If you’re listening to this broadcast, the chances are you can get clean drinking water right from your kitchen sink. But much of the world’s population does not have that luxury. In rural sub-Saharan Africa, the World Health Organization estimates that only about half of the population has access to clean water, and only 23% have access to hygienic sanitation facilities. The burden of this problem falls disproportionately on women and girls who literally carry the water for their communities. Our guest this week on Sea Change Radio is Gemma Bulos, the Executive Director and co-founder of an organization that works to solve the problem by empowering women as technicians and community leaders who build and sustain water-access technology. Bulos explains how the Global Women’s Water Initiative builds capacity, the connection between water access and girls’ education, and the story of how she arrived at this world-changing work.
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.
Is the biofuel craze of a few years ago really dead? This week’s guest on Sea Change Radio, Pat Gruber, thinks not. While plummeting oil prices may have flattened the appeal of biofuel in the auto industry, the air travel industry’s interest appears to be just taking off. Gruber’s company, Gevo, provided the fuel for the first corn-powered commercial passenger flight in U.S. history this month. We discuss his company’s technology, the competitive bio jetfuel landscape, and what feedstocks are likely to be used to power future flights. Then we dig into the Sea Change Radio archives to hear from longtime airline industry analyst Bob McAdoo. He breaks down airline pricing models that often leave travelers flummoxed.
It’s summertime, time to make your camping reservations. Oops, should have done that three months ago! This week’s guest on Sea Change Radio, Alyssa Ravasio, noticed that there was a lot of private land that would be perfect for camping, while public campsites were consistently overbooked and too often unavailable. So she started something called Hipcamp which is sort of an Airbnb meets Expedia for campers. Ravasio tells us more about the company’s business model, how they hope to make it easier for more of us to appreciate nature and how her site can be a welcome new source of income for rural property owners.
What will it take to get the CEOs of the world’s largest fossil fuel companies to wake up to the realities of climate change? Our guest this week on Sea Change Radio is Raj Thamotheram. He and his colleagues at Preventable Surprises believe that even small-scale investors can produce large-scale results by advocating for sounder environmental practices within the board rooms of multinational conglomerates. Thamotheram breaks down his approach to investor engagement, known as the Forceful Stewardship Program, and maps out a strategy for companies to satisfy investors without putting the planet in peril.
Human slavery. Many of us think of it as a terrible chapter of US history that ended in the 19th century. But, according to the United Nations, slavery is a modern reality for roughly 27 to 30 million human beings living, right now. Our guest today on Sea Change Radio is Associated Press reporter, Robin McDowell, who, along with three colleagues, recently won a Pulitzer Prize, for her team’s exposé of slavery practices in the Southeast Asian seafood industry. Not only did this investigation receive the highest honor in journalism, it alerted consumers of how we are contributing to the practice by eating slave-produced seafood, and, most importantly, it precipitated the rescue of 2,000 slaves who are now living free after years and even decades of bondage. McDowell breaks down the details of how she and her colleagues uncovered the story, some of the horrors they encountered along the way, and how it sparked action to dismantle similar operations in the region. (n.b. Ms. McDowell misspoke when she called the Rohingya a persecuted minority from Indonesia. They are from Myanmar).
According to the Supreme Court, corporations are people. The absurdity of this statement notwithstanding, it is clear that, like people, corporations make mistakes, and sometimes commit crimes and atrocities. This week on Sea Change Radio we talk with two experts about the impact that two energy corporations have had on actual people. First, host Alex Wise speaks with Inside Climate News reporter Neela Banerjee about the stark contrast between what happened at Aliso Canyon and what happened near Mobile, Alabama when gas and chemical spills contaminated the communities there. The same company, Sempra Energy, was involved, and yet the response and aftermath were vastly different, with race and class factoring significantly into environmental justice outcomes. Then we hear from John Wilson, Head of Corporate Governance at Cornerstone Capital Group about the death of former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon. Facing widespread accusations that he cheated landowners out of the money they were promised in exchange for letting Chesapeake Energy drill for natural gas on their property, Chesapeake’s founder died in mysterious fashion. Wilson gives us his environmental, social, and corporate governance perspective on the corruption allegations and the demise of the man Forbes Magazine once called “the world’s most reckless billionaire.”
Apparently things are moving and shaking in Oklahoma, literally. In the past 8 years earthquakes in the “Sooner State” have increased from 2 a year to 2 a day. Is the expansion of gas and oil exploration during that same period of time a mere coincidence? This week on Sea Change Radio, we hear from Ole Kaven, a geophysicist with the US Geological Survey. Kaven’s area of expertise is human-induced seismicity, in other words, how human activity contributes to earthquakes. He talks about the work he has been doing studying the effects of carbon sequestration on seismic events, the sharp increase in Oklahoma’s seismicity, and what the government and the public should know about how oil and gas industry practices could be making the earth move under our feet.
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.