Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Annual Ecoshock Green Music Festival 2012

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

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

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


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



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

Watch it on You tube.

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

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

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


[2] Jack Johnson "Gone"


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

See video and lyrics here.


[3] Karen Savoca "Two Little Feet"


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



[4] Rachel Van Zanten "My Country"


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


Official video for this song here.


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


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


REM fansite.


[6] Vastmandana "No More Denial"


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

Listen to his music as Vastman at



[7] Red Valley Fog "Come Winter"


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

Find their music here.



[8] Dan Mangan "Sold"


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

We play his song "Sold".


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

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


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

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


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


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



[11] SkarKat "End of Days"


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



[12] Earthrise Soundsystem "Ajnabee - Stranger"


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

Their web site is



[13] Ben Sollee "Panning for Gold"


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


[14] Australian kids "Protect the World"


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



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


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


Her official web site.

Catch this on You tube.


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

Thanks for being there.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Climate: Arctic Thermostat Blows Up

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Corrine Le Quere

That video from the Tyndall Center is here.


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

Here is one quote from that article:

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

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

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

ABC Australia's Readfearn continues:

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


Paul H. Beckwith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To quote Paul's email:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 10, 2012

Victory Gardens Past and Future (with Lamanda Joy)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


How do you teach an entire city to grow food?

The Mayor of Boston helped plow up the Boston Commons.

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

Cartoon characters and superheroes were used to further gardening message.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for growing your brain this week.


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

More videos of Ewaldy Estil here.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Climate: On the Road to Extinction?

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Dr. Guy McPherson

His web site is

His book is "Walking Away From Empire".

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

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


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


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

Dr. Timothy Garrett

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

Daphne Wysham just wrote me to say...

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

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

The Aljazeera article tells us...

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

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

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


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

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

Olivia Serdenczy, Potsdam Institute

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

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

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

How about this quote from an Ars Technica assessment:

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

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

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


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

Hang in there.

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

Thank you for listening again this week.