Microbe Magic


Marjan Smeulders in incubation room, Winogradsky columns at her side (David Kattenburg)

Fun & Games with Bacteria

GPM # 48

We have heard it before – to avoid impending Earth crisis (if it isn’t too late), people need to change their eating habits. Those who have the choice, should opt to eat food grown or raised close to home. Unpackaged, unprocessed foods contain less embodied carbon.

Grilled Meat (David Kattenburg)

And, experts says, eat less meat. Takes lots of energy to grow meat. Livestock production generates lots of CO2 and methane, and “leaks” nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus into the environment.

Aside from all this, people who get to eat probably eat too much. So says Allan Buckwell, a British agricultural economist. Turning to a concept associated with Swedish Earth scientist Stefan Rockström, Buckwell co-authored a paper entitled What is the Safe Operating Space for EU livestock. Buckwell taught agricultural economics at Newcastle University and Wye College, in the UK. He was Policy Director of the Country Land and Business Association, and is currently Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for European Environmental Policy.

Listen to my conversation with Allan Buckwell. Click on the play button above, or go here.

Growing bacteria in a Winogradsky column (David Kattenburg)

Mention the word bacteria, some people recoil in horror. Truth be told, most prokaryotes are perfectly harmless, and even helpful. Better yet, bugs are fun to grow, observe, play with and harness for useful purposes – outside and inside your body. Listen to this story in today’s podcast. Click on the play button above, or go here.

Silwan, East Jerusalem (David Kattenburg)

Jerusalem: the ‘eternal, undivided capital’ of what a growing number of credible observers call an apartheid state

Under the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Apartheid is defined as “an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”

In search of Israeli Apartheid, go no further than East Jerusalem. Home to 362,000 indigenous Palestinians and 234,000 Jewish settlers, transferred into East Jerusalem, across the Green Line, beyond Israel’s legal borders, in flagrant breach of international law. East Jerusalem’s Jewish settlers get all the breaks. The Palestinians get surveilled, humiliated, harassed, attacked, arrested and shot, no questions asked. Their homes get confiscated, or bulldozed. Israel’s aim – to get rid of them, boosting Jewish demographics.

I toured East Jerusalem with a chap named Shai Goren. Goren is a teacher and tour guide with the progressive Israeli group Ir Amin. Listen to our conversation in today’s podcast. Click on the play button above, or go here.

Thanks to Dan Weisenberger for his fabulous guitar instrumentals.