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.
As they learn more about the realities of climate change and sea level rise, some coastal communities are taking action. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak with Benjamin Grant, the Urban Design Policy Director for SPUR, a California-based nonprofit that focuses on making urban areas more sustainable. In response to already documented rapid erosion, Grant and his colleagues have presented San Francisco with a bold plan for re-doing a 3.5 mile stretch of San Francisco’s coast, known as Ocean Beach. Grant and host Alex Wise talk about the San Francisco proposal, and how it could serve as a template for other coastal cities, if they can afford it, that is.
Many planners agree that a more centralized population is a good thing for long-term environmental responsibility. But as people all over the world continue to flock to urban centers, the challenge of creating sustainable cities becomes more pressing. How can cities be improved to ensure that their billions of residents have energy-efficient transportation, housing, waste-stream management, as well as clean air and water? Continue reading
Shared mobility – it’s a concept that might be a little foreign to the millions of Americans who get in their cars by themselves everyday and embark on a solo, carbon-intensive oh-so-individual drive to wherever they need to go. But there are new converts to the shared mobility model every day. City CarShare is a San Francisco Bay Area-based non-profit that provides its members with temporary cars. The organization’s mission is actually to take cars off the road by allowing more city-dwellers to eschew car ownership altogether.
This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise sits down with the CEO of City Car Share, Rick Hutchinson, to discuss the ins and outs of the car sharing industry – how it works, who makes money from it, and why it offers a more sustainable alternative to the status quo.
Our guest today is Adam Werbach who could already have been called an environmental activist when he was just in high school. At the ripe young age of 23 Werbach became the youngest person ever elected as the president of the Sierra Club. Now, nearly two decades later, he is working on Yerdle, a site that seeks to reduce the needless production of stuff by creating an easy way for people to trade the stuff they already have.
Several years ago he served as a commissioner of the San Francisco Public Utility Commission, and was a pioneer in starting one of the first consulting firms whose focus was to help other organizations become more ecologically responsible and sustainable. Today on Sea Change Radio Werbach talks about his career, the controversies that arose around him when he claimed that environmentalism was dead, and when his company began working with Wal-Mart, and why he feels strongly about the direction his career is taking now.
Listening to the national dialogue on energy policy can be a little discouraging. Not only does it feel like progress is not happening fast enough, it often feels like as a regular person you’re just not going to have any way to influence energy policy. Enter Vote Solar. Vote Solar is a grassroots solar policy advocacy organization that reminds us that all politics is local and that tremendous progress can be made by focusing on local regulatory roadblocks.
Our guest this week on Sea Change Radio is Adam Browning, the executive director of Vote Solar. Driven by a vision of affordable and widespread renewable power, Browning co-founded the organization after a successful campaign in San Francisco for a bond measure that would enable more residents to adopt solar power. While they now have national reach, Vote Solar does not concentrate its efforts on a national front – as Browning likes to say, “If your plan involves congress, it’s a bad plan.” Listen now as Browning describes to host Alex Wise how solar initiatives are being advanced from deep blue California to scarlet Georgia, on the basis of simple economic sense.
If you drew a map of San Francisco and plotted all the spots where there was environmental blight, then plotted the city’s population by race, you’d find an alarming overlap between where chemical waste and other hazards are located and the highest concentration of the city’s African American community. Namely, you’d find the Bayview-Hunters Point area. This week on Sea Change Radio our topic is environmental racism, and our guests are Lena Miller and Takai Tyler, co-executive directors of Hunters Point Family, a community-based organization located in the heart of San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point. These women are driven by a vision to empower at-risk youth. They tell host Alex Wise how they realize that vision by giving inner-city young people the tools to become the environmental entrepreneurs and green job pioneers of tomorrow.