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.

Coming Soon

A conversation with Elizabeth Kolbert about the sixth mass extinction in our planet's history.
Can carbon capture and sequestration reduce the carbon emissions of coal-fired power plants?
The health and safety concerns from fracking the Eagle Ford Shale Play in Texas.
 

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Episode Archive

Dan Barber on "The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food"

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 06/02/2014 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
Dan Barber on "The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food"

Chris Seigel guest hosts.

The Sixth Extinction: An Interview with author Elizabeth Kolbert

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 05/19/2014 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
A conversation with Elizabeth Kolbert about the sixth mass extinction in our planet's history.

Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted.

5/12 - The West Without Water

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 05/12/2014 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
Why California's current water crisis may be a harbinger of what the future holds.

The extreme drought that California is currently enduring may be a harbinger of climatic conditions to come. Geologic evidence spanning the last 10,000 years indicates that extended droughts and catastrophic floods plagued the West with regularity over the past two millennia. While the West may have temporarily buffered itself from such harsh climatic swings by engineering artificial environments, our modern civilization may be ill-prepared for the future climatic changes predicted to beset the region.

The Sixth Extinction: A Conversation with author Elizabeth Kolbert

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 05/05/2014 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
A conversation with Elizabeth Kolbert about the sixth mass extinction in our planet's history.

THIS PROGRAM HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED FOR MONDAY, MAY 19 AT 10:15 AM.


The World Banks' Willful Blindness

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 04/28/2014 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
How the World Bank is behind the rampant theft of land and resources from the world's poorest people

Precious land is being swiped away from poor farmers in the developing world and it's not the work of corrupt dictators or Mother Nature. The culprit is the World Bank. On this episode of Locus Focus, we'll talk with Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute, whose new report , Willful Blindness -- How the World Bank's Doing Business (DB) Rankings Impoverish Smallholder Farmers, shows how the powerful entity is behind the rampant theft of land and resources from some of the world's poorest people. 

Measure 26-156, the Water District Initiative - on your ballot next month

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 04/21/2014 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
Why Portland's environmental community opposes Measure 26-156, the water district initiative.


In a few weeks Portland voters will be voting on a measure that would remove Portland's Bureaus of Water and Environmental Services from city control and have them run instead by a new elected board. Proponents claim that this measure will cut Portland water rates and provide transparency in an agency they believe is out of control. But opponents of the measure see it as a power grab by the city's largest industrial water users and corporate polluters, masquerading as a populist revolt. They say that the real intention is to roll back the city's most important environmental initiatives.

The Himalayan Stove Project

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 04/14/2014 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
The Himalayan Stove Project: Conserving the Cryosphere with Eco-Conscious Cookstoves

Primitive open-fire cooking methods used by people in remote regions of the High Himalayas are responsible for significant deforestation, toxic air pollution, global warming, and millions of premature deaths. One solution to this problem is providing clean-burning stoves to impoverished Himalayan households. Not only do clean-burning efficient cook stoves reduce carbon emissions and help stave off pollution and deforestation, but they also improve the health and living conditions of women and children.

THE KINGDOM OF RARITIES - A Conversation with author Eric Dinerstein

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 04/07/2014 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
Eric Dinerstein, author of The Kingdom of Rarities, talks about the rarest animals on earth
This program was originally broadcast on April 8, 2013

THE FAMILY FARMS MEASURE: JACKSON COUNTY TAKES ON GMOs

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 03/31/2014 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
The Family Farms Measure, ballot measure to stop genetically engineered crops in Southern Oregon

This May voters in Jackson County in Southern Oregon will be voting on the Family Farms Measure 15-119, a ballot measure that would ban genetically engineered crops from being grown in the county. If it passes, Jackson County will join three California Counties (Mendocino, San Cruz and Marin) where GMO bans are already in place. But Jackson County will be the only county in Oregon that can vote on this issue, since the Oregon legislature passed a pre-emptive law last summer prohibiting any other local anti-GMO ordinances.

Can Coal Ever Be Clean?

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 03/24/2014 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
Can carbon capture and sequestration reduce the carbon emissions of coal-fired power plants?
Coal provides 40 percent of the world's electricity and 39 percent of global CO2 emissions. Mining coal is a deadly profession that destroys the natural environment. Transporting coal is also fraught with dangers and clean coal is a myth. But getting the world off coal is easier said than done. Until we have a comprehensive renewable energy infrastructure, it looks like coal will remain a significant source of the world's energy.

Audio

DEEP FUTURE: THE NEXT 100,000 YEARS OF LIFE ON EARTH

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program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 10/17/2011

For the past few weeks we've been discussing relatively short term implications of climate change on a variety of ecosystems. On this episode of Locus Focus we look at how the course we take in the near future—whether to curb our appetite for fossil fuels or continue the status quo of spewing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere—will impact life on this planet not just for the next century but for the next 100,000 years. Our guest, paleoclimatologist Curt Stager, has written a new book, Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth, in which he details the long-lived effects of the fossil fuel binge that has shaped the last two hundred years of human civilization.

Curt Stager is an ecologist, paleoclimatologist, and science journalist with a Ph.D. in biology and geology from Duke University (1985). He has published over three dozen peer-reviewed articles in major journals including Science and Quaternary Research, and has written extensively for general audiences in periodicals such as National Geographic and Adirondack Life.

EMPIRE OF THE BEETLE Author Andrew Nikiforuk on the Bark Beetle's Seige of North American Forests

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

A bug the size of a rice kernel is killing off more than 30 billion pine and spruce trees in North America. Historically bark beetles are not pests. A bark beetle can probably hear the distressed song of a drought stricken tree and for tens of millions of years they have been pruning or collapsing ailing, aging or drought stricken forests.

On this episode of Locus Focus, we talk with Andrew Nikiforuk, critically acclaimed author of Tar Sands, whose new book Empire of the Beetle, asserts that misguided science, out-of-control logging, bad public policy, a hundred years of fire suppression, and climate change have released the world’s oldest forest manager from all natural constraints. We'll talk about the massive destruction the bark beetle is causing and what it may mean for the future.

Andrew Nikiforuk is an award-winning Canadian journalist who has written about education, economics, and the environment for the last two decades.  His books include Pandemonium; Saboteurs: Wiebo Ludwig’s War Against Oil; The Fourth Horseman: A Short History of Plagues, Scourges and Emerging Viruses; and Tar Sands, which won the Rachel Carson Environmental Book Award.

THE DOLLAR LAKE FIRE: LOOKING BACK AT THE FIRE SEASON

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 10/03/2011

The fires this summer on the northface of Mt. Hood struck a dark chord for many of us who know and love the trails, basins and ridges of this rugged and least-accessible face of the mountain. Yet while we may feel great sadness imagining our favorite places scorched and blackened by the fires, it's important to remember the vital role that fire plays in regenerating the woods. After the fire the forest comes back, but it takes time. On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with forest ecologist Dominick DellaSalla about the vital role that fire plays in the cycle of life and death in a forest. We'll also discuss how we've interrupted those cycles through livestock grazing, high grade logging, post-fire logging and fire suppression, that changes the fire regimes in many places so that fires burn hotter when they do eventually burn. We'll look at how climate change is also exacerbating the intensity and frequency of fires.

Dominick DellaSalla is President and Chief Scientist at the Geo Institute in Ashland, Oregon. He is an internationally renowned author of over 150 technical papers, co-author of four books on biodiversity and sustainable forest management, subject editor for the Natural Areas Journal, guest editor for Conservation Biology, author of Temperate and Boreal Rainforests of the World – Ecology and Conservation, and serves as the President of the North American Section of the Society for Conservation Biology.

OUR DYING PLANET - An interview with ecologist Peter Sale

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program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 09/26/2011

Coral reefs are on track to become the first ecosystem actually eliminated from the planet, a potential eradication being caused by us. Human activities are creating enormous changes on this planet which sustains us, and the alarming plight of coral reefs is just one of these. On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with ecologist Peter Sale, whose new book Our Dying Planet uses the motif of endangered coral reefs to explore the many ways we are changing our planet and to explain why it matters. But despite the gloomy title, Sale's book emphasizes that a gloom-and-doom scenario is not inevitable. We'll explore alternative paths that Sale believes show the ways in which science can help us realize a better future.

Peter F. Sale is Assistant Director of the Institute for Water, Environment, and Health at United Nations University and University Professor Emeritus at the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada. His previous books include The Ecology of Fishes on Coral Reefs, Coral Reef Fishes, and Marine Metapopulations.

World Population Hits 7 Billion - A Conversation with William Ryerson

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 09/19/2011

The United Nations is predicting that world population will reach 7 billion on October 31, 2011. Despite evidence that adding 225,000 more people every day to our population is stressing out the world—evinced by soaring food and gas prices and water shortages—the environmental movement has yet to call with a unified voice for the stabilization of world population growth. On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with William Ryerson, founder and President of Population Media Center and a fellow at the Post Carbon Institute, about why we need to the stabilize population growth to a level that can be sustained by the world's natural resources and how that can be accomplished through education, family planning and revitalizing democracy throughout the world.

About Bill Ryerson:

William Ryerson, founder and President of Population Media Center (PMC), Chairman of Population Institute (Washington DC), fellow at the Post Carbon Institute and recipient of the 2006 Nafis Sadik Prize for Courage, is one of the world’s foremost experts on human population, having been in the field for 40 years. Before founding PMC, Ryerson was Development Director of Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania, Associate Director of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and Executive Vice President of Population Communications International. Bill Ryerson authored a book chapter on population for the Post Carbon Reader, published in October 2010.

About Population Media Center:

Population Media Center (PMC) is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization with a well-tested methodology for creating behavior change communication programs that address social and health issues in a way that honors the system of values of the community. PMC’s work is concentrated on entertainment broadcasting, particularly long-running serial dramas in which characters evolve into role models for adoption of family planning, delayed marriage and childbearing, elevation of women’s status, avoidance of HIV/AIDS, and related social and health goals. The serial dramas are designed using a methodology created by Miguel Sabido, a producer of Mexican television. By engaging audiences in riveting, dramatic stories, PMC is able to not only deliver important social and health messages to huge audiences, but is able to motivate them to change their attitudes and behavior on the issues. PMC has reached more than 100 million people with its serial dramas, and their strategy has led to significant, measurable changes with regard to elevation of women’s status, reduced birth rates, and overall improved health among the audiences.

  • Year: 2011
  • Length: 40:09 minutes (36.75 MB)
  • Format: MP3 Stereo 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)

The End Of Growth - An Interview with Richard Heinberg

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 09/12/2011

Conventional economic theory flies in the face of ecological reality. How can a global economy premised on perpetual growth survive in a closed system, which is our planet earth? On this episode of Locus Focus, we talk with Richard Heinberg, author of a new book, The End of Growth, which proposes a startling diagnosis: the expansionary trajectory of industrial civilization is colliding with non-negotiable natural limits which include resource depletion, environmental impacts of unfettered industrial growth and crushing levels of debt. We discuss what policymakers, communities, and families can do to build a new economy that operates within Earth’s budget of energy and resources and how we can thrive during the transition if we set goals that promote human and environmental well-being, rather than continuing to pursue the now-unattainable prize of ever-expanding GDP.

Author of ten books, including The Party's Over, Peak Everything, and senior Fellow-in-Residence at Post Carbon Institute, Richard Heinberg is best known as a leading educator on Peak Oil — the point at which we reach maximum global oil production — and the resulting, devastating impact it will have on our economic, food, and transportation systems. But his expertise is far-ranging, covering critical issues including the current economic crisis, food and agriculture, community resilience, and global climate change.

An American in Japan: Current conditions in Fukushima

program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 08/29/2011

Host Marianne Barisonek speaks with Steven Thompson, an American living in Japan, who is working on issues related to the radiation coming from the Fukushima Nuclear Power plant. Thompson recently visited the area surrounding Fukushima. He will talk about current conditions there and in the rest of Japan. 

"Gray Haired Ladies" to face arrest at White House as part of Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline action

program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 08/15/2011

Guest host Stephanie Potter interviews Barbara Ford and Marilee Dea who are going as part of a contingent of "Gray Haired Ladies" to Washington DC to protest  the Keystone XL Pipeline,  a proposed 1,700 mile pipeline that would carry tar sands oil from Canada to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico. Proponents of the pipeline cite increased tax revenues, jobs and "energy security."  In passing from Alberta to Texas, it would carry one of the world's dirtiest fuels through six states and the "largest aquifer in the world." What are the risks to ecosystems, water sources and public health? And what about the climate crisis?  Climatologist James Hansen has stated: “An overwhelming objection is that exploitation of tar sands would make it implausible to stabilize climate and avoid disastrous global climate impacts.” The women hope to join thousands of people from across the continent, including James Hansen, environmentalist Bill McKibben, actor Danny Glover, in a wave of sustained sit-ins. The protest runs from August 20 to Sept 3, and the Gray Haired Ladies will be participating on August 29 For some of them  it will be their first-ever protest:    "We are women over 50 from the Columbia Ecovillage, some have never demonstrated before. Peg, a hair stylist from Spokane Wa, Ann, a school secretary, Pam, a retired lawyer and nurse, Barbara, a counselor and facilitator, Marilee, a nurse practitoner and urban farmer." --Marilee  (For more info you might want to check out this interview with Andrew Nikiforuk, author of "Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent.")

E-205 with Portland Commissioner Nick Fish

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 08/01/2011

Portland is touted for its great parks system, but if you live on the far east side of the city, east of I-205 you wouldn't know it. But hopefully that is about to change. Over the years, Portland Parks & Recreation has acquired a number of great properties for future parks on the east side. They have already completed Master Plans for several sites and made initial improvements where funding allowed. And when a bond measure is passed in 2-3 years, building out new east side parks will be a priority. On this episode of Locus Focus we're joined by Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish, who is the Commissioner-in-Charge of Portland Parks, to talk about plans to vastly improve the parks system in this rapidly growing part of town, and why he doesn't want to wait implement them. He also talks with host Barbara Bernstein about other initatives to improve the health of Portlanders—and our environment: expanding community garden plots, removing junk food from Portland Parks recreational facilities and banning plastic bags in the city.

Nick Fish is Commissioner-in-charge of the Portland Housing Bureau and Portland Parks & Recreation. He also serves as Council liaison to Elders in Action and as a member of the Board of the Oregon Cultural Trust.

SOLWEST FAIR - Renewable Energy Action in Eastern Oregon

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 07/25/2011

Portland might consider itself the hub of the sustainable movement but every summer in Grant County, Oregon, a major event takes place to rival anything in our urban center. On this episode of Locus Focus we'll learn about the SolWest Fair that takes place every summer in John Day. This three-day event offers activities for all ages and knowledge levels, as participants from around the West and beyond come to join the SolWest community and learn about energy efficiency, solar and wind energy, alternatively fueled vehicles and more.

We'll talk about the SolWest Fair with Jennifer Barker from EORenew, the group that sponsors this annual fair.

The Eastern Oregon Renewable Energies Association (EORenew) was founded in 1998, with a mission to empower people to increase their energy efficiency and use of solar, wind, and other renewables. They make classroom visits with energy presentations to K-12 schools in our region of Oregon and provide energy services to the John Day area, including energy audits and conservation information, site assessment, Oregon energy tax credit assistance, and RE business referrals.

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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