Monthly Archives: August 2014

David Rolf: Fair Wages and Sustainability

DavidRolfwagesEconomists these days are confirming what many already know – the gap between the haves and have-nots is widening. In the face of soaring productivity over the last several decades, today’s average American workers earn about the same as they did in 1970 when adjusted for inflation. So what happens to sustainability in the face of this trend?

Our guest this week on Sea Change Radio is David Rolf, president of the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU 775. Rolf and host Alex Wise talk about the interconnections between economic and environmental health and ponder how a movement to improve wages and work conditions can also support efforts to protect the earth.

Keeping An Eye On The Natural Gas Boom

NeelaBanerjeeJoshFoxEven the most casual followers of energy policy have become aware of the controversy surrounding the massive expansion of fracking in this country over the past decade. Successful attempts to lift the curtain on fracking, like Josh Fox’s 2010 documentary film Gasland, have spurred a grassroots movement to push back on natural gas giants and lobbyists who would have us believe that fracking is clean and safe. So who is winning this battle for America’s health and well-being, fought on the parallel fronts of policy and PR?

This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise speaks with Neela Banerjee, a journalist who covers energy and environmental policy for the Los Angeles Times, to get an update on the latest developments in natural gas exploration. She talks about the fight to keep drinking water safe around the 77,000 natural gas wells throughout the country, and the controversy surrounding the use of unpermitted diesel fuel in the fracking process.

*Here’s a link to Sea Change Radio’s 2012 interview with Josh Fox

Jonathan Trent and the OMEGA Project

Nico-Marinexplore-trentJonathanTrentWhen life gives you lemons they say to make lemonade. And what if life gives you sewage released into an enclosed bay, what can you make? Certainly not lemonade, right? Our guest today on Sea Change Radio is NASA scientist and UC Santa Cruz professor, Jonathan Trent. He has figured out how to use algae to turn wastewater pollution into biofuel. This ambitious project, called Offshore Membrane Enclosures for Growing Algae (or OMEGA) not only places algae where it can consume waste and excrete oils for fuel, it also creates spaces for low-impact aquaculture, captures CO2, and cleans pollutants out of bays.

The technology also converts wastewater to drinking water, which, with a little lemon and sugar could even be used to make, you guessed it, lemonade. Listen now as host Alex Wise talks with Dr. Trent, an inventor, pioneer, and visionary whose OMEGA project offers hope for fuel, food, water, and a cleaner world.

World-Class Cities Redefined

MatthewGarbettDonald ShoupWhat makes a world-class city? Is it just having winning sports teams, good shopping centers, and iconic sky-scrapers? Or should having progressive practices that promote sustainability count among the world-class city criteria? One Atlanta resident, Matthew Garbett, thinks that the energy expended on cultivating tourist attractions and building sports arenas would be better spent creating walkable neighborhoods and slow growth that support community connection and sustainability.

Among Garbett’s list of grievances is the abundance of parking lots that “prevent neighborhoods from becoming vibrant.” And speaking of parking lots, our second guest today is Donald Shoup, an urban planner who has famously suggested that free parking actually brings tremendous costs to a city. Matthew Garbett and host Alex Wise‘s 2010 discussion with Donald Shoup on this week’s Sea Change Radio.