Episode 080 : Miyawaki Forests(Video Link)
Shubhendu Sharma founded a company in India, Afforestt, to build tiny forests all around the world, using methods developed by the Japanese botanist Miyawaki. They are dense natural forests comprising trees that grew in the region hundreds or thousands of years ago. Metta Spencer asks Shubhendu to estimate the carbon sequestration of his forests but he declines to do so, and they argue a bit over philosophy.
Episode 079 : School Strike for Climate(Video Link)
Audrey Hayden, Genevieve Langille, Jasmine McRorie, and Freyja Moser are high school students in London, Ontario. On Friday September 27 they organized a protest march as part of the worldwide campaign to alert humankind to the existential crisis posed by global warming. Every Friday after school they also protest, and here they discuss with Metta Spencer the attitudes of the adults who react to their disruptive actions.
Episode 078 : Israeli Elections(Video Link)
Meir Amor is an Israeli-born Canadian professor in Montreal. Abraham Weizfeld is a political scientist/author who lives in Montreal and Nablus, Palestine. Weizfeld considers the recent elections a significant improvement in that it puts the Palestinian party into a more powerful position. Amor thinks that the changes will not amount to much.
Episode 077 : The Trouble with Reactors(Video Link)
Angela Bischoff is outreach director for the Ontario Clean Air Alliance and Gordon Edwards is president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility. They share with Metta Spencer their concerns about the hazards and inordinate costs of nuclear power and suggest other options that are being ignored by the government of Ontario, which is continuing a policy of refurbishing old reactors.
Episode 076: Marching to Geneva(Video Link)
Reva Joshee is a Toronto professor and advisor to Jai Jagat, the group that will depart from Gandhi’s grave in Delhi on October 2 and march to Geneva Switzerland, passing through Iran, Georgia, Croatia, among other states, to encourage ending social exclusion, poverty, warfare, and global warming. Reva tells Metta Spencer about the plan to other marchers coming to Geneva from Europe and Africa for several days of action, promoted by the United Nations there.
Episode 075: Refugees in Canada(Video Link)
Macdonald Scott is an immigration consultant who helps (mainly disadvantaged) migrants acquire official status as immigrants to Canada. He explains to Metta Spencer that the system is not nearly as generous as most Canadians believe.
Episode 074: Modi’s India (Video Link)
Ashis Nandy is a political psychologist in Delhi who notes the harms resulting from India’s development programs. After explaining this to Subir Guin and Metta Spencer, he analyzes Modi’s reasons for depriving Kashmiris of their political autonomy.
Episode 073: Transnational Organizing (Video Link)
John Feffer edits “Foreign Policy in Focus,” a publication of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington D.C. He called to ask Metta about what he sees as a trend: an increasing difficulty for leftish and liberal democratic internationalists to cooperate across borders, whereas the burgeoning nationalistic movements are easily knitting their projects together on a global scale. Actually, Metta asked most of the questions and decided to make this into a public conversation for you and others who read Peace Magazine and follow our website, https:tosavetheworld.ca .
Episode 072: AIDS in Africa (Video Link)
Ann Swidler is a Berkeley sociologist who believes that Western altruists who want to help Africa should begin by learning about the culture where they go. Otherwise they will be shocked to find their assistance failing. She tells Metta that it is useless to try to change African sex norms, for example, because the historical problem there has been a shortage of people.
Episode 071: Peacekeeping Ladies (Video Link)
Alison Lucas is a Major in the Canadian Army and Amber Comisso is a Lt. Commander in Canada’s Navy. Both have served as peacekeepers abroad, but their jobs did not call upon their special quality — their gender — for dealing with women who would have avoided male Canadian soldiers. Still, they say peace operations are more successful when the military includes “ladies.”
Episode 070: Nonviolence in Québec (Video Link)
Normand Beaudet runs a nonviolence resource centre in Montreal that strategizes with various social movements. This summer his assistant is Jamie Latvaitis, a university student who will work in local communities to organize opposition to a proposed pipeline that will ship liquid natural gas across Québec.
Episode 069: Peace and Nationalism (Video Link)
Retired peace studies professors Nigel Young and Metta Spencer discuss their profession, Young’s two new books, and their shared concerns about the probable future of nationalism, the topic of Young’s forthcoming book, Postnational Memory: Peace, War; Making Pasts Beyond Borders.
Episode 068: Sustainable Transport (Video Link)
Ashrith Doman (Transportation Engineer, Hatch) explains to Metta what a fuel cell is and who might choose to use one for what purposes—as well as the pros and cons of electric vehicles, the cost of installing hydrogen service stations, and the reason why it may not be a good idea to convert carbon dioxide into alcohol.
Episode 067: Carbon Capture (Video Link)
Adele Buckley (Formerly V.P, Technology and Research, Ontario Centre for Environmental Technology) and Sandra Odendahl (President and CEO, CMC Research Institutes) are both engineers who are interested in the technology and business end of capturing carbon from smokestacks. (Think “clean coal.”) They say it’s ready to use and greatly needed now, since thousands of coal-powered plants are still be constructed and will be around for several decades, whatever else happens.
Episode 066: Improving Peacekeeping (Video Link)
David Last (Professor of Political Science, Royal Military College, Kingston, Ontario) is a Canadian who served in Cyprus and the former Yugoslavia as a UN peacekeeper, then trained peacekeepers from several countries. He argues that a key to reducing violence in the world is to educate military professionals to address the political problems that lead to violence. As a professor he’s doing that now.
Episode 065: Hacking the Bomb (Video Link)
Could a hacker break into the nuclear weapons control of the US or Russia and launch a nuclear war? The answer is: Maybe. Andrew Futter (Associate Professor of International Politics, University of Leicester) addressed that question in his book (Hacking the Bomb) and discusses it with Hans-Christian Breede (Associate Chair of Public Administration, The Royal Military College of Canada) and Metta Spencer, who chairs Project Save the World.
Episode 064: Canadian Peace Work 2019 (Video Link)
Erika Simpson (Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Western Ontario) and Metta discuss their common concerns as academic Canadian peace researchers — the recent meeting of the Canadian Peace Research Association, the recent prepcom for the NPT review conference (which fails, portending another failure next year) and Erika’s research at NATO.
Episode 063: Update from Ukraine (Video Link)
Andre Kamenshikov (a Russian peace worker in Ukraine) and Metta discuss the attitudes of the people they know about such issues as climate change, the conflict in the Donbas region, the trees along Russia’s border with China, and why Andre envied his high school friend for living closer to the subway.
Episode 062: Beautiful Trouble (Video Link)
Nadine Bloch (puppet-maker, peace educator, and author of Beautiful Trouble and The Synergizing Nonviolent Action and Peacebuilding Guide) shows Metta Spencer that a successful campaign requires two different kinds of approach – conflict resolution and the ability to acquire people power by demanding social change.
Episode 061: Creating Real Security (Video Link)
True peacekeeping puts the protection of people first, but nowadays more civilians than soldiers are killed in wars. However, wars are not necessarily inevitable. It is cheaper and more effective to look for impending conflicts and intervene early to prevent them, and to codify the procedures for peace operations. Col. Paul Maillet (ret. Canadian Forces; President, Civilian Peace Service Canada) and Metta Spencer discuss the possibilities in this hour-long chat.
Episode 060: Peacebuilding (Video Link)
Kai Brand-Jacobsen (Director of Peace Operations, PATRIR) co-founded Peace Action, Training Research Institute of Romania (PATRIR), a peace institute in Romania that not only does research and teaching but carries out operations around the world in preventing and managing conflicts. Kai tells Metta about some of their innovations, such as bringing experts out of their “silos” to work together on all of the issues that are the background circumstances that lead to war.
Episode 059: Social Media Risks (Video Link)
Lisa Schirch (North American Research Director for the Today Institute) has a new book about the trade-offs that are involved in maintaining freedom of speech on social media and preventing hate speech, fake news, and even the misuse of personal information. Unfortunately, journalists know that “if it bleeds, it leads.”
Episode 058: Famine in Africa (Video Link)
Daniel Maxwell (Henry J. Leir Professor in Food Security, Friedman School of Nutrition, Tufts University) is in Nairobi on a field trip hunting for factors producing famine in Africa—especially South Sudan. He looks for underlying vulnerabilities, not just the “triggering events.” And yes, he tells Metta that hunger can start wars — or at least the political unrest that often leads to war. The Arab Spring was one such case.
Episode 057: Gandhi: Justice, Technology (Video Link)
We talk with Carl Kline (Satyagraha Institute) and Anand Mazgaonkar (National Alliance for Peoples Movement, Ahmedabad, India) first about working with the poor, and then about Gandhi’s view of technology. Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan (Nonviolence International) discusses the effects of social media in Myanmar.
Episode 056: Sustainable Buildings (Video Link)
Paul Dowsett (Principal architect, Sustainable) and the president of a carpenter’s union, Michael Yorke (resident District Council of Ontario) discuss with Metta Spencer their preferred building materials (mainly wood, nowadays) to reduce carbon emissions and keep heat inside or outside the house, depending on the time of year. If you live in a high-rise they are looking to replace your balcony.
Episode 055: A.I. and You (Video Link)
The Killer Robots are Coming! (Unless we stop them now.) Cesar Jaramillo and Branka Marijan of Project Ploughshares are working internationally to create binding regulations that will require a human being to be in charge of any weapon that may target another human being. They explain to Metta Spencer what we’re up against.
Episode 054: Venezuela (Video Link)
On April 6, 2019 the streets of all major cities in Venezuela were filled with protesters supporting Juan Guaidó’s presidency of the country and demanding that Maduro step down. Four Venezuelans living in Canada discuss the prospects of this change with Nestor Garrido (Venezuelan journalist) who had been in Caracas streets all that day.
Our four guests are Yuriria Lanza (Venezuelan IT professional), Isaac Nahon-Serfaty (professor of Communication, U of Ottawa), Angel Alvarez (political science professor), and Francisco Wulff (economist). They are convinced that the opposition remains strong and committed to nonviolence, so they still are optimistic.
Episode 053: Afforestation and our Climate (Video Link)
To prevent runaway climate change, we must sequester vast amounts of carbon. There are only two methods that can be scaled up sufficiently to do so: regenerative agriculture and forestry. Gaurav Gurjar (Forester) works with Afforest, a company in India that creates Miyawaki forests, which grow extraordinarily fast and sequester far more carbon than ordinary forests. He explains their method to Metta Spencer.
Episode 052: The Right to Assist Nonviolence? (Video Link)
This is an era of nonviolent struggle and Dr. Maciej Bartkowski (Senior director of education and research, International Center on Nonviolent Conflict) is a scholar who studies how to make such struggles succeed. He does not much use vague words like “democracy” or “peace” or “justice” but insists that organizers establish specific goals of a kind that everyone can know when they have been achieved. And when it comes to helping movements in other countries, his organization, the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, argues that there is indeed a right to assist campaigns abroad that are working to liberate themselves.
Episode 051: Biodiversity and food (Video Link)
Harriet Friedmann (Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of Toronto) is a specialist on the world’s food system. She and Metta Spencer talk about the importance of diversity for the future of humankind. We depend on an enormous range of species, but many of them are dying out because of industrial agriculture, using monoculture. Harriet has ideas about how to reverse this trend.
Episode 050: Killing for Fun (Video Link)
Lt. Col. Dave Grossman (author, Assassination Generation) reminds Metta Spencer that in previous wars, few soldiers actually fired their weapons. The military learned how to train them to overcome their reluctance by using video games — the same thing that is training juveniles to kill schoolmates today, with astounding frequency. He advises: turn off the TV too.
Episode 049: Can Drones plant a trillion trees?(Video Link)
We have 12 years to save the world from the worst of global warming. Carbon sinks are essential—suck carbon out of the air and sequester it. The British company Carbon Bioengineering is planting trees all around the world with their drones. They expect to plant one billion per year soon. But we’ll need a trillion trees. Can it be done? A discussion with Prof. Sandy Smith (Professor of Forestry, University of Toronto) and Eric Davies (Graduate student in Forestry, University of Toronto) in Toronto and Elena Fernandez-Miranda (BioCarbon Engineering) and Eman Hamdan (BioCarbon Engineering) in Oxford, England.
Episode 048: The UN and Peacekeeping (Video Link)
Walter Dorn (Professor of Defence Studies, Canadian Forces College) is a professor at the Canadian Forces College, where he teaches military officers. He also does a lot of work for the United Nations overseas, mainly developing technologies for peacekeepers’ use in the field. He and Metta Spencer discuss his work and the prospects for various ways of improving the United Nations.
Episode 047: After the INF Treaty?(Video Link)
Theodore Postol (Professor Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Douglas Roche (retired Canadian Senator) and Sergey Rogov (Academic Director, USA/Canada Institute) are all deeply worried because the US and Russia have both declared their intention of ending the INF Treaty, which banned ground launched, medium-ranged missiles. It appears that we will have another nuclear arms race, with risks comparable to the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Episode 046: Antibiotics and Politics (Video Link)
Dr. Laura Kahn (physician and research professor, Princeton University) and Dr. Ronald St. John (Director, Public Health Ontario) are both experts on public health emergencies such as pandemics. Dr. Kahn has studied the increasing resistance to antibiotics. They discuss these global threats with the host, Professor Metta Spencer.
Episode 045: Gandhian Sustainable Development Goals (Video Link)
Jill Carr-Harris (co-leader of Ekta Parishad) is a Canadian who is, with her husband, Rajagopal, a leader in today’s Gandhian movement in India. She and Metta talk first about her recent trip to the Caucasus, where a Gandhi Centre is playing a key role in resolving conflict. Then they describe their upcoming march from New Delhi to Geneva in support of the sustainable development goals. If you’re interesting in joining, see their web page, jaijagat2020.org.
Episode 044: Electric Vehicles (Video Link)
Jose Etcheverry (Associate professor of Environmental Studies, York University) does love his car! He sits behind the wheel talking about it to Metta and pointing out the sustainability aides in the parking lot around him. They even talk about the coming of electric self-driving taxis and how it may make it easier for mobility-challenged people to move around the city or go to conferences two hours away.
Episode 043: Nuclear Divestment (Video Link)
Some companies — and there are lists showing which ones — make a lot of money by helping build and maintain nuclear weapons. When Metta spoke with Alyn Ware (Parliamentarian Network for Nuclear Disarmament), he was hosting a meeting in Basel, Switzerland for organizations that intend to get investors to take their money out of these companies and force them to quit that horrible business. That’s a promising way of promoting the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Episode 042: Nuclear Disarmament (Video Link)
Aaron Tovish (Zona Libre, Mexico City) used to manage “Mayors for Peace,” an organization to which 7,000 cities now belong. Refusing to allow their cities to be targets of a nuclear war, those mayors demand that the weapons be abolished. And today Aaron occupies the Swedish embassy in Mexico City, still campaigning against nuclear weapons.
Episode 041: Radioactivity Risk (Video Link)
This week, we have Angela Bischoff (Ontario Clean Air Alliance), Richard Denton (Co-chair, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War), and Gordon Edwards (Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility) on the podcast. These three Canadians happen to know what certain types of rays do to the human body and don’t want it to happen to them. You won’t want it either after you hear what they say.