Calories and sustainability issues aside, would you eat at Chick-fil-A despite the publicly anti-gay positions of its owners? Would a corporation’s discriminatory employment policies deter you from buying shares in it? Millions of Americans have changed their consumer habits based on whether they perceive corporations to be behaving in socially responsible ways. This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise speaks with John Wilson, the Head of Corporate Governance at Cornerstone Capital Group, about the how the fight for LGBT equality has seeped into mainstream corporate America. They discuss the religious roots of the corporate social responsibility movement, talk about how religion and progressive values are squaring off in North Carolina’s civil rights battle, and contemplate the impact of the most profitable company in the world being led by a proudly gay man.
The next time you are putting a slice of tomato on your sandwich, ask yourself where it came from. Not which area of the country, but which seed stock. One of the often overlooked aspects of food insecurity amid climate uncertainty is the push by big agricultural interests to get us to buy their seeds and their seeds only. Our guest this week on Sea Change Radio, Gary Nabhan, has taken the fight to the corporate seed merchants through the local food movement and seed saving community. The Director of the Center for Regional Food Studies at the University of Arizona, Nabhan believes that a healthy food system is a biodiverse food system. We discuss community-based seed banks, look at the role that Big Ag will continue to play in our food system, and examine how climate change and a lack of biodiverse seed stocks affect people in war zones.
What if every child emerged from the public educational system with an appreciation for the connectivity of all human and non-human life, and with a commitment to create solutions to the problems that plague that interconnected ecosystem? Today on Sea Change Radio we continue our discussion with Zoe Weil, education reformer and environmentalist who holds that vision firmly in view. Last week we talked about the intersection of sustainability and public education. Today we go deeper into some concrete strategies, programs, and curricula that can help make this vision real. What’s the link between obesity and the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico? How do you bridge the equity gap that PTA fundraising inadvertently widens? And how can teaching critical thinking in public education help to sustain this institution that is the life blood of a participatory democracy? Listen as we grapple with these questions.
What’s the purpose of schooling? Reading, writing and ‘rithmetic, right? Well, our guest today begs to differ. Zoe Weil, author and the founder of the Institute for Humane Education, argues that the obligation of education is to cultivate a generation of “solutionaries” – kind, just, and socially conscious people who will protect the environment and promote human rights. We talk about her new book, The World Becomes What We Teach, and touch upon educational equity issues like implicit bias, summer learning loss, the resurgence of school segregation, and how Common Core fits into her vision for meaningful change.
If you live in the US, chances are you have at some point been frustrated that our public transit systems don’t do a great job linking urban centers with suburbs, can’t get you to the airport or work in a reasonable amount of time (or at all), and cost way too much. You don’t have to travel to Tokyo, or Zurich, or Paris to see that public transportation in the US is not what it could be, but our guest today on Sea Change Radio has done just that. He is John Rennie Short, a public policy professor at the University of Maryland and he recently published an article in The Conversation detailing the paltry state of public transit in the US, and how we got here. He discusses how the political landscape has affected infrastructure development, and the many costs associated with the decline of our country’s public transportation system, which can be measured in terms of lower GDP, wasted fuel, and lost time, not to mention the terrible environmental toll.
The glamour of the limousine is undeniable – who wouldn’t want to be shuttled about town without a care in the world? Traffic, parking, sobriety? Somebody else’s problem! With the introduction of the self-driving car, limo luxury could become pretty commonplace. As with many new technologies, though, self-driving cars bring up myriad sustainability, legal. and ethical questions. These questions notwithstanding, it appears that the self-driving car is coming, and coming soon: the Obama administration recently announced that the US government will be pledging to invest nearly $4 billion in autonomous driving technology over the next decade. Meanwhile, deep-pocketed companies like Google, Toyota, Über and General Motors have made their own investments into self-driving vehicles. This week on Sea Change Radio, we learn more about this emerging technology from Reuters Transportation Technology Correspondent, Alexandria Sage.
You know that sick feeling when you look at a smokestack belching noxious gases into the air? Well, what if you knew that the gas waste coming from that smokestack was getting turned into a usable, liquid fuel? That’s the technology that an MIT professor, Gregory Stephanopoulos, and his colleagues are working on and so far, the results have been quite promising. This week on Sea Change Radio, we learn more about this ground-breaking technology from Prof. Stephanopoulos and the promise that it holds. Then, we hear from entrepreneur Todd Thorner about independent power producers and the potential of home battery storage technology.
Transforming ocean water into potable drinking water seems so remarkably cool on so many levels. But alas, desalination remains both expensive and energy intensive. Up to this point, it has only been tried in relatively wealthy, arid nations like Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Australia. But with the serious threat that the ongoing drought poses to the nation’s breadbasket, it’s possible that desalination technology could soon be arriving on the golden shores of California. This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise speaks with energy reporter from The Desert Sun, Sammy Roth. He recently researched a piece about efforts to make desalination more commonplace in California.
Back in 2014 we spoke with David Rolf, president of the Pacific Northwest branch of SEIU, the Service Employees International Union, about his efforts to raise Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, the widening gap between the haves and have-nots, and what happens to sustainability in the face of this trend. Since then, Seattle actually raised its minimum wage and what happened? The sky has certainly not fallen. In Seattle, unemployment has bottomed out to 3.5%, which is considered essentially full employment. Costco, the nation’s second largest retailer recently announced it will be raising the minimum wage for its employees to $13 an hour and discussions of increasing the minimum wage have played prominently in the Democratic debates. Today on Sea Change Radio we revisit host Alex Wise‘s conversation with David Rolf, covering the interconnections between economic and environmental health, and how a movement to improve wages and work conditions can also support efforts to protect the earth.
Along with the Affordable Care Act, the Clean Power Plan may end up being one of President Obama’s signature accomplishments. We learned recently, though, about the US Supreme Court’s potential role in determining the fate of the plan. This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise speaks with two journalists who have been covering other aspects of the plan. First, Mother Jones journalist Tim McDonnell joins us to talk about methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas that is not targeted in the Clean Power Plan or the Paris Agreement, and whose emissions from the oil and gas industry are largely unknown. We discuss the Aliso Canyon leak, efforts to monitor methane, and how much of the methane problem is cows. Then, Washington Post reporter Steven Mufson provides a who’s who in the efforts to obstruct the implementation of the Clean Power Plan.