Episode 239: The Climate Emergency (video)
Peter Wadhams, Paul Beckwith, and Franklyn Griffiths all know each other for their work on the climate emergency. Doug Saunders and Metta Spencer are just learning about the gravity of our current situation. We discuss possible technical interventions that might save us, but agree that the public is not sufficiently aware to adopt such rigorous changes. What can be done to wake up the public and our governments?
You can watch this series (or listen to them as audio podcasts) on our website, then discuss here: https://tosavetheworld.ca/videos/#comments.
Episode 238: Biochar and Climate Smart Food (video)
Lloyd Helferty shares Metta’s enthusiasm for the use of biochar as a means of drawing carbon out of the atmosphere and burying it permanently in the soil, where it can be immensely helpful in improving the quality and quantity of food. However, he is aware that the charcoal must be used carefully, for toxic effects are possible. He is also developing a certification program called “Climate Smart Food” to create a market for these foods. You can watch this series (or listen to them as audio podcasts) on our website, then discuss here: https://tosavetheworld.ca/videos/#comments.
Episode 237: Russian Immigrants Today (video)
Three young Russian political activists emigrated from their homeland to the US. They tell Metta about the difficult working conditions that motivated them and their experiences after the move. You can watch this series (or listen to them as audio podcasts) on our website, then discuss here: https://tosavetheworld.ca/videos/#comments.
Episode 236: Carbon Capture and Storage (video)
Michael Barnard is working on solutions to global warming. He says that mechanical methods cannot be scaled sufficiently but that agriculture and forestry can do the job.
You can watch this series (or listen to them as audio podcasts) on our website, then discuss here: https://tosavetheworld.ca/videos/#comments.
Episode 235: What Can We Learn from Germany? (video)
Fletcher admires Germany for its remarkable progress with renewable, sustainable energy, despite having a poor natural endowment for such apporoaches. He and Metta discuss the prospects for applying the same technologies elsewhere–fast enough to meet our Paris commitments. You can watch this series (or listen to them as audio podcasts) on our website, then discuss here: https://tosavetheworld.ca/videos/#comments.
Episode 234: India in Crisis (video)
The panelists all have lived in India and are concerned about the current wave of the epidemic there, which they blame largely on inadequate preparation by the Modi government. Though India makes 60% of the world’s other vaccines, it has not made enough for this pandemic. You can watch this series (or listen to them as audio podcasts) on our website, then discuss here: https://tosavetheworld.ca/videos/#comments.
Episode 233: The World in April 2021 (video)
This monthly Global Town Hall includes a discussion of the ongoing negotiations for a renewal of the JPCOA in Vienna; the Bangladesh government’s use of cyber-surveillance to suppress free speech; the inequitable distribution of Covid vaccine and the greed of pharmaceutical companies; and the desperate plight of migrants trying to reach the European Union but being pushed back, often into death. You can watch this series (or listen to them as audio podcasts) on our website, then comment here: https://tosavetheworld.ca/videos/#comments.
Episode 232: Realism and Nuclear Abolition (video)
Ward Wilson is a nuclear weapons abolitionist, as are Richard Denton and Metta Spencer. Nowadays, his talks to the public focus on “realistic” (as opposed to ethical, humanitarian) concerns about the practical utility of nukes. He believes that this approach will be more convincing, and will give people a new sense that abolition is possible. Richard sees value in a variety to approaches. You can watch this series (or listen to them as audio podcasts) on our website, then comment here: https://tosavetheworld.ca/videos/#comments. If anyone replies, we will notify you.
Episode 231: Myths about Nuclear Weapons (video)
Ward Wilson, Martha Goodings, and Metta discuss whether it is true that the bombing of Hiroshima was reason why Japan surrendered. They agree that the more important factor was that the Soviet Union entered the war just before Nagasaki was bombed.
Episode 230: Is the Arctic Sending Us a Message? (video)
Craig Smith and Metta worry about the rapid melting of the Arctic ice and the permafrost, for these will release large amounts of the greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere. This is happening faster than expected; the summer sea ice may even vanish during this decade, speeding up the process even more. Some possible solutions are discussed, though none are well-established yet.
Episode 229: COVID and Latino immigration (video)
How can Canadian farmers find sufficient foreign workers to produce this year’s crop, when Covid has made immigration so difficult? Beginning with this issue, Marianne Larsen, Maria Puerta, Doug Saunders, and Aaron Tovish discuss with Metta the challenges that the pandemic poses for international migration. You can watch this series (or listen to them as audio podcasts) on our website, then comment here: https://tosavetheworld.ca/videos/#comments.
Episode 228: De-Democratization (video link)
Dina Zisserman Brodsky, a former Soviet dissident, now professor of political science in Israel, is studying the decreasing number of democratic states in the world. Drawing upon the work of Wendy Brown, she describes this as a merger of two ideologies: neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism.
Episode 227: Yemen and its Neighbors (video link)
Paul Maillet and Akbar Manoussi discuss the political conflicts among Middle Eastern countries, plus China and the US, and how these dynamics have created war, famine and disease in Yemen. You can watch this series (or listen to them as audio podcasts) on our website, then comment here: https://tosavetheworld.ca/videos/#comments. If someone replies, we will notify you.
Episode 226: The Internationalization of Russian Higher Education (video link)
Leon Kosals is a sociology professor in both Russia and Canada, so he can compare the views of students in both countries. He tells Metta that Russian universities are becoming international (he teaches some of his courses in English) while the press and Russian public opinion is more hostile to the West and more conservative in societal values.
Episode 225: A Course on Nuclear Weapons (video link)
Glen Anderson and Joanne Dufour teach a free course on nuclear weapons near Olympia, Washington. They tell Metta about their activism.
Episode 224: Sovereignty, Arbitration, Taiwan 1 (video link)
Charles Burton, Sen. Marilou McPhedran, James Ranney, Peter Russell, and Doug Saunders discuss the need for effective measures to compel all states to accept humane norms of conduct. The dispute between China and Taiwan is a current example; the Taiwanese government is legitimate, but many countries will not take a stand against powerful China. We also discuss the problem of “libel chill,” that inhibits honest journalism, even in Canada.
Episode 223: Nuclear Weapon Free Mongolia (video link)
Ambassador Enkhsaikhan is a Mongolian who has represented his country in many posts around the world since the 1970s. He was highly instrumental in the negotiations for his country to become the world’s first single nuclear weapon free STATE– as contrasted to “zone.” Even now, France will not recognize a single country, rather than a regional group of countries. as such. He explains to Metta how this remarkable development occurred. Now Enkhsaikhan is the leader of an organization called “Blue Banner” that is working to create a NWFZ in the far east.
Episode 222: BWXT’s Uranium Secrets (video link)
Zach Ruiter and Adam Wynne are concerned about the extent of radioactive contamination around two plants that process uranium–one in Toronto, the other in Peterborough. They discuss the effects of alpha radiation on human cells when ingested or inhaled, and the difficulty of measuring alpha emissions. The company should have consulted the neighbourhood, but their notifications mainly obscure the level of risk.
Episode 221: What’s to be Done About Israel? (video link)
Abraham Weizfeld’s mother taught him to be a “Bundist” Jewish Canadian, and he retains that anti-Zionist orientation. He usually spends half each year in Palestine, and explains to Metta some of the ancient background accounting for present-day politics in Israel and Palestine.
Episode 220: What it Takes to Stop Global Warming (video link)
William Fletcher presents a concise list of interventions that need to be made to stop global warming. Then he and Metta argue about the relative importance of some (notably afforestation) and whether to think of global problems sequentially or as a single system, to be addressed by similar reforms.
Episode 219: Diplomacy and Gender (video link)
Corey Levine works with UN Women in Kabul; Paul Meyer is a retired Canadian diplomat; Tariq Rauf is an expert on nuclear weapons; and both Elizabeth Renzetti and Doug Saunders are Globe and Mail columnists. The guests agree that negotiations are more effective when women are at the table, but Corey laments the ephemeral nature of gender equalization in Afghanistan and doubts that most democratization efforts have worked. Rauf and Meyer discuss the problems posed by UK’s new plans for nuclear weapons expansion and the effect on Covid on plans for the Non-proliferation Review Conference.
You can watch this series (or listen to them as audio podcasts) on our website, then post on its comments column, https://tosavetheworld.ca/videos/#comments. If someone replies, we will notify you.
Episode 218: Land Mines Today (video link)
Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan works for Mines Action Canada. He recounts to Metta the way Canada led the creation of the treaty banning thse weapons and how the process of removing mines works.
Episode 217: Chernobyl (video link)
Kate Brown studied the health effects of the fallout from the Chernobyl disaster. The official reports almost always underestimated the morbidity and mortality rates, but records do still exist, under-examined, in the files of Russia and Belarus. Ukraine estimated that about 100,000 people died there, though it received only 20 percent of the fallout. The IAEA won a contest with WHO as to which organization would keep the health records, but one must be skeptical about the numerical reports from the organization that does the research for IAEA.
Episode 216: A Catholic Peace Studies Major (video link)
Christopher Hrynkow is a professor of peace studies at St. Thomas More College, a Catholic college in the University of Saskatchewan. He and Metta discuss the impact of official Catholic doctrines (especially papal encyclicals) on public opinion. Will Pope Francis’s rejection of the theory of nuclear deterrence have much effect on political decisions around the world? We agree that many academic scholars should be more involved with community issues.
Episode 215: The World in March 2021 (video link)
At this global town hall we talk first about carbon taxation, which the Supreme Court of Canada has just approved, then about regenerative agriculture, including a discussion of the health effects of eating meat and raising animals as food, and finally about the plight of refugees trying to enter Europe, but often held for years in camps with inadequate living conditions and frequent violence. There was a discussion about how to train people to provide therapy by Zoom to them and other survivors of violent conflict.
Episode 214: UK’s Nuclear Arsenal (video link)
The British government has announced higher limits on nuclear weapons, with plans for weapons on the Trident submarines. This news will weaken the already vulnerable next review conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. and violates existing agreements.
Episode 213: Why We Need a Carbon Fee (video link)
A tax is money collected to pay for running the government. What we need is a carbon “fee”- the charge for cleaning up the carbon messes that we make. Craig Smith explains why, and how it is a better approach than “cap and trade.” The challenge is to educate the public so they understand this need and support it politically. You can watch this series (or listen to them as audio podcasts) on our website, then reply here: https://tosavetheworld.ca/videos/#comments.
Episode 212: Financing Development (video link)
How do developing countries acquire the funds for the SDGs? Culpeper and Griffith-Jones discuss such topics as development banks, Tobin taxes, and, blended financing, and regulation. Most of the money is collected within each separate country.
Episode 211: Studying Nuclear Risks (video link)
Professor Ramana is a physicist who studies the public policies controlling nuclear technology — both energy and weapons, which he sees as inextricably connected. We talk about the arsenals of India, Pakistan, China, and the risks of reprocessing wastes from power plants.
Episode 210: The Physiology of Love and Isolation (video link)
The pandemic has thrown millions into bad moods–and a mood is a biological event. Jonathan Down tells Metta about recent research on the hormones affecting our emotions and health, and the epigenetic consequences of our personal contacts, including physical touch.
Episode 209: Nonviolence in Myanmar (video link)
Robert Helvey was a US army colonel who turned to strategic nonviolent resistance after meeting Gene Sharp. Here he recounts to Metta some of his efforts to teach that approach to the ethnic warriors in Burma. Then they discuss the current crisis in Myanmar.
Episode 208: Economic Innovations (video link)
Derek Paul and Metta discuss such possible economic reforms as public banks, the Tobin tax, benefit corporations, universal basic income, guaranteed employment, taxing wealth, trade sanctions, capturing taxes that are evaded by firms that fraudulently incorporate offshore, and other ways by which groups of countries can enforce the changes needed to reduce climate change.
Episode 207: Forgiveness (video link)
Novelist Joy Kogawa and Metta disagree about the conditions under which it is wise to forgive others for their transgressions. As a devout Christian, Joy believes that we should always be unconditionally forgiving, as Christ was on the cross when he forgave the people killing him. Metta argues that it is socially necessary, hence morally obligatory, to uphold standards of behavior and forgive only those who show remorse for their serious misdeeds.
Episode 206: Marshalls, Fukushima, Berkeley (video link)
Adam Horowitz made a film about the health effects of the US nuclear weapons tests on the Marshallese Islanders. He showed evidence that the US had deliberately exposed them to heavy doses of radiation and monitored their conditions for thirty years. He and Metta discuss these and similar war crimes, perpetrated by most nuclear weapons states, often on indigenous populations. There are similar dangers to global health now, resulting from Japan’s release of large quantities of water into the ocean from the Fukushima plant disaster. What can we do to expose these crimes and protect human health?
Episode 205: Ambassador Bob Rae on Human Rights (video link)
Bob Rae is Canada’s Ambassador to the UN. Here he answers questions about how Canada and other countries are collaborating to defend difficult human rights abuses abroad. Charles Burton discusses with him the plight of the Uyghurs in China; Paul Copeland discusses the Rohingyas and the Burmese coup; and Calixto Avila discusses Venezuela.
Episode 204: Religion and Peace (video link)
The three panelists are all active in their faith communities and in peace activism. Sister Mary-Ellen Francoeur, Karen Hamilton, and David Millar agree that their work involve a willingness to be open in the heart and to recognize others as “created in the image of God”–though it can be hard to stay alert to this possibility in relations with others. You can watch this series (or listen to them as audio podcasts) on our website, then reply on this comments column: https://tosavetheworld.ca/videos/#comments.
Episode 203: Can Renewables Power the World? (video link)
William Fletcher tells Metta that his research with Craig Smith shows exactly what Bill Gates is also saying: that it is technologically feasible to power the world with renewable sources of energy in time to reach “net zero” greenhouse gas emissions by a date that can allow humankind to continue functioning on the planet. Whether we do so it another matter, though. So far, we are not moving quickly enough to make that goal attainable.
Episode 202: COVID Work (video link)
Jon Cohen, a staff writer for Science Magazine, discusses with Dr. Ronald St. John and Metta the inequitable access to Covid vaccine and the prospect that there will be a surplus of it in the US soon, though no plans exist yet for donating the excess to COVAX. Canada unwisely shut down its GPHIN program, which Dr. St. John had managed, but there are other global early warning systems functioning through WHO.
Episode 201: The World in February 2021 (video link)
This time there was a lot of discussion about divesting from military expenditures and even withholding taxes for weapons and warfare, as Conscience Canada does. Alyn Ware told us about the campaigns he is working on, which both seek to cut off funding war and global warming too. We also discussed the controversy as to whether Canada can remain in NATO and also sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. You can watch this series (or listen to them as audio podcasts), then discuss them on our comments column: https://tosavetheworld.ca/videos/#comments.
Episode 200: Security in the Caucasus (video link)
Arzu Abdulleyeva and Ahmad Alili in Baku, Azerbaijan speak with Shorena Lortkipanidze and Mikheil Mirziashvili in Tbilisi, Georgia about the relations among the countries of the Caucasus and their large neighbours, Russia, Turkey, and Iran. They share a desire to bring the Caucasus closer to Europe, but have not yet fully considered what kind of coalition will advance that cause.