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

Why Portland's environmental community opposes Measure 26-156, the water district initiative.
 

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Episode Archive

Locus Focus on 12/28/09

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 12/28/2009 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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Creating a neighborhood sense of place at TaborSpace in SE Portland

CREATING A NEIGHBORHOOD SENSE OF PLACE - TABORSPACE

Locus Focus on 12/21/09

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 12/21/2009 - 10:00am - 11:00am

HOUSEHOLDER'S HOLIDAY GUIDE TO THE UNIVERSE


Harriet Fasenfest, writer, cook, gardener, food preserver and backyard economist, returns to Locus Focus. We'll talk about the art, economics and politics of householding and food preservation just in time for the holidays. And take some listener phone calls.

Born and raised in the Bronx, Harriet Fasenfest has lived in the Northwest since 1978. Now retired from Main Street, she is attempting to raise the bones of home economics from the trash bin of modernity. She teaches classes on food preservation at Preserve and lives happily with her husband and children in Portland, Oregon.

Locus Focus on 12/14/09

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 12/14/2009 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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Why is climate change a women's issue?

WOMEN & CLIMATE CHANGE

Why do women  hold the key to solving climate change. Guest Sarah Craven, chief of the United Nations Population Fund's Washington office, talks about how climate change is more than an issue of energy efficiency or industrial carbon emissions; it is also an issue of population dynamics, poverty and gender equity. 

On this show we'll look at how climate change impacts women and whether population growth is a major cause of climate change. What's the best way to protect humanity from extreme weather and rising seas? Could better access to reproductive health care and improved relations between women and men make a critical difference in addressing this long-term global problem?

Locus Focus on 12/07/09

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 12/07/2009 - 10:15am - 11:00am

Nuclear Power - Carbon-free Energy for the Future or Still Just a Bad Idea?

A couple months ago, Locus Focus host Barbara Bernstein leaped at the opportunity to interview Stewart Brand, Whole Earth Catalog creator and innovative futurist. But Stewart has changed his views on some key things since the heady days of the late 1960s and early 70s, when his ideas and projects inspired a huge counter-cultural movement. His primary concern now is curbing climate change and he believes that to achieve the goal of drastically reducing our carbon emissions we must embrace technologies that he (and most of the environmental movement) once eschewed - like nuclear power.

Locus Focus on 11/30/09

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 11/30/2009 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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How Tar Sands extraction is Northern Alberta is changing the face of a continent

Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent

Locus Focus on 11/23/09

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 11/23/2009 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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What is cap-and-trade really about?

Cap-and-trade systems are being touted across the country as the most likely way to reduce carbon emissions and they have been in practice in Europe for several years. But cap-and-trade is controversial in the eyes of some envrironmentalists—who see carbon trading as a form of 21st century indulgences—as well as industrial polluters who believe cap-and-trade creates unwanted government regulation. Eric de Place with the Sightline Institute believes that if we create the right kind of cap-and-trade system, we can not only get off the fossil-fuels roller coaster, but speed the transition to a clean energy economy that puts the interest of people before interests of polluters.

Locus Focus on 11/16/09

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 11/16/2009 - 10:15am - 11:00am

What is Plan B 4.0?

Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute, has come out with a new book PLAN B 4.0: MOBILIZING TO SAVE CIVILIZATION. This plan for how we can (and must) cut global emissions by 80% by the year 2020, suggests existing technologies and know-how that will accomplish what political and industrial leaders around the world seem to find so daunting.

Locus Focus on 11/09/09

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 11/09/2009 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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Sustainable agriculture that's beyond organic and very local

FARMING BEYOND THE BARCODE

Portland area farmers Clare Carver (Big Table Farm in Gaston) and Jill Kuehler (Zenger Farm in SE Portland) return to Locus Focus for a chat with Joel Salatin, farmer, food choice advocate and dream-doer, who runs Polyface Farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. We'll discuss the sustainable agricultural methods they practice, based on polyculture and the interweaving roles of farm animals and crops.

Locus Focus on 11/02/09

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 11/02/2009 - 10:15am - 11:00am
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How can green chemistry revolutionize the materials we make, how they're used, and the benefits to o

Scientists now say there is substantial evidence that environmental conditions and environmental pollutants—among them synthetic chemicals used in consumer products—have a profound effect on human health. On this program Locus Focus host Barbara Bernstein talks with Portland environmental journalist (and neighbor) Liz Grossman, author of a new book, Chasing Molecules, about the potential for green chemistry to revolutionize the materials we make, how they're used, and the benefits to our health and the environment.

Locus Focus on 10/26/09

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 10/26/2009 - 10:00am - 11:00am
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A closer look at Portland's Urban Growth Boundary

PORTLAND'S URBAN GROWTH BOUNDARY: THIRTY YEARS LATER

In the late 1970s, an imaginary line was drawn around the Portland area. Inside the line, urban development could flourish. Outside that line the farms and forestland that characterize western Oregon would remain intact. This line, called the urban growth boundary, has saved much of the natural landscape that surrounds the city. But in the thirty years since the UGB was first drawn, it has expanded more than once. Now a lot of people in the region are saying it doesn't need to grow anymore.
 

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

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 10/17/2011

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, has written a new book, Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth, in which he details the long-lived effects of the fossil fuel binge that has shaped the last two hundred years of human civilization.

Curt Stager is an ecologist, paleoclimatologist, and science journalist with a Ph.D. in biology and geology from Duke University (1985). He has published over three dozen peer-reviewed articles in major journals including Science and Quaternary Research, and has written extensively for general audiences in periodicals such as National Geographic and Adirondack Life.

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

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 10/10/2011

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.

On this episode of Locus Focus, we talk with Andrew Nikiforuk, critically acclaimed author of Tar Sands, whose new book Empire of the Beetle, asserts that misguided science, out-of-control logging, bad public policy, a hundred years of fire suppression, and climate change have released the world’s oldest forest manager from all natural constraints. We'll talk about the massive destruction the bark beetle is causing and what it may mean for the future.

Andrew Nikiforuk is an award-winning Canadian journalist who has written about education, economics, and the environment for the last two decades.  His books include Pandemonium; Saboteurs: Wiebo Ludwig’s War Against Oil; The Fourth Horseman: A Short History of Plagues, Scourges and Emerging Viruses; and Tar Sands, which won the Rachel Carson Environmental Book Award.

THE DOLLAR LAKE FIRE: LOOKING BACK AT THE FIRE SEASON

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 10/03/2011

The fires this summer on the northface of Mt. Hood struck a dark chord for many of us who know and love the trails, basins and ridges of this rugged and least-accessible face of the mountain. Yet while we may feel great sadness imagining our favorite places scorched and blackened by the fires, it's important to remember the vital role that fire plays in regenerating the woods. After the fire the forest comes back, but it takes time. On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with forest ecologist Dominick DellaSalla about the vital role that fire plays in the cycle of life and death in a forest. We'll also discuss how we've interrupted those cycles through livestock grazing, high grade logging, post-fire logging and fire suppression, that changes the fire regimes in many places so that fires burn hotter when they do eventually burn. We'll look at how climate change is also exacerbating the intensity and frequency of fires.

Dominick DellaSalla is President and Chief Scientist at the Geo Institute in Ashland, Oregon. He is an internationally renowned author of over 150 technical papers, co-author of four books on biodiversity and sustainable forest management, subject editor for the Natural Areas Journal, guest editor for Conservation Biology, author of Temperate and Boreal Rainforests of the World – Ecology and Conservation, and serves as the President of the North American Section of the Society for Conservation Biology.

OUR DYING PLANET - An interview with ecologist Peter Sale

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 09/26/2011

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. We'll explore alternative paths that Sale believes show the ways in which science can help us realize a better future.

Peter F. Sale is Assistant Director of the Institute for Water, Environment, and Health at United Nations University and University Professor Emeritus at the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada. His previous books include The Ecology of Fishes on Coral Reefs, Coral Reef Fishes, and Marine Metapopulations.

World Population Hits 7 Billion - A Conversation with William Ryerson

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 09/19/2011

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. On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with William Ryerson, founder and President of Population Media Center and a fellow at the Post Carbon Institute, about why we need to the stabilize population growth to a level that can be sustained by the world's natural resources and how that can be accomplished through education, family planning and revitalizing democracy throughout the world.

About Bill Ryerson:

William Ryerson, founder and President of Population Media Center (PMC), Chairman of Population Institute (Washington DC), fellow at the Post Carbon Institute and recipient of the 2006 Nafis Sadik Prize for Courage, is one of the world’s foremost experts on human population, having been in the field for 40 years. Before founding PMC, Ryerson was Development Director of Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania, Associate Director of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and Executive Vice President of Population Communications International. Bill Ryerson authored a book chapter on population for the Post Carbon Reader, published in October 2010.

About Population Media Center:

Population Media Center (PMC) is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization with a well-tested methodology for creating behavior change communication programs that address social and health issues in a way that honors the system of values of the community. PMC’s work is concentrated on entertainment broadcasting, particularly long-running serial dramas in which characters evolve into role models for adoption of family planning, delayed marriage and childbearing, elevation of women’s status, avoidance of HIV/AIDS, and related social and health goals. The serial dramas are designed using a methodology created by Miguel Sabido, a producer of Mexican television. By engaging audiences in riveting, dramatic stories, PMC is able to not only deliver important social and health messages to huge audiences, but is able to motivate them to change their attitudes and behavior on the issues. PMC has reached more than 100 million people with its serial dramas, and their strategy has led to significant, measurable changes with regard to elevation of women’s status, reduced birth rates, and overall improved health among the audiences.

  • Year: 2011
  • Length: 40:09 minutes (36.75 MB)
  • Format: MP3 Stereo 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)

The End Of Growth - An Interview with Richard Heinberg

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 09/12/2011

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. We discuss what policymakers, communities, and families can do to build a new economy that operates within Earth’s budget of energy and resources and how we can thrive during the transition if we set goals that promote human and environmental well-being, rather than continuing to pursue the now-unattainable prize of ever-expanding GDP.

Author of ten books, including The Party's Over, Peak Everything, and senior Fellow-in-Residence at Post Carbon Institute, Richard Heinberg is best known as a leading educator on Peak Oil — the point at which we reach maximum global oil production — and the resulting, devastating impact it will have on our economic, food, and transportation systems. But his expertise is far-ranging, covering critical issues including the current economic crisis, food and agriculture, community resilience, and global climate change.

An American in Japan: Current conditions in Fukushima

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Mon, 08/29/2011

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. 

"Gray Haired Ladies" to face arrest at White House as part of Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline action

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 08/15/2011

Guest host Stephanie Potter interviews Barbara Ford and Marilee Dea who are going as part of a contingent of "Gray Haired Ladies" to Washington DC to protest  the Keystone XL Pipeline,  a proposed 1,700 mile pipeline that would carry tar sands oil from Canada to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico. Proponents of the pipeline cite increased tax revenues, jobs and "energy security."  In passing from Alberta to Texas, it would carry one of the world's dirtiest fuels through six states and the "largest aquifer in the world." What are the risks to ecosystems, water sources and public health? And what about the climate crisis?  Climatologist James Hansen has stated: “An overwhelming objection is that exploitation of tar sands would make it implausible to stabilize climate and avoid disastrous global climate impacts.” The women hope to join thousands of people from across the continent, including James Hansen, environmentalist Bill McKibben, actor Danny Glover, in a wave of sustained sit-ins. The protest runs from August 20 to Sept 3, and the Gray Haired Ladies will be participating on August 29 For some of them  it will be their first-ever protest:    "We are women over 50 from the Columbia Ecovillage, some have never demonstrated before. Peg, a hair stylist from Spokane Wa, Ann, a school secretary, Pam, a retired lawyer and nurse, Barbara, a counselor and facilitator, Marilee, a nurse practitoner and urban farmer." --Marilee  (For more info you might want to check out this interview with Andrew Nikiforuk, author of "Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent.")

E-205 with Portland Commissioner Nick Fish

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 08/01/2011

Portland is touted for its great parks system, but if you live on the far east side of the city, east of I-205 you wouldn't know it. But hopefully that is about to change. Over the years, Portland Parks & Recreation has acquired a number of great properties for future parks on the east side. They have already completed Master Plans for several sites and made initial improvements where funding allowed. And when a bond measure is passed in 2-3 years, building out new east side parks will be a priority. On this episode of Locus Focus we're joined by Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish, who is the Commissioner-in-Charge of Portland Parks, to talk about plans to vastly improve the parks system in this rapidly growing part of town, and why he doesn't want to wait implement them. He also talks with host Barbara Bernstein about other initatives to improve the health of Portlanders—and our environment: expanding community garden plots, removing junk food from Portland Parks recreational facilities and banning plastic bags in the city.

Nick Fish is Commissioner-in-charge of the Portland Housing Bureau and Portland Parks & Recreation. He also serves as Council liaison to Elders in Action and as a member of the Board of the Oregon Cultural Trust.

SOLWEST FAIR - Renewable Energy Action in Eastern Oregon

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Locus Focus
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Mon, 07/25/2011

Portland might consider itself the hub of the sustainable movement but every summer in Grant County, Oregon, a major event takes place to rival anything in our urban center. On this episode of Locus Focus we'll learn about the SolWest Fair that takes place every summer in John Day. This three-day event offers activities for all ages and knowledge levels, as participants from around the West and beyond come to join the SolWest community and learn about energy efficiency, solar and wind energy, alternatively fueled vehicles and more.

We'll talk about the SolWest Fair with Jennifer Barker from EORenew, the group that sponsors this annual fair.

The Eastern Oregon Renewable Energies Association (EORenew) was founded in 1998, with a mission to empower people to increase their energy efficiency and use of solar, wind, and other renewables. They make classroom visits with energy presentations to K-12 schools in our region of Oregon and provide energy services to the John Day area, including energy audits and conservation information, site assessment, Oregon energy tax credit assistance, and RE business referrals.

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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