Yearly Archives: 2010

Cream Skimming: Cows & CleanTech

What does it look like when a dirty industry goes clean?  And can an ethical company be a profitable one?  This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise talks to two people who work in very different industries: dairy processing and capitalism.  His first guest is Brie Johnson from Straus Family Creamery who talks about practices that make milk production a more sustainable, less polluting and cleaner enterprise.  Then he speaks with venture capitalist, Tom Blaisdell of DCM, about Clean Technology – where the concept of efficiency links the strange bedfellows of investment capitalism and sustainability.

COP 16 Report

The 16th UN Climate Change Summit – also known as Conference of the Parties, or COP 16 was just held in Cancún, Mexico. So what happened there? Did we get the agreement we wanted? Many environmentalists say “no,” but this week’s guests both believe the summit was nevertheless historical and constructive. This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise talks to Kate Sheppard, an environmental reporter at Mother Jones, and Martin Chilcott, the CEO of 2 Degrees Network. Both attended the summit in Cancún earlier this month and give us their perspectives for the next UN Convention on Climate Change in Durban, South Africa, the greening of China, and the potential “Sputnik moment” that could ignite the United States’ competitive spirit and finally inspire bolder climate change policy.

Electricity That Sucks

Vampire power refers to the electricity electronic appliances and devices waste just by being plugged in, even when they’re switched off. Did you know that when you point your remote control at the TV to turn it off for the night, that appliance isn’t really off? In the middle of the night, at the witching hour, your TV, in standby mode, continues to suck power, like a sinister vampire draining electricity off the grid while you sleep blithely unaware.

This purely wasteful electricity consumption is said to amount to around 10% of residential use for the average American household. The good news is that the solution is very straightforward. By utilizing technological innovations that already exist, and changing some simple everyday habits, we can put a stake in the heart of this problem. This week on Sea Change Radio we talk with Maria Vargas who explains how the federal government’s Energy Star program is trying to raise awareness and promote more responsible energy consumption, and with Alan Meier, senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a faculty member at UC Davis and one of the foremost authorities on standby power.

While this broadcast focuses more on the progress being made by the Energy Star program, critics assert that the program’s binary “yes” or “no” system is less helpful to consumers than graded scale systems like in Europe – and also that the program certifies too many products.

Green Firebrands: Majora Carter & Mike Papantonio

This week’s guests on Sea Change Radio both work behind the scenes fighting for ecological protection and innovation – and amplify their message of progress through popular media. First, host Alex Wise speaks with attorney and radio personality, Mike Papantonio, who’s known for his courtroom battles with large corporate polluters like Raytheon and BP, as well as his weekly Ring of Fire radio show where he teams up with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to entertain and educate. Next, we hear from activist and businesswoman, Majora Carter, whose efforts to empower urban and low-income communities have dove-tailed with television and radio appearances on the Sundance Channel, Public Radio, and the Discovery Channel. This week on Sea Change Radio, these two eco-warriors tell us about their work in the trenches and remind us that we can all make a difference.

The Solution Next Door

The most interesting things in life are sometimes right under our noses. Sea Change Radio host Alex Wise spent part of his Thanksgiving weekend trekking all of thirty feet to speak to his next-door-neighbor, John Hafernik, professor of biology at San Francisco State University and the President of the California Academy of Sciences. This week on Sea Change Radio, John Hafernik talks about the sudden, mysterious disappearance of many of the world’s honey bees (known as colony collapse disorder) as well as a wider pollinator crisis. Then, we discover an ecological opportunity right under our noses: IBM Researcher Christine Robson has helped develop a new iPhone application known as CreekWatch which enables regular folks to help measure the world’s water supply by simply visiting their neighborhood parks.

Deforestation Condemnation: Greenpeace’s Rolf Skar

According to the World Bank, Indonesia is the planet’s third largest carbon dioxide emitter. But the problem in Indonesia differs from ours here in the United States. Rather than pollutants from cars or the energy and industrial sectors, in Indonesia, the primary culprit is deforestation. More than 64 million acres of Indonesia’s forests have been cut down or burned over the past two decades in order to make room for industrial growth.

Fortunately, Greenpeace has been working hard on a campaign to stop deforestation in places like Indonesia. By pressuring key corporations and governments, Greenpeace is helping to save many forests and slow climate change. One of the voices behind the Greenpeace campaign is Rolf Skar, a senior deforestation campaigner with the organization. Sea Change Radio host Alex Wise sits down with Skar this week as they discuss deforestation in Indonesia, the UN Climate Change Conference that kicks off in Cancun, Mexico next week, and how we can all make a difference with day-to-day choices as consumers. Continue reading

Climate Change Policy In A Changing Political Climate

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the first half of 2010 was the warmest January to July on record. At this point, to be skeptical of the overwhelming evidence of climate change is to “replace a faith in science with a belief in science fiction.” With the wounds of the Copenhagen climate summit still open, what should we expect as the world goes back to the negotiating table in Cancún at the end of this month? If the continued lack of leadership from the US is any indication, probably not much. And the recent Republican takeover in the House doesn’t inspire much optimism, either. When asked about his party’s plans to address climate change last year, incoming House Speaker, John Boehner told ABC: “The idea that carbon dioxide is acarcinogen, that it is harmful to our environment, is almost comical.”

It’s enough to make a person feel pretty hopeless. So what can be done? One of the first steps is to really understand the history, politics and policies behind climate change. This week on Sea Change Radio, we take an in-depth look at the key climate change proposals that have emerged from the past two decades of talks – cap and trade, and the carbon tax. First Eric Pooley, the author of The Climate War, lays out the players and the policies for us. Then, we speak to Peter Umhofer, former advisor on energy and environmental issues to Senators Harry Reid and Tom Daschle, who gives an overview of the history of climate change policy in the US.

Miles To Go: Raising Awareness Through Ordinary and Extraordinary Feats

Whether staying within a 60-mile radius of his home, or crossing the globe on nothing but the power of her two oars, this week’s guests on Sea Change Radio, Roz Savage and Kurt Hoelting, both demonstrate their commitment to being good ancestors.

Kurt Hoelting, the author of The Circumference of Home, spent a year adventuring around his home without a car – something that all of us could do but most of us don’t. By contrast, the achievements of Roz Savage, the first woman to row across the Pacific Ocean on her own, are unfathomable to most of us. But Kurt Hoelting and Roz Savage share a common goal: spreading a message of environmental stewardship. Host Alex Wise sits down with them both on this week’s Sea Change Radio.

John Perry Barlow part II: Algae Fuel

Last week, we spoke with John Perry Barlow, Grateful Dead lyricist, environmentalist and co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation about being a good ancestor for future generations. This week on Sea Change Radio, the second part of Alex Wise‘s discussion with Mr. Barlow to learn more about his most recent project – an advanced bio-fuel startup known as Algae Systems.

Sage & Spirit: Talking With John Perry Barlow and Stewart Brand

Where did conservation and America’s conservative movement part ways? Is the flight to the cities in the developing world a positive phenomenon? Has the population bomb been defused? This week on Sea Change Radio, we discuss these topics and more with two iconic sages of the green movement – Grateful Dead lyricist and green entrepreneur, John Perry Barlow along with author, ecologist and former Merry Prankster, Stewart Brand. Continue reading