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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Journalist Kathryn Miles on her book SUPERSTORM: Nine Days Inside Hurricane Sandy
 

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Episode Archive

Foreclosing the Future: The World Bank and the Politics of Environmental Destruction

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 10/21/2013 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
how the World Bank is a microcosm of powerful forces that threaten the environment and social ruin.
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim has vowed that his institution will fight poverty and climate change, a claim that World Bank presidents have made for two decades. But if worldwide protests and reams of damning internal reports are any indication, too often it does just the opposite. By funding development projects and programs that warm the planet and destroy critical natural resources on which the poor depend, the Bank has been hurting the very people it claims to serve. On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Bruce Rich, author of Foreclosing the Future: The World Bank and the Politics of Environmental Destruction, which depicts how the World Bank is a microcosm of global political and economic trends—powerful forces that threaten both environmental and social ruin.

WHAT HAS NATURE EVER DONE FOR US? HOW MONEY REALLY DOES GROW ON TREES

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 10/14/2013 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
The economic and intrinsic value of natural systems with Tony Juniper

From Indian vultures to Chinese bees, nature provides the "natural services" that keep the economy going - as well as ecological balance. From the recycling miracles i the soil to an army of predators ridding us of unwanted pests, it has been estimated that these and other services each year are worth about double the global GDP. Yet we take most of Nature's services for granted, imagining them free and limitless - until they suddenly switch off.

On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with British environmentalist Tony Juniper, whose book What Has Nature Ever Done for Us? How Money Really Does Grow on Trees points out that if we realized the true economic as well as intrinsic value of nature, we would stop treating our natural systems in a destructive manner.

SHOULD PORTLAND CREATE A SPECIAL DISTRICT TO RUN PUBLIC UTILITIES?

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 10/07/2013 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
Bob Sallinger and Mike Houck discuss proposal to create new public utilities district in Portland.
An effort is underfoot to wrest control of Portland's Bureau of Environmental Services and Water Bureau from the Portland City Council and transfer them to an obscure board lacking transparency and accountability. This effort masquerades as a populist movement but is in fact a Trojan horse backed by industrial water users designed to lower their costs and defund the City's most important environmental programs.

SNAKE OIL: How Fracking's False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future with Richard Heinberg

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 09/30/2013 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
A conversation with Richard Heinberg about the perils of fracking

SNAKE OIL: How Fracking's False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future with Richard Heinberg

GMOs IN OREGON - Update with Clint Lindsey

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 09/23/2013 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
An update on the continuing struggle to keep GMOs out of Oregon

GMOs IN OREGON - Update with Clint Lindsey

Locus Focus on 09/16/13

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 09/16/2013 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
A look back at this past summer's fire and flood season

 

 

FIRE, WATER & BRIMSTONE

Locus Focus on 09/09/13

Categories:
Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 09/09/2013 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
Coal and oil trains, pipelines and terminals proproposed for the Pacifid NW - with Eric de Place

COAL TRAINS, OIL TRAINS, PIPELINES coming through the Pacific Northwest

This summer the port of Vancouver, Washington approved plans to build a terminal for oil trains, over widespread opposition from the community. Meanwhile anti-coal activists are still trying to fend off three proposed coal terminals in Oregon and Washington and Kinder Morgan is going ahead promoting its plan to enlarge and extend its Trans Mountain Pipeline that carries tar sands crude from Alberta to Burnaby, BC. If they have their way the Georgia Strait and Strait of San Juan de Fuca will become a shipping channel for scores of super tankers, carrying the heavy oil to refineries in California.

Locus Focus on 09/02/13

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 09/02/2013 - 10:00am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
Helen Caldicott on Nuclear Power, Radiation & Our Health (Recorded in Taiwan on 7/7/13

From the series TUC Radio we hear Dr. Helen Caldicott's keynote presentation at a public forum in Taipei, Taiwan, on July 7, 2013. The organizer was an antinuclear alliance of mothers called Mom Loves Taiwan. They are campaigning to prevent the opening of yet another nuclear power plant on that small island and invited Dr. Helen Caldicott to help inform the public and the media.
 

Locus Focus on 08/26/13

Categories:
Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 08/26/2013 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
Weekly interview show about our place on the planet.

Guest host Ross Freeman Levin invited local activist Pierre to discuss his efforts to end oppression in modern culture. They talked about uncompromising environmental activism, corporate greed, police repression, prison abolition and efforts to liberate the earth from capitalist dominance. Some links related to show content appear below.

http://earthfirstjournal.org/

http://katuahearthfirst.org/

http://oregonjericho.wordpress.com/

Locus Focus on 08/19/13

Categories:
Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 08/19/2013 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
Never Again Enough: Field Notes From a Drying West
Never Again Enough: Field Notes From a Drying West

Guest host Per Fagereng interviews environmentalist and writer William deBuys, author of the definitive book on the parching of the West, "A Great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future of the American Southwest." They discuss deBuys' recent article, "Never Again Enough: Field Notes From a Drying West.”  This is another in his series of reports -- the last was “Exodus from Phoenix” -- on facing the new weather and climate-change world we are living in. http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175730/

Audio

FARMING BEYOND THE BARCODE

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Tue, 02/22/2011

While Barbara was in Eugene this week for the Food Justice Conference (check out last week's Locus Focus to learn more about this event), we repeated a Locus Focus episode from November 2009 that features, Joel Salatin, farmer, food choice advocate and dream-doer, who runs Polyface Farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Joel, Barbara and Willamette Valley farmer Clare Carver (of Big Table Farm in Gaston) discuss the sustainable agricultural methods Joel and Clare 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.

FOOD JUSTICE - WHAT'S THAT?

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 02/14/2011
Food Justice is a term that we're beginning to hear a lot, but what does it really mean. This week on Locus Focus we'll learn about a conference happening in Eugene, February 19 - 21, that explores many facets of food justice: How do we ensure that our food system is sustainable? How do we guarantee access to healthy food for everyone? How to we protect and support small local farms and recalibrate the playing field so that our national and global food systems encourage family farmers, not just corporate agribusiness?

On this episode of Locus focus we talk with Food Justice Conference organizer Allison Carruth, who is a Core Faculty Member in Environmental Studies at the University of Oregon, and plenary speaker Dr. Frederick L. Kirschenmann, Distinguished Fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. Dr. Kirschenmann will be speaking at the conference about Food security in a changing world: Expanding the vision of sustainable agriculture.

Allison Carruth is Assistant Professor of English and Resident Scholar at Wayne Morse Center for Law & Politics and Core Faculty Member in Environmental Studies at the University of Oregon.

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.

To learn more about the Food Justice Conference go to: http://waynemorsecenter.uoregon.edu/foodjustice/

THE DEATH AND LIFE OF JOHNSON CREEK

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 02/07/2011

Last December three dead coho salmon were found 15 miles upstream along the banks of Johnson Creek

. This once trashed out forgotten waterway flows 26 miles from its headwaters near the Sandy River to its confluence with the Willamette River, passing through four cities (Gresham, Portland, Milwaukie, and Happy Valley) and two counties (Clackamas and Multnomah) along the way. Over 100 years ago it supported salmon runs so plentiful that it's said you could catch fish with a pitchfork. But when pioneers moved to the area, they logged the banks of the creek and created slash dams so they could float logs downstream. Without tree cover the creek water warmed, harming the salmon and the dams killed fish by keeping them from their spawning grounds. Pollutants and chemical spills over the years also killed bugs the fish feed on. To make matters worse, in the 1930s, the city of Portland launched a massive project to dig a channel in Johnson Creek, lining the banks with rocks to lessen flooding and killing even more fish.

Over the past few decades the city of Portland, along with neighboring jurisdictions, is working to right past wrongs: replanting trees to restore a forest canopy that cools the creek and allowing the creek to flood again by restoring its natural floodplain. On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Matt Clark, the director of the Johnson Creek Watershed Council about the death and rebirth of Johnson Creek: how it has been transformed from a derelict neighborhood garbage repository into a jewel of urban nature.

You can learn more about the history of Johnson Creek and the Johnson Creek Watershed Council from Urban Green, a radio documentary produced by Barbara Bernstein in 2006.

 

GINK—Green Inclinations, No Kids A Conversation with GRIST.ORG'S Lisa Hymas

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 01/31/2011

According to a 2009 study by statisticians at Oregon State University, each child an American has increases his or her lifetime carbon emission by 570 percent—because kids are likely to one day have kids of their own and so on. With climate change already causing havoc around the globe and the world population poised to hit 7 billion this fall, some people are wondering whether a sane response is to skip parenthood altogether.

On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Lisa Hymas, co-founder of the online environmental news organization Grist.org. Hymas coined the acronym GINK (green inclinations, no kids) to describe a small but growing group of people who are both environmentally conscious and childfree by choice. As she wrote in her GINK Manifesto, this choice has been personally fulfilling for her, but it's still not generally accepted in society, or even in environmental circles.

But since the childfree choice certainly isn't right for everyone, Hymas has also written about other steps people can take to help lessen population pressure -- including improving sex ed in schools, not pressuring other people to have kids, and even just talking openly and open-mindedly about family choices and population.

Lisa Hymas is senior editor and cofounder of Grist.org, an online environmental news organization. She writes about the green side of being childfree as well as other environmental issues. Lisa won a 2010 Population Institute Global Media Award for her writing on childfree living and population. She started her career as a writer and editor at Greenwire, a Washington, D.C.-based online environmental news service. She has also worked at Island Press, an environmental book publisher, and Tomorrow, a sustainable business magazine. She lives in Seattle.

Ground Zero in the Battle Over Genetically Engineered Sugar Beets

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 01/24/2011

Roughly half of the nation’s sugar supply comes from sugar beets, and much of this seed is produced in Oregon. In 2007 the USDA started allowing genetically modified sugar beet seed to flood the market. Now 95% of the sugar beet crop is grown using seeds that have been genetically engineered to resist heavy spraying of the Monsanto pesticide Roundup. The Center for Food Safety and other advocacy groups sued to ban the beets, pointing out that an environmental impact statement has not yet been completed, as the law requires. Last November, a U.S. District Judge ordered the immediate uprooting of 256 acres of genetically modified beets in Oregon and Arizona, citing the irreparable harm of cross-contamination of these plants with normal ones.

 

On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Frank Morton, of Shoulder to Shoulder Farm in Philomath, who is involved with the lawsuit against Monsanto and the USDA.

Frank Morton is a pioneer in preserving and innovating seed strains of rare edible plants. He and his wife Karen co-ordinate the seed production program within the overall farm system of Gathering Together Farm, just down the road from their farm Shoulder To Shoulder, outside of Philomath, Oregon. Breeding new varieties for organic farmers is part of the Morton's work on their own farm, and Wild Garden Seed from Gathering Together Farm brings their creative effort into the public domain seed marketplace.

SUSTAINABLE FOOD IN A SUSTAINABLE CITY with Portland's Food Czar

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 01/17/2011

Why is the city of Portland concerned about food policy issues? So, concerned in fact that the city's bureau of Planning and Sustainability devotes some of its resources to sustainable food programs like Urban Growth Bounty and the Better Together Garden at City Hall. On this episode of Locus Focus, we talk with Portland' "Food Czar" Steve Cohen, who manages the city's food policy and programs, about the need for these programs, why they are essential to creating sustainable communities. We'll also talk with Steve—who in the 1970s and 80s was a leader in numerous community projects and organizations with a strong counter-cultural bent—about how the values and community-building that shaped his younger years are finding an institutional niche in today's city infrastructure.

Steve Cohen manages food policy and programs for the City of Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. He focuses on all aspects of a sustainable food system including planning, food security, education, economic development, urban agriculture, purchasing, composting, and climate change. Steve also staffs the Portland-Multnomah County Food Policy Council. Over the past 30 years he has played key roles in establishing indoor and outdoor festival markets, performing arts venues and community spaces in Oregon.

HUMANITY ON A TIGHTROPE

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 01/10/2011

Paul Ehrlich is arguably the most infamous environmentalist of the modern era. His 1968 book The Population Bomb, raised awareness on the connections between exponential human population growth and environmental degradation. It is still iconic to some while a discomfort to others. But what Paul Ehrlic's has to say in his latest book, Humanity on A Tightrope, should find common ground with everyone. Which is what the book is about: how strengthening both empathy and a shared sense of kinship – even with seeming strangers living far away from us – are crucial steps to keep humanity from falling into global calamity. Ehrlich now believes that expanding the domain of empathy and rethinking what “family” means to us could be powerful tools towards a better future.

On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Paul Ehrlich about how the effects of rapid population growth, sky-high consumption, loss of biodiversity, increasing toxicity of the environment and numerous other systemic problems, require all humans to mutually expand their commitment to empathy in order to stay balanced with ourselves and the planet.

Paul Ehrlich is Bing Professor of Population Studies and President of the Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford University. He is the author of The Population Bomb, one of the first books to bring environmental science to the general public. Of his some 40 books, Human Natures and The Dominant Animal have brought home the seriousness of the mismatch between human behavior and the chances of a global collapse of civilization.

FRACKING THE MARCELLUS SHALE

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 01/03/2011

The good news that abundant new natural gas deposits in the United States are driving down the once soaring cost of natural gas has a disturbing underbelly. Hydraulic fracturing, the unconventional method used to extract this gas is creating nightmares for people who live close to the drill sites. In extreme cases wells are being poisoned and water that comes out of the faucets in these homes can be set on fire. A groundswell of grassroots activity resulted in the New York legislature legislating a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, but New York's governor David Patterson vetoed the legislation and issued an Executive Order that calls for a temporary timeout on the most controversial drilling practices. But many environmentalist feel that his order does not go far enough.

On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Craig Michaels, Watershed Program Director for Riverkeeper in New York State, an organization in the forefront of halting natural gas fracking in the Northeast.

Craig Michaels manages all aspects of Riverkeeper’s Watershed Program, which uses public education, advocacy, and litigation in order to enforce environmental laws and protect the unfiltered drinking water supply for 9 million New Yorkers. Mr. Michaels returned to Riverkeeper in 2007 and as the NYC Investigator for Riverkeeper’s Hudson River program. Mr. Michaels previously worked at Riverkeeper for three years as the Education and Outreach Coordinator before entering law school. In 2007, he received his J.D. and Environmental Law Certificate from Pace Law School, where he interned for one year at the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic, representing Riverkeeper and other environmental groups in administrative permit proceedings arising from a Clean Water Act citizen suit against the City of New York. Prior to interning for the Environmental Litigation Clinic, Mr. Michaels served as a Legal Aide in the Litigation Bureau at the Office of the New York State Attorney General. Mr. Michaels holds a B.S. in Natural Resources and Environment from the University of Michigan.

HEAVY WEATHER

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 12/27/2010

The Cancun Climate Talks still have not produced an international climate treaty. But there are many effective initiatives we can take to reduce global greenhouse emissions that don't require international treaties. On this episode of Locus Focus we hear an encore presentation of HEAVY WEATHER, a radio documentary by Barbara Bernstein, that explores the connections between increasing extreme weather and our changing climate and landscapes. It presents solutions that are community driven, based on decisions we make to change the ways we live and travel. Changes that actually can improve our quality of life.

For a hundred years people in the Pacific Northwest—and much of the world— have transformed the landscape to suit their needs. At the same time we’ve pumped enough greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere to transform the climate, forcing us now to rethink the shape and placement of our built environments. Now the burden of past decisions rests on our shoulders. Heavy Weather looks at what kinds of choices we can make to lighten that burden for future generations.

HEAVY WEATHER spends time in several communities around the Pacific Northwest, contrasting differing responses to the dramatic flooding that has occurred in the past 14 years and which will probably increase as the climate changes. It looks at the important role that remaining wetlands play in managing storm water in an ecological and healthful manner, as well as efforts to "re-nature" the city, like Portland's Environmental Services project, Tabor to the Willamette Project. HEAVY WEATHER explores how the transition from engineered solutions for managing water to natural processes, including protecting natural wetlands, helps clean our rivers, protect salmon and buffer us from flooding that will only get worse as the climate changes.

We hear the voices of climate scientist Philip Mote, ecologist Kathleen Sayce, environmental ethicist Kathleen Dean Moore, sustainable farmers in Oregon and Virginia, as well as elected officials in Lewis (WA) and Tillamook (OR) Counties, Metro councilor Rex Burkholder and Portland and Vancouver, WA mayors Sam Adams and Tim Leavitt. Portland's urban naturalist Mike Houck takes us on a tour of the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge and wetland in the Sellwood district of Portland. Former Lewis County public works director Mark Cook shows us around the suburban sprawl spreading across the Chehalis River floodplain. And Portland State University faculty member Vivek Shandas guides us through the Brooklyn Basin, where Portland's Bureau of Environmental Services is trying to replicate with ecoroofs, curbside and parking lot swales and tree planting, the course and function of a historic creek that flows under the streets of  SE Portland on its way to the Willamette River.

HEAVY WEATHER was produced with funding from the Regional Arts and Culture Council, Oregon Humanities (an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities) and the Ralph L. Smith Foundation.

HEAVY WEATHER
is available on CD from Feather & Fin Productions, P.O. Box 82777, Portland, OR 97282. Check out the Heavy Weather Journal at http://mediaprojectonline.org/heavyweather/heavyweatherjournal.html

THE EAST SIDE BIG PIPE PROJECT

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 12/20/2010

For the past several years Portland's Environmental Services has been involved in the largest and most expensive public works project in the city's history: the Big Pipe. Since 2006 Rosie, the enormous tunnel boring machine, has been drilling a tunnel deep underground along the east bank of the Willamette River. When this project is finished in 2011, the volume of combined sewage and stormwater that now overflows to the river when it rains will be reduced by more than 94%.

In November Locus Focus host Barbara Bernstein was invited along with the rest of the Portland area press to take a trip down the tunnel and see where all that stormwater will start flowing once the project is completed. On this episode of Locus Focus she talks with Dean Marriott, director of Portland Environmental Services and Paul Gribbon, the Willamette River CSO Tunnel Program Chief Engineer, about why this big pipe was necessary to construct. We'll also learn why Portland needs to change the way it deals with stormwater so that the big pipe doesn't become prematurely obsolete.

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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