David Messina: Rumin8 Strives To Reduce Cow Methane Emissions

When we think about greenhouse gas emissions, automobiles, airplanes, and power plants usually figure more prominently than livestock. The methane produced by cow belching, however, is one of the biggest sources of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. Fortunately, there are some innovations on the horizon that are promising to help reduce the damage of these gassy cows. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to David Messina, the Managing Director of Rumin8, an Australian-based startup that is hoping to transform the cattle industry. The company’s main product is a lab-grown feed additive that is designed to significantly reduce methane emissions in ruminants like cattle and sheep. We discuss the problem that Rumin8 is trying to solve, talk about the company’s business strategy and hurdles it faces, and take a look at the competitive landscape in the growing feed additive space.Read the show transcript

Nithin Coca: The Impacts of Plant-Based Meats

The new generation of veggie burgers do taste more like meat than their sawdust-leaning predecessors. And most agree that plant-based meat alternatives are a step in the right direction, considering the hefty impact that cattle have on the environment. But the Impossible Burgers and Beyond Meats of the world come with their own not-so-insignificant carbon challenges. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak with environmental reporter Nithin Coca about his research for Vox.com on the impact of these popular plant-based meats on agricultural supply chains around the globe. We talk about the rapid growth of the market sector, take a look at how it affects the coconut oil and cacao butter industries, and, while we are at it, get a snapshot of lab grown meats, as well.Read the show transcript

FloWater: An Answer To Our Plastic Bottle Woes? (Re-broadcast)

In the 1990s, I recall my grandfather remarking upon the new ubiquity of plastic water bottles, “When did everybody get so thirsty all of a sudden?” Indeed, plastic bottles have been proliferating at an exponential rate since the 1970s – the US alone is responsible for tens of billions of single-use plastic bottle waste every year. This week on Sea Change Radio, we take a look at the bottled water industry through the eyes of a relatively small but innovative player in the space. CEO and co-founder of FloWater, Rich “Raz” Razgaitis, joins us to tell us about his company’s product, its mission to help curb America’s seemingly bottomless thirst for single-use plastic bottles, and the ways the bottled water industry is similar to Big Tobacco.Read the show transcript

An Upfront Talk About Carbon With Lloyd Alter

For some time now, ecologists and environmentalists have been promoting life-cycle analyses – calculations of the environmental impact of a product, from the sourcing of materials all the way through to its disposal. While this is still a valid expenditure of effort, our guest today on Sea Change Radio argues that we may need to re-focus more narrowly on the carbon generated at the front-end of an article’s life: its production, transportation, delivery, and installation. He asserts that these “upfront carbon” emissions are the more urgent and immediate concerns, and we simply don’t have time to focus on the rest of the product’s life. This week we welcome back to the show author, environmental journalist, and design expert Lloyd Alter, to discuss his upcoming book, The Story of Upfront Carbon. We learn about the birth of the term, discuss why it’s a useful lens for making consumer decisions, and go down a carbon emissions rabbit hole on products like iPhones, electric vehicles, and e-bikes.Read the show transcript

Chuck Collins: Disturbing The Very Comfortable

The novelist David Foster Wallace once said, “Good fiction’s job is to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak with author Chuck Collins about his debut novel which centers on Big Oil and climate change. We talk about how he has channeled a life of privilege into a quest to raise awareness about wealth inequality, discuss what it was like to co-author with Bill Gates, Sr. a book advocating for taxing the rich, and explore the unique manner in which fiction reveals truth.Read the show transcript

Paul Wheaton: Building A Better World In Your Backyard

An unusual by-product of the global pandemic was that a lot more people ended up becoming gardeners – one study estimated that over 18 million Americans discovered gardening while spending more time at home. This week on Sea Change Radio, we revisit our 2020 discussion with author and sustainability expert Paul Wheaton about his book, Building A Better World In Your Backyard. Wheaton provides us with some innovative ideas on gardening and permaculture while outlining the many benefits of Hugelkultur techniques. We also look at some home efficiency solutions, including warming up our bodies rather than the air in our homes, and the advantages of using a rocket mass heater.Read the show transcript

John Platt: In Search of The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

When you visit the World Wildlife Fund’s list of critically endangered species, the first animals named are large, beloved mammals like the African Forest Elephant and the Eastern Lowland Gorilla. While these majestic creatures tug at our heartstrings, there are also a lot of smaller, more unsung organisms that are in grave risk of extinction, like the lowly freshwater mussel. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to environmental writer, John Platt, the editor of The Revelator to talk about some of the less glamorous animals that have recently been declared extinct or are on the brink of extinction. First, we take a deep dive into the plight of the ivory-billed woodpecker, a regal swamp-dwelling bird whose demise may or may not have been premature. Then we discuss why Hawaii is referred to by some naturalists as the extinction capital of the world, and look at the ethical quandaries presented by the emerging field of resurrection biology, also known as de-extinction.Read the show transcript

Jim Motavalli on the EV Revolution


According to the International Energy Agency, over 14 million electric vehicles, or EVs, are expected to be sold globally in 2023. If this is accurate, EVs would account for about 18 percent of total car sales for the year, a 35 percent increase over 2022. The EV revolution is upon us, and here to help Sea Change Radio listeners decide where to plug-in is automotive journalist, Jim Motavalli. We discuss the puzzling decision by General Motors to shelve the Chevy Bolt, get some recommendations on new EV automakers and models, and examine America’s ongoing fascination with big old gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs.Read the show transcript

Wood Pellets: The New Coal (re-broadcast)

Back in the 16th century, when England began to run out of trees, it started burning coal. And by 1700, most Brits were using coal as their main source of fuel. But then coal became scarce. To come full circle, today England is burning large amounts of wood again – much of it in the form of wood pellets from the US. Wood has somehow been designated as a renewable energy source since the Kyoto Protocol in 1992 and the repercussions have been devastating. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to journalist Justin Catanoso, a journalism professor at Wake Forest University, about the dangers of this latest transition to a fuel source which is leading to deforestation and pollution. We learn about the wood pellet industry, manufacturing giant Enviva, and the wide-ranging problems caused by burning trees.Read the show transcript

Adam Woltag: Designing Sustainable Spaces

They say home is where the heart is, and it’s also where our story begins today. This week on Sea Change Radio, we talk to two people doing their best to make everyone’s home a happy one. First, we speak to architect Adam Woltag to discuss how sustainability factors into newly constructed buildings. We learn about a high-end luxury apartment building in Honolulu that is incorporating some cutting-edge technologies to conserve both power and water, examine how consumer demand for environmentally conscientious buildings continues to increase, and look at how this correlates to office spaces as well. Then, we dig into the archives and speak to Shamus Roller, the Executive Director of the National Housing Law Project, about housing challenges, evictions, and homelessness.Read the show transcript