Barriers To Better Being

By Don Fitz

It seems like every plan to improve the environment is met with barriers that get in the way for a month, a year or a century. November Green Time episodes delve into surmounting some of those barriers, including criminalization of medical marijuana, power grid disruption, misuse of water, or misuse of land.

Are there truly people who are “refugees” from Missouri because of its absence of laws allowing use of marijuana for medical treatment? In the first November Green Time, host Don Fitz and guests James McNeely of St. Louis NORML and Marc Clifton of The No Smoke Shop ask how marijuana can help cancer patients cope with effects of chemotherapy. They look at how marijuana can assist with hospice and compare its effects to those of alcohol. Who are the major opponents of marijuana decriminalization? How could minor offenses of possessing marijuana result in jail time in Missouri?

The power grid is what allows us to have electricity. But it can be disrupted. At times there may be a major instability. A steel cable tethering a blimp may come undone at the bottom, and the blimp may sail away dragging the cable across power lines. During the second November Green Time, host Don Fitz and guest William Pickard of the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering at Washington University discuss breaking the grid into isolated fragments called islands. Each island will need its own independent store of energy if the lights are to stay on. The big problem is what we do when most of the electric power is generated by photovoltaics and the sun goes down. Colossal amounts of storage will be needed.

What is the connection between water exhaustion, population growth and income inequality? In the third November Green Time, host Don Fitz and Bob Criss, of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Washington University, discuss how changing rivers has made them more unpredictable, affecting wildlife and flooding. They explore how dams affect bottomland, fish species, salinity of soil, evaporation and electricity generation. What does “water overuse” mean and how does it affect rivers??

Less and less land is available for human use. Most land is not occupied by people but is used for growing food, extraction of minerals and depositing industrial and household trash. During the final November Green Time show, host Don Fitz and Bob Criss discuss excellent Missouri bottomland being paved over for a mall. They explore how mountaintop removal contaminates water and makes the land look horrible for millenia, while creating few jobs. As the capital investment on machines for deforestation and mining goes up, land is destroyed at an increasing rate. Misuse of farmland is accompanied by “fertigation,” the practice of pumping pesticides and fertilizer into groundwater which poisons it for human consumption.

November shows include the movies A NORML Life, The Law of Diminishing Returns, Construction of Hoover Dam: One of the Largest Dams of the World, International Deforestation Patterns in Tropical Rainforests and Our Forests Aren’t Fuel: Injustice in Northampton.

Green Time appears at noon on Sat. in St. Louis on Channel 24-1 and at 8 pm on Mon. in St. Louis on Channel 24-2, Springfield on Channel 39, Joplin on Channel 36 and Marshfield on Channel 17. Green Time programs air on these dates:

  • Nov. 5 & 7: “A Deeper Look at Medical Marijuana,”
  • Nov.12 & 14: “Power Grid Resilience,”
  • Nov. 19 & 21: “Ignoring the Future: Misuse of Water.”
  • Nov. 26 & 28: “Ignoring the Future: Misuse of Land.”

“Like” Gateway Greens on Facebook and click “Get notifications.” Also see Green Time on greentime.tv. To help produce Green Time TV call 314-727-8554 or email don@greentime.tv.