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?
Our life on earth depends on a most unlikely love affair – one between flowers and the bees, butterflies, birds and bats which enable plants to reproduce. The brilliant colors and exotic perfumes of flowers are designed to lure their pollinators into an intricate dance of seduction, a dance on which more than one third of our food crops depend, a dance without which we could not survive.
If you’re lucky and observant, you’ve witnessed the visits of bees and those marvels of engineering, hummingbirds, to the plants around you. But now, for the first time, you have a chance to watch that magnificent dance of pollinators and plants in the far corners of the globe and in the darkness of night. WINGS OF LIFE, the latest documentary from remarkable cinematographer and director, LOUIE SCHWARTZBERG, is now available on DVD. More than beautiful – which it is – the film carries an important message about the threats to pollinators and in turn, the threat to life itself.
I’ll be joined by LOUIS and CHIP TAYLOR a Monarch butterfly expert.
Q&A w/ DANNY KENNEDY, ROOFTOP REVOLUTION: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy and the Planet from Dirty EnergyWritten on May 13th, 2013
Is there a revolution coming to your rooftop? While opponents claim solar is expensive, inefficient, and unreliable, in his book ROOFTOP REVOLUTION: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy And Our Planet From Dirty Energy, DANNY KENNEDY makes clear solar can save money, create jobs, and protect the environment if only politics and perception will get out of the way.
During the recent Presidential campaign, we heard a lot about Solyndra, the solar start-up that received a sizable government loan only to go belly up. Solar’s detractors claim the collapse of Solyndra proves solar is just a hippie pipe dream, but Danny Kennedy, says the truth is quite the opposite. Solyndra failed because it wasn’t able to compete in a red-hot industry, not because solar isn’t ready for prime time.
The industry employs 100,000 people in the United States, twice as many as in 2009 and twice the number of coal miners. In 2011, Warren Buffett invested $2 billion in a solar farm, and General Electric bought a start-up solar manufacturer, announcing, “By 2020 this is going to be at least a $1 billion product line.” Production of solar-generated electricity rose by 45% in the first three quarters of 2010, while electricity from natural gas rose only 1.6% and coal declined by 4.2%. Kennedy argues for a rooftop revolution to break the entrenched power of the coal, oil, nuclear, and natural gas industries and their progress-denying allies.
Economists, politicians, and pundits insist recovery is at hand, yet unemployment remains high, real estate values continue to sink, and governments face record deficits. Today’s guest, RICHARD HEINBERG has a new book, The End of Growth, in which he proposes a startling diagnosis: humanity has reached a fundamental turning point in its economic history. He talks about the new normal that recognizes the limits to growth imposed by resource and disposal limits, climate change, and population growth.