Stories about climate action from the bottom up.
The Battle for a Climate Friendly Farm Bill
This year's Farm Bill will determine whether US agriculture cuts its greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. Republicans want to divert $20 billion away from agricultural climate solutions. Farmers who've adopted these practices say they increase soil carbon and climate resilience.
We hear stories from farmers about compost, cover crops, prescribed grazing, and more. Sustainable agriculture advocates Renata Brillinger of the California Climate and Agriculture Network and Erik Kamrath from the Union of Concerned Scientists advise us what to tell our Congresspeople. (It's simple).
This Is My Home: Women whup petrochemical giant
The David who fought Goliath had two sisters. This is the modern day story about two women taking on a giant. They started alone, standing up against a huge multinational petrochemical corporation, and won. Diane Wilson, a fisherwoman from Seadrift Texas, won the largest ever penalty in a citizen clean water lawsuit, defending her bay from plastic pollution. Sharon Lavigne of St James Parish, Louisiana, stopped the same company, Formosa Plastics, from building the largest petrochemical plant in the world in her small Black community.
This is an updated story first broadcast in 2021
When we fix what we have, we reduce emissions, and strengthen communities. 80% of the carbon pollution from our laptops, cell phones, and appliances is embodied carbon, emitted before we even open the box. A return to repair means changing our culture and challenging corporate monopoly. We have stories about a repair cafe in Chicago and a coalition of Minnesota techies and farmers who overcame corporate lobbies to win passage of the nation's strongest Right to Repair law.
Smartphone repairability scores
Right to Repair State bills
Find or Start a Repair Cafe
Decarbonizing Based on Need, not LEED
80% of the buildings that will be here in 2050 are already here, producing 30% of our greenhouse gas emissions. Uber sustainable new construction is cool, but the big carbon reductions will come from electrifying old buildings.
Chicago plans to retrofit 80,000 homes in the next 7 years. A research collaboration between the city, community organizations, a utility, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is working out a plan that will minimize emissions, maximize justice and lower peoples' energy bills.
The results convinced me that, at least in Chicago, it's far better to eliminate fossil fuel heating in lots of homes than to spend the same amount of money completely decarbonizing a lesser number. We need to do it all eventually, but this is the way to make big change fast.
Out of Gas, In with Justice
A pilot study replacing gas stoves with induction stoves in a public housing building in the South Bronx did the expected and decreased indoor air pollution. Two unexpected discoveries were the popularity of the induction stoves and that the building's old wiring could only deliver enough juice to replace stoves in a fraction of the apartments. Replacing all the gas stoves with induction stoves and the building's broken boiler with heat pumps will require an expensive electrical upgrade. To avoid those costs in the future, NYCHA used its purchasing power to get manufacturers to build heat pumps which use less electricity, plug into 110 outlets and install easily in their buildings' windows.
Story: Annie Carforo, Michelle Feliciano, Vlada Keniff, Mary Rivera, Angela Morales
Scott Holmes, Kevin McLeod, Maarten Schellekins, Jason Shaw, and Jahzzar
An E-bike Loaves and Fishes Tale: From 13 bikes to 13,000
"When I read in 2020 that Colorado ran a pilot program to give away just 13 e-bikes, I scoffed. What difference could that possibly make? Now I have to eat my bike helmet." - Wendy Ring, Cool Solutions Producer and Host.
Turns out that mini-pilot laid the foundation for Denver's wildly successful e-bike program by proving that e-bikes cut car trips and emissions and that low income folks want to ride them. Denver's program became the model for a statewide program. That "e" also stands for equity, as removing economic barriers to bikes builds pressure to address unsafe streets in low income neighborhoods.
Guests: Christian Willis, Colorado Energy Office Rachel Hultin, Bicycle Colorado Frieda Mitchell & Darnell Robinson, Can Do CO participants Mike Salisbury Denver Office of Climate Action Sustainability and Resilience Ash Lovell, People for Bikes
Great to hear solutions and possibilities for addressing climate change. Inspiring and hopeful.