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)

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

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 wunderground.com, 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 350.org 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.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ocean Geoengineering: Serial Climate Hacking

Serial climate hacker Russ George (Planktos) leads indigenous villagers to dump iron into the sea - a secret geoengineering project off Canada's West Coast. Press conference statements by the Haida Old Massett Village Chief, interview with Living Oceans' Karen Wristen, Russ George clips from interview by Guardian's Martin Lukacs. Radio Ecoshock 121024 1 hour.

Here are the audio files for this week's program:

CD quality (56 MB)

Lo-Fi (faster download, lower quality, most popular, 14 MB)

AUDIO FROM THE PRESS CONFERENCE, Vancouver October 19th. Recorded by Alex Smith.

Old Massett Chief Ken Rea and Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation President John Disney (16 min)

CD quality or Lo-Fi

HSRC Attorney James L. Straight on the legality of the project (11 min)

CD quality or Lo-Fi

The raw audio of the question and answer period with reporters (28 min)

CD quality or Lo-Fi

There are also two transcripts from the press conference. One transcript is of the Chief Rea and John Disney statements. The second transcript is the Question and Answer period.


The world was stunned last week to find a small village of indigenous people had performed a massive experiment off the Pacific Coast of Canada. To no-one surprise, the so-called "rogue climate hacker" Russ George was a lead actor.

How did the salmon beliefs of the Haida combine with the long-time dream of the former CEO of Planktos Corp? Why would an economically challenged village of 700 people spend millions on a high-tech, high risk venture?

As nature shows signs of dying, we can expect more desperate acts.

This is Radio Ecoshock. I'm Alex Smith.

The Old Village of Massett is on the north end of the islands of Haida Gwaii, formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands. It's a hamlet where First Nations people have suffered 70% unemployment the past 15 years. The village on an inlet is partly sheltered from some the strongest storms in the world, washing the island rainforests much of the year.

The salmon runs of Haida Gwaii are much more than the main source of food. There are salmon ceremonies, rich salmon art, the whole culture is infused with this emblematic fish. But the salmon have almost stopped coming. That is why one Haida village was willing to risk millions of dollars on a scheme mainstream science had already abandoned, and formally condemned.

The Haida people were known as fierce warriors, making slaving missions down the Pacific coast in their great sea going canoes. They are are still proud and respected in British Columbia.

The villagers were dealing with one of the world's most persuasive men, a big dreamer certain he knows how to fix the planet, with limitless nuclear energy, with protected forests, or by conquering the oceans for humankind as new fields to be farmed.

Russ George

Russ George fought for years to mount an experiment dumping iron into the open ocean, to create a massive plankton bloom. He almost made it in 2007, with the Weatherbird II. His company, Planktos, came tumbling down amid over-blown claims that never materialized.

Two needs, two dreams met. The Haida villagers set to sea again, longing almost mystically to see the return of their salmon, by feeding tons of iron as a stimulant to plankton. Russ George was onboard the rented fishing boat "Ocean Pearl" promoted to the title of "Chief Scientist".

The evidence indicates Russ George is not a scientist at all, as most people understand that word. He's a social artist, almost a savant, maybe a visionary, but I wouldn't call him a scientist, as I will explain.

Were people misled? Was money misspent by a poor community? Is the world one-step closer toward trying to redesign the land and the sea, in the wake of industrial pollution? We'll hear the voices of those who were there, and investigate some claims, evaluated by real scientists.

I will not demonize anyone here. These are human players, with something to give us, some huge lessons written on the real living canvass of history. We are not talking about tobacco or oil barons killing millions, but rather well-meaning people who perhaps went too far. You will hear for yourself, and reach your own conclusions.


We'll start with an extraordinary event. The unauthorized scheme to fertilize the ocean was uncovered by the ETC Group while at an international conference on biodiversity in Hyderabad, India. Suddenly on October the 15th, the ETC Group broke the story in Britain's Guardian newspaper.

The Haida group involved, and Mr. George, were caught off guard, as a storm of media broke upon the little island community. Representatives from the Old Village of Massett traveled down to Vancouver, to face a solid wall of TV cameras, well-known national newspaper reporters, and this radio producer.

Village of Old Massett Chief Ken Rea

I'm going to play you now my recording of Old Massett Chief Ken Rea, and the Village administrator John Disney, at the press conference October 17, in the Vancouver Aquarium. The event was hosted by Vancouver lawyer Joe Spears. I'll run this straight through, withholding my comments to the end.

Rea/Disney transcript here.

You've just heard Old Massett Village Chief Ken Rea, and village administrator John Disney, explain their venture to drop iron into the Pacific Ocean. They had two goals: to provide more food for salmon, and to claim valuable carbon credits.


I must add the main government on Haida Gwaii, the Council of the Haida Nation, has renounced any involvement in this scheme. In a letter published October 18th, 2012, we read the following:

"The Hereditary Chiefs Council and the Council of the Haida Nation are in no way involved in artificial fertilization through dumping of iron compounds in the ocean around Haida Gwaii.

The consequences of tampering with nature at this scale are not predicable and pose unacceptable risks to the marine environment.

Our people along with the rest of humanity depend on the oceans and cannot leave the fate of the oceans to the whim of the few.

President of the Haida Nation, Guujaaw

It is signed by the President of the Haida Nation, Guujaaw, and the 8 members of the Hereditary Chiefs Council. Read that statement here.

So it is unfair and incorrect to say "The Haida did this". As Chief Ken Rea told the world press, this experiment was undertaken only by the single village of Old Massett, acting on its own authority.

How could that happen? A little later we'll get an explanation of the politics of aboriginal rights, from none other than Russ George. It's an eye-opener on how this little group bypassed every Canadian authority, issuing its own permits, almost as a sovereign village.


First, we should look at the money trail.

When asked where a tiny village with sky-high unemployment came up with two and a half million dollars for a high-seas adventure, this is what Chief Ken Rea said in the press conference Q and A.

From the Press Conference Q and A (full transcript here)

"CBC [Canadian Broadcasting Corporation]: Whose money is it?

Ken Rea: It's the community's money.

CBC: ??? from the taxes, from the government, or transfers? What's the biggest source of money?

Ken Rea: We've had monies available from other funding sources that belong to the community. We've had money from proper management and shared revenue sources from various resources. And we've, over careful management over many years we've built up a reserve. "

Considering the money belonged to the villagers, and some of it came from Canadian taxpayers, this is hardly a transparent answer.


Living Oceans Society Executive Director Karen Wristen

A Canadian ocean NGO, the Living Oceans Society, released documents from Massett Village, and from the North Coast Community Credit Union, detailing the application for a loan of two million dollars for the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation.

You can find a copy of the internal emails and financing documents for the Old Massett Village here.

I interviewed Karen Wristen, Executive Director of the Living Oceans Society - the group who found online documents detailing the $2 million loan application by Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation (HSRC) to the North Coast Credit Union. That Credit Union's due diligence raised questions about ocean fertilization, the legality of the project, and the scientific credibility of Russ George. Read what they had to say. There is also a proposed budget breakdown for the project in those papers.

The Living Oceans Society also warned Environment Canada on August 19th that a geoengineering experiment was on-going, giving them the name and location of the ship. Apparently nothing was done.

Wristen, herself a lawyer with experience in environmental case law, concludes there is no big monetary payback possible from this project - the people of the Village of Massett stand to lose a lot of money. The salmon, she says, "got a very expensive lunch".

As you can tell, there are still a lot of questions about the way this money was allocated, the wisdom of the expense, and whether these millions can ever be repaid.


Despite talking so much about salmon, which were certainly on the minds of most villagers, documents and interviews show the larger hope of repayment was to come from selling carbon credits.

There is a theory that plankton will capture more carbon dioxide from the air. Then on dying, that carbon will fall with them to the deep sea bed, where it will be sequestered. If done on a large scale, this might somewhat reduce the carbon dioxide pumped into the air by polluters. Major polluting industries, especially in Europe, will pay a price for each ton of carbon captured.

As you will hear later, Russ George believes with 100 percent certainty that creating plankton blooms does capture carbon dioxide. And now he claims this latest venture proves it beyond any doubt.

The fact that Russ George does not express scientific caution, and has never published any peer-reviewed evidence of his claims, is one sign that he is not following the accepted scientific method.

Other trained ocean and zoological scientists, some of them onboard previous plankton seeding tests run off government ships, have cautioned that carbon dioxide may not be reduced, or not sequestered long-term, or that other greenhouse gases like methane and nitrous oxide may be produced. The consensus of world scientists is that plankton seeding should not be done. Committees for international Conventions representing 192 countries recommended a moratorium on such activities.

None of that deters Russ George. Through his former company Planktos, George was so confident of success that he pre-sold carbon credits, even to the public online, long before he captured any carbon dioxide. I can't find any indication that money was returned when George's company forests were not planted in Hungary as promised, and his ship the Weatherbird II did not dump its iron.

When we investigate the tangled web of corporations and corporate shells set up by Russ George, along with the convicted Canadian financier Nelson Skalbania, we become even more leery of George's claims.

In fact, there are several versions of Russ George. The first is a tree-planter, and his experience is strong there. But you can also find Russ George in his persona of a self-taught nuclear scientist, expert and businessman in the field of nuclear fusion. His company D2fusion sold stocks, which crashed, and promised products, which never appeared. On You tube there is a presentation by DR George to the American Chemical Society in 1999.


But Russ is no doctor. That's just his initials: D R George. Why doesn't he correct people who address him or post him as Dr. George?

In the Old Massett Village presentation you heard earlier, Russ George was touted as the Chief Scientist on board the Ocean Pearl. I think that is misleading.

What is a scientist? In the 1800's, many scientists were gentlemen of leisure investigating basic things. They made many discoveries. But today, in a very complex world, we developed a university system which trains scientists. It takes many years to earn a PhD in any field, including life sciences like biology, zoology, and oceanography.

Russ attended the University of Utah for a few years and apparently dropped out without a degree. That is, he does not appear to be a university graduate. Most people would find that surprising in the resume of a "Chief Scientist".

Another part of the definition of a modern scientist, is the requirement to develop theories which are published in peer-reviewed journals. That is a check and balance system to make sure facts follow theory.

As far as I can find out, Russ George has never been published in an accepted peer-review journal. So he can make quite extraordinary statements, and the rest of the scientific community has not checked them.

None of this denies Russ George is an extraordinary man, even a brilliant one. I see him more as a social and media artist, with an ability to learn the language of scientific disciplines. He is also a visionary, with the strength to inspire people - even a small village of people on the wild side of the ocean. Visionaries also have their limitations. Some believe in their vision 100%, without any doubt, or desire to check with others.


For example, let's start with this founding statement repeated often by Russ George over the year, and given again in the Power Point provided by the Old Massett Village for the Vancouver press conference. That slide says:

"Over the past half-century there has been a decline in atmospheric dust deposition from the deserts and dry lands of Asia - the most important season[al] source of iron for the North Pacific Ocean."

Really? I wondered if such a study had even been done. Looking in the references for these slides, the first is a paper "Atmospheric global dust cycle and Iron inputs to the ocean" by Natalie M. Mahowald of Cornell, and a half dozen other world experts.

Natalie M. Mahowald, Cornell University

I read the paper. It didn't say anything about the decline of dust from Asia to the Northern Pacific. The paper is a key summary of all the top dust science, a survey to see what is known. It talks about research, and looks at two more important questions: has the chemistry of industrial-laced air changed the availability of iron to plankton in the sea? And will climate change alter dust deposition?

Baffled, I wrote to Natalie Mahowald over the weekend. She gave me a helpful reply almost immediately.

First, I asked, is this dusty statement by Russ George, echoed by the Haida village, true?

Her reply: "Probably not. More important than dust is soluble iron from Asia, which is likely to have increased."

Second: could such a statement be derived from that paper?

Answer: "I don't think there is anything in that paper on this."

She adds: "There is almost no data describing the trends in dust coming from Asia over the whole 20th century. There is some evidence that dust maximized in the 1950s in Chinese dust sources (e.g. Mahowald et al., 2007), but this is not true of all of Asia and that data is only available after 1950 or so.

What is more important for ocean iron, is the amount of soluble iron going into the ocean, not dust or total iron. Several studies have suggested that economic growth in Asia has substantially increased soluble iron inputs to the North Pacific by direct emission of soluble iron from anthropogenic emissions (e.g. Chuang et al., 2005) or by supplying acids like sulfate, which make the dust iron more soluble (Meskhidze et al., 2003) and we estimate from that an increase in North Pacific soluble iron inputs from atmospheric deposition (e.g. Luo et al.., 2008; Mahowald et al., 2009).

Mahowald continued: "In this region, sedimentary sources of iron are likely to be quite important, so that inputs from the atmosphere may not be driving phytoplankton growth (e.g. Lam and Bishop, 2008).

Thus, overall I would say, no, I do not agree that soluble iron inputs to the North Pacific have decreased over the 20th century, but rather have likely increased but the uncertainty is large."

So what! you say? Everything in the story of this ocean seeding experiment depends upon this fundamental premise that nature is not doing its job. Less dust is falling, the plankton are starving for iron, and that is why we must go out to sea and spend millions of dollars dumping iron into the ocean.

But here we have the venture's cited world expert saying that is probably not true, more iron may be available anyway due to industrial pollution. There is inadequate scientific information to make sweeping statements about a decline.

With Russ George, you can be inspired if you want, but you have to check every detail of what he says. It's a heady cocktail of three quarters truth, well worth listening to, and one quarter exaggeration bordering on blarney.


Surely we are not just dealing with volcanos and dust when it comes to salmon decline. It's a shame the Old Massett people couldn't wait for the upcoming release of a comprehensive report by the Cohen Commission inquiry into the disappearing sockeye salmon.

In my opinion, and not only in my opinion, the Old Massett Village leaders are also over their heads. For example, during the press conference, two actual ocean scientists from the University of British Columbia were allowed one question each, with no reply. Note there were no microphones for the press, just one mic for the presenters, carefully controlled by two of their lawyers present.

Maite Maldonado, University of British Columbia

Again I wrote to a person who asked a question at the press conference, but was not allowed to comment. She is Maite Maldonado, a professor in the Earth, Ocean and Sciences Department at UBC. Maite is also familiar with the fisheries on the Pacific Coast, and a Canada Research Chair in Phytoplankton Trace Metal Physiology.

Maldonado says the Haida Salmon Restoration project leaders were greatly over-simplifying a complex living system. After quoting from the most-cited paper on the volcanic ash and anomalous plankton bloom of 2008, by Hamme et all 2010 , Maite concludes the bottom line is that YES, a volcanic eruption in 2008 enhanced phytoplankton production in the subarctic Pacific that late summer/early fall, but there is NO evidence to support that this phytoplankton bloom in August 2008 resulted in the high salmon returns of 2010.

In fact, the non-scientist Russ George may have missed the target altogether on two counts. First of all, Hamme et al concluded from their study of the Alaskan volcanic eruption and plankton bloom of 2008, hardly any carbon dioxide was sequestered, "implying that even large-scale iron fertilization at an optimum time of year is not very efficient at sequestering atmospheric CO2.

Maite Maldonado adds other studies and citations showing the real cause of the sockeye salmon decline is still unknown to science. Their best guess does not focus on alleged starving salmon out at sea, but rather the growth conditions for juvenile salmon as they emerge from the coastal waters. There is plenty of plankton for them there Maldonado says, and real scientific studies indicate there must be other factors in that near-shore environment affecting longer term survival.

Maite writes: "Salmon survival has been linked to the quality of feeding and growing conditions during their early marine life (from smolt to adult), while the smolts are transitioning from the rivers to the open ocean. So the conditions in inlets and sounds are key."

As our guest Karen Wristen said earlier, this Haida Salmon Restoration project may only have provided a multi-million dollar lunch.

OK, it's time to play some Russ George reality, but as I hope I've shown, apply some healthy scientific doubt to everything.

Russ George is talking with Guardian newspaper journalist Martin Lukacs.

What was the rationality for secretly pouring iron into the ocean? George explains that to Lukacs, and I run part of the clip for you in this radio program.

Guardian journalist Martin Lukacs

Martin Lukacs broke this story in the Guardian about the Haida Salmon Restoration venture breaking UN rules.


How could a single Haida Village perform geoengineering without getting any government permits? They claim they are the government.

This is amazing. Essentially Old Massett declared itself to be the world's first sovereign village! Russ George tells Lukacs that due to a 2005 Supreme Court of Canada decision, the Haida have the same rights as the Government of Canada.

But the Haida Nation (which distanced themselves from this scheme) is like a federal government with two main provinces: the Village of Skidegate, and the Village of Old Massett. These two sub-groups apparently also consider themselves to be sovereign governments, Russ George told Martin Lucaks.

That was the rationale for Old Massett to write its own laws, and to ISSUE ITS OWN PERMITS for this Haida Salmon Restoration project. Russ George says "you choose your regulator". He chose the same group that were taking the loan, paying the bills, and running the whole experiment on the ocean. They didn't feel the need to apply to the Canadian Government, or the Province of British Columbia, for the environmental and other permits anyone else would need, for a ship leaving a Canadian port.

That explains a lot. When asked by reporter Lukacs where these self-issued permits are, George replies they are hanging on the wall of his Vancouver office.


The fishing vessel Ocean Pearl

Who were the scientists on board? I asked that question at the Press Conference. At first they dodged it, claiming privacy issues, and then gave me a very short list. Here is that exchange:

From the press conference transcript:

Joe Spears [lawyer for HSRC]: Alex Smith from CFRO Radio.

Alex Smith: Please name the scientists that were on board the Ocean Pearl for this project. You mentioned science.

Joe Spears: The question is: name the scientists on board the fishing vessel Ocean Pearl. John? Jason?

Jason is the Operations Officer and I know he spent many weeks at sea and it was really sunny once in the four weeks I think, and there was only a thirty foot groundswell happening. So Jason?

(talk among organizers, including Disney and Spears): "Russ for sure."

Jason McNamee: Hi. Yeah we had a number of scientists. We had a number of scientists on board. Uh, obviously Russ George was one or our scient... key scientists.

Other journalist: Could you also possibly include their training? What their scientific background is?

Jason: I don't have their CV's with me.

Joe Spears: I think there's a question of privacy of individuals. We'll get you that information and on the video that's on here, you'll see the deck hands and the technicians that are walking around trying to deploy equipment at sea. So there was lots of people. I think we can, we'll get that information. It's not a guess; we don't want to guess here.

(Jason starts to leave the microphone)

Alex Smith: So you are not answering the question?

Jason McNamee: Russ George was our Chief Scientist. Right. We've got Peter Gross who is our Senior Oceanographic Engineer. He also doubles as our Sonar expert.

We had a plankton biologist on board named Tegan Sime. The chemist on board... I did some of the chemistry work, and we had a number of technicians. A lot of our work was collaborative, and so a lot of the technical work was done on the ship.

Asked the same question by journalist Martin Lukacs, Russ George replied with a very short list, long on bafflegab.

All the crew were undergrads, with Russ George as the supposed Chief Scientist. They had minimal training in the high tech equipment on board, and at one point required direct coaching by satellite by Professor Doug Campbell at Mount Allison University. Several of the crew listed their qualifications as technical geeks in things like audio. Apparently, there was not a single doctorate level scientist on the ship.


Why does this matter? It all has to do with confidence in the gathering methods, and the chain of custody.

At the press conference, we were told Russ George was not present because he was too busy analyzing data. So Russ George, whose record we know too well, is in charge of all that data? John Disney told the press "some" of the data would be released for verification by independent parties. Will only supportive data be released? Who knows?

Russ George bragged to one reporter that 100 PhD dissertations would emerge out of the data he had collected. I doubt it. Who will trust it?


Russ George denies there is any Convention or even a moratorium against ocean fertilization.

May he's right. Maybe the holes in International Law are so big that every village encountering hard times around the world can start out to change the whole Earth to suit themselves.

This Haida Salmon Restoration project is a wake-up call to governments to act before it is too late. To at least regulate, with criminal penalties, rogue geoengineering. We manage to investigate and penalize many crimes, no matter where the act takes place, but not unilateral changes to species, the biosphere, or the ocean? We need real laws for the high seas.

Meanwhile, Russ George continues his pursuit of fame and recognition. In the Martin Lukacs interview George describes trips to the World Bank in Washington, and to the Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome. When asked if the HSRC was getting funding from the World Bank, George replied no, it cost "us" money to go there and make a presentation.

Who is paying for those travels? The poor of Old Massett Village, for the next ten years? These finances should be more transparent.


But don't worry. Russ George is 100% certain their experiment has disproven all scientific fears. He gives Lukacs a laundry list of past criticisms and scientific worries about plankton seeding - and says all of that is disproven by his new data.

There is no absolute certainty in science. But Russ George offers it to us, just as he offered absolution to the Vatican for their carbon sins. You can't make this stuff up in Hollywood.

Vatican presentation by Russ George on You tube here.

By the way, the Vatican's carbon emissions are still up there in the atmosphere, but the planned "Vatican Forest" in Hungary was never planted. Maybe the Vatican should repent and drastically slash their emissions instead. Maybe we all should do that.


I did say Russ was often also right. In a clip from the Lukacs interview, he tells us our personal carbon pollution is killing the ocean far more than overfishing.

George is also right to warn us the oceans are dying, and that climate change is the major cause.

But come clean about your science credentials George. You are a brilliant fast-learner, a self-taught man. That's a lot. You don't need the misleading labels.


Intelligent or not, I can't follow Russ George, or the Haida villagers, to their ultimate goal.

Saying the ocean is dying, George tells us humans must take over these last wild places on Earth. We'll convert the open ocean into "pastures" like agribusiness on the seas, farming plankton and the fish. We'll dump iron every year. I'm thinking maybe we'll introduce new genetically modified species, who knows? The dying ocean is ours to play with and command.

Russ George explains all that to Martin Lukacs in a clip in this Radio Ecoshock program.

Is that your vision? It's not mine.

I'm Alex Smith.

My thanks to Martin Lukacs of the Guardian for putting his reporter's audio notes into the public domain. Martin Lukacs of the Guardian, who broke this story with the ETC Group. Lukacs placed over an hour of that recording in the Public Domain at archive.org. Part 1 here. Part 2 here

Download this show as a free mp3 from our web site ecoshock.org

Thank you for listening, and join me next week.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Covert Geoengineering & Women Against Tar Sands

Jim Thomas of ETC Group on rogue geoengineering off Canada's West Coast by Russ George, former CEO of Planktos. "She Speaks: Indigenous Women Speak Out Against Tar Sands". Eriel Deranger & Freda Huson + Suzanne Dhaliwal co-founder of UK Tar Sands Network. World's most polluting project and pipelines threaten rivers, Great Bear Rainforest, and wild West coast. Radio Ecoshock 121017 1 hour

Here is your download list for this program:

Download/listen to full 1 hour program in CD Quality (56 MB)

Download/listen to full 1 hour program in faster download/lower quality Lo-Fi format (14 MB)

Download/listen to Eriel Deranger (16 min)

Download/listen to Fred Huson (17 min)

Download/listen to Suzanne Dhaliwal (13 min)


Hear 11-year-old child activist Ta'Kaiya Blaney from the "She Speaks" event. She started campaigning for Nature at age 9, starting with the Tar Sands. Since then she's been in two films and spoke at the Rio +20 conference in Brazil.

This recording from the September 21st event in Vancouver, courtesy of Redeye Collective, includes her hit song "Shallow Waters" so you might want to download the CD Quality version. 15 minutes.

Download/listen to Ta'kaiya Blaney in CD Quality.

Download/listen to Ta’kaiya Blaney in Lo-Fi.


Download/listen to Jim Thomas from ETC Group on covert geoengineering (15 min) in CD Quality or Lo-Fi.


Russ George, former CEO of Planktos and D2Fusion

Russ George, the one-man geoengineering phenomenon, strikes again! And despite an ocean dumping and geoengineering ban by 192 countries, George has help from Canada and the U.S.

This time the green-talking former CEO of Planktos Corp didn't just dump some red paint off the back of rocker Neil Young's yacht, as he did in 2002. He's secretly added 100 tons of iron sulfate to the ocean off Canada's West Coast.

In 2007, Radio Ecoshock did a full one hour interview with Russ George, followed by a second program with his critics, including Pat Mooney of the ETC Group. Interest is huge. The Pat Mooney interview has been downloaded at least 20,000 times.

After Planktos went down in flames, amid accusations of shady promoters and stock manipulation, Russ George faded from the public eye.

But he never stopped dreaming he could help stop climate change using ocean life.

George wants to make money by seeding the world's oceans with iron to stimulate algae growth. Now the ETC Group has revealed his latest plot.

Radio Ecoshock speaks with Jim Thomas from the ETC Group, which at a Biodiversity Convention conference in Hyderabad India, heard rumors a geoengineering experiment had already occurred off Canada's West Coast. The group investigated.

Jim Thomas, Research Program Manager, ETC Group

They found serial ocean dumper Russ George was back at his game, this time claiming to have dumped 100 tons of iron sulfate into the Pacific Ocean. It was about 200 kilometers west of the mid-coast island of Haida Gwaii. George says he created an algae bloom covering about 10,000 square kilometers of ocean.

No one knows what effect this will have. Several nations conducted a series of similar experiments, with real senior scientists onboard, but stopped due to concerns raised about unknown impacts.

Jim Thomas said dumping iron into the ocean has not been proven to permanently sequester carbon, may in fact release other greenhouse gases like methane and nitrous oxide, and could remove oxygen further down in the sea, killing off other forms of life. Even noxious algae might grow as well.

As a result of this, and other work by environmental groups, scientists and governments - partly in response to earlier attempts to change ocean life by the private company Planktos, headed by Russ George - 192 nations agreed to BAN OCEAN SEEDING EXPERIMENTS, and then to declare a moratorium on geoengineering experiments.

During the Planktos adventure, which Radio Ecoshock chronicled thoroughly, both Spain and Ecuador closed their ports to Russ George and his ship the Weatherbird II. They wanted no part of his schemes.


But in the summer of 2012, Russ George set sail in the rented fishing boat "Ocean Pearl" from a Canadian port. He claims the National Research Council of Canada was aware of his project, and supported it. Some junior Canadian scientists went on board to watch the results. A Canadian company contributed equipment called "Ocean Gliders".


Even worse, the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration gave Russ George very expensive measuring devices, including ocean buoy bots.

So two countries who agreed to halt ocean dumping and geoengineering in the ocean helped this amateur carry out a private geoengineering scheme. The Biodiversity Convention and the London Dumping Convention obviously need far more enforcement mechanisms, and more support from major players like the U.S., Canada and the UK, says Jim Thomas.

There have been a few exposes about the questionable dealings of Russ George, in Canadian and world newspapers, and on Radio Ecoshock, in 2007 when he attempted a previous ocean dumping plan. George was also head of a company pushing cold fusion, a technology that never materialized, despite being pushed in the over the counter stock trade. Find Steve Krivit's investigation into the many claims of Russ George here.

The ocean dumping company Planktos was backed by the disgraced (and convicted) Canadian financier Nelson Skalbania. Russ George promoted his plankton scheme to green groups without success. He managed to persuade the Vatican to use his company to off-set their carbon credits, even though he could not produce any proof that any carbon had been saved by his company.

This time, George persuaded a former commercial fisherman, now acting as a consultant for a small Haida village, in the Canadian coastal islands known as Haida Gwaii, formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands. That was John Disney. The two managed to find funding said to be over 2.5 million dollars for the venture, dubbed the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation.

I don't yet know where the money came from. Was it from the Haida tribe (who still wrestle with poverty for some of its members) - or from the Canadian government? Who paid for this carbon salesman to play with our common oceans, against all international agreements?

Be sure and hear my interview with Jim Thomas. My previous interview with Pat Mooney of the ETC Group has been downloaded over 20,000 times. It's important stuff.

You'll find a one hour interview with Russ George, where I confront him with claims made but not fulfilled. That blog entry, "Planktos: Offsets Real and Imagined" is here.

Download/listen to the matching 1 hour radio program here.

Then there is "Planktos II: The Intervention" - a full program with three guests who out the man, his questionable promotion of a cold fusion company, and his banned-from-trading man behind the scenes, Canada's Nelson Skalbania.

My guests in that 2007 program are Dr. David Santillo the Greenpeace scientist, Pat Mooney from the ETC Group, and Vancouver Sun business investigator David Baines. It's a tale of intrigue and misrepresentation that may have happened again - this time to a prominent First Nation in Canada.

Listen to/download that program here, and read the blog here.


This is one of my biggest fears about geoengineering. A single country could just start pumping sulfur pollution into the atmosphere, or even launch a rocket full of mirrors to block out the sun. Now we see it could just be a small scientific lab or even a member of the public determined to save the climate their way. It's a free-for-all, likely to involve more desperate measures as the climate deteriorates. We should be frightened by the example Russ George sets.

This "rogue geoengineering" in the Pacific is shocking behavior by Canada and the United States, both of whom agreed to the ocean fertilization ban, and limits on geoengineering. It's a disappointment from a respected West Coast tribe, the Haida - who have been environmentally progressive. Did they not look up George's record as a promoter who does not deliver?

I'm not disappointed in Russ George. Everyone expected this driven man to try and try again. Russ George thinks he's right, and everybody else is wrong. The publicity and the millions raised for each project, as the would-be "Doctor" or "Senior Scientist" sails again is all gravy to him. Russ George is a one-man ocean wrecking ball, and the poster-child for why we need ocean enforcement, and a real moratorium on geoengineering.


Stay tuned for another industrial crime. Indigenous women in Canada are raising their voices against the polluting tar sands, and the pipeline releasing their poison to the world. Others talk about indigenous people, trying to adopt that culture's wisdom. On Radio Ecoshock, First Nations people speak for themselves.

Who cares about another pipeline in Northern Canada? When it threatens to pump dirty Tar Sands oil to China and the world, everyone needs to know.

Those who know best are the native people living close to the biggest source of industrial pollution on the planet. And those depending on the thousand streams risking poison from the Northern Gateway Pipeline from Alberta through British Columbia, to the pristine Great Bear Rainforest and coast.

First Nations women are taking the lead in speaking up for their communities, and the future. If the Tar Sands power Asia and America, climate catastrophe is assured. We can't let that happen.

Now you will hear First Nations speakers recorded September 21st in Vancouver. A UK activist also reports in on the international campaign to stop Tar Sands madness.

I'm Alex Smith. There's not much more I can say. Our future and our children are at stake.

We start with Eriel Deranger, Communications Director for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, neighbors and victims to the monstrous Tar Sands operations in the north of Alberta, Canada. She was recorded at the event "She Speaks: Indigenous Women Speak Out Against Tar Sands" recorded in Vancouver on Sept 21st, by the Redeye Collective at CFRO Coop Radio. (Thanks Jane!)

There was a parallel "She Speaks" event against the Tar Sands in Toronto.

This is Radio Ecoshock, with a special on the Canadian Tar Sands, and the fight against the Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal that endangers the northern wilderness and the wild west Coast. Our next speaker is Freda Huson of the Wet’suwet’en Nation about a resistance camp built to protect the land from the Northern Gateway Pipeline.

The Northern Gateway pipeline would send highly toxic tar sands crude through 1,000 mountain rivers and streams, across the Great Bear Rainforest, to a narrow fjord at Kitimat, British Columbia. All that risk to feed the oil addiction of the United States and Asia, from the world's largest single source of pollution, the Canadian Tar Sands.


Suzanne Dhaliwal, activist

What can you do where you live? Listen to these ideas from the Tar Sands Network in the UK, represented by activist Suzanne Dhaliwal. She's speaking against the Northern Gateway Pipeline, proposed by energy giant Enbridge, to carry highly toxic Tar Sands crude. Enbridge has just revealed they had 31 pipeline leaks since 2002.

Coming from a background of climate activism and her interest in protecting wilderness for herbal medicines, Suzanne Dhaliwal was in the UK, attending a climate camp, when she really realized what the Canadian Tar Sands were all about. She had partly grown up in Canada, and like most Canadian, never grasped the climate-killing importance of the Tar Sands, or their impacts on both wilderness and especially the First Nations people.

This drove her to co-found a network in the UK to oppose investments in the Tar Sands. Big pension funds and British banks bailed out by the taxpayers were heavily invested in oil companies in the Alberta Tar Sands. They started actions toward disinvestment, and more tar free communities. Suzanne has some good ideas on how you could oppose the Tar Sands, wherever you live.

I'm Alex Smith, asking you to organize however you can to make more "tar sands free" communities, and to stop the spread of this climate-wrecking madness.

This has been Radio Ecoshock. Download this and all our programs from our web site at ecoshock.org.

Thank you for listening, and caring about your world.

Monday, October 8, 2012


Three guests. Rob Stewart, Director of movie "Sharkwater" and now his latest "Revolution" - is the ocean dying? An international media briefing by Lester Brown of Earth Policy Institute about rising food prices & his new book "Full Planet, Empty Plates". Wes Regan on urban farming in the poorest neighborhood in Canada. Radio Ecoshock 121010

Download/listen to this Radio Ecoshock show in CD quality 56 MB.

Download/listen to this Radio Ecoshock show in Lo-Fi 14 MB. Coming up this week: an interview with Rob Stewart, Director of movie "Sharkwater" and now his latest "Revolution" - is the ocean dying? What can we do?

You can see food prices going up. It's happening around the world, stressing budgets and leading to foodless days for millions of the world's poor. You'll find out why in an international media briefing by Lester Brown of Earth Policy Institute about rising food prices & his new book "Full Planet, Empty Plates". Only on Radio Ecoshock.

We finish up with as Wes Regan of Vancouver tells us about urban farming in the poorest neighborhood in Canada.


Rob Stewart blew into world consciousness with his award-winning indie film "Sharkwater". Sharkwater was one of the biggest selling Canadian films ever. It ricocheted all around the world. We start with the latest developments in saving the sharks.

As a result of that movie, and Stewart's unrelenting campaign, over a hundred countries and many more cities have banned shark fin soup - the alleged delicacy wiping out the ocean's top predator. Shark fin soup is banned at all Chinese government functions.

Now Stewart is back for a much bigger fight, the fight of our lives: how to steer a death-wish civilization in a better direction. His new movie, four years in the making, was released at the Toronto International Film Festival and again at the Vancouver Film Festival. It's called "Revolution".

The film has experts saying coral reefs could be mostly dead in 40 years or less. I've just seen a You tube lecture by Professor Alexander Tudhope, a geoscientist and climatologist from the University of Edinburgh. He seemed less certain of the coral fate, suggesting they could die off, but it's still possible they may adapt enough to survive.

Stewart cites Charlie Veron, aka John Veron, a heavily awarded Australian scientist who warns on current path, the Great Barrier Reef will be dead in 20 years... and Katharina Fabricius, lead scientist at the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences.

These scientists are also part of the "Coral Triangle Initiative"


A key moment in the movie is when Stewart should have been celebrating his moment of triumph. Sharkwater was finally being showed in China, in Hong Kong, where shark fin soup is served. Its possible 100 million Chinese people will see it. But an audience question stumped him, almost invaliding his years of work: why struggle to save the sharks, if scientists say most big fish in the world could become extinct as early as 2048.

That extraordinary prediction is published science coming from a team led by Dr. Boris Worms at Dalhousie University in Eastern Canada. Radio Ecoshock covered that in 2006. Find my blog and the audio here.

Outfield Productions from Pakistan turned it into a You tube video found here.

Stewart was tossed into the much larger problems which threaten the world's oceans. The largest of all, not just for the great coral reefs (nurseries of the sea), but for all creatures which form either shells or skeletons, is ocean acidification. He sets out on a journey to find out more.

The need for "revolution" comes from the inability of world governments to do anything at all to save the oceans. Only a major change to the system, Stewart concludes, can save the oceans, and us. The only group he can find that isn't invested in the present system is youth and children. They are the best hope.

There is a hugely moving scene with Felix Finkbeiner, age 13, founder of the group Plant for the Planet. Finkbeiner is organizing youth to plant hundreds of millions of trees.

In some ways Stewart needed the same underground film techniques so successful in "Sharkwater". Why do we still need to slink around without permits, to document the greatest threat to humanity and all species?


We also discuss his relationship with another ocean defender, Captain Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Society. Watson is currently a wanted man, living on one of his ships in an undisclosed location. Costa Rica issues an international arrest warrant, claiming Watson had endangered a fishing vessel that was finning sharks, part of the research done for Stewart's film. German acted on that warrant, even though it is doubtful Watson would receive a fair trial in Costa Rica, and despite widespread German support for his actions to save marine species.

Paul Watson skipped out on a $300,000 bail bond, and went out into international waters, in the open sea.


Even though "Sharkwater" was phenomenally successful, Stewart still had trouble financing the movie "Revolution".

Rob was painted green for Fill the Hill C-Day for Powershift in Ottawa Canada in 2009, just prior to the Copenhagen talks. Suddenly his funding promises dropped from 5 million dollars (he planned a 3-D underwater spectacular) to just $150,000. Rob packed his bags and cameras and went out on his own to film.

We learn Stewart has just published a book as well. It's called "Save the Humans". The book takes us into the back story of making both Sharkwater and Revolution, being partly biographic.

As Stewart works insane hours getting his message out, traveling the world, he has started a new environment group, the United Conservationists.

You can find the film web site at therevolutionmovie.com

I loved the movie. It's deep and necessary. I hope it storms the world.


Lester Brown is one of the world's treasures and truth-tellers. Decades ago he founded the World Watch Institute, which issued comprehensive annual State of the World reports.

One of Lester's specialties has always been monitoring world food supplies, crop production, and the growing catalog of threats to the global food supply. He went on to found the Earth Policy Institute.

On September 27th, Brown held a briefing for world media about our current situation, and his new book "Full Planet, Empty Plates, the New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity." I recorded it, and got permission to broadcast it to you.

Our situation is not good. The world's largest food exporter, the United States, has just gone through a record drought (which still continues into October). Crop production is down, and world food reserves are far below what they should be.

Food prices, especially for grains, have risen around the world. Usually when that happens, there is political instability as well.

In North America and Europe, the consequences are not so grave. We spend much less of our total income on food, and most of the cost of food is actually in processing.

In the developing world, more than a hundred million people actually schedule "foodless days" (you can call it a "fast" is you want) because there isn't enough for the table. In parts of Asia and Africa, at least 75% of all income goes directly for that day's food. There isn't any room for price increases.

Lester Brown goes on to catalog the many challenges we face in trying to feed 80 million more people every year. For example, many countries are already over pumping their aquifers. They have to go deeper and deeper, burning expensive diesel fuel for pumps. Some wells are going dry, and some rivers are going dry.

Add in climate change, with missed monsoons, droughts, storms wiping out crops, and you see the potential for a very unstable world.

This press briefing is loaded with facts mainstream media doesn't bother to tell you. Don't miss it.

There are lots of links and related downloads there, including the complete set of data sets.


Find a bio of Wes Regan here.

There are mysterious gardens appearing in Canada's poorest urban neighborhood - Vancouver's downtown East Side. And why is a business group pushing local food?

Some Downtown East side residents have seen their share of problems. Along with the newly arriving condo owners, there is a mix of alcoholics, drug addicts, the disabled, the unemployed, and people who have been disadvantaged or abused. Some are First Nations.

Our guest is Wes Regan, Executive Coordinator of the Hastings Crossing Business Improvement Association in Vancouver, Canada. Wes toured internationally as an actor and musician, before becoming an urban geographer. He's a founding member of the Vancouver Urban Farming Network, and the Urban Aqua-Farm Society.

We start with a little patch of vacant land in an area known for poverty and drug abuse. Squeezed between two old buildings, this lot on Hastings Street in Vancouver's Downtown East Side used to be covered in garbage. Now it's covered with food. It is a new urban garden.

Too often, we think of business being hostile to green initiatives. But Regan coordinates the local Business Improvement Association. It is an unlikely marriage, but works well when progressive business is involved.

Wes tells us about the Vancouver Urban Farming Society, and Sole food farm.

This is community supported agriculture, the CSA model. But there is a new wrinkle: people can pick the amount of food they need that week. That works especially well for the poorest people, many of whom live in government-subsidized rooming houses with no kitchens.

Some of the workers in these gardens earn a little money, even though they could likely not hold a 9 to 5 job. It's an important green job supplement. Other gardens have been set up specifically to help recovering people heal. There is much more to these urban farms than just the economics and production.

Wes Regan is also part of the Urban Aqua-Farm Society. Are there really aquaculture operations in the city of Vancouver? No large ones yet. There are some experimental ponds and barrels.

Urban farming tends to focus on raising greens and other veggies. But if we want true self-sufficiency, we need proteins as well. Some of that can come from beans, but raising fish or other marine life in our cities could fill the protein gap.

Many of us picture urban farming as a pass-time for yuppies, people with money. We talk about urban farming as part of the solution to poverty. It is working in Detroit and many other U.S. cities as well, where empty housing was bull-dozed, and tractors are now at work.

Don't hungry people, drunks, or vandals just steal the food or wreck the gardens? Wes can't recall any such incident of vandalism. It seems just trying to cope with extreme poverty, the area has built up its own community rules and spirit. People support these gardens, and other guerilla planting.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and his Council are supportive. They want to make Vancouver the "greenest city in the world". How could we make the same case to less sympathetic municipal governments? Wes says a straight case of economics can be made, and explains how.

Regan co-authored the 2010 report "Advancing Urban Farming in Vancouver" which you can find here.

------------------- That's it for Radio Ecoshock this week. Find us on Facebook and you can share each and every program with your friends. We need to get the word out fast to save what is left of the natural system. You can help. Feel free to download our show from the web site ecoshock.org Pass them around as mp3's or CDs.

I'm Alex Smith. I appreciate the helpful emails, tips, and links sent in by listeners. Just click on the "Contact" button on our web page to send your message. Thank you for listening and caring about our world.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tough Transition

From "The Farm" in Summertown, Tennessee, deep green thinker and activist Albert Bates on Tough Transition. Then one of the pioneers of localization and sustainable community, Dr. Mark Roseland. Alex reports on new ocean/climate movie to save... us. Rob Stewart's film "Revolution". Radio Ecoshock 121003.

Download 1 hour program in CD Quality (56 MB)

or faster download/lower quality Lo-Fi (14MB)

Radio Stations: Ecoshock 121003 Part 1 29 min and Part 2 29 min

This week we're still talking about social change to save the environment and ourselves. From "The Farm" in Summertown, Tennessee, deep green thinker and activist Albert Bates on Tough Transition - how to make a local community work - even if people can't agree on why it must.

Then we're going to one of the fathers of movements like Transition and localization, Dr. Mark Roseland in his 1992 book "Toward Sustainable Communities" became a handbook for local and regional politicians, non-profits, and citizen groups. Now it's out in a Fourth Edition, with a goal of providing, quote "Solutions for Citizens and Their Governments."

We'll get a call for Revolution from the maker of the movie Sharkwater. Rob Stewart says the species we need to save now is us. I've just seen his new film "Revolution". It's the ultimate challenge, literally our do or die time to save ocean life, and all life, from mass extinction. Our coverage of the dying oceans continues.

All coming your way this week, on Radio Ecoshock. I'm Alex Smith.


Just like organisms, there are simple people. Others, like Albert Bates, are complex. He's a former attorney, a designer, bio char expert, author, speaker, and an international and local organizer. Albert has lived at the famous intentional community called "The Farm" in Summertown, Tennessee since 1972. His book "Climate in Crisis" was published back in 1990, with more following, like "The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook" in 2006, and "The Biochar Solution" in 2010.

In last week's program, we heard from successful Transition Towns in New England. That's easy enough with progressive voters. Albert, can it be done in a conservative "Red State" like Tennessee?

I've called up Albert to ask him about forming a Transition community in the rural Republican South.

When "The Farm" began in 1971 - it was part of the hippie movement. Bates tells us when the collection of school buses arrived from Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco, in rural Tennessee - to local residents it seemed like Martians landing. Over the course of a generation, there has been a general acceptance and interaction between The Farm and its surroundings.

You can learn more about "The Farm" in Albert's book "Voices from The Farm" (1998) co-authored with Rupert Fike.


One sign of that was when Hohenwald Tennessee became the 25th Transition Town in America. That was accepted by all the local politicians, County Commissioners and so on - even though, as Bates tells us, practically none of the locals accepted the human-induced climate change or Peak Oil.

So how did they do it? The Farm organized a regular film and speaker night. Sure they showed "An Inconvenient Truth", but one of their most successful nights (garnering 130 people from a population of 4,000) was about "Financial Permaculture". In a very hard economy, people wanted to know how to improve their financial situation, and learned about permaculture almost as a side subject.

In fact Hohenwald had many Swiss settlers from the late 1800's. The Transition organizers were able to draw on a common community value of "frugality". It's frugal not to waste things, and so recycling and other ways to avoid waste are acceptable. It's a fantastic lesson: find out what your community values, and help deliver that as a road to transition.

In a bit of humor, one of their speakers was David Bloom, who explains how to make your own alcohol for energy and other uses. That was quite popular in rural Tennessee, where moon-shining is traditional. But the Transition group also brought in the Republican speaker Catherine Austin Fitts, who is quite aware of things like the energy decline.

Albert wrote an excellent book on the subject "The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook".

In Lewis County Tennessee the Transition group set up a community kitchen and a business incubator. Bates suggests it's better to fund local small business with funds raised in the area, instead of depending on big banks headquartered far away. They initiated their first local currency, namely "Chamber Bucks" which could be spent at any business that was a member of the Chamber of Commerce.

Now with Peak Oil and a rotten economy, we're seeing a surge of very different folks, some with guns and deep basements. Is "the great change” going to work with such different actors? Even the publishers of Mother Earth News have noticed an increase of survivalists and preppers in their readers. They want to grow their own food and make things themselves, in preparation for collapse.


I ask Albert Bates about the relationship between the Eco village Network, where he has been a leader, and Transition Towns.

First, let's look at what Wiki says about Albert and the Eco village Network:

"Bates has played a major role in the Eco village movement as one of the organizers of the Global Eco village Network (GEN), and served as GEN's chairman of the board (from 2002 to 2003) and president (from 2003 to 2004). He was also the principal organizer of the Eco village Network of the Americas and served as its president (from 1996 to 2003). In 1994 he founded the Eco village Training Center, a "whole systems immersion experience of Eco village living."[1] He has taught courses in sustainable design, natural building, permaculture and technologies of the future to students from more than 50 nations."

Bates is one of the teachers in Eco village training at The Farm, as well as teaching at Gaia University.

Essentially Bates suggests the Eco villages are like living laboratories. People experiment with ways to live together, sharing skills, learning how to produce locally. Some of the valuable lessons from those social experiments are applied more broadly in Transition Towns.


Albert is one of the first to point out there are no islands of security, even in an intentional community. If the rest of the society is falling apart, or even suddenly starving, they will come to take what you've got. It's a long-time point of discussion, which Bates labels the "Zombie Apocalypse" problem.

When I lived in a community of back-to-the-landers in the early 1980's, we often talked about what to do with starving city refugees. One local intentional community - a group of Russian Catholic nuns, decided they would put away lots of extra food and clothing, to welcome people who arrived.

For what it's worth, the historic record in Soviet Russia in the early 1930's, when the cities were starving, didn't work out that way at all. Instead, the army sent out trucks to take away all the grain, including the seed stock for the following year, plus any livestock and food they could find, hauling it back to the cities. The farmers and rural communities starved to death by the millions. It's in the Robert Conquest book "The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine" published in 1986.

Anyway, unless there is a massive solar flare knocking out the grid, I don't expect Western civilization to collapse that quickly. It's far more likely our over-extended system will decline more slowly.


As Bates knows all too well, the American South is experiencing record numbers of super-hot days, and recurring droughts. I ask what is the The Farm doing to prepare for a changed climate?

Albert describes the various ways they are collecting water, and more importantly, preparing their soil to hold more water and use it intelligently. This includes experiments with the Keyline system of agriculture, and using bovines to enrich both soil and water following the ideas of Allan Savory. It's also called "Mob Grazing". To learn more, listen to my 24 minute interview with Allan Savory in 2011 here.

The Farm is expecting 50 or more days where the temperature climbs above 100 degrees each summer - the range where plants stop growing and just go into a defensive dormancy. In the future, the Farm may see 5 or 6 months without rain. They are trying to get ready for all that, for the plants, the animals, and themselves.

Bates does travel around. He speaks at a lot of green fairs, to conferences, and international gatherings. Albert learned about global warming when he was researching deep injection of chemicals into the ground, in his former incarnation as an attorney. He spoke to his young Senator for Tennessee, one Al Gore, and then published his book "Climate in Crisis" in 1990, making Bates another of the pioneers of climate change.

To offset some of the carbon produced in traveling, way back in 1985 he established The Albert Bates Forest.


In general, Albert thinks the Transition Town movement in America has been held back by media fog and mistaken ideas of making everything "American" instead of learning from other parts of the world. There are many more Transition Towns and Eco Villages in Europe, Asia, and the rest of the world than in the U.S. It appears Sri Lanka alone has more Eco villages than the U.S.A.

Follow Albert Bates on Twitter @peaksurfer and his blog is peaksurfer@blogspot.ca.

You can find a lot more Albert Bates links, including some of his fascinating past writing and interviews, here.



We've been talking about Transition, from Europe through New England to the American Deep South. There is more to come, we can't stop talking about what to do, except to get busy doing it.

This wave has been building since at least 1992. As we'll hear, the few expert pioneers have become a big network of community builders, around the world. I'm going to challenge you to tune in, with a slightly different language, with new ears, to one of the pioneers of localization and sustainable community, Mark Roseland.

It's a messy world. We are bombarded by negative stories. Big governments fail to make our lives better, or save us from threats like climate change.

Many of our Radio Ecoshock guests say only local governments are worth your political attention. That's why you need to hear Mark Roseland. He's been advising local governments how to build on a human scale, for cities that can keep going through many challenges.

Dr. Mark Roseland is Director of the Simon Fraser University Centre for Sustainable Community Development, and he is a Professor in the Resource and Environmental Management Program.

Roseland came to world attention back in 1992 with the release of his best-selling book, "Toward Sustainable Communities: Resources for Citizens and Their Governments." That book is being released in a Fourth Edition by New Society Publishers in September 2012.

Mark Roseland on You tube



We talk for a minute about the strange resistance to becoming more sustainable. Unbelievably, in rural America, and even a few people in the Occupy movement in the United States, are afraid any move toward sustainability is just part of a United Nations plot to take over the world. They think everything is part of "Agenda 21" which came out of the first Rio Conference in 1992.

I ask Dr. Roseland point blank: "Are you part of a plot to take over the world?"

Then we both laugh. It's such a weird distortion. The United Nations has hardly managed to do anything, except a lot of good charitable work in the poorest countries. There is no U.N. army ready to conquer the world. In fact, in some U.N. sanctioned military actions, it's the U.S. Armed Forces in command.

That doesn't stop fringe talk show hosts like Alex Jones from drumming it into weak minds that the U.N. is out to take their liberties and the environmentalists and "sustainability" is out to take away their freedom.

One of the alleged villains is something called the ICLEI - the International Council For Local Environmental Initiatives. That is a vehicle where local governments can talk to one another to find out what works. Perfect for localization, and yet some Americans who allegedly want independence have convinced their governments to stop paying for membership!

I think some paranoid Americans are missing a chance at their best allies. They attack Transition Towns as a communist plot. But the same people call for local action, participation in local governments, and prepping for disasters.

Roseland knows where this attack on sustainable communities is coming from: the Tea Party movement (partly funded by the notorious fossil fuel billionaires the Koch brothers) and the Republican Party itself. Back in January 2012 the Republican Party targeted ICLEI as villains to be defunded and fought off if they are elected. It's a political ruse, working against the best interests of America and Transition.


When Roseland published his book "Toward Sustainable Communities" back in 1992, it quickly became THE handbook for local governments, NGO's and interested citizens. There were only a few academics and institutes working on sustainability.

Now in unstable economic times, topped up with rampant energy costs and climate disruption, there are literally thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of non-profits, local governments, academics, college-level courses, and resources of all kinds on making sustainable communities.

Roseland realized the movement was so big, and growing so fast, no resource book could hope to keep up. That is partly why at the Rio+ 20 Conference he announced PANDO. That's a kind of combined database and network for the sustainable community movement. Find it here.

PANDO is named after a giant community of aspen trees in Colorado that are all linked as one big organism by their joint root systems. It may be the largest single organism on land, and it's quite resilient.


As a long-time Professor at Simon Fraser University, in Burnaby Canada (part of Greater Vancouver) - Mark Roseland has been a guiding light in the redevelopment of the mountaintop where that university is situated. Amid some controversy, the University decided the system of staff and students living elsewhere, requiring giant parking lots, needed to be converted to a livable and sustainable community.

Now there are residences, a school, and other services right around the University, called "Univercity". Mark tells us about one day-care center which is not just net zero, but actually contributes more to the environment than it takes. Is that more expensive? No, it cost less than a conventional building.

There is a lot more to this interview. It's not in the usual activist language you hear on Radio Ecoshock, but it cuts exactly to what we are all really trying to accomplish in the real world: creating sustainable communities.

Look for Mark's new Fourth Edition of his classic "Toward Sustainable Communities: Solutions for Citizens and Their Governments." from New Society publishers.

During this show I play brief clips from Neil Young's song "Rumblin'" that's from his 2010 album "Le Noise", and earlier clips from Brian Eno's instrumental "The Big Ship", in the album "Green World".

There is a rumbling'. That kind of low noise of something big coming, but we can't quite tell what. The mass media news is one big distraction. As the headlines scroll by, I have this creepy feeling there are big stories not being told.

One of them is pretty simple. We have built a consumer machine that is chewing up the planet, spitting out toxic waste. Most of the greenhouse gases we pour into the sky are being sucked back into the ocean. Radio Ecoshock guests like paleoclimatologist Peter Ward have made one thing clear. The ocean makes the oxygen we breathe, the ocean determines the weather, and in the big picture, the state of the ocean dictates the big biological clock of abundance or mass extinction.


Today, I saw more graphic evidence the ocean is far more disturbed than our weather. Rob Stewart set out to save the sharks from the lunacy of shark fin soup. His audience, and then the ocean experts, told Stewart he's missed the big story.

Despite the success of his first film "Sharkwater" Stewart had to battle to make his second. He spent another four years travelling to the biological hot spots of the ocean, and to the dead zones. What he learned inflamed him. Stewart found out what we all know in our hearts: we need a big fast change in our economy, culture, and hearts to save not the sharks, not the polar bears, but ourselves. He's calling for nothing less than Revolution. That's the title of his new film.

The movie has just been released at the Toronto Film Festival, and again at the Vancouver Film Festival. It's a full-length bundle of astounding underwater photography, followed by a quest to find out who can stop our civilization from self-destructing.

We are introduced to creatures hidden below the waves. Like a relative of the Octopus that is smarter than your house cat. Crazy and adorable animals that only Nature could dream up.

Their world is dying. The ocean is becoming acidic. It's getting hotter, and it's filling up with plastic and chemicals. The single biggest threat to all sea life, greater even than deforestation, is the way we dump fossil carbon into the atmosphere. Estimates range from 33 up to 50% of all the carbon dioxide we emit goes into the ocean. Everything that makes a skeleton, from tiny plankton through coral to all fish and sea mammals, are endangered by ocean acidification. If we can't control our emissions, quickly, we can't save life in the sea.

Stewart rediscovers what I found out in 1990: the oceans campaign is the climate campaign is the oceans campaign.

So the shark man ends up at two U.N. climate conferences. Both fail miserably. Dependent on consensus, with a negotiations wrecker like Canada, out to promote the dirty Tar Sands oil, the talks go nowhere.

You and I aren't changing much either, even though we know. Stewart glumly tallies up his own carbon pollution, and it's too much. Just like me.

Who isn't invested in the climate death machine? The children. They will bear the ruined climate. Child activists are springing up all around the world. Stewart tirelessly reaches out to them, informing, warning, inspiring youth as our best hope.


Next week I'll bring you a full interview with Rob Stewart underground film-maker, and unlikely revolutionary.

We'll also hear from Lester Brown of the Earth-Policy Institute. He's got the facts on rising food costs at home, and food-less days abroad.

And we'll continue our Transition series, as guest Wes Regan describes food localization in the poorest neighborhood.

We opened Radio Ecoshock this Fall with Gareth Renowden. He and co-host Glenn Williams have managed a new edition of "The Climate Show" bridging the time gap between London and rural New Zealand. Check out the new program at theclimateshow.com

Another tip from the film Revolution: only you can educate yourself. Sorry, whatever school you went to didn't teach what we all need to know. The government won't tell you. Media plans to distract you.

As the hard facts roll away the delusions of a mass suicide pact, I encourage you to dig, dig, dig. You can get college level knowledge free in You tube and Google lectures. Watch the TED talks. Bulk up your list of blogs that tilt toward natural reality.

You can find every back show of Radio Ecoshock on our web site at ecoshock.org. Please tune in, and spread it around. Use those links, Facebook, Twitter, everything. Hand out copies to neighbors or on the street. Talk it up.

Some of the world's best experts teach us. We have to strip away layers of ignorance and greed. We need to know the truth, and then we need to act on it. Nothing else will save a livable future for our descendants. That IS the big story.

I'm Alex Smith. This has been Radio Ecoshock. Join us next week.