26 episodes

Audible Café explores the natural world, wildlife, sustainable living, and that thing called climate change. We meet fascinating people who are embracing new ways of treading more lightly on the earth. We champion other species and seek to meet them where they are in all their wild and wooly glory.

Audible Cafe Radio Show and Podcast Judy Eddy

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

Audible Café explores the natural world, wildlife, sustainable living, and that thing called climate change. We meet fascinating people who are embracing new ways of treading more lightly on the earth. We champion other species and seek to meet them where they are in all their wild and wooly glory.

    Mary Stucklen with Berkshire Zero Waste

    Mary Stucklen with Berkshire Zero Waste

    Hi and welcome to Audible Café!
    Today, I’m sharing my interview with Mary Stucklen of Berkshire Zero Waste about a new initiative of theirs, WasteLess Restaurants.
    They’re having a Kickoff Event on March 23rd online.
    So, anyone who owns a restaurant, cafe, or food business that serves customers directly, or if you work for one of these establishments, this show is for you!
    There will be exclusive discounts announced at the event, specific to qualifying businesses. And $400 worth of door prizes!
    You can find details of the Wasteless Restaurant program at:
    Partners in the program are RecyclingWorksma.com and 1Berkshire.com
    GB on Tap website

    • 26 min
    Kelly Fuller with Western Watersheds Project

    Kelly Fuller with Western Watersheds Project

    Welcome to the Audible Café!
    Today, I’m sharing my conversation with Kelly Fuller, the Energy and Mining Campaign Director for the Western Watersheds Project, which has headquarters in a number of western states. We talked about the proposed lithium mine in Thacker Pass, Nevada, a project that WWP and others oppose on the grounds that it will destroy an important ecosystem and habitat for a number of unique species.
    “Thacker Pass is critically important to wildlife because it connects the Double H Mountains to the Montana Mountains, and provides lower-elevation habitat that greater sage-grouse and other wildlife need to survive the winter,” Fuller has said. “It (the mine area) contains thousands of acres of priority habitat management area (PHMA), the most important type of greater sage-grouse habitat.”
    Yet, the Bureau of Land Management that manages the land, has exempted the mine from many legally required sage-grouse protections. “The mine is sited in the danger zone for sage-grouse leks in the Montana Mountains, one of the most important sage-grouse strongholds in Nevada. Local springs are the only place in the world where the Kings River pyrg, a rare type of springsnail, are known to live. The mine could also cut off a pronghorn migration corridor,” wrote Fuller in response to the mine’s approval.
    About Kelly Fuller
    Prior to WWP, Kelly worked on energy campaigns in more than two dozen states. Most recently she was Executive Director of Gila Watershed Partnership of Arizona and The Protect Our Communities Foundation. She has also worked for American Bird Conservatory, Plains Justice, and Voyageurs National Park Association. Kelly is perhaps best known for leading a 78-mile walk across the California desert to protect public lands threatened by a destructive transmission line project. In 2013, Kelly left Washington, D.C. to return home to the west’s wide open spaces. Since then she has spent as much time as possible outdoors, enjoying America’s beautiful public lands.
    Thanks again to Kelly Fuller, and thanks for listening to Audible Café. If you’d like to get directly in touch with me, please email listenup@audiblecafe.com. And please visit the website for archives shows and more info at www.audiblecafe.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and stay in touch!
    Great Basin Resource Watch - gbrw.org
    EarthWorks.org - campaignn for reforming the 1872 mining law
    Article in Sierra Nevada Ally newspaper 1/15/21
    https://sierranevadaally.org/2021/01/15/blm-approves-thacker-pass-lithium-mine/  In reaction to the mine’s approval, Kelly Fuller, energy and mining campaign director for the Western Watersheds Project says the mine “will strip-mine thousands of acres of important habitat for greater sage-grouse and other wildlife.”
    Protect Thacker Pass website

    • 45 min
    Max Wilbert with Protect Thacker Pass

    Max Wilbert with Protect Thacker Pass

    Today I’m sharing my conversation with Max Wilbert, one of the activists occupying Thacker Pass, Nevada, up in the northern-central part of the state, to protest a proposed lithium mine there.
    He and his fellow protesters have been camping on this land, currently governed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), in winter conditions at about 5,100 feet elevation, so it’s cold and snowy. But the beauty of the pass and their belief in the cause sustains them, though their numbers are few. When you visit the website, ProtectThackerPass.org, and I hope you do, you will find some of the most beautiful writing and personal expression about a place you could find anywhere.
    Thacker Pass is habitat for Crosby’s buckwheat (a rare desert wildflower only found in this area), King River pyrg (a critically endangered snail), rabbitbrush, jackrabbits, bighorn sheep, coyotes, golden eagles, greater sage-grouse, pronghorn antelope, and old growth sagebrush. 
    Max joined me the afternoon of February 4th from the side of the mountain where, incredibly, there was cell service from a small town miles away. But I’m glad there was, because the importance of what he had to say can’t be overstated.
    Many of us have been dreaming of transitioning away from fossil fuels not only because their burning has a devastating effect on the climate, but also because fossil fuel extraction practices are wholly destructive to those parts of the world where they take place, and therefore to the many life forms that call these places home. The prospect of clean, green energy has been so appealing that maybe we have been blinded to the high cost to the earth. The realities of wind and solar, as hyped as they are now, and as seemingly mainstream they are becoming, are not without their damaging environmental effects.
    But make no mistake - lithium mining is not unlike coal or gold or other mineral mining in its destructive power - this is a strip mine we’re talking about. It will involve
    Lithium is essential for battery production for electric energy storage, that means solar batteries, electric vehicle batteries, and all the batteries that will store all the electricity produced by variable energy sources such as solar and wind. The electric car industry will be one of the largest consumers of large batteries capable of propelling heavy vehicles long distances. And we do love to drive.
    The idea that we can just shift our consumption of energy from fossil fuels to solar and wind without serious implications for the health of our planet is just false. It’s like the story with fracked or “natural” gas: there are less carbon emissions when its burned, but the cost to our water, air, and land and all the species, including human, that live where fracking occurs, pay the price through polluted water and methane emissions that they drink, eat and breathe, and there’s the sand that’s scraped from the bottom of our rivers for fracking rigs, the billions of gallons of water trucked in, and all the rest of it.
    In short, haven’t we done enough damage? can we please drive less, buy less, eat less, and consume less of everything? And for goodness sake, turn off your spotlights at night. No one’s coming for you, especially not bears! They have far more important things to do.
    But back to Thacker Pass. Thank you to Max and all the activists out there and those supporting their efforts for bringing attention to this important topic.
    I hope you enjoy the show, and are inspired to learn more at ProtectThackerPass.org.
    And thanks for listening to Audible Café. If you’d like to get directly in touch with me, please email listenup@audiblecafe.com. And please visit the website for archives shows and more info at www.audiblecafe.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, if you use such things, and stay in touch!

    • 42 min
    Laura Haight w Partnership for Policy Integrity

    Laura Haight w Partnership for Policy Integrity

    In today's show, I talk with Laura Haight, U.S. Policy Director at the Partnership for Policy Integrity, or PFPI. PFPI uses science, policy analysis and strategic communications to promote policies that protect climate, ecosystems, and people.
    From the PFPI website: Laura Haight has extensive experience working on environmental, energy, and health care policy, and has been instrumental in passage of dozens of state and local laws to promote clean energy, reduce pesticide use, increase recycling, prevent pollution, and clean up toxic waste sites. Starting her career as a community organizer with the Sierra Club Radioactive Waste Campaign, she has held senior level positions at the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Environmental Advocates of New York, and the New York Public Interest Research Group. Prior to joining the staff of PFPI, Haight served as Vice President for Public Policy at the New York State Association of Health Care Providers. She brings to PFPI a wealth of experience in environmental advocacy, policy analysis, campaign coordination and strategic communications. Haight received a Bachelor’s degree in American history and literature from Harvard University and a Master of Science degree in environmental studies from the Bard Graduate School of Environmental Studies.
    Laura is knowledgeable about so many environmental issues around the world. Today, we discussed the biomass industry, its destructive practices, and the government regulations that encourage it.
    We discussed:
    the biomass industry, and especially the forest biomass industry, which not only clearcuts forests, but basically vacuums up all the material leaving a virtual moonscape behind. We also discussed legislation in Massachusetts called the Next Generation Climate Roadmap bill. This bill was vetoed last week by Governor Baker, apparently because it calls for more stringent green building codes that the construction industry opposes. But it has already been refiled. Changes proposed by the Baker Administration to MA Dept. of Energy Resources regulations would make biomass "renewable" and consider it “green power” and open it up for lucrative subsidies that will make biomass plants profitable, and encourage their construction. The proposed Palmer biomass burning plant in Springfield, MA. This plant is being opposed by residents and organizations alike for environment justice and pollution threats. Thanks for listening to Audible Cafe!

    This show originally aired on WBCR-lp Great Barrington 97.7FM. Visit berkshireradio.org to find out about the station or make a much-needed and much appreciated donation!
    Partnership for Policy Integrity (PFPI) website
    Overview of H.853: An Act to Assure the Attainment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Goals in the Alternative Portfolio Standard (Rep. D. Provost, D-Somerville)
    New CSSN Report: Who’s Delaying Climate Action in Massachusetts? Twelve Findings
    Burned: Is Wood the New Coal? a documentary film
    About the Palmer Paving Corporation’s proposed biomass plant in Springfield, Mass:
    Arise for Social Justice website
    “Scrutiny persists over biomass plant in Springfield.” Daily Hampshire Gazette. December 31, 2020.
    “Mass. Has Strong Rules About Burning Wood For Electricity. In 2021, It Plans To Roll Them Back.” WBUR report. December 22, 2020.
    “MA Pushes to Greenlight Subsidies for Polluting Biomass Power Plants.” Press release from Biomass Energy Subsidies section of the Partnership for Policy Integrity (PFPI) website, December 22, 2020
    Theme music by BRIAN EDDY

    • 48 min
    Scot Quaranda of Dogwood Alliance re Forest Biomass

    Scot Quaranda of Dogwood Alliance re Forest Biomass

    Welcome to Audible Café!
    Today I’m speaking with Scot Quaranda of the Dogwood Alliance. From their website: “For over 20 years, Dogwood Alliance has worked with diverse communities, partner organizations and decision-makers to protect Southern forests across 14 states. We do this through community and grassroots organizing, holding corporations and governments accountable and working to conserve millions of acres of Southern forests.” And one of their major campaigns is called “Our Forests Aren’t Fuel” - taking on the forest biomass industry.
    I’ve been looking at the forest biomass issue recently, and I’d like to bring you a series of shows about it, not only because burning forest biomass threatens our environment and our health as much or more than coal or oil, but it is destroying entire forest ecosystems for the profit of corporations, and for little to no return to the people who live in these deforested regions, and who actually pay for the huge profits these corporations make from it through massive subsidies. And we’re only at the beginning of this monster - with pending changes to energy regulations here in Massachusetts, the biomass industry is coming for OUR HEALTH and OUR FORESTS. Just ask Governor Baker.l
    I’m going to try to untangle this complex subject for you, so that you are in full possession of the facts.
    I’m relying on the great work of a lot of people for this show. Just a few are the Partnership for Policy Integrity or PFPI, the Dogwood Alliance, The film “Burned: Are Trees the New Coal?”, and other sources. See below for links
    FOREST BIOMASS is fuel derived from the burning or heating of growing things, like trees and other plants. We’re discussing the industrial scale forest biomass, not your home woodstove, although home woodstoves are terribly polluting despite their cozy appeal.
    The fact is, we’re clear-cut logging the forests of the southeastern United States at an alarming rate for biomass fuel for export to Europe. The trees being cut down, processed into pellets, and shipped to Europe, are causing devastation to the southern states, especially along the Atlantic coast, and it’s all being touted as “clean” energy, “renewable” energy, “green” energy. It’s helping governments meet their carbon goals here and in Europe and the UK, and the entire industry is based on a lie.
    The big lie is that the burning of trees is a clean, green, sustainable energy solution. Anyone with a smidgen of common sense would conclude that this couldn’t possibly be true, and it isn’t. But by some bizarre “accounting error” — let’s point out this was no error - this was political and corporate maneuvering to make the logging and biomass industry a LOT Of money.
    Let’s break it down:
    The logging companies cut down the trees. How do they get access? The same way industry vultures got access to coal in the South and fracking rights across our country — they coerce and bribe decent people who have no money to speak of to sell the logging rights to their land. Or they access public forests, like what’s happening now in Massachusetts - by manipulating the political power brokers, like Governor Baker, into passing regulations that favor the cutting of trees for profit. Or they simply buy up the land and create biomass plantations, turning thriving, diverse bioregions into moonscapes.
    Once the trees are cut down, they are transported to biomass plants where they are either burned for electricity — a stupid way to meet our electricity needs if ever there was one — or processed into pellets for Europe’s energy needs. And no government is really counting the carbon cost of this process! Voilà!! A convenient “accounting error” — where no country is counting the carbon cost of decimating our forests — and they all get rich.
    But how are these industry giants getting rich? Our tax dollars. There are HUGE subsidies and tax breaks for the biomass in

    • 55 min
    EPISODE 20: Put Peaker Plants in the Past w/Rosemary Wessel of No Fracked Gas in Mass

    EPISODE 20: Put Peaker Plants in the Past w/Rosemary Wessel of No Fracked Gas in Mass

    Welcome to Audible Café!
    Today’s show features Rosemary Wessel, Program Director of No Fracked Gas in Mass, a program of the Berkshire Environmental Action Team, or BEAT. No Fracked Gas in Mass started as a passion project originally created by Rose and others to stop the now-defeated Kinder Morgan Northeast Energy Direct pipeline, a huge fracked gas pipeline project that would have brought fracked gas from Pennsylvania across New York, the full length of Massachusetts, up to New England, and eventually out for export.
    Rose and her team at No Fracked Gas in Mass continue to work to stop the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure in the Northeast states and to promote energy efficiency and sustainable, renewable sources of energy and local, permanent jobs in a clean energy economy. 
    We talked about a new initiative to shut down the obsolete and polluting “peaker plants” in Pittsfield, MA, as the first step a regional effort to do the same across New England. Peaker plants provide energy in those rare times when demand exceeds the usually steady supply of power available to people. As you will learn, there are other, cleaner and sustainable sources of power for those high-demand hours that are usually experienced during heat waves and similar situations.
    After my interview with Rose, I also discuss another tar sands pipeline being constructed by Enbridge out in northern Minnesota that rivals the Dakota Access Pipeline that brought so much pain and conflict to indigenous people out there. So here it’s happening again. I’m hoping to bring you interviews from the front lines of that opposition next week, but meanwhile, construction has begun on the pipeline known as Line 3 after 7 years of opposition, while lawsuits are pending in court. 
    Construction began in December after Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s administration signed off on final water permits in November.
    The pipeline is planned to cross Anishinaabe treaty lands, and threatens clean water at 21 water crossings where the company will use horizontal drilling techniques to bore under streams, rivers, and lakes, including the Mississippi River and dozens of its tributaries. Line 3 would cross two “Restricted Outstanding Resource Value Waters,” according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). 
    However, there is a great divide within at least on of the agencies: twelve out of 17 members of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA)’s Environmental Justice Advisory Group resigned in protest over the agency’s decision to bestow river crossing permits on Enbridge. They wrote in a letter to MPCA Commissioner Laura Bishop that “we cannot continue to legitimize and provide cover for the MPCA’s war on Black and brown people.”
    The people who will suffer most from this project are, once again, indigenous people from the Red Lake Band of Chippewa and the White Earth Band of Ojibwe. Together with the Sierra Club and the Indigenous environmental group Honor the Earth, the tribes have brought suit against Enbridge.
    This is a devastatingly destructive project on numerous levels, and as the most recent of the wide and lasting legacy of Trump’s four years of environmental abuses, it’s more than worthy of strong opposition.
    So stay tuned for more on that, but in the meantime, you can visit:
    Honor the Earth
    Thanks for listening to Audible Café. See you next week!
    This show originally aired on WBCR-lp Great Barrington 97.7FM. Visit berkshireradio.org to find out about the station or make a much-needed and much appreciated donation!
    No Fracked Gas in Mass - Peakers Project page
    BURNED: Is Biomass the New Coal?
    New climate bill:  (S.2995) “An Act Creating a Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy“
    Old Stone Mill in Adams, MA, a Zero Waste Maker Space
    Welcome Water Protectors
    Honor the Earth
    SHOW THEME MUSIC by Brian Eddy

    • 50 min

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The Audible Cafe is only two episodes in, but already I'm hooked on the fascinating interviews with knowledgeable people on topics related to the environment, wildlife, and sustainability.