Personal reports from non-profit radio hosts & volunteers: Maria Gilardin from TUC Radio San Francisco; from Australia, Vivien Langford, producer of Beyond Zero Emissions; soil scientist Jackie Heinyl, a volunteer for Red Cross emergencies – the view from Pennsylvania; from the UK, radio and podcast host Greg Moffitt; and Chicago radio producer Dale Lehman.
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
– J.R.R. Tolkien
This is a Radio Ecoshock call-around to non-profit radio hosts in 3 countries – what they see around them as things shut down for the Coronavirus pandemic.
RADIO PRODUCER IN BANGLADESH CHECKS IN
Due to communications difficulties, we missed one further radio producer: Robin Upton, long-time host of the non-profit show “Unwelcome Guests”. Many years ago, Robin moved from Britain to make his home in Bangladesh. He still posts shows from there on radio4all.net. I could not reach Robin near Dhaka for this program, but he sent this email note:
“We are in a Bangladeshi style lock down situation. Although the BD[ government] acted pretty fast, and a lot of people have gone back to their village homes to sit it out, as the densest part of the densest country in the world, we’ve got to reckon with the possibility of flood of cases.
So I was glad to hear you ask [Dr. John Campbell] exactly the question I would have to that (first rate) UK doctor: how best to care at home for a serious case. Sitting up and no lying on the back. Let’s hope I never need to know that:-) I always wondered about that – if fluid in the lungs is a problem, what about lying upside-down on a slope? I generally avoid medicines, but might stock up on chloroquine just in case.
Right now it’s the hottest, dustiest and driest time of the year – the high watermark for lung troubles, but once the monsoons break, humidity rises fast and we get nearly daily rain to wash the streets, so I’m hoping that will help us flatten the curve.”
MARIA GILARDIN IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
In America, California is number two worst case in terms of the Coronavirus. Maria Gilardin is the long-time host of Time of Useful Consciousness, TUC Radio, as broadcast in San Francisco and other stations across the country. After leaving San Francisco, Maria now lives with a couple of hundred others on a massive ranch in Northern California, founded by the original back-to-the-landers in the 1970’s. They maintain their own roads, pond, and infrastructure.
Maria’s TUC Radio broadcast so many speeches about under-reported social problems, and where we could be going instead. I ask here what she makes of this great social turning now unfolding. I also ask her about her recent broadcast about COVID-19 with Dr. Larry Brilliant. Dr. Brilliant, who has a storied career, including helping to eradicate smallpox in India, says outbreaks are inevitable, but pandemics are optional. Listen to that half hour interview here.
Maria’s new program is “Brian Eno and Yanis Varoufakis: The Future After Corona”. You can listen to that free on Maria’s web site here.
Like Maria, I live in a rural area. Our village just closed down the municipal campground, to avoid people fleeing Vancouver in their RV’s I suppose. We find ourselves keeping track of returning snowbirds from Arizona and Mexico. Are they really self-isolating for 2 weeks? If not, we have to avoid them. Is your small community self-protecting?
In emails earlier this year, Maria worried about visiting a friend in hospice in San Francisco, and how long that trip would be safe. Now both people are self-isolating, the trip to the big city is off. Los Angeles is a developing national hot spot. The Mayor expects many thousands of deaths. I worry about the many people with super low incomes, people off official records, and the many homeless people there.
The Canadian government just permitted 100,000 temporary agricultural workers to enter the country, to help plant and harvest our crops. Now a nursery operation in the Okanagan has a serious outbreak of Coronavirus among temporary workers, more than a dozen sick so far. How is California going to safely employ the millions of agricultural workers needed to provide fresh food for about half of America?
VIVIEN LANGFORD IN AUSTRALIA
In Australia, Vivien Langford produces radio program Beyond Zero Emissions for 3CR radio in Melbourne. 3CR also broadcasts the Radio Ecoshock show. None of us non-profit radio types have medical expertise on this disease. But we get her personal experience in this pandemic in Australia, as Vivien learns to produce her show from her home during lock down.
Vivien Langford, broadcaster Melbourne Australia
Naturally I ask about the virus, the recent record wildfires so damaging to Australia, and what this means for the food supply. Australia is a major food exporting nation, and countries from Asia to the Middle East depend partly on Australia grains. But the crops have been threatened year after year by persistent drought and extreme heat.
The government of Australia was notoriously slow to act. The Premier took a vacation in Hawaii as the pandemic arrived. Did some Australians think this disease would only affect the Northern Hemisphere, that Australia would escape?
Vivien tells us about her recent program on the New New Deal, and how this plays for the big turning happening right now due to this pandemic. These ideas come from the National Climate Emergency Summit in Melbourne Town Hall held this February. It was a major event, and we will hear more about that next week from our guest Australian researcher and author David Spratt.
Listeners around the world can find Vivien’s radio broadcasts here.
JACKIE HEINYL IN PENNSYLVANIA
Jackie Heinyl is a soil scientist in Erie Pennsylvania. When you find Radio Ecoshock on Facebook, that is because Jackie has been that volunteer helping get our expert voices out there. Jackie, welcome to the show.
Where is Pennsylvania in the Coronavirus crisis? Gov. Wolf Places All Of Pennsylvania Under Stay-At-Home Order As COVID-19 Cases Climb Above 6,000
On April 1st, Pennsylvania added 1,211 cases in one day
Philadelphia has been added to the list of top 5 developing hot spots.
Jackie is also a long-time volunteer for the Red Cross. I know she has gone into hurricane zones, even when things are pretty chaotic on the ground. Are there calls for volunteers now with the Coronavirus pandemic, or does the need to isolate break the Red Cross play-book?
GREG MOFFITT IN THE UK
In the United Kingdom, Greg Moffitt is host of a long running radio program and podcast at legalise-freedom.com. His work has been featured several times on Radio Ecoshock.
Greg Moffitt, radio producer UK
We are all developing a weird mixture of knowing. We have global input through social media, and a very limited view out the windows of our home. But radio producers have a rich network of people to draw on, and a bank of knowledge.
The UK was very slow to pick up the gravity of what was happening in Italy and Spain. A lot of Brits have second homes in Spain, or travel south for holidays. Do you suspect those travel connections raised the number of cases in Britain?
Greg just interviewed James Howard Kunstler. I stopped listening to Jim Kunstler when he became a supporter of the Trump narrative, but his earlier work on The Long Emergency and the futility of suburban design are important. Greg Moffitt has also worried about our loss of freedom and big government. I ask him: What do you think – now that we see the most oppressive sounding measures – implemented to stop this disease?
Greg writes about that Kunstler interview:
“Whether we then change our ways or simply fall back into our former slow-death spiral remains to be seen.”
The historian and philosopher Michel Foucault suggested our modern authoritarian state arose from needs generated by the great medieval plague. Do you expect we will come out of this pandemic with changed social and political institutions? Greg and I discuss some possibilities.
DALE LEHMAN IN CHICAGO
In Chicago, Dale Lehman produced many programs for WZRD radio at Northeastern Illinois University. WZRD also broadcasts Radio Ecoshock, but the station is in lock down, with the University closed. It is my understanding they are still broadcasting, including Radio Ecoshock, but only pre-produced programs in automation.
On April 2nd, NBC news in Chicago reported 715 new cases in Illinois, for almost 8,000 people testing positive, and 157 deaths. Now we worry: Is Chicago in the race to become the next New York?
Dale reports that street traffic in his north part of Chicago has become quiet. It is hard to know what is happening on the south side of Chicago – where so many people of color are getting sick and dying. While African Americans are less than 20% of most Illinois cities, they make up about 70% of the deaths. American mainstream media is just catching up to this awful fact.
Coronavirus has exposed several layers of inequality in American society. African Americans are more likely to hold the lowest paying jobs, or have no jobs at all. Fresh food is less available in the poorer areas of the inner city, than to middle class whites in the suburbs. With poor diets, African Americans are much more likely to have diabetes, heart disease, and obesity: there “co-morbidities” that set them up to die in greater numbers than white people.
Plus, in America low income people generally have no health care, and fear the cost of going to see a doctor. When African Americans finally have to be taken to the hospital, they are already in more serious shape, closer to death. Some white racists are probably content to see their fellow citizens of color dying – but do they realize if ANYONE is sick, then everyone can get sick – even those racists, the pastors who claimed God was punishing the wicked, the white politicians and business people – we ALL are exposed when good diet and health care are not available to all. Contrast the much lower rates of infection and death in countries like Canada which have free national health care for all.
There has been a strong gardening and food sharing community sprouting up in the Chicago are. This pandemic has people really looking to their food supply. Recently Dale broadcast a talk by Malik Yakini, co-founder and Executive Director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network.
THE CURSE OF AIRPORTS
Chicago joins a select list of American cities which have international airports that serve as hubs for lots of air travelers. Each of those cities are now hot spots, including New York and Los Angeles. Chicago was a destination and transfer spot for countless travelers returning from ski resorts in the West as those closed down. Some illness returned with them, as it also arrived with international travelers, including from the Middle East. Even when the pandemic was very well known, and other Americans were taking precautions, photos at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport show huge crowds of people, jammed in shoulder to shoulder, trying to get through security or get their luggage. It was the perfect stew for launching more Coronavirus disease and authorities did not or could not provide social distancing.
Illinois Governor Pritzger announced the State was converting the McCormick Place Convention Center into a field medical station with 3000 hospital beds. As of April 8, Cook County where Chicago resides had almost 10,000 cases of Coronavirus, and about 250 deaths. But keep in mind, the official death stats (in all American cities) only count those who died in hospital, suspected of having the disease. There are many more who die at home, or fall dead in the streets, who are not part of the official news tally your read every day. Some experts estimate the true COVID-19 death rates are two to three times higher than the official estimates.
SUPPORT NON-PROFIT RADIO!
Part of the purpose of this program was to point you to other non-profit radio hosts who get you something other than the official story – every week in their shows. Check out their work! – and remember those small radio stations still have to pay the rent and fees for the broadcasting tower. Support your local non-profit radio station.
If you can afford it, I can also use your financial donation. The small amount of money I have personally is going into preparing to sit this disease out – for the long haul. I just spent about $300 for materials to build a chicken coop, and feed. Meanwhile I also have to pay some monthly costs, including web costs to keep this show going out free all over the world. If you can donate to Radio Ecoshock, either monthly or a one-time donation, this would be a good time.
The important thing: thank you for listening! You keep me going, phoning intelligent people all over the world, to help our common survival. Please join me again next week.