16 episodes

A look at the big issues facing humanity in the early 21st century and our relationship to our environment, technology, and each other.

Earthlings Podcast Christian Roselund & Lisa Ann Pinkerton

    • Science
    • 4.6 • 10 Ratings

A look at the big issues facing humanity in the early 21st century and our relationship to our environment, technology, and each other.

    Life at 3° C

    Life at 3° C

    You are living on a planet that is 1.1°C hotter than 100 years ago. By 2100, your future family members could be living in a 3°C world. This means mass deaths from extreme heat. Failing agriculture and food scarcity. Lack of drinkable water. Mass climate migration. Cities underwater. Civil unrest, and other dangers that you may not have even thought about. It’s not IF these things will happen, it’s how soon and how bad it will get. 
    Buckle up.
    In this episode, we look at the path we are currently on and attempt to illustrate what daily life could be like as the earth warms to 3°C. We explore where we might adapt and where adaptation could be impossible. 
    With our four guests, we look at just how dependent we are on natural systems and talk about what will happen as these systems break down. We explore the changes that are already happening in food production and what we will have to do as temperatures rise and weather patterns shift, and speak to how the climate crisis is going to change myriad other aspects of our lives on Earth.    
    Our guests are some of the top scientists and economists who have studied these issues for decades, written sections of IPCC reports, and books, and compiled meta-studies of existing literature. Each one echoes the same message - Life at 3°C is very, very bad: but that doesn’t mean it’s inevitable. While there is still time to prevent further danger, the window is closing.
    In this episode, our guests include: 

    Dr. Bill McGuire, Emeritus Professor of Geophysical & Climate Hazards at University College London, author of several books including Hothouse Earth.
    Dr. Camielle Paramsean, Professor at CNRS (SETE - Experimental and Theoretical Ecology)
    Dr. Edmond Totin, Research Scientist at ICRISAT
    Dr. Peter Howard, Economic Fellow at Institute for Policy Integrity


    Hothouse Earth (Bill McGuire)
    Ministry for the Future (Kim Stanley Robinson)
    The Sixth Extinction (Elizabeth Kolbert)
    Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5C (IPCC)
    Extreme Heat Will Change Us (New York Times)
    UN Emissions Gap Repor

    • 1 hr 14 min
    S2E6 Space Inc.

    S2E6 Space Inc.

    Humanity is moving into space, and our businesses are coming with us. In recent years we have seen the beginnings of a new wave of human activity in space, from new commercial ventures, to exploration and even space tourism. But what does the future of our species in space look like? And will we recreate our problems and carry our political dysfunction with us into the final frontier?
    Join us for the latest episode of Earthlings Podcast as we ask these and more questions about our collective journey. We will look at current plans and challenges to building a commercial space station and explore the potentially life-changing experience of visiting space as a tourist. Finally, we will examine how terrestrial politics are being translated into space, and look at thorny issues of who will control and exploit resources on the moon and other celestial bodies.
    Our guests:

    Neeraj Gupta, general manager and SVP of Space Destinations at Sierra Space
    Ryan Hartman, president and CEO at World View
    Marcia Smith, founder and editor of SpacePolicyOnline.com


    Artemis Accords
    Moon Agreement


    Sierra Space
    World View


    • 1 hr
    S2E5 Electrification: The Smart Home Upgrade

    S2E5 Electrification: The Smart Home Upgrade

    The home of the future is electric and dynamic. In this episode, we look at the how-to of smart home electrification and the integrations coming to maximize the transformation from the ordinary home to a live-in power plant. And we explore how the US federal government is providing incentives for home upgrades like heat pumps and induction stoves, 
    With our guests, we examine how homes are moving to a future of generating their own power, storing it and selling it to their neighbor or back to the grid. This includes an exploration of how car owners can get paid to provide grid services using their batteries. And in this winter of skyrocketing oil and gas prices, we bring a pathway to significantly save on energy costs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, mitigating the risk of blackouts, and more. Without leaving your front door.
    In this episode, our guests include: 

    Ari Matusiak, co-founder and CEO, Rewiring America
    Alex Bazhinov, founder, president and COO, Lumin
    Claire Broido Johnson, COO, Fermata Energy

    IRA Savings Calculator 
    Rewiring AmericaLumin Energy Fermata Energy 
    Thanks to Yan Mora and Eduardo Prosperi for audio editing.

    • 57 min
    S2E4 Chilling Out Urban Mobility

    S2E4 Chilling Out Urban Mobility

    E-bikes, e-scooters, and other forms of micromobility are changing how we get around cities and cities. In this episode, we examine multiple angles of this change to smaller, more efficient forms of transportation, looking at the benefits to individual riders and how and why we can change cities to allow people to meet their travel needs more efficiently. We also explore the danger of fires from today’s lithium-ion batteries and new chemistry that could make micromobility safer. 
    In this episode, our guests include: 

    Melinda Hanson, co-founder of Electric Avenue and the Equitable Commute Project: Getting e-bikes into the hands of low-income people and how this can change lives
    Carlos Pardo, senior advisor to the New Urban Mobility Alliance: Working with cities to accommodate simpler forms of mobility and better meet the needs of residents - and Bogota’s experience doing this
    Charlie Welch, co-founder and CEO of ZappBatt: Lithium-titanate battery chemistry and how it can help to make e-bike batteries safer and shared micromobility more efficient

    The Equitable Commute Project The Banality of Joyfulness (in Transportation) by Carlos PardoLithium-titanate could prove the new driver of micromobility by Charlie WelchHow to Prevent an E-Bike Fire (Consumer Reports)
    Electric Avenue ZapbattNew Urban Mobility Alliance
    Thanks to audio editors Yan Mora and Eduardo Prosperi, and special thanks to Zachary Subin of RMI for research support.

    • 1 hr 3 min
    S2E3 - Flying the Sustainable Skies

    S2E3 - Flying the Sustainable Skies

    The future of flight is evolving. From battery electric airplanes to hydrogen power to sustainable aviation fuels, new technologies are opening up new vistas of what is possible. As an industry, airlines and aircraft manufacturers are informally aiming to make aviation net zero by 2050. But decarbonizing how we fly people and goods isn’t just about new airplane technology; it requires new fueling and charging infrastructure and new business models. 
    In Flying the Sustainable Skies, co-hosts Lisa Ann Pinkerton (former NPR reporter) and Christian Roselund (formerly of Rocky Mountain Institute, Pacifica) explore this new Golden Age of Aviation with three guests with different perspectives on how this new future will evolve. 
    We start at 10,000 feet with Graham Warwick, Senior Editor of Aviation Week. He covers the basics of sustainable aviation fuels and synth fuels that today’s planes can burn to make their flights carbon-neutral without disrupting engine design or airline operations. 
    Next, serial entrepreneur, pilot, founder and CEO of ZeroAvia Val Miftakhov outlines the potential for hydrogen-electric aviation, how it works, and his vision of green hydrogen hubs at airports to power the planes. 
    Finally, Blain Newton, COO of Beta Technologies, demonstrates how battery-electric airplanes are running actual cargo missions today for real customers. He illustrates how the fuel independence of electric flight opens up new possibilities for flying that were previously unimaginable. 
    Subjects Discussed: 

    Sustainable Aviation Fuel or SAFs
    The carbon accounting of SAFs 
    Hydrogen fuel cell airplanes
    Hydrogen combustion to power airplanes
    Battery electric airplanes 
    Electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) technologies 
    The need for new aircraft designs 
    The limits of different zero-emission technologies
    Green hydrogen 
    Why renewable power for zero-emission aviation is expected to be available at very low cost

    • 58 min
    S2E2 Plastic Diet

    S2E2 Plastic Diet

    Plastic is everywhere. And it could be making you sick. As higher concentrations of microplastic particles are found throughout the world, in the air, soils and water, more and more research is suggesting that all this plastic could have negative health impacts, including on babies, children, and our ability to have children. This is particularly a danger for the Global South, which is suffering disproportionately from plastic pollution.
    In Plastic Diet, co-hosts Lisa Ann Pinkerton (former NPR reporter) and Christian Roselund (formerly of Rocky Mountain Institute, Pacifica) look at where plastic waste comes from, where it goes (hint: not some magical “away” place), what’s in it, and what research tells us it is likely doing to our bodies. And we look at what we can do about it, including how we can design for a different world without plastic pollution.
    Plastic Diet features UN-recognized Land Hero, social entrepreneur, and journalist Patricia Kombo, scientist and researcher Kam Sripada, centre manager at the Centre for Digital Life Norway, and Beth Rattner, the executive director of the Biomimicry Institute.
    Subjects discussed

    Sources of plastic pollution
    Impact of plastic pollution on the Global South
    Documented health risks from toxins in plastics
    Status of research on health effects of plastic pollution
    Challenges in studying health impacts of microplastics and nanoplastics
    The false promise of recycling as a solution to plastic pollution
    Fashion’s role in microplastic pollution 
    Techniques for redesigning textiles to mimic nature 
    Plastic-eating fungus, (yes, you heard us a new magic mushroom)
    Alternatives to single-use plastics (a.k.a. Milk ATMs)


    Do away with plastic additives wreaking havoc on our health (Patricia Kombo, The Standard)
    Report: A Children’s Health Pe

    • 58 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
10 Ratings

10 Ratings

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Informative and well thought out

Really enjoying this podcast! It’s well produced, informative and entertaining. Looking forward to more!

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