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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Proposals to build oil, coal and LNG terminals across the Northwest, and opposition they face
 

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Episode Archive

The 1980 Mt. St. Helens Eruption - Then and Now

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 05/18/2015 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
Remembering the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens, on its 35th anniversary
This May 18 marks the 35th anniversary of the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens, that blew the top 1,300 feet off the mountain and triggered the largest recorded landslide in the earth's history. The eruption disrupted the lives of thousands of people and wildlife and transformed hundreds of square miles of rich forest into a grey, lifeless landscape. But in the ensuing 35 years life has returned to the slopes of Mt. St. Helens, which has become a living laboratory for geologists and biologists alike. On this episode of Locus Focus, we're joined by Portland State University geology professor Scott Burns, to remember that momentous eruption and its aftermath.

TASTY: The Art and Science of What We Eat

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 05/11/2015 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
The art and science of what we eat with author John McQuaid
Download:
Taste is often dismissed as the most primitive of senses, yet it's really the most complex and subtle. On this episode of Locus Focus we learn how taste originated, starting with flavor's primitive stirrings 500 million years ago, and many millions of years later with the taming of fire, how tools making flavor became the first true catalyst of cultural awakening. Our guest is John McQuaid, author of TASTY: The Art and Science of What We Eat.

CAN GEOENGINEERING SOLVE GLOBAL WARMING?

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 05/04/2015 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
Challenges, pitfalls and unintended consequences of relying on geoengineering to stop climate change
Modified jets spewing sulfuric acid could haze the skies over the Arctic in a few years “for the price of a Hollywood blockbuster,” as physicist David Keith of Harvard University likes to say. That’s geoengineering, the deliberate large-scale manipulation of the planetary environment. This hazing, which mimics the cooling effect of a volcanic eruption, is so cheap that almost any country—or any random billionaire—could afford to do it, But even though it's too late to slow down the planetary warming triggered long ago by the carbon emissions of the industrial age, is geoengineering really the route we want to go?

Mount Polley copper/gold mine in B.C. set to reopen just 8 months after massive toxic spill

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 04/27/2015 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
Guests Kanahus Manuel of Secwepemc Nation and Franklin Lopez of subMedia.tv from Vancouver, B.C.1
On August 4, 2014 a huge mine tailings pond breached, releasing an estimated 14.5 million cubic meters of toxic solid and liquid mine wastes into the pristine waters of the Fraser River watershed in southeastern British Columbia. Imperial Metals, which runs the Mount Polley open pit copper and gold mine, applied for a permit to reopen the mine after the disaster. On April 1 (cruel joke), the Province of B.C. accepted the application to reopen the mine, leaving just one month for the public to comment. 

THE SWEAT GLANDS OF THE EARTH

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 04/20/2015 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
Forests' role in cooling the earth and generating moisture thousands of miles away
This program originally aired on February 2, 2015

The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster: Four Years Later with Charles Johnson of PSR

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 04/13/2015 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster: Four Years Later with Charles Johnson of PSR
On March 11 of this year, exactly four years after the devastating nuclear disaster in Japan, Charles Johnson of Physicians for Social Responsibility talked about the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the result of a major earthquake.

Winning Grassroots Campaigns on a Shoestring Budget: Jackson and Josephine Counties

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 04/06/2015 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
Winning Grassroots Campaigns on a Shoestring Budget: Jackson and Josephine Counties

A roundtable discussion from the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference held at the University of Oregon Law School in early March. Panelists include attorney Brent Foster; George Kimbrell, Senior Attorney, Center for Food Safety; Chris Hardy, Farmer, Our Family Farms Coalition, Village Farm; and more.

(Recorded by Paul Roland)

Reforesting the Tropics

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 03/30/2015 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
Stopping the spread of tropical deforestation and promoting reforestation as well
Since the dawn of civilization, humans have destroyed or badly damaged perhaps three-quarters of the world’s forests. While forests have been re-established in many regions across the Northern Hemisphere they are under increasing assault in the tropics. On this episode of Locus Focus we speak with Rolf Skar, Forests Campaign Director of Greenpeace, about efforts to stop the spread of tropical deforestation and initiatives to promote reforestation as well.

Jackson County's Anti-GMO Ordinance Goes to Court

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 03/23/2015 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
An update on the lawsuit challenging Jackson County's anti-GMO ordinance.
In May 2014, voters in Jackson County overwhelmingly approved Measure 15-119, banning most GMO crops in the county. The bi-partisan victory came despite a wave of opposition funding from the chemical industry, topping out at nearly $1 million. Now these same biotechnology interests are challenging the ordinance in court

On this episode of Locus Focus we talk about the status of this lawsuit  with Elise Higley, Jackson County farmer and director of Our Family Farms Coalition, the organization that spearheaded the anti-GMO ordinance last fall.

STORM SURGE

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 03/16/2015 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
Scientist Adam Sobel on what what Hurricane Sandy means for the future of our planaet
Two years after Hurricane Sandy tore a swath of destruction and death across the Northeast, one haunting question remains: was it a freak of nature or was this devastating catastrophe a harbinger of what’s to come? On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with scientist Adam Sobel, author of STORM SURGE: Hurricane Sandy, Our Changing Climate, and the Extreme Weather of the Past and Future, about what this unprecedented megastorm means for the future of our planet.

Adam Sobel is a leading scientist in the study of hurricanes and the changing climate. He has authored or co-authored over 100 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals and he has won several major awards.

Audio

Mount Polley copper/gold mine in B.C. set to reopen just 8 months after massive toxic spill

program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 04/27/2015
On August 4, 2014 a huge mine tailings pond breached, releasing an estimated 14.5 million cubic meters of toxic solid and liquid mine wastes into the pristine waters of the Fraser River watershed in southeastern British Columbia. Imperial Metals, which runs the Mount Polley open pit copper and gold mine, applied for a permit to reopen the mine after the disaster. On April 1 (cruel joke), the Province of B.C. accepted the application to reopen the mine, leaving just one month for the public to comment. 

The Secwepemc Nation lives in the territory where the mine and toxic spill are located and on August 22 after the spill, the Neskonlith Secwepemc First Nation issued an eviction notice to Imperial Metals. The area has never been ceded to the Canadian government by the Indigenous People of the land, and they continue to resist industrial occupations of their land. Though they don't accept Canadian sovereignty over their land, recent Canadian court decisions have opened up new possibilities within the settler legal system to oppose such projects based on Aboriginal rights and title.

Guest host Paul Roland will talk with Kanahus Manuel of the Secwepemc Women Warrior Society, which has called for an International Day of Action against the mine reopening this Wednesday, April 29 https://www.facebook.com/events/479754152172313/. Manuel was in Portland on February 24 for a panel discussion on "Occupation, Environmental Destruction and the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions Movement" at PSU. You can hear the audio here: http://kboo.fm/audiotagtitlera. For more on the campaign against Imperial Metals, see https://www.facebook.com/pages/Imperial-No-More/763065147144714?fref=ts and follow them on twitter at #imperialnomore.

For more on the lendmark Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia Canadian Supreme court decision and the Unist'ot'en resistance to tar sands and other fossil fuel pipelines, listen to http://kboo.fm/tsilhqotinandcanadianfirstnationssoverei.
For more on the Unist'ot'en camp, go to http://unistotencamp.com/

Franklin Lopez of subMedia.tv from Vancouver, B.C. also happens to be in town for an evening of anti-colonial hip-hop and anarchist films, with Savage Fam and Alas. The show is at Hipbone Studio, Monday April 27 at 8 p.m. 1847 E Burnside suite 104. subMedia.tv is a video production ensemble, which aims to promote anarchist and anti-capitalist ideas, and aid social struggles through the dissemination of radical films and videos. Founded in 1994, subMedia.tv has produced 100's of videos on everything from anti-globalization to shoplifting. Their films have been screened around the world in social centers and movie theaters and seen by millions on the internet. More about them here: http://www.submedia.tv/

The Facebook page for tonight's event is here:https://www.facebook.com/events/1375489872779633/

 
  • Length: 42:23 minutes (58.2 MB)
  • Format: MP3 Stereo 44kHz 192Kbps (CBR)

HURRICANE SANDY, SEA LEVEL RISE AND THE WORLD WE NOW LIVE IN

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 01/07/2013

The storm surge generated by Hurricane Sandy, flooding significant areas across Greater New York and New Jersey, demonstrated that the specter of climate change and the disasters it will wreak are now upon us. As the Northeast engages in a slow recovery from the storm's damage, a debate is now raging about how to prevent similar destruction from the inevitable next super storm.

On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with climate scientist Todd Sanford about the public health impacts of climate change-induced storms such as Sandy, and what it will take to build communities that are more resilient to the ravages of extreme weather events in a warming world.

Todd Sanford is a climate scientist with the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. His main areas of focus are the public health impacts of climate change and the "social cost" of carbon—the various financial costs associated with climate change.

Odessa: Genius and Death in a City of Dreams

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 12/24/2012

 Rebroadcast of program originally aired on 3/7/2011

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

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

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

NOTHING THAT IS POISONED CAN GROW: THE RICHMOND OIL REFINERY FIRE

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 08/20/2012

At 6:30 in evening on Hiroshima Day this month, the Chevron Oil Refinery in Richmond exploded in a massive fire, spreading a mushroom cloud of thick black smoke over the homes and gardens of the residents of this marginalized community. That night thousands of people flocked to local hospitals complaining of respiratory problems. No one seems to know what toxins were contained in that dark cloud that settled over the city for a couple hours, before the winds changed and the toxic cloud dispersed above more affluent communities. In the aftermath of the fire which burned out of control for over six house, Richmond residents not only worry about the toxins they may have inhaled during the fire. They are worried about what poisons linger on the plants in their vegetable gardens and in the soil, rendering their gardens toxic.

On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Doria Robinson, who heads Urban Tilth, a Richmond resident-run urban agriculture program, operating 11 different school and community gardens in the city. She'll talk about why it's urgent to hold Chevron accountable for the release of a myriad of dangerous contaminants into the air, that among other things, may result in the potential loss of thousands of pounds of food grown by local school children and residents, intended to help alleviate problems of food scarcity.

Urban Tilth cultivates agriculture in west Contra Costa County to help its community build a more sustainable, healthy, and just food system. They work with schools, community-based organizations, government agencies, businesses, and individuals to develop the capacity to produce 5% of their own food supply. Urban Tilth believes that environmental restoration is inextricably connected to economic and social restoration. They are committed to training and employing local people, working collaboratively within the community, engaging in local policy decisions and growing their food (and themselves), locally and organically.

Doria Robinson is a 3rd generation resident of Richmond, California and the Executive Director of Urban Tilth. Formally trained as a Watershed Restoration Ecologist, Doria has also worked on organic farms in Western Massachusetts where she attended Hampshire College; at Veritable Vegetable, a women owned organic produce distribution company; Real Food Company and Mixed Nuts Food Co-op. She is passionate about  physical, social and economic health being dependent upon ecological health; the restoration of one depends on the restoration of the other. She was recognized as Environmental Advocate of the Year for Contra Costa County and as Woman of the Year for Contra Costa County in 2010 and in 2011 she was presented with a Community Resiliency Leadership Award from Bay Localize. Doria currently lives in the neighborhood she grew up in in Richmond with her wonderful 10 year old twins.

Learn more about Urban Tilth and how you can support their efforts to keep growing abundant gardens in Richmond in the aftermath of the August 6 refinery fire by visiting their facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/urban.tilth

Urban Tilth is featured in an upcoming documentary film Gaining Ground, produced and directed by Elaine Velazquez and Barbara Bernstein. You can learn more about the film and see a clip featuring Doria Robinson at http://mediaprojectonline.org/

A preview edit of Gaining Ground will be screened at the Northwest Film Center in Portland, OR on September 13.

A NEW URBAN FOOD ZONING CODE FOR PORTLAND

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 07/30/2012

Portland has long been a center of ad-hoc urban agriculture. For many decades, Portlanders have grown vegetables in their backyards. Over the past 30 plus years, community gardens have sprung up where people without adequate yard space can also garden. And now an increasing number of folks are raising livestock in town as well. The City of Portland has supported in theory this booming movement of farmers' markets, community gardens, backyard farming, community supported agriculture and food buying clubs. But zoning code regulations have not kept pace and in many cases are cumbersome or contradictory.

So now the City of Portland has approved an updated food zoning code. It's the city's first broad look at how regulations affect the activities associated with growing and distributing food in our neighborhoods. And hopefully the new code will reflect the changes and needs of a city that is trying to feed itself.

On this episode of Locus Focus we find out about how this new code will hopefully encourage more agricultural activities within the city, as we talk with Portland's "food czar" Steve Cohen and senior planner Jessica Richman, who is part of the team that wrote Portland's new food zoning code.

TEN YEARS AFTER THE BISCUIT FIRE: A RETROSPECTIVE IN A SUMMER OF FIRE

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 07/23/2012

TEN YEARS AFTER THE BISCUIT FIRE: A RETROSPECTIVE IN A SUMMER OF FIRE

In mid July of 2002 a series of lightning strikes ignited a number of small fires in some very remote mountainous areas of SW Oregon. The fires merged into what became known as the Biscuit Fire, the largest fire that year in North America. Burning across an area of over 500,000 acres it was the largest fire in Oregon history - until this summer. Once the fire was extinguished political conflagrations erupted over how to manage the fire-affected wilderness landscape. Those arguments are still echoing ten years later as we experience another summer of extreme wildfires across the West.

On this episode of Locus Focus we talk again with forest ecologist Dominick DellaSala about the lessons learned from the Biscuit Fire. We'll discuss why there is a key difference between the impact of that fire - and other large Oregon wildfires - and the devastating human toll that this summer's fires in Colorado, Utah and New Mexico are taking. Could it have something to do with Oregon's land use laws?

Dr. Dominick A. DellaSala, President and Chief Scientist of the Geos Institute in Ashland, Oregon, is an internationally renowned author of over 150 technical papers, including the award winning “Temperate and Boreal Rainforests of the World” (www.islandpress.org/dellasala). He has appeared in National Geographic, Science Digest, Science Magazine, Time Magazine, Audubon Magazine, National Wildlife Magazine, High Country News, Terrain Magazine, NY Times, LA Times, USA Today, Jim Lehrer News Hour, CNN, MSNBC, “Living on Earth (NPR),” several PBS wildlife documentaries and is a frequent guest on Locus Focus. Dominick co-founded the Geos Institute in July 2006. He is motivated by leaving a living planet for his daughter and all those to follow.

JOHNSON CREEK: 2012 STATE OF THE WATERSHED REPORT

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 07/16/2012

Johnson Creek flows 26 miles from its headwaters near the Sandy River to its confluence with the Willamette River, passing through five cities (Gresham, Portland, Milwaukie, Damascus, and Happy Valley) and two counties (Clackamas and Multnomah) along the way. Once a favorite camping and fishing spot for Native people, the creek was degraded by decades of abuse when white settlers took over the landscape. For years, Johnson Creek was known primarily as an eyesore that frequently flooded. Over the last few decades a growing number of people have become determined to right past wrongs in the Johnson Creek Watershed and return the creek to something of its former natural glory. In the mid-1980s, a small grassroots group called the Friends of Johnson Creek (also known as the Johnson Creek Marching Band) began leading tours of Johnson Creek, highlighting it as a community asset. It was the first time that any group had portrayed Johnson Creek in a positive light publicly. These days the Johnson Creek Watershed Council is the official body that oversees the restoration, enhancement and protection of the creek.

On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Robin Jenkinson, JCWC Restoration Coordinator and author of the recent State of the Watershed Report for Johnson Creek, that looks at several areas of concern in the Johnson Creek Watershed: fish and wildlife, shade and temperature, streamflow, turbidity, pollution and a 2020 vision for the creek.

THE POISON BENEATH US

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 07/09/2012

Over the past several decades, U.S. industries have injected more than 30 trillion gallons of toxic liquid deep into the earth, using broad expanses of the nation's geology as an invisible dumping ground. No company would be allowed to pour such dangerous chemicals into the rivers or onto the soil. But until recently, scientists and environmental officials have assumed that deep layers of rock beneath the earth would safely entomb the waste for millennia

On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Abrahm Lustgarten, whose recent series of articles for ProPublica, investigates a legion of problems and potential catastrophes inherent with the practice of pumping deadly toxins beneath the surface of the earth.

Abrahm Lustgarten writes about energy, water, climate change and anything else having to do with the environment. Before coming to ProPublica in 2008, he was a staff writer and contributor for Fortune, and has written for Wired, Salon, Esquire, the Washington Post and the New York Times. At ProPublica, his investigation into fracking for natural gas was recognized with the George Polk award for environmental reporting, a National Press Foundation award for best energy writing and a Sigma Delta Chi award. His reporting on BP and the Deepwater Horizon tragedy was nominated for an Emmy. Abrahm is the author of Run to Failure: BP and the Making of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster and China’s Great Train: Beijing’s Drive West and the Campaign to Remake Tibet.

CASCADIA'S FAULT: PREPARING FOR THE BIG ONE

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 07/02/2012

It used to be that when people talked about the "Big One," they were referring to the next giant earthquake along the San Andreas Fault, that in the parlance of the time, might cause California to fall into the ocean. It turns out that the fault to watch is the much longer and potentially damaging Cascadia Subduction Zone, a fracture in the earth’s crust roughly 60 miles offshore, that starts just north of the San Andreas Fault in northern California and runs all the way to northern Vancouver Island. This fault generates a monster earthquake about every 500 years. The last time it shook was in 1700 and there is roughly a 30 percent chance that just such a disaster could happen within the next fifty years. Or it could happen during this episode of Locus Focus, when we will be talking with Jerry Thompson, a journalist who has been following this story for twenty-five years, and is author of Cascadia’s Fault, which tells the tale of this potentially devastating earthquake and the killer waves it will spawn.

Jerry Thompson has worked as a radio and television reporter in Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver and as a network news correspondent on assignments around the world. He has covered everything from forestry and fishing to earthquakes and tsunamis. From geo-engineering the climate, to the ozone hole in Australia, to the struggling Sandinista government in Nicaragua, to ethnic civil war in Sri Lanka, and the chemical disaster in Bhopal. In January 1994, he began writing and directing hour-long documentaries in partnership with his wife, producer Bette Thompson, through their production company, Raincoast Storylines Ltd. In between documentary projects, Jerry has written two screenplays, a television series pilot, and is currently at work on a novel. The Thompsons live in the village of Sechelt on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast.

Learn more about the history of earthquakes in North America.

HARVEST THE WIND: An Interview with Author and Environmental Lawyer Philip Warburg

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program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 06/25/2012

HARVEST THE WIND: An Interview with Author and Environmental Lawyer Philip Warburg

Wth the rising threat of climate change and the steady depletion of fossil fuels, wind power is arguably the only renewable energy resource ready to meet a significant portion of our energy needs. Yet on a national level, the United States has failed to make a meaningful commitment to support further development of wind's full potential to generate electricity. Wind power does not only meet resistance from the fossil fuel industry. Its critics also include segments of the environmental movement, who raise concerns about bird and bat kills and possible health risks from living close to industrial-strength wind farms, which they also view as eyesores on the landscape. On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with environmental lawyer Philip Warburg, whose new book Harvest The Wind, reveals both the remarkable growth of a breakthrough technology and the formidable challenges it faces.

Philip Warburg was president of the Conservation Law Foundation in New England, from 2003 to 2009. Previously he was an attorney at the Environmental Law Institute in Washington, D.C. He has also worked with governments and citizen groups on anti-pollution initiatives in Egypt, Jordan, Palestine and across Eastern Europe

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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