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For lefties too stubborn to quit
Timeline of the Irish left 14:00 Mon Sep 01, 2014 | AonRud
Marriage equality ? 85% and complacency 12:15 Mon Sep 01, 2014 | Tomboktu
A sort of 1970?s quiz 4 12:09 Mon Sep 01, 2014 | WorldbyStorm
Left Archive: Fianna ? The Voice of Young Ireland, Sinn Féin, c. 1964 04:00 Mon Sep 01, 2014 | WorldbyStorm
Sports Special ? what you want to say? September 1st, 2014 03:58 Mon Sep 01, 2014 | WorldbyStorm
Win Lin v Governor of Cloverhill Prison. Mon Sep 01, 2014 15:40 | GuestPost
DCU School of Law and Government Inaugural Conference: ?Judges, Politics and the Irish Constitution.... Mon Sep 01, 2014 09:27 | Sinead Ring
Presumption of Guilt: Islamic State and UK Criminal Law Fri Aug 29, 2014 19:15 | Colin Murray
Time for Our Referendum Sat Aug 23, 2014 13:57 | Vicky Conway
Call for Submissions: Irish Community Development Law Journal Fri Aug 22, 2014 11:01 | admin
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
Links to Alternative Media Podcasts
en-us Indymedia On Air
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en-ie Hosted by Tom O'Brien this podcast hopes to feature in-depth interviews with leading figures in the fields of Economics, Peak Oil, Democracy, Politics, Science, Mathematics, Philosophy, Complex Systems, Agnosticism, Permaculture, Collapse, and the Environment.
RSS Feed for 'From Alpha to Omega' podcast
#053 What's Next? Part II Sat Aug 30, 2014 11:53 | Tom O'Brien
#052 What's Next? Sat Aug 16, 2014 22:40 | Tom O'Brien
#051 Cry Me A Volume Sun Jul 27, 2014 17:21 | Tom O'Brien
#050 The Matrix Fri Jun 27, 2014 23:00 | Tom O'Brien
#049 Cold Fusion, Brains, and Computers Tue May 20, 2014 22:14 | Tom O'Brien
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 75 college & community radio stations, WPFW Pacifica in D.C. plus KNEW 960 AM, San Francisco & Resonance FM London. Published Wednesdays.
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Alex returns from vacation with a whole new season starting September 3. Wed Aug 27, 2014 16:03 | firstname.lastname@example.org (Alex Smith)
I Have A Confession to Make (Replay) Thu Aug 07, 2014 22:41 | email@example.com (Alex Smith)
Desperately Seeking Solutions Wed Jul 30, 2014 19:04 | firstname.lastname@example.org (Alex Smith)
Almost every week Radio Ecoshock details our head-long flight into a complex series of environmental, economic, and social disasters. But where are the solutions?
There are many answers out there. What we need is a collection place to gather the things we need to know. Enter Laurence Boomert and the "Bank of Real Solutions".
Boomert is a long-time New Zealand activist who founded the successful Environmental Business Network in the 1990's. Along with a group called "Living Economies", Laurence co-published and wrote for the book "Fleeing Vesuvius: Responding to the effects of economic and environmental collapse?.
Laurence Boomert is currently on a tour of North America with our previous guest Nicole Foss.
Download/listen to this 18 minute Radio Ecoshock interview with Laurence Boomert in CD Quality or Lo-Fi
Most of the doomers I track, picture New Zealand as the place to run, after Fukushima or the economy blows up. At least New Zealand could feed itself. Is it all a green garden party there down-under?
Laurence says New Zealand has a lot going for it, but the current political climate is anti-green. In fact the Prime Minister formerly worked for a big investment house, Merrill Lynch. Previous green legislation is being dismantled, just like in Australia.
We talk about the political party Laurence co-founded, (the New Economics Party) - but more about his web site The Bank of Real Solutions. Currently it is a collection of things that really work to change the world in New Zealand. Take a look, you will get some great ideas for your own area.
Laurence is just now taking it global, working on founding The World Bank of Real Solutions. Watch for that.
Laurence Boomert, in You tube videos and writing, says cities could be sustainable. Looking at cities designed entirely around automobiles and fossil fuels, I'm not so sure. Can mega-cities really transition?
We also talk about collapse. It can happen quickly, Boomert says. Just look at Argentina in 2001. Or Ireland trying to recover right now.
In the United States, we are seeing shadows of collapse already. Detroit went bankrupt. The federal government shut down. Food stamps stopped working for a few hours, leading to mini-riots. Is there still time to organize and launch local economies? Boomert says yes, if we can get going now.
He offers some terrific examples from New Zealand, like community currency, and time banking that even helps the needy. Ten percent of his own small community operates on local currency.
Boomert suggests you visit this web site from South Africa for a look at more solutions being tried around the world: ces.org.za The full name is Community Exchange.
Laurence also has an ebook - a $3 manual on local currency "Get A Handle on Hands." More info about that here. Or buy it here.
This interview is full of useful tips. Like this organization "Living Economies".
Oh, by the way, Laurence also adapted an Irish idea, helping to organize and publish the solutions book called ?Fleeing Vesuvius: Responding to the effects of economic and environmental collapse.? That book is hard to find at the moment. Look here.
In this You tube video, Boomert says the financial system is "horrifically ruined" and fragile. He claims we have a corrupt parasytical system build on fraud. Then he outlines how you and I can bypass that system to create our own.
Part 2 of that You tube video is here.
Contact Laurence Boomert by email: email@example.com
SHARON GOURDJI: THE SCIENCE OF CROPS AND CLIMATE
Since gaining her PHD in Environmental Engineering, and moving to Stanford University, Sharon Gourdji has specialized in the impacts of climate change and food production around the world.
Her latest co-authored paper was published in Environmental Research letters in June 2013. It's title tells us something important for everyone who eats: "Global crop exposure to critical high temperatures in the reproductive period: historical trends and future projections."
Here is the official citation: Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 8 no. 2, page(s) doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/2 June 14, 2013
Your can read the abstract, and the full paper online here.
Download or listen to this interview with Sharon Gourdji in CD Quality or Lo-Fi
I was introduced to this subject by an unlikely source. A hippie You-tuber from Texas complained his garden flowered but set no fruit - because night-time temperatures stayed too high at a critical time. So it's not just that it's hotter, but WHEN it's hotter that counts for agriculture - and gardens.
That full video from "humptydumptytribe" is worth a watch.
But in this show we head for the real science. Sharon Gourdji has just finished a year-long Fulbright Nexus program focused on climate change and adaptation strategies in the Western Hemisphere.
I'm going to quote a communication from Sharon here to explain some of her other work:
"Prior to the extreme heat study, I published a paper looking at gains in breeding wheat for heat-tolerance by the world's preeminent wheat breeding organization CIMMYT (or International Center for the Improvement of Maize and Wheat in Spanish, based in Mexico, primarily responsible for developing the germplasm behind the Green Revolution in Latin America and Asia). The results were that most of the gains in breeding wheat for high yield potential have come in optimal environments with high radiation, cool temperatures and irrigation."
On a down-to-earth level, Sharon has just returned from Nicaragua, where she visited farming regions to determine how climate has affected the bean crop.
Apparently the red beans so loved by Nicaraguans are stressed by excess heat and the yields are declining. Black beans do better in the new growing conditions, but Nicaraguan farmers grow them mainly for export at this time. Folks in Columbia, where Gourdji also did research, like the black beans as a staple.
Complicating all this: Nicaragua has lost at least one third of it's forest cover since 1980. This changes microclimates, rainfall, and soil erosion. Deforestation and climate change can play off against one another.
Lester Brown from the Earth-Policy Institute has stressed some major crops, including rice, are already near their temperature limits. I've covered that on Radio Ecoshock. We discuss these important limits with Sharon.
It's hard to imagine a more important subject for scientific study! How will we feed the world's increasing population if climate change harms the growing cycle at critical times? Gourdji is fairly optimistic. She says farmers have always had to adapt to changes in weather - and there are international organizations working to breed plants better able to produce - even without Genetic Modification (GMO's).
Here is Sharon's professional page.
JOSH FOX RANTS AGAINST FRACKING AT POWERSHIFT 2013
In previous Radio Ecoshock shows we've had young people testifying about their drive to save the climate and find eco-justice - partly through the Powershift 2013 program in Pittsburg in October.
This week I run an 8 minute riff from Josh Fox, the Director of the anti-fracking expose "Gasland".
You can see the Powershift video here. (It will take a couple of minutes to load to the Josh Fox clip I've selected. Hang in, it's worth it).
France has banned fracking. The Netherlands is about to. People all over the world question why we need to blow up the underground, poisoning it with super toxic chemicals, just to get more dangerous fossil fuels.
Josh's follow-up to Gasland is now playing on HBO.
LORENE EDWARDS FORKNER - PACIFIC SUPER GARDENER
When I was at the Mother Earth News Fair last June, I had the pleasure of talking with Lorene Forkner.
Her blog is called "Planted at Home".
Lorene is the editor of Pacific Horiculture Magazine, and author of several books. Her latest is "Handmade Garden Projects: Step-by-Step Instructions for Creative Garden Features, Containers, Lighting & More".
She's the co-author of 3 previous titles published by Sasquatch Books including: "Growing Your Own Vegetables: An Encyclopedia of Country Living Guide" and "Canning and Preserving Your Own Harvest: An Encyclopedia of Country Living Guide".
With all that going for her, you can bet we have a great conversation about growing food - from California right up to Washington State. People around the world can learn from Lorene Forkner. I did.
Download or listen to this interview with Lorene Edwards Forkner in CD Quality or Lo-Fi
THREE INTERVIEWS PLUS ONE RANT
That was a packed show. I hope you pass it around.
I'm Alex Smith. Help support Radio Ecoshock and get free downloads at the web site ecoshock.org.
Welcome to all our new listeners, and thank you for listening - and caring about your world.
A WORLD BURNS IN SILENCE Wed Jul 23, 2014 20:18 | firstname.lastname@example.org (Alex Smith)
Last week there was even a thick black arm of smoke running up to the Arctic, to Hudson's Bay and Baffin Island. It's starting to reach Greenland.
That isn't the worst of it. More gigantic fires are racing uncontrolled across the Canadian Tundra in the Yukon. These are beasts that reach from the tree tops to the deep peat below the soil surface. These are the most powerful fires seen in decades in the North. The smoke clouds look like volcanoes have erupted. Thirty one new fires popped up a single day, with at least 2500 fires this year, and almost 3 million acres burned so far. Canadian authorities report the area burning is six times greater than the 25 year average.
The dean of Canadian wildfire experts is Dr. Mike Flannigan, a professor of Wildland Fire in the University of Alberta?s renewable resources department. I've recorded and played you his talk at the American Academy for the Advancement of Science conference in Vancouver in 2012, and broadcast it April 18th of that year. I've interviewed him directly for this program. Then, and now to the media, he emphasizes, quote:
?What we are seeing in the Northwest Territories this year is an indicator of what to expect with climate change.? ?Expect more fires, larger fires, more intense fires.?
Some of those fires are so hot they sterilize the ground. In some places, Flannigan says, the slow-growing Boreal forest may not return, especially after multiple burns.
In just a minute, I'm going to explain why this growing trend to a burning sub-Arctic, and especially this year, is a danger to us all, wherever you live on the planet.
But first, let's escape the North American news lens to get the other part of this story. Siberia is burning, again.
The year 2012 was a terror for forest fires in the Russian sub-Arctic. The Russian authorities admit 548 wildfires that year, with a loss of 22,500 hectares, over 50,000 acres. The reality may have been much greater.
As of July 10th, 2014, the Itar-Tass news agency reports 13,500 hectares burned. It's so dangerous, local authorities in Siberia have banned residents, or anyone, from going into the woods. NASA reported the Siberian smoke had curled round the world to reach the west coast of America.
According to the Moscow Times, on July 18th, the size of fires in the Buryatia region doubled overnight. The Siberian Irkutsk region already declared a state of emergency in May as fires raged there.
Once again, the particles from these fires will rotate around the upper northern hemisphere, around the world.
So let's review some basic facts. Due to our carbon emissions, and increasing methane emissions in the Arctic, heating in the polar and sub-polar regions is the fastest on Earth. It was tens of degrees warmer in Alaska last winter, and tens of degrees warmer than the average around 1950, for the whole Canadian sub-Arctic, and for much of Siberia. The Yukon has seen temperatures you might expect in a Colorado summer. Like the American West, it's been abnormally dry in the Canadian north-west, as the slower Jet Stream seems to freeze into a constant weather blocking pattern.
Being the Arctic, there are collisions with colder air masses, and from that, lots of thunder storms. Lightening sets the tinder below ablaze.
As Mike Flannigan told us on Radio Ecoshock, the thinner sub-Arctic soils dry out amazingly quickly. Just three days after a rain-storm, the soils can be tinder dry, in hot weather. And they are getting plenty of hot weather.
Read more about it here, or download the 13 minute Radio Ecoshock interview with Mike Flannigan here.
There are so many reasons why these fires are really a global climate emergency. You know Boreal forests were carbon sinks, soaking up a lot of our excess carbon, and storing that CO2 in the woody fibre of the trees. But when they burn like this, Boreal forests reverse that process, releasing CO2, loading the atmosphere. Add methane coming from both melting permafrost on land, and shallow sea beds in the Arctic Sea, and we get localized warming. That's the positive feed-back effect - the way the Arctic climate is spiralling out of control into warming never known during the time of humans on this planet.
That extra heat melts more sea ice, which exposes more dark ocean to the summer sun's 24 hour rays, making the ocean hotter, eating away at the edges of glaciers, speeding up ice loss. And so it goes.
SOOT A MAJOR FACTOR IN RISING SEAS AND GLOBAL WARMING
There is another even more serious threat here. Some scientists have reported that up to half of all melting of glaciers and snow in places like Greenland, comes from the deposition of black particles, falling out of the atmosphere. Some of that is just our urban pollution wafting north, captured by the winds circling toward the cooler poles. They call it "dark snow". The darker color, even if just a shade of gray, attracts much more heat from the sun than a pure white snow. This soot, from all sources (fires, ships, cities) is causing significant ice melt, and then rising seas. Other science indicates up to 18% of all global warming comes from soot and other air pollution.
The same effect has been measured by scientists in the Rocky Mountains. Black particles, mostly from Asian coal burning, turn snow a grayer color, resulting in earlier spring melts, a longer fire season, and more forest fires in North America. Carbon soot bounces around the world, creating more warming, creating more carbon soot...
With that extra heat in the Arctic, more ice melts, which will speed up sea level rise around the world. You may be on a low-lying delta in Bangladesh or coastal Australia, and get the extra sea rising due to these far-away sub-polar fires.
Underlying much of this, says one of my favorite bloggers Robert Scribbler, is the change in the Polar Jet Stream.
Read this from Robert's blog posted July 17, 2014:
"Potential Amplifying Feedbacks in Context
During recent years, scientists have been concerned by what appears to be an increased waviness and northward retreat of the northern hemisphere Jet Stream. This retreat and proliferation of ridge and trough patterns is thought to be a result of a combined loss of snow and sea ice coverage over the past century and increasing over the past few decades. In 2012, sea ice coverage fell to as low as 55% below 1979 levels with volume dropping as low as 80% below previous values. Over the past seven years, not one day has seen sea ice at average levels for the late 20th Century in the north.
Meanwhile, northern polar temperatures have risen very rapidly under the rapidly rising human greenhouse gas heat forcing, increasing by 0.5 C per decade or about double the global average. It is this combination of conditions that set the stage for fixed ridges over both Russia and Canada creating extreme risk for extraordinary fires.
Should both the current sets of fires continue to rage under anomalous high amplitude jet stream waves setting off extreme heat in these Arctic regions, it is possible that large clouds of heat absorbing black carbon could ring the Arctic in a kind of hot halo. The dark smoke particles in the atmosphere would trap more heat locally even as they rained down to cover both sea ice and ice sheets. With the Canadian fires, deposition and snow darkening are a likely result, especially along the western regions of the Greenland Ice Sheet ? zones that have already seen a multiplication of melt ponds and increasing glacial destabilization over recent years.....
And though climate models are in general agreement that the frequency of fires in tundra regions will increase, doubling or more by the end of this century, it is uncertain how extensive and explosive such an increase would be given the high volume of fuel available. Direct and large-scale burning of these stores, which in tundra alone house about 1,500 gigatons of carbon, could provide a major climate and Earth System response to the already powerful human heat forcing...."
Read that whole post in Robert's blog here.
Robert Scribbler adds this as an update:
"Atmospheric black carbon and methane loading (more in a new post) likely contributed to temperatures in the range of 95 degrees F (35 C) near the shores of the Arctic Ocean?s Laptev Sea yesterday as recorded in the following screen capture from Earth Nullschool/GFS..."
When the high Arctic is 95 degrees, 6 degrees hotter than the same day in Richmond, Virginia - we can truly say the roof of the world is on fire. We are in it now. Global warming is feeding itself, with multiple feed-backs, and the big action is thousands of miles away from you, far from the big city news cameras, from all the trash filling our air-waves and our minds. As climate disasters continue to unfold, most of us are not even paying attention.
Although, here is a good article about the multiple feed-backs of forest fires in Mother Jones.
Radio Ecoshock listeners are, and it's up to us to spread the word, starting those difficult conversations that nobody wants to talk about. Stay tuned as George Marshall tells us why its hard, and how to do it.
GEORGE MARSHALL - THE SOCIALLY ENGINEERED SILENCE ON CLIMATE CHANGE
Scientists warn we are headed into catastrophic climate change never before seen during human existence on this planet. Yet the most alarming facts hardly touch the lives of most people. Author George Marshall found out why. He says our minds are programmed to ignore climate change.
George is an old-school environmentalist, having worked as a senior campaigner for both Greenpeace in America, and the Rainforest Foundation. In 2004 he co-founded a charity based in Oxford UK, called the Climate Outreach and Information Network. They specialize in reaching all sorts of organizations, from churches to service clubs, scouts, trade unions and governments.
Now he's written a new book "Don't Even Think About It - Why Our Brains Are Wired To Ignore Climate Change." From Wales, George Marshall joins us.
Author and activist George Marshall
This interview is quickly becoming one of my favorites. George explains how people most anxious about climate change can turn to denial as a way to avoid that unpleasant/horrifying feeling. Polls taken in places where climate change has added to a disaster, like Hurricane Sandy, find that people who were inclined to deny climate change become even more convinced "it's just natural weather" or "God's Will", rather than our carbon pollution.
Perhaps this explains why Australians, very hard hit by drought, floods, and fires, could elect a climate denier as Prime Minister. Or why people in the American south (also hit by droughts, floods, and extreme heat) elect Tea Party members of Congress who swear climate change is an elaborate hoax.
George Marshall has met with Texan Tea Partyers, and tries to tell them that ignoring developing climate change will lead to the their worst nightmare. In the near future, desperate people may demand a climate dictator, taking away the rights and freedoms cherished by the Tea Party and Libertarians.
In fact, discouraged by seeing the same old faces at every climate rally, George and the Climate Outreach and Information Network are making special efforts to reach out to conservatives, to explain their most basic values are threatened by this problem.
Climate change is not an environmental issue, Marshall says, and it's been a mistake to label it that. It's a threat to all people, and all people need to become involved. He even found some Evangelical church leaders who raise climate change as a threat to the unborn. You may feel differently about abortion and women's rights, but we have to agree global warming is certainly a threat to the unborn.
We also have an fascinating chat about the work of Eviatar Zerubavel, Prof Sociology, Rutgers University. Eviatar has specialized in those possible topics of conversation that are somehow sidelined, and seldom talked about. You know, the silences we all agree on.
When I was growing up, the Holocaust was such a silence. I learned about it by accident from a book on my Grandfather's bookshelf. No parent, teacher, or anyone living told me about it, and it was never mentioned in any conversation. Now climate change is like that.
Perhaps you disagree, as Radio Ecoshock listeners are among the few to really talk about climate change. But polls in many countries consistently show, Marshall says, that one third of people have NEVER had a conversation about climate change. Even climate-aware people always over-estimate the actual number of conversations they have about it. The topic is forbidden at most dinner parties, or gatherings of any kind. Younger women with children are the least likely to talk about it, or tolerate talk about it. Even though this threatens their childrens' future more than anything else! We have to find a way to break through the social silence.
I ask George how to speak to a family member, work-mate, or associate who is very strongly denying climate change. You should listen to his helpful answer, but in a nutshell, don't try to tell them how wrong they are. That doesn't work. You can start out with respect for their willingness to take a position, and then explain how YOU came to your decision, without pushing it on them. George explains all that better than I can.
We get into the psychology of why the human brain did not evolve to understand or respond to a long and slow threat like climate change. This is key stuff. Give it a listen.
Climate Outreach and Information Network, or COIN, also helped broadcast "Climate Radio" with Phil England, a host I admire and learned from. The archives for that program are at climateradio.org. Phil is doing occasional climate broadcast these days, sometimes for Resonance FM in London, which also broadcasts Radio Ecoshock.
Now we are seeing melting Arctic ice, extreme rains and flooding, especially in the UK, or massive droughts and fires in the sub-Arctic of Canada, Alaska, and Russia. Many of us hope the public will finally get on board for climate action,. Is it possible many people will harden their resistance to the truth instead? How nutty will this get?
I'd like to point listeners to a another really useful video on George's site. It's from a 2009 lecture Marshall gave at the University of West England. That is called "The Ingenious Ways We Avoid Believing in Climate Change".
Or watch it on You tube here.
George's web site is climateconviction.org
There you have it. I've worried we don't have the mental capacity to face the climate challenge. Now activist George Marshall has done the homework, and published an essential new book "Don't Even Think About It - Why Our Brains Are Wired To Ignore Climate Change." Find the book it the usual places. It's available in Europe now, and will come out in North America in August 2014.
SNOWPIERCER - ALMOST BUT NOT QUITE
If you were thinking of seeing the new climate-aware action film "Snowpiercer" - our own Gerri Williams has a cautionary review for you. Gerri is an independent radio journalist who also reports for Radio Ecoshock.
Essentially while Gerri was pleased to see a popular format action pic with ANY connection to climate change, this one isn't what she was waiting for. It's got the violence and all that, but doesn't really capture climate change, but rather the opposite, a freezing world after geoengineering efforts to stop climate change have gone horribly wrong. Despite the awful cold winter in central and Eastern North America last year, cold is not our problem. We've just had the hottest April, the hottest May, and the hottest June ever recorded.
You can be sure climate-driven media of all kinds will grow as our predicament deepens. There is a very busy Facebook page for cli-fi media now. The Collins dictionary is recognizing the word cli-fi, and major authors are already endorsing it. Gerri's right, given how hard it's been trying to get the real science of climate change out to the public, climate fiction, films, drama, and art of all kinds may be our last best hope.
I'm sticking with radio. You can download all our past programs as free mp3 files, perfect for your phone, IPOD, or computer, from our web site at ecoshock.org. Or try things out on our Soundcloud page.
ANOTHER PATHETIC CLIMATE SONG
We'll go out with another of my attempts to create a new wave of electronic music, so popular with the younger generation who will live with continuous climate challenges. Like the cli-fi authors, I'd love to see music carry more of the message, both of climate despair and the hope of a response worthy of intelligent creatures.
I'm Alex Smith. Thank you for listening to Radio Ecoshock and please join us again next week. This is my new song, "Time of Trials". Download it from Soundcloud.
THE BIG PICTURE - Like It or Not Wed Jul 16, 2014 23:05 | email@example.com (Alex Smith)
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