Green Grid Radio

Engaging and transformative reporting on the environment, energy, and sustainability


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S5E2: Thinking Outside the Green

We started out here at Green Grid Radio reporting on how to make our energy sources “green” — our very first episode was called “Renewable Energy at Stanford and Beyond”, followed by easy listening “Integrating Wind and Variable Resources in a Renewable Power Future”. Since 2012, we’ve broadened our focus dramatically, bringing you shows on meat, ocean privatization, the sharing economy, climate activism, and coffee.

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This shift happened for many reasons, but one personal motivation I had to produce shows beyond discussions of energy research was this talk I went to back in 2013. Ozzie Zehner, author of Green Illusions, gave a lecture about the darker side of solar energy production that is rarely discussed in the mainstream environmental discourse. I was fascinated, read his book and called him up to be interviewed on Green Grid Radio.

As you’ll hear, Ozzie suggests some tactics far outside the traditional scope of environmentalism that are refreshing, potentially high impact, and . . . fun! Listen to this episode if you’ve gotten tired of hearing the same old story about how to make the world a greener place.

Hosted by Adam Pearson and produced by Diane Wu.

Featuring audio from this talk by Chris Field, and this Swedish television show.

Music: “Night Owl” by Broke for Free.

More on converting garages for other uses in San Francisco here and a 2014 report about housing in the Bay Area authored by SPUR here. And here’s that study on TV ads and letters to Santa!


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Coming up in S5E2: An interview from the archives!

Hello listeners! This week we’re bringing you an episode featuring Ozzie Zehner, author of Green Illusions and subject of my very first Green Grid interview back in 2013.

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Ozzie Zehner. Photo from kcad.edu.

Though this piece has been sitting in our archives for a few years, don’t worry — it’s aged gracefully. The discussion of energy production versus energy reduction is still fascinating, and you’ll hear how revisiting this conversation recently helped me shake off some environmental ennui. You will also hear what Swedish children’s television sounded like in 1970.

The episode will be released this Thursday May 7 on iTunes, at Soundcloud, and right here on this very blog.


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Coming Soon . . .

Hello listeners! We’ve been quiet these past few months but will be back before the end of the year. Look forward to interviews with filmmaker Jeff Orlowski on his film Chasing Ice, and with author Ozzie Zehner on his book Green Illusions.

We’ll also be at Storylab this Friday at 1 PM with the Stanford Storytelling Project — stop by if you’re in town!


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S4E4: Friends Don’t Let Friends . . .

This week we have a special guest contribution from Stanford student Christina Morrisset. Christina took the Your American Life course this Winter (along with our producers Mallory, Erik, and Shara), and chose to tell a story about identity, transformation, and . . . fish.

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Women of Taku River Reds, Stanford Dining’s salmon supplier. Photo from http://www.takurr.net/.

We’ll let her fill in the details.

Listen here:

 

Like Christina, we also learned a bunch from the book Four Fish, and for more on fisheries and aquaculture check out S3E4: Overfished or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Cocaine Cowboy Fisheries and Love Catch Shares.

Coming up (very) soon: Stanford has divested from coal! We get an insider’s peek at the process behind the decision with an interview with Fossil Free Stanford member Krishna Dasaratha. Tune in at 6 PM tonight at KZSU 90.1 FM, stream it online catch it later this week right here.


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S4E3: Getting Around – Hackathon Edition

Greetings, listeners. It’s been a quiet (silent) few months, but we’re excited to announce that we’re back on the air waves as well as the internet waves this quarter with fresh episodes for our fourth season!

Our latest episode was a big experiment. Channeling the vibes of Silicon Valley, we held a 24 hour radio hackathon. (Channeling the vibes of real life, sleep was deemed mandatory). Mallory and I led an environmental storytelling boot camp on Saturday morning, then we broke into teams to produce a 3 minute piece on the theme: Getting Around.

Mallory leads an interviewing workshop at the d.school

Mallory leads an interviewing workshop. Photo by Diane Wu.

On Sunday, we sat in the sun together to listen to what everyone had made, and each piece was a delightful surprise. We’re sharing these quickly crafted bits with you today. We bring you stories from trains, bicycles, and butterfly-crusted Texan cars.

Working together to define what makes quality environmental storytelling.

Defining the elements of quality environmental storytelling (and putting those d.school whiteboards to use!) Photo by Mallory Smith.

Bonus points were awarded for laughter, the phrase “bicycle baron”, sound effects, and not using the word “environment”. Listen below to see if anyone was able to get all of them!

Last minute editing before the listening party!

Team C doing some last minute editing before the listening party. Photo by Diane Wu.

Listen here:

 

Hosted by Calvin Hu and Mallory Smith, and produced by the whole Stanford-based team: Shara Tonn, Lingzhi Jin, Derek Mendez, and Diane Wu. Resources mentioned include http://www.monarchwatch.org.

We’re going to be a weekly show again through June, so do tune in to KZSU 90.1 FM or stream our show Mondays at 6 PM, and subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store.

 


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S4E1: Tipis, Trash, Homs and Urchins

A diver monitoring kelp forest growth. Photo by David Witting / NOAA.

A diver monitoring kelp forest growth. Photo by David Witting / NOAA.

We’re excited to kick off our fourth season of environmental storytelling with an unconventional glance backwards — this first episode is a compilation of the sounds of our summers.

Adam reflects on going to camp for the first time, Citlalli learns how much harder it is to throw out a tea bag in Germany than in the United States, Diane describes visiting an ice cream shop in pre-war Syria, and Mallory goes for a dive with volunteers reclaiming a kelp forest from some prickly invaders.

Waste bins in Germany. Photo by Diane Wu.

So many waste options in Germany! Photo by Diane Wu.

Listen here:

Enjoy!! Stay tuned for upcoming episodes on turning boozy byproducts into fuel, first-hand reporting from the COP19 climate talks, and elementary school eavesdropping to hear what kids have to say about the health of the planet.

Voices include ReCharge 2013 delegates, Matthew Eastman, Dominic Coccia, Nolan Rutschilling, Jamila Tull, Richard Shelton, Michael Grubert, Tara Sulzer, Founder of Creative Facilitations Stephanie Pollack, KT Donohue, Heather Coleman, LA Waterkeeper’s Brian Meux, and Santa Monica Bay Restoration Foundation’s Tom Ford.  Music from Ian D. Marksjunior85Damien Jurado, Peter Swift, Damscray, and The Jayhawks.


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Summer Break Pt 2: Snapshots of Syria

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Train Station, Damascus. September 2009. Photo by Diane Wu.

I’ve been thinking about Syria a lot this summer. In 2009, I had the chance to visit Damascus and Homs, and lately I’ve spent a lot of nostalgia time with photographs that I took on that trip. The above picture of a door inspired me to make a little radio piece.

It’s even further from the usual than Tipi Time, but I hope you enjoy it. Music by Peter Swift and Damscray.

 

More photographs of Syria before the war:

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Damascus Old City, Eid al-Fitr 2009. Photo by Diane Wu.

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Restaurant in Homs, Syria. September 2009. Photo by Diane Wu.

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Ice cream shop in Homs, Syria. September 2009. Photo by Diane Wu.


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Fo(u)r more on fish . . .

After we aired our ocean privatization episode a few weeks ago, I picked up “Four Fish” by Paul Greenberg. If you want to learn more about fisheries management, the development of aquaculture (so much fascinating science and history), read this book! Greenberg takes us from his childhood fishing haunts to an Alaskan fishing village, from deep off the coast of Hawaii to the Sinai peninsula. We zip back in time to when the Greeks named sea bass, take a peek at the peak and demise of the whaling industry, and get a thoughtful glimpse at different paths for the future of fish.

Image attributed to Greenberg/Penguin Books, (2011)

Perfect for reading on the beach this summer.


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S3E5: The Lowest Hanging Fruit is The One in the Landfill

In this week’s episode, we’re covering food waste!! Listen below for some myth busting on expiration dates and the real story of what’s happening to those compostable forks.

P1040603A picture from our tour of the Newby Island Resource Recovery Park’s compost facility. This is a compost windrow before it gets filtered. Photograph by Diane Wu.

Guests include Stanford student Nicole GaetjensJulie Muir, Community Relations Manager at Peninsula Sanitary Service, Inc; Dana Gunders, Project Scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council; and Elena Stamatakos and Mahta Baghoolizadeh, volunteers with the Stanford Project on Hunger.

Hosted by Diane Wu and Mallory Smith.

Resources mentioned in this podcast include stilltasty.com (Is your leftover pizza still good?), American Wasteland (Want to read a whole book about this?), and this NRDC report  (here are the highlights). Here’s more on the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act.

Music featured, in chronological order, by Bad BatsAbe Sada, Cranston, The LibraryAnnsMark Neil, Krackatoa.


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Coming up in S3E5: The Lowest Hanging Fruit is The One in the Landfill

This week on Green Grid Radio we’re bringing you an hour dedicated to the back of your fridge and the bottom of your trash can. Americans eat only sixty percent of the food that we produce each year – the remainder gets tossed somewhere along the path from the field to your table. Food waste is the largest single contributor to our landfills – but it doesn’t have to be. There are so many other options for the food we do not eat.

IMGP6780Plum. Photograph by Diane Wu.

We’ll bring you ideas from our guests Nicole Gaetjens (Stanford student and all around waste warrior), Julie Muir (Community Relations Manager at Peninsula Sanitary Service, Inc and waste industry insider), Dana Gunders (Project Scientist at NRDC and author of this report on food waste), Elena Stamatakos and Mahta Baghoolizadeh (Stanford students and volunteers with the Stanford Project on Hunger).

In our show we’ll visit the kitchen of the Faculty Club and the commercial compost facility where Stanford recycles some of its food waste into compost. Join us on Thursday from 6-7 PM at 90.1 FM or online at kzsulive.stanford.edu to listen live. We’ll also have our episode available online right here shortly afterwards, or you can find it in our iTunes podcast.


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Coming up in S3E2: A Breezy Introduction to the Basics: Wind Energy 101

Wind energy is a relatively mature renewable energy technology that is at the forefront in challenging conventional methods of power generation.  The image of a wind turbine is ubiquitous in representing clean tech (see the header of this very website), but have you ever wondered exactly how those great big turbines actually make electricity? Been curious about how efficient they are? Pondered what might happen when a bunch of bugs get stuck to these turbines?

We have! And so we sat down with Lawrence Livermore National Lab scientist Jeff Mirocha to ask him some questions about the fundamentals of wind energy production. He graciously explained the basics to us, and we’ll be sharing the interview with you on Thursday from 6-7 PM on 90.1 FM and at kzsu.stanford.edu. Aaron Burdick, a student in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department, will join us for a panel discussion afterwards.

Tweet us your questions about Wind Energy Basics @greengridradio or leave them in the comments section on this post and we’ll try to answer them during the show!

S3E1 TurbinesImage attributed to Energy Quest/California Energy Commission, 2013.


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S2E10: Recap Roundtable with Returning Panelists

In our last episode from season two, we were joined by Stanford student leaders and former panelists Rob Best (Stanford Solar Decathlon), Tim Burke (Engineers for a Sustainable World), and Andrew Ponec (Stanford Grid Alternatives). We discussed several themes and ideas from the season, including the culture of sacrifice that can be intertwined with sustainability, “bright greens” vs “dark greens”, and the potential implications of President Obama’s new cabinet choices. Some fresh ideas from our panelists included the role that data might play in boosting the energy efficiency industry, and how rallying our nation around a concrete, tangible goal might accelerate the transition to a clean energy future.

S2E10: Recap Roundtable with Returning Panelists

Sunset over transmission lines in Dubai. Photograph by Diane Wu.

We’ll be off this week for spring break, but check back the week of April 1 for the debut of Season Three!