On Earthgauge Radio this week, we continue our discussion on the limitations of technology in solving environmental problems and we learn about Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project. I have two interviews on the program today:
- Novelist and critic James Howard Kunstler talks about his latest book ‘Too Much Magic’ in which he argues that our faith in technology to solve our environmental problems is delusional and is preventing us from finding real solutions.
- Panel discussion on The Climate Reality Project with Candace Labelle, VP of Climate Reality Canada; Muni Ahlawat, the Program Officer with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities on their Partners for Climate Protection program; and Charles Hodgson of Ecology Ottawa who produces the excellent blog climateottawa.ca.
Click the audio player above to stream the show or right click here to download.
I played the first part of an exclusive Earthgauge interview with James Kunstler on our last show and today I’ve got the second half of our discussion for you. Kunstler is well-known author and critic who has made his name in books such as The Geography of Nowhere and The Long Emergency, in which he has ranted against strip malls, fast food, and argued persuasively that the decline of cheap oil will bring an end to civilized life as we know it. In his latest book, Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the Nation, Kunstler takes aim at the idea that our technologically sophisticated civilization will come up with a solution to all the problems we face, from the end of cheap oil to the arrival of extreme climate change. We have part 2 of our discussion to kick off today’s show.
Full James Kunstler interview (right click here to download):
Later in the program, we have a live, in-studio panel discussion about climate change policy in Canada and The Climate Reality Project, which is the new name of Al Gore’s climate change training initiative. I speak with Candace Labelle, VP of Climate Reality Canada; Muni Ahlawat, the Program Officer with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities on their Partners for Climate Protection program; and Charles Hodgson of Ecology Ottawa who produces the excellent blog climateottawa.ca.
As usual we catch up with with Ecology Ottawa about local environmental events and campaigns going on around town. You can find more information about these events on their website www.ecologyottawa.ca.
Earthgauge Radio is broadcast every Thursday at 7:00 AM on CKCU FM. Our Facebook address is facebook.com/EarthgaugeRadio and you can contact me at earthgaugeradio ‘at’ gmail.com if you have comments or suggestions for a future show. Podcasts on iTunes and the twitter handle is @earthgaugeCA so get in touch and let me know what you think about what you’re hearing!
Remember that the CKCU annual funding drive kicks off tomorrow but you can make your pre-pledge now by going to our website www.ckcufm.com and looking for the pre-pledge link. We’ve set an ambitious goal this year of $120,000 so we will really need your support this year. Remember CKCU is a listener supported campus-community radio station. One third of our lean operating budget depends on the generosity of listeners like you. And be sure to tune in to Earthgauge Radio next week as we’ll be broadcasting our special funding drive program. I’ve set a target of fundraising target of $1000 for this show so be sure to indicate Earthgauge as the show you want to support on your pre-pledge forms.
On Earthgauge Radio this week, we’re taking a look at issues facing Canada’s rapidly changing northern regions. I have three interviews for you on today’s special show:
- Mary Simon, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), the national organization representing Inuit
- Ed Struzik, author of The Big Thaw: Travels in the Melting North
- Andrew Revkin, New York Times journalist and host of the blog DotEarth
Earthgauge Radio is broadcast every other Thursday morning at 7:00-8:00 AM on CKCU 93.1 FM in Ottawa. Click the audio player above to hear the full show. Right click here to download today’s full show. Scroll down to listen to individual interviews only.
Remember that Earthgauge Radio is podcast on iTunes if you type earthgauge into the search bar, you’ll find us. Contact us at email@example.com. Facebook address is www.facebook.com/EarthgaugeRadio and Twitter handle @earthgaugeCA. Please do get in touch if you have story ideas, a comment on something you’ve heard or want to get involved or contribute to the show.
On today’s show, we also have our usual segment with Ecology Ottawa who update us on local environmental events.
The music off the top of today’s program is from a performance by the Inuit circus and multi-media production group called Artcirq. Based in Igloolik, Nunavut, a remote Inuit community in the Baffin islands, Artcirq is a unique Inuit circus and multi-media production group that aims to give youth the space, the skills and the opportunities to express themselves. I recorded this performance at the International Polar Year summit in Montreal a few weeks ago. The theme of the IPY summit was From Knowledge to Action and it was one of the largest and most important scientific conferences ever for polar science and climate change, impacts and adaptation.
While at the summit, I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with many inspiring individuals who are doing terrific work promoting the importance of the polar regions and trying to bring to public attention themes such as rapid polar change, communities and health, ecosystem services, infrastructure, resources and security. So on today’s show I have three interviews from the summit.
First I speak with Ed Struzik, author of The Big Thaw. He tells us about some of the dramatic changes happening up North and give us the big picture perspective on the importance of the polar regions.
Ed Struzik interview, right click here to download
Next we hear from the influential New York Times environmental journalist Andrew Revkin whose blog dot Earth is one of the mostly widely read environmental web sites on the planet.
Andrew Revkin interview, right click here to download
Finally, I was very pleased to have the opportunity to speak with Mary Simon, who is the President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), the national organization representing Inuit from Nunavut, Nunavik in Northern Quebec, Nunatsiavut in Labrador and the Inuvialuit region of the Northwest Territories. Mary Simon is a very influential figure both here in Canada and abroad and I have a feature interview with her on the program today.
Mary Simon interview, right click here to download
Upcoming local environmental events (courtesy of Ecology Ottawa):
Tonight, May 24th, from 12:00 to 5:00 pm, you are invited to learn about Building Nigeria’s Response to Climate Change, a 5-year CIDA-funded project that is supporting both government and civil society to develop climate change adaptation policies and initiatives. Presenters will talk on a range of topics, including their experience in working with the Special Climate Change Unit to formulate a national climate change adaptation strategy, to supporting the implementation of adaptation initiatives in communities across the country. If you would like to attend, please RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Starting tomorrow, May 25th, until Sunday, May 27th, the Permaculture Institute of Eastern Ontario will be holding a 2-day + 1 evening introductory course on Permaculture, Ecological Design and Gardening. The ethics, principles and design process of permaculture design are based on living systems and draws upon indigenous knowledge. They can be applied to physical systems, such as farms, gardens and cities; and to social systems such as organisational flows, business models or school curricula. This course focuses on permaculture as design, which can be broadly applied to land-based, urban, social or economic systems. For more information or to register, email email@example.com.
And of course, don’t forget that this Saturday, May 26th, is the Great Glebe Garage Sale!
SATURDAY, MAY 26, 2012, 8am-4pm
680 & 690 Bank Street
Rogers Plus & Kunstadt Sports parking lots
It’s your favourite time of year again… Soon the entire Glebe will be abuzz with lawn-hawking like you’ve never seen. It’s this annual mecca of bargain-hunters from near and far that gave birth to Ecology Ottawa’s Great Glebe GREEN Garage Sale.
On the heels of news that young Americans are less interested in the environment and in conserving resources comes a very timely independent film called Play Again. It offers some possible explanations for why youth are less concerned about the environment these days. Not surprisingly, one of the main culprits is the fact that kids simply don’t spend as much time in nature as previous generations. What are the broader implications of a whole generation growing up completely disconnected from the natural world? As the film synopsis suggests, the consequences may be serious.
“The average American child now spends over eight hours in front of a screen each day. She emails, texts, and updates her status incessantly. He can name hundreds of corporate logos, but less than ten native plants. She aspires to have hundreds of online friends, most she may never meet in person. He masters complicated situations presented in game after game, but often avoids simple person-to-person conversation. They are almost entirely out of contact with the world that, over millions of years of evolution, shaped human beings — the natural world…What are we missing when we are behind screens? And how will this impact our children, our society, and eventually, our planet?
“The long-term consequences of this experiment on human development remain to be seen, but the stakes couldn’t be higher. By most accounts, this generation will face multiple crises — environmental, economic and social. Will this screen world — and its bevy of virtual experiences — have adequately prepared these “digital natives” to address the problems they’ll face, problems on whose resolution their own survival may depend?”
Click the audio player to listen to the latest edition of Earthgauge radio, which is a bi-weekly broadcast every other Thursday morning from 7-8 AM on CKCU 93.1 FM in Ottawa. You can also right click here to download the show.
On Earthgauge this week, we’re talking about environmental education and environmental health:
- Tony Dekker of the Great Lake Swimmers
- Geoff Green, founder of the environmental education organization Students on Ice
- Author, activist and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber
First up, it’s snow, ice and the ends of the Earth. The environmental education organization Students on Ice has just departed on an Antarctic expedition with 60 high school students and an international team of scientists, educators, journalists, artists, leaders and polar experts. Among the participants is Tony Dekker, singer/songwriter for the Juno-nominated band Great Lake Swimmers.
I talked to Tony about his role on the expedition and why he wanted to take part. I also speak with Geoff Green, the SOI founder, about the work of his organization and what he hopes to achieve. This program, now in its tenth year, has taken over 1,800 students, teachers and scientists from around the world on expeditions to the Arctic and the Antarctic. The goal is to give the world’s youth a heightened understanding and respect for the planet’s global ecosystem, and the inspiration to protect it. Could part of the solution to the environmental crisis rest ultimately in better environmental education programs for our youth?
Finally, as this is the final show of 2011, I replay one of the most important interviews I did this year. It was with environmental health activist and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber. Her message is one that all of us should hear.
Steingraber is an inspirational author, activist, poet, scientist and cancer survivor. She is an internationally recognized authority on the environmental links to cancer and human health who has been compared to the pioneering environmental health activist Rachel Carson. Steingraber’s most recent book is called Raising Elijah: Protecting Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis, which Naomi Wolf said “could be the most important and inspiring parenting book ever written.”
Steingraber writes weekly environmental essays for the Huffington Post and now a new documentary film has been produced based on her groundbreaking book, Living Downstream. She also contributed an article to a recent edition of Alternatives Journal called Coal, Oil and Cancer, in which she explains how fossil fuels are not only causing climate change, they are also causing cancer.
Please get in touch if you have any comments, suggestions or if you want to get involved or contribute to the show. Contact me at earthgaugeradio ‘at’ gmail.com.
The environmental education organization Students on Ice recently departed on an Antarctic expedition with 60 high school students and an international team of scientists, educators, journalists, artists, leaders and polar experts. Among the participants is Tony Dekker, singer/songwriter for the Juno-nominated band Great Lake Swimmers.
Just before he left for Antarctica, I talked to Tony about his role on the expedition, why he wanted to take part and, as a musician, how environmental issues influence his songwriting. The Students on Ice program, now in its tenth year, has taken over 1,800 students, teachers and scientists from around the world on expeditions to the Arctic and the Antarctic. The goal is to give the world’s youth a heightened understanding and respect for the planet’s global ecosystem, and the inspiration to protect it.
Click the audio player above to hear the interview or right click here to download.
Opposition to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline continues to build
I just returned from Washington DC where I was covering an action to pressure President Obama to deny the permit required for TransCanada to construct Keystone XL, a massive, 2700 km pipeline that would transport tar sands crude from northern Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico.
The event was very well-attended, exceeding the expectations of event organizers, Tar Sands Action. Organizers had hoped to encircle the White House with at least 4000 protesters but estimates placed the crowd at somewhere between 10,000-12,000.
In attendance were folks from as far away as Florida, Ohio, California and, for course, Canada. I traveled down from Ottawa on a bus packed with about 50 enthusiastic students from Paul Smiths College in the Adirondacks of upstate New York. 20 hours on a bus over a 48-hour period (including one overnight) is not usually my idea of a good time, but it was well worth the trip.
Below you will find interviews and video from the rally. Highlights included Naomi Klein’s rousing call to arms and her Canadian perspective on both Keystone XL as well as the equally outrageous, proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline to the west coast of B.C. (see video below). Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians gave me a remarkably upbeat assessment of the prospects of stopping Keystone XL in its tracks. Having the chance to speak with leading climatologist and NASA scientist, James Hansen, was also a rare opportunity. In his speech (see video below), Dr. Hansen advocated putting a price on carbon emissions by taxing fossil fuel companies and distributing 100% of the proceeds to the public through a monthly dividend. He also said that one of the most important things people can do is to support the organization Citizens Climate Lobby.
Perhaps most memorable, however, were the many conversations I had with everyday folks from all over North America, from farmers in Nebraska to college kids who helped get Obama elected in ’08 to seniors who were afraid for the future of their grandchildren. People are rightly pissed about this proposed pipeline and many have said they will do “whatever it takes” to stop it. Whatever it takes.
Increasing our dependence on unconventional, dirty oil is not the kind of legacy we should be leaving for future generations. Yes, we need oil for now – nobody denies it. But according to James Hansen, the planet’s most important climate scientist, who was arrested at the White House back in late August/early September – opening up the tar sands to heavy exploitation would mean “it’s essentially game over” for the climate. Building Keystone XL – which Bill McKibben described as “a 1,700-mile fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the continent” – will only only ensure that our oil dependence will continue long into the future, our greenhouse gas emissions will continue to increase and long overdue investments in clean energy technologies will be further delayed.
You may also be interested to hear the comments of Bill McKibben who appeared on Democracy Now the day after the White House action. The battle continues…
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with the inspirational author, activist, poet, scientist and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber. She is an internationally recognized authority on the environmental links to cancer and human health who has been compared to the pioneering environmental health activist Rachel Carson. Steingraber’s most recent book is called Raising Elijah: Protecting Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis, which Naomi Wolf said “could be the most important and inspiring parenting book ever written.”
Steingraber writes weekly environmental essays for the Huffington Post and now a new documentary film has been produced based on her groundbreaking book, Living Downstream. She has contributed an article to the upcoming edition of Alternatives Journal called Coal, Oil and Cancer, in which she explains how fossil fuels are not only causing climate change, they are also causing cancer. Look for it at your favourite magazine shop or bookstore.
Her message is one that all of us should hear. Click the audio player above to hear our interview or, to download the interview, right click here and select ‘Save as’ or ‘Save target as’.
Interview with Geoff Green of Students on Ice Expeditions
Click the audio player to hear my interview with Geoff Green, the founder and Executive Director of Students on Ice Expeditions, an award-winning educational organization based in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada. The program – now in its tenth year – has taken over 1,500 students, teachers and scientists from around the world on expeditions to the Arctic and the Antarctic. The goal is to give the world’s youth a heightened understanding and respect for the planet’s global ecosystem, and the inspiration to protect it. Their aim is not to simply provide students with a “trip” to a unique destination but rather to give students an opportunity to have an aesthetic experience in some of the most wild and awe-inspiring ecosystems in the world.
In our conversation, Geoff talks about why he started the program and what he hopes it will achieve. We also discuss the importance of environmental education in light of all the serious environmental problems that confront us, from climate change to biodiversity loss to depleting fisheries.
Could part of the solution to these problems rest ultimately in better environmental education for our youth? And if so, how do we reach those kids who can’t afford to go to Antarctica or aren’t interested in wilderness adventures? What about students who live in urban environments with no easy access to wilderness? Are schools doing enough to educate kids not just about environmental problems but about the importance of connecting with nature?
Geoff has been leading expeditions and adventures from pole to pole for the past fifteen years. Most recently, Geoff was recognized as one of 25 Transformational Canadians. He was also voted one of Canada’s “Top 40 under 40” – an annual national prize event saluting Canada’s top young leaders. In 2004, Outpost Magazine chose Geoff as one of the “Top 5 Canadian Explorers” to watch.
To download the interview, right click HERE and select ‘Save as’ or ‘Save target as’.
This story gives me hope. High-level political negotiations on global environmental problems, from the protection of biodiversity to climate change, seem to be perpetually mired in bickering and bogged down in a morass of intransigence. Could education and small-scale, incremental changes at the local level be the way forward?