Eric Schlosser- “Do You Really Want to Eat That?”

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Fast food is what many people eat in America, and increasingly in other countries. It is advertised to be fun, tasty, and easily available. Americans spend more money annually on fast food than is spent on higher education.

Eric Schlosser is our guest in this archive edition.  He’s the author of Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal. Schlosser writes that it is not only what is served for human consumption that is the problem, but the art of mass-marketing to children through organized promotions and ads for the products—in school busses, hallways, and even bathroom stalls—has serious side effects on society.

Working conditions for employees at meat-packing plants and the resulting contamination of the product resulted in the July 19th, 2002 recall of 19 million pounds of beef. In addition to the acute health hazards of contamination, a fast food meal often contains more fat in one meal than the average person needs in a day.

I spoke with Eric Schlosser, the author of Fast Food Nation, in mid-summer 2002, we began with his description of the problem of excess fat in fast food.

Eric Schlosser is the author of Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal. The book he recommends is “Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing,” by Ted Conover.

“Victoria Bruce – Beware of Volcanos”

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No Apparent Danger

Volcanic eruptions are far more predictable than earthquakes. Scientific equipment is available to forecast an eruption with about as much accuracy as there is to predict a hurricane. These predictions can tell when it is time to evacuate areas surrounding an active volcano. Unfortunately, the information available from these predictions is not always heeded. That’s what happened in the South American nation of Columbia, in 1985, and later, in 1993. Victoria Bruce is the author of a book entitled “No Apparent Danger,” which tells the stories of these two volcanic eruptions and the deaths that followed.

Victoria Bruce recommends “Measure of a Mountain,” by Bruce Barcot.

Originally Broadcast: April 14, 2001

Andy Case – An Aquarium for Kids

Gilbert Van Dykhuisen – Sea Life Mysteries Explained

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71% of the earth’s surface is covered by oceans which are home to 99% of the life on earth. About 250,000 species of ocean life have been discovered so far, but the ocean is home to an estimated 10 million species. The Monterey Bay Aquarium on the central coast of California holds more than 300,000 creatures, representing over 500 species that live in 34 major aquarium galleries. Under the direction of Gilbert Van Dykhuisen, a senior research marine biologist, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has created deep-sea life exhibit which is reflective of the deep-sea canyon located in the Monterey Bay and comparable in size to the Grand Canyon.

Gilbert Van Dykhuisen recommends “The Universe Below,” by William Broad.

Originally Broadcast: October 3, 1999

Harr, Jonathan: Toxic Water, A Book

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A Civil Action

Water, a necessary element to our survival is expected to be pure, safe and clean when it comes into our home. When it is polluted, the results can be extreme. The people in the town of Woburn, Massachusetts, just west of Boston, had an unusually high rate of cancer in the early 1970s. The town’s water was contaminated with industrial pollutants. Several children and adults became very sick and some died. Their families sued the polluters in the U.S. Federal Court. Jonathan Harr, a non-fiction writer, followed the process and wrote a book telling the story of what happened. He called it, “A Civil Action.” A movie, also called “A Civil Action,” was based on the book and released at the end of 1998. I spoke by phone with Jonathan Harr, from his home in Massachusetts, a month after the movie was released and asked him how he was able to capture what occurred and create “A Civil Action.”

Originally Broadcast: February 2, 1999

Norse, Elliott: Trawling the Ocean Floor

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Once, fishes as big as turkeys and sheep swam the seas. Now, most of their few remaining descendants would fit into a frying pan. Dr. Elliot A. Norse, president of the Marine Biology Conservation Institute in Redmond, Washington, believes that this radical reduction in the size and number of the world’s fishes comes not only from over fishing, the catching of fish at a faster rate than they can breed, but also from bottom trawling. Dr. Norse writes that bottom trawling crushes, buries, and exposes marine creatures like lobsters, crustaceans, clams, corals and sponges that live on or in the seabed, damaging or killing them. In August of 1999, Dr. Norse visited with Radio Curious to discuss the effects of bottom trawling, how and where it’s done, and some of the concerns and causes of global warming and the effects it has on the oceans.

Elliott Norse recommends “The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinction” by David Quammen.

Originally Broadcast: November 27, 1998

Del Castillo, Dennis & Lu, Mercedes: Peruvian Environmental Issues

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In this edition of Radio Curious, we visit Dennis del Castillo and Mercedes Lu, two environmental activists from Peru. I met with them in Lima, Peru on February 5th, 1998. Dennis del Castillo, who holds a Ph.D. from Mississippi State University in soil science and in this interview describes contemporary environmental problems in the Peruvian Amazon Basin. In the second half of this program we visit with Mercedes Lu, a scientific technician, who described some of the problems resulting from copper mining that occurs along the coast of southern Peru. We began our conversation when I asked Dennis del Castillo to describe the potential of the Peruvian Amazon Basin.

Dennis del Castillo recommends “The Losing Ground,” by Erik P. Eckholm.

Originally Broadcast: April 3, 1998

Lappe, Marc: Roadside Spraying, For Better or Worse

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Spraying of herbicides to kill weeds and/or plants that are considered by some to be pests is a phenomenon of the 20th century. These sprays, in many cases, pollute the water we use in our homes; they destroy and sometimes permanently alter not only the growth cycle of what we are intending to kill, but also other plants, animals, and sometimes people. Dr. Marc Lappe was a widely recognized Ph.D. toxicologist who has studied the effects of the use of the sprays. He was the founder and a director of The justify for Ethics and Toxics, located in Gualala, California. He was also the former director of the California State Hazard Evaluation System. He’s been a fellow at the Hastings justify for the Study of Bioethics in New York, published 112 articles and eleven books on the subject of toxicology. Dr. Marc Lappe died in May, 2005.

www.cetos.org

Marc Lappe recommends “Break Out, ” by Dr. Marc Lappe.

Originally Broadcast: February 5, 1997

Coy, Gary: The Man Driving the Dog Team

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There is strong historical and anthropological evidence that dogs came across the Bering land bridge with people migrating from Siberia to Alaska. These dogs worked hard to maintain their keep; they werent pets. Instead, they chased and ran down polar bears and located seals hiding beneath the Bering ice. One of the early dog professionals in Alaska was Harry Karstens, who later became the first superintendent of Mount McKinley National Park. As a young man, he pioneered a dog sled route from Fairbanks to Valdez, and hauled mail to the Katishna mining district. Now, at Denali National Park in central Alaska, theres a breeding and training and leadership program for these sled dogs. I spoke with Gary Coy, the director of this remarkable kennel. In his office there is a large sign quoting Harry Karstens. It says: A man driving a dog team is the biggest dog himself. Amid the noise and the chatter of the dog kennels in Denali Park, I asked Gary to explain what that sign means and to tell us a little about this wonderful project.

Gary Coy recommends A Dog-Puncher on the Yukon, by Arthur Walden.

Originally Broadcast: August 28, 1996

Cheek, Laura: At Home in Glacier Bay

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Some of the most studied glaciers in the world are found in Glacier Bay National Park located in southeastern Alaska. These expansive ice sheets cover approximately ten percent of the earth’s surface and hold eighty percent of the world’s fresh water, ninety-nine percent of which can be found in Greenland and Antarctica. Due to gravity’s pull, glaciers shape and scour the landscape moving land and vegetation great distances as they slowly slide downward toward the sea. This glacial movement has created rich farmland, vast deposits of gravel and sand, and concentrated valuable metals, depending on where they glaciers have traveled. Glaciers also create deep valleys and fjords, like the kind seen in Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska. Laura Cheek was a national park ranger at Glacier Bay National Park in 1996 when this program was recorded. As part of her job, she boarded tour ships in Glacier Bay to discuss glaciers, what they’re like and how they’re formed.

Laura Cheek recommends “The Island Within,” by Richard Nelson.

Originally Broadcast: August 14, 1996