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Future of Civilization 5-Pack

Program #BROL003-STES001-SUZD003-NIKA001-BARM002.

5 CDs or transcripts

Lester Brown - The Future of Civilization

When it comes to climate change the operative word is “hot” with “record” and "unprecedented" closely following. UN conferences on climate do little beyond the powerful issuing grandiose proclamations about how green they are and then it’s back to their destructive policies. The Guardian, captures the hypocrisy,  “governments turned their backs on the living planet, demonstrating that no chronic problem, however grave, will take priority.” Rome is burning. The eco-crisis includes rising temperatures and sea levels, deforestation and species extinction, drought and soil erosion, and water and food shortages. In the not so distant future the ecological crimes against the Earth will come home to roost. Rex Weyler in EcoWatch warns,  “A great reckoning awaits humanity if we fail to awaken from our delusions. Earth’s delicately balanced systems can reach tipping points and collapse.”

Sandra Steingraber - Fracking & Public Health

Fracking doesn't sound like something the earth, or any community, or any language would wish upon itself. What is it exactly? Fracking is a technique that involves the injection of enormous volumes of water and chemicals underground at very high pressure in order to create fractures in underlying shale rock formations in order to extract the natural gas below the surface. Fracking is rapidly expanding all across the U.S. and Canada. It is touted by big corporations as a practical solution to energy needs. Citizen groups oppose fracking because of its huge water use, its high carbon emissions, its impacts on human health, the disruption it causes to wildlife, and the peril it poses to groundwater and local drinking water. They are insisting that people’s health and the environment are non-negotiable. And, that this widespread and dangerous practice of fracking be stopped.

David Suzuki - A Radical Environmental Paradigm

2012 was a year of extreme weather, from the melting of the Arctic to Superstorm Sandy. It was also the hottest year on record in the U.S., with massive droughts and many wildfires. And it was probably a taste of things to come. Climate change is real. Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere is now higher than at any time in the last 15 million years. It’s largely caused by humans burning fossil fuels. The response to unambiguous evidence that the earth is warming? Kick the problem down the road and hold another farcical international conference like the one in Qatar where the climate destroyers gather and sip Chardonnay and issue press releases about how green they are. What is required to arrest and reverse the clear threats to the Earth is a radical shift in not just thinking but in action.

Andrew Nikiforuk - Tar Sands: Canada's Mordor

Mordor is the realm of the evil Sauron in The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien describes it as “a barren wasteland, riddled with fire and ash and dust, the very air you breathe is a poisonous fume." If you look at Canada’s Alberta tar sands you might imagine it’s something like Mordor. The gigantic effort to extract oil has turned the province into a hydrocarbon kingdom. And it may be one of the most environmentally destructive projects on earth. Tar sands burn more carbon than conventional oil; destroy forests; kill wildlife; poison the water supply and communities downstream; drain the Athabasca, the river that feeds Canada’s largest watershed, and contribute to climate change. The Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to refineries in the U.S. has been put on hold because of protests but it is likely to resurface. Interview by David Barsamian.

Maude Barlow - Peak Water

In the last few years, the concept of peak oil has gained some traction. But peak water? Hardly at all. That most precious of all resources is in big trouble. We are running out of clean, drinkable water. Aquifers are being depleted at a rate that greatly exceeds their replenishment. Global warming is causing evaporation of surface water. Glaciers are melting. Droughts are spreading. Scientists now talk about the planet having hot stains. They have identified large areas of the earth as being water stressed. In the United States, the rapidly growing desert Southwest epitomizes the problem. But it's not just Phoenix and Las Vegas, water issues exist from Los Angeles to Atlanta to Australia to India. The water crisis is like a comet poised to hit the earth. Urgent action is required, yet the words conservation and planning are barely heard.

Speaker(s):

Lester Brown

Lester Brown is the president of the Earth Policy Institute. The Washington Post calls him "one of the world's most influential thinkers." In 1974 he founded the Worldwatch Institute, the first research institute devoted to the analysis of global environmental issues. He is the recipient of many awards including the UN Environment Prize. He is the author of numerous books including Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization, World on the Edge, Full Planet, Empty Plates and Breaking New Ground.

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