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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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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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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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.

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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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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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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.