For-Profit, For Planet: Propagate Ventures + Parx Materials (re-broadcast)

This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak with the CEOs of two startups that are trying in very different ways to help the planet. First, we hear from Ethan Steinberg of Propagate Ventures to learn more about how his company helps promote agroforestry efforts across the country. Then, we travel to Rotterdam and talk with Michaël Van der Jagt about his Dutch company, Parx Materials, which uses bio-mimicry to forge chemical-free, bacteria- and virus-resistant polymers, enabling the safe re-purposing of ocean waste plastic among other things.

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Fixing American Politics With Aaron Huertas (Pt. II )

To most progressives, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg was a ground-breaking stalwart for the rule of law and a champion for the most vulnerable. But others resent the Notorious RBG who, despite having cancer in her 80s, chose to not step down from the bench during the Obama Administration – her subsequent death allowed Donald Trump to fill a precious Supreme Court seat in his last year. This week on Sea Change Radio, the second half of our discussion with political consultant Aaron Huertas. We focus on the fact that some of the nation’s most influential people are well past the average retirement age. We look at 83 year-old Stephen Breyer’s seeming reluctance to retire from the Supreme Court, talk about California Senator Dianne Feinstein plowing ahead with re-election plans (when she’ll be 91), and explore possible solutions to an exceedingly delicate balance of power.

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Fixing American Politics With Aaron Huertas (Pt. I )

The days of bipartisanship in Washington are long gone but there are many on the Hill still clinging for dear life to this antiquated notion which really hasn’t existed since the 1980s. This week on Sea Change Radio, we are joined by political consultant Aaron Huertas in the first half of a two-part conversation to look at the variety of political options facing a Democratic Party which is currently holding a razor thin majority in the Senate. We discuss the current state of the filibuster, dive into the many ways to craft policy with and without it, and look at the role that unions and grassroots organizers will play in moving us away from this obsession over bipartisanship.

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Who Speaks For The Water?

In the film adaptation of The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss, the unscrupulous Aloysius O’Hare sells oxygen. The audience is shocked and dismayed by this wanton comodification of a fundamental natural resource. But the comodification of another life-sustaining resource is no fiction in the American West. This week on Sea Change Radio, we get a bit of a history lesson about water rights in the West from Varsha Venkatasubramanian, a graduate student and a contributor to The Editorial Board. We learn about the beginnings of Los Angeles and the critical role that water played in that city’s birth, why water rights differ east and west of the Mississippi, and how climate change is making water scarcer and scarcer for millions of Westerners.Read the show transcript

Liz King: Civil Rights In Our Public Schools

One front on which the fight for racial justice is being waged is in the area of education. We have been led to believe that education is the great equalizer in this country, but the reality is that Black and Brown students have disparate experiences in school. For example, a national study from the Center for Civil Rights Remedies, issued in 2020, showed that African American students were more than four times as likely to be suspended from school and lost five times as many days of instruction due to disciplinary push-out. How do we stop this, and where is the accountability? This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to Liz King, the Director of Education at the Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights about efforts to fight discrimination in our nation’s public schools. She makes the case for doubling the Department of Education’s budget of the Office for Civil Rights, a primary agent in holding school systems accountable for injustices inflicted upon students on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. She revisits the damage done to public education during the DeVos era, and offers some solutions to help protect students against discrimination in schools.Read the show transcript

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