Green Grid Radio

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


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S5E3: The Human COP

Factual clarifications: As of Earth Day 2015, Yeb Saño is no longer the Climate Commissioner of the Philippines. Additionally, our comment about the COP process emerging from the IPCC AR1 is probably a little too simplistic and overgeneralized. Fast for the Climate Coordinator, David Tong aptly noted that the COP process emerged from the Rio Earth Summit (1992). Both the Rio Earth Summit and the IPCC AR1 came from the World Climate Conferences.

Climate change in the news again… It comes up in the periphery during record droughts in California or large weather events like super-typhoon Haiyan in late 2013, as well as directly during the Obama Administration in announcements like the bilateral cooperation on climate change between the US and China. Climate change resurfaces in the mainstream media from time to time. The elephant in the room is perhaps that the international community cannot seem to agree on a unified way to address climate change.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is the international body tasked with convening state leaders to discuss, negotiate, and ultimately produce binding global agreements or treaties. But why have we surpassed the 20th Conference of Parties (December 2014), and why has this been going on for over 20 years? What about the voices of those not in the UN, or those who do not negotiate in these sessions?

Interior of Warsaw National Stadium during the Conference of Parties 19, before an NGO action, photo by Adam Pearson

I attended COP19 in Warsaw in 2013 as a SustainUS delegate (and in stealth-mode Green Grid Radio Producer), and this week’s episode presents some of the stories of those in civil society who seek to enact change in the UNFCCC process through a human approach. Featured is the work of negotiator trackers in the “Adopt a Negotiator” initiative, which aims to paint a personal  face on the negotiators. And we hear the story behind “Fast for the Climate,” the narrative of solidarity (and spiritual cleansing) in response to the devastating Typhoon Haiyan.

SustainUS delegates being interviewed by Grist, photo by Adam Pearson

SustainUS delegates being interviewed by Grist, photo by Adam Pearson

Philippines negotiator Yeb Saño, who started the fast, has since become a major force in advocating for climate action, while the Fast for the Climate continues as a global movement, tying environmental justice, faith-based, and activist groups together.

Listen here:

Hosted by Adam Pearson and Mallory Smith, produced by Adam Pearson, and co-produced by Diane Wu.  Our guests this episode include Colin Rees, Lucas Burdick, Anita Raman, Ryan Madden, Lidy Nacpil (Jubilee South Asia/Pacific), and Hamzat Lawal. Further resources include:

Hamzat Lawal of the Adopt a Negotiator project, photo by Adam Pearson

Hamzat Lawal of the Adopt a Negotiator project, photo by Adam Pearson

Music in this episode (via the Free Music Archive) from: James BlackshawPodington BearThe Augustus Bro Gallery SixHigh Places, Keinzweiter

Make sure to subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store, if you haven’t done so already.

Green Grid Radio producer Adam Pearson in action in Warsaw, photo by Ryan Madden.

Green Grid Radio producer Adam Pearson in action in Warsaw, photo by Ryan Madden.


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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.

https://i1.wp.com/www.greenillusions.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Cover-Green-Illusions.jpg

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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S5E1: Coffee: Trouble Brewing?

Coffee is the second most traded global commodity after oil, employing millions of people to produce the 2 billion cups consumed around the world every day. But from production in developing countries, to global trade, to consumption in developed countries, the industry is plagued with some dirty secrets.

In this collaborative piece, Green Grid Radio and Making Contact team up to explore the lesser-known environmental and social justice costs of your morning coffee habit.

Jennifer Dunn reports from Colombia as she learns how Colombia’s small-scale coffee farmers are struggling to protect their crops and salvage their livelihoods. Mallory Smith hears from both sides of an ugly split in the fair trade movement, a movement which was first borne out of the desire to improve the lives of those who grow our coffee, but which some say has been co-opted by people with a different vision. And Laura Flynn decides to find out what happens to our little K-cups – those convenient single-cup brewing pods which seem like a miracle of modernity – once we throw them away.

Hosted by Mallory Smith and George Lavender. Contributing producers: Jennifer Dunn, Laura Flynn, Mallory Smith.

Featuring:

Coffee farmers Jairo Martinez, Mariana Cruz, Suzana Angarita

Jeff Goldman, former executive director of Fairtrade Resource Network

Jeff Chean, Principal and Chief Coffee Guy Groundwork Coffee

John Hazen, single-cup coffee machine owner

Rebecca Jewell, recycling program manager for Davis Street Transfer Station

Music:

Pensacola Twilight, Lee Rosevere

Cafetero, Christian Martinez

Grand Caravan, Blue Dot Sessions

Them Never Love No Bans, Hot Fire

La Boite a Sons – Contest Contributions, various artists

 

For more information:

Fair Trade Lite: Fair Trade USA moves away from worker co-ops

Hijacked Organic, Limited Local, Faulty Fair Trade

Roundup on Fair Trade USA/FLO Split

A Brewing Problem

Your Coffee Pods’ Dirty Secret

Kill the K-cup (video)

 


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Xmas Markets in Berlin (S5 short)

Happy Festivus from Green Grid Radio!
Recently I was able to produce a short story for NPR Berlin on Xmas markets in Berlin. Exploring local traditions and describing alcoholic beverages in the central European alternative capital, it’s not typical GGR fare. We upload it here as a short bonus podcast to complement the last few episodes we are producing this production season. The version here is an alternative (longer) version to the one posted on the NPR website and originally aired on NPR Berlin.
Green Grid Radio has already entered a period of sporadic production. As the producing team has moved away from campus or on to the next stage in our unique lifelong learning experience (or maybe I should just say “lifelong experience”), we aim to tie up some of the remaining production loose ends and complete new episodes before June.

Continue reading


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S4E8: Biome

I was born with a disease called cystic fibrosis (CF), the number one genetic killer of children in the United States. The most serious complication of the disease, which affects about 70,000 people worldwide, is the vicious cycle of chronic infection, inflammation and scarring in the lungs caused by defective chloride ion channels in the cell membrane.

Metaphorically speaking, the planet is diseased too. But while I can stand up and talk about my experience, the environment speaks to us in a language that is often incomprehensible to those who don’t study science. It speaks in a set of symptoms, signs that grow louder and clearer by the year.

In Biome, you’ll hear two stories that may not seem to have anything to do with each other. But be patient. I’ll walk you through a story of DNA and destruction, of colonization and conservation, of the body and the biome.

This piece was produced as part of The Senior Reflection in Biology.  Music used:

The Album Leaf – Blank Pages, A Day in the Life, Perro, Summer Fog, Shine

The American Dollar – Anything You Synthesize

This Will Destroy You – I Believe in Your Victory

Maneli Jamal – Us Against them

Antoine Dufour & Tommy Gauthier – Solitude

Josh Woodward – Together On Our Own

 


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S4E7: How The Tractor Ruined Farming

Green Grid Radio returns to the topic of food. This time, we go all the way back to the farm, and to the promise of the tractor. The tractor that promised to make life for farmers easier and our farms more productive.

In today’s episode, however, we meet a man who shares a story about the true impact the tractor had on farmers, and ultimately on our ability to grow food.

Hosted by Diane Wu, produced by Erik Olesund and featuring Matt Rothe.

Music used in this piece:

“TENNESEE HAYRIDE” (byJason Shaw)


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S4E6: Biofuels, or How GGR Learned about Popcorn-smelling Exhaust

A typical ethanol plant in West Burlington, Iowa (Big River Resources, LLC). Photo by Steven Vaughn/Agricultural Research Service. ID D802-2.

A typical ethanol plant in West Burlington, Iowa (Big River Resources, LLC). Photo by Steven Vaughn/Agricultural Research Service. ID D802-2.

Biofuels, mainly ethanol, now account for one-tenth of car fuel consumed in the United States and that number is set to rise. But are biofuels the silver bullet for the looming energy crisis? This week, Citlalli and Lindsay tackle that question head-on. They start their journey following the life cycle of fats, oil and grease in San Francisco and end up with a startling conclusion about the future of fuel in America. Along the way, they reveal a number of ethanol’s secrets. Like, did you know that if you convert all of the world’s main grains (corn, wheat, rice) into ethanol, you would only be able to supply half of all petrol consumption? Yup, and there’s more where that came from. Listen below for the full story.

Produced by Citlalli Sandoval and Lingzhi Jin. Guests include: Dogpatch Biofuels, San Francisco’s only biodiesel gas station; Karl Knapp, Associate Professor for Stanford’s Department of Civil Engineering; David Lobell, Associate Director of the Center for Food Security and the Environment at Stanford; and Eric McAfee, entrepreneur, VC and philanthropist in the renewables field. Music is “Tony Dubshot 04-Beta Stability” from the Free Music Archive.