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 11/07/11

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 11/07/2011 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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Portland's best kept secret: where you can experience peak moments of nature right inside the city.

Wild in the City

One of Portland's best known attributes is the easy access to all kinds of spectacular nature. Mountains, rivers, the Columbia River Gorge and the Oregon Coast are all within an easy drive from the city. One of Portland's best kept secrets is the abundance of natural areas in the metro area itself, including forests, wetlands and meadows close to downtown. Urban naturalist Mike Houck has been on a mission for years to protect and promote the city's hidden natural treasures. Over a decade ago he collaborated with M.J.

Locus Focus on 10/31/11

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 10/31/2011 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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The campaign to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline

THE MOVEMENT TO STOP THE KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE

Locus Focus on 10/24/11

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 10/24/2011 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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The demise of the Condit Dam and the return of salmon to the White Salmon River

FELLING THE CONDIT DAM

For a century dams have blocked salmon runs throughout the Pacific Northwest. These dams have wiped out or greatly reduced many of the salmon runs in the Columbia River Watershed, which was once the greatest salmon river in the west. But in the past few years, some of these dams have been removed. On October 25th, the Condit Dam on the White Salmon River in Klickitat County, WA, will be the next large dam to fall. After years of controversy and many missed deadlines, the dam will be blown up to make way for salmon to return to the upper reaches of the White Salmon River.

Locus Focus on 10/17/11

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 10/17/2011 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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Deep Future: the Next 100,000 Years on Earth and the making of a new geologic age: the Anthropocene

DEEP FUTURE: THE NEXT 100,000 YEARS OF LIFE ON EARTH

For the past few weeks we've been discussing relatively short term implications of climate change on a variety of ecosystems. On this episode of Locus Focus we look at how the course we take in the near future—whether to curb our appetite for fossil fuels or continue the status quo of spewing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere—will impact life on this planet not just for the next century but for the next 100,000 years. Our guest, paleoclimatologist Curt Stager, draws on ancient geologic history to provide a longterm view of where we may be headed.

Locus Focus on 10/10/11

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 10/10/2011 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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How human folly and a tiny bug are killing North America's great forests.

EMPIRE OF THE BEETLE
Author Andrew Nikiforuk on the Bark Beetle's Seige of North American Forests

A bug the size of a rice kernel is killing off more than 30 billion pine and spruce trees in North America. Historically bark beetles are not pests. A bark beetle can probably hear the distressed song of a drought stricken tree and for tens of millions of years they have been pruning or collapsing ailing, aging or drought stricken forests.

Locus Focus on 10/03/11

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 10/03/2011 - 10:15am - 11:00pm
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The natural and unnatural nature of this summer's forest fires

THE DOLLAR LAKE FIRE: LOOKING BACK AT THE FIRE SEASON

Locus Focus on 09/26/11

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 09/26/2011 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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Ecologist Peter Sale talks about the real consequences of our ecological footprint.

OUR DYING PLANET - An interview with ecologist Peter Sale

Coral reefs are on track to become the first ecosystem actually eliminated from the planet, a potential eradication being caused by us. Human activities are creating enormous changes on this planet which sustains us, and the alarming plight of coral reefs is just one of these. On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with ecologist Peter Sale, whose new book Our Dying Planet uses the motif of endangered coral reefs to explore the many ways we are changing our planet and to explain why it matters. But despite the gloomy title, Sale's book emphasizes that a gloom-and-doom scenario is not inevitable.

Locus Focus on 09/19/11

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 09/19/2011 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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Why world population stabilization is a high priority

World Population Hits 7 Billion - A Conversation with William Ryerson

The United Nations is predicting that world population will reach 7 billion on October 31, 2011. Despite evidence that adding 225,000 more people every day to our population is stressing out the world—evinced by soaring food and gas prices and water shortages—the environmental movement has yet to call with a unified voice for the stabilization of world population growth.

Locus Focus on 09/12/11

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 09/12/2011 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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Why economic growth as we know it cannot continue

The End Of Growth - An Interview with Richard Heinberg

Conventional economic theory flies in the face of ecological reality. How can a global economy premised on perpetual growth survive in a closed system, which is our planet earth? On this episode of Locus Focus, we talk with Richard Heinberg, author of a new book, The End of Growth, which proposes a startling diagnosis: the expansionary trajectory of industrial civilization is colliding with non-negotiable natural limits which include resource depletion, environmental impacts of unfettered industrial growth and crushing levels of debt.

Locus Focus on 08/29/11

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Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 08/29/2011 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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Radiation in Japan

Host Marianne Barisonek speaks with Steven Thompson, an American living in Japan, who is working on issues related to the radiation coming from the Fukushima Nuclear Power plant. Thompson recently visited the area surrounding Fukushima. He will talk about current conditions there and in the rest of Japan.

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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