Monday, May 21, 2012

As Darkness Flourishes

Josh Tickell, Director of "The Big Fix" reveals the continuing BP Gulf oil spill cover-up. S. Dutta on mega coal plant construction binge in India. "GM Food Song" by Superweed. Conclusion of tar sands speech by independent scientist Dr. David Schindler.


From the high desert, from the dry falls of ages past, this is Alex Smith. We have a full menu of audio for you this week.

You'll start out with a main course of awful truth about the continuing BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Director Josh Tickell joins us for a look at his dark reality pic "The Big Fix".

Then we go to the coal disaster you never hear about. The government of India has teamed up with one of its biggest corporations to build some of the largest coal plants on the Planet. S. Dutta reports from Delhi about the Tata Mundra mega plant. Their lives and your climate in one big story.

I'll play you a fine activist song about GM foods and wrap up with more from my recording of Dr. David Schindler's breakout speech against the Canadian Tar sands.

Bon appetite.


Sales of oil and gas leases are the second largest source of revenue to the United States government. About forty percent of that happens in the Gulf of Mexico.

As we learn in this interview with Josh Tickell, only the Internal Revenue Service brings in more (from taxes, with a much bigger overhead). Is it any wonder the fossil fuel industry has so much control over the government?

There is hardly any oversight. That is why BP was allowed to drill in deep waters on the edge of a ridge in the Gulf of Mexico, even after companies like Exxon had abandoned drilling efforts there. The area was known to host pools of explosive gas as well as the oil.

Tickell goes over a long list of illness suffered by cleanup workers and many residents of the Gulf states. Skin rashes, asthma, and many other chronic conditions popped up after BP poured millions of gallons of the toxic oil dispersant Corexit into the Gulf. Exactly how many million gallons is still in dispute.

The Corexit was carried toward the shorelines, where waves and winds whip it up into water droplets which hit Gulf residents, to this day.

Tickell says despite the multi-million dollar advertising campaign saying the beaches are all clean, there are still workers cleaning beaches, and popular beaches have closures now and then. Tickell, who grew up in Louisiana, in a Cajun family, dug into "cleaned up" beaches and found lots of oil deeper in the sand. It isn't just a metaphorical "cover up", he tells us, but the oil is really just covered up for now.

We go into the Obama deception, the multibillions of shareholder profits paid out by BP even during and after the spill, why the military was co-opted by BP and more.

Josh Tickell first came to prominence after driving his grease-powered "veggie van" across America. That became the film "fuel". Now with wife Rachel, "The Big Fix" is winning acclaim at film festivals around the world. It got a standing ovation at Cannes. Our Radio Ecoshock correspondent in Washington D.C., Gerri Williams, saw it at a film festival there. She said the audience was wowed, and recommended this interview with Josh Tickell.

Since many standard theaters are afraid of blowback from the powerful oil industry, it may not play near you. Fortunately, the DVD will be available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Netflix and ITunes in June. Or you can get it directly from the film web site, after the June release, at


You know Americans are blowing tops of Appalachian Mountains for dirty coal power. Warren Buffet's endless coal trains flow from the America West.

In early May, activists from Vancouver, including two prominent academics, Dr. Bill Rees of the ecological footprint, and energy expert Mark Jaccard, were arrested stopping a coal train there.

Everybody knows China built a coal plant a week. So why don't we hear about the mega mega coal plants springing up in India? Now you will.

Mr. S. Dutta joins us for an in-depth report from India about the growing coal binge there.

The coal mining industry is mainly nationalized, run by the government of India. Politicians have promised to electrify the country, and coal is their main fuel, even as India is hit hard by climate-driven drought, floods, and heat waves.

The center of attention now is the giant 4 gig watt Tata Mundra plant in Northwest India (Gujarat State). It is right on the coast, in one of the most ecologically sensitive and productive areas. Further inland is the great desert, so most people live and work on the coast.

The poorest people, small farmers and fisher people, will be most directly hurt by construction and operation of the many coal plants planned at Tata Mundra.

I ask Mr. Dutta to compare the many anti-coal plants there, and the Occupy movement in the West. Although many people have been arrested at both, there are major differences. The coal-powered electricity will benefit the middle and upper classes, so they are supporting it. The many poor people are those protesting. They do not speak Hindi, the language of their government, and are not consulted or compensated. These poor people need the help of non-profits like the one Mr. Dutta works for.

We go into the larger energy picture of India with lots of facts and figures which may surprise you. Along with the many coal plants either under construction or planned, goes a lot of corruption of land sales. The power will go to fuel shopping malls, which the poor people can never dream to visit. It's a deep interview, with many angles you should hear.

Before we go to our exclusive recording of Dr. David Schindler on the Tar Sands, you'll want to hear this smart new song about a dangerous idea: genetic modification of your food. From You tube, here is the band Superweed.


A few weeks ago I played you part of a daring speech by one of Canada's most prominent and honored scientists, Dr. David Schindler. He spoke out about the many dangers of the Canadian Tar Sands, in a speech to a packed audience at the Wosk Centre in Vancouver. Here is David Schindler wrapping up, about the deformed fish, the fake restoration promoted on TV, and the lasting cost to us all.

For example, The First Nations people of Northern Alberta, who depend on fish to live, complained they were finding some too deformed to eat, or even feed to their dogs. Schindler set up a collection point, and in just the first year found fish with tumors, fish with two tails, fish with one big eye and so on. He concludes these are the product of embryos poisoned by tar sands waste.

Still on the subject of fish, we hear another scandal. When a mine pit is finished, the big corporations are allowed to fill them in with tailings, and then add 10 meters (about 32 feet) of water. They call this restored "fish habitat" - even though nothing can live in them. Starting 17 years ago, the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans have approved over 25 of such "fish lakes". The first one from 17 years ago shows no signs of life, much less fish, but the Federal government doesn't care, Schindler says.

The Caribou stocks of the Tar Sands area have been wiped out. Under the law, they should have been treated as endangered species, but the Minister in charge says Canada has lots of caribou - we'll just stuff in some new ones later, when the lands are restored.

Schindler says very little has been restored, and even those projects are an ecological failure. Supposed forests are sparsely treed. The companies try to restore peat bogs - but the tailings are too salty, at least ten times too salty, to host the peat bogs. Instead of 300 species, the "restored" lands are lucky to host a few dozen.

Meanwhile paid "green" spokespeople like Patrick Moore appear on TV and You tube showing off the restored lands. Schindler says real biologist laugh when Moore points out a pleasant yellow plant as an example of new growth. The plant is exotic, shouldn't be there, and is known to accumulate cyanide.

The whole "restoration" game is a Ponzi scheme. The oil companies have saved about 10% of the cost to restore the easiest lands, those built up with removed top soil (not the toxic tailings). Schindler says Canadians under forty years of age will be stuck with the cleanup bill in years to come.

I doubt restoration will ever happen. As the oil runs out, or becomes too expensive for an industrial economy, these ravages lands will be abandoned, with their toxic lakes and pits, a scar the size of a small European country, left on the planet, as signs of a past oil age.

My thanks to Simon Fraser University for permission to record this speech. Dr. David Schindler is an award winning Canadian scientists, of international renown. That he would speak out at this point shows how bad the Canadian Tar Sands situation has become.

The big fix on the Gulf oil spill, the push for coal in India, Tar Sands propaganda - the fossil fuel industry is flourishing - while the species and climate thrash toward catastrophe.

Now you know, but knowing is only half the battle. Action is up to you.

I would say knowing is less than half the battle - but the with all the propaganda paid for by the fossil fuel industry, and the bought-out mainstream media, it is a bit of work to find out what is really going on. That is why I do Radio Ecoshock. To help you know.

Visit our new web site at

From Wi-Fi somewhere in America, I'm Alex Smith, thank you for listening and caring about your world.

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