Maine: The Way Life Could Be 5/3/22: “Forever Chemicals”, Climate Change, and Maine Farmers & Gardeners

Producers/Hosts: Jim Campbell and Amy Browne
This series is made possible in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission

Welcome to this edition of Maine: The Way Life Could Be, a series in which we look at challenges and opportunities facing Maine in the lifetimes of people alive today.

In previous programs in this series, we looked at some of the possible effects of climate change on the way life could be in Maine in the not too distant future. Today, we look at some forces already at work today – climate change as well as the recent rediscovery of so-called “forever chemicals” in Maine soil and water – and what these forces may mean for people who grow food, both as professional farmers and as backyard gardeners.

We asked Sarah Alexander, the Executive Director of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) and John Jemison Professor of Soil and Water Quality with the Cooperative Extension at the University of Maine what impacts Maine farmers and gardeners might expect to see in their lifetimes from “forever chemicals” and climate change.

To learn more about the health risks associated with PFAS chemicals, be sure to check the WERU archives for the Healthy Options show from April 6th entitled: “The serious problems of PFAS ‘forever chemicals’”. Host Rhonda Feiman’s guest was Patrick MacRoy, Deputy Director of DEFEND OUR HEALTH, a public health organization based in Portland, that has been working on the issue. There are also good resources for learning more about PFAS chemicals on the University of Maine Cooperative Extension web site and on the website of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

About the hosts:

Jim Campbell has a longstanding interest in the intersection of digital technology, law, and public policy and how they affect our daily lives in our increasingly digital world. He has banged around non-commercial radio for decades and, in the little known facts department (that should probably stay that way), he was one of the readers voicing Richard Nixon’s words when NPR broadcast the entire transcript of the Watergate tapes. Like several other current WERU volunteers, he was at the station’s sign-on party on May 1, 1988 and has been a volunteer ever since doing an early stint as a Morning Maine host, and later producing WERU program series including Northern Lights, Conversations on Science and Society, Sound Portrait of the Artist, Selections from the Camden Conference, others that will probably come to him after this is is posted, and, of course, Notes from the Electronic Cottage.

Amy Browne started out at WERU as a volunteer news & public affairs producer in 2000, co-hosting/co-producing RadioActive with Meredith DeFrancesco. She joined the team of Voices producers a few years later, and has been WERU’s News & Public Affairs Manager since January, 2006. In addition to RadioActive, Voices, Maine Currents and Maine: The Way Life Could Be, Amy also produced and hosted the WERU News Report for several years. She has produced segments for national programs including Free Speech Radio News, This Way Out, Making Contact, Workers Independent News, Pacifica PeaceWatch, and Live Wire News, and has contributed to Democracy Now and the WBAI News Report. She is the recipient of the 2014 Excellence in Environmental Journalism Award from the Sierra Club of Maine, and Maine Association of Broadcasters awards for her work in 2017 and 2021.