Climate Change

Show details for the week of September 4th, 2017

Posted on


This week’s show takes a closer look at Houston’s weather and flooding with two guests. Why were different parts of the city so differently impacted by Harvey and prior weather events? What will this mean for future events? First up is Historian Bob Buzzanco to discuss the political players in Houston, and Texas, and the background to recent flooding events. Our second guest is Meteorologist Eric Berger to discuss the weather conditions that created Harvey and the current “yellow blob” in the Gulf, and what we can expect from Irma.

More about this week’s guests:

200px-robert_buzzancoRobert Buzzanco is professor of history at the University of Houston. He is a scholar of 20th Century U.S. History and Diplomatic History. Buzzanco has also contributed to national newspapers and magazines such as the Baltimore Sun, Houston Chronicle and Newsday magazine. He has been interviewed or cited by various international media such as the BBC, NPR, Financial times, Al-Jazeerra and the Islamic News Network. See the recent interview with him on Vimeo. He gives a breakdown of the current situation and the relevant history in Houston, including the 2001 tropical storm Allison, which deluged Houston and caused over 20 deaths. After that storm, Buzzanco notes there was widespread discussion of Houston following a different development model, only to pave over more green space. For more background see from the Texas Tribune and ProPublica “Boomtown, Flood Town,” which notes: “unchecked development remains a priority in the famously un-zoned city, creating short-term economic gains for some while increasing flood risks for everyone.”

bergerEric Berger is the senior space editor at Ars Technica, covering everything from astronomy to private space to wonky NASA policy. Berger spent his college years at the University of Texas dreaming about the stars, which led him to an astronomy degree. But he decided studying a particular classification of stars in depth for the rest of his life seemed a little dull, and preferred meeting interesting people to the solitude of observatories. He dove into journalism, hoping to explain the complexities of science and medicine to the general public. Hoping to interact with readers, he began the SciGuy blog in early 2005, encompassing everything from nanometers to parsecs. Eric previously worked at the Houston Chronicle for 17 years, where the paper was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2009 for his coverage of Hurricane Ike. A certified meteorologist, Eric lives in Houston.

 

I want to apologize for not posting show details for the last two week. Two weeks ago I was out of the country and last week I was unable to make it to the studio because of the flooding from Hurricane Harvey. Staci Davis held the show together in my absence (thank you Staci!). Things are not quite yet back to normal but we were lucky to make it through relatively unscathed. My thoughts are with those who were not so lucky. I hope you are all doing better than you were last week.

Advertisements

Show Details for the week of July 10th, 2017

Posted on


On The Monitor this week:

  • Mike Dieterich on Climate Change and the looming Southeast Asia refugee crisis
  • Ira Helfand on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

More about this week’s guests:

1f51030Mike Dieterich is a LEED Accredited Professional, environmental scientist, award winning producer, and bestselling author. He has worked in the sustainability industry with local-small businesses to state agencies, federal groups, international companies and nonprofit organizations. He is the author of Renew & Sustain: A cutting edge approach to being socially responsible, environmentally conscious, and incredibly profitable for businesses, schools, and government. He recently published The Future Muslim Climate Refugee where he writes: “in 20–30 years we are going to have 50 to 200 Million people moving out of Southeast Asia alone. A lack of food caused by warming oceans, acidification, and over fishing.

ira-helfand-pictureIra Helfand is past president of Physicians for Social Responsibility and is currently co-president of that group’s global federation, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize. He is a frequent speaker on Climate Change, nuclear power, nuclear waste, radiation exposure, Iran nuclear crisis, nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, nuclear war, terrorism and preparedness, nuclear Famine

Quote: “Two things were most notable in the overwhelming vote for this treaty. One was the urgency felt by the representatives of 122 countries who voted for it. The other was the rather crude and revealing statement put out by the ‘P3’ — the U.S., Britain and France. When this process began several years ago, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council [P5] — U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China — put out a statement against the treaty, arguing that it wasn’t the most useful approach and distracted from their alleged efforts to get rid of their nuclear weapons. The P3 statement on Friday made clear the real basis of their opposition to the treaty: ‘We do not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party to it.’ It is not the timing or the specifics of the treaty that they object to. They intend to maintain their policy of mutually assured destruction forever, even though they are legally required to negotiate the elimination of their nuclear arsenals under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The apparent instability of the U.S. president highlights the danger of maintaining arsenals of nuclear weapons that constitute an existential threat to human survival and underlines the need for this treaty as the next step to achieve the elimination of nuclear weapons as quickly as possible.”

Show Details for the week of June 5th, 2017

Posted on


On The Monitor this week:

What does the decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord mean from the environmental and legal perspectives? Our guests are Neil Tangri and Marjorie Cohn.

More about this week’s guests:

ybktv7khbf4jdiyvbjnkfrileq0ymnvbmpps1nqzisNeil Tangri is a PhD candidate in climate science at Stanford University. He previously led the international waste picker/GAIA climate change campaign, which succeeded in ending international climate subsidies for incinerators and landfills. He is an expert on international environmental policy and finance. Quote: “Trump’s decision isn’t going to affect U.S. emissions, which is ultimately what is most important. As renewables replace fossil fuels and electric vehicles replace gasoline cars, those will continue to drop, albeit not as fast or as far as needed. The pull-out from Paris is going to change the international political dynamic. Already, China, India, the EU, and even Russia have reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris Agreement, which is good news for the world. It means that the U.S. is abandoning its influence in the international arena, and the world will increasingly look to China for leadership on climate and other issues.”

Marjorie Cohn SpeakingMarjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law where she taught from 1991-2016, and a former president of the National Lawyers Guild. She lectures, writes, and provides commentary for local, regional, national and international media outlets. Professor Cohn has served as a news consultant for CBS News and a legal analyst for Court TV, as well as a legal and political commentator on BBC, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, NPR, and Pacifica Radio.

The author of Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law and co-author of Cameras in the Courtroom: Television and the Pursuit of Justice (with David Dow) and Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent (with Kathleen Gilberd), Professor Cohn is editor of and contributor to The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse, and Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues.

Show Details for the week of May 8th, 2017

Posted on


On The Monitor this week:

I am unable to be in the studio this week. Rather than play an older show I am playing the last part of a documentary series made in 2004. The series “The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear” is a BBC television series by Adam Curtis. It mainly consists of archive footage, with Curtis narrating. The series was originally broadcast in the United Kingdom in 2004. It has subsequently been aired in multiple countries and shown at various film festivals, including the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.

The film compares the rise of the neoconservative movement in the United States and the radical Islamist movement, drawing comparisons between their origins, and remarking on similarities between the two groups. More controversially, it argues that radical Islamism as a massive, sinister organisation, specifically in the form of al-Qaeda, is a myth, or noble lie, perpetuated by leaders of many countries—and particularly neoconservatives in the U.S.—in a renewed attempt to unite and inspire their people after the ultimate failure of utopian ideas. Part 3, played on the show this week is called “The Shadows in the Cave”. Short synopsis:

The neoconservatives use the September 11 attacks, with al-Fadl’s description of al-Qaeda, to launch the War on Terror. The final part addresses the actual rise of al-Qaeda. Curtis argues that, after their failed revolutions, bin Laden and Zawahiri had little or no popular support, let alone a serious complex organisation of terrorists, and were dependent on independent operatives to carry out their new call for jihad. However, the film argues that in order to prosecute bin Laden in absentia for the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings, U.S. prosecutors had to prove that he is the head of a criminal organisation responsible for the bombings. They find a former associate of bin Laden, Jamal al-Fadl, and pay him to testify that bin Laden is the head of a massive terrorist organisation called “al-Qaeda”. With the September 11 attacks, neoconservatives in the new Republican administration of George W. Bush use this invented concept of an organisation to justify another crusade against a new enemy, culminating in the launch of the War on Terror. After the American invasion of Afghanistan fails to uproot the alleged terrorist organisation, the Bush administration focuses inwards, searching unsuccessfully for terrorist sleeper cells in America. In 2003, they extend the War on Terror to a war on general perceived evils with the invasion of Iraq. The ideas and tactics also spread to the United Kingdom, where Tony Blair uses the threat of terrorism to give him a new moral authority. The repercussions of the neoconservative strategy are also explored, with an investigation of indefinitely-detained terrorist suspects in Guantanamo Bay, many allegedly taken on the word of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance without actual investigation on the part of the United States military, and other forms of “preemption” against non-existent and unlikely threats made simply on the grounds that the parties involved had the potential to become a threat. Curtis specifically attempts to allay fears of a dirty bomb attack, and concludes by reassuring viewers that politicians will eventually have to concede that some threats are exaggerated and others have no foundation in reality. He says, “In an age when all the grand ideas have lost credibility, fear of a phantom enemy is all the politicians have left to maintain their power.”the-power-of-nightmares-the-rise-of-the-politics-of-fear-33448

Show Details for the week of August 8th, 2016

Posted on Updated on


On The Monitor this week:

  • Deconstructing environmental party politics with Dahr Jamail
  • Bernie Sanders supporters going Green with YahNe Ndgo

More about this week’s guests:

bio-image-new

Dahr Jamail is a journalist who is best known as one of the few unembedded journalists to report extensively from Iraq during the 2003 Iraq invasion. He spent eight months in Iraq, between 2003 to 2005, and presented his stories on his website Dahr Jamail’s Mideast Dispatches

He has appeared on The Monitor with Mark Bebawi several times in the past, including live unembedded reports from Iraq at the height of the US invasion. Since his return he has written two books – “The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan,” (Haymarket Books, 2009), and “Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq,” (Haymarket Books, 2007).

More recently Dahr has been covering environmental topics. You can read his latest articles on his website. The interview will focus on the policies of the various parties on climate change.

dv-xlagoYahNe Ndgo describes herself as “Bernie Lover, Ubuntu Promoter, Singer, Writer, Activist, Traveler, Mother, Sister, Auntie, Daughter, Granddaughter, Cousin, Friend, Neighbor, Lover, Human Being” and gained significant attention when a CNN interview she gave went “viral”: YahNe Ndgo explains Bernie or Bust/Never Hillary

She was one of the keynote speakers at the Green Party’s convention in Houston and I interviewed her for Pacifica’s live coverage of that event. I asked her about the Sanders campaign, his supporters’ potential for voting Green, and what motivates her political activities.

Show Details for the week of May 2nd, 2016

Posted on Updated on


On The Monitor this week:

  • Can a Single Injection Save Soldiers Suffering from PTSD? An interview with Matt Farwell
  • Educational effort to save whales, oceans, and people. An interview with Maris Sidenstecker II

More about this week’s guests:

MattBFarwell

Matt Farwell was a soldier in the United States Army from 2005 to 2010. After infantry and airborne training at Fort Benning, Ga., he was assigned to the Tenth Mountain Division’s Second Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment and deployed to Afghanistan for 16 months. Before enlisting, he studied government and history at the University of Virginia as an Echols Scholar and graduated from the United World College of the American West as a Davis Scholar. He recently wrote in Playboy of a revolutionary treatment for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The treatment is an anesthetic injection into nerves located in the side of the neck which, in lay terms, resets the veteran’s survival instinct, reducing the brain and body chemicals that lead to many of the emotional, mental and behavioral issues, including suicidality, that veterans endure upon returning home from war. The doctor performing this procedure reports a 70-80% success rate in the nearly 300 patients he has treated. What this treatment is helping to demonstrate, and as many of us with PTSD have seemed to understand for quite some time now, is that there is a biological, chemical or neurological element to PTSD that is resistant to standard psychological or psychiatric treatment.You can read a selection of Matt’s work in Vanity Fair, Maxim, The New York Times, Rolling Stone (w/ Michael Hastings) “America’s Last Prisoner of War”, Rolling Stone (w/ Michael Hastings) “The Spy Who Cracked up in the Cold”, PBS Media Shift. You can follow Matt on twitter here:@mattbfarwell

 

marisstwteemsmMaris Sidenstecker II is co-founder of Save The Whales, founded in 1977. She designed a T-shirt at the age of 14 to save the whales after reading how they were slaughtered and has carried the passion of protecting marine life throughout her life. She developed and implemented hands-on interactive classroom programs for school children and has educated over 280,000 students about protecting the fragile oceans and the life within it. As a student, she assisted with field research on orca pods in Washington State and British Columbia. Maris is also an accomplished artist and followed up her original T-shirt with other designs. B.A. double major in Marine Biology/Zoology from Humboldt State University, California. Awards: Educator of the Year award in 2007 from The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG), 2009 Member of The Year by Madison Who’s Who. The Save The Whales campaign is global in scope and dedicated to conservation. Based in Seaside CA, Save The Whales marine biologists’ travel throughout Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties to educate students to help protect the oceans. Each year they educate 6,000-7,000 students with hands-on, science based programs about whales, otters, sea turtles, and endangered species.  Saving 10,000 marine animals from death from US Navy Ship Shock tests in 1994 was a ground breaking victory for Save The Whales. They reach an international audience through their website, E-newsletters and Facebook site. Since 1977, Save The Whales has educated over 305,000 school children with hands-on educational programs.

Show Details for the week of April 4th, 2016

Posted on Updated on


On The Monitor this week:

  • Toby C Jones on America’s Oil Wars and the military-energy complex in the Persian Gulf
  • Kani Xulam on Turkey’s “Dirty War” Against the Kurds

—————————-

More about this week’s guests:

SAMSUNG CSCToby C. Jones is associate professor of history at Rutgers University, New Brunswick where he also directs the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the M.A. program in Global and Comparative History. He teaches courses on global environmental history, energy, and the modern Middle East. Jones has traveled and worked extensively in the Middle East, including in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. His more recent work examines the global history of oil, including the recent energy boom in the United States. During 2008-2009 he was a fellow at Princeton University’s Oil, Energy, and the Middle East project. From 2004 to early 2006 Jones worked as the Persian Gulf political analyst for the International Crisis Group.

Jones is the author of two books. The first, Desert Kingdom: How Oil and Water Forged Modern Saudi Arabia was published by Harvard University Press in 2010. The second, Running Dry: Essays on Energy, Water and Environmental Crisis, published by Rutgers University Press, appeared in 2015. He is currently working on a third book, America’s Long War, which is under contract at Harvard University Press. He has written for both scholarly and general audiences, including at the International Journal of Middle East Studies, Journal of American History, Middle East Report, Raritan Quarterly Review, The Nation, Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic, the London Review of Books, the New York Times, and elsewhere. In 2015 Jones was recognized as a Rutgers Chancellor’s Scholar for distinguished scholarship.

Jones appears regularly on local and national media discussing political developments and challenges in the Middle East, including at NPR, the BBC, Democracy Now!, and others.

Kani Xulam is director of the American Kurdish Information Network and a native of Kurdistan.He studied International Relations at the University of Toronto, holds a BA in history from the University of California Santa Barbara and an MA in the International Service program at American University. At the University of Toronto, he represented Kurdistan at the Model United Nations, which passed a nonbinding resolution recognizing the right of the Kurdish people to self-determination.At the University of California Santa Barbara, he was part of a group of peace activists who protested the first Gulf War by taking part in a sit-in at Chancellor’s office in January 1991. Everyone was arrested. Mr. Xulam pled not guilty, defended himself, and was sentenced to 18 hours of community service to plant saplings in Santa Barbara. In 1993, at the urging of Kurdish community leaders in America, he left his family business in Santa Barbara, California to establish the American Kurdish Information Network (AKIN) in the nation’s capital. AKIN is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering Kurdish-American understanding and friendship.

In 1997, he took part in a hunger strike on the steps of the Capitol urging members of Congress to use their good offices on behalf of their imprisoned Kurdish colleagues. 153 members signed a letter urging President Clinton to intervene on the matter. Mr. Xulam, on the advice of his physician, ended his fast on the 32nd day.

Kani Xulam recently wrote the piece “A Kurdish Girl’s Lonely Death,” for CounterPunch and is continuing a vigil outside the Turkish embassy in Washington, D.C. — now in its eleventh week — protesting Turkish attacks on Kurds.