Episode 199: Iron in the Oceans for Climate (video link)
Zachary Jacobson began to investigate global warming when he retired, and what he found convinced him that reducing emissions is not enough; existing carbon must be removed from the atmosphere. He finds it easy here to convince Metta that iron should be added to some areas of the oceans, to increase phytoplankton, which will absorb CO2 and take it to the bottom of the sea. You can watch this series (or listen to them as audio podcasts), then comment on each one here: https://tosavetheworld.ca/videos/#comments.
Episode 198: The Sticky Accelerator (video link)
Craig Smith reminds Metta that global warming is marked by “latency,” whereby the effects become visible long after the cause has been finalized. It is hard to slow down global warming, for we must mainly wait for the effects of emission reduction to kick in. This is the “sticky accelerator” problem, though Metta disagrees that the metaphor is quite apt, for there are ways of slowing global warming by sequestration.
Episode 197: Middle Eastern Societies (video link)
Ayad Al-Qazzaz and Metta discuss the stereotypes that Westerners (including intellectuals) hold about Arabs and other ethnic groups from the Middle East. The term “Middle East” is itself ambiguous and ethnocentric, but too commonplace now to challenge. Islam also varies widely and is certain to undergo great changes in response to Muslims in the West. Soon there may even be female imams whose flocks include males.
Episode 196: The Origins of WHO (video link)
David Webster reminds Metta that the Spanish Flu killed more people than World War I, and that in the aftermath, people realized the need for an international body to coordinate global medical responses, so the League of Nations created such an organization, which functioned until it was succeeded by the World Health Organization, when the League was succeeded by the UN. We also talk about other pandemics, such as malaria and smallpox.
Episode 195: Outer Space (video link)
Jessica West is more than a Star Wars fan; she is a professional researcher following the developing technology and international norms that will make space war possible. But at Project Ploughshares the goal is to develop and promote alternative ways of resolving international conflict, and Jessica is on the case. https://tosavetheworld.ca/videos/#comments
Episode 194: Drivers of Deforestation (video link)
Bill Fletcher reports that almost all the serious deforestation going on today is in tropical rainforests, resulting in the lost habitat of species and increasing access to viruses from forest animals. The worst examples are in Asia, where palm oil plantations are replacing forests, and Brazil, where the main cause is cattle ranching.
Episode 193: Why Are There Still Nuclear Weapons? (video link)
Lawrence Wittner is a historian of the peace movement. He and Metta share memories of the eighties and compare their guesses about the prospects for nuclear disarmament.
Episode 192: Internet Challenges (video link)
Rose Dyson and Charlene Doak-Gebauer are both activist-scholars who work to reduce the societal harm from exposure to negative entertainment, especially on the Internet. Charlene demands that parents supervise their childrens’ access and prevent predators from preying on them through pornography sites. Rose is more concerned with the effects of violence, especially in video games, and the desensitizing, brutalizing effects on both children and adults.
Episode 191: International Cooperation (video link)
Michael Simpson is director of the British Columbia Council for International Cooperation, a network of NGOs that are all working one various aspects of the Sustainable Development Goals. He tells Metta that his group has compiled a list of 12,600 such groups in Canada. Now there is a tendency for young activists to want to work inter-generationally.
Episode 190: Russia, NATO and Risk (video link)
Sergey Rogov, emeritus director of Moscow’s Institute for U.S and Canada Studies, is an influential leader in Russia’s arms control establishment. He has organized a number of prominent foreign policymakers in 20 webinar discussions of the dangers resulting from what he calls “Cold War 2.0”. Here he discusses their recommendations with four Western disarmament activists, Alyn Ware, Erika Simpson, Alvin Saperstein, and Frederic Pearson. They all endorse those recommendations but are uncertain how much the Biden administration will enable them to be fulfilled.
You can watch this series (or listen to them as audio podcasts) on our website, then post your own thoughts on the comments page: https://tosavetheworld.ca/videos/#comments.
Episode 189: Key Drivers of Global Warming (video link)
Craig Smith tells Metta about the changes he observed in a remote Brazilian village over a period of 50 years. Everything about it illustrates the basis for his claim that energy consumption per person X size of population = amount of global warming.
Episode 188: Manipur and Peacekeeping (video link)
Binalakshmi Nepram founded a humanitarian organization to aid women and children survivors of violence in her home state of India, Manipur. Many people there are murdered, raped, or disappeared. Walter Dorn, a professor specializing in peacekeeping discusses his concerns about making monitoring available so the rest of the world knows what happens in such areas. You can watch this series (or listen to them as audio podcasts), then share your own ideas on our comments column: https://tosavetheworld.ca/videos/#comments.
Episode 187: World Peace through Law (video link)
James T. Ranney used to be a World Federalist, hoping for a world parliament to emerge and produce firm, clear world laws that all nations would enforce. He now believes more in mediation and compulsory arbitration.
Episode 186: Klein’s West Africa (video link)
Martin Klein is a retired professor of African history. He has spent years traveling around West Africa – especially Senegal and Mali – and regales Metta with stories about his interactions with villagers, former slaves, and local officials. You can watch this series (or listen to them as podcasts) on our website, then share your own views on the comments column: https://tosavetheworld.ca/videos/#comments.
Episode 185: The Methane Threat (video link)
Professor Peter Wadhams is an expert on sea ice at Cambridge University. In this conversation with Professor Franklyn Griffiths, Dr. Adele Buckley, Dr. Pia Wadhams (his wife), and Metta, he discusses the alarmingly rapid melting of the methane hydrate crystals (clathrates) at the bottom of the Siberian sea in the Arctic Ocean. These deposits have a permafrost “lid” locking them down, but global warming is puncturing the permafrost and releasing plumes of methane, which is more than 20 times as powerful a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide. Wadhams considers this as currently the most serious threat to humankind’s survival. We talk of various proposals for solving the problem, none of which are well established as effective.
Episode 184: The Spanish Flu (video link)
Patrick Boyer talks about the so-called “Spanish Flu,” pointing out that it did not arise in Spain at all, but in China. It was brought to Europe by Chinese workers and spread rapidly among the troops in trenches, where the warring states did not want to disclose anything about their armies’ medical problems. The sick soldiers brought the virus back to Canada, and the government still downplayed the severity of the epidemic, which allowed time for it to spread. In the end it had killed around as many people as World War I, though we hear much less about it.
Episode 183: Green Hope (video link)
When Kehkashan Basu was seven years old she saw a photo of a dead bird full of plastic. That was the start. Now she is twenty, and the organization for youths that she founded has 140,000 members worldwide. Two of the leaders in that organization, Green Hope, are Pragna Vasupal and Erin Isabel, who join her in describing their work. They offer workshops (“academies”) in sustainable development live on Facebook to groups of children and other young people everywhere.
Episode 182: The McIntyre Powder Project (video link)
Janice Martell’s father was a miner whose employer required him and other miners to inhale aluminum dust before entering the mine. This was meant to prevent silicosis, but in fact caused Parkinsonism, as Janice has spent years proving. Two physicians join her in discussing the human rights implications of such measures, and how to prevent it in future.
Episode 181: Marching Against Uranium (video link)
Neecha Dupuis and her young son marched 28 days across northern Ontario with friends from the indigenous community, informing people along the way about the risks of radioactive contamination. There are plans to bury the wastes from Ontario’s nuclear reactors in indigenous territory, but Neecha wants to preserve the forest and wildlife from possible leaks. People along the way came to discuss and learn. They will be marching again in the summer, possibly for the next four years.
Episode 180: Peace Workers in Georgia (video link)
Georgia is located between the old Russian and Ottoman Empires. During Soviet times Georgia enjoyed good relations with its neighbours in the Caucasus, and Russian was the lingua franca. Now there is a risk that the democratic country will be dominated again by Russia and Turkey. Irakli, Julie, and Shorena explain their concerns to Metta. You can comment on this episode or any others on our website’s comment column, https://tosavetheworld.ca/videos/#comments.
Episode 179: The Permian Basin Energy (video link)
The Permian Basin, a large part of west Texas, is a dry, windy area populated largely by jackrabbits and oil and gas men. William Fletcher tells Metta that the fossil fuel industries will be overtaken by renewable resources and the basin will be the source of a large part of the US’s energy. You can discuss this episode or any others in the series on our website’s comment column, https://tosavetheworld.ca/videos/#comments.
Episode 178: EnROADS, a Climate Tool (video link)
Teams of simulation experts at MIT and elsewhere have built a sophisticated interactive model that can display the most likely effect of the important factors determining the temperature of the earth and other effects (e.g. amount of sea level rise) under varying assumptions. Here engineers Mark Tabbert and Phillip Chipman surprises Metta with the disappointing effects of some variables that she had expected to be powerful. You can see this series of serious talks (or listen to them as podcasts) on our website, https://tosavetheworld.ca/videos. And there is a comments column where you can challenge any assertion that you doubt.
Episode 177: Japan and the Nuclear Umbrella (video link)
Gregory Kulacki, a nuclear weapons expert with the Union of Concerned Scientists, talks from Tokyo with Metta about the local opposition that he is studying. He says that a tiny group of experts secretly determine Japanese policy. As a nation under the so-called “U.S. nuclear umbrella” Japan blocked Obama’s plan to adopt a policy of “no first use” of nuclear weapons. Now there is an effort to prevent a similar change that is being considered in the Biden administration. The Japanese fear China. We encourage you to post your thoughts on this matter on the comments column of our website, https://tosavetheworld.ca/videos/#comments
Episode 176: Peacemakers in the Holy Land (video link)
As a key member of the Christian Peacemaker Team, Father Bob Holmes visits Israel/Palestine frequently and almost every year takes a number of Canadians with him. They visit and support local Jewish, Bedouin, and Muslim peacemakers. Here he shows Metta photos of remarkable people who keep returning after the Israeli army had razed their their homes or olive orchards. One group has returned and rebuilt their village 284 times! Another group is reclaiming caves that had been the homes of Palestinian families.
Episode 175: The World in January 2021 (video link)
In this monthly town hall meeting, activists in five countries discussed their current concerns, including: melting clathrates and permafrost in the Arctic; the beauty of Monarch butterflies and the need to feed them with pollinator plants; how to make concrete without emitting CO2; whether John Kerry will lead bold climate action; and therapy for refugees whose tents have collapsed under snow in Greece and Croatia.
Episode 174: Life in Rural China (video link)
Ellen Judd, an anthropologist who studies rural life in China, tells Metta about her research on family life (many rural parents leave their children with the grandparents and move to the cities where growth is spectacular), gender roles, health care, and the tensions between rural and urban culture. She maintains that this tension is mainly about the increasing inequality, which violates the values they shared under earlier phases of socialism.
Episode 173: How do People Become Torturers? (video link)
Bill Skidmore taught courses on torture and human rights at Carleton University. He invited guest speakers who described their experiences. Few torturers are sadists; mostly they are working on behalf of the state to suppress political opposition. The effects of brutality are lasting for both the torturer and the victim (or “survivor” — for some people overcome many of the effects of the trauma and live to prevent its recurrence elsewhere). He and his students became emotional in these classes but they all agreed that it was worth experiencing it, for we all need to know.
Episode 172: Granoff vs Nuclear Weapons (video link)
Jonathan Granoff, who heads the Global Security Institute in the US, recounts the early history of the anti-nuclear weapons movement (especially the creation of the Pugwash Conferences), and notes the important role that Canada could play in promoting abolition now. He argues that the more promising way to influence Biden is not to say “get rid of nuclear weapons,” but rather “live up to the promises that the US made in signing the Non-Proliferation Treaty.”
Episode 171: Electric Grids (video link)
Engineer/executive Craig Smith explains to Metta why great improvements in electric grids will be necessary to accommodate the sustainable sources of energy. These changes include the use of high voltage direct current grids, increased storage capacity, and micro-grids for remote localities. Federal coordination may be necessary but much of the funding can come from private sources.
Episode 170: Farming in India (video link)
Jill Carr-Harris is a Gandhian social organizer in India who has worked with farmers demanding land reform. Doug Saunders is a Canadian journalist who studied village and urban slum life in India. Now that there is another farmers’ protest movement in that country, they consider the nature of reforms that are required.
Episode 169: Political Communication (video link)
Angel Alvarez is most optimistic than Metta about the prospects for enabling citizens to know about the inner workings of their governments and keep them accountable and transparent, partly because of improvements in technology. They discuss privacy and the need to governments to have access to the social media accounts of citizens.
Episode 168: Nuclear Waste and Indigenous Land (video link)
Lorraine Rekmans is a journalist and member of an indigenous band in Ontario. She surprises Metta with her account of the way uranium tailings are dumped into lakes, contaminating the water and surrounding environment. She maintains that the planning for disposal of nuclear wastes should be done by the Canadian government, with full participation of all stakeholders – certainly including the people whose land may be polluted.
Episode 167: Meet our Team (video link)
Metta introduces the viewers to Project Save the World team members: Ken Simons, managing editor of Peace Magazine; Adam Wynne, her technical assistant; Dr. Adele Buckley, a physicist and member of the steering committee; and Subir Guin, a long-time member of Peace Magazine’s editorial committee. We discuss plans, including transcripts of the talk shows and a digital online version of the magazine.
Episode 166: Rotary and IPPNW (video link)
Richard Denton, M.D. is internationally engaged as a leader of Rotarians, the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, and several other peace organizations. He tells Metta about the Rotarians’ campaign against polio (and how their experience can be useful in ending Covid-19) and the IPPNW’s work with ICAN to create a treaty banning nuclear weapons.
Episode 165: Citizens’ Climate Lobby (video link)
Mark Tabbert and Philip Chipman are active in Citizens’ Climate Lobby, an NGO which has been quite effective in working for carbon taxation. They show Metta a remarkable tool that enables one to explore the interactive implications of changing various factors that influence the global temperature. Clearly, carbon taxation is the most effective achievable method of limiting global warming.
Episode 164: Cynical Theories (video link)
Robin Collins discusses a book called “Cynical Theories” that he admires. It criticizes the merger between critical theory and post-modernism, which has led progressive thinkers to switch from universalist, “color blind” commitments to tribalism that replaces class-based analyses. Collins and Metta agree in their opposition to this “tribalist” ideology.
Episode 163: Russian Military in the Arctic (video link)
Ernie Regehr studies the military activities of the countries extending above the Arctic circle. He reports that the Russian military presence is expanding greatly. It is already far more active there than other states, but fortunately they all remain cooperative. If significant conflicts arise there, it will probably be as spill-over from disputes elsewhere in the world. We look at the new shipping routes that are being developed because of global warming.
Episode 162: China’s Climate (video link)
William Fletcher has traveled extensively in China and is co-author of a book about climate change, so he and Metta discuss China’s energy problems — especially the pollution caused by its heavy reliance on coal. He predicts that China will adopt more sustainable technology in a timely fashion and benefit from the sale of turbines and similar “green” technology to the world.
Episode 161: Improving Forest Management (video link)
Parag Kadam’s research is comparing the effectiveness of various methods of upholding good standards of forest management. He has worked for an organization that certifies particular companies for maintaining good procedures. Still, as he tells Metta, far more progress is required to save the planet’s forests.