Monthly Archives: August 2013

2013 Goldman Prize Winner Azzam Alwash Pt. II

PrintAzzamAlwash2Last week we spoke with Azzam Alwash, who earned a 2013 Goldman Prize for restoring a vast marshland in Iraq that had been drained and depleted under Saddam Hussein. This week we continue our discussion with Alwash, who has a refreshingly optimistic view of Iraq’s long-term prospects. He shares his hopes about cooperation with neighbors like Turkey, personal opinions about the war, unconventional ideas about what to do with some of the country’s minefields, and talks to host Alex Wise about the road he took to move his organization Nature Iraq from a small grassroots campaign to a triumphant and internationally acclaimed movement.

Azzam Alwash: Iraqi Environmentalist Pt. I

AzzamAlwash7436695074_f6ab725ac0_qWe are not very used to hearing good news about Iraq these days. Nor is there an abundance of feel good stories about the earth’s dwindling wetlands. So, when this week’s guest successfully launched an effort to restore the Mesopotamian marshlands in southern Iraq which had been drained, poisoned and burned under Saddam Hussein in the mid-nineties, it got a fair amount of attention.

Azzam Alwash went about refilling these wetlands, once an abundant area for diverse wildlife, by gathering support in Iraq’s prickly political landscape and applying his own complex understanding of hydraulic engineering. The struggle is far from over, but given the heroic actions he has taken, it’s no surprise Dr. Alwash is the most recent winner of the Goldman Prize, the environmental equivalent of the Oscars – and this week’s guest on Sea Change Radio.

Richard Heinberg on Natural Gas: Bridge Fuel or Fool’s Gold?

RichardHeinberg_gardensnake-oil-front-coverWe’ve spoken to Richard Heinberg in the past about several problems inherent to our carbon-based economy, from peak oil, to coal to what he has dubbed “the end of growth.”

Now the author and senior fellow at the Post Carbon Institute has a new book focusing on the natural gas industry’s practice of hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking. This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise talks with Heinberg about his book, titled Snake Oil: How Fracking’s False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future, and delve into the economic and environmental factors behind the natural gas boom, which to some is an important bridge fuel and to others is fool’s gold.

The Global Land Grab: Frederick Kaufman Part II

We often hear about the resource curse in developing countries in terms of oil or precious minerals — most of us don’t associate the concept with food. But as this week’s guest on Sea Change Radio, food journalist Frederick Kaufman, has chronicled, in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa the resource of fertile land is being exploited in a way that is reminiscent of how other marketable resources have been appropriated.

Multinational companies and foreign governments are buying up mass tracts of land in poorer nations, growing food on that land, but then shipping all of it off elsewhere, depriving the populations of those countries both the resource and the profit it garnered. Kaufman explores how this reflects a change in global food security patterns, and offers his take on how enormous financial institutions like Goldman Sachs are reaping profits while others starve.