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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

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.

The Case Against Exporting Crude Oil

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 03/17/2014 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
Should the United States lift restrictions on exporting crude oil? with Eric de Place

For nearly forty years there has been a ban on crude oil exports from the United States. This ban started in response to the 1973 Arab oil embargo, which sent world oil prices soaring. To shield the United States from the volatility of global oil markets, Congress enacted numerous conservation measures as well as restrictions on oil exports. Forty years later, with fracked American oil flooding the markets, voices from many corners are calling to lift the ban on exporting crude oil.

MORE ON THE MEGALOADS, with Wild Idaho Rising Tide

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 03/10/2014 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
The latest on the latest round of megaloads rumbling through the Northwest

The oil industry has targeted the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies as the most direct shipping route to move heavy equipment to Tar Sands operations in Northeastern Alberta. Since 2010 megaloads of enormous mining equipment have rumbled over winding mountain river corridors through Oregon, Idaho and Montana. One of the first groups to bring attention to the megaloads was Wild Idaho Rising Tide, who is now trying to stop the longest and widest megaload yet. This industrial transport is heading up Highway 95 through Idaho to the Montana Refining Company in Great Falls.

Fracking the Eagle Ford Shale: Big Oil and Bad Air on the Texas Prairie

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 03/03/2014 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
The health and safety concerns from fracking the Eagle Ford Shale Play in Texas.

Deep in the heart of South Texas, oil and gas wells are sprouting at an unprecedented rate, making the Eagle Ford Shale one of the biggest energy booms in America. But the boom could be a bust for local residents who fear for their health, not from the water in the ground, but the very air they breathe.

THE CONTINUING SAGA OF LOGGING ON O & C LANDS

Program: 
Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 02/24/2014 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
How doubling logging on BLM lands will elevate extinction risks to threatened wildlife.

Senator Ron Wyden is sponsoring legislation that would double the logging on the so-called O&C lands. It is estimated that approximately 200,000 acres of older forests currently protected by the Northwest Forest Plan would be shifted into logging, including clearcutting, under S.1784. This plan is drawing intense criticism from scientific organizations who conclude that the Oregon and California Lands Act (S.

Audio

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

Categories:
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

THIS IS YOUR OCEAN ON ACID

Categories:
program: 
Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 06/18/2012

Over the past 100 years, levels of carbon in the atmosphere have risen 30%—to 393 parts per million. One thing that has kept global warming in check is that the oceans absorb a third of that carbon dioxide. Until recently the process of oceans soaking up our excess CO2 was considered beneficial. But the 22 million tons per day of carbon dioxide that the oceans are taking up is beginning to wreak havoc on ocean ecosystems. Scientists are discovering that all this carbon dioxide is causing the ocean to rapidly acidify, changing ocean ecosystems in profound ways.

On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Brita Belli, editor of E Magazine and author of the lead article in this month's issue: "This Is Your Ocean On Acid." We'll discuss how ocean acidification is threatening nearly every aspect of the ocean food web, from shellfish to coral reefs. 

Brita Belli is editor of E and author of The Autism Puzzle: Connecting the Dots Between Environmental Toxins and Rising Autism Rates.

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