On the Environment Podcast

On the Environment Episode Guide

Our podcast is available on SoundCloud and iTunes.

James Cameron James Cameron, Executive Fellow with the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy and partner at Systemiq, joins Lucy Kessler, a student at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, for a conversation about clean energy finance, the private sector’s role in addressing climate change, and why he is optimistic about the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement. (10/27/2016)


Christine Todd Whitman: Christine Todd Whitman, former New Jersey Governor and US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator joins Stephanie Ratte, a student at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, for a conversation about the role of nuclear energy after the 2015 Paris Agreement. (6/15/2016)


Liz Barratt-Brown:  Liz Barratt-Brown, Senior Advisor to NRDC & Executive Committee member of the Yale Law School, and Advisory Board Member of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy joins Catherine Martini for a conversation about Barratt-Brown’s career working on the Toxic Release Inventory, the Keystone XL Pipeline, international climate negotiations, and organic olive oil farming in Mallorca, Spain (www.pedruxella.com). (4/11/2016)


Deborah Goldberg: Deborah Goldberg, the managing attorney for the Northeast office of Earthjustice sits down with Melissa Legge to discuss environmental litigation, climate change, environmental justice, and the unusual twists and turns of her own career from academic to litigator. (3/8/2016)


Dr. Patricia Limerick: Dr. Patty Limerick, Faculty Director and Chair of the Board of the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado Boulder and professor of environmental studies and history, joins Stephanie Ratte, a student at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, for a conversation about the importance of history for understanding environmental issues today, challenges and opportunities in the American West, and why we should care more about bureaucrats. (2/12/2016)


Jim Grijalva: Eugene Rusyn, Yale Law School ‘17, sits down in the studio with Professor Jim Grijalva to discuss environmental law on Indian lands. Professor Grijalva is an expert in federal Indian law, environmental law, and environmental justice and is the director of the Tribal Environmental Law Project at the University of North Dakota School of Law. (12/7/2015)


Jennifer McIvor: Jennifer McIvor, Vice President of Environmental at MidAmerican Energy speaks with Becky Gallagher of the Yale School of Forestry and the Yale School of Management about the various environmental issues that energy companies face. While climate change dominates the conversation, companies like MidAmerican are also working to clean up water, protect endangered species, and otherwise coordinate energy production with environmental protection. (11/24/2015)


Edan Rotenberg: Edan Rotenberg, a partner at the Super Law Group, joins Joya Sonnenfeldt a dual degree student at Yale Law School and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies for a conversation about protecting the environment through private environmental law practice. Edan tells Joya about the type of work he does, what drives him, and how lawyers in private practice can protect the public interest. (11/20/2015)


Abbie Dillen: Abbie Dillen, Vice President of Litigation for Climate and Energy at Earthjustice, joins Melissa Legge in the studio to discuss public interest environmental litigation as a tool to make broader changes in environmental governance in the public and private sectors. (11/18/2015)


Frances Beinecke: Frances Beinecke joins Melissa Legge of Yale Law School and Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies for a conversation about the past, present, and future of the environmental movement. (10/19/2015)


Francesca Koe: Francesca Koe, a communications specialist, joins Josh Galperin in the studio to talk about strategic environmental communications. (10/13/2015)


Hans Bruyninckx: Hans Bruyninckx, the Executive Director of the European Environment Agency, discusses his work toward a low carbon economy in Europe. He explores the upcoming UNFCCC meeting in Paris, and considers the role of Europe in climate change policy. (10/6/2015)


Lisa Dale: Josh Galperin, outgoing Associate Director for the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy, interviews incoming Associate Director Lisa Dale about her background and new role. Dr. Dale discusses her passion for the outdoors and how it has been channeled into environmental policy work. (7/14/2015)


Per Espen Stoknes: Dr. Per Espen Stoknes discusses the misunderstood science of climate psychology and overcoming psychological barriers so we can act meaningfully together to build bottom-up support for climate policy. His new book is What We Think About When We Try Not to Think About Global Warming: Toward a New Psychology of Climate Action. Dr. Stoknes is a psychologist and economist who teaches at the Norwegian Business School in Oslo. (5/27/2015)


Christine Klein & Sandra Zellmer: Christine Klein, the Chesterfield Smith Professor of at the University of Florida Levin College of Law and Sandra Zellmer, the Robert Daugherty Professor at the University of Nebraska Law College, discuss the environmental and social implications of decades of American engineering along the Mississippi River. In 2014, they wrote the book Mississippi River Tragedies: A Century of Unnatural Disaster. The book focuses on the dramatic transformation of the river over the last century and the precarious positions that human communities have in relationship to it. The results are what they call catastrophic “unnatural disasters.” Behind all of this, they argue, is a system of American law that amplifies and codifies American ambivalence toward nature. In this episode we discuss what they mean by “unnatural disasters” and what insights they have about how the American legal system creates the environmental problems so many of our environmental policies are trying to solve. (4/14/2015)


Kate Gordon: Kate Gordon leads the Energy & Climate team at Next Generation. In this episode, she talks about the promising signs of change in US climate and energy policy, with a special focus on the innovations emerging from California. There’s increasing public and private investment in transforming California’s economy, which is now the world’s eighth largest, and Gordon explains its significant impact on the scale of clean energy solutions across the state and what this could mean for national policy solutions. Gordon also discusses how the green jobs movement can address systematic social and environmental injustices. (3/2/2015)


Matt Hoffman: In this episode, Matt Hoffman, a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto, talks about potential routes toward decarbonization, the process of weaning societies from fossil fuels. His work suggests that the role of international climate negotiations in the future may be different than what we’ve come to expect—they may provide less in the way of binding agreements and more of a source of global goal setting. In this interview, Hoffman offers an entirely new frame for climate change. Rather than negotiating cost distribution among states, as climate negotiations have traditionally done, we ought to frame the topic as a way toward a better society. This re-framing would involve a more concerted look at the benefits of action and what he can hope to gain by addressing climate change collectively. (2/27/2015)


Glenn Hurowitz: In this episode Glenn Hurowitz speaks on his pathbreaking work in eliminating both environmental and social injustices that pervade the world’s biggest, most entrenched agricultural supply chains. Glenn is the managing director of Climate Advisors where he has taken the international lead on ending deforestation for commodity agriculture. In the last year, Glenn has played a major role in getting the world’s biggest agribusinesses, like Cargill, Wilmar International, and Kellogg, to adopt
policies that will eliminate deforestation in their entire global supply chain. We discuss his recent headlines and success and what this means for forests around the world, and also about issues with the industry’s use of the word “sustainability,” and how much we can trust their assurances for change. (2/12/2015)

Mathias Risse: In this podcast Mathias Risse, professor of philosophy and public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, discusses his recent paper, “The Human Right to Water and Common Ownership of the Earth” which posits that humanity’s shared possession of our planet provides a philosophical foundation for a right to water and sanitation. (1/22/2015)

Christopher Sawyer: In this podcast, Christopher Sawyer – a partner with Alston & Bird, a law firm specializing in corporate governance, real estate and conservation law – discusses the body of skills necessary to transform ideas into a lasting positive community reality. (1/22/2015)

Oriana Persico & Salvatore Iaconesi: In this episode Oriana Persico and Salvatore Iaconesi, both teachers of digital design at La Sapienza University of Rome, discuss what the near future is, how they study it, and what implications of designing the near future has for natural resource companies such as Shell. They help listeners envision the possibilities of a collaborative and ubiquitous learning environment. Much of the conversation centers on their recent Human Ecosystems project in New Haven, Connecticut where they “mapped the city” using mass amounts of social media data. The implications this project has for creating more efficient and invigorating urban environments are striking. (1/22/2015)

Rafay Alam: In this episode, Rafay Alam, an environmental lawyer and activist in Lahore, Pakistan, speaks about the social and economic challenges the government faces in addressing endemic environmental issues. Much of the conversation revolves around problems with poverty and access to natural resources, and how Pakistan’s national identity is defined by the Indus River. Rafay also tells the story of starting Critical Mass Lahore, a bicycling advocacy group and how, person by person, it is changing people’s lives. (1/21/2015)

Peter Lehner: In this podcast Peter Lehner, executive director of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), discusses agriculture – both NRDC’s work on the issue and his own experiences as a coffee and sugar cane grower in Costa Rica – high-impact climate litigation, and career planning. (12/15/2014)

Jed Kaplan: The start date for what scientists call the Anthropocene - the era in which human activities begin to have a significant global impact on Earth’s ecosystems - varies widely. Some researchers point to the industrial revolution, others look much further back. In this podcast Jed Kaplan, of the Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics, University of Lausanne, Switzerland, discusses his research, focused on the role of the Earth’s land surface in the climate system – and what it reveals about how humans were transforming ecosystem more than 3,000 years ago. (11/19/2014)

Dekila Chungyalpa: In this podcast WWF’s Dekila Chungyalpa, discusses the organization’s Sacred Earth program, which engages religious leaders and faith communities as stakeholders in the organization’s work. Religious leaders, Chungyalpa says, have long been the missing piece of conservation. Scientists often want to distance themselves from religion, or from addressing the moral and ethical questions inherent in many of our most critical environmental dilemmas. This idea that religion threatens science has been an Achilles heel, she says; instead, these leaders help reframe environmental issues in a way that resonates within their communities. (11/19/2014)

Whendee Silver: In this podcast, Whendee Silver, Yale F&ES ‘97 (PhD) and professor of ecosystem ecology at U.C. Berkeley, outlines how the use of composted organic material (agricultural and green waste) on rangeland soils can increase carbon storage and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. (11/19/2014)

Elizabeth Barlow Rogers: In this podcast Elizabeth Barlow Rogers, president of the Foundation for Landscape Studies and founding president of the Central Park Conservancy, discusses her work as a landscape design historian and a writer examining the cultural meaning of place. (11/7/2014)

Alexander Verbeek (part 1, part 2): In this two-part podcast Yale World Fellow Alexander Verbeek, strategic policy advisory on global issues at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, discusses how to build an robust social network — and how to use it effectively to communicate key issues and build a global community (part 1). He then looks at how we might address some of the most critical environmental issues with an integrated approach that has governments working together with industry, civil society, and think tanks (part 2). (11/6/2014)

Thora Arnorsdottir: In this podcast Thora Arnorsdottir, senior news editor at the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service, documentary film producer, and 2014 Yale World Fellow, discusses her 2012 candidacy for the Presidency of Iceland, and the environmental issues, from natural resource management and green energy to the pressures of increased tourism on fragile ecosystems, that helped shape her platform – and how those issues are evolving today. (10/29/2014)

Erik Christiansen: In 2013, Denmark produced more than 40 percent of its electricity from renewable energy – with more than 85 percent of this renewable energy produced by co-operatives owned and managed by ordinary citizens. In this podcast, Erik Christiansen, of Copenhagen Business School and the Middelgrunen Wind Co-op, outlines how Denmark has approached its renewable energy transition, and why the country is still on track to meet its targets: 50 percent from wind by 2020, 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030, and 100 percent renewable transportation by 2050. (10/27/2014)

George Marshall: Climate change does not exist for people in terms of the evidence, however strong it is; it exists in the socially constructed narratives that we have around it. And these narratives become the life and essence of the issue rather than the true and major threat it represents. In this podcast George Marshall, founder of the Climate Outreach Information Network, discusses how we might break the silence that commonly defines the climate change narrative by being open about our convictions and beliefs. (10/2/2014)

Dan Simberloff: From battered Asian carp to wild boar bacon, fighting invasive species at the dinner table has become an increasingly popular trend, even catching the attention of NPR commentator Bonny Wolf. While invasivory might make for some interesting recipes — lionfish nachos anyone? —is it an effective strategy for control? In this podcast University of Tennessee Professor Dan Simberloff and Yale postdoc and invasion biologist Sara Kuebbing discuss their concerns with the tactic. (9/16/2014)

Megan Parker: Whether locating wire snares in Africa or dyer’s woad in the western United States, dogs are helping conservationists monitor wildlife and eradicate invasive species. In this podcast, Megan Parker, executive director and co-founder of Working Dogs for Conservation, visits with invasion biologist and Yale postdoc Sara Kuebbing about the organization, the dogs, and the dog/handler team’s key projects. (9/6/2014)

Matt Daggett: In this podcast, Matt Daggett, Greenpeace International’s global campaign leader for forests, visits with Amy Mount, Yale F&ES ‘14, about the organization’s theory of change and climate policy in the US. (7/25/2014)

Tom Kizzia: Tom Kizzia’s recent book, Pilgrim’s Wilderness, details the strange (but true) journey of the self-proclaimed Papa Pilgrim, who established his wife and fifteen children in America’s largest national park in south-central Alaska. In this podcast, Kizzia visits with Amy Mount, Yale F&ES ‘14, about how the Pilgrims touched off one of the most-visible controversies between environmentalists, government officials and local land-rights advocates in a generation. (4/23/2014)

Mary Wood: In this podcast Marissa Knodel, Yale F&ES ‘15, visits with Mary Wood, faculty director of the nationally acclaimed Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program at the University of Oregon School of Law, about her recent book, Nature’s Trust: Environmental Law for a New Ecological Age. The book highlights flaws in current environmental law practices and offers transformational change based on the public trust doctrine. An ancient and enduring principle, the trust doctrine asserts public property rights to crucial resources. Its core logic compels government, as trustee, to protect natural inheritance such as air and water for all humanity. (4/22/2014)

Leon Billings & Tom Jorling: In this podcast, Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy Associate Director Josh Galperin visits with former US Senate staffers Leon Billings and Tom Jorling about the policies and personalities that led to the first major environmental laws in the nation – and what the history of environmental lawmaking can tell us about the political stalemate we face today. (4/21/2014)

Todd Wilkinson: Journalist and author Todd Wilkinson discusses his recent book, Last Stand: Ted Turner’s Quest to Save a Troubled Planet, which offers a diligently detailed, keenly interpreted, and jaw-dropping portrait of a smart, prescient, independent man hard-driven by sorrow and passionately committed to doing lasting good in the world on as large a scale as possible. (2/21/2014)

Elaine Kub: Elaine Kub, commodity analyst and author of Mastering the Grain Markets, visits with Erin Schnettler, Yale F&ES ‘14, about how major grain commodities are produced, traded, and sold in the United States – and what might be done to make the system more sustainable. (2/19/2014)

Brian Keane: SmartPower President Brian Keane discusses his recent book, Green is Good: Save Money, Make Money, and Help Your Community Profit from Clean Energy, which offers a no-nonsense guide for making clean energy and energy efficiency a part of daily life. (2/19/2014)

Angel Hsu: The 2014 Environmental Index (EPI) ranks countries on high-priority environmental concerns, including air quality, water management, and climate change. In this podcast, Angel Hsu, lead author of the 2014 EPI, discusses the rankings and global performance trends. Overall, the index reveals that the world is doing well on improving drinking water and sanitation. Progress in these categories tracks the concerted pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals, which have clear targets, strategies, and metrics for assessment on water and sanitation. Poorer environmental performance is seen in areas with less defined targets and goals, as with fisheries, industrial wastewater treatment, and air quality. For more information on the 2014 EPI visit epi.yale.edu. (1/24/2014)

Kevin Poland: Maine farmer Kevin Poland visits with YCELP Associate Director Josh Galperin about the local food sovereignty movement. Proponents of the movement would like to see food safety regulations handled at a local rather than the federal or state level, but the issue has proved divisive. The Poland Family Farm has been operating in Brooklin, Maine since 1978 and grows MOFGA certified organic vegetables, flowers, berries, and hay as well as pasture-raised, heritage breeds pork, beef, and eggs. (1/7/2014)

Dr. Cameron Wake: Dr. Cameron Wake, a research associate professor in climatology at the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space at the University of New Hampshire, leads a research program investigating regional climate and environmental change through the analysis of ice cores, instrumental data, and phenological records, with a focus on the northeast United States, the Arctic, and central Asia. In this podcast, he visits with YCELP researcher Amy Weinfurter about his work, both at UNH and at Climate Solutions New England, a regional network promoting energy self-reliance and weather resilient communities. (12/9/2013)

Rit Aggarwala: The 63 cities in the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group contain 8 percent of the world’s population, have a GDP the size of China’s – and the potential to reduce the global carbon emissions by a billion tons. In this podcast Rit Aggarwala, the former director of long-term planning and sustainability for New York City, discusses megacities’ leadership in addressing climate change and PlaNYC, with its goal to reduce New York City’s carbon footprint by more than 30 percent by 2030. (12/3/2013)

Andrew Guzman: Marissa Knodel, a research assistant at the Center, visits with Andrew Guzman about his new book Overheated: The Human Cost of Climate Change, which explores the real-world consequences of climate change. (3/14/2013)


Julian Aguon (part 1part 2): Marissa Knodel talks with Julian Aguon, a writer, activist and attorney, about his work on human and indigenous rights under international law. (3/14/2013)