Pittsburgh’s Energy Upheaval

Penn Future – Pittsburghs Energy Upheaval

A Coal-Fired Power Plant
A Coal-Fired Power Plant

Over 200 Pittsburghers gathered at Phipps Conservatory Sunday March 29th to discuss the future of climate change action in the region.  The group Citizens for Pennsylvania Future (Penn Future) organized the event – bringing together activists, government workers and scientists together – to talk about recent major developments in energy and the environment.

Pennsylvania’s a coal state – responsible for 1 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions – but now the state’s on the precipice of a new era for energy use and production. After decades of talking about climate change and the need for dramatic action, 2009 looks to be a watershed year.

Suddenly there’s lots of money for  solar & wind energy production and for improving the energy efficiency of our buildings and infrastructure.  But the big question remains: will people change their lifestyles in response?

Produced for Rustbelt Radio.


Guantánamo Uyghurs

The Guantanamo Uyghurs

The Five Uyghur Detainees released in 2006 to Albania
The Five Uyghur detainees released in 2006 to Albania

The countdown to Bush’s exit is on — and it has special meaning to a group of 17 Uyghur men who have been incarcerated in Guantánamo Bay detention facilities since 2001 –despite having been cleared of enemy combatant status as as early as 2003.  If soon to be-President Obama closes Guantánamo, the Uyghurs will finally be released — but the question then is, where will they go?

The Uyghurs are Turkic Muslims from the far West of China, but the US refuses to return them to China for fear of the abuse and execution they would face there.  China and the Uyghurs are locked in a long-standing low-level conflict, like that of China and the Tibetans. 

But even though it doesn’t want to give China the Uyghur detainees, the Bush administration won’t admit them to the US, and it hasn’t been able to persuade European, Canadian, or Australian governments to resettle them either.  If the Guantánamo system is finally closed in the coming weeks, the question of ‘what next’ for the detainees may prove just as Kafkaesque as their past seven years. 

Produced for RustBelt Radio

Ep. 33: Shauna Hair

Another World Episode 33

A Hairpiece at Shauna's Shop

We go to Chameleon Hair Extensions in Smithfield Market to hear from shop owner Shauna Mullan all about hair.  She’s been dong hair extensions and weaves since she was a young teenager and business has blossomed for her in the past decade, as more women in Belfast want hair extensions and many have bad experiences with home jobs or inexperienced stylists, resulting in bald spots, lumpy hair, matted clumps and other disasters.

Shauna discusses how she got into the hair extension business, where the hair comes from, what the concerns and preferences of the customers are, and why hair is so important.

Hair Hair Hair Hair Hair

Ep. 26: Beekeeping with the Wilsons

 Another World Episode 26

Owen with his hives
Owen with his hives

Owen Wilson keeps tens of thousands of bees in his backyard in Donaghadee.  He began beekeeping as a teenager but stopped in the 1960s when he had to kill all his bees, after they’d been infected with American Foulbrood disease.    

In this episode, Owen and his wife Ann outline the rules of bee society, including the death battles between virgin queens, the cluster ball-suffocation of strangers, the post-mating massacre of male drones, and bees who march to their death for the sake of the hive.  He also tells of a man who could keep queen bees in his mouth; the health benefits of bee venom, pollen & honey; and why he always makes sures his trousers are tucked into his socks when he works with his bees.