Southwest Virginia has seen a decline in coal and tobacco—two industries that once boomed in the region. Could hemp be a way to boost the local economy? Ryan Huish (University of Virginia’s College at Wise) and Michael Timko (University of Virginia) are collaborating on an Industrial Hemp project that will determine which hemp varieties grow best in the region and explore hemp’s potential for mine land reclamation. Plus: When the Food and Drug Administration approved the production and sale of genetically modified salmon in 2015, some consumers were alarmed by the prospect of consuming “Frankenfish.” But are all genetically modified foods dangerous? Eric Hallerman (Virginia Tech) makes the case for accepting some genetically modified foods. And: When a person’s time is taken up by the needs of daily subsistence due to poverty, environmental concerns can recede as a priority. Camellia Moses Okpodu (Norfolk State University) is investigating ways to get more disenfranchised minorities and people who are economically at risk interested in environmental activism.
Later in the show: In July of 1975, news spread that workers at a factory in Hopewell, Virginia had been poisoned by an insecticide called Kepone. Greg Wilson, Virginia Humanities Fellow and author of Toxic Dust—The Kepone Disaster, traces the environmental crisis that followed with the discovery that the James River and marine life were saturated with the chemical. And: What if there was an app that worked like GoogleMaps, but for marine animals? Sara Maxwell (Old Dominion University) is using satellite tracking to help fisheries avoid catching animals like whales, turtles, and sharks while their hunting for other fish.