Sammy Roth: Shutting Down Diablo Canyon

We are on the brink of the hottest months of the year. For those of us in California this means getting ready for the nuisance of rolling blackouts, as the power grid gets stretched beyond its capacity. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to Sammy Roth of the Los Angeles Times about the ongoing challenge to transform electricity in the nation’s most populous state. First, we learn about California’s last nuclear plant, the soon-to-be shuttered Diablo Canyon, and examine the pros and cons of shutting down a plant that produces almost 10% of the state’s energy portfolio. Then we take a look at how NIMBYism, the local backlash against proposed development, plays a role in the switch to renewable power sources.Read the show transcript

Crystal Kolden: Prepping For Wildfire Season

Yes, there will be millions of collective sighs as the deadliest pandemic in a century begins to abate and a more open summer kicks off. But summer also means the beginning of the wildfire season in the American West – a slew of deadly disasters lying in wait. Last year was the worst fire season in California’s recorded history and drought-like conditions portend another challenging summer. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to Professor Crystal Kolden of the University of California Merced, a wildfire expert and former firefighter. We talk about current preparations for impending fires, where she believes resources should be directed, and the ethical dilemma presented by California’s reliance on inmate firefighters.Read the show transcript

Scott Lerner: Hydrogen Vehicle Update

Back in February of 2013 when we spoke to hydrogen vehicle expert Robert Boyd, the mass market appeal of hydrogen cars seemed somewhat limited to say the least — hydrogen was less than an ideal fuel for a number of reasons. But a lot can happen in eight years, and now the hydrogen car seems to be re-emerging as a viable alternative to our old gas guzzlers. This week on Sea Change Radio, we provide listeners an update on the  hydrogen-powered vehicle with Scott Lerner, a writer who’s been driving a hydrogen-fueled Toyota Mirai since 2017. He tells us of the advantages and disadvantages of driving a clean fuel vehicle that’s not an EV, what hurdles the hydrogen vehicle industry faces, and why he thinks there’s a chance our nation’s enormous trucking fleet will someday be powered by clean-burning hydrogen gas.Read the show transcript

Malavika Vyawahare: Commercial Tuna Pirates

When we hear the term “resource curse,” it usually refers to the exploitation of countries with rich stores of natural resources like fossil fuels or widely coveted metals and minerals. Today, however, we are talking about protein. Some of the most beautiful, remote parts on the planet also produce some of its most unsustainable protein sources. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak with environmental journalist Malavika Vyawahare from the distant Indian Ocean island of Réunion to discuss the devastating and corrupt practices surrounding the tuna fishing industry in that part of the world. We learn about the destructive practice using fish aggregating devices (or FADs), how ships from wealthy European nations like Spain and France are exploiting law-of-the-sea loopholes, and what steps are being taken to prevent the region’s fishery from being completed wiped out.Read the show transcript

Daniel Oberhaus: Our Super-Charged Future

New iterations of the smartphone often focus on bells, whistles and other fancy features, when what we all really want for our devices are batteries that last longer. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak with technology writer and battery expert Daniel Oberhaus about the latest developments in the energy storage space. We learn about the role that solid state and lithium-silicon batteries may play in the machines of tomorrow, how artificial intelligence may improve battery life, and the progress being made to create recyclable batteries. Read the show transcript

Nicole Taylor of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation

This past year has been trying for everyone, with the economically vulnerable particularly hard hit. In a heartening turn, there has been an uptick in both volunteering and philanthropy throughout the country: charitable giving increased approximately 25% in 2020, and volunteerism also rose in response to increasing unemployment, poverty, and food insecurity. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak with the CEO of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Nicole Taylor about this key California philanthropic organization. We learn how community foundations receive money from donors and distribute these funds to non-profits, discuss ways that the pandemic has changed philanthropy, and talk about how the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing trial of Derek Chauvin ignited a wave of giving to support racial justice.Read the show transcript

Within Our Grasp: Sharman Apt Russell on Childhood Malnutrition

As Anne Frank wrote in her diary, “hunger is not a problem, it is an obscenity.” This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to author Sharman Apt Russell about her book entitled Within Our Grasp: Childhood Malnutrition Worldwide and the Revolution Taking Place to End It. We look at some of the areas around the globe plagued by hunger, learn how countries like Brazil and Vietnam have made strides in battling childhood malnutrition and examine how health care professionals and food companies are changing the way they try to tackle this obscenity.

John Englander: Moving To Higher Ground

Summer is nearly upon us. The next time you’re at the beach, gazing upon the blue horizon, take a moment to contemplate the depths of the sea, and the ways that the ocean is changing. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak with oceanographer and author John Englander to take a deep dive into rising sea levels and his book Moving To Higher Ground. We examine the latest predictions by the scientific community, discuss the various challenges that coastal regions around the globe face, and ponder the policies needed to mitigate the encroaching threat of higher and higher tides.

Gregory Schwartz: Bright Green Future

Do you ever look around and think that if our agricultural and transportation systems could get a little more efficient, we might just be able to slow down the rate of climate change? Well, our guest today has spent a lot of time thinking about that, and what people are calling “tactical urbanism.” This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to Gregory Schwartz, whose new book is Bright Green Future – How Everyday Heroes are Re-Imagining the Way We Feed, Power and Build Our World. Taped before the pandemic, our conversation highlights urban planning efforts in Dallas, non-profits in Detroit, as well as other movements and innovations that are providing hope in the struggle against climate change. Schwartz also alerts us to a set of newfangled, made-up policy words like “stroads” and “blots” that may be coming soon to a neighborhood near you!

Eriel Deranger of Indigenous Climate Action

The list of crimes committed in the name of so called “progress” includes modern offenses such as the Trump Administration’s effort to sell off Native American lands to oil and gas prospectors, as well as historical atrocities like the slaughter and theft perpetrated against indigenous populations across the globe. Our guest today on Sea Change Radio works to amplify first people’s voices in the fight for climate justice. This week we speak with the Executive Director of Indigenous Climate Action, Eriel Deranger. We discuss the intersection of the indigenous people’s and the Black Lives Matter movements, take a look at her organization’s latest climate report, and get an update on the Keystone XL pipeline.