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KPFK - Indy Media On Air

en-us Indy Media On Air

RSS Feed for 'Indymedia on Air' from the LA Indymedia broadcast on LA KPFK

offsite link Indy Media On Air - Mon, 12 Oct 2015 20:30:30 -0700 Tue Oct 13, 2015 04:30
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offsite link Indy Media On Air - Mon, 05 Oct 2015 20:30:30 -0700 Tue Oct 06, 2015 04:30
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offsite link Indy Media On Air - Mon, 28 Sep 2015 20:30:30 -0700 Tue Sep 29, 2015 04:30
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offsite link Indy Media On Air - Mon, 21 Sep 2015 20:30:30 -0700 Tue Sep 22, 2015 04:30
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offsite link Indy Media On Air - Mon, 14 Sep 2015 20:30:30 -0700 Tue Sep 15, 2015 04:30
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From Alpha To Omega

en-ie What is happening to our economy and our politics? Are we stuck forever in this corporate dystopia? What can we learn from the failures of radical politics over the last 100 years? Tom O'Brien talks in depth to experts from the fields of Political Economy, Politics, Science, Philosophy, Complexity, Mathematics, Music, and the Environment.

RSS Feed for 'From Alpha to Omega' podcast

offsite link #064 Eurozone Dystopia Sat Aug 29, 2015 12:35 | Tom O'Brien
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This week I am delighted to welcome Prof. Bill Mitchell, Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Bill is also the author of the Billy Blog - one of the best places to learn about MMT on the web. He must be the most prolific economics blogger in the world today, and that?s no lie. We met up in London yesterday, to talk about Bill?s new book Eurozone Dystopia, available from the publishers Edward Elgar. We discussed why Greece should bring back the drachma, the failed negotiating position of Syriza, the chances of reforming the eurozone, and why Italy is the canary in the mine. Unfortunately the batteries for the microphone died 5 minutes before the end, so we missed some of the juicy stuff?? apologies. You can find the Professors blog here: You can buy the Professors new book here: Enjoy! The music on this weeks show was: 'The Order of the Pharaonic Jesters' by Sun Ra and his Arkestra 'I?m Leaving Now' by Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard 'Grass Roots' by Tommy McCook Here are the instructions on how to leave a review on iTunes: 1. If you don?t already have iTunes installed on your computer, first you need to install it. 2. If you don?t already have an apple_id, please carefully follow the instructions here where you can create an account without having to give them your bank details (i know? swine!) 3. Got to the iTunes website for the show: 4. Click on the ?View in iTunes? button 5. Click on the ?Ratings and Reviews? tab 6. Click on the ?Write a Review? button. 7. If you have not already logged into iTunes with your apple_id, you will now be asked to. 8. Write the review, and click on the submit button. 9. If you are having any trouble with all of this, drop me an email to: alpha2omegapodcast (at) gmail (dot) com

offsite link #063 Whats Wrong With The Far Left? Thu Jul 09, 2015 00:15 | Tom O'Brien
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After a long delay, this week I am delighted to welcome another Irishman to the show, Chekov Feeney. Chekov is the man behind the blog, where he reflects and theorizes on his 20 year journey through leftist politics, science and the media. Chekov also works as a Senior Research Fellow in the Computer Science department in Trinity College Dublin. We talk about the good and the bad of radical left wing organisations, the empirical evidence for the liberal and Marxist world views, the need for new theoretical work on the left, and the dramatic political events unfolding in Greece. We join the conversation as Chekov is discussing his recent work in the field of computational history. You can find his blog here: Enjoy! The music on this show was: ?The Order of the Pharaonic Jesters? by Sun Ra and his Arkestra 'One More Robot' by The Flaming Lips 'Mary, Don't You Weep' by Aretha Franklin ?The River? by King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

offsite link #062 Closet Marxists Wed May 06, 2015 23:00 | Tom O'Brien
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This week I am delighted to welcome back to the show Michael Roberts, author of the ?Next Recession? blog. We talk about the new reports out on the world economy from the IMF and the Bank of International Settlements, and how Ben Bernanke has come out as a closet Marxist after all these years. We also discuss the recent debate between David Harvey on one side, and Michael and Andrew Kliman on the other, about the relevance / reality of the law of the tendential fall in the rate of profit, and the politics behind it all. You can find Michael's most prolific Blog here: https://thenextrecession.wordpre... The music on this show was: ?The Order of the Pharaonic Jesters? by Sun Ra and his Arkestra ?Missing You? by John Waite ?The Drug Song? by Amateur Transplants ?Green Onions? by Booker T and the M G's

offsite link #061 The Calculation Problem Wed Mar 25, 2015 13:53 | Tom O'Brien
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After repeated requests from a number of listeners, this week I am delighted to welcome back to the show Dr Paul Cockshott, a reader in the computer science department of Glasgow University. We talk of the Socialist Calculation debate, the Soviet plans for their own internet, Google vs a planned economy, and the problems with Council Communism. If you'd like to listen to the show on your phone, you can now also listen with TuneIn here:

offsite link #060 Zero, Nada, Zilch Fri Feb 13, 2015 21:06 | Tom O'Brien
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This week I am delighted to welcome back to the show Doug Lain, host of what was once called the Diet Soap podcast, but which is now the Zero Squared podcast. We talk about why Doug?s new job as publisher of Zero Books doesn't make him a capitalist, what econophysics has to do with Marx, capitalism as objective reality, base vs superstructure, radical politics and the current balance of forces, how Woody Allen has lost his way, the latest book Doug?s working on, and how cool and communist Star Trek is. You can find the shows new Stitcher presence here: You can find the Zero Squared podcast and all of Doug's other stuff here: Here is Zero Books: The music on this show was: ?The Order of the Pharaonic Jesters? by Sun Ra and his Arkestra ?Maple Leaf Rag? by Scott Joplin ?Si tu vois ma mère? by Sidney Bechet ?For The Love Of Money? by O?Jays ?Ain't Misbehavin? by Django Reinhardt

From Alpha To Omega >>

en-US Stop Imperialism - Geopolitical Analysis

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offsite link CrossTalk: Russia?s Turn (October 12, 2015) Mon Oct 12, 2015 21:29 | Eric Draitser
Getting down to business ? Russia?s words match its actions. There is growing evidence terrorist groups in Syria have taken a real battering from Russia?s airpower. The West, particularly the U.S., remains at loss how to react. In the meantime, Russia creates political facts on the ground. CrossTalking with Eric [...]
The post CrossTalk: Russia’s Turn (October 12, 2015) appeared first on .

offsite link On the Ankara Bombing and Erdogan?s Agenda in Turkey Mon Oct 12, 2015 21:12 | Eric Draitser
Eric Draitser appears on Press TV (October 10, 2015) to provide his analysis in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist bombing of a peaceful protest in the Turkish capital of Ankara. He notes that President Erdogan’s government stands to gain the most from this incident, and that it will [...]
The post On the Ankara Bombing and Erdogan’s Agenda in Turkey appeared first on .

offsite link Game-Changer: Russia?s Involvement in Syria Shifts Balance of Power (Interview w... Fri Oct 09, 2015 18:08 | Eric Draitser
Russia’s military involvement in Syria is undeniably a game-changer in the Middle East, US geopolitical analyst Eric Draitser told Sputnik, adding that Washington will definitely try to restore its shrinking positions in the region at all costs.
It is naïve to believe that Washington will eat its humble pie and admit that [...]
The post Game-Changer: Russia’s Involvement in Syria Shifts Balance of Power (Interview with Sputnik News) appeared first on .

offsite link Russia, Syria, and a Possible US-NATO Counter-Strategy? Fri Oct 09, 2015 17:59 | Eric Draitser
Eric Draitser of provides his commentary (October 8, 2015) on the significance of Russia’s mission in Syria, and what it means geopolitically and historically. Draitser also asserts that Russia’s move in Syria will not go unchallenged by the US and its proxies, and that a new phase of [...]
The post Russia, Syria, and a Possible US-NATO Counter-Strategy? appeared first on .

offsite link CPR Roundtable: Russia in Syria, US Divide & Conquer, and the Emerging Multi-Pol... Thu Oct 08, 2015 21:03 | Eric Draitser
Eric Draitser appears on Community Progressive Radio’s Sunday Roundtable (October 4, 2015) with security analyst Mark Sleboda and journalist/broadcaster Don DeBar. Eric, Mark and Don discuss Russia’s fight against terrorism in Syria, and the political and geopolitical implications of the Russian mission in the Middle East. They examine [...]
The post CPR Roundtable: Russia in Syria, US Divide & Conquer, and the Emerging Multi-Polar Order appeared first on .

The Radio Ecoshock Show

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. Creative commons copyright. As heard on over 85 college & radio stations. Show blog published Wednesdays. New music-maker's blog at

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offsite link HOLOCAUST OF THE ANIMALS Wed Oct 07, 2015 20:11 | (Alex Smith)
With that short clip from "Time Has Come Today" by the Chambers Brothers, the time has come for many things: for peace, for climate action, for economic sanity, the list is long. Radio Ecoshock 151007.

This week on Radio Ecoshock we thunder into another place humans don't like to go. The nasty truth is we are killing off "the only known living companions we have in the universe", as our first guest says. The venerable biologist and head of the Stanford Center for Biodiversity Paul Ehrlich joins us. He's followed by Will Tuttle, author of "The World Peace Diet". Will says you can't care about climate change and still eat meat, because about half of all global emissions are driven by the industrial slaughter of our fellow species. That hidden holocaust of animals is also eating into our minds, twisting itself back out as illness and violence.

Too much information? Don't worry, be happy with this week's "Climate Variety Hour... In just ten minutes." Get inspired with Bernie Sanders, climate humor from UK's Guardian newspaper, and bits from climate songs by people who can actually sing.

I'm Alex Smith. Welcome to Radio Ecoshock.

Download or listen to this Radio Ecoshock show in CD Quality (56 MB) or Lo-Fi (14 MB)

Or listen on Soundcloud right now!


I always consider it an honor to have a chance to chat with Paul Ehrlich. There's a lot of wisdom stuffed in this interview - so I've transcribed some of the best quotes for this week's Radio Ecoshock blog.

By the way, here is an excellent graphic showing the relationship in animal biomass between wild animals, humans, and our domesticated animals comparing 10,000 years ago to present day.


Among stories of Middle East refugees and stock market jitters, we find brief notices that species are disappearing rapidly all over the world. In a scientific journal and a new book, famed scientists Paul and Anne Ehrlich warn that humans are driving the sixth great mass extinction here on Earth. Just released in September, their new book is titled "The Annihilation of Nature - Human Extinction of Birds and Mammals".

As an author and co-author of more than 40 books, Paul R. Ehrlich is the Bing Professor of Population Studies and the President of the Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford University.

Dr. Paul R. Ehrlich

Paul, welcome back to Radio Ecoshock (this is our third interview for the program).

ALEX: Your book title uses the word "annihilation". Is that just sensational, or do you mean it?

Ehrlich really means it. We are losing "the only known living companions we have in the entire universe."

"Scientists are very scared about this, particularly because people don't really understand the threat."

ALEX: How do we know these extinctions are being driven by humans, rather than being part of a natural cycle so often found in Earth's long history?

For the scientific paper behind the book, the Erhlichs and their co-author studied past extinction events, and then compared "very conservative" estimates of the number of species that went extinct over the past few hundred years. That was cross-checked with the best estimates of extinctions that have occurred BETWEEN mass extinction events, to determine the "natural" loss of species as evolution continues. The extinctions caused by humans are far higher than that number. "Looking at both ends of the story, it turns out the extinction rate today is already 10 to 100 or more times the background rate. Which shows we are starting into a vast new extinction, and it's clearly being caused by human beings."

ALEX: Paul Ehrlich, how does this book relate to the scientific study on extinction you, Anne and Gerardo Ceballos published in June of this year, in the journal "Science Advances".

The book explains more for lay people, and also appeals to our emotions, because so many people are "now isolated in cities and don't know much about what goes on in the natural world - don't know where their food comes from for example." Ehrlich gives the example of a serious loss of pollnators like bees and moths, which are necessary to so many of our crops.

Paul also draws our attention to the biological difference between "extinction" and loss of specific populations. For example, is we lost the honey bee population in North America, that would cost at least $18 billion dollars in crop losses, and lower our nutrition. But honey bees may still exist somewhere else, so they are not technically extinct, even if they disappear on one continent.

The idea of population loss is key, even more than extinction, he says. What difference does it make if there are a few bees in a jungle somewhere, if there are no bees near developed civilization where we need them so badly?

Species go extinct in a process of losing populations in certain regions. When the last population goes, then that animal, plant, or bug is officially extinct. The process can be as painful as the final act.

ALEX: In a review of your new book in the Los Angeles Times, Fred Pearce says there have been "only" 800 extinctions registered in the last 400 years. He thinks you are being too emotional about all this. What do you say?

Pearce, says Ehrlich, is not a biologist or even a scientist. He makes large mistakes: for example Pearce has written that the gross and growing population of humans on this planet is not a problem. The only problem is per capita consumption.

ALEX: Pearce says Earth dominated by humans is the "new normal" in the anthropocene. Animals learn to adapt near cities, and even in cities. Paul, we know there are climate deniers. Are there also extinction deniers?

Paul says there are people who cannot face the overall existential challenges we face in not just climate change, but loss of biodiversity, toxic products, waste and more. Scientists "have been very forthcoming" about these risks we face - and yet the recent U.S. Presidential candidate debates do not even mention any of these serious problems.

ALEX: I thought birds would be the great survivors, since they can move away from threats and toward better living zones. But your team writes they are in trouble. Why is that?

Bird can move - but the places they can move to are being destroyed by humans, Ehrlich says. Also, their "refuelling stations" for tropical migrant birds have been cut down for our buildings, roads and so on. Like all animals, some birds are much more resilient than others.

All of this "is part of a huge nexus of problems that everybody should be educated about, but which unfortunately, most of our politicians are not."

ALEX: It's interesting that the animals most like us, carnivore hunters, are becoming extinct first and foremost. Tell us about some of the great creatures in jeapardy, and their chances for survival.

Paul tells us about the struggles of the lion. Their populations are falling rapidly. They used to extend all the way to India from Africa, but now, except for a very few in India, the lion is confined to Africa. Amazingly, one problem is lions are suffering from distemper from contacts with domestic dogs. The lion is still being hunted, and sadly even their bones are now a highly prized feature in Chinese medicine.

The Black Rhino is so endangered in South Africa they are being shipped to Botswana, which has the best record of protecting endangered animals. Again, the horns of Black Rhinos are poached because they are thought to be aphrodesiacs in Chinese medicine, or to add male power when made into daggers in the Middle East.

"We thought Viagra might save the Rhino, because Viagra actually works. But it turns out now the dealers are grinding Viagra into the Rhino horn, so that the Rhino horn really works."

The Ehrlichs write that some of the great cats will live on, because they reproduce well in captivity. It will be a strange world if nature's ark of characters is preserved only in zoos.

ALEX: Here in Canada, we just had a hockey player charged for taking macho pictures of himself with a grizzly bear he illegally slaughtered. In America, there's the dentist who shot Cecil the lion. Is this partly just a testosterone problem?

Yes, Paul replies, but we have to remember that as sad and as crazy as sport hunting is - that is a minor factor compared to destruction of habitat and the poaching for supposed medical products. The trade in elephant ivory continues as well, with incredible numbers of elephants killed for their horns.

Ehrlich also raises the example of the scaly ant-eater (Pangolin). There are 13 species of them being killed and endangered all over the world because their scales are used in Chinese medicine. The Pangolins are also hunted for food, being considered a delicacy in parts of China.

The Pangolin endangered - hunted for "medicine".

The only hunting that really threatens species is when poor people hunt wild species for food, called "bush meat". As long as there is poverty and hunger, the local animals will be under threat.

ALEX: In the developed world, we may not slaughter species directly, we just steal habitat that was their home - for resources, new shopping malls and suburbs. Why isn't there a plan to save the species, or is there?

Some countries pay more attention to conservation. "Botswana is way ahead of the United States in conservation. Mexico is way ahead of the United States in conservation." "Most people don't know we are entering a great extinction crisis that could end our civilization, and that's sad, and that's why I'm raving at you on the radio."


EHRLICH: "Several things are missing from the media. For example, have you heard anyone point out the more people there are, the greater the climate change is going to be, because each person contributes greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. The climate-population connection has not been made. The population-extinction connection has not been made. And the connection between climate change and extinction."

Ehrlich gives the example of the forests in Western North America being changed dramatically by drought and new fire regimes which are pumped up by climate change. These kind of rapid changes affect many species severely.


ALEX: Do you think it's possible that DNA from disappearing species could be saved, to bring them back later in a more ecologically sane world? Is such a project in the works?

"There are some people trying to do that but it's actually a total waste of time. It's so much easier to save the habitat while it still exists, and save the organisms while they still exist. The so-called 'de-extinction' movement is basically make-work for idiots." Jurassic Park, Paul says, was a great movie "but scientifically nonsense." Trying to save DNA is actually "a huge threat because it makes people who are ignorant of science believe that they don't have to worry because all we have to do is to put the several billion populations we have on the planet, that are genetically different, in freezers and everything will be fine."


ALEX: We've just received a new study, partly led by the World Wildlife Fund, saying half the fish in the sea have disappeared since you and I were born. It's just another brief headline, competing with Hollywood news and a fixation with the stock market. How can giant and dangerous trends, like the annihilation of the animals, get past the everyday roar of sensational media?

"For you and for me, if we knew how, we'd sure as Hell do it." Ehrlich once suggested to Ben Bradley that the Washington Post "put in every day the numbers of how much CO2 there was in the atmosphere, how big the human population was, how many people were starving and so on. And he told me 'No, we don't want to have numbers in the newspaper. Nobody likes numbers.' And I said 'Have you ever looked at the sports or the financial pages?'... Then he told me that he wanted his science reporters to be utterly ignorant of science so they could be unbiased. And I said "Do you hire sports reporters who don't know what a strike and a ball is?' The media has serious, serious problems as I think you know."

ALEX: There are a lot of gorgeous photographs in your new book "The Annihilation of Nature". How were they selected, and why are they there?

"The whole idea is to make people know what we are losing. Most people don't pay attention. And so we selected what we thought were a lot of attractive and interesting animals." ALEX: A lof of people, if they see your book, may worry for a short time, which doesn't solve much. What are the steps needed to save the species remaining, and what agencies need to take leadership in this?

"The most basic step, as we've published many times, is to reduce the scale of the human enterprise. There are many too many people and they are consuming much too much, many of them, while there are too many of them that don't have enough to eat, so they don't consume enough." Ehrlich says we have to tackle the notion that we can grow forever, in what he calls our "faith-based economic system, which says on a finite problem we can continue to grow forever and not worry about anything."

ALEX: Paul Ehrlich, you don't have a reputation for looking on the bright side of things. Is there any hope for Earth's threatened animal life, or do we just shrug it off and move on, until the specter of extinction finally arrives at the door of humanity itself?

He used to say "I am very pessimistic about where we are going, but very optimistic about where we could go. I now would say 'I'm still very optimistic about where we could go, if we chose to do so, but my pessimism has increased by such things as having political debates in which the critical existential issues are not even discussed."


ALEX: Do we hide this fear of annihilation from school children? What do we tell the kids?

"It's going to be in their laps. We are leaving them a world that is in tough shape, and part of their job is going to be to have to help dig us out of it." Paul believes children can be a big force for conservation. He gives the example of when the Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred off Alaska, the kids of the Exxon executives pressured their parents a lot.

ALEX: Paul, is there anything I've missed, that you would like to leave with our listeners?

Essentially Ehrlich says don't take his word for the seriousness of the extinction crisis. Do your own research, see what the scientific community is saying, and then figure out what you can do to help.

"I think every functional human being, who is rich enough not to have to worry about where his or her food is coming from, should be putting something like ten percent of their time into one of the many places in which people can act."

He recommends: go to - become a "mahbster" and help save the world.

We've been talking about disappearing nature with the renowned ecologist Paul R. Ehrlich. With the Mexican ecologist Gerardo Ceballos, Paul and Anne Ehrlich have just released their new book "The Annihilation of Nature - Human Extinction of Birds and Mammals" from John Hopkins University Press.

Download or listen to this 23 minute Radio Ecoshock interview with Paul Ehrlich in CD Quality or Lo-Fi


It's not too hard to get sympathy for the awful killing of iconic animals in the wild. Everybody loves the elephants, lions and tigers. It's a lot harder to get anyone to listen to the awful truth about our treatment of the animals who tolerate humans the most: the gentle cows, intelligent pigs, and docile chickens. In the United States alone, 75 million animals are killed every day for the meat diet that is scientifically documented to make people sick and fat. Two out of every three Americans are overweight or obese. It's an epidemic.

Many of our listeners know climate change is real, and not a good thing. Yet we try not to know that at least half of all greenhouse gas emissions come not from cars or factories, but from the far-flung empire of animal agriculture. Don't believe it? Get ready for the man who blows up the lies behind what we eat.

What is at the root of our violence toward nature, our indifference to changing the climate, and our murderous relationship with all other species? Will Tuttle says he knows.

Actually, that's Dr. Will Tuttle. His PhD comes from the University of California, Berkeley, in the philosophy of education. Tuttle is a blazing speaker at conferences organized by vegetarians, animal rights activists, and progressive spiritualists. He also helps organize events like the online Veganpalooza in 2012. Find his personal web site here.

Dr. Will Tuttle

Will's book "The World Peace Diet" was number one on Amazon in 2010, has been translated into at least 18 languages, and continues to sell well around the world.

A listener suggested Will Tuttle for Radio Ecoshock. I had my doubts - until I listened to a couple of his You tube presentations. He is on to something big.

In this Radio Ecoshock interview, Will Tuttle quotes the figure of 51% of climate change emissions driven by animal agriculture. He cites a study by Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang. The title is "Livestock and Climate Change".

That report says:

"Livestock are already well-known to contribute to GHG emissions. Livestock?s Long Shadow, the widely-cited 2006 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), estimates that 7,516 million metric tons per year of CO2 equivalents (CO2e), or 18 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions, are attributable to cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, camels, horses, pigs, and poultry.

That amount would easily qualify livestock for a hard look indeed in the search for ways to address climate change. But our analysis shows that livestock and their byproducts actually account for at least 32,564 million tons of CO2e per year, or 51 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions.

- Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang "Livestock and Climate Change"

Download or listen to this Radio Ecoshock interview with Will Tuttle in CD Quality or Lo-Fi


After "Cowspiracy" it's time for groundbreaking animal rights documentary, which just launched its crowdfunding campaign. Listen to my interview with Kip Anderson, producer of Cowspiracy on Soundcloud here.

Gary Smith of the socially conscious company Evolotus PR writes me:

"Last year, most of us heard of Bob Comis, the pig farmer in upstate New York who had a change of heart about raising animals for food. For more than ten years, Bob was successful, yet he was haunted by the ghosts of thousands of pigs he?d slaughtered. ?The Last Pig? follows Bob?s final year as a pig farmer, including his struggles with their looming deaths, his search for sanctuaries that would take in his pigs, and his courage in starting a new life chapter. (Spoiler alert: Bob goes vegan.)

?The Last Pig? will offer the mainstream an entirely new view of small-scale, ?humane,? animal exploitation, which is so often glorified as the answer to factory farms. So as ?Cowspiracy? did with its indictment of the environmental problems of ?sustainable? agriculture, ?The Last Pig? does with the ethical issues. Like ?The Ghosts in Our Machine? did by centering completely on Jo-Anne and her work, ?The Last Pig? has a personal and sharp focus on Bob.

Filmmaker Allison Argo wants ?The Last Pig? to force non-vegan viewers to confront their own belief systems, their relationships to nonhuman animals, and their capacity for compassion. Allison?s work has won more than 100 awards including six Emmys, aired on networks like Nat Geo and PBS, and spans companion animals to endangered species. Even long ago as a vegetarian (now vegan) Allison wanted to focus her camera on farmed animals, but never hit on the right approach or story -- and then she heard about Bob just like we all did".

Here?s the campaign link:

The Official website is

Alright it's time for...

"THE CLIMATE VARIETY HOUR .... in just 10 minutes."

For folks trained by the Tweetosphere, here are some of the climate sounds that zipped past my ears this week, some of them thanks to tips from Radio Ecoshock listeners.


Are you tired of Republican climate deniers, and Democratic wafflers? Here is a minute and a half from Democractic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders' speech to enthusiastic,mostly African-American, college students at Benedict College in Columbia South Carolina, on September 9th, 2015.

[Sanders clip] You can watch Bernie's full speech at Benedict College on You tube here.


In the United Kingdom, the Guardian Newspaper has been showing what climate-responsible media can be. If you've wondered when the Coastal real estate market will crash, here is a Guardian vignette as we enter an over-sized house with the local realtor....

"Looking for a beachfront home with a beautiful deck boasting killer ocean views? Why not check out this dream property in the Hamptons. Just ignore the rising tides, the increasingly severe hurricanes and the swallowing up of the east coast by the Atlantic Ocean. You?d be out of your mind to overlook this steal!"

Watch this short Guardian humor clip here.

If rising seas will swallow the East Coast, just as the climate-hyped rains did this past week - maybe we need somewhere higher to go? All the plants and animals will seek a cooler climate further up the mountains. Here is the Guardian newspaper's fake promo for the city that's safe from rising seas...

Watch the fake Denver promo here.

We'll close out the Guardian climate media with just a brief sample from New Orleans musicians Tom Henehan and David S Lewis. They've had the "Climate Change Blues" ever since Hurricane Katrina nearly drowned their city.

Find the Guardian interview of the musicians here. And you can listen to the whole "Climate Change Blues song on Soundcloud here.

The whole series was sponsored by a progressive ice cream company. Bless you Ben and Jerry.


I know music is a very personal thing. What I like, you may hate, and vice versa. That's why I leave my push for climate change music to the end of the show. Don't be afraid, I'm not going to try to sing this time. This week we have real musicians, the Cantrells. From Nashville Tennessee, Al and Emily Cantrell perform "Goodbye Cool World". You can listen or buy this song on Bandcamp here. Support climate music!

The Cantrells

I'm Alex. Don't forget, (if you made it all the way through this horribly long blog) - you can help keep Radio Ecoshock going by donating at this page.

Thank you for listening to Radio Ecoshock, and be sure and tune in next week, as we investigate "Climate Shock" and China's new plan for an "ecological civilization".

offsite link Climate: Criminal Activity Wed Sep 30, 2015 23:15 | (Alex Smith)
SUMMARY: The world rolls on, hotter than ever. This week on Radio Ecoshock: Neela Banerjee from InsideClimate News investigates the world's biggest oil company, Exxon/Mobil. Starting in the 1970's, Exxon knew their product would damage the climate, but chose to fund denial. In "The End of Plenty", National Geographic author Joel Bourne says the future of food and population isn't going to happen. Plus Terence McKenna on why most people are idiots; Paul Ehrlich on disappearing animals; & song "Love-A-Lution". Radio Ecoshock 150930.

I'm Alex Smith. Thanks for joining in. Let's get started.

Download or listen to this Radio Ecoshock show in CD Quality (56 MB) or Lo-Fi (14 MB)

Or listen on Soundcloud right now!


The world's largest oil company knew climate change would result from their products as early as 1977. That's just part of startling revelations coming out of an investigation by InsideClimate News. To get the whole scoop, we've reached their senior investigative journalist, Neela Banerjee.

Neela Banerjee

While researching the early days of climate science, journalists with InsideClimateNews found puzzling things. There were scientific papers on climate change in the late 1970's and early 1980's, published by Exxon scientists. Exxon experts even testified to Congress about the risks of climate change in those early days.

The world's largest oil company rigged up a supertanker with measuring instruments to study the amount of carbon going into the oceans. The company forsaw carbon controls, and wanted to be taken seriously as a party to those discussions.

Documents found in company archives, including those held at the University of Texas, showed this wasn't a low level exploit by some adventurous company scientists. Top levels of management were advised about the serious risk of climate change, routinely.

According to InsideClimate News:

"As early as 1978, Exxon?s scientists predicted that burning fossil fuels could lead to climate change that would 'destroy agricultural output' for entire countries. Exxon scientists issued urgent and dire warnings to top Exxon executives that climate change could be ?catastrophic? and 'irreversible,' and that prevention would 'require major reductions in fossil fuel combustion.'"

Exxon doesn't deny any of this happened. How could they? There are films, letters, published papers, Congressional testimony. But Neela Banerjee says the company doesn't want to talk about it now.

Most of the Exxon climate research ended around 1982, likely due to widespread cost-cutting at the company during a down-turn. However their climate modeling unit kept on going.

In 1989, Exxon joined the infamous "Global Climate Coalition". That may sound like an activist group, but really it was a gathering of carbon polluters, with the intent to prevent any controls on carbon pollution. Then in the 1990's, and at least until around 2007, Exxon, and later Exxon/Mobil, poured millions of dollars into any "Institute" or scientists that would help confuse the public about the reality of global warming. Like the tobacco lobby (whose products also killed millions) Exxon worked hard to create doubt. Exxon executives like Rex Tillerson were close to being climate deniers.

In so doing, as the world's biggest oil company, with offices in almost every country, the company helped stall climate action, and made our whole situation a lot worse.

Exxon still hasn't come clean. According to a press release from InsideClimate News:

"As recently as Exxon?s 2015 shareholder meeting, CEO Rex Tillerson questioned if climate change was linked to the extreme weather that Exxon?s own scientists predicted three decades ago. Exxon has directed roughly $30 million in funding to groups that dispute the connection between fossil fuels and climate change. Despite a 2007 promise to stop funding climate change deniers, the company has given more than $2 million to members of Congress who continue to deny that human activity is driving climate change."

Listen to/download this 21 minute interview with Neela Banerjee in CD Quality or Lo-Fi.

Find the whole series at InsideClimate News here.

Here are clips from the PBS show Frontline on this early Exxon research, including film of the Exxon scientists on the supertanker.

Frontline: scientist Ed Garvey on Exxon Research

Frontline: scientist Richard Warthamer on Exxon and climate change


There's no doubt in my mind that executives of companies who know climate change will cause incalculable damage to our civilization and all nature will eventually be charged with crimes against humanity, at the very least. It may be posthumously for some. Others will be brought out as we saw the 80 and 90 year-old Nazi war criminals still prosecuted.

There are not enough words to describe the enormity of knowing your product will wreck the climate, knowing that the public could have and should have been warned, and trying to hide it, all to make a buck. When cities go underwater during storms, and then permanently; when fires and floods wreck our homes; when the species say good-bye forever; when the heat of Hell breaks loose - surely that is beyond forgiveness. I'm Alex Smith, that's my opinion and this is Radio Ecoshock.


There is another futurecast sure to wreck on the rocks of a harsh reality. The United Nations predicts there will be over 11 billion humans on the earth by the year 2100. Our next guest explains why that isn't going to happen, and why most of us have already lived the most prosperous years of our lives.

Throughout history, there have been times of mass famine - until this century. Children today have hardly heard that word in the news. That may be about to change.

Joel K. Bourne Jr. is one of the top agriculture journalists. His work appears regularly in National Geographic and other publications. His new book is "The End of Plenty, The Race to Feed a Crowded World".

Joel has a degree in Agronomy. He grew up in rural North Carolina. Joel worked at farms and thought he would be a farmer. As he studied, he lost faith in agribusiness. Joel has been reporting on food problems in National Geographic as a contributing writer, and sometimes editor, since the year 2000.

Joel K. Bourne Jr.

Ever since Malthus in the 1700's, up to the Ehrlich's in the 1970's, people have been warning there is an upper limit to food production on this planet. Yet we seem to be almost feeding billions more people. Why should we pay attention to the idea of peak food now? That's where we start in this interview - and yes, peak food is already developing, and will get worse with climate change.

Strangely, most years we are already consuming more food, such as grains, than the world can grow. That's only possible because we stash away extra stocks during years of bumper crops. But as Lester Brown, recently retired from Earth-Policy Institute, told us for years, the world grain reserve keeps shrinking and shrinking. It's now down to about 70 days. Just a couple of bad harvests in America, Russia, or Australia, and there will be no reserves at all.

Egypt is a prime example. In the 1960's Egypt produced so much wheat it exported to other countries in the Middle East. Wheat is a primary food there, it is called the bread of life. Now, partly due to a doubling of population, Egypt is the single largest importer of wheat in the world. When when prices go up, there is trouble in the streets, and often a change of government. That's the future in many places in the world.

We may have reached peak plant production, with limited sunlight, soil, etc. Our yields started to flatten out in 2000, and stayed relatively flat during this century.


Joel explains how climate change will add big pressure to a world already slated to grow billions more humans. In fact, even without climate change, there is not enough land or energy to feed the 11 billion humans the United Nations forecasts for the end of this century.

It turns out "the Green Revolution" wasn't green in environmental terms. There have been big damages to nature due to the pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides used. All of that is based on cheap fossil fuels, which won't be around in affordable amounts even 50 years from now (listen to last week's interview with biologist James Brown for more on that). Take away the fossil-based fertilizer, and millions will starve.

Meanwhile, the United States is plowing more and more grains into biofuels. Europe is doing the same with various vegetable oils to make diesel (for those "green" Volkswagens no doubt). And the hype about genetic engineered crops saving the world is just hype. Only two major products have made it to market, and they don't do much.

Joel is optimistic that we can grow more food in the sea, which he calls "the blue revolution". Due to our bad experience with aquaculture in British Columbia, I have less faith in this solution.

Many people in the West presume that famine, or at least persistent hunger, may reappear in far way countries in Asia or Africa. But food production is now so global, so interlinked, that in years to come, food may become expensive or harder to get in North America or Europe too. There is already a lot of hidden poverty in "rich" countries.

There are some solutions in alternative agriculture that doesn't depend on fossil fuels and doesn't wreck the natural system. Bourne looked around the world for these solutions and they are in the book.

Joel K. Bourne has the most complete and authoritative work I've seen on this giant subject, in his new book "The End of Plenty, The Race to Feed a Crowded World". Anyone who cares about the future should read it. Find out more at

Download or listen to this 24 minute interview with Joel K. Bourne in CD Quality or Lo-Fi

You can also listen to an National Public Radio interview with Joel Bourne here.


Our story books are filled with wild and magical animals: spotted jaguars, crafty tigers and friendly Tiggers, elephants who can never forget, and crocodiles with sore teeth. Sadly, hidden behind the roar of human-based news, all that is disappearing on our lifetimes.

Next week I'm going to talk with the venerable Paul Ehrlich about his new book ""The Annihilation of Nature - Human Extinction of Birds and Mammals". In this program, I run a short clip where Paul tells us about some of those animals. It's from a from a video made by the Woods Institute. You can watch it on You tube here.

We just had time for a couple of eclectic bits. Terence McKenna explains why the world is full of idiots, and then Diana Lindley charms us with her song "Love-A-Loution".


Here is the late Terence McKenna.

The You tube address for that video is here.

The You tube video was published on Feb 12, 2014 It was taken from "Conversations at the End of the Millennium" with Ralph Abraham and Rupert Sheldrake. The music is Nara by E.S. Posthumous.


Diana Lindley is a Canadian, a Vancouver Islander, who feels driven to get this song Love-A-Lution out. There are several versions, including a very neat You tube video which features child-like crayon drawings by the team of a young brother and sister, Kinata and Yoko Kikuchi. The full length version was made for the New York City Climate March.

Let the skeptics and harsh critics lay down their weary burdens. Let's reach for the child inside, and for the children at our side. We need to find a way to end our war against nature.

My special thanks to those who donated to Radio Ecoshock this week. If you enjoy this program and want to help it keep going, please visit this page.

Thank you for listening, and caring about your world.

offsite link SCIENCE OF THE COMING CATASTROPHE Thu Sep 24, 2015 06:11 | (Alex Smith)
Summary: Oil company BP says recoverable oil runs out in 50 years. American scientist James H. Brown publishes study saying this means a crash of economy and population is "very, very likely". Then Canadian climate scientist Andrew Weaver on our prospects, and why he ran for the Green Party. Radio Ecoshock 150923.

Warning: If you are already feeling depressed, this may not be the program for you. Maybe you should take a walk outside instead. Really. That would be OK.

For those still listening/reading, according to one of the world's biggest oil companies, their primary product may not be around for much longer than 50 years. In this program, a senior scientist follows that logic to find a catastrophic crash of our economy - and world population is "very, very likely".

We'll follow up with a chat with one of Canada's top climate scientists. He says we don't need more science, we need action to save ourselves. So he ran for the Green Party and got elected.

Speaking of politics, Catholic legislators in the U.S. Congress saying they will boycott the Pope's speech there because of his views on global warming, let's go to our favorite source, the father of all that's right, former President Ronald Reagan:

"Preservation of our environment is not a liberal or conservative challenge, it's common sense. Let's be sure that those who come after, will say of us in our time, we did everything that could be done."

Australia's great climate denier and coal-lover Prime Minister Tony Abbott just got the boot from his old party. His replacement is at least on record acknowledging that climate change is real and dangerous. One more to go: Canada's Tar Sands Prime Minister Stephen Harper is up for election in October, with polls showing him running dead last in public opinion.

Download or listen to this Radio Ecoshock show in CD Quality (56 MB) or Lo-Fi (14 MB)

Or listen on Soundcloud right now!

Of course, the political theater may all be far too late. Pop a few anti-depressants for our next guest, as Radio Ecoshock rolls on into the dystopic future.


In about 50 years, oil and gas will run out . But our bubble of economic growth and increasing population will crash before that. It has to. That's according to our next guest James H. Brown, a Distinguished Professor of Biology at the University of New Mexico, in Albuquerque. He's also the head of the Brown Lab.

This interview is not our usual fare. First of all, the crash will come less from climate change, although that is not minimized, but from the simple fast that economically retrievable oil and gas will run out. Eventually, Brown says, that means this planet will no longer be able to support billions of people. A great dying is likely, if not inevitable.

This all comes not from an out-there blogger, but from a highly reputable scientist. His paper on the subject was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) - one of the top American scientific journals. It's peer-reviewed and inspected, and was published August 4th, 2015. The title is: "Human domination of the biosphere: Rapid discharge of the earth-space battery foretells the future of humankind".

I begin by asking Brown to describe what is meant by "the Earth-Space battery". Essentially, as I understand it, this is a system where solar energy is stored in two main forms on Earth: (1) the total mass of living matter, on land and sea (plants, animals, insects, the lot) and (2) the energy stored in longer-term forms like fossil fuels, and peat.

Brown makes the case that both forms of energy on Earth are being rapidly depleted. As they are exhausted (by us, and by systems stimulated by humans) - Earth moves toward the general state of (outer) space, becoming less hospitable for living things.

In the abstract for that paper we find this scary little sentence: "With the rapid depletion of this chemical energy, the earth is shifting back toward the inhospitable equilibrium of outer space with fundamental ramifications for the biosphere and humanity."

Since the authors (the other being John R. Schramski from the University of Georgia) find that fossil energy drives most of our civilization, and that supply of fossil fuels is limited - therefore there can be no such thing as "sustainable development". That is just a myth.

Long-time listeners will find echoes here of the peak oil theory, described by guests like James Howard Kunstler and especially Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute. But there are also parallels to the work of Dr. Tim Garrett of the University of Utah. Garrett likewise found a formula where the economy, indeed "wealth" are mathematically bound to carbon burned, and therefore to emissions. There will be no meaningful cut to emissions, Garrett told us, unless and until the economy drops so precipitously it will be a crash larger than the Great Depression of the previous century. Here is a link to a transcript of my 2010 interview with Tim Garrett.

Brown also shows, scientifically, how closely world population mirrors energy availability and use. Given that BP, a source of industry data trusted by others in the industry, says we only have 50 years of economically useful fossil fuels left - what else can we see coming but a concomitant crash in population sometime in the next 50 years. That's a disaster beyond anything seen in human history, headed into the lives of anyone under the age of 30 now.

You can see this research developing in an earlier paper with Brown as lead author: "Energetic Limits to Economic Growth" as published by the American Institute for Biological Sciences on March 25, 2012. Find details on that here. Here is another Brown-led article in press for the journal Ecological Engineering: :Macroecology meets macroeconomics: Resource scarcity and global sustainability"

I have trouble with Brown's argument that economic growth has stalled due to scarcity, whether it's energy or other resources like copper or iron. It seems like we are swimming in excess oil right now, with prices dropping. Other commodity prices are also crashing, partly because Chinese demand has fallen. How can Brown you cite scarcity as a driver of a global recession, during a period of apparent abundance?

His answer is intriguing. Consider a sick person on a fixed income. If they are too sick to eat, their grocery bill might go down, and so they actually appear to have more available wealth. But really that "abundance" is a (temporary) sign of how sick the economy really is.

We also discuss the relationships between climate change and dwindling fossil fuel resources. It's always hard to tell which will hit us harder or faster. Either way, in a presentation in Baltimore last August, one of Brown's slides says : "A catastrophic crash appears inevitable."

James Brown's thinking also evolved around another big concept, the co-relation between metabolism and ecology. We won't have time to develop the whole theory this time around, but you can learn about it in this You tube video (1 hour 4 minute intriguing lecture).

Here is another useful review of this important paper by the real journalist Andrew Nikiforuk in the Canadian publication the Tyee.

I don't agree with everything Dr. Brown said in our interview. For example he says renewables cannot replace fossil fuels for cars and factories. But they can, although our lifestyles and expectations would have to change drastically. But certainly, if oil that is economical to get runs out in 50 years, we're in for a crash, if not an age of crashes. We've had a lot of guests say that. Maybe it's true.

You can download or listen to this 23 minute interview with Dr. James H. Brown in CD Quality or Lo-Fi.


Just to finish off that mood, we play a short song from Dana Pearson: "Age of Humans". Find all of Dana's work as Vastman on


Let's keep going, with a climate scientist who quit science, at least for now, to become a political activist.

Is climate change unstoppable, even if we drastically cut back emissions? Are these mega-changes on our planet "irreversible"? Our guest Dr. Andrew Weaver is one of Canada's top climate scientists, most recently with the University of Victoria in Canada. He's been a lead author in many reports for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, including the 2007 report that won the Nobel Prize.

Dr. Andrew Weaver has been featured in the film "Running on Climate". As a Canadian climate expert, Andrew has been a cornerstone of a series of reports from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and published over 200 scientific papers of his own. Now he's the first Green Member of the Legislative Assembly in the Western Canadian province of British Columbia.

Dr. Weaver was a Lead Author for the Working Group I contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC. Published in 2013, the title is: ?Long-term Climate Change: Projections, Commitments and Irreversibility.?

In the past couple of years, I am seeing more statements by official scientific bodies that some aspect of global warming is now "unstoppable" or "irreversible". NASA says melting of the Totten glacier complex in Antarctica is now "unstoppable". The most recent 2014 climate report of the American Meteorological Association says warming of the oceans is "unstoppable." So it's with great interest I ask Dr. Weaver about the "irreversible" changes to the climate system, and our ecological systems.

I ask him if he thinks that melting of the permafrost, during this century and the following centuries, has reached the state of "unstoppable"? And could emissions from melting permafrost and melting of Arctic methane ice cages, the clathrates, create more greenhouse gases than humans currently do?

Scientists have painted a frightening picture of massive changes to our climate, sea level, agriculture, weather extremes and extinctions if we proceed along the higher emissions pathway. I ask Dr. Weaver for his thoughts about possible results from the upcoming "Conference of the Parties" climate negotiations in Paris at the end of November 2015.

Despite his work with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (which advises governments on pathways and climate decision-making) - Weaver says the whole series of COP talks have been a colossal waste of time. He likewise expects nothing of importance to come out of the Paris talks. In particular, Weaver finds talk of ending emissions by the end of this century (as the G8 countries agreed) is just posturing that actually delays the quick and big action we need right now.


Even more surprising from a long-time and well known climate scientist, Weaver questions whether we need more climate science. We already have plenty of data and proof of the nature and causes of the developing climate change. What we need is real action from our leaders. No more science needed? Shocking stuff.

Weaver told that to so many young people, he decided he should lead by example. Andrew ran for the Green Party in the Provincial elections in British Columbia Canada. He was elected on Vancouver Island, the first and so-far only Green in the Provincial government.

Like Michael Mann in the United States, Andrew Weaver was also attacked personally by a series of opinionated writers in some of Canada's major publications. When they said he wasn't even a bonifide climate scientist (among other weird accusations) Weaver sued for libel. He won the case, with damages. At least one publication often a home for climate denial issued an abject apology and fired the writer, removing all his past articles. Other publications have appealed the decision, so that battle is not over. But it certainly set an example of climate scientists fighting back against calumny.

Although we didn't talk about it this interview, Weaver is also the author of two books. As his Wiki entry says:

"His book, Keeping our Cool: Canada in a Warming World was published by Viking Canada in September 2008 (ISBN 978-0-670-06800-5). His second book, Generation Us: The Challenge of Global Warming was published by Raven Books in 2011 (ISBN 978-1-55469-804-2)."

In the interview, we return to the science, discussing many topics that listeners have raised with me in email and in Facebook comments. You can listen to or download this 29 minute interview with Dr. Andrew Weaver here, in either CD Quality or Lo-Fi.


We'll close out this week's program with one of those mega-productions that seem hopeful. The so-called Official "Love Song to the Earth" was directed by Jerry Cope and Casey Culver. If you listen closely, you'll hear guest appearances by a long list of stars, including Paul McCartney, Jon Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow, Fergie, Colbie Caillat, Natasha Bedingfield, Sean Paul, Leona Lewis, Christina Grimmmie, and Victoria Justice.

According to the song notes at, "Every time the song is purchased, streamed, or shared, the royalties go directly towards the efforts of Friends of the Earth to keep fossil fuels in the ground and lower carbon emissions, and to the work of the U.N. Foundation to inspire international action on climate change."

Watch and listen to "Love Song to the Earth" on You tube here.

That's a good reason to go get this song and share it with others. So maybe, just maybe, if we find the last wave of human will, we can avoid the coming catastrophe.

Despite the tsunami of warning signs coming our way, I remain, as South Africa's Desmond Tutu says, "a prisoner of hope."

I'm Alex Smith. Thank you for listening to Radio Ecoshock this week, and for caring about our world. Please don't forget to help support this work. Find out how here.

offsite link Hunting the Climate Shift Thu Sep 17, 2015 01:01 | (Alex Smith)
SUMMARY: This week on Radio Ecoshock 3 interviews with scientists on the cutting edge of climate change. From the UK, Chris Boulton hunts for signs of abrupt ecological shifts. From Norway, Hans Weihe explores the changing Arctic. But first, we look into whether air pollution is shading the world from serious heating, with Bjorn Stevens of the Max Planck Institute in Germany.

Download or listen to this Radio Ecoshock show in CD Quality (56 MB) or Lo-Fi (14 MB)

Or listen on Soundcloud right now!


We know that industrial pollution in the atmosphere actually hides some of the global warming expected from our emissions. But how much? Respected scientists like James Hansen have suggested that a degree Celsius - or more - is "in the pipeline" due to the pollution, called "aerosols" in science. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has a wide range of possible impacts of aerosols, but they recently dropped their lowest estimates.

The whole subject is one of the most difficult in science, because it involves swirls of widely varying materials in the atmosphere, unevenly distributed around the globe. The aerosols also interact with one of the last frontiers of science, the activity of clouds.

Our guest Professor Bjorn Stevens is a director at the Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology where he leads the Atmosphere in the Earth System Department. He is also a professor at the University of Hamburg. Dr. Stevens was previously at the University of California in Los Angeles. Although born in Germany, he is an American, educated in the United States. Bjorn Stevens is one of the world authorities on clouds and climate change. He's the lead author of a new paper on the limits of aerosol impacts on global warming - and that paper has already stirred up controversy, including among climate sceptics.

The public knows little about this scientific discussion, except when it's called "global dimming". I've run a feature about it by the BBC. I was also impressed by studies of what was first called the "Asian Brown Cloud", but later the "Atmospheric Brown Cloud". Below you will find a link to my 2006 program on the subject, featuring the work of V. Ramanathan of the Scripps Institute.

For example, simple studies of how long it takes a pan of water to evaporate showed sunlight reaching the surface of China has dropped by at least 10% over the last couple of decades. Consider the implications for agriculture. Another huge big brown cloud forms over Northern India for part of every year, blocking out sunlight. The cause is mostly soot from inefficient indoor cooking fires!

In that blog I wrote:

"Ramanathan told science writer Regina Nuzzo,

'By sheer, dumb luck, we are adding particles that are trapping sunlight and cooling the planet.'

He compares it to a mask - and if that pollution is removed, the climate may suddenly rise to the real levels of warming gases in the atmosphere. Ramanathan said:

'Many of us, including myself, are concerned we could see a huge acceleration of global warming if we unmask the beast.'"


Find a text summaryof the BBC "Global Dimming" documentary here. Watch the documentary here.

The Radio Ecoshock special on global dimming (20 minutes, 18 MB) is available as a free .mp3 here. A transcript of Radio Ecoshock special on global dimming, (broadcast Sept 8, 2006) is here.


But now in 2015 we ask: is global dimming an appropriate label for the totality of human pollution that may be shading the Earth from the real carbon blanket we've put up there? If I understood him correctly, Bjorn Stevens says "no" because global dimming was really about local or regional conditions of pollution (say over India or China) rather than a global effect.

In fact, Stevens began to argue with other scientists who claimed a large amount of warming was being masked. That argument became his new paper "Rethinking the Lower Bound on Aerosol Radiative Forcing" published in the Journal of the American Meteorological Society in June 2015.

As I understand it (and this is not easy science) - Stevens compared a known period of atmospheric pollution, in the first half of the 20th century, to a more recent period, to calculate the probably effect on global warming. The general analog for the way pollution operates in the early period was sulfur, which came from burning oil, but even more from burning coal. Sulfur pollution in that period from 1910 to 1950 was pretty well known and measured.

This is the big picture method of research. In other words, Stevens doesn't try to add up all the many sources of aerosol pollution (as Dr. James Hansen and others have done) - but instead looks at totals and comparative temperatures.

The data shows that aerosol pollution is not as big a factor in hiding global warming as previously thought. That's good news - because it means there is less danger in cleaning up pollution, say in the skies above China. We don't really have to worry that a sudden jump of temperature will occur, according to Stevens.

In fact, and this is the key, Stevens tell us the worry about aerosol dimming is a problem of the past, of the 20th century. In this century, the effects of carbon dioxide to drive warming has far out-stripped the lesser masking power of pollution. It's yesterday's worry, he says.

Climate skeptics and critics like Judith Curry have jumped on Stevens paper to say "see, there's nothing to worry about, it's already as bad as it's going to get." Stevens was forced to respond to distortion of his research by right-wing media.

I think it is be a mistake to use this to discount the concern about warming "still in the pipeline" as James Hansen puts it. There are other factors which can mask or temporarily hide the true impacts of carbon pollution, like absorption by the world's oceans. That ocean mix down is probably a time limited factor, and the heat energy absorbed WILL come back out at some point.

As for "climate sensitivity" (which we talk about in the Steven interview) - we don't yet know for sure how much climate reacts to carbon. But so far, all the surprises in sensitivity have been worse than we thought, not better.

I recommend listening to this Stevens interview as one of the more serious interviews I've done, with one of the world's more prominent scientists.

You can listen or download this 26 minute talk with Dr. Bjorn Stevens in either CD Quality or Lo-Fi.

Use this tiny URL if you want to Tweet it out to others:


When a scientist starts talking about "abrupt ecosystem change" - as the title of a new paper does - that really gets my attention. This time it's the ocean, and specifically the North Pacific Ocean - which borders some of the mostly heavily populated places on Earth.

The title is "Slowing down of North Pacific climate variability and its implications for abrupt ecosystem change". From the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, at the University of Exeter in the UK, we've reached the lead author, Dr. Chris A. Boulton.

Going back to the beginning of things, Chris Boulton and his research partner Tim Lenton partly based their investigation on a 2008 paper that flew under the radar of most people. That was published in PNAS in 2008 by Vasilis Dakos et al. The title says it all: "Slowing down as an early warning signal for abrupt climate change." The abstract for that paper is here, and you can read the full text here.

Dr. Chris Boulton, University of Exeter.

Dakos and the other scientists reviewed a trend that is commonplace in physics and many other fields: systems can appear to reach an equilibrium just before they break into a significant change of state. The Dakos team found the same pattern in Earth's history, where they say:

"...periods of relatively stable climate have often been interrupted by sharp transitions to a contrasting state. One explanation for such events of abrupt change is that they happened when the earth system reached a critical tipping point. However, this remains hard to prove for events in the remote past, and it is even more difficult to predict if and when we might reach a tipping point for abrupt climate change in the future. Here, we analyze eight ancient abrupt climate shifts and show that they were all preceded by a characteristic slowing down of the fluctuations starting well before the actual shift."

Can we predict when such a critical threshhold is reached (and when it will tip)? That would be very useful for us now. Or can we only see a tipping point after it has happened? Have we already "tipped" and we don't know it yet?

These are the sorts of questions the Boulton and Lenton's research set out to answer. They choose the climate of the North Pacific ocean - partly because long-term sea surface temperature measurements are available, and partly because the North Pacific is subject to shifts - called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation or PDO.

Talking about all this in the interview covered a wide range of subjects, including the mysterious presence of "the blob" of hotter water parked off the Pacific coast of North America for the past couple of years - and how that fits into the larger ocean patterns in the Pacific Ocean generally. We care, because these ocean conditions often drive weather formations over huge areas of the continents.

Wikipedia offers this definition of the PDO: "The PDO is detected as warm or cool surface waters in the Pacific Ocean, north of 20° N." Chris Boulton gives us more details. It's interesting to note that this state of the North Pacific, which may last a decade or more, was first named by scientist Steven R. Hare, who was studying salmon runs in 1997. The productivity of salmon runs varied with the state of the North Pacific. You can see this knowledge is relatively recent.

But what if the North Pacific ocean changes were becoming less frequent, and lasted longer in each state? Could that be a slowing down that would indicate we are reaching a climate tipping point, as Vasilis Dakos wrote about?

It would be a fantastic (but awful) scoop to say Boulton and Lenton discovered the smoking gun, and yes the climate is about to experience an abrupt ecosystem change. However, in this case, an exhaustive analysis failed to prove a tipping point has been triggered. Boulton hopes to explore other cases, to find some signals that would provide advance warning of an abrupt change. It's important science in my opinion.

In the meantime, the team did find that marine systems are prone to "higher amplitude, lower frequency" events. Think about this like the stock market. The market could go along fairly calmly, perhaps slowly rising or falling, but now and then it crashes. It appears natural systems, and climate change in particular, can operate the same way.

That's a scary thought for me. What if we go into another so-called "hiatus" of global warming, and relax our efforts to reduce carbon emissions - not realizing this really is "the calm before the storm". The apparent plateau is really a warning of an imminent large system change. I doubt human societies can digest this possibility, and be prepared to act on climate change, even when the weather extremes give us a break. Think that over. I will.

You can listen to/download this Radio Ecoshock 21 minute interview with Chris Boulton in CD Quality or Lo-Fi.


Scientists measure disappearing Arctic sea ice from space. Our next guest travels there, to learn from the land and local culture. Hans Joergen Wallin Weihe is a Professor at Lillehammer University College in Norway.

Dr. Hans Joergen Wallin Weihe

Dr. Weihe has travelled and researched in most parts of the Arctic, including not just his native Scandinavia, but also Greenland, northern Canada, and Siberia. He spent enough time learning from aboriginal people in Greenland that he was able to compile a a study of aboriginal languages from the Canadian north, Greenland, and Scandinavia.

Aboriginal knowledge of "what has always been known" (as they say) is a neglected source of climate study, Weihe says. For example, we can tell from the many terms used for "ice" the ways that ice has changed in these days of climate warming. In his work "Snow and Ice", Weihe writes:

"Among the differences and changes noted by Inuit hunters are thinner sea ice, melting from underneath the sea ice, changes in currents, changes in wind directions, changes in the way the ice breaks up, changes in moving ice, changes in cracks, changes in crystallizaton changes in consistency of sea water, changes in animal behaviour and concentrations. Still, as pointed out by many hunters, they had dogs in the old days and the dogs had senses that supplemented human senses detecting thin ice, animals and so on."

You can read a .pdf of the essay "Snow and Ice" in English here.

Listen to or download this 10 minute chat with Hans Weihe here.


That's it for Radio Ecoshock. I appreciate you taking the time to work through this blog, and the program. I know it's not pre-digested like so much of the media today. I find most modern media is aimed at tweaking thoughts and emotions already in our minds, rather than creating new ones.

I'm also grateful for the people who Tweet and Facebook about each week's show. To be honest, it takes everything I've got to find the best guests, arrange the interviews, put together the program and distribute it to various networks and radio stations. After that, I have not enough time or energy to really promote as I should. Fortunately, many listeners have taken this on, spreading the word about Radio Ecoshock shows to thousands more people all over the world.

My thanks also to those folks who made donations or signed up for our $10-a-month Radio Ecoshock support team. You keep this going.

Join us next week as the world turns. I'm Alex Smith, saying thank you for listening.

By the way, I wrote the background music you hear in this week's show.

offsite link ARE WE ALREADY IN ABRUPT CLIMATE CHANGE? Thu Sep 10, 2015 01:19 | (Alex Smith)
In this week's Radio Ecoshock, we cover global climate news, from the Syrian refugees to signs of an abrupt climate shift, with scientist Paul Beckwith. Plus I've got a few tidbits of news they just won't tell you, and my new song aimed to promote activism for the Paris climate talks in late November this year.

I'm Alex Smith, let's go.

Listen to or download this Radio Ecoshock show in CD Quality or Lo-Fi

Or listen right now on Soundcloud!

(image courtesy of Milint Earth Day)


Over the summer in the Northern Hemisphere, climate change put in an extreme appearance all over the world. It looks like 2015 will be the hottest year ever, another record-setting year in a string of hot years. Sooner or later, our civilization will begin to crack under the strain. Our next guest suggests a climate shift could be sooner than most people expect.

It's time for our climate roundup with climate scientist, and regular Radio Ecoshock guest, Paul Beckwith, from the University of Ottawa.

Climate change is behind one of the biggest stories of our times, the outpouring of refugees from the Middle East. Let me just read one paragraph from a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences March 2nd, 2015. The title is: "Climate change in the Fertile Crescent and implications of the recent Syrian drought". The lead author was Colin Kelly.

They say:

"There is evidence that the 2007-2010 drought contributed to the conflict in Syria. It was the worst drought in the instrumental record, causing widespread crop failure and a mass migration of farming families to urban centers."

They found a severe 3 year drought was 2 to 3 times more likely due to human-induced climate change, and then write: "We conclude that human influences on the climate system are implicated in the current Syrian conflict."

Are the millions on the move out of the Middle East also climate refugees? Beckwith says "yes" climate was a stimulation toward revolution (part of "the Arab Spring") and then civil war (which drove out millions of refugees). I think we have to keep in mind Syria was already home to at least million Palestinian refugees, and then took at least a million more refugees from war-torn Iraq. Add in the Syrian farm families displaced by heat and drought, and you have swarms of unemployed people, mostly very young, demanding change. It's a complicated situation, to say the least, but climate change played a role.

And let's face it, who wouldn't want to get out of the Middle East right now? They've just gone through a summer heat wave beyond human endurance. Then there's the sand storm that covered the entire region, visible from space. Cooler Europe, living in peace, with a functioning economy looks like a dream worth risking everything to reach.


Paul and I go on to discuss the new scientific estimates of much higher melt rates coming off Greenland. Where the IPCC used to suggest there would be one to three meters of sea level rise by 2100, now scientists like James Hansen (and NASA) are saying three meters of sea level rise is assured, and it may come much sooner.

Last year Paul Beckwith released a You tube video saying seven meters (23 feet!) of sea level rise was possible by 2070. I thought he was being too extreme. But now with Hansen's paper and other science coming out, it looks like Beckwith may be right about the upper limits that are possible. Last month he revisited that whole question in this You tube video.

Be sure to listen to Paul's description of the very important new paper by Dr. James Hansen, former Director of the Goddard Space Institute for NASA. Paul Beckwith did a series of 9 You tube videos to describe this paper in depth. Among many shocking conclusions is the possibility of extreme storm surges that could flood cities. Start with Part I of that series on You tube here.

Hansen's paper was made public well before the usual long delays common with scientific journals. He and his 16 co-authors thought it was that important. The title is: "Ice Melt, Sea Level Rise and Superstorms: Evidence from Paleoclimate Data, Climate Modeling, and Modern Observations that 2o C Global Warming is Highly Dangerous" The abstract is here.

There is also an interactive "Discussion" session you can read here. Paul gives us some clues on what to look for. All in all, this is probably the most important climate science paper of the year. You can read the full text of this new Hansen paper online here.

We also talk about the abnormal cold blob of water south of Greenland. This colder than normal ocean is one of the few "blue" (cold) spots on ocean maps these days, with most of the rest of the world a hotter red as the seas heat up. One explanation is that cold meltwater from Greenland has caused this blob.

Possibly related to that, the warmer Gulf Stream appears to have moved further south. This may lead to a cold and wet winter again in the UK and Scandinavia. Maybe. Big things are changing.

We also talk about whether the record heat waves hitting all around the world are just the result of El Nino, or is it climate change, and how would we know? That leads us to his two part video called "North Pacific Blow Torch" (Part 1 here, Part 2 here). It's all about the mass of hot water off the coast of North America, now called "the blob". That may be related to the drought in California, and giant wildfires in the West, but some scientists say the hot ocean blob is the result of atmospheric heating, not the cause of it. Here is a great article about the blob from Eric Simons of

When I ask Paul what that shift would look like, he gives us a peak preview of a possible book he may write on that future - if he can find time to write it all down! I have an interview with British scientist Chris Boulton coming up. I plan to ask him about the general idea that the climate may seem to stabilize right before it shifts into a new state. Paul gives us his thoughts on that.

Paul Beckwith has two Masters degrees. At the University of Ottawa he is working on his PHD with a thesis about abrupt climate change. He thinks we are already engaged in an abrupt climate shift. Now he has to prove it scientifically. That task is getting easier, as wild climate events keep rolling in.

My thanks to Paul Beckwith for communicating so much science. You can educate yourself just with his You tube videos and his Radio Ecoshock interviews. Follow Paul Beckwith on Facebook here.


In the climate news they don't tell you, Paul Beckwith talked about the heat wave that hit Japan this past August. It was hardly reported in the West, but here is a short clip from Vice News, August 6th.

But there's a huge story, lost in the mix of Western celebrity news, the refugee crisis and the developing stock market crash: Eastern Europe has been baking under a heat dome for over a month. Here is a clip from Ukraine Today on August 11th, explaining how carbon polluting coal plants can be shut down due to their own climate wrecking impacts - this time in Poland.

The heat in Ukraine itself just keeps on coming. On September 3rd, the capital Kiev ordered a shutdown of the school system due to continuing extreme heat plus... smoke from peat bog fires. Burning peat was the source of pollution that helped kill over 10,000 people in Russia in 2010, including many in the capital Moscow. Once set ablaze, peat can burn for months, perhaps into the winter, and releases a lot of extra carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Peat fires in Indonesia covered much of Southeast Asia in the winter of 1997-98, and made Indonesia the world's third largest source of carbon dioxide that year.

Peat fires are also sending up smoke in Western Russia, easily seen by satellite. Check our Robert Scribbler's blog September 3rd, titled "Smoke from Peat Bog Fires Blankets Europe and Russia Amidst Record Heat and Drought."

According to the Associate Press September 3rd, quote:

"Kiev broke an all-time record for Sept. 1 when the temperatures reached 35.5 degrees Celsius (95.9 Fahrenheit). Rainfall in August was just 4 percent of the average, according to the local weather forecasters.

Health Ministry spokesman Svyatoslav Protas said air pollution in the Ukrainian capital on Thursday was twice to 18 times higher than the normal levels, depending on the neighborhood.

My thanks to listeners who sent in these tips, of news they just don't tell you.


The Paris climate talks - are they a waste of time and carbon, or what?

The last minor climate meeting someone counted over 100 private planes arriving carrying the dignitaries. Imagine the wasted carbon there.

The other thing is: why do they hold these talks in winter? Europe may get a string of cold winters, and it just helps the deniers defuse the situation. I think they should be held in a heat wave during summer, and the air-conditioners in the conference rooms should be turned off. That would be more realistic and maybe add pressure for real action now, not 50 or a hundred years from now!

During my summer break, I worried what to make of the upcoming climate conference in Paris. My starting contribution is a new song called "In the Streets of Paris". If you like it, download it free from my blog at, or from the Radio Ecoshock soundcloud page. You can also share this tune through social media using the Soundcloud links, or embed the music in your own blog or web site - and I hope you will.

Please, Tweet your brains out about this. We're going to need all the help we can get, to pressure world leaders to get real in Paris, to save the climate and our descendants from horrible heating, extreme weather and massive extinction.

Thanks for listening. I've got lots of great guests coming up for you in the next few weeks.

Here is "In the Streets Of Paris".

The Radio Ecoshock Show >>

Extraenvironmentalist » Podcast Episodes


Extraenvironmentalist » Podcast Episodes

I am a human being therefore nothing human is alien to me

RSS Feed for Extra Environmentalist Podcast

offsite link The Energy Transition Show – [Episode #0] – subscribe @ energytransitionshow... Fri Sep 25, 2015 03:27 | Justin
We’re launching The Energy Transition Show with Chris Nelder – the first show on our forthcoming podcast network! This is the only episode we’ll place in our Extraenvironmentalist podcast feed so please go to to subscribe. Episode #0 features the conversation we had with Chris in XE #89 on how global macro trends are […]

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offsite link [ Episode #89 // How on Earth ] Wed Sep 16, 2015 08:08 | Justin
Today’s textbook notions of business were developed during an unprecedented global economic expansion – a cultural condition that faces diminishing returns in today’s world. Can we build enterprises for a post-growth future that thrive among challenges of the next century? By reversing the process that privatizes profits, would unsustainable trends and drivers of inequality be […]

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offsite link [ Episode #88 // Resilience Imperative ] Mon Aug 17, 2015 20:00 | Justin
Our governments, businesses and economic institutions were built on a society that was supercharged with fossil fuels to get as big as possible as fast as possible. Now, with the challenges of the 21st century, resilience is a more appropriate principle for reinventing and reorganizing our economic life. Is it possible to develop economic and […]

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offsite link [ Episode #87 // Permaculture Paradigm ] Mon Jun 29, 2015 23:07 | Justin
Usually we think of permaculture as a system for land and food, where humans work with the flows and systems of nature. Can we also apply permaculture to societies? To our justice or education systems? Can we reorganize our civilization to live on yield rather than the principle before depleting our most important stocks? In […]

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offsite link [ Episode #86 // Slow Money // Part C ] Tue May 26, 2015 03:00 | Justin
The soil of our food system provides the roots of our culture. Without soil, our modern lifestyle would cease to exist. As climate change accelerates rates of soil erosion, will the global population be left as a stranded asset? As we fail to describe the real cost of cheap food through our vocabulary and economics, and […]

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Extraenvironmentalist » Podcast Episodes >>

The Gary Null Show


The Gary Null Show

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

offsite link The Gary Null Show ? 10.12.15 Mon Oct 12, 2015 22:29 | progressiveradionetwork
Gary gives you the latest in Health and Nutrition. Gary also plays videos that will make you think a little more about what is happening in this world.

offsite link The Gary Null Show ? 10.09.15 Fri Oct 09, 2015 19:00 | progressiveradionetwork
David Rieff is a policy analyst specializing in immigration, international military conflicts and humanitarian efforts.  He is a Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute at the New School for Social Research  in New York City, and a fellow at the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU. He has bee a board member for Human Rights Watch and for a project of the Open Society Institute.  David is the only son of famous American author Susan Sontag; he is a graduate of Princeton University. His numerous articles have appeared in the NY Times, Washington Post, The Nation, Atlantic Monthly, Le Monde and many others. He is author of over dozen books, the latest being ?The Reproach of Hunger: Food, Justice, and Money in the 21

offsite link The Gary Null Show ? 10.08.15 Fri Oct 09, 2015 15:16 | progressiveradionetwork
Dr. Lewis Mehl Madrona is a medical physican and associate professor of osteopathic Medicine at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine. He has been a pioneer in the dialogue and integration of neuroscience and transformation processes for physical and psychological healing and health.  Dr. Mehl-Madrona is also the founding executive direct of the Coyote Institute for Studies of Change and Transformation, an educational project which brings his pioneering research and practices to a wider audience. He is author of several books, the most recent being ?Remapping Your Mind: The Neuroscience of Self-Transformation through Story? co-written with Barbara Mainguy
WEBSITE  CoyoteInstitute. [...]

offsite link The Gary Null Show ? 10.07.15 Thu Oct 08, 2015 16:03 | progressiveradionetwork
Mikey Weinstein is an attorney and the founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, the nation?s foremost watchdog organization to assure members of the US Armed Forces are guaranteed their constitutional religious freedoms and to challenge Pcoercive activities and infiltration of Christian fundamentalist groups in the military. In the past Mikey served as a legal counsel in the Reagan White House. Before devoting himself full time to his foundation, he served as Ross Perot?s General Counsel and Perot Systems Corporation. Over the years he has filed lawsuits against military services and members of the Bush Administration for violating religious freedom in the armed forces and for proselytizing extreme Christian beliefs thereby creating a hostile environment. Mikey is an honor gradua [...]

offsite link The Gary Null Show ? 10.06.15 Wed Oct 07, 2015 15:20 | progressiveradionetwork
Ray McGovern served as an Army intelligence officer and a CIA analyst under 7 presidential administration, from the John F. Kennedy White House to that of George H. W. Bush. Among his duties was preparing the President?s Daily Brief, which was a one-on-one to President Ronald Reagan?s most senior national security advisers.  He was responsible for the analysis of Soviet intelligence regarding Vietnam and at one time served as the Assistant National Intelligence Officer for Western Europe. Since retiring from government service, Ray has been a vocal peace activist and journalist and helped create Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) to expose the way intelligence was falsified to ?justify? war on Iraq.  Ray?s opinion pieces appear in many leading newspapers here and abroad.  He hold [...]

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