Matt Simon on Microplastics, Pt. 1

Look around you: at this very moment, chances are that within a one-foot radius of your body, there’s something plastic. The ubiquity of plastic comes with a steep cost, however. This week on Sea Change Radio, the first half of our two-part discussion with Matt Simon, a Wired staff writer and author of A Poison Like No Other: How Microplastics Corrupted Our Planet and Our Bodies. In this episode, we learn about the history of plastic manufacturing, look at some unexpected ways that we’re exposed to microplastics, and examine how plastic recycling falls well-short of its promise.Read the show transcript

Zealous Founder Scott Hechinger

It’s that time of year when as the weather gets colder we warm ourselves with thoughts of gratitude and giving, which, for many, includes charitable donations to organizations making a difference. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak with the founder and executive director of one such organization. Scott Hechinger, a former public defender, runs the nonprofit advocacy organization Zealous, whose aim is to educate the public about the inequities of this country’s justice system. We examine why more public defenders aren’t elected to higher office, talk about the repercussions from last year’s recall of San Francisco district attorney Chesa Boudin, and discuss the impact Zealous is trying to make.Read the show transcript

Eriel Deranger + Bill Plotkin

This week on Sea Change Radio, we dig into the archives to hear from someone who works to amplify first people’s voices in the fight for climate justice. 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 climate report, and get an update on the Keystone XL pipeline. Then, we take a breath to learn a bit about ourselves from Bill Plotkin, an author, psychologist and spiritual ecologist. We dive into Plotkin’s teachings, outlined in his book, “The Journey of Soul Initiation,” about moving from adolescence into adulthood (both metaphorically and figuratively), and how we can all evolve as individuals to become better stewards of the planet.Read the show transcript

Gigi Berardi: Eating Well, Eating Wisely (re-broadcast)

For many, along with all that good cheer, the holidays bring a bunch of food-related conundrums: what to bring to the pot luck, what to eat and not eat at the company party, what gifts to buy for our culinary-focused friends and family, and how to be ecologically responsible without compromising taste. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak with a food expert who can help solve these holiday food puzzlers. Gigi Berardi is a professor of food studies and geography at Western Washington University. Her new book, FoodWISE lays out ways to make better decisions about what we eat. We discuss the differences between frozen and canned foods, take a look at “Big Organic,” and examine how the food industry’s misuse of the word “healthy” has warped its meaning.Read the show transcript

Tim Killeen on the State of the Amazon

Depending on your point of reference, the term Amazon may evoke the mega-retailer or a vast South American forest. This week on Sea Change Radio we are speaking about the latter with author and conservation scientist Tim Killeen. We talk about his work in the Amazon region, his upcoming book, and what drew him to study this enormous, fragile ecosystem. We also learn about the policies that have contributed to an approximate 20% deforestation of the Amazon, discuss biocommerce in the area, and hear about some optimistic signs of regeneration.

Matthew Slater: Crypto and the Search for Trade Justice

Did you see any of the celebrity-backed ads for the slew of now defunct crytpo businesses? Did they leave you scratching your head at the time? It was precisely the inscrutability of cryptocurrency that allowed scammers like Sam Bankman-Fried to pocket billions through crypto exchanges like FTX. That company’s pitch was essentially “it’s OK if you don’t understand how all of this works, we’ll handle it for you.” But then, of course, the bubble burst. This week on Sea Change Radio, we check in with Matthew Slater, a community currency engineer and blockchain expert with whom we spoke back in 2011, at the dawn of the alternative currency movement. Slater boils down the past decade of cryptocurrency mayhem into layman’s terms and explains why, despite the many bumps along the way, he still believes in a financial system based on what he terms “trade justice.”Read the show transcript

Zac Unger: Looking Polar Bear Endangerment In The Eye (re-broadcast)

We have all seen the mournful image of an unhappy polar bear isolated on a melting ice floe. It conveys the doom of that one bear as well as his species, and implies that we are all headed in that direction if something is not done about global warming. Inspired by such images and his commitment to ecological conservation, this week’s guest on Sea Change Radio, Zac Unger, ventured up to the great white north to check out the plight of polar bears himself, up close. What he found surprised him. Embedding himself with scientists, Unger learned about how the bears are adjusting their diet, fasting periods and even breeding behavior in response to the warmer, longer summers that climate change is bringing. These adaptations, in conjunction with hunting prohibitions instituted late in the 20th century, have allowed the polar bear population to flourish.

The picture that Unger paints of this robust, adaptable species stands in stark contrast to the impression most of us have of the endangered polar bear. While some climate change deniers are exploiting Unger’s work to make their case, it’s important to keep in mind that his book, Never Look a Polar Bear in the Eye, also demonstrates that global warming is indeed happening, and that the only route to survival, for any of us, is adaptation. Unger’s journey and discoveries also raise questions about the eventual impact that the bear’s adaptations will have on polar ecosystems, and critically consider the changing role of scientists as advocates.Read the show transcript

David Ho on Carbon Offsets: Much Ado About Nothing?

Carbon offsets are often touted as a solution to humanity’s bad habit of emitting an awful lot of CO2. But how many of us actually know what things like carbon offsets and carbon dioxide removal are all about? This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak with David Ho, a professor in the oceanography department at the University of Hawaii at Manōa and a co-founder of the nonprofit, [C]Worthy. We discuss his recent piece in Nature journal explaining the shortcomings of carbon offsets, learn more about the mission of [C]Worthy, and take a look at how some corporations greenwash the admirable goal of producing net zero goods.Read the show transcript

Chathu Gamage: Forging Cleaner Steel

Humans have been making steel in some form or other for over two millennia – and consistently re-using and recycling it along the way. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak with Chathu Gamage from the Rocky Mountain Institute to learn more about the steel industry. We look back at the modern history of the steel market, examine the impact that China’s steel manufacturing dominance is having around the globe, and discuss some of the biggest challenges of making steel a net zero product.Read the show transcript

Pain At The Pumps: Understanding Gas Prices With Dan Dicker

It’s hard not to notice how sky high gas prices are these days. Perhaps the universe is trying to tell us something about our personal transportation choices — namely, that the status quo is untenable. This week on Sea Change Radio, Daniel Dicker is here to help us wade through the complex world of oil and gas prices. We discuss the various geopolitical facets that influence the prices of this valuable commodity, compare energy policy and consumer habits between the U.S. and the EU, and get Dicker’s take on how gas prices may affect the 2024 Presidential election.Read the show transcript