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Ecotopia #212 California’s Water Future

Posted by on 28 Nov 2012 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

Date: 27 November 2012

This week our topic is “California’s Water Future,” centering on a conference being held this Thursday and Friday at the Sierra Nevada Big Room.  Sponsored by Aqualliance, the conference will include a number of water specialists as speakers and workshop leaders asking the difficult question of whether California will prepare to have sufficient water for coming generations.

One of those specialists is John Herrick, who is the General Counsel for the South Delta Water District in Stockton.  He’ll be the keynote speaker at lunch on Thursday  speaking about “Delta Fundamentals: The Origin of the Crisis.”  And we will be talking with him on the phone in just a few minutes.

In the second half of the program, we’ll be talking in the studio with Jim Brobeck of Aqualliance, asking him to describe the format and contents of the conference and what he and other water activists hope to see come from it.  Full conference details and registration information are are online at <http://www.aqualliance.net/>

Listen to the Program

Our Conversation with John Herrick

This is Ecotopia on KZFR, and tonight we are discussing California’s water crisis, which will be the subject of a two-day conference this Thursday and Friday sponsored by Aqualliance at the Sierra Nevada Big Room.  On the phone with us now is John Herrick, Counsel and Manager of the South Delta Water Agency, who will be speaking here in Chico on Thursday.  Recently, in the Lodi Times, John was quoted as saying that the proposed massive diversion of water from the Delta is “insane” and that “It’s time to get pitchforks and torches and march on the government.”  Strong words about water issues.  Welcome, John Herrick.

–Before we ask you about the pitchforks and torches, please tell us a little about the South Delta Water Agency and what you do for it.

–There are myriad public water agencies, authorities, and consortiums in the Central Valley.  How do they interact?

–We’ve talked on this show with Jim Brobeck and Barbara Vlamis about Bay Delta Conservation Plan and the proposed peripheral tunnels.  From your perspective, what are the major problems?

–You have said that the diversion plan is not only “insane,” but probably illegal.  What are its legal problems?  How are you, as an attorney, attacking the proposal?  What kinds of legal steps are involved?  Can legal action stop the project?  slow it?  alter it significantly?

–When we pick up our pitchforks and torches, where should we take them?  How can  listeners express their concerns?

–A letter to the editor of the Lodi Time noted the “convoluted approaches” to Delta solutions and asked, “Will there ever be an amicable solution acceptable to all?”  What’s your answer.

We have been talking with John Herrick, Counsel and Manager of the South Delta Water Agency.  He will be participating in the Aqualliance California water conference here in Chico as the keynote speaker at the Thursday luncheon.  His topic is  “Delta Fundamentals: The Origin of the Crisis.”  Thanks for being with us tonight, and we’ll look forward to hearing your presentation on Thursday.

Our Questions for Jim Brobeck

This is Ecotopia on KZFR, and tonight our focus is on California Water issues.  This Thursday and Friday at the Sierra Nevada Brewery, Aqualliance will be holding a major conference and workshop called Water for Seven Generations: Will California Prepare for It? With us in the studio now is Jim Brobeck, Policy Analyst for Aqualliance, to give us more details.  Welcome, Jim.

–Origins of the conference.  Why here, why now?
–What is the pattern?  (Day One: Surface Waters; Day Two: Ground Water and the Future)
–Who are some of the key presenters each day?
–What are some of the agencies represented?  Does the conference include multiple points of view?
–What do you hope to see as the outcome?  Will there be an action plan?
–Registration info.

Coming Events from the Chico State Herbarium

Wreath Making Workshop.
December 8, 2012, Saturday, 1-3pm.
by Jennifer Jewell and Adrienne Edwards.

Introduction into Mushroom Foraging and Identification.
January 19, 2013, Saturday, 8:30am to 5pm.
by Phil Carpenter.

The Wild Dessert: Preparing Food from Native Plants.
February 9, 2013, Saturday.
by Alicia Funk.

Botanical Illustration.
April 27, 2013, Saturday, 10am to 4pm.
by John Muir Laws followed by
Opening the world through Nature Journaling (especially for teachers)
Saturday, 4:30-6pm.

Ecotopia #211 Travelers’ Insights

Posted by on 28 Nov 2012 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

November 20, 2013

About the Show

On this edition of Ecotopia, we had interviews with travelers.  First, we interviewed Chicoan Chris Nelson about her recent trip through the northwest–US and Canada–and her observations about the effects of the extraction industries on the environment. You can read more about Chris’s trip as well as her comments on a range of world issues and problems at veggievoyagers.blogspot.com/

Then we exchanged microphones and Chris interviewed us about our recent trip to India and some of our observations of the environment, social issues, and education.  Susan has posted a number of the trip photos on her facebook page: www.facebook.com/susan.tchudi

Listen to the Program


Ecotopia #210 Flame Angels

Posted by on 14 Nov 2012 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

Date: 11/13/2012

This week’s show is entitled FLAME ANGELS after a novel of Oceania recently published by Robert Winter, aka “Snorkel Bob,” a marine photographer and activist seeking to preserve tropical fish and the coral reefs in Hawaii. We’ll also talking with Bob about NEPTUNE SPEAKS, a collection of his photographs with commentary about the threats to tropical fish and the coral reefs of the world.

Listen to the Program

Our Questions about FLAME ANGELS

–FLAME ANGELS is the story of Ravid Rockulz, scuba dive leader, underwater photographer, and an activist working to preserve reefs and fish fish in Hawaii, Tahiti, and elsewhere. We’re not going to make the error of assuming that you and Ravid are the same person, but there are some obvious similarities. Please tell us a little about Ravid Rockulz and how you conceived the character. Which parts of his character are autobiographical?

–What are “Flame Angels” and how do they become the title of the book? [“Free diving, he (Ravid) rises slowly . . . into the thickening mix with emperor and regal angels, blue damsels, turquoise chromis, all the little fins and his heart aflutter till–wait! Flame angels” p. 208]

–Snorkel Bob, we wonder if you’d be willing to read a segment to us? We especially appreciated the segment where Ravid is exploring underwater photography and meets up with a creature he had not anticipated. [p. 50 “A diver has only two hands, … p. 52 Here was substance, vision and purpose instead of a void.”]

–In FLAME ANGELS, Ravid Rockulz initially lives in Maui, Hawaii, but the book opens with him leaving for Tahiti, the island paradise of Gaugin and Marlon Brando. His descriptions of what’s happening in Maui are pretty scathing. Please explain.

–We learn that Ravid’s leaving Hawaii is precipitated by being dragged far out to sea, duct taped, and thrown overboard by the former boyfriend of his wife and his henchmen. What follows is a scene of deep terror as Ravid struggles to get back to shore. Sharks, especially, prey on his mind, if not his body, and sharks figure prominently in the novel, including Mano, a shark who eventually takes a good bite out of one of the villains of the novel. Please tell us more about the terror of the deep and what sharks represent, to Ravid, and to the reader

–We don’t want to give away too much, but we will explain that Ravid goes on to a kind of stardom and activist power that alerts the public to the dangers of extinction faced by tropical fish and coral reefs. Please tell us why this rise to the heights of PR figures so prominently in the novel. Is an appearance on Jay Leno or Oprah the only way activists can be heard?

FLAME ANGELS available from Iquana Press in both print and electronic forms. You can learn more at <robertwintner.iguanabooks.com/flame-angels/>. You can also order the book direct at snorkelbob.com

Our Questions About NEPTUNE SPEAKS

–Please tell us about your own evolution as a photographer. How did you learn to get such amazing photos?

–Who is Neptune for whom does he speak? [“Nepture speaks for wilderness values….Neptune loves fish in abundance but scoffs at ‘sustainability’ and ‘best management practices.” p. 7]

–The fish also speak in this book. What do they have to say? [e.g. “A devil scorpion fish…conveys reef community outrage that so much crime against nature should make the neighborhoods unsafe.” p. 173]

–Your comments and those of the fish are often lighthearted, but the message is serious. Why did you choose to include humor in the book?]

–In our previous interview, you talked about some good news–Maui County banning collection of reef fish. What else is happening in Hawaii and around the world on behalf of the fish?

–You also talk about poachers, and it’s obvious that legal supervision and enforcement on the reefs is difficult. What progress have you seen since we last talked?

–In the novel and in your other writings, you (and Ravid Rockulz) have said, “Mr. Gorbachev, smash these aquariums.” What are you recommending? [Does your concern include professional aquariums like the New York Aquarium and Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium?]

–Snorkel Bob, you are a prolific writer and you put your money where your mouth is with the Snorkel Bob Foundation. What is the foundation and what are its?

–As time permits, please tell us about some of your myriad other projects. [National Humane Society, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Earthjustice.]

–How can KZFR listeners become involved with and support your work? <http://www.snorkelbob.com/sb_foundation.htm>


Ecotopia #207: The Evolution of Good and Evil

Posted by on 20 Sep 2012 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

18 September 2012

This Week on Ecotopia we’ll be taking a look at evolution, but evolution as it may be shaping human values. We’ll talk first with Steve McIntosh, author of a new book called Evolution’s Purpose, where he argues that such values as truth and beauty may well be part of our evolutionary path.

Then we’ll talk with Michael Shermer, author of  The Science of Good and Evil, who believes that conflicting evolutionary paths pitting flight-or-fight against a need for community can explain good and evil, peace and war.

Our Questions for Steve McIntosh
Listen to the Interview

Tonight’s “ecosystem” connects human values with evolution. How do our values develop and emerge? Are we “hard wired” to adopt some value systems over others? Are human values evolving in positive ways?

On the phone with us to discuss these questions is Steve McIntosh, author of Evolution’s Purpose: An Integral Interpretation of the Scientific Story of Our Origins. It has just been published by SelectBooks. [www.selectbooks.com] Steve has formal education in law and is founder and president of a consumer products company Now & Zen, and a leader in the integral philosophy movement. Welcome, Steve McIntosh.

–Please tell us about “integral philosophy.” What are its aims and basic tenets? What led you from law school and business school to being a writer and speaker on integral philosophy?

–The central argument of your book is that a theory of evolution must be more than just “science”; to be complete, it must be linked to human history and to our morals, values, and cultures. Please explain.

–Many philosophers have said that ours is a “value free” universe. Other people have argued that a transcendent power or divine being created and passed down the laws of human behavior and the laws of physics. And still others see evolution as having just one value: survival in a dog-eat-dog, winner-take-all universe. How does your integral interpretation respond to these claims?

–What are the values that we humans have evolved/are evolving/might evolve?

–Stephen Jay Gould (whom you cite multiple times in your book) has argued in The Mismeasure of Man that it is an error to perceive of evolution as making “progress,” especially if that trajectory places human beings at the apex of evolution. How does your view differ from Gould’s?

–You argue that evolution is leading us to value truth, beauty, and goodness. Why is there so much of the opposite in our world? Why are we failing to exercise some fundamental truths that have been given us by mother nature?

–What are your best hopes for the evolution of our values and behaviors? Are you optimistic that we can evolve toward a kinder, gentler, possibly smog free universe?

Our guest has been Steve McIntosh, author of Evolution’s Purpose: An Integral Interpretation of the Scientific Story of Our Origins, just published by SelectBooks. You can learn more about the book at www.selectbooks.com and more about Steve and the integral philosophy movement at www.stevemcintosh.com. .

Our Discussion with Michael Shermer
Listen to the Interview

This is Ecotopia on KZFR, and tonight we are examining connections between science and morality. Our guest on the phone is a writer, editor, skeptic, and scholar—Michael Shermer—whose book, The Science of Good and Evil, has given us food for thought for a number of years. Michael has written a number of books and articles about how morals, ethics, and choices emerge from human consciousness. He’s also a monthly columnist for Atlantic and founder and editor of The Skeptic magazine. Welcome Michael Shermer.

–In The Science of Good and Evil, you argue that morals and ethics are neither god given nor formed in a vacuum. You say there are genetic characteristics or traits that (help to) determine values. What are those characteristics? Is it in our nature to be moral, immoral, or amoral?

–You write of conflicting genetic tendencies: flight-or-fight versus the formation of communities. Please describe this, particularly the value of community. Is there an optimal size for communities? Can we have a global community? Is this tendency (toward community) an explanation of why the golden rule is so common to cultures and religions?

–You have done a great deal of study of neurology and how it affects perception and behavior. And you say that beliefs are formed “ for a variety of subjective, personal, emotional, and psychological reasons in the context of environments created by family, friends, colleagues, culture, and society at large.” How can we sort through those complex factors, plus genetics and the neural system, to figure out where our values come from?

–Your newest book is The Believing Brain From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies—How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths. You say, “Beliefs come first, explanations for beliefs follow.” Are we at all in charge of our own values?

[You tell a story that recently in a restaurant you were tempted to order “a heavy stout beer, a buttery escargot appetizer, a marbled steak, cheesecake” and chose “ a light beer, salmon and a salad with vinaigrette dressing and split a mildly rich chocolate cake with my companion.” You also say that you had no choice in the matter. What’s up with that?!]

–Obviously, ours is a deeply, possibly fatally, troubled world. Why do we continually select war over peace, hierarchy over equality, consumption over sustainability?

–What is your degree of optimism that humanity will, in the long run make sustainable choices or choose “good” over “evil”?

–Where can listeners learn more about your work? http://www.michaelshermer.com/ http://www.skeptic.com/

Our guest has been Michael Shermer, founder of The Skeptics Society, and Editor in Chief of its magazine Skeptic, columnist for Atlantic, and author of a number of books, including Why Darwin Matters, Why People Believe Weird Things, and his newest, The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies—How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths. Thank you for being with us on Ecotopia.

Ecotopia #206 Civic Engagement

Posted by on 14 Sep 2012 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

September 11, 2012

This program features our interview with Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in Challenging Times. We also talk with Kelly Munson about Paul Loeb’s upcoming visit to Butte College and to Chico.

Paul Loeb will be speaking at the Peace and Justice Center on Friday, September 28, and will be the keynote speaker at the Butte College Leadership and Civic Engagement Conference on Saturday, September 29.

Listen to the Paul Loeb Interview

Questions for Paul Loeb

Paul Loeb is author of Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in Challenging Times. Paul has been working on citizen engagement since the Vietnam War and is currently leading a campus engagement project that, in 2008, engaged over 500 campuses in 14 states, enrolling 3 million undergraduates. Paul is coming to Chico later this month, speaking at the Peace & Justice Center Friday evening, September 28, and keynoting the Butte College Leadership and Civic Engagement Conference on Saturday the 29th. .

Part I: Engagement in Challenging Times

–You’ve spent over thirty-five years as an activist and helping others make their activism effective. What first led you to be engaged in these ways? How did your philosophy evolve over the years?

–In the introduction to your book, you express concern about low levels of citizen involvement, “We’ve all but forgotten that public participation is the very soul of democratic citizenship,…” How do you measure this lack of participation . . . voter turnout? engagement in community activities? neighborhood involvement? Are we less engaged that at some other time in US and/or world history? the Greek democracy? the war of independence or Civil War? Vietnam era?

–What has led to this level of disengagement? Why do people feel apathetic or hopeless? Has our country (and the world) grown too large for people to feel engaged? Has the military/industrial/economic juggernaut rendered us powerless? “the culture of distraction”?

–We’ve just been through two political conventions with pre-ordained outcomes. No surprises. How can the average citizen even begin to feel engaged in the process . . . that his or her vote will make a difference?

–You’re a storyteller (“The Call of Stories”), and your book contains dozens of narratives of people who have made a difference in their communities. Could you please share a story or two with us to illustrate the level and kind of engagement you have in mind?

–A question we often ask on this program: What will it take to bring about change on a scale great enough to make a difference? government mandates and new laws? being driven to the brink? social/environmental collapse? citizen engagement? can engage effectively in creating change.

Part II: Engagement in Challenging Times

In the first part of the program, we discussed the difficulties facing citizen activists in these challenging times. In this segment, let’s help our listeners (and ourselves) learn a little more about how to do it.

–Right now, you’re working on the Campus Engagement Project to encourage college students to be involved in the coming elections. Please tell us how that’s going. How many people are involved? What are your goals? What are your strategies for overcoming student voter apathy?


–You believe strongly in the power of the individual to make a difference. Could we review some of the steps? For example, you say, “You Don’t Have to be a Saint,” and you urge people to take “One Step at a Time.”

–How do existing local organizations fit into the pattern? (Chico has a great many small activist organizations on the environment, civil rights, social justice, and so on. But there is also sometimes lack of communication among them, differences of purposes, and competition for dwindling funds.) Could you offer suggestions about engaging with community organizations? How does the activist “Widen the Circle”?

–Burnout. How do citizens cope with that?

–You write: “Cynicism or hope? That’s the real question, the choice all of us face, as individuals, families, neighborhoods, communities, nations, and members of a species whose continued survival is by no means guaranteed” (345). What is your personal level of hope and optimism?”

–What projects are coming up in your personal journey?

–Where might our listeners go for more information?
(Website: http://www.paulloeb.org/      www.soulofacitizen.org)

Questions for Kelly Munson

With us in the studio now is Kelly Munson. She’s the advisor to the Associated Students and student activities at Butte College. Welcome Kelly.

  1. Please tell us about the Butte College Student Leadership & Civic Engagement Conference taking place on Saturday, September 29th, 2012.
  2. Who is the conference intended for? Who should attend?
  3. What time will Paul Loeb be speaking?
  4. What else will be happening at the conference?
  5. How can people register?
  6. And tell us again when and where the events will be held


Play list for Ecotopia #206

1. Talkin’ Bout a Revolution 3:49 Playing for Change Playing for Change

2. The Times They Are a Changin’ (Live) 3:10 Peter, Paul And Mary The Very Best of Peter, Paul and Mary

3. Change is Gonna Come 6:07 Playing for Change Playing for Change

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

5. Vote For Hope 4:49 M.C. Yogi Vote For Hope Hip Hop


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