Coral Reefs in Deep Trouble

Dear Friends,


A new report paints a disturbing picture of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The coral’s status has declined from “significant concern” to “critical,” as bleaching continues to kill more and more coral. The report fingers climate change as the primary culprit.

It’s not just coral: One-third of all natural World Heritage sites are threatened by climate change. Joining me for that conversation is Steve Kitchen of STC Dive Center in Des Moines — and yes, Iowa has dive centers.

Here’s a real shocker: Congress did something good! Over the objections of the US Air Force, the House and Senate voted to maintain protections for Nevada’s Desert National Wildlife Refuge, blocking a proposal to expand an Air Force bombing range by 300,000 acres. The refuge is the largest national wildlife refuge in the contiguous US and noted for its population of bighorn sheep.

Bighorn Sheep (Photo by Donald M. Jones)

So, we stopped them from blowing up bighorn sheep, but can we stop them from blowing up democracy? A crowd of armed protesters showed up at Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s home over the weekend, using megaphones to yell “stop the steal” and “you’re murderers” (whatever that means).

Election officials in other states, too, including Georgia, Arizona, Kentucky, Minnesota, Colorado, and even Vermont have been harassed or threatened. Here’s livestream posted by one of the Michigan protesters — parental discretion advised.

I’m no stranger to protests, but targeting someone’s home is wrong for any reason. If this election had truly been stolen, I’d speak out against it as loud as anyone. Yet every shred of bipartisan evidence indicates a fair and clean election. Arguing otherwise in the face of reality only serves to undermine democracy — and causes Vladimir Putin to smile an impish, dictatorial grin.

Speaking of dictators, we discuss the limits of presidential power with Jeffrey Weiss, former peace education director at the American Friends Service Committee and a teacher in the social sciences. My question for Jeffrey: With Trump showing his activist side on the way out the White House door, even talking about pre-emptive pardons for family and friends, is there any limit to what an American president can get away with?

Jeffrey and I also discuss how unique is America’s Republican Party, with Jeffrey arguing there’s no other political party in the industrialized world quite so extreme, given that, for example, the Republican platform even includes a plank denying climate change.

Finally, Kathy Byrnes of Birds & Bees Urban Farm joins me to learn of a family in the Yukon — just 200 miles from the Arctic Circle — who dined for one year strictly on what they could grow or gather. Check out our Facebook video version of that conversation here.


(01:50) Great Barrier Reef on life support, with Steve Kitchen of STC Dive Center;
(15:05) Blowing up the desert … and democracy;
(28:10) The limits of presidential power, with Jeffrey Weiss;
(43:03) What makes the Republican Party unique in the world, with Jeffrey Weiss;
(55:12) Eating local in the Yukon, with Kathy Byrnes, Birds & Bees Urban Farm.

Watch our conversation with Kathy Byrnes on The Fallon Forum Facebook Page.

Please support the local businesses and non-profits who make this program possible. Click on their logos elsewhere on this site and visit Story County Veterinary ClinicBold Iowa, and Birds & Bees Urban Farm.

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Ed Fallon