If you had a million dollars what would you do with it? OK, now what if it were $100 billion? Today on Sea Change Radio, we are talking with Amy Harder, environment and climate reporter for Axios, about where some titans of industry are investing their money and the environmental impact it might have. You might be surprised to learn, for example, that Bill Gates has been pouring some of his considerable wealth into the nuclear energy sector. Harder recently interviewed Gates about his estimated half a billion dollar investment into TerraPower. She tells us about that as well as the big bets that companies like Exxon Mobil are making on ethane, a petrochemical by-product that is used to produce plastic.
Last week on Sea Change Radio, we heard from someone who, despite the recent nuclear disaster in Japan, defended the continued exploration of nuclear power as part of the new energy equation. This week, we’ll hear an alternative perspective. Our first guest is solar power executive Danny Kennedy, who thinks that nuclear power is more of a problem than a solution, and that investment in renewable energy is a more practical, safer and far more reasonable approach.
Then, Sea Change Radio host Alex Wise speaks with geophysicist Ben Brooks, a specialist in earthquake science who works with breakthrough technology in seismology and GPS. He explains what scientists now understand about the different types of earthquakes, and talks about the West Coast’s vulnerability to the type of quake that recently struck Northern Japan.
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.
Where did conservation and America’s conservative movement part ways? Is the flight to the cities in the developing world a positive phenomenon? Has the population bomb been defused? This week on Sea Change Radio, we discuss these topics and more with two iconic sages of the green movement – Grateful Dead lyricist and green entrepreneur, John Perry Barlow along with author, ecologist and former Merry Prankster, Stewart Brand.Read the show transcript
In Part I of Alex Wise‘s Sea Change Radio conversation with Stewart Brand, Brand makes his case for expanding nuclear energy. In Part II, Brand takes an unexpected position on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), one which calls into question fundamental assumptions that underlie environmentalism itself. Stewart Brand is an American writer best known as the editor of the Whole Earth Catalog. He founded a number of organizations including The WELL, the Global Business Network, and the Long Now Foundation. His most recent book is Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto.
Other recommended reading on plant breeding by Stewart Brand includes Noel Kingsbury’s Hybrid: The History and Science of Plant Breeding.
Alex Wise speaks with Stewart Brand, author, Merry Prankster, and one of the fathers of the modern environmental movement. In the first part of this two-part interview, Brand discusses his provocative new book, Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto, and makes the case for nuclear energy expansion. Brand’s pro-nuclear stance has certainly ruffled a number of feathers in the environmental movement. Since the book’s publication, Brand has been debating luminaries on the topic from Amory Lovins (Grist article) to Mark Jacobson (here’s video from TED conference):