Archive for August, 2008

Tar Sands

August 26th, 2008


With the price of oil continuing to hover around $100 dollars a barrel — the world’s thirst for oil is driving exploration into sources that previously were too dirty, too difficult, or too expensive — A perfect example of this are the Canadian tar sands.

‘Tar sands’ are a mixture of bitumen, sand and clay. Bitumen is a very heavy crude oil that does not flow on its own, and must be mined on the surface. Our desire for oil is pushing Canada to dig up acres of tar sands and use immense amounts of energy to distill out the oil.

Speaking about how tar sand exploration is destroying the Athabasca region and leading to increased global warming is Dave Martin, a Tar Sands campaigner for Greenpeace Canada. Clayton Thomas Mueller, organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network, speaks about the people affected by the massive tar pit. Ian Urquhart, Professor of Political Science at the University of Alberta is researching the sticky local, national, and international politics surrounding the Athabascan tar sands.

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Photo of the Athabasca tar sands courtesy of katakanadian via Flickr.

Music in this edition of Earthbeat includes “Santos” and “Tall Grass” by the jam band Tar Beach.

China: Green by Decree?

August 19th, 2008


China’s economy is booming and so are its carbon dioxide emissions. The Chinese government decreed factories shutter their doors and forced more than a million drivers off the road — all in an attempt to temporarily clean the air in Beijing for the Olympics.

Host Mike Tidwell asks if a similar policy could help green the entire country – Could China go green by decree? Claudette Juska of Greenpeace USA and Janet Larsen of Earth Policy discuss China’s policies. Jos Olivier, the senior scientist for the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency discusses his recent research in measuring China’s smog and CO2 emissions.

Finally we discuss environmental activism in China with Jamie Henn and Phil Aroneanu – coordinators of, an international grassroots climate campaign that’s united by a common call to action to set 350 as the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere. View’s recent video of climate activism in China.

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Image used courtesy of rytc via Flickr.

The Story of Stuff

August 12th, 2008


A funny — and historically accurate — history of all our stuff. We’ll speak to Annie Leonard, the woman behind the short film The Story of Stuff. We’ll hear from Economic Hit Man John Perkins about how he undermined the financial systems of developing countries on behalf of the US Government. Then we’ll get a grip on this world gone mad with Frances Moore Lappe, the author of ‘Diet for a Small Planet.’ She discusses her latest work, Getting a Grip.

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Music used in this edition of Earthbeat is ‘Dollars and Cents’ by Radiohead.

Our theme music is Baladi by Tony Anka, Bellydance Superstars vol. 2.

Wild Weather

August 5th, 2008


Heat waves, droughts, hurricanes – on this encore edition of Earthbeat we connect climate change to the extreme weather events occurring world-wide.

Host Mike Tidwell speaks about our bizarre weather with The Weather Channel’s only climatologist Dr. Heidi Cullen.

Adventure travel outfitter Ted Young, along with his wife Barbara, take trekkers into in the wilds of Northern Minnesota. With over 30 years in the business, this owner-operator of Boundary Country Trekking says the ice is breaking earlier and earlier each year — and a recent drought has devastated the border lake areas.

Joining Young is Cornell plant ecologist David Wolfe. Wolfe works with the New York Botanical Garden and farmers to develop a plan of attack for dealing with extreme weather, rising tides, and an onslaught of warm-weather pests.

Finally, Tidwell discusses what climate activists should, and maybe shouldn’t do in talking about wild weather with Grist reporter David Roberts.

If you’d like to hear this edition of Earthbeat – please send us an e-mail

Photo used courtesy of Australia’s Dick Witt.