But the merit of the Anthropocene is contested. To get a sense of why, you can get a rundown at Breakthrough Journal where Erle Ellis argues for it and others, like Bill McKibben, respond. There are some, like Ellis or Bjorn Lomborg who see the Anthropocene as an age of technological advance, discovery, and growth. They see progress. Ellis writes, "our unprecedented and growing powers also allow us the opportunity to create a planet that is better for both its human and nonhuman inhabitants. It is an opportunity that we should embrace." But McKibben and Shiva (who writes elsewhere) see unchecked technological advance and growth as the problem. There are limits. Shiva writes,
"If we continue to understand our role in the old paradigm of capitalist patriarchy based on a mechanistic world view, an industrial, capital centered competitive economy, and a culture of dominance, violence, and war and ecological and human irresponsibility, we will witness the rapid unfolding of increasing climate catastrophe, species extinction economic collapse, and human injustice and inequality."Whether they like it or not, they agree that humans are the primary ecological force on the planet.
Enter the Earthship, a home concept that can be built in any (really?) environment. And it must have gotten somewhere when it's on the Weather Channel. Come on guys, there's a guy who works for the oil and gas industry living in one. Why? Because he understands the planet's systems.
But can you retrofit houses in the northeast to be biotecturally in sync?
Penn State professors Michael Mann, Donald Brown, Janet Swim and Rick Schuhmann, and graduate student Peter Buckland spoke Monday evening at “Changing the Moral Climate on Climate Change,” a talk that focused on climate change denial. Mann is director of Penn State’s Earth System Science Center and part of the 2007 Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Susannah Barsom, with the university’s Center for Sustainability, moderated the event, which included a question and answer session.See images of the event here or our sister publication, Voices of Central Pennsylvania.
The five speakers walked the audience through the dilemmas climate change, climate change disinformation and various kinds of climate change denial create. In particular, they addressed why and how universities should do better to confront these issues.
Climate change is real. It is affecting the lives of people across the globe and it presents all of us – especially the most educated among us – with an incredible dilemma. Skepticism is a real virtue and something most of us should practice. But our dilemma is made awfully difficult by industry-funded, deliberately deceptive, anti-science denialism campaigns that feed fear. This is neither reasonable or virtuous skepticism.
Tomorrow, April 30th at 7:30 pm in room 101 Thomas Building at Penn State’s University Park (map), a group of esteemed Penn State faculty and one graduate student/lecturer will confront the climate change denial machine. Doors open at 7 pm.
Over the last few years, we have been discouraged by the successful of “the merchants of doubt,” a well-organized and well-funded climate change disinformation campaign. The five presenters of “Changing the Moral Climate on Climate Change” believe that as people working at a top-flight research and teaching institution, they have a responsibility to both inform the public about the many aspects of climate change – from social to environmental – and call for better action from universities in democratic society.
They will call on the University to educate civil society about the disinformation campaign and fulfill its educational role in a democratic society. They will explain the so-called “skeptics” campaign and who is behind it, distinguishing between deceitful disinformation from responsible skepticism. They will explore the problems colleges and universities face in a democratic society whose economy runs on fossil fuels. They will also explore relevant psychology findings around climate change. The audience will will learn about a college class that has confronted climate denial directly and learn about the backlash the professor received. Finally, you will hear from Dr. Michael Mann who has been at the epicenter of the international assault on mainstream science.
Presentations come from (pictured top to bottom): Dr. (Juris) Donald Brown from Science, Technology, and Society and former Clinton administration UN representative and blogger at Climate Ethics, Peter Buckland, A.B.D. in Educational Theory and Policy and co-host of Sustainability Now Radio, Dr. Janet Swim from Psychology and chair of the 2009 American Psychological Associations task force on the psychology of climate change, Dr. Rick Schuhmann, an environmental engineer and Director of Penn State’s Engineering Leadership program, and Dr. Michael Mann, director of Penn State’s Earth System Science Center, member of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and author of The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars.
Following the presentations, the panelists will answer audience questions.
Questions can be sent to Peter Buckland by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bob's conduct, most of us will immediately respond, was gravely wrong. Unger agrees. But then he reminds us that we, too, have opportunities to save the lives of children.Most of us will respond this way. My students often hem and haw on the matter but when confronted with the actual value of children’s lives versus the value of a Bugatti, they acquiesce and agree that Bob should put the Bugatti in front of the train. We can and should sacrifice for the health of others. I can be happy without a Bugatti.
Now complicate the story a lot. Imagine there were two people who came and talked to Bob. One begins carefully and calmly explaining that there is a train coming well before he can see or even hear it. The train will certainly kill the child but it can be stopped if he goes down the rail and throws some switches that will slow the train down and divert it. There is another man dressed to the nines who shows up and says there is nothing to worry about. The kid will be fine. Everything is fine.
The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars is a combination of personal storytelling, reflection, and science education that grants readers a tour of climate science. More importantly it shows us how our political process has been poisoned by shameless and corrupt interests. Reading Mann’s work is to get a sense of what it means to strive for thorough and important work as a “gee whiz” kid. But then we witness the “gee whiz” kid get schooled in the art of power politics and come out having outsmarted his opponents. For now anyway.
In 2009, I read story after story about hackers who’d stolen emails from the Climate Research Unit of East Anglia University and then released them. Journalists, eager for the next headline, ripped chunks from the climate change disinformation narrative. Thus was born “Climategate,” a shameful continuation of attacks on climate scientists by ideologues and fossil-fuel-funded institutes. Among the primary targets were "Penn State geosciences professor Dr. Michael Mann, co-winner [with many others] of the Nobel Prize in 2007 for his work with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the hockey stick" graph.
The last time I ate a fast food burger was the same day I watched Supersize Me. It was shocking. I don't think I was ever a fast food kid...well...I did work at Wendy's in high school. But I wasn't one of those every chance I get I'll eat a 99 cent burger types. Then when I read Fast Food Nation, I felt vindicated. And curious. Like a lot of people I know now, I started asking the question, "Where's my food come from?" I read Peter Singer, Michael Pollan, Barbara Kingsolver, Francis Moore Lappe, and some others.
The industrial meat system terrified me. I read a piece, "Farmacology" in Johns Hopkins Magazine regarding the massive antibiotic inputs into chickens in industrial chicken, pig, and cattle farms called concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Johns Hopkins researchers were finding that "nontherapeutic use of antimicrobials is building dangerous genetic reservoirs of resistance. If they are right, industrial agriculture is fostering and dispersing drug-resistant bacteria that impair medicine's ability to protect the public from them." It's an arms race. Eventually, we could lose. Rolling Stone's Jeff Tietz wrote a similarly alarming story on pig production (excerpts here) featuring the goriest details about manure lagoons and piles of dead pigs. And last month Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and Arizona State University researchers found evidence suggesting that previously banned antibiotics for poultry production are still being used by the poultry industry.
I've said nothing about the violence incurred on the animals across their whole lives. There are frequent reports of worker mistreatment and higher levels of drug and alcohol problems among such workers. And the enormous effluent waste CAFOs create lead to pollution on a scale unimaginable a century ago such that play into the expanding dead zones in our bays and gulfs.
So if you want to be a responsible omnivore, what can you do? Maybe we go back to that small farmer and that local butcher.
On Friday afternoon at 4:30 we will talk to the people starting Rising Spring Meat Company, a slaughterhouse and butcher shop in Spring Mills, Pennsylvania. They bill themselves as "your connection to a farming community that is dedicated to producing quality livestock and meat" including cows, pigs, sheep and goats expertly butchered to cuts of beef, pork, mutton and chevon.
So we'll be asking them about these things. How are they different from the big boys? Can I trace some mutton from the farm through the plant with any confidence the animal led a sheeply life? Will I get a good-tasting slice? Is money staying in our area?
Listen in on Friday from 4-5 pm. Call in (814) 865-9577 with questions and comments. You can also join us on Facebook and Twitter as well.
The day's activities include bird walks, tours of the Morningstar solar home, 70' Wind for Schools turbine, community gardens, and Ecological Systems Lab- all located of off Porter Road, next to Lubrano Park at Medlar Field. Free onsite parking is available for the day, which culminates in a one-hour memorial ceremony to honor Kenyan social and environmental activist Dr. Wangari Maathai, who passed away in September 2011.
Maathai, founder of the Kenya-based Green Belt Movement, is internationally renowned as a lifelong advocate for environmental restoration, women's rights, peace and democracy. The recipient of a 2004 Nobel Peace Prize, her work centered on the planting of trees, but extended out to many inter-related aspects of society.
"Recognizing that sustainable development, democracy and peace are indivisible is an idea whose time has come," Maathai famously stated.
To honor Professor Maathai's memory and legacy, the Center for Sustainability will plant five apple trees in her name, as part of a program celebrating her life. The memorial will include music, dance, poetry, personal reflections of Maathai's colleague Ephraim Govere, and the initiation of a new annual award for Penn State students who exemplify the values that she embodied in her life's work.
"All of us at Penn State's Center for Sustainability are honored to help make this lasting connection to the life and work of Professor Maathai," said Lisa Brown, associate director of the CfS. "Her courage inspired countless people when she was alive, and her impact will only grow over the years, like her beloved trees."
The Maathai Memorial is co-sponsored by the Center for Sustainability, the Departments of Women's Studies, African Studies, African American & African Diaspora Studies, The Africana Research Center, the African Student Association, the CfS Community Gardens Club, and Penn State's Office of Physical Plant.
Friday, April 20 schedule at Penn State's Sustainability Experience Center include:
9 - 10 a.m. Bird Walk Tours of Sustainability Experience Center (SEC)
12 - 3 p.m. Gardens & Tech Tours of SEC
4 - 5 p.m. Wangari Maathai Memorial Ceremony
Read the full schedule here.
In 1948, Aldo Leopold wrote "The Land Ethic" in A Sand County Almanac. He believed that things were owed moral status if they are part of the community. He wrote,
All ethics so far evolved rest upon a single premise: that the individual is a member of a community of interdependent parts. His instincts prompt him to compete for his place in that community, but his ethics prompt him also to co-operate (perhaps in order that there may be a place to compete for).
The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land.
These simple lines have infused much of the environmental movement's ethics for 60 years. They resonate to some degree in the work of environmentalists' and environmental groups' rhetoric to varying degrees. And some take it more seriously than others.
Today on the show, we will be talking to Ben Price of the Community and Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF). They argue that the escalating ecological crises we are living in has resulted from decisions made powerful people in our major institutions. They argue that "sustainability will never be achieved by leaving those decisions in the hands of a few – both because of their belief in limitless economic production and because their decisions are made at a distance from the communities experiencing the impact of those decisions." What's the answer? In part, it's to change the power dynamics by invoking the rights of communities to determine their futures. The community is that broadest community including the environment, or what Leopold called the land.
Price helped craft State College's Community and Environmental Bill of Rights and Fracking Ban so successfully fought for by GroundswellPA and passed in 72% to 28% landslide. But recently passed legislation that has resulted in Act 13 of the Oil and Gas Law threatens local ordinances to regulate natural gas drilling operations. Will the State College referendum stand? Will the lawsuit against the state by seven Pennsylvania municipalities succeed? Do we need a revolution against what some call a corporate kleptocracy? We'll ask Price these and other questions.
Over the last few decades, programs like Growing Greener have been helping us preserve our open and green spaces. The program has been very popular among a large segment of Pennsylvanians, but funding has been on the chopping block. And hearkening back to last week's show with Mike Hermann of Purple Lizard Maps and Frank Maguire of the International Mountain Bike Association, there's a lot of concern that Governor Tom Corbett is going to undercut the integrity of state forests and state parks by further opening them to gas drilling.
At the community level, people in the borough of State College overwhelmingly voted for a Community and Environmental Bill of Rights and a Fracking Ban in November. It was a landslide 72% "yays" to 28% "nays." But the recently passed Act 13 of the Oil and Gas Act might undercut home rule and the referendum State College passed. And pretty clearly, there are a lot of rumblings about shale gas development in the Marcellus Shale. Will Pennsylvania end up in another boom and bust like we did with oil and coal?
Our first guest on today's show, Senator Jake Corman (R - 34th district) grew up in Central Pennsylvania. His father was a senator before him and was my first acquaintance with a state politician. Jake Corman was elected in 1998 and is currently serving his fourth term. He chairs the Appropriations Committee and sits on several other committees. Because he sits at the helm of the Appropriations Committee, he has an intimate understanding of how the budget works whether that's money going into Going Greener or being dispersed from Act 13.
Call in with questions this afternoon from 4-5 pm: (814) 865-9577. You can also join us on Facebook and Twitter as well.
UPDATE: Senator Corman's office called this morning to inform us that a schedule change prevents him from coming on the show.
"We the people" spend over 500 hours a year in cars. That has significant health and environmental impacts. If you don't smoke and are otherwise healthy, a long commute in a city could be the most unhealthy thing you do because you are exposed to enormous amounts of air pollution from car and truck exhaust. And the environmental effects of all that fuel combustion is clearly having a large impact. Carbon monoxide, ozone, and particulate matter generate air pollution. In total, 33% of the United States' carbon dioxide emissions come from the transportation and 60% of that comes - roughly 19% of the whole pie - comes from personal automobile use. All that time in the car pushes our waist bands, our lungs, and the planet's climate.
Our second guest today, Penn State student Taylor Kidd, is working to push the automobile's envelope. As part of Penn State's Advanced Vehicle Team, he is competing in the Eco Car 2 competition, an educational competition between 15 teams at colleges and universities across the U.S. sponsored by GM and other companies. The goal is to outfit a Chevy Malibu so that it "reduces fuel consumption, reduces well-to-wheel greenhouse gas emissions, reduce criteria tailpipe emissions, and maintains consumer acceptability in the areas of performance, utility, and safety."
How do you do that? Kidd is going to talk to us about the competition, his car, and the future of car design.
Call in with questions this afternoon from 4-5 pm: (814) 865-9577. You can also join us on Facebook and Twitter as well.
He is coming to Penn State's University Park campus on Monday April 16, 2012 as part of the 8th annual Colloquium on the Environment speaker series. His talk "The Social Conquest of Earth" is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. in 100 Thomas Building. A book signing and reception will immediately follow his lecture. Event is free and open to the public.
Wilson, the legendary biologist, is widely considered the father of the modern environmental movement. Named one of America's 25 Most Influential People by TIME magazine, and a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, he has made a giant contribution to our understanding of the rich spectrum of Earth's biodiversity. In his lectures, he makes a persuasive, eloquent plea to government, corporate and religious leaders to address the damage we have done to our planet before it's too late.
Wilson's works include Ants and On Human Nature, which both won the Pulitzer Prize; The Future of Life, which offers a plan for saving Earth's biological heritage; Consilience, which draws together the sciences, humanities, and the arts into a broad study of human knowledge; The Creation, a plea for science and religion to work together to save the planet; and From So Simple a Beginning, a collection of the four seminal works of Darwin, with new introductions by Wilson. His 2008 book, The Superorganism, was hailed by The New York Times as "an astonishing account of the intricate and unexpected swarm intelligence of wasps, bees, ants and termites."
A recent project of Wilson's, The Encyclopedia of Life website, catalogs all key information about life of Earth-- including data about every living species -- and makes it accessible to everyone. Launched with money from his 2007 TED Prize, the EOL recently received an additional ten million dollars from The MacArthur Foundation. Wilson is also the recipient of the U.S. National Medal of Science, the Crafoord Prize (a sister to the Nobel), and the Audubon Medal. He is the University Research Professor Emeritus at Harvard University, and continues to research at the Museum of Comparative Zoology. Recently, Wilson teamed with Harrison Ford to create a new PEN Literary award titled the PEN/E.O. Wilson Award for Literary Science Writing.
For more information, please visit this site.
As a teenager, I found another part of Rothrock in the Shingletown Gap. It's an amazing world of hemlocks and white pines, rhodedendron, huge tumbles of scree, and a riot of blooming mountain laurel in late May and June surrounding Roaring Run. Two and a half miles up the trail you come to a fire circle by Sand Spring, Roaring Run's headwaters.
Deep in Rothrock rests Alan Seeger Natural Area, a place as close to primeval as you can get in Pennsylvania. According to DCNR, "This 390-acre area along Standing Stone Creek includes virgin white pine and hemlock. Towering above the trail as it winds through 20-foot-high rhododendrons is a hemlock forest bypassed by the loggers at the end of the 19th century. Here are magnificent trees, many over 4 feet diameter at breast height and reaching several hundred years old. Scientists believe the largest tree in the area could be over 1,000 years old, possibly the oldest in the state, some on small islands in the middle of Stone Creek." It is a magical place. In fact, Rothrock is home to a lot of magical places.
There are few people alive who know these places in Rothrock - and many others as we will hear - as Mike Hermann do and Frank Maguire do. Frank's the regional director of the International Mountain Bike Association. Mike is the cartographer and owner of Purple Lizard Maps. He's made trail maps of Rothrock State Forest and the Raystown Lake so that people can go on adventures in our area. Whether you want to do a short hike, a day hike, camp in a wild, go to a vista, chart your way across some of the Mid-State Trail, or better yet, take an amazing mountain bike epic ride from Whipple Dam to Cooper's Gap via Greenwood Furnace and then back again...you can find your way with these maps.
And what's the purple lizard about anyway?
Mike will join us today at 4 pm on The Lion 90.7 fm to talk about the woods, their past and future, and of course playing in the woods. He has some upcoming projects we'll learn about too. As always, tune in to the live feed online and call in: (814) 865-9577. Remember you can join us on Facebook and on Twitter too.
If you are thinking that a Gen-Ed Natural Science Course on the Environment will be boring and irrelevant to your life and your major, you probably have not heard about BiSci 3! This course is taught by one of Penn State's most renowned teaching faculty, Chris Uhl*.
What BiSci 3 Will Do for You:
-It will invite you to think about your relationship to yourself and to
Earth in exciting new ways.
-It will allow you to explore the course teachings, independently, via
stimulating readings and field studies.
-It will offer you ways of directly experiencing the course content via
weekly small-group explorations.
-It will free you from the hassle of TESTS because there are none!
-It will—via an amazing collection of videos—challenge your beliefs while
also pointing to astounding possibilities.
-It will fill you with questions that may take a lifetime to answer.
Here is what past students say about BiSci 03:
“BISCI 03 challenged, inspired, and enriched me. It was much more than a class; it was an experience that helped me to better understand myself and my place in the midst of all the rush and pressure of college life.” -E. Hernandez, Journalism
“Instead of a hum-drum science class that you take for a Gen-Ed, I got an extremely personal curriculum, a teacher who was passionate, and a class that changed my life.”
-S. Asper, Political Science
“BISCI 03 helped me see the world—and the challenges we all face—in an entirely different light. I left class feeling as if one hundred new doors of opportunity had been opened for me.”
–M. Kirkpatrick, Elementary Education
“I was constantly stimulated by the unique style and content of this class. By taking a course that created a clear link between self-understanding and the condition of the world today I was challenged to think deeply about the meaning and purpose of my life.”
-H. Carney, DUS
Check out BiSci 3 website at http://www.personal.psu.edu/cfu1
*Chris Uhl is on Peter Buckland's dissertation committee and was a guest on Sustainability Now in the fall of 2010.
So what's the rub? Megadeth's songs include some of the best metal criticisms of political corruption and complicated human-induced environmental problems. Selecting Rock Santorum is more than a little bit confusing. I admit that selecting any major party politician today faces us with with some big problems. But on the environmental front, Santorum has been a major part of what Chris Mooney named "the Republican war on science." It's really too bad.
Their most famous song, "Peace Sells...But Who's Buyin'" says,
If there's a new wayRight or RIGHT? As someone who has worked on sustainability issues now for several years, I can't get how it is going to work this time, especi
I'll be the first in line
But it better work this time
[...] What do you mean I couldn't be the president of the United States of America? It's still 'We the people' right?
Here's my letter...type-o's and all:
I can respect your views and find them confusing. It’s too bad you removed my comment. There’s a bigger point here that several people are talking about. We are frankly confused how one of the most seemingly environmentally aware and politically intelligent people we have looked up to can even entertain the idea of voting for Rick Santorum. Well…we might be able to understand it but we don’t really get it.
Before I go on, I want to say that I don’t mean this to be shouting at you. I’m mostly confused and want an explanation. I guess you don’t have to give me one. I’m just one guy who was once a kid who heard “Holy Wars,” “Hangar 18,” and “Five Magics,” and was totally thrilled. I’ve gone on to write the “Heavy Metal” entry for an encyclopedia coming out in the next year, The Encyclopedia of Music and American Culture. Megadeth certainly earned its place in that entry.
On one hand, I get that you are not the person you were when you wrote most of your albums. You’ve led a very public life. Part of that life has been about politics. Seriously, when you did the MTV Rock the Vote stuff in ’92, I thought that was pretty cool. I was 16 and from a politically-minded family.
Unlike some commentors on this thread, I don’t think Megadeth is “just music.” It’s clear that you, like Sepultura, Testament, Xentrix, Nuclear Assault, Kreator, Revocation, Heathen, Forbidden, and some other awesome bands work to raise social consciousness. It’s not dumb kid’s noise. It has a purpose. You’ve always had a purpose…full-fledged aggression mixed with a moral approach to the world that is neither condescending nor authoritarian. I’m sure I’m about the thousandth person who’s written to you to say that lines like from Rust In Peace and Countdown to Extinction played in my mind over and over again. As someone who’s minded politics and the environment, Megadeth serves a special place.
I can’t help but note that Countdown to Extinction came out in 1992. That’s the year of the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The young girl talking in the song “Countdown to Extinction” is forever linked in my mind with the young girl who spoke at the Rio Summit. I get it. Those are my links and they’re not many other people’s. But I bring it up for a reason. Rick Santorum will be an environmental ruin for this country.
I’ll just give three examples: hamstringing the EPA, climate change, and hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling for natural gas in Pennsylvania. First, Santorum, like too many Republicans these days would like to defund, hamstring, or eliminate the federal Environmental Protection Agency. In a world where corporate influence far outweighs the good work of some religious people or the ability of common people to protect their water, their air, or their children, this is baffling. The EPA is sometimes the only bulwark “we the people” have to protect us from industrial pollution.
Second, Santorum denies climate change. He calls the science behind it “junk science.” That is junk thinking. It is basic chemistry and physics. The trend line from an incredible amount of data – some of it going back tens of millions of years – shows that the earth today is at a particularly warm period. More importantly, the earth is warmer than it has ever been during human history. That warming trend, which is continuing and accelerating, is inextricably linked to the release of carbon dioxide and methane from humans burning fossil fuels. The only “junk” out there on this comes from the fossil fuel industry and the politicians – like Rick Santorum – who have enslaved themselves to those industries. [See point #1 about the EPA above.] I find it interesting that you would vote for Santorum given what you wrote in “Dawn Patrol”:
Pretending not to notice
How history had forbode us
With the greenhouse in effect
Our environment was wrecked
That’s a pretty clear warning to me. Are you backing away from that? Santorum isn’t the only Republican with this view by any means but he is the most vocal of the four left standing.
Third, Pennsylvania where I live and where Santorum is from has been undergoing a natural gas rush. Santorum recently told a crowd in Oklahoma that there is “nothing” to worry about. In case you don’t know, two new technologies have been put together to get at massive gas reserves in shale beds. We can drill thousands of feet into the earth and turn the drill bit and go horizontally for thousands of feet. Then, having bored a hole around a mile down and a mile across (give or take depending on conditions) the well is hydraulically fractured. By blasting a mixture of fresh water, some sand, and a cancerous (literally) cocktail of biocides, lubricants, and other chemicals into the earth at upwards of 14,000 pounds per square inch, the shale bed can by stimulated into releasing gas back up the well bore to the well head. People refer to this process as fracking. It is an environmental and community health ruin.
I have met people from across the state now who can’t drink their well water because of these processes. Some of them can set their taps on fire. That’s cool a couple of times. But it’s not cool to have to have a gas ventilation system set up in your house because your water leaks so much methane your house could explode. I know people who have been ripped off. Cattle, dogs, horses, cats, chickens, song birds, and fish have all been killed by fracking. I know people whose property value has plummeted 85% because of damage to their water. Little kids waking up in the middle of the night with their noses bleeding and doctors reporting that kids have elevated levels of toxins in their bodies. People losing hair. Headaches. Just wait for the cancer clusters. Just two weeks ago, Carl Stiles killed himself because he had become so ill from what his family is certain was fracking pollution.
Santorum called this all “the boogey man.” He said, “Ooh, all this bad stuff's going to happen, we don't know all these chemicals and all this stuff, What's going to happen? Let me tell you what's going to happen, nothing's going to happen." Call me uncouth, but as a Pennsylvanian, that’s garbage. The people of Dimock, Pennsylvania lost their water from gas drilling. When the state government and the company stopped providing that water who stepped in? First it was neighboring communities. But then the EPA came and has supplied the water. Once again, we are back at number one.
So I know you said you admired Santorum for his going back to be with his kid. As a father myself, I too am touched by that. Every day that I get to spend with a healthy and happy boy is a day worth more than my life. And I mean no disrespect to you when I say that it affects you differently than it does me given your family history and your father’s negligence as you’ve written about it. Santorum’s devotion to fatherhood is admirable. And certainly, given your vocal embrace of Christianity, his faith is too.
But why does it stop with his son? What about the son getting ill from fracking operations or the arsenic in his water from mountain top removal in West Virginia or Kentucky? What about the boys and girls exposed to the pollution of coal and gas power plants around this nation that create cancer clusters and literally billions of dollars in medical treatment for human-caused industrial disease. It’s no accident that asthma, leukemia, and other awful illnesses proliferate near, downwind, and downstream of polluting industries. Why isn’t Santorum a father for those people and protect them as much as he would protect his own children?
If you’re still reading this I appreciate it. Yeah. My first reaction was pretty strong. I felt like maybe never buying another Megadeth album. Maybe it would be boycott time. But I guess that I, like a lot of other people, can’t square this circle. We just want to understand.
See, it’s not that I ain’t kind. I’m just not his kind. And, like you, I still believe that it’s all for we the people…not we the corporations. If there's a new way, I'll be the first in line. Rick Santorum is not the new way.
He should never be president. Ever.
Today's show is all about hope in action. Our three guests are journeying to change our collective journey. First, Jon Brockopp will join us to talk about his pending bike ride to Washington, D.C. - 200 miles in 4 days. Along with two other men, he will be stopping at congregations, colleges and CSAs along the way to spread the word about Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light and our moral responsibility to respond to climate change.
Then we will be joined by Eileen Flanagan who is part of the Earth Quaker Action Team, who is part of the Green Walk for Jobs and Justice. They are walking 200 miles across Pennsylvania from Philadelphia to the PNC Bank headquarters in Pittsburgh to call on PNC to end its financing of mountain top removal of coal. George Lakey of EQAT says, "We can green our money." How?
Finally, Jason Bell will come on the show. Jason has initiatiated the Tour de Frack, "an action oriented way to explore rural communities and the effects unconventional gas drilling from the saddle of your bike." It is a two week bike tour from July 14-July 28, 2012 from Butler, Pennsylvania to Washington DC along the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O towpath.
In honor of all three of our guests today, I leave you with a Wendell Berry poem Badges-Canning quotes in this video.
"The Peace of Wild Things"
When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at
the least sound in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light.
For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
— Wendell Berry
You probably have those songs, bands, composers, or performers that take you into the heights, drown you in the depths, or fill your soul in ways words fail to describe. So why not share them with us?
Over on our Facebook page (Join us!) we have a music thread up. "What songs rile you up or inspire you? Respond & post titles for our mid-show breaks. If it's your music, all the better." So share with us and spread some feeling either in the comments below or on the FB page or tweet it to us at SustainNowRadio.
Me (Peter)? I've been listening to Fishbone's "Change." I'm usually an apocalyptic metal fan but I love this song. 12-string song of hope.
Last fall, there was a "phony scandal" about Solyndra, a solar energy company that went bankrupt even though it received government funds. Republicans decried the government funding as a form of cronyism and government interference in the market to further an environmental ideology. Critics were quick to point out that Republicans have been essentially subsidizing fossil fuels for decades to companies whose quarterly profits are at 10s of billions of dollars.
There have also been anti-wind dust-ups. In Massachusetts, some very wealthy people opposed the Cape Wind project because they didn't want their ocean view impaired. Even environmental groups, worried about habitat impacts to snakes and threatened species, migration routes for raptors, or harm to bats, have opposed wind power projects.
These scandals certainly hardened anti-renewable energy people's views. And they have done some PR damage too.
But there is some consensus in the public that climate change is real and that we need to act to curb it and renewable energy is part of that answer. Rasmussen reports that among likely voters, "64% say global warming is at least a somewhat serious problem, including 30% who say it’s Very Serious." In the same report, 51% of respondents think oil companies should have to invest their profits in alternative energy forms. In March of this year, Pew found that 52% of those they surveyed think that alternative energy sources need to be the top energy priority, down from 63% last year.
But all of this is still confusing. It's hard to know what the actual state of renewable energy is in this country. People are outfitting their houses with solar PV panels and there are large solar arrays going in in California and big wind projects all over. Then there are places like Germany that seem to defy the Republican dismissal of solar. What's the rub?
Today, Dr. Bevin Etienne will be on our show. He works for Sustainable Planning and Development and has advised renewable and alternative energy projects in California, Nevada, Mexico, Dominica, and more. He works on the projects understanding the engineering and the financing aspects, enabling him to work with governments and corporations to solve energy dilemmas.
Listen in today on The Lion 90.7 FM from 4-5 pm. As always, feel free to call with questions or comments: (814) 865-9577
Plastic is everywhere. Grocery store? Plastic everywhere from bottled water to the bags we put things in to the individual wrappers for the fruit snacks or candy bars to peanut butter jars to kitty litter bags. Your car? Plastic. Computer? Plastic. Toys? Plastic.
Most of us take plastic for granted. But people in places like Corpus Christi suffer the ill effects. The Natural Resources Defense Council has reported that children born near chemical plants, refineries, and incinerators are much more likely to be born with a wide variety of birth defects than children in comparable communities. Similarly, adults in these areas are more likely to develop cancer and immune-compromising chronic or terminal diseases, leading to the term “cancer cluster.”
Consider climate forcing impacts on climate change. In 2007, the EPA reported, "CO2 emissions from incineration of waste (20.8 Tg CO2 Eq. in 2007) increased by 9.8 Tg CO2 Eq. (90 percent) from 1990 through 2007, as the volume of plastics and other fossil carbon-containing materials in the waste stream grew." We know that from 1990 to 2007 time single-use plastic water bottle use has at least doubled. World Watch reported that from 1997 to 2005 the market's volume doubled to 164 billion liters. PR Inside estimated that the volume increased to over 174 billion liters in 2011, though public awareness campaigns, bans, and the economic downturn could disrupt this trend. Nonetheless, billions of single-use plastic water bottles in the U.S. have ended up in landfills. [Image courtesy of Huff Post Green.]
And we have the famous expanding garbage patches in the oceans. The most famous is featured in this video of the patch in the North Pacific Gyre.
What an incredible mess.
I myself have been quite active on this issue over the years. As the former president of 3E-COE, I worked with students and the Office of Physical Plant to work on reducing Penn State’s plastic water bottle use. Those bottle-filling stations around University Park campus (now over 20 of them) came about because of that collaboration (read about the clubs work on water and plastic bottles).
Some people are taking steps to change all of this and we will talk to them today at 4 pm.
Ben Bezark works for the Plastic Pollution Coalition on the Plastic Free Campuses program. PPC seeks to “end the global dependence on disposable plastic, the primary source of plastic pollution” and “reduce the overall global plastic footprint for individuals, businesses and organizations.” And students at University of Vermont are doing just that. Gregory Francese will join us mid-show to tell us about their incredible work to ban bottled water there. Last, but not least, we will be joined by Jennifer Wagner-Lawlor, professor of Women’s Studies at Penn State who hosted a TEDx event at Penn State last year on plastic pollution.
As always, listen in on your local dial at 90.7 fm or stream us online. Call in with questions or comments: (814) 865-9477.
What if it floods from climate change? This is a scenario eerily represented in this video.
As TreeHugger notes:
More than 100 miles from the Atlantic, Paris is safe from rising sea levels for the foreseeable future, but coastal cities around the world aren't as lucky. The entire population of the nation of Kiribati, in the Maldives, is relocating to Fiji as its 32 islands disappear under the water. They are not the first rising-sea refugees, either.Where would the art go? Berlin? Basel? Vienna? I have to admit a certain fascination and interest in such a problem. What kind of transition of culture would have to occur? I'm envisaging a modern version of the Irish monks of the medieval period who preserved so much in their cloistered corner of the world while Europe's powers plundered one another. Imagine the contingencies for the Mona Lisa. What about what's in New York's Museum of Modern Art? What future scenarios will there be besides A World Without Us or John Carpenter's campy Escape from New York?
To put the video's version of Paris in perspective, the best case scenario for this century is a 50cm rise in global sea levels. New reports show things will likely be worse.
Rising seas not only make coastal areas uninhabitable, they compromise drinking water supplies. The use of Paris, the famously beautiful city, as the potential victim could bring attention to a climate issue that is largely ignored.
A lot of people will argue New York is safe for a long time. And they may be right. The pumps that free the subways (and all of the island from the daily deluge of water that made the island a meadowland) run, more than likely, on coal. Coal, left unchecked, will power our machines for a long time. Maybe nuclear power fuels them. Maybe it will more. Maybe tidal will one day do it. But if its coal, and coal is left unchecked, that means an escalation of climate change. A real double bind. And one that makes for great apocalyptic story telling. I'm not saying the stories will necessarily or really won't happen. I don't know.
Right now, they're just stories. But each day with more coal dumping millions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, the more traction the doom scenarios will get more traction and the more the Mad Max fans will say that thunderdome is on its way. Others will watch this video and think, there must be a different way to do things so that doesn't happen.
I've been teaching at Penn State for going on 9 years. This summer will mark the end of my teaching here and the last time I'll have the opportunity to teach Philosophy of Education here. It would be great if you would join me. We'll have class outside every day unless it rains...or it's really way too hot.
EDTHP 440: Philosophy of Education
Summer 2012, First Session
What is a happy life? What is the purpose of society? What is nature and what is our place in it?
Register for this course and explore these questions to develop your philosophy of education and your philosophy of living. When you register for this course you will have the opportunity to be both teacher and student, be free to question and answer, and explore the work of our local culture and local natural environment. By course’s end, you will have written and presented your personal philosophy of education.
Following in the thousands of years of tradition of people who learned by listening and speaking, the majority of student evaluation is based on the cultivated ability to carefully and clearly speak your ideas and feelings so that you mean what you say and say what you mean.
- Ursula LeGuin, The Wizard of Earthsea
- J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Wendell Berry, What Are People For?
- John Dewey, Moral Principles in Education and Experience and Education
- Thomas Princen, Treading Softly
- David Orr, Hope is an Imperative
Additional readings come from Peter Singer, Derrick Jensen, Madhu Prakash, Vandana Shiva, Parker Palmer, Yes! Magazine, Alan Watts, Christopher Uhl and Dana Stuchul, and others.
Students from across the university, including graduate students, are invited to this class.
For more information contact Peter Buckland via email: email@example.com