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

October 4, 1996

Air Date: October 4, 1996


Perot for President / David Wright

What kind of environmental policy would the Reform Party make with Ross Perot as President? Mr. Perot doesn't talk much about the environment, but when he did, reporter David Wright was listening. (06:52)

Headwaters Land Swap

The Clinton administration is hailing its land deal with the Maxxam Corporation to save 7,500 acres of redwood forest in northern California. But some environmentalists say it's a raw deal for the public. Steve talks with Cecelia Landman, project director of the Environmental Protection Information Center which has spent the last decade fighting to prevent logging in the headwaters. (06:04)

Bugling Signals Cultural Survival / Mary Boyle

It's elk hunting season in the northern Rockies, but for Native Americans like the Crow people, the elk are more than prey. Reporter Mary Boyle spoke with Lawrence and Jennifer Flatlip, in Billings, Montana, about their daughter's special gift for calling elk, and what that means for their people. (05:45)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Facts about the great Chicago fire of 1871. (01:15)

National Fishing Act Renewed / Jennifer Schmidt

Jennifer Schmidt of KPLU, in Seattle reports on new policies to reduce overfishing and to preserve underwater habitat which Congress recently approved in reauthorizing the nation's primary fisheries law. (03:22)

Hunting Referenda Hit the Ballot / Jyl Hoyt

Jyl Hoyt reports from Idaho on that state's bid to regulate hunting practices. In November, nine states will pose similar questions on their ballots. Advocates say the new rules would make hunting more ethical and sportsmanlike. Opponents say sport-hunting itself is under attack. (05:58)

Preserving Summer's Bounty

In this installment of the Green Garden Spot, Steve reminisces about his mom's grape jelly, and correspondent Evelyn Tully Costa advises on the merits and methods of hoarding the harvest. (05:45)

A Tree Grows in Grand Rapids / Wendy Nelson

Wendy Nelson of the Great Lakes Radio Consortium reports on a community garden which has revitalized the landscape and the people of one of Michigan's inner city neighborhoods. (05:15)

Letters Segment

Feedback from our audience on last week's Car Alarm story. (02:50)

Show Credits and Funders

Show Transcript

Copyright c 1996 by World Media Foundation. No portion of this transcript may be copied, sold, or transmitted without the written authority of World Media Foundation.

HOST: Steve Curwood
REPORTERS: Stephanie Hemphill, Trish Alderton, David Wright, Mary Boyle, Jennifer Schmidt, Jyl Hoyt, Wendy Nelson
GUESTS: Cecilia Landman, Evelyn Tully Costa

(Theme music intro)

CURWOOD: From National Public Radio, this is Living on Earth.

(Music up and under)

CURWOOD: I'm Steve Curwood. Presidential candidate H. Ross Perot says for him and his reform party the nation's environment play second fiddle to the nation's economy.

PEROT: If we're broke we can't fix the environment. We have got to rebuild our industrial base, we've got to put our people back to the work, to have the flow of money to do this.

CURWOOD: Also, controversy over a Clinton Administration compromise to save some ancient California redwoods. And in Montana, a Crow daughter learns tribal ways of bugling for elk.

FLATLIP: When she would bugle as a little girl, the men would weep. The women would cry. Because it made them say we are still alive as a Crow people.

CURWOOD: Those stories and more this week on Living on Earth, coming up right after the news.

Environmental News

NUNLEY: From Living on Earth, I'm Jan Nunley. Federal officials say they will relocate all 358 families living in a Pensacola, Florida, neighborhood known as Mt. Dioxin. Federal officials had wanted to move only the households most affected by the abandoned Escambia wood treating plant, but that would have left 257 families living in homes and apartments with yards laced with arsenic, PCBs, dioxin, and other poisons. The site has been dubbed Mt. Dioxin because of a nearby mound of contaminated soil dug up from the plant. The mound stands nearly 60 feet high and covers an area of more than 4 football fields. The decision comes after 5 years of prodding by residents of the mostly black neighborhood. The relocation should take place in about a year. It will cost at least $18 million.

Deformed frogs found in a Minnesota lake earlier this year are now turning up around the state and around the country. At a conference in Minnesota scientists admitted they're baffled by the discovery of the frogs in Wisconsin, South Dakota, and even Vermont. From Duluth, Stephanie Hemphill reports.

HEMPHILL: School children at an environmental learning center first noticed deformed frogs last year. Some of the frogs have 1 hind leg; some have extra legs or missing eyes. Over 100 wetlands in Minnesota have produced abnormal frogs. At the conference, scientists focus on the chemical processes involved in frog development. Some argue that the culprit could be a parasite, but they couldn't explain why such deformities have never shown up before. Agricultural chemicals are another suspect, but the abnormal frogs have been found in non-agricultural parts of the state. Judy Helgin, a researcher with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, is taking the lead role in the state.

HELGIN: It's all part of one big supporting system, and if there's one animal that's having difficulty that may mean that the whole system is having difficulty, which could mean that we're going to have problems.

HEMPHILL: Helgin's office will be talking with farmers about new pesticides they've been using since the Agriculture Department last surveyed them in 1990. And air quality experts will try to correlate deformed frog locations with air currents that may have brought a problem from somewhere else. For Living on Earth, this is Stephanie Hemphill in Duluth.

NUNLEY: In one of its last acts of the year, the Senate has passed legislation to add or expand a number of national parks. The bill, identical to one passed by the House, includes projects in some 40 states. Among its major provisions: turning management of San Francisco's Presidio over to a trust, acquiring the Sterling Forest along the New York-New Jersey border, and establishing the Tall Grass Prairie National Preserve in Kansas. The bill drops a controversial plan to raise revenue for parks by allowing corporations to become licensed parks sponsors. But the bill eases restrictions on development on some Florida barrier islands and allows those areas to get Federal flood insurance. Opponents say that provision will ruin sensitive beaches and subsidize unwise development in hurricane- and flood-prone areas. President Clinton has said he will sign the bill.

A study reveals men are far less likely to believe in environmental health hazards that women, and Harvard researchers say there are serious implications for government and industry. From WBUR in Boston, Trish Alderton explains.

ALDERTON: The researchers interviewed more than 1000 people to find out how much they believed in the health threats posed by 8 so-called environmental hazards, including radiation, pesticides, and global warming. Women consistently found each item more dangerous than men did. John Graham of the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis says the numbers also broke down along racial lines.

GRAHAM: White men have more confidence that a lot of technologies in modern life are safe. They expressed much more confidence than women do and white men express much more confidence than nonwhite people do.

ALDERTON: The researchers theorize white men fear industrial pollutants less because they may work in industry more or be more likely to benefit from potentially hazardous technologies. For Living on Earth, I'm Trish Alderton in Boston.

NUNLEY: Bacteria that can infect people have been found in fish linked to the deaths of more than 13,000 birds at California's largest lake. Researchers think the birds died after eating fish sickened by the bacteria vibrio alginolyticus. The bacteria can cause skin irritation and diarrhea in people who eat infected fish or expose wounds to contaminated water. So far no human illnesses have been reported. Despite the danger county health officials only plan to post warnings at bait shops and not along the beaches of Lake Saltonstall 150 miles southeast of Los Angeles. The findings further support a theory that the dead birds, primarily fish-eating pelicans, were infected by fish. Biologists were mystified at the bird death, since pelicans normally eat only live fish, not rotting carcasses. But the infection causes the fish to rot alive, creating the botulism believed to be killing the pelicans.

That's this week's Living on Earth news. I'm Jan Nunley.

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(Theme music up and under)

Perot for President

CURWOOD: It's Living on Earth. I'm Steve Curwood. In 1992 H. Ross Perot captured 19% of the popular vote. Some say he spoiled the reelection bid of Republican President George Bush and left Bill Clinton without a clear mandate. This time around the pollsters say Mr. Perot is not getting the support he had before, though he still could make the difference in closely-contested states. What makes this Perot candidacy most important, perhaps, is the Reform Party he has started. A respectable showing by him this year will give the Reform Party Federal dollars no matter who its candidate is in the year 2000. And what kind of environmental legacy is being created for the Reform Party? We asked David Wright of member station KQED in San Francisco to do a little digging into Mr. Perot's views on the environment. Here's what he found.

WRIGHT: Ross Perot has 2 minds when it comes to the environment. The dichotomy's been apparent since the night in 1992 when he first confessed his presidential ambitions to CNN's Larry King. On one side, the part of Mr. Perot that's given to sweeping generalities and lofty statements of principle makes a firm stand for the environment.

PEROT: This is our home. The planet is our home. If we destroy the planet we've destroyed our home. So it is fundamentally important.

WRIGHT: Fundamentally important, except for those other priorities that for Mr. Perot are apparently even more fundamentally important. The other side of Ross Perot is a pragmatist, a man who deals with first things first. And for him, the environment doesn't come first.

PEROT: If we're broke, we can't fix the environment. We have got to rebuild our industrial base. We've got to put our people back to the work to have the flow of money to do this.

WRIGHT: Ross Perot hasn't said much on the environment, but he's said enough to raise some serious doubts in the minds of environmental leaders.

POPE: Ross Perot unfortunately has shown himself in the last 4 years to be know nothing on the environment.

WRIGHT: Carl Pope is the executive director of the National Sierra Club.

POPE: When he entered the race in 1992, the Sierra Club and other environmental groups tried to work with him. We went down to Texas, we met with the staff, we prepared papers for him. We thought he might demonstrate some real fiscal understanding of the fact that environmental protection is both good for business and good for the Federal budget. But since that time Perot has demonstrated a real shallowness and a lack of seriousness about the issue.

WRIGHT: Take for instance remarks Mr. Perot made last month to members of the Commonwealth Club of California. The day was September 18th and President Clinton was at the Grand Canyon declaring thousands of acres of Utah wilderness a national monument in order to protect it from coal mining. Asked whether he supports the President's action, Ross Perot didn't hesitate.

PEROT: I'd have to look at it, study it, and analyze it. I haven't. And I will not jump into an empty swimming pool at night.

WRIGHT: He then went on to volunteer his views on an environmental controversy he's taken more of an interest in: the spotted owl in the Pacific Northwest.

PEROT: I have looked at a few owls; I was up in Washington State and the people were so worried about this huge area they wouldn't let them do any timber cutting on because of these owls, and I finally asked a relevant question. I said how many owls are there? They said 20. And I said okay, I suggest we send Air Force One out here, transport them in absolutely first class comfort to the nearest national park. Now the owls can live happily ever after in hundreds of thousands of acres in some nearby park, and we can go back to work here. Well shucks, we hadn't thought about that. I rest my case.

WRIGHT: It's not the first time Ross Perot has proposed a get under the hood and fix it solution to sensitive issues such as habitat conservation and biodiversity. In 1992 he outraged environmentalists in Alaska when he told a Fairbanks talk radio host that he'd like to see the US drill for oil in ANWAR, the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge.

PEROT: If we're really, really lucky, as a country, this could be like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that could pay off the national debt. Think about it.

WRIGHT: People who know Ross Perot attribute his apparent lack of enthusiasm for environmental issues to his background.

POSNER: Part of the problem with Perot is he's so pro-business. It's all about business. It screams business. He comes from that business environment. And therefore if you had to put him on a pro-development or pro-environment side that is at this conflict that there is in Washington State and elsewhere and all over, I find, and I would think Perot's more pro-development.

WRIGHT: Gerald Posner conducted numerous interviews with the Texas businessman for his recent biography Citizen Perot: His Life and Times. Posner notes that many goals of the environmental movement would seem to be in synch with Ross Perot's overall philosophy. But he says Mr. Perot doesn't seem to recognize the connection between environmental concerns and his desire not to squander American resources and to preserve a legacy for our children. As a result, Posner says, Mr. Perot is not ideologically opposed to environmental protections. He just doesn't give it much thought.

POSNER: It's more an insensitivity, I think. I think he could care about the environment, if he focused on it, but I don't think he really cares right now because it's not an issue high on his agenda. He thinks there are more pressing problems. The deficit finances figures, money seems to him more important than some endangered species.

WRIGHT: In fact, the times Ross Perot has taken a strong stand on the environment have tended to be in the service of issues in which he has a greater interest. For instance, he spoke out against the likely environmental consequences of free trade, but it was just one of several arguments he raised against the North American Free Trade Agreement. He's called for a 50-cent-a-gallon gas tax, but primarily as a way of weaning America from its dependence on foreign oil in the wake of the Gulf War. For leaders of the environmental movement, like the Sierra Club's Carl Pope, those isolated positions do not constitute a coherent environmental policy.

POPE: If he appeared to understand that if we're going to leave a world behind for our children we have to take care of our environment, I would be much more impressed. I mean, it is the shallowness of his approach. Most public officials, they may be good on the environment, they may be bad on the environment. Most candidates at least appear to want to talk about what their approach is. Sometimes they lie. But he just kind of goes woof, you know, I'm not going to chase that hamster. And it's -- it's disturbing.

WRIGHT: Beyond Ross Perot's words about the environment, he can also be judged by his actions. On one hand, he gave the city of Austin, Texas, a blank check to try to keep alive the city's ancient treaty oak. Also, the various companies Mr. Perot has been involved with over the years are not corporate polluters. But there are at least 2 incidents that mar his record. One involved some Austin land that a Perot affiliated company tried to develop even after concerns were raised over habitat it contained for the golden cheeked warbler, then listed as a threatened species. The other incident had to do with a coral reef offshore from Mr. Perot's house in Bermuda. Again, biographer Gerald Posner.

POSNER: Perot denies this and said no, it's not quite like this or that. But evidently there was this coral reef which is getting in the way of unfortunately getting his boat a little bit closer to the house. The coral reef's no longer there, is my understanding; the boat is docked right next to the house. So sometimes, you know, things will be pushed aside. A billionaire can get his way. Nature should not stand in the way.

WRIGHT: With his record as with his rhetoric, Mr. Perot seems to be of 2 minds when it comes to the environment. It's fundamentally important except when it gets in the way. For Living on Earth, I'm David Wright in San Francisco.

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(Music up and under)

CURWOOD: A deal to save California's oldest privately owned redwoods. A compromise or a concession? That's just ahead on Living on Earth.

(Music up and under)

Headwaters Land Swap

CURWOOD: It's Living on Earth. I'm Steve Curwood. After months of talks negotiators for the Clinton Administration say they have a tentative agreement with a corporation that's intended to prevent logging in parts of California's Headwaters Forest. Under the deal, 7,500 acres of redwood forest will be acquired by the government for protection. In exchange, Maxxam Incorporated, which owns the land, is to receive cash and government forest worth roughly $380 million. The Headwaters contains about 3,500 acres of old growth redwoods in northern California, the last remaining such forest held in private hands. It's also home to 3 endangered species including the marbled murellet. The Headwaters has been the site of many angry, often violent confrontations between loggers and conservationists. While Clinton Administration and company officials are hailing the pact as a win-win deal, others are calling it a sell-out. Among them is Cecelia Landman. She's project director of the Environmental Protection Information Center. The group has spent the last decade fighting to prevent logging in the Headwaters. Ms. Landman, the Department of the Interior says it's protecting as much land as it can under the Endangered Species Act. But you say this is not a good deal for the public. Why?

LANDMAN: Well, we don't like the deal because at this time, the deal will simply put a 10-month moratorium on 2 of the growths that are threatened with logging. And as we've worked to protect this area we found that all these areas, all the groves, are important for saving the endangered species that live there. For a number of years environmentalists have promoted protection of these virgin groves, all 6 of them, in addition to a larger area, to create an ecosystem preserve that would enhance and recover the species. And we feel that the Department of Interior has the duty and the mandate to recover species, and we feel that they should be looking at a much larger area to protect.

CURWOOD: So you're saying that this deal only covers 2 out of 6 groves that you think should be protected.

LANDMAN: That's correct.

CURWOOD: In order to protect the other old growth forest, how many acres of Maxxam's land would you set aside?

LANDMAN: Well, we've estimated that at least 12,000 acres, which really isn't that much more, need to be protected in order to begin to stop the logging of their nesting areas. And then we feel that in order to reverse the trend of destruction there needs to be a restoration plan to help bring the fish back into our streams and give the workers jobs to create an economic transition in our community.

CURWOOD: And you're also saying that this deal only works for 10 months? I understood that this was a done deal in terms of these 2 groves, that if the land swaps are approved by Congress and the legislature there in California, that at least those 2 groves are protected. That's not so?

LANDMAN: Well, the way the deal stands now, the groves that they have identified would only be traded for permanent protection in the event that the Federal Government and the state can agree with Charles Hurwitz, the owner of the company, on the way that he can manage his lands for up to another 100 years. This planning process would be condensed into a 10-month period, where they would come up with the plan and then the public would have a very short time to review this plan. And if Hurwitz likes the plan, then he would go through with the deal. Otherwise, the whole deal could be called off on as much as 2 weeks notice.

CURWOOD: So you're saying there's not really a deal here. This is simply a delaying tactic that buys 10 months time for these 2 particular groves?

LANDMAN: That's correct. A lot of old growth redwood is still being cut down. And they are logging in areas that should be protected for the marbled murellet. Maybe I should explain for a minute what the marbled murellet is. It's a very small seabird and it spends a great deal of its time on the sea, but it nests in the tops of old growth forest that grow along the coast.

CURWOOD: What do you think the government should be doing here? Two parcels and a 10-month moratorium is not enough? What do you think will be sufficient?

LANDMAN: Well, right now the Federal Government has the authority to enforce the Endangered Species Act, and if they were doing so to the letter and spirit of the law, they would be looking at these other areas that are threatened with logging. They're touting this planning process as being the ultimate means by which they can save this endangered species, but unfortunately in the meantime the nesting areas are being cut down, and we're very afraid that by the time the planning process is over, there will be very little habitat left.

CURWOOD: The government has not done a good job of negotiating here as far as you're concerned?

LANDMAN: Well, for one thing these negotiations took place behind closed doors, and the parties to the negotiations did not include members of the public or people who work in the community here, but I do believe that in an effort to find a politically expedient solution, that they have really missed the boat.

CURWOOD: Cecilia Landman is project director for the Environmental Protection Information Center. She spoke to us from her home near Garberville, California. Thanks for your time today, Ms. Landman.

LANDMAN: You're welcome.

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CURWOOD: The Headwaters agreement is the latest in a series of land swaps the Clinton Administration has proposed to protect sensitive ecosystems. There's a deal pending in the Yellowstone National Park Area that would block toxic mining close to the park, and there's another deal to help protect the Red Rocks Wilderness of southern Utah. What do you think about these land swaps? To save vital parts of the ecological landscape, should the government trade land deemed less important? Let us know what you think. Call 1-800-218-9988. That's 1-800-218-9988. Or e-mail us at LOE@NPR.ORG. That's LOE@NPR.ORG. Letters reach us at Living on Earth, Box 639, Harvard Square Station, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02238. That's Living on Earth, Box 639, Harvard Square Station, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02238.

(Bull elk bugling)

Bugling Signals Cultural Survival

CURWOOD: This time of year the shrill bugling of the bull elk echoes throughout the northern Rockies. It's mating time for these majestic animals. It's also a call to trophy hunters from around the world. Armed with high-powered rifles, they head into the wilderness in search of meat and magnificent antlers. But for some native peoples, the elk bugle is more than a call to hunt. Producer Mary Boyle has this sound portrait of Lawrence, Jennifer, and Lauren Flatlip, a Crow Indian family.

(Flowing water, a flute)

LAWRENCE: The elk was basically used by Native Americans all over the United States before Columbus and before the Spanish came. And for some of the families of the Absaloga were children of the raven or crow, whichever you prefer to call us. Some of the families basically hunted the elk. And it was a sacred animal, or a spirit animal.

JENNIFER: The elk is so powerful and so -- yet so versatile. We beckon its strength to come to our young men. For the Crow people it's part of our soul, it's part of our spirit, it's part of our lives. And so it becomes a real family tradition to hunt the elk, to kill it, but also to be mindful and to manage which elk is killed. And not to abuse the gift of killing the elk.


JENNIFER: Young men are like the mother's child. You are the mother's child. But they go on the hunt and they kill an elk and they come back and they have become the father son. And he takes on the role of going into emerging into adulthood, manhood. And he's leaving his boyish ways.

(Singing continues. Elk bugling by Lauren)

LAWRENCE: My great grandmother on my father's side and then on my mother's side, they bugled. They bugled for elk. They hunted elk and in my family as far as I can remember there was elk bugling all the way to the plains days. And when I was growing up, I thought everybody in the whole world knew how to bugle.

(Bugling by Lauren continues)

JENNIFER: The significance of the elk bugle itself is -- is the bull elk calling to the cow. It's a kind of a mating call. And Lauren, our daughter, has a necklace that's 5 generations old. And as she bugled she was given the elk tooth necklace. And through giving that necklace to her, she also has the right to bugle and she has the -- the elk is her medicine animal, her spirit animal. You think that spirit animals won't come any more, because we're living in 2 worlds. And we think that the elk and our heritage and our ways are -- are not connecting any more. But when Lauren bugled and she studied the elk, we were so -- so overwhelmed that our daughter, not as a warrior but as a young girl, could bugle, and have the same spirit connection to our heritage, to our ancestry, to our people the Crows.

(Bugling on flute)

LAUREN: When I first bugled, I felt scared, the first time. And then, and when I went up to the mountains, then I felt confident. And then I wore my elk tooth dress and had all elk teeth on the top of it. And my elk tooth necklace. And I felt like it was watching me, watching over me.

(Bugling by Lauren)

JENNIFER: And when she would bugle as a little girl, the men would weep. The women would cry. Because it made them say we are still alive as a Crow people. We are still going on in this world, and that the elk reminded us.

(Flowing water. Lauren bugles)

CURWOOD: Jennifer, Lauren, and Lawrence Flatlip live on the Crow Reservation in Pryor, Montana.

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(Flowing water. Flute up and under)

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

(Flute and flowing water up and under)

ANNOUNCER: Major support for Living on Earth comes from the National Science Foundation for reporting on science in the environment; the W. Alton Jones Foundation; the Ford Foundation; the William and Flora Hewlitt Foundation; and all-natural Stonyfield Farm Yogurt -- whether supporting worthwhile causes or producing healthy foods, Stonyfield's goal is to make you feel good inside.

(Flute and flowing water up and under)

NPR ANNOUNCER: This is NPR, National Public Radio.

CURWOOD: We'll have more on hunting in just a few moments. There's a ballot measure in Idaho to protect bears from hunting dogs. Stay tuned to Living on Earth.

(Music up and under)

(Theme music up and under)

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

(Music up and under)

The Living on Earth Almanac

CURWOOD: One hundred and twenty five years ago, on the evening of October 8, a company of fire fighters rushed to an alarm on the southwest side of Chicago. Fires were a fairly common occurrence throughout Chicago at the time, but this fire, at the O'Leary's cow barn, was unlike any in the city's history. It burned and spread for more than 24 hours until a lack of fuel and a rainstorm put it out. Nearly 300 people died in the fire. It also destroyed some 18,000 buildings, and left nearly 100,000 Chicagoans homeless. Because of the number of people affected and the city's prominence, the Great Chicago Fire is usually assumed to be the worst fire ever to hit the US. It wasn't. It wasn't even the worst fire on October 8th, 1871. Hundreds of miles north of Chicago in the town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin, a much bigger tragedy was occurring on that day. Peshtigo, a small lumber town, was surrounded by miles of bone-dry forest. A fire consumed the entire area. It killed more than 1,200 people, making it the deadliest fire in US history. And for this week that's the Living on Earth Almanac.

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(Music up and under)

National Fishing Act Renewed

CURWOOD: Swordfish, tuna, and cod are just 3 of the hundreds of fish that will receive more protection under legislation just passed by Congress. New policies to reduce over-fishing and to preserve underwater habitat are included in the reauthorization of the Magnuson Act, the nation's most important fisheries law. From Seattle, Jennifer Schmidt of member station KPLU has details.

(Man: "Get your halibut, folks! It's going out folks! Halibut season's in!")

SCHMIDT: Crowds are common at Seattle's fish markets, where people often stand in line to pick up fresh halibut and salmon. In the United States commercial fishing is a multi-billion dollar industry, and demand for fish is expected to grow. But Suzanne Uticello of the Center for Marine Conservation in Washington, DC, says unless there are big changes in the way commercial fisheries are managed, more and more fishermen are going to be pulling up empty nets.

UTICELLO: Some stocks are so severely depleted that there are questions about whether they will ever come back again in the numbers or in the sizes that we once knew.

SCHMIDT: Still Uticello and other environmentalists say the bleak state of America's fisheries is likely to improve, now that Congress has made changes to the Magnusson Act, which regulates fishing in US waters. The legislation contains a number of precedent-setting conservation provisions. It requires steps to reduce the large number of fish caught and killed every year by accident. And it sets strict catch limits to prevent another over-fishing crisis like the one that's devastated stocks and put fishermen out of work in New England.

UTICELLO: I think from a conservation point of view, it was definitely a victory. The Congress has now said we recognize what over-fishing is, and we're going to take the steps needed to rebuild our depleted fisheries.

SCHMIDT: Environmentalists aren't the only ones to favor these conservation measures. The legislation has also received an unusual degree of support from commercial fishermen.

( Boat horn)

SCHMIDT: At Fisherman's Terminal in Seattle, Bob Alverson checks out the halibut boats operated by members of his Fishing Vessel Owners Association.

ALVERSON: This is one of our boats over in the shipyard, Eclipse. It was built in the 1920s...

SCHMIDT: Mr. Alverson applauds the crackdown on over-fishing and waste. He says such efforts will help keep stocks healthy. He also favors a new requirement to protect marine habitat, and Mr. Alverson's counting on the legislation to force trawl fishermen, who harvest by dragging their nets along the ocean floor, to clean up their act.

ALVERSON: We have frankly been at odds with that type of mobile gear that is hard on bottom. And in Alaska those cold water corals take up to 50 years to grow up to 2 feet tall. And sooner or later, if you destroy the habitat you're out of business anyway.

SCHMIDT: But there are critics. Greenpeace analyst Fred Munson, while praising many of the bill's conservation milestones, says it's based on a flawed premise that fish are little more than a commodity.

MUNSON: We've got to start looking at managing fisheries for the health of the ecosystem. The ecosystem is what supports these fisheries and the communities that depend on them. Right now we just manage fish like it's bushels of corn.

SCHMIDT: The new bill also leaves many long-standing battles unresolved, including a bitter dispute over how to divvy up the lucrative offshore harvest. Still, there seems to be broad consensus that when it comes to protecting America's fisheries, the Magnusen Act is a good first step. For Living on Earth, I'm Jennifer Schmidt in Seattle.

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(Music up and under)

Hunting Referenda Hit the Ballot

CURWOOD: In November, voters in 9 states will decide on ballot initiatives that concern hunting wildlife. Those opposed to such measures accuse animal rights groups of trying to do away with hunting altogether. Those who support them say they're just trying to make hunting more ethical and sportsmanlike. From member station KPSU in Boise, Idaho, Jyl Hoyt reports.

(Man: "That's good, okay." A dog barks. Man: "Go get your frisbee. Go get your frisbee. Come on. Get your frisbee, let's play.")

HOYT: Retired postal worker Don Clower plays with his hunting dog in his back yard, near Boise. Most of the time he's off in the woods dressed in fatigues, hunting bear, deer, and birds.

CLOWER: I love to hunt. My wife said I'd hunt grasshoppers if they had a season.

HOYT: Don Clower, a tall Texas native, heads a large coalition of hunters fighting an Idaho ballot initiative that would restrict bear hunting. Supporters of the measure say its purpose is to make hunting more sportsmanlike, but Mr. Clower isn't so sure.

CLOWER: It's a hoax. If you read their, their literature, their goal is to stop all sport hunting in the United States.

HOYT: Mr. Clower also questions who's behind the measure.

CLOWER: It's being perpetuated on the people of this state by animal rights groups who are trying to impose their moral and ethical values on the rest of the people.

HOYT: Stuart Churchwell, a leading advocate of the bear initiative, says such accusations couldn't be more wrong, and points to himself as living proof. He wears a jacket he crafted from an elk he shot. Mr. Churchwell says advocates of the initiative include not only animal rights groups like the Humane Society of the US, but also hunters like himself. The bear initiative would not ban hunting, Mr. Churchwell insists. It would simply restrict the most backward practices, like hunting with dogs. Mr. Churchwell used to stalk bears with dogs, but he doesn't any more.

(Sound of dogs barking during a hunt)

CHURCHWELL: It's a very cruel sport, and anyone who has ever witnessed the screams of an animal being torn apart by a pack of dogs, if you have any kind of compassion at all or love for wildlife like I do, you just can't justify it, the activity.

HOYT: Supporters of the initiative are distributing a graphic video showing the practices the measure's authors hope to stop.

(Barking continues. A gun shot. Barking continues. Man: "Hit 'em again! Hit 'em again!")

HOYT: Besides banning hound hunting, the ballot question would prevent sportsmen from shooting bears in the spring. Backers say bear hunting should be limited to the fall when cubs are older. Bear hunter Doug Clower chafes at that notion.

CLOWER: I really do enjoy eating bear meat, especially spring bear. Spring bear is the absolute very best.

HOYT: The initiative would also stop bear baiting. Setting out bacon grease or jelly donuts to attract the animals. Many of the initiative's opponents say bear baiting is a useful tool for wildlife management, because it allows hunters to see bears up close before they shoot, permitting fish and game officials to control how many of each sex are killed. But Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society of the US says bear baiting is just a lazy way to hunt. And he says luring the animals with human foods creates nuisance bears who raid campsites, break into cabins, and harass hikers.

PACELLE: One of the principal reasons that bears do that is because they are fed during legalized bear baiting seasons a variety of foods with human scents all over them.

HOYT: To find out what effect the bear initiative might have in Idaho, many are looking to Colorado, where voters passed a similar measure in 1992. The 2 sides of this debate draw very different lessons from the evidence. Opponents point out there are more problem bears in Colorado since the initiative passed. Supporters acknowledge this, but say the increase in bear incidents has more to do with demographics than the new law. More than 300,000 people have moved to Colorado the past 3 years. And many of them have built homes in bear habitat. Wildlife biologists add that drought and difficult weather are partly responsible for the growth in bear problems. Lynn Fritchman says there's another thing. Colorado's experience shows that restricting hunting practices can actually improve the sport.

FRITCHMAN: The annual harvest of bears in Colorado now is not as high as it was prior to the passage of the initiative, and this has all been done in the fall season and it's being done without the use of bait or hounds.

HOYT: Lynn Fritchman is a retired Army officer, and author of the initiative. He's been a hunter most of his life.

(Zipper. Clicks of rifle parts)

HOYT: As he pulls out and examines his rifle, he says values are changing here because many urban professionals are moving from coastal states to the Rocky Mountain states. While his opponents call his ballot initiative a threat to the hunter, Lynn Fritchman says unless the hunting community becomes enlightened, more serious restrictions could be in store.

FRITCHMAN: What will place hunting in jeopardy is most people's perception that hunters are bunch of slobs, and these types of hunting methods are what create that image in people's minds.

HOYT: Although no polls have been done this year, a 1994 Idaho poll showed support for new hunting rules. One factor that makes it difficult to predict the election results is that the environmental community is split on the initiative. Because of a quirk in Idaho law, the measure, if passed, would take bear management away from state fish and game officials and give it to the legislature, a possibility that worries some environmentalists. For Living on Earth, I'm Jyl Hoyt in Boise, Idaho.

Back to top

CURWOOD: Idaho isn't the only state in which voters will decide if new restrictions on hunting are needed. Massachusetts, Michigan, and Washington have initiatives that would ban bear baiting and hunting with dogs. Colorado, which passed such a measure 2 years ago, is asking voters if stricter rules are needed by abolishing leg hold trapping and wildlife poisoning. An Alaska proposal would halt spotting wolves from airplanes before hunting them. But in Oregon, where citizens voted to ban hunting and hounding 2 years ago, the measure is now up for repeal.

Got lots of tomatoes and zucchini? Enjoy that bounty all winter long. That's coming up on Living on Earth.

(Music up and under)

Preserving Summer's Bounty

CURWOOD: It's Living on Earth. I'm Steve Curwood. It's harvest time. Across the country, gardeners are gathering fruits and vegetables into their larders. This year alone community gardens in New York City grew over a million dollars worth of produce. And with us now again from the wilds of Brooklyn is our Green Garden Spot correspondent, Evelyn Tully Costa, with tips on stocking up for the winter. Hello, Ev.


CURWOOD: Now, I want to tell you. When I was a kid my mom would spend this time of year boiling huge pots of grape juice and turning it into delicious grape jelly. All year long we'd save all kinds of little jars, it might be a mustard jar, it might be a pickle jar. Because we'd need them come the fall for the grape jelly. And it tasted great, and you know, now that I think about it, it must have been an awful lot of work for somebody who was also full time in graduate school.

TULLY COSTA: Wow. I'm sure it was a lot of work. But I'm sure you really appreciated getting a jar of homemade preserves and giving them away, too. This is an interesting point because it says a lot about modern culture and economics. You know, when we centralized our farms in this country through industrialization, we made a really significant cultural choice that does boil down to, in a way, a jar of jam that's homemade versus Welch's off the assembly line jelly. Now if you think about it, growing, harvesting, and stocking up on some food items is a really great way to keep the freshness, quality, and I think most importantly, self sufficiency going in our lives.

CURWOOD: And a sense of place. Because one of the most wonderful things about the jelly that we would make, some would come from grapes right in our back yard. You'd smell them as they get ripe, but all winter long we could have that wonderful smell of September on our toast. The trouble was, you know, I didn't pay any attention really to what mom did when she was making this stuff. So, um, Evelyn, I need your help. I could use some lessons here. What do I do first?

TULLY COSTA: Okay. Start off the best and the freshest.

CURWOOD: Okay. So you don't take the stuff that maybe you don't want to have that day and you put that by. You want --

TULLY COSTA: No. The freshest. If you want to put the freshest going in, it'll be the freshest coming out of the jar. And you should start with the crop that you are most overwhelmed with if you have a garden. And for your listeners without a garden but who really want to stock up, they could try maybe striking a deal with a neighbor who is overwhelmed. They could join a community garden, they could go to a farmer's market, they could buy caseloads of fresh fruits and vegetables, or they could even try harvesting their own from a nearby farm that encourages this kind of do it yourself harvesting. Then you have to choose your method of preserving. Now, there's freezing, pickling, drying, canning, or you can just throw everything down into the root cellar.

CURWOOD: (Laughs) Throw everything down into the root cellar, now that sounds easy, except -- I've got to tell you something, Evelyn, we've got a lot of basil and we've got a lot of tomatoes. I don't think it's going to work if I throw these tomatoes down into the cellar, that's just going to make a mess.

TULLY COSTA: Uh, no, you don't want to do that, let's try the freezing method. Now surprisingly enough, you can lay the tomatoes out on a cookie tray and treat them like cookies, don't let them touch. Put them in the freezer, let them freeze, and then put them into the bag, and by the way during this process, the skins of the tomatoes, they crack and peel a little bit, so that when you actually take them out of the freezer and cook them, the skin peels away very simply and very beautifully, okay? So, you know really, freezing is as limitless as your freezer is deep, so I would just tell people to go for it. This is the easiest way to keep your fruits and vegetables.

CURWOOD: Uh huh. Well now, how could I use that basement? I mean you said I could just toss stuff down in the root cellar?

TULLY COSTA: Root cellars, they've been around since we humans have been looking for cool, humid places to hide all that gathered stuff while we went off hunting. (Both laugh) Now, generally speaking, just think of it, caves, right? People storing food in caves. Or in urns that they put in the ground. Now generally speaking, the concept behind this is you want to keep produce as cold as possible without freezing it, so we're talking about, you know, below 40 degrees and above 32 degrees. So you could try out the cellar steps. You could try out in-ground containers, like a trash can surrounded by dirt. You can even put things in styrofoam ice chests. What most people do is they convert part of their basement by putting up a dividing wall, and then they use an open window during the winter to regulate the temperature. It's really easy but it's not foolproof.

CURWOOD: You've got to keep close tabs on what the temperature is, huh?

TULLY COSTA: Yeah, and the other thing, too, like I said before, you really have to store top quality, unblemished produce. Try apples, you could try cabbages, pears, parsnips, hardshelled squashes. These are really good choices for cold storage. They also seem to last forever. Keep an eye on them, remove anything that is starting to go bad, and really think of your root cellar as a humongous backup for the fridge.

CURWOOD: So, Evelyn, you're really smart about all of this, but you know, my memory isn't so great. So is there some place I can look up tips on how to do this, a good book?

TULLY COSTA: Well, there are a lot of great books on this, but I would have to say Preserving Summer's Bounty gives you a really good item by item list of what preserving methods each fruit and vegetable can handle. There's also a lot of really great recipes like green tomato chutney, dill pesto, garlic dill butter, rosemary pesto, creamy raspberry dressing, and cranapple jelly. And I think these recipes would convert any supermarket junkie into a master gardener.

CURWOOD: I'm already getting hungry.

TULLY COSTA: Okay, and I just wanted to mention, too, that from what I could see this summer at some county fairs that I visited, that this is not a dying art but a reviving one. I saw a lot of blue ribbons on a lot of tasty jams and preserves. So I would just say happy harvesting to all your listeners and good eating to everybody.

Back to top

CURWOOD: Well thanks, Evelyn. There you have it, folks. And if you want to contact us for our resource list with details of the things we've talked about today, try us on the Internet at www.loe.org. Or send us a self-addressed stamped envelope to Living on Earth, Green Garden Spot, Post Office Box 639, Harvard Square Station, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02238.

(Music up and under)

A Tree Grows in Grand Rapids

CURWOOD: From time to time we like to visit those community gardens where folks are using a bit of verdant therapy to revitalize the landscape and the people of inner cities. This week the Great Lakes Radio Consortium's Wendy Nelson takes us to where some green is growing out of the grid of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

(Traffic, horns)

NELSON: It's easy to miss this small garden if you drive too fast down Baxter Street in Grand Rapids. It's not a big space, only about 30 by 50 feet, and there's no fence or sign to distinguish it as being anything special. But on 2 afternoons each week it swarms with activity.

(Children clapping and chanting: "Jump in. Jump out. Turn yourself around. Jump in. Jump out. Introduce yourself. My name is Cher. (Yeah) I go to school. (Yeah) I'm a keep on going. (Whoo) Every day of my life...")

MORE: My name's Michelle More and I want to be a lawyer or a singer.

SPENCER: My name's Elizabeth Spencer and I want to be a secretary or a teacher.

NEEN: Hello, my name is Ev Neen, I want to be in Catholic College. And I want to be a teacher. And I want to be a lawyer if something work out. And I want to have a good life when I grow up.

NELSON: These young women range in age from 8 to 14. They come from poor families in the neighborhood. Most are from single parent homes. They gather here after school to tend what they've sown. From the day this vacant lot was plowed, the girls have made all the decisions about this piece of earth. They planned its layout and chose not to use pesticides on the plants they would grow here.

GIRL #1: This here is parsley. And I got chives over there.

GIRL #2: Sunflower seeds and nasturtium and cabbage.

GIRL #3: We had some plants right through here but they died. There's no telling where they at now, probably under the ground.

And there's a grasshopper.

NELSON: The Girls' Garden project is run by Jonathan and Kelly Vanderbrug. The couple says that along with gardening they try to teach the girls social skills like team work and conflict resolution. They're the kind of life lessons that end up getting played out in the garden, like when a plant is mistaken for a weed and accidentally gets pulled up.

GIRL #4: That's a plant right there.

GIRL #5: Nuh uh.

GIRL #6: I think that's a plant.

GIRL #7: Yes that is.

GIRL #6: How is it in the wrong place?

GIRL #7: Why you pull it up?

J. VANDERBRUG: That's all right. We'll move it.

GIRL #8: Right there.

J. VANDERBRUG: It is in a weird space. You know what? It's not necessarily dead yet.

GIRL #9: Plant it back.

J. VANDERBRUG: You can still plant it.

NELSON: A small grant helps pay for gardening tools, compost, water bills, and salaries for the girls. They market their organic produce to a local food coop and set up tables to sell directly to customers on the street. For their work each girl receives a stipend of $20 a week. Fifteen goes into a bank account and there's a cash bonus for those who continue to garden through the final harvest. The girls use their money to buy school clothes and supplies. Twelve-year-old Taisha says the experience of earning, saving, and spending money is another lesson growing in Girls' Garden.

TAISHA: I learned how to sell the stuff that's in the garden. I learned how to write out receipts to people. And I learned how to keep a bank account at Old Camp Bank.

NELSON: There are also lessons to be learned about the natural world.

(Grinding sounds)

NELSON: On this afternoon the girls meet in the Vanderbrugs' kitchen a few blocks away from the garden. They've brought with them handfuls of freshly harvested basil.

GIRL #1: We're trying to make pasta.


GIRL #1: [Giggles] Pesto.

(Girls' voices: "Ooh." "Smell it you all!" "Ooh can I smell it?")

NELSON: The youngest of the girls is 8-year-old Lauren. She says she wants to be a farmer or a nurse when she grows up. Lauren says Girls' Garden thrives without pesticides because of nasturtium and other special flowers the girls planted to keep bugs away. As her friends prepare the pesto, Lauren explains why organic gardening is so important to her.

LAUREN: Sometimes poisons make you sick when you put this bug spray on, but the plants do it for you, and you don't have to worry about it. If everybody had that, I bet they have a safe food.

NELSON: Cooking and gardening side by side with the girls, Kelly Vanderbrug says she's heard the way they are, to use a popular phrase, at risk. The way they talk matter-of-factly about having children at a young age, or whether or not they'll finish school. The violence they've seen from gangs and boyfriends. But she also sees their potential.

K. VANDERBRUG: They've claimed this space as kind of their safe place. They come here to play and to be together with one another. And all of them are just so vibrant and so bright and I don't know, I really, my prayer is that they all make it.

(Girls chanting: "Our name is..." "The Girls' Garden!" "Yeah." "We work." "Yeah." "Gonna keep on working." "Yeah." "Every day of our life. Every day of our life.")

NELSON: For Living on Earth, I'm Wendy Nelson in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

(Chanting continues: "Jump in, jump out, turn yourself around. Jump in, jump out, introduce yourself. My name is Evie. (Yeah) I go to school. (Yeah) I'm gonna keep on going. (Yeah) Every day of my life...")

Back to top


Letters Segment

CURWOOD: And now it's time to hear from you, our listeners.

(Car siren)

CURWOOD: A number of you called or wrote after our report last week on New Yorkers taking aim at noisy car alarms. Many shared the sentiments of Stuart Goldsmith, who listens to KUOW in Seattle. "Car alarms should be banned," he wrote. "The noise pollution they create even when they're simply being engaged is annoying as hell. The devices," he says, "are a classic example of a mindless technology whose social and environmental costs outweigh the benefits conferred on the owner." Hill Nevens, who tunes to WBUR in Boston, wrote us by e-mail, "One night some yuppie decided to park his or her Saab 900 right under my window. The Saab decided to serenade our apartment block every 5 minutes all night long. The next morning the car was decorated with language I won't repeat in a variety of formats, including shaving cream. No eggs, broken windows, or scratches, though. Too bad." Other listeners found the tactics of the anti-alarm vigilantes, well, alarming. Dolores Scott, who listens to WLRN while in Miami, shuttles frequently to the Big Apple.

SCOTT: I'm a New Yorker that loves New York, and I have never heard any of these sounds that bother me. I don't know what they're talking about. If you're tired enough and you exercise enough you'll sleep. So, and as far as adults attacking other adults' cars, so-called civilized Judeo-Christian adults, I think it's outrageous. They ought to be all thrown in jail, and given a course in humanity.

CURWOOD: Andrew Barclay, who listens to WUNC in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, points out that eggs are far from harmless. "One night," he writes, "someone driving by my house threw an egg on my new car. By the time I washed it off the next afternoon there was permanent damage to the paint. No amount of buffing or waxing would remove the scars." And, he adds, his car had no alarm. Finally, from the relative quiet of Bainbridge Island in Washington State, a transplanted New Yorker, Robert Randlett, offers this solution. He says the sound of alarm should fit the musical taste of neighborhood residents.

RANDLETT: Why not opera? Loud opera? Extremely loud opera. And if you're of a certain mind, why not Wagner? Have Wagner blasts. I wouldn't mind, as I never minded falling asleep in New York to Wagner, listening to Wagner as I fell asleep.

Back to top

(Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" -- up, very up, and under)

CURWOOD: (Yelling) Well, Mr. Randlett, perhaps you can sleep to Wagner. As for the rest of you, send your comments, complaints and questions to Living on Earth at whatever volume you wish. Our phone number is 1-800-218-9988. That's 1-800-218-9988. Our e-mail address is LOE@NPR.ORG. And check out our web page at www.loe.org. That's www.loe.org. And thank you, Mr. Wagner!

(The Valkyries still ride at top decibel, up and under)

CURWOOD: And for this week that's Living on Earth. Our production team includes George Homsy, Kim Motylewski, Liz Lempert, Constantine Von Hoffman, Jan Nunley, Susan Shepherd, Julia Madeson, and Peter Shaw. We also had help from Michael Giammusso, Kim Chainey, and Jason Kral. Our engineers are Frank DeAngelis and Karen Given at WBUR, Jeff Martini at Harvard University, and Jane Pipik at WGBH. Michael Aharon composed our theme. Our editor this week is Dan Grossman. Chris Ballman is our senior producer. Living on Earth is produced by the World Media Foundation in cooperation with WBUR, Boston, and Harvard University. I'm Steve Curwood, executive producer. Thanks for listening.

(The Valkyries continue to blast, up and under)

ANNOUNCER: Major support for Living on Earth comes from the National Science Foundation for reporting on science and the environment; the W. Alton Jones Foundation; the Ford Foundation; the William Flora Hewlett Foundation, and all-natural Stonyfield Farm yogurt. Whether supporting worthwhile causes or producing healthy foods, Stonyfield's goal is to make you feel good inside.

NPR ANNOUNCER: This is NPR, National Public Radio.


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