On June 10 ranchers from across Oregon, Idaho and Washington descended upon downtown Portland for a country food fair sponsored by Oregon Natural Beef. This event provided an opportunity for these ranchers to meet the city folks who eat the meat that they raise, and for city eaters to get a glimpse of cowboy life. Oregon is fortunate to have a ranch co-op like Oregon Natural Beef that provides organic, hormone-free, grassfed sustainably-raised beef to a wide range of eaters—from the fancy diners at Higgins in downtown Portland, to Cleveland High School students grabbing a burger at the Burgerville across the street from their school, as well as shoppers at New Seasons and Whole Foods Markets.
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.
In April a report was released showing that more than 9 million young adults, or 27 percent of all Americans ages 17 to 24, are too overweight to join the military and that national security in the year 2030 is "absolutely dependent" on reversing child obesity rates. According to the authors of the report we need to eliminate junk food and high-calorie beverages from schools, put more money into creating school lunch programs that serve real food to children. http://tinyurl.com/y7akr8m
Last week on Locus Focus we talked about transforming school lunch programs into vehicles that encourage kids to eat healthy foods, while teaching them about the connections between food, health, and the environment. This week we look at a program in Portland that not only shows young people how to make healthy food choices, but actually helps them learn how to grow their own food. GROWING GARDENS gets at the root of hunger in Portland, by organizing hundreds of volunteers to build organic, raised-bed vegetable gardens in backyards, front yards, side yards and even on balconies, in low income neighborhoods on Portland's east side. On this episode of Locus Focus, we talk with Caitlin Blethen, who manages the
Restarting America's nuclear power industry is frequently suggested as a means of curbing greenhouse gas emissions. But advocates of this back to the future scenario should study Robert Alvarez's recent report showing that the amount of plutonium buried at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington State is nearly three times what the federal government previously reported. This means that a cleanup to protect future generations will be far more challenging than planners had assumed. And that's before any more nuclear waste is added to the toxic legacy of Hanford's forty years of Plutonium production.
Not too long ago North America's natural gas reserves were peaking out and the cost of natural gas began to skyrocket along with petroleum. Then all of a sudden, it seemed, we are being told that we have an almost endless supply of natural gas lying under much of the continent and that natural gas is the answer to our energy future. What we're not being told is that the unconventional process being used to extract this gas—called hydrofracturing—may potentially contaminate a wide swath of watersheds and drinking water systems across the country.
Protecting endangered salmon runs in Oregon has been an ongoing challenge. It turns out that one of the simplest ways of enhancing salmon habitat in the city is to remove culverts that carry streams under roads, but block fish from swimming upstream to reach spawning and rearing habitat. One of the best potential salmon streams in the city is Crystal Springs Creek, with headwaters on the Reed College campus and the Eastmoreland Golf Course. This area was once marshy wetlands. Before development, the wetlands retained excess water from flood events and provided important rearing and refuge habitat for salmon, and foraging and nesting sites for beavers, birds, turtles, frogs, and other wildlife.
Now that oil has more or less stopped hemorrhaging from the Deepwater Horizon blowout, the mainstream media is reporting on a government study that claims that 75% of the oil that gushed into the Gulf of Mexico is gone. Only, that's not what the report actually said, and furthermore many scientists are disputing its methodology. On this segment of Locus Focus we'll find out what's really going on with all the oil from this disaster: along the beaches that line the Gulf Coast, on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, as well as deep underwater where the oil is least easily detected. Dr.
As students return to school this fall in Portland, many of them will also be returning to harvest vegetables from gardens they planted last spring. School gardens are becoming a feature of a growing number of schools in the Portland area. . . and around the country. In these gardens students learn the connections between the food they eat and the health of the world around them.
The summer of 2010 brought us some very dramatic weather extremes, from the monsoon flooding in Pakistan, and devastating mud slides in China, to the most intense heat wave and worst rash of forest fires that Russia has ever seen. Are these catastrophic events a sign that the impacts of climate change are already upon us? On this episode of Locus Focus host Barbara Bernstein talks with Oregon's State Climatologist, Phil Mote, about the significance of the historic floods and fires of the past summer, and what they portend for the future.