Episode 562 Global Town Hall June 2023

Peter Wadhams is an expert on Arctic sea ice. He tells us about the extraordinary warming of the oceans this year. Scientists don’t have an explanation. Andre Kamenshikov has been traveling in the post-Soviet countries, interviewing the men who fled from Russia to avoid being sent to war. For the video, audio podcast, transcript, comments: https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-562-global-town-hall-june-2023


Andre Kamenshikov

Nivedita Das Kundu

Peter Wadhams


Adele Buckley


Russia, Kazakhstan, Russian, country, working, Russians, arctic ocean, speaking, called, warming, years, long, capitalism, Putin, sea level rise, heard, mind, Georgia, sulphur, involved


Metta Spencer, Bill Leikam, Andre Kamenshikov, Alan Haber, Marilyn Krieger, Nivedita das Kundu, Peter Wadhams, Robert Read


The conversation in this Town Hall revolves around the need for addressing global problems and finding solutions. The participants discuss various issues, including war, environmental crises, climate change, and the limitations of capitalism and communism as systems. Alan Haber expresses concern about the decreasing population of tiny creatures in the ocean and its impact on the food system. He also mentions the potential for a rapid transition into the next Ice Age due to high CO2 levels. The conversation touches on the concept of powdered water as a solution to water scarcity.




The participants reflect on the lack of clear leadership in addressing global challenges and criticize the focus on profit and business as usual. They highlight the need for a new system based on peace, cooperation, and caring for one another. Capitalism is questioned due to its infinite growth requirement and its negative impact on the planet’s limited resources. The effectiveness of Communism also comes into question. Mondragon Cooperatives in Spain are mentioned as an example of a different model where workers own resources and benefit the community through cooperative efforts.

The participants emphasize the importance of finding a new approach that values cooperation, mutual aid, and the commons. They acknowledge the historical struggle against exploitation and the need for systemic change. Mondragon Cooperatives are described as a successful cooperative model involving multiple industries.

Later in the conversation, Nivedita Das Kundu shares her recent visit to Russia and her observations of the situation there. She mentions that the current events in Russia and Ukraine are unclear, with conflicting views on whether they are orchestrated or real. She notes that during her visit, things seemed normal in St. Petersburg and Moscow, with locals unaware or unconcerned about the situation.

She goes on to discuss the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a political organization consisting of diplomats, academics, and military personnel. She discusses that only individuals who are invited can join the organization. Typically, it is important that they have knowledge and understanding of the region, including topics related to Russia, China, BRICS, Indo-Pacific, and more. Kundu mentions that while there may be critics within the organization, they are knowledgeable and have substance in their analysis.

The conversation then shifts to the warming of the Arctic, with Peter Wadhams, an expert in the field, expressing concern about the rapid warming of the Arctic Ocean. He highlights that the warming is occurring at a faster rate than anticipated and is causing significant changes, such as the loss of sea ice. While the exact cause of this rapid warming is not known, it is regarded as a major crisis with unpredictable consequences. The participants discuss the potential impact on ocean circulation patterns and sea level rise, expressing worry about the future and the need for immediate action.

The discussion touches upon the urgency of addressing climate change and the limited time available to implement measures. Metta Spencer suggests geoengineering proposals such as injecting sulphur or other substances into the stratosphere to cool the planet. However, concerns are raised about the irreversible nature of such actions. They also mention marine cloud brightening as a potential technique but acknowledge the challenges and time required for experimentation.

Andre Kamenshikov discusses the experiences of Russian citizens leaving the country due to concerns about military conscription and political repression. Kamenshikov mentions that he cannot provide specific percentages regarding how many individuals consider themselves traitors in the eyes of their families, as he did not meet a large enough sample of people, and the groups he encountered were not entirely random. However, he shares anecdotes illustrating the diverse range of perspectives individuals have regarding their decision to leave.

Kamenshikov explains that many women activists, particularly those involved in gender advocacy, do not feel immediately at risk of mobilization. However, he notes that some women in his meetings express fear of being labelled traitors by their families if their whereabouts are discovered. Additionally, he mentions the case of an IT professional who was not politically active until he received a call from his mother, alerting him to the need to leave urgently. Each person’s story is unique, but the issue of communication with those who stayed behind is a concern for many, albeit not always at the top of their priority list amidst the challenges of relocating.

Regarding communication strategies, Kamenshikov suggests starting with face-to-face meetings in small groups, where individuals can discuss communication issues and receive training. He proposes the formation of communication clubs or dialogue groups where people can regularly meet, learn from each other’s experiences, and apply what they learn in their communications with people in Russia. Offline meetings are considered more effective, but online participation may also be necessary for certain lectures or for sharing experiences from different locations.

When asked about the destinations of those leaving Russia, Kamenshikov explains that they are primarily Russian citizens of various ethnic backgrounds, and many have relocated to nearby countries. The choice of destination depends on factors such as regulations, visa requirements, and individual circumstances. Some individuals end up in countries like Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, while others aim for European countries or North America. However, the availability of legal documents and the welcoming nature of different countries vary significantly, making it more challenging for some to secure visas and cross borders.

Some individuals are at imminent risk of extradition back to Russia, and human rights organizations in Kazakhstan are working on specific cases. Metta Spencer expresses her intention to host another show focusing on the plight of these individuals, seeking permission for Kamenshikov and others to participate.


The following transcript has been machine-generated using “otter.ai.” Prior to using information from the transcript, please watch the video to catch any obvious errors.

Metta Spencer  00:00

Hi, I’m Metta, Spencer. Mother and father nature are demanding that we clean up the mess we’ve made and repair the world we’ve broken there enough tasks for everybody. If you haven’t picked yours yet, then you better watch this series of forums, for every one of them is about some big global problem, and some possible solutions. Today’s the last Sunday of the month. So we’re holding a town hall, for activists around the world to share what’s on their minds. So welcome.

Alan Haber  00:31

Because I see what’s going on. This is just too, too sad. and there’s there’s no clear leadership that has come in is either to stop the carnage,or whatever. But really, what is more on my mind, because I can’t do anything on the Ukraine, we have a demonstration every Friday at the federal buildings in Ann Arbor. We get a few supporters and a lot of people honk a yes.  I hold my usual sign end the whole war system and don’t escalate, negotiate and so on and on for peace. Now, what is really when I hear the, I think I raised this in an earlier meeting, the analysis of the ocean, the decrease of the protozoa of the tiny creatures, which are the base of the whole oceanic food system are so diminished, what they thought would be maybe a 50% diminished, dimunition over 40 years, has become a 90% dimunition over 20 years. This is a this is a crisis in the whole ocean system, as the base of life for so many people as well as the other creatures. And as I was saying, the look of the ice cores, when we get up to the co2 levels that we are now, when it happened in the last 10 times or eight times in the analysis of the ice cores, when you dig down, is it this level of co2, the climate, the temperatures begin to go up and then there is a very short transition point, whether it is in decades, or in 100 years, very short, when we move into the next Ice Age, and we find a mile of snow, a mile of ice on top of us. Even though now it is melting when we say where’s all the water going? Well, I am working on the solution to all this that we need powdered water. But I don’t quite have the formula together yet powdered water, that’s what we need. and because we are just running out of this, the base of the water is life, and it is increasingly polluted and insufficient. That is the challenge to the entire life system. and as long as the political powers are keep going for money and the progressives, keep kissing ass to the ruling class to get their little benefits of here and that, we get no actual leverage against the big polluters against the military, against oil companies against all those that are keeping on doing business as usual. Because business as usual, has made money for many people, and they want to keep doing it. And we did have a Earth Day Program. and there were several people that said, you know, capitalism is the big problem here. If you try and get profit, you’re going to exploit it and you’re going to steal the resources of the people to make profit, and that is the struggle for the common since the Magna Carta, and long before it’s the struggle still going on.

Metta Spencer  04:01

The problem, my dear friend is people like it that way. I mean, I have Russian friends, who now are saying I am so ashamed. I for the last 20 years, I was perfectly satisfied with having Putin and in doing what he was doing. I didn’t think it was and you talk to this day to people in Russia and they say, I’m not political, I don’t have an opinion on this, etc. So if people want it that way, that’s the problem. If they don’t like it, they can do something about it. But they don’t seem to mind. That’s the problem. People would like to have a boss, somebody pushing them around and demanding things over them and ruling them and and locking them up. So that’s the offence, problem. It’s not I can’t blame it on rich people. It’s that’sblame it on the rest of us. So there, anyone gonna challenge me?

Bill Leikam  05:06

But I think capitalism is part of the problem, fundamentally,

Metta Spencer  05:11

Well, look here, I mean, you, if you ever lived in even visited a communist country, you’d change your mind, I’m sorry, but I spend a lot of time visiting in Russia. and I did before while it was still even under Brezhnev. So then I’m sorry, but that, that was not solution there, give me something else you’ve got. What else have you got besides capitalism and communism, I’m looking for something better?

Alan Haber  05:42

Well neither of them are doing the job. So we need to create a new system that is not based on war that is based on recognizing the past has left us into a terrible predicament. And we need to heal from that to care for one another, to help one another and to share the resources that we have. It’s a different system, not capitalism, not communism, it’s called Peace. It’s called family. It’s called caring for one another.

Metta Spencer  06:08

I’ll go for that, how about you Bill?

Bill Leikam  06:12

Well, one of the things is that, by its very nature, capitalism has to continue to grow infinitely. and it can’t happen. The planet isn’t big enough.

Metta Spencer  06:29

So what happens when you get to the limit? What what will happen when capitalism runs into the wall?

Alan Haber  06:37

Well, we are in it right now. It’s called it’s the new age. It’s called the pyro scene. The planet is burning. It’s a new age that is the collective consequence that the exploitation and, and the extrapolation of the resources from the Commonwealth to the profit of a few. It is that consequence, with no, no approach to deal with the consequences. It would keep going and things are burning down. Maybe the pyro scene is not the exactly the current name of this age. But if you look at what’s going on, it’s, we’re the planet is burning, and then we’ll find the next word for the planet is freezing.

Metta Spencer  07:26

I’m looking for somebody who’s got a different theory, a different system.

Alan Haber  07:30

Now get somebody with a positive view, I’m a little grumpy today,

Metta Spencer  07:33

No I’m, I’m grumpier than anybody, but I really am looking for some alternative, and I mean if all we’ve got is a choice between communism and capitalism, we’re sunk. And I don’t know what else there is. Somebody tell me, somebody says, Well, you know, these guys in Spain, these who are they called? This they have a communal system or something. What do they call those guys? You know what I’m talking about, Northern Spain?

Marilyn Krieger  08:03

You’re only looking at two choices. and as Alan and Bill are both saying, there’s more than two choices, it’s not just [inaudible]

Metta Spencer  08:11

No, give me, give me a prescription for how to make one other one work.

Alan Haber  08:16

You’re talking Spain The Mondragon Cooperatives are pretty good, pretty good model, and that’s where the workers own the resources they develop for the benefit of the community, and they share the the benefits of that. It’s, it is called the Commons or cooperative. Very, it’s a very nice old system. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make money for the ruling class, and there is such a group somehow [inaudible fund] and so on in the world forum and all that, that are the billionaires getting together how they keep on top of the heap.Yeah but the heap was collapsing, and it does need people cooperating mutual aid and sense of the commons. But there’s been a war against the common since the Magna Carta, and long before I mean, people fight back, but we are not on the winning side of this. Whatever the model is that we’re putting forward whether…

Metta Spencer  09:17

Okay, I’m glad you brought up that word. Mondragon I was trying to think of it because I at one point thought, well, maybe they’ve got some some hot tip and something we could do, learn from, but I don’t really know. And I haven’t heard anything about them in years. They were you know, I heard about them 20-30 years ago, but are they still around what are they doing?

Alan Haber  09:38

They’re still in business. They have multiple industries involved with them, there’s something more than a billion dollar operation annually. Many workers are involved and they just do their business and don’t make a big deal about it. My understanding I hope that our trip this summer,Odile, and I may be able to visit and see what’s actually going on,. You’re gonna go see them?  That would be nice.

Metta Spencer  10:04

Yeah, that’d be great. I’d like to know more.

Robert Read  10:08

Who’s that group you are talking about?

Metta Spencer  10:10

Mondagon? It’s well explain it, Alan, because I know a little about it. But you sounds like you know more?

Alan Haber  10:20

Well, it began as a small cooperative in north, northeast Spain. In the Basque country that has a very independent view of itself. And they expanded their cooperative and with a view that the workers own the resources, and they gathered more resources and had a democratic organization of deciding what they do. And they’ve gotten more and more, the industries have diversified, the particulars I don’t know. But the last report, I heard it was that there were maybe 16 Different industries involved in this, and over a billion dollars of annual revenue going through it. So it’s a pretty big operation, but it’s, it’s another way, it’s a small regional [inaudible].

Metta Spencer  11:10

Do they manufacture things or what do they do to make their living?

Alan Haber  11:13

They manufacture things, they make stuff?  Okay. Okay.

Andre Kamenshikov  11:18

Sorry, sorry,I need to leave again, I have something urgent, sorry, I’ll maybe connect in a few minutes. But I should respond to something.

Metta Spencer  11:29

All right, because if you stay away five minutes, the whole nature of geopolitics in Eastern Europe, will have changed. If something happened while you’re out there.

Nivedita das Kundu  11:42

Hi everybody. Yeah, hi. So your, your query was that somebody recently went to Russia or Ukraine or something like that you asked?

Metta Spencer  11:55

Earlier in, both of these fellows have left but Andre Kamenshikov, and Alexey Prokhorenko are both Russians. and they’re living outside Russia. But we were asking their analysis. So since you have spent time in Russia, yourself.

Nivedita das Kundu  12:16

No, I was there just recently. Were you? Alright,  So that’s why I wanted to reply for our colleagues.

Metta Spencer  12:24

Please bring us up to date from your, what you’ve experienced and what you think about the situation.

Nivedita das Kundu  12:31

Over, about this situation,?

Metta Spencer  12:34


Nivedita das Kundu  12:34

vivWell, frankly, speaking, I am a little confused as to whether this is an orchestrated, or this is a real, because a lot of views are coming, that this is not real. This is an orchestrated, and this is a plan and, and kind of, you know, kind of, it’s kind of making things a little more confusing. So I would avoid to comment on this, because I’m not clear myself, and I’ve been listening to a lot of views, Western views, Eastern views, global south views. So, so that’s why I’m that other people from Russia, they are not actually viewing anything, because that is restricted, you are pretty aware of that. So my friends, and all are a little quiet on this because they said they themselves are not aware. They’re listening from the TV and news. So that is reality is not really clear what it is exactly and how the situation is now. That is what to what I wanted to mention that when I was there, like around one and a half gone back for a conference, I found that things are at least in Leningrad, I mean, sorry, in Petersburg, I still call it Leningrad, in St. Petersburg, and Moscow, things are pretty normal. And people like local people were just not much aware of things, what is happening and not bothered. And even the taxi drivers, even the shopkeepers, whomever you feel, that they can say something about the situation, they were very, very quiet and people will say that, you know, we are okay, so we don’t have any problem and any issue. So I find situation in Russia is not drastically changed or any change I could not see. And I felt it was normal though I was there for a very short period of time because of the conference. I left early. and so I felt that things are actually I could not understand that anything is really going on. So that was quite surprising for me. and that’s what I wanted to mention. When was it you were there? Oh, I was there like two-three months? Two months back?

Metta Spencer  14:48

Two months ago?

Nivedita das Kundu  14:49

Yeah, yeah.

Metta Spencer  14:50

And you were, how long you were there?

Nivedita das Kundu  14:52

I was there for four days, and In both the,  in both the both places yeah, two, two days, like one and a half day and then left for Moscow, and then there was there for I was just for a short conference, I was supposed to go again next week, but that I will do online for the BRICS, I went there for the Indo Pacific conference, there was a conference related to Indo Pacific, and they call the specialists really working on Indo Pacific areas. So I spoke something different topic that is on Indo Pacific, how they’re growing and what are the plans and how different countries are coming together. So, that was totally a different topic also. and now, I will be talking on the BRICS in between I talked about India, Russia, relations, in GS under the G 20. Summit. So that was also there in between, and then I am talking on the BRICS on 29th. So, So basically, topics are very different topics. So not related to domestic politics, or, or the things that is crisis going on whatever it is. So that’s how and one thing Yes, definitely, you all know that there is a restriction so people are not speaking freely.

Metta Spencer  16:13

So tell me about these conferences that you’ve been going to and the fact that you’re giving talks, what are you talking about, when you, are these talks all related? Or? What what are you working on that, that brings you to Russia?

Nivedita das Kundu  16:30

Well, I as you know, that Russia, Eurasia is my subject of specialization. So I’ve been working with Russia for now, almost 25 years there. And also I can speak, you know, the Russian language, so that is easy for me. and I lived and worked and studied there. So that’s how they called me and I’m part of many organizations in the sense. I borrow Valdai group, I’m part of [inaudible]one conference, basically, I’ve been working with them since many years on different topics related to like multilateral organization like Shanghai Cooperation Organization, then BRICS now, as well as on [inaudible] I have books on Russia India relations and…

Metta Spencer  17:17

So tell me about this Valdai I’m, I’m fascinated by the Valdai group, because they seem to have very

Nivedita das Kundu  17:27


Metta Spencer  17:28

I guess,,Putin really loves them. Because Oh, yes. What kind of people are they in general? It’s a group of people that to get together in Russia and talk about Russia, every year or so. and I don’t know what you do in between. Do you have any ongoing activities?

Nivedita das Kundu  17:46

Oh, yes, yes, it’s a very old organization. and, and it’s, it’s kind of a mixture of political diplomats, academic, military, persons, from different walks of life, they kind of invite these people to become part of their group. And they have a very vibrant group in the sense, they have a very good website, they have a very good I mean, work they’re doing related to a different topics on Russia definitely is a link. But like, like you if you type my name, and you will see the work that I’ve done on different topics, a Shanghai Cooperation Organization, say, BRICS should say, Indo Pacific, say, Russia and China, then there are a lot of topics that people work on different topics. So I work mainly on these areas. But there are people also from Canada, and there are academics from Canada who go there regularly. and once in a year. Kind of Putin is invited, and he comes in interacts with this academics, diplomats and military personnel. and they ask questions,

Metta Spencer  19:06

My friend Mary Kaldur, said she’d been invited to join, and she asked me what I thought of it, what kind of outfit they were. Are they all people who love Putin or not, and I couldn’t answer her. I didn’t know whether they were all people who love Putin or not. What do you think?

Nivedita das Kundu  19:24

You know, actually, you have to love the country. Definitely. If you will love that region. If you’re not love, at least at least you have to have some kind of an understanding. They are not inviting people often and that I am sure they are inviting people. They are following their works. They are following their talks, they’re following their lectures, and they are inviting mind you, they’re not inviting everyone, anybody. So that is they know whom they’re inviting. If they’re inviting your friend, that means your friend is well aware of that country, your friend must be having a good impression about that country. and yes, they have

Metta Spencer  20:06

She is not very favorable to Putin that’s the thing. She wondered, what she would be getting into if she accepted.

Nivedita das Kundu  20:13

Then yeah, then I’m little, not very sure. Because here I’ve seen that people, of course, there are people who are critics, but then they are not doing critical analysis just without substance. They have good substance within themselves, and that is how they are probably invited. If you see the group it is, it is, I think, more than 500 people or 200 people who are there. So they, they are all kind of working in different topics. and they are well established people in the…

Metta Spencer  20:50

I know, I know. It’s an elite outfit. Robert Read has raised his hand. Come on, Robert.

Robert Read  20:55

Yes, I’d like to ask Dr. Kundu a question. She said that two or three months ago, when she was in Moscow, the average person in the street and the taxi drivers weren’t much interested in a lot of what was going on politically and to do with Ukraine. What I’d like to ask Dr. Kundu now is what do you think those taxi drivers and other people in Moscow are thinking over the events of the past two days? What about the events of the past two days? What’s happening there?

Nivedita das Kundu  21:29

Yeah, thank you, sir. Thank you for your question. I, you are very correct, as I mentioned in the beginning, only that though, I have a lot of friends there and they are like well versed with the situation, but when I am kind of asking them about this particular situation, they are themselves not very clear. And that is what they are saying that they have the confidence of their leader and that is what I am getting the idea. And they are not very clear what is exactly happening. and people are a little skeptical in sharing their views. That is what I’ve realized,

Metta Spencer  22:10

Let’s see what else Peter Wadhams, you always have things of great importance. I think of, of all the the you kind of shook me up when you said that what we eat is more important than the black carbon falling on the ice. And I’m because I have, for the last six months or a year, really have the conviction that you are working in the most important area for the future of the planet. And that is that if we don’t save ice in the Arctic, we’re done for, and people talking about extinction phenomena. That’s, that’s the word I sometimes use. You’re in the dark, by the way, I can’t see your face, because you’re sitting in the dark. But if you want to speak, I I’m I’d like to know more about the warming of the Arctic. The last time I asked you about that. You said that the, there was something like a 10 degree increase in the in water temperature of the surface of certain area of of the North Atlantic or the Arctic Ocean. What, what’s going on there? Is this something as worrisome as you had me scared? Should I remain terrified?

Peter Wadhams  23:42

Yet moderately terrified? Yes. There’s the Arctic Ocean has been warming up this year, far more rapidly than it’s ever done before, and far more rapidly than any of the other changes, which we we thought of as being crucial. Like, for instance, sea ice disappearing, is, is a big crisis. Because if we actually lose the sea ice, then then we’re going to be completely changing the, the, the energy balance of the planet, that is the loss of sea ice seems to be less rapidly occurring less rapidly, than the overall change in the temperature of the Arctic Ocean. So the biggest, most rapid change seems to be that the water in the Arctic Ocean is warming up and at an enormous rate, such that, that in the end of course, that relates to, to the loss of sea ice. But it also in a shorter term it relates, relates to a faster warming of the, of the ocean itself, which means a faster change in, in all the things associated with that. So it’s, it’s a major crisis and if you look at some of the graphs of water temperature, you’ll find them shooting up way beyond any level that they they’ve ever had before there’s something really terrible going on in the Arctic. What is your theory about what what’s causing this? Well, I don’t have a theory. So sea ice it was it was simply that now the weather climate was getting more and more and so the sea ice was melting. and in this case, the warming of the, of the of the ocean is, is far more rapid than you would expect or even be able to explain in terms of any, any physics which we know about that, that the physics of ocean warming is now gone beyond what we know. It’s, which is pretty frightening. Something is going on, which is causing the planet, planetary ocean to warm up very fast and give us some complete some unexpected, unpredictable results.

Metta Spencer  26:44

Now, is this going to affect the circulation pattern, these currents that go around the planet in the ocean? The temperature has some bearing on that, doesn’t it?

Peter Wadhams  27:02

Yes, Well there’s some changes going on in the pattern of ocean circulation? But at the moment, it’s the sheer magnitude of the warming that’s more dominant.

Metta Spencer  27:19

And if you don’t have a theory, then there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. I mean,

Peter Wadhams  27:25

Well make observations, that’s what I’ve always spent my life…

Metta Spencer  27:31

How long has it been going on? That it’s been spiking that way?

Peter Wadhams  27:36

About two years,

Metta Spencer  27:38

Now is it just a small area or a large part of the North Atlantic or the it’s in the North Atlantic? Not in the in the Arctic Ocean right?

Peter Wadhams  27:49

No, it’s in the Arctic Ocean as well, and it’s the whole,  is the whole Arctic Ocean that’s, that’s warming up more rapidly and not simply the Atlantic, although the Atlantic is also involved.

Metta Spencer  28:08

Oh, well. Does anybody have a theory?

Peter Wadhams  28:16

Well, actually, weirdly enough, not that I know all of the all the people who worked in this field who confidently claim to understand what’s going on have all suddenly started to say, “Oh, this was all completely unexpected”, which means it wasn’t unexpected, but it was unexpected by then. So there is, there is a sort of bafflement going on about why the warming of the Arctic Ocean should be going on so rapidly. Just at this time. It’s not just there isn’t there isn’t a well accepted theory.

Metta Spencer  29:06

That’s scary that you know. I’d like to do some, some forums about it. Is there a group of people working on it that you that you could easily corral into having a conversation?

Peter Wadhams  29:27

While I’m writing a paper about it at the moment with a guy from Australia, [David] Thompson, so he might, he might be happy to come in with me and talk about it.

Metta Spencer  29:46

Well, but it doesn’t sound very encouraging. Okay. All right. So what else is going on? Thank you. Yes, hello Bill.

Bill Leikam  29:57

Yeah. All right. I would just like to add something that the rate, the rate of warming has shocked I think a lot of people who are in the planning stages. And with the speed with which everything is for being up to sea level rise is going to be increasing as well. And some of the islands out there in the Pacific are gone, or they already have gone under, and more will go under. I just look at around here in California, I live in central California, okay, just south of San Francisco, and if some of the projections are correct, sea level rise is going to inundate so much around Silicon Valley here, that we won’t be able to get around. But how will that happen? Does it come in, will it come in the bay, and South, South Bay will get bigger and deeper and stuff? Yep. I actually all the way along the coast, and it’s going to happen you know globally. It’s not just confined to here. I’m just using here as a model for elsewhere. I’m not very optimistic, and like I said earlier, I’m thinking of my great grandkids, what kind of life they’re going to have to face.

Metta Spencer  31:33

Well, I don’t think it’s that far in the great, in the future, I’m thinking my brother lives on Balboa Island. I don’t know it looks to me, like Balboa Island is gonna be underwater before long, you know in Newport Beach, that area?

Peter Wadhams  31:54

That the rate of rate of warming and the accompanying rate and sea level rise are now so great, that we, you know, we really have to concern ourselves with changes that are going on now. And major changes to how we how we, how we can live now with this, rather than, you know, two years time or a couple of decades time. This Is one of the now things.

Metta Spencer  32:30

Yeah, well I mean, now means, you know, even if you start doing something, now, it’s going to take five years to get a project constructed and so on. I mean, I guess the quickest thing that could be done would be one of these things where they, they want to go up and shoot sulfur or something into the stratosphere. And I gather, you could do that, like, this year, if you if you wanted to, if you decided to but, but that happens to be the most scary of the options. I mean I’ve been looking at a whole lot of geoengineering proposals, and that one puts me off. Because once you squirt that stuff into the stratosphere, you can’t bring it back, you know, I don’t mind doing stuff, you know, experimentally. For example, brightening the clouds, spraying seawater up and see if you can make the clouds whiter and reflect more light. Because if you, if you don’t like what you’re doing, or you have some unexpected effect, you can stop within a week or so. and then as you know, the effects are all gone. But people want to do some weird things, like put pieces of aluminum foil up out in space, so that, you know, the flitters or something. I’ve heard of that. Yeah.

Bill Leikam  34:03

That’s funny…

Metta Spencer  34:04

Yeah, a lot of really peculiar things that you couldn’t undo, and, but, you know, but at least the blessing is for that sulfur thing. And maybe they I guess they, some people say it won’t,  it isn’t just sulfur, you could use chalk or I don’t know what else, but at least you could do it quickly. I think, you know, if they wanted to do it in a couple of months, they can get some planes and and, you know, fly around, you know, dumping sulfur out the window.

Peter Wadhams  34:41

Yes. Well, I’m so familiar with what you’ve been doing with marine cloud brightening and you know how, what are the different ways of, of dealing, of trying to bring back the Arctic ice, as a project that, that Pugwash has been concerning itself with. The thing is all of these techniques are now becoming more urgent. That it’s not a question anymore of thinking, well in five years time we can get sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere in a way that will, will save us. It’s everything that you’d need, that you think might do the job has to be tried now, and we are really having a world where we can’t wait, we don’t have the time to, to take it easy.

Metta Spencer  35:50

Well even the marine cloud brightening that I think would take five years to get it going, even experimentally. And I you know, that’s one that I would like to believe in. I must say that the, you know, the, the disputes that took place. I mean, they were friendly disputes, but the scientists who were talking about it didn’t all see things the same way. So it made me think they’re not ready. I would love to go to the Canadian government and say, let’s set up a station in Resolute or Alert or someplace up there and, and spray some salt water into the, into the clouds. But I didn’t look to me like, those guys were on the same page or would, some of them thought that would be the worst place to try to do it. You should go to the equator or someplace.

Peter Wadhams  36:46

Well, I guess the problem is you have to decide where you want to go and then go there. There isn’t the option now of kind of pondering over alternatives [inaudible] and then thinking about what might be the best thing to try. You have to just do it.

Metta Spencer  37:05

Do something anything? Yeah. Don’t just stand there. Do something. Yeah, I don’t know. Andre, are you back? Where? Yes, tell us you keep slipping out to have a drink or something what are you doing?

Andre Kamenshikov  37:21

No, I had, I had two [federal] things going on. So, I’m back now.

Metta Spencer  37:27

Okay, now you’ve been traveling? Uh, how long have you been back in Kyiv? Because when I tried to reach you for it looks like about two months, you were all over Central Asia and in Georgia and I dont’ know where.

Andre Kamenshikov  37:42

Yeah, I was on the road a lot.

Metta Spencer  37:44

Tell us about what you’re trying to do. and and how successful you were? And what do you think the prospects are for, for really doing it big time?

Andre Kamenshikov  37:55

Okay, well, my goal of my travel was specifically to see to get to understand to know the, the, what I call the new Russian diaspora in different countries. I mean, people, Russian citizens that left their country because of the war in Ukraine. Because obviously, there are lots of Russians, for example, that live in European countries for many other reasons. Or, like in Germany, there’s a large-speaking Russian, large, Russian-speaking community. Many people who left maybe, you know, 20 years ago, and you know, they’re German citizens, but their first language is Russian. And so they, you know, there’s still and but they’re this is, this is different. The new wave of people are people that specifically left because of the war. and so I had, I wanted to see who these people are, and to understand whether they are interested in effectively communicating with their friends, relatives, various acquaintances, that who remained in in the country, and to whether they’re ready to communicate and to speak about sensitive issues, including obviously the war. And so that was my you know, it was like a kind of a, I called it a individual research project to see if the Russian diaspora can be effectively engaged in some kind of initiatives that would lead to better communication and better under better understanding of people, ordinary people in Russia what’s going on? Oh, The problem that I see today is that while there are lots of independent Russian language media sources on the Internet, and someone if he’s liberal minded or open mind and just wants to get, you know, alternative information to what the government propaganda tells them, you know, living in Russia, he can do that. And there are millions and millions and millions of people that do listen to our alternative media sources, but they are in a minority. The majority does not make this extra effort to hear information that contradicts what they hear on TV and radio every day. And to reach this majority, we need to find new ways to new channels to communicate with them. Because the channels that exist today, they simply do not reach outside of this sizable, but still, you know, minority, you know, sometimes people call it the liberal bubble, you know, maybe it’s 15-20 million people in Russia. But it’s still obviously a minority of people who, you know, do listen to all these alternative sources. So my idea was that something that people who left and who left recently who still have lots of contacts, lots of people that they want to communicate with, could do is to, to speak, just to openly speak about what’s going on with their friends and relatives in the country. And as they left, they’re in a safer position, because obviously, you know, doing something like that, when you’re in Russia will immediately put you in jeopardy. But you know, when you’re, you know, more or less presumably out of the reach of Russian authorities, you know, it’s not, again, where we’re not speaking about creating a separate media channels, but we’re speaking about, at least, us using the potential for person to person communication. And so I met with people in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Poland, Lithuania, and Germany, to basically see how, how this goes. And I learned a few things. First of all, I saw that, yes, there is a need for people who left who recently left, there’s a desire for them to communicate, and there’s a desire to be better understood. Sometimes it’s a very important issue for people because for example, you know, that they want their parents, their close relatives, close friends, not to look at them as traitors to their country, you know, in these difficult times. and so

Metta Spencer  42:57

By the way what percentage of them say that their families do look at them as traitors?

Andre Kamenshikov  43:05

I can’t you any percentage points, because, you know, I didn’t meet that many people, and the people that I met, again, you know, that it’s, it wasn’t maybe necessarily a random, you know, some, some groups were more random. Some groups were like already people that had a record of political activism and left not just because of the war, but also because of all the repressive new laws and things like that. So, for example, many women’s groups that I met some of you know, women activists, gender activists say they are not usually in under the immediate threat of being mobilized, even though some are.  Especially, you know, medical personnel, but, but in most cases, they don’t feel…

Metta Spencer  43:57

I believe they can draft women, as nurses or physicians, right?

Andre Kamenshikov  44:02

In some cases, yes, there have been some cases. But overall, of course, most of the people that left are men, and sometimes, you know, they came with families with with their wives, children and so forth.. So I can’t give you percentages. But I can tell you that I heard stories of from one side to the other, you know, and, you know, one person would say, you know, I actually a woman that was that said that I’m afraid that my father will find out that I’m in Kazakhstan, because if he finds out, I’ll become a, you know, in his eyes, I’ll become a traitor and all that.  She’s hiding from her own father, where she’s located. Even though Kazakhstan has not really you know, seen in Russia as a hostile country, but still, you know, for So, and, and in the same meeting, we had a gathering and maybe 15 or 20 people, another young man said, you know, I was a, I’m IT guy, I haven’t been watching news politics at all. and one, until I got a call from my mother that said, you need to leave urgently, you know, because Putin started mobilizing. and he was obviously a group that was under risk of mobilization. So every story is individual. But you do get a, you do see that this issue of communicating is something that’s important for people. It’s probably, you know, let’s be honest, it’s not number one on their list of concerns, because they move to a new country, they need to get documents, they need to have legal right to stay, they need to find a job, they need to find a place to live, you know, there’s all these other urgent issues that they have to deal with. But, you know, may be number five, number six, number seven, but this issue of communicating with those who stayed is there, it’s on this list of concern, even though it’s certainly not on the very top of it usually. In some cases, it might be on the top. And so yes, there is a, I believe that there is a potential to work in this direction.

Metta Spencer  46:28

What would you do? How would you work? Would you like to organize, say, a Zoom meeting that everybody can join and talk or what would you do?

Andre Kamenshikov  46:39

What I hope to do right now, and I do have a proposal with [inaudible] International we made a proposal for that, is to start by simply setting up formats, where a certain group, maybe 10-15, people in certain location could start to regularly meet offline, because offline meetings are much more effective. and, you know, people get much more from it and want to have the, they’re much more effective. So offline, where they would discuss communication issues, where they would get some ELLA training, modules would be involved, you know, and but, but, you know, they would not only learn from professionals, but they will also learn a lot from each other’s experience. And what I want to get as I want to get these, you know, you can call it communication clubs, you can call it dialogue about dialogue groups, where people that are interested in the topic would meet regularly, the key is that they meet regularly that they develop a certain, you know, identity, and they, as they, as they learn from each other, or from relevant specialists, they start to experience, you know, they try to apply what they learned in their communication with people inside the country. This is the first phase that I would like to try out. In, basically, you know, in the coming months,

Metta Spencer  48:26

So that’s not online, that’s face-to-face in person.

Andre Kamenshikov  48:31

I hope that it would be possible to set up these are face to face meetings, offline meetings. However, I believe that to make it effective every offline meeting, there probably would be people joining online as well. Because, you know, for example, if someone that can make a, you know, lecture about effective communication, or share interesting experiences, you know, obviously can be physically in different places, you know, he would join online.  If I was able to get these things going, my goal is to be able to join at least two offline meetings, to join offline at least two meetings in every location where this happens, and then I could join online because obviously, different countries, I can be in different locations at the same time. So,…

Metta Spencer  49:27

Nivedita has something to say we’re getting towards the end.

Nivedita das Kundu  49:32

Yeah, I just have one question. I was not very clear. If this people who were leaving the country, they are mainly the Russian-speaking people from the Ukraine, or is it from the Russian speaking, I mean, Russians from the Russian Federation, and are they moving to the near broad countries like Central Asia and other Eurasian region or they’re also moving to the other nations like European Asians or the North America. So that was just not very clear. So if you could just highlight on that, thank you.

Andre Kamenshikov  50:06

These are Russian citizens of different ethnic backgrounds, but Russian citizens, people that live who are citizens of Russia, and yes, very many of them left to nearby countries. And every story is different in every country, the regulations, you know, who can enter, who can stay for how long and all this, it is different it changes. So, also, there are two sets of documents that Russian citizens have, there’s basically two passports, one everybody has, but it’s mainly used just internally, and there like only a few countries that Russians can go to, with his document. To go to most countries, you need to have a you need to apply for what is called a travel passport or Russian foreign passport. Basically, it’s it’s, you know, document that is used, and to get to most other places. Visa’sin some country require visas, sometimes some don’t. So it’s very difficult. and as a result, because the regulations and the situation in different countries is very different. You get also different groups of people who end up in one or another country. If you don’t have, for example, this passport, that you need to travel to most countries in the world, then you can only go to Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan basically, there are only four countries. So people end up there, people that do have documents, they can go to other places, European countries, they are not very welcoming to Russian, Russians that are trying to avoid being drafted, unfortunately, they all to a greater or lesser extent, are making it very difficult for Russians, to obtain documents visas and be able to cross their borders. In some cases, it’s just you know, there’s almost no chance, in some cases, they do provide. Some European countries provide humanitarian visas to those Russians like Alexey who was on our meeting today, who have a proved record of political activists who can prove that they are, you know, they’re genuine political refugees because of their position. It’s very many people who left the country after the war began, or especially after Putin started mobilizing people, they weren’t necessarily very active previously. And or even if they were, they never really, you know, kept a good record of that it’s hard for them to prove that they so, you know, they are seeing, you know, is basically just ordinary people that for one or another reason left. And, again, regulations in different countries are different policies are very different. Some are more welcoming, some are less welcoming. So it’s the, while I believe that there is space to work in most countries, it’s also there’s also great differences in how what, what people we can work with, how do we approach like, in Georgia, people are usually much more, the average Russians that are in Georgia are much more active and social, you know, have a track record of social activity, political activity, and so forth. In Kazakhstan, they don’t. So

Metta Spencer  53:57

And that is because of the situation in Kazakhstan, and Georgia, not differences in the type of people who go to those places.

Andre Kamenshikov  54:07

It’s, it’s a, it happens naturally, because, you know, if you do, if you people that go to Georgia, maybe first of all, they need to have this, this travel passport. So, you know, 80% 70 maybe, or 80% of Russians don’t even have that. And it’s a document that needs to be renewed every five or 10 years and so forth. So, and it’s a fairly long bureaucratic procedure to obtain it. So again, so automatically, you get people, again, people that have this document, you know, probably are people that are, on average, better off that traveled previously. Maybe they just use it to go to vacation, you know, Turkey or Egypt, but, but at least you know, they’re usually you know, their income levels, usually above average, their knowledge of the world is above average, you know, because they had previously traveled to other countries, and, you know, they have that in their background. Also, many Russian political activists moved to Georgia. and many of the people that I met, they’re usually just about all of them, and some of these were young people, but they had some degree of social or political activist. In Kazakhstan is very different Kazakhstan has a longest border with Russia, it was, it’s a land border. Georgia also has a land border, but it’s across the mountains, and basically, there’s one major highway, that goes over a mountain pass. So it’s, it’s, you know, it’s quite a ordeal just to get there physically. But in Kazakhstan, you know, many people just came there, you know, it was the first time they left the country, you know, and they didn’t know what to do. And many return, many stayed for a while, but they ran out of money, and they had to return because, you know, they couldn’t get documents to that would, you know, allow them to stay longer and so on. So it’s,…

Metta Spencer  56:31

Listen you know, you told me that there were about 40, did you say, guys that you knew of who were in imminent risk, or at least real risk of being extradited back to Russia where they’d be put in prison?

Andre Kamenshikov  56:45

I spoke to colleagues in human rights organization in Kazakhstan, Kazakh organizations who have been working as specific cases, these are people who basically either left illegally according to Russian laws, you know, like, if they’re, you know, military, they shouldn’t have the right to leave without special permission. Or I don’t, I don’t know, all the, you know, the and, and these are also people that usually ended up in places where you know, that the authorities in Kazakhstan, they, you know, they tolerate people usually they’re not, let’s say, they’re not really actively searching for them and sending them back. But they’re not providing people with the legal status that they need to stay in the country. So you have..

Metta Spencer  57:42

You put me in touch with one, or if somehow he got me through you, and we have quite a quite an interaction. He has a friend, his best friend lives in Halifax and, and so on, and I was but he, eventually he got a visa, a tourist visa. So he’s doing, doing fine. But I’m thinking of putting on another show. I got one. I did a talk show with Bob Rae at the UN what I asked him for was would he go on with you  and Konstantin Samoilov and Alexey and this fellow Val I don’t know [inaudible] or something the fellow that you’ve put me in touch with in Kazakhstan. And would he go on and talk about their plight. and he was eager to do that but he said I have to get approval from Ottawa. Well, the person making the negotiations for him, didn’t realize that there would be these Russians involved. So she got the permission for Olivia and me, Olivia Ward, and me to interview Bob Rae. and we did, but they did not get permission for the for you or any of these other guys to be on the show. So I want to put on another show with somebody from Amnesty International. I haven’t been able to get some of the other people that don’t want it. But I do think that it’s important to have a conversation about the predicament that people are in, who left the country and are in danger of being sent back to Russia where they will be treated badly if not worse than that badly. So you’re up for that. I assume if I can get it set up right?

Andre Kamenshikov  59:36

I just should say that I didn’t you know, my focus was on another issue. So I know about this problem, but I didn’t look into specific cases I just met with you know, I knew some from years ago I knew some human rights activists in Kazakhstan. So I got in touch with them and, and discussed you know, with them what, you know what, how they see you know, the Russian diaspora and all that. And they mentioned these cases that they were working on, you know, trying to protect people from being deported. Or, you know, there were a few cases where people were actually in jail in these countries, which was still better than they’d be deported if you’re if you are concerned is deserter today from the Russian military, especially, you know, if you’re, like former officer or acting Officer of Russian, you know, security service and you decide to defect. And, you know, even in in jail, or Kazakhstan has probably been a better option than going back to Russia, and it’s not something, you know, we can…

Metta Spencer  1:00:47

Okay, well, thank you for this and it’s fascinating and deplorable. But our time is over. Thank you, everybody. and I’ll see you in a month, the end of last Sunday in, in July. Okay. All right, thanks., Bye. Project Save the World produces these forums. and this is episode number 562. You can watch them or listen to them as audio podcasts on our website tosavetheworld.ca and people share information there about six global issues. To find the particular talk show it or its title or episode number in the search bar, or the name of one of the guest speakers. Project Save the World also produces a quarterly online publication Peace Magazine. You can subscribe for $20 Canadian per year. Just go to press reader.com on your browser, and in the search bar. Under the word peace. You’ll see buttons to click to subscribe.




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