Episode 040: COP24 (Video Link)
Every year there’s a meeting of all the states that are committed to reducing greenhouse gas. In 2018, they met in Katowice, Poland, only months after the world’s leading climate experts had warned that there are only twelve years left before the problem becomes irreversible. What can be done? Adam Koniuszewski (Co-founder, The Bridge Foundation, Geneva) attended the COP24 meeting and is fighting the $5 trillion annual subsidies given to the fossil fuel industries. Good for him!
Episode 039: Russia Today (Video Link)
Russians hate politics nowadays. Even Putin does, according to Ignat Kalinin (Senior editor, RT television, Moscow). Ignat is a journalist who himself stopped covering military affairs for newspapers and now is editor in a special department of RT that tries to help ordinary people solve their daily problems.
Episode 038: World Beyond War (Video Link)
Some wars never happen. People prevent them from happening. Of course, that takes planning and effort but David and Greta are organizing people all over the world to prevent wars, and their movement, World Beyond War, is growing fast. Our guests this week are David Swanson (David Swanson (co-founder, World Beyond War) and Greta Zarro (staff member, World Beyond War).
Episode 037: The War in Yemen (Video Link)
Aden, in southern Yemen, was the hometown of Dr. Qais Ghanem (retired professor of medicine, Ottawa University). So Metta asked him and his friend Paul Maillet (retired Colonel, Canadian Forces; now peace-building worker) to explain what made that country into the battlefield of 2018. Blame the Saudis, but it’s not only their fault.
Episode 036: Climate Change and Non-State Actors (Video Link)
What happens when Donald Trump or some other climate change denier gets elected to run a state? Bad things, frankly. But the president can’t keep cities, provinces, and corporations from making big changes that reduce global warming. Our guest this week is Matthew Hoffmann (Director of Environmental Governance Lab, U of Toronto).
Episode 035: Active Nonviolence (Video Link)
Gene Sharp needed an assistant to oversee the translation of his books about civil resistance, so he hired a 20-year old refugee from Afghanistan who believed that war was sometimes necessary. She soon changed her mind and works now to promote alternative ways of fighting. Our guest this week is Jamila Raqib (Director of Albert Einstein Institution)
Episode 034: Popular Resistance (Video Link)
Kevin Zeese (Baltimore lawyer and movement organizer) runs movements in the US to prevent wars and legalize marijuana. He learned quite a bit from organizing the Occupy movement and now he gives courses on how to do it and hosts a weekly talk show.
Episode 033: Arctic Security (Video Link)
The ice is melting there, but the people and even the nations in the Arctic get along together surprisingly well. Metta speaks with Adele Buckley (former VP for Technology Research, OCETA) and Ernie Regehr (Senior Fellow, the Simons Foundation)
Episode 032: The Cyber Impact (Video Link)
It is possible, some experts think, for certain hackers to get control of a ballistic missile and launch a nuclear war. Of get control of an electric grid of a whole country and shut it down for months. But some of people think there ought to be a law – an international law that all countries will adopt and obey. Metta speaks with Branka Marijan (program officer, Project Ploughshares) and John Daniele (VP, Cybersecurity GTA).
Episode 031: The Corporation as Criminal (Video Link)
Harry Glasbeek (Professor Emeritus, York) tells Metta about the woman who held a wedding ceremony, marrying a corporation. And why not? After all, a corporation is legally a person.
Episode 029: Chemical Weapons (Video Link)
There is a treaty prohibiting any country from making or keeping chemical weapons of war. But that’s not quite the end of the matter. Metta speaks with Jeremy Littlewood (Chemical and Biological Weapons researcher) on the topic.
Episode 028: Lethal Autonomous Weapons (Video Link)
The killer robots are coming – unless we stop them! They will be programmed to pick their victims and exterminate them. Now is the time to protest, before any of them are on the loose. Metta discusses with Erin Hunt (Mines Action Canada) and Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan (Mines Action Canada).
Episode 027: Assessing the Risk of Global Threats (Video Link)
Project Save the World aims to reduce the risk of six global threats: war and weapons; global warming, famine, pandemics, major radiation exposure, and cyber attacks. But are they all equally risky? How can we know which problems are really serious? Fortunately, Mark Sedra (Adjunct Professor, Balsillie School) has been thinking about that.
Episode 026: The Paris Agreement (Video Link)
Now that all the countries have agreed what to do to stop climate change, everything is going to be all right, isn’t it? Huh? Isn’t it? Metta discusses with Catherine Abreu (Director, Climate Action Network).
Episode 025: Pipelines and Politics (Video Link)
Remind me again why we went to war in Afghanistan. Oh, yeah. Same reason as usual. Metta discusses with John Foster (Energy Economist) and Millie Morton (Economic Development Sociologist).
Episode 024: Faith Communities (Video Link)
After Karen Hamilton (Organizer, Parliament of the World Religions) finished coordinating the Canadian Council of Churches, she began organizing a “parliament of world religions” for about 10,000 people.
Episode 023: Globalization and Separatism (Video Link)
Are people in different parts of the world coming closer together or dividing into more distinct countries? Metta discusses with Robert Schaeffer (Prof. at Cal Poly U.) and Thomas Ponniah, Prof. at George Brown College).
Episode 022: Famine (Video Link)
Can you have a famine when there’s plenty of food? Yes, if people can’t get it. Indeed, the only cause of famine nowadays is that someone is deliberately keeping an enemy from being able to get food – as an act of war. Alex deWaal (Executive Director, World Peace Foundation) wants that to become recognized as a war crime.
Episode 021: Israel, Palestine, and Nuclear Weapons (Video Link)
Abraham Weizfeld lives half time in Montreal and half time in Nablus, Palestine. He is, year-round, a Jewish activist who, with his Palestinian friend Joseph Maleh, defends the rights of Palestinians. Here we talk also about Israel’s nuclear weapons and the whistle-blower we all love, Mordechai Vanunu.
Episode 020: Humanitarian Aid and Singing (Video Link)
Dr. Mary-Wynne Ashford, MD (past CoChair, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War) is a major international activist working against nuclear weapons. Nowadays she and a colleague go to high schools in Victoria, British Columbia and teach the students about the risks of nuclear war, which they had rarely heard about before. And they take along a choir! After the lecture, everybody joins in and sings together.
Episode 019: Nuclear Weapons (Video Link)
Dr. Ira Helfand, MD (CoChair, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War) is a double Nobel prize winner, in a sense. He is co-chair of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, which won the award in 1985, and he work not also with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. So guess what he and Metta Spencer discussed when they met in a Zoom conference call?
Episode 018: Project Drawdown (Video Link)
Project Save the World loves Paul Hawken, the fellow who set a lot of researchers the task of listing 100 ways to reduce the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. They did a spectacular job, calculating the cost of various measures and rank ordering them in terms of effectiveness. Everybody in the world should read Hawken’s book, Drawdown. Metta discusses it with David Burman (Drawdown workshop leader), Liz Couture (Drawdown workshop leader), and Peter Jones (Professor of Design, OCAD University).
Episode 017: Project Ploughshares (Video Link)
Cesar Jaramillo is the executive director of an organization based in Waterloo, Ontario that studies warfare and the effects of owning weapons. He recalls arriving in Canada as a refugee from his native Colombia, which was at war against a guerrilla movement at the time. These days he is chiefly trying to persuade the Canadian government not to sell armored personnel carriers to Saudi Arabia.
Episode 016: Building Codes (Video Link)
Did you know that buildings are the source about thirty percent of the greenhouse gas that is warming our planet? So what can we do to make our homes and offices sustainable? These engineers specialize in low energy buildings. Metta discusses with Greg Allen (engineer specializing in low energy buildings), Steve Kemp (engineer specializing in energy codes and net-zero energy buildings), and John Straube (Professor of Building Science, University of Waterloo).
Episode 015: Basic Income (Video Link)
Inequality is increasing in all the western industrialized states and there is every reason to expect that trend to continue, especially over the next few years, as automation takes jobs away from a large part of the population. One possible solution is to provide a basic level of income to everyone. Ontario was experimenting with this idea when we held the conversation, but a few months later a new government came to power and shut down the program. So who is ready to explore the idea next? Metta discusses with John Mills (Advocate of Basic Income) and Tom Cooper (Director, Hamilton Round Table on Poverty Reduction).
Episode 014: Korea and the Kim-Trump Meeting (Video Link)
When Trump met the leader of North Korea in Singapore, Metta called and old friend in Seoul to ask how people felt about what was going on. Metta discusses North Korea with John Feffer (Editor of Foreign Policy in Focus, of the Institute for Policy Studies), Marius Grinius (Former Canadian Ambassador to North and South Korea and Ambassador for Disarmament), and Lester Kurtz (Professor of Sociology, George Mason University, now living in Seoul on sabbatical).
Episode 013: Yemen (Video Link)
For several years Saudi Arabia has been at war against a group of Houthi fighters in Yemen, and the whole population has been suffering. Cholera was sweeping the country, in the summer and fall of 2018 and food could not be brought in through, so people were starving. Yusur reached a young journalist in Sanaa, who explained this tragic situation. Metta discusses with Yusur Al Bahrani (Journalist living in Yellowknife, Northweat Territories, Canada) and Ahmed Jahaf (Journalist living in Sana’a, Yemen).
Episode 012: Peace Studies (Video Link)
Many universities teach courses about peace and conflict, and the faculty members who specialize in these matters meet annually to share their research findings. Two of our panelists had just attended the2018 conference and the third panelist was a Saskatchewan anthropologist who talked about her experience in East Timor doing peace work. Metta discusses with Susana Barnes (Adjust Professor of Anthropology, University of Saskatchewan), Christopher Hrynkow (Professor of Religious Studies, University of Saskatchewan), Florence Stratton (Retired Professor of English, University of Regina), and Peter Venton (Former Economist for the Government of Ontario).
Episode 011: Yemen (Video Link)
The UN isn’t broken, but let’s fix it anyway. It has done many wonderful things to benefit humankind, and with some structural changes, it can do even more. A group is already meeting quietly, planning to propose some changes in the next few years. One proposal is to create a parliamentary assembly where the population of the world can be represented in a more democratic way. Metta discusses with Robin Collins (Group of 78, Canadian Pugwash Group, and World Federalist Movement), John Trent (Retired Professor of Political Studies, University of Ottawa), and Fergus Watt (Executive Director, World Federalist Movement of Canada).
Episode 010: UN Emergency Peace Service (Video Link)
If the United Nations had a service ready to go overseas at a moment’s notice to prevent a war or protect people from an insurgent movement, the other countries would not feel it necessary to maintain such expensive armies of their own. They could just call the UN for help whenever trouble was looming. Such a peace service should not just be military; it should be able to mediate conflicts in advance too. Metta Spencer discusses with Robin Collins (Group of 78, Canadian Pugwash Group and World Federalist Movement), Timothy Donais (Associate Professor of Political Science, Wilfrid Laurier University), and Peter Langille (Author of Developing a United Nations Emergency Peace Service.
Episode 009: Preventing Cyber Threats (Video Link)
The United Nations told a group of experts to devise a set of rules for countries to adopt that would prohibit anyone or any state from attacking another country with cyber war. Unfortunately, it seems that not all countries want such a treaty or international law limiting aggression online. What do you think should be done next? Try again? Metta discusses with Jack Gemmell (Toronto lawyer), Paul Meyer (Former Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament), and Allison Pytlak (WILPF).
Episode 008: Monitoring Nuclear Power Safety (Video Link)
How close do you live to a nuclear power plant? Could it explode? Or do the radioactive materials that are used to produce energy travel through your town or leak into your water system? How do you know? Have you asked? Host Metta Spencer discusses Angela Bischoff, (Clean Air Alliance), Pippa Feinstein (Toronto lawyer, Water Keepers), and Brennain Lloyd (NorthWatch).
Episode 007: Pandemics and Climate Change (Video Link)
Don’t feed the monkeys! If they bite, they may have a new virus to pass on. In fact, because of global warming and the great increase in transportation internationally, we are increasingly vulnerable to new diseases transmitted from animals. So what is being done to protect us from worldwide epidemics such as Zika and Ebola? Metta discusses with Dr. Ronald St. John (Former Director General of Canada’s first Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response, Public Health Agency of Canada), Dr. Sweta Chakraborty, and Dr. Bryna Warshawsky (Public Health Ontario).
Episode 006: Famine and Food Security (Video Link)
Do you think food ought to be free? Metta talks to two Canadian experts, Haroon Akram-Lodhi (Professor of International Development, Trent University) and Mustafa Koc (Professor of Sociology, Ryerson University), who have just such a goal in mind.
Episode 005: Food and Regenerative Farming (Video Link)
Farming is now a major source of global warming, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The earth can contain carbon if it is not plowed or eroded by wind or water. And there are ways of growing food that protect the soil and make it into a carbon sink instead of a source of climate change. Host Metta Spencer discusses with Lloyd Helferty, Agricultural Engineering Technologist), Jodi Koberinski (Regeneration International, Climate Smart Food), and Joanna Santa Barbara (New Zealand Activity).
Episode 004: Girls’ Education, Population and Climate (Video Link)
If you worry about global warming, be sure to send your daughter to school. She will have a career and bear fewer children, which in turn will reduce the emissions of greenhouse gas. Host Metta Spencer discusses with Malcolm Potts (Professor of the Graduate School, Public Health, University of California, Berkeley), William Ryerson (Director, Population Media Center), and Aysan Sev’er (Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of Toronto).
Episode 003: Forests Can Reduce Climate Change (Video Link)
There are three trillion trees on the planet, but the numbers are declining, just when we need about two trillion more. Trees can suck CO2 out of the air and tuck it away in their roots and wood, where it won’t warm the planet. These guest speakers are all tree-lovers who know the value of a forest. Host Metta Spencer discuses with John Bacher (Presere Agricultural Land), Marc Barash (Journalist, former editor), and Sandy Smith (Entomologist, Professor of Forestry, University of Toronto).
Episode 002: Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (Video Link)
According to polls, about three-quarters of the world’s population want all nuclear weapons to be destroyed and forbidden ever to be produced again. So if we live in a democracy, why isn’t this happening? Host Metta Spencer discusses with Douglas Roche (Former Ambassador for Disarmament; Canadian Senator) and Earl Turcotte (Former diplomat for Canada and United Nations).