Teens Sue U.S. Gov’t over Climate Change

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PhilGregoryWhat do a 13 year old in Louisiana, a 14 year old in Oregon and a 16 year old in Hawaii all have in common besides possibly the number of hours a day they spend on Instagram? Actually, these teens are among a group of 21 very serious youth plaintiffs who have leveled a legal challenge to climate change policy. This week on Sea Change Radio, we break down Juliana v. U.S., a landmark case wherein children are suing the US government for allowing dangerous CO2 levels to permeate the atmosphere and disrupt the future environment.

Our guest is Philip Gregory, the lead plaintiff attorney on the case, who breaks down the timeline of the proceedings, the potential impact it could have both in the U.S. and overseas, and the role former Exxon Mobil CEO and current Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has in the case. Historically, lawsuits have been an effective way to move what appear to be intractable policies and practices. Could this group of young people topple the protective wall the government has built around the gas and oil industry? And if they do, what Instagram filter will they use when they post their victory?

Larry Nielsen: Environmental Trailblazers

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LarryNielsenThere’s no denying that the current moment is grim, for the environment, civil rights, and plain old human decency. But I once heard a wise man say that cynicism is the real enemy of progress. So now more than ever we must find ways to keep ourselves from falling into a cynical frame of mind. One way to do that is to reflect on the accomplishments of the brave people who have come before us to fight for justice and topple seemingly unstoppable Goliaths. This week on Sea Change Radio our guest is Larry Nielsen, a Professor of Natural Resources at North Carolina State and the author of a new book called Nature’s Allies. The book profiles some of the heroes that shaped the modern environmental movement, from famous figures like John Muir and Rachel Carson to lesser known activists like Ding Darling and Billy Frank, Jr. Then we dip into the Sea Change Radio archives to hear from an MIT grad turned knife-maker extraordinaire.

Sammy Roth: Rewiring the West

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SammyRothWhat do you think of when you hear the word, “billionaires?” Ruthless capitalists? Decadent narcissists? Evil cheese-puffs? What about renewable power? Well, today on Sea Change Radio we hear from Sammy Roth, energy reporter for The Desert Sun, who recently wrote a three-part series about how some American billionaires with deep roots in the fossil fuel industry, are planning bold clean power initiatives. We talk about the enormous wind farm that conservative tycoon Philip Anschutz hopes to build in Wyoming, discuss the efforts that famed investor Warren Buffett is making to enter California’s electricity marketplace, and learn what “balancing authorities” are and the role they play in our electric grid. Is what’s happening in the West just another capitalist scheme to benefit the 1%, or might these moves actually reduce climate pollution and lower energy bills?

Dave Zirin on Tom Brady and ConflateGate

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DaveZirinIt has been a nightmarish week. The new president has kicked off his reign with a series of illegal and immoral executive orders and a set of preposterous appointments. Every day we wake up and remember that this is really happening. Many of us are looking to the upcoming Super Bowl more and more for solace and distraction. Today on Sea Change Radio we are having a Super Bowl special of a sort. Our guest is Dave Zirin, sports editor for The Nation magazine and host of Edge of Sports podcast, best known for his articulate treatment of the intersection of sports and politics. Zirin and host Alex Wise talk about the Brady-Trump connection (or what we are calling ConflateGate), and more broadly about the role of athletes in our political discourse.

If The Dutch Ruled The World

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Michael PayneWhen liberal politicians suggest we look for policy-making inspiration from social democracies in Europe, the automatic reaction from some corners of the political scene is something like “well, then, move to Sweden!” or “Love it or leave it!” But today, reflecting upon the millions of women, men, and children who participated in the historical march over the weekend, it’s pretty clear that advocating for change is part of why we do love it. There is no reason that we can’t take lessons from other systems in our collective pursuit of a more perfect union, not to mention a more healthy environment. This week on Sea Change Radio we take a peek at how the Dutch do things. Host Alex Wise speaks with two American MikeFawcettenvironmentalists based in the Netherlands to get their perspective on Holland’s environmental policies and practices. Michael Payne, a wind energy and bicycle advocate, and Mike Fawcett, the founder of Farm Zero discuss the cultural, economic, and financial keys to Dutch sustainability.

Sustainable Investing in the New Gilded Age

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MarkTulayThis week on Sea Change Radio, we get an update on the sustainable and responsible investment community from Mark Tulay, the Director of the Strategic Investor Initiative. Tulay and host Alex Wise discuss the mission of SII, the progress that’s been made in the SRI space, and how investors, markets and companies are likely to respond to the incoming presidential administration.

 

Incoming EPA Chief: Fox In The Henhouse

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rebeccaleberWhen someone sues an organization repeatedly and then gets put in charge of that agency it’s a pretty classic example of the fox guarding the henhouse. Welcome to the Bizarro World of the Trump Administration where the fossil fuel industry’s favorite son, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, is poised to run the Environmental Protection Agency. The appointment of a climate change denier like Pruitt to run the EPA affirms, as NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen has put it, that “the US government is officially done with being evidence-based.” On this week’s Sea Change Radio, Mother Jones reporter Rebecca Leber gives us a closer look at the new head of the EPA, what his appointment means politically, what the repercussions could be for the climate and how states may be able to protect the environment locally.

Four Strong Winds: First US Offshore Wind Project Launches

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TimFaulknerAs the public learned of the recent opening of America’s first offshore wind power project, many wondered why it took so long? This week on Sea Change Radio, we talk with the executive editor of EcoRI News, Tim Faulkner, to discuss the opening of the Block Island Wind Farm off of Rhode Island. We learn about the logistics of this undertaking, compare it to offshore wind projects in Europe, and ponder the future of similar endeavors under a presidential administration that is openly hostile to wind power.

Algae Systems + Other Miracles: John Perry Barlow (re-broadcast)

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John_Perry_BarlowWho doesn’t need a miracle? As the lyricist for many timeless Grateful Dead classics, as a privacy rights activist, or as the founder of the biofuel company, Algae Systems, John Perry Barlow has used creativity and sheer will to advance a wide array of “miracles.” That is until a devastating illness left him hospitalized for most of 2015. Sea Change Radio host Alex Wise sat down recently with Barlow, who’s still on the mend, along with the CEO of Algae Systems, Matthew Atwood. They discuss the company’s technology which turns waste water into fuel, and the current Indiegogo campaign to raise new capital for Algae Systems. They also delve into Barlow’s relationship with Edward Snowden, his recovery from this illness, and the unfortunate tale of how he missed out on the Grateful Dead’s Fare Thee Well mini-tour.

How We Fight Back: Part II

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zackbeckyThis week on Sea Change Radio, in the second half of our discussion with former senior advisers to the Bernie Sanders campaign, Becky Bond and Zack Exley, host Alex Wise struggles with the harsh reality of an incoming President completely unqualified and unprepared to lead the planet’s only superpower. We recap the 2016 presidential election and draw parallels between the fight to improve this country’s healthcare system and the battle to cut carbon emissions. Then we revisit part of Alex’s discussion with Ralph Steadman, the British artist best known for his work with the godfather of gonzo journalism himself, the legendary Hunter S. Thompson.