Thursday, August 24, 2006

Lost in the Amazon and Leatherback Turtles

Thursday, August 24, 2006
One of the things I love best about live radio is its unpredictability. I knew Carl Safina was a wonderfully evocative writer, but I didn't think that a whole hour talking about turtles was likely to evoke a lot of callers. You guys were great! It was especially delightful today to hear first from Laura with her story about travelling to Trinidad with Earth Watch to observe leatherbacks laying their eggs, and then in the very next minute to get a call from Bob, her husband, on the road! It was also very inspiring to hear from so many of you who are natural conservationists and obviously care deeply about the natural world. We'll look for more programs like this one. Any of you got any suggestions? I was glad for the tip on Gary Nabham's book, "Singing the Turtles Home."

I'm curious about how you liked Yossi Ghinsburg, the amazing Israeli adventurer who had a narrow escape backpacking in the Amazon as a young man and now lives in the Australian rainforest. I thought he was great, but a friend of mine who listened to the program hated him! He couldn't stand the way he kept denying the malevolence of nature. I myself was skeptical about his assertion that indigenous people don't die from snakebite. I don't think that's really true. Anyway, I'd love to hear from you about any of the above. I tend to write about the programs that I think are successful but it might be more instructive to write about the one that aren't.

By the way - spread the word - we are now podcasting all five of our programs, which is exciting. Some people in New York have been asking about the food programs in particular.

And one more thing - we have a fascinating program coming from Radio Netherlands on Monday about an amazing woman in a little village in India who operates a funky impromptu court to resolve disputes on her veranda - sort of the Judge Judy of India. Try not to miss it. It would be great to have you on board.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Ubundu and Tikkun

Well, guys, I don't know about you, but after hearing from Fadli, Johnny, and then Sivuyile, the Xhosa man last week, I'm tempted to invest in South Africa. And after that, I'm probably going to join Michael Lerner's spiritual progressives. Any club that's smart enough to invite Joan Chittister is good enough for me. It was wonderful to hear Michael Lerner's passion about his plan to bring a lasting peace to the Middle East, and the generosity behind his idea to start a Global Marshall Plan. And I loved the way he stood up to the caller who accused him of leading the Jews into another Holocaust. When you think about it, his ideas are not very different from what Sivuyile described as Ubundu - I am who I am because of you. After hearing Sivuyile talk about Ubundu on Here on Earth last Wednesday, someone who had lived in South Africa sent an email telling how schoolchildren there used to leave a little bit of their lunch for a kid who didn't have any food, but in such a way as to allow him to save face. Now if we could just do that in places like Palestine and Lebanon....
Does this make any sense?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A Day in the Life...

Thursday, Aug. 3, 2006

Today was Here on Earthian - I bumped into Parker Palmer in the hall, which is a little like bumping into an oak tree. Parker has been one of the great inspirations for Here on Earth ever since I had an "Ah-hah!" moment during a show we did together on "Invisible Communities" many years ago when I suddenly came to understand my talk show as a kind of Kurt Vonnegut "karrass: a community of people who don't know each other, who have never met, but who somehow manage to God's will."

Then I got to spend an hour with two South African men, one of whom looks like Zorba the Great and the other like the King of Siam, talking about teaching science in South Africa - a huge challenge in a country where only whites were permitted to study math and science under apartheid. There are here at the UW as part of an exciting exchange program begun by Raymond Kessel, a South African geneticist on campus. We're hoping to do more programs on South Africa in the future.

No sooner did the program end, then I got whisked away by my crazy Haitian friend, Babette, who has just adopted an adorable eleven-year old child named Tara who can only say two words in English - "Thank you" - and who tried (unsuccessfully) to teach me how to say my name in Creole, trying very hard to keep from hooting at the results.

Now that's what I call a Here on Earth day!

By the way, to those of who have been sending your encouraging comments to our website, a heartfelt "Thank you." You're a lifeline.