Free Forum Q&A – RICHARD HEINBERG, Author of SNAKE OIL: Fracking’s Promise of Plenty Imperils Our FutureWritten on December 3rd, 2013
What do you know about hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” of natural gas?Probably depends on who you’re listening to. The fossil fuel industry tells you it’s the biggest energy development of the century, which promises America energy independence for the US and a huge boost to our economy with benefits to local economies. Many of the communities themselves tell a different story – of pollution on the one hand and social disruption on the other.
For the spoils of success, I recommend an article in March 2013 Harpers, Where Broken Hearts Stand, Grief and Recovery on the Badlands of North Dakota by Richard Manning.
RICHARD HEINBERG has a new book, SNAKE OIL: How Fracking’s Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future, looks at fracking from both economic and environmental perspectives, informed by the most thorough analysis of shale gas and oil drilling data ever undertaken.
Join us as I try to find out, Is fracking the miracle cure-all to our energy ills, or a costly distraction from the necessary work of reducing our fossil fuel dependence?
After its recent IPO, Twitter is valued at nearly $25Billion. Now what is Twitter? Millions of tweets created and shared by users plus some ads. But how many users get a piece of that $25Billion? Well, none.
Where would Facebook be without Friends? What would Twitter, Amazon, Yelp, and any network whose value is based on our data, be without us – sharing photos and feelings, making purchases, registering opinions. More than programming or advertising, TV has always been about selling our eyeballs. Likewise, today’s online giants are selling our visits, our clicks, our shares.
JARON LANIER, in his new book, WHO OWNS THE FUTURE?, writes: “At the height of its power, Kodak employed more than 140,000 people and was worth $28 billion. They even invented the first digital camera. Today Kodak is bankrupt, and the new face of digital photography is Instagram. When Instagram was sold to Facebook for a billion dollars in 2012, it employed only 13 people. Where did all those jobs disappear? And what happened to the wealth that all those middle-class jobs created?”
He believes the emerging business model in which companies with relatively few employees profit off the participation of all of us, could doom any hope of a rebirth of the middle class. Lanier wants to solve a problem not many are talking about, and he envisions a radical solution — “a highly humanistic economy – one that will reward people for the valuable information they share with networks and the companies that control and profit from them.
Nature, imaginative by necessity, has already solved many of the problems we are grappling with. Animals, plants, and microbes are the consummate engineers. They have found what works, what is appropriate, and most important, what lasts here on Earth.
After 3.8 billion years of R&D on this planet, failures are fossils. What surrounds us in the natural world is what has succeeded and survived. So why not learn as much as
we can from what works?
This week’s guest, JAY HARMON is doing just that, translating nature’s lessons and models into technologies that solve problems and perform tasks more elegantly, efficiently, and economically. He’s the author of THE SHARK’S PAINTBRUSH: Biomimicry and How Nature is Inspiring Innovation. I believe biomimicry – a way of looking and working and designing – has enormous potential to save us from ourselves. I find this one of the most exciting developments in the world at this time.
Free Forum Q&A – TERRY TAMMINEN, frmr Secy Cal EPA CRACKING the CARBON CODE Sustainable Profits in the New EconomyWritten on September 4th, 2013
When I first met TERRY TAMMINEN, he was living on a houseboat in the Marina and filling a position he’d founded as the first Santa Monica Baykeeper. No too long before that, he had been running a pool services company. And not too long after, he was Secretary of the California EPA.
Tamminen has reinvented himself successfully in several very different worlds — business, government, non-profit, foundation, from the grassroots to the halls of power. All of this for a long time now to achieve a sound and healthy relationship between society and the environment. He pursues that consistent vision with whatever works.
We’ll talk about the ideas in his book, CRACKING THE CARBON CODE: The Key to Sustainable Profits in the New Economy – which is very much a plan of action for companies who figure out that reducing carbon emissions reduces waste and is therefore good for the bottom line. He’ll tell stories of companies that have made or saved money by cutting carbon.
How has he been able to move things forward through politics and government in an era when so little seems to get done? Bottom line, are we moving fast enough? If not, how do we integrate all these different players to accelerate movement in the right direction?
This week, in the second of a two-part series (Part One with CARL HART, author of HIGH PRICE: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery that Challenges Everything You Know about Drugs and Society) I’m joined by DOUG FINE to talk about the accelerating movement to change the rules on marijuana. According to Fine, as the economy continues to limp along for most Americans and California cities declare bankruptcy, one action — the legalization of marijuana — would save government billions per year while raising huge sums in taxes. According to TIME, the legal medicinal cannabis economy already generates $200 million annually in taxable proceeds from a mere five hundred thousand registered medical users in just sixteen states. 51% of Americans support full legalization (cannabis regulated for adults like alcohol), and 80% support medicinal cannabis legalization.
Fine’s book, TOO HIGH TO FAIL: Cannabis and the New Green Economic Revolution, is just out in paperback. In a postscript added to the new edition, Fine writes,” On November 6, 2012, Colorado and Washington voters ended the Drug War. That is to say, voters in both states overwhelmingly legalized adult social use of cannabis (Colorado’s new law, vitally, also allows industrial cannabis cultivation). It is no stretch to say that the Berlin Wall of the Drug War fell.” We’ll talk about how quickly the landscape is changing and look ahead to the era of legal marijuana.