Monthly Archives: May 2011

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Green Speed Merchants: Leilani Münter & Ward Burton

Auto racing, also known as burning tons of fossil fuel to drive really fast in circles, has got to be one of the most environmentally unfriendly uses of a motor vehicle. But both of this week’s guests on Sea Change Radio are professional race car drivers who, despite being at opposite ends of the political spectrum, are trying to spread their eco-friendly messages to 75 million racing fans, perhaps not the most receptive audience. First, host Alex Wise speaks to Leilani Münter, an up and coming driver on the ARCA stock car racing circuit. Münter is a politically liberal, vegetarian and self-proclaimed “hippie chick” who’s tapping into a whole new set of green sponsors for her racing team. Then, we hear from Ward Burton, who spent 17 years as a NASCAR driver. Burton is a political conservative who now heads the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation and is trying to turn kids onto hunting and fishing to help cure what he calls a “nature deficit disorder” plaguing the next generation of American adults.

Here’s a link to a special screening of The Cove in San Rafael, CA on June 21st with Ric O’Barry, Louie Psihoyos and Leilani Münter’s brother-in-law, Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead.

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Less Is More: On Population, More or Less

The United Nations forecasts that by 2050 the world’s population will exceed 9 billion. How will that affect life on the local level, on the global level, and in developing countries? And what impact will all these new humans have on the climate? Last week on Sea Change Radio we talked with Paul Ehrlich, iconic authority on the subject of population. This week on Sea Change Radio, we continue our exploration of the topic. First, host Alex Wise speaks with New York Times environmental reporter and Dot Earth blogger, Andrew Revkin, and then later with Stewart Brand, frequent guest, former student of Paul Ehrlich, and environmentalist icon in his own right. Both guests share their thoughts on how immigration, urbanization, religion, and the increasing global empowerment of women are affecting the population equation.

For more on the ongoing debates surrounding population, check out Mr. Revkin’s recent posts here and here via Dot Earth. Also, here’s an interesting piece by Adam Werbach in The Atlantic which offers a fresh perspective on the debate, and exhorts  us “to move away from the language of population control and towards an even more vibrant advocacy on behalf of women.”

Extra Audio Feature

Podcast exclusive: How Solar Stacks Up (not for radio distribution)

Founder of Sungevity (a Sea Change Radio sponsor), long-time social entrepreneur, and a former Greenpeace campaign manager, Danny Kennedy sits down with host Alex Wise to discuss how solar energy compares today to other solutions and some of the challenges the solar industry faces. Kennedy talks about the regulatory hurdles facing the solar industry, the efficiency of the technology itself and a long-term view of the renewable energy market in the U.S.

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Pop Culture: Paul Ehrlich on Surviving the Population Bomb

It took humankind 1800 years to get from a global population of about 200 million to 1 billion. But it only took us 200 years to go from a billion to 7 billion.  Most students of population agree that the planet cannot support current rates of population growth for much longer. This week Sea Change Radio begins a two-week series on population. Today we spend the whole show talking with Paul R. Ehrlich, author of the environmental classic, The Population Bomb and one of the foremost scholars on the subject. Dr. Ehrlich talks with host Alex Wise about the optimism of that book, the events and policies that subdued that optimism, and the ideas that drive his most recent tome, Humanity on a Tightrope. We ask Dr. Ehrlich about what needs to happen now to ensure the sustainability of the planet and the human race and about why controlling population growth is a centerpiece of the solution he envisions. He also shares his views on economics, immigration, US politics, and his personal choice to have only one child.

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Evolving Partnerships & Compostable Diapers

This week on Sea Change Radio we feature two different ways that strategic partnerships can help organizations make better progress toward environmental sustainability. First, host Alex Wise talks with Jem Bendell about some strange bedfellows. More and more, nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations are getting together with multinational corporations in cross-sectoral partnerships. Ostensibly, these partnerships increase the nonprofit sector’s capacity for good, and they certainly represent an increasing trend as other revenue streams dry up. But what are the implications, compromises and repercussions involved when nonprofit entities partner with these unlikely allies? Is this trend the hope for benevolent organizations or a Faustian bargain?

Next we learn about Earth-Baby, a Bay Area-based company that’s trying to cut into the number three contributor to our country’s landfills – disposable diapers. In order to accomplish their mission, this small for-profit company has partnered with a local composting company and an international compostable diaper producer to help Bay Area families with infants and toddlers leave their kids with a cleaner world.

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Gamification and Sustainability

This week on Sea Change Radio, we talk to game theory expert Gabe Zichermann, about how gamification – the concept of using fun, engaging challenges to encourage certain behavior – can play a larger role in the sustainability movement. While gamification has recently risen in popularity in the business world, particularly in online marketing, Zichermann discusses with host Alex Wise how gamifiying more parts of our daily routine can play a role in helping craft better policy and how gamification can encourage individuals to consciously (and sometimes subconsciously) help themselves and the environment.