Thursday, May 28, 2009


This Radio Ecoshock - with something you can't live without: food. No, we haven't invented edible radio - but we'll introduce you to a homesteading woman who's brought out her second book on surviving the worst of times.

Are you worried about the way the world is going? Our top financial institutions turned out to be hollow Ponzi schemes. Nobody is too sure of their job. The Earth's climate is unstable. Even the bees are dying. Meanwhile, grasping men at multinational food corporations want to own every seed and everything you eat. Did I mention the end of cheap oil?

That is when I want to know how to ensure enough food for my family. How will I get enough to eat, despite violent storms, an earthquake, social disruption or an epidemic? How can you eat cheaply, even if food prices soar as predicted?

[Robin Wheeler interview]

We've done a series of radio how-to's here at Radio Ecoshock. Ways to stockpile grains and beans for ten years or more. How to get going in canning. Find that on the "Ecoshock Features" page, right in our Audio on Demand menu, at There's nothing to sell or buy there, just helpful free mp3 downloads.

As you know our guest is Robin Wheeler. She runs a homestead, now turned into a home business, in Roberts Creek, along the Pacific Coast of British Columbia. Find her on the Net at Her new book is "Food Security for the Faint of Heart, Keeping Your Larder Full in Lean Times."

Robin was speaking at a small library her in Vancouver, listed in a community newspaper. Improbably, outside there was a New Orleans style jazz band, and rows of tables loaded with organic foods, community support kiosks, and alternative knowledge. On a rare happy say of sunshine, would anyone turn up for a talk on Food Security?

Waiting at the back, a 50 something woman began a conversation about climate change. "You know what I think," she said, "the climate has already shifted." I felt a slight chill, knowing that the public really does know. We are in for a wild ride.

Despite the sun and fun outside, all the seats filled up. I recorded Robin's Wheeler's Food Security talk for you.

This speech is like a series of topics you need to know. You could almost make a box of index cards for each resource in the speech - as a jumping off point for your own research on the Net, and locally.

We've all heard about scrap booking as a hobby for stay-at-home Moms. Now I'm thinking a survival scrap book or binder is a really good idea. It would have print outs of the key useful information you discover. Maybe you can print out Google maps of your area, and your fall-back retreat spot, with your notes added on where the wild mushrooms are, the will-trade-for-food local farms, that stream with cleaner water.

Imagine the power has gone out, and the food system is breaking down. What do you need to know, without access to the Net? Or what if inflation and job loss combine to threaten your supermarket dependence? What can you do for food security, from a condo, house or camper van - homesteading where you are?

Here is a short shopping list of topics I heard in Robin Wheeler's speech. Most of it comes straight from her book "Food Security for the Faint of Heart". Robin touches on:

Supermarkets closing down
Power out - what freezer food to eat first, and
How to prolong meat with cooking oil, or salt brining.
Emergency cooking
The importance of community
Organic or not?
Start a food Co-op
Cook for yourself
Work at a grocery store or food warehouse
Community supported agriculture
Gleaning - like nut trees or fallen fruit
Gardening as though your life depended on it
Eating weeds
Using food waste
Storing the abundance
Leave root crops in the ground
Curing foods for longer storage
Dehydrating food
Packing in sugar
Teas for pleasure and medicine
Flowers you can eat.
Gardens for renters
Super-fast growing vegetables
Container gardens
Wild foraging
Food from the beach and sea.
Emergency herbs
Emergency water
Power out lights and heat
Working co-operatively
Food activism: fighting off multinationals like Monsanto & Codex Alimentarius
Local food subversion.

Here is Robin Wheeler, recorded in the Britannia Library May 13th, 2009.


This is Radio Ecoshock with Alex Smith. You are listening to a speech by Robin Wheeler, developed from her new book "Food Security for the Faint of Heart." It's from New Society publishers, and a real value for just $17 bucks in paperback. She has an easy reading style peppered with humor.

You may want to start up a scrap book or index cards to research the food security ideas that will work best for you. As the economic crisis meets peak oil and climate disruption, we all need to get a lot more active in local food sources. Learn how to work with Nature's timetable, and store away for leaner times.

As Robin shows, the coming times don't need to be all that scary. In fact, they can be empowering and more righteous. Why are we treading toward obesity on factory foods laden with chemicals? Can we really keep colonizing land from the world's poorest people to grow our soy and hamburgers? How many carbon miles are in your cupboards?

When we stabilize our society to our own place, sustainably for generations, a whole load of stress and lies will fall away. Food is one good place to start, the roots of a civilization we could be proud of. For a change.

Speaking of change, next week we'll visit a unique un-conference. It was called "The Great Turning" - hosted by Be the Change Earth Alliance. Hundreds of people turned out for an all-day gathering around circular tables. They talked and plotted the big changes needed to save the Earth and ourselves. That and more, next week on Radio Ecoshock.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


[Opening clip: I just want to get a megaphone, and yell to people entering the Mall "It isn't in there."]

That is Cecile Andrews - and she's right. Happiness is not in the shopping mall, never was.

I'm Alex Smith, this is Radio Ecoshock.

This program is loaded. You'll hear retail expert Howard Davidowitz. He's the shopping expert who says 200,000 American stores will close - and the great days of consumerism are dead. May they rest in peace.

Following that interview from New York, we go to France. Michelle Holdsworth is co-author of the new book "Globesity, A Planet Out of Control?" We explore the relationship between obesity and climate change. Can fat warm the world?

In the second half hour, 15 minutes from a new speech by Cecile Andrews. She brought us "Slow Is Beautiful". Her new book, perfect for tough times, is "Less Is More". It's all about the simplicity movement, and how simple human community saves lives.

I'll wrap up the program with a survival project: one day canning, how to eat better for half the cost.


Thursday, May 14, 2009


Every day tankers and pipelines carry black gold to power industrial society. The coal trains and ships deliver more carbon for the great bonfire of humanity. We know for a certainty, if we keep on burning it all, our planet will become hot, stormy, ice-free with dying oceans and extinction for most big species. Including ourselves.

Now the question: how much can we use, before we tip the climate too far?

This is Radio Ecoshock with Alex Smith.


Interview with scientist Bill Hare:

How much time left to burn fossil fuels? PRIMAP.ORG

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

George Monbiot column in UK's Guardian newspaper
"How Much Should We Leave in the Ground?"

Green Cities:

Grist article on 15 Green Mayors

Radio Ecoshock series on Green Cities

Resilient Cities (Australia's Dr. Peter Newman)

Transport Revolutions: Moving People and Freight Without Oil
Richard Register and Anthony Perl

Building Madness (various speakers)

Urban Meltdown (Clive Doucet)
Speech (53 min)

Clive Doucet interview


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Healing the Earth, Healing Ourselves

Welcome to Radio Ecoshock. Today you'll hear two green broadcasters meet on air. Matt and Alex ask how cities can work in the climate energy crunch. Should you get out - and what can we learn from the back-to-the-land movement of the late '70's. I'll toss in the mental survival tips I use to survive the awful knowledge of climate change.

Matt and I also talk about Derrick Jensen and so-called "Eco-Terrorism". Non-violence hasn't worked (our life support system is going into the crapper) - do we need to go further?

We'll top that off with 15 minutes from the master. Al Gore's latest testimony to the House Energy Subcommittee April 24th. The last minute American hope to save the climate.

I'm Alex Smith, wading through the deep green with green broadcaster Matt. His long-running show "Healing the Earth" runs out of the University of Guelph in Canada - but his guests - some of them controversial - come from all over the world.

I hope you enjoyed that exchange with Matt. It's not easy doing radio about a gorgeous ecosphere under attack, in decline. My hope is lame, but it's still there. Maybe hope is built into us, the ultimate survival trait.

Here's someone who never gave up: Al Gore. We go now to his testimony to the House Energy Subcommittee, chaired by the remarkable Ed Markey of Massachusetts. As the Obama Administration rounds up the evidence for the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, Chairman Markey gets the best, keeps it moving. You can find the whole 2 hour video on C-Span.

Here's Al. (The key 15 minutes of testimony, 4 MB)

Next week we'll interview climate scientist and activist Bill Hare. His new report says the world may have to stop using fossil fuels completely in just 20 years - or face a drastic climate shift. The latest science, the most alarming.

I'm Alex Smith. Thank you for caring about your world.