In physics, electricity is power. Electricity can also be power, though, in the sense that it creates opportunity for the pursuit of social capital and positive outcomes. This week on Sea Change Radio, we highlight the efforts of two nonprofits that are working to bring clean, affordable energy to some of the most under-resourced people on the planet. First, we hear from Anya Cherneff of Empower Generation who gives us a snapshot of her organization’s efforts to bring electricity to people in Nepal, and how it connects to fighting human trafficking in Southeast Asia. Then, Moira Hanes from Empowered By Light talks about the difference her organization has made both in Nepal and Zambia.
Even the most astute followers of the news may have missed that the Trump Administration is touting a series of self-proclaimed focal areas. With compelling revelations of lying, collusion, and treason coming out almost daily, it’s understandable if absurd, toothless initiatives like “Energy Week,” or “Workforce Development Week” flew under your radar. Today on Sea Change Radio, we try to decipher what the actual energy policies of the current administration are with the help of Axios energy reporter, Amy Harder. We dissect Harder’s piece, “What Trump gets wrong about coal, natural gas and carbon,” analyze the divides within various federal agencies, and try to make heads or tails of what she dubs “a collection of contradictions.”
Many people living in Pacific nations, like Vanuatu, Indonesia, and the Philippines, struggle to find adequate shelter, a challenge compounded by the elevated risk of structure-destroying cyclones. Meanwhile, miles off their coasts, plastic waste floats in the ocean, contaminating the marine food chain and threatening the world’s largest ecosystem. Our guest this week is Nev Hyman, an avid surfer who saw these two seemingly unrelated problems and devised a solution. His company, Nev House, uses recycled plastic to build low-cost, fire- and cyclone-resistant, solar- and water sanitation-equipped houses for people living in developing nations. He tells us about how Nev House partners with charities to actualize their business model, how he feels the emergency shelter system should be streamlined, and how this small company will upcycle 3 million tons of plastic waste over the next four years.
“I guess the grass is itself a child, the produced babe of the vegetation.” Perhaps Walt Whitman had this week’s guests on Sea Change Radio in mind when he wrote those words, as we talk to two entrepreneurs who, in very different ways, are using nature’s bounty for innovative purposes. First, we speak to Hawaiian-based bicycle maker, Barret Werk, who uses bamboo, the strongest grass around, to make his bike frames. Then, we revisit host Alex Wise‘s discussion with Bay Area-based sea forager extraordinaire, Kirk Lombard.
Are the cries for a complete transition to renewable energy from environmentalists like Bill McKibben actually undermining the work to combat climate change? That is the position of our guest today on Sea Change Radio. Ted Nordhaus is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Breakthrough Institute, an Oakland-based think tank which focuses on energy issues. We discuss Nordhaus’s recent piece in Foreign Policy magazine, assess the damage that climate change denialism in the US has wrought on the planet, and examine the methods used by both pro-environment and anti-environment activists.
When a West Virginia University research team won a grant in 2012 to run some tests on diesel cars, they could not have imagined that their relatively small study would soon be bringing one of the largest, most storied auto makers in the world to its knees — something in the Farfegnugen just didn’t smell right. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to New York Times reporter Jack Ewing whose new book, Faster, Higher, Farther takes a deep plunge into the history of Volkswagen and gives us the latest on the company’s emissions scandal. We learn about the Nazi propaganda beginnings of Volkswagen, the company’s involvement in wartime atrocities, and the powerful families behind the Volkswagen brand. We also examine the company’s systematic and dishonest emissions cheating practices, and talk about what lies ahead for the auto giant.
Many sports fans are familiar with this dilemma: do I want my team to put everything on the line to win now or would I prefer that my team take its time and try to methodically build a long term successful franchise? This is very similar to the quandary that investors, stakeholders and management at some of the world’s most powerful companies find themselves facing. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to John Wilson, the head of Corporate Governance for Cornerstone Capital. Wilson and host Alex Wise discuss how managers balance trying to please dividend-hungry shareholders with keeping an eye on the future, how automation will affect the global economy, and how all of this is ultimately an issue of sustainability.
It has been a bit difficult to keep up with the news since January. Every few hours it seems like there is a new revelation in the global political wreckage that is the Trump administration. Whether you’re more interested in how ties to Putin will lead to impeachment, how Donald Trump is systematically alienating the US’s closest allies, or the possibility of the US pulling out of the landmark Paris Climate Agreement, it’s hard to deny that the international political scene is roiling. And with every international political churn, there are environmental causes and implications. This week on Sea Change Radio we speak with energy consultant, Alex Gilbert, who provides a clear recap of the past 10 years in US international relations. He connects the dots and shows how political alliances among nations, policies like fracking, and environmental conditions like drought have helped to create turmoil in countries like Syria, Turkey, Russia, and even the good old US of A.
In 2013 California boasted a recycling rate of 85%. In 2017 that number is now 79% – that is the first time it has dipped below 80% since 2008. Why is the most populous state in the union moving in the wrong direction on this important indicator? This week on Sea Change Radio we speak with Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste, a nonprofit environmental group that was founded forty years ago to advocate for beverage container recycling in the state. He will explain this troubling trend and talk about what can be done to get California’s recycling program back on its previous trajectory.
Galileo said we should, “Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so.” This week on Sea Change Radio, we take a look at two ways that people are trying to apply that wisdom to climate change. First, we speak to Davida Herzl, the CEO and co-founder of Aclima, a San Francisco-based company that refers to itself as a “FitBit for the planet.” Herzl explains how Aclima’s technology works, how the company makes money, and the opportunities that lie ahead as the industry of measuring air pollution evolves. Then, we dig into the Sea Change Radio archives and re-visit our discussion with James Leaton, the research director of the Carbon Tracker Initiative, a British nonprofit that analyzes the risks of fossil fuel investment and presents findings to the financial sector, with the objective of limiting future greenhouse gas emissions.