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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.

Coming Soon

Journalist Kathryn Miles on her book SUPERSTORM: Nine Days Inside Hurricane Sandy
 

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Episode Archive

Locus Focus on 07/18/11

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 07/18/2011 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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What does Exxon's oil spill in the Yellowstone River have to do with Alberta Tar Sands?

A CATASTROPHIC CONVERGENCE: The Oil Spill in the Yellowstone River & the Proposed Keystone XL Pipeline

On July 1 an ExxonMobil oil pipeline running under the Yellowstone River near Billings, MT ruptured, dumping massive amounts of oil into the river. Critics of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline—that would carry oil from the Tar Sands pits of Alberta to refineries along the Gulf Coast—point to this accident as one more reason why the Keystone XL Pipeline should be stopped. On this episode of Locus Focus our guests are Zack Porter with All Against the Haul in Missoula and Dena Hoff, a farmer who lives near the proposed XL Pipeline route in Montana.

Locus Focus on 07/11/11

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 07/11/2011 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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What does climate change have to do with armed conflicts erupting throughout the developing world?

TROPIC OF CHAOS: An Interview with Christian Parenti

What does climate change have to do with armed conflicts erupting throughout the developing world? In his new book TROPIC OF CHAOS: CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE NEW GEOGRAPHY VIOLENCE, Christian Parenti argues that a new era of climate war is upon us.

Locus Focus on 07/04/11

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Mon, 07/04/2011 - 10:00am - 11:00am
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Restoring salmon runs on the Columbia River requires breaching federal bureacracies as well as dams.

THE FATE OF COLUMBIA RIVER SALMON
Continuing Our Conversation with Environmental Writer Steven Hawley

Any day now U.S. District Judge James Redden will come down with a decision that will determine the fate of salmon on the Columbia River.

He is considering the merits of a plan submitted last year by the Obama administration to address the significant harm done to salmon by the gauntlet of federal dams along the river system, that juvenile salmon must navigate on their way out to the ocean and surmount again three to five years later when they return as adults to spawn.

Locus Focus on 06/27/11

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Mon, 06/27/2011 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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Oregon organic farming pioneer Harry MacCormack on cosmic influences on agriculture

COSMIC INFLUENCES ON AGRICULTURAL PROCESSES: A Conversation with Organic Farming Pioneer Harry MacCormack

Harry MacCormack is legendary in the annals of the Oregon organic farming movement. A co-founder of Oregon Tilth, he has gone on to help organize numerous other sustainable food projects including the Ten Rivers Food Web and the Willamette Valley Bean and Grain Project. On this episode of Locus Focus, Harry joins host Barbara Bernstein to talk about his new book, COSMIC INFLUENCES ON AGRICULTURAL PROCESSES, which concerns itself with the impact of celestial forces on agriculture in the Willamette Valley.

Locus Focus on 06/20/11

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Mon, 06/20/2011 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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Zoning Portland to encourage the flourishing of urban farming

PORTLAND'S FOOD ZONING CODE UPDATE PROJECT

Portland is becoming a mecca for urban farmers but the city's zoning codes have yet to fully catch up with the growing phenomenon of guerrilla vegetable gardens and urban livestock. Recognizing the connections between food and the community’s environmental, economic and physical health, the City of Portland has initiated a project to update its zoning code to promote traditional and emerging ways of producing and distributing food. On this episode of Locus Focus host Barbara Bernstein is joined by Steve Cohen, who heads all things related to food for the city's Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

Locus Focus on 06/13/11

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 06/13/2011 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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An update on salmon recovery controversies on the Columbia

DAMNED DAMS, SALMON & THE COLUMBIA RIVER

This spring there has been so much water rushing down the Columbia River, fed by overabundant snow packs from the Rockies to the Cascades, that a surplus of electricity is overwhelming the power grid. So instead of spilling more water over the dams, the Bonneville Power Administration decided to shut off electricity generated by the windfarms that now dot the hills above the Columbia River. They claim this measure is meant to protect salmon.

Locus Focus on 06/06/11

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 06/06/2011 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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Will China's new 5 year plan deliver a carbon free future?

WILL CHINA BECOME THE WORLD'S LEADER IN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT?

After many years of being considered the carbon-emitting elephant in the room, now China is being touted as the new leader in green and carbon-reducing technologies. A new report produced by the Climate Group describes China's plans, spelled out in its 12th Five Year Plan covering 2011 - 2015 to curb its carbon emissions and set significant targets for low-carbon energy, energy efficiency and clean technology over the next five years.

Locus Focus on 05/23/11

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 05/23/2011 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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How population explosion challenges the survival of the planet

IN THE YEAR OF SEVEN BILLION: An Interview with Andrew Revkin

Andrew Revkin's Dot Earthblog covers climate change, the environment and sustainability, and introduces itself in this way: "By 2050 or so, the human population is expected to reach nine billion, essentially adding two Chinas to the number of people alive today. Those billions will be seeking food, water and other resources on a planet where, scientists say, humans are already shaping climate and the web of life." This year the earth's population is expected to exceed 7 billion people.

Locus Focus on 05/16/11

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 05/16/2011 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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The series of calamitous misjudgments that caused the Deepwater Horizon blowout last year.

A SEA IN FLAMES: An Interview with author Carl Safina

Soon after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20. 2010, environmental writer and advocate Carl Safina traveled to the Gulf to find out firsthand what was going on. The result of this months' long Oddesey is a new book, A Sea in Flames, in which he takes us across the Gulf of Mexico to make sense of an ever-changing story and its often-nonsensical twists. On this episode of Locus Focus, Carl joins host Barbara Bernstein to deconstruct the series of calamitous misjudgments that caused the Deepwater Horizon blowout during the summer of 2010.

Locus Focus on 05/09/11

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 05/09/2011 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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Bent Skovmand's struggle to keep precious plant genetic resources free and accessible to everyone

 THE VIKING IN THE WHEAT FIELD: An Interview with Author Susan Dworkin

Audio

Glen Lamb and the Columbia Land Trust

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Locus Focus
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Tue, 03/11/2008

Barbara Bernstein hosts "Post-Measure 49 Oregon, Part 2" with Glenn Lamb of the Columbia Land Trust (columbialandtrust.org). Learn what land trusts are, and how they can help save our environment. Find related information at the Land Trust Alliance (www.lta.org)

Sustainable Portland

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Tue, 03/04/2008

Host Barbara Bernstein spoke with Michael Armstrong, Deputy Director of the Office of Sustainability for the City of Portland about the greening of Portland.

Locus Focus with David Cole on Why America is Losing The War On Terror

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Locus Focus
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Tue, 02/26/2008

Today on Locus Focus, Barbara Bernstein talks with David Cole, Professor of Law, Georgetown University; Co-Author, Less Safe, Less Free: Why America is Losing the War on Terror (TheNewPress.com); Legal Affairs Correspondent, The Nation; Co-Chair, Liberty and Security Initiative & Checks and Balances Initiative, Constitution Project.

They'll discuss the Protect America Act which expired over the weekend with Bush threatening, “Because Congress failed to act, it will be harder for our government to keep you safe from terrorist attacks.” House Democrats refused to hold a vote on the Senate-approved legislation that would permanently expand the government’s eavesdropping authority and give immunity to telecommunications companies that helped the government monitor conversations. Cole says the rule of law is an asset not an obstacle in the struggle to keep us safe and free, we have given up many freedoms in the name of security but we are not safer.

Bob Stacey on Life After Measure 49

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Locus Focus
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Tue, 01/29/2008

Barbara Bernstein talks with Bob Stacey Executive Director of 1000 Friends of Oregon (www.friends.org) about the landscape of Oregon land use law in a post-Measure 49 world. Bob and Barbara will discuss the Big Look, the New Look and the Blueprint for Oregon's Future.

Carbon Trade Watch

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Locus Focus
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Tue, 01/29/2008

Kevin Smith and Tamra Gilbertson, leading critics of international climate change policy and researchers with www.carbontradewatch.org will tell us what's wrong with carbon credits, how they do nothing to fight global warming, and even exacerbate the problem.

Peak Oil, Debt and the Economy

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Locus Focus
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Tue, 01/15/2008

Per Fagereng hosts talk radio this morning with special guest, Kurt Liebezeit, a local Peak Oil Activist. Listen to Per and Kurt discus Peak Oil and the Economy, while fielding questions, opinions, and discussions with our listening audience.

Gray To Green - Storm Water Management

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Locus Focus
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Tue, 01/08/2008

Host Barbara Bernstein invites Portland city officials onto her show to discuss the city's storm water management systems. Her guests today are Dean Marriott, Director of the Bureau of Environmental Services, and Lisa Libby, Sam Adams' Senior Environmental Policy Director. Questions were answered for the listening public, as well as plans for the future explained.

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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