A couple of decades who could have imagined that a gust of wind wafting across a Wyoming plain could power an air conditioner as far off as Southern California? But it very well may be happening soon. This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise speaks with Shalini Ramanathan, a Texas-based wind energy consultant who gives us a peek into new advances in the wind industry and how these are enabling wind to blow open our nation’s interstate power grid.
Then, we hear from the mayor of Sebastopol, California, Michael Kyes, who told us last year about how his town passed some controversial, yet effective solar power ordinances to get off of fossil fuels and make this humble municipality a trailblazer in the shift to sustainability.
This week on Sea Change Radio, we hear from the Research Director of the Carbon Tracker Initiative, James Leaton. He discusses his organization’s ongoing effort to inform the public about the quantities of fossil fuels and greenhouse gasses various companies are emitting. His team’s findings have been important talking points for Bill McKibben and 350.org‘s recent divestment campaign.
Next, host Alex Wise speaks with Graham Bergh, the founder of Resource Revival, a small company that collects tons of bicycle parts each month from bike shops all over the US. to create beautiful, low carbon-footprint, everyday products like picture frames and candle holders.
Last year, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and energy consultant Daniel Yergin published his long-awaited sequel to the The Prize called The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World. The New York Times called this follow-up “even better… than the first. It is searching, impartial and alarmingly up to date.” The Prize provides readers with an overview of the modern energy industry and posits that peak oil, the premise that the world’s oil supply is being rapidly depleted, is an out-dated theory and that with new discoveries in shale gas, we’ve instead reached a comfortable plateau when it comes to ferreting out fossil fuels from the ground. This week’s guest on Sea Change Radio, Richard Heinberg, an author, a senior fellow at the Post-Carbon Institute and a leading environmentalist, fundamentally disagrees with many of Dr. Yergin’s ideas. And while both The Prize and The Quest are certainly recommended reading for Sea Change Radio listeners, Mr. Heinberg and host Alex Wise discuss why Dr. Yergin’s view of reality differs so greatly from his own.
Auto racing, also known as burning tons of fossil fuel to drive really fast in circles, has got to be one of the most environmentally unfriendly uses of a motor vehicle. But both of this week’s guests on Sea Change Radio are professional race car drivers who, despite being at opposite ends of the political spectrum, are trying to spread their eco-friendly messages to 75 million racing fans, perhaps not the most receptive audience. First, host Alex Wise speaks to Leilani Münter, an up and coming driver on the ARCA stock car racing circuit. Münter is a politically liberal, vegetarian and self-proclaimed “hippie chick” who’s tapping into a whole new set of green sponsors for her racing team. Then, we hear from Ward Burton, who spent 17 years as a NASCAR driver. Burton is a political conservative who now heads the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation and is trying to turn kids onto hunting and fishing to help cure what he calls a “nature deficit disorder” plaguing the next generation of American adults.
Here’s a link to a special screening of The Cove in San Rafael, CA on June 21st with Ric O’Barry, Louie Psihoyos and Leilani Münter’s brother-in-law, Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead.
The meltdown at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima is enlivening discussions on alternative energy around dinner tables and across debate platforms everywhere. People who call themselves environmentalists tend to agree on the need to curtail human reliance on fossil fuels, including the pervasive use of coal in generating electricity. That same level of consensus cannot be found, however, on the topic of nuclear power. Nuclear energy and environmentalism have traditionally been thought of as incongruous, yet our guest today on Sea Change Radio offers a logic to solve the paradox. Jesse Jenkins, the Director of Energy and Climate Policy at the Breakthrough Institute, a think tank that advocates for innovative solutions to energy and climate challenges, believes that nuclear power ought to be a significant part of a more sustainable energy plan. Listen as Sea Change Radio host Alex Wise asks him about the risks, real and perceived, and how the catastrophe in Japan affects his views on nuclear power. For more, here’s a piece that Jenkins recently co-wrote for The Atlantic titled Nuclear as Usual: Why Fukushima Will Change Less Than You Think.
Last week on Sea Change Radio, we heard from renowned energy expert Vaclav Smil, as he spoke about his book, Energy Transitions, the future of electric vehicles and why he has largely avoided the media spotlight up to now. This week, the second part of host Alex Wise‘s discussion with Professor Smil, as they discuss the ins and outs of fossil fuel – from peak oil to the Alberta tar sands and natural gas fracking – as well as some possible ways to help solve America’s energy puzzle.