Among the inherent contradictions of capitalism, according to Karl Marx, is that private profit rests on the backs of workers who gain little from the arrangement, other than perpetuating the wealth of those to whom they sell their labor. But there is a movement afoot to mitigate that contradiction. In business schools, and increasingly in actual capital enterprises, people are talking about, and working toward a “triple bottom line” which considers not only private profit but creating positive social and environmental impact. This week on Sea Change Radio, we talk with two professionals involved in this new way of doing business. First we take a look at a small textile entrepreneur who’s cultivating responsible sourcing for the clothes we wear. Next, we talk to a sustainability consultant about how he helps businesses employ alternative ways to define success.
Often when we cover agriculture, we look at what and how farmers are growing. But the infrastructure that undergirds every farm in America is finance. This week’s guest on Sea Change Radio, author Dean Kuipers, explores how farms get the money they need to grow the food we eat. In his recently published Orion magazine article, “Buying the Farm,” Kuipers picks apart the financial landscape of agriculture and compares financing for big agri-business versus smaller sustainable farming. Today we delve into the different models for financing agriculture not only in the U.S. but globally, examine how one small San Francisco bank is backing sustainable farmers, and take a peek at how an Illinois-based organic bean farmer is getting a leg up on the competition.
Children learn that lying is wrong, often in kindergarten. Apparently, somewhere on the road to becoming corporate leaders, they un-learn that lesson, especially if they are running multinational oil companies. Today on Sea Change Radio we talk with The Guardian’s Suzanne Goldenberg who has been leading the charge in explaining the significance of an email which shows Exxon has been aware of the link between its operations and climate change for quite some time. As one of the leading environmental journalists today Goldenberg puts the email and the subsequent climate denial campaign in context. We talk about the history of climate change awareness, the responsibilities of large fossil fuel companies like ExxonMobil, and the devastating environmental consequences of a corporation that plays fast and loose with the truth.
Imagine a world where every window-laden skyscraper generates its own solar power, where the skylights in your ceiling are a source of light and electricity, and where your iphone charges itself through the power of the sun. What could make this imagined world possible? Photovoltaic solar cells that are as transparent as regular glass. Our guest this week on Sea Change Radio is Prof. Richard Lunt, the lead researcher on the MIT team that developed the technology, an assistant professor at Michigan State University, and co-founder of Ubiquitous Energy, the commercial enterprise through which this energy-capturing glassy-film will be distributed. Lunt talks about the science behind “transparent luminescent solar concentrators” and the opportunities ahead with applications ranging from power-generating car and building windows, to use on every device you can think of, from smart phones to store signs.
This week on Sea Change Radio we have the honor of visiting with Bill Kreutzmann, original drummer of the Grateful Dead, and organic gardener. Host Alex Wise talks with Kreutzmann about the natural resources on the idyllic island of Kaua‘i, where he currently lives and where he has developed a passion for these lush surroundings. We also learn how his hope for a healthier island and planet prompted his civil disobedience to prevent the Hawaii SuperFerry from docking in Nawiliwili Harbor. As a lifelong fan of the band, Wise also asks him about his years with the Grateful Dead. Billy K recalls playing with Mickey, Phil, Bobby and Jerry, talks about his most recent musical project, 7 Walkers, and about how, in the post-Jerry Garcia era, the band’s remaining members feel a little more free to become advocates for causes that most inspire them.
Discussions about the West’s epic drought tend to focus on the need to cut back on residential and agricultural water usage. The importance of water conservation during this record dry spell notwithstanding, sound water management turns out to be about a lot more than just water use. Today on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise speaks with Abrahm Lustgarten of ProPublica, who is writing a multi-part series exposing unfortunate policies and practices vis-à-vis our most precious, life-sustaining resource. Continue reading
Have you ever driven by a hillside covered with wind turbines and wondered, “Who owns those, and is the energy produced up there making it to my house?” Chances are those turbines are not owned by your local or statewide energy utility company, but by an independent power producer (IPP), an important but often overlooked area of the American energy industry.
This week’s guest on Sea Change Radio is Todd Thorner, an entrepreneur who has started and operated multiple renewable energy companies himself, from wind to solar to hydro-electric. Thorner tells host Alex Wise about the path that wind energy takes from the hillside to your home. Thorner also discusses how IPPs fit into the energy mix, how they interface with utility companies, and why they may represent the best hope for a flexible pivot away from coal and gas toward clean and renewable electricity.
This week on Sea Change Radio, we are talking about green beer, and it’s not even St. Patrick’s Day. First we talk with Jennifer Vervrier, the Director of Sustainability for New Belgium Brewing Co. In a plot twist straight out of a Laverne & Shirley episode, Vervrier worked her way up from the bottling line to head of sustainability in a brewery now known as one of the most ecological in the country.
Recognized for its tasty Fat Tire Amber Ale and other original craft-style brews, New Belgium is a female-dominated company in a male-dominated industry. Then, we revisit host Alex Wise‘s discussion with the founder of Alaskan Brewing Company, Geoff Larson, as we talk about the challenges his Juneau, Alaska-based company faces in keeping a tiny carbon footprint despite sizable transportation costs.
When we think of the potential dangers of fracking for natural gas, what may come to mind is the dramatic image of flaming tap-water. But the prospect of methane released in the hydraulic fracturing process goes beyond contaminated ground water to include poor air quality and accelerated climate change. Researchers have struggled to accurately measure how much methane is released through fracking, and studies vary widely in their findings. This week on Sea Change Radio, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Lisa Song, of Inside Climate News joins us to make some sense of the various studies, and help us understand the impact of fracking on the air we breathe. We also delve into the political divide among environmental groups, as nonprofits like the Environmental Defense Fund break with longstanding allies on the subject.
For the better part of the past decade, The New York Times and The Environmental Protection Agency have been frequent punching bags of the right wing. Conservatives allege that The Grey Lady has an open liberal bias and that the EPA is run by tree huggers who care more about owls than jobs. But this week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to Joe Romm of Climate Progress, who is angered by what he believes is a front page hit piece on the EPA by that bastion of liberal journalism, The New York Times. We delve into the details of the piece itself and explore the history of the conservative war against the EPA.