How difficult is it to be a government whistleblower these days? A dozen years after 9/11, with a former constitutional law professor in the White House, the sad news is that to expose government negligence or illegality is to jeopardize one’s career and life savings.
The newest documentary from producer and director ROBERT GREENWALD and Brave New Films, WAR ON WHISTLEBLOWERS: Free Press and the National Security State highlights the stories of four individuals who felt compelled to reveal acts of government illegality and violations to the U.S. constitution in the military industrial complex in the years following 9/11. In the film, whistleblowers, journalist and experts share what happens when the government punishes those who stand up to demand accountability and defend the constitution. Such actions and the atmosphere they engender has a chilling effect on the speech rights of citizens and the free press. This week I speak about all of this with GREENWALD as well as with two of the courageous whistleblowers featured in the film, THOMAS TAMM and FRANZ GAYL.
Q&A: RANDY HAYES, ED of Foundation Earth former head of Rainforest Action Network, working to “ecologize” the economyWritten on November 21st, 2012
I’ll be talking with RANDY HAYES, former head of Rainforest Action Network, currently ED of Foundation Earth, whose primary work these days is rethinking and “ecologizing” the economy. While Balog offers evidence of some symptoms of our way of life, the consequences of our actions, Hayes is attempting to develop radical approaches to economics that will enable us to deal with the underlying causes.
RANDY HAYES is a Climate Policy Officer at the World Future Council, a global forum composed of 50 individuals from around the world championing the rights of future generations and working to ensure that humanity acts now for a sustainable future. Hayes is also the founder of Rainforest Action Network, a veteran of many high-visibility corporate accountability campaigns, served as President to the City of San Francisco Commission on the Environment, and as Director of Sustainability in the office of Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown. Hayes has a Master’s degree in Environmental Planning from San Francisco State University and his master’s thesis, The Four Corners, won the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences award for “Best Student Documentary” in 1983.
My guest will be NORA BATESON, and we’ll talk about AN ECOLOGY OF MIND, the wonderful documentary she’s made about her father, the late anthropologist GREGORY BATESON. He saw reality as made up of relationships and systems and had a big impact on a lot of people’s worldview in the late 60s and early 70s, myself included.
NORA BATESON is a media producer and educator. Her work includes documentaries, multimedia productions, magazine columns, and developing curriculum for elementary and high school students. Central to all her pursuits is the idea of utilizing media and storytelling to encourage cultural understanding, social justice, and environmental awareness.
Some bad news:
In 2008 more than 50% of all US harvested cropland grew only two crops – corn and soybeans and more than 40% of the food calories consumed worldwide came from just three crops: wheat, corn and rice.
30% of Detroit residents receive food stamps, but 92% of Detroit’s food stamp retailers offer few or no fresh fruit or vegetables.
The average plate of food eaten in our homes or restaurants travels 1,500 miles from where the food is grown. Our food system consumes 10.3 calories of fossil fuel energy to produce 1.4 calories of food energy.”
And some good news:
There are now 8000 farm to school programs across the US. Eight years ago there were only 4. There are now 6000 farmers’ markets in the US three times as many as in 1995. 330 hospitals in the US and Canada have pledged to purchase food that is grown according to Fair Food principles.
In recent years a number of books and films have documented the dangers of our current food system, and a number of those have been featured on Free forum. Just as you can’t alter the course of climate change by simply switching to efficient light bulbs, today’s guests believe that you can’t fix the broken food system by simply growing a backyard garden. It requires redesigning our food system.
My first guest, ORAN HESTERMAN has a new book FAIR FOOD, a guide to changing not only what we eat, but how our food is grown, packaged, delivered, marketed and sold. Hesterman opens the book talking about Detroit, Michigan, an unlikely beacon of hope in the fight for fair food.
Prior to starting the Fair Food Network, where he is President & CEO, ORAN HESTERMAN was the inaugural president of Fair Food Foundation, leading their sustainable food systems programs. Before that, he researched and taught in the crop and soil sciences department at Michigan State University in East Lansing, and for more than 15 years he co-led the Integrated Farming Systems and Food and Society Programs for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, during which time the Foundation seeded the local food systems movement with over $200 million. FAIR FOOD is his first book.
My second guest LEILA CONNERS, a founder of Tree Media in Santa Monica, is a producer of URBAN ROOTS, a documentary on the food revolution taking place in Detroit. Directed by Detroit-native Mark McInnis the film tells the powerful story of a group of dedicated Detroiters working tirelessly to fulfill their vision for locally-grown, sustainably farmed food in a city where people — as in much of the county — have found themselves cut off from real food and limited to lifeless offerings of fast food chains, mini-marts, and grocery stores stocked with processed food from thousands of miles away.
LEILA CONNERS is Founder and President of Tree Media Group. Conners is director, producer, and writer on THE 11TH HOUR, as well as the short films “Global Warning” and “Water Planet” (all with Leonardo DiCaprio). She was Associate Editor at New Perspectives Quarterly and Global Viewpoint, focusing on international politics and social issues. She is producer of URBAN ROOTS.
fairfoodbook.org, fairfoodnetwork.org, urbanrootsamerica.com, treemedia.com
HAPPY. Are you happy? What makes you happy? Does money make you happy? Kids and family? Your work? Do you live in an environment that values and promotes happiness and well-being? Do you expect you’re going to get happier? How?
ROKO BELIC’S documentary HAPPY explores these sorts of questions. It weaves the latest scientific research from the field of “positive psychology” with stories from around the world of people whose lives illustrate what we’re learning.
The basic approach to the pursuit of happiness taken by many of us and by society in general isn’t delivering. We know more than we ever have about what science can tell us about happiness. And we have access to more diverse models and worldviews than ever before. This is a good time to ask some basic questions.