All posts by Alex Wise

Ted Nordhaus: U.S. Leaves Paris

Are the cries for a complete transition to renewable energy from environmentalists like Bill McKibben actually undermining the work to combat climate change? That is the position of our guest today on Sea Change Radio. Ted Nordhaus is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Breakthrough Institute, an Oakland-based think tank which focuses on energy issues. We discuss Nordhaus’s recent piece in Foreign Policy magazine, assess the damage that climate change denialism in the US has wrought on the planet, and examine the methods used by both pro-environment and anti-environment activists.

Fart-fegnugen: Jack Ewing on VW Emissions Scandal

When a West Virginia University research team won a grant in 2012 to run some tests on diesel cars, they could not have imagined that their relatively small study would soon be bringing one of the largest, most storied auto makers in the world to its knees — something in the Farfegnugen just didn’t smell right. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to New York Times reporter Jack Ewing whose new book, Faster, Higher, Farther takes a deep plunge into the history of Volkswagen and gives us the latest on the company’s emissions scandal. We learn about the Nazi propaganda beginnings of Volkswagen, the company’s involvement in wartime atrocities, and the powerful families behind the Volkswagen brand. We also examine the company’s systematic and dishonest emissions cheating practices, and talk about what lies ahead for the auto giant.

John Wilson: Finance of the Future

Many sports fans are familiar with this dilemma: do I want my team to put everything on the line to win now or would I prefer that my team take its time and try to methodically build a long term successful franchise? This is very similar to the quandary that investors, stakeholders and management at some of the world’s most powerful companies find themselves facing. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to John Wilson, the head of Corporate Governance for Cornerstone Capital. Wilson and host Alex Wise discuss how managers balance trying to please dividend-hungry shareholders with keeping an eye on the future, how automation will affect the global economy, and how all of this is ultimately an issue of sustainability.

Alex Gilbert: Environmental Roots of a Scandal

It has been a bit difficult to keep up with the news since January. Every few hours it seems like there is a new revelation in the global political wreckage that is the Trump administration. Whether you’re more interested in how ties to Putin will lead to impeachment, how Donald Trump is systematically alienating the US’s closest allies, or the possibility of the US pulling out of the landmark Paris Climate Agreement, it’s hard to deny that the international political scene is roiling. And with every international political churn, there are environmental causes and implications. This week on Sea Change Radio we speak with energy consultant, Alex Gilbert, who provides a clear recap of the past 10 years in US international relations. He connects the dots and shows how political alliances among nations, policies like fracking, and environmental conditions like drought have helped to create turmoil in countries like Syria, Turkey, Russia, and even the good old US of A.

Mark Murray: California Recycling in Decline

In 2013 California boasted a recycling rate of 85%. In 2017 that number is now 79% – that is the first time it has dipped below 80% since 2008. Why is the most populous state in the union moving in the wrong direction on this important indicator? This week on Sea Change Radio we speak with Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste, a nonprofit environmental group that was founded forty years ago to advocate for beverage container recycling in the state. He will explain this troubling trend and talk about what can be done to get California’s recycling program back on its previous trajectory.

Measure For Measure: Aclima’s Davida Herzl

Galileo said we should, “Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so.” This week on Sea Change Radio, we take a look at two ways that people are trying to apply that wisdom to climate change. First, we speak to Davida Herzl, the CEO and co-founder of Aclima, a San Francisco-based company that refers to itself as a “FitBit for the planet.” Herzl explains how Aclima’s technology works, how the company makes money, and the opportunities that lie ahead as the industry of measuring air pollution evolves. Then, we dig into the Sea Change Radio archives and re-visit our discussion with James Leaton, the research director of the Carbon Tracker Initiative, a British nonprofit that analyzes the risks of fossil fuel investment and presents findings to the financial sector, with the objective of limiting future greenhouse gas emissions.

Champions For Sacred Lands

Was all the work to try to keep the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines from being built done in vain now that Donald Trump occupies the White House? Not if you ask this week’s guest on Sea Change Radio, Kandi Mossett, a leading organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network. Mossett takes us behind the scenes of Native Americans’ fight to preserve their sacred lands. We discuss the connection between protecting the environment and advocating for Native American rights, talk about how struggles from Standing Rock to Bears Ears have stimulated activism and raised awareness, and recognize the value that this movement has, even in the face of setbacks (like the ascension of an obscenely pro-corporate presidential administration).

The Bret Stephens Debate: 50 Shades of the Grey Lady

Is the New York Times enabling a debate that most rational people think is long over? The latest conservative pundit to be hired by the New York Times has progressives and environmentalists concerned. Bret Stephens, a Pulitzer Prize winning “opinion journalist” from the Wall Street Journal made his first splash onto the op-ed page of the Times recently with a controversial piece entitled Climate of Complete Certainty.  In this editorial he asserts that climate science should continue to be debated, despite a preponderance of credible evidence sounding the alarm for immediate action. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak with two PhDs with differing responses to Mr. Stephens’s perspective and place at the Grey Lady. First, we’re joined by Joe Romm, the founding editor of Climate Progress, who is critical of the new hire. Then, we hear from psychologist Pamela Paresky who thinks that his hiring by the NY Times could actually be a catalyst for productive dialogue that might ultimately bring conservatives over to recognizing the threat of climate change.

Rahwa Ghirmatzion: Green Buffalo Soldier

What’s a great way to lift up an impoverished population within a struggling city where utility bills can cost twice as much as rent itself? Local, engaged clean energy efforts. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to the Deputy Director of PUSH Buffalo, Rahwa Ghirmatzion, about the work that her organization is doing to create jobs and ramp up energy efficiency in the third poorest major city in the U.S. Ghirmatzion tells us about how her organization got its start, how its model has evolved and how PUSH Buffalo is trying to meet rising demands for its services in the face of looming EPA cuts.

Invasion of the Lionfish Snatchers

Perhaps it’s cold comfort but it turns out that we human beings are not the only species on earth hell-bent on destroying our own habitat. We share that ignominious honor with the venomous, carnivorous, and highly invasive lionfish. This week on Sea Change Radio, we talk about what these marine invaders are doing to the ocean’s coral reefs, and what is being done to reduce the damage. Our guests today all are working in Bermuda, one of the regions of the world where these creatures are wreaking havoc on the coral reef. First we hear from Colin Angle, CEO of iRobot the company that makes the robotic vacuum-cleaner, Roomba, and his wife, biologist Erika Angle — together they have devised a way to use vacuum robot technology to catch the intrusive but tasty lionfish. Then we’re joined by Jeremy Pochman from 11th Hour Racing, who tells us about how his organization is leveraging the America’s Cup, set to take place in Bermuda this June, to raise global awareness about the problem.