October 20, 2009
Tonight our topic is sustainability, and we talk with Scott G. McNall, Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development at CSU, Chico. He’s going to talk to us about the “This Way to Sustainability” a conference at Chico State, November 5-8, and about the institute for sustainable development.
Although there is widespread agreement about the importance of “sustainability,” it is also a term which evades clear and easy definition. To some it might mean zero waste; to others, it might mean zero new “things” on the planet; to still others, it might simply mean cutting down on consumption and pollution to the point that the earth becomes stable rather than being in danger of roasting or burning out prematurely.
Tonight we want to draw on a website, SustainableMeasures dot com, which has tackled a the question of defining the movement. The primary staff member of this organization is Maureen Hart, a consultant on sustainability problems, who also has a book on the topic. Her description of sustainability caught our eye because she uses the same three terms that we draw on for Ecotopia, where we explore economic, environmental, and social ecosystems. Maureen Hart says that a sustainable community results when those three systems are in balance or harmony. She writes:
Sustainability is related to the quality of life in a community – [where] the economic, social and environmental systems that make up the community are providing a healthy, productive, meaningful life for all community residents, present and future.
Maureen Hart’s Sustainable Measures dot com website has also has collected a number of definitions of sustainability from activist groups, committees, and councils all over the world, including:
Friends of the Earth Scotland “Sustainability encompasses the simple principle of taking from the earth only what it can provide indefinitely, thus leaving future generations no less than we have access to ourselves.” http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/campaigns/sustainable-scot/
World Business Council on Sustainable Development “Sustainable development involves the simultaneous pursuit of economic prosperity, environmental quality and social equity. Companies aiming for sustainability need to perform not against a single, financial bottom line but against the triple bottom line.” http://www.wbcsd.ch/
From another perspective, we were impressed by this statement from the Hamilton Wentworth Regional Council (Ontario), which emphasizes the process of developing a sustainable community:
“Sustainable Development is positive change which does not undermine the environmental or social systems on which we depend. It requires a coordinated approach to planning and policy making that involves public participation. Its success depends on widespread understanding of the critical relationship between people and their environment and the will to make necessary changes.” http://www.hamilton-went.on.ca/vis2020/thevis.pdf
The Sustainable Measures website shares that view of coordinated policy planning with public participation, and warns against treating the three elements of economy, society, and the environment separately. for:
We would add to that our own observation that in our time, the democratic process has produced a proliferation of city, county, state, national, and even global committees, policy boards, and regulatory agencies that, while generally well intentioned, often fragmented efforts at sustainability.
Our Questions for Scott McNall
In the studio with us tonight is Scott G. McNall, Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development at CSU, Chico. He’s going to talk to us about “This Way to Sustainability,” a conference, co- sponsored by CSU, Chico and Butte Community College in conjunction with the Associated Students of each being held on the Chico State campus, Nov. 5-8, and about the work of the Institute for Sustainable Development.
We’d also like to ask you about the work of the Institute for Sustainable Development.
· What are the mission and goals of the Institute for Sustainable Development? How long has it been in operation? What do you see as its major accomplishments?
· The Institute seems to have activities or be linked to activities in all aspects of campus life. Can you tell us about these various efforts?
o Academic programs and courses
o Student activities
o Community and civic activities
o Research and creative activity
· The campus also engages in a number of sustainability practices. Can you describe some of those?
· How do you get everyone on board with the efforts to emphasize sustainability? For example, do you provide incentives for faculty to develop courses or aspects of courses that emphasize sustainability?
· Is there a reward system for staff who develop new sustainability measures?
· Other than the“This Way to Sustainability” conference, what are some ways that the community can become involved in university sustainability efforts?
Playlist for Ecotopia #56: This Way to Sustainability
1. Carry Me Off 3:54 The Dillards Roots And Branches/Tribute To The American Duck
2. Clear Blue Skies (LP Version) 3:07 Crosby, Still, Nash & Young American Dream
3. Supernova 4:42 Liquid Blue Supernova International
4. Black Moon (Album Version) 6:59 Emerson, Lake & Palmer Black Moon
5. Earth Anthem 3:54 The Turtles Go Green: Songs for Earth Day
6. Weave Me the Sunshine 4:28 Peter, Paul And Mary The Very Best of Peter, Paul and Mary
7. Doctor My Eyes (LP Version) 3:20 Jackson Browne Jackson Browne
8. Sunny Day 3:52 The Dillards Roots And Branches/Tribute To The American Duck
Tonight our program focuses on the health and welfare of farm animals and the humans who consume them. We have two guests tonight.
In the first part of the show we talk with Robert Martin, Executive Director of the independent Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production (PCIFAP), which was formed to conduct an examination of key aspects of the farm animal industry.
Our second guest is Nicolette Hahn Niman, attorney, livestock rancher, and author of Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms . She has also written three essays on the problems resulting from industrialized livestock production for the New York Times.
Some (Relatively) Good News About Animal Welfare
For example, From PR Newswire, a business media service, comes this from The American Humane Association describing their program providing independent certification of the humane treatment and care of farm animals. They explain:
American Humane Certified is the United States’ first animal welfare program dedicated to the humane treatment of farm animals. [The labeling program represents] more than 60 million farm animals through American Humane’s science-based program. Contracted third-party auditors are rigorously trained in American Humane Certified species-specific standards. [...] American Humane Certified believes animal welfare should not only be good for animals, but also economically viable and feasible for producers. American Humane Certified works with agriculture to educate and motivate producers and demonstrate the economic and social benefits of animal welfare.[…]
You can read the full press release at news.prnewswire.com.
From Farm and Dairy, September 28, 2009, is this press release from Ohio State University, where an October symposium will address farm animal welfare issues. They quote Ohio State ag extension specialist Naomi Botheras :
“Animal welfare is a prominent issue in Ohio and the U.S. and even the world. It’s a topic of interest to producers, consumers, veterinarians, health care professionals, legislators and anyone who has a stake in sustainable animal agriculture”
[The press release explains that he symposium will include] Well-known animal welfare experts and social scientists from around the world [who will] discuss the scientific, ethical, legal and social contexts embedded in the animal welfare debate.
[Conference topics will provide an opportunity to learn abut animal welfare, agriculture issues, legislation and regulation, and] “what the science says about the welfare of animals in different housing systems.”
DVM NEWSMAGAZINE, an online source for veterinarians, reported on Oct 2, 2009 that “Michigan lawmakers pass farm-animal welfare bill.” Reporter Brendan Howard writes from Lansing, Michigan that
. . . lawmakers passed legislation that mandates housing requirements for veal calves, egg-laying hens and pregnant sows.[...]The new law will restrict housing for veal calves, pigs and hens by requiring that “any pig during pregnancy, calf raised for veal and egg-laying hen that is kept on a farm” be housed so the animal can lie down, stand up and turn around freely. Exemptions include research, veterinary treatment, transportation, at rodeos and state fairs, during slaughter and, in the case of pregnant sows, housing seven days before expected birth. Michigan farmers will have three years to comply with the veal-calf restrictions and 10 years to comply with the rules for pregnant sows and egg-laying hens.
Of course, California’s controversial Proposition 2 passed in November of 2008 with 63.5% of the vote. Ballotpedia reports that:
Prop 2 creates a new state statute that prohibits the confinement of farm animals in a manner that does not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs. Voters in other states have voted to eliminate calf and pig crates, but Proposition 2 in California [...] is the first […] to eliminate the practice of confining chickens in battery [small, confining] cages.” Ballotpedia reports on specific provisions and expected impact of the initiative. The site also lists opponents and supporters of the measure. Not surprisingly, many egg producers and food services opposed the measure.
Our Questions for Robert Martin:
Robert Martin Executive Director of the independent Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production (PCIFAP), which was formed to conduct a comprehensive, fact-based and balanced examination of key aspects of the farm animal industry.
You can learn more about the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production (PCIFAP) by going to their website, http://www.ncifap.org
Our Questions for Nicolette Hahn Niman
Nicolette Hahn Niman.
She is an attorney and livestock rancher living here in California. Much of her time is spent speaking and writing about the problems resulting from industrialized livestock production, including the book, Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms (HarperCollins, 2009). She and her husband, Bill Niman, were featured in an August 2009 TIME magazine cover story about America’s food system
We’ve been talking with Nicolette Hahn Niman, environmental and animal activist. Her book is Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms published by HarperCollins this year.
The Ecotopian Library
Listeners who phone in a pledge to KZFR can take their choice of these fine Ecotopian books–available while the supply lasts.
Daniel Arnold. Early Days in the Range of Light: Encounters with Legendary Mountaineers.
Amy Bach, Ordinary Injustice: How America Holds Court.
Anthony Barnosky, Heatstroke: Nature in an Age of Global Warming.
Dan Chiras. Power from the Sun: A Practical Guide to Solar Electricity.
Greg Grandin. Fordlandiai: The Rise Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten City.
Chip Haynes, Wearing Smaller Shoes: Living Light on the Big Blue Marble
Richard Heinberg, Blackout: Coal, Cliimate, and the Last Energy Crisis
Peter Laufer, The Dangerous World of Butterflies: The Startling Culture of Criminals, Collectors, and Conservationists.
Parker, Graham. Fair Use: Notes from Spam.
Alvin Powell: The Race to Save the World’s Rarest Bird: The Discovery and Death of the Po’ouili.
Christopher Steiner, How the Inevitable Rise in the Price of Gasoline Will Change Our Lives for the Better.
Tristram Stuart. Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal.
Playlist for Ecotopia #55: Industrial Animals
1. Pigs, Sheep, And Wolves 3:58 Paul Simon You’re The One
2. Farm Animals 3:20 Spook Less Trail Riding Edition
3. Factory Farms 3:40 Trouser Factory Farm Songs
4. Farm 2:57 Imagination Movers Juice Box Heroes
5. Nature’s Way 2:40 Spirit Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus
6. Weave Me the Sunshine 4:28 Peter, Paul And Mary The Very Best of Peter, Paul and Mary
7. Rain On The Scarecrow 3:46 John Mellencamp Scarecrow
8. Piggies 2:04 The Beatles The Beatles (White Album
6 October 2009
Tonight we will be looking at endangered species. Our guest is Alvin Powell, Senior Science Writer at the Harvard University News Office who has written a book called The Race to Save the World’s Rarest Bird (Stackpole 2008). It’s about the Hawaiian Po’ouli, and it has implications for endangered species everywhere.
Background and News on Endangered Species
As background, we’d like to bring you some background info on endangered species, as well as several alarming stories about wolf hunting in Montana and Idaho.
From the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service the agency that–along with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration—administers the act, comes this brief history of the Endangered Species Act:
[A precursor to the ESA was the] Endangered Species Preservation Act [passed by Congress] in 1966, providing a means for listing native animal species as endangered and giving them limited protection. […] A 1973 conference in Washington, D. C. led 80 nations to sign the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which monitors, and in some cases, restricts international commerce in plant and animal species believed to be harmed by trade.
[With the strong support of the Nixon administration] Later that year, Congress passed the Endangered Species Act of 1973. It
* defined “endangered” and “threatened” […]
* made plants and all invertebrates eligible for protection […];
* applied broad “take” prohibitions to all endangered animal species […]
* provided funding authority for land acquisition
* implemented [the provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)] in the United States.
Congress enacted significant amendments in 1978, 1982, and 1988, while keeping the overall framework of the 1973 Act essentially unchanged, [Our editiorial comment: but not without efforts from various groups to blunt its effects.]
[For example, in 1978: The Act was weakened by] allowing Federal agencies to […] remove jeopardize listed species if the action [was] exempted by a Cabinet-level committee convened for this purpose; [and by allowing for] economic and other impacts of designation […] to be considered in deciding on boundaries,
[In other words, in the 1978 revision, economic factors were allowed to enter into the equation, creating lots of room for arguments over whether the economy or endangerment were more important—for example, the Snail Darter and the Spotted Owl, which have slowed dam building in Tennessee and lumbering in Oregon.]
[However in] 1982 [the economic factor was removed, so that]:
Determinations of the status of species were required to be made solely on the basis of biological and [international] trade information, without consideration of possible economic or other concerns.
[This meant, essentially, that science would supposedly rule over economic concerns.]
In 1988: [new elements were introduced] including
provision for monitoring recovered species, subjecting recovery plans to public review, and cost estimates for federal intervention.
But in 2004 [under the Bush administration] :
A “National Defense Authorization Act […] exempted the Department of Defense from critical habitat designations [under certain conditions].
[War, we have to note, is unhealthy for humans and other living things.]
You can get detailed statistics on endangered species listings at http://www.fws.gov/Endangered/wildlife.html. We’ll read just a few paragraphs from our guest, Alvin Powell’s book, summarizing some of the main impacts of the act over it thirty-five year history. [Read highlighted text pp. 207-9)]
A few of the many conflicts that have grown out of the Endangered Species Act is over the Grey Wolf out in the northwest. Originally on the Endangered Species list, its populations rebounded so much that it was removed from the list by the Bush administration. Lawsuits have ensued, but in Montana and Idaho, there is now a wolf hunting season.
We’ll read from three recent news stories about wolf hunting in Idaho. An official wolf hunting season opened October 1, with permits granted to 30 hunters to bag the grey wolf.
In the Idaho Statesman Journal, Robert Klavins argues against the hunt and says that “Protecting wolves promotes a healthy landscape”
After eliminating wolves from […] most of the west, the species has begun to make a comeback. Now, without protections as an endangered species, many have a bullseye on their backs. In Idaho, scientists and conservationists are fighting anti-wolf interests in court to stop a state-sponsored slaughter after the species was removed from federal protection. […] Though Idaho claims to be undertaking the hunt to “manage” the wolf population, history suggests otherwise. In 2001, Idaho passed a law calling for the eradication of wolves “by any means necessary” and have already sold over 10,000 hunting tags. Idaho’s Fish and Game Commissioner stated last month that there’s going to be “either a state-authorized [hunt] or an illegal one.”
[Klavins editorializes:] Either he can’t do his job, or has chosen not to.
[He concludes] The decision to kill an endangered species should not be taken lightly (imagine a hunt to reduce bald eagle numbers by one-half).
KREM-TV news in Spokane reported on October 1 that the “Fight over wolf hunt[ing] continues as Panhandle hunt opens”
The Idaho Panhandle Region joined the rest of the state and today, opened wolf hunting season. Hunters are allowed to kill 30 wolves in the Northern part of the state, but the battle over the controversial hunt may not be over.
“If I get a wolf, that’d be like winning the lottery,” said Carl Zmuda. Zmuda’s pickup truck is dotted with wolf hunter stickers. He doesn’t plan to actively look for wolves, but if he sees one he won’t hesitate. “Wolf hunting should be part of the management program that fish and game has. I think there’s enough for hunters and people that think we should have wolves,” said Zmuda.
People like Stephen Augustine with North Idaho Wolf Alliance, the group that protested outside fish and game in August, have a different opinion. “We are […] saddened that this is happening,” said Augustine.
Wolf hunting season in Idaho only started after a federal judge in Montana allowed it to happen. The grey wolf had been on the endangered species list, but its population has rebounded. Fish and game hopes hunters will keep the predators under control, allowing elk and deer populations to stabilize. “Now that [the hunt is] here, there’s not much we can do from a legal standpoint. But we are recommitted to doing it again and trying to influence the population around us,” said Augustine.
The alliance points again to the federal judge in Montana, even though he allowed the hunt to begin, he believes the animal was delisted illegally. So, while legal action looms, hunters look to take advantage.
“Sometimes I think they’re just another group of people that don’t want to see anybody hunting,” replied Zmuda.
And from the Associated Press comes this story about a rogue wolf hunter in Idaho: “Idaho parachutist shot at wolves from sky” Associated Press – October 1, 2009 6:34 PM ET
BOISE, Idaho (AP) – A shotgun-wielding motorized parachutist fired on a pack of wolves earlier this year from the eastern Idaho sky, something forbidden even under a state permit that allows aerial gunning of foxes and coyotes. Carl Ball, a sheep rancher, was flying his [motorized parachute] June 5 near St. Anthony above a 160-acre sheep pen when he saw at least four wolves, according to an Idaho Department of Fish and Game law enforcement report. Ball reported he believed one animal outfitted with a radio collar had been killed, though state and federal wildlife officials who arrived hours later never found a carcass. Even though the federal government earlier this year lifted Endangered Species Act protections from more than 1,000 wolves in Idaho and Montana and both states have a legal hunting seasons, that’s only for people shooting from the ground or trees. Blasting wolves from the sky remains off limits – because they’re considered big game animals by state wildlife managers, not predators like foxes or coyotes.
Idaho Fish and Game has dropped an investigation, however, citing lack of a wolf carcass.
And of course, we can’t help recalling that former Alaska Governor [Sarah Palin endorsed aerial wolf hunting in her state. http://www.slate.com/id/2199140/]
The controversies over endangerement extend to California as well, which is second only to Hawaii in the number of species on the endangered list, Jeanne Cooper, reports that “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service currently counts 330 imperiled species in Hawai’i, with California the closest at 309.”
In a recent LA Times story, Bettina Boxall reports on disputes over the Sacramento Delta, with President Obama, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and our own Governator weighing in. She writes:
In a bow to a summer of angry complaints about water cutbacks to Central Valley farms, the Obama administration said Wednesday [September 30 that] it would invite the National Academy of Sciences to examine the environmental measures restricting some water shipments from Northern California. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he would ask the academy to conduct an independent review of the science underpinning federal pumping limits imposed under the Endangered Species Act to protect smelt and salmon in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. In a letter to U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who had requested the review, Salazar said he was confident that the fish protections were “scientifically sound.” But he said he would like the academy to determine if there were other actions that could be taken that would have less of an effect on water supply.
[So on the surface, this move would simply be in the spirit of good science. But, reading the lines and between the lines of Boxall’s story, we learned that]:
The delivery cutbacks have hit agribusiness on the west side of the valley the hardest because they have junior rights in the huge federal irrigation project that supplies much of the region. State water officials say most of the delivery cuts from the delta are the result of drought – not the fish protections – but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Central Valley congressmen have repeatedly denounced the endangered species restrictions as placing fish above people.
[Boxall continues:] Responding to similar rhetoric […] Salazar said it was wrong to blame California’s water problems on environmental regulations. “Labeling this as a man-made disaster, a regulatory drought, ignores the real issues,” he said.
Cynthia Koehler, senior consulting attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund, which is active on delta issues, said she did not interpret Salazar’s academy request as an attempt to undermine the federal reports.
We will continue to cover this story—fish against agribusiness, politicians and economists versus science—on Ecotopia. And one question we have for our guest, Alvin Powell is about evidence from his book that there are often political pressures placed on scientists as they research endangered species.
Our Questions for Alvin Powell
Our guest today is Alvin Powell, Senior Science Writer for the Harvard University News Office. His book is called The Race to Save the World’s Rarest Bird: The Discovery and Death of the Po’ouli. (Poh-oh-OO-li)
Part I: The Story of the Po’ouil
Is it even possible to identify a “cause” of the Po’ouli’s fate?
Part II: Implications for Endangered Species and the ESA
Thank you Alvin Powell, author of The Race to Save the World’s Rarest Bird. It’s published by Stackpole Books—they’re on line at www.stackpolebooks.com
Do-It-Yourself: Saving Endangered Species
We come now to the Do-It-Yourself part of the program, and we’d like to share just a few of the wealth of resources available to listeners who are concerned about Endangered Species. As Alvin Powell pointed out, the causes of species decline and salvation are complex; thus we think the issue calls for systematic, Ecotopian solutions
Steve: An especially good site on this topic is endangeredspecies.com
It’s designed mainly for kids, but extremely useful for adults as well. Some if its recommendations for do-it-yourself include:
Make Space For Our Wildlife, even in your backyard.
Recycle, Reduce, And Reuse
Plant Native Plants That Are Local To The Area
Control Introduced Plants and Animals
Join or Start a Conservation Organization
Make Your Voice Heard by writing to legislators, writing for the local paper, and spreading the word among family and friends.
Especially for kids they recommend:
Drawing Pictures of endangered species in your area and drawing pictures of the biggest threats to their survival.
Making Masks based pictures of endangered species, Costumes – Based
[As time permits, let’s talk a little about the Parade of Species in Olympia]
Making A Storybook – Select a single, or many, endangered species that interest you. Write and illustrate a storybook and share it with others.
Doing Personal Reading – Read and learn as much about endangered species as you can
Their recommended additional info sources include: Sources of Information: Greenpeace Canada, WWF Canada, Geocites, and Environment Australia
The US Fish and Wildlife Services also has excellent info and resources. http://www.fws.gov/ Their site includes such topics as:
Coastal areas [ocean-based endangered issues are the province of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which also has an excellent web site, though without a great deal of info on endangered species]
Contracting and Facilities Mgt.
Fisheries and Habitat Conservation
Import / Export
Native American Issues
Office of the Chief Information Officer
Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program
Planning / ABC
Policy and Directives
Public Access Civil Rights
In California, The Planning and Conservation League Foundation focuses on regional issues http://www.pclfoundation.org/index.html and has an excellent summary of resources and issues in Butte County, including a “grassroots directory”and a CONSERVATION STORY “Volunteers with Big Chico Creek Watershed Alliance Defend Against Invasive Weeds–the Spanish Broom weed.”
Finally: We want to remind you that coming up in November is the Sustainability Now Conference sponsored by Chico State and Butte College, at CSU November 5-8, 2009. This whole conference is dedicated to issues of sustainability and thus to endangered species as well. They have an information page website, and they are now accepting preregistration for the conference. The fee is $25, but there are discounts available for students and others.
Playlist for Ecotopia #54: Endangered Species
Supernova 4:42 Liquid Blue Supernova
Blue Hawaii 2:35 Elvis Presley Blue Hawaii
The Rape Of The World 7:08 Tracy Chapman New Beginning
Hawai’i Aloha 1:57 Israel Kamakawiwo’ole IZ in Concert – The Man And His Music
Trophic Cascade 4:12 Ronn Frye Endangered Animals (Environmental Jenga)
Weave Me the Sunshine 4:28 Peter, Paul And Mary The Very Best of Peter, Paul and Mary
Blackbird 2:18 The Beatles The Beatles (White Album)
Little White Dove 4:06 Voices On The Verge Live In Philadelphia