Monthly Archives: November 2012

Driving Change in What We Drive

For better or for worse, cars are not leaving the American landscape anytime soon. The automobile is woven into the cultural fabric of our country like nothing else. But we also know that the status quo is not sustainable. This week on Sea Change Radio, we discuss efforts by the Sierra Club to advocate for electric vehicles with Gina Coplon-Newfield and then, for a little context, we dip into the Sea Change Radio archives to hear some of host Alex Wise‘s discussion with David Johnson, whose company, Achates Power, is developing a more efficient combustion engine.

Frederick Kaufman: The Fix Is In (With All The Fixins)

This week, along with the rest of the country, we’ll be piling my plate high with abundant turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and apple pie. It seems like a fitting time to reflect on food. Today on Sea Change Radio, we check in again with leading food journalist Frederick Kaufman to discuss the factors that go into fluctuating food prices around the world. Kaufman talks with host Alex Wise about the food-commodities market, how our global food pricing system mirrors the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots, and the potential impact of geopolitical and weather trends on the availability of food.

Wind Blown: Ken Burns on “The Dustbowl”

“Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained…infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  That was philospher George Santayana writing in 1906, thirty years before the peak of the American Dust Bowl, a chapter of the 20th Century that’s often called America’s worst man-made ecological disaster (so far, anyway).

A lengthy dry spell, combined with farming practices that did not respect the natural conditions of the region, set into motion a decade which devastated millions of acres of land, displaced thousands of heartland families, and had ripple effects on food markets and the national economy. Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns has produced a new film series on the dustbowl. It features survivors, experts on climate and farming, as well as some amazing footage from the era. He’s our guest this week on Sea Change Radio. Burns and host Alex Wise discuss this important project, which is being released against the ominous backdrop of our current drought conditions. Continue reading

Hurricane Sandy: A Climate Change Wake-Up Call?

Hurricane Sandy highlighted the devastating effects of a changing climate and rising sea levels like perhaps no other event we have seen in this country. Will the silver lining of Sandy’s thousand-mile wide storm cloud be widespread recognition of the tangible and imminent dangers of climate change? This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise speaks with Neela Banerjee, the energy and environment reporter for the Los Angeles Times, to discuss the impact of Sandy, not on the subways of New York or the Jersey shore, but on the media’s handling of climate change and in political discourse beyond the election.