For Lefties too Stubborn to Quit
The troika speaks? 12:05 Thu Jun 20, 2013 | WorldbyStorm
A voice of Labour? 07:59 Thu Jun 20, 2013 | WorldbyStorm
Trouble in paradise? 06:55 Thu Jun 20, 2013 | WorldbyStorm
Education and inequality? 17:06 Wed Jun 19, 2013 | WorldbyStorm
Don?t all get jealous at once ?? 16:55 Wed Jun 19, 2013 | irishelectionliterature
Cedar Lounge >>
Life should be full of strangeness, like a rich painting
Tax Avoidance : Fly-Tipping with Suits 10:05 Wed Jun 19, 2013
Let?s make tax avoidance history? 23:36 Tue Jun 18, 2013
Sad Putin at the G8? 23:10 Tue Jun 18, 2013
The Gathering : Enniskillen-Style 02:19 Tue Jun 18, 2013
Tax Haven Ireland : 70 Sir John Rogerson?s Quay 02:14 Tue Jun 18, 2013
Dublin Opinion >>
Joined up thinking for the Irish Left
You Don?t Earn Much Money ? Get Used to It Wed Jun 19, 2013 14:47 | Michael Taft
G8 Optics and Oracles in Fermanagh and Belfast Wed Jun 19, 2013 13:30 | Michael Pierse
Explaining the Double Irish with a Map and a Pile of Euro Coins Tue Jun 18, 2013 15:04 | Conor McCabe
Never-Ending Austerity Amidst the Ruins Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:52 | Michael Taft
Tax Haven Ireland : 70 Sir John Rogerson?s Quay Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:25 | Conor McCabe
Irish Left Review >>
Farewell from NWL Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake
Happy 70th Birthday, Michael Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake
Of the Week? Sat May 18, 2013 00:02 | namawinelake
Noonan denies IBRC legal fees loan approval to Paddy McKillen was in breach of E... Fri May 17, 2013 14:23 | namawinelake
Gayle Killilea Dunne asks to be added as notice party in Sean Dunne?s bankruptcy Fri May 17, 2013 12:30 | namawinelake
NAMA Wine Lake >>
Links to Alternative Media Podcasts
en-us Indymedia On Air
RSS Feed for 'Indymedia on Air' from the LA Indymedia broadcast on LA KPFK
Indymedia On Air - Tue, June 18, 2013 Mon Jun 17, 2013 23:00
Indymedia On Air - Tue, June 11, 2013 Mon Jun 10, 2013 23:00
Indymedia On Air - Tue, May 28, 2013 Mon May 27, 2013 23:00
Indymedia On Air - Tue, May 14, 2013 Mon May 13, 2013 23:00
Indymedia On Air - Tue, May 7, 2013 Mon May 06, 2013 23:00
KPFK - Indymedia On Air >>
Gary takes on the real issues that the mainstream media is afraid to tackle. Tune in to find out the latest about health news, healing, politics, and the economy.
RSS Feed for 'Gary Null' show on PRN
The Gary Null Show - 06/19/13 Wed Jun 19, 2013 18:00 | progressiveradionetwork
What evidence have former intelligence whistleblowers given us of NSA spying and surveillance of Americans phones, emails, internet activities, with Stephen Kohn.
The Obama administration’s military posturing against Syria and its support of jihadist Syrian rebel organizations, with Stephen Zunes.
Stephen Kohn is one of the nation?s leading advocates for corporate and government whistleblowers and has a [...]
The Gary Null Show - 06/17/13 Mon Jun 17, 2013 20:52 | progressiveradionetwork
A look at trends during this summer ? surveillance state and a slowed growth, weakened economy, with Gerald Celente.
Gerald Celente is one of today?s pioneers in trend strategy. He founded the Trends Research Institute in Kingston NY and is the publisher of the Trends Journal that has been in publication since 1980. He has [...]
The Gary Null Show - 06/14/13 Fri Jun 14, 2013 19:39 | progressiveradionetwork
Prior NSA and government domestic surveillance of American citizens
New York Times has called Carl Mayer, a populist crusader and maverick lawyer.? He runs the Mayer Law Group in Princeton NJ. Carl has been featured on 60 Minutes for his undercover work in exposing rampant corruption and criminality in New Jersey politics. For years he has [...]
The Gary Null Show - 06/13/13 Thu Jun 13, 2013 20:58 | progressiveradionetwork
Today Gary gives information on benefits from jicama, elderberries for flu, a nutrient for superbug infections, a psychiatric label for PMS, cocoa, and posture links to longer life. Also, a major study on how to be healthy with metabolic syndrome. Then, the whole story on government surveillance. And more!
The Gary Null Show - Jesse Ventura - 06/12/13 Wed Jun 12, 2013 18:00 | progressiveradionetwork
A conversation with Jesse Ventura on the state of the nation, our surveillance state, and where this country is heading during Obama?s remaining 3 years in office
We have as our guest toady one of the nation?s more colorful political and social voices in the progressive community ? Jesse Ventura. He was a Navy Seal during [...]
The Gary Null Show >>
Analysis of the geopolitical headlines
RSS Feed for 'Stop Imperialism' podcast
The Reality Principle #13 on Boiling Frogs Thu Jan 17, 2013 04:50 | ericdraitser
The REAL Martin Luther King
with Professor Tony Monteiro
This week, as America marks the birthday of one of its greatest leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King, Eric sits down with Professor Tony Monteiro to discuss King’s life and legacy. Specifically, Eric and Tony examine who King really was by destroying the false narrative that has been [...]
Stop Imperialism - Episode 55 Tue Jan 15, 2013 06:17 | ericdraitser
1. Syria - Damascus?s suburbs now controlled by government
2. Mali - Rebels in Mali vow revenge at ?heart of France?
3. Egypt - Economic problems could decide Egypt elections
4. Around the Americas - Bolivia slams US over ?irrefutable evidence? of meddling
5. Wall St. Crimes - US banks agree an $8.5 billion foreclosure settlement
6. Under the Radar [...]
The Reality Principle #12 on Boiling Frogs Thu Jan 10, 2013 06:09 | ericdraitser
American Nightmare: Racism and the Prison-Industrial Complex
with Solomon Comissiong
In this week’s episode, Eric examines one of the most complex and misunderstood issues in America today: the prison-industrial complex and its relation to deeply rooted racism in this country. Eric touches on the various ways in which mass incarceration and the prison system is perpetuated [...]
The US and the Privatization of El Salvador Tue Jan 08, 2013 19:27 | ericdraitser
As much of Latin America braces itself for the possibility of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s death, observers around the world would do well to note the stark contrasts that exist within the region. On the one hand, there are the ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas) countries, united by Chavez in their rejection of US [...]
Stop Imperialism - Episode 54 Fri Jan 04, 2013 07:33 | ericdraitser
In today’s Episode:
1) Fiscal Cliff - Your fiscal cliff deal cheat sheet
2) Syria - Taftanaz air base in Syria site of intense battles between regime and rebels
3) Iraq - Maliki and Sadr trade warning as 17 Iraqis are killed in Iraq
4) Egypt -Egypt opposition probe: Mohammed ElBaradei, Amr Moussa, Hamdeen Sabahi face treason [...]
Stop Imperialism >>
en Latest science, authors, issues - from climate change, oceans, forests, pollution, Peak Oil, the economy, and peace. Ready for re-broadcast, computer, IPOD, or mp3 player. No copyright. As heard on CFRO Vancouver, and over 56 college & community radio stations, WPFW Pacifica in D.C. plus KNEW 960 AM, San Francisco & Resonance FM London. Published Wednesdays.
RSS Feed for 'Eco Shock' podcast
Growing the Life You Want To Live Wed Jun 19, 2013 01:55 | email@example.com (Alex Smith)
From the Mother Earth News Fair, we hear about Life on the "Farmstead." Lisa Kivirist turning your dreams of small scale food into a living in Wisconsin. Lisa has tips for us all. Then we go solar with author and speaker Dan Chiras, plus solar electrician Brad Burkhartzmeyer - the questions you would ask are answered.
Download/listen to this Radio Ecoshock Show in CD Quality or Lo-Fi
Download/listen to my interview with Lisa Kivirist in CD Quality or Lo-Fi
Download/listen to my interview with Dan Chiras in CD Quality or Lo-Fi
Download/listen to my interview with Brad Burkhartzmeyer in CD Quality or Lo-Fi
Listen to this Radio Ecoshock right now (courtesy of archive.org)
LISVA KIVIRIST "ECOPRENEUR"
Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko
Let's meet Lisa Kivirist.
There were so many useful angles to this interview. For one thing, we learn about the transition out of the city. But what will you do there to survive and pay the bills? Lisa and her husband John Ivanko managed a balance of food production, local business, and book writing - successful for the past 17 years.
They've developed and then written about "ecopreneurship" - developing an income from what you love to do - and what is good for the Earth. Oh and by the way, Lisa and John run a "carbon negative business". They soak up more carbon than they emit. Isn't that the only way to a future?
Their latest book is "Rural Renaissance: Renewing the Quest for the Good Life". If you want to learn from this dynamic couple personally, book into their top-rated green bed and breakfast outside Monroe, Wisconsin. Find their web site here.
Just one of the many tips that impressed me: setting a time after the Christmas feasting to really eat up all those supplies you bought in bulk, or stored away from the previous season. A time of buying no food, but working up good recipes from what you have.
Linda is an experienced and engaging speaker, and we had some laughs along the way. Enjoy this one!
DAN CHIRAS - ALTERNATIVE ENERGY EXPERT
Radio Ecoshock continues from the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup Washington. Does it pay to go solar? Dan Chiras worked alternative energy for three decades, writing 30 books in the process. Dan visited me in the Radio Ecoshock mobile studio.
Dan is a 30 year veteran of the battle to bring clean green energy to America. Currently he's the Director of the Evergreen Institute located in Gerald, Missouri. Dan also has two blogs in Mother Earth News magazine.
His first blog is on building Net Zero energy homes. In fact, if you search for "Dan Chiras Net Zero Energy" you'll land in his Mother Earth News blog. Or you can go to the Mother Earth News web site and find the blog here.
One of Dan Chiras's many books that appealed to me was "Things I Learned Too Late in Life".
His second Mother Earth News blog is called "Dan Chiras on Loving Life". It may sound corny, but Dan thinks a positive love for people and all Nature can be healing for the planet.
Behind all that, are mountains of books, articles, You tube videos, and public appearances by Dan Chiras - absolutely crammed with plans and tips to install everything from solar to wind and beyond.
In our interview, we concentrated on solar energy. One of our previous off-grid guests suggested the real place to start is not solar electricity, but "solar thermal" even just to heat hot water for your home. We talk through all that, and Dan gives us a lot in a short interview.
MORE SOLAR POWER WITH BRAD BURKHARTZMEYER
We just have time to squeeze in a few minutes with a very experienced solar designer and installer from Washington State, Brad BurkHartzmeyer.
Brad founded Sun's Eye solar power which has installed lots of solar juice in area of Tacoma Washington, and beyond. It becomes apparent during our interview the importance of checking out the training and credentials of your solar installer. Maybe the guy down the road is not your best choice. Some states require a trained electrician, with more courses on solar installation. Others do not. Buyer check it out!
In the program I only had time for just a sample from my full 18 minute interview with Brad Burkhartzmeyer. We talk about roof angles, solar water heating and more. Get the full interview as a free mp3 download here.
If you've ever considered solar power, give that interview a listen.
At one point I was wondering. Brad suggested the average full solar power system costs between twenty and thirty thousand dollars. Twenty thousand for a solar system? No way I thought. Then I get in my $25,000 car which will break down in three years and costs thousands to run every year. Maybe a lifetime supply of sun power would be a better buy.
Plus, the system will pay for itself, and can even turn a profit, if your local provider allows meters that can run backwards, paying you for the extra power you produce. A nice check coming in.
We know electricity rates will just go up and up. With solar you get a guaranteed low rate, which just gets more competitive as time goes by.
At the Mother Earth News Fair, the whole mobile radio studio was powered by the sun. Join me won't you, in the clean energy revolution?
THANK YOU LISTENERS!
You can help support this program, at our web site, ecoshock.org.
My thanks to listeners who made it possible to record so many great guests at the Fair.
I'm Alex Smith, saying there's lots more Radio Ecoshock coming next week. Let's meet again then.
We finish up the program with a small slice of sun-loving music by Vastmandana, out of Oakland California.
Civilization: Change It or Leave It Wed Jun 12, 2013 07:12 | firstname.lastname@example.org (Alex Smith)
Can we return to the primitive? Miles Olson on personal rewilding. Asoka Bandarage on "middle way" out of collapse. Organic grow and cook with Barbara Damrosch of Four Season Farm. Radio Ecoshock 130612 1 hour
Could you leave civilization and survive? Are we permanently plugged in?
I'm Alex Smith Welcome to a mixed bag of greens this week. You'll hear Sri-Lankan-American author Asoka Bandarage's solutions for collapse, plus a classic conversation from the four seasons garden to your dinner table, with one of America's best known organic growers, Barbara Damrosch. But first we try to escape from the voices of society, with author and "professional dropout" Miles Olson, from the Mother Earth News Fair.
FREE MP3 AUDIO FILES FROM THIS WEEK'S SHOW
Listen to/download this Radio Ecoshock Show in CD Quality (56 MB) or Lo-Fi 14 MB
Listen to/download my interview with Miles Olson (24 minutes) in CD Quality or Lo-Fi
Listen to/download my interview with Asoka Bandarage (19 minutes) in CD Quality or Lo-Fi
Listen to/download my interview with Barbara Damrosch (15 minutes) in CD Quality or Lo-Fi
LISTEN TO THIS RADIO ECOSHOCK SHOW RIGHT NOW! (courtesy of achive.org)
Author and vagabond Miles Olson.
The following description is blatantly stolen from the Mother Earth News Fair blurb, for June 1st & 2nd in Puyallup, Washington.
"How to Walk Away from Civilization
Miles Olson is an author, teacher and "professional dropout" who has spent the past decade living in the woods of Vancouver Island.
Ever wondered what it would be like to head to the hills and try to live off the fat of the land, outside the normal routine of modern life? Author Miles Olson shares his experiences, reflections and musings in rewilding, based on a decade of living intimately with the land and building a "feral homestead" on Vancouver Island.
Fire by Friction
How to Make a Folded Basket
Miles Olson is an author, teacher and "professional dropout" who has spent the past decade living in the woods of Vancouver Island. His experiences have put him at the forefront of the rewilding movement and given him a unique perspective on the relationship between humans and wildness.
Visit www.milesolson.net for more information."
As you'll discover in the interview, Miles struck a long-standing cord with me. As fate would have it, my family owned part of an island in Northern Ontario. I spent two months there, for my first 17 years, without electricity or really much connection to, or news from, the outside world. We seldom wore shoes, and spent a lot of time in the water, like amphibians.
Then in the late 1970's, I went "back to the land" - again in a distant cabin with no electricity for 10 years. So I understood intuitively what Miles Olsen was telling us - about the voices of civilization we all carry in our heads, and what happens when those instructions and demands go silent. Nature awaits our consciousness, but it's not easy making the transition.
If you do, it's just as hard to come "back". The traffic and structured chaos of cities can feel so un-natural. Miles chose to develop a homestead "squat" outside a town on Vancouver Island, with a few like-minded people. He didn't get the standard job and house. Yet somehow he wrote the book "Unlearn, Rewild: Earth Skills, Ideas and Inspiration for the Future Primitive" from New Society publishers.
If Miles Olson writes as lucidly as he talks, this should be a worth-while book. I felt the spark from him, as we met for the first time on radio, at the Mother Earth News Fair.
Author and teacher Asoka Bandarage
You know our environment, species, climate and economy are flirting with collapse. It's global, and needs global eyes. Last week we played a reading by Asoka Bandarage. Now it's time to speak with her.
Is it possible we could be organic, solar-powered humans, and still destroy the ecology of the world? Is there an inner destructive force we need to examine, and change, in order to evolve, or even to survive?
Asoka Bandarage is the author of the new book, Sustainability and Well-Being: The Middle Path to Environment, Society and the Economy published by Palgrave MacMillan.
Find her web site here.
Asoka Bandarage (Yale Ph.D.) is the author of numerous publications in the fields of global political economy, environment, population, women's studies and peace and conflict resolution. She is a college professor and has taught at Brandeis, Mount Holyoke, Georgetown, American and other universities. She has published several books, ranging from an expert analysis of the recent civil war in her native Sri Lanka, to a wide-ranging view of women in the population crisis. She also writes for the Huffington Post.
In this Radio Ecoshock interview, our guest takes us from the early stages of collapse, into a different path, the middle path.
We know little to nothing about Sri Lanka, other than it is near India, was called Ceylon, and suffered both a tsunami and a civil war. For example, did you know that agrichemicals have caused widespread cancer in farm workers in Sri Lanka. Asoka tells us the same disease and death befalls farm workers in other parts of the world, including Central America. The chemical companies and the governments know very well what causes these cancers. Some toxic pesticides banned in North America and Europe are still used in developing countries, sprayed right on workers while they toil in the fields. What choice do they have?
But Asoka Bandarage draws from the Buddhist traditions, finding a way balanced between over-consumption in the industrialized countries, versus the under-consumption of the billion or more very poor people on this planet. No, this isn't the vision of rampant capitalism, or even the "liberal" reports from the United Nations. From her years of experience teaching, travelling and writing - Asoka brings her own unique voice to our global crisis.
Barbara Damrosch of Four Season Farm
Again, here is the description of Barbara from the Mother Earth News Fair brochure:
"Feasting From Your Four Season Garden
Learn how to grow and store a year-round produce supply. Find out how to raise food without much time, work or garden space, and discover what Barbara Damrosch has learned about bringing that food to the table. In the kitchen she follows the same motto she follows in the garden: If it's complicated, you're doing it wrong.
Barbara Damrosch, called the "queen of organic growers" by The New York Times, is one of the nation?s most respected garden experts and writers.
She is the author of Theme Gardens and The Garden Primer, and writes a weekly column for The Washington Post called "A Cook?s Garden." She appeared as a regular correspondent on the PBS series The Victory Garden, and co-hosted the series Gardening Naturally for The Learning Channel.
Damrosch and Eliot Coleman operate Four Season Farm, an experimental market garden in Harborside, Maine, that is a nationally recognized model of small-scale sustainable agriculture.
Visit www.fourseasonfarm.com for more information."
I knew about Barbara, from my previous Radio Ecoshock interview with her husband, Elliot Coleman of Four Season Farm. Here is the listing for that interview:
How to grow food in winter, even in Northern climates. Master gardener Eliot Coleman, from Four Seasons Farm in Bar Harbor Maine, grows (and sells) vegetables year-round, using inexpensive portable "hoop house" greenhouses, with no added heat source. Classic how-to interview, from Radio Ecoshock Show 111207 23 minutes 5 MB
I felt an immediate bond with Barbara. She's a very intelligent woman who has trained her brain on growing things, eating and living on what she grows, and then communicating the whole experience in ways that we can use. That is so valuable, she is nationally and internationally recognized.
We talked about their new project, their first cookbook. It's called "The Four Seaon Farm Gardener's Cookbook". Really it's half a how-to-grow-it manual, followed by excellent recipes for preparing and enjoying what you grew. I've got a copy, and it's a keeper for sure.
During the interview, I raise the problem of busy people trying to grow food and prepare it well. Do we have time really? Barbara was all over that.
She gave us a few tips, ready for her presentation at the Mother Earth News Fair - on how to cook the fast way. I also like her perspective on using different recipes to keep eating the same crop when it comes in - like three or four weeks of asparagus. It's really living on what you can grow, in season.
We just chatted easily. Barbara has a new column in the works, but no big book projects. She wants to get back to Harborside Maine, and just enjoy her time in the garden and kitchen. She's earned that... but somehow I'm doubtful. Barbara Damrosch has been giving so much, to millions of people for so long - can she just live a quiet life? We'll see.
THANKS MOTHER EARTH NEWS - AND THANKS RADIO ECOSHOCK LISTENERS!
My thanks to the Mother Earth News for arranging some great interviews at their recent fair in Puyallup Washington. There's plenty more for you, in coming shows. I met such unusual and productive people. Even when I had doubts, every guest brought a surprise, a new perspective you'll want to hear.
My special thanks to all the listeners who donated at our blog or web site, so I could afford to get my recording gear to the Fair. I literally couldn't have done it without memberships and donations from listeners like you.
I had access to a Fifth Wheel type trailer, parked right outside the main pavilion on the Puyallup Fair Grounds. I did interviews every hour, with feature presenters, all day. It was amazingly quiet inside this mobile studio - producing radio quality audio with the crowd right outside! Of course it was all solar powered radio, with the 120 Watt solar panel on the roof providing more electricity than I needed. There are four six volt batteries to store the sun's power.
If you like what you hear, you too can become part of the program, at www.ecoshock.org.
I'm Alex Smith, thank you for listening again this week.
Will Humans Go Extinct Soon? Mon Jun 10, 2013 00:16 | email@example.com (Alex Smith)
Investigating claims of near-term extinction for humans. Clips from Guy McPherson, John D. Cox, Dr. David Archer. Interview w. John Michael Greer. Analysis of predictions by Malcolm Light of the Arctic Methane Emergency Group (AMEG). Radio Ecoshock 130605 1 hour.
Listen to/download this Radio Ecoshock Show in CD Quality (56 MB) or Lo-Fi (14 MB)
Listen to/download the 12 minute interview with John Michael Greer in CD Quality or Lo-Fi
THE LAST GENERATION?
Mike Ruppert: "The last time you were on about a year ago, you said essentially at that point, that the only thing that could save us was an immediate cessation of all industrial activity. How much further do we have to go now?"
Dr. Guy McPherson: "I strongly suspect that because of those positive feedbacks, even completion of the on-going collapse will not prevent near-term human extinction as a result of climate change - a scenario that would involve geoengineering, a complete collapse, and 27 other miracles that you might come up with that would actually allow our species to persist beyond another human generation."
That was Dr. Guy McPherson, speaking on Mike Ruppert's Lifeboat Hour on the Progressive Radio Network, April 21st, 2013.
Are you living in the last human generation? Now that the 2012 Mayan Calendar craze is over, there is a new movement claiming we are heading into "near-term human extinction". One group says the Northern Hemisphere will be devoid of people by the 2030's, with the population of the Southern Hemisphere dying out a few years later.
Why? Due to a combination of events caused by climate change. The Arctic will release very high levels of methane gas. It will come, they say, from frozen methane on the shallow sea bed, now exposed by the end of sea ice. And from the land, from rotting vegetation frozen over the ages in the Permafrost, now released.
Methane is at least 20 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. For a few years, it may be as much as 100 times more powerful. If a lot of methane is released in a decade or two, global mean temperature may rise more than 10 degrees Centigrade some say. It could be twice that in the Arctic. Could our complex industrial civilization could survive? It's unlikely agriculture could feed our current billions. Most current species would disappear in the 6th great extinction. Are humans immune to extinction?
Is it happening already? Arctic sea ice is melting more each year. should we try to cool the Arctic, if not the world? That's the view of a small but growing group of scientists and concerned citizens. It's called geoengineering.
Most scientists caution we have not reached such a desperate stage yet. Geoengineering could just make things worse. It's never been done; we don't know the side-effects.
Two weeks ago we had the Australian author Clive Hamilton on Radio Ecoshock. Clive explained the big risks of attempting to block out the sun, called Solar Radiation Management. In his book "Earthmasters" Hamilton describes a somewhat unholy alliance of billionaire Bill Gates, a small clique of worried and respected scientists, some nuclear weapons lab types, and some of the world's biggest oil and coal companies. They are all pushing geoengineering to cool the world.
We are going to investigate near-term human extinction. We'll peer into one of the primary sources of this idea, Malcolm Light, from the Arctic Methane Emergency Group.
You may find some of his solutions outrageous, but they have been presented in all seriousness to the British Parliament. The AMEG group wants geoengineering to start this year, in 2013.
We'll hear who is spreading this ultimate climate despair. Some are people I respect, my friends. Others are from the fringe, the anonymous spaces of the Internet.
I also interviewed a German scientific expert on extinction, and a widely published author. It's a wild mix, as we encounter the strangest and most fearful prediction of human demise.
Oh, and one more thing. I can't give you the final answer. We don't know yet, do we? In fact, as collapsenik Dmitry Orlov writes in his blog, we can never know whether we are extinct!
LISTEN TO THIS RADIO ECOSHOCK SHOW RIGHT NOW!
GUY MCPHERSON ON RADIO
Let's begin with that voice that tweaked my brain. My Radio Ecoshock Show for December 5th, 2012 was called "On the Road to Extinction." It features a speech by Dr. Guy McPherson, delivered at the Bluegrass Bioneeers Conference in Kentucky. Guy, you will remember, is a qualified natural scientist who left the University of Arizona to pursue his own free speech. I wondered if the extreme statements Guy made about extreme global warming were true. I spent two days cross-checking pretty well everything he said. I posted my results online. His sources all checked out.
None of those scientific papers and authoritative reports said humans would go extinct before 2050. Guy McPherson made that jump, in part due to a frightening scientific-looking paper by Malcolm Light. I'll get to that.
These days Guy's blog "Nature Bats Last" features stories like "The irreconcilable acceptance of near-term extinction" by Daniel A. Drumright, and "On the Acceptance of Near-Term Extinction" by Gary Gripp and "Preparing For Near-Term Extinction" by Carolyn Baker. These people explain how they came to accept that humans are done-for, and soon. How do we cope with living in the end-times? There are others, a growing chorus of others. They take this belief very seriously, as if already proved by science and developments in the real world.
I think humans will still be around, trying to survive a continually warming world, for hundreds of years, if not more. Shortly, I'll explain why. We'll hear about the long human history of end-times thinking from popular author and commentator John Michael Greer. I've got a Radio Ecoshock reading from a new book by Asoka Bandarage about current trends of extinction in aboriginal peoples. Author John Cox wonders if we might choose extinction.
You can hear more of Guy McPherson on near-term human extinction on the Gary Null Show on May 14th, 2013. Find it on here on prn.fm.
JOHN MICHAEL GREER WEIGHS IN
Before we go digging into the science of near term human extinction, let's get a different view, this time from John Michael Greer, author of over 20 books and the Arch-Druid.
Essentially, Greer points out we've had a string of "end of the world" incidents, from Y2K to the end of the Mayan Calendar. Greer thinks we'll always need a replacement for that kind of thinking, and "near-term human extinction" could be it. He has his own theory of a bumpy decline which he calls "catabolic collapse". Greer was heavily criticized by those who believe near term human extinction is inevitable and is a scientific point of view. When I raised the danger that all sorts of end-times seekers and tin-foil types would pile on board this new idea, participants in the Near Term Extinction discussion site, - yes that's online already - they said "of course, we know that. But that doesn't change the science behind what we are saying."
MALCOLM LIGHT PREDICTS A METHANE FIRESTORM
*** UPDATE: A spokesperson for AMEG (Arctic Methane Emergency Group) says Malcolm Light is no longer a member of the group. Their web site has not been updated (it still lists Light as a member) but he has left. The AMEG plan for the methane emergency no longer includes Light's Arctic drilling and HAARP radio waves as solutions. Calls for other geoengineering, including chemtrail-like spraying of sulphates, remain. ***
Let's look at that science. In his seminal post June 20th, 2012, titled "We're Done", Guy McPherson links to this quote from Malcolm Light: quote: ?This process of methane release will accelerate exponentially, release huge quantities of methane into the atmosphere and lead to the demise of all life on earth before the middle of this century.?
McPherson has defended Malcolm Light and the Arctic Methane Emergency Group in a various places, including Transition Voice, the organ of the U.S. Transition Movement.
Now remember, I'm not questioning McPherson's other sources, including Utah Professor Tim Garrett, the International Energy Agency, and a long list of others. I've checked those, and Guy is right. They are frightening predictions of warming up to 6 degrees Centigrade, or more, by 2100 - a climatic catastrophe for sure.
I'm concerned with the conclusion that we will be wiped out, soon, and especially using Malcolm Light of the AMEG group as a source.
Malcolm Light's core article, posted on The Arctic Methane Emergency Group web site is titled: "Global Extinction within one Human Lifetime as a Result of a Spreading Atmospheric Arctic Methane Heat wave and Surface Firestorm".
In what looks like a scientific paper, complete with complex graphs and charts, we find this stunning announcement: "The absolute mean extinction time for the northern hemisphere is 2031.8 and for the southern hemisphere 2047.6 with a final mean extinction time for 3/4 of the earth's surface of 2039.6."
Well that's pretty precise isn't it? On August 2031, say goodbye for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. There is a lot in this article. I won't call it a scientific "paper" until I can find evidence it was peer-reviewed or published in an official journal.
This theory, and the radical solutions I'll discuss in a minute, were presented to the Britain's Environmental Audit Committee. The UK Parliament responded to this all-party committee's report "Protecting the Arctic". This AMEG paper went beyond the fringe into serious consideration by a major government.
What was the Committee told, as published by AMEG? Quoting from Malcolm Light's article, "This process of methane release will accelerate exponentially, release huge quantities of methane into the atmosphere and lead to the demise of all life on earth before the middle of this century."
We get slightly different estimates of when humans will go extinct in notes to one of the complex graphs in Light's article. It reads:
"Figure 8 shows a different method of interpreting the extinction fields defined by the (12 +-3) + 6% year long lifetime of methane (IPCC, 1992) assumed to have been instantaneously injected into the Arctic atmosphere in 2010 and the lifetime of the globally spreading methane atmospheric veil at different methane global warming potentials. The start of extinction begins between 2020 and 2026.9 and extinction will be complete in the northern hemisphere by 2057. Extinction will begin around 2024 in the southern hemisphere and will be completed by 2087. Extinction in the southern hemisphere, in particular in Antarctica will be delayed by some 30 years. This makes property on the Transantarctic mountains of premium value for those people wish to survive the coming methane firestorm for a few decades longer."
Let's pick up on that key phrase "assumed to have been instantaneously injected into the Arctic atmosphere in 2010". That leads to a building block of the whole theory, and the panic to geoengineer the planet.
An unlikely source has disputed the essential point. Somewhere out there in cyberspace is a person who made tens of thousands of posts on the site democraticunderground.com. She or he used the name "Muriel Volestrangler" - which just happens to be an alias used by British comedian John Cleese.
"Muriel" says Malcolm Light cherry picked the very worst single measurement of methane release in 2010, a startling spike reported by the American agency NOAA, from the Arctic Svalbard base on the day of November 16th, 2010. Light uses that spike for all his subsequent frightening calculations.
But here is what New Zealand blogger, Climate Show radio host Gareth Renowden wrote in his "Hot-Topic" blog about the graph Malcolm Light used:
"The graph comes from NOAA?s Earth System Research Labs Global Monitoring Division?s new data visualisation web page here (you?ll see a CO2 graph first, but click on the menu to the left of the graph to get the methane version). The readings for the last year are preliminary, and shown in brown. The last five data points are so far off the chart that they are almost certainly going to be rejected as being caused by local contamination. That?s happened before ? the green dots show when ? and at the moment other Arctic sites are not showing a similar rise. However, Svalbard is close to sea floor methane hydrate deposits that are known to be venting gas".
--- end Quote from Gareth Renowden at hot-topic.co.nz
Muriel Volestrangler tells us the data points showing the big methane spike have been revised by NOAA, who always said such measurements were provisional. I checked. The spike is gone. The steady rise over the decades is back. You can see it for yourself at the NOAA site linked above.
Therefore, most of the calculations in Malcolm Light's paper are not based on reality. They show what could happen, maybe, if there was ever a big release of methane in the Arctic, which continued at the new high level. But that hasn't happened at all. There's no doubt about it. Actual methane levels in the global atmosphere have NOT spiked beyond the gradual increase expected. No emergency. Yet. Although it could happen...
Volestrangler finds several more gross assumptions, all for the worst, and unprovable hypothesis in the Malcolm Light paper. Muriel writes:
"But since the basis for it all is a one month anomaly at one measuring station, which has since been counted as a false reading, it is all based on a mistake. He's taken that one month error, and extrapolated it until the world has heated up by 14 degrees C, which he says will therefore be an extinction event."
It's good news if Malcolm's paper is faulty, unless you have an agenda that requires governments to act in panic.
WHO IS MALCOLM LIGHT? AND WHAT DOES HE WANT?
At AMEG we find only this: "Malcolm Light, specialist in earth sciences, blogger at globalwarmingmlight.blogspot.com". He claims a PhD from the University of London, but we are not told in what field.
I checked that blog address, but globalwarminglight has been taken over by companies selling financial services. Dead end.
An article at the Ecologist Magzine describes Light as an inventor and retired professor. Not much information there.
In a post at peakoil.com, Light says of himself: "Malcolm Light, retired Arctic oil, mineral and climate researcher". Getting closer.
I followed up on papers published by Malcolm Light, which he cites in his AMEG posting. Here is one titled "Saline Fluid Flow and Hydrocarbon Migration and Maturation Related to Geopressure, Frio Formation." It's from the place where Malcolm Light worked: The Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas, Austin. He is a petroleum geologist who spent most of his career in Texas preparing information to assist extraction of fossil fuels.
Now we understand the vision that Malcolm Light is advancing to solve the climate crisis - a solution which hardly anyone in the environment community knows about.
Digging around on the Net, we find Malcolm Light has two main answers for the methane emergency. Other scientists like David Archer at the University of Chicago dispute there is any such emergency at this time.
PROJECT LUCY (IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS)
The first he calls "Project Lucy". I found it at the Iowa City Climate Advocates site. In this paper, Malcolm Light gives himself a new description, quote: "Malcolm Light, PhD (Univ. of London), consultant with many years of experience in methane, diamonds and numerous related topics."
Here is Light's solution Number 1. Quote: "Project Lucy therefore aims to design, build and test a microwave transmission system targeting low-altitude methane clouds with the aim of breaking the first C-H bond as soon as the methane erupts into the atmosphere from the Arctic Ocean. The transmitters can be mounted on submarines, planes and after 2015 on boats and drilling rigs when the Arctic ice cap has melted."
Light also calls for the use of HAARP, the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program super radio wave broadcasting facility in Alaska to break up methane. He wants to use the multi-billion dollar secret military facilities, in both the United States and Russia, to emit a very specific frequency. Not only will this break up methane into less harmful chemicals, Light claims. It will create a bi-product of nanodiamonds, tiny flecks of diamonds, in the upper atmosphere, which would serve to reflect more sunlight away from Earth. Lucy in the sky with diamonds.
Malcolm Light bases this whole radio waves kill methane and makes diamonds theory on experiments in making artificial diamonds, under high pressure, in laboratories. No one has ever tried what he suggests. so far I can't find a scientist who can make any sense out of this proposal in the real world. Perhaps someone could try it and see, if anyone would fund the research.
At least I like the idea that radio will save the world! That matches my own hopes with Radio Ecoshock.
ARCTIC DRILLING TO SAVE THE WORLD - THE ANGELS PROJECT
Malcolm Light's second way to save the world from the alleged Arctic Methane Emergency is far more dire. Characteristic of the answers seen by a petroleum geologist, or big fossil fuel companies, his solution is to install a massive array of gas drilling rigs in the Arctic, trying to capture methane from the sea and land, before it can rise up into the atmosphere.
This second plot is has the delightful name "The Angels Project". I found this in a PowerPoint presentation by Light, titled "A Proposal for the Prevention of Arctic Methane". "ANGELS" is an acronym for "Arctic Natural Gas Extraction Liquefaction Sales".
The sub-title reads: "A Proposal for the Prevention of Arctic Methane Induced Catastrophic Global Climate Change by Extraction of Methane from beneath the Permafrost - Arctic Methane Hydrates and its Storage and Sale as a Subsidized "Green Gas? Energy Source".
One slide says:
"This 'methane hydrate gun', which is cocked and ready to fire at any moment, is an extremely serious scenario that will cause abrupt climate change (CCSP, 2008; IMPACTS 2008). Even if this subsea volume of Arctic methane is released over a longer interval of some ten to twenty years it will still result in a massive feedback on global warming and drive the Earth on an irretrievable plunge into total extinction."
Shell Oil, Exxon/Mobil, StatOil, and all the majors will be thrilled to hear we MUST start massive drilling for natural gas in the Arctic, right away, or go extinct!
"After 2015, when the Arctic Ocean becomes navigable (Figure 5. Piomass in Naumer, 2012) it will be possible to set up a whole series of drilling platforms adjacent to, but at least 1 km away from the high volume methane eruption zones and to directionally drill inclined wells down to intersect the free methane below the sealing methane hydrate permafrost cap within the underlying fault network."
He predicts huge methane plumes erupting from certain identifiable areas of the Arctic Sea (from troubled areas of the sea bed). These should be capped instead by drilling rigs, and the energy used instead of oil or coal.
Quote: "Separated methane is stored in LNG tankers for sale to customers as a subsidised green alternative to coal and oil for power generation and for air and ground transport."
And here is how the world will be convinced to burn this methane:
"Support should be sought from the United nations, World Bank, national governments and other interested parties for a subsidy (such as a tax rebate) of some 5% to 15% of the market price on Arctic permafrost methane and its derivatives to make it the most attractive LNG for sale compared to LNG from other sources."
"This will guarantee that all the Arctic gas recovered from the Arctic methane hydrate reservoirs and stockpiled, will immediately be sold to consumers and converted into safer byproducts. This will also act as an incentive to oil companies to produce methane in large quantities from the Arctic methane hydrate reserves. In this way the Arctic methane hydrate reservoirs will be continuously reduced in a safe controlled way over the next 200 to 300 years supplying an abundant "Green LNG" energy source to humanity."
I note the "safer byproducts" of burning methane (natural gas) is carbon dioxide, the global warming gas that lasts up to 100,000 years. Malcolm glosses over that.
So... we will run the world from the Arctic methane erupting from clathrates and permafrost melting? Global warming will force us to capture this massive source of greenhouse gases and convert our society to methane power. Forget about solar or wind power, tidal, or simple changes to drastically lower power use. We'll turn lemons into lemonade as the Arctic warms. We'll spray sulfates too, using aircraft, to cool the Arctic, and hope those radio waves create some reflective "nanodiamonds" in the upper Troposphere or lower Stratosphere to further deflect sunlight. It's a total industrial solution to the woes of industrial civilization.
Think about this for a moment or two. As I say, we are forced to extract and burn still more climate-wrecking fossil fuels or go extinct, Malcolm Light claims. But we only have a limited amount of carbon we can still burn and stay below two degrees. I doubt there is enough left in that budge even to build and install this fleet of Arctic drilling rigs. Never mind the huge emissions required to convert methane into LNG.
No such Arctic drilling has been tried. Shell Oil's attempts last year turned to disaster when they tried to withdraw their rig before winter. It crashed aground in Alaska.
Beyond that, we haven't a clue whether the methane will really appear mainly along certain fault lines Malcolm Light has splashed across a colorful graph in his AMEG paper.
None of that research has been done. Does anyone really believe we can capture meaningful amounts of methane from a geologic release occuring across the vast Arctic tundra, and coastlines tens of thousands of miles long? The whole world economy would have to be converted to drilling rigs to capture a tiny percent of the methane. It doesn't make sense.
Adding it up, it's a huge and possibly dangerous fantasy, with near-term human extinction nowhere in sight.
The UK government responded to the Environment Audit Committee's report by saying they do not envisage an ice-free Arctic in the next few years, or a collapse of the major ice sheets on Greenland.
The Government wrote:
"Geo-engineering techniques for the Arctic at present do not offer a credible long term solution for tackling climate change. Further research is needed to understand how such techniques work and their wider impacts on climate systems. In the meantime, therefore, we remain unconvinced that using 'technical fixes' is the right approach and efforts should not be diverted from tackling the fundamental drivers of global climate change."
There are all sorts of curiosities lurking around in the AMEG plan to save the Arctic, and the world. They suggest the move away from burning dirty bunker oil in ships is a mistake. Ships should burn the dirtiest, most sulfur-laden fuel we can find, to add more sun-deflecting clouds. Commercial aircraft, they suggest, should get fuel additives that create chemtrails to ward off the sun. Unbelievably, they use the word "chemtrails" thus setting off another whole Internet hive of paranoia.
You can download AMEG's plan for the Arctic as a .pdf file here.
In fact, I think a case can be made that Malcolm Lights paper does two things:
First, it creates a story to bring the public, and even environmentalists, on board for massive gas drilling in the Arctic. That's something the big oil and gas companies want badly.
But it also stirs up the noise level around climate change, which may be just as important to the major energy companies. As University of Chicago climate scientist David Archer told us in a Radio Ecoshock interview, once the public becomes over concerned about methane, coming from the far away Arctic, we can forget about our own roles in burning carbon every day, in our cars, homes and factories. It's carbon dioxide that really counts in the long run. Carbon dioxide, not methane, will last determine the heat of the world for the next 100,000 years - for millennia after the short-lived methane has broken down.
CLIMATE SCIENTIST DAVID ARCHER ASKS "WHAT METHANE EMERGENCY?"
Let's hear a few words from David Archer on Radio Ecoshock. Check out this Radio Ecoshock interview from our February 15, 2012 show.
That was climate scientist David Archer, author of the book "The Long Thaw" and an editor at realclimate.org. We talked on the Radio Ecoshock Show February 15th, 2012, as part of my survey of three scientists, including AMEG's Peter Wadams interview here.
Read more about David Archer and the methane debate here at Joe Romm's blog at ThinkProgress.
Perhaps in the next few decades we will see a significant burst of methane from the Arctic. It's something that should be monitored much more. We should spend a billion dollars on research, to determine the real level of threat from the frozen methane in the shallow sea beds, and from melting permafrost on land. I've done several Radio Ecoshock shows about all this, and will continue to do so.
I think AMEG has done some good work. We've had good interviews from ice expert Dr. Peter Wadhams from Cambridge, and Paul Beckwith from the University of Ottawa. Paul taught us all about the jet stream, the latest science. I hope to have him back as a guest.
But I think the paper by Malcolm Light is flawed. It may be based on faulty data and unproven assumptions. At this point it's nothing more than an interesting idea, in the realm of science fiction.
We may very well experience a methane emergency in the Arctic. It's possible without the work of AMEG we might not be watching as we should. Let the group carry on, but without the histrionics about near-term extinction of humans, and re-assessing their role assisting big fossil fuel companies, whether intended or not.
I'm Alex Smith. This is Radio Ecoshock.
OTHERS WORRIED ABOUT EXTINCTION
I can't wrap up a show on human extinction without saying that other very serious scientists, public policy wonks, and artists are deeply concerned with it. As we learn more about biology, it's apparent that all species have gone extinct sooner or later. You may recall my interview with Dr. Peter Ward about the Medea Hypothesis - that all forms of life are ultimately self-destructive. Find that on our web site with a Google search. Or listen to my 25 minute interview with Peter about the Medea Hypothesis here.
In last week's program, I considered one argument for our survival - that some humans will continue to live directly from nature even if our complex world civilization fails completely. We heard from National Geographic author Scott Wallace, and his book "The Unconquered". If you missed that, download it here.
We hear other ways of facing ultimate threats to our humanity, from the author of a brand new book titled "Sustainability and Well-Being". As I read through my review copy, I was startled to find author Asoka Bandarage says some humans are already going extinct. In fact, the aboriginal people we were counting on may be the first to disappear. In the show I play you a reading from that new book, recorded for Radio Ecoshock by Asoka from her book "Sustainability and Well-Being", published by Palgrave.
We may not go extinct in some wave of deaths, but in smaller collections of endangered humans.
This is another reason why I disagree with the theory of near-term human extinction. It doesn't fit with what biologists know about extinction, unless you believe a Malcolm Light type apocalypse where the whole atmosphere catches fire or the oceans suddenly die.
DR. FRANZ ESSL ON DELAYED EXTINCTION
To understand more, I called up Dr. Franz Essl. He is from the Department for Biodiversity and Nature Conservation, in the Austrian Environment Agency, in Vienna. Essl was co-author of a new paper titled "Europe?s other debt crisis caused by the long legacy of future extinctions".
I intended to play you the interview, but... to be honest the phone line was too poor to get audio easily understood. I apologize to you and Dr. Essl.
Here are some of the highlights of that interview.
Essl began by explaining that species go extinct after a long delay. Quote:
"In ecology there is an understanding that species reaction to changes in environment often follows with considerable delay. That means the impact of changes caused by human activity like habitat fragmentation or habitat loss often translates with a delay of years, or many years, or even with decades to the full loss of species in the given habitat. This is well understood on a local level.
So if a site is being reviewed to a fraction of it's former size we can expect quite a substantiation fraction of species will finally go extinct in this habitat. However we are not aware of a scheme of this phenomenon on a larger scale, so if this applies to the full range of species on a large geographical scale like a continent. This was the reason we started to analyze this phenomenon on a larger scale, to get an idea of how important this might be on a global scale."
What they found was amazing. Changes to ecology say in 1910, before the First World War, determined exinction of a species up to one hundred years later.
The authors chose Europe because most members of the EU had similar record-keeping on biodiversity, records that went back at least a century. European countries also kept track of Red List species, those who were most endangered.
I asked: It seems important for the public to realize extinction is not just about polar bears, tigers or some exotic large mammals in far away places. Are there dangers of extinctions of simple plants and fish in Europe?
Essl said: "If you have a close look on Red Lists in each country in Europe, you see quite a lot of species which are in the most severe categories in the Red Lists, which means they have a strong risk of getting extinct in these countries.
We also analyzed the proportion of species which are Red Listed in Europe. We looked at seven different taxa ranging from fish to mammals, and also to plant species like ?? plants. And what we found was the currently on a national scale in Europe between 20 to 40 percent of species are already considered to be at risk of getting extinct in the future.
So there are many species. Some of them are prominent species well-known to the wider public because of their conspicuousness, or their activity. Others are much more species that are at risk of getting lost at the national scale which are much less known. However they might be very important in eco-function or conferring other benefits to human well-being. So this is really a very important phenomenon.
And I have to say not only a European phenomenon of course. It's also a phenomenon which applies at the global scale. So the IUCN [International Union for Conservation of Nature], which is the global conservation union, which provides Red List assessment on the global scale has found in a recent assessment in the year 2012 that approximately 30 percent of all vertebrate species are being at risk of getting lost globally in the coming decades.
That's really a very important phenomenon that we have created and I am convinced of a global extinction problem."
Thirty percent of all vertebrate species, which includes mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish! Earth's ecosystems, this study found, works at a slower time-scale than humans. We haven't realized the delay factor. Many species we see now are already headed for extinction, determined perhaps a generation ago.
If pre-war social and industrial expansion caused such damage, I shudder to think what the new chemicals released in the 1970's and 80's will do decades from now. Or the mass expansion of cities and industrial agriculture.
Dr. Franz Essl told me:
"I suspect in regions which have just been transformed even more strongly than Europe, recently, like in emerging industrialized countries, for instance China, or other South East Asian countries, or countries who have lost a large fraction of their natural habitat in their recent history like some countries in the sub-tropical and tropical regions, might expect an even more delayed, or more pronounced delay in species loss.
This is particularly worrisome because many of these countries are the mega-biodiverse countries which means the most, or a huge proportion of global biodiversity. And a very strong delay of species extinction. That might mean lots of species are really at risk of getting lost in the long term."
This study did not even try to calculate the impacts of climate change. Socio-economic development itself was enough to drive massive extinctions. Climate change will add to that in the coming century.
The paper "Europe?s other debt crisis caused by the long legacy of future extinctions" was published in April 2013 in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Another take-away from this look at the biology of extinctions, I think, is that humans are very unlikely to go extinct all of a sudden. We may have already set the stage for out extinction, but it may take a hundred or more years to play out. Personally, I think humans will limp along, surviving through changes larger than anyone has dared to imagine.
Make no mistake, I'm deeply worried by the reports we carry on Radio Ecoshock.
The author of the new book "Scatter, Adapt and Remember", Annalee Newitz, thinks humans will survive anything. She looks through our ways of surviving past crisis despite incredible odds.
Even James Lovelock, the British inventor and scientist who years ago warned we were doomed to massive climate change, didn't predict a total end to the species. He speculated humans would end up as a few breeding pairs surviving around the Arctic Sea, the last place cool enough to support our mammalian life form. But given the climate record so far, that would take hundreds of years, if it ever gets that bad.
WILL WE CHOSE EXTINCTION? JOHN D. COX
Perhaps we can only go extinct if we accept that as our fate. Our last clip comes from 2005, by author and long-time Sacramento journalist John D. Cox . Cox was speaking at the launch of his book "Climate Crash: Discovering Rapid Climate Change and What It Means to Our Future". He brought up one of the few cases of extinction in our recent history, namely the Viking settlement on the coast of Greenland. They were hit by climate change, as the times became colder.
Find the full John D. Cox book launch on C-Span here, as recorded July 12, 2005 at the National Academy of Sciences. My clip comes from the Q and A.
John D. Cox asks, why did the Norse fail in Greenland, while the Inuit survived? The Norse failed to adapt, there was a cultural identity which prevented them from learning from the Inuit. They chose to become extinct there. Will we decide to adapt? Or will we decide to stay the same, and thus be extirpated?
Will we choose extinction, even when more natural ways of survival are known, are right before our faces? Are we too inflexible to survive, to wedded to the many fossil powered slaves we all enjoy, from cars to dishwashers and vacation flights?
As John Michael Greer suggests, we may bump down some hard stairs for a few hundred years. I expect plenty of mass die-offs, a decrease in human population, and forced climate migrations. But in 2050, I think my grandson will be alive, and despite all, he'll be glad to be alive. That is the way we are.
Please support Radio Ecoshock if you can, at our web site at ecoshock.org.
I ask you to educate yourself to the challenge, by listening to our scientists and authors in past shows, as free mp3 files on our site. Support your local non-profit radio station, so we can stay on the air.
I'm Alex Smith. Don't give up to near-term extinction thinking. Use wit, love and persistence to change the paradigm. And don't be afraid to have fun.
WILD HUMANS (doing wild things) Tue May 28, 2013 06:53 | firstname.lastname@example.org (Alex Smith)
National Geographic reporter Scott Wallace on trips to deep Amazon for his book "The Unconquered". How oil, gold, and illegal logging chase the last un-contacted tribes. Plus reports on Canadian Boreal failure, serial climate hacker Russ George, and shaping Nature in the city. Radio Ecoshock 130529 1 hour
Welcome to Radio Ecoshock. I'm Alex Smith with a packed show. Are you counting on off-grid humans to survive if we don't? We'll track the last wild humans in a report from South America. You'll hear an update on the reported collapse of the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, the further adventures of serial climate hacker Russ George, and a debate on trying to re-make nature in your city.
Off we go.
The first 32 minutes of the show is a wide-ranging discussion with Scott Wallace, journalist for National Geographic magazine.
We talk through his book about the last Amazon un-contacted tribes "The Unconquered". Why oil, gold, and tropical timber are corrupting the Amazon, a fundamental source of biodiversity for the planet. Wallace made a three month trip to find signs of "the Arrow People" - plus multiple trips to the Amazon in Ecuador and Peru. At times it was pretty hairy.
I provide an update on the "collapse" of the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement. Following my story 2 weeks ago on the green group Canopy withdrawing, this week the largest forest company, Resolute, quit. We hear from the remaining NGOs that the process may not be dead.
Serial climate hacker and plankton "farmer" Russ George was booted off the Board of the Haida Salmon Restoration Corp. The aboriginal Haida people say they have fired him, George says that's not possible, he owns nearly half the company. An update on the incredible disappearing $2.5 million.
We hear briefly from NOAA lawyer Richard Mannix on the need for an international agency to oversee geoengineering attempts like the Russ George/Haida case.
The show wraps with a sample from ""City Mouse, City Flower: A Discussion of Urban Nature." presented by Erik Hoffner of Orion Magazine.
Listen to/download this Radio Ecoshock Show in CD Quality (56 MB) or Lo-Fi (14 MB)
Listen to/download my 32 minute interview with Scott Wallace in CD Quality or Lo-Fi
LISTEN TO THE RADIO ECOSHOCK SHOW RIGHT NOW (courtesy of archive.org)
SCOTT WALLACE: WILD IN THE AMAZON
Waorani Hunters, Yasuni Rainforest, photo by Scott Wallace.
What if a solar flare knocks out power to the world? Or the latest disease escapes becoming a great plague? At least we have the consolation there are still so-called "wild" humans out there on the fringes to survive. Or is that just another strangely comforting myth?
We are joined by a man who knows, long-time international journalist and reporter for National Geographic Magazine, Scott Wallace. His latest book is "The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon?s Last Uncontacted Tribes".
We have a lot to talk about. There's Ecuador's promise to leave Amazon oil in the ground to save the rainforest and global warming. There is the whole issue of biodiversity and whether the great Amazon rainforest can survive - not to mention the last of it's unconquered peoples.
But first, why do we hear so little in mainstream media about South America? Here in the North, it's like the lost continent. Why is that?
Maybe most Western-style people are just interested in others like themselves. But I also wonder if the major newspapers and networks have owners who don't want to talk about very different political systems in South America.
THE LAST STAND FOR MAHOGANY
Anyway, Scott brings South America into the picture with his articles in National Geographic Magazine. Check out his April 2013 feature "Mahogany's Last Stand".
In the interview, Scott explains mahogany was running so short in Brazil, that country banned further export of the product. The mahogany loggers moved across the borer into Peru, where central government contol of the Amazon is weak to none. They try. In his blog, Scott tells us the Peruvian cops just seized some illegal timber. But that leaves the local tribes fearing for their lives, afraid of the violent loggers.
ECUADOR: LEAVING OIL IN THE GROUND, TO PROTECT MOTHER CLIMATE
We talk about the magnificent Yasuni National Park in eastern Ecuador. Scott writes:
"Downpours are a near daily occurrence throughout the year, and there are few discernible changes of season. Sunlight, warmth, and moisture are constants."
"Over the years, oil concessions have been drawn over the same territory as the park, as economic interests have trumped conservation in the struggle over Yasuní?s fate. At least five active concessions blanket the park?s northern section, and for a poor country like Ecuador the pressure to drill has been almost irresistible. Half of the nation?s export earnings already come from oil, nearly all of it from its eastern provinces in the Amazon."
"In a proposal first put forward in 2007, President Rafael Correa has offered to leave indefinitely untouched an estimated 850 million barrels of oil inside Yasuní?s northeastern corner in a tract known as the ITT Block (named for the three oil fields it contains: Ishpingo, Tambococha, and Tiputini). As payment for preserving the wilderness and preventing an estimated 410 million metric tons of fossil fuel-generated carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere, Correa has asked the world to ante up in the fight against global warming. He is seeking $3.6 billion in compensation, roughly half of what Ecuador would have realized in revenues from exploiting the resource at 2007 prices. The money would be used, he says, to finance alternative energy and community development projects.
Hailed by supporters as a milestone in the climate change debate when it was first proposed, the so-called Yasuní-ITT Initiative has been hugely popular in Ecuador. National polls consistently show a growing awareness of Yasuní as an ecological treasure that should be protected. But the international response to the initiative has been tepid. By mid-2012 only about $200 million had been pledged. In response Correa has issued a succession of angry ultimatums, leading detractors to liken his proposal to blackmail. With the initiative stalled and Correa warning that time is running out, activity on the oil frontier continues to advance through eastern Ecuador, even within Yasuní?s limits. Every day, another bit of the wilderness succumbs to the bulldozers and backhoes."
Read more in Scott's January 2013 article "Rainforest for Sale: The Story of Oil" in National Geographic Magazine.
President Correa of Ecuador is one of the few world leaders anywhere to offer to leave some oil in the ground, to reduce global warming. All countries will have to come to that position to stave off climatic disaster, that we know. The leadership apparently is in the global South.
There were two great droughts in the Amazon Rainforest, of all places, in the last couple of decades. Biodiversity is under threat or crashing. Some climate models show vast swaths of the Amazon rainforest converting to grassland, as a great drought develops there. First it would be logged or burn. If the rainforest goes, cloud formation will change, precipitation for Africa will fall (in another area slated for drought and desertification). Plus, a huge carbon sink becomes a carbon source.
Please check out our conversation with Scott Wallace on Radio Ecoshock.
Visit his web site at scottwallace.com. I recommend watching the little bio clip on that home page.
Find Scott's blog posts for National Geographic here.
Don't forget his book. Scott is a gifted story teller, with important issues to communicate. The book is "The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon?s Last Uncontacted Tribes"
You can take that Scott Wallace interview as the first installment in a series on human extinction. Next week, we'll investigate the growing chorus saying the human species will go extinct before the middle of this Century. I'll tell you who's behind it, and what real science says. It's a tale with a twist, tune in next week for sure.
THE BOREAL FOREST AGREEMENT "COLLAPSES"?
Meanwhile I have to update you on stories you heard first on Radio Ecoshock. In our program on the first of May 2013, you heard Nicole Rycroft of the green group Canopy explain why they pulled out of the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement. It was a key effort to preserve at least half of the necklace of slow-growing trees across the top of Canada - now being clear-cut logged by dozens of forest companies.
Listen to/Dowload the Nicole Rycroft interview (Canopy) 22 minutes in CD Quality or Lo-Fi
Or watch the Nicole Rycroft interview on Youtube instead!
Rycroft told us after three years of direct negotiations with major logging companies, promises were not kept, deadlines were not met, and not a single hectare of the Boreal Forest was legally protected. Canopy is going back to the 700 companies promising to avoid old-growth timber from Canada's Boreal Forest.
Now the largest forest company, Resolute Forest Products, formerly known at AbitibiBowater, has pulled out of the talks.
Resolute says the environmentalists are asking too much. They would have to close mills, and the impoverished northern aboriginal communities would suffer, if they don't continue massive logging operations in the north of two Canadian provinces, Ontario and Quebec.
Some Canadian newspapers reported the agreement had collapsed, now that Greenpeace, Canopy, and Resolute pulp and paper were out. Other large timber companies have not announced they are leaving the talks, although they may, if they feel they will be at a competitive disadvantage. Three large environment and conservation groups said they will continue to push for protection of the Boreal Forest. One major funder, the Ivy Foundation, put at least five million dollars into this effort.
In the program, you hear a press conference statement by Tod Paglia, Executive Director of Forest Ethics, followed by Tim Gray, Program Director for the Ivey Foundation. I recorded this from a media conference call on May 21st.
Both groups still support the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement process, despite the loss of other major environment and company participants. I don't know if the process can continue, or if they can protect enough of the Boreal to protect the endangered Woodland Caribou.
The real issue, from my perspective, is not just the value of this intact ecosphere of the North - but the big impact rampant logging will have on climate change. The Boreal Forest could turn from being a carbon sink, moderating what is left of our climate, to a carbon source. This huge Northern forest could take hundreds of years to grow back, it it ever does.
Meanwhile, we witness another positive feed-back loop, heating the globe, and created by the human impulse to grab natural resources at any cost.
Environment groups like Greenpeace and Canopy will push Resolute Forest Products to meet the needs of nature. You can help by disinvesting in this rogue company, and making sure your pension plans and corporations are not supporting their products.
RUSS GEORGE IS BACK AGAIN IN THE NEWS
From Steve Krivit collection "Russ George Gives Vatican Certificate for Fictional Carbon Credits"
On to another story brought to light by Radio Ecoshock. Over the years I've investigated the claims and activities of Russ George. On September 7th and 14th 2007 I did a two part interview and critique of George's attempt to modify the climate by stimulating plankton blooms with iron. That effort failed. The multimillion dollar stock promotion of his company "Planktos" went bankrupt.
PLANKTOS: Offsets Real and Imagined Planting trees, seeding seas, grabbing CO2, for money. Full show interview with Russell George, CEO of Planktos, controversial carbon offset company. Part 1 of 2. Interview transcript here. Ecoshock Show 070907 1 hr 14 MB
Find a transcript of my full-length interview with Russ George in 2007 here.
PLANKTOS II: THE INTERVENTION Who are they, and will it work? Part 2: three critics respond plus Alex Smith's take. (Ecoshock show 070914 - 14 MB 1 hr) Greenpeace (9 min)Science Unit, ETC Group (9 min), and David Baines (16 min)(newspaper business columnist)
In the middle of October 2012, I did interviews and clips from a Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation press conference at the Vancouver Aquarium. Leaders from the Haida Village of Old Massett attempted to explain to the world press how and why they secretly performed a geonengineering experiment, possible the world's largest, in the Pacific Ocean near their home on the island of Haida Gwaii. The village spent 2.5 million on Russ George's dream to create carbon credits for sale, and allegedly replenish the failing salmon stock. No carbon credits were sold, and it appear the villagers lost their money to this scheme.
Here are the resources from October 2012
"Geoengineering Plankton at Haida Gwaii Serial climate hacker Russ George (Planktos) leads indigenous villagers to dump iron into the sea - a secret geoengineering project off Canada's West Coast. Press conference statements (recorded by Alex Smith) by the Haida Old Massett Village Chief, Ken Rea and Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation President John Disney (16 min) in CD Quality or Lo-Fi; statement by HSRC marine lawyer James L. Straith CD quality or Lo-Fi. See Radio Ecoshock 121024 blog here. Transcript of Chief Rea and Disney at Press Conference. Transcript of Question and Answer period Press Conf. (prepared by Alex Smith)."
Find all the links for that October special on this page.
On April 10th, I announced the offices of the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation offices were raided by armed officers of the federal agency, Environment Canada. All computers and files were taken away.
Despite this, Russ George told the Times Colonist newspaper in British Columbia that he and the First Nations people would run a second experiment on the wild algae in the summer of 2013.
NOAA FINDS "A WILD WEST" LACK OF LAWS ON GEOENGINEERING
On April 30th, I attended an online briefing by the American National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration on marine geoengineering, and possible legal barriers against unilateral experimenters like Russ George. It was titled "Ocean Fertilization, Marine Geoengineering and the London Convention/London Protocol".
The audio quality is poor, but you can make out these two quick clips. First, Richard Mannix, a legal expert from NOAA's Office of General Counsel notes the Russ George/Haida Village experiment may have damaged clam beds on the island. The Haida had to dig them up. We don't have scientific proof that was due to the massive plankton bloom created off shore by the experiment.
Second, lawyer Richard Mannix points out there is no central legal authority to regulate or stop geoengineering experiments. Dumping iron into the sea should be controlled by the London Dumping Convention and the London Protocol. But there is nothing controlling who might spray sulfates into the atmosphere, or launch mirrors into space, to reduce sunlight arriving at our planet. Without such an agency, Mannix feels we are encouraging a "wild west" of geoengineering.
I managed to get in a question at the end, saying Russ George promises to repeat his ocean dumping scheme this year, and what could stop him? Mannix replied he was confident the Canadian authorities were investigating thoroughly, and it was possible Russ George could end up in "the slammer". His words.. "the slammer" is slang for jail. We'll see.
THE HAIDA "FIRE" RUSS GEORGE
The story continues. On May 23rd, the Haida villagers announced on Canadian News Wire they were severing all ties with Russ George. The HSRC said, quote "it has removed Mr. Russ George as a director of the company. In addition, the HSRC has terminated Mr. George's employment as an officer of the corporation."
"Old Massett Village Chief Councillor Ken Rea stated: 'The board and our community has decided to recalibrate this business so that it moves forward in a constructive fashion and effectively responds to legitimate concerns raised by various stakeholders around the world'."
Sounds like Russ is out of a job. But not so fast! Russ George told the Vancouver Sun he can't be fired! George said the Board of the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation did not have the authority to remove him. We learn from Russ that he owns 48% of HSRC through his own company called "Ocean Pastures Corp." All along we were led to believe it was strictly a First Nations business (and that's why the company claimed it could issue it's own permits).
George promised to keep going on the project. That's moxy! His data and equipment were seized by the Canadian government, with likely legal action pending. The Haida villagers, a potent group to say the least, insist they have severed all ties with Russ George. Village Chief Ken Rea told the Times Colonist "We have parted ways". I would read that more or less as a ban from the island, especially since the senior governing body of the Haida already denounced the experiment. Ken Rea says no plankton seeding experiment will be done this year.
That should end the story, but Russ George never really goes away. He's back on his blog touting his other persona, the amateur physics experimenter with a world-saving technology in cold fusion. His former company D2Fusion went bankrupt years ago. On his blog, George says he's worked on cold fusion since its discovery in 1989. His "work" was making a documentary film about it.
Find a full record of the activities of the two Russ Georges on Steve Krivit's page "Investigations of Russ George's Low-Energy Nuclear Reaction Research (LENR) and Plankton Carbon-Credit Activities".
With the failure of his plankton scheme, again, Russ George could next reappear as a businessman advocate for Cold Fusion. It's never over for Russ George with his big dreams, and multimillion dollar losing schemes.
ORION MAGAZINE: CITY MOUSE - A DISCUSSION OF URBAN NATURE
Moving on, I have one more recording for you. On May 16th, Erik Hoffner of Orion Magazine hosted a web chat called "City Mouse, City Flower: A Discussion of Urban Nature." Guests were Beatrix Beisner, co-editor of the new urban ecology guidebook "Nature All Around Us", Liam Heneghan of DePaul University/Chicago Wilderness Science Team, and Kevin Anderson, proprietor of the blog Marginal Nature.
Find out more about Liam Henegan, both a bio and a video of his talk at New York University, here.
I was intrigued with the struggles and ideas in the discussion between Liam Heneghan, working from an academic planning perspective, and Kevin Anderson, who by day is a water and sewage worker for the City of Austin Texas. Anderson definitely gets his hands dirty, and laments the trend of cutting down "foreign species" to create the imagined past landscape of "native speciers" - during one of the worst droughts in living memory.
We tune in as Erik of Orion Magazine brings up adaptation to urban conditions. Kevin Anderson weighs in with the hot debate: should humans try to engineer nature again, this time right in the cities where we live?
Find the full 80 minute discussion "City Mouse, City Flower: A Discussion of Urban Nature" as an audio file at Orionmagazine.org.
Next week we'll ask the question: are we humans doomed to an early extinction? I hope the answer is "no". You'll hear the arguments as Radio Ecoshock continues to cover the biggest pictures.
I'm Alex Smith. You can support my work at the show web site, ecoshock.org.
Catch up on any programs you've missed as free mp3 downloads at the site. http://www.ecoshock.org/
Please tell your friends about Radio Ecoshock and thank you for listening.
Who Will Control the Climate of the World? Tue May 21, 2013 19:49 | email@example.com (Alex Smith)
Australian author Clive Hamilton on geoengineering & his new book "Earthmasters". Plots by big oil, Bill Gates & nuke scientists. Shocking new science shows Arctic could melt at current carbon levels. Plus world-wide growth of bike sharing with Janet Larsen of Earth-Policy. Radio Ecoshock 130522 1 hour http://tinyurl.com/mg5uj4w
Welcome traveller. Can you handle the truth?
I didn't think so. Me neither.
But it will happen anyway. Science is beginning to prove we have already changed the planet's climate in dangerous ways.
A small group of climate scientists, backed by a billionaire and big oil, are considering taking over control of the climate, to stave off disaster. Then we'll find proof our current 400 parts per million will melt so much Arctic and Antarctic ice, warming up to 8 degrees C, flooding the world's largest cities.
We'll wrap that up with one of the few positive alternatives growing in this disturbed scene: a wave of bike sharing around the world. Includes Europe, U.S., Mexico, South America, China.
FREE MP3 AUDIO DOWNLOADS FOR THIS PROGRAM
Listen to/download this Radio Ecoshock Show (1 hour) in CD Quality (56 MB) or Lo-Fi (14 MB)
Listen to/download the Clive Hamilton interview on "EarthMasters" (geoengineering 25 min) in CD Quality or Lo-Fi
Listen to/download Janet Larsen from Earth Policy Institute on world-wide bike sharing (24 min) in CD Quality or Lo-Fi
LISTEN TO THIS RADIO ECOSHOCK SHOW RIGHT NOW (courtesy of archive.org)
CLIVE HAMILTON - EARTHMASTERS
Gather round boys and girls as we tell the story of the Earthmasters - the men who would take over from nature, to run the climate of the world. Or do they mean to save us from our fossil-addicted selves?
For all who love a conspiracy, geoengineering has it all. The oil companies, far-right think-tanks, nuclear weapons scientists, and even Bill Gates. But you'll have to hang in, while we first look at a few small problems in their plans.
Our guide is Clive Hamilton. After careers in the Australian public service as an economics and resource advisor, and several stints at Universitites like Yale, Cambridge, and Oxford, Hamilton founded and ran a progressive think-tank called the Australia Institute. Now he's Professor of Public Ethics in a program run by two Australian universities.
You may have heard of books Clive's written or co-written, including "Growth Fetish", "Affluenza", "Silencing Dissent" and more recently "Requiem for a Species: Why we resist the truth about climate change." But his latest is "Earthmasters, The Dawn of the Age of Climate Engineering."
We reached Clive Hamilton in Canberra.
We cover a lot of important points. One of the big questions: if we start cooling the planet, say with Solar Radiation Management, what happens if we stop? Answer: the temperature goes up very quickly in a matter of months or even weeks, as the aerosols are rained out. It could be a jump of several degrees.
That leads to an absolutely key point: the RATE if temperature increase is possibly more important than the overall increase. If we gain a half a degree per decade, some plants, animals and ocean species will have time to migrate further toward the poles, or higher up mountains, to survive. But if there is a relatively sudden jump of one or two degrees global mean temperature, (more in some areas) - then mass extinctions will result. That is one of the supreme risks of geoengineering.
It's easy to picture a scenario where a fleet of aircraft spraying sulfates, or a fleet of ships spraying up salt water continuously, could stop. A financial crash, war, plague, or terrorism could end the program. Then all of the heating we've covered up with geoengineering would strike the planet. No one has a tenable answer for this problem.
A second key issue: who will decide when and how to start geoengineering? A single country could do it, like Russia, the United States, or even Malaysia. It's possible a billionaire could decide to cool off the planet, with no public consultation. In fact, we learn that Bill Gates, the Microsoft Founder, has been pouring millions into a research fund to develop science - and patents! - to cool the planet. Some businessmen hope to make money controlling the technology that could save us from extreme climate change.
The Gates foundation has been advised by two scientists in particular, Ken Caldeira and David Keith. These are highly regarded climate scientists, Caldeira from Stanford and Keith from Harvard. David Keith is a great example of a man who seems to deny climate change, or at least thinks it won't matter to humans, we can adapt - and yet he gets money from Canadian Tar Sands billionaire N Murray Edwards to further the cause of geoengineering. How can Conservatives have it both ways? Another important player in this "geo-clique" is Brad Allenby.
Gates has started several companies investigating geoengineering, one called "Intellectual Ventures". The CEO is Nathan Myhrvold, formerly Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft.
Another associate at Intellectual Ventures is Lowell Wood, a former nuclear weapons researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and protege of the late Edward Teller, inventor of the hydrogen bomb. Before his death, Edward Teller was promoting a scheme to launch millions of mirrors into space to deflect the sun away from the Earth. Teller was a Cold Warrior who also championed the "Star Wars" scheme under President Ronald Reagan. Wood is one of a collection of people who moved from nuclear weapons research into geoengineering. And why not? If you think humans should control the Earth by force, why not control the climate the same way? In fact, some of these men want to control Nature entirely. Former Vice President Dick Cheney or the current Dictator of North Korea would probably agree that's a good thing.
Such schemes reduce sunlight for all creatures on Earth, including our own needs for agriculture. And they do nothing to stop the equally deadly acidification of the oceans from our fossil fuel pollution.
Obviously, big oil and coal companies would love to have a technological solution that lets them burn even more of their polluting produces. In the interview, and in his book Earthmasters, Clive Hamilton tells us how Exxon/Mobil and Shell are investing in geoengineering schemes.
Strangest of all, the right-wing think tank the American Enterprise Institute also backs Solar Radiation Management, or geoengineering, to stave off global heating. The AEI was previously given millions of dollars, and acted to deny global warming was even happening. That's quite a switch, going from denial straight to demanding emergency action to stop climate change!
Clive Hamilton suggests the problem of global warming indicates a failing of the free market system - since the true cost of polluting the atmosphere was never factored in. But now, with geoengineering, the capitalists system tries to vindicate itself by converting a horrible problem into a wonderful victory with technology it controls.
Due to time limitations, we didn't cover technologies to suck carbon dioxide out of the air. People are going to have to buy the book to get that.
Part of the reason Clive wrote the book, and is now touring North America, is to wake up the public and get a real discussion going about who should control this tech, if we ever need it. Naturally, the far better solution is to drastically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions before we lose the climate civilization depends on.
Find out more at Clive's web site.
Now in fairness, we have to say there are genuine and worthy climate scientists who are terrified about the way the climate trap is going. They don't get money from the military or Bill Gates. They just see the Arctic meltdown and species leaving the stage forever, and think "we've got to do something fast". What could we do that isn't too crazy or dangerous?
I think there will be a "climate emergency". We get two years where crops don't grow. It could be floods or extreme heat, whatever. Millions die and there is a call for action. The geoengineers step forward with a plan. Will we be able to say "no"?
That's why I didn't ask Clive about international negotiations or laws. It's still the Wild West of the atmosphere, where just one determined dictator, billionaire, or president could decide to cool the world.
NEW SCIENCE FROM THE ARCTIC: WE MAY HAVE ALREADY PASSED THE BIG MELTING POINT
In the last year, scientists discovered a climate record going back over 3 million years - long beyond the ice core records of 800,000 years. Research led by Professor Julie Brigham-Grette, from the University of Masschusetts, Amherst drastically changes our understanding of the world.
She's been studying a meteor-impact lake called El' gygytgyn on the Eastern tip of Siberia.Drilling into a lake in the Russian Arctic, created from a meteor strike ages ago, she found several periods where the Arctic was up to 8 degrees warmer than today. That despite carbon dioxide levels thought to be similar to, or below, today's 400 parts per million. Zoom out on this Google Map to see where that lake is.
The Greenland Ice sheets have repeatedly shrunk to half current size. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet completely disappeared 1.1 million years ago. The sea level was tens of meters higher than today.
All this happened not with carbon levels like the 600 parts per million and above projected by politicians and planners, but at only 400 parts per million, our current level. It appears we may have already arrived at greenhouse gas levels sufficient to drastically warm the poles, make sea ice history, melt Greenland and parts of Antarctica, and flood coastal areas around the world. All that may be only a matter of time.
In the radio show I play a selection of key clips recorded from a You tube video presentation by Dr. Julie Brigham-Grette, at Amherst, in the summer of 2012 - almost a year ago, and yet hardly anyone has heard of these startling findings. Find out more at frontierscientists.com, hosted by University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
I highly recommend you watch this full Youtube video of Julie Brigham-Grette with all the graphs and charts. Scary stuff.
FINALLY SOME GOOD NEWS: BIKE SHARING IS EXPLODING AROUND THE WORLD!
Quick quiz: what way of getting around is growing faster than "any mode of transport in the history of the planet?"
If you said cars, motorbikes, or skateboards... nope. The right answer is "bike sharing". It's almost enough to give us hope - and that's the intention of the the ongoing work called "Plan B" from Lester Brown's Earth Policy Institute.
Here to brighten our day with news about the wave of carbon-friendly bicycle travel around the world is Janet Larsen. She's the Director of Research for the Earth Policy Institute. Over 500 cities world-wide have installed millions of share-able bikes.
Janet Larsen, Earth Policy Institute
There's plenty of bike action in North America, but we start with Europe. They have been the world leaders in urban biking, other than China. A few of us heard about free bikes in Amsterdam back in the day, but those were stolen to be sold off in Eastern Europe. We talk about bicycle solutions today in Amsterdam and Copenhagen.
The Copenhagen "Bycyklen" system just shut down at the end of 2012, as part of "austerity". There was such a big public outcry, the government has now promised a new modern bike sharing system to replace it.
The French were never known for their biking, but Citi Group helped pioneer a sharing system in Rouen that was very successful. Now every tourist to Paris enjoys the great bike sharing system there.
I wince with pain when I think about what happened in China. In the early 1990's, we all saw video of throngs of commuters biking into work in most of China's cities. Now that's been wiped out by the same polluting car culture developed in America, and pushed by many of the same car companies, like General Motors. That car-culture is beginning to fail them. China is still the world's largest bicycle maker, and some Chinese cities have installed a lot of shared bikes, up to 90,000 in one city alone. There are lots of exciting things going on with biking in China.
In our interview, we also look at the challenges facing bicycle transport in Mexico, and innovative programs in Central and South America.
NORTH AMERICAN BIKE SHARING
Another whole aspect of this is bike messengers and inner-city deliveries. We have a small fleet of tricycle "freight" bikes operating in downtown Vancouver.
Freight Tricycle Vancouver (photo Alex Smith)
No doubt you've heard that New York City will be opening a giant new bike sharing program later this Spring. The first 5,000 subscriptions for shared bikes sold out quickly. Other cities, even Tusla Oklahoma, are scoring successes with new bike paths and bike sharing.
The list of bike benefits is so long. They offer independence, even if the main grid goes down, or oil prices skyrocket. You help save the climate, and help save your health at the same time. I wonder, is anyone doing the calculations about how fast we need to develop the bicycle transportation network, to be energy secure, and to make a major dent in climate-damaging car emissions?
This bicycle update is part of a series on the positive news coming from the institute, covering everything from clean alternative energy to climate-friendly diet changes. It's called "Plan B" as advanced by the Institute's founder, Lester Brown.
Track it down at earth-policy.org.
============= Please support Radio Ecoshock if you can, at our web site, ecoshock.org And grab lots of our free mp3 downloads of past shows.
Are we out of time? Find out next week, as I look into human extinction. I'm Alex. Thanks for hanging in.
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