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

Locus Focus on 08/09/10

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 08/09/2010 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
Removing culverts along Crystal Sprngs will restore salmon habitat

RESTORING SALMON HABITAT ON CRYSTAL SPRINGS

 

Locus Focus on 08/02/10

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 08/02/2010 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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Why unconventional natural gas extraction is threatening watersheds around the country.

NATURAL GAS HYDRO-FRACKING: AN IMPENDING ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER

 

Locus Focus on 07/26/10

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 07/26/2010 - 10:00am - 11:00am
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Consequences of Hanford's Plutonium waste legacy

PLUTONIUM WASTE AT THE HANFORD NUCLEAR RESERVATION REVISITED

 

Locus Focus on 07/19/10

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 07/19/2010 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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Growing the next generation of veggie eaters and growers

GROWING GARDENS: GROWING THE NEXT GENERATION OF VEGGIE EATERS AND GROWERS

 

Locus Focus on 07/12/10

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 07/12/2010 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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The school lunch revolution

SCHOOL LUNCHES, SUSTAINABILITY AND CHILDREN'S HEALTH

Locus Focus on 07/05/10

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 07/05/2010 - 10:00am - 11:00am
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An update on the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico

BP'S OIL HEMORRHAGE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE GULF OF MEXICO

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.

Locus Focus on 06/28/10

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 06/28/2010 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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A look at Oregon's largest co-op of sustainable ranchers

COUNTRY NATURAL BEEF: FARMING IN THE MIDDLE

Locus Focus on 06/21/10

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 06/21/2010 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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Plans to enhance Portland's premier wildlife refuge

A VIEW FROM THE BOTTOMS: RESHAPING PORTLAND'S REMNANT WETLAND

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.

Locus Focus on 06/14/10

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 06/14/2010 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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Reducing our carbon footprint through the food choices we make - with Anna Lappe

THE CLIMATE CRISIS AT THE END OF YOUR FORK
An Interview with Anna Lappe

 

Locus Focus on 05/31/10

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 05/31/2010 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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A conversation with author John D'Agata about the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository
ABOUT A MOUNTAIN
 
In recent years a wide range of voices has been promoting nuclear energy as the solution to climate change. While it’s true that the actual nuclear processes within reactors produce no carbon emissions, nuclear boosterism overlooks a number of serious issues with nuclear power. Probably the most critical one is the still-unsolved problem of where to store all the nuclear waste. For many years it looked like the permanent repository for all of our country’s nuclear waste was going to be Yucca Mountain, 90 miles north of Las Vegas.

Audio

FIGHTING CELLPHONE TOWERS: A Trumpeter-maker's Battle

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 04/19/2010

Cellphone towers have become ubiquitous and although the jury is out on their safety, few people bother anymore to fight new ones going up in their neighborhoods. The common wisdom is that you can't win. Even local jurisdictions, like city and county governments, have little power to stop the siting of a new tower.


But brass instrument maker Dave Monette is a rare fellow who not only took on the cellphone establishment but actually won. Dave loves to make trumpets and mouthpieces for brass instruments and his clients include many notable musicians including Thara Memory and Wynton Marsalis. He would much prefer to spend all his time doing what he loves, but recently he has spent a lot of time learning about cell tower placement law, because a cell tower was slated to go up next to his property on Mt. Hood. On this Locus Focus episode, Dave recounts his tale of battling the cellphone industry and how he emerged victorious. In the course of our discussion we talk about how little is known about the safety of these weapons of mass convenience that we sidle up to on a regular basis.

What Dave Monette has to say about himself:
I am the owner of a small trumpet factory.  I choose to work in Portland and live in the forest near Mt. Hood. I have been an amateur radio operator since 1970, and I am somewhat familiar with radio theory and RF engineering. I believe that eventually we will learn, as we have with tobacco, asbestos, pesticides, leaded paint, etc., that the health risks in using cell phones far exceed what is commonly understood. In my opinion, it is simply common sense that holding a microwave transmitter up against the side of your head is detrimental to one's health and well-being.

In my opinion, the convenience and the profits cell phones generate make this current world-wide wave of cell growth unstoppable - at least for now. In the last three or four months I have learned more about the law regarding cell tower placement than I could have ever imagined. I believe we should at the very least require cell transmitting equipment to be as far away from residential areas as possible. I also believe that government and private industry should actively work towards developing the next generation of communication technology that hopefully isn't also used to cook hamburgers!

URBAN FARMING

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 04/12/2010

The Importance of Eating Locally


The choice to eat locally grown food is turning into a movement, as more and more people recognize the importance of eating locally. But if you really want to eat locally grown food, the best way is to grow it yourself. Even if you live in the city. On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with an urban farmer in the Sellwood neighborhood of Portland and the owner of an urban farm store. Nikki Hill runs Riverhouse Farm, a community-supported agriculture operation on the banks of Crystal Springs in Sellwood. Started in 2007, the RiverHouse Farm CSA  is an 8,000 sq. ft organic farm that believes a sustainable farm functions as a healthy ecosystem. For the 2010 season they have added more growing space at GeerCrest Farm in Silverton and HeartField Farm in Milwaukie, to better serve their growing number of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members. We talk about why it's important to develop urban-rural farm networks like these in order to feed us all.

Our other guest is Naomi Montacre, one of the owners of a new farm store, Naomi's Organic Farm Supply, a few blocks north of Riverhouse Farm in the Sellwood neighborhood. Naomi's sells supplies for the urban homesteader, ranging from baby chicks to berry bushes. We talk with Naomi about why a neighborhood farm store has become a requisite feature in today's urban environment.

Coming events of interest to urban farmers:

Infarmation: http://naomisorganic.blogspot.com/2010/03/infarmation-starts-seeds-and-potatoes.html

Food and Climate Change: Step up the plate: http://www.portlandonline.com/bps/index.cfm?a=294789&c=44851

A City Hall Garden celebration / info fair and climate discussion with author Anna Lappé

Sunday, April 18 at 1 PM

According to author Anna Lappé, "If we are serious about addressing climate change we have to talk about food." Lappé will lead that conversation in Portland on Sunday, April 18 at 2 p.m. in the Portland Building when she participates in a panel discussion, Food and the Climate Challenge: Step Up to the Plate. This free event will also include other area experts discussing how food affects our personal and environmental health and the simple steps we all can take to make a difference.

The panel will follow a celebration of Portland City Hall's Better Together Garden's second year and a food gardening information fair. OSU Master Gardeners, Oregon Tilth, Growing Gardens, The Portland Tree Project and the City of Portland Community Garden program will be present to answer questions in the garden at 1221 S.W. Fourth Avenue, Portland.

Lappé's recently released book, Diet for a Hot Planet, The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do About It, states that our food system is likely responsible for a third of global greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, Johns Hopkins University reports that of four thousand articles on climate change published in sixteen leading U.S. newspapers, only 1 percent had a "substantial focus" on food and agriculture.

Just as Diet for a Small Planet, written by Anna's mother, Francis Moore Lappé, revolutionized our food consciousness in 1972, Diet for a Hot Planet will change the way we look at today's most pressing issue. Anna Lappé provides a clear account of our current condition and a road map of seven principles for a climate-friendly diet that can heal the planet.

THE YES MEN FIX THE WORLD

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 04/05/2010

Sometimes the best way to expose the truth is to lie. . .


At least, that's the approach that the Yes Men take as they try to fix the world, exposing corporate greed and lies and the painful inconsistencies between what corporate elites say in public and what they actually practice. The Yes Men are Mike Bonanno and Andy Bichlbaum, and in recent years they have spoken truth to power by impersonating corporate and government figures at conferences and even before an audience of 300 million on BBC television. This week on Locus Focus we will be joined by Yes Man Andy Birchlbaum, who will be sharing the stories behind the making of their recent movie, The Yes Men Fix the World. We'll hear how they got the world to believe for one hour that Dow Chemical would finally become a responsible corporate citizen and make long overdue payments to the victims of the devastating 1984 gas explosion in Bhopal, India . . . and other fantastic exploits.

CAN URBAN ROOFTOPS PROVIDE HABITAT FOR WILDLIFE?

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 03/29/2010

Much of our urban landscape is paved over or covered with buildings, creating an environment that is the antithesis of nature. Rooftops and asphalt flush rain water into storm sewers, overburdening and polluting our rivers. Portland is fast becoming a leader in promoting vegetated rooftops to capture stormwater. Is it possible to go even further and actually create functional wildlife habitat on buildings that will help birds, bats, bugs and other animals as they traverse our urban landscape?

On this episode of Locus Focus our guests are Dusty Gedge, an international authority on ecoroofs, and the ecoroof expert for Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, Tom Liptan. We talk about how we can transform the rooftops of downtown skyscrapers, industrial warehouses and even our own residences into wildlife habitat. Could thousands of acres of grey industrial warehouse rooftops in the Columbia Corridor be converted to meadows for rapidly disappearing meadowlarks and streaked horned larks? Could the tops of our downtown skyscrapers provide migrating songbirds with a source for insects and a place to rest? What can we do on top of our own houses to support local wildlife?

International authority on ecoroofs, Dusty Gedge has been campaigning to get green roofs installed for biodiversity in London for over 15 years. He currently Director of Livingroofs.org the UK's independent greenroof organization and the current President of the European Federation of Green Roof Associations. He is recognized as a leading authority on green roofs and biodiversity and has written a number of papers and articles on the subject over the years. He also wrote a seminal paper that lead to the introduction of the green roof policy in the Greater London area. In 2005 he won the Andrew Lees Memorial Award at the British Environment and Media Awards.

EARTHQUAKES ALONG THE PACIFIC RIM

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 03/22/2010

As aftershocks from the massive earthquake last month in Chile continue to shake the earth, this week on Locus Focus, we look at why the earthquake that wreaked so much devastation in Chile is relevant to the rest of us living along the Pacific Rim. What does the Pacific NW have in common seismically with Chile and what can we learn from the Chileans about earthquake preparedness?

We talk about the science of earthquakes and the importance of earthquake preparedness with Portland State University Geology professor, Scott Burns. Scott will help us understand what all the shaking going on, is all about.

Scott Burns is a professor of Geology at Portland State University, who specializes in soils, floods, landslides, earthquakes and helping the rest of us learn how to prepare for the inevitable cataclysms that periodically shake up the Pacific Northwest.

You can watch seismic activity along the Pacific rim at Portland State Universities Seismic Station.

PREPARING FOR CLIMATE CHANGE

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 03/15/2010

Climate scientists tell us that even if greenhouse gas emissions were halted tomorrow, the world's climate would not stabilize for decades. So even as we continue to reduce our carbon footprint, we need to start adapting to the inevitable. This morning we look at strategies that communities must begin to adopt to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change while preparing to adapt to its consequences. Guest is Brian Barr, with the National Center for Conservation Science & Policy in Ashland, talks about a project he is working on, in collaboration with the Climate Leadership Initiative from the University of Oregon, to start developing climate change preparation plans for river basins around the state of Oregon. 

Brian Barr is an aquatic ecologist with over 16 years of experience on trout and salmon restoration in the Pacific and intermountain west. Over the past nine years, Brian has focused his attention on improving fish passage conditions in the Rogue and Klamath Rivers of southern Oregon and northern California. Recently, he has turned his attention to the emerging impacts of climate change, how those impacts are likely to affect communities and natural resources, and what we can do to prepare ourselves and the resources we depend upon to withstand these effects. In his off time, Brian fishes, watches his daughter ride horses, and bites his fingernails during Virginia Tech football games.

Climate Change is a Women's Issue

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 03/08/2010

Discussions about climate change usually focus on rising sea levels and reducing carbon emissions. What we don't hear about much is how climate change disproportionately impacts the lives of women in the developing world. On this special International Women's Day segment of Locus Focus, we look at why climate change is a women's issue, and learn about initiatives that can help women in the developing world to reduce the carbon footprints of their communities while at the same time empowering their lives.

Guest Laurie Mazur is the editor of a new book called A Pivotal Moment: Population, Justice and the Environmental Challenge, which looks at the urgent need to examine inequalities–both gender and economic–that underlie rapid population growth, which is a contributing cause of climate change. On this program we hear why in order to slow population growth and build a sustainable future, women and men need access to voluntary family planning and other reproductive health services, as well as education and employment opportunities.

Laurie Mazur is the director of the Population Justice Project. She is the editor of Beyond the Numbers: A Reader on Population, Consumption and the Environment (1994) and co-author of Marketing Madness: A Survival Guide for a Consumer Society (1995).

SUSTAINABLE SELLWOOD: THE MAKING OF COMMUNITY

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 03/01/2010

Last year a group of Sellwood residents created a neighborhood movement that helped shape the design and impact of the soon-to-be rebuilt Sellwood Bridge. At the height of this organizing drive, a neighborhood march drew hundreds of people from all corners of the neighborhood, united in a desire for a bridge that enhances the neighborhood's pedestrian and bicycle-oriented qualities. Locus Focus host Barbara Bernstein took part in the march and it was there that she met some of the guests on this week's Locus Focus, who join her for a discussion about creating sustainable projects in our neighborhoods that not only help mitigate climate change but also build a sense of community.

Philip Krain is a former board member of SMILE, the Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood association where he has been spearheading neighborhood environmental initiatives, including new bicycle boulevard improvements on SE Spokane Street. He is now heads SMILE's sustainability committee and is working on building a "Sustainable Sellwood" website, listserv and neighborhood activity program.

Pedro Ferbel-Azcarate has lived in Sellwood since 1998 and was involved in the development of Share It Square at the intersection of SE Sherritt and 9th in Sellwood. He and his wife Adriana began pioneering permaculture features, including water catchment systems, gardening and compost systems, creative urban living rehabs, and the first cob structure built in the city of portland, which was also the founding project of what is now known as the Village Building Convergence, now in its 10th year. Share It Square has continued to grow since its inception, bringing together neighbors to design and build amenities in the public right of way and have organized numerous large events in the square, including weddings. Share It Square models the simple idea that when neighbors have a commons, they communicate and create opportunities that impact the whole neighborhood.

Democratizing the Energy Grid

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 02/22/2010

Oregon is about to institute a new incentive for households to power themselves using alternative energy sources like solar and wind. This method is called Feed-in Tarriff and is already in place in much of Germany as well as Vermont. Mark Pengilly and Judy Barnes, with Oregonians for Renewable Energy, join Locus Focus host Barbara Bernstein for a discussion about how feed-in tarrif can help democratize the energy grid. They'll talk about what feed-in tariffs are all about and where they fit into an overall renewable energy policy that moves us toward a sustainable solution to climate change and helps accomplish the switch from a fossil-fuel-based economy.

Judy Barnes and Mark Pengilly are with Oregonians for Renewable Energy Policy, a project of the Alliance for Democracy. They are helping design and support adoption of Feed-In Tariff policies for Oregon that produce good social, economic and environmental outcomes at reasonable costs.

What the Heck is a Green Bridge?

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 02/15/2010

Oregon has set ambitious goals for reducing our carbon emissions by 2020. But if all the currently proposed highway projects are built, any reductions that are achieved in other areas will be canceled out by increased auto use. How do plans to replace the I5 bridge between Washington and Oregon fit into this dilemma? While the proposed replacement bridge is being touted as a "green" bridge, most scenarios show that the currently proposed 12-lane bridge will only increase car trips across the Columbia River and help defeat the region's goal to dramatically reduce our carbon footprint. Should the new bridge have fewer lanes? Should there be tolls? Will light rail and bike lanes help reduce driving? Or should we not build a new bridge at all?

On this episode of Locus Focus we hear several perspectives on what to do about the Columbia River Crossing. Guests include Metro Councilor Robert Liberty, Portland Mayor Sam Adams, Vancouver's new mayor Tim Leavitt and Clark County Commissioner Steve Stuart.

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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