Photo of Bill Moyers Bill Moyers Journal
Bill Moyers Journal
Bill Moyers Journal
Watch & Listen The Blog Archive Transcripts Buy DVDs

« Story Updates: Libby, Eagles, Trade and more | Main | Bill Moyers Essay: The War Debate »

What Can I Do?

As this week's story on the Earth Conservation Corps and Bill Moyers' interview with E.O. Wilson both demonstrate, local efforts can make a difference in helping to maintain a healthy and sustainable environment.

Back in October, when we aired "Is God GREEN?" the MOYERS ON AMERICA special about recent efforts within the evangelical movement to preserve our planet, many viewers wrote in about local environmental successes in their community. Here are just a few excerpts:

Joan Conley wrote:

I am very fortunate to live in the city of Syracuse, NY which is right next door to the Onondaga Nation. The Onondagas have a long history of dedication to the land. About a year ago they filed a land rights claim that is not about getting land back or getting money. It is their wish to work with us--their cousins, as they call us, to do a meaningful clean-up of Onondaga Lake, which is said to be the most polluted lake in the US; and also to engage in a real work of stewardship of the land and all of it's creatures. It has been my great privilige to learn about loving the creator through loving creation.

Jennifer Knott-Kimbrell wrote:

In Austin, Texas our church held a light bulb exchange. We encouraged members and visitors alike to bring in incandescent bulbs and trade them in for Compact Fluorescent bulbs. Now people want to know things like if the altar candles burning are petroleum-based, or if the insulation in the building is enough. It all starts with one person, one event and goes from there.

In the spirit of continuing the conversation, we ask you to tell us about environmental programs going on in your city or town, as evidence that little by little, important work is being done to save our planet and its diverse inhabitants. As E.O. Wilson reminds us, we've only discovered 10% of Earth's species. "We live in an unexplored planet." Only concentrated efforts, often starting humbly at the local level, can ensure that there's something left to explore.


TrackBack URL for this entry:


You made some Good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree.

I hear often that little efforts will get the job done. Sorry, but it does not look that way. This is a terrible myth because it excuses us from facing reality as it needs to be faced.

Rather, we need dramatic improvements, implemented with full force of the American people and our industrial capacity. How can we scare ourselves into an effort like won World War II?

And how do we keep from chasing phony schemes. The electric car and the plug-in car make use of good methods which can be a part of real solutions. However, charging batteries from the electric grid can be a seriously misguided plan. And promoters of such plans seem determined to falsely represent their products. For example, the claims of zero emissions abound, yet it is widely known that there is an emitting power plant tied to the vehicle. However, few seem to understand the magnitude of power plant emissions.

Not only that, there is a propensity to claim, or to make devious statement that seem to claim, great efficiency of operation. Such efficiency statements often misrepresent the efficiency of the electric power plants that we have.

Not enough people realize that, in addition to energy that is actually converted to electricity, about twice that amount of heat energy is thrown away. And the emissions are a result of burning fuel to produce the total amount of heat.

But from a climate change perspective the situation is even worse than that would indicate, because coal will be the basic fuel source. The problem is that additional demand for electric energy to charge batteries at night will result in additional operation of coal fired power plants. This fixes the efficiency, which determines the amount of heat thrown away, and it fixes the fuel type, and therefore the rate at which carbon dioxide will be produced. That efficiency is 32.5%, based on analysis that is available on request.

The reference, provides Battelle presentation charts at a last November conference at Stanford. These charts show that coal fired plants will be used to fill the night time electicity demand.

I am advocating for the kind of major and dramatic improvements that are shown at the Miastrada web site. (click on my name below) (I have an interest in Miastrada Corp.)

Vehicle Fuel Consumption could be reduced by 10-15% and emissions reduced by 10-24% immediately. Americans Need to Know! There are solutions that are not being shared by the media. This is one example:Our product gives the average vehicle owner the ability to immediately reduce fuel consumption by approximately 100 to 200 gallons per year, reduce CO2 greenhouse gas emissions by 1.3 to 2.6 tons per year, and reduce the amount of money spent on fuel by $330.00 to $700.00 per year. the product comes with a full year 100% satisfaction money back guarantee. The product can be easily installed in several minutes and requires no tools, cutting, or drilling. Consumers can install the product themselves or for a small fee can have it installed at their local dealership or car care center. This is clearly a win-win-win situation for families.I can be reached at 410-394-1950 x227 for additional information.


Mostly, my friend, I chastise you
Who blindly evil ways pursue.

´Tis hard to change what´s said and done,
If not at home, in Washington--

But you, in that you serve the devil
Supporting war, I´ll treat not level,

But endlessly give words a tilt,
Because my mission will not wilt.

You, that support a crime for crime,
Pretend it as a gay old time,

But I denounce your piety
As falsehood: so it has to be.

Dear Mr. Moyers,

I am not sure if the following paragraphs actually made it out of my computer, and on to you, or someone on your staff. The appropriateness of the Dave Carter's song mentioned below, to the recent E.O. Wilson interview, merits at least that someone on your staff give it a brief listening.

Your conversation with E.O. Wilson was a treat. When reference was made to this Earth as being “our only home,” I was moved to write to Professor Wilson, which is pasted below. I wanted to make sure that both he and you are aware of a great song by the late Dave Carter, “Gentle Arms of Eden,” that echoes that fundamental fact.

Thank goodness for pod casting and print media, as I am not a consumer of television. The day simply does not have enough hours to allow me to sit hypnotized in front of a one-way box. I treasure the opportunity to listen to your thought provoking journals while I do my aerobic workouts.

Bless you and your dedication to journalism.

Vern Crawford


Dear Professor Wilson,

Thank you so much for the work that you continue to advance.

While doing my 40 minute aerobic work-out, I listened and thoroughly enjoyed the audio version of your recent interview on Bill Moyers Journal.

At one point, your analogy of this earth being our "only home" rang in harmony with "Gentle Arms of Eden" my favorite song by the late singer-songwriter Dave Carter. "Gentle Arms of Eden" has become an anthem often performed and sung as a sing-along at many folk music gatherings, and resonates down to my very core.

You may already be familiar with this song and the gifted writings and musical talent that Dave had began to share with all of his growing admirers, before we lost him prematurely at 49 years of age.

Attached is an .mp3 audio file of this peace, and hope that you will also appreciate it as so many others now do.

Pasted below are the lyrics. You can go directly to the website maintained by his former musical and life partner Tracy Grammer at:

Again, thank you for the work you do, and I am enthusiastic about the Encyclopedia of Life project!

Vern Crawford


Gentle Arms Of Eden
© 2000 Dave Carter / Dave Carter Music (BMI)

on a sleepy endless ocean when the world lay in a dream
there was rhythm in the splash and roll, but not a voice to sing so the moon shone on the breakers and the morning warmed the waves till a single cell did jump and hum for joy as though to say

this is my home, this is my only home
this is the only sacred ground that i have ever known
and should i stray in th dark night alone
rock me goddess in the gentle arms of eden

then the day shone bright and rounder 'til the one turned into two and the two into ten thousand things, and old things into new and on some virgin beach head one lonesome critter crawled and he looked about and shouted out in his most astonished drawl

this is my home, this is my only home
this is the only sacred ground that i have ever known
and should i stray in th dark night alone
rock me goddess in the gentle arms of eden

then all the sky was buzzin' and the ground was carpet green and the wary children of the wood went dancin' in between and the people sang rejoicing when the field was glad with grain this song of celebration from their cities on the plain

this is my home, this is my only home
this is the only sacred ground that i have ever known
and should i stray in th dark night alone
rock me goddess in the gentle arms of eden

now there's smoke across the harbor, and there's factories on the shore and the world is ill with greed and will and enterprise of war but i will lay my burden in the cradle of your grace and the shining beaches of your love and the sea of your embrace

this is my home, this is my only home
this is the only sacred ground that i have ever known
and should i stray in th dark night alone
rock me goddess in the gentle arms of eden
rock me goddess in the gentle arms of eden


Gentle Arms Of Eden
© 2000 Dave Carter / Dave Carter Music (BMI)

on a sleepy endless ocean when the world lay in a dream
there was rhythm in the splash and roll, but not a voice to sing so the moon shone on the breakers and the morning warmed the waves till a single cell did jump and hum for joy as though to say

this is my home, this is my only home
this is the only sacred ground that i have ever known
and should i stray in th dark night alone
rock me goddess in the gentle arms of eden

then the day shone bright and rounder 'til the one turned into two and the two into ten thousand things, and old things into new and on some virgin beach head one lonesome critter crawled and he looked about and shouted out in his most astonished drawl

this is my home, this is my only home
this is the only sacred ground that i have ever known
and should i stray in th dark night alone
rock me goddess in the gentle arms of eden

then all the sky was buzzin' and the ground was carpet green and the wary children of the wood went dancin' in between and the people sang rejoicing when the field was glad with grain this song of celebration from their cities on the plain

this is my home, this is my only home
this is the only sacred ground that i have ever known
and should i stray in th dark night alone
rock me goddess in the gentle arms of eden

now there's smoke across the harbor, and there's factories on the shore and the world is ill with greed and will and enterprise of war but i will lay my burden in the cradle of your grace and the shining beaches of your love and the sea of your embrace

this is my home, this is my only home
this is the only sacred ground that i have ever known
and should i stray in th dark night alone
rock me goddess in the gentle arms of eden
rock me goddess in the gentle arms of eden

After watching a clip from the impeachment show at the end of tonight's BMJ, I was moved to comment on the episode, which my wife and I watched. We are both confirmed liberals on just about every issue, and can't wait until Bush is out of office so that someone competent can lead our nation, but your guests were not at all convincing in their arguments. They were passionate, relatively well spoken, and made the case that the current administration is power hungry and lacks respect for some of the basic principles of our democracy, but they completely failed to make a LEGAL argument for impeachment. A lawful society's judicial code is unfortunately vulnerable to rulings of innocence-by-technicality, and Bush and Cheney have managed to use this to their advantage, but guilty charges based solely on moral and ethical considerations OUTSIDE the rule of law have no place in a free society. As much as I love the Journal, I have to say the ball was dropped here by letting anger (however justified) trump reason.

Most hilliarious bunch of comments I have read yet. No wonder Alcoa stock is up. LMAO.
(psssst-the sky is falling)

Very timely discussion by John Nichols and Bruce Fein on "Impeachment" and the evil Bush/Cheney gang's abuse of power.

Wish I could transmit my Bush-toga-quote animated GIF -- which can be viewed under NEW STUFF at -- the quote of which is: "So HE proclaimeth ... not emperor ... not quite G-O-D ... but Commander-in-Chief."

One of the worst things about the horror of the 9/11 attack is that it gave Bush/Cheney proaganda engine a "focus" or "moment in history" upon which to hang all their garbage. Moving beyond Cheney's secret energy policy meetings with the likes of Enron's Kenneth Lay, this lying administration has blackened our history with torture.

John Nichols and Bruce Fein stated that we are in a constitutional crisis. I believe it is important for all of us, as citizens, to write to our legislators and insist on action (impeachment), but, as scholars, aren't they trying to use their influence to get that done as well? I feel helpless because no one seems to be doing anything in such a dire situation.

I signed Impeachment petitions at and There will be a march on Washington DC on September 15 to protest the war and call for impeachment. I hope Congress gets the message.

Thanks for your 7/5/07 interview w/ E O Wilson. He is one my heroes! He mentions being able to dialog w/ any pastor of any roadside church in the South, which has inspired me to begin trying to do the same here in my home community of Mandarin, FL. Wilson is a voice of reason calling for dialog with all parties on preservation of biological diversity, and he's right. We need to transcend our metaphysical (religious/atheist/secular humanist,etc) differences and get down to the task of working out solutions for conserving and enhancing the natural world, the Creation, that we all have in common.

And kudos for Wilson again on the EOL (Encyclopedia of Life)! What a marvelous tool for the world in these times.

All in all, a fabulous interview which I am recommending to all my friends and associates.

I DO CARE about OUR COUNTRY! It is past time that courageous members of Congress represent the people well and Impeach Bush and Cheney. They have done great damage to this conuty and need to be stopped from doing more.

This is a comment about last week's show with E. O. Wilson since I cannot get the comments to appear for that show.
I didn't even get into the article good when the headliner 'What Can I Do?' struck me. There is nothing you can do because to preserve the natural world the human population exspansion must be stopped and then allowed to subside. Even now with 6.5 billion people, resources are not enough to properly handle all the humans on this planet and moving into outer space is pretty much no hope. I believe any and all problems on this globe are directly related to the vast 6.5 billion people trying to have each's share of dwindling resources. And with the availability of money and equipment the natural world is ever faster receding into oblivion. Asphault & concrete.
What does it take now to knock down a whole forest and eco-system? Not long at all, a few days and viola, gone. No body really cares because it demands attention to giving attention to the human population and with human life so sacred, that is blasphmy.

I watched "Tough Talk about Impeachment" twice this weekend and talked about it to everyone I know. I have the list of the House Judiciary Committee members on my desktop, and have begun contacting them. We all must act now! This country is in its last death throes and these thugs in the White House must be stopped. I think of bush as a "dry drunk who thinks G-d talks to him" and dry drunks can convince you your own name isn't your real name, couple that with a megalomaniac-arrogant-smug vp and we have real cause for concern.

On Impeachment (two for one), this was so well argued by lifting the intent from "censure" of our leaders by name, to the prvenation of future abuses by bullies in the Executive Branch (Rudi, Hillary even McCain have such tendencies, I fear).

But by keeping it away from personalities or personal power trips, Mr. Nichols has made it our duty to take action now.

Truth and common sense on TV? Bravo!

Many in the Princeton NJ community are ready to voice views but do more.
How to get Congress to be braver here?

We the American people MUST act. WE have allowed, by allowing our congressional leaders to do nothing, Bush and Cheney to become virtual dictators and subsequent Presidents and Vice Presidents absolute, uncheckable power. We must as an informed electorate speak up. Speak up for impeachment.

I was struck by tonight's show (7-15-07). It said all that I have been saying and feeling for quite some time. Before September 11, 2001, this administration was doomed. Afterward...YIKES! Are we blind, deaf, dumb, as in stupid? Why do we not speak our minds? Is it because we now know the fear that autocratic/monarchical nations feel? Are we afraid our e-mails, phone records, travel and credit card bills have the very high potential of being under scrutiny in the very near future? Where does this administrations' usurping of power and basic rights of individual Americans end? SOS! Is anybody going to stand up? Where is our freedom of speech? Our journalists are letting us down. Let's stand up! Now or never!!!
In Favor of Impeachment of Both!!!
Patti Davenport, Cincinnati, OHIO

Impeach Bush and Cheney NOW!

It's about time this is being discussed. This should have been going on since the patriot act was passed. When will we have had enough.
My father is a WWII combat wounded vetran and expressed fear about discussing anti BUSH political views on the telephone with me for fear of the conversation being listened to, and possible consequences. The administrations strategy from day one has been to keep the public scared and we can do what we want.
It has to be stopped NOW!!!!

Posted by: Monica Williams
So unbalanced and unfair.
Moyer et el were terrible and I will never donate another $ to PBS or CPT until you have both sides of an issue.

Monica Williams, It's your choice, but before you write off Mr. Moyer's for not presenting both sides, consider this, The current Adm.has not listened to the American public and in fact has gone against the constitution repeatedly. If something doesn't change soon, America may witness a mutiny among our loyal troops. There now are several Republicans who are saying the President is not conducting himself in our countries behalf. We must do everything possible, even if this includes impeachment, to stop Mr. Bush and bring our troops home.
A former USMC Vet. and Christian.

I agree with the consensus of the replys and also was very happy that you brought out the points that are so important to protect and restore our once great nation. Greed has moved into most areas which were once above it. Is it the computer age?

Mr. Moyers, thank you for opening my eyes and ears. I have signed the IMpeachment petitions at and at On September 15, there will be a march on Washington DC to protest the war and call for impeachment resolutions.

Bush and will take all that we will allow.

I found the discussion on impeachment very dissapointing at the end when all three of you bemoaned the lack of a congressperson with the principles and integrity to stand up for impeachment. You are falling into the failing of the mainstream media! What about Cynthia McKinney who called for and introduced a resoluntion for Impeachment years ago? See the film "American Blackout". What about Dennis Kucinich the congressman from Cleveland who is all to quickly being dismissed as a candidate for president? HR 333 which he introduced to impeach Cheney now has 17 co sponsors. The World can't wait, we citizenz of the USA owe the people of the planet a profound appology which should be initiated by the impeachment of our two chief war criminals.

I find it ironic that for the last 2 days I have been thinking about the acts of the Presisdent and Vice President. I came to the conclusion that we need to impeach them both. I am presenting this thought to my friends and by and large the agree. then a upset stomach had me watching your show at 3:00 AM and I find that others also are thinking the same. Thank God for intelegent citizens. I will do my part and I hope you continue to do yours.

I find it ironic that for the last 2 days I have been thinking about the acts of the Presisdent and Vice President. I came to the conclusion that we need to impeach them both. I am presenting this thought to my friends and by and large the agree. then a upset stomach had me watching your show at 3:00 AM and I find that others also are thinking the same. Thank God for intelegent citizens. I will do my part and I hope you continue to do yours.

Mr:Moyers. King George Bush and Vice King Cheney,have done many bad things for America.If Congress and Senate believe in Democracy, should Impeach both.Unless we have Dictatorship !

Finally, someone musters enough courage to say the word impeachment in relation to the Bush administration, which has appeared "untouchable" otherwise. From the Iraq war to the Libby pardon, the President is running our country into the ground, showing no respect to the how U.S. citizens feel about the war or anything else. The lies and deceit are enough already. Legislators, media, citizens, please grow a pair!

So unbalanced and unfair.
Moyer et el were terrible and I will never donate another $ to PBS or CPT until you have both sides of an issue.

I am halfway through this listening to this podcast. But I thought you all might be interested in the below.

There is a link at the very bottom to a website where a woman describes her experiences of miraculous rescue. She is asking people to participate in a spiritual convergence or intention on July 17th. Please pass this along to others who will understand.

-- Dale
To my Family and friends:

This is not a political email. It is all about HOPE. Please take the time to go to the site provided below (hope it works for you) as soon as possible. THERE IS A DEADLINE OF JULY 17th. I only just received this from my friend, so I would have sent it to you much sooner had I known about it. Please read this article and, if you wish to participate, consider forwarding the information to everyone you care about as soon as possible. It is important for all of us who love our planet and hope to have a healthy home for our future and the future of our children and grand children and pets and everything. It is about saving us and saving our planet!!



Fire the Grid : Be Defined.

One of the things that E.O. Wilson could have mentioned is taking our genes out of the pool, by getting a vascectormy or tubal ligation. I think that E.O.Wilson seems too optimistic about our chances of survival given the overpopulation and energy bind we are in. I had my vascectomy way back in 1970 when Paul Ehrlich tried to save humanity from itself. I feel sorry for any child born into this mess be it in Darfur or the U.S.A. We are all going to experience the break down of our environment/resources/economy sooner or later. Humans were nature's big-brained mammal experiment and it went badly astray and has destroyed most of the planet. Civilization could have been such a wonderful thing if we had just had the common sense to control our numbers. The need for population growth control and reduction is still denied by many religions and politicians though we be on the brink of disaster.

I am still reeling in shock from last nights program. After watching your interview with E.O. Wilson it is very clear that mankind and planet earth is on the brink of a major, major catastrophe. I guess more than anything it is making me realize that each one of us has a responsibility and a part to play to do something to change the course of mankind otherwise we will go down in history as the most corrupt, profligate, self centered, greedy and negligent generation in the history of man.

The piece that followed about the Earth Conservation Corps, did give me some hope that maybe there was a faint chance that mankind would wake up and realize our folly and that we are capable of changing course.

JD21, Thanks. I'm glad I saw the link you posted before it was removed. Some might think it was misplaced in this thread, but on the topic of what can I do I think standing up to the media and demanding answers is an essential aspect related to all of our country's and this earth's woes. I for one found Michael Moore's outrage inspiring. Before anyone can stand for anything, a fire must be lit underneath them. The ECC was also an example of the people taking back the power over ourselves. Thanks again for sharing that link. I'm sure if others are interested they can find it on You Tube.

Bill Moyer's Journal is the one program I most eagerly look forward to, and since I had to miss the interview with E.O. Wilson, am very greatful that it was available this way. (I wish I had seen the program on ECC, that others referred to.)I belong to, and participate locally in a number of groups concerned with the environment. I have read some of Wilson's earlier books, and am eager to read his latest. I do wonder though, about his seeming lack of concern about the effect of the out-of-control human population expansion. The 9 billion projected should be regarded as an example of what happens as shown in the massive explosive increase and massive dieoff in a closed system such as a bacteria culture.

Did you catch this bit:

I love the cracks afterwards by perfect Lou "Airbrush Phony Smile" Dobbs and Cafferty. Poor "Wolf Blitzer" (I couldn't make up a better, more bogus name for this wimpy character), he had a tough interview in which a guy called CNN out on its BS not once but twice. Ouch. He shouldn't have to put up with that edgy truthy stuff. No fun. As Cafferty wisecracked, he doesn't get paid enough. Very revealing as to how these guys think. It's about the money. Not the truth. Our news media is dead. Morally dead. Brain dead.

MM is just right that these talking buttheads who say they report the news don't ask the tough questions. They don't think. You know which of the viable Democratic candidates really sat back and thought? Used his/her head before jumping on the bandwagon to rush into Iraq? Not Hillary and she still won't even admit she was wrong - another bad reflection on her character if you ask me. Not Edwards either, though he's trying to spin it into a "Look. I can learn! I'm not brain dead like the rest of them!" moment. Obama. He did. He stopped looked and listened while so many politicians and the media sprinted after Bush, Cheney, Rove, Gonzales and the rest of 'em like lemmings over a giant, totally foreseeable cliff.

Really. I'll tell you what's Sicko. The stupidity of our politicians. The public is getting smarter. They were totally blindsided by a President so evil that he would sacrifice our national interests for partisan and petty personal gain. Unthinkable. But with the media behind these Republican shysters and Murdoch pumping his billions into the mess, the public bought it.

Well they ain't buying it anymore. The polls show it. The Republicans - the ones still sleeping that is - can whine about it's his fault, her fault, not my fault, blah blah blah, but America is waking up. Fox-Republican officials and politicians - mark my words, your political careers as you know them are finito.

Sorry for the rant. Sometimes the truth ain't pertie, as Bush I'm sure would say.

And thank G-d for Bill Moyers coming out of retirement! Bill, you should anchor the news. We need someone with integrity who will tell the truth, even if it makes the rich and powerful upset.

I was also disappointed by Wilson's response to the "What can I do?" question, for reasons similar to those cited by Aaron Brown, but also for another reason.

Wilson could have said something like, "I'm not a vegetarian myself, but I know that consuming meat less often and in smaller amounts will reduce the pressure on meadows and forests which are destroyed to produce grain which is then fed to animals in vast feedlots, which are themselves an enormous source of pollution and a blight on the landscape." He could have said this if it is true. There was no hint from Wilson that he is even aware of the connection between eating high on the food chain and environmental degradation.

This is quite strange because if anyone should know that ecosystems support relatively small populations of flesh-eaters in relation to the populations of plant-eaters that can be sustained, Wilson should know. Moyers should know. We all should know, by now.

Man. I truly wish Jerome Scott was studying at that University now. We lost something great with his death. But his life was not in vain. The ECC is truly inspiring, heroic- a word I hate to use because it's overuse waters down the well deserved honor for people like this. I live in Baltimore, another "dirty" city with high crime. I moved back here after living in "pristine" eco-cities such as Portland, OR. And I tell you, it is the people doing the work out here, such as the ECC, that are doing the hardest, most needed work. If you want to save the planet, you need look no further than your own neighborhood, just like E.O. Wilson said.
I hope the ECC gets a huge grant someday.
Keep up the great work ECC members. You are our future.

I was deeply move on the segment about the ECC! I applauded their efforts as an African-American female who gets called "crunchy" because of my environmental and vegetarian views. I wept when I heard about the deaths of corp members. Their memories will live on and inspire.
Keep up the great work, God bless you all!

Some feedback for Dr. Wilson, just in case he may happen to read this...

Dr. Wilson, I'm afraid there is an error in your logic. You said that the human population is projected to stop increasing when it reaches approximately nine billion, and you said that you think nine billion is few enough that we should be able, through careful resource management and reduction of per capita consumption, to get past the "bottleneck" without destroying the planet's ecosystems.

But isn't it true that the projected cessation of population growth at nine billion is not caused by a cessation of selfish reproductive behavior, but instead is caused by exhaustion of the resources which we would need to grow beyond nine billion? In other words: We will stop at nine billion, because we will "hit the brick wall" at nine billion.

If that's the case, then your logic won't work. Careful resource management and reduction of per capita consumption may be able to move the "brick wall" up to ten or eleven billion; this would give us some "breathing room" if we stop at nine billion. But the existence of that "breathing room" means that we won't be forced to stop at nine billion! We will blast right past nine billion, and keep increasing exponentially until we hit the brick wall at ten or eleven billion.

When you contemplate these numbers, you should think about this word: "poachers." When the human population reaches its maximum, nearly every living thing on the planet will be hunted and killed, by men who are trying to feed their starving families. The only way to prevent this will be to stop increasing our population, BEFORE starvation forces us to stop increasing our population.

When cancer cells reproduce exponentially, they kill their host (and themselves). We are speeding recklessly toward a very similar fate.

The Earth Conversation Corps is the most profound example of where young blacks are showing they are quite capable of taking hold and turning their lives around. God Bless Them!!!
I could not help but replay in my mind the comments heard from the various Democratic Candidates about the relationship of the blacks and their place in our American Society. Hillary strived to make an impact with her comment about HIV. Grandstanding, if I must say so.

Are any of them THINKING? The disgraceful situation that is right under their noses day in and day out while they are in Washington is obviously unknown to all of them. Now they are ready to go into the "Earmark" stage of the budget bill and no doubt the Earth Conservation Corp. is no where on the list.

Sure all of us out in our individual States would like this and that. Think, please, about what is the biggest problem in all our cities across the Nation -
VIOLENCE AND DRUGS! These kids in east Washinton D.C. are trying their very best
to turn themselves and all the other kids they can influence around in very positive way. They should be held on a pedestal and raved about. The most positive influence for kids all over the country - white, black, yellow, pink, purple or whatever.

The candidate - Republican or Democrat that gets onto this promotion has more going for him - or her, than any of the others. Our Country's future is largely dependent on our children.
These Earth Conservation Corps children are on the most positive of tracks.(Children to a 77 year old is 40 and under)

May God and hopefully many positive thinking Americans send them support. I am ready and willing. Please tell me where to send the check.

Shirley Poggi

The story about the E.C.C. was very inspiring. Power to the People!

I was also touched by E.O. Wilson's efforts to unite the religious and scientific communities in their common values and calling a truce with regard to their disagreements.

I am a Christian, but not an Evangelical or even a Fundamentalist, nor a Catholic. I don't attend any church, I just read the Bible and believe it can be a great source of enlightenment for both the spiritual and scientific communities, if it could only be read objectively by both. I feel strongly that the Bible and Science are not opposed to each other. The Genesis account is written in such a way as to convey a process, or evolution, of events rather than the kind of literalness Creationists have defended.

E.O. Wilson made a quite valid point that I also have attempted to convey to other Christians I meet online. It was the point about their believing in a dreamy resurrection to a place unimaginable in a totally spiritual sense and thereby skirting their divine responsibility to take care of the earth. (Genesis 2:5, 15) Ultimately, all of the socalled "fundamentals" of Christianity are built upon the one lie which boasts that "the resurrection has already occurred." The apostle Paul said that false teaching would spread like gangrene and subvert the faith of many. (2Timothy 2:14-19 ) Sadly, by means of that false doctrine, the churches maintain their control over the masses. It is fear based theology which cannot compare to a theology based on love for one another whom we can see.(1John 4)

It is always a blessing to hear someone speak about what I have come to know and believe. It lets me think that maybe I'm not the only oddball out here. Reminds me of the time God told Elijah who thought he was alone and God told him "I have seven thousand others who have not bent their knee to Baal." (Romans 11:3-4)

can watch the live earth concert live on:

I, too, agree that this was a very powerful episode of a usually poignant show. I very much admire the work of E.O. Wilson, however, he addressed a question that I have been pondering for some time, and I still am not completely certain of the answer. The question regards whether we are the "crown jewel" of species, and to this point, the suggestion was made that, yes we might be because of our power of reasoning. I struggle with this concept on a regular basis because for a species that has the capacity to contemplate the possible effects of it's actions, as well as others, we have a incredibly difficult time acting on this ability. I agree more with E.O. Wilson's earlier writings that associated our behavior as an outcome of our direct ties to the natural system. It is because of these tendencies that I believe we are having such a difficult time overcoming the environmental problems that we have created. Though, I was very inspired by the Earth Conservation Corps story, I find it very disheartening that we are still not able to place our resources in areas such as this that will promote not only the successful growth of this community, but on a larger scale help us grow into our capacity as a species. We are ultimately caught in the Darwinian struggle. Unless we can learn to acknowledge this, we will never be able as a species to grow beyond it. A perfect example of this to me is that we are spending billions of dollars to fight a hidden enemy for fear that it might extinguish our standard of living, yet we can't even see that this enemy is lingering a short distance from the nation's capital in the form of poverty, lack of education, and unhealthly living conditions for all residents (regardless of taxonomy).

I missed Bill Moyer's Journal on television last night, and just saw the webcast.

I am so moved by the work of the Earth Conservation Corps and the hope that all these young people embody, and I am devastated by the loss of so many of them.

Rest in peace Diamond Teague, you and your compatriots will never be forgotten. You will always be an inspiration to those of us who value life and beauty.

I just watched a late night re-broadcast which resonated much because of 2 things that had transpired a few hours earlier in my Petworth (DC) neighborhood. The segments reminded me that no matter how we each may make individual change that the ultimate goal is opening up people to different possible outcomes. A more actionable reaction is that I wanted to show the Earth Conservation Corps segment to the children in the neighborhood as another way to get across an idea that they don't have to be a stereotype or a statistic.

We've lived in DC less than a year having moved from another urban data point Dorchester, MA, where every day we lived within walking distance of some crime incident. Hours before seeing the 20070706 show, I stopped two brown-skinned male children from shooting rubber darts at each other by asking one if they had any idea of how many brown-skinned males are killed in the U.S. They sat down on the steps near me as I continued to dig up weeds in our almost bare front yard whereupon I tried to explain in non-threatening terms why it was a disappointment that they would choose to replicate in play the harsh reality of pointing guns at friends. I reiterated my previous point that if they insisted on such play, I asked that they not do so in our yard or in front of our home. And, I could take some small comfort in the fact that our son (their playmate, age 9) -- whose only "gun", a water one, was shaped liked a duck -- was not engaging in their play and was largely ignoring their shooting/chasing combo play.

Now, these kids know me as the mom of their friend who is an avowed animal nut; they've seen me at their school two blocks away where I've read to their class or ran a soccer field event at May Day. So I'm not a traditional mom if for no other reason than I play and have tried to teach some how to throw a frisbee; I also imagine they think I'm a bit odd because I've been digging up the front yard off and on yet I keep saying when queried that I'm not planting flowers. (It's a small yard, I'm intentionally not using non-biological controls, and I like experiencing the earth in this manner.)

The 2nd anecdote involves the same kids earlier coming to inform my son and I that a dog had its head caught between the security bars on an open window at a row house closer to theirs than ours. They sought us out because our child has enough pets take a different one to school for several weeks and ... well, I already had DC Animal Control phone number in my cell from the baby bird incident during an after-school soccer game. (BTW, the dog survives and the child knows a bit more about DC regulations.)

I fight with my son every day about the most ridiculous of things. And, as parents we are often convinced that the child doesn't like us or vice versa but the show segments were useful because they will be jumping off points. After all I haved talked to the child who's wanted to be a zoo keeper since he was four about E.O. Wilson, who used to play in Rock Creek Park; I'm constantly calling attention to those who can serve as inspiration or examples of mindfulness as I endeavor to teach that life is about choices, both good and bad.

I consider EO Wilson a heroic figure in the field of bioscience, and I am thrilled at his increasing public presence. Many of us take succor from such figures in what are very trying times for environmentalists. Thank you for continuing his public exposure - he is a most knowledgeable and congenial person. That said, I differ a bit in viewpoint, given what he said about secular humanism. Why are human beings given a special designation in the catalogue of nature? Of course we have the most impact on the world environment, but that does not mean all of nature should be secondary to the considerations of one species. We are a part of it - with one unique organ that has not at all proved it can outwit our destructive impulses.

After watching E.O. Wilson and the story about the Earth Conservation Corps back to back, it's even more evident to me that God lives in the balance between heaven and earth. Seeing how the earth played a big part in the lives of the Corps members, it's a no brainer that we are here for each other- humans and nature.
I was so touched by the triumphs and the tragidies of the Corps members I want them to know they are making a difference in the lives of people they don't even know- like me. Please don't ever give up. You are the future of this country and this planet. Everyday, YOU are making a difference.

I have worked as an environmental activist since the first Earth Day. I have found the last few years since Bush 2 was elected (appointed)to be very depressing. These years seemed to show the power of money over people. However, this show on the Earth Conservation Corp has given me hope. My city and every city in the world puts the poor where they put all the garbage they produce. It is nice to see a city is being reclaimed by the poorest and most deprived.

All animals are egocentric and self-serving, humans arguably the least of all. But we are egocentric and self-serving, and combine this with our immense power and we are a very dangerous animal. This planet wouldn't need stewardship if we weren't here.
How about the attitude: This planet is not about us.
How many agree? From his definition of secular humanism, I don't think E.O. Wilson does.
We're miraculous, incredible beings. Look at us from a neighboring galaxy and we're nothing. It would be nice if we could get over ourselves.
Every animal is a little piece of life. Each of us is a little piece of life.

I have worked as an environmental activist since the first Earth Day. I have found the last few years since Bush 2 was elected (appointed)to be very depressing. These years seemed to show the power of money over people. However, this show on the Earth Conservation Corp has given me hope. My city and every city in the world puts the poor where they put all the garbage they produce. It is nice to see a city is being reclaimed by the poorest and most deprived.

Your story on the ECC was moving on so many levels. It is a program with the potential to change lives. Of course it won't change the life of every person who walks through the door. Any more than every freshman math major will graduate with a degree in mathematics. But gee. Connect a program like that with an offer of knowledge through experimentation and teh potential to change the immediate environment -- one's own backyard -- for the better -- and then create the opportunity for those people to pass it on... That is how to change a culture.

*If* those in power don't destroy all hope. 'Those in power' being the bureaucratic purse-string holders who won't spend *a dime* of taxpayer money on such a thing; and the gang-bangers terrorizing our inner cities.

The story showed how lack of resources might destroy a program that in the long run will pay for itself many times over. It showed how, in our inner cities -- whether intended or not -- no good deed goes unpunished.

But what made me cry, was the fact that our 'system' of cradle-to-grave cr@ppy health care -- particularly for anyone with brown skin -- cost our scientific community and our society this bright young mind and spirit. When I think about the inspiring and upsetting story of the young man Jerome Scott, I ask myself how many other shining lights have been extinguished, not only by violence, but through sheer neglect. He died because he didn't happen to work for an organization that offered adequate health benefits? Or did he die because from his earliest childhood he had been denied access to health care, and didn't realize he was ill until his disease was advanced to require ER visits? The precise details are none of our business; but the situation is frighteningly common, and has to change. We have got to quit letting this happen to our people.

The "Earth Conservation Corps" is one of the most profound stories I've ever seen. I am overwhelmed by the courage of people struggling to make a difference in spite of seemingly insurmountable odds. I wish every person in the US could absorb the spirit of this group. I have shared this with everyone in my email address book. My faith in mankind is rejuvenated and I am incouraged to continue my efforts to give back in every way possible for the rest of my life.

Must have missed the episode about the Earth Conservation Corps before. Anybody who didn't weep at that story isn't alive. I wonder what we can do to support the efforts of those young people. Those youth are all our children, and they are being picked off, taken from life by conditions in their neighborhood. I often think that European Americans have used so much of their talent, as we had opportunities, we have been culled through already, that our next great leadership in large numbers will come from among African Americans. Again and again they exhibit their strength and resiliency and creativity in adversity - for example, the reality show.What a productive response to their tragedy. Are not African Americans represented beyond their numbers in congress when one is counting those who actually have the courage to stand up and say what is really happening, which so many liberals hunger for today so often in vain from leaders? What can we do to ensure the survival of young people like these, who are the leaders of tomorrow.

I was SO moved by the Earth Corps. I applaud them and have shared this video with everyone I know. There is absolutely no excuse not to help in whatever cause or causes you believe in, just help! Make a difference. I plan to donate to them. They are an inspiration to me.

For those with ears to hear let them hear and rejoice: Instinct trumps faith as equally and surely as it trumps reason. We will survive. The only question is which we. The thorny and pestilent ones? Or the beloved and learned grandchildren of our children? As the good professor reminds us, it is in our hands. It is for us to decide our legacy: Good stewards of our great grandchildren's inheritance - or not. And that choice will be our most enduring legacy. But fear not, we are but quantitatively different from our ancestors, and all other life, for that matter. We are as exploitative of our environment as our abilities allow. Yet we are now in a unique position in the history of life as the first species to voluntarily constrain our exploitative abilities. It is when we do this that we actually become what we have all along credited ourselves with being; civilized, possessed of free will, conscious. It is when we do this that we demonstrate the attributes we admire so and aspire to in our gods and prophets.
And another thing, if we'd have known earlier on how good life could be for one and all, we'd never have taken so long getting on the sustainability bandwagon. Ethics and morality for fun and profit-Imagine that!

HOW can the leaders in our nation's capital city permit, virtually in the shadow of its reverend monuments, this mess? I speak less of the "other" river, although cleaning it up should certainly be a civic priority, than of those wonderful kids living under constant threat, treated (like their neighborhood) as throwaways. More humanity was awakened in them by briefly working to improve their environment than is seen in a Congress blind to need and in bed with the gun industry. Have we no shame? Have we none at all?

The professor was good, too, and I wish his nicely funded "Encyclopedia of Life" well, but the kids stole the show. Where's the money that should be helping programs like this survive -- and where are the will and funds to make all our communities survivable?

I am always surprised by the division of science and religious thought, when in actuality they both emerged from the same source. Religion is about man’s personal relationship with God, and man’s relationship with other men. Science is about man’s relationship with God in the form of God’s laws, and man’s relationship with the rest of God’s creations. Science and Religion should never contradict each other, and if they do then one should question the truth behind their faith, not the laws of nature which we are all dependent to survive. I believe the day will come when science proves there is a higher power, and religion realizes that God on earth is in nature and the higher order of science.

Enjoyed the interview with E.O. Wilson, however I was a little disappointed with his response to the question "what can we do". Waiting for the political leadership to act is clearly a path to disaster, - saving the planet begins at home, and there are in fact many things an ordinary citizen can do to make a difference. Most consumers now have the ability to buy electricity generated solely from renewables (my apartment in NYC is currently powered by wind), this combined with an active effort to reduce energy consumption, such as unplugging appliances when they are not in use, using a bike, public transportation or driving less etc can drastically reduce our footprint. In addition, we contribute every day to the poor state of our natural environment by buying products that are produced by use of toxic chemicals and processes. By following a simple rule of thumb - namely if I can't pronounce it, and haven't heard of it then don't buy it - we can reduce the presence of toxic substances in out lives. This applies to almost everything we consume, including (perhaps most importantly) food - where avoiding synthetic and factory produced foods in favor of organic and locally produced items is both good for us and good for the planet. These are just a few of the many ways in which the growing ecological nightmare of our future can be avoided through ground-up, grass roots action. Leadership is of course important, but if capitalism has one virtue it is that people can vote with their dollars and collectively bring about grass roots change.

While I appreciate and agree with most of what E. O. Wilson had to say, I feel that he totally missed the boat on the role of population on the human impact on the earth's environment. The 6.5 billion humans now alive are more than the planet can sustainably support. The addition 3 billion that he blithely referred as not being a problem will only make the situation worse. The only way that current numbers or projected future higher numbers of humans can sustainably exist would be for all of us to adopt a lifestyle more like that of Haiti than what we are accustomed to in the US. Changing light bulbs, driving hybrid cars, and fighting urban sprawl, while worthwhile, will not even begin to make human beings a sustainable part of life on the planet if we don't at the same time reduce our numbers.

It's truely amazing that a fellow "Wilson" shares a scientific and religious postion so much like me and my father. He was a middle school science teacher and very interested in natural science. My father always attended Lutheran church with my mother and always believed in evolution and the need to save our planet. He spoke of these concerns in the 1970's before it was spoken of in the general media at all. I am participating in a study group for The Natural Step, which uses examples from Sweden to promote eco friendly communities. I know that it is possible and we humans can change the disasterous course we are on.
Wendy Wilson Uhl
Greener Oconomowoc

I agree with much of what you say, but as far as what we can do as individuals? Instead of joing organizations that tout "greeness" and to align ourselves with goverment organizations and departments I will never do. That's all hype, I NEVER want to get the government involved in anything, as you say it's common sense. We do not need government to tell us what to do. As an individual, I laugh at the "green" term that I have been doing for most of my life (and no, I'm not a hippie). By simple low tech practices (it doesn't have to be costly high tech). I remember being asked by a teacher in elementary school how my family dries it's clothes. As a child and I was embarrassed to say we hung them on the clothes line. But recently I've returned to my solar clothes dryer. It works for ethical reasons, and also saves about $15 on my electic bill. Do you do this? Simple,isnt't it? Example speaks louder than government.

Here we are celebrating July 4th, 2007, 231 year later after TJ wrote (most) these words. Yet, a King George returns, ruling America:

To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, He has forbidden his Government to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, He has erected a multitude of New Offices, (He has kept among us, in times of peace,) He has depleted the army, in times of war, He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power. He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury: For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences: For abolishing our most valuable Laws, He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive.

Post a comment

THE MOYERS BLOG is our forum for viewers' comments intended for discussing and debating ideas and issues raised on BILL MOYERS JOURNAL. THE MOYERS BLOG invites you to share your thoughts. We are committed to keeping an open discussion; in order to preserve a civil, respectful dialogue, our editors reserve the right to remove or alter any comments that we find unacceptable, for any reason. For more information, please click here.

A Companion Blog to Bill Moyers Journal

Your Comments


THE JOURNAL offers a free podcast and vodcast of all weekly episodes. (help)

Click to subscribe in iTunes

Subscribe with another reader

Get the vodcast (help)

For Educators    About the Series    Bill Moyers on PBS   

© Public Affairs Television 2008    Privacy Policy    DVD/VHS    Terms of Use    FAQ