Two thousand litres of oil per American

When it comes to broadcast media, nothing beats radio. It’s fast, cheap, out of control, and the medium through which I’ve learned more about the world than any other.

So here’s a post about radio. First, a rant. If there’s a hell, the creators of the Chevron radio adverts (which sound like this) will one day finds themselves there, listening to their wretched creation on loop, in perpetuity. From the very first pensive piano note, everything about the ad spits disingenuity, deceit and greenwash. There hasn’t been an occasion where I’ve heard the opening notes and not changed the station. The net effect is to make me want to give money to these people, who have a much firmer grasp of Chevron’s environmental commitments.


On the Pacifica radio network, of course, I wouldn’t hear any such rubbish, or any advertisement at all. Instead, I’d hear reporting from around the world that takes nothing for granted, which is why it’s required listening for me (and for any English-language activist).

My local Pacifica station is KPFA, whose flagship contemporary affairs programme is the superlative Against the Grain. Recently, they ran a fantastic hour on the food crisis, picking two articles from a recent special issue of Monthly review. Christina Schiavoni spoke of the good things happening in Venezuela around the right to food, and David Pimentel spoke about the resource profligacy of American agriculture. Among his data: it takes the energy equivalent of two thousand litres of oil to feed every American. It takes three times as much energy to grow irrigated corn as rainfed. And sustainable organic methods of growing food yield more than conventional. He’s a goldmine of rigorously researched information, and well worth listening to.

The last radio observation here is also to do with KPFA. Stop reading if you’re not a member but if you are do check out the slate from the Concerned Listeners for KPFA who represent, by far, the best choice of candidates in the upcoming election for the Local Station Board. In short, and in order, the slate is this:

1. Conn Hallinan
2. Dan Siegel
3. Jack Kurzweil
4. Virginia Rodriguez
5. Andrea Turner
6. John Van Eyck
7. Mike Smith
8. Donald Goldmacher
9. Pamela Drake
10. Mark Hernandez