“Beyond the Green Zone” war reporter Dahr Jamail covers climate change like no other. His stories and his story. Then Peruvian climate activist and feminist Maria Alejandra Rodriguez Acha adds another fresh perspective.
What happens when a behind-the-lines war reporter tackles climate change? This Radio Ecoshock. I’m Alex Smith. Welcome to the journey.
DAHR JAMAIL ON THE CLIMATE HUNT
We are on the track of the climate truth-tellers. Our guest Dahr Jamail is one of them. Dahr is a journalist, and in the past, a war-reporter. He’s the author of 3 books. Dahr has been published in major newspapers in Europe and appears on TV. More recently, especially in the popular blog truthout.org, Dahr Jamail publishes deeply researched articles about our climate unwinding into dangerous territory.
Dahr penetrated into Fallujah during the 2004 seige, and reported from Iraq without military protection. We discuss how his resistance to the establishment story shaped his work on climate change. Then we cover a half dozen big climate change stories you need to know.
SOIL BREATHING OUT MASSIVE GREENHOUSE GASES
We get right to some of Dahr’s most recent stories, and they are big ones. For example, he wrote “We have released a monster: previously frozen soil is breathing out greenhouse gases.”
A few weeks ago, I interviewed the lead author of that soil study, Thomas Crowther. He told us this big soil feedback, every year as large as the emissions of the United States, was left out of the climate models used by politicians at the Paris climate talks. Reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change don’t include this soil feedback either.
You can read about my interview with Thomas Crowther here, or listen to the interview here.
In December, in truthout.org, Dahr wrote “The Arctic Is Unravelling“. It’s well researched, with handy links. The unravelling of the Arctic is even more apparent now. This year sea ice in the Arctic hit the lowest level ever for January. Plus, a strange storm in the North Atlantic is expected to push another mass of warm air up into the Arctic. Temperatures will go as much as 50 degrees F. above normal!
Related to that unravelling Arctic, but not limited to the Arctic, Dahr also found 2016 was “the Year of Shrinking Ice“. Canadian scientist Paul Beckwith mentioned this on Radio Ecoshock, but we need to hear more, to grasp the enormity. Dahr talks to us about what he found.
TRUMP AND CLIMATE
We are talking about huge physical signs of abrupt warming that can be seen from space. In the face of this evidence, the incoming regime of Donald Trump will pump out even more greenhouse gases, while denying there is a problem. Who is behind it?
It seems like the Koch brothers are getting everything they want. And yet even they are publicly worried about Trump instituting too many changes too fast. TV personality Bill Maher thinks our only hope to limit Donald Trump may be Republicans in the Congress. Are we that desperate?
STANDING ROCK AND DIRTY OIL
Dahr Jamail recently wrote about one of the battles to stop expanding fossil fuel madness, still happening in North Dakata right now. I’m talking about Standing Rock. What is that really about?
THE LONG GAME: CHANGING OCEAN CURRENTS
All this frenetic activity out of Washington has stunned and worried the world. It’s put my reporting in a bind. Let me give you an example. Dahr wrote about how an essential ocean current in the Atlantic could collapse within 300 years. Part of me says, I can’t think anything matters beyond 300 days! Does the long-game really matter?
Our guest Dahr Jamail is author or co-author of 3 books: “Beyond the Green Zone, Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq“, and “The Will To Resist, Soldiers Who Refuse To Fight In Iraq And Afghanistan” (forward by Chris Hedges), and “The Mass Destruction Of Iraq, The Disintegration Of A Nation: Why It Is Happening, And Who Is Responsible“. The last was co-authored with Willam Rivers Pitt.
Find all of Dahr Jamail’s past articles at his web site here.
A FEW NOTES FROM ALEX
I’m sad to see film-maker and ocean activist Rob Stewart has died, in the seas that he loved. We had Rob on Radio Ecoshock in October 2012, talking about his movie “Sharkwater” and his newer film Revolution. It’s a real loss for defenders of the sea, and everyone who loves marine creatures. You can find my blog about that interview here.
Meanwhile, January 2017 continued to be radically warmer in the Arctic. The sea ice there is again at record lows for the month, as reported by the National Sea and Ice Data Center in Colorado. We are witnessing one of the greatest geophysical events of the last few million years.
It’s possible Noah’s great flood in the Bible records the moment when the land bridge at the Bosphorus gave way. Water poured in from the Mediterranean to create the Black Sea. It drowned many early human settlements in what is now Northern Turkey. As far as I know, that’s the most recent geophysical event of a scale that could be seen from space.
Now we have a new one: the ice of the great white Arctic is turning deep blue as the Polar Sea is revealed for longer and longer periods, within a single human lifetime. That’s a lot to cover-up, deny, or explain away, but some fools will try.
We’ll see plenty more extreme weather, record precipitation events, fires and storm surges. But personally, I think the climate breaking point that will reach most humans first is likely crop failure. Not this year maybe, or the next, but this decade. This Spring I’m planning to build a sunken greenhouse, a sort of hybrid Walipini. I’ll record the process and let you know. Get to know our local farmers, and learn to grow what you can, even in containers on a balcony. We need to build resilience systems. There’s a whole online community for that, at resilience.org.
We hear lots of senior male scientists, politicians and experts from the big polluting countries talking about climate change. But the first and maybe the worst impacts will hit women who did little to cause the problem, especially in the global south. Women are taking the lead in climate activism all over.
In this Radio Ecoshock program we’re lucky to connect with Maria Alejandra Rodriquez Acha. She’s a young anthropologist, teacher and activist who co-founded and co-leads an environment group in Peru. Known as Majandra, she’s attended several key climate conferences, including the Paris COP21 meeting.
I found Maria through this article she wrote in the Huffington Post: “How Young Feminists are Tackling Climate Justice in 2016“. She listed some upcoming meetings in that article. She gives us an updated list below.
UPCOMING EVENTS RE WOMEN AND CLIMATE (submitted by Majandra Acha)
- CSW 61: http://www.unwomen.org/en/csw/csw61-2017
- Intersessional climate negotiations: http://unfccc.int/meetings/bonn_may_2017/meeting/10076.php
- COP23: http://unfccc.int/meetings/bonn_nov_2017/meeting/10084.php
- Allied Media Conference: https://www.alliedmedia.org/amc
- Young Feminist Leadership Conference (US): http://feministcampus.org/
You can also watch and listen to Majandra in this You tube video, posted in 2015 at the COP21 meetings, produced by Neongreen Network.
BE SURE TO TUNE IN NEXT WEEK
Next week from Australia, feminist, activist and Professor Petra Tschekert talks to us about climate on the ground in Africa and India – plus the new IPCC report on 1.5 degrees C of warming. We’ll top that up with a vat of plankton. It’s new science about a neurotoxin washing into the seas as the climate shifts. Be sure to join me next week, on Radio Ecoshock.
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DAVID ROVICS: “THE AGE OF ROBBER BARONS”
At the end of this program, I play a song by activist/artist David Rovics -a song for Trump times: “Age of the Robber Barons”. David recorded this one quickly for You tube. I worked on the audio a bit for radio, to improve delivery of the lyrics. It was posted on January 30, 2017 on You tube here.