Quenching The Thirsty Earth

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BrewittThis week on Sea Change Radio we are talking about the California drought – getting an update on weather-related aspects, and finding out about an innovation designed to help. First we talk to Anthony Artusa, a meteorologist from the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center. He gives us a sense of what to expect from the current El Niño year and what it may or may not mean to California long-term. Then we talk to Peter Brewitt who recently wrote about the millions of plastic shade-balls being used in LA’s main reservoir to try to slow evaporation – might this potentially controversial innovation provide a lasting solution?

Louisiana Checkup: Douglas Meffert

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DougMeffertAs the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, we thought it would be an appropriate time to head back down to the bayou. This week on Sea Change Radio, we hear from the Executive Director of Audubon Louisiana, Dr. Douglas Meffert. We get an update on the coastal restoration efforts in the region, get a sense of how the cleanup from the BP Oil Spill is progressing and talk about the ongoing struggles and challenges of the Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans.

Inside Obama’s Clean Power Plan

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TimMcDonnellPresident Obama announced a bold new climate plan last week. The plan is being widely heralded by environmental advocates, but, perhaps unsurprisingly, pilloried by coal states and fossil fuel companies who are actively mounting legal challenges. This week on Sea Change Radio we talk with two environmental reporters, Alex Guillén from Politico and Tim McDonnell of Mother Jones. They provide an overview of the climate plan and its goals, discuss some political and legal responses, and talk about how it may be viewed globally as we anticipate the UN Climate Summit in Paris.

 

Solar Access Warming For Renters

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AdamBrowningIs your home one of the millions that haven’t been able to get solar because you’re a renter? The cost of solar panel installation is half of what it was just five years ago, which should be opening up opportunity everywhere. But many homes and businesses are locked out because they don’t own their rooftops. The good news is that policymakers are starting to look for creative ways to expand solar access — just recently, the Obama Administration announced a $520 million initiative for community solar farms which could allow everyone to get on board the renewable revolution. This week on Sea Change Radio, we talk about this community solar initiative in a panel discussion with Adam Browning and Katherine Bagley. Browning is the executive director of the non-profit solar advocacy organization, Vote Solar, and Bagley is an environmental reporter for Inside Climate News.

The Shirt Off Your Back: Lydia Wendt and Michael Townsend

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LydiaWendtAmong the inherent contradictions of capitalism, according to Karl Marx, is that private profit rests on the backs of workers who gain little from the arrangement, other than perpetuating the wealth of those to whom they sell their labor. But there is a movement afoot to mitigate that contradiction. In business schools, and increasingly in actual capital enterprises, people are talking about, and working toward a “triple bottom line” which considers not only private profit but creating positive social and environmental impact. This week on Sea Change Radio, we talk with two professionals involved in this new way of doing business. First we take a look at a small textile entrepreneur who’s cultivating responsible sourcing for the clothes we wear. Next, we talk to a sustainability consultant about how he helps businesses employ alternative ways to define success.

Dean Kuipers: Buying The Farm

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DeanKuipersOften when we cover agriculture, we look at what and how farmers are growing. But the infrastructure that undergirds every farm in America is finance. This week’s guest on Sea Change Radio, author Dean Kuipers, explores how farms get the money they need to grow the food we eat. In his recently published Orion magazine article, “Buying the Farm,” Kuipers picks apart the financial landscape of agriculture and compares financing for big agri-business versus smaller sustainable farming. Today we delve into the different models for financing agriculture not only in the U.S. but globally, examine how one small San Francisco bank is backing sustainable farmers, and take a peek at how an Illinois-based organic bean farmer is getting a leg up on the competition.

Exxon Fuels Denial

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SuzanneGoldenbergChildren learn that lying is wrong, often in kindergarten. Apparently, somewhere on the road to becoming corporate leaders, they un-learn that lesson, especially if they are running multinational oil companies. Today on Sea Change Radio we talk with The Guardian’s Suzanne Goldenberg who has been leading the charge in explaining the significance of an email which shows Exxon has been aware of the link between its operations and climate change for quite some time. As one of the leading environmental journalists today Goldenberg puts the email and the subsequent climate denial campaign in context. We talk about the history of climate change awareness, the responsibilities of large fossil fuel companies like ExxonMobil, and the devastating environmental consequences of a corporation that plays fast and loose with the truth.

Richard Lunt: Transparent Solar Cells

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New Faculty Orientation at the Kellogg Center Aug. 23, 2011.Imagine a world where every window-laden skyscraper generates its own solar power, where the skylights in your ceiling are a source of light and electricity, and where your iphone charges itself through the power of the sun. What could make this imagined world possible? Photovoltaic solar cells that are as transparent as regular glass. Our guest this week on Sea Change Radio is Prof. Richard Lunt, the lead researcher on the MIT team that developed the technology, an assistant professor at Michigan State University, and co-founder of Ubiquitous Energy, the commercial enterprise through which this energy-capturing glassy-film will be distributed. Lunt talks about the science behind “transparent luminescent solar concentrators” and the opportunities ahead with applications ranging from power-generating car and building windows, to use on every device you can think of, from smart phones to store signs.

Bill Kreutzmann: Bound To Cover Just A Little More Ground (re-broadcast)

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2743320300_d86a602d70_bThis week on Sea Change Radio we have the honor of visiting with Bill Kreutzmann, original drummer of the Grateful Dead, and organic gardener. Host Alex Wise talks with Kreutzmann about the natural resources on the idyllic island of Kaua‘i, where he currently lives and where he has developed a passion for these lush surroundings. We also learn how his hope for a healthier island and planet prompted his civil disobedience to prevent the Hawaii SuperFerry from docking in Nawiliwili Harbor. As a lifelong fan of the band, Wise also asks him about his years with the Grateful Dead. Billy K recalls playing with Mickey, Phil, Bobby and Jerry, talks about his most recent musical project, 7 Walkers, and about how, in the post-Jerry Garcia era, the band’s remaining members feel a little more free to become advocates for causes that most inspire them.

Abrahm Lustgarten: Water Management Breakdown

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AbrahmLustgartenDiscussions about the West’s epic drought tend to focus on the need to cut back on residential and agricultural water usage. The importance of water conservation during this record dry spell notwithstanding, sound water management turns out to be about a lot more than just water use. Today on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise speaks with Abrahm Lustgarten of ProPublica, who is writing a multi-part series exposing unfortunate policies and practices vis-à-vis our most precious, life-sustaining resource. Continue reading