Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Annual Ecoshock Green Music Festival 2012

The Radio Ecoshock annual best of Green music festival. Eclectic mix of voices found or sent in by the artists, mood music for a climate-safe, species-friendly world. Radio Ecoshock 121229 1 hour.

Download in CD Quality (56 MB) recommended for this music show.

If you are on a slow connection, you can use this lower quality Lo-Fi version (14 MB)


Welcome to the annual Radio Ecoshock Green Music Festival. All year people send in their favorites, and even original recordings direct from the artists. Everyone has a different taste in music, and I've tried to touch a lot of countries and styles. But really, these are my picks. I have to enjoy the song, before it makes this mix. It's time to reflect on the bad news and the good vibes that only artists can bring us.



[1] Craig Anderton "When the Grid Goes Down"

Watch it on You tube.

We kick off with a vision of dystopia. Craig Anderton wrote and performed "When the Grid Goes Down", thinking of the electric grid knocked out by a solar storm. Radio Ecoshock has covered this awful possibility, where the whole system goes down for month or years. This is remixed and mastered version released in October 2012.

Craig has been doing the music scene a long time. He had three albums out when he was in his 20's back in the 1970's. Craigs a specialist in electronic music and mixing. Find him at

This is the mixed and mastered version of "When the Grid Goes Down," and includes a video. Written and performed by Craig Anderton. Drums: Greg Morrow, Damage. Bass: Juliette Duval.


[2] Jack Johnson "Gone"


Back from the brink of disaster, we find the softer Jack Johnson singing about our the vacuum of consumer culture, in this song titled "Gone." Johnson is an American surfer singer with more than five albums out. He organizes the annual Kokua Festival in Hawaii.

See video and lyrics here.


[3] Karen Savoca "Two Little Feet"


Next up "Two Little Feet" by Karen Savoca. Karen stands and delivers with her big bass drum, and the excellent guitar work of Pete Heitzman. Her latest album is "Promise" recorded in their 19th century church studio in the hills of upstate New York. It's available from - and check out her earlier album "In the Dirt" for some back-to-the-land music. Find more at



[4] Rachel Van Zanten "My Country"


I love it when a rocker and singer gets active for what she loves. Rachel Van Zanten is from Northern British Columbia, but she toured 11 years with bands. Now Rachel as a solo artist, writes this powerful anthem "My Country" about the First Nations people and their battle against Tar Sands pipelines and fracking damage to their land.


Official video for this song here.


[5] REM "Until the Day Is Done".


Always biting on the social scence hitmakers REM brought this one out on the album "Accelerate". It's called "Until the Day Is Done"This is the American rock band from Athens, Georgia who conquered the world. After entering the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, the band split up in 2011.


REM fansite.


[6] Vastmandana "No More Denial"


Out of Oakland, California, from the multi-talented musician and master gardener Dana Pearson, playing as Vastmandana. This sample clip "No More Denial" is one of many pieces Dana provided to Radio Ecoshock from his collection of one-man-band electronic instruments.

Listen to his music as Vastman at



[7] Red Valley Fog "Come Winter"


Part of the new climate awareness music coming out of the folk genre, Singer Ben Grosscup is with the Massachusetts Chapert of the Northeast Organic Farming Association. The song "Come Winter" was written by Ethan Miller, bu Grosscup and his buddy Dan Inglis have the only recording of it.

Find their music here.



[8] Dan Mangan "Sold"


From Vancouver, Canada, Dan Mangan is an award-winning international writer and singer. After his hit album "Nice, Nice, Very Nice" Mangan shone forth with some gorgeous blends of music and dreamy electronica in his newest called "Oh Fortune". His web site is

We play his song "Sold".


His web site is -------------------

[9] Gil Scott Heron "Shut 'em Down"


This anti-nuclear song comes from the late African American poet, jazzman, musician and author Gil Scott Heron. He passed in 2011, and is sorely missed. One of Gil's best known spoken poems is "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." "Shut 'em Down" came out in 1979.

***************** "Shut 'em Down" came out in 1979. Find it on You tube.


[10] Evan Greer "Even If the End Is Near"


Love for the hardest of times, from Evan Greer and Friends. Evan describes himself as a radical queer social justice singer/songwriter. Greer's home base is in Boston. He or she has sung with all the greats, covered the big causes, and is pushing toward personal greatness in everything from folk to punk. His/her website is Check out the latest song "I Want Something" but my pick for this show is "Even If The End Is Near".



[11] SkarKat "End of Days"


Next up is the dark "End of Days" from Scarkat. This rapper was born in Dubai, then struggled to make it as an immigrant in Toronto, Canada. I cleaned up this version a bit for radio, but Scarkat sees it all happening. Find him here.



[12] Earthrise Soundsystem "Ajnabee - Stranger"


OK this next short song "Ajnabee" or "Stranger" isn't a green song. I just find this short piece of Indian blend inspiring when things look bad. The music comes from a duo of techno musicians doing a lot of Yoga music for White Swan records: DJ, writer, and yogi Derek Beres teams up with producer/percussionist Duke Mushroom. Derek's yoga sessions have been on all the big networks. And check out their bio to find the astounding list of big name artists who worked with Duke Mushroom.

Their web site is



[13] Ben Sollee "Panning for Gold"


I'm not religious, and yet this song clicked with me. Maybe it's the disarray we humans make. I heard it first in the new film YERT, Your Environmental Road Trip. Ben Sollee's "Panning for Gold" is from his latest album "Half Made Man" Ben is relatively young, from Kentucky, with a full range ear for performance art. Plus, Sollee plays his own Cello. Check out his song "Bury With My Car", and more at


[14] Australian kids "Protect the World"


It's time for the kids to sing. It's their future at stake. This group from Australia does a good job with "Protect the World". The music comes from an online video by Shakti Burke for Kyogle Climate Action Network. I found it at Search for their Top 6 Environmental Songs and you'll find some good green videos.



[15] Tina Turner. "A Change Is Gonna Come"


We'll end with one of the most famous songs written by Sam Cooke, and first recorded in 1963. This live recording with master guitarist Robert Cray comes from the 1980's, when Tina Turner was touring in Europe. The American superstar Tina Turner can inspire us to carry on. I believe it. A change is gonna come. We will see it through together.


Her official web site.

Catch this on You tube.


Check out our regular programs each week on 63 radio stations in the United States, Canada, the UK, and occasionally Australia. Download Radio Ecoshock by Itunes podcast or from our web site at I'm Alex Smith, signing off from the annual Radio Ecoshock Festival of Green Music.

Thanks for being there.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Climate: Arctic Thermostat Blows Up

The Arctic thermostat for the world is broken, with record heat & emissions in 2012. Four speakers from Arctic Methane Emergency group film: Peter Wadhams, James Hansen, Natalia Shakhova, and David Wasdell. Plus interview with AMEG member Paul Beckwith from University of Ottawa. How polar ice-melt derails climate of Northern Hemisphere, heading for uncontrollable heating. Radio Ecoshock 121219 1 hour.


Download/listen to the show in CD Quality (56 MB) or Lo-Fi (14 MB)

Download/listen to the audio-enhanced sound track from the short film "Arctic Methane: Why Sea Ice Matters" 19 minutes in CD Quality or Lo-Fi.

The Paul Beckwith interview (29 minutes) in CD Quality or Lo-Fi.

In this Greenpeace photo, Dr. James Hansen of NASA looks over the ice. Hear James Hansen in this program.


This may not be pleasing holiday fare, but our time together is limited and valuable. Critically important news cannot go unreported, no matter what local tragedy dominates the mainstream headlines.

We are just beginning to understand why the sudden melt-back of the Arctic Sea ice could change the climate of the world. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, your own weather has changed already because of it.

As we will hear in this program, there is enough methane buried in the Arctic to drive us into an extinction event from runaway climate change, well beyond our ability to adapt.

I'm going to talk at length with Paul Beckwith. He's trained in engineering and physics, but is now working on his PHD in climate science at the University of Ottawa.

That connection began in our Radio Ecoshock program featuring Dr. Guy McPherson on the most alarming climate news. Guy mentioned Beckwith's claim that Earth's mean temperature could go up as much as six degrees in a decade or two. Beckwith confirmed the statement.

Surely it can't be true? So I going to call up Beckwith in Ottawa - hoping to find out more. I also know Paul is part of a group of scientists and activists called the Arctic Methane Emergency Group or AMEG. You can find my earlier interview with one of AMEG's senior scientists, Arctic ice expert scientist Dr. Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University. That's in the Radio Ecoshock show February 15th, 2012. I also interviewed critics of this theory that methane from melting permafrost and shallow northern sea beds pose an immediate emergency for the planet.

In September Greenpeace held a "UN Polar Emergency Panel" in New York.

Find the Greenpeace "Save the Arctic" campaign here. I'll ask Paul Beckwith about all that. But I also hope to get a better grip on how melting sea ice could possibly cause the unstable weather we've seen this year in North America, and Europe. Why did March of 2012 become more like summer all of a sudden? Why do sudden cold snaps hit in Europe, changing from balmy weather to the deep freeze in just a day or two? Why has a massive drought stalled over the croplands of the United States? Have changes in the Arctic destabilized weather in the Northern Hemisphere? We find out.

I'm also going to present for the first time a radio adaptation from a new movie by the Arctic Methane Emergency Group. You will hear from Dr. Wadhams, but also James Hansen, the NASA super-scientist, plus Natalia Shakhova, a Russian scientist now working at the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and David Wasdell, founder of the Apollo-Gaia Project.

Here is a link to my intriguing Radio Ecoshock interview with David Wasdell in our December 10, 2010 show "Beyond the Tipping Point"

For some of the science, here is a critical paper on Arctic Methane from one of the speakers in the film, Natalia Shakhova:

Shakhova, N. and I. Semiletov (2012). Methane release from the East-Siberian Arctic Shelf and its connection with permafrost and hydrate destabilization: First results and potential future development. Geophys. Res., Vol. 14, EGU2012-3877-1.

All this comes against a chorus of steadily worse revelations about the prospect of very dangerous climate change developing now and in the decades to come.


As you heard in our recent programs, the possibility of staying below the alleged safety point of two degrees temperature rise has more or less passed away. Reports from the World Bank, the International Energy Agency, accountants PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and many more, show the world is headed to at least a 4 degree warming by 2100, if not sooner.

The year 2012 has been the hottest in the instrumental records. Hotter than the previous tied records of 1998 and 2005. According to Joe Romm at, the "very warm November and early December assures record-breaking 2012."

Weather-meister Jeff Masters from the Weather Underground writes "The year-to-date period of January – November has been by far the warmest such period on record for the contiguous U.S.–a remarkable 1.0°F above the previous record."

Not coincidentally, and despite all the expensive international climate talks, world greenhouse gas emissions are not dropping but rising steeply, year on year. The Global Carbon Project, which measures such things, finds global emissions in 2012 set a new all-time record. In 2012 we pumped out an eye-popping 58% more greenhouse gases than in 1990.

I play you a short clip from Corrine Le Quere. She is a Professor of Climate Change Science and Policy at the University of East Anglia in the UK, and the Director of the prestigious British climate modeling agency, the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

Corrine Le Quere

That video from the Tyndall Center is here.


"The latest study from the Global Carbon Project shows that the carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels are set to increase again in two thousand and twelve to a record high of 35.7 billion tons of CO2.

And it means that the global emissions now are 58% above the levels they were in year 1990, the reference year for international Kyoto Protocol.

Contributors to global carbon emissions in 2011 were China with 28%, the United States with 16%, the European Union with 11%, and India with 7%.

The 2012 rise in carbon emissions, that further opens the gap between the real world emissions and the goals that are required to keep the global change under two degrees, which is the international agreement.

If the carbon emissions continue the way they are, they are leading to climate change of 4 degrees and above


We the scientific community are often asked what a four degree world would look like. Because after all we have seasons and day and night, so the four degrees really sometimes doesn't seem like very much. But actually, I think that we globally might be able to say with some confidence what one, two and perhaps three degrees looks like. But when you start looking at changes of four, five and six degrees it's really out of bounds of anything that we've experienced in the recent past.

And so these are really, really big changes in the way that the Earth operates. We are talking about warming changes that are really enormous in the climate system and it's difficult to say what this is going to look like, what kind of vegetation transitions we will have, what kind of changes in the soil where we grow our food.

Ice and melt - what does that do for instance for our weather patterns and for the changes in extreme events?

To be honest, such high climate change levels are really so much outside the bounds of experience that it is very difficult to say what such a world would look like. And impossible to guarantee that it would be safe for a population of seven billion and more.

I am worried about the continued increase in global carbon emissions and the consequences for our climate change and society.


Warming will impact the whole world. Graham Readfearn, a correspondent for ABC Broadcasting in Australia tried to look at what that country would look like in a four degree hotter world. His article came out December 10, 2012. I found it at, one of the blogs I check regularly. The article by Readfearn is on this page (scroll down a bit) here.

Here is one quote from that article:

"In 2008, work by CSIRO found that if there was no action to cut global emissions, the number of days each year over 35 °C experienced in Australia's capital cities would jump dramatically.

For example, Darwin gets about 9 days a year over 35 °C but by 2070 this was projected to rise to 221 -- more than half the year would be above 35 °C. Melbourne would go from 9 to 21 days above 35 °C, and Sydney from 3 to 9

There are similar projections for America. Most cities in America would be sweltering through unbelievable heat waves as the new normal for summer.

ABC Australia's Readfearn continues:

"Professor Jean Palutikof, director of the government-funded National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, believes an Australia 4 °C warmer than today will be a very different place.

'It would just be too unpleasant to be out of doors,' she says. 'People would be living far more enclosed lives. It would be a heavily energy-dependent existence as you have to cool all of those spaces that you put people into.

'You would have to be running your air-conditioners as a matter of course. The huge challenge would be to lay our hands on the energy we would need to maintain our comfort levels.'

Never mind the disappearing coral reefs, all ice and snow gone, forests burning and burning, and mass extinctions of animals, plants, and insects.


We've just talked about 2012 setting a new record for greenhouse gas emissions. The Global Carbon Project measures only emissions from fossil fuels, not from things like deforestation or agricultural emissions. And this projection does not include, as the International Governmental Panel on Climate Change does not include, the methane emissions coming from the Arctic that we will discuss in this program.

A new report released in late November by the United Nations Environment Program says the IPCC MUST report on melting permafrost and methane, including a special report if needed. Yet I've spoken by email with some IPCC reviews who assure me the Arctic methane emergency is NOT included in the upcoming Intergovernmental Panel reports coming out in 2013 and 2014. Again, the IPCC is far beyond not just the science, but actual climate change known to be happening already.


Let's hear what the Arctic Methane Emergency Group has to say in their new film "Arctic Methane - Why the Sea Ice Matters” This compilation of experts includes Dr. Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University, NASA scientist James Hansen, Natalia Shakhova from the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and David Wasdell, founder of the Apollo-Gaia Project. The short film was put together by Nick Breeze and Bru Pearce of the new climate communication group Envisionation.

We start with Peter Wadhams, who has been measuring and exploring the Arctic ice for decades. He is president of the International Association for the Physical Sciences of the Ocean Commission on Sea Ice, and head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at Cambridge University in England.

Find links to all this in at the Emergency Group web site at


Paul H. Beckwith

Our feature is with Paul Beckwith, a man trained in both engineering and physics, but now devoting himself to the challenge of climate change and climate science. I reached him at the University of Ottawa.

We talk about too many things to list here. In just one instance, I finally understood how changes in the Arctic could create the strange weather patterns we've been seeing all over the Northern Hemisphere. Expect to see a lot more. Don't miss the interview.

After our interview, I checked out the methane maps which show red hot spots hovering over the Arctic, where the gas is leaking out at faster rates. I wondered if that could cause regional warming. Paul responded to my email question saying, quote:

"Yes, methane can accumulate in the atmosphere over the Arctic and affect regional weather there, causing localized warming. A strong polar vortex, with mostly zonal jet streams (moving west to east, very little meridional (north to south) waviness) acts to confine atmospheric gases to that region. More meridional or wavy jet streams with more north-south waviness will not confine the methane as well. Over time, the concentrations would equilibrate throughout the atmosphere; faster with meridional jets and slower with zonal jets.

Since the global warming potential of methane is as high as 170 on short timescales of a year of so then it would contribute to warming there. How much? Well CO2 measurements in the Arctic have reached 400 ppm. Methane flask measurements (Barrow and Svalbard) reached 2200 ppb (=2.2 ppm). Since 2.2 x 170 = 374 ppm CO2e. So the methane there is providing the same radiative forcing as the CO2 there. No way this can be neglected by the IPCC; that would be incredibly misleading and dangerous. It is even at today’s levels the same as the CO2 forcing in the region.

Another way to look at the confinement is directly via the coriolis force (which results in the jets, so same thing really). The coriolis force deflects moving objects to the right in the northern hemisphere (to the left in the southern hemisphere); it is zero at the equator (reason why no hurricanes form right near equator). It is maximum right at the pole on the axis of rotation. This confines air to the Arctic.

Consider the massive cyclone in the Arctic from August 2nd or so to August 10th or so (see my blogs on Arctic news Sam Carana site for details). It was centered near the pole. Every time it started to move southward it was strongly deflected to the right and ended up doing loops around the polar region. Since it was basically confined to the Arctic basin due to this coriolis force it continued to gain/maintain strength for about 10 days since it was fed by warm 20 degree C air from over Siberia.

Many fires were burning in northern Siberia at the time so I suspect that a lot of ash/soot from the fires many have been ported into the pole region also. Who knows, it may have contributed to the drop in albedo on sea ice and over Greenland? What I am getting at is that a packet of air in the Arctic will start moving southward and be deflected to the right and end up curving around and heading back into the region; thus the strong confinement.

For the same reason, a packet of air near the pole will be somewhat constrained to the region and not diffuse to the global atmosphere too quickly.

We also got into a discussion about the benefits and risks of putting sulphur aerosols into the high atmosphere over the Arctic, as a last ditch geoengineering attempt to save the last of the ice sheets. The point would be to try to stabilize weather in the Northern Hemisphere, possibly averting global food shortages, and maybe staving off a runaway climate event from ever-increasing methane releases in the Arctic.

To quote Paul's email:

"Adding sulfur has the purpose of buying us time before the abrupt shift to a much warmer state occurs. It can be done quickly. I suggested a while back that adapting the KC-135 flying fuel tank (for midair refueling of fighter aircraft) to contain liquid mixtures with sulfur and adding nozzles to the umbilicals could quickly and easily deliver the sulfur to the stratosphere.

This method is a short term band-aid that would buy some time to slash greenhouse gas emissions as fast as humanly possible. This slashing is vital since it is the only way to slow and eventually reverse the rapid ocean acidification problem. The sulfur would be in the stratosphere (above normal weather) so would stay there for years, the vortex would somewhat confine it in the Arctic region; we would have to carefully monitor the time between recharges.

Huge amounts of sulfur are injected into the lower atmosphere from smokestacks around the planet. Coal contains sulfur (the worse the coal, the more sulfur there is) and we are pumping ever increasing amounts out. Rain washes it down into the environment, scrubber technology on the smokestacks helps to reduce the problem. What we would put into the Arctic region is negligible compared to what comes out of smokestacks

Here is Paul Beckwith's blog at the Sierra Club of Canada.

Should we do it? Is it time to save the last of the Arctic ice cap? You have to decide.

I'm Alex Smith for Radio Ecoshock. Be sure and visit our web site at to download all our past programs. Please make a donation if you can, to keep the site full of free downloads for all. Please tell others about this show blog at

Thank you for donating your attentive mind to our broadcast this week.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Victory Gardens Past and Future (with Lamanda Joy)

Food prices are rising due to climate, peak oil & poor economy. Best time to start your city on Victory Gardens. Speech by LaManda Joy to Great Lakes Bioneers tells how. With intro on food prices in Canada, UK, Australia, USA, clips from WWII garden propaganda. Radio Ecoshock 121212 1 hour in CD Quality (56 MB) or faster downloading Lo-Fi (14 MB)

If you eat food, maybe you've noticed groceries costs more and more. Well stock up now, food inflation is just ramping up.

It's not just the extra 200 million mouths to feed on the planet next year. Climate change is already re-arranging your food bill.

In North America, and around the world, one big driver is the record drought in the prime crop production areas of the United States this year. Many meat producers gave up, selling off their herds, temporarily keeping meat prices lower. The current cattle herd is the smallest since 1973. Once that sell-off goes through the supply chain, the high cost of corn and other grains will accelerate meat prices from 5 to 10% higher, according to one Canadian report.

Here is Peter Mansbridge of host of "The National" on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on December 6, 2012.

"If you are buying extra groceries for the holidays, some experts suggest you also might think about stocking up for the coming year."

Next comes CBC Consumer Affairs reporter Aaron Saltzman [with a report from Canada's premier agricultural university in Guelph, Ontario]:

"According to the University of Guelph's annual food forecast, just about every basic staple will cost more next year. Dairy up as much as 3%; bread up as much as 4%; eggs up as much as 5%; but likely the biggest hike... 'We would expect meat, particularly beef and pork to go up more significantly. We are saying probably as much as 4 and a half to 6%.' The price of pork in particular expected to jump by as much as 10%.

According to the report the main driver behind most of these price increases is climate. The drought across North America this past year was one of the worst in recorded history. Among the hardest hit areas, the Great Plains states in the U.S. - America's bread basket. That drove up grain prices and in turn, the cost of feed and livestock." ...

...For those unwilling to go vegetarian, 'Fill the freezer now, because it's going to get tougher going forward.'

And, he says, if you are wondering how accurate the University's predictions are, last year the forecast was bang on."


Host Peter Mansbridge: "So some predictions there about food prices in the future. What about the prices we've already seen? Here are some numbers to consider. According to statistics Canada, the cost of meat has risen more than 30% in the past decade. Egg prices have risen by 50%. Bakery products are up by nearly 60%. By comparison, fresh vegetables cost about 1% less than 10 years ago."

Don't be thrown off by comforting reports from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization. Their early December report says basic food prices fell by 1.5% in November. That was partly caused by a massive drop in the price of sugar.

But as the World Bank reports, food prices are currently "stable" but still very high. In fact, expensive food hovering near the record 2008 levels is the new normal. Unlike the UN, the World Bank food price index finds food prices are 7 percent higher than in 2011. Grains are 12 percent higher already from the previous year.

In the United Kingdom, the November Shop Price Index shows food prices up 4.6% from a year ago. Fresh fruits and vegetables are particularly high, causing what the Guardian newspaper calls "a nutrition recession" in Britain.

A series of reports in the Australian press say food prices there will hit a new record high in 2013. The cost of rice, wheat, pulses, edible oils, sugar and vegetables, are all rising in India.

Bloomberg business finds American meat prices are set to go much higher. Quote from Bloomberg: "The drought in the Midwest and Great Plains drove corn yields to a 17-year low and may last at least through February. U.S. consumers will pay 3 percent to 4 percent more for food next year, a half-percentage point above this year’s expected increase, according to the USDA."

It's not just the drought. A weird bout of summer-like weather in March of 2012 caused many fruit trees to bloom early. The return of cold weather killed off the flowers, leading to a drop of the apple crop by as much as 80% in some regions. The world charity Oxfam has a special report on the impact of extreme weather events on the world food supply.


Wait a minute! Didn't I promise you some good news this week?

Sure, if more people can't afford red meat, their health will improve dramatically. Healthy vegetables are still the most affordable option in most places.

But it gets much better than that. We can quickly and cheaply convert most of our major cities into major food production centers. In this program, you will hear how it happened before. And how local urban food production is making a rapid come-back. The kicker is lots of folks are going for more than just the joy of healthy self-grown food. They come for the new sense of community as well.

Most of us can't afford to just kick-off and head to the country. We need some income, at least to make the transition. So like Havana Cuba, after the Soviet empire died and stopped sending oil, we'll have to feed ourselves where we are.

We are going to the City of Chicago, where the American Victory Garden movement was launched during World War Two. And where it is coming back strong. From the Great Lakes Bioneers conference, we have an excellent recording of LaManda Joy, founder of the Peterson Garden Project. She'll tell us about the Victory Garden movement, where MILLIONS of novice growers produced mountains of food for the War effort. How a whole nation can transform into local food production in just one year.

That's not just something that happened in the past. LaManda will tell us how Chicago is organizing once again, to bring back urban food production. Whether you are concerned about economic collapse, climate change, peak oil, or just healthy food - this speech is a message of hope for all of us.

This recording was made by Kelly Pierce of the Chicago Independent Media Center for Radio Ecoshock. Here is LaManda Joy, speaking November 4th, 2012 to the Great Lakes Bioneers.


Download/listen to just the LaManda Joy talk (as broadcast on Radio Ecoshock, 53 minutes) in CD Quality (48 MB) or Lo-Fi (12 MB)

During World War Two, 200 million people gardened, and 40% of produce consumed in America was homegrown.


How do you teach an entire city to grow food?

The Mayor of Boston helped plow up the Boston Commons.

Movie stars became part of the program. Veronica Lake changed her hair from swept over one eye to keeping hair back and out of the way - better for women munitions workers and gardening. The campaign was called "Hair wins the war".

Cartoon characters and superheroes were used to further gardening message.

Popular culture was drafted into the gardening movement - beer drinkers showed having a drink after sweaty gardening. Fashionable gardening clothes were sold from department stores.

Children were brought into the movement by their parents and their schools. Chicago held well-attended harvest festivals and garden parades.

Corporations got involved. Sears started 24,000 Victory Gardens in the Los Angeles area. International Harvester provided the plows in Chicago.

To keep that food year round, there was a mass program of canning. Five billion pints of produce were canned by volunteers every summer during the war. "Pressure cookers and canning supplies were in such high demand that their production was overseen by the government."

"Gardens began sprouting behind sign posts, on railway embankments, in school yards and church yards and in window boxes." Vacant lots and parks were also used - any spare space.

The Office of Civilian Defense was put in charge, with Fiorello La Guardia. His "assistant" was the President's wife, Eleanor Roosevelt - the last person to plant a food garden on the White House grounds until Michelle Obama. Could the Department of Homeland Security start thinking about real food security, and help found local gardens instead?

90% of the participants had never gardened before. This required a massive public training effort through: community groups, film nights on how to plant, educational brochures, talks by experts, newspaper articles. They mounted Kiosks near gardens and in public places to post notices and articles, a kind of social media of the day.

The City of Chicago was broken up into 7 regions, then down to block captains. Each official garden received a decal. There were many more gardens in private yards, and people who didn't want to register of keep the paperwork. 75,000 of these decals were posted in the first year in Chicago, 1942.

In 1942, Chicago had 12,000 community gardens on over 500 plots, covering 290 acres. That doesn't include private or non-registered gardens. By 1942 it was 53,000 gardens on 1500 plots. 14,000 children were gardening.

The first Victory Gardens were in Chicago, and it became a national model. The largest garden there was 32 acres, with 800 families participating.

Chicago passed an ordinance against damaging or stealing from Victory gardens. The fines were $50 to $200, which would be $650 to $2,600 in today's currency.

You can find some of the Victory Garden propaganda on You tube. She also recommends the book "The Twenty Five Dollar Victory Garden" which has an interactive format using the Net. Find You tubes on the $25 Garden here, or follow Joe's blog here. The best way to learn to garden is still from a family member, neighbor or friend. In 2009, Joy tells us, the Internet surpassed books as the second most sought out way to get gardening information.

It's interesting to note that the food shortage and poverty during the Depression of the 1930's was so severe that 35% of the men drafted for World War Two could not be accepted due to malnutrition. LaManda wonders if the numbers might be any different today, perhaps because of obesity and poor diets?

How did Chicago do it? "We had government support. There were overarching organizational structures. There was a donation of space and equipment. There was mass education, promotion, corporate and individual commitment, and recognition."


Inspired by all this, LaManda Joy and her community set out on a campaign of "one percent". The aimed to achieve just 1% of the accomplishments of the World War Two Victory garden movement in Chicago. She found donated space, and got municipal support. Her first organizing meeting was attended by over 50 people. Since then, the "Peterson Garden Project" has grown into a network of Chicago community gardens. Last year in Chicago there were 2600 community gardeners on 690 plots.

The Peterson Garden uses the square foot method. Because there was an old building foundation at the site, there was no topsoil. The gardeners hauled in tons of mulch and soil building materials. It's all organic gardening, and the produce tastes fabulous. Most people remark how different and good the food tastes, versus agribusiness products.

LaManda also praises the Seed Savers Exchange. The Peterson gardeners use a lot of heritage seeds to get the best veggies and fruit.

Meanwhile, the Obama Administration has helped a bit. Michelle Obama planted a food garden at the White House, and then partnered with Wal-Mart in announcing the addition of fresh fruits and vegetables to their line.

The head of the USDA ordered the 30,000 USDA agricultural stations world-wide to either plant a food garden or participate in one.

LaManda Joy finds that many people show up to garden because they are also seeking a way to build community and relationships. With fewer attending Church, and many spending time home alone with electronic entertainment, getting outdoors to garden works well for them. Five percent of the new Victory Garden produce goes to support the homeless and other charities.

Wasn't that a great speech? So much to learn, about how it was, and how it could be now. LaManda Joy is the founder of the Peterson Garden Project in Chicago USA. Find out more at Find LaManda's blog here.

You can also watch a LaManda Joy speech at the Library of Congress, recorded May 13, 2011 "Chicago Victory Gardens: Yesterday and Tomorrow" here. It's one hour long. The high quality recording from the Great Lakes Bioneers Chicago conference November 4th, 2012 was made for Radio Ecoshock by Kelly Pierce of the Chicago Independent Media Center. Thanks Kelly, you've set an example for how we all can share important audio.

I'm Alex Smith. I'll be back next week with more food for action. Dig in at our web site, And find links to this week's program in the Radio Ecoshock show blog at Contribute to our fundraising drive if you can.

Thank you for growing your brain this week.


In our one hour version, we go out with a song by Ewaldy Estil from Haiti. He's a coordinator there for Heifer International, the charity that provides a cow to alleviate hunger. The song is called "911 Trees". Ewaldy says he was inspired by "Plan B" from Lester Brown of Earth Policy Institute.

More videos of Ewaldy Estil here.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Climate: On the Road to Extinction?

Are we on the road to climate extinction? Dr. Guy McPherson lays out the case in this speech at Bluegrass Bioneers in Kentucky. Then the World Bank says "Turn Down the Heat". Daphne Wysham on their coal addiction, and Olivia Maria Serdeczny from the Potsdam Institute in Germany, authors of the report for the Bank. Is collapse our best way out of a Hellish future? Radio Ecoshock 121205

Download or listen to the Radio Ecoshock show for this week (1 hour) in CD Quality (56 MB)

Or try the faster downloading, lower quality Lo-Fi version (14 MB)

Guy McPherson talk at Bluegrass Bioneers (edited for radio, 29 minutes) in CD Quality or Lo-Fi

Radio Ecoshock interview with Olivia Maria Serdeczny of the Potsdam Institute (18 min) in CD Quality or Lo-Fi


This week on Radio Ecoshock, more revelations of coming climate disasters, as the fossil fuel bubble expands.

Even the World Bank, which funded plenty of big coal plants, admits we are headed for a world 4 degrees Celsius, or 7.2 degrees Faherenheit hotter. We'll talk with Olivia Maria Serdeczny from the Potsdam Institute in Germany, authors of the report for the Bank.

But first, I'm going to toss you into the deep end. If our recent broadcast of Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Institute shocked you, Dr. Guy McPherson will blow you away. I'm not so sure our industrial system will collapse anytime soon, but I fact-checked everything McPherson said about escalating climate change. He's got it right. You need to hear this.

At the Bluegrass Bioneers conference in Louisville Kentucky November 2nd 2012, Guy gives us the no-holds barred assessment of what we we've been told, and what we haven't, about the developing wreck of Earth's climate. His "good news" sounds pretty bad, but it's better than extinction. I hold my notes and comments to the end of the speech.


Dr. Guy McPherson

His web site is

His book is "Walking Away From Empire".

I did a full Radio Ecoshock interview with Guy last June. Our June 19, 2012 show with Guy is titled: "Still Walking Away from Empire". Read that show blog with links here.

I didn't want to run Guy McPherson's speech just to titilate our taste for disaster porn. I fact-checked pretty well every statement McPherson made. My pages of notes have been condensed into an entry for the Radio Ecoshock blog at You can chase the links for yourself, and verify what Guy is saying.


I know there are a lot of communicators listen to Radio Ecoshock. I've had email from dozens of print journalists, bloggers, radio hosts, TV producers, film-makers and general social media trouble-makers. So go ahead, dive into those McPherson notes - there are a half dozen big stories in there. Anyone can get an education following up on the reports and sources McPherson gives us in this talk.


Guy referenced a scientific paper in the prestigious journal "Climatic Change" by Dr. Timothy Garrett from the University of Utah. The title is "On the coupled evolution of inflation, wealth, and atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide." RESOURCES ON TIM GARRETT

Dr. Timothy Garrett

Garrett interview, from November 19, 2011 Radio Ecoshock show, 24 minutes.

Watch a You tube video version of one Garrett interview here (prepared by Khalid Hassan of Outfield Productions in Pakistan).

In a Radio Ecoshock interview on November 19th, 2010 - Professor Garrett says his research showed only a big economic collapse could save us from the worst of climate change. Here is a transcript from that interview:

"Alex: This is Radio Ecoshock. I'm Alex Smith with Dr. Timothy Garrett, an atmospheric scientist, from the University of Utah.

I'd like to get to the conclusions of your new paper. Based on our past records of energy use and wealth, what does your model show as possible futures?

Garrett: Well, in fact, this was actually stimulated by our past conversation. In my first study, I showed that carbon dioxide emissions and wealth were intrinsically coupled. Without actually decarbonizing the economy by switching to renewables, or nuclear power, at an extraordinarily fast rate, you cannot have wealth without having carbon dioxide emissions. The two go together.

And in fact, since 1970, the relationship between the two has been very, very tightly fixed. Now, that would seem to have implications for the future. Because carbon dioxide emissions accumulate in the atmosphere.

As carbon dioxide emissions accumulate in the atmosphere, some fraction goes into what we call "sinks" in the oceans and the land, but about half of what we emit accumulates in the atmosphere. That is going to create an ever increasing pressure on civilization.

By eating away at civilization's wealth, global warming will actually reduce our capacity to emit carbon dioxide. So there's actually what you would call in Physics a "negative feedback."

So our wealth is emitting CO2, CO2 accumulates in the atmosphere, and then feeds back on our capacity to produce new wealth.

Eventually one could imagine that civilization would enter into a phase of collapse because the carbon dioxide levels are so high, that we are simply unable to produce new goods, without them being destroyed by global warming.

And at that point, perhaps, emissions would go down. Eventually, if civilization collapsed fast enough, then perhaps carbon dioxide levels would be stabilized.

Now you asked me last time, what would be required to keep carbon dioxide concentrations at 450 parts per million. And that's normally what's considered at a dangerous level, let's say during the Copenhagen Accord.

And I made a guess that it would require actually flat out civilization collapse. Based on some preliminary work that I did, and I decided to look into this more deeply. I actually wrote a second paper, where it turns out that it true.

Not only would we have to have civilization collapse starting very soon, like within the next decade or so. But we would also have to have extremely rapid decarbonization, in order to keep carbon dioxide levels below let's say 500 parts per million - twice pre-industrial levels.

In order to keep them below 1,000... Well, without civilization collapse let's say we have continuing health.. let's say the civilization is very resilient to global warming...then carbon dioxide levels are going to go extremely high by the end of this century - probably above 1,000 parts per million.

You think about 1,000 parts per million, that's probably - it depends on what the climate sensitivity really is - but that's something along the lines of 5 degrees Celsius warming at least.

And when we think about 5 degrees Celsius warming, people who are familiar with this, usually start bringing up highly catastrophic scenarios.

In some sense, it's hard to imagine it's hard to imagine how civilization cannot be in pretty dire straights during this century."


In other news, the World Bank has released a new report about climate change. It warns we are heading to a world hotter by 4 degrees C. or 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit, by the year 2100. In fact, as we'll hear in our next interview from the Potsdam Institute in Germany, on our current course of emissions, it might even get that hot by 2060.

That would be devastating, for humans, for our civilization, and for all the creatures on the planet who have evolved to live in the Holocene era, between the great ice ages. In some places, what was a normal summer will become a normal winter. Cities by the sea, like New York, London, and so many others in Europe, China and India will be regularly flooded, if not partially abandoned, due to rising seas.

The great Amazon Rainforest would disappear, along with the coral reef that nuture so much sea life. It's ugly. The report is titled "Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4 degree warmer world must be avoided."


Let's begin with a regular Radio Ecoshock contributor, Daphne Wysham, this time on Aljazeera TV November 30th, 2012, just as the report was released by the World Bank. American listeners of course cannot get this information on TV, due to state or big corporate censorship. The program is "Inside Story Americas" with host Shihab Rattansi, broadcast on Aljazeera TV November 30th 2012.

Both host Rattansi and guest Daphne Wysham (from the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington) outline the many cases where the World Bank funded coal plants, including in Kosovo, South Africa, and India (including the giant Tata Mundra project which is having serious problems.)

The World Bank is ostensibly a public bank, funded by taxpayers in many countries. It is not a private corporation. Until recently, it has been difficult to calculate the billions spent by the World to support fossil fuel projects. According to the Guardian newspaper of November 20th, 2012 - the second largest development bank funding new coal plants is the World Bank, which has advanced $5.3 billion dollars for coal plants in developing countries. It turns out that number is way low.

Daphne Wysham just wrote me to say...

"I actually UNDERestimated how much the Bank has spent on fossil fuels over 20 years [in the Aljazeera interview]. I found this out from a story coming out at The total over 20 years is $48.8 billion, NOT $20 billion as I said on Al Jazeera. That's a huge difference!"

Read more in this Aljazeera report, complete with a 25 minute video of critics and defenders of the World Banks' fossil fuel record. (Like a criminal record).

The Aljazeera article tells us...

According to the Bank Information Center, a watchdog group, in 2010, the World Bank's funding for fossil fuel projects hit an all-time high of $6.6bn - that's a 116 per cent increase from the year before. Most of those loans went towards coal.

In Kosovo, the bank is financing a coal power station, which will use brown coal, the most polluting sort. The plant will increase the country's carbon emissions up to 400 per cent.

In South Africa, $3.75bn in World Bank loans goes to Eskom, the largest power utility company in Africa.


Now it's time to hear from the Potsdam Institute, who wrote the report "Turn Down the Heat".

Read the report from the Potsdam Institute and the World Bank as a .pdf here.

Olivia Serdenczy, Potsdam Institute

Our guest Olivia Maria Serdeczny is a research analyst for Professors Schellnhuber and Rahmstorf, at the German Advisory Council on Global Change to the Federal Government there. Olivia was part of a team producing the report "Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4 degree warmer world must be avoided." That's from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, released in November 2012. It was written for the World Bank.

Radio Ecoshock interview with Olivia Maria Serdeczny of the Potsdam Institute (18 min) in CD Quality or Lo-Fi

Seasoned reporter Chris Hedges did a brilliant piece on this World Bank report, titled "Stand Still for the Apocalypse" at November 26th.

How about this quote from an Ars Technica assessment:

"The typical summer temperatures would be the equivalent of our worst heat waves. In fact, the specifically note that normal temperatures in Russia would be similar to those of its recent heat wave, which killed 55,000 people and caused massive property damage. Meanwhile, the baseline winter temperatures would be equivalent to our current summers in most areas. Temperatures over land will rise faster than they do over the ocean, and some regions will be especially hard hit. The authors predict that typical temperatures in the Mediterranean will be up by roughly 9°C."

The World Bank had plenty or warning. European Greens and American activists all cried foul when public money was used to build giant coal plants in Kosovo, South Africa, India and more - even as clean energy was ready to go. Now with a new President, Jim Yong Kim, at least the World Bank is asking what might happen.

It's part of a tide of major institutions that have backed the fossil fuel bubble. Now some begin to admit climate disaster can be the result. We'll see if there is any major change in World Bank funding, or if it's already too late.


Radio Ecoshock has been blaring the bad news about climate for the past many shows. But there is a little good news coming. It turns out there are plenty of inventive people all over the world trying out new solutions. Before this month is out, you will hear a lot about ways we can change toward survival.

Hang in there.

I'm Alex. Please turn your friends on to our broadcast, and our web site at And please support Radio Ecoshock with your donations if you can.

Thank you for listening again this week.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The C.I.A., Nigeria and Germany

Three stories, 3 hosts, 3 continents. Professor John D. Steinbruner on a new report to the C.I.A. about disruptive climate change. Ecoshock's Gerri Williams with Jonathan Kaufman, EarthRights International. Why do big oil companies pay for spills in developed countries, and get away with murder in Nigeria? From Berlin, Daphne Wysham with expert Hans Verholme: the fantastic growth of renewable energy in Germany. Radio Ecoshock 121128 1 hour.


Full show in CD quality (56 MB)

Full show in faster downloading, lower quality Lo-fi (14 MB)

The John D. Steinbruner interview (18 min) in CD Quality or Lo-Fi.

Gerri Williams interviews Jonathan Kaufman of EarthRights on Nigeria (24 min) in CD quality or Lo-Fi

Daphne Wysham interviews Hans Verholme in Berlin (18 min) in CD quality or Lo-Fi


John D. Steinbruner

A new report to the C.I.A. advises the intelligence and security community to prepare for disruption in a warming world.

The title of the assessment from National Research Council is “Climate and Social Stress: Implications for Security Analysis.” You can read the full text of this report here.

In a strange irony, presentation of this report to the C.I.A. was temporarily postponed, as the capital closed down due to a violent storm, Hurricane Sandy.

Our guest is John D. Steinbruner. He's a Professor of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, and chairs the 14-member panel of experts who conducted the analysis for the intelligence community.

If I were in the C.I.A., I would certainly have paid attention to the Russian heat wave of 2010. At least one nuclear reactor, and another Russian military base with nuclear materials were cut off and threatened by fire, which was stopped only by extraordinary measures.


Let's consider climate and government. A major climatic event might destabilize a central government, or it might make it stronger.

Take the case of the Pakistan floods of 2010, which covered an estimated one fifth of the land area in this nuclear-armed country. There could have been social break-down, but my understanding from people in-country was the government looked after its own supporters first, and may have been strengthened by disruption in areas where they had weak control anyway.

Even considering U.S hurricanes, we could say the poor response of the Bush administration weakened the federal government. The anti-FEMA meme (the right wing conspiracy theory that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is planning concentration camps, etc.,) grew stronger after Hurricane Katrina. The idea that central government was incompetent, and less necessary, accelerated after 2005.

By contrast President Obama's team response may have strengthened public perception of the necessity of a strong central government. There was less hostility to Federal aid and demand for more of it.

Given the likely role of warming oceans and rising seas adding to the damage from both hurricanes, we can see the possibility of even worse future climate events affecting the ability to govern all over the world.

Consider Mali, that central African country suffering from long-term drought that may be linked to global warming. Islamic fundamentalists, carrying weapons taken from fallen Libya, have taken over the northern part of the country. The whole of the North Africa Sahel is drought-stricken and at the same time politically unstable.

Dr. Steinbruner and I spend more time looking at the flash point of Pakistan and India. Water needed to irrigate Pakistani crops, to feed the people, is dwindling in the Indus River, as glaciers and snowfall decline upstream in India. The Pakistani government blames its old enemy India, but is climate change the real culprit?

I ask Steinbruner how seriously the C.I.A. takes climate change. That's a difficult question as the Agency just closed its climate change office. Were they ducking Republican attacks on climate, ahead of looming budget cuts across the board in the Federal government? Did the C.I.A. climate operation just go underground (it's what they do for a living)? Or is the Obama Administration just not that interested in climate information? We don't know.

What we do know is the National Research Council report was well received where it was presented, and Dr. Steinbruner hopes it assist all the government agencies get ready for possible "climate surprises" coming up.

Unfortunately, the NRC was only tasked to look at the next ten years. The biggest surprises might come a decade or two later. Climate change is definitely a subject for long-term study and planning.

At least we know: the government has been told.

I have to wonder, how much will the intelligence agencies share with other government agencies, and the public? As we learned from 911, critical information can become compartmentalized. Right now, governments in some countries are either publicly denying climate change, or trying to avoid talking about it. If their intelligence agencies see a real threat, will we even find out in time to protect ourselves?

Climate change is a global problem unfolding in various ways across the world. A massive flood in Beijing or Mumbai might begin a financial or political domino effect reaching us at home. The report suggests a network of rapid information sharing between America, her allies, and other governments - as fast-developing climate events arise. But Pakistan considers things like rainfall statistics a national secret. India wants to sell the info to the U.S. Satellites can only do so much.

John Steinbruner has blogged about a book by Fred Guterl, the Executive Editor of Scientific American. It's called "Fate of the Species: Why the Human Race May Cause its Own Extinction and How We Can Stop It." Find an abbreviated version of that book here at Scientific American.

I ask Dr. Steinbruner whether the panel of National Research Council experts considered the possibility that runaway climate change could bring about the human extinction.


One surprising result of the National Research Council study was the possibility of building better communities.

Climate instability may not be all bad. Tyrants may have a harder time subjugating people where climate stress changes communications and social relations. The victims may unite into new political formations.

Maybe people will develop a larger sense of a shared Earth.

It seems that people engulfed in the climate emergency, whether they live in Asia or the Rockaways of New York - have to create an instant community of self-help. Just look at the way Occupy movement members jumped in to help in the hardest hit areas. They were very effective, without government help.

Maybe we'll see more localization and resilience developing, as big weather events strike with more regularity. Will a more stressful climate change social organization?

John D. Steinbruner has written a lot of technical books on security and public policy, but also a novel "The Secular Monastery". It's an intriguing look at a society where information is used for the public good. That is a novel idea. Find more about that book here.


Jonathan Kaufman

Next we turn to unreported news: huge oil spills continue in Nigeria. In America, BP may pony up over 4 billion dollars in damages for their Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. But in Nigeria, none of big oil corporations are fined for their decades of pollution. The fisher people lose their livelihoods; vast areas of the Niger Delta are plagued with oil spills and leaks.

But the government of Nigeria gets most of its income from oil revenues, not from taxpayers. Leaders there know where the money comes from, and more or less work for the oil multinationals like Shell, Exxon/Mobil and the usual suspects.

American and European multinationals are dodging the law and wreaking havoc with nature and local people. From the Washington studios of WPFW Pacifica radio, Ecoshock correspondent Gerri Williams reports.

Gerri's guest is Jonathan Kaufman, an attorney with EarthRights International. That organization finds ways to give a voice to the dispossessed, polluted and wronged in countries where justice is in short supply.

Kaufman describes the on-going oil mess in Nigeria, and the lack of redress. America imports lots of Nigerian oil, as does Europe. But hardly anyone covers the corruption and outright murder going on there.

What to do? The Shell oil company is being sued for damages in a local court in the Netherlands.


Others have brought a suit all the way to the American Supreme Court. The discussion there should concern all of us. As you know, corporations have been designated as "persons" - people with rights. The current Supreme Court strengthened those corporate rights in the case of Citizens United.

But as Kaufman explains, there is a law dating back to the pirate days of 1789, as America's fundamental laws were drawn up. As I understand it, any person profiting from illegal action abroad could be brought to justice in an American court. Well.... corporations are "persons" - so this law should apply to big oil companies like Exxon or Shell. All of a sudden, lawyers are trying to argue corporations cannot be held responsible for things like genocide or pollution they cause or fund. They can't have it both ways.

So this is an interview for those interested in the mysteries of Nigeria, but also for everyone following the legal rights corporations are claiming for themselves, versus the public interest.

Find Jonathan Kaufman's blog here.

Gerri Williams did a great job getting this interview.


Hans Verholme

Last summer, Germany - that industrial power of Europe - had enough renewable energy to sustain their entire grid. Daphne Wysham from the Institute for Policy Studies was in Berlin to find out how they did it. Daphne is the long-time Earthbeat Radio.

In Berlin, sitting beside the River Spree, outside the new German parliament buildings, Daphne sat down with energy and climate expert Hans Verholme.

The interview is important, because Verholme describes what works to make a country go for green energy. The population gets involved because they can make money at it too. Distributed energy is more important than giant wind or solar farms, and more resilient.

The struggle to keep the big energy and transmission corporations from ruining the green revolution never ends, Verholme says. But so far it's working in Germany, and Verholme has good advice for people in North America who want that same energy security along with a safer climate.

I wish I had a transcript of this interview. Anyone wanting to volunteer should email me at radio [at] so we don't get duplication.


Again my thanks this week to all those who donated to keep Radio Ecoshock going. The "Donate" button is at the top right of this blog. Your donations let me concentrate on developing big stories.

The Kevin Anderson show two weeks ago continues to reverberate. Discussion continues on that blog item. Please note I added a link to the full transcript provided by a Radio Ecoshock listener. That's very helpful.

The Cabot Institute, who hosted Anderson's lecture "Real Clothes for the Emperor: Facing the challenges of climate change" posted a video of the whole lecture on this page.

Craig K. Comstock wrote about Anderson's talk in the Huffington Post, and linked to the Radio Ecoshock show.

Another listener sent me a link to another block-buster speech of climate bleakness. I'm working on that for your program next week.

This has been Radio Ecoshock. Find more free mp3 downloads at our web site,

I'm Alex Smith. Thank you for listening.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Kevin Anderson: What They Won't Tell You About Climate Catastrophe

Scientists and officials are not telling the public the awful truth: we are hurtling toward catastrophic climate change. A review, summary and critique of an earth-breaking speech by Dr. Kevin Anderson, Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre in Britain. Speaking to the Cabot Institute in Bristol November 6th, Anderson told the sold-out crowd our future is not possible. Radio Ecoshock 121114 1 hour.

Professor Kevin Anderson

Are the climate deniers right? Are some scientists colluding with government to hide the truth about climate change? "Yes", according to top British scientist Kevin Anderson - but not the scandal you've heard about. Top scientists and government reports won't tell you we are heading toward catastrophic climate change. Emissions are skidding out of control, leading us to a world six degrees Centigrade hotter on average, much faster than anyone thought possible. Why doesn't the public know?

Why are world conferences still talking about staying below 2 degrees, as though that is possible?

In a devastating speech at Bristol University Tuesday November 6th, 2012, Dr. Kevin Anderson accused too many climate scientists of keeping quiet about the unrealistic assessments put out by governments, and our awful odds of reaching global warming far above the proposed 2 degree safe point.

In fact, says Anderson, we are almost guaranteed to reach 4 degrees of warming, as early as 2050, and may soar far beyond that - beyond the point which agriculture, the ecosystem, and industrial civilization can survive.

All this comes from one of the world's top climate scientists, plugged in to the latest research and numbers. Kevin Anderson is from the UK's premier climate modeling institution, the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, and the University of Manchester. He delivered the speech "Real Clothes for the Emperor, Facing the Challenges of Climate Change" at the Cabot Institute of the University of Bristol in Britain.

His estimates are backed up by recent reports from the International Energy Agency, and now the global accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. I also quote from Joe Romm's blog at, and a comment by Lewis Cleverdon from Wales, in the Transition blog at

I'm Alex Smith for Radio Ecoshock. In this program, I'm going to play selections from Kevin Anderson's latest speech, accompanied by some explanation and references to other sources. Anderson speaks very quickly, assuming a highly informed European audience, and includes some technical data and reports unknown to most of us. So we're going to work through this together.


All music on this program is by Suvarna, with her co-conspirator Ravi, and guest Egyptian percussionist Hossam Ramzy. The album is "Energia" on Etherean Records. Suvarna, a world music maker, has another couple of albums with White Swan Records. We end this Radio Ecoshock show with a special single she sent to Radio Ecoshock. It's dead on. The song is "Atmosphere's Lament".

Suvarna's home page.


For the first time in seven years, I have to ask for your help. I've always paid the whole cost of Radio Ecoshock. Now my income has gone down, while production and distribution costs are going up. You can help this radio program keep going by clicking on the donate button on our web site at - or on the blog at - look on the upper right hand side of this page for the "Donate" button. My thanks to listeners who made that donation last week.

Radio Ecoshock is the second biggest environment show anywhere. We run the world's largest free green audio download site. Won’t you become part of the program?



This week's show on Kevin Anderson in CD Quality (56 MB).

Or try the faster downloading, lower quality Lo-Fi version (best to share on social media...)


Here is a 58 minute radio edit of Anderson's speech for those wanting to rebroadcast. It could be even shorter if you cut the intro and provide your own.

A transcript of the Kevin Anderson speech is available from this page. This version is also great for busy people downloading the speech for their IPOD, mp3 player, phone or whatever. To save space you can use the "Lo-Fi" version, which is less than 14 megabytes.

Find the complete and full original speech, just over an hour long, as recorded by Alex Smith here. My thanks to Chris at Sheffield IndyMedia for telling me about this important lecture in advance.

Find the helpful slides (including the graphs) for this Kevin Anderson speech here.

You may also want to check out Kevin Anderson's first chapter of a recently published book, “Climate, Development and Equity”.

That's available online here: Kevin Anderson: “Climate Change going beyond dangerous: brutal numbers and tenuous hope


Anderson begins his talk with a source that is hardly known as green or radical. Fatih Birol, Chief Economist and Director of the International Energy Agency has warned on our current energy pathway the global mean temperature will rise by 3.5 degrees C - over 7 degrees F - over pre-industrial levels by 2040. For those counting, that's just 28 years from now. The IEA predicts 4 degrees rise by 2050, and 6 degrees by 2100.

In his book, "Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet", and the National Geographic series based on the book, Mark Lynas says at +4 degrees C "Southern Europe will become unlivable due to extreme heat. The West Antarctic ice sheet will melt away and add another 5 meters to global sea level." At +6 degrees C, the Amazon forest long ago burned in a giant fireball, and all the polar ice melted, Lynas simply says "we will all be dead." The short You tube version is here.

Fatih Birol of the IEA says we have only five years to change our energy system - or have it changed for us. We'll talk more about that short time frame later.


Returning to Kevin Anderson, he points out our infrastructure commits us to emissions for decades. Every new airplane sold, and every ship is expected to last at least 30 years, burning whatever they burn. Buildings, inefficient as they are, may last centuries. Each new power plant opened is likely to keep on burning for at least 50 years, often longer than that.

We have already built more carbon capacity than the atmosphere can ever hold, with a climate suited for human survival. This leads me to conclude not another single fossil fuel based power plant should be opened anywhere in the world. Of course that's not fair to developing peoples, so we need a plan to shut down coal and oil-powered plants in North America and Europe to make room for electricity in China, India, Africa, and so on.

It is this commitment from long-lasting infrastructure, coupled with the already overloaded atmosphere, that dictates we only have about five years at best to change directions, or suffer a climate catastrophe beyond our current comprehension. Only a giant power-down by wealthy consumers (that's most of us) could possibly save us. That would include stopping recreational shopping for consumer goods that carry so much embedded energy use. And really, Anderson says, our best and possibly only hope for survival is an economic crash, or at least a planned "recession".

Remember Professor Tim Garrett from the University of Utah, following an interview on Radio Ecoshock, published a peer-reviewed paper saying exactly the same thing: the dynamics of energy in this civilization, poised against limitations in our atmosphere, show that only a deep and prolonger economic crash could really guarantee a safe climate.

At any rate, the good news, such as it is, is this: you and I have the ability to change our deadly course. We can cut our energy and consumption drastically. That's the front-line strategy that Kevin Anderson advocates. He tried to live it. Anderson does NOT fly around to climate conferences. He conserves energy personally, despite the disbelief of relatives and friends.


Kevin Anderson has brought up the new study from a most unexpected source. The report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the generally conservative giant accounting company, is titled" "Too Late For Two Degrees?" Joe Romm at has an excellent summary posted November 6th, titled " Study: We're Headed to 11 degrees F Warming and Even 7 Degrees F Requires 'Nearly Quadrupling The Current Rate of Decarbonization".

The main conclusion in the PricewaterhouseCoopers study reads:

"Our Low Carbon Economy Index evaluates the rate of decarbonisation of the global economy that is needed to limit warming to 2oC. This report shows that global carbon intensity decreased between 2000 and 2011 by around 0.8% a year. In 2011, carbon intensity decreased by 0.7%. The global economy now needs to cut carbon intensity by 5.1% every year from now to 2050. Keeping to the 2oC carbon budget will require sustained and unprecedented reductions over four decades.

Governments’ ambitions to limit warming to 2oC appear highly unrealistic."


"We have passed a critical threshold – not once since 1950 has the world achieved that rate of decarbonisation in a single year, but the task now confronting us is to achieve it for 39 consecutive years….

Even to have a reasonable prospect of getting to a 4°C scenario would imply nearly quadrupling the current rate of decarbonisation."

Joe Romm reminds us, our speaker Kevin Anderson has already written about the 7 degree Fahrenheit increase in global mean temperature:

“incompatible with organized global community, is likely to be beyond ‘adaptation’, is devastating to the majority of ecosystems & has a high probability of not being stable (i.e. 4°C [7°F] would be an interim temperature on the way to a much higher equilibrium level”

I'd like to just keep reading out Joe Romm's excellent if horrifying article, but I'll leave that up to you, except for this from Joe:

"Such a world would likely mean:

* Permanent Dust Bowl conditions over the U.S. Southwest, parts of the Great Plains and many other regions around the globe that are heavily populated and/or heavily farmed.

* Sea level rise of some 1 foot by 2050, then 4 to 6 feet (or more) by 2100, rising some 6 to 12 inches (or more) each decade thereafter

* Massive species loss on land and sea — perhaps 50% or more of all biodiversity.

* Much more extreme weather

These will all be happening simultaneously and getting worse decade after decade. A 2009 NOAA-led study found the worst impacts would be 'largely irreversible for 1000 years.'

In such a world there would be little prospect for feeding 9 billion people post-2050 given current dietary, economic, and agricultural practices. The word “adaptation” simply doesn’t apply in any meaningful sense."

Other evidence is pouring in from all quarters that we are headed to the high side of climate predictions. Consider this release November 8th from the U.S. Snow and Ice Date Center.

"Future Warming Likely to Be On High Side of Climate Projections, Analysis Finds" November 08, 2012

Thank you for taking the time, and having the courage, to listen.

I'm Alex Smith, for Radio Ecoshock.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sandy: Storms in the Emergency Room

Storms in the Emergency Room - Hurricane Sandy, coal & nukes - it's not pretty. From D.C. as storm hits, Earthbeat's Daphne Wysham on the climate connection. From Australia, Greenpeace's Georgina Woods on huge coal expansion. Then a Canadian plan to dump nuclear waste right next to Lake Huron & world's biggest running reactor. Radio Ecoshock 121031 1 hour

Download/listen in CD Quality (54 MB)

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MUSIC THIS SHOW: clips from:

"Secrets" by Xavier Rudd.

Or it your prefer the live acoustic version...

Rudd is coming to the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver on November 16, 2012.

"When the Grid Goes Down" (by Craig Anderton)

This one is really about what happens after a big solar flare knocks out the electric grid behind civilization. It's all in the You tube video. I did a Radio Ecoshock feature on this possible catastrophe on November 5th, 2010, 15 minutes of audio here. But this time I played it for the millions without power on the U.S. east coast and Canada, thanks to Hurricane Sandy.


Welcome to Radio Ecoshock - the world's emergency room. At least that's what it feels like lately, as we begin to taste the high carbon future on Planet Earth.

North Americans are bragging about pumping out more oil from dirtier sources, even as drought kills off the crops, and now a humongous record Hurricane spins up the East Coast. We talk with green radio reporter Daphne Wysham just as the storm hits in the American capital, Washington D.C.

How is the brand new climate spiking these storms with steroids? I'll tell you what top scientists are saying.

At the other end of the world, following fires and floods of their own, the Australians are straining to break their own dismal carbon record. My head hurts trying to understand why such nice people want to double their coal exports. Australia is already the biggest coal exporter in the world, keeping black smokestacks in Japan, Taiwan, China, and now India pouring out more and more carbon dioxide into the overloaded atmosphere. We get the goods down under from Greenpeace Pacific Atmosphere and Energy Campaigner Georgina Woods.

You get to breathe that pollution, and we all get hit with the climate damage.

I'll wrap up with another story with warning sirens all over it. Canada is already building its own "Yucca North" - a porous hole where they'll dump nuclear waste. The best they can do is the worst they can do: the supposed deep geologic deposit is just limestone caves right beside the Great Lakes - up water from millions of people in Chicago, Cleveland, Buffalo, Toronto and Montreal. Brennain Woods of NorthWatch tells us how the aging Bruce Nuclear plant - the largest running nuclear complex on the planet, threatens the whole world.

I'm Alex Smith. Take a deep breath. We're all heading into a state of ecological shock.


Let's start with the story covered by every network, with the part they leave out: global climate disruption makes deadly and costly storms like Hurricane Sandy much more violent. More than two decades ago, scientists told us this would happen. Now it's here.

How does it work? First, you need to know: we've created far more heat on this planet than we feel on land. The world's great oceans are absorbing more than half the heat held in by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The Gulf Stream, that great ocean current running off North America's East Coast, until it warms Britain and Northern Europe, is heating up.

According to the UK Met Office, the government body measuring such things, there is a huge area off the mid-Atlantic coast that is 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit, or 1.3 degrees hotter than average. That doesn't sound impressive, but that much heat over a giant expanse of ocean is tremendous.

But it gets worse. The Gulf Stream itself is currently 5 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. Hurricane Sandy cruised up this Gulf Stream, gathering up both energy and extra water moisture in her half-continent sized clouds. As meteorologist and former storm chaser Jeff Masters tells us, the Atlantic was unusually warm right to the end of October, making Sandy stronger and wetter.

Did the record amount of open ocean in the Arctic this summer help the Atlantic stay warmer longer? Scientists aren't sure yet. Jennifer Francis of Rutgers, a recent guest on Radio Ecoshock, says the blocking weather in the last two weeks is consistent with what her team observed from the melting of sea ice in the Arctic. Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmosphere Research agrees the Atlantic currents are 5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than normal, and he attributes 1 degree of that is directly due to global warming. But he doesn't believe the Arctic melt this summer and fall contributed to it. The jury is still out on that - but the vast majority of scientists agree mega-storms like Sandy are more likely to become the new normal, due to climate disruption by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases.

Of course there are skeptics, some of them well-paid by the fossil fuel lobby.

For example, Patrick J. Michaels of the Cato Institute, who we know has received lots of money from the Koch Brothers and others in the powerful oil and coal lobby, says a storm like Sandy could have happened on a cooling planet as well.

He writes Andy Revkin of the New York Times:

"I predict confidently that we will survive Sandy, which should not be a tropical cyclone at landfall."

Another ploy used by the climate deniers is to find papers showing there were big storms hundreds of thousands or millions of years ago. In many of those cases, carbon dioxide was high then too, and there was a "hothouse" world. And anyway, so what? We're dealing with now, and humans have ramped up the odds of getting a lot of big storms in a short period of time....

Meanwhile, on the ground, what was it like? On Monday night, as the big storm landed in Washington D.C., I spoke with Daphne Wysham. As the cell phone towers swayed, she called for calm.


FROM WASHINGTON, AS THE STORM HIT, DAPHNE WYSHAM, long-time host of "Earthbeat" on Pacifica radio.

It's official. Hurricane Sandy is the largest storm ever to have crossed north of Virginia, greater even than the famous Nor’easter of September 1938, known as "The Long Island Express".

The mainstream media is delivering the news while keeping up the great American silence about the role of climate disruption in this unprecedented storm. That's what we're going to talk about with Daphne Wysham, host of the long-running green radio show "Earthbeat" and now a Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington.

I reached Daphne in her home in D.C., just as Hurricane Sandy washed ashore on Monday. We talk about what it's like to live it out.

You can find links to Daphne Wysham's article about growing past the pat TV coverage of storms, and our need to be frightened. Instead, we need to look at the deep recurring patterns in these disasters, augments by a warming world. Read that at Firedog Lake here.

Here is another great article by Wysham - the Six Stages of Climate Grief published in the Huffington Post.

With Daphne, I mentioned the recent study by Munich Re - the insurance company that sort of insures smaller insurance company. This is the company that sees the big bills after weather disasters. They report that North America in particular has been hit by violent weather, and they think climate change is a big part of that picture.

Find the Munich Re press release here.

You can read more about it in Elizabeth Kolbert's article in The New Yorker. She's always a good read.

Kolbert writes:

"A couple of weeks ago, Munich Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurance firms, issued a study titled “Severe Weather in North America.” According to the press release that accompanied the report, “Nowhere in the world is the rising number of natural catastrophes more evident than in North America.The number of what Munich Re refers to as “weather-related loss events,” and what the rest of us would probably call weather-related disasters, has quintupled over the last three decades. While many factors have contributed to this trend, including an increase in the number of people living in flood-prone areas, the report identified global warming as one of the major culprits: “Climate change particularly affects formation of heat-waves, droughts, intense precipitation events, and in the long run most probably also tropical cyclone intensity.

Another good read: "Climate Change Sandy says to US, 'Take That, Idiots!'" in the Huffington Post.

Daphne and I briefly discuss the on-going argument in scientific circles: did the huge Arctic sea ice melt of 2012 help make Sandy larger? Jennifer Francis of Rutgers says "probably yes" while Kevin Trenberth thinks not. You can find more on that in this blog entry by Joe Romm from Climate Progress.

And check out this article about Kevin Trenberth on warming seas fueling big storms. Trenberth, who I trust, writes:

"The sea surface temperatures along the Atlantic coast have been running at over 3C above normal for a region extending 800km off shore all the way from Florida to Canada. Global warming contributes 0.6C to this. With every degree C, the water holding of the atmosphere goes up 7%, and the moisture provides fuel for the tropical storm, increases its intensity, and magnifies the rainfall by double that amount compared with normal conditions.

Global climate change has contributed to the higher sea surface and ocean temperatures, and a warmer and moister atmosphere, and its effects are in the range of 5 to 10%. Natural variability and weather has provided the perhaps optimal conditions of a hurricane running into extra-tropical conditions to make for a huge intense storm, enhanced by global warming influences.

Andy Revkin's Dot Earth blog has more input from scientists, both pro and con, about the link between Hurricane Sandy and climate change.

Jeff Masters, one of the most dependable storm writers on the Net, at, explains the connection between warming ocean waters and bigger storms in this post.

Jeff writes:

"Sandy to feed off near-record warm waters off the mid-Atlantic coast

During September 2012, ocean temperatures off the mid-Atlantic coast in the 5x10° latitude-longitude box between 35 - 40°N, 65 - 75° W were 2.3°F (1.3°C) above average, according to the UK Met Office. This is the 2nd greatest departure from average for ocean temperatures in this region since reliable ocean temperature measurements began over a century ago (all-time record: 2.0°C above average in September 1947.)

These unusually warm waters have persisted into October, and will enable Sandy to pull more energy from the ocean than a typical October hurricane. The warm waters will also help increase Sandy's rains, since more water vapor will evaporate into the air from a warm ocean. I expect Sandy will dump the heaviest October rains on record over a large swath of the mid-Atlantic and New England.

Hurricane rains and climate change

Hurricanes are expected to dump 20% more rain in their cores by the year 2100, according to modeling studies (Knutson et al., 2010). This occurs since a warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor, which can then condense into heavier rains. Furthermore, the condensation process releases heat energy (latent heat), which invigorates the storm, making its updrafts stronger and creating even more rain. We may already be seeing an increase in rainfall from hurricanes due to a warmer atmosphere.

A 2010 study by Kunkel et al. "Recent increases in U.S. heavy precipitation associated with tropical cyclones", found that although there is no evidence for a long-term increase in North American mainland land-falling tropical cyclones (which include both hurricanes and tropical storms), the number of heavy precipitation events, defined as 1-in-5-year events, more than doubled between 1994 - 2008, compared to the long-term average from 1895 - 2008. As I discussed in a 2011 post "Tropical Storm Lee's flood in Binghamton: was global warming the final straw?", an increase in heavy precipitation events in the 21st Century due to climate change is going to be a big problem for a flood control system designed for the 20th Century's climate.

A lot of us have wondered what it will take to get American politicians and media to finally admit climate change is here, and we need to act fast to salvage a livable climate. Some frustrated scientists and green activists think only a major disaster will force this change in thinking. Apparently the big drought of 2012 didn't do it. Even when the Arctic sea ice melts, that doesn't change our plans to drag even more fossil fuel out of the ground. Do you think Hurricane Sandy will help people wake up to climate disruption?"

During the Republican National Convention, presidential candidate Mitt Romney scoffed at efforts to stop rising seas. Now that the storm surge from Hurricane Sandy is threatening the American North East as never before, Bill McKibben of suggested Romney might want to rethink that. Find the best Bill McKibben article on Sandy here.

Even if we discount the role of global warming in this particular storm, this is a prime example of what the future will look like, as rising seas contribute ever higher storm surges along the U.S. East Coast.

We're also seeing how small our grid-dependent system becomes, when nature starts to roll out her awesome power. I can picture a future when the U.S. economy, and people around the world, just aren't going to be able to recover from being battered by climate disruption.

Of course, some of the scenes from the East Coast, from closed down transportation to empty food shelves and dark homes, will just fuel the growing myth of a Mayan or Christian end-of-days. There is a risk that mythology will grow instead of public acceptance of climate science.


You might think humans would learn from disasters like this. Apparently not yet.

Australia suffered a terrible drought for years, ending farming in parts of the country. The Black Saturday bushfires of 2009 killed 173 people. Then torrential rains flooded out coastal cities and towns.

No matter mate. Australia is steaming full ahead to expand their coal exports into world climate-wrecking status equal to Canada's infamous Tar Sands. Here is what you haven't heard.

Let's tune in to what is happening "down under", with Georgina Woods, Senior Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

[Woods interview]

Australia is already the world's largest exporter of climate-killing coal. When you add up the thermal coal (for electricity and heat) and the coking coal (to make steel) it's been around 300 million tons of coal a year. Australia is keeping Japan going. Japan is a huge coal importer. But Australian coal also powers Taiwan, more of China every year, and now India.

An Indian company GVK Group just bought into one of the biggest coal conglomerates, run by the climate denier billionairess, Gina Rinehart. Rinehart buys newspapers and TV stations, and then installs deniers like Andrew Bolt into prime time. I feel sorry for the Aussies as this coal-powered media creates a big fog about climate change science.

The other big commercial competitor in Australian media is Rupert Murdoch. His Fox News outlets in America continually shout down climate change. It's obvious the Australian media has been polluted by coal smoke.

What shocks me about the rapid expansion of coal and climate denial in Australia. It seems like such an insult to all those who lost their lives in the horrible fires, big floods, and agricultural droughts that have struck Australia time and time again in recent years. How can anyone doubt the climate is changing after all that?

Then we have the simple fact that the Great Barrier Reef, a treasure to Australia and the world, is bleaching and dying mainly due to global warming. Are Australians ready to let these great coral reefs die, to provide more short-term jobs in the coal mining industry?

Apparently: yes! The government and corporations have just announced a giant new coal find inland in Queensland called Galilee.

They want to set up nine new coal mines there. Currently the biggest coal mines in Australia churn out about 30 million tons a year. Just two Galilee coal mines will produce twice that, 60 million tons a year.

Of course they'll need 5 new coal ports to ship it all out. Several of them are located right in the World Heritage Area allegedly protecting the Great Barrier Reef. These coal ships will navigate the coral reefs, and if there is an accident, it all goes into the coral. Blighty!

Greenpeace Australia has just released a new report "Cooking the Climate and Wrecking the Reef". Find it here.

Greenpeace writes:

"If these mines proceed, when they reach maximum production, the emissions from burning the coal would be 705 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. If the Galilee Basin were a country, it would be the seventh biggest emitter of carbon dioxide pollution from burning fossil fuels in the world.

And apart from becoming a key driver in global warming, these mines will also exact a terrible cost on farms, water supplies and coastal communities."<
If all that Australian coal gets burned, that alone could take the carbon dioxide in the world's atmosphere from the current 394 parts per million, to 550 parts per million. We'd be back to the dinosaur climate, with sea level rise over 100 meters!

Find out more on the Greenpeace campaign to stop the coal disaster in Australia here.

That just can't be allowed to happen. The Australian farmers are gathering up to stop their fields from becoming open pit coal mines. Their alliance is called "Lock the Gate." They are also trying to stop coal seam gas.

Australians are getting used to coal revenues in their economy, and to fund everything from hospitals to opera halls. Meanwhile, they can kiss the Great Barrier Reef goodbye, and get ready for the fires and floods to come, produced by that very same coal. It's a dirty business. Australia has limitless solar energy - time to convert to clean, mates!


We started out this program with sirens wailing, as Nature is wheeled into the emergency room. We'll go back to Canada, to Ontario, where nuclear madness is in full bloom. It's only a matter of time until the Great Lakes are irradiated, with millions of people downstream and downwind. And the radioactive trucks are already rolling down the public highways all over North America.

They are calling it "Yucca Mountain North" except it's even worse than that. Canada's most populous Province of Ontario has a dangerous plan to bury radioactive waste from 20 giant nuclear power plants. They want to toss it in limestone caverns right beside one of the Great Lakes. We've reached Brennain Lloyd of the non-profit group "Northwatch" to find out more.

Bruce Nuclear Power station, Ontario Canada.

A publicly-owned Crown Corporation of the Province of Ontario wants to build a "deep geologic repository" right beside the Bruce Power nuclear complex. They are proposing a relatively shallow set of caves - in limestone! That's not like granite or even salt. Limestone is relatively porous.

There is already a waste storage facility there. Now they want to truck in all the "low-level" and "intermediate level" waste from Ontario's 20 reactors. "Intermediate level" is still highly radioactive. It's just everything except the nuclear fuel rods themselves. So it might include things like the filters used to gather radionuclides from the cooling pools. Or parts of old or refurbished reactors. It's very hot stuff.

All of this will just go into limestone caves in their original shipping containers. That's not much protection for the millions and millions of people who live down-lake and downstream in the Great Lakes.

People in Michigan and even Illinois (listening Chicago) could find their water radioactive after a leak. Ditto for the whole Great Lakes coast of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York State (Cleveland, Buffalo). On the Canadian side, the millions living in Toronto and Montreal are downstream. It's super risky, and hardly known to the world.

The Bruce Power nuclear power station is scary enough by itself. Two of the reactors were shut down for safety reasons for 17 years. Now they are back online, after being refurbished, making eight reactors running. That is supposedly the largest number of reactors in a single site anywhere in the world. The design for these Candu reactors is straight out of the 1960's. They've had problems, and then more problems, all along. Why is Ontario still counting on these antiques for nuclear power, after what we saw at Fukushima? It is crazy.

Brennain Lloyd tells us the Province of Ontario, the most populous in Canada, has plenty of alternative energy projects on the go. One of the world's largest solar power facilities just opened in Ontario. Some of those green projects are stopped by the giant subsidies governments pour into these old reactors. Just think what those billions of dollars could go with alternative energy.

[Brennain interview]

I lived in Ontario for years. We were always nervous one of these plants was going to go. The Candu reactors were designed in the 1960's and haven't changed since. The giant Pickering reactor sits right beside the millions of people living in Toronto. It’s been plagued with problems and shutdowns. The Darlington Reactor complex was upwind from my country retreat. You couldn't get away from nuclear worry. I had to move away from all that.

Find out more, and how to help stop this nuclear madness here.

And read this fantastic article "Deep trouble: Nuclear waste burial in the Great Lakes basin", published: Friday, October 12, 2012 by Jim Block, reporter for "the Voice" "Serving northern Macomb & St. Clair counties".

It will curl your hair.


So Hurricane Sandy is just a metaphor for our current condition, to the state we are in. Right now, we are the storm. Someday, when the black clouds clear, maybe we'll all be the rainbow. Don't despair. We need you, each and every one.

One mind awake can become stronger than a thousand zombies sleepwalking in a dying civilization.

I'm Alex Smith. Thank you for listening to Radio Ecoshock, and thank you - really - for caring about your world.