This week on Sea Change Radio, we are talking about green beer, and it’s not even St. Patrick’s Day. First we talk with Jennifer Vervrier, the Director of Sustainability for New Belgium Brewing Co. In a plot twist straight out of a Laverne & Shirley episode, Vervrier worked her way up from the bottling line to head of sustainability in a brewery now known as one of the most ecological in the country.
Recognized for its tasty Fat Tire Amber Ale and other original craft-style brews, New Belgium is a female-dominated company in a male-dominated industry. Then, we revisit host Alex Wise‘s discussion with the founder of Alaskan Brewing Company, Geoff Larson, as we talk about the challenges his Juneau, Alaska-based company faces in keeping a tiny carbon footprint despite sizable transportation costs.
This week’s guest on Sea Change Radio, Allen Hershkowitz, is a pioneer in the greening of the sports industry and a senior scientist at the NRDC. Dr. Hershkowitz is working to help decrease the carbon footprint of our nation’s sports teams while engaging sports industry leaders to speak up about environmental problems like climate change. He and host Alex Wise delve into the various ways that sports leagues and teams are starting to become leaders for change.
Last week on Sea Change Radio, we spoke with Stacy Mitchell, a researcher and author who believes that Walmart’s sustainability efforts over the past five or six years have only disguised, not improved the tremendous detrimental effects caused by the world’s largest retailer. This week, we hear from a business and sustainability reporter who has a different perspective on Walmart’s green campaign. Marc Gunther thinks that while Walmart still has a long way to go to become a truly responsible corporation, the company’s work in this area represents important steps in the right direction. Gunther and host Alex Wise discuss the parallels of Walmart and Apple’s supply chain troubles including slave-like labor conditions in China, and look at the Walmart situation from both a management and consumer perspective. After hearing both Stacy Mitchell last week and Marc Gunther this week, Sea Change Radio invites you to draw your own conclusions about this retail giant.
Walmart. What does the name of the world’s largest retailer evoke for you? Do you think of its reputation as a poor employer and its anti-union tactics? Do you lump it in your mind with other large corporations who worship profit at the expense of environmental and social justice? Or perhaps you’re among those who respect Walmart’s more recent initiatives to improve its environmental impact, cut back on energy use, and reduce packaging. Today on Sea Change Radio, we begin a two-part series in which we speak with two writers for whom the name Walmart evokes very different things.
This week, host Alex Wise talks with author, researcher and advocate, Stacy Mitchell who recently published a 6-part series for Grist on Walmart’s sustainability efforts. Mitchell believes that the company’s purported efforts to improve its sustainability profile are mostly window dressing, a ploy to change the media narrative of Walmart’s poor track record without actually changing its overall negative global impact. Next week we will hear a contrasting opinion from reporter Marc Gunther who’s written extensively on Walmart, as well. Gunther is more impressed by the company’s sustainability efforts, believing that the perfect should not be the enemy of the good, and that when a giant like Walmart makes moves toward environmental responsibility it is worth taking notice. But first, our discussion with Stacy Mitchell.
It’s the tenth largest city in the United States and the third largest city in California, but San Jose is often overshadowed by its popular neighbor to the north, San Francisco. This week on Sea Change Radio we talk about San Jose and the little-known ways that this big city is leading the charge toward sustainability. Our guest is Councilmember Ash Kalra, who talks with host Alex Wise about the successes and challenges of promoting environmentally sound policy in a city that’s one of the most ethnically and economically diverse in the nation. Councilmember Kalra tells us about the progress being made there, from hybrid busses, to a city-wide plastic bag ban, to the mission to make San Jose a zero-waste city. He also shares with us some of the challenges the city’s policymakers have encountered, including the economic downturn and a pervasive not-in-my-backyard attitude that stands in the way of progress. Listen now as we examine how the lessons learned in this urban microcosm of the United States can be applied to any city working for a greener tomorrow.
Last week on Sea Change Radio, we talked about how a single flight can virtually neutralize all the efforts a family makes in a year to reduce their carbon footprint. As individuals, it’s essential that we begin to fly less, but isn’t there something more that the airlines can do, too? This week, Alex Wise interviews Jim Walsh, Managing Director of Corporate Environmental at American Airlines. He explains how early motivations to become more efficient and sustainable stemmed from rising fuel costs and an associated self-interest in saving money. But these seeds of sustainability began to sprout and the airline now boasts a number of employee-informed solutions, including donating used carpets to animal shelters, plans for burning alternative fuels, replacing heavy food carts with lighter ones, and even serving rain-forest certified coffee.
We profile two pioneers in the local food movement on Sea Change Radio this week. Host Alex Wise speaks with The Breakaway Cook, Eric Gower, about fusing locally-grown food with global flavors and The Ethical Butcher, Berlin Reed, about selecting food from local farms and farmers’ markets. Both guests are commited to sustainability in their food preparation without compromising the search for authentically delicious culinary experiences.
In this fifth episode of our Back To The Future series, we look at how the mighty power of the Connecticut River fueled the birth of manufacturing in Massachusetts — and the country — not just in producing finished goods, like paper and textiles, but also in making the machinery that drove the mills. Continue reading →