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Mother Earth Podcast
53 minutes | Dec 10, 2021
In our conversation with Suzanne, she explains her groundbreaking findings and we hear about the controversy her findings have stirred up. We also discuss the Mother Tree Project, which is researching forest renewal practices that protect biodiversity, carbon storage and forest regeneration as the climate changes. Suzanne lets us in on her personal journey from a simple, rural upbringing in the British Columbia forests to world famous scientist and author. And she opens up about the challenges of being a woman taking on scientific orthodoxy in a male dominated field. Suzanne is professor of Forest Ecology in the Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences at the University of British Columbia. She has published over 170 articles relating to forestry and the environment. She earned her PhD in Forest Sciences from Oregon State University in 1997, where her thesis on forest ecology was featured on the cover of Nature, one of the world’s most prestigious scientific journals. Not a bad way to start a career in science. Join us around our virtual campfire for a conversation that may help lead us to the key to surviving the climate crisis: cooperation with nature.
50 minutes | Nov 18, 2021
Madeleine Jubilee Saito
This week’s episode of the Mother Earth Podcast features our first visual artist on the podcast, Madeleine Jubilee Saito. Madeleine addresses the climate crisis through poetry comics, an artform that combines drawings with words. Madeleine’s poetry comics on the climate crisis take us out of the language of science and into the language of feelings and emotion. In our conversation, we discuss the role of feelings, emotion and human connectivity in solving this crisis. Madeleine’s art conveys a critical message: we are all inextricably linked; we cannot see ourselves separate from each other or from nature and we must cultivate solidarity and come together as one in order to solve the climate crisis. Madeleine says that “the idea that we are somehow separate from nature is an illusion. I draw to celebrate the beauty of the natural world, trees, forests, and hills and to convey the reality that nature is not something that is other to us.” Madeleine’s work is featured in the anthology All We Can Save: Truth, Courage and Solutions for the Climate Crisis. She is also the creative director and operations lead at The All We Can Save Project. Madeleine is involved with the Sunrise Movement hub in Boston and has also worked with the national team as a designer. In our conversation, Madeleine and I discuss the role of art in social movements and the how art can help us express our feelings and emotions in this time of a climate crisis. Madeleine leaves us off with a compelling reading of her own work, 30 days of comics / 2019: on climate crisis. Join us for this first of its kind interview on The Mother Earth Podcast. Learn more about Madeleine and our other guests on our website. For People and Planet, thank you for listening. -Matt
47 minutes | Nov 4, 2021
In the face of such grave climate threats, why has environmental policy failed us? Why has an issue that once enjoyed broad bipartisan support become a source of deep division? The 60s and 70s saw swift and effective legislation over pollution and clean air. So what has changed? In today’s episode of the Mother Earth Podcast, guest Dan Esty discusses the necessity to modernize environmental policy. He argues the 20th century policy has not failed us, but rather the policy and law of the 20th century served 20th century purposes. Now, “it’s time to refresh the game plan.” Dan Esty is the Hillhouse Professor at Yale University with appointments at Yale’s Environment and Law Schools and the Yale School of Management. He is the director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and co-director of the Yale Initiative on Sustainable Finance. Esty is celebrated for a number of works including "Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage,"Red Lights to Green Lights: From 20th Century Environmental Regulation to 21st Century Sustainability” and most recently "A Better Planet: 40 Big Ideas for a Sustainable Future." Listen to this week's stimulating conversation tackling big ideas on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or any other podcast app with the links on our website.
36 minutes | Oct 7, 2021
In this episode of the Mother Earth Podcast, we sit down with Deeohn for a conversation about the indispensable role of community-based environmental change. Deeohn and her team work in cities in China, India, Bangladesh and the United States, where they bring together key stakeholders--factory owners, workers, government leaders, NGOs, and folks at the grassroots level--to tackle the critical issues of making the transition to renewable energy, enhancing resiliency, reducing pollution, and making sure that equity is at the center of the process. Deeohn and her colleagues share international best practices and experience, provide technical expertise and training, and build the capacity of local organizations in order to spark creative environmental solutions and lasting change. This is a true bottom-up, inclusive approach; it entails listening to people in the community and ensuring that solutions emerge from within each community rather than being imposed from the outside.
49 minutes | Sep 23, 2021
One year ago, catastrophic wildfires devastated communities in southern Oregon, including the rural towns of Talent and Phoenix. The fires destroyed thousands of homes and businesses, raced ahead of people trying to escape in their cars, and killed eleven people. Much of the devastation occurred in the district of state Senator Jeff Golden, Chair of the Oregon Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Wildfire Recovery. Senator Golden is a rare political animal: a progressive Democrat and environmental champion in a rural, conservative district and a thoughtful, respectful politician who refuses to vilify his opponents. In this episode of the Mother Earth Podcast we sit down with Senator Golden for an in-depth discussion on the politics of the climate crisis, the wildfires that literally hit close to home for him, and the important climate legislation in Oregon that serves as a national model for progress. We get an inside look at the immense challenges he and his colleagues have faced in enacting environmental legislation, including repeated Republican walkouts in 2019 and 2020 that deprived the legislature of a quorum and were used to block climate legislation, even as the state literally burned. Senator Golden joined us for two interviews that make up this episode: first in October 2020 just after the disastrous wildfires tore through his district, and again in August, 2021. The timing of these conversations turned out to be perfect. In the first conversation we hear about why a state cap and trade bill failed while in our recent conversation we learn of the success of a very different kind of climate bill in 2021 that is one of the most far-reaching climate bills on the electricity sector in the nation. We hear not only about the brutal devastation of the 2020 wildfires but also about the successful legislation Senator Golden sponsored in 2021 to reduce the dangers of future fires. We discuss Oregon’s status as one of the few states with no campaign finance limits in the first interview and, in the second, learn about a ballot measure in which the voters took control and authorized campaign finance reform. Senator Golden’s experience in Oregon offers vitally important lessons for the national efforts to deal with the climate crisis. Despite the difficulty of working in politics in a time where extremism and misleading news are rampant, Senator Golden remains diligent in his commitment to protect the land and the people of his beloved state of Oregon And he offers us nuggets of wisdom from his lifetime as a journalist, logger, carpenter, activist and, now, political leader. Join us this week to hear an authentic, progressive voice of the rural American West.
39 minutes | Sep 9, 2021
In today’s episode of the Mother Earth Podcast, we sit down for an inspiring and hopeful conversation with world-leading sustainable architect and planner Amanda Sturgeon. Amanda is the founder of the biophilic design movement, which designs buildings and communities in alignment with nature. Her buildings have windows that open for fresh air and allow you to see the changing sunlight throughout the day. Biophilic design makes us happier, healthier, and more productive. Students learn better in biophilic buildings, hospital patients heal faster. The fresh air in biophilic buildings is a really good thing during the pandemic. Her buildings use net zero energy or are even energy net negative.. Connect with Amanda Sturgeon: LinkedIn丨Twitter
65 minutes | Aug 18, 2021
When Hurricanes Irene and Sandy wiped out Bren Smith’s traditional oyster farm in the Long Island Sound two years in a row, he knew it was a wake-up call on the climate crisis. Starting yet again from scratch in a life of restarts, Bren began experimenting with ocean farming. Fast forward ten years: Bren is now recognized as the founder, leader and trailblazer of the regenerative ocean farming movement - a proven way of growing food that helps solve the climate crisis by sequestering carbon. Bren knows it works because he does it himself: he grows abundant quantities of shellfish and edible ocean plants at his Thimble Island Ocean Farm along the Connecticut coastline. Unlike land-based agriculture, Bren’s ocean farming system requires no inputs of food, freshwater or fertilizer. And rather than contributing to the fertilizer pollution problem that causes ocean dead zones, regenerative ocean farming actually removes fertilizer pollutants that are running off of land-based farms into the ocean. Fish also thrive near the healthy ecosystem created by his ocean farm. Bren is passionate about growing food in a way that heals the planet but maybe even more passionate about creating good-paying jobs that give workers ownership and independence. So he founded and leads GreenWave, a non-profit that helps people launch and operate regenerative ocean farms all over the country. And he’s become a leading spokesperson for the Blue New Deal -- a set of policies to put people to work in good jobs growing food in the ocean in ways that enhance ocean health and mitigate the climate crisis. In our conversation with Bren, he explains how regenerative ocean farming works, how it can feed the planet, create jobs, and help us heal a wounded planet. He discusses his must-read book, Eat Like a Fish: My Adventures Farming the Ocean to Fight Climate Change. And he shares his incredible life journey from Newfoundland fishing community to being jobless in the U.S. to ocean farming visionary. Join us on the Mother Earth Podcast to learn more about this critical movement that just might save the planet.
44 minutes | Aug 5, 2021
Mike Calabrese of Lake Street Dive
“As human beings, it’s not just survival of the fittest. We’re also social animals and we thrive when we share.” -Mike Calabrese It can be hard to remain hopeful when we're relentlessly inundated with bad news about the ever-present threat of the climate crisis. But music has the power to lift us up. And in a world where we're constantly being divided, music also has the power to bring us together. In today’s episode of the Mother Earth Podcast, we sit down with drummer Mike Calabrese for a conversation about how the hit band Lake Street Dive uses music to speak out on the climate crisis. Mike also opens up about his history of depression over the climate crisis and how he found a happier place through mediation, self-care and, ultimately, by taking action on the climate crisis. Mike now lives a low carbon life, has joined together with his bandmates to reduce Lake Street Dive's carbon footprint, makes music about the climate crisis, and uses his modest fame to speak out. Mike’s story is one of hope and renewal. Mike and the band have grown into notable musical activists for climate justice. The band partners with Cool Effect, a carbon offset program that balances emissions from the band’s tours. Last year Lake Street Dive premiered the official music video for their song, Making Do, which addresses climate impacts happening around the world. In this episode you'll get to hear a little of Making Do and other AMAZING music from Lake Street Dive. Mike's appearance on the show is no accident: he's on a mission to speak out on the climate crisis. I'm deeply honored that he came on Mother Earth Podcast to do so. For People and Planet, thank you for listening. Matt
61 minutes | Jul 22, 2021
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha
This week on the Mother Earth Podcast we sit down with Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha to get the back story on the Flint water crisis, her own remarkable life journey and how we can all stay safe from old lead pipes and not-so-old fixtures with lead that are still found in many cities and homes across the country. Dr. Mona is the author of a critically-acclaimed book on the Flint water crisis, a recipient of Time Magazine’s 100 Most influential People award, and has become a national activist and spokesperson on the toxic combination of lead pipes, environmental racism and the undermining of local democracy. Find out more about Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha's work: https://monahannaattisha.com/
47 minutes | Jul 8, 2021
Could Boston become the greenest city in the world? Leading Boston mayoral candidate and city council member Michelle Wu believes it can. Michelle may very well be America’s most important municipal climate leader. She joins us for an illuminating conversation in this special episode of the Mother Earth Podcast. In our conversation Michelle discusses her far-reaching vision of Boston as the world’s leading green city and her detailed Boston Green New Deal plan that takes an integrated approach to the climate crisis with policies to address climate justice, housing, food, transportation, support of Boston’s small businesses, and more. Michelle wants to make Boston’s subways and buses free and explains why and how. She discusses her goal and plans for Boston to reach net-zero emissions by 2040, a decade earlier than President Biden’s goal. And she explains the important environmental policies she has successfully spearheaded as a Boston city councilor. Michelle also discusses her experience growing up as a first generation American citizen, and how her family, culture, and her own life experiences shaped her into the forward-thinking leader she is today. Her compelling life story is utterly improbable and we hear firsthand in this episode how she grew up in an immigrant family with no interest in politics, became an apolitical young adult, and yet somehow became a rapidly rising, progressive, outside-the-box political leader in the rough and tumble world of Boston politics. How important is this conversation? Consider cities consume over two thirds of the world’s energy and account for more than 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. And that cities are now on the cutting edge of our most important solutions to the climate crisis. Leaders like Michelle Wu are critical in devising and implementing these solutions. Join us for this compelling conversation and for some inspiration on how a new, young generation of leaders is stepping up to meet the ultimate challenge of our time. To support the Mother Earth Podcast, please tell your friends and family about it, subscribe, and share online. For People and Planet, thank you for listening.
55 minutes | Dec 18, 2020
In this second of two special bonus episodes to Season One of the Mother Earth Podcast, we sit down for a timely conversation with Nathaniel Stinnett. Nathaniel is the founder and executive director of the Environmental Voter Project. The EVP knows EXACTLY how to find non-voters who rank the environment as their top electoral priority and turn them into voters. Nathaniel founded the Environmental Voter Project in 2016 to turn millions of non-voting environmentalists into voters. And he has seriously succeeded. In the 2020 presidential election, Nathaniel and his colleagues turned tens of thousands of historically non-voting environmentalists into voters in Georgia, more than the margin of victory. They did the same thing in Arizona. And across the country in 12 states they turned out hundreds of thousands of environmental voters who formerly were non-voters. In my conversation with Nathaniel, he explains how the EVP uses sophisticated big data to identify non-voting environmentalists and then employs cutting edge persuasion techniques based on behavioral psychology to turn them into voters. They test their methods against control groups and these tests have proved that their methods work. And EVP shows up over and over in local and state races throughout the country to ensure that the voting habit sticks over time. Tune in to this episode to hear about this fascinating and absolutely critical approach to turning the tide on the politics of climate change. Most importantly, tune in to learn how YOU can get involved RIGHT NOW in the Georgia Senate elections. The EVP is running Georgia voter phone banks throughout December and right up to the last day of voting on January 5. The voting already has begun in Georgia so there is not a minute to spare. Jump on the EVP website NOW and volunteer and donate. Your time and money will not go toward some useless TV ad but to proven techniques that WILL turn out key voters. As always, the podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or any other podcast app with the links on our website. To support the podcast, please tell your friends and family about it and share online. My conversation with Nathaniel gave me more hope on the climate crisis and our other pressing environmental problems than anything I have heard in a very long time. I think you'll find it inspiring too. For People and Planet, thank you for listening.
63 minutes | Oct 29, 2020
In this special bonus episode to Season One of the Mother Earth Podcast our guest is Leah Stokes. Leah burst onto the scene in recent years as America’s leading expert on voting behavior and public policy as they relate to the climate crisis. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or any other podcast app with the links on our website. Leah is an assistant professor of political science at the University of California at Santa Barbara and runs the ENVENT Lab. She researches public opinion, political behavior and public policy as they relate to climate change and energy issues. Stokes’ research regularly appears in top-tier academic journals and her opinion pieces and articles have been published in leading media outlets, including The New York Times, Vox, The Boston Globe, The Guardian, CNN.com and the Los Angeles Times. And for good reason: Leah’s research has put her finger on the pulse of what American voters want from their leaders on energy and climate change policy. In our conversation with Leah, we discuss those voter preferences and what kinds of policies to tackle the climate crisis appeal to voters of all kinds. Leah also explains why she enthusiastically supports Joe Biden’s climate and jobs plan. We discuss her recent book, Short Circuiting Policy, which exposes how electric utilities take money from their monopolized customers and use it to corrupt the political system in an attack on clean energy standards. And if you're not familiar with the HB6 scandal in Ohio, which resulted in the FBI recently arresting the speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives on racketeering and bribery charges as part of an alleged $60 million dark money operation to roll back clean energy, you'll get to hear about that too. (No this is not the Sporanos; this is the Mother Earth Podcast and the lived reality of our 2020 politics). In the final analysis, Leah encourages us to remember that the environmental movement is broad and diverse, and that the best policy solutions are inclusive and promote justice. To support the podcast, please tell your friends and family about it and share online. For People and Planet, thank you for listening.Matt
58 minutes | Sep 10, 2020
Rev. Lennox Yearwood
This week on the award-winning Mother Earth Podcast, we have a deep and compelling conversation with the Reverend Lennox Yearwood, founder and president of the Hip Hop Caucus. “Rev” is bringing both Hip Hop culture and the tools of the civil rights movement to bear on the climate crisis. In our conversation with Rev, we discuss his Zero Emissions Manifesto for the Climate Justice Movement in which he calls for a rapid transition off of fossil fuels, the role of music in social movements, his award-winning work bringing justice to people displaced by Hurricane Katrina 15 years ago that sparked his entry into the climate movement, his personal experience being assaulted by a police officer while walking to a climate protest, and the similarities between incidents of police brutality in which black people are suffocated and the air pollution in black neighborhoods that kills large numbers of innocent people. And we learn about Rev’s personal journey from divinity student, to Air Force chaplain opposed to the Iraq war, to crusading hip hop, champion of the climate crisis. Rev is now one of the most influential people in Hip Hop political life. He heads up the national Respect My Vote! Campaign, which has brought numerous celebrity partners into voter participation work, including T.I., 2 Chainz, Amber Rose, Future, Keyshia Cole, Vic Mensa, Charlamagne tha God, Keke Palmer, and Omar Epps. He is the host of the podcast The Coolest Show as part of the Think 100% Climate project using music, radio, film and activism to engage young black people in the climate movement. Join us for this conversation as Rev equates action on the climate crisis with a moral imperative on par with the greatest social movements in our history. For People and Planet, thank you for listening.
42 minutes | Aug 27, 2020
Bracken Hendricks - Part 2
Do you need hope on the climate crisis? In this episode of the Mother Earth Podcast, policy expert Bracken Hendricks issues a stirring call to action for Americans to join together in common purpose to solve the climate crisis. And he explains how we can do so using the policies in the Evergreen Action Plan that he and his colleagues recently released. Bracken was the co-author of the groundbreaking climate plan for Governor Jay Inslee's presidential campaign, which quickly became the go-to plan for all democratic presidential candidates. After Governor Inslee dropped out, Bracken and colleagues released a new version as the Evergreen Action Plan, a comprehensive set of policy solutions for the climate crisis, and made it available to all political candidates at the federal, state and local levels. In our conversation with Bracken, he explains the key policy pillars of standards-plus-investment-plus-justice of the Evergreen Action Plan. And he inspires us with a vision of America that leads the world into a clean green future, invests in all her people with a broad range of policies to revitalize rural and urban areas, ensures that fossil fuel workers and their communities are not left behind, welcomes everyone into the middle class with good jobs, provides opportunity for young people during an economic crisis, and ensures climate justice for people of color and frontline communities. Yes we can do all this -- tune in to find out how. And if you want to understand Joe Biden's climate plan and how it stacks up, give a listen to last week's episode with Bracken in which he gives us a candid and insightful assessment of Biden's plan. Are you enjoying the Mother Earth Podcast? Please hit that subscribe button on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or wherever you do your listening, rate the show, share it on social media or by email, and tell your friends and family about it. For People and Planet, thank you for listening. Matt
38 minutes | Aug 20, 2020
Bracken Hendricks - Part 1
In this episode of the Mother Earth Podcast, America's leading policy expert on the climate crisis gives a candid and insightful assessment of Joe Biden's climate policy. Joe Biden officially became his party's nomination for President just weeks after he released a climate plan that seriously upped his game. It is the most comprehensive and far-reaching plan to tackle the climate crisis by a major party nominee. But is it enough? Bracken and host Matt Pawa discuss key provisions in the Biden climate plan and how they stack up to what the science mandates we do in order to avert climate chaos. Biden has set aggressive standards, such as zero emissions from U.S. electricity generation by 2035. He makes rectifying environmental injustice a central pillar. He proposes a climate corps to get young people to work and a far-reaching agriculture policy. He focuses on creating millions of good jobs in this hour of need. But he doesn't propose to ban fracking and he embraces carbon capture and storage. His goals for upgrading buildings and producing electric vehicles could be more aggressive. What to think of all this? There is no one better to explain it than Bracken. He was the co-author of the groundbreaking climate plan for Governor Jay Inslee's presidential campaign. That plan became the go-to plan for all the democratic candidates. After Governor Inslee dropped out, Bracken and others released a new version as the Evergreen Action Plan and made it available to all comers for all offices nationwide. Joe Biden has now adopted significant parts of the Evergreen Action Plan. Tune in to this episode to hear Bracken explain Biden's plan in clear terms and provide his expert opinion on how Biden has done. We interviewed Bracken both before and after the release of the Biden plan. We are releasing these conversations in two episodes, in reverse chronological order. Bracken has alot to offer on climate policy that goes well beyond our discussion of the Biden plan. We will bring that to you in the next episode; it is Bracken's stirring call to action for a far-reaching plan that lifts up all Americans by joining together in common purpose to solve the climate crisis. In the meantime, tune in today to hear from Bracken on the Biden climate plan. For People and Planet, thank you for listening.
57 minutes | Aug 6, 2020
In this episode of the Mother Earth Podcast, 350.org Executive Director May Boeve joins us for a conversation on the grassroots movement to stop the climate crisis. May shares with us her thoughts and ideas on climate divestment and other campaigns that she is helping to lead, 350's determination to win the moral battle in this "can't lose" decade on the climate crisis, the importance of unions and frontline communities in the climate movement, and, most importantly, how everyone can get involved and make a difference. May also looks back with us on her own journey over the past fifteen years from concerned college student to international climate leader, a story she recounts with a mixture of pride and a candid understanding of the role that white privilege played in her success. As college students in 2006, May and her classmates learned about the role of protest in social movements and put their lessons to use by organizing a thousand-person climate protest in Vermont. From this humble beginning comes the international climate action organization 350.org, which has staged thousands of climate rallies around the world. Its mobilizations have included the People's Climate March in 2014 that drew over 400,000 people to New York City and the 2019 Climate Strike in which some 7.5 million people protested at thousands of locations in 150 countries. 350.org has put the movement back into the environmental movement. Please join us around our virtual campfire as May brings us behind the organization, shares her thoughts on the power of civil disobedience, discusses the importance of collaboration in this extraordinary moment led by young people and new climate protest groups emerging everywhere, and recounts the origin story of 350.org. Visit the show notes pages of our website to learn more, to get involved and take action. And donate to 350.org here. It just might save the Earth. For People and Planet, thank you for listening.
89 minutes | Jul 23, 2020
The Greatest Fish Tale Ever Told This story may very well be a movie someday. In this episode of the Mother Earth Podcast we sit down with Professor Zygmunt Plater of Boston College Law School, who recounts his extraordinary journey seeking to save an endangered fish, a free-flowing river full of trout, family farms, and the ancestral Cherokee homeland. You may have heard about the Tennessee Snail Darter and Zyg’s famous lawsuit against the Tennessee Valley Authority that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.TVA v. Hill is one of the most important environmental cases ever decided by America’s highest court. But you simply will not believe the back story here. As a young, untenured law professor, Zyg and a ragtag army of law students and family farmers take on all three branches of the federal government and every corporate interest in the country that drinks from the public trough.Their battle to save the Little Tennessee River and the livelihoods of small farmers is an utterly epic tale full of twists and turns, replete with a presidential phone call from Air Force One. At one point, farmers trying to save their farms literally pass a hat around for spare dollar bills to fund the lawsuit while Zyg maxes out his credit card and then loses his job for his zealous pursuit of the case. His students sell T Shirts to raise money for the case. And while the lawsuit is ongoing,TVA tries to make it moot by bulldozing and burning farmhouses and barns to make way for a dam that makes no economic sense whatsoever. Zyg recently wrote a book about this roller coaster of a legal thriller and I could not put it down. Moviemakers have begun looking into it. Zyg's Supreme Court victory continues to stand as a bulwark of environmental protection. So it is no coincidence that right wingers like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Roger Ailes and Devin Nunes continue to use the Snail Darter case to rail against the Endangered Species Act. In 2017, Senator Rand Paul and other Republicans introduced legislation to gut the law. And in 2019, the Trump administration announced new regulations that would weaken the Endangered Species Act and undercut Zyg’s historic legal victory. (See the show notes for this episode on our website for further info on how to help protect the Endangered Species Act). Our in-depth conversation with Zyg comes in the midst of a full-blown extinction crisis that demands an end to habitat destruction, toxins and the climate crisis. Zyg remind us that our fellow creatures are canaries in the coal mine, that what befalls them ultimately befalls us too, and that good ecology is good economics. And here is a special offer: the first ten listeners to make a donation to an environmental group protecting endangered species and to follow us on social media will receive a copy of the beautiful drawing of the Snail Darter that was Exhibit 12 at trial and handed out to the Justices of the US Supreme Court at oral argument, plus a Snail Darter T-Shirt just like the original fundraiser ones (depicting TVA as Jaws). For offer details please visit the show notes page for this episode on our website. For People and Planet, thank you for listening, Matt (Please note that this episode was recorded prior to the pandemic. Also a language warning: there are a couple F-bombs toward the end starting at 1:24:30 so if little kids are around you will want to use earbuds for a minute).
58 minutes | Jul 9, 2020
“I learned that these kind of people can be resisted, if there are resistors to do it.” -Philip Shabecoff The dean of environmental journalism calls on Americans to stop a regime bent on destroying the planet. This week on the Mother Earth Podcast, we sit down for a deep discussion with Philip Shabecoff -- the first major reporter to treat environmental news as its own beat in its own right. As the environmental correspondent for the New York Times from 1977 to 1991, Philip rang the alarm bell loud and clear on numerous environmental crises, including loss of species, the hole in the ozone layer, acid rain, toxic waste, and environmental racism. And he was one of the first reporters to give serious and sustained attention to the issue of the coming climate crisis. Philip has won numerous environmental awards, including the “Global 500” Honor Roll of the United Nations Environmental Program and the Sierra Club’s David R. Brower Award for Environmental Journalism. In our conversation, Philip offers insight on the climate crisis and other pressing environmental problems that he tried so hard to prevent with his prescient reporting. He calls on Americans to rise up and resist the Trump administration and its assault on the environment. He does so from a unique vantage point: Philip was America’s leading reporter exposing the Reagan Administration’s myriad attempts to undercut environmental protections. He minces no words and, based on his decades of experience, this wise elder offers us timely lessons showing that those bent on destroying the environment can be stopped by a determined and organized citizenry. Philip’s straight shooting as the New York Times’ environmental correspondent ultimately spelled the end of his job for America’s most prominent newspaper. He discusses with us his demise at the Times for being too focused on the harms and costs of pollution. But Philip rose from the ashes of this defeat. He went on to found Greenwire, the daily online digest of worldwide environmental news coverage, and to write several important books on the environment, including A Fierce Green Fire: the American Environmental Movement, which was made into a movie narrated by Robert Redford, Ashley Judd, Van Jones, Isabelle Allende, and Meryl Streep. The book called on Americans to launch a new wave of environmentalism to meet the new threats to people and planet. That wave is happening now. If all this were not enough, as a sort of bonus track Philip takes us inside American journalism’s greatest moment: he served as the Times’ White House correspondent in the waning days of Watergate. Philip was right in the midst of it all and discusses the White House disinformation campaign that misled Philip’s own reporting right up through Nixon’s final day in office. The parallels to Trump are palpable. Be sure to check out the end of the show when Philip reads a beautiful and moving piece from his memoir, Places: Habits of a Human Lifetime, which was named a best book of the year by Kirkus Reviews. Philip saw the climate crisis coming and tried to save the planet. May we all contribute as greatly as he has to the benefit of humanity and the natural environment that sustains us all. For People and Planet, thank you for listening. (Please note that this episode was recorded prior to the pandemic).
74 minutes | Jun 25, 2020
Episode 4: Saul Griffith
“If we committed to the Green New Deal with the vervor that we did for World War Two, we could do this in about a decade.” -Saul Griffith. The Green New Deal is easier than we think! This week on the Mother Earth Podcast, we hear from America’s leading energy expert, entrepreneur and inventor, Saul Griffith, who sits down with host Matt Pawa for an in-depth conversation on the Green New Deal. Saul has a powerful message: the Green New Deal is not only possible, it will provide enormous benefits to our economy and society. Saul is the CEO and founder of Otherlab. He and his Otherlab colleagues undertook a comprehensive study of the U.S. energy system under contract from none other than the U.S. Government. Their results show that just by electrifying most of our energy system, we can reduce our energy usage by over fifty percent! In our conversation with Saul, he leads us step-by-step through the electrification-decarbonization process; and he explains how we can produce the electricity we need to heat and cool our homes, power our cars and run our businesses with clean, green renewable energy. Saul also describes how implementing a Green New Deal will not only mitigate the climate crisis, it will reduce air and water pollution, save us money on our energy bills, create millions of good new jobs, eliminate billions of dollars in healthcare costs, and rejuvenate our economy for decades to come by putting our people back to work building the wind turbines, solar panels, and other green technologies that we need here at home and can sell to the rest of the world. This is the roadmap to the Green New Deal that we’ve been waiting for and we get to experience it firsthand as we ride shotgun with Saul on this podcast road trip. But Saul has gone way beyond a technocratic analysis. He is a student of history and explains how America rose up to meet this kind of a massive challenge once before. Saul reminds us of America’s greatness when it built the “Arsenal of Democracy” -- the tanks, jeeps, airplanes, and armaments that saved the world from fascim in World War Two. America turned its industrial system on a dime to produce the Arsenal of Democracy and can do so now to save the world from the climate crisis. Saul goes further still and reminds us of America’s role in devising financing mechanisms in the 20th Century, like the 30 year mortgage and the car loan, that serve as templates for how we can affordably retool our homes, offices and factories now to run on renewable energy. Saul may have grown up in Australia, but he seriously loves America. Saul is working on a book on the Green New Deal and placing it in the historical context of America repeatedly rising up to meet great challenges. Listeners who tune in to this episode of the Mother Earth Podcast will be rewarded with a sneak preview of the ideas in this important book from one of American’s leading green thinkers as well as a stirring call to action for America to once again rise to its greatness. For People and Planet, thank you for listening.
89 minutes | Jun 11, 2020
Dr. Robert Bullard
“For many of us who came out of civil rights, we didn’t separate the right to live in a clean environment or the right to breathe, or the right to not be dumped on as a strictly environmental issue. And so the justice part was at the core, the equity part was at the core. Theft of wealth and theft of health, these are basic civil rights and human rights. African Americans and other people of color made that connection and still make that connection even today.” - Dr. Robert Bullard This episode of the Mother Earth Podcast features a deep conversation on environmental racism with the father of environmental justice, Dr. Robert Bullard. Dr. Bullard is a distinguished professor of urban planning and environmental policy at Texas Southern University, a historically black university. He shares his knowledge and expertise as to how and why race maps closely with air and water pollution, toxic waste sites, garbage dumps and significant health problems for people of color. He focuses on the built environment as a key driver of inequality in America. We recorded our conversation with Dr. Bullard in April, before the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the recent demonstrations, protests and intense national discussion over racial inequality that permeate our society. We now contribute as best we can to this discussion by bringing you Dr. Bullard’s message on environmental justice. This issue is now gaining attention in our national discussion of race. Did you know, for example, that Minneapolis became segregated through the use of racially restrictive covenants in deeds that pushed African Americans into a few small areas of the city? According to the New York Times, "The intersection where George Floyd died — East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue South — had an invisible barrier designed to keep out African-Americans," namely, the ongoing legacy of these deed restrictions, which created neighborhoods that "remain among the whitest in the city." This segregation creates the condition for environmental injustice because polluting facilities can be located in predominantly black and brown neighborhoods only if there are such neighborhoods. Interstate highway construction also has targeted black neighborhoods, with devastating consequences. Twin City planners devastated the historically black Rondo neighborhood in the 1950s and 60s by building Interstate 94 down its main thoroughfare. According to the Minnesota Historical Society, “one in every eight African Americans in St. Paul lost a home to I-94,” and “many businesses never reopened.” A similar pattern has repeated itself across the country, including a particularly shocking example in New Orleans. We need not despair. Dr. Bullard, who edited the book Growing Smarter: Achieving Livable Communities, Environmental Justice and Regional Equity, points to smart growth as one of the key solutions to healing our racial divide. In this conversation, he reminds us that we can build and reclaim open spaces and parks, walkable neighborhoods, affordable housing, and mixed income developments; we can eliminate food deserts by building grocery stores that sell healthy foods in neighborhoods of color. We can remove highways that have acted for decades as a giant knee on the necks of black neighborhoods and that degrade the quality of life for everyone. These solutions will not only reduce environmental racism but bring us together physically and create liveable, healthy cities and towns for everyone. And by adopting renewable energy and getting off of fossil fuels, we can greatly reduce air and water pollution and mitigate the climate crisis, all of which disproportionately affects people of color. You can learn more about Dr. Bullard and his vital work by visiting our website at https://www.motherearthpod.com/ and checking out the show notes for this episode. For People and Planet, thank you for listening.
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