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.

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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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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.

 

 

 


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S4E5: Stanford’s Divestment in a Tale of Three Meetings

Stanford University made national news on mainstream media outlets last week, when the Board of Trustees announced the decision to divest the $18.7 billion endowment from coal investments. This is a story of the student activists who were called into a surprise meeting with Stanford administrators and walked out smiling and speechless.

Fossil Free Stanford, the student group behind the divestment push at Stanford since the fall of 2012, has been holding actions on the Stanford campus to raise awareness and mobilize support. (Disclosure: Diane is a volunteer for Fossil Free Stanford’s graduate student campaign). The group is part of a larger movement coordinated by 350.org to rid University campuses across the country from fossil fuel investments, due to the impacts that individual companies have on climate change. The Fossil Free Stanford story has appeared prominently in previous Green Grid Radio episodes.

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Krishna (left of speaker) at a Divest Harvard rally in April 2013. Photo from firsttheretheneverywhere.org

Krishna Dasaratha participated in the Divest Harvard movement while enrolled at Harvard through 2013, then joined Fossil Free Stanford as a graduate student this year. The Divest Harvard students have faced some hurdles on their steadfast course for divestment, including the President’s “unequivocal” statement that the school did not intend to divest in late 2013, and the recent May arrest of a Divest Harvard activist.

Dasaratha notes that the big difference between the Stanford and Harvard campaigns has been that Stanford’s Board of Trustees is held to investment responsibility, and have therefore been more receptive to discussions with the students who have been arguing that climate change causes “substantial social injury.” And in Spring 2013, The Leland Stanford Junior University Board of Trustees accelerated the time horizon of their decision to divest from coal.

krishna

Krishna Dasaratha. Photo from Fossil Free Stanford.

Listen here:

Featuring Stanford students Krishna Dasaratha and Mikaela Osler. Hosted by Diane Wu and produced by Shara Tonn and Derek Mendez. Further resources include Krishna’s recent op-ed in the Boston Globe.

 


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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.

TRR

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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S4E2: Dumpster Diver Interceptors

The first time we dove into the topic of food waste, Diane visited a compost facility, Erik spent an afternoon with the leftover food distribution initiative, the Stanford Project on Hunger, and Dana Gunders of NRDC gave us the low-down on one of her recent reports.

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Food waste reduction campaign in Saudi Arabia. Photo by Diane Wu.

40% of food that is prepared in the US is wasted, dropped in the trash, untouched. This is alarming, especially when we consider all the water, fossil fuel energy, time, and effort involved in delivering food. The Green Grid Radio team became preoccupied by this sobering reality and decided to be more proactive about reducing food waste. We decided to pull back our hair, grab some gloves, and give dumpster diving a chance.

Beyond the novelty of the experience, can dumpster diving be a strategy in a broader effort to reduce our community’s impact? Can it move the food waste needle?

Listen here:

The next GGR episode coming in January will investigate the fermented, flushed world of biofuels.

Produced and co-hosted by Diane Wu and Adam Pearson and featuring GGR staff Erik Olesund and Mallory Smith. The voices of interceptors, friends, and guests on this podcast include: Stephanie Pollack and Maxine Lym . Resources mentioned this episode include: The Dating Game, a recent NRDC report on food date labels and food waste: and Stilltasty.com, a “shelf life guide” website. The music that graced our ears came from: Kevin MacLeodKeep Them AliveMalt.Tabulated Soundsnisei23Tussle, krackatoa, and Derek Mendez.

We’re inspired by many local groups addressing food waste head-on, including: Be Healthy Tulare;  Tulare CA Food Bank; Stanford Glean; Stanford Project on Hunger . If there are people and initiatives minimizing food waste in your community, please let us know via twitter and we’ll include them in this post!


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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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Our Summer Vacation

Hello Green Grid Radio listeners,

This summer, the production team took some time off to explore the world, read all those books piling up in each of our respective apartments, experience new lifestyles, embrace our love of neuroscience, venture up mountains, sunbathe in low-lying valleys, and to follow our inspiration, wherever it led us. We have put together a few shorter pieces that we’ll be releasing periodically over the course of the next month. We took the task of experimenting in shorter-form storytelling, not necessarily on Green Grid Radio “topics.” The first piece we are presenting was inspired by an experience I had in August on Mount Hood, Oregon.

tipiConstruction of a tipi at the Focus The Nation ReCharge 2013 retreat.

I had never been to summer camp before. No, not until this summer. “Tipi Time” is my story of ReCharge, a gathering of rising clean energy leaders with different skillsets and passions. This was my first summer camp experience, in a way, but also much more. Voices include ReCharge 2013 delegates, Matthew Eastman, Dominic Coccia, Nolan Rutschilling, Jamila Tull, Richard Shelton, Michael Grubert, Tara Sulzer, and Founder of Creative Facilitations Stephanie Pollack. Featured music from Ian D. Marksjunior85, and Damien Jurado.

And for those of you eager for brand new, full-length episodes, we can announce now that the production is underway for our new season to premiere in Spring 2014. We won’t be quiet in between now and then. We have a lot of exciting announcements coming up, so stay tuned for Green Grid Radio on new formats, in new places, and with new stories.

Adam


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S3E8: One Nation Under Meat: The American Dream Strikes Back

This week we returned to the topic of meat production and food systems, exploring political and economic barriers to change in the U.S. and abroad, ways to move toward a less environmentally and socially destructive food system, and our own thoughts and perspectives on these critical issues. Like last week, we followed the wisdom of one of our guests, Dan Blumstein, and experimented with talking about food over food; Green Grid Radio team members Mallory, Adam, Erik and Diane discussed politics, education, climate change and energy, the world food economy, interconnections in the food system, local food, diversification, American eating habits and social norms, top-down versus bottom-up change, and more!

S3E8: One Nation, Under Meat: The American Dream Strikes Back

Image attributed to Meriwether, American Meat (2013)

Guests include: Stanford undergraduate student Caroline Hodge; Matt Rothe, Fellow at the Institute of Design at Stanford; Environmental Earth System Science Professor Rosamond Naylor, of the Center on Food Security and the EnvironmentGraham Meriwether, Director of the documentary American MeatEli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager at San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association; UCLA Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Professor Dan Blumstein, author of Eating Our Way to Civility; Professor Christopher Gardner of the Stanford School of MedicineVasile Stanescu, Stanford PhD candidate in the Program of Modern Thought and Literature; and Debra Dunn, co-founder of FEED Collaborative and Professor at the Institute of Design at Stanford.

Hosted by Mallory Smith and Erik Olesund.

Resources mentioned in this podcast: the American “Farm Bill“; “Quinoa’s Global Success Creates Quandary at Home,” from the New York Times (2011); “High-yield agriculture slows pace of global warming, say Stanford researchers,” from Stanford News (2010); Carnegie Mellon study comparing carbon emission reductions of eating local versus reducing meat consumption (2008); American Meat documentary.

Music featured by James Pants, Candlegravity, Dexter Britain, Sycamore Drive, Podington Bear, and Gable.


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S3E7: One Nation, Under Meat: A Tragic Love Story Of the American Appetite

The Green Grid Radio team sliced into a meaty topic this week: the broken American food production system, specifically focusing on meat. Today turkeys cannot naturally reproduce and must be artificially inseminated, 60 billion farm animals are annually killed for human consumption worldwide, and we consume eight times as much chicken as our grandparents did eighty years ago. What else is going on in meat production?

dinnerpartyThe Green Grid Radio team talking about meat at our dinner party.

Guests include: Stanford undergraduate student Caroline Hodge; Matt Rothe, Fellow at the Institute of Design at Stanford; Environmental Earth System Science Professor Rosamond Naylor, of the Center on Food Security and the EnvironmentGraham Meriwether, Director of the documentary American MeatEli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager at San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association; UCLA Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Professor Dan Blumstein, author of Eating Our Way to Civility; Professor Christopher Gardner of the Stanford School of Medicine; and Vasile Stanescu, Stanford PhD candidate in the Program of Modern Thought and Literature.

Hosted by Mallory Smith and Adam Pearson.

Resources mentioned in this podcast: “Give Thanks for Meat,” an essay by Jay Bost; FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) report “Livestock’s Long Shadow” (2006); Peter Singer’s book, Animal Liberation; the American “Farm Bill“; the American Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (1958); “Unnatural Turkeys” Freakanomics podcast (2011).

Audio featured, in chronological order, by Keshco, My Imaginary LovesChris ForsythShake That Foot, Dan Warren, Gable, MUTE, and Personal and the Pizzas.


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S3E6: Is the Sustainability Movement an Activist Movement?

The Green Grid Radio team thought about how American culture has changed since the 1960s in the most recent episode of Season 3. In looking at the sustainability movements on campus, we draw out (or try to draw out) some of the societal forces that have changed the way students tackle environmental problems. Stanford Sociology Professor Doug McAdam joined us to weigh in on social movements, noting “divesting from politics is the wrong impulse.”

fossilfreeThe Stanford Fossil-Free team making a stand against Keystone XL (Image attributed to Fossil Free Stanford , 2013).

Guests on this week’s show include Stanford students Nicholas Reale and Jorge Masero of the Civil & Environmental Engineering department; Gregory Hall and Ian Girard of the Stanford Solar Car project; and Naomi Cornman, Co-President of the Green Living Council; Stanford Sociology Professor and Director Emeritus of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral SciencesDoug McAdam;  Julie Muir, Community Relations Manager at Peninsula Sanitary Service, Inc; Dana Gunders, Project Scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council; and Jacob Woodruff, Senior Scientist at SunPower Corp.

Hosted by Adam Pearson, Erik Olesund, Diane Wu, Mallory Smith, Sophia Vo.

Audio featured in this episode: ROTC sit-in at Old Union*, Stephen Schneider Memorial Lecture 2013, John F Kennedy Inaugural Address, data clip (and other sound effects from freesound.org), excerpts from a Claremont Colleges 3/4/13 Divestment eventBlue DucksPodington BearBroke For FreeInnocent BanditsKing Felix, Johnny RipperAoiroooasamusi, and Dustin Wong.

*Stanford University, Office of Vice President and General Counsel, Records (SC0178). Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.


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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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S3E4: Overfished or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Cocaine Cowboy Fisheries and Love Catch Shares

Global consumption of fish is on the rise, and so we critically need to effectively manage how we catch fish and how much of it we catch. On “Overfished,” the Green Grid Radio team begin dives into this topic and understand what strategies may address the problems we see today in the open waters. We take perspectives from an economist, consumers, and even a fisherman.

A vessel with a trawling net, courtesy of EDF.

Image courtesy of EDF, EDFish blog (2013).

Featured voices are Professor John Lynham of the University of Hawaii, Stanford PhD candidate Dane Klinger, fisherman Hans Haveman of H&H Fresh Fish, salmon aficionado Elena Lawson, and Stanford undergraduate students Emma Budiansky and Tiffany Li. Hosted by Adam Pearson and Diane Wu.

(In case you’re interested, the FAO report mentioned in the episode is available here, while the study on fishermen opposing catch shares  can be found here. Music featured this episode includes: Love Cult, Johnny Ripper, Tristeza, Las Ardillas, The Curious Mystery, & Balmorhea).


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S3E3: Stanford Energy Week – Live from White Plaza!

S3E3: Stanford Energy Week - Live from White Plaza!GGR Producers Adam Pearson, Erik Olesund and guests Debra Dunn, Sarah Triolo (photograph by Diane Wu).

As Earth Day approaches on the Stanford campus, Green Grid Radio and other environmentally-minded affiliates on campus are reaching out to the broader Stanford community for engagement. Wednesday in White Plaza featured Green Grid Radio broadcasting live during the Stanford Energy Club’s Energy Showcase event. With technical assistance from producer Diane Wu and KZSU engineer Mark Lawrence, Green Grid Radio brought a solar-powered (literally– see our photo below!) episode with an appropriate lunch-time focus on food systems.

S3E3: Stanford Energy Week - Live from White Plaza!Solar-powered radio (photograph by Diane Wu).

We had a great, lengthy discussion with our guests this week, Ms. Debra Dunn and Sarah Triolo. Sarah recommended this supplemental reading from the New York Times on some of the “nasty things happening in our food system” today. Thanks to all the audience input and for the support out in White Plaza. Take a listen below, and see you next week!


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S3E2: A Breezy Introduction to the Basics: Wind Energy 101

SWEPThe SWEP team working on installing a wind anemometer at the Berkeley Marina (Image attributed to SWEP, 2013)

This past Thursday, the Green Grid Radio team spoke with Dr. Jeff Mirocha, a scientist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. We were also joined by guest panelist Aaron Burdick, a graduate student in Stanford’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. We’ve explored a lot of issues related to wind energy technology on the show in previous episodes, but this time we went back to the basics to gain an understanding of some oft overlooked fundamentals. What are the mechanics of making electricity from wind? How efficient is wind energy? What kinds of engineering challenges are wind engineers currently working to overcome?

Aaron provided many insights about the topics discussed with Dr. Mirocha, and shared his experience working with the Stanford Solar and Wind Energy Project (SWEP).

Note: During the show, we mentioned that wind energy delivered about 6% of America’s electricity in 2012. After the show aired, we found that as of 2012, wind energy comprised 6% of American electricity generation capacity, but only delivered about 3% of American electricity that year. We apologize for the error!

Listen here:


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S3E1: The Rise of the Sharing Economy

S3E1: The Rise of the Sharing Economy

The sharing economy is a movement that is gaining more and more momentum both here in the U.S. and around the world. In this episode we dig into what the environmental, social and economic benefits are of sharing compared to the current way of meeting our needs through consumption.

Featured voices are Andy Ruben, co-founder of yerdleNeal Gorenflo, founder of Shareable and Stanford students Katie Brigham (from the Stanford Free Store), Maayan Dembo and Adam Pearson. Hosted by Erik Olesund and Diane Wu.


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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!


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S2E9: Energy Efficiency Local Rebates and Policies

This week, Bill Brittan of  The Green Pro Network and Jasmine Wei, a Stanford student and intern with Green Pro Network joined us to speak about how we might demonstrate the benefits of investing in energy efficiency for homeowners. There exists a wealth of resources and rebates out there, and Green Pro Network encourages folks to claim these rebates. We also discussed how poor planning of outfitting and locating buildings lead to poor energy efficiency and how California’s system of decoupling the electricity providers incentivizes them to promote energy efficiency, which is not the case in all states.

We rounded up the episode with Hannah Rich and Hanni Hanson from Students for a Sustainable Stanford, who spoke about their organization’s projects, upcoming events and how to get involved.

S2E9: Energy Efficiency Local Rebates and Policies

Staffers at Green Pro Network. Image credit: Green Pro Network

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S2E8: Reason for Hope: Fitting Biodiversity Conservation into Solar Development Plans

This past Thursday on Green Grid Radio, we turned to a subject few consider when thinking about the viability of different types of renewable energy: impacts on birds and other wildlife. Garry George, Renewable Energy Project Director at Audubon California, joined us to discuss how solar and wind energy development projects impact biodiversity, as well as how Audubon works with renewable energy developers to reduce this impact as much as possible. We learned about some exciting partnerships and developments, such as the Working Lands Program, the Department of Energy and Interior’s final plan for solar development in the west, and ways to move forward in the transition to renewable energy without threatening endangered wildlife. We were also joined by panelist Chase Mendenhall, a Ph.D candidate in Stanford’s Center for Conservation Biology. Chase shared his perspective on the efforts to conserve wildlife in human-dominated areas, his environmental philosophy, and some interesting implications of his research in countryside biogeography. If you missed it live, please enjoy this week’s episode below!

S2E8: Reason for Hope: Fitting Biodiversity Conservation into Solar Development Plans

Garry George, Audubon. Photo credit: AT&T

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S2E7: A Day in the Life of a Bay Area Environmental Think Tank

Green Grid Radio returned to a local focus this past Thursday. “A Day in the Life of a Bay Area Environmental Think Tank” featured Dr. Tanja Srebotnjak of the Ecologic Institute, who joined us to speak a bit about some of the San Mateo office’s recent work in the Bay Area. This included discussion of the Sustainable San Mateo 2012 Indicators Report and a recent project on Senior Health in San Mateo. As we think about communities and large populations aging in the future, how might we improve resource efficiency? Do seniors need to have to have their Oldsmobile in their driveway for weekly trips to the store, or can we introduce interventions like car-sharing or taxi services to reduce the hassle of vehicle ownership, encourage the sharing economy, and improve the social lives of folks? This was merely one topic we discussed this week. Matt Chalmers of UC Davis Law School, panelist extraordinaire, also joined us to hammer home the importance of many sectors (government, nonprofits like Ecologic and academia, and industry) working together to solve our sustainability challenges.

S2E7: A Day in the Life of a Bay Area Environmental Think Tank

Ecologic has written up an even more comprehensive description of the episode. Thanks for the support and promotion!

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S2E6: Ecovillages: Sustainable, Cooperative Lifestyles that Really Work

Last Thursday, the Green Grid Radio team approached the topic of ecovillages and cooperative living. In “Ecovillages: Sustainable, Cooperative Lifestyles that Really Work,” Tony Sirna spoke with us about the inception and operation of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, an intentional community in northeast Missouri. Sirna, an alum of Stanford who lived in Synergy (a cooperative house on campus), wanted to create social change after graduating and implement the cooperative living model in the real world. We spoke with Tony about why he decided to start Dancing Rabbit; how the community works socially, politically, economically, and environmentally; and how he hopes to use Dancing Rabbit as a model for the rest of the U.S. of how to live in harmony with your family, your neighbors, and the planet. Student guests Hannah Rich and Aliza Gazek, current residents in Columbae (another cooperative house on campus), joined us as well to talk about their experiences living cooperatively. Sirna, Rich and Gazek all expressed hope and excitement at the idea of using larger-scale intentional communities to educate the public and live sustainably beyond college.

S2E6: Ecovillages: Sustainable, Cooperative Lifestyles that Really Work S2E6: Ecovillages: Sustainable, Cooperative Lifestyles that Really Work

Alongside coops, other groups on campus initiate low-budget, high-impact projects to benefit the larger community. Tying in with that notion, this episode also featured the next “Energy on the Farm” segment with Sasha Brownsberger of the Green Living Council. We checked in with GLC on their activities this year. You can listen to this week’s fascinating episode below:

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S2E5: Powerhouse: How Video Games Can Produce Serious Energy Efficiency

On Valentine’s Day, the Green Grid Radio team unveiled the fifth episode of the season, “Powerhouse: How Video Games Can Produce Serious Energy Efficiency.” Professor Byron Reeves‘ PhD students, James Scarborough and James J. Cummings stopped by to share their perspectives on the Powerhouse video game as a part of Stanford ARPA-E Initiative project. Can we leverage the millions of gaming hours being played globally into initiatives like energy efficiency? Who are the gamers these days, anyway? Well it turns out that homeowners may be the exact audience most amenable to the sway of video games. This week’s guests brought a fascinating social and behavior psychology perspective to how people can have a large role in reducing the demand side in energy consumption, all through video games. Please enjoy this week’s episode below:

S2E5: Powerhouse: How Video Games Can Produce Serious Energy Efficiency

James Scarborough in the studio to discuss social gaming and the Powerhouse project.

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S2E4: Grid Flexibility: Challenges and Opportunities with Bringing Renewables onto the Grid

Earlier this week, the Green Grid Radio team returned to one of the central topics on the show: the grid. In “Grid Flexibility: Challenges and Opportunities with Bringing Renewables onto the Grid,” Professor Mark O’Malley, all the way from the University College Dublin in Ireland, spoke with us about grid basics as well as institutional, physical, and technical barriers to higher renewable penetrations. Outbound Stanford student and current PG&E renewables integration specialist, Larsen Plano*, also joined us to weigh in on the discussion. The two believe there is plenty to be optimistic about in terms of moving to higher levels of variable renewables, here in California, and internationally. There are strategies to overcome these barriers to grid flexibility, as demonstrated by real life examples in Europe and American studies like the NREL Renewable Energy Futures report.

S2E4: Grid Flexibility: Challenges and Opportunities with Bringing Renewables onto the Grid

The NREL Futures study provides an interactive map that allows users to investigate generation sources in projected time.

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*Larsen’s opinions are his and do not represent those of PG&E.


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S2E3: Commercial Solar: Communicating Long-Term Benefits in an Immediate World

This past Thursday we retackled solar PV on Green Grid Radio. The featured interviewee on the show was Vishvesh Jhaveri, of Silray Inc, while Stanford students Emma Sagan and Justin Briggs joined us to round out the discussion. In “Commercial Solar: Communicating Long-Term Benefits in an Immediate World,” we spoke at length about solar through the lens of how academia and industry can work together to continue lowering costs of solar technologies. Another theme of the show was on local and regional policies that facilitate the integration of clean energy.

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S2E2: Climate Change in the U.S. After Superstorm Sandy, Part II

S2E2: Climate Change in the U.S. After Superstorm Sandy, Part II

Dr. Jim Salinger, New Zealand climate scientist, IPCC author, and recent visiting professor at Stanford talks about how a changing climate contributes to both increased severity and frequency of extreme weather events such as Superstorm Sandy. Matt Chalmers, a JD student at UC Davis joins us live over the phone to discuss how the inertia of U.S. government effectively hinders the timely development of policies for climate change mitigation, and whether technological progress and economic growth can solve the problem they took part in creating.

As always, we also highlight the latest energy related news and present insightful comments and questions from our team members here at Green Grid Radio. Hosted by Sophia Vo, Adam Pearson, Erik Olesund, Kara Fong, Darren Handoko and Mallory Smith.

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S2E1: Taking on Climate Change through Education and Grassroots Action

Student guests Sara Orton, Alan Propp, and Sophie Harrison visit our studio to talk about grassroots and bottom-up strategies to spur behavioral change and further education on climate change.

Green Grid Radio S2E1

Orton and Propp describe how they have worked on developing a climate change education curriculum in local high schools. Harrison, who leads the Fossil Free Stanford movement, talks about the campaign to encourage the Board of Trustees to divest from fossil fuel investments. Our discussion also touches upon how climate change needs to be communicated in a less “doomsday”-like context, and instead framed in a way that highlights the positive results of a sustainable lifestyle (rather than a life of deprivation).  As always the episode features the most recent news on energy and environmental issues.

This first episode of season two of Green Grid Radio was hosted by Adam Pearson, Sophia Vo, Kara Fong and Erik Olesund.

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S1E10: Wildlife Challenges and Opportunities with Wind Energy

Justin Allegro, who manages National Wildlife Federation’s Renewable Energy and Wildlife Program, is the final featured guest of Green Grid Radio’s first season. Before the season came to an end, we talked about the tension between the ‘green’ conservation movement and the ‘green’ energy interests, species of conservation concern at wind sites, and what recent US Fish & Wildlife Service measures have been implemented to encourage stakeholders to work together. Your hosts: Sophia Vo, Kara Fong, Adam Pearson and Erik Olesund discussed the interview and wrapped season 1 up with a discussion on subsidies. “We need to stop subsidizing global warming” says Erik.

Green Grid Radio will be back on Thursday January 17 at 6-7PM PST at KZSU Stanford 90.1FM or kzsulive.stanford.edu. Please take note, the show is now airing on Thursdays between 6-7PM. As always, each new episode will be available in our free podcast “Green Grid Radio” that can be found in the iTunes store.

Thanks for tuning into Green Grid Radio this season. Happy holidays!

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S1E9: Season Recap Roundtable with Stanford Panelists

Rob Best, Andrew Ponec and Tim Burke in the studio.

Rob Best, Andrew Ponec and Tim Burke in the studio.

Tim Burke, Andrew Ponec, and Rob Best are guests. For our season finale we invited back three of our favorite panelists from the Stanford community, Tim Burke (Engineers for a Sustainable World), Andrew Ponec (Stanford Grid Alternatives), and Rob Best (Solar Decathlon) for a roundtable discussion on some of the topics we’ve covered throughout the fall. We played segments from previous shows and talked about everything from the recent UNFCCC Conference of Parties 18 in Doha last week to solar technology markets to the integration of variable renewable resources onto the electricity grid.

The show was presented by Adam Pearson and Erik Olesund.

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S1E8: Climate Change in the US after Superstorm Sandy

Dr Phil Duffy

Dr Phil Duffy

Dr. Philip Duffy, senior scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, is our guest this week. He led us on a discussion of how climate change events can shift renewable energy policies, what kind of climate change adaptation techniques make sense financially, and what Superstorm Sandy means to the environmental movement in this country. Certainly a timely interview.

Andrew Ponec, an undergraduate student leader of Grid Alternatives at Stanford University speaks about their efforts to install solar power on resident buildings in the bay area as our new segment “Energy on the Farm” premiers.

Presented by Adam Pearson, Sophia Vo, Kara Fong and Erik Olesund.

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S1E7: A Solar Rooftop Revolution

Danny Kennedy, co-founder of Sungevity and longtime environmental activist, joins us in this week’s episode of Green Grid Radio. Kennedy makes the case for residential photovoltaic solar energy across the US, explaining the unique Sungevity Remote Solar Design and Solar Lease programs. Also, we spoke a bit about his 2012 book Rooftop Revolution, the King CONG lobbying industry that stands in the way of renewable energy, and to what degree the California Solar Initiative has been effective.

Student panelist Laura Vogel visits the studio to comment on the interview with Kennedy and to discuss some of here experience of implementing solar power panels. Laura is a second year master’s student in the Atmosphere & Energy program at Stanford. Since last spring, she has been working with Vituo Technologies, a Stanford startup installing photovoltaic solutions in East Africa. Over the summer she worked in Nairobi, giving workshops on PV technology, doing interviews and electrical surveys for potential customers, and helping prepare for the first 15 kW installation which was completed earlier this fall.

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S1E6: Climate Change and Development – What Are the (Energy) Solutions?

Helen Clark, United Nations Development Programme Administrator, was our guest this week. Green Grid Radio had the opportunity for an exclusive interview with the Right Honorable Clark, a former three-term Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1999 – 2008 and the current UNDP Adminstrator

Ms. Clark joined us to speak about Climate Change with regards to development.  We discussed the challenges of tackling long-term issues within short-term political cycles, multi-sectorial approaches to addressing climate change, and mechanisms for low carbon development in developing nations, among other topics.

We were also joined by Matt Chalmers. He is a recent Stanford graduate and current J.D. student at U.C. Davis who firmly believes that many of the great challenges of our time must be met with interdisciplinary solutions. In his time at Stanford, Matt wedded a strong background in the physical sciences to the study of the complex social, financial, and policy obstacles to progress on climate change posed by the political and economic structure of our world today.

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S1E5: Clean Local Energy Accessible Now

Craig Lewis, founder and Executive Director of the Clean Coalition, joins us to speak about smart grids, legislation for clean, local, accessible energy, and regulation in favor of distributed generation.

Student panelists Erik Olesund and Shankhayan Dutta from the department of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University discuss some of the policy proposals made by Lewis and provide listeners with their personal favorites for increasing the penetration of renewables on the grid in the future.

Hosted by Adam Pearson and Kara Fong.

Shan and Erik

Craig Lewis, Shankhayan Dutta and Erik Olesund in the studio at KZSU.

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To listen to the full interview with Craig Lewis, head over to our archive of recordings.


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S1E4: Clean Energy in the State of California

Laura Wisland, Senior Energy Analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists, visits Green Grid Radio to discuss state policies that would effectively increase the amount of renewable energy used in California.

Student panelist in this week’s episode is Amit Desai a PhD student in Materials Science & Engineering and Vice President of Outreach for the Stanford Energy Club.

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Student panelist Amit (left) and Nick together with Laura Wisland in the studio (right).


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S1E3: Green Buildings, Oil Hegemony, and “Dodo Sapiens”

Eric Corey Freed, author and organic architect, speaks on green buildings, oil companies, and what he calls “dodo sapiens.” Student panelist Jacob Schaffert discusses his thoughts on energy efficiency and sustainability initiatives in local government.

Presented by Adam Pearson, Nick McIntyre and Sophia Vo.


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S1E2: Integrating Wind and Variable Resources in a Renewable Power Future

Mark Z. Jacobson, Stanford Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, stops by Green Grid Radio to discuss his plan for a renewable energy future. Jacobson emphasizes that in order to reach popular consensus in support of a clean energy world, we must push for energy education for the public. Topics of conversation also includes black carbon’s relationship to climate change, “beefing up” transmission lines, and how a wind/water/solar world could reduce global energy consumption by 32%, and emissions by 100%.

Presented by Adam Pearson, Nick McIntyre and Sophia Vo.


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S1E1: Renewable Energy at Stanford and Beyond

Stanford students speak about their renewable energy projects. Panelists discuss “Is the energy problem a behavioral problem?” and “How do we get Americans to use less energy or produce less waste?”

Guests: Derek Ouyang and Rob Best from Stanford’s Solar Decathlon team and Tim Burke from Engineers for a Sustainable World.

Presented by Adam Pearson, Nick McIntyre and Sophia Vo.