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

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

TEMPERATE AND BOREAL RAINFORESTS OF THE WORLD

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program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 12/13/2010

The rallying cry: "Save the rainforests" means to most people tropical rainforests in the Amazon or Borneo. But there is another class of rainforests that is just as unique and important to protect: temperate and boreal rainforests. These rainforests, like their tropical counterparts, are rich in plants and wildlife, while they also contain some of the most massive trees on Earth. And some of these forests are virtually in our own backyards.

On this episode of Locus Focus host Barbara Bernstein talks with Dominick DellaSala, president and chief scientist at the Geos Institute in Ashland. He is the editor and principal writer of Temperate and Boreal Rainforests of the World a  book recently published by Island Press, that brings together more than 30 forest scientists from around the world to describe the ecology, conservation and threats to these lesser known rainforests. We'll learn about the significance of rainforests in the interior of British Columbia, Japan, New Zealand, Norway and South America, as well as closer to home along the Pacific Coast of North America.

Dominick A. DellaSala is Chief Scientist and President of the Geos Institute in Ashland, Oregon, and President of the North American section of the Society for Conservation Biology. He is a frequent guest on Locus Focus and was featured in Barbara's 2007 documentary Sculpted By Fire.


What does Last Month's Election Mean for Northwest Climate Policy?

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 12/06/2010

It's conventional wisdom that the new more heavily GOP configuration in Congress spells bad news for climate policy. There's some truth in that, but this week on Locus Focus we look at a more positive side to the story. In what has appeared to be an overall hostile political climate this fall, progressive approaches to climate policy still held their own in most elections across the Pacific Northwest and California. Our guest this week is Eric de Place with the Sightline Institute in Seattle and he'll share with us some reasons to be hopeful, while remaining watchful at the same time.

We'll talk about the defeat of Proposition 23 in California, which would have suspended the state's climate laws, the re-election of California Senator Barbara Boxer and the elections (or re-elections) of California Governor Jerry Brown and Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber. But we'll also look at the difficult course ahead for seriously dealing with climate change, made even more challenging by weakened Democratic control of the region's state legislatures.

Eric de Place, senior researcher, contributes research and writing for the Cascadia Scorecard, especially on sprawl, economic security, wildlife, and other topics. He also writes for the Daily Score blog and contributes to a number of other Sightline projects, including climate policy in the western states. In 2006, Eric’s work helped defeat ballot initiatives in several Western states that would have severely eroded community and environmental protections. Before coming to Sightline, he worked with the Northwest Area Foundation, helping communities develop strategies to alleviate poverty. He has a master's degree in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame. After the world gets fixed, Eric plans to spend much more time reading good books beside remote mountain lakes. Read Eric's latest blog posts here.

What Becomes of the Environment under a New Congressional Regime?

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program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 11/29/2010

In January a new congress takes over, with a reduced Democratic majority in the Senate and a lopsided Republican majority in the House. For the first time there will be an official House Caucus of Climate Change Deniers. In this new political environment, what prospects remain for continuing to maintain — let alone enhance — protection for the natural environment? And how can the United States provide any credible leadership in international negotiations to cutback greenhouse gas emissions when so many members of congress don't even believe that climate change is a real problem?

On this episode of Locus Focus, we talk with New York Times science writer Andrew Revkin about the challenges facing the environment and its advocates during the next session of Congress. But we'll also look at how this November's election has motivated scientists, including hundreds of members of the American Geophysical Union to speak out and challenge disinformation and misinformation deployed in the policy wars over global warming.

About Andrew Revkin

He's an author and reporter focused on the global environment and the human condition, as well as a songwriter, guitarist, family guy and senior fellow for environmental understanding at Pace University.

About Dot Earth

By 2050 or so, the human population is expected to reach nine billion, essentially adding two Chinas to the number of people alive today. Those billions will be seeking food, water and other resources on a planet where, scientists say, humans are already shaping climate and the web of life. In Dot Earth, which recently moved from the news side of The Times to the Opinion section, Andrew C. Revkin examines efforts to balance human affairs with the planet’s limits. Conceived in part with support from a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, Dot Earth tracks relevant developments from suburbia to Siberia. The blog is an interactive exploration of trends and ideas with readers and experts.

 

BE LOVE NOW - A Conversation with Rameshwar Das on the teachings of Ram Das

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program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 11/22/2010

Richard Alpert was an eminent Harvard psychologist on the fast track to success when he fell in with fellow Harvard professor Timothy Leary who turned him on to LSD. Harvard University did not appreciate their ardent research on the psychological and spiritual potentials unleashed by LSD and other psychedelic drugs, and in 1963 Alpert and Leary were tossed out of academia. Leary continued to bask in his iconic status in the psychedelic counter-culture, but for Alpert, mind expansion via chemical substances became a catalyst for spiritual seeking. In 1967 he traveled to India, where he met his guru Neem Karoli Baba (affectionately known as Maharaj-ji), who gave him the name Ram Dass, which means "servant of God." Upon his return from India, Ram Dass became a pivotal cultural influence, forging a Western articulation of Eastern thought and spiritual practice that has resonated with millions of people in the West over the past forty years.

This week on Locus Focus we depart from our recent fare of environmental nightmares, to journey towards the spiritual core of what can inspire us to connect with and protect the earth, as well as our deepest selves. On the fortieth anniversary of the publication of Be Here Now, Ram Dass's monumental work about his own spiritual journey, we talk with Ram Dass's student and long-time friend Rameshwar Das, about the journey from Be Here Now to their current collaboration Be Love Now.

Upcoming events in Oregon with Rameshwar Das and Ram Dass:

Living Earth is hosting a

Bhakti Benefit Retreat & Celebration with Ram Dass and Friends

, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Ram Dass's classic book,

Be Here Now

. Thurs - Sun., December 2 - 5, at Breitenbush Hot Springs

 

Ram Dass will beam in for live tele-satsangs, joining Rameshwar Das, Shantala, Betsy Toll, and others who will be at Breitenbush. Ramesh is co-author of Ram Dass's new book, Be Love Now, and will present a short film that's part of the new e-book version of Be Here Now.  He and others will share guru stories and Be Here Now reflections, plus daily kirtan, dharma talks, a raga performance, yoga, and meditation. All retreat proceeds will benefit Love Serve Remember Foundation, to support Ram Dass's work today. 

 

Space is limited. Full info and registration are at

www.LivingEarthGatherings.org

.  Or call Living Earth at 503.771.1940.

 

December 6, 7:00 pm

 

Rameshar Das (live) and Ram Dass (live via satellite) will discuss BE LOVE NOW at New Renaissance Bookshop, 1338 NW 23rd Avenue, Portland, OR 97210

CAFO: THE TRAGEDY OF INDUSTRIAL ANIMAL FACTORIES

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program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 11/15/2010

Most Americans - and a growing number of people around the world - now eat meat that was grown on factory farms. The brutal, inhumane conditions in which factory farm animals are raised calls into question not just the ethics of eating meat but the very foundations of the democracy we like to believe we live in. CAFOs - Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations - crowd tens of thousands of animals together in their own filth, pumping them full of antibiotics and feed that their bodies are not designed to digest. Meanwhile small family farms, still practicing the traditions of sustainable animal husbandry, are being squeezed out of existence by a handful multi-national producers, leading us into this not-so-brave new world where farms are factories, animals are production units and multi-generational farmers are replaced by unskilled migrant laborers.

On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Daniel Imhoff, editor of The CAFO Reader: The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories, which provides a compelling vision of "putting the CAFO out to pasture," and creating a new world where food systems become healthy, humane and sustainable again.

Daniel Imhoff is the editor of The CAFO Reader: The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories and the photo-format companion volume, CAFO (Concentrated Animimal Feeding Operations): The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories. He is a writer and independent publisher whose many books include Food Fight, Farming with the Wild, Paper or Plastic, Building with Vision, and Farming and the Fate of Wild Nature. He lives in Northern California.

To learn more about supporting sustainable family farms in Oregon: http://www.friendsoffamilyfarmers.org/

ALBERTA TAR SANDS - A WORSE ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER THAN THE BP GULF OIL DISASTER?

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program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 11/08/2010

Last spring's BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico alerted us to the unforeseen hazards of deep water oil drilling. Since most of the remaining conventional sources of oil are located in politically unstable regions of the world, many political leaders are looking toward the reserves of oil locked in the abundant bitumen under the boreal forests of northern Alberta as our best source of oil. The Alberta government and the Canadian oil industry claim that these tar sands mining operations are being managed in an environmentally responsible manner. But a team of scientists from the University of Alberta at Edmonton and other colleges in Canada released a report that contradicts the government and industry claims. David Schindler, Peter Hodson and others analyzed 13 elements in river water and snow pack along the Athabasca River and its delta in a study that links tarsands development to deteriorating water quality in northeastern Alberta.

On this segment of Locus Focus we talk with scientist Peter Hodson about the findings of this study and how it calls into question claims that tar sands extraction is not harming the fragile environment of northern Alberta.

Dr. Peter Hodson is a professor at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario and director of its School of Environmental Studies. He is a past president of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), and twice served on its Board of Directors, as well as the Board of the SETAC World Council, Chair of the World Council Science Committee, and an editor of the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. Hodson has authored more than 180 technical publications related to fish toxicology and environmental contamination. He is currently studying the mechanisms of hydrocarbon toxicity to early life stages of fish, the environmental impacts of crude oil, among other topics.

other links:

http://www.thestar.com/news/sciencetech/environment/article/854391

http://straightouttaedmonton.blogspot.com/2010/10/video-post-dr-david-schindler-presents.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+StraightOuttaEdmonton+%28Straight+Outta+Edmonton%29

PRE-ELECTION DAY SPECIAL: CALIFORNIA PROP. 23, DIRTY MONEY AND THE FUTURE OF THE PLANET

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program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 11/01/2010

The environment is on the ballot in hundreds of electoral contests in all 50 states, in the guise of anti-environmental, anti-science and anti-climate candidates and ballot measures. More than 750 congressional and state legislative candidates have signed on to support the anti-climate agenda of Americans for Prosperity—a corporate front group funded by the oil billionaire Koch brothers. In California the Koch brothers have spearheaded Proposition 23, a ballot measure to suspend the Global Warming Act of 2006. This law requires that greenhouse gas emissions in the state be cut to 1990 levels by 2020. If this measure passes California would forfeit the vanguard position it has forged for establishing regulations that vigorously confront climate change and slip back into the clutches of the oil and coal industry.

This week on Locus Focus host Barbara Bernstein talks with Steve Kretzmann, Executive Director of Oil Change International, about the money trail that has brought Proposition 23 before California voters and threatens to undermine the state's landmark climate change legislation. We'll learn what we can do to work for the separation of Oil and State.

Steve Kretzman founded Oil Change International in 2006 to educate about the true impacts of fossil fuels and to conduct research, education and organizing to hasten our transition to clean energy.

HIGHWAY TO HELL: CANADIAN TAR SANDS EXTRACTION & THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST

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program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 10/25/2010

Now that most of the easy oil on our planet is gone, oil companies are turning to exotic places to extract oil: deep under the ocean as well as from shale and sand formations. In the far north of Alberta, Canada, millions of acres of pristine boreal forest are being stripped-mined for a substance called bitumen, that holds oil in solid form. Since 2001 this operation has accelerated at a rate that industry and government can't even keep up with, and it has turned a once pristine wilderness into hell on earth.

On this episode of Locus Focus, Sam Mace—Inland Northwest Project Director for
Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition—and host Barbara Bernstein discuss why we in the lower forty-eight should care about tar sands extraction in Canada. These operations that are having such a dire impact on the enviroment in northern Alberta, also affect the Columbia-Snake River Basin. Huge mining equipment from Korea - two-thirds the length of a football field, three stories high and weighing at least 344,000 lbs. - has already made its way up the Columbia and Snake Rivers and now sits in the port of Lewiston, ID, waiting for permits to continue its trip along narrow mountain roads through Idaho and Montana on its way to the Alberta tar sands pits.

"The tar sands constitute one of our planet's greatest threats. They are a double-barreled threat. First, producing oil from tar sands emits two or three times the global warming pollution of conventional oil. But [it] also diminishes one of the best carbon reduction tools on the planet: Canada's Boreal Forest."
                                                                                                   —James Hansen, NASA climate scientist

Originally from Coos Bay, Oregon, Sam Mace has worked on behalf of forests, fish and rivers for 15 years. She first moved to Eastern Washington in 1994 and joined efforts to restore the Snake River in 1998 as the Salmon and Steelhead Project Coordinator for Washington and Idaho Wildlife Federations based in Spokane. In 2000 Sam moved back to Oregon where she worked for Trout Unlimited. Homesick for snow, desert, the Palouse and the Snake River, Sam returned to Eastern Washington in 2004 as Save Our Wild Salmon's Inland Northwest Project Director. Sam spends her free time hiking, fishing and floating western rivers and looks forward to doing a trip on a free-flowing lower Snake River some day in the future.

Photos below show the landscape through which these behemoths would traverse on their way to Alberta: the Columbia River Gorge and the wild and scenic river corridors of the Clearwater and Lochsa Rivers in Idaho.

 
For more information and photos of the Alberta Tar Sands Mines check out these links:

The Rural People of Highway 12 Fighting Goliath

Guest column by Montana writer Annick Smith, in the Missoulian, Friday, October 15, 2010

CATACLYSMS ON THE COLUMBIA: THE FORCES THAT CARVED THE COLUMBIA GORGE

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Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 10/11/2010

Missoula Floods were one of the greatest sets of geological events in North America. Occurring as many as 40 times during the last ice age, the floods were caused by waters released from ancient Lake Missoula that scoured the Columbia River basin, carved out the Columbia River Gorge, and swept across at least 16,000 square miles of the Pacific Northwest. On this episode of Locus Focus, Portland State University geology professor Scott Burns returns to discuss the effect of the floods on the landscape of the Willamette Valley. He'll also share the incredible story of how geologist J. Harlen Bretz discovered evidence of the floods nearly 100 years ago. Bretz's claim that these prehistoric floods caused cataclysmic geological changes challenged mainstream geologic thought at the time, and it wasn't until the 1950s that his ideas became accepted as scientific fact.

Scott Burns, PhD. is a professor of geology at Portland State University with research interests that include engineering geology, environmental geology, soils, landslides, geomorphology, and quaternary geology. When not teaching, he serves on numerous geological committees and has written numerous articles, chapter contributions, and books, including Cataclysms on the Columbia, co-authored with John Eliot Allen and Marjorie Burns.

WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE SELLWOOD BRIDGE?

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program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 10/04/2010

It's been nearly two years since a neighborhood-backed plan was approved to rebuild the Sellwood Bridge with only two auto lanes, along with bike and pedestrian paths and street car tracks. But in recent months the final decisions on bridge design and funding have hit stumbling blocks. While the bridge is operated by the County, it connects on the west side with state-owned Highway 43 and on the eastside with city-owned SE Tacoma Street. These different jurisdictions are now caught up in a turf battle, holding the future of the Sellwood Bridge between their horns. On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Sellwood neighborhood activist Eric Miller about some of the sticking points between the city, county and state, and why the same issues of sustainability and livability that motivated the neighborhood to organize two years are still of major concern.

Eric Miller is a Sellwood resident and a current At-Large SMILE Board member.  A public health physical therapist, Eric is currently a stay-at-home Dad and a community activist.  He co-founded the Sellwood Playgroup Association to bring families with young children together and to build community. Through the Playgroup Association he organized a broad network of neighbors who helped prevent the Sellwood Bridge from being replaced by a huge, four-lane behemoth.

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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