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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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Now displaying: October, 2017
Oct 26, 2017

Topic: 

The Connection Between Race and Energy

In This Episode:

01:35  _Guest Denise Fairchild is introduced.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guest and Organization:

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

Take Away Quotes:

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

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

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

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

Resources:

Emerald Cities Collaborative 

http://emeraldcities.org/ 

Energy Democracy: Advancing Equity in Clean Energy Solutions

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

Island Press Urban Resilience Project

 

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

Oct 19, 2017

Topic:

Making Urban Streets More Bicycle and Pedestrian Friendly

In This Episode:

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

Guest and Organization:

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

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

Take Away Quotes:

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

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

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

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

Resources:

Trailnet

Local Government Commission

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

Oct 12, 2017

Topic:

Transforming a Community Through the Power of Art

In This Episode:

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

Guest and Organization:

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

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

Take Away Quotes:

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

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

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

Resources:

Regional Arts Commission

ArtUP

Local Government Commission

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

Oct 5, 2017

Topic:

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

In This Episode:

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

Guest and Organization:

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

Take Away Quotes:

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

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

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

Resources:

WE ACT For Environmental Justice

Island Press Urban Resilience Project

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

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