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This week's volcanic eruption is a wake-up call for the airline industry and regulators unprepared to deal with the consequences.  It's also a lesson in humanity's inability to control nature. How likely is a much bigger eruption? Is there any way to get ready? Also, President Obama is in New York pushing financial reform, and on this 40th Earth Day, 76% of Americans are shopping green for the good of the planet, but are they making a difference? What does it really take to improve the environment?

Banner image: An aircraft with its engines covered with plastic protection is parked in front of the control tower at Cointrin Geneva's International Airport, on April 18, 2010 as planes are grounded following the volcanic eruption in Iceland. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images


Simon Winchester

Making News President Obama Goes to New York to Push Financial Reform 7 MIN, 44 SEC

President Obama today went to Cooper Union, in the shadow of Wall Street, to push for finance reform. But he focused attack less on bankers and traders themselves than their representatives in Washington, who buckle under the influence of "battalions of financial industry lobbyists." Craig Gordon is White House correspondent for Politico.com.

Craig Gordon, White House Reporter, Politico

Main Topic Are We Prepared for Volcanic Disruption? 37 MIN, 14 SEC

Airports in Europe are back in business, although shifting winds have sent plumes of volcanic ash over Scotland and Scandinavia, forcing some airports to close again. Even as Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano calms down, the total damages from this week's eruption continue to mount, as do complaints about the way it's been handled. The airline industry says regulators failed to coordinate and over-reacted. Others suggest that scientists who monitor volcanoes should have predicted the eruption and its likely impact on air travel. Why did they rely on computer models rather than real planes to test the ash cloud? How much do they really know? What about the 57 active volcanoes here in the US and hundreds of others worldwide? Is civilization prepared to deal with a global calamity?

Steve Lott, International Air Transport Association
John Ewert, Volcanologist, US Geological Survey
Einar Kjartansson, Geophysicist, Icelandic Meteorological Office
Simon Winchester, Journalist, geologist and author (@simonwwriter)

Reporter's Notebook Green Products as Modern Indulgences 5 MIN, 50 SEC

"On the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, Let's…Go shopping!" reads a headline from Newsweek magazine which argues that "buying green and changing personal behavior won't save the planet." The Gallup Poll has found that 76% of Americans have bought products specifically because they thought they were better for the environment. Sharon Begley, science editor for Newsweek, calls that evidence that "green activism has gone seriously off course."

Sharon Begley, Reuters (@sxbegle)

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