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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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Now displaying: Page 1
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

Jun 1, 2017

Topic:

Broadband Access in Rural Communities

In This Episode:

02:04 Mike gives a recap of last week’s podcast episode.
03:53 Guest Cecilia Aguiar-Curry is introduced.
04:51 Cecilia talks about why the issue of broadband is important to her.
06:19 Cecilia speaks of the relationship between under-connected communities and Internet access.
07:55 Cecilia informs us about AB-1665, the broadband-access bill.
10:42 Cecilia discusses if she’s in federal-level discussions regarding infrastructure services in rural areas.
12:49 Cecilia expresses the role that broadband plays in agriculture.
14:33 Cecilia shares the application she sees in helping people access state government in relation to smart-city applications and open-data portals.
16:10 Cecilia states her thoughts on how to continue innovation in smart technology, without leaving rural communities behind.
17:55 Cecilia addresses the decline of retail.
22:39 Kate shares what she noticed this week in the news.
25:54 Mike states what he noticed this week in the news.

CoHost:

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 & Organization:

Cecilia Aguiar-Curry is an American politician who has been elected to the California State Assembly. She is a Democrat representing the 4th Assembly District, encompassing Wine Country and parts of the Sacramento Valley.

Cecilia grew up in western Yolo County and has long served her community. After going to school and working in the Bay Area for several years, she moved back to her hometown of Winters where she almost immediately became active in the local community and a regional leader on several issues. She first served as planning commissioner and then was elected to the city council eventually serving as the first female mayor of Winters.

While growing up, Cecilia was surrounded by agriculture. As a youth, she cut apricots in the packing shed and helped her father in the walnut orchards in the area. She is still involved in local agriculture to this day as she and her brothers own an 80-acre walnut orchard.

Take Away Quotes:

“It was really important for me to make sure that the families had the digital literacy training. I didn’t want anybody, ever, left behind, and I don’t think anybody in a rural community, as well as urban community, should be left behind and not be able to be part of the digital age.”

“People always said, well, in a rural community, you don’t have, necessarily, an educated population to be able to take on this digital literacy. I say that’s wrong. And the problem is that you’re not exposed to these opportunities. So bringing this kind of education to the forefront in our schools, in our libraries, in our community, is really important to all of us — it helps with the economic development, it helps with telehealth, it helps with so many things.”

“We wanted to make sure that the rural communities were connected, because it’s very easy to say the state of California, 95 percent of the people had Internet capabilities, but quite frankly, that 95 percent could be just taken up with the populations of the San Diegos, the Los Angeles’, the Silicon Valleys, the San Franciscos — the bigger communities — but rural communities weren’t included in that, so on this bill, it was really important that we included rural communities had to have the connectivity the same as 98 percent as everyone else had throughout the state.”

“Many people know that I farm 80 acres of walnuts, with my brothers, outside of Winters…now a lot of the requirements is that everything has to be filed electronically. Well, lo and behold, at our ranch, we have really, really poor connectivity where we can’t even get some of the forms over to the government agencies for filings. So it’s really vital to the future of agriculture that we have this Internet capabilities. For example, many of the farmers are now replanting their orchards, or they’re planting new orchards, and we really need to monitor water more precisely. Obviously, it helps with the conservation of water, but we can do a lot of that via the Internet if we had the capabilities as some of these areas.”

Resources:

Cecilia Aguiar – Curry

AB-1665 Telecommunications: California Advanced Services Fund

Winters, California

May 25, 2017

Topic:

Broadband Access Impacts Environment, Health, Agriculture, and Jobs

In This Episode:

01:20 Co-host Kate Meis is introduced.
02:04 Kate talks about the Local Government Commission.
03:11 Kate shares the LGC’s upcoming events.
05:00 Kate makes known the next two podcast guests and what the podcast topics will be.
06:43 Mike mentions that access to broadband is a national issue.
07:56 Kate comments about how cutting some of the services in the infrastructure makes broadband access that much more important.
09:47 Guest Trish Kelly is introduced.
11:23 Trish tells how she became involved in the broadband-access issue.
12:18 Trish gives some statistics on who’s being left behind in the digital divide.
13:50 Trish defines the term “underserved.”
14:32 Trish informs us of the demographic breakdown of underserved communities.
16:22 Trish conveys the economic-development impacts of the rapid changes in the job force.
19:11 Trish highlights the connection between broadband and the environment.
22:21 Trish comments on the use of technology in agriculture.
24:38 Trish states some steps to position communities for job opportunities.
27:07 Trish supplies what we should be asking from our community leaders.
29:34 Trish speaks to the accessibility of information and people feeling more connected in their community.
31:52 Trish tells how people can learn more about her work.
32:46 Kate provides what she noticed this week in the news.
36:42 Mike adds his thoughts to Kate’s observations from this week.

CoHost:

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 & Organization:

Trish Kelly is the Managing Director of Valley Vision. Trish joined Valley Vision as Senior Vice President in 2014, having been involved with Valley Vision on several projects over the years. As a consultant, Trish has contributed to Valley Vision initiatives in such areas as regional food systems and agriculture, broadband, economic vitality, and quality of life indicators. She is managing Valley Vision’s agriculture and food system projects and the Connected Capital Area Broadband Consortium, and is supporting other Valley Vision regional leadership efforts. Trish has a passion for projects that provide strong research and accessible information as the basis for engaging community leaders, stakeholders and partner organizations in collaborative, solution-driven strategies that will ensure a Triple-Bottom Line for the region – with shared opportunity, environmental quality and economic prosperity for all.

Valley Vision is a leadership organization dedicated to making the Sacramento region a great place to live, work, and recreate.

Take Away Quotes:

“In the 21st century, high-speed Internet access is no longer a luxury amenity but rather an essential service for homes and businesses in this interconnected world. No other technology has produced as much innovation, competition, and economic growth.”—Congressional letter to the new administration

“I started this process more than 10 years ago. We were working with the governor’s cabinet, looking at issues that really impeded or affected rural economic vitality, and broadband kept coming up as the number-one issue. So that led to a series of activities which have culminated, for many of us in the regions, in a program that’s supported through the Public Utilities Commission, that provides funding for regional broadband consortium and then also funding for infrastructure and other opportunities to help meet our infrastructure gaps.”

“Every year there’s a public survey that tracks overall adoption and infrastructure deployment across our regions and across the state. So we are making progress. But we know, for instance, a recent survey by the Public Utility Commission showed that only 47 percent of our rural areas have the same Internet access as urban areas. So that’s a huge divide. In our region, we looked at the grades, using Public Utility’s data, on our infrastructure in four of our counties that make up our consortium, and the grades ranged from C- to F+. So, clearly, we’re very far behind.”

“‘Underserved’ might mean that you don’t have enough competition in service, so your service might be unreliable; it might be too cost prohibitive. You might not have access to the technologies that you need to connect; maybe you’re connecting by a cell phone, but you don’t have access to a computer, so you can’t write a paper for school on a computer, or it’s very hard to do a job search, or it’s very hard to get healthcare services online. So we have a lot of variations of what ‘underserved’ looks like.”

“The data shows, through the PUC and other surveys, that the hard-to-serve markets or the underserved markets include high levels of poverty, economically disadvantaged, people who have disabilities, communities of color, and then we also have challenges in some of our older neighborhoods and our kind of industrial parks or job centers. Those are areas that didn’t have forward-leading broadband infrastructure.”

Resources:

Valley Vision

Connected Capital Area Broadband Consortium

May 18, 2017

Topic:

Incorporating Public Health Considerations in the Local Government Planning Process

In This Episode:

02:40 Co-host Paul Zykofsky is introduced.
02:48 Guests Miguel Vazquez and Erik Calloway are introduced.
03:10 Miguel tells how he came to be working on healthy-communities issues.
04:13 Erik tells how he came to be working on healthy-communities issues.
05:02 Erik describes ChangeLab Solutions.
05:41 Miguel describes the Riverside University Health System-Public Health (RUHS-PH).
09:09 Miguel shares about the National Healthy Communities Platform.
09:44 Erik expresses why there’s a need for a National Healthy Communities Platform.
11:13 Erik evaluates the state of the healthy-communities movement.
12:25 Miguel gives his evaluation of the state of the healthy-communities movement.
13:42 Miguel identifies what he hopes will come out of the National Healthy Communities Platform.
15:04 Erik comments on the breakdowns of the social limitations of health.
15:51 Erik supplies his recommendations of how to get started to address the issues of the social limitations of health.
18:30 Miguel states the challenges that will be encountered as the healthy-communities movement is pushed forward.
20:45 Erik states the challenges that will be encountered as the healthy-communities movement is pushed forward.

CoHost:

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 & Organizations:

As a senior planner at ChangeLab Solutions, Erik Calloway focuses on the links between the built environment and health. He conducts research, prepares strategies, and develops tools to help communities support healthy living and sustainability. Prior to joining ChangeLab Solutions, Erik worked for 13 years as an urban design consultant. He has led multidisciplinary teams on streetscape and public space design, district and corridor restructuring, city planning, neighborhood development, and downtown revitalization projects.

Learn More About Erik

Miguel Vazquez, currently serves as the Healthy Communities Planner for the Riverside University Health System-Public Health (RUHS-PH) (formerly known as Riverside County Department of Public Health) in California. Our work directly impacts the quality of life of 2.2 million people living in 28 cities and the unincorporated area of Riverside County. For the past five years, my leadership role has focused on the integration of planning and health through policy, programs and outreach.

Learn More About Miguel’s Career Journey as a Planner

Take Away Quotes:

“My journey has been kind of strange in a sense that I’m an urban planner, but urban planners typically don’t work for public-health departments. Now, a conference like the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference has provided an open door for everyone to understand each other, so my boss saw that connection of public health and planning, and at some point he decided to hire a planner. So, somebody said, hey, there’s an opportunity, would you be interested in applying for it; so I went for it, and here I am.”—Miguel

“ChangeLab Solutions is a nonprofit organization. Our mission is healthier communities through law and policy. And so we work…to help communities integrate health into their everyday actions of planning—land-use planning, community outreach, complete streets. So we do model policies, we do technical assistance, and we help communities build their own capacity to transform themselves.”—Erik

“In Riverside County, we’re responsible for the health of 2.3 million people, and the statistics have shown that 63 percent of our deaths are related to mainly three major conditions: they have to do with cancer, respiratory conditions, and diabetes. And they are correlated to three behaviors—behaviors are actually given by the places in which you live, work, play, and learn—and they are how much physical activity you have, access to healthy foods and vegetables and clean water, and smoking.”—Miguel

“I think that a National Healthy Communities Platform can provide some clarity to those various sectors—development sector, planning…health departments—so that the actions that they do, they’re aware of what other sectors play, what role that they play, in supporting their own outcomes so that everybody, when they’re doing their work, can all be aligned and heading in the same direction.”—Erik

Resources:

Climate X Change – Carbon Pricing Awareness Raffle – Buy a Raffle Ticket!

Health in All Policies

ChangeLab Solutions

Riverside University Health System-Public Health

May 11, 2017

Topic:

Coal, Coal-Fired Power Plants, and the Impacts on Communities

In This Episode:

01:58 Mike shares information about Island Press.
03:18 Mike mentions what will be covered in today’s podcast.
05:15 Vernice identifies why the EPA was focused on regulating the emissions from coal-fired power plants.
10:50 Guest Jacqueline Patterson is introduced.
11:31 Jacqueline defines the term “urban resiliency.”
12:49 Jacqueline shares what she thinks motivated the NAACP to create the energy and climate-justice program.
14:34 Jacqueline tells of the reactions she gets for the NAACP taking on environmental issues.
15:53 Jacqueline expresses if there is a legal advantage to looking at environmental issues as a civil-rights issue.
17:02 Jacqueline tells about the NAACP’s “Coal Blooded” report.
19:41 Jacqueline conveys her thoughts on the seeming lack of conversation around the negative impacts on communities of color and people living near power plants.
21:30 Jacqueline discusses why uninterrupted energy service should be looked at as a civil-rights issue.
25:35 Jacqueline addresses how to alleviate the hardship for people who can’t pay their utility bill.
28:55 Jacqueline states the accomplishments she’d like to see in the public-policy conversation.
31:14 Mike shares what he noticed this week in the news.
32:10 Vernice conveys what caught her attention this week in the news.

Guest/Organization:

Jacqueline Patterson is the Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program. Since 2007 Patterson has served as coordinator & co-founder of Women of Color United. She has worked as a researcher, program manager, coordinator, advocate and activist working on women‘ s rights, violence against women, HIV&AIDS, racial justice, economic justice, and environmental and climate justice. Patterson served as a Senior Women’ s Rights Policy Analyst for ActionAid where she integrated a women’ s rights lens for the issues of food rights, macroeconomics, and climate change as well as the intersection of violence against women and HIV & AIDS.

Environmental injustice, including the proliferation of climate change, has a disproportionate impact on communities of color and low-income communities in the United States and around the world. The NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program was created to support community leadership in addressing this human and civil rights issue.

Take Away Quotes:

“The reason that EPA was so focused on trying to regulate the emissions from coal-fired power plants is that those emissions create huge pollution issues that then create and trigger huge public-health challenges…the combustion of coal has a lot of adverse impacts.”

“Resilience, I guess in any context…would be the ability of a community to withstand disturbances, basically, to life and living. And as we define resilience in our work as a civil- and human-rights organization, we look at the structural inequities that make certain communities more vulnerable—whether it’s disasters or sea-level rise or other types of shifts—and as we build resilience, it includes eliminating those vulnerabilities.”

“Communities of color; low-income communities; women, to some extent; and other groups are being disproportionately impacted by the environmental injustices—whether it’s exposure to toxins, air pollution, water pollution, land contamination, etc.—to the effect that these communities do hold these pre-existing vulnerabilities that make them more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including sea-level rise, extreme weather events, shifts to the agricultural yields, etc.”

“The price of poverty should never be death.”

Resources:

Island Press

Urban Resilience Project

NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program

Coal Blooded Report

Lights Out in the Cold: Reforming Utility Shut-Off Policies as if Human Rights Matter

May 4, 2017

Topic:

Putting a Price on Carbon

In This Episode:

01:37 Co-host Michael Green is introduced.
02:23 Mike and Michael talk about “Years of Living Dangerously.”
04:50 Mike and Michael mention the Put a Price on It campaign.
06:44 Guest Camila Thorndike is introduced.
07:22 Camila shares the origin and goal of Put a Price on It.
08:39 Camila describes how the partnership with the “Years of Living Dangerously” team came about.
12:12 Camila reflects on carbon-pricing stories that she’s heard.
17:53 Camila expresses if celebrity involvement is an advantage in terms of communicating the climate-crisis message.
21:42 Camila states her response to the question, “What can I do?”
26:30 Camila tells where people can go to connect with Our Climate and Put a Price on It.
28:33 Camila provides how she stays positive during the climate-change issue.
32:06 Michael identifies what in the news caught his eye this week in the news.
33:40 Mike conveys what caught his eye this week in the news.

Guest:

Camila Thorndike has been an environmental advocate and social entrepreneur for 10 years. At Whitman College, she led the largest campus club and founded a tri-college leadership network. After graduating with honors in 2010, Camila directed outreach for a regional urban planning project in Arizona; advanced green jobs for the mayor of D.C.; worked at the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution; and co-founded COAL, a nationwide musical theater project about fossil fuels. She is a Udall Scholar, Fellow of the Center for Diversity and the Environment, Sitka Fellow, Mic50 Awardee, and member of the 2016 class of the Young Climate Leaders Network.

Organization:

Our Climate mobilizes and empowers the generations most affected by climate change to pass inclusive, science-based climate policy through creative civic engagement.

Take Away Quotes:

“It takes a lot of education and encouragement to make sure that young people, especially, feel confident advocating for the policy, but once they’re hooked, it’s amazing what they’ve been pulling off.”

“We’re finally getting more creative in how we bring people in, and there’s nothing more powerful than story. It’s not unique to the efforts around carbon pricing, but I think the climate and sustainability movements as a whole have really gotten the memo that you can’t just broadcast facts and figures and graphs and charts—it won’t resonate emotionally—and that when you don’t have that emotional link, then you can’t expect folks to prioritize this above their grocery list or paying the bills or whatever it might be.”

“Something that young people everywhere need to realize is that you don’t wait until some magical moment—that you have this right title or the right position—to speak out on something that you care about. It is actually your youth and your perspective of being in the most imperiled generation and facing down the barrel of this gun that is the core message that will resonate and move the rest of society, and, in fact, if you don’t speak out, you’re missing this incredible opportunity which is going to fade with time.”

“…more and more people are waking up and taking action, and I think that comes from refusing to take no as an answer and doing the hard work of honing your skills and your knowledge base and, again, making use of this precious time that we have when we’re alive on this earth to advance something that we believe in, whether or not we win. The victory is not guaranteed, but the effort is in your hands.”

Resources:

Our Climate

Years of Living Dangerously

Watch Years of Living Dangerously

Find #putapriceonit online

Follow #putapriceonit on Facebook

Apr 27, 2017

Topic:

The Importance of Play in Our Society

In This Episode:

01:50 Aisha Alexander is introduced.
02:02 Aisha shares what KaBOOM! is.
02:40 Aisha provides why play opportunities are so important.
04:06 Aisha explains why access to play is an issue.
06:02 Aisha describes the Play Everywhere Challenge.
09:08 Aisha states how people can learn more about KaBOOM! and the Play Everywhere Challenge.
09:38 Mike comments how playspaces have dual benefits.
10:16 Aisha expresses how kids are indicator species for cities.

Guest/Organization:

Aisha Alexander is a Director of External Affairs for KaBOOM!, where she leads efforts promote the creation of kid-friendly cities. She attended Hampton University, where she earned her BA in English and Early Childhood Education; and Temple University, earning a Master of Social Work, concentrating in Community and Policy Practice. Before joining KaBOOM!, she worked in municipal government, most recently for the City of Charlotte, where she managed the city’s neighborhood improvement programs. Aisha is an expert in community engagement, neighborhood quality of life and social sector innovation.

Take Away Quotes:

“KaBOOM! is a national nonprofit organization that’s committed to making sure that all kids have the access to the play opportunities they need to thrive.”

“There’s lots of reasons that play is really important. Number one, we believe that play is a fundamental right of childhood; it is the work of children.”

“We realized through our community-built playgrounds that we could not address the problem at scale, and so we worked with Ideas42, a behavioral research firm, to figure out what are the barriers to play, and when we looked at those barriers, we found out that what needs to happen to be able to give access to all kids is to really make play everywhere.”

“We really wanted to have this Play Everywhere Challenge to help spur these types of ideas of how you can infuse play into everyday spaces where kids and families are already spending time.”

Resources:

Play Everywhere Challenge

The Play Everywhere Playbook

KaBOOM

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