Monthly Archives: April 2014

Doug Fine: Hemp Bound

DougFinehempAll of us have seen the explosion of hemp-based products – hemp seed oil and hemp clothing seem to be everywhere. But, up until now, all of these items have been imported into the US. Well, the ban on industrial hemp, a crop which, for some strange and suspicious reason got lumped in with its psychoactive cousin during this country’s anti-marijuana laws of the 1930s, ¬†finally looks to be ending.

Our guest this week on Sea Change Radio, author Doug Fine, tells host Alex Wise why this is such a promising development for both environmentalists and capitalists. Fine explores the long and fascinating history of hemp in America, a crop that was actually illegal not to grow in colonial days, and examines how industries are finding new and exciting ways to innovate with this hardy and practical plant.

Richard Heinberg on the Anthropocene

rheinberganthropThere’s a scientific debate afoot in geological and environmental circles about what to call the current time period. According to the International Union of Geological Sciences, we’re living in the Holocene epoch, but many believe that the term “Anthropocene” would better reflect the impact that humankind has had and is continuing to have on the planet.

This week on Sea Change Radio, we discuss the Anthropocene with Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute. Along with host Alex Wise, Heinberg looks at why the terminology debate is more than just semantics, and examines a division among environmentalists – between what he has dubbed the “Techno-Anthropocene” proponents and the “Lean Green” movement.

Andrew Winston on “The Big Pivot”

AndrewWinston

When we think of resiliency, we usually think of a gritty, comeback story, or a resilient economy – but can a company be resilient too? If you consider that, of the world’s 100 largest economies in terms of revenue, 37 of them are corporations, making companies more resilient starts to make more sense.

This week’s guest on Sea Change Radio, Andrew Winston is a sustainability consultant and author who is working to make big corporations understand that they have just as much of an obligation to the planet and community as they do to their shareholders. He and host Alex Wise discuss what Winston dubs The Big Pivot, the need for these large corporations, just like many countries, to use science-based goals to reduce their carbon footprint, embrace renewable energy, and to develop a green strategy that is much more than just window-dressing.

Houston Bicycle Revolutionaries

Michael Payne8883004825_5f6a92e9b9_qDo you ever wonder why so many people ride bikes in a place like the Netherlands while so few do in Texas? Both places are flat with temperate weather, and physicists call the bicycle the most efficient means for human transportation yet invented, so why do residents in one location ride bicycles at so much lower a rate? Well, the answer, it turns out, is complicated and involves political, cultural, and practical factors.

This week on Sea Change Radio, we hear from Michael Payne, a wind energy executive-turned-bicycle-advocate. He talks with host Alex Wise about the efforts his non-profit, Bike Houston, is undertaking to change policy, attitudes, and habits in the nation’s 4th largest city.¬† While it’s unlikely this work will transform Houston into a Southwestern Amsterdam anytime soon, the lessons from the work of Payne and his colleagues may well inspire similar bicycle revolutions in other cities.

Meera Subramanian: Resilient Lessons from Hurricane Sandy

MeeraChrisCannonAs major weather-related calamities like Hurricane Sandy are teaching us, decisions around where buildings are built and trees are planted are important, especially as they relate to the encroaching coastline and other impacts of climate change. This week on Sea Change Radio, we hear from Meera Subramanian, a writer whose recent piece in Orion Magazine explores post-Sandy restoration efforts that draw upon engineering insights from a hundred years ago, and may reach far beyond the shores of Long Island and New Jersey.

Then, we re-visit host Alex Wise’s discussion with Chris Cannon of Empower Playgrounds, an innovative non-profit that provides equipment to West African villages that converts the energy of playing kids into electricity for their families.