Wednesday, December 31, 2008


The new science is rolling in from England, Australia, and the American Geophysical Union conference. The news isn't chilling - it's heating and it's very scary.

To cover it, we interview two top people in the field. We open with David Spratt, co-author of "Climate Code Red - The Case for Emergency Action" - which is just now being released in North America.

I received an update from David, passed on by top Australian scientist Andrew Glikson. I trust Glikson, and he says Spratt has the science right.

It seems so hard to believe. Even a close friend, a life-time environmentalist, came out doubting science just a week ago. We have the denial mechanism designed into us, since our earliest days. Nothing in human experience, as taught and recorded by any civilization, revealed that the climate system was very delicate. In fact, our world was barely balanced between the "Ice House" (vast glaciation) and the "Hot House" (climates too hot for humans and life as we know it). Unknowingly, we are tipping the switch.

We MUST pay attention - no matter what the temporary weather is outside, or the political climate. It is time to learn or die.

Following, David Spratt, we go to one of the best - Hell - he is the best - climate blogger on the Net. That is Joseph Romm, a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. During the Clinton Administration, Mr. Romm was acting assistant secretary of energy, responsible for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Joe Romm's blog "" is reprinted all over the place, including many features in the Grist Mill blog. We are lucky to get him on radio, explaining not just the hot new climate science, but the possibilities for surviving this natural trap.

Romm is also plugged into the Democratic science establishment, and describes some of the appointments made by Barrack Obama - that could help the climate.

Then I do my "Tools for Tough Times" - simple gear for an emergency, Depression or system breakdown. You may need these tools, due to a storm, civil disruption, banking failure, flu outbreak, or just a lost job and looming poverty on government hand outs. Get your gear.
Here is a short list, but you should listen to the broadcast.

The full Radio Ecoshock show is available in
CD Quality 56 MB or Lo-Fi 14 MB

Production Note: 10 sec music bed for station ID at 29:53.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

ECOSHOCK GREEN GOLD the best enviro tunes

All the tunes we've used on Radio Ecoshock - full versions and how to contact the artists. 1 hour CD Quality 56 MB (recommended) or Lo-Fi 14 MB

After all the words, of scientists and activists, it's time to reach another part of your brain. We've never done this before - but see if these songs don't get you going. And play it any time.

Production Notes: 30 second song bed at 29:30, pull down for your station ID. Ready to play.

Playlist: "Endless Summer" Ghostly Penguin Display;
"Runaway Train" Eliza Gilkyson;

"Alternative Energy" Combat Wombat (Australia);
"Mother Earth" Shane Philip (Canadian);

"What If You Knew" David Rovics;
"Is That What It Will Take?" Bryan Wood;

"Swimmin In D'Nile" Dana Lyons;
"High Water Rising" Joel Zifkin;

"Our Ocean" Te Vaka (Polynesia);
"Slow Down Fast" Bruce Cockburn (Cdn);

"Power From Above" Dan Berggsen (#1 from our site);
"Good Planets Are Hard to Find" Steve Forbert;

"Dirty Town" Mother Mother (Cdn);
"It's Not Easy Being Green" Kermit the Frog;

"House of Trouble" Clatter;
"Gamma Ray" Beck.


Radio Ecoshock

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Forget Madoff. Wall St. is the giant Ponzi scheme.

The former NASDAQ Chairman and investing icon Bernard Madoff admits he ran a giant investment scam that lost $50 billion. Everyone, the wealthiest and wise, were taken in. Even the Rothschilds were hit, not to mention Swiss banks, British Banks (Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC), hedge funds (for a cool ten billion), Jewish charities, university endowments, pensions funds, municipalities. Lots of pain - but it's also illustrative of the much bigger landscape. Wall Street and all the big banks were just Ponzi operations, paying out old investors from new suckers. Can you say "sub-prime"?

Hear, in his own words, audio of Bernie explaining why fraud just isn't possible these days, due to stiff regulation. Yeah right.

It gets worse. The CDS/CDO asteroid is set to strike Earth in 2009. Bets totalling at least $50 trillion dollars come home for settlement. But that is more than the net worth of Earth. As Max Keiser points out - even if every American home and business were sold off to the Chinese and Saudis - the debt still wouldn't be paid.

That is the black hole the American Treasury and the FED (read: the same bank nuts who got us into this mess) are trying to fill up with your children's tax money. There isn't enough money in the world to settle these gambling debts. The idea any of it is going to be paid back is ridiculous. It just goes into the hole, and is never seen again. That is called "deflation".

Why doesn't the government give the money to the people instead? Or at least start up some productive industry, like building alternative energy plants, and more trains. Sadly, the gansters/bankers are in charge of our government now, scaring the politicians worse than Osame bin Laden. And paying them off too.

Alex explains.

we interview Michael Byron on surviving the Crunch. He's the author of the Infinity's Rainbow series, and a professor in the San Diego area. His last book is:
""The Path Through Infinity’s Rainbow: Your Guide for Personal Survival and Spiritual Transformation in a World Gone Mad."

Finally, at the request by a couple of listeners, Alex comes clean about his food storage project. How much things cost, how long will wheat last in buckets, why is bulk food so hard to find all of a sudden? Getting in ahead of the curve, as the world food situation - even in plentious America - gets scary.

You will also hear a song I love, capturing the times "Clearcut" by Ethan Miller and Kate Boverman. And, of course, "Food Storage Blues" by Mormon Brother Thompson and the bean sisters.

food storage audio blog. Bit of music and fun. Radio Ecoshock 081219 1 hour CD Quality 56 MB or Lo-Fi 14 MB

Production Notes: Song "Clearcut" by Ethan Miller & Kate Boverman runs from 27:50 to 30:41. Interrupt for station ID if needed. Other music: "Food Storage Blues" by Brother Thompson. Short clips from, Bernard Madoff, Sky News.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

FOUR HORSEMEN Cars, Coal, Climate & War

1. Testimony to Select Committee on Energy Independence & Global Warming Dec 9.

auto bail-out & real future of green transpo. Clips from Chairman Ed Markey, Member Jay Inslee, plus testimony from Joan Claybrook of the watchdog group Public Citizen (founded by Ralph Nader). Next up is a bit from Reuben Munger, Chairman of a start-up independent auto maker - of electric plug-in vehicles, called Bright Automotive.

Also, Dr. Peter Morici, Professor of International Business at the University of Maryland, thinks the bailout is a waste of money and won't work.

Finally, from the design side of the car business, there is Mr. Geoff Wardle, Director of Advanced Mobility Research, Art Center College of Design in Pasadena California. He describes the need to design a real public transport system that is green and sustainable.

2. Frosty the Coal Man?
Twisted carols and coal plant radiation. What, you didn't know coal plants emit bomb-quality radiation along with the CO2?

second half hour - Gwynne Dyer columnist, author, military historian on extreme climate change and resulting wars. Exclusive preview of new radio series.
Recorded at the Park Theatre December 6, 2008.

Radio Ecoshock Show 081212 1 hour
CD Quality 56 MB or Lo-Fi 14 MB

Production Notes: 30 second music bed for station ID at 29:30. Can be run as two half hour shows. No copyright music. Cut end music as needed if more time required.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


As #1 supplier of oil to USA, Canada's tar sands kill the environment, locals, and pollute the world's atmosphere. Canada can never control its emissions with this giant carbon smokestack to the sky. Now they want to make the damage five times greater. To scoop off the soil in an area the size of Florida. Strip mining vast areas for the world's dirtiest source of oil.

The U.S. group Environmental Defense launched a report February 2008 titled "Canada's Toxic Tar Sands, The Most Destructive Project on Earth" A whole range of activists, from Greenpeace to the Council of Canadians, is fighting to stop massive expansion of the Tar Sands. The major oil companies want to strip away the surface of the Earth in a patch the size of Florida. They dump their toxic waste into giant man-made lakes dangerously close to the mighty Athabasca River, and by that river, to the sensitive Arctic.

All told, the Tar Sands projects, led by the world's largest oil companies, create an octopus of toxic waste and global climate change. No one is exempt.

Three new speeches:

Jessie Kalman on environmental and social impacts. From the Polaris Institute. Update on latest situation, including the economic downturn;

Mike Mercredi - the industrial genocide of aboriginals. A member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation describes how his family and community are dying of cancer in unbelievable numbers, now that the Tar Sands mega-project is upstream. A really moving speech puts the poisons in perspective.

Will Horter, from the Dogwood Initiative, on new pipelines, ports and spills in British Columbia's treasured forests and coast. Even the Great Bear Rain Forest is at risk, as tanker traffic is set to double in the wild and stormy West Coast of Canada, British Columbia. The pipelines will scar the rockies. The spills are inevitable, from this spiderweb of chemicals running from Canada's North to all points south, and the American refineries.

The Radio Ecoshock Show 081205 1 hour CD Quality 56 MB or Lo-Fi 14 MB

Production Notes: 30 second music bed for station ID at 29:30.
Music: "Dirty Little Secret" by All American Rejects.

P.S. be sure and visit to sign their petition.

Radio Ecoshock

Thursday, November 27, 2008

FASTEN YOUR SEATBELTS It's going to be a bumpy ride...

It's the double whammy: the economy and the climate crash at the same time.

Outgoing President Bush is exercising his scorched Earth policy on BOTH, as he slides out the door.

This is Radio Ecoshock with Alex Smith. The news is pouring in with changes too big for the imagination. In this program, you'll hear a quick clip from Barack Obama, his climate promises.

A Toronto Professor explains the links between economic and natural crashes. Peter Victor's book launch for "Managing Without Growth, Slower by Design Not Disaster" this past November 18th. The book describes an economy that does not depend on growth. Unreasonable demands for endless growth is killing off both the capitalist economy and the planet. The launch was attended by famed environmentalist and broadcaster Dr. David Suzuki and Toronto Mayor David Miller. Mayor Miller described that city's plan to "reclad" tower buildings - to finally add an outside layer to these energy inefficient giants built when energy was cheap. There's a make-work project for every city in the world - as oil and natural gas decline.

My thanks to listener John-Paul Warren of Toronto for recording the book launch and sending it in to Radio Ecoshock.

Then our feature presentation: the latest climate science from NASA's James Hansen, and Tom Helweg-Larson of the Public Interest Research Centre. I recorded the live webcast for you, from You can download the 68 minute testimony from our Climate Page at

I'll recap Hansen and Helweg-Larson with lots of clips, in less than 24 minutes - and point you to a free download of the full audio.

They testified to the Environmental Audit Committee in the United Kingdom on Wednesday November 26th. The climate news is horrific.

As George Monbiot wrote in the Guardian newspaper, we may already be too late. He claims the Iraq War is just number two on the list of crimes against humanity carried out by George W. Bush. Number One for all time is the Bush administration's stalling of real action on climate change (while helping make it worse). This article by Monbiot is one of his most powerful, check it out.

We get a bit of that, plus an argument from blogger Sharon Astyk, in a controversial article titled "A New Deal or a War Footing? Thinking Through Our Response to Climate Change."

Sharon takes apart the new energy program proposed by Al Gore in the New York Times on November 9th. She counts up the carbon costs of building the new solar heat plants, wind farms, the new power grid for America, converting our rolling stock to electric, and retrofitting all our buildings.

The only thing Gore doesn't mention is changing our wasteful lifestyles. Just like the free money Paulson pulls out of a hat, we developed people don't have to give up a thing. We'll just build our way out of it, using fossil powered machinery, and more gigatons of carboniferous cement, and steel. Just the urge to save ourselves will generate more new greenhouse gases than the atmosphere can withstand.

Sharon Astyk, says the better alternative is to cut our own energy consumption now by at least 50% - whatever that takes. Whatever it takes.

Also in this show: Robert Pollin describes a real green recovery plan, based on his new book. Our four minute clip comes courtesy of Ken Nash and Mimi Rosenberg of WBAI's Building Bridges radio show - great progressive radio from pro journalists. They are at

And we hear how carbon can stay in the atmosphere - forever! Dr. David Archer's new book "The Long Thaw" describes the ugly truth about CO2.

The show is loaded with references and quick clips, from places like and It's a radio journey. Even a bit of Monty Python to lighten the load.

Our music theme this week is "Fasten Your Seatbelts" from Pendulum, with a close-out tune "This Is Your Captain Speaking" by Laurie Anderson (who just married Lou Reed last April!)

Who knows what wonders will appear next week - and how many more trillions will disappear, as Bush-Paulson and company make the largest U.S. Treasury raid in history.

Alex Smith
Radio Ecoshock

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.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


As corporate icons like General Motors tumble - what will be left of the economy?

This is a bleeding edge show with 3 interviews plus media clips.

In the first half hour: our second interview with Dmitri Orlov, author of "Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects." Our previous interview with Mr. Orlov was picked up by more than 40 radio stations. He predicted rapid economic collapse - and how right he was!

We add in some clips from Karmabanque Radio on the coming financial tsunami. Tip of the hat to Max Keiser and Stacy!

In the second half of the show, we zero in to another type of corporate default: disappearing newspapers. The Christian Science Monitor shocked the news world by dropping their 100 year old print weekday edition, going online instead. The New York Times owes a billion dollars, and they are slashing journalists, as is Gannett, America's largest news chain. One New England paper announced its own demise.

According to Paul Gillin, we'll see newspaper disappear in some major cities over the next five years. Maybe even famous ones, in your own city. Advertising has tanked, due to the economic crisis. Papers depended to a large degree on SUV ads from American car makers. Guess what, those ad budgets are slashed. Ditto the shrinking classifieds as millions of people use EBay and Craig's List instead. The publishers just finished a closed-door conference to see how they can survive.

Paul Gillin was editor-in-chief of the tech journal ComputerWorld for 15 years. Now he's a consultant for new media. Not to mention his blog at Join us for that interview.

We wrap up with a look at Canada's media conglomerate called Canwest. In my city, they own both the dailies, several free giveaway news dailies, and one TV station. They are the news. Canwest bought out disgraced media baron Conrad Black, and then engineered a take-over of several cable TV channels. That was a controversial deal which saw, guess who, Goldman Sachs putting up most of the money. If revenues are poor, and they are, Goldman Sachs could end up owning more Canadian media channels than the law allows. And the Asper family, which owns Canwest, could lose control, as their stocks plummet from over $20 to just $2. Their empire is billions in debt, and revenues are slumping.

Oh yeah, Canwest owns Network Ten in Australia - and that company is hurting with falling revenues.

Canwest isn't all bad - but they lost me when they continued to print global warming deniers as columnists, over and over again, long after Vancouver Sun editor Kirk LePoint said "we get it" about climate change. The icing on the cake: last August the Sun ran an editorial, expressing the views of the newspaper, that "Coal Is The Future." Really? Well hopefully Canwest is not the future, or we'll lose the planet.

We run a full analysis of Canwest and their money problems by the Redeye Collective from CFRO Radio in Vancouver. They talk with Mark Edge, academic, journalist and author of "Asper Nation" from New Star Books.

There is a 30 second music bed for your station ID (if you want) at from 29:13 to 29:43. The program then re-introduces itself. If you need more time for announcements, you could cut the closing music clip, intervening at 58:39.

Background music is "Tita" from Cyberzen Sound Engine, and the end clip is "Secrets" by Xavier Rudd. The opening contains clips from CNBC 081110 (financial adviser Martin Hennicke) and a few seconds in a spot from Campaign for America's Future.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


With the excitement of elections and a crumbling economy, who cares if ocean life is being killed off?

Jeff Hutchings does - even if the government is ignoring his warnings. Jeff is the Chair of the committee advising Canada on endangered species. And though warnings of extinctions come thick and fast - the government continues to issue fishing and hunting permits to kill off the last of a kind.

I debated running this speech, now, on Radio Ecoshock. Surely Americans will be too absorbed with their own affairs, to notice the end of fisheries of the world's longest coast line? Shouldn't I talk economy, with breezy interviews, and hot music instead?

My listeners do care. They know the human economy is build upon the natural economy. If our ocean stocks are going bankrupt, along with the food chain, we all need to know about it.

Normally, scientists at the top government levels work behind the scenes, keeping a cautious reserve and even secrecy. Not now. The situation off the coasts of North America, and the Arctic, are just too severe. Why even bother with endangered species, if the government will ignore all warnings - even if it saves just two - that's right TWO - jobs. Listen and weep.

Professor Jeffrey Hutchings comes from Dalhousie University, on Canada's East Coast. He's Canada Research Chair in Marine Conservation and Biodiversity. This is the Canada Oceans 2008 annual lecture, recorded by Alex Smith at the Wosk Centre of Simon Fraser University, in downtown Vancouver Canada, on October 22nd 2008.

It's a powerful speech. CBC Radio, the national broadcaster, was recording it for the well-known program "Ideas."

Two points for listeners: (1) the word "extirpated" means that species will disappear from the region, but may still exist somewhere else in the world. It only appears "extinct" to those who have known it for generations in a locale.

(2) "on the Minister's desk" is a quaint Canadian phase which means the scientists have put their endangered warnings in a report to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, for the Federal Government of Stephen Harper - but nothing has been done about it. It is being stalled, ignored, and in some cases abused - by approving a catch on endangered or severly at risk stocks.

You will also find out that Canada's most threatened mammal in the Arctic, due to climate disruption, is not the polar bear. Learn what it is, and why.

The event was held "in the round" at the beautiful Wosk Centre. The plush chairs, each with their own desk space and microphone, were filled with top fisheries people - the British Columbia government types, well-known university scientists, ocean environmentalists you see on TV all the time, and people who love the sea. In the quiet tones of a Canadian from the inner circle, Jeff Hutchings nailed them to their chairs.

Let's tune in to a lament for a nation's oceans, this week on Radio Ecoshock.

Alex Smith
Radio Ecoshock

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Finance & Climate Crisis How we go bankrupt; the currency crisis from Max Keiser et al. Features a clip from Unwelcome Guests underground radio show, plus Alex on the developing Depression.

Then Jim Laurie interview: how we can save the climate without spending a trillion dollars. Ecoshock Show 081031 1 hour

CD Quality
56 MB or Lo-Fi 14 MB

Production Notes: Pull down music at 30 min to do your station ID if wanted. Also you could cut into last song for more announcements, but I don't recommend that, since the lyrics are spot on for our situation. . Songs: James McMurty "We Can't Make It Anymore" and Eliza Gilkyson "Runaway Train" I love this song - it could be a theme for our times. Both American artists.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


As the world economy crumbles, a combination of corporate high finance is moving to consolidate power - as they do in any emergency.

Naomi Klein explains her new book "Shock Doctrine, The Rise of Disaster Capitalism" - in the light of our current economic meltdown. Suddenly, the trillions givens to major banks and investment gamblers begins to make sense.

Naomi spoke to an enthusiastic audience in Santa Cruz, California on October 17th, 2008. Through the magic of non-profit radio, the speech and Q and A session are rocketing across the country, and around the world. It was all recorded by Radio Free Santa Cruz - a bastion of alternative radio, available 24/7 at My thanks to Skidmark Bob for this recording.

As the speech went well over an hour, followed by another half hour of questions and answers, I have dared to draw out:

* the recording of her new film clip
* Klein's theory of Disaster Capitalism, updated for today's times
* the conclusion of the speech, and
* three answers from the Q and A - on what we can do now.

This is one of the most exciting speeches, in a season of barn burners. Apparently, when the system cracks open, our brightest minds are inspired. Naomi Klein, author of "No Logo" and film-maker, is one of them.

You can download the full speech from our web site, just look for "Speeches" in the Audio on Demand Menu, right on our home page. The Q and A session is there also, as an mp3 download.


Production Notes for radio stations: There is a 20 second music bed for your station ID exactly at the 30 minute mark. The brief end music clip is Joan Baez "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down".

Thursday, October 16, 2008

TOM HAYDEN The Birth of Movements

As government and corporate governance fails, we need a wide-spread social movement to address climate change, peak oil, and extinction. Where is it? How do does it start?

Tom Hayden witnessed the beginning of a dozen social movements. We gather his insight from
a new speech in Vancouver, an Alternative Radio program, and quotes from his 2008 book: "Writings for a New Democracy, The Tom Hayden Reader."

The Radio Ecoshock Show 081017 1 hour
CD quality 56 MB or Lo-Fi 14 MB

Production Notes: 30 second music bed for station ID at 29:45 Music clips "For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield. Audio quotes read by Steve Bowell.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Dr. Paul Ehrlich is our feature speaker this week on Radio Ecoshock.

His 1968 book "The Population Bomb" awoke the world to the ecological and social threats behind exploding human population. Since then, Paul Ehrlich and his wife Anne have published dozens of books, many of them pioneering in fields like biology, evolution, and social affairs.

His latest, with Anne, is "The Dominant Animal and the Fate of Biodiversity."

I was privileged to hear and record Paul Ehrlich speaking to a packed house at the University of British Columbia. All around Paul, were priceless fossils and displays of now-extinct species - just part of the collection awaiting the opening of the new Beaty Museum at UBC, in Vancouver.

In this speech, Ehrlich is hardly the ivory tower academic. He ranges over the multiple threats now facing humanity and the world's species, not to mention the commercial and political insanity now gripping his own country, the United States. A warrior academic, this week, on Radio Ecoshock.

You get the whole speech, as I heard it on September 24th, 2008, recorded at the University of British Columbia on September 24th, 2008. The evening celebrated the development of the new Beaty Museum in Vancouver, Canada.

If you are looking for the underlying causes of the global financial crisis, be sure to download the Radio Ecoshock program for October 3rd, called "The Prolonged Crash".

Sign up for our weekly program podcast at

My thanks to the Beaty Museum at UBC and Paul Ehrlich for permission to broadcast this speech.

Alex Smith
Radio Ecoshock

Thursday, October 2, 2008


By Alex Smith, Radio Ecoshock

Script for Ecoshock Show October 3, 2008

[Crowd chants protest against bailout on Wall Street]

That is the Wall Street Protest crowd you never heard on TV. One reporter in a nice suit spoke over them, never offering a microphone to the public, to see what they would say. That is operation of the mainstream media: people making seven figure salaries, working for multi-billion dollar media companies, discuss the ups and downs of their stock port folios. And they are all pushing the bailout - a huge loan from the next generation, the young people already eye-ball deep in credit card debt and student loans.

Presidential candidate John McCain, with his multi multi millionaire wife Cindy, speak for the super rich. Barack Obama says repeatedly he represents the Middle Class. The rest of Americans, the working poor, the sick, the homeless, have no candidate. In fact, they don't appear in this election at all.

They are millions of invisible people, for whom the stock market gyrations mean nothing at all. They never owned stock, and never will. Their savings are completely protected, because they have none. Nobody cares.

In the 700 billion dollar bailout, we saw an attempted coup of the United States government by finance. No oversight, a demand for absolute power. Their own ships sinking, the money pirates are leaping on board the taxpayers, as the George Bush sinks into irrelevancy. Secretary of the Treasury Paulson, with Helicopter Ben Bernanke of the Federal Reserve, are running what's left of the country.

[Jon Stewart "It's a Rudderless Ship!"]

The first bill was miraculously turned down by Congress, following a wave of emails and telephone calls against it. Maybe millions didn't turn out in public squares - but they showed up by telecommunication. That's one of our questions this hour: is the revolution already happening in Cyberspace?

Think about it. We still have the 1929 model of a Depression, where people line up for a run on the bank. But last week, the giant American Savings and Loan company Washington Mutual was grabbed overnight by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the FDIC, due to an invisible run on the bank. People don't line up in the street anymore. WaMu depositors withdrew around $17 billion through online accounts and ATM's. The invisible bank run. It is scaring the Hell out of bankers around the world.

We'll also ask: which other institutions are going bankrupt? No, not on Wall Street, but in Washington D.C. and New York City. Last I heard, the FDIC, which protects up to $100,000 in all banks, had about $50 billion in reserves. Then why did the FDIC cover up to $312 billion dollars of toxic Watchovia debt? The FDIC is already bankrupt, in my opinion, and lawmakers want to raise the limit. Christmas for everyone.

What about the Federal Reserve? Is it technically bankrupt? What about the U.S. government itself?

You can be excused for believing the $700 billion dollar bailout was defeated by the people's will last week. Not really. As we'll discover, Secretary Paulson and Fed chair Bernanke authorized over a trillion dollars of purchases of toxic debt, using mechanisms your newspaper and television reporters didn't even cover. These men, and their Wall Street cronies, went against the will of Congress, and did the bailout anyway, by other means. I'll tell you how they did it.

With nationalizations, and buyout guarantees, Americans, and now the citizens of Europe, have bought into banking in a big way. But is a combination of banking and government really a good thing? How did that work for the Soviets? Just imagine the super-anti-terror state, with all computerized access to intelligence, police and political files - now adding all your credit records into the mix.

Are you protesting something the government wants done? Is it a co-incidence your recent credit card application, or mortgage, was turned down? Get the picture - it's a nightmare slide into a kind of fascism by finance. George Bush now controls half the mortgages in America, the country's largest insurance company, and proposes to buy into the biggest banks. That gets passed on to Sarah Palin, or who knows who.

And while the humans fixate on their bank accounts, our carbon deposits have never been higher! We are doing absolutely nothing about climate change. Remember Hurricane Ike? Remember Galveston, the second U.S. city to be wiped out in just 3 years? Galveston, Houston and the floods of the season have disappeared off our screens. We're all looking at Sarah Palin videos instead, like a Three Stooges re-run.

[Sarah Palin on climate change]

[David Letterman]

That's late night talk show host David Letterman going ballistic over climate change. I'll have more of that for you, at the end of the show. I also have a few solutions for you, as we go along.

Secret bailouts, finance coups, cyber-revolution, and climate madness. Just another week in these times when history cracks open, unable to repair itself. Welcome to Radio Ecoshock. I'm Alex Smith.

Warning, you are about to hear a dirty word, used by six year olds all over the world.

[clip “I don't Want to Buy your Toxic Shit” song, artist unknown, source Youtube]

The American mortgage melt-down has washed into banks and investment houses all over the world. Wall Street firms like Lehman and Goldman Sachs were so successful at selling so-called derivatives - packages of U.S. mortgages - all rated as AAA by the official ratings agencies.

When this turned out to be a huge scam, from the mortgage brokers right on up through trusted banks, Europeans, Asian and Australian banks were left holding trillions of dollars of bad debt. Now governments in Europe are rescuing their own banks with unheard of nationalizations and guarantees, all coming out of the taxpayers' pocket, with no democratic choice about the matter.

Just think how happy those Europeans are, how their love and trust of America has been undermined, by the biggest financial swindle of all times, aided and abetted by the same government that brought them the fraudulent war in Iraq.

Germany has ploughed billions in taxpayer loot into their financial system. Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg rescued their giant Fortis bank. Then Belgium and France had to act again, rescuing the Dexia Bank. The dominoes continued to fall in England, where the huge Bradford and Bingley bank was nationalized overnight.

The German government was forced to provide a 51 billion dollar line of credit to save it's second largest commercial property lender Hypo Real Estate Holding AG. It was almost laughable to hear German Chancellor Angela Merkel demanding the U.S. government step up to the plate and bailout the banking system, after the failed vote in the House on Monday. Are you kidding? Why should America pay for a made-in-America scandal that rocked the world? Wait for the Americans to join the International Court and the Kyoto Protocol first.

This is another huge factor that the media is glossing over. The big European institutions, like Swiss Bank USB that lost tens of billions in bad investments, sold to them by Wall Street, and approved by the ratings agencies like Standard and Poors, are really angry they got taken for a ride. But that's just the start. Now European governments are facing angry voters that have to pay for this fraud. And Australian voters. And Asians too. You think Iraq gave America a black eye. Just picture how these billions of people feel about paying for the Wall Street Mess themselves!

Don't underestimate the geo-political changes that will happen just because of Wall Street's attempt to loot the world financial system. It may be slow, it may be underground, but governments are already talking about the demise of American financial supremacy, and a new world order built outside the failing structures developed by the U.S. since World War Two.

Even little Iceland was buying out banks. Ireland took the biggest step, promising the taxpayers would guarantee every bank account in the country - for Irish banks that is. European bankers called foul, saying this unilateral action endangered the European Banking Commission, and created an unfair advantage for Irish banks.

I wonder, does the Irish government guarantee cover its wealthiest citizen, the multi-billionaire owner of the Tata empire in India, who like other billionaires became a citizen of convenience to take advantage of Ireland's lax tax laws?

The government's guarantee loads an estimated 400 billion pounds of new liabilities on the Irish people. It's a race to the bottom, to enslave the next generation in permanent debt. Anything for investors!!

In Russia, after their Monday crash, the government ordered the stock markets shut down, for the second time in two weeks.

Back in America, citizens might have felt a brief victory for democracy, when the initial dictatorial bailout bill was modified, and then defeated on Monday. The big institutional investors punished the little people with a massive sell off. The big boys came back the next day, after their threat was manifest, and the American Senate went into a huddle, to vote on another bailout bill on Wednesday night.

Normally, according to a little known document called the U.S. Constitution, the Senate cannot initiate spending bills - but hey, who's counting. Since the Senators are not all up for election in November, like their cronies in the House, they could risk the vote for their major campaign contributors, the Wall Street lobbyists.

Just to add sugar to a bitter pill, the Senate added some tax breaks - what a good idea for a country going insolvent! - and, oh yeah, an alternative energy incentive for the greens out there. Mmmm, tastes good, all the way down.

Now I mentioned that Treasury Secretary Paulson, he would be King, and Fed Chair Bernanke had already picked the public pockets of a trillion this week anyway, despite being told "no" by Congress, and the public.

The 700 billion was refused Monday, but that very evening, the Federal Reserve lent out 620 billion to the banks, U.S. banks, and foreign banks, to prop up the world financial system. Previously, the Fed lent maybe $40 billion overnight, then a week ago, 188 billion overnight, now 620 billion dollars - and not just for overnight, if I understand their own publication correctly.

The Fed statement is arcane for most of us. They will increase their 84 day loans to $225 billion, from $75 billion. Then something called the Federal Open Market Committee provided, quote:

"an increase in swap authorization limits with the Bank of Canada, Bank of England, Bank of Japan, Danmarks Nationalbank (National Bank of Denmark), European Central Bank (ECB), Norges Bank (Bank of Norway), Reserve Bank of Australia, Sveriges Riksbank (Bank of Sweden), and Swiss National Bank to a total of $620 billion, from $290 billion previously."

Of course, the Federal Reserve takes collateral for the huge sums it lends out.
Those with a very long memory, say 6 months or so, will recall that in the Bear Stearns debacle, the Fed modified the types of collateral banks, or later even investment firms, could leave for collateral. Mysteriously, the Fed agreed to take even the most toxic sub-prime, Alt-A, derivative blunk and give out solid U.S. treasuries or cash in return. There was a rush to dump the most poisonous financial papers into the Federal Reserve.

According to an article in the seekingalpha blog on September 29th, 2008 by Avery Goodman, quote:

"The Federal Reserve is a quasi-private institution, capitalized and supported with taxpayer dollars. However, for years it has been used as a slush fund for private banks on Wall Street. Over the past year, the banks managed to unload about $777 billion worth (in terms of par value at maturity) of their most toxic debt paper onto the Fed balance sheet. "

Let's continue with this Avery Goodman article, titled "Close Down the Federal Reserve".

"No rational private industry player would have agreed to have its balance sheet polluted by the combined mistakes of its clients. However, according to the Wall Street Journal, the Fed was willing to take in this toxic waste “collateral” on a non-recourse basis, giving the banks cold hard cash, or valuable T-bills in return. Non-recourse is a legal term which means that if the borrower fails to pay back the loan, the only thing the Fed can do is sell the collateral. The other assets of the bank, are immune from attachment. The bad collateral consists of mortgage backed paper and other currently depressed paper instruments, worth about $0.22 on the dollar, or much less, on the free market. I use the $0.22 figure, because that is the price obtained at a recent sale of such assets by Citi group. Yet, in spite of the free market value of this collateral (and $0.22 on the dollar is being very liberal about valuation), the Federal Reserve has paid 90% of par value for this trash.

Lehman Brothers is an example of a bank which was allowed to use its close connections at the New York branch of the Federal Reserve, to borrow tens of billions of dollars, based on bad collateral. During the time it borrowed money, everyone had to know, including Timothy Geithner, President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, that the company was insolvent. Now, Lehman is officially bankrupt. It will never pay back the debt. In short, under the leadership a Board of Governors heavily influenced by Wall Street, the Fed has already managed to lose a fortune of taxpayer money."

There you have it. Wall Street got the Federal Reserve to eat three quarters of a trillion dollars of garbage. The American taxpayers will eat the bill.

Moving on from the Federal Reserve, that headquarters of capitalism, we find another government backed institution, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation also being fed more toxic trash, for you and your descendents to pay off.

This one really sucks. Every lowly citizen of America counts of the FDIC to at least give cover up to 100,000 thousand dollars of their bank accounts, should some banksters make off with their hard-earned savings. The FDIC doesn't have anything like that kind of money, should a string of major banks fail. This week, instead of having to pay off the depositors, the FDIC has declared two banks insolvent, grabbed them overnight, and marched them off to a shotgun marriage to still larger banks. Thus Washington Mutual was sucked into JpMorgan Chase, and Watchovia went to Citi Group. It's a huge concentration of the banking industry.

Even though, by law, no American bank is allowed to hold more than 10 percent of deposits - another alleged protection for depositors and the public - we emerge this week with a third of deposits held by just three banks: Bank of America, Citi group and JpMorgan Chase.

For the press, FDIC officials bragged about shuffling off bad banks with no hit to the taxpayers. Then we find out the FDIC swallowed 312 billion in toxic mortgage debt liability in the Watchovia deal. That's right. The FDIC, guardian of the people's money, took the very unusual route of guaranteeing $312 billion of the worst mortgages and so-called "underperforming assets" to Citigroup.

In fact, Citigroup stands to make out like bandits from the Wall Street bailout and the financial woes. On September 29th, Sara Lepro, business writer for the AP wire service reported, quote:

"The government's proposed $700 billion rescue plan for financial
institution, being voted on Monday by the House of Representatives,
likely will prove of added benefit to Citi.

While the plan broadly aims to prevent banks from profiting on the sale
of troubled assets to the government, there is an exception made for
assets acquired in a merger or buyout, or from companies that have filed
for bankruptcy. This could allow Citigroup to sell toxic mortgages and
other assets it gained from Wachovia for a higher price than the bank
actually paid for them."

Now the elite chorus is calling for even higher limits of protection from the FDIC, which is already technically insolvent. The Senate wants to raise the limits to $250,000. Cramer, the same idiot who told viewers to buy Watchovia stock the very night the bank disappear into thin air - Cramer, wants a million dollars of coverage from the taxpayer.

[Cramer clip suggests FDIC cover hundreds of millions in corporate debt as well]

Hell, why not cover everything, everywhere! Guarantees for all! It's the invisible hand of capitalism! In my mind, I keep hearing James Howard Kunstler, author of the Long Emergency, in the speech I recorded last January. Here are a few clips from that two hour session, which you can find in our archive of past Radio Ecoshock programs:

[Kunstler clips - in which Jim explains the deep reasons behind the coming collapse. He accurately describes the housing bubble, fraud mortgages, and derivatives dreams - in October 2006! These clips from his blog in 2006, an item called "Swan Dive" - and then a speech I recorded in Vancouver in late January 2008.]

Grow yourself big, little piggies, at the taxpayers' risk! Where can I get a bailout? I guess I have to toss a few more million dollars into my Congressmen and Senators to get this action.

What we have here is a total disconnect between the average citizen, and the elites who claimed to manage the economy. As the toilet flushes pensions, investments, and rules down the drain, the scamsters rake in more power and money. It is now impossible to see any dividing line between a tiny elite of billionaires and the government of the people.

This is Radio Ecoshock. I'm Alex Smith.

As the marriage of billionaires and the Federal Government goes ahead, following the rape of the future and the common worker, this passion play works out two ways. Not only has Wall Street captured the government - but the government is increasingly capturing control of banking. And why not, they print the fake money anyway.

There are minor problems. For example, if the government is supposed to regulate a big company like AIG, but also owns 80 percent of it, how does that work? Not that there has been any effective regulation, as we now see.

The ultimate danger, as critics like Paul Craig Roberts warns, is a new kind of financial fascism. The Bush administration has set many dangerous precedents about interference with civil liberties. They spy on the people both legally and illegally. Now they are going to get your banking records, and have control of a huge portion of the lending pie.

You can see the risk that Big Brother will react to criticism, or protests, or civil disobedience by quietly lowering your credit worthiness. Suddenly, you can't get a car loan, or a mortgage. Don't laugh this off. The Federal government now owns more than half of all mortgages in the United States, and is claiming interest in various banks, insurance companies, and more.

The same applies in Great Britain, which is already the world's most developed spy state, when it comes to its own citizens. Now the UK has nationalized several large banks, beginning with Northern Rock, and continuing into this week with more to come.

What is this new financial government hybrid emerging before our eyes? How will it be used by a Sarah Palin, or who knows who? How will rogue government agencies abuse your savings or credit line? Who could stop them?

Too paranoid? Just remember the Red Scare of the 1950's, right in America, the land of the free. Librarians were fired, executives, government workers, because they at one time went to Communist Party meetings. Left leaning journalists were fired. Folk singer Pete Seeger was banned from American TV for decades. Now they won't have to be so obvious. They can just decline your card at the checkout stand. Good luck with your life outside the electronic grid, now that the government and the banks are married.

So much is going unreported. What happens to the millions of American loosing their homes? Where are they going? Did you know Congress did manage to do some work this week? They gave a $25 billion dollar rescue loan to the auto industry. General Motors can't borrow anywhere else. Their credit rating has dropped below junk bond status. The car companies don't have to repay this money for five years. Any bets any of them will be around then? Do you really believe any of this $25 billion will be paid back?

Car sales have slumped around the world, and thanks be. Maybe it will help the atmosphere breathe long enough to find another way to get around, without wrecking the climate.

Oh yeah, and Congress quickly approved another 620 billion for the military, much of it due to the Iraq War. Hey, I have an idea - why not close the overseas bases, and use the 620 billion to rescue Americans in debt? Here is Dmitri Orlov, from a Radio Ecoshock interview last spring:

[Orlov clip on bases - get the troops and weapons home, while we still can...]

All this reckless spending, deficit spending, money America hasn't got. The government will hock the future to the Saudi's, the Chinese, who knows. Either of those two could pull the plug at any time, and guess what, they don't love America all that much.

It's not like America can keep borrowing forever. Again, here is Dmitri Orlov:

[Orlov on using oil as collateral, a shrinking economy leads to non-payment of foreign debt, i.e. bankruptcy for America]

The White House is empty, the banksters are emptying the last gold from the treasury, and where are the riots in the streets? Even the 'Washington Post asked "Where Have All the Protests Gone?" Are the students too in debt to speak up?

California lefty icon Tom Hayden wondered the same thing this summer, when I recorded his speech in Vancouver.

[Hayden clip]

Washington Post writer David Segal quotes Rachael McMillan, a senior at Columbia University saying ""Most college students just don't feel like they have a vested interest in what is happening today," she said. "I hate to say it, but a lot of my peers calculate the opportunity cost of coordinating with others -- or planning a sit-in or a walkout or just some protest -- against the urge to write a paper, get an A and go to Harvard Law School."

Radio Ecoshock goes out to at least nine college radio stations that I know of. You tell me. Why are college students letting the baby boomers take all your future taxes now? For wars, and now to repay bad debts by Wall Street gamblers. Is anybody out there? Write me at

As I said earlier in this broadcast, there is a chance, just a chance, that protest is happening, but not like anything known in the sixties. Facebook is sizzling. Blogs are humming. Emails to members of the House nearly shut down the government system, for the first time, by shear volume last Monday as the Vote came down on the bailout.

We accept that the financial world has moved to computers, why not social change as well? Is there a silent revolution already happening in cyberspace? I slogged through blogland using Technorati. Google yielded little, Youtube a bit more.

But basically, even given the complete lack of coverage given by the major media, it still sounds like a lot silence to me. If I were in any place of power these days, in a corporation, a bank, or government, I'd be very worried about that silence. It could be the lull before a storm which will bring down the house.

With all this excitement - does anyone even remember Hurricane Ike? There are still 400 people unaccounted for. Galveston is still a wreck. Another Gulf city gone. Scientific experts, American and internationally, say climate disruption is just beginning. More cities will be destroyed or damaged around the world. We know it. But climate disruption is not even mentioned in the Presidential debates. Off the radar. Not happening.

Humans have such short attention spans. We are easily distracted by bank crashes and wars, or just the latest celebrity scandal. We are only interested in our selves, not in the disappearance of the natural world.

We're screwed, as late night talk show host David Letterman explains in his recent rant. That's coming up in a second, but first ...

Thanks for listening to Radio Ecoshock. I'm Alex Smith, and I approved this message. Next week I'll shut up and play you a hot new speech from Paul Ehrlich. He came out in the late 60's with the book "The Population Bomb", and has been publishing best sellers ever since. His latest, co-authored with his wife Anne, is "The Dominant Animal: Human Evolution and the Environment." On September 24th I recorded his speech at the University of British Columbia - and you won't want to miss it.

Here is Paul Erhlich on the bailout:

[Ehrlich clip]

The elections, the climate, population, the idiocy, and threats to our whole human project, next week with Paul Ehrlich on Radio Ecoshock.

Won't you join us then?

[David Letterman's amazing rant on climate change ("We're So Screwed")]

Find Radio Ecoshock at

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Climate of Crash and Choice

Radio Ecoshock takes on the financial crash, funding for green jobs instead of banksters, and youth organizing to get green back in the elections.

We start with a brand new interview with independent journalist Mike Whitney. He's been writing searing articles (for the rest of us) at - and many other online journals and blogs.

We talk about the latest grab and run with the money, as the same Wall Street experts who bankrupted the nation - call for even more money (for themselves). How big is the bubble - and how far can it fall. What the Hell does it all mean?? Mike and I thrash through the latest news, and the cross-currents threatening to break the bank. Maybe even your bank, despite the claims you are covered.

Think about it. When George Bush comes on TV promoting something, you know this ain't good.

Then we look at a different option. Two presenters at the U.S. Government's Select Committtee on Energy Independence and Global Warming show how America could build it's way into a safe energy future - and make lots of green jobs. That's from Bracken Hendricks and Robert Pollin, and you can download the Green Jobs testimony from the September 18th webcast, captured here.

In this show, I run just the first 4 minute introduction by Committee Chair Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts. Markey seems for real. He acknowledges the financial crisis, but says an investment of 100 billion dollars would bring not just a wealth of jobs and new industry (in America!) - but also cut the huge balance of payments deficit, as all your gas pump money runs out to semi-hostile states. Solar. Wind. Geothermal. Made and used in America, carbon free.
Good stuff.

OK, then we take a breather with the late great comedian George Carlin on elections. I agree the whole show is corrupt - but it DOES make a difference who gets in, and what promises we can wring out of them before we give our votes.

Especially for young people. Scientists warn that if we don't stop our greenhouse gases soon, the climate will be wrecked for the next generations. The good news is young people are organizing to green the vote in both the United States and Canada.

We start with our interview of Brianna Cayo Cotter, spokesperson for It's an exciting initiative to get the environment back on the ticket, for both parties. Check out their website, sign up, get active.

From Canada, which is already dead into an election battle, we have a speech recorded at the press launch of A surprising number of big groups, from steelworkers to greens to older people, have signed on to an initiative to push all parties on climate action. Again, young people are joining this movement. Just a couple of weeks to go in Canada, let's not leave the climate another four years, with greenhouse gases belching (while white guys get rich....)

This program is also loaded with little clips, to relieve the pressure. We have to laugh or cry, so let's not forget to laugh a little. The weeping will come later (or sooner). Some of the fun election clips in this edition were sent along by our Colorado listener/producer who posted his own sardonic radio piece called "Systemic Failures: American Voting Primer 08" Grab that half hour piece here.

We also get into a scary email from a Russian research vessel off Siberia. A Swedish scientist has discovered fast moving pools of methane breaking out from the sea bed. Our worst nightmare. Other climate scientists advise caution, as the work hasn't been written up in a paper, or peer-reviewed yet - but it is a worry. Maybe instead of paying for the next "manned" space ship to Mars, we should explore our own planet. We need a fleet of research ships in the Arctic, to monitor greenhouse gas release there. Otherwise, a big belch of methane could create a major climate disruption in just a few years time. We need to know.

I got that story from Ross Gelbspan's useful site Ross just posts the need-to-know stories.

It's a packed show.


Production Notes: there is a music bed from 29:38 to 30:50 where you can insert a station ID. (It's "Voting Machine" as composed by Billionaires for Bush in the last election.)

We start the show with "Don't Get Fooled Again" by Richie Havens. And end it with something for the Wall Street banksters: Jimmy Cliff "The Harder They Come" (the harder they fall, one and all....) If your station has announcements, you can cut into this end music.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Robert Jensen's provocative speech launched in Vancouver, appearing on the front pages of Z-Net, Alternet and many more. Our Radio Ecoshock provided the audio links, and thousands downloaded this powerful re-assessment of the Left, and social movements generally.

Jensen is a tenured Professor at University of Texas, Austin. He came to prominence through his work on an feminist perspective of pornography. And then zoomed into news byte of the day status when he said the attacks of 911 were nothing worse than he had seen done to other cities by American forces in pursuit of empire.

The alternative title for this speech is: "The Delusion Revolution: We're On the Road to Extinction and In Denial." How true that is, on many levels, but especially for environmentalists who see the sudden disruption in climate. James Hansen says we are heading toward a new hot-state climate, for example. And species are going extinct at record rates, as we heard from last week's RadioEcoshock guest, Dr. Peter Ward.

Robert Jensen asks whether the old model of organizing for public protests, to modify bad government policies, is just dead. Maybe, as we all crouch on the couch watching the world undress, the days of mass public movements are dead. See also the book "Bowling Alone" which charts how Americans have stopped joining public clubs, social organizations, and events.

Anyway, the dynamics have changed. The authorities have been developing new technologies and techniques to stop mass public expression. Are you ready to have your ear drums damaged, or even feel like your skin is being burned off, as you rally in public spaces? They have the tools. All that was supposed to be developed for people in far away countries, but now the anti-terror cops are ready for any public gathering.

Jensen says we must re-think, and re-group our efforts for a better world.

We run the whole speech, and then add another 15 minutes of comments from the activist audience, but mostly more strong quotes from Jensen, during the Q and A that followed, in Vancouver, August 11th, 2008.

Enjoy - this is one of the pivotal speeches of the year.

Alex Smith
Radio Ecoshock

Production Notes: the theme song is by John Gorka "The Old Future's Gone". There is a one minute music bed for station ID at 29 min, and re-intro at 30 min. A bit of a music tail could be cut if you need more time.

Friday, September 12, 2008


A double-header, with two "don't miss it" interviews.

We start out with Dr. Peter Ward author of the revolutionary climate book "Under A Green Sky." Peter has just returned from an exploratory trip in Australia, and will head to Antarctica later this year.

Dr. Ward has summarized the newest science which shows that 4 out of the past 5 great extinctions were not caused by asteroid hits - but by wrenching and deadly climate change. The cause? Carbon dioxide belching out of volcanoes. But now we are the volcanoes - and the end result may be the same: out of control climate turbulence followed by the deafening silence of mass extinctions.

Dr. Ward tells us about the new TV series coming out on Animal Planet - called "Animal Armageddon". Peter is the chief scientists on that project, which hopes to bring the awful reality of climate change to television watchers.

Then we go for solutions. Julian Darley, author of "High Noon for Natural Gas" saw our energy crisis coming years ago. We are hitting Peak Oil - production can't go up, and will go down. You may have noticed this little problem at the pump. And in the storms hitting the Americas, and Asia.

Darley explains why he founded The Post Carbon Institute and gives us some tips on how to solve the energy crisis - without waiting for some miracle technology. We look at emerging solutions like - and his experiment with sharing commercial vehicles. Good stuff.

Production Notes: 1 minute music bed for station ID at 29 min, with re-intro at 30 min. Each interview could be run separately as half hour shows. Music bed is "House of Trouble" by Clatter.

Friday, September 5, 2008


Crappy summer weather?

August was more like November for many across Canada, while the U.S. South was battered by heavy storms, with more to come.

But it isn't just "bad weather". Two scientists from the UK and the U.S. have published a paper in the journal "Science" showing extreme rainfall events are increasing - and they are caused by global warming.

Whenever you hear the phrase "record rain" on TV, or in the newspapers - pay attention. In this program I've collected reports on crazy rainfall events in many parts of the world - just this summer. Many towns and cities in North America, for example, broke records for rainfall in 24 hours, set in the 1800's. Local drainage and sewer systems can't handle it - our infrastructure was not built for the new extreme rain.

The physics is so simple. Warmer air holds more moisture. As the world warms, even slightly, and as the oceans warm - more moisture goes up into the atmosphere.

Naturally, rain continues to fall where rain usually falls, while dry areas can get even drier. So the excess rain comes down by the barrel load. Cape Canaveral got a record 22 inch drowning in 24 hours. Some places got several inches of rain in an hour.

This is happening all over the world, and I think it's one of the under-reported climate stories of the year. Yes we saw pictures of Myanmar (Burma) after a tropical storm wiped out millions of people. That was part wind, part storm surge off the ocean, but also a lot of rain.

And remember, just after the horrible Earth Quake in southern China, and several times since, that area was drenched in unbelievable rain events. Just next door, in Vietnam, same thing. In fact all the countries of the Mekong have been flooding from heavy rains.

Heavy rains, which the UN authorities blame on global warming, also caused a river in Nepal to burst, leading to massive flooding in the Northern India state of Bihar.

We've heard a lot about the threat of rising seas. Now it's time to look at the new climate guest at our doors: extreme rainfall events.

Ooops - I forgot our main event for this Radio Ecoshock Show: George Monbiot. He's a constant columnist in the UK newspaper the Guardian, and a long-time activist against expanded roads, airports, and coal burning. George is also the author of the best-selling book "Heat, How to Stop the Planet Burning" - and now a new book called "Bring on the Apocalypse."

George tells us about the new book. The interview ranges from carbon rationing through global justice all the way to his ideas on eco-incarnation. Monbiot also rates the U.S. Presidential candidates. Don't miss this interview. George doesn't fool around. He loads every answer with strong points, things we need to know and do.

I wrap up with a kind of "where we stand" piece. The situation. How we face it.

We also showcase an old song that most of you don't know: "A Good Planet Is Hard to Find" by Steve Forbert. It's catchy, almost soothing our worries.

Next week: Dr. Peter Ward, author of "Under the Green Sky" talks about past mass extinctions, and whether we are headed for a new one. We'll also chat with Peak Oil specialist Julian Darley. Julian was way ahead of us on oil and gas decline - he founded the Post Carbon Institute to look at life after oil.

We're back for another hard-hitting season - and thanks for the encouragement I've been receiving by email from a lot of loyal listeners.

Hopefully, we'll also come up with more possible solutions this Fall - along with the horror of our times.

Alex Smith
Radio Ecoshock

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Peak Oil and the Media

Experts predict Mexico, America's number 3 oil producer, will run out of oil in just 7 years. OPEC producers have been lying about their reserves for years. The world is starting new subterranean military tensions - or outright wars - just to keep our Hummers humming.

Our whole life depends upon oil based fertilizers, oil based plastics, oil based medicines. The whole world wants to cache in on fossil energy supplies, just as supplies are getting harder to find, more expensive to produce.

Now gas prices go through the roof.

Why is the public so unprepared? Why isn't mainstream media explaining oil decline, and it's impact on society?

What we can do. presents a panel of 5 journalists: Rex Weyler, Barbara Jaffe, Charlie Smith, Sara Robinson and Alex Smith. How to organize, use media, bypass the mainstream. Ecoshock Show 080829 1 hour
CD Quality 56 MB or Lo-Fi 14 MB

Rex Weyler is a founder of Greenpeace, author of "Greenpeace the Inside Story" among other books, a Vancouver publisher, editor, and online columnist with The Tyee. In addition to his concerns about climate change, Rex is on the executive of the Vancouver peak oil group.

Barbara Jaffe is a famous Canadian newspaper columnist and editor, with many awards over a long career. Recently she has been warning about Peak Oil, one of the few journalists to take on the issue.

Sara Robinson is a blogger and think-tanker, originally from the United States, and lately moved to Canada. She has almost completed her degree in studies of the future. Her articles appear all over left leaning blogs.

Charlie Smith is the publisher and editor of Vancouver's most prestigious alternative newspaper, the famous Georgia Strait. You'll find he is also an outspoken critic of the mainstream media.

Alex Smith, of course, is the host of Radio Ecoshock, and appears as a voice from the radio media.

In addition to digging into the willful blindness of mainstream media, when it comes to the threat of peak oil - the panel discusses ways for citizens to organize, and get the message out. How to prepare your own community. You get the full panel presentation.

Recorded by Alex Smith, of Radio Ecoshock. No copyright, get the word out.

Production Notes: 30 sec music break at 29:30 for your station ID; or cut into end music for more time. Song: "End of the Age of Oil" by David Rovics (U.S.)

Friday, August 22, 2008

UK Climate Action

Thousands gather in Britain's climate camp against coal; 3 protests, police over-reaction.

Is it "Green Stalinism" versus decentralized power? That is a recurring theme between those calling for big government action - and the anarchists who believe the government poisons everything it touches.

Quotes from George Monbiot, and music from the camp.

Plus a good interview on getting the public to accept alternative clean power. Will a windmill really blot out the landscape? Or is it better to accept climate change? How to overcome public resistance, and empower those who are ready to change.

The police seemed to think any public gathering was a good chance to practice mass anti-terrorist games. They raided the peaceful camp for no reason, and confiscated such dangerous items as crayons (from the kids) which could be used to make signs.

The media focused on the discovery of a set of kitchen knives, which proved deadly intent. Actually, it proved there were thousands of people on site to feed. Try slicing onions by hand.

The protest was to stop the construction of two new coal fired power plants at Kingsnorth (which is actually in the South East of Britain). After more or less closing down their coal industry, and lowering emissions with natural gas, the government of Gordon Brown is turning back the clock, to go back to coal. Never mind their own lofty greenhouse gas promises.

This regressive action threatens us all. How can anyone ask the Chinese to stop, when rich Britain, loaded with wind and tidal power options, decides to build more coal plants?

Even though a huge group of scientists in the UK have protested building new coal, and even though the protesters were merely asking for what the government promised - the entire police apparatus of the state was used against the generally middle-class and student protesters.

While the camp was going, with clean energy and food raising workshops, there were three protests: one against the Royal Bank of Scotland, which funds more dirty energy than anyone in the country; a very innovative campaign at Heathrow airport, trying to get holiday-goers to consider their climate impact; and the main attempt to get into the Kingsnorth site (where an old coal fired plant is still belching black into the sky).

All peaceful attempts, met generally with police violence. That is the only answer the state has, apparently, to people gathering to protect the climate. And the media focused on that, of course, rather than the issues. Headlines about knives, hardly anything about the ecosphere going down the crapper. Stupid humans.

The show is composed of clips broadcast live from the Climate Camp in early August - another useful demonstration of the new media. Don't like the old media? Do it yourself. A great work-together project by several UK community stations and radio activists.

All of this: North America (and Australia) - take notes! We don't have to sit around moaning about stupid coal plants being built. Let's get together and act! Britain leads the way.


Radio live from Camp. Ecoshock Show 080822 1 hour CD quality 56 MB or Lo-Fi 14 MB

Production Notes: Compiled over 9 hours of live radio from 30 second music bed for station ID at 30 min (with re-intro). Cut last two minutes of music if you need more time.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Climate Change Impacts on America

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Top IPCC organizer & U of Arizona Professor Jonathan Overpeck speech at Washington U. given on April 1st, 2008.

After updating the world climate report, Overpeck predicts climate impacts on North America.

His focus, on the two worst climate problems for America:

1. Rising seas. More than half of Americans live within 50 miles of the sea coast. Many American cities, like New York, and States, like Florida, may be flooded by rising seas (plus storm surges) within the experience of our children - or sooner. The implications are enormous.

2. The drying of the West. Already well underway. Dry soils, and 20 percent of normal rainfall this spring (and hot temperatures) are behind the North California fires we now know. Overpeck explains why tree species are dying, and the great droughts that have driven humans from the South West in the past. This time, we have triggered this phenomenon, as the Jet Stream moves North, the former rains move with it.

Overpeck gives a clear explanation, with predictions for Americans that sound to me a lot like what has hit Southern Australia. The possibility of centuries-long drought.

1 hour
CD Quality 56 MB or Lo-Fi 14 MB.

Production Notes: 30 second music bed for station ID at 30:14

Methane Burps & Tele-Everything

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Guest host KMO from
C-Realm podcast interviews David M. Bushnell, Chief Scientist from NASA Langley Research Center.

Lots of doom, but really good solutions too.

Thanks to KMO for sharing this rare interview.

1 hour
CD Quality 56 MB or Lo-Fi 14 MB

Production Notes: 30 second music bed for station ID at 33 min

Saturday, July 12, 2008


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Surf is up and the heat is on.

We begin with a review of the UK climate activist scene. Hear a representative of "Rising Tide" describe British climate protests, including boarding coal trains headed for a massive polluting power station. Courtesy of RiseUp! Radio - a community program from Nottingham England.
We also hear a short clip from a new/old climate radio program coming out of London, called "The Two Degrees Show".

Phil England has been doing this program for a couple of years, and it just got new funding, for a new series. In the re-opener he interviews a top UK climate scientist to get the latest juice, and goes after government administrators to see how they resolve the conflict between proclaimed carbon reduction goals - versus the construction of new highways and everlasting airport construction. That is broadcast from Radiance FM, the finest alternative radio station in the UK.

Radio Ecoshock tries to keep track of climate activism at least in the English-speaking world, and this week's review of the UK scene balances our previous coverage from Canada, the United States, and Australia.

Then we go to a hot speech by Canadian scientist and broadcaster Dr. David Suzuki. He's worried about where all the wild things will go, as the climate shifts too rapidly out from under them.

Suzuki became known to millions as the brilliant scientist who educated us all with the television program "The Nature of Things" (which is still broadcast all over the world in re-runs). Now 70 something, Dr. Suzuki heads his own environmental advocacy group, the David Suzuki Foundation, based in British Columbia.

This speech, where David doesn't hold back much! - was recorded in Toronto by our fellow posse recording friend, John Paul Warren. Excellent job John Paul, and thanks for sending this one in.

If you want to capture important speech and events in your city or town, take a look at our "How to Record for Radio" page on the Ecoshock web site. It all helps.

This is the Radio Ecoshock Show for August 1st, 2008 - sent out early because Alex Smith is on vacation. He is, "with Nature."

1 hour
CD Quality 56 MB or Lo-Fi 14 MB

Production Notes: 30 second music bed for station ID at 29:34 Song "Endless Summer" by Ghostly Penguin Display.

Coping with Climate Change

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How can we face it? 2 interviews: Pulitzer prize winner Catherine Ellison, and climate/nuclear historian Spencer Weart.

Catherine Ellison is one of America's top reporters. She caught me attention again when she wrote about the difficulty of telling kids about climate change. What should we tell them? What should we tell ourselves. We discuss that, and also a bit on her earlier book "The Mommy Brain" - on how giving birth and raising children actually stimulated parts of the brain. A little on women, and how they handle the stress of climate change, too. Catherine is just a smart, stimulating, grounded person - I loved doing the interview with her.

Spencer Weart is someone who educated and tortured me, with his book "Nuclear Fear". I had a lot of resistance to the book. Partly it is because Weart is a nuclear physicist, in fact he's a top member of the nuclear scientists organization. In the book, he analyzed why we were so terrified of this new technology. The images of mad scientists, and other quasi-religious fears that have always been with us.

Ostensibly, Weart is trying to exorcise these demons, so we can all build new nuclear plants, or something. In fact though, the book turns out to be a kind of psychological cleanser for a lot of Cold War fears, built into our psyches. And Weart himself admits nuclear tech scares him too, at times. I recommend the book, even though I dislike (hate) nuclear weapons, and nuclear power.

But the real reason I called Spencer Weart: he is also an environmental historian. His book "The Discovery of Global Warming" explains how we rose to consciousness on this subject. It's also handy for the new generation of students, who know less about how we got here. How did our ideas about climate change develop? Weart knows.

That's why I though he would be a good interview, knowing how to cope with both nuclear fear, and with climate change. How does he do it? It was a good chat, with helpful info, and that's why I'm running it again, just as the news about possible complete extinction of our species looms closer to possibility. (See previous Ecoshock programs, like "Climate Criminals" on James Hansen, and "A Warning from the Past" with Dr. Andrew Glikson...)

This is an updated replay from our 2007 season. 1 hour
CD Quality 56 MB or Lo-Fi 14 MB Our one and only re-run of the year. Not because we don't have enough good audio, but because it's time to heal ourselves, somewhat. Many of our newer listeners would have missed this show.

Production Notes: 30 second music bed for station ID at 30:00 Music "Mother Earth" by Shane Philip (Canadian content)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

CHANGE OR BURN The Australian Experience

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Speech by top climate/economic adviser to new Australian government, Prof. Ross Garnaut.

His report is an update of the famous Stern Report in the UK - with even better accounting for China and all Asia. Professor Garnaut was the Australian Ambassador to China, and knows places like Indonesia well. So his view is from a developed country, but knowing the huge growth and challenges happening in Asia - which may well tip the climate of the world.

I think Garnaut's report will likely be the basis for American action in 2009 - no matter who wins the Presidency. The world is watching (and listening). Since this speech, Garnaut has released his report.

Although he recommends various actions, including a carbon trading scheme, in public comments Garnaut has called the climate threat "diabolical". He has almost thrown up his hands, saying that special interests may prevent humanity from protecting the remains of the climate system. Rather radical for a former establishment figures - but Australia is deep in a killer drought which threatens one of the great agricultural production areas of the world. Their wheat exports are already down, adding to world hunger.

Australia voted for climate action - in this speech you hear the proposals and direction that many developed countries might take.

Then we dive into the "Clean Development" scam. Unscrupulous people have taken advantage of loop-holes in the United Nations system meant to reduce climate emissions. Their fake reductions, and investments in plants that would have been build anyway, takes billions out of real clean energy. I've included a clip from the BBC program "One Planet" where an Indian industrialist admits taking CDM money for projects already funded elsewhere. "Why not?" he asks, as the BBC records.

My point is not just that an enforcement plan is needed - but the whole idea we can continue to burn coal in the first world, and pay off someone far away for the pollution, is nuts. We need to stop producing greenhouse gases right here in the developed world, first, and now.

1 hour
CD Quality 56 MB or Lo-Fi 14 MB

Production Notes: Good insert spots for ID at 29:30, and 43:19 to 44:03 No copyright music. Clip from BBC One Planet.