Bianca Fortis on Florida’s Efforts to Disenfranchise Former Prisoners

Florida sort of defines the term “swing state.” The smallest of variables can push the outcome of Florida’s elections in one direction or another – in the year 2000 it was “hanging chads” and more recently it appeared it would be the re-enfranchisement of former felons. In 2018, Florida voters overwhelmingly passed Amendment 4, which restored the voting rights of most felons who had completed their sentences. This was a particularly important turn of events given the massive number of Floridians who could not vote due to felony convictions. Republican leadership in the state, however, has been working tirelessly to undermine the will of the people by making it harder for the formerly incarcerated to exercise their franchise. Some of the obstacles that have been erected include a requirement to clear all debts in order to vote – some former felons have actually been criminally prosecuted for voting without paying what in effect amounts to a poll tax. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to journalist Bianca Fortis who has written an investigative piece chronicling right wing efforts to keep Florida’s most vulnerable populations from participating in the democratic process. Then we dip into the archives to listen to our 2020 discussion with groundbreaking health physicist and nuclear expert, Hattie Carwell.Read the show transcript

“To Serve & Protect” Whom? Alec Karakatsanis on Copaganda

What comes to mind when you hear the words “crime” and “safety?” For many, these words evoke images of poor people stealing things, or police enforcing laws to suppress street crime. Our guest today on Sea Change Radio argues that there’s a whole set of crimes that have been intentionally omitted from the messaging we get and that, for many, “police” and “safety” are far from synonymous. This week we speak with Alec Karakatsanis, the founder and executive director of Civil Rights Corps. A former public defender and the author of “Usual Cruelty: The Complicity of Lawyers in the Criminal Injustice System,” Karakatsanis believes that much of our country’s perspective on crime and policing has been shaped by “copaganda,” the swaying of public opinion for the benefit of law enforcement. We look at the corrosive societal effects of historic and current police practices, examine how and why these wrongheaded approaches persist, and discuss the complicity of journalists and policymakers who fall for and then perpetuate the American mythology of crime and safety.Read the show transcript

RL Miller of Climate Hawks Vote on the Inflation Reduction Act

Are you weary of having to care about where headline-seeking Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema land on important topics? Well, according to this week’s guest on Sea Change Radio, relief may be in sight. This week we speak with grassroots organizer and Democratic insider RL Miller to dig deeper into the politics, logistics and the climate impact of the Inflation Reduction Act. The president and founder of Climate Hawks Vote, Miller believes Manchin is starting to see his star fade as he watches more progressive Democratic Senate hopefuls making inroads – she believes this is a key impetus for his and Sinema’s connection to this bill, and perhaps a sign of things to come. We also get a harrowing glimpse into Miller’s first-hand experience with the California wildfires.Read the show transcript

Daniel Nichanian on the Nuts and Bolts of Local Elections

Anyone who paid attention to the ugly aftermath of the 2020 presidential election suddenly realized that a coterie of state-level bureaucrats had a whole lot more power than we ever imagined. And it was a huge wake up call for those who have chosen not to vote in past local elections. Elections matter, even small ones. This week on Sea Change Radio, we welcome political scientist and election expert Daniel Nichanian to discuss the importance of local elections in this country and how his new media venture, Bolts Magazine, intends to shine a brighter light on small, but increasingly vital races in all fifty states. We talk about the upcoming midterms, uncover arcane election laws in certain states and examine what’s on the ballot locally in the wake of the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade.Read the show transcript

Indonesian Coal + Food For Soul

This week on Sea Change Radio, we dig into the archives and listen to two very different stories about consumption. First, we speak to global journalist Nithin Coca who has written a series of pieces for Mongabay.com about Indonesia’s alarming headfirst dive into the coal industry. We discuss the high-level corruption that allowed coal to take off in Indonesia, examine the lax regulatory standards that imperil workers while allowing the country to keep export prices low and learn about the environmental degradation that the Indonesian coal boom is causing. Then we revisit our conversation with Lara Gilmore, who along with her husband, chef and restaurateur Massimo Bottura, run the world-renowned Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy. In addition to running a three-star Michelin restaurant, Bottura and Gilmore have created a unique template for feeding the needy through their nonprofit, Food For Soul. Based on the concept of the Italian refettorio, a place where monks gathered together to share their meals, Food For Soul has elevated the soup kitchen to a whole new level, cooking and serving delicious meals in warm, elegant environments.Read the show transcript

The Revelator’s John Platt on Endangered Species

Historian and philosopher Yuval Harari writes, “When the first humans reached Australia about 45,000 years ago, they quickly drove to extinction 90% of its large animals. This was the first significant impact that Homo sapiens had on the planet’s ecosystem. It was not the last.” This week on Sea Change Radio, we discuss extinction with longtime journalist and founder of the environmental news site, The RevelatorJohn PlattWe look at efforts around the planet to save endangered plants and animals, explore the plight of smaller, often overlooked creatures, and examine the effects of war on fragile ecosystems.  Read the show transcript

Alex Gilbert on West Virginia v. EPA

It seems like these days every sentence that begins with “The Supreme Court…” finishes with truly appalling news — another draconian ruling regarding privacy, guns, or basic, fundamental human rights. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to energy expert Alex Gilbert about a recent Supreme Court decision that many environmentalists were eyeing with dread. To Gilbert, though, things could have gone much, much worse in the West Virginia v. EPA case. We dive into the details of this ruling: its political ramifications, its practical implications, and what it suggests about this court’s future environment-related decisions.Read the show transcript

John Fleck: Drought Dilemmas and the Colorado River

Years of extreme drought have left the Colorado River at alarmingly low levels. Earlier this month, water management experts testified in front of a Senate energy and Natural Resources Committee that’s seeking ways for the Western United States to drastically cut back water usage. With all the recent reporting on the issue, it’s important to remember that this sad state of affairs has been a slow-moving disaster visible to all those willing to pay attention. This week on Sea Change Radio, we revisit our 2016 conversation with John Fleck, a water expert focused on the problems of the Colorado River and the author of “Water is For Fighting Over: And Other Myths About Water in the West.” We learn about the struggle over water rights in Arizona, discuss how Mexico and the US are cooperating over the Colorado River Delta and talk about the complexities of growing alfalfa in the desert.Read the show transcript

Summer Solstice Celebration: Bill Kreutzmann + Chuck Leavell

This week on Sea Change Radio, we celebrate the summer solstice to revel in our planet and talk music as we dig into the archives to revisit our discussions with two legendary rock musicians who also care deeply about environmental causes. First, we listen to our 2011 conversation with Bill Kreutzmann, the drummer for the Grateful Dead, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and an organic farmer in Kauai who’s currently touring with Dead & Company. Then, our 2013 interview with sideman extraordinaire Chuck Leavell who, in addition to playing piano for the Rolling Stones, the Allman Brothers Band and Eric Clapton is quite passionate about preserving forests.Read the show transcript

The Promise of Psychedelic Therapy

Psychologist and pop culture icon of the 1960s, Timothy Leary, famously instructed San Francisco hippies to take psychedelic drugs in order to “turn on, tune in, and drop out.” These days there’s a movement in psychology, also centered in Northern California, advancing the use of psychedelics, as well. But the agenda is less about dropping out than about treating serious mental health challenges. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to two people about the intriguing new breakthrough that is ketamine therapy. First, we talk to Oli Mittermeier, the CEO and Co-founder of CIT Clinics to get a glimpse of his company’s innovative approach to ketamine treatment for depression, bipolar, and PTSD. Then, we hear from Reuben Steiger, an entrepreneur who found relief from decades of struggling with depression and bipolar through ketamine therapy.Read the show transcript