The Green Blues Show
In today’s edition of the Green Blues Show: High African fashion goes fair trade in the Netherlands; investigating extraterrestrial prokaryotes here on Earth; Are we in the midst of another mass extinction, here on this blue green planet? And, moving beyond the so-called ‘Two-State Solution’ — The single state of Israel-Palestine is now on the drawing board.
Some good news in the news: scientists are reportedly on the verge of figuring out how to make fusion energy happen; how to generate vast amounts of energy simply by fusing hydrogen nuclei. Futurists have been talking about doing this for years. Too good to be true, many have chortled and chuffed, and probably not.
But, wait for it. Today, thanks to advances in super-high conducting material science and nanotechnology, US engineers say they’ll put fusion energy on the grid within fifteen years. That would constitute an astonishing leap out of the carbon economy, as revolutionary an invention as the wheel and the internal combustion engine.
Now, talking about revolution … How about if the world’s ‘leaders’ actually started leading, with vision and courage? Started taking risks, getting bold. Going for the gusto. Not the sort of thing ‘leaders’ – such as they are these days – do. Do they? Name one leader who’s come out in opposition to the notion of permanent economic growth – something any well-read high school kid could tell you is impossible. The permanent growth idea flagrantly violates the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics. And yet, leaders like Canada’s Justin Trudeau fully embrace the idea. (while apparently harbouring doubts).
Not surprisingly, they’re also having a hard time weaning us off the carbon that’s got us into this predicament. Justin Trudeau says Canada can only meet its Paris reduction targets by building more oil pipelines!
Still, there is good news, in the form of carbon’s splendid replacement. Number One in the Periodic Table seems to be on its way. Couldn’t come too soon.
Mention Rwanda… what comes to mind first? Probably not trendy fashion. Think again. Over the past four years, a pair of Dutch twenty-somethings have been marketing a line of upscale men’s and women’s wear, hand made in Rwanda – and they’re fair trade! Kigali comes to Amsterdam, and the world.
I put this story together shortly after Afriek began, in 2014. Much progress since then. A lengthy line of Afriek trousers, shorts, blazers, jackets, sweaters and T-shirts with pockets are now available, in various wild and crazy designs, for men and women.
For the more conventionally inclined, also shirts and shorts in straight-up beige or navy.
Saturn, the most elaborate of Earth’s nine planets, is encircled by over sixty moons of various sizes. Fifty-three of these little orbs have been named. Of these, Enceladus is the most remarkable. A mere 500 kilometers in diameter, Enceladus is covered in ice, making it the most reflective object in our solar system. Through cracks in the ice, plumes of hot water vapour send ice crystals rocketing into the sky, that end up forming Saturn’s E-ring. Along with ice crystals, a mixture of silicon and simple organic molecules are present, including methane.
The million-dollar question: could some of this methane be produced by microbes? Without being able to take a sample, it’s hard to say. A group of Austrian and German microbiologists have now identified a prokaryote here on Earth that could fit the bill. Methanothermococcus is an Archean — not a true bacterium.
Simon Rittmann studies Archaeans like this little bug. Rittmann is Senior Scientist in the Department of Ecogenomics and Systems Biology at the University of Vienna.
Planet Earth appears to be in the throes of a major extinction event – the sixth such bout of cataclysmic biological collapse since life began, 3.8 billion years ago. Humans are to blame: destroying habitat, raising Earth’s temperature, acidifying the oceans.
Jeff Halper is an Israeli-American anthropologist, author and activist. As director of the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions, Halper shined a light on Israel’s ongoing dispossession of Palestinian Jerusalemites. Hungry for fresh strategy, Halper helped found the People Yes! Network, which continues to network and grow.
Now, Halper has returned from a brainstorming session at Israeli academic Ilan Pappe’s Centre for Palestine Studies, in Exeter, England. A dozen Israeli and Palestinian activists came up with something called the One Democratic State Campaign, and are now mobilizing on and around it. Formal campaign launch is scheduled for this coming Fall. Jeff Halper spoke with me from Jerusalem. Jeff Halper is an Israeli-American anthropologist, author and activist, former director of the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions and founder of the People Yes! Network.
In today’s edition of the Green Blues Show, songs from Charlie Patton, Sippie Wallace, Willie Nix, James ‘Peck’ Curtis