The Green Blues Show – Edition 19

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The Green Blues Show

In this edition of the Green Blues Show: American intervention in other countries’ elections. It’s been going on for years. Worse still – toxins in your body. Lot’s of them. Saving Earth’s climate by building oil pipelines? And – sex on the mind and in the brain.

 

In the great debate about climate change, we’ve all heard that you can’t attribute specific weather events to it. Or that climate change doesn’t cause any single weather event – although it can make such events more intense.

Or people who scoff at the idea of climate change, saying “It’s winter! It’s cold and snowy in winter!” Or, “It’s July! It’s supposed to be hot in July. If it were 90 degrees in January, THAT would be abnormal!”

But … is that the way climate change works? No simple answer to this question. One specific weather phenomenon – “bomb cyclones” – are a case in point. A bomb cyclone (an old meteorology term that has gained popular currency) is a large low-pressure system, kind of like a hurricane, that intensifies very quickly, due to a very quick and dramatic drop in air pressure. Although bomb cyclones themselves are not new, their frequency and intensity seem to be on the rise — as we’ve seen this winter along the US eastern seaboard; first in January, a second time this past week, causing huge havoc in Boston and NYC.

Washout (David Kattenburg)

Are bomb cyclones caused by climate change? Well… It’s hard to say. Climate change almost certainly plays a part. Long-term, wide-scale changes in atmospheric status – like, steadily rising CO2 levels, for example – are going to influence the weather. In the case of bomb cyclones, warming global surface temperatures are affecting the jet stream, that river of wind traveling through the upper atmosphere. Sometimes it develops a “kink,” or loop, that pulls winds further south or north than they would normally go. Warm and cool air masses collide, and bang!

There is some evidence that climate change promotes these loops. And those rising temperature and ocean levels boost the frequency and intensity of storms.

There are few, if any, events in life — weather-related or otherwise – that have a single cause. Life is more complicated than that. But, we do know one thing (or should). If we wait until we’re sure of everything, then we’ll do nothing. And the consequences of that could be more dire than uncertainty.

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As Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections gathers momentum, some suggest that Americans are getting a taste of their own medicine. An American academic has been documenting the history of electoral interventions by the ‘Great Powers’ – both overt and covert. His database suggests that the US has been very active in this department.

Dov Levin is a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute for Politics and Strategy at Carnegie-Mellon University, in Pittsburgh. Levin’s research focuses on the origins and impacts of partisan electoral interventions by the Great Powers.

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The most widely used class of insecticides poses a major threat to honeybees, bumble bees and other wild pollinators crucial for flowering plant reproduction. This is the conclusion of a report just released by the European Food Safety Authority. A total ban on neonicotinoid pesticides may be enacted by the European Union next month.

Maggie MacDonald, Environmental Defence

Insects are not the only creatures bathed in hazardous chemicals. We humans are awash in a sea of toxics, many of them known endocrine disruptors and carcinogens. Compounds like Triclosan, parabens, Bisphenol A and assorted phthalates are present in a wide range of household products. I spoke about this with Maggie MacDonald, with Environmental Defense Canada, at the time of this conversation.

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Speaking of gasoline – and the problems it fuels – consider this: Justin Trudeau and the oil-rich province of Alberta say that greenhouse gas reduction targets can only be achieved by digging more and more bitumen out of filthy tar sands, and piping it to the British Columbia coast for delivery to fossil-fuel burning nations around the world.

The BC government will have nothing of the sort, however, and says it won’t let the Trans-Mountain/Kinder Morgan pipeline be built until its environmental safety is assured.

In search of wisdom about this novel idea that climate action can flow from pipelines, I spoke with John Bennett. Bennett is a veteran climate campaigner and Senior Policy Advisor with Friends of the Earth. John’s audio is a bit shaky. Apologies.

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Sandra Witelson (David Kattenburg)

Love lost and found; getting’ mistreated; the ceaseless foibles of women and men in search of contentment. Such is the perennial subject matter of blues men and women. What makes the minds of men and women tick? Here’s something about that.

In today’s edition of the Green Blues Show, songs from Johnny Winter, Arthur (‘Big Boy’) Crudup, Howling Wolf and Jimmy Reed.

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