Thursday, November 20, 2008


We open up this program with a classic 1946 quote from U.S. President Harry Truman. Old Harry begs Americans to save scraps of bread to help feed the starving overseas. We haven't heard much of that recently, although an estimated 860 million something people are hungry to dying.

You get a 24 minute interview with Kathy Jo Wetter of ETC Group. They've just released a report ""Who Owns Nature? Corporate Power and the Final Frontier in the Commodification of Life." That's the title of the 100th newsletter coming from the ETC Group, published in November 2008.

It's an ambitious report naming exactly which corporations are trying to take over the world's food and drug industry, from seeds to processing and chemicals, all the way to your grocery store, and your body. Plus a lot of top ten charts that name names: the companies who control most of your food chain. They'd like to own it all.

Then I look at threats to our wheat supply, which is rapidly dwindling. We've used up more than we grew in 6 of the last 7 years. At their low point, just before the harvest, humans only have 55 days worth of wheat in reserve (as Lester Brown tells us in a quick clip).

Then there is the UG99 black stem wheat rust - a scary fungi that can destroy wheat crops. It was discovered in Uganda back in 1999, and spread up the East Coast of Africa. Then the only force five hurrican ever recorded in the Indian Ocean spread UG99 to the Middle East. It is now in Iran, and threatens to cross over into the Punjab bread basket of India. Maybe the Ukraine too.

Eventually this crop threat will reach North America. We have some fungicides, but not nearly enough, as outlined in this show. The resistant variety might take 5 years to get into the marketplace. A rust in 1954 killed forty percent - that's 40%!! - of the North American wheat harvest, so this is serious stuff.

Also, we don't have the big food warehouses anymore, in your city. The corporations are using a just in time system to deliver food directly from the source to your local food market. They use the trucks themselves as a rolling warehouse. So... if there is an emergency, whether climate, earthquakes, the bird flu, or just crop shortages and stopped trucks - you cannot depend on any outside source of food. Maybe it's time to consider your own food storage at home.

I interview Kari from Survival Foods Canada Business is really picking up there, as Canadians worry about their food supply, in the coming Depression. The same thing is happening in the United States, for companies like


How about hybrid humans that produce their own electric power - just by walking around. Not only does this device exist - it makes walking easier, not harder. The invention is in it's earlier stages, led by Max Donelan of the Simon Fraser University Locomotion Lab.

The prototypes are being taken commercial, to provide power for those needing heart stimulation, or other internal body pumps that require a sure and rechargeable source of electricity. But the future possibilities are astounding. You would power your ipod/phone/computer just by walking down to the corner store. Perhaps in the future, all of us will become independent power stations, removing the need for bit climate killing fossil fuel plants.

I caught up with Max Donelan at a Cafe for Scientists in the Vancouver Public Library, on November 19th, 2008. In this 16 minute clip, introduced by CBC radio personality Hal Wake, Max explains his invention, plus the basics of human power use.

All in all, it's a full hour of information tinged with paranoia (or is that reality?)

Alex Smith
Radio Ecoshock

Production Notes: 30 second music bed for station ID starting at 29:34
No copyrighted music.

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