They say actions speak louder than words, but words are pretty important, too. This week and next on Sea Change Radio, we welcome George Lakoff, the prolific author and longtime professor of cognitive linguistics from UC Berkeley. He discusses the significant concept of linguistic framing and how it relates to both progressives and conservatives. He also applies framing principles to environmental concerns and explores what benefit might be felt by re-framing the movement’s current messaging.
Factory farms produce a majority of our nation’s meat. Over two-thirds of the beef consumed in this country comes from farms with at least 5,000 head of cattle; more than 90 percent of the chicken we eat comes from only ten companies; and over the last 30 years the number of hog farms has dropped to a tenth of what it was, while pork sales have remained steady.
With these mammoth farms come appalling conditions and animal overcrowding. The factory farm solution: hormones and antibiotics, which boost meat production and reduce animal disease. Pharmaceuticals are being used at an unprecedented rate. And if you think you can avoid the drug exposure by limiting or eliminating meat from your diet, the scientific community has some bad news for you – studies have recently shown that this use of pharmaceuticals on livestock is having devastating effects on our groundwater.
This week’s guest on Sea Change Radio is Avinash Kar, a staff attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council (or NRDC). He talks to host Alex Wise about NRDC’s role in the fight to regulate and create transparency in how drugs are used on livestock.
With the climate crisis staring us right in the face, the need to transform our daily routines has become increasingly apparent. A part of the solution may be a new twist on the very old concept of sharing things, it’s called collaborative consumption. We’ve seen how peer-to-peer networks allow us to share and buy goods and services from each other, and now that same concept is being applied by communities all over the world as a more efficient way to get around.
This week’s guest on Sea Change Radio, Amanda Eaken, the Deputy Director of Sustainable Communities at the Natural Resources Defense Council will walk us through these new modes of shared transportation – from bike-sharing to carpooling to taxi and car sharing – and show how emerging smart phone technology is playing a vital role in their rising popularity.
Here’s a link to Rachel Botsman’s TED talk about collaborative consumption that Ms. Eaken refers to in the interview.
Is living sustainably a plausible proposition? That’s the crucial question today’s first guest on Sea Change Radio, David MacKay, is trying to answer. MacKay, the Chief Scientific Advisor to the Department of Energy and Climate Change in Great Britain and the author of the seminal work, “Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air,” is one of the most important figures in the environmental policy field. A physicist and information theorist, MacKay is a master of breaking down the numbers for us all to better assess the planet’s renewable energy options. He discusses his pro-nuclear stance and his advocacy for the development of carbon capture and storage technology, which remains unpopular in many environmental circles. Next, host Alex Wise speaks with the Mayor of Sebastopol, California, Michael Kyes, who has advanced environmental policy in his own way – the small town recently passed an ordinance requiring all new homes to be solar-equipped.
The policy decisions we make today will have an impact on the next hundred years and beyond. It kind of makes you think, what policy decisions from the last century are we dealing with today? This week on Sea Change Radio, we focus on lead, a heavy metal whose regulation was slow to follow the discovery that it was highly toxic. The lag time meant the widespread use of this hazardous element as an ingredient in everyday substances like gasoline and house paint, and a toxic legacy that is still being felt.
First, host Alex Wise speaks to Mother Jones political writer Kevin Drum, who’s recently published a set of high-profile articles suggesting a link between lead levels in our environment and crime rates. Then, we hear from Alex’s sister, Sarah Hess, who shares her personal story of lead exposure and how it inspired her to become a community advocate for safe and lead-free playgrounds.
How do we advance sustainable practices in a world driven by the profit motive? Public policy that mandates the use of renewables by private companies is one way. Not surprisingly, though, this sort of approach is often blockaded by those private interests. This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise talks with Ezra Garrett, the Chief Sustainability Officer from Pacific Gas and Electric, or PG&E, a private company that appears to be getting out of the way of sustainability advocates. This is no small matter, given that PG&E has a veritable monopoly in California, the nation’s most populous state. We hear from Mr. Garrett about PG&E’s track record on sustainability, what they are doing to get to the mandated threshold of 33% renewables within the next seven years, and whether they feel more comfortable backing policy or backing off from politics altogether.
The Carbon Tracker Initiative and the Carbon Disclosure Project are two ongoing, vital efforts to help us better understand how much fossil fuels and greenhouse gasses companies are emitting. First, host Alex Wise speaks to Sea Change Radio co-founder Bill Baue who explains how the projects work and what needs to happen to act on the findings of these organizations. Next, we hear from the Research Director of the Carbon Tracker Initiative, James Leaton, to discuss the methodology, impact and real-world application of his team’s work.
*Here’s a link to Bill McKibben’s Rolling Stone piece that was inspired by Leaton’s research.
The Ceres Conference is an annual gathering where organizations as different as the Sierra Club and Shell come together to discuss ways to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world. On the eve of the conference which takes place May 1st and 2nd in San Francisco this year, we thought it would be worthwhile to get a sneak peek at some of the Ceres speakers.
This week on Sea Change Radio, we hear from two Ceres speakers. First, we are joined by Lester Snow, the executive director of the California Water Foundation. He gives us an overview of some compelling water issues concerning the American West. Then, host Alex Wise speaks to Bennett Freeman of Calvert Investments, an investment company that has been on the forefront of the socially responsible investment movement since the 1980s.