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On The Mic: Interviews with Lester Graham

A collection of interviews by the Environment Report's host and senior editor, Lester Graham.

JANE GOODALL
JANE GOODALL

It's been 50 years since Jane Goodall first began her research of the behaviors of chimpanzees at Gombe National Park in Tanzania. These days, Goodall spends most of her time traveling, meeting with young people to encourage them to think about how their actions affect the people, animals and the environment of this planet. We caught up with her in Chicago this past weekend. She says people see the problems of the world as just too big to tackle.

THE WHITE HOUSE'S SCIENCE GUY
THE WHITE HOUSE'S SCIENCE GUY

President Obama's Science and Technology advisor is John P. Holdren. He is the "science guy" in the White House. Lester Graham talked to him about science and climate change. Here's an excerpt of that conversation.

BILL MCKIBBEN
BILL MCKIBBEN

Bill McKibben has been writing about climate change for 20 years. More recently, he founded the grassroots organization 350.org. It urges governments to do something about climate change. Lester Graham talked to McKibben and asked him how his group deals with the debate in Congress - especially when it's less about scientific facts and more about your brand of politics.

WANGARI MAATHAI
WANGARI MAATHAI

A Nobel Peace Prize winner visted the United States in September 2009 to talk about the role of trees in climate change. Wangari Maathai spoke with Lester Graham about the importance of saving the rainforests of the world.

THE ATTACK ON SCIENCE
THE ATTACK ON SCIENCE

President Obama has nominated epidemiologist David Michaels to be the next head of OSHA. Lester Graham talked to him in May 2008 about his book 'Doubt is Their Product: How Industry's Assault on Science Threatens Your Health.'

SECRETARY OF INTERIOR KEN SALAZAR
SECRETARY OF INTERIOR KEN SALAZAR

The Department of Interior includes agencies such as the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management and many other bureaus, services and offices. Former Senator Ken Salazar directs it all. Lester Graham recently talked with the Secretary of Interior about the Department and the problems and challenges he faces.

EPA'S LISA JACKSON
EPA'S LISA JACKSON

Some members of Congress feel they're being coerced into approving a Climate Change bill that would force industry to reduce greenhouse gases. Republicans and some Democrats feel the Obama Administration is telling Congress to either approve legislation or the Environmental Protection Agency will use its authority to restrict greenhouse gases. Lester Graham spoke with the Administrator of the EPA, Lisa Jackson, about that perception.

ACTION AGAINST ATRAZINE
ACTION AGAINST ATRAZINE

Atrazine is a weed killer. It's used by farmers in several crops, basically because the herbicide is relatively cheap and effective. When Atrazine is used in the spring, it sometimes ends up getting in water - and in some cases at levels above the government's drinking water standard - the maximum contaminant level of three parts-per-billion. Steve Tillery is an attorney in a lawsuit against the manufacturer of Atrazine - Syngenta - and Synenta's partner, Growmark. Tillery represents water suppliers and he's seeking class- action status to represent all water suppliers who've had to deal with Atrazine contamination. Lester Graham talked to him about the lawsuit.

BOOK BLAMES COAST GUARD FOR INVADERS
BOOK BLAMES COAST GUARD FOR INVADERS

Invasive species hitchike on foreign cargo ships and end up in US waterways. Lester Graham talked with the author of a new book about why the government has done so little to stop these aquatic invaders that are damaging the environment.

CARBON CAP AND TRADE
CARBON CAP AND TRADE

Congress is considering a carbon cap-and-trade program that would make fossil fuels more expensive and give renewable energy an advantage. The U.S. is in the middle of a huge transition in where we get energy and how we use it. Some businesses leaders predict these changes will be disastrous for the economy killing jobs and making energy expensive. Lester Graham discussed some of those concerns with Tom Lyon, the Director of the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise.

WHY PRIVATE FORESTS MATTER
WHY PRIVATE FORESTS MATTER

There are 751 million acres of forest lands in the United States. More than half of it -- 56% -- is privately owned. Some of that land is owned by big timber companies. But the majority is owned by individuals and families. The American Forest Foundation represents those private landowners. Until last week, Larry Wiseman was CEO of the group. Lester Graham talked with Wiseman just before he left the organization. Wiseman says privately owned forests are at risk.

NATURE IMPROVES PRODUCTIVITY
NATURE IMPROVES PRODUCTIVITY

You've probably heard about studies that show enjoying nature can reduce stress. Well, a new study published in the journal Psychological Science shows a walk in nature can also help you focus better. It can improve your memory and attention. Lester Graham asked one of the researchers, Marc Berman from the University of Michigan, if he was up for a walk.

WIND POWER ON THE WATER
WIND POWER ON THE WATER

There's a lot of wind along coastal areas... perfect for wind turbines. But a lot of people don't like the idea of windmills ruining the view. So, why not put them out in the water, just out of view from the beach? Projects have been planned or proposed or just rumored off the coast of places such as southern Georgia, Delaware, Cape Cod, and Michigan out in Lake Michigan. There are already some off- shore wind turbines operating in Europe. Thijs Westerbeek is the sustainable development expert with Radio Netherlands. He says off the coast turbines are more popular than wind mills on the land.

GRIST ON SHOWER CURTAINS
GRIST ON SHOWER CURTAINS

A new study looked at off-the-shelf shower curtains and came up with some disturbing findings. The Center for Health, Environment and Justice studied polyvinyl chloride plastic shower curtains and found that PVC shower curtains can release as many as 108 toxic chemicals. Lester Graham talked with Sarah Burkhalter with the environmental journalism site: grist.org. He asked just how much of a concern these PVC shower curtains are.

ECONOMICS AND ENVIRONMENT
ECONOMICS AND ENVIRONMENT

In the last few decades the economy of the US has grown faster than ever before. Corporations work hard to expand and to drive share prices higher. The author of a new book "The Bridge at the Edge of the World" says in this process of growth, capitalism is not paying for its consequences. Lester Graham talked with Gus Speth, the dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale. Speth says since the environmental movement began in the 1970's, we've dealt with many of the symptoms of environmental damage, but not many of the causes.

MCKIBBEN: ARE WE RUNNING OUT OF TIME?
MCKIBBEN: ARE WE RUNNING OUT OF TIME?

Back in 1989, a guy named Bill McKibben wrote the first book on global warming intended for a general audience. He was attacked - by conservative talk show hosts and others. Global warming, climate change - was crazy talk just 20 years ago. Lester Graham talked with Bill McKibben about how long it took for climate change to grab the public's attention.

GREAT LAKES IMPACT
GREAT LAKES IMPACT

The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Compact is an agreement to stop shipping water out of the Great Lakes basin. But all eight Great Lakes states and Congress must approve it first. Lester Graham talked with Peter Annin, the author of the book "The Great Lakes Water Wars." Annin says some of the states have been reluctant to approve the treaty because Michigan has an image of saying 'no' to water requests from other states while putting almost no water restrictions on its own towns and businesses.

THE FUTURE OF WATER IN A WARMER WORLD
THE FUTURE OF WATER IN A WARMER WORLD

With concern about climate change growing, some scientists are trying to determine how global warming will affect sources of water. Lester Graham spoke with the President of the Pacific Institute, Peter Gleick about what climate change might mean to weather patterns.

JEFFREY SMITH - DANGERS OF GM FOODS
JEFFREY SMITH - DANGERS OF GM FOODS

Products made from genetically engineered crops are appearing in more and more foods. There's a good chance just about any prepackaged food that's made with soybean oil, soy flour, corn flour, corn oil or Canola will be derived from genetically engineered crops. Critics make strong claims about the risks associated with bio-engineered foods. In the first of two interviews on the subject, the Great Lakes Radio Consortium's Lester Graham talked with Jeffrey Smith, who's spoken and written extensively on genetically engineered crops. He asked Smith why he's opposed to the approach to altering crops.

BRUCE CHASSEY - GM FOODS ARE SAFER
BRUCE CHASSEY - GM FOODS ARE SAFER

Critics of genetically engineered foods question the safety of using genes from different species to alter the behavior of plants. But the supporters of bio-engineered crops say the plants are rigorously tested before they're allowed on the market. In the second of two interviews on the subject, the Great Lakes Radio Consortium's Lester Graham talks with Bruce Chassy. Chassy is with the University of Illinois' biotechnology center. Graham asked why the agriculture industry is pushing genetically engineered crops.

CARL POPE CRITICIZES BUSH ADMINISTRATION
CARL POPE CRITICIZES BUSH ADMINISTRATION

As the political campaigns get into full swing this presidential election year, the environmental record of George W. Bush is being scrutinized. The big environmental groups are very critical of the Bush administration. In the first of two interviews about the Bush White House approach to environmental protection, the Great Lakes Radio Consortium's Lester Graham talks with the Executive Director of the Sierra Club, Carl Pope. Pope and the Sierra Club are critical of the Bush administration's record on environmental protection.

LYNN SCARLETT DEFENDS POLICIES
LYNN SCARLETT DEFENDS POLICIES

As the campaigns for President advance, President George W. Bush's environmental policies are being examined. The Bush administration has been criticized by many of the large environmental groups. But Bush supporters say the White House approach to environmental protection is working well. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium's Lester Graham talked with one of the architects of the Bush environmental policy, Lynn Scarlett. She is Assistant Secretary of the Department of Interior's Office of Policy Management and Budget. Scarlett says the Bush approach to the environment goes beyond just punishing polluters, but encourages everyone to do more.

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