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In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and God called the dry earth the land. And the gathering together of the waters he called Sea. And God saw that it was good. And God said Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creatures and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God said Let Us make man in OUR image and let him have dominion over the fowl of the guests and over every living thing that moves us. Whose garden was it. Musta been
long. Me did it. Oh. I've seen the pictures of her. I'd love to us. Oh oh who's the river was this. The program you are about to hear is a special report on the environmental crisis produced by the National Information Network at Northeastern University. During the next 30 minutes you will hear from men like Ralph Nader economist John Kenneth Galbraith Senator Edmund Muskie and ecologist Barry comma your narrator is Dave. Those were great. He'll listen live Lou. And good to me. Lou can you swear that. Whose grey sky was the total pollution of the ocean came in
the summer of 1979. It had been preceded in the mid 1970s by massive famines across Asia and Latin America by the early 1980s. The afternoon sun was no longer visible in the sky over the major cities in America and in second roving armies resistant to pesticides swarmed over the food producing lands of the American Midwest. These are the news stories ecologist like Dr. Paul Ehrlich say will be reading in the near future if the environmental crisis is not resolved. Today the threats seem less dramatic. They come from biologists. Architects sociologists and a few politicians we have never reached the point of a real environmental ethic. In which to live. We're so technologically oriented that we haven't stopped to think about people. We are poisoning the air and we are poisoning the water and the roadsides are getting increasingly fired up and they are rapidly
becoming covered by beer cans and throw away bottles. I think we have a very drab stereotyped environment which is a response to a process that hasn't been designed that has really happened more as a result of indifference than of deliberate action. About 25 years ago we began to produce many new synthetic compounds and introduced them into the environment long before we really understood the effects on human beings. If one phrase can characterize our traditional outlook as a marriage. That phrase is banned. There's More Where That Came From. We have talked that there was always more of everything. But now the time is coming or it is here. When there is no more clean air. Or clean water. The worst effects of pollution have yet to this couple a.
Real disaster within the very few years and Veyron mentalist Berri common Earl of Washington University in St. Louis offers a simple lesson in ecology. What is the environmental system that supports this. It has a very distinctive characteristic in that system. Nothing is born or produced before its burial or decomposition has been already arranged for. In other words. One of the first laws of ecology is. That everything has to go somewhere. There is no such thing as waste. Everything that's born dies everything that dies decomposes everything that decomposes gives birth to new material. Everything is connected to everything else. Senator Edmund Muskie of Maine chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on air and water pollution emphasizes Dr. commoner's message about the natural network.
Those who believe that the environmental crisis relates to trees and not people. Are wrong. Those who believe that we're talking about the Grand Canyon in the Catskills. But not Harlem and rocky. Are wrong. And those who believe that we must do something about the SSTV and the automobile. But not ABM this and the Vietnam War are also wrong. We pay 20 times more. For the Vietnam War and we pay for water pollution control. We pay more than twice as much for the SS as we pay for air pollution control. And we pay seven times as much. For our MS research and development. As we pay for housing. More than eight years ago before ecology became an in issue before it got so much attention in the press. A naturalist named Rachel Carson
was literally scorned by scientists and journalists alike in her bestseller Silent Spring. Miss Carson suggested that chemical pesticides were doing more harm than good by upsetting the natural balance. Today the government with its limited ban on DDT has begun to listen to Rachel Carson's words Frank Graham editor of Audubon magazine has written a book describing the damage that has been done since Silent Spring. Many ecologist believe that today because of the support of public opinion we are well on our way to saving the natural order. Frank Graham is not so optimistic. We like to think things are getting better because this is increasing awareness that there is a problem. But in many areas I think this is one that by its very nature has to be getting worse because what we're dealing with here are. Michael substances DDT and its so-called sister pesticides these persistent pesticides which do not break down but which persist in the environment. I would say the
chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides which include DDT dieldrin aldrin and dran have to claw our lindane and talks to feed. These are the ones that are persistent which do not break down and which are causing the trouble. The other pesticides to use carelessly they can only kill you. But these pesticides their effects can be so far reaching that if they're not controlled and if they're not handled properly I think that they could affect the survival of the of the human race to date. In most states bans on pesticides have been largely limited to widespread agricultural use in millions of American households. Children are still within arm's reach of insect and Roach killers that have not been taken off the market. Sprays that are just as deadly as the insecticides used by farmers. The environmental crisis is not limited as some believe to the fast diminishing wooded areas. Many designers are worried that the urban environments in which 80 percent of
our people spend their time are poorly designed and deteriorating rapidly. One such critic is architect Peter chair my of Cambridge Massachusetts. I think the drabness and the stereotyped character of the spaces in which people work in the most immediate sense of the area in which a man's office might be the environment with which they move through which they move the corridors the endless drab unchanging spaces the lack of orientation the lack of views the lack of places to sit places to meet places to eat their daily lives in effect stereotyped and made as dreadful as Kafka could have imagined by these buildings. I think in other words it's not just a matter of ugliness. I think these people are dulled by the dullness of their surroundings. Architect Gary Hart Kalman designer of the award winning Boston City Hall. I know of a good architects who succumb to the pressure of seventy five million dollars worth of construction and perhaps against their better judgment put up buildings that they wouldn't put up
if they were in that tremendous economic pressure on them. I think the enormous number of people who are registered as architects are in fact what I would call a pure I would call hacks. One could say 75 or 80 percent of the buildings which people are exposed to live in walk around in or move around outside etc. they condition their lives have been done by architects who are unworthy of the name Henry Brook Director of Program transportation at Massachusetts Institute of Technology underwriting cities for that which is what is being done on the government policy. Now all you need to do is go into any central city these days after say 8 o'clock in the evening and you find empty streets. There's nobody there. We've built. A device that's good for perhaps 10 to 12 hours a day and it's then deserted every shopping center is an island in a sea of cars.
Every shopping strip on every main street in every suburb is to a large extent a sprawling mass because it's trying primarily to serve the car and the architect who tries to dent that picture by making a handsome building that saves almost dealing with irrelevant choices. His impact on that bad situation is minute because he's not in control of the major questions. The sound of traffic the internal combustion engine that moves America each year some 2 million cars roll out of Detroit to make room for them. The government and private industry paid more than a million miles of grass and trees because of this many ecologists want to see the car banned especially from inner city areas. Most agree that major changes must be made in the automobiles power source. If we are to survive the 1980s as a mobile people. Very common are the gasoline engine that's been developed for the modern
portable be able to produce a small dog and it does this because it operates a high compression ratios and high temperatures for the sake of generating high power. Under these conditions the nitrogen and oxygen in the air that's taken into the engine. The nitrogen oxides which came out the exhaust are activated by sunlight interact with waste fuel and smog results. Other words we've got the wrong kind of venture. Dr. Constantine Gregory of Northeastern and civil engineering department the I don't feel is probably responsible for 60 percent of the air pollution it's any atmosphere. Yet the animal industry now is in the process of putting devices on the automobile which will reduce the emissions of certain pollutants into the atmosphere. This is going to help in the future. Your larger prize winning environmentalist Dr. Rene Dubos of Rockefeller University disagrees. The outcome of that industry is going to put on even a single bit of a bill. Some of those afterburners and cap at least to try to
eliminate. Pollutants from emission. At the exhaust. Well I'm convinced this is a fraud. Any one of you and yours all difficulties to have a car serviced for even the most elementary type of service and I can assure you that all those political afterburners are complicated things that would demand an immense amount of control that will have to be watching for any given humans. And I think what's going to happen is about who are going to pay a hundred fifty dollars mo. Cough like gadgets that's not going to serve any purpose. John Kenneth Galbraith there's no chance that General Motors will produce an emission free automobile unless those strong this pressure is put on unless in effect it is told that the alternative is to produce no automobile. Then it will become serious. And as a matter of fact this is one of the things that would bother me about the present rhetoric. There's a certain impression that you can accomplish this by speechmaking
it will be accomplished only by a firm stern government regulation. Dr. DuBose agrees with Peter Chimay often with many other transportation experts that the only viable alternative for inner city communication is via mass transit systems. We all know that the sick days when. We did so with the main thing is if we continue producing. Big and big girl flesh on flesh as well as we can certainly devise as has been done in Europe is being done in monthly of a system of public transportation that would serve the needs of us that these public transportation other than the automobile is yes indeed an answer and probably the most important consideration that we have had throughout this country at the moment in terms of urban planning I would give it the highest priority.
At this point. We seem addict did to the automobile. The federal government has more than 40 billion dollars now set aside for more highways. The latest appropriation for mass transit. Was under 200 million dollars. One often overlooked aspect of the pollution problem is the nutritional crisis. Americans eat more than any other people. But there is medical evidence that much of the food we consume has little or no nutritional value. We are in effect polluting our own human systems. Ralph Nader offers some examples. There's a chicken cancer epidemic going on in this country. You probably heard about it. It's been going on for five years getting worse. They have now found a way to control and found a vaccine and found a way to eradicate it by due to genetic strains. So what happens. All that we're left with is the injunction to cook and. Cook that virus and cook it hard.
You think bacon is cheaper than sewing. Cut 30 75 percent of bacon you buys fat. You eat you when it's way down the scale you're paying you know 80 80 90 dollar a pound processed meat is even worse. Because you're paying for all kinds of things have nothing to do with meat including things like rodent remains. Which were tested. Which were found in fresh pork sausage by a widespread test undertaken by Consumers Union. This is slide rule precision fraud. Pumping fast into frankfurters is often the source of G of the humor among people when they learn that the average content of fats in Frankfurt has gone from 15 or 70 percent 950 to 33 percent last year. They sort of giggle. They laugh 15 billion frankfurters a sorrow. A third at
least is fat. The rest water filler miscellaneous debris and substandard me. Oil that's like substance that powers our cars and factories and warms our homes has in recent years become a damaging pollutant. The people of Santa Barbara California understand what crude oil can do to a coastline when it seeps out from an offshore drilling rig. Two winters ago platform a off the California coast blew spilling millions of barrels of crude oil onto the sandy beaches of Santa Barbara. One of the tourist highlights of the West Coast. Former California legislator Al wind Gann describes the plight of an American town directly confronted with a pollution disaster. From January 28 when the blowout occurred and subsequently This is probably been the most traumatic experience most of
us in Santa Barbara have felt. I've lived here for nearly 40 years and I've gone through earthquakes and floods and friends and fires but nothing equal the devastation and intensity of the this oil spill disaster. Santa Barbara News man Dick Smith. People live in this country they live it and they love it. And this entire community starts at about sea level and at the highest point it's 2000 feet and every home space is down onto the sea. And this is the pride and the pleasure of not having to go very far to go down and rock on a beach not a curly island not a regulated beach but miles of endless coastline. Thirdly the mysteries of the sea. And nobody wants to rock along and get his feet in the aisle and see and listen to and cry inside at the plight of a bird or oil soaked and dying inside of Barbara.
Small business men have felt the cost of pollution where it seems to hurt most in the bankbook. But we made a check earlier in the year. We compared the tourist increases about of us and below us on the south coast and found that there were indeed increases in the amount of tourist travel and tourist expenditures tourist monies expended. But in the Santa Barbara region the tourist dollars diminished during the summer months. Fewer people came here for obvious reasons. Ralph Nader Santa Barbara has been smothered with oil slag. And there hasn't been a single find of a corporate official and nobody's calling for one. That's amazing situation. Shows you the immunity of the corporate structure. They're now trying to decide who should pay for the government or the company or combination of the two. Ecologist estimate the cost of the environmental cleanup job for this country at more than 100 billion dollars. Who will pay for it. Big business or the consumer not the corporations. Says economist Galt right.
You will never get a business firm large or small to undertake a profitable expensive operation unless it is required to do so. If it's the cheapest course of action to dump the waste into the rivers or into Lake Erie this will be done and it will be done until such time as there is firm instruction. In effect saying you either stop that or pay a fine that is considerably in excess of the economy and so disposing of the waste. Most of the talk of corporate responsibility. Ninety nine percent of it is a device for evading the issue and nobody should ever be taken in by it. Frank Graham. The industry will say anyone who interferes with business is against the American way of life. It's not interfering with business it's just trying to protect the American people from these environmental insults. We Americans who make up five point seven percent of the world's population
today consume more than 40 percent of the world's non renewable natural resources. Barry Commoner feels that Americans could live just as well on much less at the present time. Our standard of living is compounded of certain types of products which are really quite useless. We produce too many cars because they break down so fast need to be junk so fast we produce too much electricity because an awful lot of it is wasted on advertising which is you know human sense useless. In other words we aren't sure what resources we really need to use in order to support human welfare. And I think that we could probably so to speak shake down our standard of living a good deal and achieve the kind of quality of life we want without using the vast resources that we are at the present time.
For the first time since the outbreak of the industrial revolution Americans are beginning to question whether an increase in material goods necessarily makes for an improved quality of life. Dr. DuBose. Modern industrial societies can survive. Only. Even they make quantity of life. Rather than quantity. But actually. The cocktail of that success. There is one important. Fact about the conflict between the environment and technology. The environment got here first and it will be your last. The fact is that it's up to us to conform to the environment or we won't make it. Whether we make it or not. Ecologist tell us depends on how we control our birth rate. Dr. Edward hacker of northeastern philosophy department.
United Nations estimates that right now there's three and a half million people. Nine hundred eighty they'll be four billion. 1998 will be five billion in the year 2000 six billion and in the year 2068 about 24 billion people that's a lot of people. Right now the population is increasing five thousand six hundred people every hour. And one day it's a hundred and thirty four thousand people and forty nine million people in one year which is almost a population of Great Britain and half the people now living have been born since World War 2. As the number of people increases like the number of any product the value of the individual decreases. You read in the newspaper that 100000 lost their life in an earthquake or something. It's just a drop in the bucket. What is human life when there's so much of it. The value of it goes down. Birth control crusader Bill bared too often where you have a very strong tendency to think about overpopulation in India or South America or Pakistan or
Egypt right in the ghetto areas such as Harlem Bedford-Stuyvesant the birth rate among the poor is as high as it is in India and the ignorance is every bit as acute. And what is our national government doing about birth control and controlling the population. They're spending thirty five million dollars a year which is less money than what they spend for rat control which is 50 million dollars and so they're spending a hundred and seventy million for designing a supersonic airplane. That was the test model 170 million dollars and 35 million for domestic population control. Too many miles not enough food. Too much filth in the air and water. Chemicals that poison the soil and animal life. Foods that fatten but cannot strengthen man. Massive traffic jams and miles of asphalt where flour is used to grow at the start of the 1970s. America is in many ways a dirty nation.
How will things change. Tighter regulation of the means of production are changing the way people live and the way they waste. But most importantly a stronger test of representative government. The people in Washington they just don't see that this is a serious problem. It is and they won't see that it's a serious problem until people start to write in and say something about it. James L. Dallas director of air pollution control for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Unfortunately I know from the control point of view the only time we receive any budgetary support was a result of a crisis. My point if you are concerned with environmental science why mental health it should be preventable and we should never be put in a position to have to work after a crisis and this is the shame of the situation. So this is where we are. This is what we have. Now is manufactured and in the lab lately. No
one is manufactured anymore walks anymore. Often they you hear such silly statements as well what do you prefer. People of the death of birds to death a fish is a clear warning sign that something is wrong with our environment from top to bottom and that we don't stand apart from nature from the natural world we are part of the universe. And when a bird dies I think it's a warning sign that we better heed what we have to begin to do is to repossess America repossessing America. Will repossess our common humanity. The American as a human being. With clean air to breathe with decent water to drink that a fish would accept they don't accept the water we drink now. With grass to walk on a relationship to animals. Sounds sentimental doesn't it. You forget those things and you're just a fraction of a
magazine. That's what we're out to do to try to become. Whole men. And women. Again. For them. You are similar in this way. You've been listening to a special report on the environmental crisis produced by the National Information that was Opinions expressed were not necessarily those of Northeastern University or the station. This program was produced directed written by Peter I'm going to buy this technical supervision by John and Bob and now you are married or was Dave having. The bike hollyhocks unloved for. Life and has had to let.
Your son would lose. Their lives Lou. Can you swear that. This is the national educational radio network.
Urban Confrontation
Episode Number
Down to Earth
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Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Urban Confrontation is an analysis of the continuing crises facing 20th century man in the American city, covering issues such as campus riots, assassinations, the internal disintegration of cities, and the ever-present threat of nuclear annihilation. Produced for the Office of Educational Resources at the Communications Center of the nations largest private university, Northeastern University.
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Producing Organization: Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.)
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 70-5-17 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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Duration: 00:30:00?
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Chicago: “Urban Confrontation; 17; Down to Earth,” 1970-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 19, 2024,
MLA: “Urban Confrontation; 17; Down to Earth.” 1970-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 19, 2024. <>.
APA: Urban Confrontation; 17; Down to Earth. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from