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.
Several years ago Locus Focus host Barbara Bernstein watched a crow delicately extract from a narrow paper bag a Subway sandwich that was lying in the gutter. Once the sandwich was free of its wrapper, the crow remained curbside, happily feasting on its prize. This observation gave Barbara a newfound fascination and respect for crows. As it turns out, the wily intelligence she witnessed that morning is a common attribute of crows and their corvid relatives: ravens, magpies and jays. Crows are not only extremely smart, they also have highly developed social skills, and it turns out, share many qualities with humans, which occasionally inspires interspecies communication between corvids and people. On this episode of Locus Focus we learn about our uniquely symbiotic relationship with crows as we find out what goes on in a crow's brain that makes them such fascinating creatures. Guest John Marzluff is author of a new book, Gifts of the Crow, that takes us on a tour of the corvid brain from perspectives of biology, chemistry and whimsy.
John Marzluff, PhD, is a professor of wildlife science at the University of Washington's School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. His research on corvids and birds of prey has benefited birds all over the world, from pinyon jays in Arizona, ravens in Greenland and golden eagles and prairie falcons in Idaho to Washington State's goshawks and the endangered Hawaiian hawk, one of the rarest birds in the world. He has conducted long-term studies of urbanization on songbirds in the Seattle area; responses of nest predators and songbirds to settlements, recreation and forest fragmentation on the Olympic Peninsula; and endangered species conservation. When he's not looking skyward, Dr. Marzluff enjoys fishing and dog-sledding.
THE CRASH COURSE with CHRIS MARTENS: Understanding the Interdependence of our Economy, Environment, and Energy Systems
Chris Martenson used to be part of the 1%. Five years ago he traded his McMansion and position as Vice President of a Fortune 500 company for a much simpler life in rural western Massachusetts. Now his goal is to shed light on the limits of our present economic model of infinite growth as we increasingly face the realities of a planet with finite resources. His video lecture series "The Crash Course" takes on the future challenges of our economy, energy systems and the environment. According to Martenson, "it's where these fields intersect that the greatest story of any generation will be told."
On this episode of Locus Focus, we are joined by Chris Martenson who will share the information gathered over a period of five years, revealing the interdependence of our economy, environment, and energy systems.
For the past year Oregon news has been filled with stories of timber-dependent counties on the brink of bankruptcy. Beginning in 1937 these 18 western Oregon counties benefited from federal timber receipts, as they overcut old growth forests on western BLM lands—the so-called "O&C" lands granted to the Oregon and California Railroad in 1866 and taken back by the government in 1916 for violating terms of the land grant. The unsustainable clearcutting of old-growth forests, and the receipts they generated, plummeted in the early 1990s when the threat to salmon, wildlife, clean water and watersheds could no longer be ignored. Congress cushioned the fall by instituting direct federal payments to help transition the counties away from dependence on federal subsidies. These payments expired this year.
To solve the financial crisis facing these counties, three members of Oregon's congressional delegation (Peter De Fazio, Kurt Schraer and Greg Walden) are proposing legislation that would creat a timber trust on two thirds of the O&C lands' 2.6 million acres, managed for the sole purpose of maximizing revenues from logging for the benefit of the 18 O&C counties in Western Oregon.
On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Randi Spivak, Vice President of Government Affairs with the Geos Institute in Ashland, about why Oregon's conservation movement is not pleased with this proposed legislation and what are some alternative solutions to the O&C counties' fiscal crisis.
Everybody knows an electric car doesn’t use gasoline, but since it gets its power from the electric grid, the question remains: How clean is an electric car?
A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists, “State of Charge: Electric Vehicles’ Global Warming Emissions and Fuel Cost Savings Across the United States,” is a first-of-its-kind analysis of the emissions EVs create from charging on an electric grid and how the cost of that charging compares to filling up a gasoline-powered vehicle. On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Don Anair, the report’s author and senior engineer for UCS’s Clean Vehicles Program about the report’s findings and what is the future for electric vehicles.
Don Anair is an engineer in the California office of the Union of Concerned Scientists' (UCS) Clean Vehicles Program working on state and national transportation, air quality, and global warming policy. As part of his work on heavy-duty vehicle issues, Mr. Anair analyzes the impact of diesel pollution on public health and air quality. He is the author of three reports, "Sick of Soot," "Digging Up Trouble," and "Delivering the Green," which focus on the impacts and solutions to reduce diesel emissions. He is also an advocate for groundbreaking diesel clean-up and greenhouse gas efforts in the state and around the country, including regulations, incentive programs, and legislation. Don also evaluates hybrid and advanced vehicle technologies and is author of the Hybrid Scorecard.
Why should you care about the Farm Bill if you're not a farmer or live in a farm state? The short answer is: because you eat and the Farm Bill is really about how our food is grown, what kinds of food gets grown and who gets to eat it.
Every five years, Congress revisits and passes a massive but little understood legislation known as the Farm Bill. Originally conceived as an emergency bailout for millions of farmers and unemployed during the dark times of the Dust Bowl and Great Depression, the Farm Bill has snow-balled into one of the most—if not the most—significant forces affecting food, farming, and land-use in the United States. Over the decades its purpose has shifted from helping small family farmers survive hard times to providing massive corporate welfare payments to mega agribusiness farms. And only those benefiting from its largesse have orchestrated what went into each Farm Bill. Now things are changing as food justice activists, organic farming advocates and others lobbying for input into the next Farm Bill coming down the pike this fall.
On this episode of Locus Focus we are joined by Daniel Imhoff, author of Food Fight: The Citizen's Guide to the Next Food and Farm Bill, who will help us navigate the complexities of this little understood but extremely important legislation known as the Farm Bill.
Daniel Imhoff is a highly sought-after public speaker who lectures and conducts workshops on a variety of topics, from food and farming to environmental design and conservation. He has appeared on hundreds of national and regional radio and television programs, including CBS Sunday Morning, Science Friday, and West Coast Live. Dan is the president and co-founder of Watershed Media, a non-profit publishing house based in Healdsburg, California. His books include Building with Vision, Farming with the Wild, Paper or Plastic, The CAFO Reader: The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories, and many others. Dan’s books have gained national attention with coverage in the San Francisco Chronicle, Newsweek, the San Jose Mercury News, the Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Tribune. He has testified before Congress and spoken at numerous conferences, corporate and government offices, and college campuses, including Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, the University of California at Berkeley, and the Vermont Law School.
He is the president and a co-founder of the Wild Farm Alliance, a ten-year-old national organization that works to promote agriculture systems that support and accommodate wild nature. Dan lives on a small homestead farm in Northern California. http://www.watershedmedia.org
May 22, 2012 6:00 pm at the Ecotrust Building – 721 NW 9th Ave, Portland, OR
Join author Daniel Imhoff and Congressman Earl Blumenauer for a conversation about the Farm Bill, why it matters to you, and what you can do about it.
What is America's largest export, most prodigious product and greatest legacy? It's our trash. Each of us in on track to toss 102 tons of garbage in the course of our lifetime. Our disposable plastic alone outweighs the entire U.S;. Navy. But we don't like to think about our trash. We send it on trains, trucks or barges to landfills hundreds of miles from where the garbage was created. We don't have to see it, but in so many ways the disposable, non-biodegradable items that fill our trash are coming back to haunt us, in forms like the Great Pacific Garbage patch of plastic that threatens marine life and ultimately our own.
On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Pulitzer Prize Winner Edward Humes, whose new book Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash, boggles the mind with the severity of our trashy ways. But it also shares compelling stories of families, companies and communities that are finding a way back from all that trash.
Edward Humes received a Pulitzer Prize for his newspaper coverage of the military. He has written for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Magazine and is the author of eleven nonfiction books. He lives in Seal Beach, CA.
This past winter the Forest Service released its long anticipated final planning rule for the nation's 155 national forests and 20 national grasslands. The plan validates what many scientists have been saying for years: mature and old-growth forests play a critical role in reducing climate change and providing clean drinking water to millions of Americans. On this episode of Locus Focus, we talk with Dominick A. DellaSala, Chief Scientist and President of the Geos Institute in Ashland, Oregon, about why we need to remain vigilant about protecting our precious forest resources, especially in this current political climate in which amped up logging is being promoted as job creation.
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),” and several PBS wildlife documentaries. He has testified in congressional hearings in defense of the Endangered Species Act, roadless area conservation, national monument designations, forest protections, and climate change among others. His rainforest book received an academic excellence award in 2012 from Choice magazine, one of the nation's premier book review journals. 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.
In late February the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) issued the first set of permits necessary to facilitate Nestlé’s proposal to take and bottle water in the Columbia River Gorge. This decision came despite overwhelming public opposition to the plan. Now opponents are taking the next steps to prevent Nestle's Cascade Locks bottled water facility from becoming a reality. Why are so many people opposed to this bottled water plant? What impact will diverting water from Oxbow Spring, a pristine stream in the Columbia Gorge, have on fish and wildlife habitat? On this episode of Locus Focus we speak with Julia DeGraw, Northwest Organizer with Food & Water Watch, one of the groups spearheading the campaign to stop Nestle from bottling Oregon's public water for private profit.
To learn more about the campaign to stop Nestle from building a bottled water facility in the Columbia Gorge and what you can do to stop it, check out: http://keepnestleout.wordpress.com/
The American Dream of owning your own home has been battered by the economic crisis that started in 2008. While it has become much harder harder to achieve this dream, there is a surge of interest in finding resourceful, affordable and environmentally friendly ways of creating housing to meet this challenge. On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Jessica Kellner, editor of Natural Home and Garden Magazine, about some alternative approaches that non-conventional home builders are taking to build homes that reduce landfill waste, rely on recycled or sustainably sourced material, cost relatively little money and help create stronger communities. We also hear from Portland contractor Renee LaChance, who specializes in sustainable remodeling. She talks about how to choose construction materials that are both sustainable and durable, reducing the carbon footprint of your construction, and how to make sustainable remodeling or new construction affordable.
Jessica Kellner, editor of Natural Home & Garden magazine is a passionate advocate of using architectual salvage to create aesthetically beautiful, low-cost housing.
Renee LaChance is the founder of Sustainable Adaptations, specializing in designing new construction and remodels that are and energy efficient and sustainable. Renee believes urban infill protects greenspaces. She thinks building small is more sustainable. She enjoys helping her clients realize their dreams for their property without breaking the bank or contributing to global warming. She looks forward to installing a roof with solar powered shingles when they become available in 2011.
In this age of climate change, species extinction and exponentially expanding human population, it's hard not to feel like we're doomed. So it's important that we find voices to listen to that offer some glimmers of hope. On this episode of Locus Focus we are joined again by writer and marine conservationist Carl Safina, who has witnessed as well as anyone, how much damage results from too many humans obsessed with using up every ounce of our planet's natural resources without concern for future generations. Yet Safina remains a voice of hope as he searches for examples of what is working. His writing offers models for how we can re-orient our values, visions and practices of living on the earth like we are part of its natural systems.
"Each time science tightens a coil in the slack of our understanding, it further elaborates its fundamental discovery: connection. Because the greatest thing a human being can experience is a sense of connection, this is a joyful coincidence. What we need to do is also what our souls yearn to do: connect, connect, connect. And because all things are linked, almost anything can unite us with almost everything. Even a fish suffices." Carl Safina—from Prelude to A View From Lazy Point
Carl Safina is a prominent ecologist and marine conservationist and president of Blue Ocean Institute, an environmental organization based in Cold Spring Harbor, New York. A winner of the prestigious Pew Fellowship, MacArthur Fellowship and Guggenheim Fellowship, Safina has written five books — Song for the Blue Ocean: Encounters Along the World's Coasts and Beneath the Seas; Eye of the Albatross: Visions of Hope and Survival; Voyage of the Turtle: In Pursuit of the Earth's Last Dinosaur; Nina Delmar: The Great Whale Rescue; The View from Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World, and due out in April of 2011, A Sea in Flames: The Deepwater Horizon Oil Blowout. Safina’s new TV series, Saving the Ocean, premiered on PBS in April 2011.
Follow more of Carl's adventures on his blog.