Monthly Archives: April 2011

Think Globally Trade Locally

This week on Sea Change Radio we talk to two innovative thinkers, one who’s already had an impact on how most Americans live, work, and exchange goods, and another who hopes to revise how we conceptualize and apply currency. Our first guest is Craig Newmark, the founder of craigslist. We’ve all heard the adage, “one man’s treasure is another man’s trash,” but nothing illustrates the point more clearly than a perusal of the listings on craigslist, a website that may be the single greatest influence in getting people to reuse stuff instead of always buying it new.

We ask Craig if this sustainability angle was a part of his driving vision or more of a happy accident and learn about his latest project Craig Connects. Then, host Alex Wise talks with Matthew Slater, whose ambitious software initiative on Drupal strives to create alternative or complementary currencies that will keep commerce more local and reduce the carbon pricetag of everyday exchanges. And, here’s a link to Slater’s other project, Community Forge.

Red Lights on the Road to Green Innovation

In the first half of the 21st Century, discussions about the future of energy abound. Engineers are in hot pursuit of new technologies that will provide green, inexpensive energy. But how new are they really?

This week’s guest on Sea Change Radio is Alexis Madrigal, whose new book, Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology, unearths a number of green technologies that emerged in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Despite their promise, these early attempts to use solar water heating, electric cars, and wind power fell flat. This week on Sea Change Radio, find out about these innovations and learn why Alexis Madrigal remains optimistic despite America’s history of false starts.

Aftershocks: A Nuclear Rebuttal

Last week on Sea Change Radio, we heard from someone who, despite the recent nuclear disaster in Japan, defended the continued exploration of nuclear power as part of the new energy equation. This week, we’ll hear an alternative perspective. Our first guest is solar power executive Danny Kennedy, who thinks that nuclear power is more of a problem than a solution, and that investment in renewable energy is a more practical, safer and far more reasonable approach.

Then, Sea Change Radio host Alex Wise speaks with geophysicist Ben Brooks, a specialist in earthquake science who works with breakthrough technology in seismology and GPS. He explains what scientists now understand about the different types of earthquakes, and talks about the West Coast’s vulnerability to the type of quake that recently struck Northern Japan.

Nuclear Risks, Real & Perceived: Breakthrough Institute’s Jesse Jenkins

The meltdown at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima is enlivening discussions on alternative energy around dinner tables and across debate platforms everywhere. People who call themselves environmentalists tend to agree on the need to curtail human reliance on fossil fuels, including the pervasive use of coal in generating electricity. That same level of consensus cannot be found, however, on the topic of nuclear power. Nuclear energy and environmentalism have traditionally been thought of as incongruous, yet our guest today on Sea Change Radio offers a logic to solve the paradox. Jesse Jenkins, the Director of Energy and Climate Policy at the Breakthrough Institute, a think tank that advocates for innovative solutions to energy and climate challenges, believes that nuclear power ought to be a significant part of a more sustainable energy plan. Listen as Sea Change Radio host Alex Wise asks him about the risks, real and perceived, and how the catastrophe in Japan affects his views on nuclear power. For more, here’s a piece that Jenkins recently co-wrote for The Atlantic titled Nuclear as Usual: Why Fukushima Will Change Less Than You Think.