Carolyn Lochhead on the Politics of Water

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carolynlochheadAn issue that didn’t come up in Monday’s presidential debate, and unfortunately may not show up in subsequent debates either, is, “What are the candidates’ water policies?” It is one of the most vital issues for all Americans, and for the globe, and yet it is almost never mentioned on the national political debate stage. But if you look for them, you’ll find that each of the two major party candidates for president do have positions on water — well, one has actual proposals, and the other one has a set of ill-conceived opinions that could theoretically inform policy. This week on Sea Change Radio, we hear from the Washington correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle, Carolyn Lochhead, to compare Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on water. We will discuss the preposterous supposition advanced by one candidate that the California drought is just a figment of our collective imaginations ginned up by liberals, the idea that it is wasteful to allow rivers to flow to the sea, and Clinton’s vision for collaborative stewardship. Stay tuned as we dive deep into the politics of water.

Jesse Jenkins: Decarbonization Deep Dive

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jessejenkinsWhat does decarbonization mean? Well, it’s not just what happens when your soda goes flat. Today on Sea Change Radio we talk with Jesse Jenkins, researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, about the decarbonization of the electric grid. We discuss the great progress being made in states like California, Texas, and New York, how fossil fuels and nuclear power might figure in the future, and the potential impact of something called distributed energy management systems.

Agreeable Agriculture With Eric Toensmeier

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erictoensmeierCan simply changing how and what we grow really make a difference to a changing climate? This week’s guest on Sea Change Radio, author and agricultural expert, Eric Toensmeier, is quite certain it can. We discuss smarter agricultural methods like using trees and grazing animals. And we talk about what might turn an enormous, slow-moving industry like agriculture onto a more sustainable path.

John Fleck: Colorado River Riddles

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John Fleck at Morelos Dam, at start of pulse flow, used 4/4/14 as my new twitter avatarAs the temperature and population continue to rise in the southwestern United States, water becomes scarcer than ever. How did we get here? Will the water dry up completely? This week on Sea Change Radio, we discuss all things Colorado River Basin with author John Fleck, who’s just released a book on the subject. We look back at the struggle over water rights in Arizona, discuss how Mexico and the U.S. are cooperating over the Colorado River Delta, and talk about the complexities of growing alfalfa in the desert.

Oliver Koehler: Hanging Up Solar Shingles

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OliverKoehlerWhile some listeners might find it hard to fathom, the perceived unsightliness of rooftop solar panels can actually be a barrier to widespread adoption. There are homeowners associations and even municipalities from the suburbs of Dallas to Bordeaux, France, that restrict the endlessly renewable energy source that rooftop solar panels represent. But our guest today on Sea Change Radio, Oliver Koehler, is the CEO of a company called Suntegra that offers the perfect solution: solar panels that integrate into roof tiles. Koehler gives us a snapshot of his company, talks about Suntegra’s technology, and offers a glimpse of the competitive landscape. Then, we re-visit our discussion with Richard Lunt about transparent solar cells, another cutting-edge technology that can integrate with skylights and windows.

Cod Willing: David Abel on the Cod’s Resurgence

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April 20, 2013 Jamaica Plain (Boston), MA.  David Abel, a journalist, posed for a portrait in his home.  Abel was at the finish line of the Boston Marathon when the bombs exploded this past Monday and filmed it.Since 1992, fish ’n chips fans may have noticed that there was no cod in their classic fried dish. That’s the year that the Canadian government issued a moratorium on fishing the popular, tasty species. It devastated the Newfoundland region’s economy, but it had to be done. The cod population had dwindled to nearly nothing at that time due to over-fishing and changing water temperatures. Our guest today on Sea Change Radio is Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Abel, who recently wrote a piece for the Boston Globe about how the cod has actually rebounded in recent times. We talk about the region’s historical relationship with cod, how science-informed policy can help reverse human-generated ecological damage, and Abel’s upcoming film on the subject, Sacred Cod.

Don’t Lose Your Cool: Katie Herzog on A/C

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katieherzogWho doesn’t enjoy that refreshing feeling when you walk in from 90 degree heat to the cool blast of an air-conditioned room? Last month extreme heat blistered most of the US, from the Northeast, to the Southwest and practically every place in between. Weather experts are telling us that extreme is going to be the new normal when it comes to summer temperatures. Thank heavens for A/C. Approximately 86% of American households are equipped with air conditioners, and the rest of the world is rapidly catching up. But, while it undoubtedly helps human beings survive extreme heat, A/C is a huge and growing greenhouse gas offender. Our guest this week on Sea Change Radio is reporter, Katie Herzog, who recently wrote a piece for Grist on the social and environmental costs of air-conditioning. We discuss the past and future of these machines, the possibility of solar-powered A/C units, and the irony of this thing that is making us hotter by keeping us cool.

Kate Zerrenner on the Rio Olympics

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KateZerrennerIf you’ve been tuning into the Olympics in Rio this week, you’ve probably watched your fair share of inspirational profiles of athletes. You may also have been following some of the stories emerging out of Brazil about the corruption, poor environmental stewardship, and social justice transgressions surrounding the Olympics. It’s enough to make the most ardent sports fan a little ambivalent. In Rio, athletes will be swimming or sailing in water that is literally crappy — some athletes may be taking home gold, silver, bronze, or just hepatitis. It may turn out that the more emotional story is not an athlete profile, but one of environmental malfeasance and social injustice — it tugs at the heartstrings, alright, but not in the way that NBC had hoped. This week on Sea Change Radio, we take a deep dive into some of the issues surrounding the thirty-first Olympiad as we are joined by Kate Zerrenner of the Environmental Defense Fund.

Andrew Winston on the North American Clean Economy Agreement

A view of the open floodgates from the scenic lookout at the Beaver Lake Dam.

Due to recent heavy rains, the Army Corps of Engineers had to open the floodgates to keep the water from topping the dam.

AndrewWinstonWhat would it take for North America to really reduce pollution? At a minimum, Canada, the U.S., and Mexico would have to jointly commit to increasing renewable energy sources and eliminating fossil fuel subsidies. Fortunately, these three nations just signed onto the North American Clean Economy Agreement, which includes these commitments and many others aimed at improving the environment. Author and sustainability consultant Andrew Winston joins us today on Sea Change Radio to explain the ins and outs of the agreement. Winston and host Alex Wise discuss its importance, dissect the specific pledges made by the three countries, and look at what steps must be taken to achieve the goals listed in this unprecedented agreement.

High Time For Legalization

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4958668503_eb75150755_b (1)California, the nation’s most populous state, votes again this Fall on the legalization of marijuana. It’s yet another sign that the century-long prohibition may finally be lifting, one state at a time. This week on Sea Change Radio, we bring you four interviews from the National Cannabis Industry Association conference held recently in Oakland, CA. Host Alex Wise talks with “ganjapreneurs” Matthew Huron, Nancy Whiteman, Kevin Dolan and Shelly Peterson, about the horticulture, distribution, extraction, and marketing of the nation’s fastest growing crop, and learns what legalization would mean for their respective businesses.