Monthly Archives: July 2013

Frederick Kaufman on Open-Source GMOs

EOSlogo-reducedFrederick_KaufmanGenetically Modified Organism is a downright dirty word among many environmentalists and food activists. People oppose GMOs for health reasons and because it’s mostly giant corporations like Monsanto that profit from the creation and distribution of GMOs in our food system. My guest today has a slightly different take on GMOs, though.

Fredrick Kaufman is a journalist who writes for Harper’s and Slate. This week on Sea Change Radio he posits that the real problem with GMOs is not the genetic modification per se, but the model by which these genetically modified foods are conceived, produced and distributed. He points out that a lot of innovation has come out of the open source movement in the technology world, and asks, why not apply it to food? Would open sourcing the genetic modification of foods enable food activists to turn this dirty word into a sustainable solution? Find out in Part One of host Alex Wise‘s two-part discussion with journalist Fredrick Kaufman. And here’s a link to Kaufman’s piece in Slate about open-source GMOs.

Peter Byck Discusses His Film “Carbon Nation”

PeterByckcarbonnation (1)Filmmaker Peter Byck believes that the issue of preserving the environment is truly non-partisan, that when you strip away all the political rhetoric and carefully-crafted media narratives, we all really want the same thing: clean air, clean water and cheap energy. Byck’s 2010 documentary film, Carbon Nation, which features interviews with luminaries such as Richard Branson and Van Jones, tries to pick up where Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth left off, by focusing on an array of possible solutions to our reliance on carbon fuels and the warming of our planet. This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise speaks with Peter Byck about his film as they delve into surprisingly simple answers to what often seem like insurmountable problems.

Rhett Butler on the Palm Oil Industry

RhettButlerpalmoilThe global expansion of the palm oil industry is one of the largest upheavals in modern agricultural history – and one that many Americans know nothing about. And yet palm oil is now everywhere in this country – in our food, our cosmetics and someday soon maybe even in our gas tanks.

This week on Sea Change Radio, we learn about the palm oil explosion over the past two decades from Rhett A. Butler, the founder of the popular environmental news website, Mongabay. Butler talks with host Alex Wise about the social, economic and environmental impact of this rapidly expanding crop in the tropical countries where it’s grown – and what measures are being taken to mitigate the damage that a monoculture like palm oil can inflict.

Alisa Gravitz of Green America

AlisaGravitzGreenAmericaGreen America is one of the country’s longest standing environmental advocacy and action organizations. For the past 30 years Alisa Gravitz has been at its helm, leading campaigns for green investment, corporate accountability, and fair trade. This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise chats with Alisa Gravitz about a number of Green America’s current initiatives.

She lends insight into the evolution of the American environmental movement over the past few decades and what issues and strategies have been most effective in mobilizing people and businesses over these years of her work. She also talks about clean energy victory bonds, how to break up with your bank, and why she is hopeful that genetically modified seeds can be removed from our food system sooner than you might think.

Alex Trembath on Obama’s Climate Change Speech

President Barack ObamaAlexTrembathDid you see how they covered President Obama’s recent big environmental speech on the Sunday political talk shows? No? That’s because none of the Sunday morning shows discussed it at all. In spite of its paltry coverage on the major networks, the speech is being heralded by some environmentalists as historical, while others are critiquing the president for not going far enough. This week on Sea Change Radio, we do our part to make up for the networks’ deficient analysis of this important speech by talking with Alex Trembath of the Breakthrough Institute. The Breakthrough Institute is an American think tank interested in “modernizing environmentalism for the 21st century.” While their positions on nuclear power and natural gas have raised controversy in environmental circles, they are a leading voice on progressive energy policy and how the government can advance innovation that promotes a healthy planet.

*Here’s a link to the President’s speech