Environmental show gives positive spin
March 12, 2009
The Durango Herald
After five years on air, listeners still digging Good Dirt Radio
By Dale Rodebaugh
Herald Staff Writer
Tom Bartels, co-host of Good Dirt Radio, a five-minute program that delivers cheering environmental news, could prove to be one of the "positive deviants" he described Wednesday to 102 attendees at the Green Business Roundtable lunch.
Positive deviants embody the philosophy that one-of-a-kind individuals, groups or institutions - by force of personality or action - can effect significant change, Bartels said. Positive deviance has contributed important approaches to environmental sustainability, Bartels said.
In his address at the monthly meeting at the Strater Hotel, Bartels recycled a number of the vignettes focusing on positive deviants, including examples from La Plata County, that have been heard since he helped found Good Dirt Radio five years ago.
Good Dirt Radio itself fits the role of a positive deviant by leading the way to broad dissemination of trend-setting environmental news. The once-a-month, nonprofit program expanded from a handful of local digital radio stations to being available free to 1,200 outlets nationwide via Google audio. Access to a wide audience will end in May, however, because Google, which is suffering from economic malaise, is ending the relationship, Bartels said.
"But it was an experiment that showed us how many people want good environmental news," Bartels said. "We will continue to look for new exposure."
Good Dirt Radio was the result of brainstorming by Bartels and six others on how to reverse people's gluttonous consumption of resources. They hit on positive deviance by searching out those who are leading in the opposite direction.
The program looks far and wide for environmental deviants, Bartels said. The intention is to find topics that are relevant for five years - supporting your local farmers market, for example - he said.
Listeners are encouraged to visit www.gooddirtradio.org, where all Good Dirt stories are archived and can be heard, Bartels said. But they are available on digital radio, including local KSUT-FM (Ignacio), KDUR-FM (Durango), KSJD-FM (Cortez) and KOTO-FM (Telluride).
Among Good Dirt segments from La Plata County mentioned Wednesday by Bartels were:•Phoenix Recycling, owned by La Plata County residents Alex Arribau and husband, Mark Thompson, which collects construction waste and office paper in addition to household garbage. The wood, cardboard, bricks, concrete and metal recovered constitutes more than 50 percent of construction waste, Arribau told Good Dirt Radio. The cardboard left over from building a 2,000-square-foot house spares seven full-grown pine trees, she said.
•The James Ranch in the Animas Valley where holistic range management is the guiding principle. David James moves his dairy cows and beef cattle to fresh pasture every day. Bovine that graze the open range make it unnecessary to use fertilizer or truck in feed from outside. As the herds nip the all-natural plant species the roots are left to build topsoil.
"Large-scale beef and dairy production have shifted to an industrial model using hormones, antibiotics and feed made from grain and animal waste products," James said in his interview. "While it might be good for the corporate bottom line, it's not the type of diet our bodies have come to expect."
the original Herald article.