for Consumers.

Read Whole Food's response to Organic Consumers Association claims:

http://blog.wholefoodsmarket.com/2011/01/urgent-action-needed-to-support-organics-and-non-ge-crops/

Odessa: Genius and Death in a City of Dreams

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 03/07/2011

Until World War II, Odessa was one of Europe's great multicultural cities, a place of optimism and light. For nearly a century its colorful street life inspired poets and writers like Alexander Pushkin, Mark Twain and Isaac Babel. It was also a major center of Jewish culture, and by 1941 Odessa had 200,000 Jews living within its bounds—over a third of its population. But by the end of the war there were only 48 Jews left. Many had perished in a gruesome—but still largely unknown—episode of the Holocaust.

On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with historian Charles King, author of Odessa: Genius and Death in a City of Dreams. His new book explores the greatest port on the Black Sea, examining the enduring mystery at the heart of Odessa’s story: how a city once known for its freewheeling and cosmopolitan culture ended up nearly destroying itself during the Second World War.

Charles King lives in Washington, DC, where he is a professor of international affairs and government at Georgetown University. He is the author of four books on Eastern Europe and a frequent commentator on events in the region for television, radio, and the press.

The Act of Reclaiming Agriculture

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 02/28/2011

Oregon is blessed with many small family farms that have somehow managed to survive in a hostile environment dominated by behemoth industrial farming operations. Friends of Family Farmers, a statewide organization working to promote and protect socially responsible agriculture in Oregon, has spent the last couple years meeting with farmers around the state to hone legislation that will create a level playing field for small family farmers trying to compete in the corporate-dominated market place. The result of this two-year process is the Agricultural Reclamation Act, that Friends of Family Farmers is working to get passed during the current Oregon Legislative session. On March 15 hundreds of farmers and supporters will gather in Salem to lobby for this bill. On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Kendra Kimbirauskas, president of Friends of Family Farmers, about how the Agricultural Reclamation Act strives to establish a future for food and agriculture in Oregon based on family-scale farms, food security, rural economic viability and cultural connectivity. We hear what's in this bill and as well as about other pieces of pending legislation that will save the family farm in Oregon and ensure that we have healthy local food to eat.

Kendra and her husband Ivan own and operate a small farm in Colton, Oregon. Their small diverse farm includes laying hens, meat chickens, turkeys, dairy goats, pigs and horses. In addition to the animals, Kendra and Ivan raise a variety of veggies, berries, mushrooms and honey which they sell at their local farmers market and to individuals in the community.

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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