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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

War of the Worlds: A Halloween Fright!

Air Date: Week of

Spoofing Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven", Living on Earth presents a scary tale of Halloween eco-horror lampooning some of humankind's worst fears. Included among the spine-chilling spectres is, what else, the political election season.


VON HOFFMAN: We interrupt this show for some unscheduled satire. Remember, Martians are not invading the Earth.

(Music up and under)

CURWOOD: Are you alone? Alone at home? In your car. At your office. Wherever you are, you're sitting in the middle of an ecological disaster area! I'm Sludge Curwood and this is Dying on Earth! (Laughs maniacally) This week on Dying on Earth, you'll learn to recognize all of your surroundings, and the eco terror zone they really are. You'll see that we live in a sinister, hostile land filled with pathetic people-induced pollution problems, a place where no one will ever want to raise their child! A place where each step takes you closer to annihilation by avaricious earth-eating antagonists!!! But first, the news.

(Funky weird music)

NUNLEY: For Dying on Earth, I'm Jan Nunley. The ozone hole will now be called the Ozone Patch. At a conference in Oslo, researchers decided that the hole had grown so big and ubiquitous that it would be more accurate to talk about what little of the stratospheric chemical remains. Sven Svensdaughter is a spokeswoman for the World Health Organization.

SVENSDAUGHTER: I'm looking for a good skin care lotion, something with an SPF of 500 or more.

NUNLEY: Every fur-bearing animal in the nation has been placed on the Endangered Species List. The Environmental Protection Agency says the change in regulations is a cost-saving move because every animal is about to go extinct anyway. While denying the change as an election year gimmick, the EPA points out that it will protect kittens, puppies, bear cubs, and anything else even vaguely adorable.

This just in: we're all going to die! That's this week's Dying on Earth news. I'm Jan Nunley.

VON HOFFMAN: And now, this insult to the memory of Edgar Allan Poe.

(Grade B horror movie music, organ with thunder sounds)

CURWOOD: Once upon a midnight dreary, when spotted owls looked weak and weary, I pondered a dull volume of regulatory lore. (Flips pages) While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping (sound of tapping). 'Tis some enviro, I muttered, tapping at my chamber door. Only this and nothing more. Distinctly I remember, it was in a bleak November when oil spills blighted every shore. As the ozone hole grew wider, Congress had okayed a salvage logging rider (sound of chainsaws) and every disaster clamored for the Army's Engineering Corps. Then came this enviro to my door (sound of thunder and pouring rain). Presently my soul grew stronger, hesitating no longer. Sir, I said, your forgiveness I implore. But the radon was seeping and the acid rain was leaking. With my endocrines disrupted I didn't know what you were here for. But all my pleas the enviro chose to ignore. (A door slams.) From out of the darkness peering, where a Superfund site wasn't clearing, a man in Birkenstocks trod onto my floor. (Ominous footfalls) An Earth Day lapel pin he was wearing and about every dolphin he was caring. He spoke of the fisheries that had failed and of animals that would run or soar. Alleged the enviro (sound of wheezing) -- "Nevermore." He stood there stiffer than an oak, no humor possessed him as he spoke unbothered by the hair shirt that he wore. An endless stream of policies he spouted, always mumbled, never shouted. But I knew I had been deceived when he muttered, "Four more." I started screaming, "Oh no, it's Al Gore!" (A woman screams.) Al Gore, Al Gore, Al Gore, Al Gore, Al Gore... (More screaming, thunder and pouring rain and heavy organ music up and under.)

CURWOOD: Boo! It's NPR's Living on Earth. I'm Steve Curwood.



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