Earthlings Podcast

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

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Latest Episodes

4

November 16, 2022 01:03:53
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 Resources: 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) Websites: 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. ...

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3

November 01, 2022 00:58:33
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 ...

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2

October 18, 2022 00:58:16
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 ...

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1

October 04, 2022 00:58:19
S2E1 Living with Wildfires

S2E1 Living with Wildfires

Wildfires in the 21st Century feel more intense, burning more acres, taking more lives, and encroaching closer to where people live. And they are raising big questions about how we can live close to nature when that means the risk of fire.  In this show, we look at what is causing these megafires, whether or not their size and intensity are really a new phenomenon, and how we can learn to adapt and live with wildfires, discovering solutions both indigenous and high-tech. Living with Wildfire features guests Dustin Mulvaney, Santa Cruz resident, environmental scientist, and amateur forest documentarian, Molly Hunter, Associate Research Professor at the University of Arizona and science advisor to the Joint Fire Science Program, Tim Barat, the co-founder & CEO of GridWare, and Carrick Detweiler, the CEO of Drone Amplified. Talking points First-hand accounts of what it was like to live near the 2020 CZU Lighting Complex Fires in California The history of wildfires in the United States Factors causing increased & more intense wildfires The ecology of the forest and how it has evolved to depend on fires Prescribed burns, intentional fires & other management techniques New technology to help prevent catastrophic fires and protect the  lives of fire crews Resources/Links Dustin Mulvaney’s work on the Six Fifty dot com Joint Fire Science Program ...

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9

May 24, 2022 00:29:14
S1E9 Bonus Who Are We Anyway?

S1E9 Bonus Who Are We Anyway?

We’ve received a number of questions from listeners, asking us about ourselves and what we do. So here's a bonus episode on our journey, ourselves, and the origin story of this podcast. We also go into our plan for Earthlings. Talking Points: Who is Lisa Ann? What is her background? Christian’s journey and background How did we meet? Why did we start the Earthlings podcast? What do we plan to cover in future episodes? Resources/Links: The RMI article that started it allPromo video of the WCS Event Lisa Ann Pinkerton:  LinkedIn Twitter Technica Communications Women in Cleantech and Sustainability Christian Roselund: LinkedIn Twitter RMI ...

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8

May 10, 2022 01:01:40
S1E8 How Green Is Your Steel?

S1E8 How Green Is Your Steel?

How do you make steel without cooking the planet? What is "green steel"? Steel is a fundamental part of our world, but the process we use to make it is inherently carbon-intensive. In this latest episode, we talk about new developments in both the production of fossil-free steel and how it is making its way to global markets with experts Thomas Koch Blank, Anders Williamsson, and Anne-Claire Howard. Chiefly, we discuss the implications of a new, cleaner process being used in Sweden to make fossil-free steel using hydrogen. We also examine what this means for both the global steel industry and consumers, as well as the timeframe for green steel take over brown steel. Thomas Koch Blank is a global expert on green steel and senior principal at RMI's Climate Aligned Industries program. Anders Williamsson is an executive VP and head of industrial operations at Swedish truck maker Scania. Anne-Claire Howard was the chief executive officer of Responsible Steel at the time of the recording. She has since moved on to a different role as the director of procurement at the UNOPS. About us: Earthlings Podast looks at the decisions that we can make today to ensure that the future we have is one we want to live in. Hosts Lisa Ann Pinkerton (former award-winning NPR and PBS environmental science reporter) and Christian Roselund (founding editor of pv magazine USA) take a close look at our relationships with technology, science, the planet, and each other. Talking Points: Why is the steel-making process ...

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