Archive for January, 2011

Shadowy White House Office Silences Gov’t Scientists; China’s Carbon Capture Plans & Palm Oil Plantations Destroy Indonesia’s Rainforests

January 25th, 2011

This week the Environmental Protection Agency announced that – despite a White House directive – the EPA will not be changing its current standards for answering media questions about its research.

On December of last year, 2010, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a memo directing all agencies, including the EPA, to develop and implement policies clarifying agency scientists’ right to speak and publish their work, talk to the media, and be free of any political alteration of scientific documents.

But in reality, many say far too little has changed since the repressive Bush Administration, and they charge that the White House memo was weakened by the White House Office of Management and Budget. Washington, DC based freelance writer, Joseph A Davis, has covered the OMB and its power plays to control federal agencies for over 30 years. Joe’s reports on the OMB and scientific freedom are available at Climate Science Watch.

When Chinese President Hu Jintao wrapped up his United States visit he returned to China with a historic agreement to focus on clean energy. But part of the plan is ‘carbon capture and storage’ a scheme in which carbon is captured from industrial sources like coal-fired power plants and then stored by injecting it deep into the Earth.

According to Peter Montague, the executive director for the Environmental Research Foundation, carbon capture and storage is an expensive waste of time and money that will extend our use of fossil fuels. Also joining us is Sarah Forbes, a senior associate for climate and energy at World Resource Institute, the organization that is working with China and the US to ensure that CCS, if to happens, is done safely and effectively.

The relatively small island nation of Indonesia is one of the world’s top producers of greenhouse gases. What puts this Southeast Asian country right in there with the United States and China is the deforestation. One of the biggest threats to the Indonesian rainforest are palm oil plantations. Joining Earthbeat host Daphne Wysham to discuss international funding for these plantations is Marcus Colchester, director of the Forest Peoples Program.

Music for this edition of Earthbeat includes “Secret” by Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark. Our theme music is “Baladi” by Tony Anka, Bellydance Superstars vol. 2.

Photo by Gavin Westwood via Flickr, used via a Create Commons license.

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

Taking on Corporations and Giving Rights to Nature, Why 1 in 3 Children is Chronically Ill, and Wild Weather and Media Silence on Climate Connections

January 18th, 2011

Wild weather is occurring all over the world and yet news reports seem to miss the obvious link between these extreme weather events and the ongoing effects of climate change. Joining us to discuss the limitations – and possibilities – of news coverage on climate change is Andrew Revkin. Andrew is the Dot Earth blogger for the New York Times and a senior fellow for environmental understanding at Pace University.

A new strategy is catching on that gives communities the right to kick corporations out of their communities, while granting ecosystems “rights”. Mari Margil is the associate director of the group that’s spearheading this effort – Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.

Then, a new book explores the why it is that one in three children is chronically ill. Host Daphne Wysham speaks to Alice Shabecoff about her book Poisoned for Profit. Alice is the former national director for the National Consumers League. Her co-author on “Poisoned for Profit” is Philip Shabecoff, a former environmental reporter for the New York Times and the founder of Greenwire.

Music for this edition of Earthbeat includes “Freakin’ Frackin’” by Op-Critical and “Modern Age” by Eric Hutchinson. Our theme music is “Baladi”  by Tony Anka, Bellydance Superstars vol. 2.

Photo of the Brisbane flooding of 2011 – by Erik Veland. Used via a creative commons license.

Here’s Erik’s comment on the flooding: “While I am not directly affected by the flood myself, as a freelance designer most my clients have and I am left without work. If you want to license any of these photos commercially, please contact me. You are still free to use the photos for non-commercial purposes, but if you can, please consider making a PayPal donation to erikveland@gmail.com so I can continue to eat and pay my rent. In return I contribute shelter and power to those in need around me. If you are affected by the floods and need space or power, please also contact me.”

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

U.S. Gov’t BP Report Blames Bad Management; Danger in our Drinking Water, & A Tribute to a Mountaintop Removal Heroine

January 13th, 2011

A report by the Environmental Working Group on contaminated water forces the EPA to thoroughly investigate.  EWG’s senior scientist Olga Naidenko, outlines changes that needed to happen.

The US government’s final report on the BP oil disaster targets “bad management,” – but that’s not the whole story. Freelance journalist Dahr Jamal and Tyson Slocum, director of the Energy Program of Public Citizen fill in the details.

Finally,  Bo Webb of Coal River Mountain Watch and host Daphne Wysham offer a tribute to Judy Bonds, called the godmother of the battle against mountaintop removal coal mining, who died on January 3, 2011.

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

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

Success on Coal-Fired Power, Spying on Greens and Testing Nuclear Weapons on People

January 6th, 2011

The sweet smell of success on coal-fired power. Joining host Daphne Wysham on this ‘best of 2010′ program is Bruce Nilles, the director of the Sierra Club’s national coal campaign, joins us to discuss how nearly all of the 150 planned coal-fired power plants have been stopped nationwide.

Even as the Federal Justice Department says the FBI was wrong to investigate on environmental activists – states are hiring private companies to do the spying for them. Discussing this tactic is Mike German, a former FBI agent and now a policy counsel with the ACLU. Giving us a Pennsylvania perspective is Donald Gilliland, a reporter for Pennsylvania’s state capitol newspaper – the Harrisburg Patriot News, and Gene Stilp, a Pennsylvania activist and the creator of the “Pink Pig,” a massive 25-foot inflatable pig used in protests.

Then, how the US Government tested nuclear weapons on the people living in the Marshall Islands. Bob Alvarez, a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, testified recently before Congress on how the government is now considering cutting off support for the roughly 62,000 affected islanders.

Music for this edition of Earthbeat includes “Coal Miners Daughter’ by Loretta Lynn and “Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell. Our theme music is Baladi by Tony Anka, Bellydance Superstars vol. 2.

Image by Russ Walker via Flickr used through Creative Commons license.

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