There’s a quote often attributed, perhaps incorrectly, to the great economist John Maynard Keynes that “Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men for the nastiest of motives will somehow work for the benefit of all.” The absurdity of this notion is being played out in real time in the form of smoke-filled air and rolling blackouts in Northern California, courtesy of the state’s largest monopoly, Pacific, Gas & Electric, better known as PG&E. This week on Sea Change Radio, journalist Ben Ehrenreich joins the show to discuss his piece in The Nation on PG&E and the utility company’s most recent episode of malfeasance. Ehrenreich provides an overview of PG&E putting profits before people, looks at some possible solutions to the problem and reminds us that capitalism’s nastiness is often at odds with a healthy planet.
You may have seen some headlines recently declaring that “The Arctic is on Fire!” Are these just sensationalist reports? Or do these fires represent an unprecedented and alarming danger? This week’s guest on Sea Change Radio is Dr. Jessica McCarty, a satellite data expert and a professor at Miami of Ohio. She describes how weather data are collected, explains how this summer’s arctic fires in Greenland, Canada, Alaska and Russia stack up historically, and tells us what they mean for the planet moving forward.
Northern California’s now infamous Camp Fire was not only the largest, longest, and deadliest wildfire in the state’s history, it also produced record amounts of smoke. Schools closed, there was a run on protective masks, and people were fashioning do-it-yourself air purifiers because there were none left in stores. And it looks like we will only see an acceleration of wildfires in the future. This grim forecast has brought a surge in traffic to websites that monitor air quality like AirNow, Weather Underground, and PurpleAir. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak with the founder and CEO of PurpleAir, a company that sells laser air quality sensors for home use at a reasonable price, and posts all the results in real-time on its site. We discuss PurpleAir’s business model, its unique brand of crowd-sourcing technology, and examine the ways that it casts the world in a different, and sometimes frightening, light.
Most of us associate Napa and Sonoma counties with delicious wine and rolling hills. But this year those hills were ablaze. Dozens lost their lives, thousands were displaced, and millions of people suffered from the fire’s noxious fumes. This week on Sea Change Radio our guests are journalist Jeremy Miller whose recent article about the fires appeared in the New Yorker magazine, and Ed Struzik who just published a book chronicling the connection between wildfires and climate change.