Monthly Archives: September 2011

Remembering Wangari Maathai (1940-2011)

“It’s the little things citizens do. That’s what will make the difference. My little thing is planting trees.” –Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan environmentalist and peace activist who was the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, died this week from cancer at the age of 71. Maathai was best known as the founder of The Green Belt Movement, a group she started in 1977 that encouraged poor women to collect native tree seeds in the wild in order to ensure they had access to sustainable firewood for cooking and potable water. Eulogies came pouring in from around the globe upon news of her passing. Fellow Nobel Prize laureate Desmond Tutu described her as a “visionary African woman” and Al Gore said that Maathai “overcame incredible obstacles to devote her life to service – service to her children, to her constituents, to the women, and indeed all the people of Kenya – and to the world as a whole.”

Sea Change Radio co-founders Bill Baue and Francesca Rheannon sat down with Maathai in the spring of 2009. This week, we remember the spirit of Wangari Maathai by bringing that conversation to you in its entirety.


Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) on Creating a Clean Energy Nation

This week on Sea Change Radio we hear from U.S. Congressman Jerry McNerney, representing California’s 11th District. In an earlier appearance on Sea Change Radio the Congressman shared his views on wind power but in today’s visit he talks about his new book, Clean Energy Nation. In his conversation with host Alex Wise, we explore how U.S. policies on peak oil, education, poverty and the expansive U.S. military will all play vital roles in determining this nation’s future. Are you wondering what’s it like to be a mathematician, engineer, and environmentalist and work side-by-side among climate-change denying House Representatives? Listen to our interview with Congressman McNerney to find out.

Kitt Doucette: From the Frontlines of the Plastic Bag Wars

In just a couple of decades the plastic bag has become ubiquitous on this planet – these “disposable” items don’t biodegrade, however, so they’ve been collecting in our oceans, killing wildlife, and eventually inspiring a movement to push back against their environmental blight. Some cities, counties and even countries have instituted bans and others have put in place policies that charge consumers a few cents per bag in order to dissuade use. But eventually the producers of plastic caught on that there was a growing trend to limit the consumption of an item that’s usually only used for a few minutes, but stays on earth indefinitely. They’ve launched their own offensive, and the fight is starting to look like an all-out war.

This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise speaks with Kitt Doucette, a journalist for Rolling Stone who recently wrote about this war over plastic bags. Doucette talks about the history of the conflict, some of the fronts on which this battle is being waged, and what we can all do to fight back against the corporate bullies gaining ground everyday in this struggle for the earth’s well-being.

There Will Be Crud (re-broadcast)

California’s Kern County is the state’s primary producer of oil. But the stuff that comes out of the ground in this desert region of southern California isn’t the black liquid many of us imagine rushing like a geyser out of the earth, but a thick goopy substance that must be forced out of the ground. What do they use to do that? A resource that’s nearly as valuable in this dusty corner of California’s Central Valley: water. For this re-broadcast episode from March 2011, our guest is Jeremy Miller, an investigative journalist who’s written an article in the February issue of Orion Magazine. He tells us all about Kern County, how the methods used to extract the cruddy crude are pitting agricultural interests against oil interests, how water is being expended in the endless pursuit of petroleum, and how, by reducing our dependence on oil, we’d also be preventing the waste of that life-giving compound, H2O. They say water and oil don’t mix, today on Sea Change Radio, we discover what happens when they do.