Less Is More : Toward A Zero Discharge Industry

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How about creating an industry that emits no poisons into the environment? Direct action eco-heroine Diane Wilson has used civil disobedience to fight such chemical giants as Union Carbide and DuPont. She tried to sink her shrimp boat on Formosa Plastics toxic effluent pipe and won a zero discharge agreement. Professor of Environmental Engineering Jack Matson tells how chemical plants can and are achieving zero discharge.

Elaine Ingham Ph.D., with nearly 25 years' experience in microbiology, botany, soil and ecology research, is Associate Research Professor in the Department of Forest Science at Oregon State University, and President and Director of Research at Soil Foodweb Inc., a small business that grew out of her University research program. 


Diane Wilson, mother of five and a fourth-generation fisherman on the Texas Gulf Coast, has used civil disobedience to fight such chemical giants as Union Carbide and DuPont. In l995 she won "zero discharge" agreements from Formosa Plastics, one of the largest producers of PVC in the world, and Alcoa Aluminum, among the nation's largest polluters , by conducting three hunger strikes and attempting to sink her shrimp boat on top of a wastewater discharge pipe.

Jack Matson, Professor of Environmental Engineering at Penn State, has been researching for the past twenty-five years how chemical plants and similar industries can achieve "zero discharge" and designed zero discharge systems for five chemical plants. In the early 1990's he was a member of the Texas Air Control Board, and the Chair of Enforcement and Regulation Development for the state. Currently, he is on the advisory committee for EvTec, a national organization dedicated to facilitating the spread of innovative environmental technologies. 

Bioneers Series III includes the following programs: 

  • BN301 Part 1: The Duh Principle: Better Safe Than Sorry
  • BN302 Part 2: Energy Security: the Growth of Soft Energy
  • BN303 Part 3: Light At The Edge of The World: Reinventing The Poetry of Diversity
  • BN304 Part 4: Greening Medicine: the Mainstreaming of Herbs
  • BN305 Part 5: Soil and Soul: The Future of Farming
  • BN306 Part 6: I Heard the Voice Of A Porkchop: The Theoretical Promise Versus The Actual Perils Of Genetically Modified Organisms
  • BN307 Part 7: Less Is More : Toward A Zero Discharge Industry
  • BN308 Part 8: Daughters of Thoreau: Not Too Well Behaved
  • BN309 Part 9: Plants and People: Who's Cultivating Who?
  • BN310 Part 10: Getting the Real Story: Bypassing Corporate Media
  • BN311 Part 11: Nature As Healer: Restoring Life As Community
  • BN312 Part 12: The Wonders of Gaia: Nature is Symbiotic
  • BN313 Part 13: Nature and Spirit: It's All Connected 

The Bioneers series consists of three sets of 13 programs each:

Bioneers Series I The Bioneers: Revolution From the Heart of Nature
Bioneers Series II Improving Environment By Changing The World
Bioneers Series III

Inspired by the philosophies of the Deep Ecology movement, the Bioneers are heroic examples of people living as if nature mattered. Join us as we look deeply into the magic and mystery of the convergence between leading-edge science and ancient wisdom for a Declaration of Interdependence for the new millennium. Though these programs were produced in the 1990s the contents of this series are timelessly relevant. 

HOST: Michael Toms     INTERVIEW DATE: 2002            PROGRAM NUMBER: BN307