The Green Blues Show – Edition 15


The Green Blues Show

In today’s edition of the Green Blues Show: A chat with Canada’s favourite climatologist; a look at the new geologic epoch humans have engineered; a First Nations community named Garden Hill that lives up to its name, and direct-to-consumer genome testing. It’s just a spit away.


Here’s a riddle: When are children not children? Look for an answer in Washington D.C, where legislators have just cobbled together a deal to keep government operations running, and kids are bargaining chips.

Among several key bones of contention: continued funding for the Child Health Insurance Program. CHIP for short. CHIP covers medical costs for 9 million kids whose parents don’t qualify for Medicaid, but still can’t afford private health care. Federal funding for CHIP ran out last Fall. When the US Congress failed to act, states turned to unspent funds to keep CHIP running. Those funds ran out in mid-January. At that point, real children (not poker chips) were about to get cashed in.

Kids bake cookies

Fast forward to midnight January 19. The US government had run out of money and was about to shut down. Democrats were going mano a mano with Republicans over the Deferred Action Childhood Program (DACA) — the Obama administration’s policy allowing a million undocumented immigrants kids (those so-called Dreamers) to stay in the country. Out of their back pockets, Republicans pulled out CHIP! Want to keep it, Republicans asked? Then vote to deport the Dreamers.

Democrats surprised the family values crowd by refusing to swap. The ensuing shutdown lasted two days. America’s wise legislators cobbled together a deal to keep the republic going – for three weeks. CHIP got a fresh lease on life … for six-years. On February 8, the poker game begins again. So … when are children not children? Answer: When they become poker chips.


David Phillips

You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, America’s song writing Nobel Laureate wrote. But an erudite weatherman with charm and great pipes can be a national treasure.

David Phillips, senior climatologist at Environment Canada, is one such weatherman. I spoke with David Phillips at his office in north Toronto.


Human beings are an industrious species. As their population nears eight billion, Homo sapiens (‘sapiens’ means wise) has transformed the physical structure and composition of Earth’s surface to such an extent, that geologists are proposing a brand new geologic Epoch be named after us. The Anthropocene. Green Blues Show contributor Sara Arenson spoke with me about it.


Chicken coop and greenhouse, Garden Hill First Nation, Manitoba

Of all the challenges facing remote communities across northern Canada, none is as pivotal as food security. In those that can only be reached by air, groceries are expensive and healthy options limited.

Garden Hill, a First Nations community in central Manitoba, has come up with a food security project befitting its name. Garden Hill’s Meechim Farm has been raising its own chickens and turkeys, and growing its own food.


Dr. Rosie Redfield, University of British Columbia. Real Genetics.

Ever wonder what secrets lurk within your own personal source code? What percentage of your DNA is Neanderthal in origin? Perhaps you’re the proud owner of a sports gene! Hopefully, no skeletons in the closet – like the gene linked to Alzheimer’s disease or breast cancer. Would you want to know? These are the sorts of questions direct-to-consumer genome kits can offer. Listen to this.

In today’s edition of the Green Blues Show, music from Billie Holiday, Robert Johnson, Alexis Korner and Stefan Grossman.