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.
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%.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?