A new coalition of Canadian business groups says their government’s plan to ratify the Kyoto protocol on climate change will destroy the economy. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Karen Kelly has the story:
A new coalition of Canadian business groups says their government’s plan to ratify the Kyoto
protocol on climate change will destroy the economy. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s
Karen Kelly has the story.
Petroleum producers, steel manufacturers and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce are among
the 25 industry groups who’ve joined together to oppose the treaty. The Kyoto Protocol would
require Canada to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by six percent below 1990-levels over the
next 10 years.
Prime Minister Jean Chretien is calling on parliament to ratify the Kyoto Protocol by the end of
the year, but Thomas D’Aquino of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives says the plan will be
disastrous for industry.
“You can’t say there won’t be any more growth. We won’t build any more plants, we won’t build
any more factories because if you tried to do that, you’d have a revolution on your hands in this
A Canadian government report estimated that the changes required could cost Canada 15-billion
dollars in lost growth and 200,000 jobs. The business leaders say it’ll be even worse.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Karen Kelly.
Environmentalists and health officials often worry about the widespread use of antibiotics in cattle. But a recent report points to another concern: the rising use of such drugs in children. Researchers found a jump in the number of children taking prescription drugs. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Mark Urycki reports:
Environmentalists and health officials often worry about the widespread use of antibiotics in
cattle. But a recent report points to another concern: the rising use of such drugs in children.
Researchers found a jump in the number of children taking prescription drugs. The Great Lake
Radio Consortium’s Mark Urycki reports:
The survey was conducted by MEDCO, a pharmacy benefit management firm, and a division of
drug maker Merck. It found that prescription drug-use in children under 19 increased 85% over
the last five years. Although children still take fewer drugs than adults, MEDCO researchers say
it was the first time usage increased faster for kids than all other age groups.
The top drug use was antibiotics, with more than a third of the surveyed patients receiving such a
prescription each year. Health officials have expressed concern that the overuse of such drugs
could lead to drug-resistant bacteria.
A MEDCO researcher said the good news is that antibiotic use has at least flattened out. The
increased incidence of allergies, though, has not and the use of prescription allergy medicine
doubled from about 6% in 1997 to nearly 12% last year. Health officials suspect nearly twice as
many children today have allergies than 25 years ago.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Mark Urycki.
A new study claims the U.S. government is losing billions of dollars by allowing farmers to grow genetically modified crops. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Jonathan Ahl reports:
A new study claims the U.S. Government is losing billions of dollars by allowing farmers to grow
genetically-modified crops. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Jonathan Ahl reports:
The study from the British Soil Association reports the U.S. has increased farm subsidies by 12
billion dollars over the past three years to make up for lower exports. Many European countries
will not allow the import of genetically-modified food. They say it hasn’t been proven to be safe
for human consumption. But U.S. farmers refute the report.
Leon Corzine is a Central Illinois corn and soybean farmer. He says a report criticizing the economics of genetically-modified
crops is nothing more than propaganda.
“If bio-tech crops – just like any other item – if it is not economically viable, they don’t last and
we don’t use them. That’s how I operate on my farm.”
Corzine says there are so many variables in the agriculture industry that it’s impossible to blame
one thing for higher subsidies. He also says while some European countries are turning away
U.S. grain, other countries are increasing their import levels.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Jonathan Ahl.
People have been eating genetically modified vegetables and grains for several years. Now a genetically altered salmon might be headed for the market. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Rebecca Williams reports that a few hundred seafood retailers are planning to boycott the new fish:
People have been eating genetically-modified vegetables and grains for several years. Now, a
genetically-altered salmon might be headed for the market. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s
Rebecca Williams reports that a few hundred seafood retailers are planning to boycott the new
The genetically-altered salmon grow twice as fast as other farm-raised salmon. The Food and
Drug Administration is deciding if it will approve the fish for human consumption.
If it gets to market, it might be tough to find buyers. That’s because of a boycott organized by
Julie Francis is a restaurant owner in Cincinnati. She’s joining more than 340 chefs, seafood
distributors and grocers in the boycott. Francis is concerned that not enough is known about the
effect on humans and wild salmon.
“I really, being a chef owner, come from the background of, you know, ‘I want the best fish, I
want the best vegetables,’ and I just, it’s just, in my personality, to be concerned about things like
chemicals, and additives, and different things that we just don’t know, I don’t know that much
The seafood retailers plan to boycott genetically-altered fish until they feel it’s safe to eat. They
also want the FDA to insure that wild fish stocks won’t be harmed.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Rebecca Williams.
October 18th marks the thirty-year anniversary of the Clean Water Act and the kick-off to what’s being called the “Year of Clean Water.” Conservation groups throughout the country will also use the date to establish the first National Water Monitoring Day. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Matt Shafer Powell has more:
October 18th marks the thirty-year anniversary of the Clean Water Act and the kick-off to what’s
being called the “Year of Clean Water.” Conservation groups throughout the country will also
use the date to establish the first National Water Monitoring Day. The Great Lakes
Radio Consortium’s Matt Shafer Powell has more:
Water quality experts have a lot of anecdotal evidence that lakes, streams, and rivers in the U.S.
aren’t as polluted as they were in 1972, when Congress passed the Clean Water Act. Robbi
Savage is President of America’s Clean Water Foundation.
“People are swimming where, thirty years ago, they never would have considered putting a toe
into the water. People are catching bass and other fish in areas where they never thought that that
fish would ever comeback to the waterways.”
Savage says the problem is that nobody really has definitive proof. That’s because a baseline of
national data wasn’t established thirty years ago. So the Clean Water Foundation and other
groups are using the October 18th date to ask citizens to test their local water and then submit the
results to a national database.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Matt Shafer Powell.
Most of the cattle raised in the Great Lakes region spend their lives in a feedlot, fattening up on corn and other grains before becoming dinner themselves… but there’s a growing number of organic farmers looking at putting their cows in the pasture. They say grass-fed beef is a healthy alternative. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Brad Linder has more:
Most of the cattle raised in the Great Lakes region spend their lives in a feedlot, fattening up on
corn and other grains before becoming dinner themselves. But there’s a growing number of
organic farmers looking at putting their cows in the pasture. They say grass-fed beef is a healthy
alternative. Brad Linder has more:
(Sound of cows mooing)
Here on Natural Acres Farm in Millersburg, in Central Pennsylvania, 120 cows have their heads
to the ground. They’re chewing on tender shoots of grass instead of ground corn or some mixture
of grain feed.
Steve Shelley is in charge of marketing beef for Natural Acres. He says cows are designed to eat
grass, but most farmers today find it cheaper and easier to buy commercial feed made from grains
“You know farmers nowadays. Well that’s the way their dads did it, so they’re doing the same
thing. It’s much easier to go out and dump a bucket of feed into a pen for that animal to eat than
it is for that animal to be out, to get the best benefit from the soil.”
And Shelley says another reason most farmers use grain feed is that it takes longer to raise cattle
on grass. Grain-fed cows are ready for slaughter within a year, but Natural Acres cows can take
six months to a year longer to reach the same size.
But Shelley says that convenience for the farmer comes at a cost to the cattle. Shelley says cows
raised on corn get sick more often than grass-fed cattle. As preventative measures, cows
traditionally have antibiotics mixed in with their feed and require frequent visits from the
Cows on organic farms are naturally healthier. And since Shelley’s marketing his product to
consumers interested in “healthier meat,” the animals also don’t receive growth hormones or other
chemicals often found in commercial beef.
Natural Acres runs an organic foods shop on-site. But Shelley says the market for such products
is pretty small in rural Central Pennsylvania. Most of the beef isn’t sold here. Instead, much of it
is shipped to restaurants and stores, where people are willing to pay premium prices.
“In a grocery store, you may pay anywhere from a $1.75/pound to $2.00 for a pound of beef.
Retail, we get $4.09.”
Being able to charge more for beef is only one of the perks to raising cattle on grass. The farmers
who raise grass-fed beef don’t have to pay as much to the veterinarian.
“The animals rarely get sick. And I have talked to hundreds of people who raise animals on
Jo Robinson is author of the book, “Why Grass Fed is Best.” She also runs the website
‘eatwild.com,’ which compiles research on grass-fed cattle.
“The big surprise, I think – and this wasn’t known until about 1998 – is that an animal raised on
pasture has five times the amount of cancer fighting fat called conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA.”
Robinson says CLA helps prevent cows from developing tumors. There is some evidence
suggesting CLA has the same effect on humans, but it’s not yet clear if eating grass-fed beef is a
way for people to fight off cancer.
Robinson does point out that CLA is just one of the reasons there’s a growing demand for grass-
“Some people gravitate towards pasture finished meat because it’s free of hormones and
antibiotics. Some people are aware of the nutritional benefits. They like the fact that it’s lower in
saturated fat, higher in omega 3 fatty acids, higher in vitamin E, and a number of other
substances. It’s simply a healthier product all around.”
Robinson says she first started looking for American grass-farmers in 1997, and only found about
sixty. Now, she says, the market has grown to include at least ten times that number, which still
only represents a small portion of the American Beef Industry.
Paul Slayton is director of the Pennsylvania Beef Council, the non-profit organization charged
with promoting the state’s beef industry. Slayton says less than 1% of the state’s beef production
comes from grass farms. But he says those farms do fill an important role.
“I see it being a very viable part of our production in this part of the country, because we have
such an eclectic consumer group. And there are some consumers that just won’t eat anything else
but organic. And somebody’s going to be providing their food.”
As the beef industry is recovering from public concern over mad cow disease and e. coli bacteria,
Slayton says anything that convinces people meat is safe is fine by him.
And as for the taste of grass-fed beef, Steve Shelley from Natural Acres Farm says it might be
more familiar than many people think.
“Many times when I go and do a taste test at a store or something, a lot of the older people, when
they try it, make the comment: ‘This tastes like beef used to taste.'”
Shelley says the meat is leaner and can be tougher if cows aren’t fed a little grain before slaughter.
But Natural Acres is experimenting with different types of grass that might lend a more
consumer-friendly texture to the beef.
Shelley says it’s a combination of taste and nutrition that gets most people interested, even some
people who had given up on commercial beef altogether. Shelley tells one story about a man
who’s wife had banned meat from their house for five years.
“So he bought a hamburger and finally got her to try it, and at the end of the day, he gave me a high five, and he said, ‘I can eat beef
again! She’s given me permission to bring beef into the house!’ Well, that really makes you feel
So grass-fed beef is entering households that hadn’t seen any beef in a while for environmental
reasons or because of health concerns. While the beef might be a taste of days gone by, organic
farmers are getting better prices for their meat than even in the best of days past.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Brad Linder.
They're not your typical protestors. Photo courtesy of Raging Grannies of British Columbia.
The Grannies deliver their message with a satirical song. Photo courtesy of Raging Grannies of British Columbia.
When we think of protestors these days, many of us conjure up images of twenty-year-olds with bandanas, long hair, and multiple piercings. But there’s another group attracting attention at protests. As the Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Karen Kelly reports, they call themselves the Raging Grannies:
When we think of protestors these days, many of us conjure up images of twenty-year-olds with
bandanas, long hair, and multiple piercings. But there’s another group attracting attention at
protests. As the Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Karen Kelly reports, they call themselves the
People chat and drink coffee as they mingle between display tables at the Dandelion Festival in
Kingston, Ontario. But the friendly chatter is soon interrupted by the sound of drums in the
Before long, a conga line of elderly-looking women comes into sight. Their outfits cause jaws to
drop. Shawls are layered on aprons, on top of housecoats and striped leggings – all topped off by
hats piled high with flowers, birds, and fruit. The ‘Raging Grannies’ know how to make an
(dandelion lawns now…)
With their own take on familiar songs, the grannies captivate the audience. People stop
everything to stare at eighty crazily dressed women playing the washboard and singing at the
top of their lungs.
And that’s when the grannies deliver their message – about things like pollution, poverty, or health
63-year-old Margaret Slavin-Diamond says the grannies are true subversives.
“We deliberately look older than we are, and we deliberately play on the idea that people expect
less of older women. And then say things with these tunes that people think of as old-fashioned
and safe, and then we say things that have a real edge to them.”
The first group of Raging Grannies was founded in British Columbia in the mid-80s.
There are now about 60 groups, including chapters in Minnesota, New York and California.
The grannies like to make surprise appearances – at events like political functions and chemical
industry meetings. There’s no real hierarchy among the grannies. But there is one rule – you
must be a woman and over 55.
60-year-old Rose Deshaw sits on a couch, bouncing as she sings. Even in this crowd of bizarre
outfits, Rose stands out. She wears a neon striped dress and bright yellow feathers in her hair.
She resembles an exotic bird. And like many of the women here, Rose comes primarily
as a grandmother.
(finish song, then fade)
“A lot of times in a protest, I just carry a picture of my grandbaby. That’s all I need to carry
cause they know what that’s about.”
Rose is one of the creative forces behind the raging grannies. She writes many of the songs and
she’s author of a ‘Raging Granny’ comic strip in a local newspaper. She’s also been known to lead
the group with help of a rubber chicken.
“It makes people sort of relax. You’re not going to get too uptight with an old lady who’s leading
the singing with a rubber chicken. You don’t know what she’s going to do so you might stay
awake and watch it.”
It’s all part of the group’s mission to soften people’s skepticism with humor. John Bennett of the
Sierra Club says the grannies’ style is effective.
“They often can take a political point and make it very clear in a very quick little song. That’s
much easier to do than the long speech to deliver the message.”
But its not all grandmotherhood and apple pie. At one demonstration, a group of raging grannies
shielded a protestor, preventing his arrest. Others were tear-gassed.
Margaret Slavin-Diamond says she’s seen grannies challenge an officer in riot gear.
“They see that man as their son, a man that they are about and they try to talk to him in those
terms, of what do you think you’re doing? I think that’s something older women in particular are
able to do from our hearts.
(zip pe dee do dah…)
As charming as these women seem to be, law enforcement officials do take them seriously.
The Raging Grannies recently discovered that the Canadian Security and Intelligence Agency
listed them as a subversive group. It’s a label they wear proudly.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Karen Kelly.
Lawmakers have introduced a bill that they hope will reinvigorate the fight against aquatic invasive species. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Mark Brush reports:
Lawmakers have introduced a bill that they hope will reinvigorate the
fight against aquatic invasive species. The Great Lakes Radio
Consortium’s Mark Brush reports:
The bill is an attempt by lawmakers to beef up the National Invasive
Species Act of 1996. Critics say that the old law didn’t go far enough
in protecting the U.S. from importing harmful species.
Allegra Cangelosi is a senior policy analyst with the Northeast-Midwest
Institute. She says that federal and state agencies and research
organizations, must work together to be successful.
“One of the characteristics of these invasive species is that they can
come in your live seafood package or they could come in your bait
bucket, or in your ship – there’s so many different vectors by which
invasive species come, and there’s no one agency that has jurisdiction
over all of them.”
Cangelosi says if the bill is passed into law, it will improve the way
agencies cooperate in tackling the invasive species problem. The bill
also calls for current funding levels to be quadrupled.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Mark Brush.
Cities around the world are taking part in a special celebration this month…promoting the idea of life without automobiles. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Jerome Vaughn has more on what’s known as “World Car Free Days”:
Cities around the world are taking part in a special celebration this
Month, promoting the idea of life without automobiles. The Great Lakes
Radio Consortium’s Jerome Vaughn has more on what’s known as World
Alternative transportation advocates environmentalists and bicycle
enthusiasts are pulling together over the next couple of weeks to get
more people thinking about the benefits of life without cars.
Events celebrating the idea will be held throughout North America this
week. Some cities, like Chicago, are expected to have critical mass
bike rides where hundreds of bicyclists will purposely slow car traffic
on major streets by riding in unison. About a thousand riders took
part in Chicago’s last such event in late August. Other events in the
Great Lakes region are scheduled to take place in Madison, Wisconsin
and Hamilton, Ontario.
This week also marks the 10th anniversary of the first ever critical
mass ride…held in San Francisco in 1992.
Street parties, public gift exchanges and theatre performances are also
planned for locations around the United States and the rest of the
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Jerome Vaughn.
Michigan could become the next Great Lakes state to ban the sale of mercury thermometers. Environmentalists are praising the legislation, but say more needs to be done to curb the threat of mercury pollution. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Erin Toner reports:
Michigan could become the next Great Lakes state to ban the sale of
mercury thermometers. Environmentalists are praising the legislation,
but say more needs to be done to curb the threat of mercury pollution.
The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Erin Toner reports:
A bill on its way to Governor John Engler would make Michigan the third
Great Lakes state to ban the sale of Mercury thermometers. Indiana and
Minnesota also have bans in place. Jeff Gearhart is with the Ecology
Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He says in 2000, mercury from
thermometers made up 10-percent of mercury in the state’s solid waste
system. But Gearhart says there are many more sources of mercury
pollution that still need to be addressed, such as appliances and
“It is our hope that this would be the first step toward the state
aggressively going after phasing out mercury use in all products and
addressing how to manage and recover mercury that is already out there
Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate passed a bill that would
effectively ban the sale of mercury thermometers nationwide. The
measure now awaits action in the House Committee on Energy and
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Erin Toner.