Can you imagine how hard it must be for legislators to know where to focus their energies? The problems that require reform and improved public policy are vast and varied. But as this week’s guest explains, there’s really nothing more important than ensuring clean air and water. Today on Sea Change Radio, we speak with California Assemblymember Phil Ting about his efforts to promote recycling and cleaner cars. We look at the impediments to systemic change, breakdown his proposals, and talk about the amount of political capital required to advance the most fundamental components of life on earth: clean air and water.
Many of us concerned with the environment are conscientious about sorting our garbage. Those of us lucky enough to live in cities with curbside recycling feel pretty good that the majority of our garbage is diverted from landfill. Well, before we get too smug about it, perhaps we should take a closer look at where that waste goes after it leaves our hands. For example, did you know that pretty much all paper milk cartons in this country are plastic-lined and therefore end up in landfills? Or that 15% of the paper we ship to China for recycling doesn’t actually get recycled? This week on Sea Change Radio, Mark Murray, the Executive Director of Californians Against Waste, reveals the garbage in our global garbage systems. We discuss what consumers, manufacturers and retailers can do to improve the current system, where gains are being made, and what areas are ripe for improvement.
This being primary election week in California and seven other states, we thought it an appropriate time to revisit our discussion with California gubernatorial candidate, Gavin Newsom. In our discussion, which was on the heels of the election of Donald Trump in late 2016, Newsom delved into a number of important environmental policy issues ranging from California’s clean energy plan, to the Delta tunnels project, to the future of nuclear energy in the state. These issues are just as relevant as ever, and Newsom’s optimism is a salve for what the past year has wrought. Listen now to this California candidate who is known nationally as a pioneer in gay rights, a champion for the environment, and a consistently progressive Democrat.
Futurists, environmentalists and planners alike generally believe that humans living in more densely populated areas has benefits for the earth – city-living is just a much more efficient use of the planet’s resources. But cities also expose a society’s inequality. Some of the world’s wealthiest cities are plagued by abundant homelessness and have deep pockets of persistent poverty. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to Rafael Mandelman, a local San Francisco politician who has seen homelessness up close. Mandelman tells his story of growing up with a mother who struggled with mental illness and homelessness and how, despite the odds, he made his way through an Ivy League education and helped lift his mother out of her dire situation. Now an advocate for homeless rights, Mandelman walks us through the simultaneous explosion of homelessness and high-paying tech jobs in his hometown, sets forth some of his ideas for solving the crisis, and gives examples of cities that have been able to tackle this problem in an ethical, compassionate, and effective manner.
In 2013 California boasted a recycling rate of 85%. In 2017 that number is now 79% – that is the first time it has dipped below 80% since 2008. Why is the most populous state in the union moving in the wrong direction on this important indicator? This week on Sea Change Radio we speak with Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste, a nonprofit environmental group that was founded forty years ago to advocate for beverage container recycling in the state. He will explain this troubling trend and talk about what can be done to get California’s recycling program back on its previous trajectory.
California’s soggy winter and spring belie its long-term water prospects. While it’s true that the Golden State is experiencing record rainfalls, California’s water problems have far from evaporated. A warmer globe means wilder swings of storms and drought, deluges and scarcity. Is the most populous state ready for these wild swings? What are they doing with the surplus that is literally spilling over aquifers right now? And how will they ensure that groundwater stores are not completely depleted? This week on Sea Change Radio, we hear from environmental writer Jeremy Miller who discusses his recent New Yorker article chronicling California’s deep, systemic water problems. Miller talks about the impact of the flooding in Northern California, shares ideas from experts on how to re-charge the state’s stressed groundwater reserves, and posits that California needs a more sustainable model for fresh water that is less dependent on the snow pack in the Sierra Mountains.
What do you think of when you hear the word, “billionaires?” Ruthless capitalists? Decadent narcissists? Evil cheese-puffs? What about renewable power? Well, today on Sea Change Radio we hear from Sammy Roth, energy reporter for The Desert Sun, who recently wrote a three-part series about how some American billionaires with deep roots in the fossil fuel industry, are planning bold clean power initiatives. We talk about the enormous wind farm that conservative tycoon Philip Anschutz hopes to build in Wyoming, discuss the efforts that famed investor Warren Buffett is making to enter California’s electricity marketplace, and learn what “balancing authorities” are and the role they play in our electric grid. Is what’s happening in the West just another capitalist scheme to benefit the 1%, or might these moves actually reduce climate pollution and lower energy bills?
How does Gavin Newsom maintain his optimism in the face of all the destructive policies the president-elect might enact? That’s part of what we talk about today on Sea Change Radio in the second half of our discussion with California’s Lieutenant Governor. We also hear Newsom’s ideas on the future of public transportation, including self-driving vehicles, his thoughts on the ongoing drought, and why he is not particularly hopeful for the Delta Tunnels Project.
Many believe Gavin Newsom will be the next Governor of the most populous state in the union. Today, in his first in-depth interview since the election, he is our guest here on Sea Change Radio. The former Mayor of San Francisco, and current Lieutenant Governor of California, Newsom is a nationally recognized pioneer in gay rights, a champion for the environment, and a consistently progressive Democrat. This week, in Part 1 of a two-part series with the Lieutenant Governor, Newsom and host Alex Wise discuss what the result of the recent presidential election might mean for the country, for the Democratic Party, and for the environment. We also talk about California’s energy future, including the decision to shut down the state’s last nuclear power plant and its ambition to achieve a 55% renewable electric grid.
As Californians continue to look beseechingly to the skies for signs of any kind of rainfall, the effects of this drought are indeed far-reaching. The policies that emerge from this disastrously dry year may ultimately alter what foods we eat, where we build new homes and even what sports we play. Earlier this year, we heard from the President of the Pacific Institute, Peter Gleick, as he told us of the critical nature of this drought, even in its early stages. This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise speaks again to Dr. Gleick for an update and to get a glimpse into the future of what a permanently drier California might mean for us all.