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.
Right now there are more unanswered questions than answers about what is happening with the hemorrhaging oil gusher at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico and what will be its short and long term environmental, health and economic consequences. Portland environmental writer Lizzie Grossman returns from a trip to Gulf of Mexico to report on what she saw, the people she met and her first-hand impressions on the immensity of disaster created by the BP Oil hemorrhage on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. We talk about the destruction that is already evident from this disaster and the even more disquieting concerns about what is yet to unfold.
Lizzie Grossman is a Portland-based science and environment writer whose most recent book is Chasing Molecules. She is currently reporting on the Gulf Oil Disaster for several web magazines.
Read Lizzie's writings at: http://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2010/06/whos_on_the_beach_gulf_coast_b.php#more
Links to more information about the Gulf Oil Disaster:
On June 10 ranchers from across Oregon, Idaho and Washington descended upon downtown Portland for a country food fair sponsored by Oregon Natural Beef. This event provided an opportunity for these ranchers to meet the city folks who eat the meat that they raise, and for city eaters to get a glimpse of cowboy life. Oregon is fortunate to have a ranch co-op like Oregon Natural Beef that provides organic, hormone-free, grassfed sustainably-raised beef to a wide range of eaters—from the fancy diners at Higgins in downtown Portland, to Cleveland High School students grabbing a burger at the Burgerville across the street from their school, as well as shoppers at New Seasons and Whole Foods Markets. This morning on Locus Focus we talk with Connie and Doc Hatfield, co-founders of Oregon Natural Beef. We'll learn what it means to be farming in the middle.
WHAT IS COUNTRY NATURAL BEEF?
In 1986 fourteen family ranches formed a consumer driven beef marketing cooperative with a vision to protect open spaces by preserving the rural culture and families that nurture them.
Country Natural Beef is a conduit allowing individual family ranches to own, control and finance our beef from birth of the calf to our retail customer. This conduit serves as a two way bridge - providing value to our urban customer's meal and meaning to our rancher's work. Country Natural Beef is third party certified for humane animal practices and environmentally sensitive land management by Food Alliance. In February of this year, the Country Natural Beef Animal Welfare Standards were endorsed by Temple Grandin, a well known animal behaviorist and industry expert.
Country Natural Beef is a unique cooperative, each family rancher owns, and controls management of their beef from birth to the retail cooler.
....it's the smell of sage after a summer thunderstorm,
the cool shade of a Ponderosa Pine forest.
It's 80 year old weathered hands saddling a horse in the Blue mountains,
The future of a 6-year old in a one room school on the high desert.
It's a trout in a beaver built pond, haystacks on an Aspen framed meadow.
It's the hardy quail running to join the cattle for a meal,
the welcome ring of a dinner bell at dusk.
Doc Hatfield and Becky Hatfield Hyde
As you follow the lower Willamette River through the city of Portland you see mostly hardened banks, sea walls and industrial sites that line both shores of the river. But along the east bank of the river, just a few miles south of downtown Portland, you come across a stretch of beach and wetlands and braided channels that reminds us of the landscape through which the lower Willamette River once flowed. A central feature of this nearly natural stretch of watershed, is Oaks Bottom, a 160 acre wetland and wildlife refuge, the closest thing left to the rich wetland habitat that once lined both shores of the Willamette River, where Portland now stands.
This week on Locus Focus we talk with Anne Nelson with Portland Environmental Services, Mark Griswold Wilson - Restoration Ecologist with Portland Parks & Recreation City Nature Division - and Sean Bistoff - the project manager for the habitat enhancement project at Oaks Bottom, who are involved in a project to restore Oaks Bottoms' natural features and functions. For nearly a century the wetlands have been severed from the river by a railroad berm. The plan is to reconnect Oaks Bottom to the river and recreate a salmon nursery in its open water. We look at the challenges of restoring a functioning ecosystem in Oaks Bottom, which like so many urban natural areas, has endured decades of abuse and neglect.
In the summer of 2011, the City Nature Division of Portland Parks & Recreation and Portland Environmental Services will be constructing a large scale habitat enhancement project at Oaks Bottom to benefit wildlife and people. The project will enhance 75 acres of wetland habitat by:
* Replacing an existing culvert with a larger box culvert to enhance fish passage and significantly improve the flow of Willamette River water in and out of the refuge.
* Excavating tidal slough channels and enhancing wetland habitats at the south end of the refuge to provide off-channel refuge for salmon.
* Removing invasive vegetation, such as purple loosestrife, and revegetation with native species to improve wildlife habitat.
* Enhancing opportunities for environmental education and interpretation of the refuge from the Springwater on the Willamette Trail.
Mark Griswold Wilson is an Restoration Ecologist with Portland Parks & Recreation City Nature Division and a neighbor of Oaks Bottom.
Anne Nelson is an Environmental Program Coordinator for the Willamette Watershed with the City of Portland Environmental Services. She works on urban watershed function enhancment projects such as the Oaks Bottom Habitat Enhancement Project, Tryon Creek Confluence Habitat Enhancement Project and Tabor to the River. For more information on this work please see: www.portlandonline.com/bes/watershed/willamette
Sean Bistoff has worked at the City of Portland Environmental Services since 1998, and has worked on a variety of projects including environmental monitoring and sampling, permit and development application review, and land acquisition and floodplain restoration in Johnson Creek. Sean is currently the design phase project manager for several wetland restoration projects, including the Oaks Bottom Habitat Enhancement Project. Sean's education is in Water Resources and Geology.
When we talk about the primary causes of climate change, the food we eat and how it's produced does not usually come to forefront of the discussion. Yet agriculture is responsible for nearly a third of the greenhouse gas emissions which are at the root of the climate crisis, and the emissions produced by the food sector are largely methane and nitrous oxide emissions, which have global warming effects many times more powerful than carbon dioxide.
This week on Locus Focus we talk with food activist and author Anna Lappe, whose new book Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do About It, sends a strong message: if we are serious about addressing climate change, we have to talk about food. On this episode of Locus Focus we look at how we can break out of the corporate food model, cut the greenhouse gas emissions footprint of the food we eat and help work toward creating a more sustainable world.
Anna Lappé is a national bestselling author, television host, and public speaker, known for her work on sustainability and food systems. In 1971, her mother Frances Moore Lappé released her now-classic Diet for a Small Planet. Her core message, that food remains the central issue through which to understand world politics, remains as relevant today. Anna Lappe has pursued her mother's cause and taken it to the next level, raising consciousness around the world about the role that food, and the politics of food, plays in promoting the climate crisis.
Link to Anna's blog: http://www.takeabite.cc/blog/
As part of KBOO's special day of programming about the BP Oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico - Stop the Oil – Save the Gulf! this episode of Locus Focus looks at two under-reported stories coming out of the Gulf.
First we talk with Portland science writer Liz Grossman, who has been following the health impacts of the dispersants being used to break up the oil in the spill. We hear about how BP is trying to downplay the danger both to humans and wildlife of the chemicals they are using, while at the same time there are growing reports of workers exposed to the dispersants who are getting sick. We also talk about the lack of available data on air quality near the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which is a serious concern since BP has been burning off oil that has reached the water's surface around the site of the damaged rig.
In the second half of the program we talk with Len Bahr, retired director of the Governor's Applied Coastal Science program in Louisiana, who now writes a blog entitled LaCoastPost. We discuss the science and politics behind dramatic plans to "fix" the oil spill problem, such as building a huge sand berm along the Louisiana coastline to prevent the oil from reaching into the marshes and beaches. Len has strong opinions as a coastal scientist, about the fallacy of this plan and believes that it is driven by politics, not science.
- Title: About A Mountain
- Length: 41:49 minutes (38.29 MB)
- Format: MP3 Stereo 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)
How much of your garbage is composed of food scraps? According to analysis in the Portland Recycles! Plan the average Portland household disposes of 1,326 pounds of garbage per year of which 75% could be recycled or composted instead of winding up as landfill. We can reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by our garbage by approximately one ton for each ton of food scraps diverted from landfill.
This week on Locus Focus we learn about what Portland is doing to change our garbage habits? We talk with Bruce Walker, the Solid Waste & Recycling Program Manager for the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, and master recyler Heather Hawkins about the city's new pilot curbside food scrap collection program in four neighborhoods across Portland. For the next year, selected households will put food scraps along with yard debris into the green Portland Composts! roll cart, which will be collected every week. With the addition of weekly food scrap collection, the City will also test every-other-week garbage service to encourage participation in the food scrap collection program and to maintain the efficiency of the garbage and recycling collection system. Hopefully at the end of the year, Portland will join other major West Coast cities such as Seattle and San Francisco that have been offering successful city-wide residential curbside collection of food scraps for several years.
Bruce Walker is the Solid Waste & Recycling Program Manager for the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS). BPS promotes integrated land use planning and development based on sustainability principles and practices. BPS also develops and implements policies and programs that provide environmental, economic and social benefits to residents, businesses and government, which strengthen Portland's position as an international model of sustainable practices and commerce. Portland has been nationally recognized for its residential and commercial recycling programs and the resulting 67 percent recycling rate. Bruce has worked in the recycling field longer than he wants to admit but prior to joining the City of Portland’s staff in 1987, he worked for a non-profit community recycling depot, a small local government and a recycling consulting firm. Bruce is a former Chair of the Association of Oregon Recyclers, former National Recycling Coalition Board Member and currently serves on the State of Oregon Product Stewardship Stakeholder Group.
After completing the Master Recycler course offered through Portland's regional government, Heather Hawkins helped launch EnviroMom and formed GreenGroup -- a group of moms who meet monthly and exchange ideas on green living with children. They are not experts -- not by a long shot -- but they are trying to raise their kids to care about the environment and manage healthy households. Heather grew up in Minnesota and Indiana, and then hightailed it Portland after graduating from the Indiana University School of Journalism in 1992. After a career in orchestra management and public relations, she left the workforce in 2004 to raise her two kids. Aside from blogging and environmental pursuits, Heather enjoys good fiction, winning at Scrabble, red wine, Jon Stewart and date nights with her husband, David. She dreams of raising goats and making cheese.
Last month, an explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia resulted in the worst mining disaster in four decades. The mine is owned by Massey Energy. This company is notorious not only for committing numerous and flagrant safety violations in their mining operations, but also for pursuing mountaintop removal mining throughout Appalachia. The mining disaster has raised new awareness about the true costs of "cheap" coal. Since the last time we discussed this subject on Locus Focus, the Obama administration has taken some steps to regulate mountaintop removal mining, but how effective will these new regulations be? This week Judy Bonds, co-director for Coal River Mountain Watch, returns to Locus Focus, to talk about the aftermath of the mining disaster and how it is changing the national conversation around our use of coal. We also compare what's happening in the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of the BP oil rig explosion and massive oil leak with the attitudes and arrogance that contributed to the Massey mine disaster.
Julia "Judy" Bonds is a coal miner's daughter, granddaughter. She is an Appalachian American and her family has lived in the Coal River Valley in West Virginia for 10 generations. Julia has been fighting for social and environmental justice for Appalachian coalfields since 1998. Julia and others at Coal River Mountain Watch have embarked on a road show to educate America about the clean water act and to educate and motivate Americans about where their electricity comes from and who pays the true price. Julia says that this road show also serves to dispel negative Appalachian stereotypes.
Julia worked on safety issues on overweight coal trucks and is on the Governor's Safety Committee for commercial trucks. She was named the "Earthmover Award" in GEO Magazine and on Organic Style Magazine's Environmental Power list. She was recently featured in the Marsh issue of National Geographic, the first "green" issue of May's Vanity Fair and in the July issue of O, The Oprah Magazine. The O Magazine issue focused on tough West Virginian women.
Several years ago Locus Focus host Barbara Bernstein was walking in Forest Park when a young boy came running by, his eyes gleaming half in glee, half in terror. He was being pursued by his older brother and as he passed, he called out, "I feel like I'm in a video game."
Children today for the most part hardly ever play outside, let alone get to experience wild nature outside the city. Instead they spend up to 90% of their time in front of computer screens, video games and cellphones, seeking connection with other people they can neither see nor touch. What will happen to this generation of children when they grow up, if they never get to have direct experiences with nature, and who will be there to advocate for the Earth if they don't really know that's where they live.
This week on Locus Focus Tonje Hessen Schei joins host Barbara Bernstein to talk about her new film, PLAY AGAIN, which examines this disturbing phenomon and shows some possible ways that children can learn to play again in nature, nourishing the creativity that gets stifled by too much "screen time."
PLAY AGAIN is being screened at the Bagdad Theater, SE Hawthorne and 37th
May 15th, 2010
7pm (doors at 6:15pm)
Portland is the only city in America that has a Food Policy and Programs Office. And while many communities are starting to talk about creating Food Policy Councils, Multnomah County and Portland have had such a council for years. So why is there so much interest in food and its politics here in the Rose City? And why should food policy be at the heart of any discussion about creating sustainable and resilient communities?
On this episode of Locus Focus we talk about these issues with Portland's Food Czar - or as he actually calls himself, the manager of food policy and programs for the City of Portland. His name is Steve Cohen, and it turns out that he and Locus Focus host Barbara Bernstein go way back together to what seems now like another era, when Frances Moore Lappe's book Diet for a Small Planet was the bible of the counter-culture communities that nurtured young Steve and Barbara. They'll talk about what inspired food politics consciousness 40 years ago and how what was once the provence of the counter-culture is now taking its place in the mainstream. Which is why Portland now has a food czar.
Here are some links to city programs that Steve refers to in the show:
Urban Growth Bounty: http://www.portlandonline.com/bps/index.cfm?c=50648
Janis Youth Program Urban Agricultural Services
Steve Cohen manages food policy and programs for the City of Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. He focuses on all aspects of a sustainable food system including planning, food security, education, economic development, urban agriculture, purchasing, composting, and climate change. Steve also staffs the Portland-Multnomah County Food Policy Council.
Steve has extensive experience in purchasing, distribution and marketing for major regional, national, and international food and beverage companies. Over the past 30 years he has played key roles in establishing indoor and outdoor festival markets, performing arts venues and community spaces in Oregon.