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Infinite Earth Radio – weekly conversations with leaders building smarter, more sustainable, and equitable communities

Infinite Earth Radio is a weekly podcast produced by Skeo and the Local Government Commission and hosted by Mike Hancox and Vernice Miller-Travis. Each week they interview visionary leaders, dedicated government officials, savvy businesses and forward thinking individuals who are working to build smarter, more equitable, sustainable, and prosperous communities through social and economic inclusion that values the contribution of all citizens and seeks meaningful lives for everyone. You will discover new leading edge strategies for lifting up and building great 21st century communities, along with cutting edge strategies for revitalizing under resourced communities and empowering excluded populations. Smart Growth, Prosperity and Sustainability are not possible without social, civic, and economic inclusion for people of all economic, social, and racial backgrounds.
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Infinite Earth Radio – weekly conversations with leaders building smarter, more sustainable, and equitable communities
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Nov 23, 2017

How wildfires will shape our future

Guest & Organization:

Edward Struzik is an award-winning writer and photographer. His previous books include Firestorm, Future Arctic, Arctic Icons, and The Big Thaw, among others. A fellow at the Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, his numerous accolades include the prestigious Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy and the Sir Sandford Fleming Medal, awarded for outstanding contributions to the understanding of science. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta.

Learn More About Ed

In Firestorm, journalist Edward Struzik visits scorched earth from Alaska to Maine, and introduces the scientists, firefighters, and resource managers making the case for a radically different approach to managing wildfire in the 21st century. Wildfires can no longer be treated as avoidable events because the risk and dangers are becoming too great and costly. Struzik weaves a heart-pumping narrative of science, economics, politics, and human determination and points to the ways that we, and the wilder inhabitants of the forests around our cities and towns, might yet flourish in an age of growing megafires.

Resources:

“Firestorm: How Wildfire Will Shape Our Future”

Island Press Urban Resilience Project

Download the Island Press APP! Learn more about the APP here, and find it on Google Play and Apple App Store!

Nov 16, 2017

Topic:

The role of sports in increasing social mobility and improving communities

Guest & Organization:

Lisa Wrightsman is the Regional Program Manager of Street Soccer USA Sacramento and the Founder and Coach of Sacramento Lady Salamanders. Lisa earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication with a concentration in Digital Video from California State University, Sacramento. She was a member of the University's NCAA Division I Women's Soccer team and currently holds multiple program records as well as recognition as a member of the All-Decade team. After college she played over five years of semi professional soccer for the Elk Grove Pride.

Today her passion for soccer is seen in her social entrepreneurship initiatives with Street Soccer USA; a nationwide non-profit that uses soccer to break the cycle of homelessness and domestic abuse. Lisa is the founder and current Director and Coach of Street Soccer USA’s Sacramento Lady Salamanders. She started this program in 2010 and has since seen tremendous results and growth of the program as it has proven to successfully reverse the effects of addiction and domestic violence in 92% of team participants. Street Soccer USA uses this team platform to create a training curriculum of job preparation, life skills, and other specialized services, ultimately connecting participants directly to jobs, education, and housing.

Lisa was recognized in 2015, as one of Sacramento Business Journal’s top 40 Under 40 young professionals. She is a Senior Fellow of the Nehemiah Emerging Leader’s Program. Since 2010 Lisa has coached the USA Women’s Street Soccer team at the Homeless World Cup and in 2016 was selected as Women's Coach of the Tournament. Most recently Lisa was selected as a 2016 Change-Maker by TEDx Sacramento where she shared her story of resilience, hope, and how to be a catalyst for change

Resources:

Street Soccer USA

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018

Nov 9, 2017

Topic:

Making the connection between planning and public health

Guest & Organization:

Anna Ricklin, AICP is the Manager of the Planning and Community Health Center at the American Planning Association (APA) in Washington, D.C. Anna works with APA members and partners to research, educate, and promote planning practice that improves public health through increased physical activity, healthy eating, and access to health and human services. With a background in public health, transportation planning, and nutrition, Anna is an emerging leader in applied research, strategic planning, and coalition building for healthy communities. She has worked in the fields of health impact assessment, community outreach and active transportation, including transit and bicycle planning. She has a MHS from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a BA in Anthropology from American University.

The Planning and Community Health Center leads the first nationwide program linking public health and planning practice. Community design directly effects human health. Development patterns, zoning, and land use impact walkability and transportation options, access to services, the availability of healthy foods, and vulnerability to hazards. Planners can help create places that offer choices for everyone to be healthy and safe. APA’s Planning and Community Health Center provides tools and technical support to members so they can integrate health into planning practice at all levels. Areas of focus include active living, healthy eating, and health in all planning policies. They implement their aims through applied research, place-based investment, and education.

Resources:

American Planning Association’s Planning and Community Health Center

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018

Nov 2, 2017

Guest & Organization:

Alden Meyer is director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists and the director of its Washington, DC, office. He provides general oversight and strategic guidance for the organization’s advocacy on energy, transportation, agriculture, and arms control issues. Mr. Meyer is also the principal advocate for UCS on national and international policy responses to the threat of global climate change. In addition, he works extensively on renewable energy and electricity policy.

Mr. Meyer has nearly 40 years of experience in energy and environmental policy at the state and national levels. He has testified before Congress on global warming and energy issues, and has authored numerous articles on climate change, energy policy, and electric utility and nuclear power issues for environmental and general interest publications. He has also served on several federal advisory panels, including the U.S. Secretary of Energy's advisory board.

Mr. Meyer is an expert on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change process, and the key design issues that will likely comprise the next global climate agreement, slated to be signed in 2015. Mr. Meyer has attended the climate negotiations since they first started in 1990 and his expertise has helped shape U.S. and UN policies. 

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet’s most pressing problems. Joining with citizens across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.

Learn More about Alden and the Union of Concerned Scientists

 

Resources:

COP 23 Bonn

Climate Action Business Association (CABA)

 

Union of Concerned Scientists

Oct 26, 2017

Topic: 

The Connection Between Race and Energy

In This Episode:

01:35  _Guest Denise Fairchild is introduced.

02:12  Denise explains what energy democracy is and why it’s important.

05:31  Denise shares how energy shapes our political system.

08:11  Denise talks about the ownership and distribution of energy.

11:03  Denise touches on how a community ownership of energy would work and gives examples of models.

17:01  Denise tells why production decentralization matters and if distributive production meets all of our needs.

21:22  Denise gives the connection between race and energy.

24:30  Denise describes how confronting racial issues will drive a new energy democracy.

28:29  Denise agrees to come back on another episode to discuss the parallels between the fossil fuel interests and the struggle to end slavery.

30:48  Denise shares where people can go to buy her book.

Guest and Organization:

Denise Fairchild is president and CEO of Emerald Cities Collaborative, a national nonprofit organization of business, labor, and community groups dedicated to climate resilience strategies that produce environmental, economic, and equity outcomes. She is co-editor of the new book Energy Democracy: Advancing Equity in Clean Energy Solutions.

Take Away Quotes:

“It’s interesting that we are really seeing the reason for economic democracy when we look at what’s going on in Puerto Rico right now.  It is the prime example about how the burning of fossil fuel is leading to climate crisis, that’s led to the loss of life and property, showing that the fossil fuel economy, the extractive economy, not only impacted our environment but our economy.”

“Our current economy, our dirty energy economy, is also impacting issues of equity.  Dirty energy lifts up the racial inequality that exists in our current capitalist economy.  Those that are most challenged by and vulnerable to the impacts of dirty energy are low-income people.”

“Energy democracy’s addressing the challenges of a centralized monopoly over energy where profit matters more than planet and people.”

“If you can put the source of energy on your rooftop or in a community, two or three miles from where energy’s going to be used, you’re going to save 20 or 30% more in terms of the cost of transmitting energy.”

Resources:

Emerald Cities Collaborative 

http://emeraldcities.org/ 

Energy Democracy: Advancing Equity in Clean Energy Solutions

https://islandpress.org/books/energy-democracy

Island Press Urban Resilience Project

 

Download the Island Press APP!  Learn more about the APP here, and find it on Google Play and Apple App Store!

Oct 19, 2017

Topic:

Making Urban Streets More Bicycle and Pedestrian Friendly

In This Episode:

01:07  Guest Grace Kyung describes Trailnet.
01:16  Grace shares what motivated her to become a bicycle and pedestrian planner.
02:31  Grace tells what she’s learned and what we need to do to make communities more bikeable and pedestrian friendly.
05:18  Grace explains what traffic calming is.
06:25  Grace states how, at a local level, to start making communities more pedestrian friendly.
10:05  Grace addresses the obstacles to redesigning bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly streets.
14:42  Does St. Louis have a capital improvement plan that tells where the city will invest in infrastructure and when it will happen?
15:41  Grace continues with strategies for making communities more pedestrian friendly.
18:12  Grace tells where people can go to learn more about Trailnet.
18:24  Grace mentions how communities can learn about becoming more pedestrian and bike friendly.

Guest and Organization:

Grace Kyung is the Special Projects Director at Trailnet, a non-profit improving walking, bicycling, and transit as a way of life. Grace provides technical assistance on how to improve the built environment to increase accessibility for all ages and abilities throughout the state of Missouri. Grace enjoys the challenges and opportunities of using tactical urbanism approaches to engage and educate stakeholders about safer street designs. Grace is interested in using place-based approaches to create healthy equitable communities. Before moving to St. Louis, Grace received a Masters in Public Health and Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. While a student, Grace ran a successful campaign to bring in a permanent funding source for bicycle-related projects at the university, led social justice campaigns, planned student service trips, and served on a local non-profit board. Grace serves as co-chair on the Healthy Communities Collaborative an interest group of the American Planning Association. She is focused on bridging the connection between public health and urban planning to address transportation and equity concerns. Grace enjoys conversations about how to create livable communities where people come first. Grace is a multi-modal commuter who loves riding her bike to find doughnuts and a good book to read.

For more than 25 years, Trailnet has brought together friends, organizations and people from many communities to create positive change in the St. Louis bi-state region by encouraging healthy, active living. Trailnet works to improve the quality of life for our families, neighbors, and communities. Their work and their partnerships directly impact local citizens, schools, businesses, communities, and nonprofit agencies throughout their region.

Take Away Quotes:

“So with how we’ve built our cities, and especially within the city of St. Louis, our streets are just overbuilt. We just have really wide travel lanes, and it’s just what people have gotten used to, so more people don’t feel comfortable walking or biking outside because it’s not as safe.”

“With the paradigm of how things have been, if we’re going to make actual shifts to address what the larger concerns are, we need to start looking at, from a community’s perspective, more of a grassroots level what’s going on with these communities, how are decisions made that the cities are built that way; and if we are trying to promote more walkable or bikeable infrastructure, is that through changing policies or is that how the city funds these sort of projects, and how do we work with the city in creating new structures?”  

“In St. Louis, we’ve been having these deeper-level discussions of talking about ways that we can work with the community to understand even what they want in the first place and seeing how we can bring them the resources in order to walk or bike places.”

“It’s shown [nationally] that 12% of fatal crashes involve people walking; in St. Louis, that figure is 36%.”

Resources:

Trailnet

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018

Oct 12, 2017

Topic:

Transforming a Community Through the Power of Art

In This Episode:

01:44  Guests Linda Steele and Roseann Weiss are introduced.
02:44  Vernice shares her interest in place-making strategies through art and artistry.
03:39  Roseann tells of the work that is happening in St. Louis.
04:59  Linda tells of the work that is happening in Memphis.
07:24  Linda shares her background.
09:02  Roseann shares her background.
11:32  Linda gives her thoughts on what her work’s role is in building stronger, more vibrant communities.
17:28  Roseann gives her thoughts regarding art and culture being the component that connects people in St. Louis.
22:12  Roseann states if her work could be coupled with the urban vitality and ecology initiative in the Wells-Goodfellow community.
26:01  Linda states if reclaiming the arts and culture and the blues-jazz-gospel history in Memphis is a driver for revitalization.
28:27  Vernice shares her thoughts on the importance of capturing the history of the physical place where people live.
29:27  Linda and Roseann provide the one policy that she would advocate for to advance community revitalization from the arts and culture space.
29:49  Roseann states what an individual can do to contribute to the work that she’s doing.
30:37  Linda states what an individual can do to contribute to the work that she’s doing.
31:05  Linda shares what art and culture place making looks like 30 years from now.
31:35  Roseann shares what art and culture place making looks like 30 years from now.
32:27  Roseann identifies where listeners can go for further information.
32:40  Linda identifies where listeners can go for further information.

Guest and Organization:

Roseann Weiss is the Director of Artist and Community Initiatives for the Regional Arts Commission. The Regional Arts Commission leads, strengthens, and gives voice to a creative community where every citizen can be proud to live, work, and play in a world-class region. In short, we are proud of our St. Louis cultural identity and want to do whatever we can to grow, sustain, and promote that identity in the future. We are at the forefront of helping transform St. Louis into a more vibrant, creative, and economically thriving community through the arts – and want everyone to know just how special the creative community is within the region.

Linda Steele is Founder & CEO of ArtUp, an innovative startup based in Memphis, Tennessee that uses arts, culture and design strategies to redevelop and revitalize disinvested communities. Linda spent 3 years incubating the work of ArtUp at local arts agency and United Arts Fund, ArtsMemphis including launching the game changing Fellows Program which has received the Robert E. Gard award from Americans for the Arts and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Linda has worked in various arts and cultural organizations including performing arts center, museums, and arts education organizations. Linda is a graduate of Amherst College where she has served as a Wade Fellow and Harvard University.

Take Away Quotes:

“About 20 years ago, we started something called the Community Arts Training Institute…we believe that it should be cross-sector, and that has been the beauty at the Regional Arts Commission of the CAT Institute in that it’s been cross-sector. So, we train not only artists of all disciplines, but we train their community partners as well—so, social workers, community activists, teachers, politicians, have all gone through the CAT Institute, and we know have 350 alumni working within our community.”—Roseann

“Memphis is considered the poorest major city in the nation, and also, it has one of the poorest, if not poorest, zip codes in the nation.  So there’s a lot of segregation in terms of not only racial and cultural segregation but certainly socioeconomic as well.”—Linda

“I think it’s a very bold statement to say that arts and culture can actually address issues and challenges such as poverty, unemployment, blight, and crime.”—Linda

Resources:

Regional Arts Commission

ArtUP

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – February 1-3, 2018

Oct 5, 2017

Topic:

Looking at the Past, Present, and Future of the Environmental Justice Movement

In This Episode:

02:06  Guest Peggy Shepard is introduced.
02:24  Peggy shares of her experience as a journalist.
06:34  Peggy relates how she made the transition from being in a political space to being in the environmental justice space.
08:25  Peggy gives her response to those who say that environmental and climate justice are new concepts.
09:30  Peggy states what the biggest environmental justice threats were in 1991 and what the threats are now.
10:25  Peggy informs us how racism is intertwined with environmental injustice.
12:22  Peggy tells if there has been progress in lessening the targeting and the disproportionate impact on populations of people of color from environmental threats.
13:53  Peggy describes the Northern Manhattan Climate Action Plan.
17:28  Peggy says if it was easier to get people’s attention about climate resilience issues after living through Superstorm Sandy.
19:18  Peggy identifies the political and social objectives that WE ACT is trying to accomplish.
23:47  Peggy elaborates on the power of speaking for ourselves.

Guest and Organization:

Peggy Shepard is co-founder and executive director of WE ACT For Environmental Justice and has a long history of organizing and engaging Northern Manhattan residents in community-based planning and campaigns to address environmental protection and environmental health policy locally and nationally. She has successfully combined grassroots organizing, environmental advocacy, and environmental health community-based participatory research to become a national leader in advancing environmental policy and the perspective of environmental justice in urban communities — to ensure that the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment extends to all. Her work has received broad recognition: the Jane Jacobs Medal from the Rockefeller Foundation for Lifetime Achievement, the 10th Annual Heinz Award For the Environment, the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award from the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, and an Honorary Sc.D from Smith College.

Take Away Quotes:

“That report [Toxic Waste and Race] has been reconfirmed around this country in so many other research studies that race is the primary predictor of where a toxic waste facility is and that income is the secondary predictor.”

“People really want energy security.  They want to feel that they can help reduce greenhouse gasses by using alternative energy sources but also secure their energy future by being able to have a little more autonomy over energy—how they use it and what kind of energy they use.”

“We are working from the ground up, and we know that community organizing is essential but that you can’t really organize a community to be empowered and advocate on their own without information.  So we have a…nine-week environmental health and leadership training program that we put all of our members through…We’re making sure that they are informed about air pollution, water quality, children’s environmental health, toxics, climate change, energy, the whole host of issues that evolve to have importance at varying times in communities.”

Resources:

WE ACT For Environmental Justice

Island Press Urban Resilience Project

Download the Island Press APP! Learn more about the APP here  and find it on Google Play and Apple App Store!

Sep 28, 2017

Topic:

Disaster Preparedness, Recovery, and Resiliency for Smaller and Rural Communities

In This Episode:

01:37  Guest Laura Clemons is introduced.
01:44  Laura tells how she became interested in community resiliency and disaster work.
02:50  Laura explains the difference between an advocate and an activist.
04:24  Laura describes how individuals may be able to help after a disaster.
07:36  Laura identifies how to mobilize people, before disaster hits, to develop a more resilient community.
09:23  Laura shares how to communicate to people that they have the ability to create networks of resiliency.
11:56  Laura mentions how the process lends itself to focusing on certain issues or if it’s open to any issue.
14:13  Laura states where people can go to learn about her diagnostic tool and her work.
15:14  Laura walks us through the process of attacking problems and being an activist on frustrating issues.
18:59  Laura expresses how to intervene in the division between urban and rural.

Co-Host:

Kif Scheuer is the Climate Change Program Director at the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kif is a solution-oriented sustainability professional with a strong history of engaging diverse audiences in real-world climate protection efforts through innovative, market-focused research and analysis, creative program design, effective project implementation, and compelling public advocacy and education. In 2013 Kif organized the first California Adaptation Forum, which attracted over 800 attendees and served to kick start the statewide conversation on adaptation. Kif led the development and growth of one of the LGC’s key coalitions – the Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation, a statewide network focused on addressing adaptation at the regional scale.

Guest and Organization:

Laura Clemons is the founder and CEO of Collaborative Communities Management Company, LLC, (CCMC) and serves as the company’s head project team leader. Ms. Clemons is a LEED Accredited Professional with a specialty designation in Building Design and Construction and has been working in the sustainable built environment since 2008. She transitioned into disaster recovery after the devastating tornados of April 2011 and has combined her diverse background into being a foremost expert on resiliency.   

She has been working with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) since 2014 on a comprehensive approach to Hurricane Sandy recovery that is designed to protect over 350 acres of Sandy damaged NYCHA property from increasing climate change risks including storm surge, sea level rise and rain inundation. Her strategy for stormwater management is that it be achieved through creative land re-engineering to maximize perviousness and drainage while embracing Placemaking. Currently she is invested in helping flood ravaged communities across Texas and Louisiana rebuild in a safer, more sustainable way.  

CCMC is based in Austin, Texas but works with clients across the U.S. They provide a range of local constituencies with logistical support for environmentally sustainable and socially conscientious community revitalization in both pre- and post-disaster scenarios. CCMC serves in both a consultative and project management role ensuring that all project participants operate on budget and schedule and that the client gets a project with multiple co-benefits.

CCMC was created because of the widely acknowledged need for hands-on, focused coordination of various groups involved in creating projects and programs that benefit communities. They approach holistic resiliency solutions through partnership building and collaboration. They have a sensitivity to diversity and inclusion with special attention paid to the most vulnerable populations.

Take Away Quotes:

“What I really focus on when I talk to people—whether it’s at conferences or it’s with clients that I meet with in a post-disaster situation or just neighborhoods that want to try and be better—it’s about personal activism and figuring out how you can unleash your inner activist.  Find the things in the world that you can change and figure out who the other people are that feel the same way that you do, connect with them, and find your tribe, expand your tribe, include more people, and then it turns out that big changes can happen at the individual level.”

“I think that a lot of people in rural communities and small towns are very used to doing for themselves and then their neighbors.  We’re fairly resilient in that way and taking care of each other and sort of springing to action when something needs to be done.”

“These networks just started springing up because there were a lot of people like me: we’re not trained to be first responders or disaster recovery experts; we assume that there’s someone that knows how to do this.  The truth is, it’s just about doing it and figuring it out as you go.”

“When I use the term ‘expand your tribe,’ what it simply means is, if there’s something that you don’t understand, that you’re suspicious of, or that you’re scared of—maybe you even have legitimate reasons to be scared of it; more times than not, you don’t have a legitimate reason—it’s ‘cause you’ve heard something from somebody or you saw something that led you to believe, but it’s not about your firsthand experience, take your fear and convert it to curiosity, and that’s the first step.”

Resources:

Collaborative Communities Management Company, LLC  

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – February 1-3, 2018

 

Sep 21, 2017

Topic:

It’s “Just” Rain: Weather Events Impacting Rural Communities

In This Episode:

02:41  Laura explains the impacts of extreme weather in smaller rural communities.
05:48  Laura states some of the resources that help small communities recover from a weather event.
08:49  Laura talks about what a disaster declaration is.
10:30  Laura tells if the weekly average of a federal disaster declaration is an increase from past years.
14:36  Laura mentions some strategies that communities can engage in when a disaster hits.
19:35  Laura states how to integrate weather events into planning.
22:46  Laura tells how communities can learn what they should be doing to be prepared.
23:41  Laura comments on how consultants on your behalf get paid.

Co-Host:

Kif Scheuer is the Climate Change Program Director at the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kif is a solution-oriented sustainability professional with a strong history of engaging diverse audiences in real-world climate protection efforts through innovative, market-focused research and analysis, creative program design, effective project implementation, and compelling public advocacy and education. In 2013 Kif organized the first California Adaptation Forum, which attracted over 800 attendees and served to kick start the statewide conversation on adaptation. Kif led the development and growth of one of the LGC’s key coalitions – the Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation, a statewide network focused on addressing adaptation at the regional scale.

Guest and Organization:

Laura Clemons is the founder and CEO of Collaborative Communities Management Company, LLC, (CCMC) and serves as the company’s head project team leader. Ms. Clemons is a LEED Accredited Professional with a specialty designation in Building Design and Construction and has been working in the sustainable built environment since 2008. She transitioned into disaster recovery after the devastating tornados of April 2011 and has combined her diverse background into being a foremost expert on resiliency.   

She has been working with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) since 2014 on a comprehensive approach to Hurricane Sandy recovery that is designed to protect over 350 acres of Sandy damaged NYCHA property from increasing climate change risks including storm surge, sea level rise and rain inundation. Her strategy for stormwater management is that it be achieved through creative land re-engineering to maximize perviousness and drainage while embracing Placemaking. Currently she is invested in helping flood ravaged communities across Texas and Louisiana rebuild in a safer, more sustainable way.  

CCMC is based in Austin, Texas but works with clients across the U.S. They provide a range of local constituencies with logistical support for environmentally sustainable and socially conscientious community revitalization in both pre- and post-disaster scenarios. CCMC serves in both a consultative and project management role ensuring that all project participants operate on budget and schedule and that the client gets a project with multiple co-benefits.

CCMC was created because of the widely acknowledged need for hands-on, focused coordination of various groups involved in creating projects and programs that benefit communities. They approach holistic resiliency solutions through partnership building and collaboration. They have a sensitivity to diversity and inclusion with special attention paid to the most vulnerable populations.

Take Away Quotes:

“There’s a lot of philosophical discussion about climate change and climate adaptation, and when I go to conferences, I see a lot of people talking about Katrina and Sandy.  It is very disappointing to me because I work in disaster recovery, and I see the events that are happening: we’re averaging a federal declaration about one a week.  And when I poll most audiences and ask people, how often do you think we are having a disaster, they say, like, one a year, maybe two a year.”

“We’ve done a good job in this country of building dams.  However, when you have a place that’s seeing a lot of rain, everyone’s upstream of someone, and I think we failed to recognize that.”

“I show up super late, usually very late in the process, where there’s already millions of dollars of missed opportunity of how these small communities could have not just been made to be safer but they could pivot into how this folds into their economic development strategies, how are they attracting new businesses, how do they build new houses or get a new factory to move to town.”

“The risks that we know of, we’re comfortable planning for.  It’s the risk that you don’t know about that will bite you.”

Resources:

Collaborative Communities Management Company, LLC  

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – February 1-3, 2018

Sep 14, 2017

Topic:

California’s Cap-and-Trade Program

In This Episode:

01:16  Guest Arjun Patney is introduced.
02:11  Arjun describes his work at the American Carbon Registry.
04:28  Arjun explains how the California carbon market works.
07:26  Arjun tells what was exempt from the market.
08:42  Since California is a large exporter of agricultural product, did that have a part in the decision making?
09:22  Arjun gives his thoughts on why the agricultural sector is less regulated than the industrial sector.
09:56  Arjun tells why there’s been less-than-expected revenue for various programs.
12:37  Arjun talks about making the cap-and-trade legislation a bipartisan issue.
15:29  Arjun states what was done in this legislation to address concerns about people who might bear burdens disproportionately.
17:46  Arjun touches on the future of carbon market legislation.  

Co-Host:

Michael Green is the Executive Director of the Climate Action Business Association (CABA). He is also co-host here on Infinite Earth Radio. Michael is a seasoned advocate for climate policy and environmental action and has played strategic roles in several of the largest national, as well as international campaigns dedicated to fighting climate change. Since 2012, he has served as a representative to the United Nations focusing on international climate science and policy. As an activist, he has played strategic roles in several of the largest national, as well as international campaigns dedicated to fighting climate change. In his role at CABA, Michael manages staff and oversees the development of all program areas. He sits on the Board of Boston area non-profits as well as a policy advisor to national business associations on topics ranging from energy policy to climate adaptation. Michael is a Northeastern University graduate with degrees in international affairs and environmental studies, course work at the University of Edinburgh’s MSc Program in Environmental Protection and Management and Harvard Business School’s CORe Program.

Climate Action Business Association (CABA) is a membership-based organization in Boston, Massachusetts, that helps businesses take targeted action on climate change. We provide our member businesses with the resources and tools needed to work within their business on sustainability efforts, political advocacy and building a community of shared values.

Guest and Organization:

Arjun Patney is the Policy Director of Winrock’s American Carbon Registry, which engages with regulators in California and other jurisdictions to help ensure that market-based climate change mitigation programs address the full range of emissions reduction opportunities. In this way, he advances greenhouse gas mitigation that delivers economic opportunities as well as environmental and social benefits. Patney’s diverse experience in the environmental field spans technical, policy and business spheres. Practical sustainability solutions have been the common thread of his work in the U.S. and Asia, whether he was negotiating carbon credit deals, implementing environmental management systems, engineering spill controls, or helping foreign clean tech companies enter Asian markets. Patney previously established the U.S. carbon trading desk at the multinational corporation Cargill and subsequently worked with USAID to advance international forest carbon markets. He received a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an M.S. in environmental management and policy from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School.

Winrock has long recognized the threat posed by climate change. The American Carbon Registry (ACR), founded in 1996 and operated by Winrock, is dedicated to the belief that markets are the most effective tools to tackle climate change. As such, ACR has developed transparent and science-based methodologies to incentivize carbon reductions in agriculture, transportation and other industries. ACR is also a partner in assuring that California’s landmark Cap-and-Trade Program can manage, verify and credit carbon offsets effectively.

Take Away Quotes:

“American Carbon Registry, or ACR, is broader than just California. We did exist long before the California market was established. We were actually the first voluntary greenhouse gas registry in the world.”

“The Cap-and-Trade Program here covers most of the economy—some 80, 85% of the economy—and it covers emissions from power generation, including imports; it covers industry…and transportation and heating fuels, meaning all of the gasoline for use in the vehicles is also covered by the program, which is a first for a cap-and-trade program.”

“Agriculture, conventionally in this country, has not faced the same types of environmental regulation as the industrial sectors of our economy.”

Resources:

Climate Action Business Association (CABA)

American Carbon Registry at Winrock International

 

Sep 7, 2017

Topic:

Incorporating Green Infrastructure into Street Design

In This Episode:

01:57  Guest Corinne Kisner is introduced.
02:10  Corinne shares about the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO).
02:33  Mike tells about NACTO’s soon-to-be-released book, “The Urban Street Stormwater Guide.”
03:17  Corinne explains why sustainable stormwater management matters and why transportation officials should be concerned about stormwater management.
05:12  Corinne gives the benefits of using green stormwater infrastructure in street design.
06:49  Corinne comments on green stormwater systems making cities more desirable and more attractive as places to live.
08:30  Corinne gives the characteristics of successful city projects.
11:03  Corinne shares the elements that help make green infrastructure work within a street design.
13 :07  Corinne states the challenges that cities face in stormwater street design.
14:02  Corinne supplies what should be kept in mind when designing or implementing a stormwater street project.
15:08  Corinne talks about underserved communities using green infrastructure as a community-building, community-investment strategy.
17:16  Corinne tells if there is a role for green stormwater infrastructure in areas that have a drier climate.
17:47  Corinne makes known how green infrastructure projects can positively change a city’s growth and development.
19:06  Is green infrastructure more expensive or less expensive than traditional infrastructure approaches?
20:35  Is the book currently available, and where can people go to buy the book?
21:25  Corinne discusses what needs to happen next to get more cities to implement green infrastructure as part of their normal course of business.

Guest and Organization:

Corinne Kisner is the Director of Programs at the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO). In this role, she facilitates networks of peer cities working to build safe, sustainable transportation systems and equitable, active cities through better street design and transportation policy. Corinne directs the annual Designing Cities conference and facilitates city policy initiatives on issues such as Vision Zero, planning for automated vehicles, and integrating green stormwater infrastructure into multi-modal street design. Corinne also oversees NACTO’s communications, external partnerships, and leadership development program for city transportation officials.

Previously at NACTO she served as the Designing Cities Program Manager (2014-2015) and a Designing Cities Fellow (2013), coordinating the Urban Street Design Guide endorsement campaign, growing a national network of bike share professionals, writing case studies of local street design projects, and directing and managing the 2014 Designing Cities conference in San Francisco, the 2015 Designing Cities conference in Austin, and the 2016 Designing Cities conference in Seattle.

Prior to joining NACTO, Corinne held a Mayoral Fellowship at the City of Chicago, worked as the Sustainability Associate in the Center for Research & Innovation at the National League of Cities, and worked at the Climate Institute in Washington, DC. She received a Taubman Scholarship to pursue a Master of Urban Planning degree from the University of Michigan and holds a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.

NACTO’s mission is to build cities as places for people, with safe, sustainable, accessible and equitable transportation choices that support a strong economy and vibrant quality of life.

Take Away Quotes:

“NACTO is an association of 55 member cities and transit agencies across North America, formed to help exchange best practices and ideas in city transportation and raise the bar nationally to what city transportation can do in cities.”

“We’ve been seeing cities across the country really thinking critically about the design of streets and how that plays in to city goals for sustainability and equity and access and really livable, vibrant cities.”

“The network of cities that we work with are starting to think critically, too, about how streets play a role in the stormwater infrastructure, in the stormwater network within the city.  Most streets are very impervious, meaning that water can’t absorb through the concrete or the asphalt into the ground, and so you just get enormous volumes of stormwater runoff running across streets and into storm drains.  That really separates water from the natural cycle and causes water pollution and is very expensive to treat and manage.”

Resources:

National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)

Island Press Urban Resilience Project

 

Aug 31, 2017

Topic:

National Engagement Starts with Local Engagement

In This Episode:

01:18  Guest Mindy Romero is introduced.
02:14  Mindy shares if there’s a resurgence of civic engagement.
05:52  Mindy tells if there’s an opportunity to translate national engagement to a local level.
08:48  Mindy speaks about building trust with communities whose local policymakers aren’t demographically reflective.
12:26  Mindy states if she’s seen strategies where communities have attempted to create more accessible pathways.
17:10  Mindy gives her thoughts on how trust plays into voter turnout and if there are strategies to increase voter turnout.
22:07  Mindy addresses measuring the quality of the engagement.
27:08  Do events like what happened in Charlottesville make us stronger?
30:06  Mindy provides where people can find out more about her work.

Guest & Organization:

Mindy Romero, Ph.D. is the founder and director of the UC Davis California Civic Engagement Project (CCEP).  Romero is a political sociologist and holds a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, as well as an M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from UC Davis.  Her research focuses on political behavior and race/ethnicity, and seeks to explain patterns of political underrepresentation.   

Romero has been invited to speak about civic engagement and political rights in numerous venues, testifying before the National Commission on Voting Rights and the California Legislature, among others.  Her research has been cited in major news outlets, including The New York Times, Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee, Politico and the Huffington Post.  She has also been a frequent guest on National Public Radio, Capital Public Radio, and several other NPR-affiliated stations in California.  She is a regular op-ed contributor to the Sacramento Bee.   

Romero works with a wide array of policymakers, elected officials, voter education groups and community advocates to strengthen political participation and representation.  To this end, she has served on a number of boards and commissions.  She is currently a member of the Public Policy Institute Statewide Survey Advisory Committee, President of the Board of the non-profit organization, Mutual Housing California, and Vice-Chair of the Social Services Commission for the City of Davis.

The California Civic Engagement Project (CCEP) is a non-partisan civic engagement research and outreach initiative for the state of California and the U.S. Founded and directed by Mindy Romero, it is housed at the UC Davis Center for Regional Change. The CCEP provides data and analysis to inform public dialogue about representative governance. We believe that inclusive civic engagement can help overcome disparities in social and economic well-being, and can improve health, education and employment outcomes for all Californians. The CCEP has become a go-to source for electoral and civic engagement research, including the examination of nationally relevant election reforms such as automatic voter registration, online voter registration and vote centers. Legislators, public agencies, advocates, researchers, media (state and national) and community leaders use its pioneering research to track disparities and opportunities in civic participation by place and population.

Take Away Quotes:

“I think it’s important, no matter what the numbers actually look like, the fact that we’re having these conversations, the fact that we are bringing more awareness to the importance of engagement, period—no matter, by the way, what side you fall on.  We’re seeing engagement on all ends, I think, of the political spectrum.”

“When it comes to looking at our history, we know that, not just in terms of voting but in other forms of political engagement and civic engagement, that participation is low.  We have some of the lowest turnout rates in the world, and if we look at some of the standard measures of engagement—protesting, or sending money to campaigns, or writing to your congressperson, or joining a board or a commission, or that sort of thing—participation is really low, and it’s really uneven across subgroups of the population.  Those of color, and those that are young, participate even less.”

“We need to continue to push for more engagement and more representative engagement.”

“I would say that the local level is absolutely critical… at the local, that’s where you can make the case to people that if they’re worried about how their family is doing, their economic wellbeing, the quality of their water, affordable housing—these decisions are influenced by the federal level certainly, at the state level, but very much at the local level.  And you can create that narrative to really show people what that connection is and how voting, participating, having a voice, speaking up at the local level can actually have a real, tangible, visible, immediate effect in people’s everyday lives.”  

Resources:

California Civic Engagement Project (CCEP)

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018

Aug 24, 2017

Topic:

Inviting People to Share Their Stories

In This Episode:

01:26  Guests Sahdiyah Simpson and Sarah Hobson are introduced.
01:39  Sarah describes the STL Youth Smart Growth Leaders program.
04:40  Sahdiyah shares her experience with the STL Youth Smart Growth Leaders program.
05:59  Sahdiyah states what her topic was.
06:19  Sarah explains the mechanics of the program.
07:38  Sahdiyah talks about the time commitment required for the program.
08:47  Sarah provides how the program makes difficult conversations easier to have.
10:49  Sahdiyah gives her thoughts about the drama part of the program.
12:00  Are the drama performances used as a tool to help people understand what those in the program learned?
14:12  Sahdiyah tells about her school.
15:09  Why would this program be valuable in schools or communities that aren’t doing a program like this?
18:18  Sarah states how people can learn more about her work.

Guest and Organization:

Dr. Sarah Hobson, founder and President of Community Allies, LLC. received her Ph.D. in Reading, Writing, and Literacy from the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. She served as an Assistant Professor in Adolescence English Education at The State University of New York at Cortland where she taught courses in language acquisition, grammar, the teaching of writing, and digital literacies. She is currently teaching literacy assessment at the University of Missouri St. Louis.

Educational institutions are products of systemic policies that for years have contributed to various discriminatory practices that affect youth and communities similarly and differently. Dr. Hobson’s ethnodramatic programming, researched for over 10 years, helps youth acquire sophisticated understandings of societal processes that hinder progress. Throughout the programming, youth gain communication skills that help them begin to interrupt these practices as they learn where and how they can advocate for themselves and others. Schools and communities in turn access new ways of learning from youth the ethical complexities they have inherited. As students use their research to teach others, administrators, teachers, parents, and communities access much-needed healing.Dr. Hobson’s ethnodrama programs are multi-faceted. They are the result of years of teaching and research and must be implemented with multi-dimensional educational knowledge and care. They require institutional support, staff support, careful collaborative research and documentation, and constant reflection and interrogation. When implemented with the right support and investment, they help transform institutionalized cultures, opening up new possibilities for teaching and learning that expand youth, teacher, and administrator agency and advocacy.

Community Allies is available to school districts, educational leaders, administrators, teachers, parents, and students for short or long-term mentoring of educators in culturally relevant, student-centered curriculum enrichment. Our mentoring comes in a variety of formats primarily focused in two areas: professional development for administrators and teachers and after-school programs for students. We help you integrate student-centered real-world research into any grade, school-wide inquiry, or subject area.  We help you increase student retention, academic and college and career success through dynamic, real-world literacy learning opportunities.

Take Away Quotes:

“The mission of Community Allies is to bring people together across the county and the city…as part of that program, I’ve done after-school programs focused on ethnodrama, which is a program around which students become youth leaders by collecting a variety of stories and using those stories to open power-packed conversations in their communities about issues that are really pertinent to their lives.”—Sarah

“The program is about…us talking about what we would like to change in St. Louis, what we saw in St. Louis that we think could be better.  And so, then, we started getting into our topics that we really wanted to do, then we started interviewing people and seeing what they had to say about it.”—Sahdiyah

“The program really helped me start to really talk about sensitive topics…I wasn’t the type of person to talk about sensitive topics; I would steer away from that ‘cause it would make me uncomfortable.  Now I’ve gotten more comfortable with it, and I haven’t really stood up for certain things like this, but now I’m starting to.  I’m starting to get more into it because of that program.”—Sahdiyah   

Resources:

Community Allies, LLC

Ioby Campaign

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference — February 1-3, 2018

Aug 17, 2017

Topic:

Reusing and Revitalizing Retail Spaces

In This Episode:

02:57  Guest Michele Reeves is introduced.
04:03  Michele tells of the impact she’s seeing from the decline of retail.
06:52  Michele talks about what to do with vacant retail spaces and what some of the obstacles are.
10:48  Michele addresses huge parking lots.
13:32  Michele expresses her thoughts regarding retail space based on sales tax revenue rather than need, and market studies.
18:16  Michele speaks of strategies to make community corridors a destination.
21:56  Michele shares what local businesses can do to have a more dynamic experience that can compete or complement e-commerce offerings.
28:54  Michele states how people can get in touch with her.

Co-host:

Kate Meis joins the Infinite Earth Radio as the co-host for this episode. Kate Meis is the Executive Director of the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kate is a champion for local governments; a recognized leader in local climate change adaptation, mitigation and clean energy efforts; and an ardent coalition builder. She obtained a Masters of Science degree in Community and Regional Development from the University of California, Davis, and has a Sociology Bachelor’s degree from California State University, Sonoma.

Guest and Organization:

Michele E. Reeves is an urban strategist with significant private sector experience revitalizing districts.  Her qualifications, derived from over 16 years of work in various facets of renewal, include facilitating public/private partnerships, marketing unknown or undesirable districts, pre-development consulting, siting manufacturing facilities, strategizing acquisitions and development with private sector investors, and creating retail leasing plans. Michele founded Civilis Consultants to assist mixed-use districts, small businesses, property owners, and public sector organizations to recognize and leverage their strengths, identify and accomplish economic development goals, and craft their unique stories to create compelling, multi-faceted brands. Michele has a bachelors degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

Follow Michele on Twitter

Take Away Quotes:

“It’s kind of funny.  Even that phrase ‘decline of retail’—I would call it sort of a change in retail.  And I think one of the things I would just say fundamentally about retail—there’s kind of a saying we have inside retail that retail’s about reinvention, and that’s always true.  Retail is always changing, and it’s always finding new avenues and expression for itself.”  

“I think the biggest impact that these changes in retail are having is that it’s leaving us—it’s a retail problem and a real estate problem because one of the biggest things it’s doing is leaving us with these really challenging land-use issues and a lot of vacant buildings that are, in some cases, difficult to reuse.”

“A lot of times the biggest obstacle to reusing these spaces as mixes of different kinds of space, whether it’s church space—which is another common reuse of old Walmarts or Kmarts—or whether it’s manufacturing or light manufacturing, or wholesale, or Internet sales and distributorship, mostly the zoning often stops these spaces from being something else.”

“Everything that you do that’s brick and mortar, everything that’s in person is really going to have to have fundamental elements of a really positive experience, expertise and knowledge, and service that you can’t get through the online experience.”

Resources:

CIVILIS Consultants

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – February 1-3, 2018

Aug 10, 2017

Topic:

Planning and Creating Age-Friendly Communities

In This Episode:

00:57  Co-host Paul Zykofsky and guests Kathy Sykes and Bill Armbruster are introduced.
01:24  Kathy shares why she’s interested in the field of aging and public health.
01:47  Bill discusses why he’s interested in the field of aging and public health.
02:56  Why is planning for an aging population so important?
04:43  What can we learn from the change in how communities have developed and from the past generation?
06:57  Kathy states what the USEPA’s interest is in this issue of an aging population.
07:49  What are some aspects of the issue of rural versus urban communities?
10:48  Does AARP or the USEPA have a guide for communities on how to think about, and what they should be doing, in terms of planning for an aging population?
14:05  Are there examples of places that have embraced planning for an aging population?
17:07  How does one get started in planning an age-friendly community?
20:36  How much could be saved in seniors’ health costs if age-friendly communities were created?  

Co-host:

Paul Zykofsky directs the Local Government Commission’s (LGC) programs related to land use and transportation planning, community design, and health and the built environment. In the past 20 years, he has worked with over 300 communities to improve conditions for infill development, walking, bicycling, and transit. Mr. Zykofsky provides technical assistance to communities throughout the nation on issues related to smart growth, infill development, transit-oriented development, street and sidewalk design, health and the built environment, and public participation in the planning process. Mr. Zykofsky is a co-author of Building Livable Communities: A Policymaker’s Guide to Transit Oriented Development and Emergency Response: Traffic Calming and Traditional Neighborhood Streets. In 2006, Mr. Zykofsky co-wrote (with Dan Burden of Walkable Communities) the section on “walkability” in the American Planning Association’s Planning and Urban Design Standards.

Guests and Organizations:

Bill Armbruster manages the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, which is a program within AARP Livable Communities. He has been with AARP since 2000, joining as an associate state director for AARP New York. In that role he served the upstate and western region of the Empire State and was responsible for the development, implementation and assessment for community outreach programming. That body of work included livable and age-friendly communities initiatives, partner development and grassroots volunteer organizing for a 30 county region both near and far from his Rochester home base. In addition to his work at AARP, Bill has extensive experience in corporate wellness programs, occupational rehabilitation and ergonomics, pain treatment and physical therapy.

Kathy Sykes is Senior Advisor for Aging and Public Health at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Since 1983, Kathy has held policy positions in the U.S. Senate and Congress and in federal agencies: U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, with Congressman Obey and at the NIOSH within CDC and for almost 20 years at the Environmental Protection Agency, where she developed the Aging Initiative that focused on environmental health issues and the built environment. She also serves on Washington, D.C.'s the Mayor's Age-Friendly Task Force. She is a fellow of the GSA and currently Chair of the Social Research Policy and Practice Section. Ms. Sykes holds a master's degree in Public Policy and Administration and a certificate in Health Services Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Take Away Quotes:

“We’ve got a huge demographic shift that’s occurring right now.  I’m part of the baby boomers, and there’s an awful lot of us, and our population over 65 will double by the year 2050.”—Kathy

“I think a lot of communities aren’t ready.  A lot of communities plan for the 35-year-old, and they think about youth, and families is where they plan, but they haven’t planned for those people who hit 50, 65, and now even, it’s not uncommon to be 90, over 100.”—Bill

“We now have many more people who are able to get involved at their community level to make a difference for people of all ages but also to make communities think about the people who are moving at slower paces.”—Kathy

Resources:

The AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – February 1-3, 2018

Aug 3, 2017

Topic:

Fresh Water, Climate Change, and Community Resilience

In This Episode:

02:10  Guest Rebecca Wodder is introduced.
03:19  Rebecca expresses how the first Earth Day impacted her life and career path.
05:06  Rebecca tells if fresh water has always been the focus of her environmental career.
05:48  Rebecca talks about how water affects climate change.
09:18  Rebecca explains the degree to which our fresh-water supply is being threatened.
11:28  Rebecca describes the Clean Water Rule.
14:41  Rebecca shares which industries are most impacted by the 2015 Clean Water Rule.
16:26  Rebecca addresses natural capital and social capital.
18:33  Rebecca speaks about New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina.
21:39  Rebecca states where people can learn more about her work.
23:10  Rebecca mentions the wisdom she would pass along to her younger self on Earth Day 1970.
25:52  Rebecca makes known if she’s more hopeful now than she was in the past.

Guest and Organization:

Rebecca Wodder is a nationally known environmental leader whose conservation career began with the first Earth Day. As president of the national advocacy organization, American Rivers, from 1995 to 2011, she led the development of community-based solutions to freshwater challenges. From 2011 to 2013, she served as Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Interior. Previously, Rebecca was Vice President at The Wilderness Society, and Legislative Assistant to Senator Gaylord Nelson. In 2010, she was named a Top 25 Outstanding Conservationists by Outdoor Life Magazine. In 2014, she received the James Compton Award from River Network. In her writing and speaking, Rebecca explores how communities can enhance their resilience to climate impacts via sustainable, equitable approaches to rivers and freshwater resources.  She serves on the boards of River Network, the Potomac Conservancy, and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Take Away Quotes:

“When the first Earth Day came along…my high school chemistry teacher asked if I would organize this event for the community.  We really didn’t know what it was supposed to be about, but we knew it was intended to engage people and help them recognize the environmental issues that were so prominent at the time…The first Earth Day was just a great event in my life because it showed me how I could  combine my passion for making a difference with my academic interests in science and biology.”

“Water is the way that we experience weather, and weather is the way we experience climate change in our daily lives.”

“Ultimately, the reason that we have a blue planet, the reason there is life on this planet is because of water.  It is the fundamental reason for life.”   

“One of the things that is so important about small streams is that they are the head waters, they are the sources of our drinking water, and something like one-third of all Americans get their drinking water—it starts with these small streams.”

Resources:

Island Press Urban Resilience Project

A Community Approach to Climate Resilience

The Community Resilience Reader

Jul 27, 2017

Topic:

Innovative Solutions for Resilient Water Management

In This Episode:

02:43  Guest James Workman in introduced.
03:42  James tells about his book and what motivated him to travel to Africa.
07:13  James shares why he created programming based on what he saw in Africa.
08:50  James describes AquaShares.
11:51  What measures are people taking to reduce their water use?
13:37  James addresses AquaShares’ partners and the incentives for homeowners.
16:43  James informs us of how many people have signed on to participate in the program.
19:07  James expresses what success looks like for this program and for water resilience in general.
23:05  James states where people can go to learn more about AquaShares.

Guest and Organization:

James Workman creates conservation markets for water and marine life. He wrote the award-winning Heart of Dryness: How the Last Bushmen Can Help Us Endure the Coming Age of Permanent Drought, and is co-author with Amanda Leland of the forthcoming Sea Change: How Fishermen Are Irreversibly Restoring Life Offshore – and On. Workman studied at Yale & Oxford, taught at Wesleyan & Whitman, but his real education came blowing up dams, releasing wolves, restoring wildfires, guiding safaris, smuggling water to dissidents, breaking down in Africa's Kalahari Desert, and becoming a dad. An investigative journalist, he served as White House appointee to U.S. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, later joining the World Commission on Dams under Nelson Mandela. In San Francisco, he writes for Environmental Defense Fund, edits the International Water Association’s magazine, The Source, and is founder of AquaShares Inc., the world’s first online water savings market.

Follow James Workman on Twitter

Take Away Quotes:

“A lot of problems, especially environmental problems, can be solved by regulation alone. You just say, okay, that factory over there is pouring its waste, its sewage, its pollution into the air, into the water; we’ve got to just put a cap on that, lock that. But what do you do with the 50,000 people who are all competing with each other for the same resource? And that’s the tragedy that…makes all, to me, conservation issues interesting.”

“The approach of AquaShares is to give people a sense that they’re not just renting access to as much water as they want, as cheap as they want, but they have an ownership stake, that they’re stewards of that water that they save, and that they can profit from saving water, not just feel good about it.”

“One of the biggest water users in every city is the city itself. There’s lots of water loss, in some cases, 10, 20, 30 percent, and while, for more than a decade or more, utilities have been pointing a finger at families and firms, saying, ‘You should save water, you should save water,’ utilities themselves had real no incentive to spend $100,000 to systematically find and fix their leaks, manage their water pressure, and address that, because it might only save a few thousand dollars’ worth of water.”

“It’s a crazy business model for me, but success is when we go out of business; there’s no need for AquaShares anymore because everyone is autonomous, they’re using the bare-minimum water, there’s nothing left to trade, there’s no more water that can go towards a higher-value use.”

Resources:

AquaShares

Smart Markets

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – February 1-3, 2018

Jul 20, 2017

Creating Successful Communities Through Positive and Determined Leadership

In This Episode:

  • 02:36 Guest Mayor Rey Leon is introduced.
  • 02:56 Mayor Leon describes his community.
  • 05:54 Mayor Leon tells how long he’s been mayor.
  • 07:16 Mayor Leon conveys what he would like to accomplish during his time as mayor.
  • 19:20 Mayor Leon gives the status of three projects.
  • 21:38 Mayor Leon identifies some of the challenges he faces as a mayor in a small community.

Guest and Organization:

Rey Leon is the Mayor of Huron, California. Leon is also president and founder of ValleyLEAP and a member of the Air Resources Board Environmental Justice Advisory Committee (EJAC) in California.

Take Away Quotes:

“Huron is a farm-worker city. It’s got the highest rate of Latinos for an incorporated city in the nation, at the national level. And, of course, it’s a small community, around 7,000 on paper. I venture to say that there’s at least 10,000 residents. We, having an agricultural base and being a farm-worker community, we have a population that good amount of folks that are, I would say, economic refugees… It’s a community that speaks a good nine languages at least, which, to me, is amazing.”

“[A plaza is] just a magical space where you’re able to bond with the rest of the folks in your community, some way, somehow. It’s where young men, young women meet their mates; it’s where entertainment is shared; it’s where farmers’ markets happen; it’s where you do some exercise out there; it’s just ’the’ place.”

“The vision, the goal, my dream, in the period not just as mayor because it was prior to this but as we continue forward whether as mayor or just as a leader that I’ve been even before getting into elected office is making Huron the greenest farm-worker city in the country.”

Resources:

“Changing Huron for the Better”

ValleyLEAP

Jul 13, 2017

Topic:

Carbon and The Paris Agreement

In This Episode:

03:10 Guest Tom Kerr is introduced.
03:26 Tom explains what the World Bank is.
05:00 Tom describes the kind of work that the climate change group does.
07:37 Tom tells of the change he’s seen since Kim Yong became the World Bank’s president.
09:27 Tom speaks of his work at the IFC in engaging the private sector.
12:20 Tom addresses the response to President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement.
14:11 Tom shares his thoughts on if there will be a ripple effect from the U.S. pulling out of the Agreement.
16:21 Tom conveys if there is a financial-commitment hole that the U.S. will no longer fill with regard to developing countries.
18:43 Tom gives his thoughts about the upcoming bond talks and if ambition will be there.
21:27 Tom provides his sense of where the Trump administration is going to end up with regard to carbon.
22:39 Host Mike and co-host Michael discuss the Paris Agreement.
23:48 Mike states what he noticed this week in the news.
24:31 Michael identifies what he noticed this week in the news.
25:18 Mike and Michael discuss the economy of renewable energy and the Paris Agreement.

Guest and Organization:

Tom Kerr has worked for 20 years designing and implementing public/private efforts that transform markets for resource-efficient climate business solutions. He currently leads the IFC’s private sector climate policy engagement, which involves working with emerging economy governments and major corporations to develop investor- and climate-friendly national strategies; designing coalitions to advance carbon pricing and performance standards; and providing private sector input into international policy processes such as the G20 and the United Nations climate talks.

Mr. Kerr was previously the director of climate change initiatives at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, where he worked with international organizations, government leaders, and industry executives to advance practical solutions via platforms such as the G20, the United Nations, and the Forum’s Annual Meeting at Davos. While at the Forum, he designed and led the Green Growth Action Alliance, a public-private coalition launched at the 2012 G20 with over 60 leading companies developing solutions to unlock private investment for sustainable growth. From 2006-10, he worked in Paris for the International Energy Agency, leading the development of global reports, including the Technology Roadmap series, the flagship Energy Technology Perspectives publication, and the Clean Energy Progress Report.

Mr. Kerr started his career with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, where he designed and launched a suite of innovative voluntary programs such as Energy STAR, Green Power, and methane programs that today continue to engage thousands of businesses to adopt clean, efficient technologies and practices.

Take Away Quotes:

“Where I sit is the IFC. The International Finance Corporation is the private-sector arm of the Bank, so we work in developing countries, lending to private-sector clients and helping them to find profit in development, and in my particular group, trying to find profit in climate business. So we work across the world and emerging markets to really try to tackle poverty—that’s the main mission; then, development—make it smarter; and then, in my case in particular, we try to make profits out of climate business.”

“[Kim Yong, president of the World Bank] wanted to know what the current problem was, and once he found out, he got quite alarmed and made it a top priority for him personally and raised attention externally and also within the World Bank’s priorities. So, we’ve always been doing this, but he put an increased urgency behind it and really tried to push the agenda.”

“The [Paris] Agreement is…190 plus countries making their own national commitments, and so other than the U.S., we haven’t seen any other governments come forward and say, okay, now I’m reconsidering my pledge. And I think that was also another element to this resilience of the Paris Agreement is that it’s not a top-down process where if one big party, like the U.S., pulls out it completely collapses; but, instead, it’s got all these different commitments that are from the bottom up.”

“I think the biggest worry I have is that we do need to now make good on those pledges that were made in Paris and help those countries really go from a pledge to implementation, to see shovels in the ground and money going out the door to these lower-carbon investments.”

Resources:

World Bank

Jul 6, 2017

Topic:

Using Design to Create Positive Impacts

In This Episode:

01:29 Guest Lynelle Cameron is introduced.
01:39 Lynelle describes Autodesk.
02:48 Lynelle shares her journey to becoming the vice president of Sustainability at Autodesk.
04:06 Lynelle discusses Paul Hawken’s new book, “Drawdown.”
05:17 Lynelle tells about the Autodesk Foundation.
06:41 Lynelle defines the term “design.”
07:08 Lynelle talks about climate change through the lens of design.
09:58 Lynelle states how the Foundation provides support to companies and organizations.
14:03 Lynelle gives examples of organizations that are working domestically on issues of urban design and social and environmental justice.
15:44 Lynelle provides where people can learn more about the Foundation’s work.
16:07 Lynelle explains how investing at an intellectual-capital level has impacted Autodesk and its culture.
19:00 Lynelle speaks to the benefit of Autodesk employees’ ability to make a positive impact in the world.
20:57 Lynelle addresses what the current state of corporate social responsibility is and what the outlook is of sustainability and equity being a part of a business’s core mission.
22:40 Lynelle supplies her thoughts on if the current administration’s roll back of the climate progress that was made will have an impact on the business community.
24:05 Lynelle makes known how people who might benefit from the Autodesk Foundation’s programs can get more information.
25:17 Lynelle mentions if there is an effort to share the lessons, or best practices, that have been learned.

Guest & Organization:

Lynelle Cameron is president and CEO of the Autodesk Foundation and vice president of Sustainability at Autodesk. She established both to invest in and support people who are designing solutions to today's most pressing social and environmental challenges. Under Cameron’s leadership, Autodesk created the Sustainability Workshop, an online learning platform for sustainable design that has reached over 2 million students and professionals worldwide, and launched two software donation programs: the Technology Impact program for nonprofit organizations and the Entrepreneur Impact program for early-stage clean-tech and social-impact companies around the world. Cameron has also led the company in setting ambitious science-based greenhouse-gas-reduction targets, committing to 100 percent renewable energy and integrated reporting. Since Cameron joined nine years ago, Autodesk has received numerous awards for sustainability leadership and innovation. A published author and regular speaker, Cameron has degrees from Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, University of Michigan, and Middlebury College.

Take Away Quotes:

“Autodesk is a leading provider of 3D design software that is used to make quite literally anything on the planet. Whether you’re building a car, a highway, a building, or even a whole city, there’s a good chance that you use one of Autodesk’s products.”

“The turning point for me was reading a book called ‘The Ecology of Commerce’ by Paul Hawken, and that’s when I realized to really make the kind of transformative change that I was looking for, I needed to go work from within the private sector.”

“We launched the Autodesk Foundation about three years ago, and we have historically as a company always given back to communities where we work. So the idea of philanthropy was not new for the company, although the actual foundation is … As a foundation, we invest in people and organizations who are using design to address, initially, a whole range of social and environmental challenges.”

“Design is the creation, the idea, and then the actual making of anything, quite literally, on the planet…it’s all about imagining and creating things that, in our mind, are going to make the world a better place for billions of people.”

Resources:

Autodesk

Jun 29, 2017

Topic:

Adjusting to the Rapid Pace of Change

In This Episode:

02:20 Guest Carl Guardino is introduced.
03:03 Carl talks about what is being done to stay relevant in technology and innovation.
05:45 Carl describes what leaders can do to be resilient and to continue to come up with innovative ideas.
08:05 Carl informs us if this administration’s tax reform proposal is where we need to go in response to the changing economy.
09:06 Carl shares if this administration is more responsive in terms of listening to the business community.
12:34 How has congestion impacted business in Silicon Valley, and how have you responded?
16:34 How are you addressing the housing crisis, and how is it impacting local businesses?
18:40 Carl speaks about the region’s response to the evolving workforce.
21:41 Carl shares what cities can do to retain and attract businesses.
25:10 Carl describes what current leaders should do to prepare and what types of innovation are on the horizon.
27:21 Kate shares what caught her attention during Carl’s interview.
28:28 Mike supplies what caught his attention.
29:14 Kate mentions what she noticed this week in the news.
33:15 Mike talks about what he read this week in the news.

Guest and Organization:

Carl Guardino, one of Silicon Valley’s most distinguished business and community leaders, is the President and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a public policy trade association that represents nearly 400 of Silicon Valley’s most respected employers.

In February 2007, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Guardino to a four-year term on the California Transportation Commission, and he has been reappointed twice by Governor Jerry Brown. Known throughout the region as a consensus builder, Guardino has championed a number of successful ballot measures, especially in the areas of transportation and housing.

Guardino was born and raised in San Jose and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from San Jose State University, where he is a Distinguished Alumnus. Carl is married to Leslee Guardino. In their spare time, they compete in marathons, triathlons, and duathlons.

Take Away Quotes:

“What we try to explain to executives constantly is, we have a choice as executives: we can be engaged, or we can be enraged. And it’s much more productive and positive to actually be engaged with policymakers making incredibly difficult decisions in their difficult processes. And we, again, try to remind executives, if you’re just going to sit on the sidelines and be frustrated and wring your hands, not only are you not going to be successful in explaining to policymakers the ramifications of a product or services, but you are probably going to end up as dinner rather than at the dinner table when those decisions are made.”

“It has been since 1986 — 31 years ago — since our federal government has made major changes in federal tax law. Thirty-one years ago. eBay didn’t exist, PayPal didn’t exist, Google didn’t exist, Facebook didn’t exist…Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft — none of those companies even existed let alone a twinkling in our eye of the technologies that they would be creating, and the tax laws haven’t changed in a major way in this nation for three decades.”

“In the Silicon Valley and Bay Area, when we ask individuals about the concerns they talk about in their living rooms, or we’re asking CEOs and senior officers about the concerns that they face as companies here in the region in their boardrooms, the common themes are the same, and they’re the flip side of the same coin: housing and traffic.”

“When it comes to education, we always try to remember in Silicon Valley, it’s cradle through career; from the moment we’re born to the moment we retire, we have to focus on education.”

Resources:

Silicon Valley Leadership Group

 

Jun 22, 2017

Topic:

The People's Climate March, the Economy, and Policy Making

In This Episode:

01:40 Vernice Miller Travis is introduced.
02:14 Vernice tells about the Climate March.
04:50 Vernice gives her thoughts regarding the amount of press coverage of the Climate March.
07:23 Vernice describes the impacts of the various recent marches.
10:55 Is there evidence of impact on the direction the government is taking?
12:13 Vernice shares if there will be a change for various groups who have overlapping agendas but who don’t work well together.
16:58 Are we doing enough to overcome “tribalism”? Or are we working with other “tribes” just because it’s expedient?
25:35 Mike speaks about the modern economy.
26:48 Vernice talks about the possibility of future climate marches.

Guest and Organization:

Infinite Earth Radio Co-host Vernice Miller Travis is a nationally recognized expert in brownfields redevelopment, community revitalization, collaborative problem solving, multi-stakeholder design and planning and environmental justice.

Her interests have focused on economic and environmental restoration and the inclusion of low-income, people of color and indigenous communities in environmental and economic decision making at the federal, state, local, and tribal levels. Vernice enjoys listening to and singing gospel music, visiting her family in the Bahamas, traveling with her husband, and eating Maryland blue crabs and barbecue.

Take Away Quotes:

“There’s an initiative that is training young people, particularly young women of color, to run for elective office…it’s really to get a new generation of people engaged in the electoral process and to really put themselves out there, because a lot of the hard-core politics of our country, particularly the electoral national politics, have really rubbed a lot of people the wrong way and really pushed a lot of good people away from ever thinking that they may run for office, whether it’s a local school board or a county council or a planning commission or, certainly, any higher office than that. People like, ‘I don’t want to be a part of that;’ but if they’re not a part of that, you get folks in office, making decisions that actually adversely hurt people.”

“You cannot continue to operate and try to affect national policy by representing the top 10% of wage earners and mostly affluent and middle-class white communities—-those are not the only communities in the United States—-and if you want to have broad-based impact, you’ve really got to reach a much broader, much deeper constituency that really is activating and doing things and trying to drive change in their local communities.”

“We talk about shutting down coal-fired power plants, but I don’t hear any environmentalists talking about what happens to the people who work in the power plants, or who work feeding the stock digging the coal.”

Jun 15, 2017

Topic:

The Future of Cycling as a Mode of Transportation

In This Episode:

01:59 Guest Carlton Reid is introduced.
02:49 Carlton explains the history of the bike boom.
07:24 Carlton tells why there was a bike boom in the early ’70s.
09:18 Carlton talks about cycling as a mode of transportation, not just for recreation.
10:32 Carlton informs us of the degree to which bicycling is popular in the U.S.
13:07 Carlton addresses the percentage of modal sharing in the Netherlands compared to the U.S.
14:34 Carlton discusses having the bicycle infrastructure be more favored than the auto infrastructure.
19:58 Carlton mentions his support for cycleways.
22:05 Carlton gives his thoughts on the unpopularity of cycling among women, ethnic minorities, and the urban poor.
24:21 Carlton addresses Mike’s comment about the trend that may reverse the number of cars on the road and individual car ownership.
27:20 Carlton answers the question, what is the future of biking?

Guest and Organization:

Carlton Reid is executive editor of BikeBiz magazine and is writing a book about the recent history of roads. He is author of Roads Were Not Built For Cars and Bike Boom: The Unexpected Resurgence of Cycling. He also writes adventure travel articles for publications such as National Geographic Traveller and The Guardian – his forte is cycle touring. Founder and rider-manager of the first ever British mountain bike team – which competed in the World Championships in France in 1987 –Reid was inducted into the MBUK Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 2008, one of the first 20 inductees. He has ridden solo in the Sahara and Kalahari deserts and, from his mountain bike in 1994, he researched the first guidebook to Lebanon since the end of that country’s civil war.

A digital native, Reid’s then one-man website BikeBiz.com tied for second with BBC.co.uk in theEuropean Online Journalism Awards of 2000. Working for the Bicycle Association of Great Britain he also commissioned the world’s first cycle-specific 3D satellite navigation, which has since been through a number of upgrades and can now direct cyclists on bike paths via beeps and wrist-buzzes on the Apple Watch.

Take Away Quotes:

“I would say the book is very much more interested in the advocacy side of cycling, the getting around as an everyday form of transport form of cycling, because at the end of the day, that’s actually what keeps cycling afloat.”

“Cities who want to increase their cycling modal share have, pretty much, got to bite the bullet and restrict the use of motoring.”

“It’s inescapable that many communities don’t see the bicycle as an aspirational form of transport; it’s very much the opposite of an aspirational form of transport. The white, hipster cycling thing is a thing because it’s genuinely a thing. Cycling, for some strange reason, now is this relatively middle-class, white activity.”

Resources:

Island Press Urban Resilience Project

Island Press – Bike Boom

Bike Biz

Bike Boom

Jun 8, 2017

The State of Carbon Pricing

In This Episode:

05:41 Michael tells what brought him to working on carbon pricing.
08:12 Michael addresses how people would feel the impact of a carbon tax.
10:38 How would putting a price on carbon play out?
12:17 Michael comments on the cost of carbon pricing.
13:19 How is carbon pricing implemented at the state level?
14:38 Is there a proposal in the state of Massachusetts to implement carbon pricing?
16:00 How close is Massachusetts to implementing the proposal?
17:18 Michael shares if other states or governmental entities have passed putting a price on carbon.
19:37 Michael states how close the vote was in the state of Washington.
20:26 Michael explains how British Columbia’s system works.
23:06 Michael indicates if any of the proposals in Massachusetts are modeled after the one in British Columbia.
23:42 How does Massachusetts compare with other states in relation to passing carbon pricing?
25:08 Michael addresses the concern of making a state less competitive than others.
26:32 What is California’s stance on carbon pricing?
27:42 Michael gives his thoughts on where we’ll first get some form of carbon pricing.
29:50 Michael shares what he noticed this week in the news.
31:12 Mike tells what he noticed this week in the news.

Guest/CoHost:

Michael Green is the Executive Director of the Climate Action Business Association (CABA). He is also co-host here on Infinite Earth Radio. Michael is a seasoned advocate for climate policy and environmental action and has played strategic roles in several of the largest national, as well as international campaigns dedicated to fighting climate change. Since 2012, he has served as a representative to the United Nations focusing on international climate science and policy. As an activist, he has played strategic roles in several of the largest national, as well as international campaigns dedicated to fighting climate change. In his role at CABA, Michael manages staff and oversees the development of all program areas. He sits on the Board of Boston area non-profits as well as a policy advisor to national business associations on topics ranging from energy policy to climate adaptation. Michael is a Northeastern University graduate with degrees in international affairs and environmental studies, course work at the University of Edinburgh’s MSc Program in Environmental Protection and Management and Harvard Business School’s CORe Program.

Organization:

Climate Action Business Association (CABA) is a membership-based organization in Boston, Massachusetts, that helps businesses take targeted action on climate change. We provide our member businesses with the resources and tools needed to work within their business on sustainability efforts, political advocacy and building a community of shared values.

Take Away Quotes:

“My original goal, going into college, was that I wanted to be a forest ranger. I’m from upstate New York and really wanted to be working out and preserving our forests and the Adirondack mountains. As I learned more about the challenges of climate change, I realized that being way out in the woods wasn’t going to be enough to really protect our natural habitat.”

“If people are starting to respond to a carbon tax because it’s already implemented, then, essentially, we’re losing the fight already because what it’s going to mean is it’s going to mean more expensive reliance on fossil fuels. So for those who are not able to make the transition, or are not willing to make the transition, they’re going to see an increase in cost.”

“We’re also going to create huge market signals for renewable-energy development and financiers who are questioning whether or not these transition technologies and opportunities stand to gain financially over time. So as much as we would see a price on our fossil-fuel reliance, at the same time you’re going to see a rapid decrease in cost in other technologies and other opportunities.”

“The number-one challenge that they faced wasn’t from the fossil-fuel industry, it wasn’t from conservative lawmakers, or climate deniers; it was actually from the Left. It was various groups that were concerned about making sure that the ballot initiative was written in a way that would be the most equitable way of going about putting a price on carbon.”

Resources:

Climate Action Business Association

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 65: #Carbon Series: Conservative Republicans Propose a Carbon Tax, with Catrina Rorke

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 70: Years of Living Dangerously, with Camila Thorndike

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