Episode 505: Deaths Around the World
Prabhat Jha, M.D. is an epidemiology professor at Dalla Lana School of Public Health, U of Toronto. He has been studying the causes of death in India and Africa and notes that the Covid pandemic is far weaker in Africa than the Delta version was in India. We discuss the changing trends in smoking, breast cancer survival, and suicide. The study in India reveals surprising numbers of death from snakebite, and there are solutions available for that—maintaining local supplies of antivenin. He finds that lactovegetarians are more susceptible to death from cardiac disease in India. For the video, audio podcast, transcript and comments: https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-505-deaths-around-the-world .
Episode 506: Global Town Hall, Sept 2022
Project Save the World hosts a town hall on the last Sunday of every month. Here we talk about beavers, wind, cooperation with Russian scientists, mental illness and suicide among youths, spirituality and consciousness, and the predicament of Russians who oppose the war but may be conscripted. For the video, audio podcast, transcript and comments: https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-506-global-town-hall-sept-2022 .
Episode 507: Arctic Methane
Leonid Yurganov is a scientist who measures the methane emissions all around the world with spectrometry from satellites. He has twenty years’ data on the subject by now. Peter Wadhams specializes in the study of sea ice and the methane being released in the Arctic. Yurganov shows some maps of the north pole area taken from his instruments at different times. Much more methane is being emitted lately than previously, and much more in the winter than the summer. We are worrying a lot now about the potential for bursts of methane from the sea. However, there is more methane being emitted gradually from permafrost on land. For the video, audio podcast, transcript and comments: https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-507-arctic-methane .
Episode 508: Organizing Health Research
David Waltner-Toews is a epidemiologist and veterinarian with an expansive vision: He addresses “zoonoses”—diseases that are shared by animals and people. This interdisciplinary project also looks at ecological systems and interactions among the creatures that live together in them. Some organizations practicing “one health” focus as much on the environment as on the health of animals and people. There are grounds for expecting further spread of zoonotic diseases because habitats are being disrupted by development and people can easily travel great distances before they know they are sick. For the video, audio podcast, transcript and comments: https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-508-organizing-health-research .
Episode 509: Hudson Bay Ice
Stephen Salter has been designing a nozzle to spray extremely tiny drops of sea water into the clouds, which they will whiten thereby and decrease the amount of sunshine landing on the earth surface below. Peter Wadhams is an expert on Arctic sea ice and he and climatologist Paul Beckwith are enthusiastic about using this way of retaining some ice on Hudson Bay during the summer months. Adele Buckley questions them about this, and all four Arctic experts agree that it is a project worth more extensive exploration and, if Canadian indigenous people like it, the support of the Canadian government as a demonstration project for potentially more extensive application in refreezing the Arctic Ocean. For the video, audio podcast, transcript, and comments: https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-509-hudson-bay-ice .
Episode 510: Since the Arab Spring
Monia Mazigh is a writer and activist from Tunisia who immigrated to Canada where she had to organize support on behalf of her husband, who had been imprisoned in Syria. Her engagement with this cause brought public attention and she has worked on human rights issues since then, as well as running for political office, teaching at the university, and writing novels. We discuss the political developments in the Middle East and the reasons for the failure of the Arab Spring, including the recent referendum in Tunisia, when the president was able to suppress all political opposition after several years of real democracy. For the video, audio podcast, transcript and comments: https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-510-since-the-arab-spring .
Episode 511: Ukraine Dilemmas
Paul Rogers, a professor at Bradford University in England, discusses his book Losing Control, which has been rewritten for the new edition. We mainly discuss the conditions leading to the current war in Ukraine and the troubling likelihood that neither side can win and so a negotiated compromise must be the outcome. Because the Russians are probably willing to use nuclear weapons rather than concede defeat, the outcome will have to give them some portion of their demands, however unjust it is or how contrary to international law. Will this reality lead other countries to demand nuclear disarmament and to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons? For the video, audio podcast, transcript, and comments: https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-511-ukraine-dilemmas .
Episode 512: Lock up Carbon in Concrete
Peter Fiekowsky just visited the Blue Planet plant yesterday and shows photos of its operations to Chris Cheeseman and Michael Cook, British engineers who are working to develop a new component in cement. Blue Planet is producing limestone aggregate for concrete that is so carbon-negative that it offsets the CO2 emissions that inevitably result from the production of Portland Cement. These two innovations might very well combine to increase the negative emission level of concrete enough to capture and sequester 40 or 60 gigatons of carbon from the atmosphere every year—enough to restore our atmosphere’s temperature to a comfortable, sustainable level. For the video, audio podcast, transcript, and comments:
Episode 513: Carbon Soil Amendments
Brian von Herzen is director of the Climate Foundation, working on developing seaweed permaculture. David Demarey is a farmer and soil chemist. Thomas Vanacore owns a quarry and is an expert on farming with rock dust. They discuss the potential use of rock dust, biochar, and seaweed extract in a mixture to improve the fertility of soil while retaining the nutrients in it and preventing run-off to pollute waterways and oceans. Fortunately, such a mixture can attract and sequester large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere, becoming a major mechanism for climate restoration, while even improving the immune systems of animals and people who consume the food from such soil. For the video, audio podcast, transcripts, and comments: https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-513-carbon-soil-amendments .
Episode 514: Forests in Cities
Sandy Smith, Heather Schibli, and Michael Rosen are foresters and arborists who often work with trees in urban areas, including farmland. They agree that we can expect only negligible early effects on global carbon sequestration from planting forests in cities, and that the urban environment makes such forestry difficult. Nevertheless, the many services provided by trees make such a project highly desirable, even as a climate control measure, for among other factors, the temperature of cities with forest canopy is about ten degrees less during hot periods than without trees. For the video, audio podcast, transcript and comments: https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-514-forests-in-cities .
Episode 515: Russians in Exile
Alexey Prokhorenko was an interpreter in Moscow until Putin mobilized troops in September to fight in Ukraine. Like almost a million other men, he left the country and is staying temporarily in Istanbul. Because he arrived without a long-lasting visa, he has to leave the country every few months to re-enter from elsewhere. There are more such Russian “draft evaders” in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Georgia than Istanbul and the local people ask about their opinion of the war, sometimes feeling like excluding those who are not opposed to the war but simply wanting to save their own skins while approving of the aggression. For the video, audio podcast, transcript, and comments: https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-515-russians-in-exile .
Episode 516: Cooling with Iron Salt
Franz Oeste is one of the scientists who discovered the important role of iron dust in moderating the climate, fertilizing phytoplankton, and creating whiter clouds with greater albedo. Oswald Peterson is working on a project to put this discovery to beneficial use in the current crisis, and Peter Fiekowsky is a Silicon Valley activist and entrepreneur whose book, Climate Restoration, discusses this and other useful technological solutions to the climate crisis. Yes, it is possible to restore the climate to preindustrial levels. Whether we are ready to pay enough to do it—that’s another question. For the video, audio podcast, transcript and comments: https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-516-cooling-with-iron-salt/ .
Episode 517: Asia, Russia and Ukraine
Nivedita Das Kundu is an international relations expert who was born in India and educated in Russia and Ukraine. She is able to describe vividly the attitudes that most Indians share about their friend, Russia, which has helped them in many ways. But they also are friendly toward Ukraine, where many Indian students study medicine and engineering in the universities; they are stranded there now, but the Indian government has just advised all foreigners to evacuate Ukraine, though many of the students want to remain. For the video, audio podcast, transcript and comments: https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-517-asia-russia-and-ukraine .
Episode 518: Global Town Hall, Oct 2022
Alexey Prokhorenko and Andre Kamenshikov have both left Russia and are opposed to that country’s aggression. They discuss the routes that refugees can take when fleeing Russia. The group of participants in this town hall favor organizing via Zoom those male Russians who fled to avoid being mobilized into the military. They could be effective in influencing public opinion back a home. For the video, audio podcast, transcript and comments: https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-518-global-town-hall-oct-2022 .
Episode 519: Our Waterways
Brad Bass is a geographer and Ole Hendrickson is an ecologist. Both are section editors for Project Save the World; they monitor the contents of the comment column, among other good deeds. They both are professionally concerned with the quality of water in our waterways, so we discuss first the current state of the wetlands on the southwest coast of Hudson Bay, which is said to be emitting methane. This bothers them less than some of the other sources of methane that result from human activities. One of Brad’s concerns is the cause of cyanobacteria, some of which are toxic. Metta got a bit snippy about Ole’s general criticism of geo-engineering, for reasons that may become apparent in future episodes. For the video, audio podcast, transcript, and comments: https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-519-our-waterways .
Episode 520: What to Do About Climate
Thomas Homer-Dixon is the founder and director of Cascade Institute, a Canadian think tank that is studying several problems that are converging upon us all simultaneously, mostly complex systems connected with climate change. They are working on themethane being emitted by thawing permafrost and believe that some help may come from growing mosses in the region. He is also concern about the fact that some potential interventions against climate change are not being investigated, though it is clear that we cannot survive if we just try to reduce our carbon footprint and live simply while letting nature take care of our problems. It is too late for that; we must be ready to act to stop the disasters, and we must do scientific research beforehand. For the video, audio podcast, transcript and comments: https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-520-what-to-do-about-climate .
Episode 521: The Fate of Democracy
Carl Gershman was the head of the National Endowment for Democracy for 37 years. In 2004 NED awarded Seymour Martin Lipset a medal for his work on fostering democracy globally. That is when he and Metta Spencer met, so they talk a little first about Lipset. Then they discuss the bright spots that Gershman sees in the contemporary polarized world, though the anti-democratic forces are nevertheless powerful. Can a system of sovereign democracies suffice to bring about the changes required to prevent a global catastrophe? Gershman thinks positively about that. For the video, audio podcast, transcript and comments: https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-521-the-fate-of-democracy .
Episode 522: Concrete in Canada’s Future
Douglas Hooton, professor emeritus of civil engineering at University of Toronto, Chris Cheeseman of Imperial College in London, and Michael Barnard are experts on concrete. Because concrete is the source of 8 percent of the world’s carbon emissions, we must urgently develop concrete that is carbon neutral or even carbon negative. Hooton describes the challenges and the current government plans for Canada to reach carbon zero by 2050—but is it possible to reach that much earlier and even capture and lock away massive parts of the carbon already in the atmosphere? One determining factor is the cost. For the video, audio podcast, transcript and comments: https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-522-concrete-in-canadas-future .
Episode 523: Religion and/or Peace?
Nathan Funk is a professor of peace and conflict studies, Conrad Grebel College, University of Waterloo. He studied Middle Eastern religion and international relations a American University and in Syria, and his wife is a professor of Persian background. We discuss the relations among the various faith communities and how to conceptualize the relationship between “spirituality” and religiosity. Funk also emphasizes the emphasis of the local cultural, historical, and material circumstances and the Mennonite tradition of working at the community level on conflict. For the video, audio podcast, transcript and comments: https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-523-religion-and-or-peace .
Episode 524: Hochschild on American Midnight
Adam Hochschild’s new book, American Midnight, records the dramatic and deplorable phase of hysteria in the United States during and shortly after World War I. The details about the violation of civil liberties can only shock, for numerous instances were even worse, in Hochschild’s opinion, than during the Trump presidency. The book presents numerous profiles and biographical sketches of prominent figures during the period; we discuss Woodrow Wilson, Eugene V. Debs and Emma Goldman. For the video, audio podcast, transcript, and comments: https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-524-hochschild-on-american-midnight .
Episode 525: Rock Weathering
Professors David Beerling and Noah Planavsky are both experts in the innovative practice of “enhanced rock weathering,” which crushes rocks such as basalt and applies the powder to soil as a way of improving the quality of the soil and also capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and sequestering it. Planavsky is not only a computer modeler but also the founder of a company that farmers hire to apply this technology. We consider the financial implications of using this innovation widely. For the video, audio podcast, transcript and comments: https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-525-rock-weathering .
Episode 526: Burying Nuclear Waste
Dr Sandy Greer is an activist in Blyth, Ontario, near the potential site of a repository for low-level nuclear waste from power plants. Erika Simpson is a professor of political science at Western University; both women, and Adam Wynne are concerned about the potential for radioactive dangers if the large existing amount of nuclear waste is buried in deep repositories. They consider it to be somewhat safer to keep the waste above ground in hardened containers until, perhaps, in a hundred years or so it will be possible to use a new scientifically established procedure for disposing of the waste. For the video, audio podcast, transcript, and comments: https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-526-burying-nuclear-waste .
Episode 527: Global Town Hall, Nov 2022
Paul Werbos is discouraged about the failure of COP27 but was excited about a zoom meeting in China where the Chinese seem eager to set up an internet-regulating system; he would like to combine that with the Guterres and Biden desire for an office to manage all existential threats. Opinions in the group were divided as to whether a ceasefire in the Ukraine war would allow Putin to recollect his forces for another round in the war or whether he would go for a real peace settlement. For the video, audio podcast, transcript and comments: https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-527-global-town-hall-nov-2022 .
Episode 528: Ecology and Miyawaki Forests
John Liu witnessed the transformation of the Loess Plateau in China resulting from the work of the local people who made terraces, enriched the soil, and planted trees. Since then he has been engaged in promoting ecological camps in other parts of the world for people to volunteer their labor. Both Heather Schibli and Joyce Hostyn are Canadians who build Miyawaki forests, often in urban areas. The see their work as part of a larger project of changing culture so that people love each other and appreciate other living entities. For the video, audio podcast, transcript and comments: https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-528-ecology-and-miyawaki-forests .
Episode 529: Clouds and Climate
The Pugwash inquiry is concerned here with a proposal to brighten clouds over Hudson Bay, retaining some ice year-round. The experts here are Alan Gadian, Stephen Salter, Michael Diamond, Paul Beckwith, Peter Wadhams. The consider the challenging problem of estimating the effectiveness of this intervention. Much of the complexity results from the dynamics of the multiple factors—the way the clouds of different altitudes react differently, the impact of water vapor, altitude, temperature, the changing amount of light in different seasons, etc. Although the mathematical modeling gives a specific prediction, it may be necessary to check it with a real-life experiment, and we have to decide whether Hudson Bay is the best place to carry out such an experiment. For the video, audio podcast, transcript, and comments: https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-529-clouds-and-climate .
Episode 530: Nuclear Weapons Today
Hans Kristensen works with the Federation of American Scientists studying nuclear weapons all around the world. Pavel Podvig is also a nuclear weapons analyst, but he specializes in the Russian bombs. We discuss the trends on thinking among the strategists who control all the nuclear nations’ arsenals: Is the risk increasing or decreasing, over all? Kristensen says the recent developments have contradictory effects, both motivating those who would like to acquire more such bombs as a means of security, while also convincing others that the bombs are more dangerous than they are helpful. Podvig takes the same view and believes in the persuasive efforts of the states parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. For the video, audio podcast, transcript and comments: https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode/530-nuclear-weapons-today .
Episode 531: Global Health Tomorrow
Lonnie King has been the chief Veterinary officer of the United States. He also created a department in the Center for Disease Control addressing zoonotic diseases—ones that originate in animals and spread to people. His new publication emphasizes the recent trend (over about 25 years) for new diseases to emerge and spread widely and suggests ways of bringing researchers together in teams to find the ecological conditions that create disease “hot spots.” Much of the solution will come, he thinks, from allocating funding more through national and regional organizations. For the video, audio podcast, transcript, and comments: https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-531-global-health-tomorrow .
Episode 532: Use Less Concrete
Adeyemi Adesina, John Orr, and Ryan Zizzo are all experts on concrete. They advise construction companies and architects on how to use materials efficiently and with minimal emission of carbon dioxide during construction and afterward, throughout the structure’s lifetime. John Orr particularly emphasizes the value of reducing the amount of concrete used in construction, for it is one of the leading sources of greenhouse gas and global warming. It is possible in most cases to design buildings that meet al the standards but use much less concrete. Another source of reductions is the use of more concrete that does not require such a long period of curing. For the video, audio podcast, transcript and comments: https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-532-use-less-concrete .
Episode 534: Track Two Diplomacy
Peter Jones is a professor of international relations at the University of Ottawa and director of the Ottawa Dialogues, an organization that develops “backchannel” communications between nations that are in conflict. Often the two sides take the public position that they will “never negotiate” with each other, while in fact they are conducting unofficial meetings—or at least authorizing citizens to carry out such meetings. This is “track two diplomacy.” The term also can apply to the kind of contacts that civil society organizations conduct without authorization, or even against the wishes of their governments, because they wish to lower the acrimony between the two sides and create conditions that in the future may allow negotiations to take place. For the video, audio podcast, transcript and comments: https://tosavetheworld,ca/episode-524-track-two-diplomacy .