Early, Steve: Remaking an American City

The power and success of local political action to meet the needs of a community is revealed in the book “Refinery Town:  Big Oil, Big Money and the Remaking of an American City.”

Written by Steve Early, with a Forward by Senator Bernie Sanders, “Refinery Town” describes the political change in Richmond, California, that began in 2000. Richmond was a largely working-class city of 110,000 people, with one of the highest per capita homicide rates, and twice the average jobless rate. Early tells the story of the community organizing that successfully raised the minimum wage, challenged evictions and home foreclosures, and sought fair taxation of Big Oil. In this case, the Big Oil is the Chevron Oil Company, which owns and operates a Richmond refinery, one of the largest oil refineries in California.

Steve Early, formerly a community organizer, activist, lawyer, and union representative, and now the author of “Refinery Town,” spoke with Radio Curious by phone, from his home in Richmond. We began our conversation as he described Richmond’s transformation.

You can listen to the interview here.

The books Steve Early recommends are: “Detroit: An American Autopsy,” by Charlie LeDuff; “Teardown: Memoir of A Vanishing City,” by Gordon Young; and “Home Town,” by Tracy Kidder. This program was recorded on February 20, 2017

Ward, Peter — A World Without Ice Caps Part Two

When the polar ice caps melt, sea level will rise.  That’s happened earlier in the history of the world, and it appears it will happen again.

In this edition of Radio Curious, we bring you the second of a two part conversation about global warming and sea level rise, with Peter D. Ward, a paleontologist and professor of biology and earth and space sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is the author of “The Flooded Earth:  Our Future in a World Without Ice Caps,” in which he describes expected conditions in 2050, 2300 and 2500.

This series with Professor Peter D. Ward, was recorded on August 2, 2010, from his office in Seattle, Washington.  In part 1, Ward begins with a description of what will happen when the level of the sea rises. In part 2, we begin with a discussion of why, in the face of rather clear evidence, there continues to be a denial of global warming.

The books Peter Ward recommends are, “An Inconvenient Truth,”  by Al Gore and  “Weather Makers,” and any other book by Tim Flannery.

Click here to listen to part two or on the media player below.

Click here to listen to part one.

Ward, Peter — A World Without Ice Caps Part One

When the polar ice caps melt, sea level will rise.  That’s happened earlier in the history of the world, and it appears it will happen again.

In this edition of Radio Curious, we bring you a two part series on global warming and sea level rise, with Peter D. Ward, a paleontologist and professor of biology and earth and space sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is the author of “The Flooded Earth:  Our Future in a World Without Ice Caps,” in which he describes expected conditions in 2050, 2300 and 2500.

This series with Professor Peter D. Ward, was recorded on August 2, 2010, from his office in Seattle, Washington.  In part 1, Ward begins with a description of what will happen when the level of the sea rises. In part 2, we begin with a discussion of why, in the face of rather clear evidence, there continues to be a denial of global warming.

The books Peter Ward recommends are, “An Inconvenient Truth,”  by Al Gore and  “Weather Makers,” and any other book by Tim Flannery.

Click here to listen to part one or on the media player below.

Click here to listen to part two.

McPherson, Guy Ph.D. — Near Term Human Extinction Part Two

In this, part two of our series on near term human extinction, we continue our conversation with Dr. Guy R. McPherson, Professor Emeritus of Natural Resources, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona. Professor McPherson is co-author with Carolyn Baker of “Extinction Dialogs:  How to Live With Death in Mind.” McPherson presents what appears to be overwhelming scientific evidence that our environment is headed for a swift apocalyptic collapse. This is the most disturbing conversation that I have had in past 25 years as host and producer of Radio Curious.

That said, imagine the human habitat in which we all live changing so rapidly that life as we know it is extinguished. Temperatures that are getting hotter than ever, decades long droughts, catastrophic fires, melting polar ice, rising sea levels, and unprecedented winter storms are expected to radically limit food production and availability of potable water.  Not only is this extinction likely, it is occurring every day. “How to live with death in mind” is the goal; living with urgency is the practice. 

In part one, Dr. Guy McPherson discusses the rise of global temperature by more than 1 degree centigrade, the likelihood of a continued global warming trend in the future and some of its affects on our planet.  In this, our second visit with Prof. McPherson he explains how this small rise in global temperature is leading to a large scale mass extinction on earth. Recorded on September 14, 2015, while he was traveling in New York state, we began I asked him what abrupt extinction will look like and what will occur that will end human life on earth.

The books Dr. Guy McPherson recommends are “Ms. Lady Bug and Mr. Honeybee: A Love Story at the End of Time,” by Pauline Panagiotou-Schneider and Guy McPherson.  He also recommends the books by Edward Abbey.

Click here to listen to the program or on the media player below.

Click here to listen to part one and here to listen to part three–a conversation with “Extinction Dialogues” coauthor Carolyn Baker.

McPherson, Guy Ph.D. — Near Term Human Extinction Part One

Imagine the human habitat in which we all live changing so rapidly that life as we know it is extinguished. Temperatures that are getting hotter than ever, decades long droughts, catastrophic fires, melting polar ice, rising sea levels, and unprecedented winter storms are expected to radically limit food production and availability of potable water. 

In this, the first of a series on near term extinction of the human species, we visit with Dr. Guy R. McPherson, Professor Emeritus of Natural Resources, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona. Professor McPherson is co-author with Carolyn Baker of “Extinction Dialogs:  How to Live With Death in Mind.”  Together they present what appears to be overwhelming scientific evidence that our environment is headed for swift apocalyptic collapse.  Not only is this extinction likely, it is occurring every day. “How to live with death in mind” is the goal; living with urgency is the practice. 

The point from which average global temperature rise is measured dates back to 1750, the beginning of the industrial revolution–the time at which the ever increasing use of fossil fuels began. Since 1750, the planet has warmed by more than 1 degree centigrade.  McPherson’s book “Extinction Dialogs:  How to Live With Death in Mind,” explains how this small global rise in temperature is leading to a large scale mass extinction on the planet.

When Guy McPherson and I visited by phone on September 14, 2015, while he was traveling near New York, we began our conversation when I asked him to describe the indicators that reveal we’re in an era of unstoppable climate change.

Click here to listen to the program or on the media player below.

Click here to listen to part two and here to listen to part three–a conversation with “Extinction Dialogues” coauthor Carolyn Baker.

Wolbach, Dr. Dean — The Air We Breathe

We all know that there are various forms of air pollution that affect our health and the health of our environment, but what do we really breathe? What is in the air that we breathe?

In this archive edition of Radio Curious, recorded in the Radio Curious studios on January 9, 2009 we visit with Dr. Dean Wolbach, a former Air Pollution Control Officer for Mendocino County. Our conversation focused on the different types of air pollution and how they affect us both globally and at the local level.  We began by asking Dr. Wolbach to provide an overview of air quality issues across history, through to the present day, here, in Mendocino.


The books Dr. Dean Wolbach recommends are “Dreams Of My Father,” and “The Audacity Of Hope,” by President Barack Obama, “Samuel Adams: A Life,” by Ira Stoll and “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Click here to listen or on the media player below.