The Green Blues Show
Welcome to The Green Blues Show. The latest news – a bit of blues. Today:
Precarious employment – the new normal.
Venezuela struggles to chart its own path, the international community breathing down its neck.
Prairie heat – visions of a future where winters are short, summers hot, and health fails.
And the ‘Forever Legacy’ of climate change. Forget about life in 2050. What will life on Earth be like in 500 years?
There is no rule of law in the world today. Not in human affairs, not for the planet.
Since the launch of what a group of researchers dub the “Great Acceleration” (1950 is the year they’ve pegged), humans have laid down a globe-girdling stratum of concrete, asphalt, aluminum, heavy metals, pesticides, radionuclides, and an inconceivably huge volume of plastic, now well dispersed as micro-fibers in the world’s ocean sediments.
Meanwhile, our living relations have been vanishing at an unprecedented rate. Not since the smoldering end of the Permian, Earth’s greatest extinction event, 250 million years ago, has Earth experienced such a crash.
In international relations, it’s the law of the jungle. The five most powerful countries on Earth get to pick and choose which laws they’ll abide by, doling out slices of impunity to allies and clients. Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad dropped barrel bombs on hospitals and kindergartens without fear, because Russia had his back. Kim Jong-un can brandish nukes, because that’s China’s backyard.
It’s all nothing compared to the lawlessness of the British and French, selling high-performance arms systems to deep-pocketed human rights abusers, and the truly colossal crimes of the United States, that’s been sponsoring and waging wars around the planet — in the name of freedom and democracy — for over seventy years. By one estimate, the US has had a hand in the deaths of over twenty million people since the Second World War.
Then there’s little Israel, dearest friend of the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Italy and so on, the only country in the world to have actually been granted a franchise to violate the most canonical of post-WWII international laws, the 4th Geneva Convention, with impunity.
It’s enough to make a grown-up cry. Or laugh, to make it all go away.
Compared to global environmental destruction and war, precarious employment seems like a minor worry. Green Blues Show associate Sara Arenson speaks about that slice of the North American population trapped in low-pay, precarious employment. Sara Arenson is a Winnipeg-based writer and commentator.
Venezuela continues to be swept by economic and political turmoil. In state government elections held earlier this month, the ruling Socialists, led by Nicholas Maduro won seventeen out of 27 races. The opposition Democratic Unity Coalition was not happy – nor were the US and Canada, who slapped sanctions on Venezuela for not being democratic enough. For an alternative analysis of the current situation in Venezuela, the Green Blues Show spoke with Gabriel Hetland. Hetland is an Assistant Professor of Latin American, Caribbean and U.S.-Latino studies at the State University of New York in Albany.
As Earth’s climate warms, urban geographers and climatologists are predicting that human health will suffer. We spoke about this with Danny Blair, a climatologist in the Department of Geography at the University of Winnipeg, and the Director of the U. of W.’s Prairie Climate Centre.
Getting leaders to address climate change impacts twenty or thirty years down the line, or at the end of this century, is hard enough. What Earth will be like in five or six hundred years, if greenhouse gas emissions continue to be released at business-as-usual rates, couldn’t be further from their minds. Rob Wilder thinks we should be taking the long view. Wilder, a clean energy specialist, and colleague Dan Kammen, a professor of energy at the University of California, Berkeley, co-authored a recent essay about the “Forever Legacy” of climate change. Wilder is a member emeritus of the Director’s Council at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, in San Diego. He chairs the Advisory Committee for WilderHill Clean Energy Index.
In today’s show, music from Davy Graham, Jimmy Lee Robinson, Koko Taylor and Big Bill Broonzy.