Keeping An Eye On The Natural Gas Boom

NeelaBanerjeeJoshFoxEven the most casual followers of energy policy have become aware of the controversy surrounding the massive expansion of fracking in this country over the past decade. Successful attempts to lift the curtain on fracking, like Josh Fox’s 2010 documentary film Gasland, have spurred a grassroots movement to push back on natural gas giants and lobbyists who would have us believe that fracking is clean and safe. So who is winning this battle for America’s health and well-being, fought on the parallel fronts of policy and PR?

This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise speaks with Neela Banerjee, a journalist who covers energy and environmental policy for the Los Angeles Times, to get an update on the latest developments in natural gas exploration. She talks about the fight to keep drinking water safe around the 77,000 natural gas wells throughout the country, and the controversy surrounding the use of unpermitted diesel fuel in the fracking process.

*Here’s a link to Sea Change Radio’s 2012 interview with Josh Fox

Jonathan Trent and the OMEGA Project

Nico-Marinexplore-trentJonathanTrentWhen life gives you lemons they say to make lemonade. And what if life gives you sewage released into an enclosed bay, what can you make? Certainly not lemonade, right? Our guest today on Sea Change Radio is NASA scientist and UC Santa Cruz professor, Jonathan Trent. He has figured out how to use algae to turn wastewater pollution into biofuel. This ambitious project, called Offshore Membrane Enclosures for Growing Algae (or OMEGA) not only places algae where it can consume waste and excrete oils for fuel, it also creates spaces for low-impact aquaculture, captures CO2, and cleans pollutants out of bays.

The technology also converts wastewater to drinking water, which, with a little lemon and sugar could even be used to make, you guessed it, lemonade. Listen now as host Alex Wise talks with Dr. Trent, an inventor, pioneer, and visionary whose OMEGA project offers hope for fuel, food, water, and a cleaner world.

World-Class Cities Redefined

MatthewGarbettDonald ShoupWhat makes a world-class city? Is it just having winning sports teams, good shopping centers, and iconic sky-scrapers? Or should having progressive practices that promote sustainability count among the world-class city criteria? One Atlanta resident, Matthew Garbett, thinks that the energy expended on cultivating tourist attractions and building sports arenas would be better spent creating walkable neighborhoods and slow growth that support community connection and sustainability.

Among Garbett’s list of grievances is the abundance of parking lots that “prevent neighborhoods from becoming vibrant.” And speaking of parking lots, our second guest today is Donald Shoup, an urban planner who has famously suggested that free parking actually brings tremendous costs to a city. Matthew Garbett and host Alex Wise‘s 2010 discussion with Donald Shoup on this week’s Sea Change Radio.

Women Ecopreneurs in the Developing World

Shilpimaterial-recovery-facility-payatasA wide array of economic analysts are increasingly recognizing the link between economic development and gender equality. Research is showing that when women succeed, developing economies thrive. But what impact, if any, does the increased economic role of women in the global south have in terms of the environment? This week on Sea Change Radio, we feature two stories of women in Asia who are leading the way both economically and sustainably.

First, host Alex Wise talks to Jenny Fernan, the President of Pangea Green Energy, a landfill gas company based in the Philippines. She tells us about this pioneering company which runs a biogas plant, converting hazardous garbage into electricity. Then we hear from Shilpi Chhotray, a consultant with Future 500 who discusses the burgeoning seaweed industry in India and the important role that women are playing in making it a success.

Courtney White: Grass, Soil, Hope

CourtneyWhiteGrass-Soil-Hope-jpgWhat if the solution for reducing our collective carbon footprint were right under our feet? Our guest this week on Sea Change Radio believes it is – soil is a natural and planet-healthy repository for CO2. A slight rise in carbon dioxide levels in the soil could help fend off the encroaching warming of the climate. Author Courtney White talks about this as well as the environmental problems caused by today’s common farming practices.

Picking Up The Pieces: Jeff Kirschner

sn_ts_062509_fixedJeffKirschnerAnyone who is on social media knows how often you can be inundated with picayune details of your friends’ daily lives. But what if all that over-sharing could be turned into something productive and beneficial? What if, instead of just being a source of information on what your high school friend had for lunch today, or how great your niece’s new shoes look, social media could work to create a buzz around something really important, like picking up litter?

Today’s guest on Sea Change Radio, Jeff Kirschner, has figured out how to harness the over-sharing tendency of social media users to help us all clean up our act. The new platform Litterati enables everyone with a smart-phone to find litter, pick it up, and deposit it not only into a trash receptacle but into a data repository with a multitude of uses. Kirschner explains how this platform is generating a mountain of detailed data about litter, creating a mechanism for crowdsourced pressure on corporations, and inspiring people of all ages to be better stewards of our planet.

City CarShare CEO Rick Hutchinson

RickHutchinsonNC-PnP-MITSUBISHIShared mobility – it’s a concept that might be a little foreign to the millions of Americans who get in their cars by themselves everyday and embark on a solo, carbon-intensive oh-so-individual drive to wherever they need to go. But there are new converts to the shared mobility model every day. City CarShare is a San Francisco Bay Area-based non-profit that provides its members with temporary cars. The organization’s mission is actually to take cars off the road by allowing more city-dwellers to eschew car ownership altogether.

This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise sits down with the CEO of City Car Share, Rick Hutchinson, to discuss the ins and outs of the car sharing industry – how it works, who makes money from it, and why it offers a more sustainable alternative to the status quo.

Gareth McKinley and Marion Nestle

GarethMcKinleyMarionNestleThis week on Sea Change Radio, we revisit a couple of discussions from last year. First, host Alex Wise speaks to Gareth McKinley, an MIT professor whose students have come up with a potential solution for the rainless days that await many regions as climate change takes hold – a technology that effectively converts fog into potable water. Then, we hear from Marion Nestle, a noted nutritionist and author whose latest book digs into the power of cartoons to drive home complex arguments for fighting food insecurity issues in this country.

Adam Werbach Part II

AdamWerbach1handsOur guest today is Adam Werbach who could already have been called an environmental activist when he was just in high school. At the ripe young age of 23 Werbach became the youngest person ever elected as the president of the Sierra Club. Now, nearly two decades later, he is working on Yerdle, a site that seeks to reduce the needless production of stuff by creating an easy way for people to trade the stuff they already have. 

Several years ago he served as a commissioner of the San Francisco Public Utility Commission, and was a pioneer in starting one of the first consulting firms whose focus was to help other organizations become more ecologically responsible and sustainable. Today on Sea Change Radio Werbach talks about his career, the controversies that arose around him when he claimed that environmentalism was dead, and when his company began working with Wal-Mart, and why he feels strongly about the direction his career is taking now. 

Adam Werbach and Julene Bair: Waste Not

adamwerbachJuleneBairHow much junk do you own? You’re probably not technically a “hoarder” but like most Americans, you may have way more stuff than you know what to do with – stuff that is no longer valuable to you, but that you don’t want to just throw away. This week on Sea Change Radio, we talk to Adam Werbach, the co-founder of Yerdle, an online sharing platform that allows people to trade things they no longer need or want in exchange for other people’s stuff that they do want, using a points-based economy. No currency changes hands, and no new materials are used to make more stuff.

Then, host Alex Wise speaks to the author of The Ogallala Road, Julene Bair. Her touching new memoir is a personal account of how the ascendance of industrial farming in America has laid waste to the social fabric of the heartland.