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On the Environment: A Podcast Series from the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy

The Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy is a joint initiative between Yale Law School and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and we see a lot of interesting and inspiring people come through the doors of both schools throughout the course of a year.

These visionaries will stay a few days, give a lecture or two, and then be on their way again—sometimes with very little record of their visit, the insights they’ve shared, or the passion they’ve breathed into the community inspiring action, change, and possibility.

We launched On the Environment, a podcast series hosted by Center staff and students, in March 2013 to better document these visits and, most importantly, to invite the larger community into the conversation we’re having here about key issues in environmental science, law and policymaking.

If you have comments or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at ycelp@yale.edu.


On the Environment Episode Guide

Episode 1
: 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.

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

Episode 3 (part 1, part 2, and part 3): Aaron Reuben, a Center research assistant, talks with Rolling Stone Contributing Editor Jeff Goodell about his work, the future of environmental journalism, and geoengineering.

Episode 4: (part 1, part 2): Nora Hawkins, a Center research assistant, talks with Heidi Binko, associate director of special climate initiatives at the Rockefeller Family Fund, about her career path, work with RFF, and how the philanthropic community has developed campaigns -- for coal, in particular -- addressing climate change in the absence of a federal climate bill.

Episode 5
(part 1, part 2): Joanna Dafoe, a Center research assistant, visits with Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Daniel Yergin about his recent book, The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World. The book, a follow-up to 2008’s The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power, examines the energies that have been foundational to civilization and the energies and technologies competing to replace technologies competing to replace them, all while highlighting how energy drives global political and economic change and conflict.

Episode 6 (part 1, part 2): Yale Environmental Law Association President Halley Epstein visits with Jedediah Purdy, professor of law at Duke University about the history of environmentalism in America, environmental ethics and his forthcoming book, The American Environmental Imagination.

Episode 7 (part 1, part 2): Center Research Assistant Sarah Wegmueller visits with Sarah Krakoff, a professor at the University of Colorado School of Law, about American Indian law, environmental ethics, and Professor Krakoff's forthcoming book Parenting the Planet. The book uses parenting as a frame to explore our relationship to nature in a way that does not depend predominately on individual rational self-interest to explain human motivation.

Episode 8 (part 1, part 2): China's environmental situation is frequently scrutinized both within China and across the world. In this two-part podcast Angel Hsu, a China expert completing her PhD this May at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, offers an overview of the key environmental issues in the country, how the government is addressing them, and the way Chinese citizens are mobilizing to push for better transparency about the state of their environment.

Episode 9: Air pollution is a topic of global concern, and in rapidly developing counties -- such as China -- news of extreme pollution levels dominates headlines. In this podcast Angel Hsu, Environmental Performance Index project director, visits with NASA climate scientist Drew Shindell and environmental policy expert Marc Levy about knowledge gaps and data challenges in global air quality monitoring, and how better monitoring can lead to better policy.

Episode 10 (part 1, part 2): In this two-part podcast, Kate Galbraith, an energy and environment reporter formerly with the Texas Tribune, visits with Center research assistant Rachel Lipstein about environmental journalism, her recently released book, The Great Texas Wind Rush, and the key environmental issues she covered in Texas, including water use and energy.

Episode 11: To the untrained eye, invasive species blend into the environment, so unless they are incredibly ugly (snakehead anyone?) -- or trendy (bacon-wrapped wild boar chops?) -- they're not often a topic of conversation. But invasive species, from bamboo and eucalyptus to Asian carp and zebra mussels, disrupt their environments and have serious ecological impacts. In this podcast, Josh Galperin, associate director of the Yale Center of Environmental Law & Policy, and Connie Vogelmann, Yale Law School '14, discuss invasive species management, highlighting one troubling trend -- eating invaders -- that may have unintended consequences.

Episode 12 (part 1, part 2): Many scientists note that the poles offer a preview of climate change’s expected global impacts. In part one of the podcast, Fran Ulmer, chair of the US Arctic Research Commission and former lieutenant governor of Alaska, visits with Amy Mount, Yale F&ES '14, about her work in the Arctic and how the people who live and work there are facing the challenges posed by a changing climate. In part two, Ms. Ulmer discusses her experience as a member of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, appointed by President Obama, and offers some perspective on the debate surrounding natural resource extraction, of all types, in Alaska.

Episode 13: Gus Speth visits with Joanna Dafoe, Yale F&ES '14, about his latest book America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy. Speth describes the need for a new economy to generate lasting and expansive political reform and reflects on his personal theory of change as it has evolved throughout his career. Time Magazine has called Gus Speth the "ultimate insider," but to many students at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Vermont Law School, Professor Speth is a mentor and friend. To that end, the podcast concludes with a discussion related to a student-posed question: what is the best role for young people to help in the new economy transition?

Episode 14: For island and coastal nations, rising sea levels pose an urgent threat; indeed, we're already seeing climate-change-driven migration -- a process threatens to create empty states by draining communities of skills and tax revenue even before the full physical impacts of climate change hit. In this podcast, Maxine Burkett, Associate Professor at the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii, and the former director of the Center for Island Climate Adaptation and Policy, visits with Halley Epstein, YLS '14, about what might be done to preserve statehood for nations after climate change makes their physical territories uninhabitable.


Episode 15: (part 1, part 2): Gunnar Knapp, Director of the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Alaska, discusses his work at ISER and the challenges of researching and implementing public policy that protects the environment and promotes development, seafood economics, fisheries management in Alaska, and his forthcoming book, The Economics of Fish.

Episode 16 (part 1, part 2): Mark Kresowik, the eastern region deputy director for the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign, talks about the campaign's success, the benefits of political pressure versus analytical arguments in clean energy advocacy, and the importance of grassroots action for addressing climate change.

Episode 17: The Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI), a non-profit administered by Florida State University, maintains a comprehensive database of the state’s biological resources, a critical resource for policymakers and stakeholders working on conservation projects. In this podcast, Jason D. Schwartz, Yale F&ES ’13, visits with Gary Knight, FNAI director and 2013 Dorothy S. McCluskey Visiting Fellow in Conservation at F&ES, about why measurement matters in conservation and how we might more effectively measure – and communicate – conservation successes.

Episode 18: If you see something wrong, you should do something about it: this ethos has inspired Janet Dalziell throughout her career at Greenpeace International, where she is the director of global development and a member of the senior management team. In this podcast, Ms. Dalziell visits with Amy Mount, Yale F&ES '14, about her time at Greenpeace, the organization's priorities and strategic deployment of non-violent direct action, and the plight of the Arctic 30, the group of activists protesting oil drilling in the Arctic and now being held by the Russian government.

Episode 19: 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.

Episode 20
: 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.

Episode 21: 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.

Episode 22: 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.

Episode 23
: 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.

Episode 24: 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.

Episode 25: 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.

Episode 26: 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.

Episode 27: 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.

Episode 28: 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.

Episode 29: 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.

Episode 30: 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.

Episode 31: 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.


Episode 32: 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.

Episode 33: 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.

Episode 34: 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.

Epiosde 35 (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).

Episode 36: 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.

Episode 37: 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.

Episode 38: 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.

Episode 39: 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.

Episode 40: 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.

Episode 41: 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

Episode 42: 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.

Episode 43: 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.

Episode 44: 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.

Episode 45: 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.

Episode 46: 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.

Episode 47: 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.

Episode 48: 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.

Episode 49: 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.

Espisode 50: 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.

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