The Green Blues Show – Edition 17

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Dr. Ayush Kumar, University of Manitoba

The Green Blues Show

In today’s edition of the Green Blues Show:

Fishing for microbial resistance genes in community drinking water … Climate Science 101 … The story of your life, in board game or tablet format. And, seed saving in India, facing down corporate germplasm monopoly.

 

Bret Stephens of the New York Times thinks Woody Allen has gotten a bum deal. The American filmmaker was never tried in court for sexually molesting his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow, Stephens opines, but in the court of public opinion, he has been convicted of that crime, and now the poor man is a pariah!

Bret Stephens doesn’t seem to be similarly outraged on behalf of other famous men in the entertainment industry, like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey – who’ve yet to see the inside of a courtroom for sexual assault and may never will. Why, Stephens asks, quickly answering himself? Because those individuals “are almost certainly” guilty.

Jaw-droppingly, Stephen goes on: “The reason they have not been spared is because they are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The facts, not the allegations, prove it.”

Someone needs to tell Bret Stephens about this thing about not having your cake to eat and then still have it to eat another day. If the court of public opinion isn’t a real court (which it isn’t, of course, and that was Stephens’ entire point), then he cannot rationally claim that the court of public opinion “proved” that Harvey Weinstein was “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt” – while at the same time insisting that it can do no such thing for Woody Allen.

Beyond the hypocrisy of claiming that public opinion fails the requirements of due process in Woody Allen’s case but meets them in Harvey Weinstein’s, the very notion that due process can or should be applied to public opinion is misguided. Due process is a legal concept that governs the selection and presentation of evidence in actual trials in actual courtrooms. But the law cannot reach all injustices. Not all wrongs are crimes in a legal sense.

And many wrongs that DO break the law aren’t adjudicated, for all kinds of reasons: prosecutorial discretion, statute of limitations, and — as with the sexual molestation charges against Woody Allen — the reluctance of a parent (Mia Farrow) to put a young child through the trauma of facing her abuser in court. In a democratic society, the court of public opinion is often the only venue in which people like Woody Allen, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Mark Halperin, Matt Lauer, are brought to account and held responsible for their deeds.

Naturally, this doesn’t make them, or their apologists in the media — like Bret Stephens — happy, but it does give victims like Dylan Farrow … some measure of justice.

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Access to clean drinking water – lack of access – is a huge problem throughout the Global South; what some still call the Developing World. Up in reputably developed Canada, an astonishing statistic: one in five central/northern Canadian communities have to boil their water before drinking it.

Dr. Ayush Kumar, University of Manitoba

That’s not all: The antibiotic resistance genes associated with elevated Health Care Associated Infection rates in hospitals are now showing up in the drinking waters of northern Canadian communities. Winnipeg microbiologist Ayush Kumar has been taking samples, and is fishing for resistance genes. Kumar is Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Manitoba.

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Here’s a little something I produced over a decade ago, featuring several voices who knew and still do what they’re talking about.

Ed Carmack is Adjunct Professor in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of British Columbia. Jay Malcolm is a Professor in the Faculty of Forestry at the University of Toronto. Henry Hengeveld, for years Environment Canada’s Advisor on Climate Change and chief public popularizer of climate science; John Fyfe, with Environment Canada’s Center for Climate Modelling and Analysis; and Canadian climatologist Gordon McBean, currently the Chair of the Board of the Trustees for the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences.

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Imagine a board game that lets you depict your whole life, or some aspect of it. Someone has created a tool of this sort, designed for use by health professionals to tease out and document critical life issues and narratives. The Life Story Board, it’s called – and an iPad version is on its way. I spoke with Life Story Board creator, Robbie Chase. Chase is a Winnipeg physician and community health specialist.

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Vandana Shiva (David Kattenburg)

Digging deeper down into the vaults, here’s a little something from a trip into the foothills of the Himalayas. To Dehradun, where renowned Indian ecologist and farmers’ rights activist Vandana Shiva had established a biodiversity farm. Navdanya (‘Nine Seeds’) Biodiversity Farm continues to thrive. Read more about Navdanya here.

In this edition of the Green Blues Show, music from Dr. Isaiah Ross, Blind Blake, Sunnyland Slim amd Rice Miller/Sonny Boy Williamson.

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