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.
Smith, this is Radio Ecoshock. We'll track the causes and the victims.
opening cuts, you heard video Blogger George4title in his You tube special
Ground Zero for Opening 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.
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.
interview Clive Doucet to get the update.
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.
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 neighbours 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.
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.
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
MORE....and find all the links to news stories for this show.
fear the homeless. Maybe you repress a
worry that you could become homeless yourself.
At least 1 in 3 people in North America are just one or two paychecks
away from being homeless. For example,
if both wage earners lose their jobs, where will the mortgage payment or the
rent come from? So many people are just
getting by. They have no savings, and a
couple of credit cards already maxed out.
Big car payments and all those bills.
If the money stops, what happens?
600,000 Americans lost their jobs last month, and the same the month before
that, and every month all through this winter of economic crash. Jobs have been crashing in Canada and the UK
as well. Big companies laying off,
small stores closing. An economist at
the Urban Institute calculates that 700,000 Americans will run out of
unemployment benefits by next Fall.
ladder of homelessness begins with renting, or sharing rent somewhere, or maybe
moving back with family. As so many
people moved around, and families broke up in divorce, people start living in
their car, if they have one, or maybe a camper. Others go straight to tents, if they can afford one, or the
streets. Get ready for millions of
people to slide down this ladder.
still have a job, maybe you are sitting at home watching TV, as the cops slash
up tents and force the homeless to drift to another hiding place. While millions of houses, one in nine in the
United States, sit empty, foreclosed, bank owned.
media makers are starting to catch this wave of new homelessness. In Vancouver, the Pivot Legal Society and
Simon Fraser University just held a film festival called "Reel
Justice" spelled reel. All the
films were about the lives of homeless people.
Some were filmed by street people.
you've heard of the short film "Carts
of Darkness" by Murray Siple. A former snow-board film maker, Murray is
now trapped in a wheel chair after a serious car accident. He recaptures some of his extreme sports
glory by filming homeless people as they race shopping carts down the steep
dizzy roads of North Vancouver. Carts
of Darkness is available through the National Film Board of Canada, and you can
catch snippets on You tube. It's deeper
than cart racing though. He goes into
the dark side of homelessness.
today's Ecoshock program, radio producer Allart
from CFRO in Vancouver interviews the producer of another "Reel
Justice" entry called "Broken Down." First Nations Film maker Harold Joe lives
rough for a few days, and introduces us to four homeless people. Harold comes from the Cowichan Valley on
Vancouver Island, but this interview slices right to the core of homelessness
everywhere. Before you duck away from
the next homeless person, hear this interview.
with Harold C. Joe ] 22 min Lo Fi
more about the film "Broken Down" at http://www.visionkeeper.ca/.
the producer/host of the "Dynamic Health" radio program, which airs
live every Wednesday from 1-2 pm Pacific Time on CFRO 102.7 FM in
Vancouver. It can also be heard live
online at http://www.dynamichealthradio.info/. You'll find Allart's past shows there too.
hear another interview from Allart next week, as we tackle the question: are
homeless women becoming the next invisible people? Look in those free dinner lineups, or out on
the street, and you'll find plenty of men.
But women lose their jobs and homes as well. Where are they? Next week
on Radio Ecoshock.
way, we'll also have a special interview from Australia, with one of
that country's top scientists, Andrew Glikson. Dr. Glikson is one of the most outspoken climate experts. He warns the world is headed toward a
catastrophe, with climate conditions not seen for millions of years. The new world system may not be suitable for
mammals. Our breathing apparatus is not
adapted for extreme heat worlds.
miss that, because no matter what happens to our economy, the big climate
change has already arrived. The
National Climatic Data Centre for the United States has confirmed that March
2009 had the 10th highest combined global land and sea temperature since
records began in 1880. Hard
measurements, hard to deny.
Radio Ecoshock. I'm your host Alex
Smith. Download this program as a free
mp3 from our web site, http://www.ecoshock.org/. In fact, you'll find all our past programs
there, plus tons of free audio on the environment, Peak Oil, and the economic
crisis. Load up your computer, IPOD or
mp3 player with information you need to know.
through some quick news that hit me between the eyes this week.
Costing the Earth clip 060427 Dongtan Eco City]
British designed Eco City was supposed to almost built by now, near
Shanghai. The goal was completion of an
energy efficient new city for 50,000 people by the opening of the Shanghai Expo
cities use up to 80 percent of the world's resources, and produce about that
much waste - it was a great hope that China's new urbanization would begin with
a sustainable model - something that would allow the Earth to survive hundreds
of millions of new Asian urbanized consumers.
to an April 6th report published at a Yale web site, "almost nothing has
been built." The article is titled
Plans for Eco-Cities Now Lie Abandoned". The politicians pushing the idea were booted out in a corruption
scandal, and permits were not approved.
Anyway, Dongtan, as the imagined city was called, was projected on a
marshy area used by birds.
Chinese green model project, called Huangbaiyu in China's Northeast, has also
failed. The green hay and pressed earth
bricks were too expensive, and the design called for garages, though the
villagers didn't have cars. The tiny
yards didn't allow for animals necessary for subsistence. Basically, it sounds like a Western vision
that didn't meet local Chinese needs.
General Motors is selling more cars in China than in the United States. In fact, China has become the largest market
for new automobiles. From a green
perspective, this transfer of the deadly car/carbon culture to Asia sounds like
a death knell for our atmosphere, and for millions of Chinese people who will
die of smog.
Stimpy Happy Happy Joy Joy]
care about the world's forests?
Biosphere 2 - the big dome where scientists tried to create a completely
self-sustaining inner environment? That
project failed because too many gases leaked in and out of the structure, but
mostly because Nature turned out to be too hard to duplicate.
is now used by the University of Arizona.
led by Henry Adams planted Pinion Pines inside, and then ramped up the
temperature by 7 degrees, or 4 degrees Celsius, to study the impact of global
warming on trees. On current levels of
carbon pollution, we can expect such temperature rises.
study, published in the April 13th Proceedings of the National Academy of
Sciences, or PNAS, found that temperature change led to a 28 percent faster die
off rate, compared to today's climate.
Even higher levels of carbon dioxide in the air did not help the trees,
which shut down to prevent high water loss in the higher temperatures.
general message seems to be: the world's forest may die off at a high rate as
global warming proceeds. That was
predicted by various computer models, as forest turned to grasslands or even
deserts. Other studies found even the
great Amazon rainforest could dry out and burn. But now we have a real world test of future conditions, and the
verdict is very serious.
deniers are always talking about the Medieval warm period, when Greenland was
greener, and wine was made in England.
That shows temperature gains are perfectly normal, they say.
study by the Swiss Federal Institute in Birmensdorf analyzed tree rings in Morocco,
and a stalagmite in a cave below a Scottish peat bog. They discovered that the warm period was not global during
medieval times, but localized to Northern Europe. The cause appears to be a change in ocean currents, called the
North Atlantic Oscillation.
scientists studied records from other parts of the world, and found that there
was no truly global warming during that period, just a localized event. Which knocks the socks off the argument made
in New Scientist, published April 2nd, 2009.
BOO! TO AUSTRALIAN COAL - from our speaker Peter Newman
Ecoshock featured a speech by Professor Peter Newman. in our Ecoshock Resilient
Cities Show for January 16th, 2009, at ecoshock.org. Now Professor Newman is working to advise the Australian
government of Kevin Rudd. Yet Newman
says the government's plan to double it's coal export capacity should be given
up. Perversely, in a country so damaged
by climate change, the government continued with costly plans to enlarge coal
plants and build new heavy rail lines to coal mines. To make a buck, they are willing to drown their Northern half,
while the populated southern coast dies off from drought and fire brought on by
also says the government's $500 million dollar promise for clean coal tech is a
big waste of money. He is quoted in the
Morning Herald for April 1st on supposed clean coal "I don't think the
science on that is anywhere near that happening," he said. "In the US
it's already disappearing … it's going to disappear along with nuclear
coal plan, says Rudd's man”
Peter Newman's speech on
Resilient Cities in the Radio Ecoshock Show for January 16th, 2009, at
ecoshock.org. It's a free mp3 download.