Ted Nordhaus: What Are Environmental Protections Protecting?

Historian T.J. Jackson Lears once said, “All history is the history of unintended consequences.” This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak with Ted Nordhaus, the Founder and Executive Director of The Breakthrough Institute, about when laws designed to protect the environment are misused in order to block efforts that would combat climate change. We look at some recent examples where wealthier communities have exploited environmental regulatory loopholes, stymieing progress toward renewable energy and thwarting the protection of vulnerable populations.Read the show transcript

Anne Clunan on the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

War has suddenly returned to Europe. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has been swift, shocking, and devastating. In addition to killing thousands of civilians and soldiers, the incursion has rocked global financial markets and galvanized the West against Russia in ways not seen since the Cold War. This week on Sea Change Radio, we talk to Russian foreign policy expert Dr. Anne Clunan to learn more about this unilateral act of military aggression. We examine Vladimir Putin’s possible motivations in invading a sovereign nation like Ukraine, look at the ways the war will affect energy markets, and talk about how Russia’s massive nuclear arsenal may influence diplomatic and military strategy.Read the show transcript

Andrew Winston: The Case For Doing Business Differently

In 1970, the economist Milton Friedman wrote a controversial piece for the New York Times Magazine entitled “The Social Responsibility of Business Is To Increase Its Profits.” During the ensuing “greed is good” era of runaway American capitalism, many a titan of industry has quoted these words to rationalize dubious business practices. With a planet in peril and investors and consumers better informed than ever, isn’t it time big business develop a conscience? Our guest this week on Sea Change Radio is Andrew Winston, a sustainability expert and author whose latest book, “Net Positive,” maps corporate social responsibility trends through a case study of the multinational Unilever. We examine the path forged by former Unilever CEO (and Winston’s co-author) Paul Polman, discuss how the pandemic has affected corporate sustainability efforts, and look at the nexus of government, business, and philanthropy in the evolution of social impact.

Read the show transcript

Rod Graham: The Fight Over Affirmative Action

Back in 2016 the US Supreme Court established that the University of Texas could continue to consider race as a factor in admissions, in order to ensure a diverse student body. At that time Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg declared, “I don’t expect that we’re going to see another affirmative action case, at least in education.” But Justice Ginsburg hadn’t anticipated the current Court and its appetite for re-examining established law. Later this year the Court will hear challenges to affirmative action at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina. Given the right-leaning makeup of this Court, the decision may well deliver a major blow to affirmative action at this country’s institutions of higher learning. This week on Sea Change Radio, we discuss the state of affirmative action with Prof. Rod Graham, a sociologist at Old Dominion University. We look at the recent history of racial preference in educational policies, talk about why it would be a mistake to abandon affirmative action, and ponder the impact that such a decision could have on legacy preference in school admissions.Read the show transcript

Eric Lebel: Cooking With Gas?

When momentum starts to build, people like to exclaim, “Now we’re cooking with gas!” Well, a recent study out of Stanford University might have us re-thinking that expression. The study found that methane leaking from stoves inside U.S. homes has the same climate impact as about half a million gasoline-powered cars and, furthermore, that these stoves expose household members to respiratory disease-triggering pollutants. Findings like these are prompting some jurisdictions, like the US’s largest urban center, New York City, to ban gas hook-ups in new buildings. Keep in mind that approximately 2000 new buildings are erected there each year. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak with Eric Lebel, part of the Stanford research team that conducted the study, to learn more about their methods and findings. We discuss the impact that America’s 40 million gas stoves might be having on the air we breathe (both inside and out of our homes), how to transition away from these types of appliances, and why in many ways it’s an environmental justice issue.Read the show transcript

Andrea Copping: The Latest on Marine Energy Projects

We hear a lot about solar and wind power, but a renewable source of clean energy that continues to be largely untapped is the ocean. According to the US Energy Information Administration, the annual energy potential of waves off the coasts of the United States is 2.64 trillion kilowatt hours, or the equivalent of about 66% of this country’s electricity generation in 2020. Over the past two decades, many marine energy projects have sprung up around the world aiming to harness this seemingly limitless resource. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to Andrea Copping, a senior research scientist at the Pacific Northwest Laboratory, to catch the latest on wave energy. We learn about the various technologies, the benefits these projects present, potential regulatory hurdles, and the kinds of harmful effects they may have on marine life.Read the show transcript

Global Investigative Journalism Network + Pandemic Plastic Use

An icon of 20th Century journalism, Walter Cronkite, once said, “The profession of journalism ought to be about telling people what they need to know – not what they want to know.” That quote was never more relevant than today. This week on Sea Change Radio we speak with two reporters. First we talk about the state of independent journalism with David Kaplan, the Executive Director of the Global Investigative Journalism Network, an organization promoting cutting-edge investigative reporting. Then we hear from Tara Duggan of the San Francisco Chronicle about some reporting she has done on single-use plastic products — how their use surged during the pandemic and whether retailers are finally reverting back to pre-pandemic practices.Read the show transcript

Celia Ouellette: The Business of Punishment in America (re-broadcast)

People sometimes like to quote that Bible passage about “an eye for an eye” when justifying a punitive criminal justice system focused on retribution and vengeance. Others like to repeat a saying often attributed to Ghandi, that “an eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind.” This week on Sea Change Radio, we get philosophical about crime and punishment. Our guest today is Celia Ouellette, a human rights lawyer and CEO of the nonprofit Responsible Business Initiative for Justice. Within the scope of her organization’s campaigns, we take a critical look at the American prison industrial complex and private prisons, the ineffectiveness of the death penalty, and the draconian practice of locking juveniles up for life.Read the show transcript

Bob Berwyn of Inside Climate News on the New Normal

The Marshall Fire that swept through the Boulder, Colorado area in the last days of 2021 seemed to be an aberration – a destructive wildfire raging while just a few miles away, skiers took turns through Rocky Mountain powder. But as we are learning on a daily basis, climate change predictably creates unpredictable weather events. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to Bob Berwyn of Inside Climate News to learn what this fire that destroyed over one thousand homes reveals to us about the new normal.Read the show transcript

Daniel Oberhaus: Our Super-Charged Future (re-broadcast)

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