Earth Cast is a platform for discussions about bridging the resource gap between people and planet.
Olivia Taylor (@olivia_earth) interviews a series of changemakers, thinkers, and disruptors who problematise nuanced sustainability topics and explore possible future imaginaries.
Earth Cast's vision is to create accessible, free, and inclusive educational resources which aim to shed light on diverse climate narratives.
Together we will discover fresh perspectives and the most useful levers in society for change.
S1E26 John Belizaire | The Future of the Grid & Wasted Energy
🎙 In S1E26, Olivia Taylor speaks to John Belizaire about how energy poverty came about, and its uneven distribution across communities, the biggest challenge facing the energy transition, energy poverty, wasted energy & crypto, innovative technologies, the future of the grid, and so much more!
Since the age of 14 selling floppy discs in high school, John has had an entrepreneurial spirit and interest in technology. He was a recipient of the Intel Scholarship Program and he went on to receive a computer science and engineering degree from Cornell University. When he was 28 years old, he sold his first start-up company for $150 million.
He has gone on to become a versatile CEO and serial entrepreneur who has successfully founded and scaled several more multi-million dollar technology companies. Today, he is CEO of Soluna, a company helping to shape the future of renewable energy development. His expertise as both a highly effective business leader and technology strategist has enabled his new venture and operational success steering complex initiatives from concept to funding, launch and growth.
🎙 To follow more of John’s work, you can find him on LinkedIn and Twitter.
S1E25 Bathandwa Vazi | (Decentralising) Power to the People
🎙In S1E25 Olivia Taylor (@olivia_earth) speaks to Bathandwa Vazi about the impact of decommissioning coal mines on the South African economy, and unpacks the employment concerns and opportunities surrounding the transition to renewables. Bathandwa explains energy access and poverty, and dives into the topic of the decentralisation of power, and the role that trade unions could play in the just energy transition. This is followed by a discussion about how Eskom can adapt to become efficient and profitable, and so much more!
Bathandwa Vazi is a qualified town and regional planner with an Honours degree in Public Administration and holds an MBA. She is an established professional with 10 years of experience in local and provincial government across South Africa, advising and supporting them on best practices, as well as developing various plans and strategies including climate action plans and revenue enhancement strategies.
Bathandwa’s experience broadly ranges across sustainable energy and climate change approaches in urban development including the areas of local-level energy data and policy development, energy efficiency, renewable energy, informal sector electrification and related local government structures, mandates and project implementation. This includes capacity building, facilitation, training, a learning network and, materials development specifically towards the re-skilling of professionals in the area of local government and sustainable energy.
🎙To follow more of Bathandwa’s work, you can find her on LinkedIn.
S1E24 Jotham Makarudze | Project Finance and Partnerships for Facilitating the Just Energy Transition
🎙In S1E24, Olivia Taylor (@olivia_earth) speaks to Jotham Makarudze about project finance, what it is, and why has it been so successful for enabling the financing of REIPPPP in SSA. Jotham also explains how project finance is facilitating a deeper and more just energy transition and how it can stop the perpetuation of inequalities. He also unpacks whether project finance can only succeed under capitalism, and so much more!
Jotham is a Project Finance Professional at a Development Finance Institute. He has over 16 years’ experience in credit analysis, deal structuring and project finance with exposure to projects across the energy, ICT and transport sectors on the African continent with 8 years at Senior level.
Jotham has previously worked as a Credit Analyst for a credit rating agency and as an Investment Analyst covering listed and unlisted banks and corporates across Africa. He is a CFA charterholder and holds a Bcom honours degree in Financial Analysis and Portfolio Management from the University of Cape Town, a Bcom degree from Wits University, and an MBA from the Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria.
🎙To follow more of Jotham’s work, you can find him on LinkedIn.
S1E23 Prof. Peter Newell | Power Shifts: Making Sustainability the 'New Normal'
Earth Cast Season One: The Just Energy Transition
🎙 In S1E23, Olivia Taylor (@olivia_earth) speaks to Peter Newell where he unpacks the global political energy transition: identifying and recognising who participates and who makes decisions, mobilising for change, bringing future ideas into the present paradigm to ensure a socially just ecological transition, the international oil economy, ensuring “no one gets left behind”, and so much more!
Peter Newell is a Professor of International Relations at the University of Sussex and co-founder and research director of the Rapid Transition Alliance. His recent research focuses on the political economy of low carbon energy transitions, but he has undertaken research, advocacy, and consultancy work on different aspects of climate change for over 25 years.
Peter has worked at the universities of Sussex, Oxford, Warwick and East Anglia in the UK and FLACSO Argentina. He sits on the board of directors of Greenpeace UK and has undertaken advisory work the governments of the UK, Sweden and Finland and for international organisations such as the United Nations Development Programme, the Global Environment Facility and the Inter-American Development Bank.
His single and co-authored books include Climate for Change; Governing Climate Change; Globalization and the Environment; Climate Capitalism; Transnational Climate Change Governance, Global Green Politics and Power Shift: The Global Political Economy of Energy Transitions.
🎙 To follow more of Peter’s work, you can find him on Twitter.
S1E22 Dr Nthabiseng Mohlakoana | An Ethnography of Energy: African Opportunities & Gender Inclusivity
Earth Cast Season One: The Just Energy Transition
🎙 In the first episode of season one, Olivia Taylor (@olivia_earth) speaks to Dr Nthabiseng Mohlakoana about her personal journey exploring the energy sector, her findings regarding tackling the dual goals of decarbonization and development, and their interconnections with gender equality, what an energy transition is, the enabling factors (and barriers) for a deep and just transition, as well as the Just Energy Transition in an African context and its potential for growth.
Dr Nthabiseng Mohlakoana is a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Sustainability Transitions (CST), Stellenbosch University. She has published articles and book chapters on energy access and use, productive uses of energy in the informal food sector and addressing gender issues in energy governance and access.
Nthabi has 20 years of experience in research focusing on energy policy implementation, energy access and use as well as gender mainstreaming in the energy sector. At the CST she is part of the energy team working on the South African energy transition with a focus on the socio-economic issues such as energy access, energy poverty, jobs, skills development, gender as well as impact on communities and their livelihoods.
Most of her research in recent years emphasizes the importance of gender equality in planning and implementation of energy and other basic services interventions dictated by policies, in line with the SDGs and other important intervention strategies. Nthabi’s work aims at finding solutions that address and lead to the eradication of energy poverty and addressing inequalities in the global south.
🎙To follow more of Nthabi’s work, please visit here.
EP21 Jamila Janna | Environmental Racism & Inclusivity: World Ocean Day Special
In this World Ocean Day special, Olivia Taylor (@olivia_earth) speaks to Jamila Janna about the nuances of environmental racism and how it affects inclusivity in the ocean space, the harmful effects of mainstream conservation narratives on environmental projects’ success, opportunities for youth in marine conservation, and more!
Jamila is a filmmaker, social media strategist, and marine biologist from KwaZulu-Natal, whose work focuses on community engagement in decision-making. Miss Janna has a background in stable isotopes, estuarine and coastal ecology, filmmaking, science communication and marine activism which has allowed her to participate meaningfully in stakeholder engagements and public speaking. Jamila has a passion for advocating for sustainable usage, fighting environmental racism, and sharing intersectionality narratives about marine environmentalism.
To follow more of Jamila’s work, you can find her on Instagram @xhosawanderer.
10/10 would recommend
Treat your ears to this inclusive podcast. Can’t wait to hear more!!
Incisive questions and insightful answers from an impressive variety of experts in related fields. Nuanced yet accessible. Highly recommended!
Such an informative and accessible way to gain knowledge about sustainability. Thank you Olivia.