Thursday, May 29, 2008


Those are the choices.

Week of May 30th, 2008

Guest: Michael T. Klare (new book "Rising Powers, Shrinking World")
Listen to the Ecoshock Klare interview here.
Read his blog at

Space For Peace activist Bruce Gagnon
Listen to the Gagnon interview separately here.
His web site is

Dimitri Orlov on "Re-inventing Collapse. The Soviet Example and American Prospects";
I read the 5 steps of collapse from Orlov's blog at (look for "older posts" at bottom). Then a clip from Orlov talking with KMO on the C-Realm podcast (

Listen to that whole Orlov segment from the Ecoshock show here

Robert Kennedy Jr. on 5 men who run almost all U.S. media.

Is the American empire collapsing? Where are the $$ for new transpo & energy systems, or climate adaptation?

Download this Radio Ecoshock Show 1 hour here: CD Quality (56 MB) or Lo-Fi (14 MB)

I was in Berlin just after the Wall had fallen. A visit to East Berlin was quite instructive - they were living the low energy life - no bright street lights, no neon signs or advertising at all.

My West German hosts were still shaking their heads in disbelief. Their government discovered the only thing keeping Russian troops in East Germany was this: the Soviet government was so bankrupt, it could not afford to bring the soldiers home. There was no housing for the troops back home, soGerman workers went into the Soviet Union to build apartment buildings. Then the Russian bases were closed.

Is America headed toward the same state of bankruptcy? The United States has bases in over 100 countries. The government puts it all on Master Card, they borrow the whole cost from the countries, the ones who manufacture consumer goods, and provide the oil.

In an article titled "Portrait of an Oil-Addicted Former Superpower," Michael Klare writes: "Whether we know it or not, the energy Berlin Wall has already fallen - and the United States is an ex-superpower-in-the-making."

Michael T. Klare is a professor of Peace and World Security Studies for the Five Colleges, based in Massachusetts. He is a defense columnist for The Nation Magazine. His books "Resource Wars", and then "Blood and Oil" explained our times, just ahead of time. And his newest book is "Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy." It has just come out, published by Metropolitan Books.

We discuss how militarism, and endless war, threaten our ability to adapt and survive rapid climate change. Read more from Michael Klare at his blog:

Dimitri Orlov lived through the fall of the Soviet empire. He has a new book "Re-inventing Collapse. The Soviet Example and American Prospects." After some delay, that book is finally available. The publisher is New Society.

This book on collapse emerged from a series of articles titled "Post-Soviet Lessons For A Post-American Century" appearing on the web site "From the Wilderness" hosted by Michael C. Rupert. Rupert was a former cop who dedicated himself to investigating political cover-ups. In August of 2006, Rupert mysteriously disappeared, saying he no longer felt safe in the United States, after various threats and break-ins. His archive is still on the Net at

Anyway, Orlov outlines 5 stages or signs of collapse which I will read from his blog. Then we'll hear a short clip of Orlov, taken from the C-Realm podcast hosted by KMO.

In his blog, Orlov writes:

"Elizabeth Kübler-Ross defined the five stages of coming to terms with grief and tragedy as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, and applied it quite successfully to various forms of catastrophic personal loss, such as death of a loved one, sudden end to one's career, and so forth. Several thinkers, notably James Howard Kunstler and, more recently John Michael Greer, have pointed out that the Kübler-Ross model is also quite terrifyingly accurate in reflecting the process by which society as a whole (or at least the informed and thinking parts of it) is reconciling itself to the inevitability of a discontinuous future, with our institutions and life support systems undermined by a combination of resource depletion, catastrophic climate change, and political impotence....

Stage 1: Financial collapse. Faith in "business as usual" is lost. The future is no longer assumed resemble the past in any way that allows risk to be assessed and financial assets to be guaranteed. Financial institutions become insolvent; savings are wiped out, and access to capital is lost.

Stage 2: Commercial collapse. Faith that "the market shall provide" is lost. Money is devalued and/or becomes scarce, commodities are hoarded, import and retail chains break down, and widespread shortages of survival necessities become the norm.

Stage 3: Political collapse. Faith that "the government will take care of you" is lost. As official attempts to mitigate widespread loss of access to commercial sources of survival necessities fail to make a difference, the political establishment loses legitimacy and relevance.

Stage 4: Social collapse. Faith that "your people will take care of you" is lost, as local social institutions, be they charities or other groups that rush in to fill the power vacuum run out of resources or fail through internal conflict.

Stage 5: Cultural collapse. Faith in the goodness of humanity is lost. People lose their capacity for "kindness, generosity, consideration, affection, honesty, hospitality, compassion, charity" (Turnbull, The Mountain People). Families disband and compete as individuals for scarce resources. The new motto becomes "May you die today so that I die tomorrow" (Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago). There may even be some cannibalism."

Orlov doesn't predict cannibalism as a future for America - he just says some societies have reached terrible stages, and give examples in his book from the dislocated African tribe described in the book "The Mountain People" by Colin M. Turnbull.

Hopefully, by learning from previous cases of collapse, we can learn how to do better, as individual, and as a society. We shouldn't wait until things drop down to the bottom of the pit of collapse.

Find out more about Dimitri Orlov from his blog at - Orlov is spelled orlov.

Let's hear just a couple of minutes from KMO's C-Realm podcast, number 96 for May 14th, 2008. KMO and Orlov are discussing whether the people of the Soviet Union were actually better situated for collapse of their system.

Is anybody sorry the old Soviet Union is gone? They kept massive millions of their own people in prisons. Interrogators used torture. The press was censored and distorted to propaganda. You wouldn't want to live in a society like that.

I run a clip of Bobby Kennedy explaining how 5 corporations control almost all of the TV, radio and print that persuade Americans. Most of the investigative journalists have been fired. The right wing dominates it all. And Kennedy explains how Bush, in exchange for millions in donations, created a new wave of illness and pollution in the United States. The link for this powerful Youtube expose it posted above. Watch it and weep.

And that is why you need alternative media, underground radio, and people like our next guest, Bruce Gagnon.

People all over the world want the United States to take a leadership role in cleaning up fossil fuel emissions, before we lose a livable climate.

Our next guest, Bruce Gagnon says America has far different plans. Instead of converting the economy, the military industrial complex will war it's way to control of the world's energy, through domination of space.

Bruce Gagnon is a Senior Fellow at the Nuclear Policy Research Institute and Co-ordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space. Find that at

You must watch the video "Arsenal of Hypocracy" available from that site, and on Google Video. One hour of your time, one big enlightenment about the shiny new announcements from NASA, and the real reason America wants to dominate space.

We also discuss near-space as a threatened environment in its own right. Greens worry about protecting Antarctica, and the Amazon, without realizing that the space around the planet is so infested with space junk, we may not be able to get away from Earth - ever.

Maybe that would be a good thing for the rest of the universe, consider what we are doing down here.

Alex Smith
Radio Ecoshock

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Too Hot to Handle!

THIS WEEK: rebroadcast of interview with Canadian environmental historian Colin Duncan, by C.S. Soong of KPFA listener-supported radio (Pacifica) in Berkeley, California. This "Against the Grain" show was originally broadcast May 5th, 2008.

Must-listen radio - so we really "get it" - our strange new future, coming fast, with climate change (no matter what we do.)

Then: an interview with activist singer/songwriter David Rovics, along with samples of his songs.

Here is the blog/script for this show:

Radio Ecoshock Show script 080523 "TOO HOT TO HANDLE"

[quick opening clip from George Michael "Time to Pray"]

Yes, the wounded skies above, say it's much too late.

Pop back a few anti-depressants. This is Radio Ecoshock, I'm Alex Smith

Do we have still have time? Pop star George Michael asked the millions watching the finale of American Idol 2008. He sang of the time of guilty men, in front of a giant screen image of a red and molten world.

That was almost as close as this TV parade of geezer rock came to the real world this year. As though climate change really existed on the Fox network.

But we are all still climate deniers - aren't we? Our eyes watch video of stormy times. Dying bees mean higher berry prices. At the malls, we are still shopping until the end of the world.

Even the experts have trouble internalizing the climbing data of warning, the models of fire, flood, and extinctions. That is one reason I find our next interview so important. A quiet Canadian environmental historian wakes up at his desk. He smells the smoke. The planet really is a tinderbox. Now it is real. Where do we run? What can we do?

Called "Too Hot to Handle" we'll hear veteran Pacifica Radio host C.S. Soong interview Dr. Colin Campbell. The weekly program, called "Against The Grain" is fairly famous in California, and downloaded heavily across the United States. In it, C.S. Soong and his co-host Sasha Lilley take on all kinds of issues, from social justice to peace activism - and the environment.

A Colorado listener suggested this program for Radio Ecoshock. I listened, and realized even after my own work on climate, I still hadn't really grasped the enormity of the social change we are about to experience. Should I call up Colin Campbell and ask him all the same questions?

I don't think so. When someone does it right, it is time for me to step aside, and deliver the straight news you need to know. Colin Duncan doesn't shout. He just cuts the old oil world out from under you, and shows you the tough new future underneath.

With the kind permission of C.S. Soong and his co-producer H.N. Youan, here is "Too Hot to Handle" as broadcast on KPFA Berkeley, May5th, 2008.
That was a rebroadcast of the program "Against The Grain" with host C.S. Soong. It was originally heard on KPFA listener-supported radio in Berkeley, California on May 5th, 2008. Find the program archives at

While academics help us re-arrange our mental furniture, radio music can reach the whole person. We've featured music from activist song-writer David Rovics on Radio Ecoshock several times. Now we'll talk to the dude himself.

[interview with singer/songwriter David Rovics, from Oregon]

Find a lot of free music and albums for sale at David is appearing in Victoria, B.C. on June 5th - and in Vancouver the next night, June 6th at the Maritime Labour Centre. It's all part of a benefit for Iraq war resisters. Many musicians and artists will join David that night.

I chatted with David Rovics for a bit. He was a puzzled that youth activism seems to have fallen asleep, compared with the 1990's - and his audience is getting older. We talked about Barack Obama, as you heard - because the recent crowd of 70,000 plus that showed up to Obama's rally was the first sign the Nation has not really fallen asleep in front of the TV.

After 6 years of grinding war, peace organizers are having a harder time getting crowds out to protest. Is it because everybody knows the next President will have to end it, before America goes completely broke? Or have the corporate spinners really won...I doubt it. There is a time when people feel like beaten slaves, and a time when slaves rebel.

But as the machine puffs out more deadly greenhouse gases, do we really have the time to wait? No time to waste.

Next week, we are going back after the money. Where will America find the balls and the bucks to create a new fossil-free economy? Can a corrupt system make the change? Or will the boys for war toys grab the last of the cash for their mad dream of global domination.

The oil cost of the Iraq war, and the master plan to control planet Earth from space, next week with special guest Bruce Gagnon. If you want to do your homework first, watch the video "Arsenal of Hypocracy" on Google Video (or in pieces on You Tube.) Then join us next week, on Radio Ecoshock, as we fall into the next vat of toxic truth.

[Blog only:]
By the way, I love the email from listeners. Email me at: radio at One beloved listener said he like the show, but found it a little depressing. A little depressing! Where have I failed you! This is the most depressing show on radio!

Seriously though, I love life a lot. Every day, I take time to notice the beauty, the irony, the people and things that make me glad to be alive. Fear and reality are important, but inner gratitude to be alive is what motivates me to make every show.

We know that the love of nature, and our inner power, feed each other. This goodness, implanted into each of us, will finally make us better.

Because I experience that process, every day. I despair but never give up.

arrrgh. I'm sounding like Hilary Clinton!

Tune in next week for Star Wars, oil wars, climate conversion, and corporate conspiracy on Radio Ecoshock. And check out our web site at


Thursday, May 15, 2008


News of global breakdown.
Clips from Yale's James G. Speth on eco failure;

comedy duel "The Bugle" on biofuels;

Lester Brown on food crisis; (link is to full 34 minute conference call with the press)

Mel Hurtig on capital flight; (link is to one hour speech "The Truth About Canada")

UBS Swiss Bank as Rogue Capitalism? Billionaries bailing on climate (and you)

- but activist Bill McKibben says civilization has One Last Chance. (link is to Bill's article in the Los Angeles Times - as reprinted at Common Dreams, where the comments are really worth reading too...

Packed Ecoshock Show 080516 1 hour CD Quality (56 MB) or Lo-Fi (14 MB)

Production Notes: 15 sec music bed for station ID at 29:36. Credit to WNYC Leonard Lopate show for Speth clip. Full interview at Ditto full speech by Mel Hurtig. Credit for the Bugle (with John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman). Quick clip Rolling Stones "19th Nervous Breakdown". Loretta Napoleoni speech on "Rogue Economics" free download at Lester Brown food conference call here
(fast download, only 2 MB, 34 minutes - a great explanation that food crisis is not temporary, but a lasting endemic problem now for planet Earth. Our world food supplies at an all-time low and shrinking. I really recommend you listen to this interview, by one of the world's top grain experts - now head of

Visit our web site soon at - where many of these speeches and interviews are currently featured on our main page (scroll down a bit).

Alex Smith
Radio Ecoshock

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Helen Caldicott's new broadcast/podcast program #1.

Hands up everyone who wants to hear about nuke reactor safety.....


Perfect. That's just the way the nuclear industry wants it - as they plan a new "renaissance" of reactor construction as a "solution" to climate change. Really, the same big corporations want the government to back and insure their risky plans to rake in billions of bucks.

George Bush loves the plan. So does the military. Republican candidate John McCain just told nutty talk show host Glenn Beck he's like to see America get 80% of it's electricity needs from nuclear power - just like the French do.

Joseph Romm, the energy expert from did the math. That means 700 new reactors, which we could build over the next 100 years, so long as we stop building anything else.

Newt Gingrich loves nuclear power too. Obama has big nuclear donors in his home state - but hey, all the candidates take money from the nuclear lobby.

For the sake of sanity, please listen to Helen Caldocott's interview with David Lochbaum, Director of the Nuclear Safety Project for the Union of Concerned Scientists. In Blogger, just click the title above. Or download the fast Lo-Fi version shown below.

You'll hear about near-melt-downs of U.S. reactors, spent fuel as terrorist targets, and a failure to protect public safety.

Not much of that gets reported in the mainstream news. Funny, since once of the biggest nuclear reactor makers, General Electric, owns a TV network.

Even with 10 years of warning, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) failed to demand reactor changes when inconvenient for business operators. The wall of one American reactor was eaten away to a single layer of failing metal - ready to blow. Was that the one near you?

As Chernobyl taught us, we are all down-wind from a blown reactor. The radioactive particles go into the upper atmosphere, and rain down upon the world, raising cancer rates, and worrying millions.

Meanwhile, all the so-called "spent fuel" (still highly radioactive) is kept in tanks, concrete bunkers, wherever - around the plants. Some are above ground, easy targets for terrorism, especially an airplane hit.

Also read Helen Caldicott's 2006 book: "Nuclear Power Is Not The Answer To Global Warming - Or Anything Else."

Ecoshock show 080509 1 hour

CD quality 56 MB or Lo-Fi 14 MB.

Production Notes: quick intro, re-intro (at 28:26), exit. Includes clips from original 1983 documentary If You Love This Planet, starting at 45:40.
Stations needing time for ID or announcements cut into documentary clip. Or burn it and play it.

The web address given in the show not will not be up until June. I add &, which work now.

Alex Smith
Radio Ecoshock

Thursday, May 1, 2008


A new survey by shows that the majority of people in the world think oil is running out. They want their governments to find new energy supplies. Americans agree we have passed Peak Oil - but they are the only public to feel their government is operating on the wrong assumptions.

One big bad assumption: biofuels are the way to energy independence. We investigate news reports from all over the world, connecting biofuels to the new world food crisis. Even U.S. sources say the Bush biofuel plan is a disaster. And it just makes global warming worse!

Breaking climate news: the Jetstream moving toward the poles, CO2 is way up, and methane escaping. For the past 10 years, methane, one of the worst greenhouse gases (25 times stronger than CO2) has been relatively stable, for reasons we don't understand. But this year it's gone way up. Scientists suspect industrialization in Asia, and melting of the Arctic permafrost, may be the major causes. Bad, bad news.

I spend some time trying to cope with just one week's worth of new developments - in science, and in the real world.

In just one example, did you know the U.S. Air Force is proposing a massive program to combat climate change? Lots of news.

From the UK: we interview off-grid living expert Nick Rosen. Whole groups of people are voluntarily unplugging from the matrix: off electricity, making their own. Nick has published a book on surviving off-grid. We discuss the various reasons why people leave, and the scene in the UK. Can you live if the power goes out? For a month?

American housing crisis, storms, or fire: living in your car. Investigation into the new phenomenon of the "mobile homeless" or "half-homeless" growing in America. Uncounted in official statistics.

Includes clips from a video feature by on how Santa Barbara is allowing people living in cars to park in empty lots overnight - legally. We also hear from the comedian of the homeless Darrell Bedford. Some of Katrina victims are still living in their cars. But a surprising amount of car and van people actually work. A new study shows that this is the first year that a person working minimum wage cannot afford a one bedroom apartment anywhere in the country.

Uncle Al gives solid tips for living in a car - in case it happens to you. Impossible? What if your job disappears, or a relationship ends suddenly? Terrorist attack? Fire in your home, or the whole region? Hurricanes? (all hotels will be full). Maybe it's worthwhile knowing what it really takes to survive in a car.

Plus Medea Benjamin on Code Pink anti-war. This is a sample from an excellent series of activist radio interviews done by Sue Supriano. Check out her site at for lots of free downloads. The radio show is called "Steppin' Out of Babylon."

Code Pink, founded by women mad about the wars, and wasted military spending, has become one of the largest international war movements. These ladies want the U.S. to close the 800 military bases, in over 100 countries. They want that money spent on restoring crumbling schools - and hey, maybe even a working health care system, like every other developed country in the world!

Just Google "Code Pink" and you'll find outfits all over the U.S. - and in many countries like Italy and the Philippines, where local people want the U.S. to pack up and go home. Medea says when she travels, people all over the world ask her: how can America borrow money to fight these useless wars, and yet they can't provide for their own citizens. Think New Orleans for example, or the need for alternative energy. Nope - billions, even trillions, for the war machine.

The Radio Ecoshock Show 080502 1 hour
CD Quality 56 MB or LoFi 14 MB

Production Notes: Songs: "Here at the End of the World" by David Rovics and new hit "Sea Lion Woman" by Canadian star Feist. Rovics song for more time for announcements, if you must. No copyright on these programs. OK for non-profit use.

Alex Smith
Radio Ecoshock