SUMMARY Author Richard Heinberg on geopolitics, finance, and environment of the slow crash. Global Crossing and Green Festivals President Kevin Danaher on transition to green economy. Unicyclist for climate Joseph Boutelier. Radio Ecoshock 140507 1 hour.
Welcome to Radio Ecoshock. I’m Alex and in this program we’ll visit with Kevin Danaher, a founder of Global Crossing and President of the Green Festival, plus a visit to the studio by young Joseph Boutelier, riding his unicycle across the Rocky Mountains to draw attention to climate change.
But first, I need to ask one of the old hands about what to do while waiting for the crash. Richard Heinberg is next.
RICHARD HEINBERG: WAITING FOR THE CRASH
There’s a movie “What to Do in Denver When You are Dead”. Now we know this carbon-based civilization is dead-ending in bankruptcy and climate chaos. What are we supposed to do while we wait for collapse?
It’s time to call in a life-line. Richard Heinberg has written about this future for decades, in books like “The Party’s Over”, “The End of Growth” and his recent fracking book “Snake Oil”. He is the Senior Fellow-in-Residence at the Post Carbon Institute in California.
My food stash from 2009 is still in my basement unused. Everyone is predicting the crash that never seems to come. What if this crazy, deadly system just keeps eating up the earth and the atmosphere for another ten or twenty years?
MICHAEL C. RUPPERT – WAS IT LEADER BURN-OUT?
There’s also the problem of leader burn out. The most glaring recent example is Michael C. Ruppert, the 911 activist, founder of Collapsenet, and host of the Lifeboat Hour radio show who killed himself.
Richard has known Mike Ruppert for years, and spent more time with him when Mike was living in Sebastapol. Is Mike’s death a reflection on a whole movement? Heinberg says “no”. Mike had his own personal problems, and had talked about suicide on many occasions. Ruppert’s former lawyer says the same thing. If you are interested, the best explanation I’ve found is here on the Cherispeak blog. The best radio show, consisting of a half dozen interviews with those who knew Mike, was just done by Global Research. Info on the program is here or download that one hour show as a free mp3 here (from the famous radio4all.net).
There are times when I feel tired, when I feel beat. I interview scientists warning about climate change, and really bright people trying to bring the world’s attention to absolutely critical threats. But my show never gets the million viewers of a single cat video. People talk about celebrity scandals, or errant billionaires, but a dying future just doesn’t make the news or even dinner table conversation.
I’ve had scientists like Dr. Tim Garrett on Radio Ecoshock, explaining why this fossil economy has to crash, to prevent an all-out climate catastrophe. We’ve had economists explain the whole banking system is based on fraud and corruption. How does this planet-killing machine keep on going?
ENERGY AND GEO-POLITICS: THE UKRAINE
We hear the drum beats for a divided world again, with US and Europe versus Russia and China. Is it a sign of desperation, the need to distract the population from dead-end jobs and a dead-end civilization? Is it a kind of military bail-out? Richard says an expected bonanza of fracked gas is likely not behind this geopolitical tussle. After all, Poland was supposed to be a fracking Mecca, but most companies have pulled out of there. It’s a very
expensive way to develop gas or oil.
Another big piece of news hardly anyone will hear: western energy companies are in bed with Vladimir Putin. BP owns part of one of the world’s biggest energy companies, the Russian firm Rosneft. Exxon/Mobil has a giant play with Rosneft to do exploratory drilling in the Arctic Sea north of Siberia. The first drilling will cost more than a half billion dollars, for a reserve estimated at over 9 billion dollars. Now the CEO of Rosneft is banned from travelling to the US, and the American energy companies might get caught up in the boycotts. Everything is so interconnected with globalization that I can’t help but think this so-called economic war will blow-back into a nasty fall for the world as a whole, including the United States.
The bright side could be this: nobody should be drilling in the Arctic anyway. Their is no way to “clean up” spills there, like the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Plus, the extra fossil fuels will kill off the planet for sure.
FOOD PRICES AND COMMUNITY
Then there’s food prices. California, the whole state, is now declared in drought. The Texas cattle industry sold out last year, herds are down due to their drought. Anybody and everybody can see food prices going up and up. Will it drive more people into urban farming, back-to-the-land, kitchen gardens or what?
In the interview, we try to come up with a short-list of projects every community, and maybe even small groups of friends, can take on, to build our resiliance, and maybe a sustainable future. I’ll start: I think all lawns should be ripped up and turned into food gardens. If you don’t have time to garden, let a new industry of urban farmers do it.
Ripping up streets is another. We could keep a few for emergency access, but most of that pavement is helping kill us. Cars can make good planters. I’ve seen a couple in Vancouver that were flourishing with flowers and food, once you hack the roof off….
When a community comes to Richard, and they do, he shares that kind of advice with us that a small town, or even a mid-sized city, can proceed toward a sustainable future.
What about our culture! Richard plays a mean violin, and does public speaking, like to real people instead of just TEXx on You tube. Richard tells us a sustainable planet needs culture, and gives us some examples.
We’ve talked a little about really living, as though the future mattered. I hope people do it. But I also think we’re soft and unprepared for what our system failure, and natural system failure, will bring. Are people ready, in their heads, to sweat out a few months of hundred degree plus weather, over 30 C.? Can we withstand flooding of coastal cities time after time? Doesn’t there come a point when this already bankrupt system just cannot rebuild?
Is there a way for people to get ready for a one-two punch of economic crash and climate disruption, beyond putting bullets and beans in the basement? We can’t cover all that, but we try.
Richard Heinberg is one of the pioneers in the post carbon world to come. Richard appears in major publications and media. His books are all still essential reading. Try “The Party’s Over”, “Peak Everything“, and recently “Snake Oil: How Fracking’s False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future.” Find Richard as the senior Fellow-in-Residence at the Post Carbon Institute, postcarbon.org, follow his ongoing “Museletter“, or just visit richardheinberg.com.
He also publishes regularly at the Post Carbon web site called “Reslience.org“. That used to be Energy Bulletin, until they realized it was about much more than that. Reslience.org often runs Radio Ecoshock features as well. It’s a great resource, take a look.
KEVIN DANAHER: CONSUMERS VERSUS GREEN FESTIVALS
In the world of activism, we split into two branches. One attacks the existing human system, things like globalization, the World Bank, and social inequality. The other protests our destruction of nature, while struggling to create a pathway to a survivable future.
Our guest is one of the rare souls who marries both together. Dr. Kevin Danaher is the author, co-author, and editor of 11 books. Some expose the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the cabal of the 1 percent. Others lay out the grassroots of a greener world. Kevin co-founded the Global Exchange, long dedicated to social justice. But he also founded and continues to share leadership of Green Festivals in major American cities, including Los Angeles and New York, and coming up, Washington DC at the end of May 2014.
He’s an activist in San Franciso as well, where he founded Friends of the SF Environment. Kevin’s PhD from the University of California is in sociology.
Many of us desperately hope we can avert a catastrophic disruption of our climate. Kevin has talked about this, asking if humanity can save itself. Can we?
Many, if not most of us, have given up on government as an agency that can help us out. Princeton just released a study saying America is an oligarchy, not a democracy. Quoting a summary of that study by Mike Krieger “even when 80% of the population favored a particular public policy change, it was only instituted 43% of the time.” Now we understand why banks get bailed out but ordinary people just lose their homes. Is democracy dead?
Kevin makes me laugh out loud with one simple idea. Members of Congress should wear uniforms he say, like other public servants, such as firemen or policement. These Senators and Congressmen could wear jump suits like NASCAR drivers, with the logos of their corporate sponsors on the outside for all to see (instead of on the inside, where we can’t
see those $$$).
I can see why Kevin is in demand as a public speaker. He covers everything from the corporate take over of the world to a transition to the Green economy.
Then we get down to Green Festivals. Kevin is basically in charge of those conglomerations of green businesses and speakers that visit a half dozen major American cities. There was just a Green Festival in New York in April, and Kevin will deliver a major speech at the Washington DC Green Festival at the end of May. After listening to this lively interview, D.C. listeners should get down to hear Kevin on the 31st.
Are these festivals just another excuse for more consumerism? I know some of my listeners think that. But after attending a Mother Earth News Fair last year, I found small family-run business – real people who want to make a living without damaging the Earth, and maybe even offering tools to lead a sustainable life. Even though I’m suspicious of trying to buy our way out of this eco-mess, I’ll cut some slack for people trying to make an honest living. They
may be the vanguard of a new, truly sustainable economy. That’s my opinion. You decide after listening to Kevin in this interview.
UNICYCLIST FOR THE PLANET
Climate change hangs over the next generation even more. What can one person do?
Joseph Boutilier has set off on a cross-Canada trip to raise public awareness. His vehicle is just a single wheel, a unicycle. Joseph cycled into my village, after crossing the Coastal mountains of BC. That’s not easy!
Unicycles have no gears like a mountain bike. He has a small kind of aluminum suit case attached to the unicycle, built by his Uncle. This climate activist worked at a regular job for three years saving up the money to do this trip. He’s depending on finding friendly homes to stay in as he crosses Canada, so if you hear Joseph is coming, please reach out to give your support, a meal and a bed. He’ll be meeting with Mayors and media all along, to bring attention to the inter-generational injustice of climate change.
As you’ll hear in the interview, Joseph is well spoken, an inspiring young man. I’m so please to see youth in motion. He’s certainly that. This journey began in Victoria, British Columbia, and should end this fall in Canada’s
captial, Ottawa BC, several thousand miles in all. Joseph hopes to get more attention for climate change before the Canadian elections.
Joseph Boutilier is an example of a young person who can’t just let climate disruption sweep the Earth and keep quiet about it. He’s found his way of speaking out. Have you found yours?
Follow Joseph Boutlier at his web site here.
You can listen to Radio Ecoshock on our new Soundcloud page. The opening music for this program featured links from Festival Trance 2 by Function Loops. You’ll find more new music from me on the SoundCloud page, like this short 2 minute piece called “Drum Wood“.
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Thanks for paying attention to what matters. I’m Alex, for Radio Ecoshock.