At The Eco-Interviews, we're speaking to people living and working in environmentalism and sustainability. From farmers to business people, academics to activists, we're amplifying voices and sharing stories from eco-warriors from across the world.
Episode 27: How Attorneys Can Prevent Land Theft with Casey Kennedy
Hey, it’s been a minute. Our last podcast came out at the beginning of January and here we are in the 2nd week of February. This past month has been wild in terms of US politics, and I also needed some hibernation time for myself.
But I’m crazy excited to introduce you to Casey Kennedy, an attorney specializing in title search and heirs property resolution. Casey is the founder of Hogan Land & Title, a premier real estate title abstracting and genealogy services company, and the Principal Attorney for The Law Offices of Casey E. Kennedy, LLC.
Casey is an alumnus of Duquesne University School of Law and graduated cum laude with a concentration in Energy & Environmental Law. She is passionate about solving heirs property issues in Appalachia and protecting land ownership in rural communities throughout the south. Before practicing law in West Virginia and South Carolina, Casey was an offshore fisherman in Kachemak Bay, Alaska and a specialized surface and subsurface title researcher.
When she is not working she can be found spending quality time with her adorable toddler, husband, 47 house plants, and two dogs. She’s a muralist, avid gardener and enjoys cycling and hiking.
It’s been a privilege to get to know Casey, and I’m excited she was able to come on The Eco-Interviews to share her story of working in the energy industry to transitioning to business ownership with the mission of helping people and the planet.
Find the transcript of this interview at https://www.eco-interviews.com.
Episode 26: Pinehurst Farmers Market with April Jones
Happy New Year Eco-Interviews listeners! To kick off 2021, I’m sharing a quick interview with April Jones, founder of the Pinehurst Farmers Market in Columbia, SC.
With two grocery stores closing in her Pinehurst neighborhood, April and her neighbors were facing what’s known as a food desert or food apartheid situation. April was inspired by legendary farmer Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm to be the change she was looking for in her Pinehurst Community. At a conference April attended, Penniman said: “If you are looking for someone to save you, no one is coming. You will have to save yourself.” Those words were a call to action for April to create a solution to the issue of food access in the Pinehurst neighborhood. The vision was created to form a self-reliant, self-sustainable plan of action that would create healthy, organic food options for the community that would support the local economy and give residents access to food sovereignty.
Two years later and with COVID-19 changing the way we all interact with each other in day-to-day life, April has created the Pinehurst Community Action non-profit, which accepts donations that are then turned into COVID solidarity boxes full of fresh, locally and regeneratively grown fruits and vegetables.
April really is trailblazing here with her neighborhood, creating the community, mutual aid, and food systems that move people from surviving to thriving. This is SO important as we’ve seen presumed stable systems collapse during the pandemic. The United States is facing some of the highest infection and death rates from COVID, and this is compounded by a hunger crisis, economic crisis, and the systemic racism that is baked into our institutions. April really is living up to Leah Penniman’s words by creating something to save herself and her community.
If you are local to Columbia, South Carolina, I encourage you to visit the farmers market on Wednesday afternoons, or contribute to Pinehurst Community Action. For those further afield, seek out similar community action in your area, or be the one to start something!
In 2021, let’s create the world we want now and for future generations. It will take all of us working together to ensure our own health, wealth, and happiness.
Get the full interview transcript + video at https://eco-interviews.com.
Episode 25: Building a Climate Resilient Mozambique with Carmen Munhequete
I’m excited to introduce you to Carmen Munhequete in this week’s episode. Carmen currently works as a principal consultant at ERM (Environment Resource Management) based in Maputo, Mozambique. She is an experienced professional, with more than 17 years working in development across the mining-, agricultural-, environment and climate change-, and humanitarian relief sectors.
What an opportunity to speak with someone doing amazing work from the other side of the world. It’s unfortunate that we do not hear more, or know more, about what’s going on in Africa so connecting with Carmen in Mozambique was a real treat.
It’s worth keeping in mind that developing countries like Mozambique suffer the brunt of climate change disasters even while their population are the lowest contributors to the causes of accelerated global warming. For example, while the richest 10 percent of people produce half of the planet’s individual-consumption-based fossil fuel emissions, the poorest 50 percent — about 3.5 billion people — contribute only 10 percent.
How is a developing country like Mozambique helping its people face multiple crises like poverty, violence, lack of infrastructure, and climate change? Carmen is working on the frontlines to tackle these issues, and she shares her story with us today.
Episode 24: Save Our Saluda with Melanie Ruhlman
Welcome Eco-Interviews listeners! I’m your host Fiona Martin, and this is the podcast where we amplify the voices of those defending Mother Earth and tackling the climate crisis.
In this episode, I’m chatting with Melanie Ruhlman, president of Save Our Saluda, a nonprofit watershed organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the Upper Saluda Watershed in Upstate, South Carolina. Melanie earned her Bachelor of Science in Forestry from North Carolina State University in 1990 and her Masters of Science in Forest Hydrology from the University of Georgia in 1996. Her areas of expertise include watershed assessment and planning, hydrology, water quality, erosion and sediment control, stormwater management, stream assessment, soils, wetlands, and public outreach and education. She lives on the North Saluda River in Marietta, South Carolina with her husband and two children and enjoys paddling, biking, hiking, and gardening.
Our rivers provide us with drinking water, irrigation, biodiversity, recreation, relaxation, and unfortunately waste disposal. While our ancestors and previous generations may have disrespectfully interacted with our rivers, organizations like Save Our Saluda are working to correct the damages done and prevent further harm. While it’s easy to point the finger at big polluters like wastewater plants and other industrial uses, agriculture is a big culprit of river pollution. Conventional farming practices like tilling leave the soil exposed, and rain creates water runoff full of precious topsoil, heavy metals, and chemicals like herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizer.
One initiative directed by Save Our Saluda is to provide funds to farmers for regenerative agricultural practices like cover cropping, no till, and riparian buffers. Not only does this help our rivers, it helps the farmer’s bottom line with improved biodiversity and better crop yields with fewer inputs. A win-win-win, right?
Find the video and transcript of this interview at https://eco-interviews.com.
Episode 23: Florianópolis - a sustainable city with Felícia Campos
In this episode, I had the pleasure of speaking with Felicia Campos, a historian who also has Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies under the UNESCO Chair at Innsbruck University, Austria. Felicia has been around the world studying a host of subjects, but in this interview, we find her in her home city of Florianopolis, Brazil.
Florianopolis is a unique city, located on an island in the south of Brazil. It’s been designated a “sustainable city” so I was interested in hearing from Felicia what makes Floripa sustainable, why does it’s population care so much, and how the residents, businesses, and municipality all work together to reach their sustainable goals.
It’s fascinating to learn about other places and the efforts they make, and if there is one takeaway for me, it’s that as citizens, we need to be involved in the planning process for our towns and cities. No one wants to live next to polluting coal plants and landfills, swim in plastic-filled water, or inhale exhaust fumes from millions of cars. But it takes the people standing up for our rights for clean air, water, and soil to make a difference. The tech entrepreneurs putting down roots in Floripa know the citizens want to maintain the natural splendor of the city, and they make adjustments accordingly.
Find the full transcript of this interview at www.eco-interviews.com.
Episode 22: Birds & the October Big Day with April Harper
In episode 22 of the The Eco-Interviews, we speak with bird expert April Harper about human-wildlife interactions, the threat to wildlife, and how climate change is affecting birds. We also talk about October Big Day, a global bird watching event taking place October 17-18, 2020.
Find the full transcription of this interview at www.eco-interviews.com.
Great “street level” approach!
What I like about Fiona’s approach to the Climate Crisis is to focus on what “we” can do on an individual basis. It’s easier to feel like you’re actually doing something and making a difference. Then once you have some small wins, it’s easier to take a more global approach. Highly recommend this podcast.