December 15, 2009

Tonight we are going to revisit and link two topics that we’ve included in previous Ecotopia programs.

First, we’ll continue our discussion of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, and we’ll talk with Emily Alma, one of the organizers of last week’s Vigil for a Real Deal in Copenhagen held in Chico.

Second,  we’ll talk with Jo Royle, whom we interviewed last summer about her catamaran, the Plastiki, made from recycled soft drink bottles, that will be sailing from San Francisco to Sydney, Australia, as part of a campaign to awaken the world to the amount of trash floating in our oceans and the damage it creates.

Background Commentary:  We the People and Climate Change

Here’s a CNN commentary written shortly before the Copenhagen Conference by David DeRothschild.  He is the founder of Adventure Ecology and the chief mover behind the Plastiki adventure.  As an environmentalist with global vision, David DeRothschild argues that “People Power Can Drive Change.”  He writes

In the run up to what some individuals and media outlets are labeling “the meeting of Humanity’s future” all eyes will be on the 12,000-15,000 official U.N. accredited participants as well as the army of activists, media, business representatives and even skeptics.

As they descend upon Copenhagen they will have to demonstrate their ability to convert this unprecedented momentum and heightened ambition into some kind of organizational framework….

But regardless of how things unfold in Copenhagen there is at least one predictable outcome. Our current trajectory of inaction, unabated consumption of natural resources and unhealthy addiction to dirty energy won’t result in a soft landing. Humanity is teetering on the edge of what I can best describe as a massive global systems failure….

In the last 12 months a global movement of concerned citizens, NGOs, environmentalists, think tanks and specialist advocacy groups have all spawned numerous campaigns, educational outreach programs and direct action. It’s happening with such force that the pendulum appears to be swinging in the direction of individual grass roots movements.

It seems the people power movement is back in the driving seat. And we might be better placed to focus on supporting the grass roots doers who are already testing innovative new models of sustainability that demonstrate a capacity for real world efficacy.

It’s a type of action approach that could bring us closer to a necessary tipping point. With our combined efforts we have an opportunity to compel the powers that be to sit up and realize that accountability — a word so absent from modern politics — should be back on the agenda.

When we look back in years to come, we may view 2009 as the birth of a new age and the start of a new system of open source change makers. People who proved that redirecting our energies towards a more decentralized and highly networked movement could be more resilient, adaptable, creative, and ultimately more sustainable.

In Copenhagen we may not get the deal we’re all hoping for. But in the sliver of time we have left, if we rally around the idea that nobody is as smart as everybody, we can collectively achieve something monumental; and the politicians can catch up in due course.

Our Discussion with Emily Alma

With us in the studio now is Emily Alma, longtime northstate activist.  We had the opportunity to work with her this past week in sponsoring a Learn-In and Vigil for a Real Deal Copenhagn at the Peace and Justice Center and Chico City Plaza.

Questions for Emily:

1) What motivated you to bring North Staters together to focus on the Copenhagen summit?

2) Describe the Learn in and Vigil. What happened there and what do you think you achieved?

3) What are your hopes now for the Summit? (Perhaps give us an update on the discussions.)

4) What ideas do you the future for the future here in the North State?

If listeners are interested in being informed of future northstate activities based on climate change and the Copenhagen conference, please send us an e-mail at and we’ll add you to our list.

Our Discussion with Jo Royle

With us on the phone now from San Francisco is Jo Royles who will skipper a catamaran made from recycled soft drink bottles from San Francisco to Sydney via a place called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. We interviewed Jo last July about the project, and tonight we want to get an update.

Here are the basic questions:

1. Can you give us a little history of the Plastiki Project? What’s the goal?
2. Tell us a little about the boat. What’s it made of? What does it look like? What was the process of construction?
3. Tell us about the exciting day of the launch!
4. What’s next? When do you sail? What do you face? Who will be with you?
5. What’s your first port-o-call? Where else will you go? When do you think you’ll get to Sydney.

Playlist for Ecotopia #64

1. Danger (Global Warming) – Radio Mix 3:35  Brick Casey   Danger (Global Warming)

2. Pollution 4:50  Basskick   Sound Of The Nature – Collection 5

3. The 3 R’s        2:54  Jack Johnson   Sing-A-Longs & Lullabies For The Film Curious George

4. Pacific Ocean Blues  2:37  Dennis Wilson    Pacific Ocean Blue & Bambu

5. Sail On, Sailor         3:19  The Beach Boys   Greatest Hits Volume 3: The Best Of The Brother Years 1970 – 1986

6. Weave Me the Sunshine    4:28  Peter, Paul And Mary   The Very Best of Peter, Paul and Mary

7. Bali H’ai  3:29  Juanita Hall   South Pacific (Original Broadway Cast)

8. Calypso  3:49  John Denver    Earth Songs