| The Boston Harbor Light on Little Brewster Island was the first lighthouse established in America. It was first lit on September 14, 1716. (Photo: USCG)
|| The Makapuu Point Light on Oahu Island, first established in 1909, has a lens that's more than eight feet across and can beam out a light that can be seen for 28 miles. (Photo: USCG)
Nowadays, it's the job of the coastguard to make sure the lights are on in more than the 300 remaining American lighthouses. And they've taken a load off the shoulders of Saint Venerius. The traditional profession of lighthouse keeper became obsolete in the U.S. when the last light was automated in 1998.
And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.
- U.S. Coast Guard page on Lighthouse History
- National Park Service Inventory of Historic Light Stations
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CURWOOD: Back in 1970, population control was a popular topic in speeches on the first Earth Day. After all, scientist, Paul Ehrlich had just published his groundbreaking book, “The Population Bomb.” And the group Zero Population Growth, which linked population to environmental degradation, had just been formed. But over the years, the issue of population has almost disappeared from the agenda of many environmental groups. Living on Earth's Anna Solomon-Greenbaum explains why that might be.
SOLOMON-GREENBAUM: On Earth Day this year, leaders of some of the nation's leading environmental groups held a press conference in Washington. This group of suit-clad, mostly white male activists talked about a range of tangible and, some would argue, donation-friendly issues, from wilderness protection to super-fun clean-ups. The one thing they didn't talk about was population. That chore was left to the gray-haired founder of Earth Day, Gaylord Nelson, who brought up the subject at the National Press Club.
NELSON: The ultimate key to sustainability is population. When I was born in 1916, the population of the United States was 98 million.
SOLOMON-GREENBAUM: That number today is almost 300 million. And even though fertility rates here are almost low enough to stabilize the population, it's expected to nearly double over the next century. That projected growth is largely due to immigrants and their children. And that may be why most major environmental groups tend to avoid the topic.
CHRISTIAN: When you start to talk about immigration policy, reducing the level of immigration or stabilizing U.S. population, you're accused of racism, elitism.
SOLOMON-GREENBAUM: Johnette Christian is founder of Mainers for Immigration Reform.
CHRISTIAN: You're accused of xenophobia, nativism. These are all the words that we use to silence any discussion around stabilizing our population and reducing immigration.
SOLOMON-GREENBAUM: Consider what happened in 1998 when some Sierra Club members called for a vote on whether the group should lobby to reduce the number of immigrants allowed into the U.S. every year. Harry Pachon, president of the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute, a think-tank focused on Latino issues, says Latinos and environmentalists could be natural allies. But the Sierra Club vote challenged that relationship.
PACHON: I think it really raised some eyebrows. It was like, you too are joining the fray against the Hispanic community. Because you have to take the context of the period in which the vote was taken. It came within four years of Proposition 187, the restriction on immigrant assistance. And the whole tenor of the time was anti-immigrant rhetoric and immigrant bashing, per se.
SOLOMON-GREENBAUM: The Sierra Club measure to cut immigration was eventually voted down. Still, almost 40 percent of Sierra Club members voted for tighter restrictions on immigration, including some heavy weight environmental thinkers, like Gaylord Nelson, E.O. Wilson, and Lester Brown, founder of the Worldwatch Institute. Cut away the rhetoric, says Brown, and the fact is more people use more resources and produce more waste. Unless population is stabilized, he says, ecosystems won't survive.
BROWN: I think systems are going to be breaking down because of water shortages, severe water shortages. And if we look into future of water shortages, we're probably also looking into future food shortages.
SOLOMON-GREENBAUM: However uncomfortable, Brown says, today's environmental activists need to face the issues of population and immigration at home, and call for a national policy that sets limits on growth.
BROWN: If we had one, then I think it would enable us to think a bit more rationally and a bit less emotionally about some of these issues.
SOLOMON-GREENBAUM: But that's a slippery political tightrope for today's environmental leaders to walk. Vicky Markham directs the Center for Environment and Population. Not only is immigration a touchy topic, but Markham, who's coordinating a state-by-state study on the population/environment equation, says the data simply isn't in yet on whether immigrants are having a negative impact on the environment.
MARKHAM: In my view, there is no good, solid body of evidence that's backed up by the research, the data, or the analysis to clearly demonstrate links. So, they would be going out on a limb, for which they could be attacked.
SOLOMON-GREENBAUM: Annette Souder of the Sierra Club says there's another problem if environmental groups equate immigration with environment degradation. They ignore another sensitive subject, the responsibility current U.S. citizens must accept for over-consuming.
SOUDER: We need to think about the fact we are five percent of the world's population in the United States, and we consume 25 percent of the world's resources right now.
SOLOMON-GREENBAUM: There's almost a sort of generation gap between the 1970s first wave environmentalists who see over-population primarily as a problem of statistics, and current spokespeople who know that race, ethnicity, and class are spectres that can't be avoided in any discussion of the topic today. Bob Engleman, with Population Action International, falls somewhere between the two groups. He says the key to bridging the gap lies in finding a new way to frame the conversation.
ENGLEMAN: The new generation, the new leaders in the environmental field are going to find they really don't have any choice but to take these issues on and to try to frame them in terms that people can relate to, terms like, what is fair? What is inclusive and not exclusive? What doesn't demonize one group of people or make another group seem to be really good actors, when we're all in this together.
SOLOMON-GREENBAUM: Engleman was disappointed at the 2002 Summit on Sustainable Development to see the population issue reduced to. what he describes as, “sideshows at the circus.“ That was in contrast to the first Summit in 1992, when an entire chapter was devoted to population and the environment. But Engleman envisions a shift back.
ENGLEMAN: There will be a need in the next few years as population continues to grow, as it continues to be more evident in a number of debates, particularly water, access to fresh water, climate, and the loss of biodiversity. It's going to be increasingly obvious to people who are paying attention to these issues how important population is.
SOLOMON-GREENBAUM: While the environmental community decides how to address immigration and population, other groups are moving on the issue and using the environment as a talking point. In February, Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo, introduced a bill to sharply cut immigration. A major reason, he says: curbing sprawl.
For Living on Earth, I'm Anna Solomon-Greenbaum, in Washington.
Center for Environment and Population
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CURWOOD: No matter how many people populate our nation in the coming years, chances are advances in technology will ensure that their relationships with digital devices will be more intimate than what most of us now experience. And for some, that day is here already. Journalist Angela Swafford goes beyond the call of duty to merge herself with a machine and give us a glimpse into the future.
SWAFFORD: The painless procedure lasted barely 15 minutes. The doctor applied a local anesthetic to my right arm. Then he inserted a thick needle deep underneath my skin. With that, he shoved a half-inch long, three-millimeter wide microchip into my arm. I have become a guinea pig. I was the 18th person—and the first journalist—ever to have this chip implanted. I got it because I desperately needed some video material for a documentary I was working on.
Called a VeriChip, the implant is similar to the 25 million plus chips already embedded in animals all over the world. The tiny capsule in my arm contains a radio frequency identification chip. Right now, it stores only an identification number, like a barcode. But for instance, in the future, it might contain medical information. So, for example, if I ended up comatose in an emergency room, a scanner waved over my arm would immediately recall my medical history. Already, some 10 medical facilities in Florida carry this scanner, but the company is working to expand that.
The most radical, and perhaps sinister, concept for using the chip is to track people and animals through the global positioning system. This technology could be putting society a step closer to the Orwellian prediction of constant surveillance and has applications that are already rife with controversy. Should the chips be implanted in rapists and other criminals or resident aliens? What about companies following their employees' whereabouts? But it could also be used to track a kidnap victim.
So, for this reason, the company has been literally inundated with requests for information from Latin-American firms who are hoping to cash in on this technology, giving the astonishing number of kidnappings in those countries. According to Dr. Harvey Kleiner, who is so far the only physician authorized to insert the VeriChip, hundreds of people are already lining up to get the implant. And the president of the company that manufactures the chip believes that the day will come when most people will have a VeriChip-like device implanted under their skin.
Meanwhile, at Dr. Kleiner's office, my arm felt like a salami at a supermarket's cash register. It beeped every time the doctor waved the scanner over it. At the same time, a long number with many zeros flashed on the scanner screen. I can imagine this number may become embedded in my memory, just like my social security number. For good or bad, I thought, this chip is quietly heralding a time when humans will literally have technology under their skin, and the merger of human and machine will be routine. These will give some Luddites a chip on their shoulder. But for the rest of us, it will be embedded in our arm.
[MUSIC: Frank Sinatra "I've Got You Under My Skin" My Way Warner (1997)]
CURWOOD: Journalist Angela Swafford lives in Miami, Florida. You can find the two-part series she produced for Living on Earth on the environmental consequences of Colombia's drug war by going to livingonearth.org. Also, coming up on our website, profiting from climate change. The push to limit carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is spawning a global market in carbon trading. As trading these emission rights becomes a big business, there are more and more folks trying to find ways to tap potential profits.
Journalist Wendy Williams looked at some of these schemes. She found one controversial effort that's being touted as good science.
WILLIAMS: Well, I visited with a very nice man named Russ George, who has a website, and tells people that if they want to deal with the carbon that they themselves have put in the atmosphere, they can send him a certain amount of money and he'll seed the ocean with iron for them, grow the phytoplankton, and they will have dealt with their personal carbon obligations that way.
CURWOOD: Emission trading and why it's attracting so much attention, coming up next week on our website, livingonearth.org, that's livingonearth.org.
CURWOOD: You're listening to NPR's Living On Earth.
ANNOUNCER: Funding for Living on Earth comes from the World Media Foundation. Major contributors include the Ford Foundation, for reporting on U.S. environment and development issues, and the William and Flora Hewlitt Foundation for coverage of western issues. Support also comes from NPR member stations, and Bob Williams and Meg Caldwell, honoring NPR's coverage of environmental and natural resource issues, and in support of the NPR President's Council. And Paul and Marcia Ginsberg, in support of excellence in public radio.
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CURWOOD: Time for comments from you, our listeners. Many listeners were intrigued by our recent special about cutting edge research on lead poisoning. But several were distressed by the description of one of the studies getting underway now on minute amounts of lead exposure.
"Let me see if I heard you correctly," writes WMEA Portland, Maine listener Stephen Grabowski, "all the homes are tested for lead paint. Then half the homes will be abated, and half will only be made more child-safe. Is this ethical?" This, of course, was among the very first questions we asked Dr. Bruce Lanphear of Cincinnati's Children's Hospital who heads up the new study.
He points out that numerous studies have shown that efforts to produce lead hazards can be ineffective or even backfire and increase a child's exposure to lead. This new study, he says, will test the safety of methods to reduce lead in houses. And although only half of the homes will receive lead abatement, all the children in this study will regularly have their blood tested. If any child shows up with high blood lead levels, the team will intervene. Finally, Dr. Lanphear's study was unanimously approved by an independent panel of scientists, ethicists and community people.
Send your comments to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, that's email@example.com.
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[MUSIC: West African Balafon Ensemble “Farfina” The Pulse of Life Ellipsis (1992)]
CURWOOD: When the sun sets on the African savannah, it's a good time to go looking for giraffes, at least it was for me one early evening near the border of Mozambique and South Africa. These magnificent creatures with huge, gentle eyes and improbable necks are rather shy, and seek the lengthening shadows when they come out for a chew from the acacia trees.
Behind one tree is the tallest giraffe I've ever seen. It gives us a demure look at we pass by in an open truck. Over there, also close to the trees, and somehow blending in the shadows, a pair, a mother and progeny, perhaps? Oh, now I understand about the spots. They're good for being unnoticed in the murky light at dusk. Soon, the graceful creatures disappear under a starry blanket thrown over the sky, stars I can't see at home. The southern cross and the Magellanic clouds glitter in the clear air of the bush wilderness.
You too can see stars and giraffes like you've never seen before by winning a safari for two to some of the most exciting places in Africa. Thanks to heritageafrica.com, Living on Earth is offering the ultimate African safari, with visits to wildlife hot spots like Kruger Park and the Serengeti. To enter your name in the drawing, just to go our website, livingonearth.org. That's livingonearth.org for the trip of a lifetime.
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CURWOOD: Coming up, it's high noon at the World Trade Organization talks, as the Americans and Europeans face off over food policies. First, this Environmental Health Note from Diane Toomey.
[MUSIC: Health Note Theme]
TOOMEY: Cassava is one of the most important foods in tropical countries, providing many people with a key source of carbohydrates. But if the plant is not properly prepared, it can trigger the production of cyanide. That's because cassava contains linamarin, a substance that discourages insects and animals from eating the plant. But if humans eat improperly prepared cassava, the linamarin breaks down and releases cyanide into the body. This release of cyanide also happens during the processing of the plant, as it's heated, crushed and dried. So women and children who most often prepare cassava can be poisoned with cyanide gas. Chronic low-level cyanide exposure can lead to neuropathy, a nerve damaging disorder. And severe cyanide poisoning is associated with an irreversible paralytic disorder that can lead to death.
But at Ohio State, there's a cyanide-free cassava plant. Researchers there genetically modified the plant, blocking the operation of the genes responsible for linamarin production, reducing its content by up to 99 percent. Preliminary studies also show that linamarin may be important in the transport of nitrogen from cassava leaves to its roots. So, researchers say field trials will be necessary to determine if the inhibition of linamarin will affect plant yields.
That's this week's Health Note, I'm Diane Toomey.
CURWOOD: And you're listening to Living on Earth.
[MUSIC: Erroll Garner “Tea For Two” That’s My Kick and Gemini - Octave (1994)]
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CURWOOD: It's Living On Earth, I'm Steve Curwood.
Debates over genetically modified foods and agricultural subsidies are driving a wedge between Europe and the U.S. in the current round of World Trade Organization talks taking place in Doha, Qatar. Developed countries give their farmers hundreds of billions of dollars a year, either by paying subsidies on the export of goods, as the Europeans do, or on making up the difference to farmers if prices drop, as we do here in the U.S.
Edward Alden, Washington correspondent for the Financial Times of London is following the debate over this issue. He says the U.S. wants to lower subsidies which would even the playing field.
ALDEN: The Europeans subsidize their farmers more heavily than the U.S. subsidizes its farmers. And so, basically, the U.S. feels if there were an agreement that would bring those subsidies to roughly equal levels, the U.S. would come out well ahead.
CURWOOD: How likely do you think it is that this will go through, that the U.S. will get this reduction in agricultural subsidies?
ALDEN: I think the U.S. is not going to get anything close to what it's asking for. I think the most optimistic version is that the European Commission's proposal will get support in Europe, which would mean, still, a significant cut. They have called for about a 55 percent cut in these trade-distorting domestic supports, and a one-third average cut in tariffs. So that would be significant for us, not nearly as much as the U.S. has asked for. Even that, realistically, if it happens, is only going to happen after several years of difficult internal political wrangling in Europe.
CURWOOD: How big a deal is the subsidy question for the developing world?
ALDEN: Well, it's a very big deal because subsidies in advanced countries have the effect of driving down market prices across the world, both in the advanced countries and in the developing countries. So the elimination of subsidies could bring a lot of benefits to developing countries in terms of increasing the market price for their products. So they have a lot at stake in how the U.S. and the Europeans resolve this difference.
CURWOOD: What's the environmental impact of this, if it's not an impasse, very slow progress?
ALDEN: There is general agreement in the environmental community that the trade-distorting subsidies, the subsidies that are linked to production, are bad for the environment because farmers will take fields that they might otherwise have left fallow and plant them with corn or wheat or whatever other crop that gets subsidized. They, obviously, in drier climates they use water heavily in order to irrigate those crops, which is environmentally damaging. So I think there's general agreement it would be a good thing for the environment if those subsidies were reduced.
CURWOOD: Now, this is a tricky enough issue to have at the World Trade Organization, but at the same time, we're looking at another move by the United States. This country and a number of others have requested that the WTO look at this European moratorium on genetically modified foods. Americans say that under the WTO Agreement, Europe must prove scientifically that GMO foods are not safe before they can restrict the import. How deep is this divide?
ALDEN: This is a very fundamental divide. I mean, the European position is, well, the scientific evidence is uncertain. Yes, you cannot declare authoritatively that these products are unsafe, but there are many things that we don't know about them. It's a new technology. There may be problems that emerge over time. And therefore, we should have a right to regulate these in a way that takes that uncertainty into account. The U.S. position is, well, that's all well and good, but that's basically, as far as we're concerned, just an excuse for blocking trade. And the WTO will say, you really do need to be able to demonstrate some scientific basis before taking actions that are effectively an import barrier, because the result is the U.S. farmers who use these genetically modified crops quite heavily can't sell into the European market. So it's a very fundamental split.
CURWOOD: So, Edward, tell me, what do these debates about agriculture mean for the future, the fate of the World Trade Organization? You've got the U.S. going up against Europe. It doesn't look like they will come to much of an agreement over genetically modified foods. It seems that the subsidy issue is going to be a long, difficult path to resolution. What happens to the WTO itself in that kind of scenario?
ALDEN: Well, I mean, I think the difficulty is that the WTO is the only international organization ever created that actually has binding dispute settlement authority, that can tell its members through a process that's equivalent to a court of law what they can and cannot do, and whether they're upholding the rules that they agreed to. The difficulty is that the Europeans and the Americans really have pretty different notions of what those rules mean, and they want to organize their agricultural economies very differently. And I'm not certain that that's something that panels in the WTO--which are basically made up of trade experts, former trade bureaucrats and trade lawyers and others-- I'm not sure that those panels can really resolve those kinds of disputes. These are fundamental disputes between nations that need to be resolved through negotiations.
And I think the danger is that if the U.S. and the Europeans push the WTO too hard to try to resolve those disputes, they'll end up destroying the organization that they created. And I think that's the danger that everyone is aware of, and both sides try to tread at least a little bit gingerly on.
CURWOOD: Edward Alden is the Washington correspondent for the Financial Times of London. Thanks for taking this time with me today.
ALDEN: Thanks very much, Steve.
[MUSIC: Foday Musa Suso “Sunset” Pieces of Africa - Elektra (1996)]
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CURWOOD: When Portuguese explorers reached the New World in 1500, they discovered a tree that produced wonderful dyes, reds, browns and oranges. The called the tree “pau brasil,” and soon the land where this tree grew also became known as Brazil. Millions of pau brasil trees were cut down to supply the dye trade. That practice ended in the mid-1800s with the development of chemical dyes but demand for the trees continued.
Today, more than 90 percent of Brazil's Atlantic coastal forest is gone and development pressures threaten the rest. Now, an international group is trying to help save what's left of the forest because of their strong connection to the pau brasil tree. Living on Earth's Cynthia Graber explains.
[SOUND OF VIOLIN MUSIC]
GRABER: Michael Rosenbloom leans over his violin and listens carefully. Rosenbloom is concert master with the Boston Ballet. He also plays with Boston Pops and Boston Symphony. Today, at a violin shop near Symphony Hall, he's testing a new bow.
[SOUND OF VIOLIN]
GRABER: Rosenbloom says he owns about a dozen bows, each with its own personality.
ROSENBLOOM: Some of them have a lighter touch. Some of them sink into the string more. But I have to admit, there are times, especially in the pit down at the ballet, if I have a solo to play and the piece has two different styles in it, sometimes I'll take two bows down there and switch in the middle.
GRABER: To obtain the perfect bow, some musicians will pay up to $3,000 to craftsman like Tom Dignan.
[SOUNDS OF SCRAPING]
DIGNAN: Can you hear that? Doesn't that sound beautiful?
GRABER: As Dignan scrapes a hand-made plane down a stick of wood he's carving into a violin bow, fiery orange shavings float through the air and coat his workshop near Boston with a fine layer of dust.
DIGNAN: A great bow--the maker has, generally, a very choice piece of wood that has been worked just enough so that it's strong, but resilient and flexible at the same time. It's in your hand. You can feel it in your hand.
Violin bows made of Pau Brasil wood.
(Photo: Cynthia Graber)
GRABER: To make a perfect bow, you need the perfect wood, and it's found only in the Atlantic coastal forest of Brazil. It's called pernambuco, or pau brasil in Portuguese, and it has the flexibility, durability, and resilience, plus rich hues ranging from oranges to dark reddish-browns that bowmakers crave. But today, the pau brasil tree's survival is at risk. Up until the mid-1800s, vast numbers of trees were cut and exported to support Europe's dye trade. Today, habitat loss from urban development and farm expansion threatens remaining trees. And protecting the tree is complicated.
In Brazil, it's illegal to cut pau brasil trees. But people skirt the law by securing permits to clear land for farming or to build homes, and then they're allowed to sell any pau brasil they find on the property. So in 1997, the group Flora & Fauna International invited scientists, conservationists, wood exporters, and bowmakers to discuss the future of the tree. The meeting was a wake-up call for bowmakers who never considered the state of the natural resource or their role in its depletion.
DIGNAN: And certainly, when the minutes from the meeting were published, and we all had a chance to look at that, we became aware of how critical the issue of conservation and how rarified the species seems to be getting in the Atlantic forest of Brazil.
GRABER: It's hard to find pau brasil trees in the wild. But Floriano Schaeffer knows where they are. We're in the state of Espirito Santo, about eight hours north of Rio de Janeiro.
SCHAEFFER: [PORTUGESE] Here's some pau brasil that I planted two months ago.
| Floriano Schaeffer is one of a number of Brazilian bowmakers growing Pau Brasil trees. (Photo: Arcos Brasil)
GRABER: Schaeffer is part of a community of Brazilian bowmakers who know the importance of conserving their precious resource. Schaeffer was 12 years old when he began cutting wood. A few years later, he made his first bow. Today, he owns his own bowmaking company. He's also what Brazilian's call a matero, somebody truly at home in the mata, the forest.
SCHAEFFER: [PORTUGESE] There is pau brasil. There's another one.
GRABER: Schaffer pulls a baseball cap low over his forehead and races through the forest. He shows me the places he's been planting over the past three decades. His business partner, Celso de Mello points to the results.
DE MELLO: Seedlings. Seeds from the trees that he planted 25 years ago. This is growing by itself now, you know.
GRABER: Bowmakers have just started growing pau brasil trees on plantations, but forests are still the ideal location. In the forest, trees must compete for bits of light that push through the tree-lined canopy high above. So new trees grow straight and tall, good for making bows. And de Melo says there are other benefits to growing in the wild.
DE MELLO: If you plant it here, you don't have to water it that much. If you plant it under the sun, you've got to water it a lot. So here nature takes care of that. If it rains, the soil, the earth is going to be moist for many, many days, which is really good for the plant.
GRABER: After growing for 40 years or so, a tree can provide enough wood for hundreds of bows.
DE MELLO: This is a very nice tree. Look at that.
GRABER: The tree stands straight, no twists, few branches, and the bark is peeling off, a clue that deep, reddish-brown heartwood lies within.
DE MELLO: This is about 10 years old, and it's got the heart inside already.
GRABER: Schaeffer and de Mello turn pau brasil wood into exquisite bows in an airy concrete building about a 20-minute drive from the forest. Dogs guard the precious wood stacked outside. Schaeffer pulls them away and explains how each piece is unique.
SCHAEFFER: [PORTUGESE] I feel how solid the wood is, and I hear the sound. This is a violin. This one is a viola, a cello, because it's heavy.
GRABER: Schaeffer sells his best wood to bowmakers abroad, and makes lower cost bows with the rest. Schaeffer is committed to putting back into the forest what he takes out. So he and his partner, Celso de Mello bought a 20-acre farm they're slowly replanting. One area is mostly pau brasil, but de Mello says, soon, other native trees will follows.
DE MELLO: We've got to plant first the fruit trees, bring the birds back, animals, and then we start with the second line of trees. And then the pau brasil is going to be the third. We got to bring the whole forest back.
GRABER: Brazil's four bowmaking companies have been replanting pau brasil for years. It's a small conservation effort that will need a broader scope if pau brasil trees are to be saved.
RAUBECHEK: I got up on this wharf and I looked out over the vast grassland that I knew once before was a forest. And it finally hit me in my conscience, my heart. It finally sunk in. I couldn't cut any other tree. It was like destroying a human.
GRABER: Al Raubechek cut pau brasil illegally for more than two decades. He'd go into the forest with saws and oxen and take out trees. Today, he runs a legal salvage business, buying up old fence posts made from pau brasil, or finding the wood left in fields. But Robicsek says poaching continues unabated, because some bowmaking companies are willing to buy wood without asking many questions.
RAUBECHEK: People that supply me with deadwood tell me they are giving it to the other folks. I know, the buyers for the other folks are down there, and they're contracting trucks to bring out logs. I know where they were hiding logs right near my house. So, I mean, these are the clues and elements to let me know that they're doing this. It just kills me. The only thing I can do is not to do it.
GRABER: Two years ago, the international bow-making community got together to form the International Pernambuco Conservation Initiative. Their goals: protect their craft and save the trees that support it.
[SOUND OF SCRAPING]
GRABER: Back in Boston, bowmaker Tom Dignan points to the piles of brownish-red slabs stacked against the wall, and tells me he can survive any crisis.
DIGNAN: Basically, I think I almost have enough wood for myself for the few years that my eyes and hands will hold out.
GRABER: Dignan says he knows the pau brasil trees he's protecting in some faraway land are not meant to ensure his livelihood. It's the future of his craft he's concerned about.
DIGNAN: I would say, all my colleagues feel the same way. We know we're not going to reap the benefits of the trees that get planted, but we feel, really, it's important. It's really very important to all of us that it doesn't disappear either.
[SOUND OF VIOLIN]
GRABER: The international bow-making community says its next step to save pau brasil trees is to involve musicians, the final users of the product, in the conservation effort.
For Living on Earth, I'm Cynthia Graber.
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CURWOOD: And for this week, that's Living on Earth.
Next week, cruise ships. About eight million people will board one this year, and they'll generate a massive amount of waste that too often gets dumped into the deep blue sea.
MALE: Frankly, these are large floating cities. And they have all the same kinds of effluent and pollutant streams that a city does, but without the same kind of monitoring and enforcing that cities have.
CURWOOD: The argument for cruise control, next time on Living on Earth. And remember that between now and then you can hear us anytime and get the stories behind the news by going to livingonearth.org. And while you're there you can also get a chance to win a safari for two to Africa. That's livingonearth.org.
[STORM SOUNDS: EarthEar “Afternoon Storm” Caratinga Earth Ear (2001)]
CURWOOD: Before we go, one more stop in the Atlantic coastal forest of Brazil.
[SOUNDS OF STORM, WILDLIFE]
CURWOOD: Douglas Quinn recorded the aftermath of a rain shower for a piece he calls "Afternoon Storm."
[SOUNDS OF STORM, WILDLIFE]
CURWOOD: Living on Earth is produced by The World Media Foundation, in cooperation with Harvard University. You can find us at livingonearth.org. Our staff includes Maggie Villiger, and Jennifer Chu, along with Tom Simon, Jessica Penny, Al Avery, Susan Shepherd, Carly Ferguson and Liz Lempert. Special thanks to Ernie Silver.
We had help this week from Katherine Lemcke and Nathan Marcy. Allison Dean composed our themes. Environmental sound art courtesy of EarthEar.
[SOUND OF STORM]
CURWOOD: Our technical director is Chris Engles. Ingrid Lobet heads our western bureau. Diane Toomey is our science editor. Eileen Bolinsky is our senior editor. And Chris Ballman is the senior producer of Living on Earth. I'm Steve Curwood, executive producer. Thanks for listening.
ANNOUNCER: Funding for Living on Earth comes from The National Science Foundation, supporting coverage of emerging science, and The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, supporting the Living on Earth Network, Living on Earth's expanded Internet service.
Support also comes from NPR member stations and The Annenberg Foundation, and Tom's of Maine, maker of natural care products and creator of the Rivers Awareness Program to preserve the nation's waterways. Information at participating stores or tomsofmaine.com.
ANNOUNCER 2: This is NPR, National Public Radio.
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Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary wildlife photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.
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