Thursday, April 30, 2009

ASTEROID STRIKES & INVISIBLE WOMEN

This is Radio Ecoshock with Alex Smith.

The bad news just keeps on coming. Just as America began to recognize torture, swine flu wipes away the slate. Everybody just wants to talk about pandemic.

We know pandemics will come. More than half the world's population live in crowded slums without sanitation or clean water. The true population of Mexico City, for example, is unknown. Best guesses run between twenty five and thirty million people. Most of them have no medical care or knowledge about disease. All of them are just a few connections and an airline trip away from you and your neighbors.

The only mystery is how the richest countries thought they could ignore the masses of the miserable, and get away with it. The United Nations and population experts announce that Earth's human population will stabilize around nine billion people, from the current six and a half. That's not going to happen.

We are already way past Earth's carrying capacity. Only our treasure chest of oil has allowed the arrival of billions more humans. In Mexico, for example, oil wealth has fueled the economy - and now that's running out. The Mexican population has doubled since 1950, in a country that is mostly dry and unproductive. Oil-based fertilizers and oil drive pumps have turned some dry lands into large-scale hydroponic production. The land just holds the roots, while we poor oil fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides into the soy, rice, and vegetables. Most of that goes North to North American tables in the winter time.

Now Mexico's largest oil field has peaked. Production already dropped by 10 percent, and will decline rapidly. Meanwhile, the climate heads toward even higher heat and drought. In the coming decade, tens of millions of Mexicans must either starve or migrate North as climate refugees. They will do both.

Swine flu, economic crash, homelessness, peak oil, it all sweeps over us. I think we are, as a species, becoming even more crazy. We'll see it in headlines, You tube, and all around us.

In my opinion, the underlying driver, the really big fear unbalancing it all - is this horrible truth: our atmosphere is polluted and our climate has tipped. Slowly, deeply, humans know this. They see strange weather, birds and flowers coming at the wrong times, power storms, fires, and floods welling up. We begin to know, and we can hardly stand to know.

We are going straight to one of the top scientists in Australia, where climate change is not just a topic of conversation. It's already happening - an outbreak of climate fever that burns and floods its way across a whole continent. As it will every continent. You are about to hear one of the few scientists determined to tell us the awful truth.

[Interview with Andrew Glikson]

Here are the links for more:

FROM ANDREW GLIKSON:

40 scientists write: Climate disaster, an urgent challenge


The war against science while Rome is burning
16 April 2009
Guest post by Andrew Glikson (Andrew is an Earth and paleo-climate scientist, Australian National University who has contributed regularly to Brave New Climate).


AUDIO: A WARNING FROM THE PAST Past greenhouse worlds, quick climate shifts, and mass extinctions caused by changes to the atmosphere. Dr. Andrew Glikson studies space impacts, volcanoes, and past climates. This speech from Australia National University explains current shift toward a hot-state planet - much faster than ever before. Ecoshock Show 080704 1 hour


Slides for that speech here.


Our guest host in the second half hour - on invisible homeless women - is Allart. She produces another weekly program on CFRO FM in Vancouver called "Dynamic Health."
Find it here.

THE BOGUS ECONOMY

In the back pages, the biggest banks, which just recently declared phony profits, are told they need hundreds of billions more, to back up their shaky loans, to have any hope of paying back ordinary depositors. These same banks are being sued in many states and countries for malfeasance. The giant State of California pension fund says it was misled by the big names of Wall Street.

In Italy, prosecutors have seized around $300 million dollars in assets from JPMorgan Chase, the Swiss-American giant UBS, Deutsche Bank and others. Those companies have been charged with fraud, after the city of Milan was persuaded risky swaps on 2.2 billion in municipal bonds were safe. Then, like municipalities all over the United States, and in many parts of the world, they lost big time in the crash.

Don't miss this story. Libraries and hospitals will close because of Wall Street crime. Municipalities have been hit badly, and saddled with a new generation of debt, as the banksters made off with their multi-billion dollar fees and bonuses on bogus financial paper. As journalist and blogger Danny Schechter said on our program, it's time for Jail Outs, not Bail Outs.

There is no doubt that capitalism is crashing. Unbelievably, the car workers, through their pension funds, may take over General Motors and Chrysler. The retired will now get almost worthless stock instead of the billions those companies owed their pension funds. I don't think either company will survive as anything other than niche memory makers. Financial insiders are already doubting whether any of the big pensions funds - not just auto workers, but municipal, teachers, private company pension fund - all of it may go bust in the coming years. The government is supposed to step in and guarantee all those pensions - but governments too are already bankrupt.

Later in this program we are going to investigate the unreported plight of homeless women. Being without a home is tough, but it's double jeopardy for women, especially older women. You will hear that most women, even those in the Middle and Upper Class, even Oprah, fear deep down they may become homeless.

How do women handle it? Where are they, when TV cameras show us lines of unemployed men at the shelters? Investigative reporter Allart uncovers homeless women with front-line worker Judy Graves, in our second half hour.

Allart interviews Judy Graves. It turns out most women fear becoming homeless one day. They may lose a spouse to death or divorce, or need to leave in a hurry due to abuse or alcoholism. Millions of women are losing their jobs in the economic crisis, and those 45 and older are wondering whether they will get employment again. Many face a life of poverty, despite their University degree and Middle Class background.

How will they cope? It's tough for a man on the streets, but much harder for women. Most avoid it by living in their cars, moving back with family, or couch surfing (sometimes with a sexual price to pay). Listen to Judy Graves, Tenant Assistance worker for the City of Vancouver, who has worked with homeless and suddenly homeless women since the mid-1970's.

Even Oprah has admitted she fears becoming homeless. I've asked women around me, and they secretly harbor the same fear of becoming "a bag lady." Both men and women need to hear this moving interview, which followed the film "It Was A Wonderful Life" - dead on the topic of how homeless women struggle to stay invisible in the big city and small towns.

This week's music theme is "Where We Gonna Go" from Ellis Music Productions. Our web site ecoshock.org.

I'm Alex Smith. Adios muchachos.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

URBAN MELTDOWN II

American cities in decay. Refugees not from New Orleans after Katrina. This is a different kind of Hurricane. A trifecta of climate change, high oil prices and the real estate bubble leaves abandoned holes from Detroit, Philadelphia, Phoenix and beyond.

I'm Alex Smith, this is Radio Ecoshock. We'll track the causes and the victims.

In our opening cuts, you heard video Blogger George4title in his You tube special called "Detroit Ground Zero for Economic Collapse". An amazing drive-by of abandoned and burned out homes looking like Baghdad in America. It's a 5 part series you won't want to miss.

Our other voice was Clive Doucet, author and Councilman for Canada's capital city, Ottawa. When I recorded his "Urban Meltdown" speech a year ago - I didn't believe it. Now the evidence is in. Cities all over North America are under stress, as they go into record deficits and collapsing tax collections. Municipal bonds may be the next big default line in the economy.

We'll interview Clive Doucet to get the update.

We are talking millions of foreclosures already, and millions more to go in the next two years. In fact, all the mortgage holding agencies, both government owned and private banks, have started a new wave of record foreclosures, after a brief Obama rest. Where are all these people ending up? Sure people some rent, but the latest stats show rentals are actually down. Some new Americans go back to their home country. Folks move back with their families, or share tiny spaces.

Too many become homeless - and our social system is in no way prepared for the homeless emergency now developing in almost every city. A friend just told me their neighbors in a relatively upscale neighborhood in Phoenix both lost their jobs. Professional people. Suddenly the bailiffs show up and grab both cars plus the house. A family with 5 kids now living in two tents on the desert outside of town, with no water or toilets. Just like that.

Could it happen to you? Are the homeless annoying you? In this program we'll get a clue. Our guest host Allart interviews Harold G. Joe. Harold experienced a fatal homeless tragedy in his community. He decided to try just three days and nights on the street. As a documentary film maker, Harold took his camera along. The result is the movie "Broken Down", and an interview that could move hearts of stone.

Let's get back to Clive Doucet, the person who opened my eyes, while I was day-dreaming in a still-functioning place, a city of refuge, so far, in the developing storm.

[Clive Doucet interview]

I also cover some important world news.

READ MORE....and find all the links to news stories, interviews and sources for this show.

Alex

Friday, April 17, 2009

ROTTING FROM THE TOP

The banks are doing great. The stock market is up 25 percent. Happy Days Are Here Again!

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the White Star Titanic. We are not sinking, there are plenty of lifeboats, please go back to an evening of fine dancing.

If you're happy with that, maybe you shouldn't listen to this edition of Radio Ecoshock. We're going to hear other voices, outside the mainstream box.

Famed ABC producer, author and blogger Danny Schechter will lead off the charge. He claims the financial system is riddled with fraud. We'll hear snippets from insider business Bears Ian Gordon and Meredeth Whitney, the one-woman force who broke out the truth about Bear Stearns. Whitney ends up advocating relocalization, and warning you - that credit card you've counted on may go bye-bye.

Our mystery guest is Ilargi, from the popular financial blog The Automatic Earth. And we have an earthquake from within the Obama Administration itself. Elizabeth Warren heads a Congressional Panel overseeing the TARP funds. She questions the whole program, wondering if Tim Geithner's Treasury has any real strategy. Based on the experience of other countries, the U.S. is going the wrong way down a one way street. Warren sounds like a mother to America, as she explains this whole crisis. You'll hear the best of that.

Here are all the links you'll need for this week's Radio Ecoshock Show:

Danny Schechter's blog: http://www.newsdissector.com/blog/

"Bear Attack" on BBN - 4 financial bears: Nouriel Roubini, Eric Sprott, Merideth Whitney and Iran Gordon. http://www.bnn.ca/8430.html

TARP: Elizabeth Warren Congressional Oversight Panel Chair - April Report shows very different approaches from that taken by Treasury Sec. Tim Geithner. Revolutionary talk from inside Washington in this 8 minute You tube video (easy to understand!)
http://cop.senate.gov/video/index.cfm#tab10

Elizabeth Warren's explanation of the foreclosure crisis - also easy to understand, if very sad.
http://cop.senate.gov/video/index.cfm#tab10 (8 minutes on You tube, and from this government site.

The Automatic Earth blog - headed up by "Ilargi" our final guest on Radio Ecoshock this week.
http://theautomaticearth.blogspot.com/
.
READ MORE...

Music: "Happy Days Are Here Again" Ben Selvin and the Crooners 1930 (no copyright)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

TROUBLE DOWN BELOW

You have just heard rioting hit the central banks of London during the G20 conference, set to Dirty Town from Mother Mother. This is Radio Ecoshock. I'm Alex Smith.

The world is quietly burning with discontent as corporate schemes go bad. Industry and trade are collapsing and no one seems immune. The world trade center has fallen again, and maybe the Pentagon will be next.

I've had some long hours into the night worrying - how about you?

We have two guest speakers this week to help you engage.

Even though I realize everyone is gob-smacked by crumbling banks and revelations of piracy at the top - we just can't take our eyes off our natural life support system. Ice is cracking loose at the poles. In desperation, President Obama's new science advisor, Dr. John Holdren, joins a chorus of experts toying with the idea of cooling off the atmosphere by artificial means.

We'll hear a top National Oceans and Atmospheric Administration scientist explain a huge risk to human geo-engineering. In fact, Dr. Richard Feely has a horror story of his own to tell: our carbon waste is turning the oceans acidic. So what? The whole marine food chain is threatened. I'll bet the G20 didn't discuss our dying oceans for even 20 seconds. Banks come first!

Could a supposedly intelligent species make the world's oceans more acidic? It sounds like science fiction, but now it is science. Our guest is Dr. Richard A. Feely, an Oceanographer at the NOAA Pacific Marine Laboratory in Seattle, and a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. He specializes in the way carbon cycles in the sea - and ocean acidification.

UK scientists from Bristol University recently told the three day summit in Copenhagen, that we are creating ocean conditions not seen since the time of the dinosaurs, 65 million years ago. We've done it in less than 250 years of fossil fuel burning - and carbon emissions are still going up.

Then we'll go to a recent speech by Greenpeace founder, author and Peak Oil expert Rex Weyler. We've gathered up a powerful half hour segment connecting the dots between the economic collapse and dying natural systems. Rex even throws in a few suggestions on how we can cope. That's coming up in the second half hour of Radio Ecoshock.

Getting back to the riots in Europe, and likely soon enough in North America - is it worth trying to protest the rape of our jobs, savings, and pensions? It's time to turn to The Stimulator.

Get the full video of that and dozens of other pro-level reports from The Stimulator at submedia.tv. Warning to college students: the site contains adult language. You know, the way you actually talk to one another.

All this talk of social upheaval and transformation is exciting I know. Next week we'll devote a full hour to zombie banks feeding on the flesh of taxpayers and the newly homeless - all with a special guest.

[Feely interview 19 min 5 MB Lo-Fi]

Our next speaker, Rex Weyler, is one of the original Greenpeace gang, author of "Greenpeace the Inside Story" plus two more books, and a recurring journalist in all media. He's also a Peak Oil spokesman, recorded in the Radio Ecoshock Show "Peak Oil and the Media," broadcast August 29, 2008 and available free from our archive.

[Rex Weyler speech excerpt 31 minutes from the original 107 minutes found here]

Rex sees the links between degrading the Earth and our economic collapse. His insight is well worth our time. Here is 30 key minutes from Rex Weyler's speech to the Bio-Society Conference at McMaster University in Canada on March 20th, 2009.

That Rex Weyler speech comes from Maggie Hughes, Producer of "The Other Side" of the News on 93.3 fm, CFMU McMaster University Radio. Find her web site at www.oside.ca. Get all these links from my blog entry for April 9th, 2009.

Our music this week was "Dirty Town" by the Vancouver group Mother Mother, plus a clip from Live Earth with the Black Eyed Peas closing up the show.

You have been listening to Radio Ecoshock with Alex Smith. Find our web site at ecoshock.org - and thanks again for caring about our world.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

THE GREEN SIDE OF DOWN

Some big icons like General Motors go crash, but most of it just goes quietly, with little announcement. I'm talking about all the small shops going dark, the once-famous magazines gone and hardly remembered.

Just a couple of years ago, I wished I'd taken videos of some of our major streets. Little malls and corner garages disappeared overnight, replaced with a big hole and a sign advertising Fenway Gardens, another deluxe condo tower. The building boom was disorienting. It's easier now. Nothing new - and the old is slipping away.

I should be happy. Finally the fake consumer world is caving in. People are driving less, to fewer jobs. Did we pull back just at the edge of carbon disaster? Just before the oil ran out? The collapse surprised common people and the Left, who didn't care much about banking and stock talk. Maybe we should have paid closer attention.

You'll hear from Max Keiser, the lefty stock expert who did know, and tried to warn us.

In today's program you'll also hear Professor Lord Anthony Giddens from the London School of Economics. He explores the links, good and bad, between the financial crash and the climate crisis. Lord Anthony also offers up three reasons why humans just don't get the climate predicament. We hear about it, and do mostly nothing. Find out why.

We'll touch on disappearing media and adaptation fairs. A couple of songs but no dance.

But first let's get right to an interview with Stephan Faris, author of "Forecast: The Consequences of Climate Change, from the Amazon to the Arctic, from Darfur to Napa Valley." He's traveled the world only to find that climate disruption is already with us. His new book is one of the must reads of the season.

Most important links for this show:
speech by Lord Anthony Giddens, London School of Economics, February 28th, 2009 on "The Economic Crisis, Climate Change and Energy."

Max Keiser Radiance FM Podcast: "The Truth About Markets" March 28th 2009

Christian Aid Climate Demo (You tube)

Melting Ice Eco Rap” by Lil Peppi (You tube)

"Morbid Magazines" by Bill Dyszel

More....including a summary of Lord Anthony Giddens' 3 Engines of Climate Defeat, Monbiot, etc