18 April 2012

RAG RADIO / Thorne Dreyer : Restoration Ecologist Bill Neiman on Saving our Texas Environment

Environmentalist Bill Neiman at the KOOP studios in Austin, Friday, April 13, 2012. Photo by Tracey Schulz / Rag Radio.

Rag Radio:
Restoration ecologist Bil Neiman
says we need a paradigm shift

By Rag Radio / The Rag Blog / April 18, 2012

Restoration ecologist Bill Neiman, a leader in the movement to conserve natural resources and to restore and maintain the health of the environment in Texas, was Thorne Dreyer's guest on Rag Radio, Friday, April 13, 2012, on Austin community radio station KOOP 91-7-FM, and streamed live on the Internet.

You can listen to the show here.

Bill Neiman is an environmental landscaper and his Native American Seed is the principal supplier of native wildflower and grass seeds in Texas, much of it used in the highway-beautification programs of the Texas Department of Transportation. The company also provides consulting services for prairie-restoration projects.

An advocate of the use of native species of vegetation, Neiman speaks regularly to school classes and adult groups in his ongoing effort to educate the public about ecologically-sensitive land management.

Neiman -- who believes we are at a serious environmental and land use crossroads -- points out that we "consume and convert rural land at the rate of 1,000 football fields per day... to sprawling new suburban homes and big box shopping malls." He says we are at a point were we must "make paradigm shifts in how we connect to outdoor living spaces."

On the show we discuss the nature of native or indigenous species and the value of using them in landscaping, and Neiman suggests adding "pocket prairie" ecosystems to urban landscapes to serve as wildlife refuges and seed banks. And he talks about the current epidemic invasion of the vegetation known as "bastard cabbage" which is actually native to the Mediterrean, and how to address the continuing problem of invasive species in Texas.

Neiman discusses the recent Texas drought and wildfires, and how we must seriously address water usage, the most critical resource in our lives. He suggests landscaping with native turf instead of St. Augustine and other non-indigenous grasses, and creating sustainable rainwater gardens and water harvesting sites.

And he tells the Rag Radio audience about community efforts in the Texas Hill Country to preserve the "night skies" by addressing light pollution with simple techniques to shield outdoor lighting.

Rag Radio, which has aired since September 2009 on KOOP 91.7-FM, a cooperatively-run all-volunteer community radio station in Austin, Texas, features hour-long in-depth interviews and discussion about issues of progressive politics, culture, and history.

Hosted and produced by Rag Blog editor and long-time alternative journalist Thorne Dreyer, a pioneer of the Sixties underground press movement, Rag Radio is broadcast every Friday from 2-3 p.m. (CST) on KOOP and streamed live on the web. Rag Radio is also rebroadcast on Sundays at 10 a.m. (EST) on WFTE, 90.3-FM in Mt. Cobb, PA, and 105.7-FM in Scranton, PA.

Rag Radio is produced in the KOOP studios, in association with The Rag Blog, a progressive internet newsmagazine, and the New Journalism Project, a Texas 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Tracey Schulz is the show's engineer and co-producer.

After broadcast, all episodes are posted as podcasts and can be downloaded at the Internet Archive.

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