Earth911's Mitch Ratcliffe interviews activists, authors, entrepreneurs and changemakers working to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, post-carbon society. You have more power to improve the world than you know! Listen in to get started saving the planet!
Earth911 Podcast: Xworks CEO Electra Coutsoftides on Pioneering Waste Networking
Meet Electra Coutsoftides, CEO of Xworks, who is building a business network to catalyze recycling progress. Xworks designed its platform to enhance waste handling and trading by accredited waste professionals. The U.K.-based company provides digital compliance reporting capabilities, making it easier for businesses and recycling programs to meet regulatory requirements. Members are verified before joining to ensure user trustworthiness, a keystone in any successful network. That confidence that trades are legitimate is essential to promoting a more efficient and reliable environment for trading and collaboration. In the past, these business conversations have taken place at industry conferences rather than in real time. A digital network can accelerate the industry’s progress. Suppose we can streamline connections, save time, reduce costs, and improve the integrity of transactions within the waste and recycling industry. In that case, we can make it more profitable to clean up our mess. You can learn more about Xworks at https://xworkstech.com
Earth911 Podcast: Dandelion Energy CEO Kathy Hannon on the Promise of Residential Geothermal Heat Pumps
Kathy Hannun, president and cofounder of Dandelion Energy, introduces an untapped heating and cooling capacity source for homes -- geothermal energy. Typically associated with high temperatures and geologically active areas such as hot springs or locations at the intersections of tectonic plates, geothermal heat pumps tap into the consistent year-round temperature of Earth’s outer crust to maintain a comfortable home environment. Dandelion emerged from Google X Lab and is transforming the heating and cooling choices available to New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts homeowners.
The Dandelion Energy system includes a heat pump inside the home and buried pipe systems, called ground loops, that transfer heat to or from the building. Geothermal technology is more efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly than traditional furnaces, offering lower operating costs and reduced environmental impact. Kathy shares how the company started and its partnerships with utilities in the Northeast that are embracing geothermal to preserve their business and cut the peak energy demands that tax the power grid and increase emissions during high-demand events like cold snaps and heatwaves. You can learn more about Dandelion Energy at https://dandelionenergy.com/
Earth911 Podcast: EVRNU's Stacy Flynn On Creating Circular Fiber For Sustainable Fashion
Clothing and textile recycling has historically been scarcely available to consumers. It has yet to be successful, with clothing piling up in warehouses or being sent overseas instead of becoming a new generation of apparel. Stacy Flynn, CEO and co-founder of Evrnu, a textile innovations B Corporation, works to reduce the fashion industry's environmental impact with a circular, recycled cotton fiber called Nucycl. In this crucial conversation, Stacy discusses how we can encourage companies to stop making products while washing their hands of the environmental consequences of the take-make-waste approach to business. Fast fashion has inspired youth to wear clothing just a few times, but clothing can last and become an integral part of one's identity, not just when it's new. Making clothing last and recognizing and celebrating a fashion brand's durable clothing is one way to help create a movement for sustainable clothing and textiles for the home and office.
Evrnu made a significant mark in the sustainable fashion industry with a technology that recycles cotton garment waste to create premium, renewable fibers. This process gives a new life to discarded textiles. It reduces the need for virgin resources, reducing waste and pollution. Nucycl is a biodegradable material made from cotton that can be engineered for various uses, from intimate apparel to waterproof outdoor gear. Evrnu is pioneering innovative solutions that are both environmentally responsible and economically viable. With the growing demand for sustainability in the fashion industry, EVRNU's goal of making all textiles recyclable by 2030 and achieving a net-neutral fashion industry by 2050 are bold targets we wanted to explore. You can learn more about EVRNU at https://www.evrnu.com/
Earth911 Podcast: The Resource Renewal Institute's Chance Cutrano on Putting Fish Back in the Fields
Chance Cutrano is director of programs at the Resource Renewal Institute in Fairfax, California. He and his team are experimenting with blending two activities, rice and fish farming, to reduce the emissions from rice fields while creating additional income for farmers. It's a practice recovered from antiquity that led to the launch of the Fish in the Fields program, which lowers carbon equivalent emissions created by rice farming by as much as 66% while improving biodiversity. Fish in the Fields recently won the 2023 JMK Innovation Prize from the JM Kaplan Institute.
Nature does an amazing trick: it uses everything. Wherever there is an untapped source of energy, nature facilitates the differentiation of species to evolve a creature, large or small, that will consume that energy. Human industry went the other way, dumping every leftover item of waste instead of finding a way to use it — the consequence is a society that cannot live within the planet's ability to provide enough resources each year. Farming is an excellent testing ground for integrating previously disconnected industries. For example, last year, we talked with Lundberg Family Farms's Bryce Lundberg, who embraced a regenerative approach to growing rice that supports migratory birds during winter when fields are flooded.
Farming, which can be closely tied to nature when it breaks with industrial thinking, is a natural incubator of complex systems that minimize or reduce waste while contributing to the restoration of biodiversity. It might be the place where businesses will learn regenerative practices. The transition to a green, carbon, and resource-neutral economy will see many companies, communities, and nations begin to tear down the arbitrary silos in which they operate today to create circular flows of materials and energy at levels of efficiency we cannot dream of from the confines of the take-make-waste worldview.You can learn more about the Resource Renewal Institute at https://www.rri.org/fish-in-the-fields
Earth911 Podcast: Project Censored's 25 Under-Reported Environmental Stories of 2023
As we enter 2024, closing the books on 2023's record heat, economic and geopolitical turmoil, and a raft of climate change stories in the mainstream press, we're fortunate to have Project Censored's Andy Lee Roth return to the show to discuss the most under-reported environmental stories of the last year. Andy last visited with us to discuss 2022's under-reported stories. Tune in for a wide-ranging conversation about the hidden environmental stories reported on independent news sites like The Guardian, High Country News, and other news sources tracked by Project Censored.
The mainstream press has responded to rising public concern about climate change with more practical information — they've assigned sustainability as a beat and hired columnists to deliver action-oriented articles. But at the same time, they do not do the enterprise reporting required to uncover significant environmental abuses by companies and governments. We're getting more attention to the climate crisis but not enough digging into its continuing sources, from misleading research funded by private companies to the lack of oversight of new products and chemicals, like per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances.
The news is what we make it, and in this era of transactional politics, too often, it is what we are willing to pay for. Now more than ever, an independent press is necessary. You can learn more about Project Censored's 2023 under-reported environmental stories at https://projectcensored.org
Earth911 Podcast: Can Nano Nuclear Energy's Microreactors Deliver Equitable Electricity?
Despite its other environmental impacts, including toxic waste that requires centuries or millennia of storage in facilities designed to protect future generations from the genetic and acute effects of radiation, nuclear power is considered by some influential environmentalists an essential component of the post-fossil fuel economy. For example, James Hansen, the NASA scientist who raised the alarm about global warming in Congressional testimony in 1987, advocates expanded nuclear energy generation. Meet Jay Yu, founder, executive chairman, and president of Nano Nuclear Energy Inc., and James Walker, CEO of the company. Nano Nuclear develops smaller, portable nuclear microreactors that can be moved to where electricity is needed on a truck. These microreactors can generate between 1 and 20 megawatts of energy, enough electricity to power as few as 400 homes or up to 20,000 homes, depending on their needs — and that's plenty for many large manufacturing companies to use in a crisis when other sources of power are down. Nano Nuclear is working on two designs, the Zeus and Odin reactors, for different uses.
Jay and James offer arguments for considering the role of microreactors in various settings we've discussed on the show. Ocean freight shipping, for example, accounts for 2% of humanity's annual carbon emissions, and a microreactor is about the same size as a diesel engine, so it could easily replace today's engine. Bringing inexpensive electricity to low-income countries could provide power to run water desalination plants and air conditioners as the planet warms and create economic opportunities that have never developed in the fossil fuel era. When you introduce new energy platforms, there is a chance to reorganize society for greater fairness. But there is still the question of what to do with spent nuclear fuel. The United States shut down its Yucca Mountain storage project, the country's only deep geological long-term storage facility, for many reasons, including the well-justified protest by the indigenous communities that live near the site. You can learn more about Nano Nuclear Energy at https://nanonuclearenergy.com/
Some useful information
An interesting podcast with some useful information.
Pains me to say this...
But it’s so bad. I want it to be good so much but it’s painfully boring. I can hear the hosts breathing into the mics the whole time. It is like a real-life version of the Delicious Dish sketch with Molly Shannon and Ana Gasteyer. This could be such a great, interesting podcast but you’re going to want to get some fresher hosts or producers.