Sustainability Now! on KSQD 90.7 FM & KSQD.ORG

Every other Sunday from 5-6 PM

Sustainability Now! is underwritten by the Sustainable Systems Research Foundation. and Environmental Innovations.

Previous shows can be found on the sites below.

                                                                                                  Apple Podcasts         Overcast              Spotify                      Anchor           Radio Public          Pocket Casts    Google Podcasts      

Radio Show #86: Transit Equity Week 2023 with Lani Faulkner and Transit Equity

Join host Ronnie Lipschutz for a conversation with Lani Faulkner, Founder and Director of Equity Transit of Santa Cruz County.  We’ll be talking about Transit Equity Week 2023, which will run from January 30-February 4th, 2023. Transit Equity Day is a National Coalition movement event celebrated on Feb 4th, in honor of Rosa Parks’ Birthday and her pivotal role in combating racial segregation on public buses, trains, and trolleys.  Transit Equity Week will bring awareness to the need for robust public transportation and safe streets in Santa Cruz County. Transit Equity advocates for a robust and affordable public transportation system, a clean environment, affordable housing, safe walkable streets, and opportunity access for work, school, and everyday life.

 That’s on Sustainability Now, Sunday, December 11th, 2022, from 5-6 PM right here on KSQD 90.7 FM and, streaming on the internet.

Have you ever wondered about the history of the landscapes around you, how they were shaped and by whom?  UCSC Associate Professor of Anthropology Andrew Mathews has and he has studied landscape histories and their transformations in Italy.  Now he has published his research in Trees are Shape Shifters–How Cultivation, Climate Change and Disaster Create Landscapes, a closely-documented study of trees and people in central Italy and “how they make sense of social and environmental change” around them.  Join host Ronnie Lipschutz for a widely-ranging conversation with Mathews about landscape histories, human action and ecological change in Italy, California and the rest of the world.

You can read about Mathew’s work on his web site.

The world’s climate is changing and it is changing more and more rapidly.  What are we to do?  In two weeks, at the 27th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt.  This is the 30th such gathering since 1992 and there is not much to show for all that.

Join host Ronnie Schultz and his guests, Professor Sander Chan and Andrew Deneault who are in Sharm attending the conference. We’ll be talking about  the conference, its history and its goals as well as the “groundswell of climate action” by international and national organizations, states, provinces, cities and individuals. The UN has documented 29,000 of these actions. Do they make any difference?  What can you do?

If you are interested in following the conference, you can find reports from a number of sources at

What if humanity could take a giant step forward towards a climate transformation? We are rebroadcasting Christine Barrington’s October 12, interview with Dr. Delton Chen, Founder of the Global Carbon Reward along with Renegade Economist, Della Duncan, who together will headline at a November 2 event at the Resource Center for Non-Violence called Funding for the Future: New Ways to Value Life on our Planet.

The Global Carbon Reward is a bold policy proposal that seeks to leverage the power of the world’s central banks to institute a global monetary policy that rewards the mitigation of carbon. This policy would create a parallel economy powered by a Carbon Currency whose value is derived through increasing the health of the biosphere. Dr. Chen’s ideas were featured in Kim Stanley Robinson’s Ministry for the Future, and he is on a bi-coastal tour to raise awareness and engage interest in the policy. He will be presenting, along with Kim Stanley Robinson, at the Verge 22 Climate Tech Summit in San Jose at the end of October.

Della Duncan is a Co-Founder of the California Doughnut Economics Coalition and a Public Banking advocate. She works alongside others to shift the mindset around economics in order to tackle the 21st century’s grand challenge of meeting the needs of all people within the means of the planet.  Della dynamically pursues this vision through teaching, organizing, and mentoring. She is a Senior Fellow at the London School of Economics International Inequalities Institute and since 2016 has produced and hosted the Upstream Podcast, which invites listeners to unlearn everything they thought they knew about economics and imagine what a better world could look like.  She will address ideas around De-growth and the questioning of “Green Capitalism” as applied to the Global Carbon Reward.

Della’s 2-Part audio documentary is powerful journalism and full of provocative ideas well worth considering. Part 1:  The Problem with Green Captitalism;  Part 2: A Green Deal for the People

You can also listen to Christine’s Talk of the Bay broadcast “Pricing Nature through the Global Carbon Reward: A Conversation with Dr. Delton Chen, Author Kim Stanley Robinson and Renegade Economist Kate Raworth.”

Farming is tough enough as it is, but when farmers face the loss of organic certification due to climate-related disasters and wildfires, what can they do? Join Host Ronnie Lipschutz in a discussion with Amber Schat and David Obermiller speak about their experience with such challenges and programs that address them. Amber Schat is a Wildfire Resilience Specialist with the Community Alliance with Family Farmers, a statewide non-profit that focuses on serving small family farms with ecological farming information and support. David Obermiller is a farmer with Unearthed Farm and Harvest Field Organic Farm in Fresno County which was impacted by wildfire on July 1st in 2022.

For more information about fire retardants, see “After Wildfires, What Happens to Crops Soaked in Fire Retardant?”

Open Farm Tours is Back!

Open Farm Tours is back and happening October 8th and 9th! Fifteen south county farms are participating and all are family owned, organic and sustainable. Join host Ronnie Lipschutz and his guests, Penny Ellis, Paul Towers and David Blume. They will talk about the current state of farming in Santa Cruz County and Open Farm Tours. Ellis is the founder and coordinator of Open Farms Tour and organizes tours of Santa Cruz County farms and artisanal food purveyors. Towers is Executive Director of the Community Alliance with Family Farmers which advocates for state and national policies that create more resilient family farms, communities and ecosystems. Blume is CEO of Whiskey Hill Farms.  You can find out more about Open Farms Tour at

Join Host Ronnie Lipschutz for a conversation with Dr. Sharachchandra Lele who is coleader of an Expert Writing Group of natural scientists, social scientists and humanities scholars who have published a “Letter to Fellow Citizens of Earth,” “an urgent call to our global neighbours, to acknowledge the climate crisis, make personal and collective commitments in line with differences in privileges and responsibilities and work toward transformative changes.” Dr. Lele is  a Distinguished Fellow in Environmental Policy & Governance at the Centre for Environment & Development of the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment in Bangalore, India  and an Adjunct Faculty Member in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science Education & Research (IISER) Pune. His research interests include conceptual issues in sustainable development and sustainability, and analyses of institutional, economic, ecological, and technological issues in forest, energy, and water resource management.

We’ll be reaching beyond California on this show, so don’t miss it!

                                                          Join Host Ronnie Lipschutz for a conversation with filmmaker and media producer Eric Thiermann. During his 40-year career, Thiermann has filmed, produced and directed hundreds of media projects in over 40 countries. These include “Art and the Prison Crisis,” “The Last Epidemic: Medical Consequences of Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear War,”In the Nuclear Shadow: What Can the Children Tell Us?” nominated for an Academy Award in 1984, and “Women for America,” which received the Academy Award for best short documentary film in 1986. More recently, he has been involved in creating a radio show called “Kids on Climate” and “Connected Universe,” a game-like educational platform where the player is offered an island paradise which is suffering from climate change.


Join host Ronnie Lipschutz for a conversation with Chelsea Tu, the new executive director of a new local non-profit, Monterey Waterkeeper, which combines education, science-based policy advocacy and legal action to ensure that all communities, including low-income communities of color, have safe, affordable drinking water and enjoy clean, swimmable and fishable waters. According to Tu, Monterey waterkeeper will be working to limit levels of contaminants in drinking water, mostly in well water that does not receive water treatment. Drink up!


These days, one’s political affiliation is often a clue to one’s position on abortion (and vice versa).  That was not always the case.  During the 1950s and into the 1970s, Republicans were often supporters of abortion as a form of family planning—especially in developing countries, but in the United States, too. And they were allies of many environmentalists, who were worried about the so-called population explosion.  Join host Ronnie Lipschutz for a conversation with Dr. Caroline Tracey (PhD in geography from UC Berkeley), whose June 18th essay in the San Francisco Chronicle recounted the historical relationship between Republicans, environmentalism and abortion. We also talk about the Reverend Malthus, his essay on population and how it continues to infuse political discourse today, 225 years later.

You can find more of Tracey’s writing at her website (, SFMOMA’s “Open Space” (, and “Civil Eats” (

Join host Ronnie Lipschutz in this Blast from the Past (originally broadcast on May 23, 2021) as he speaks with Dr. Suzanne Simard, Professor of Forestry and Conservation Sciences about the social life of trees.   Her 2021 book, Finding the Mother Tree–Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest, has just been published.  According to Simard, communication between trees happens not in the air but deep below our feet in an incredibly dense, complex network of roots and chemical signals. … “In a single forest, a mother tree may be connected to hundreds of other trees.”

Here is what Bookshop Santa Cruz wrote about Simard: “Suzanne Simard is a pioneer on the frontier of plant communication and intelligence; she’s been compared to Rachel Carson, hailed as a scientist who conveys complex, technical ideas in a way that is dazzling and profound…. Simard writes—in inspiring, illuminating, and accessible ways—how trees, living side by side for hundreds of years, have evolved, how they perceive one another, learn and adapt their behaviors, recognize neighbors, and remember the past; how they have agency about the future; elicit warnings and mount defenses, compete and cooperate with one another with sophistication, characteristics ascribed to human intelligence, traits that are the essence of civil societies—and at the center of it all, the Mother Trees: the mysterious, powerful forces that connect and sustain the others that surround them.”

You can learn more about Simard’s work in “The Social Life of Forests,” New York Times Magazine, Dec. 2, 2020, and at The Mother Tree Project.  If you search for “Suzanne Simard” on You Tube, you will turn up a dozen videos, including a TED talk, about her work.

The articles referred to in the show are:

Lincoln Taiz, et al, “Plants Neither Possess nor Require Consciousness,” Trends in Plant Science 24, #8 (August 2019): 677-87

Michael Pollan, “The Intelligent Plant,” The New Yorker, December 23, 2013.


Have you procrastinated on planting a garden or been too busy?  Do you think it’s too late and you’ll have to wait until next year?  Not on the Central Coast!  Join Host Ronnie Lipschutz for a conversation with Renee Shepherd, founder of Renee’s Garden and seed entrepreneur extraordinaire.  Not only will we talk about what can be sown now to be ripe and ready late summer and fall harvesting, we’ll also cover topics such as heirloom, heritage and hybrid seeds and discuss where the seeds for your garden come from.

Are elephants people, too?  Do they have rights?  A recent ruling by a New York state court said that “elephants may be intelligent and deserving of compassion” but that Happy, an elephant confined in the Bronx Zoo, is not a person.  A growing number of human people around the world disagree and argue that both animals and nature have rights. Tune into Sustainability Now! for a conversation about the rights of animals and nature with Professor Matthew Liebman, Associate Professor and Chair of the Justice for Animals Program at the Law School at University of San Francisco University.  We will talk about the history of “rights,” how they have been extended over time, and why animals and nature are deserving of the same consideration.



Sustainability Now! co-host Brooke Wright speaks with Tahra Goraya, the new President & CEO of the tri-county Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP).  MBEP works on housing, broadband access, workforce development, renewable energy and climate policy, water conservation,  regional recycling, transportation and more. We will talk with Tahra about her journey into this role and about what MBEP is and what it is getting done to address climate change and other environmental issues.

Once again, California is dry, dry, dry and that probably means we are in for a wild wildfire season. Since the beginning of 2021, there have been 10,000 wildfires across the state, and those that know are predicting the worst for this year’s fire season.  So, what are we to do? Hear from Dr. Sasha Berleman, Wildland Fire Scientist. She is director of Fire Forward at Audubon Canyon Ranch in Stinson Beach. She is a CA State Certified Burn Boss, a Prescribed Fire Training Exchange (TREX) coach and leader, and a wildland firefighter with Fire Effects Monitoring, Squad Boss, Crew Boss, Firing Boss, and Incident Commander qualifications.  In this show from June 2021, find out about the risk of wildfires and what we can do to reduce the threat.

This show was originally broadcast on June 21, 2021.



Watch these videos online:

Why These Californians Are Starting Fires On Purpose

Community-Based Burning: Caring for our Land Together

Andrew Selsky, “Amid clamor to increase prescribed burns, obstacles await,” AP News, June 22, 2021.

Join Ronnie Lipschutz for a conversation with Rebecca Johnson and Alison Young, Co-Directors of the Center for Biodiversity and Community Science at the California Academy of Sciences. Community science is a global movement through which scientists and non-scientists alike make observations, collect data, and help answer some of our planet’s most pressing questions. It is research- and monitoring-driven and controlled by local communities, and characterized by place-based knowledge, social learning, collective action, and empowerment.

Radio Show #70: Let’s Go Ride our Bikes! with Matt Miller

Join Sustainability Now! hosts Brooke Wright and Ronnie Lipschutz for a conversation with Ecology Action’s Matt Miller about bicycles, Bike Month, e-bike rebates and local transportation policies and practices, more generally.  Matt is a Senior Program Specialist at Ecology Action in Santa Cruz, where he fo


In the Spring, Elephant Seals turn to love…and fighting… and feeding… and  laying around in the sun. We are just past the prime viewing season at Año Nuevo State Park, during which the two-ton male seals fight bloody battles, the females give birth to young conceived the prior year, the adults mate, and the weaner pups look cute.

Join Sustainability Now! hosts Ronnie Lipschutz and Brooke Wright on Sunday, April 17th, for a discussion with Theresa Keates, a UCSC PhD student in Ocean Sciences, who studies elephant seals.  Her research is centered around deploying oceanographic tags on elephant seals, which offers both a source of valuable oceanographic data from remote regions as well as a unique platform to investigate these very large marine mammals.


Hosts Brooke Wright and Ronnie Lipschutz speak with Benjamin Eichert, Director of  Let’s Green California—an initiative launched by the Romero Institute in Santa Cruz to create a California Green New Deal and get the core legislation passed into law by September 30, 2022.

Let’s Green California has also created “Electrify CA!” based on a simple idea: make the switch from fossil fuel-based technologies to electric alternatives powered by clean energy, and ensure that low-income communities and working families both lead and benefit from this transition.


“A spectre is haunting Europe,” but this time it is not communism. Vladimir Putin has put Russia’s nuclear forces on “special combat readiness,” bringing back memories and fears for some of us, reminiscent of the darkest days of the Cold War.  What would be the climatic consequences of nuclear war?  Our guests are Dr. Alan Robock, Distinguished Professor in the Environmental Sciences Department at Rutgers University and Dr. Joshua Coupe, a postdoctoral researcher at Louisiana State University.  They and their colleagues are modeling the climatic consequences of a nuclear exchange between Russia and the United States, aka, “Nuclear Winter,” a notion popularized by Carl Sagan in the 1980s (some of us are old enough to remember both).

That’s our explosive show from Sunday, March 20th, 2022.

Here are some resources:

Coupe, J., Bardeen, C. G., Robock, A., & Toon, O. B. (2019). “Nuclear winter responses to nuclear war between the United States and Russia in the Whole Atmosphere,” Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 124, 8522–43.

Jeannie Peterson, ed. The Aftermath–The Human and Ecological Consequences of Nuclear War (New York: Pantheon/Ambio, 1983).

Kjølv Egeland (2021) “The Ideology of Nuclear Order,” New Political Science, 43:2, 208-230.

Rutgers U. Research Archive:

 California Assembly Member Luz Rivas recently introduced a bill to ban mining of seabed nodules on 2,500 square miles of sea floor off the coast of California.  According to the San Francisco Chronicle, critics say such mining would “kill marine life, damage habitats and pollute surrounding areas, and ultimately could have a negative impact on fishing and tourism, which together contribute more than $20 billion annually to the state’s economy.” Proponents argue that seabed mining could provide access to many metals used in cell phones and electric cars and would contribute to the coming green economy.

What is seabed mining and what are those mineral nodules that seem to promise a future full of green devices?  Join host Ronnie Lipschutz for a conversation with Emily Jeffers, a Berkeley-based staff lawyer for the Center for Biological Diversity.  We’ll explore why mineral companies are so gung ho about getting out there and scooping up those nodules.

Here are a few articles about the topic:

Elizabeth Kolbert, “Mining the Bottom of the Sea,” The New Yorker, December 26, 2021.

Jessica Aldred, “The Future of Deep Seabed Mining,” China Dialogue Ocean, February 25, 2019.

Kathryn A. Miller, Kirsten F. Thompson, Paul Johnston and David Santillo, “An Overview of Seabed Mining Including the Current State of Development, Environmental Impacts, and Knowledge Gaps,Frontiers of Marine Science 4 (2018): article 418.

Sustainability Now! is underwritten by the Sustainable Systems Research Foundation and Environmental Innovations.

Join Ronnie Lipschutz for a trip to Hard Core Compost. My guests will be Kumi Maxson and Zav Hershfield, two members of the Hard Core Compost collective. Hard Core uses cargo bicycles to haul food scraps from home kitchens to their composting site on the Westside of Santa Cruz, next to the Homeless Garden Project. We’ll be touring their site, talking about organic waste management in Santa Cruz and what is Hard Core’s role in composting food scraps locally, especially as the city’s composting program gets going.


Join host Ronnie Lipschutz in a conversation with Josefina Lara Chavez, Farm-to-Market specialist Senior Manager, Latinx Farmer Program for the Community Alliance for Family Farmers in Davis. Our focus will be on Latinx farmers in the Monterey Bay Region and their struggle to survive and thrive in the face of an agricultural system that takes little account of them.  Lara Chavez a fourth generation family farmer and is currently working at getting her farm and food hub in Hollister, Lara Organics, off the ground.



January 2022 is Solar Energy Month on Sustainability Now!  On Sunday, January 23rd, hosts Ronnie Lipschutz and Brooke Wright will be welcoming Dr. Ahmad Faruqui, an energy economist who has been deeply involved in solar electricity issues in California. We’ll be talking about the pending decision by the California Public Utilities Commission to reduce compensation for rooftop solar electricity and to charge households for access to the state’s electricity grid.

You can learn about the proposed decision at:

Dr. Faruqui’s comments on the proposed decision are at:

Dr. Severin Borenstein of the UC Berkeley Haas School and Dr. Faruqui debated the choices before the State of California on Wednesday, January 26th. You can watch the debate at:–K_uhTUcmpl88UhS4iCADMc_gKWQWrB2ziu5wcLOqakZayxzHba7UwZXOB4xjYk6bZ1-TYV6J4NWWCzsT3x64XRPLsMQ&utm_source=nem

January 2022 is Solar Energy Month on Sustainability Now!  On Sunday, January 23rd, we will be welcoming Dr. Ahmad Faruqui, an energy economist who has been deeply involved in solar electricity issues in California.  We will be talking about the pending decision by the California Public Utilities Commission to impose “grid participation charges” on households with rooftop solar.

To get listeners prepared for Dr. Faruqui, we have assembled a show that draws on past episodes focused on solar.   We’ll be hearing from: Dr. Dustin Mulvaney, a SJSU professor and solar energy expert, to talk about PG&E; Fred Keeley, who has been deeply involved in electricity law and regulation for more than 20 years, to talk about the future of electric utilities in California; Allie Detrio, Chief strategist at Reimagine Power in San Francisco, who will run us through how solar law and regulation functions in California, and Bob Stayton, who will talk about his Solar Dividends proposal, to give every Californian a month basic income from the sale of solar electricity.


Join hosts Ronnie Lipschutz and Brooke Wright for a conversation with Fred Keeley, a well-known political person about town and across the Monterey Bay Region.  He has a long and distinguished career in community service. In the 1980s and 1990s, Keeley served two terms as County Supervisor and three in the State Assembly. Following that, he was Santa Cruz County treasurer for 10 years. Currently he is working with the County of Santa Cruz to assess park, recreation and cultural services needs and is leading an effort to establish a county open space district. Keeley also teaches undergraduate political science and in the graduate program of public administration at San Jose State University.

Our topic will be “Oil and Oceans Don’t Mix.”  This is a rebroadcast of the abridged Halloween night interview, with 30 added minutes about electricity in California.


Join hosts Brooke Wright and Ronnie Lipschutz for a conversation with Tim Goncharoff, who knows everything there is to know about waste management.  He has had a long and distinguished career in community service, locally and statewide, most recently as a Zero Waste Programs Manager at the County of Santa Cruz. He helped bring to fruition ordinances on composting, drugs and sharps, plastic bags, polystyrene foam and e-waste. We’ll be talking about waste management, plastics, recycling and composting and especially the new state ordinances on the handling of compostable foodware and organic and food wastes.



Bees are in danger; what can we do? Tune into Sustainability Now! to hear a conversation with Eve Bratman, an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Franklin & Marshall College, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  Bratman is author of Governing the Rainforest: Sustainable Development Politics in the Amazon. She is currently writing a book entitled Pollen Nation: A journey into the politics of saving the bees and the ethics of a sustainable future, which uses bees as a prism for seeing broader social and ecological phenomena and is premised upon revealing the ways that human society fumblingly strives to protect and preserve their roles in our lives.

You can find out more about Bratman’s research at and her work on bees at and a recent article about beekeeping in the city at


Previous broadcasts of Sustainability Now! are archived at and on Pocket Casts, Google Podcasts and Spotify.

Sustainability Now! is underwritten by the Sustainable Systems Research Foundation.

Central California just experienced one of the three most intense storms since the 1950s, but was that prelude to feast or famine this coming water year?  No one knows, but planning for the worst-case scenario is the prudent thing to do. Join Sustainability Now! hosts Brooke Wright and Ronnie Lipschutz for a conversation with Sierra Ryan, the recently appointed Water Resources Manager for the Santa Cruz County Department of Environmental Health.  Ryan coordinates water resource management activities among the other county departments and works closely with other local, state, and federal water supply and resource management agencies in the County and the Central Coast.

You can find out more about the County Water Agency at:



Join hosts Ronnie Lipschutz and Brooke Wright for a conversation with Fred Keeley, a well-known political person about town and across the Monterey Bay Region.  He has a long and distinguished career in community service. In the 1980s and 1990s, Keeley served two terms as County Supervisor and three in the State Assembly. Following that, he was Santa Cruz County treasurer for 10 years. Currently he is working with the County of Santa Cruz to assess park, recreation and cultural services needs and is leading an effort to establish a county open space district. Keeley also teaches undergraduate political science and in the graduate program of public administration at San Jose State University.  Our topic will be “Oil and Oceans Don’t Mix.”

Have you ever wondered what is going on upstream when you cross the Highway 1 bridge over Elkhorn Slough?  Or why there are marshes on both sides of the highway?  Or where all the birds and kayakers come from?

Join SN! hosts Ronnie Lipschutz and Brooke Wright for a conversation with Dr. Kerstin Wasson, Research Coordinator at the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve and adjunct professor at UCSC.  Dr. Wasson conducts research on a range of topics focused on the impacts of human activities on estuarine ecosystems, such as Elkhorn Slough. She develops and tests restoration strategies to mitigate those impacts.  And she will talk about housing oysters.

Join hosts Ronnie Lipschutz and Brooke Wright for a conversation with Maya Elson, Executive Director of CoREnewal (formerly known as the Amazon MycoRenewal Project).  She is a founding member of the Radical Mycology network, she’s worked on various fungal cultivation and educational projects in Olympia, WA and the San Francisco Bay area. Maya is a teacher, naturalist, mycologist, organizer and lover of the wild, dedicated to enacting effective and just solutions to environmental and social crises by working in collaboration with fungi. CoRenewal is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education and research in ecosystem restoration, health and healing, and sustainable community dynamics through community development and bioremediation, the nature-based solutions to human caused pollution.

For further reading:  Zoë Schlanger, “Our Silent Partners,” New York Review of Books, October 7, 2021: Review of Merlin Sheldrake, Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Futures (Random House, 2021).

For viewing: “Fantastic Fungi,”

Sustainability Now! is underwritten by the Sustainable Systems Research Foundation.  But what is SSRF?  Join host Ronnie Lipschutz and new co-host Brooke Wright in a discussion of two SSRF projects in development.  The Watsonville Basic Income Pilot Project will take revenues from sale of solar electricity to a local business and distribute to selected farmworker households as basic income stipends.  The Sustainable Urban Food Initiative will bring the benefits of agricultural technology and farm management techniques to small farms and gardens in the Monterey Bay Region.  Both projects are examples of the kinds of local development   pursued by SSRF.


Join host Ronnie Lipschutz for a conversation with Shaina Nanavati, a research organizer for the Reclaim Our Power Utility Justice Campaign and staff member of the Local Clean Energy Alliance. Reclaim Our Power is an statewide initiative mobilizing a broad coalition of utility ratepayers, social justice advocates, and allies to develop an equitable, sustainable, decentralized restructuring of California’s energy system.  Tune in to learn about this transformative project and what it will require to succeed.


Planetary heating and climate change are in the news more and more, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has just issued a very pessimistic report on humanity’s and the world’s prospects. In a revisit of a show from 2020, Host Ronnie Lipschutz and Guest Dr. Rupa Basu talk about about climate change and public health. Dr. Basu is Chief of the Air and Climate Epidemiology Section at California Office on Environmental Health Hazards and a lecturer in the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.  She is coauthor of a review article in JAMA Open Network about the effects of air pollution and climate change on birth outcomes.  She is featured in an article on the health effects of high temperatures in The San Francisco Chronicle, on Sunday, August 29, 2021.

In this SN! Revisit from 2019, host Ronnie Lipschutz welcomes Robert Stayton, physicist and author of Solar Dividends: How Solar Energy Can Generate a Basic Income for Everyone on Earth.  We’ll discuss the math, physics, economics and politics of his idea and proposal, and whether his utopian vision can be made real by the end of the 21st century.


Plastic is ubiquitous: it rains down on us, it fouls land, streams and oceans, it even turns up in our bodies. And the big oil companies are looking to plastic to keep up profits when fossil fuels are finally banned. What are we to do?

Join SN! host Ronnie Lipschutz and guest Jackie Nuñez, founder of The Last Plastic Straw and Advocacy Manager of the Plastic Pollution Coalition.  The Last Plastic Straw is a project of the Plastic Pollution Coalition, a global alliance of more than 1,200 organizations, businesses, and thought leaders in 75 countries that seeks to shift the way individuals and businesses think about plastic pollution – and about our society’s disposable culture on a larger scale.

Host Ronnie Lipschutz speaks with Andrea Mackenzie, General Manager of the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority. For more than 25 years, Ms. Mackenzie has worked in the fields of land use planning, conservation planning, public policy, and finance for open space and agricultural land preservation agencies at county, regional, state, and national levels. The Open Space Authority works to protect and steward the region’s natural capital, open spaces, water resources, natural areas, and working lands to support healthy lands, resilient communities, and strong economies.



California is dry, dry, dry and that probably means we are in for a wild wildfire season. Since the beginning of January, there have been more than 10,000 wildfires across the state.  So, what are we to do? Hear from Dr. Sasha Berleman, Wildland Fire Scientist. She is director of Fire Forward at Audubon Canyon Ranch in Stinson Beach. She is a CA State Certified Burn Boss, a Prescribed Fire Training Exchange (TREX) coach and leader, and a wildland firefighter with Fire Effects Monitoring, Squad Boss, Crew Boss, Firing Boss, and Incident Commander qualifications.  Find out what we can do to reduce the threat and risks of wildfires.

Watch these videos online:

Why These Californians Are Starting Fires On Purpose

Community-Based Burning: Caring for our Land Together

Andrew Selsky, “Amid clamor to increase prescribed burns, obstacles await,” AP News, June 22, 2021.

There is an old saying attributed to the 19th century German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck: “Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made.”  This show is about law and sausages in California.

If you ever took a civics or government class in high school or college, you probably learned about how a bill becomes law through a clean and straightforward process.  You might have learned about lobbyists and interests, too, but probably never traced legislation from its origins to its implementation.  The actual process is a good deal more sleazy and arcane than we are taught, and is more like a game of Calvinball, in which the rules are made up as you go along.

My guest on this show is Allie Detrio, Founder and Chief Strategist of Reimagine Power, which she founded. At Reimagine Power, Allie focuses on policy and market strategy for microgrids, distributed energy resources, cleantech, and sustainability in the west coast. She works with clean energy developers, cleantech startups, nonprofits, serves as the representative for the microgrid industry, intervenes in regulatory proceedings, lobbies for bills, writes papers, organizes grassroots support for policy, and serves as a liaison for  many  trade associations. So she is thick in the middle of California law and sausages.

Join host Ronnie Lipschutz as he speaks with Dr. Suzanne Simard, Professor of Forestry and Conservation Sciences about the social life of trees.   Her new book, Finding the Mother Tree–Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest, has just been published.  According to Simard, communication between trees happens not in the air but deep below our feet in an incredibly dense, complex network of roots and chemical signals. … “In a single forest, a mother tree may be connected to hundreds of other trees.” Find out what those trees in your backyard are plotting!

You can learn more about Simard’s work in “The Social Life of Forests,” New York Times Magazine, Dec. 2, 2020, and at The Mother Tree Project.  She will also be giving an online talk for Bookshop Santa Cruz at 7 PM, Monday, May 24th.  More information here.

That’s on Sunday, May 23rd, 2021, from 5-6 PM, on KSQD, 90.7 FM and streaming live on the internet.  Rebroadcast Tuesday, May 25th, 6-7 AM.

Join host Ronnie Lipschutz and Dr. Esther Leslie, Professor of Political Aesthetics at Birkbeck University in London.  “Political Aesthetics highlights the complex and ambiguous connections of aesthetics with social, cultural and political experiences in contemporary societies.”  This past January, Leslie published an entry in “The Stone,” a New York Times column on philosophy.  There, she asked “Are we the cows of the future?” to be manipulated and managed like livestock. Among other topics, we’ll be speaking about contemporary utopian visions of nature, digital surveillance and the relationship of humans to nature.

You can find links to Dr. Leslie’s publications here:

That’s on Sunday, May 16th, 2021, from 5-6 PM, on KSQD, 90.7 FM and streaming live on the internet.  Rebroadcast Tuesday, May 18th, 6-7 AM.

“Gosh, I never realized there was a social ecology in my backyard!”

Tune in to Sustainability Now! find out just what those bugs are up to in your garden, as host Ronnie Lipschutz welcomes Azucena Lucatero, a third-year PhD student in Dr. Stacy Philpott’s lab at UC Santa Cruz. Lucatero studies the socio-ecology of urban gardens in the California central coast with special interests in biological pest control, community and population ecology, landscape ecology, and food justice.  The ladybugs are already home!

You can find information & publications about “BUGS” (Biodiversity in Urban Gardens) at  This includes the BUGS Garden Report 2019 and lots more!

Egerer MH, Liere H, Lucatero A, Philpott SM (2020) Local and landscape drivers of plant damage in urban agroecosystems. Ecosphere. 11(3):e03074.

Philpott SM, Lucatero A, Bichier P, Egerer M, Lin BB, Jha S, Liere H (2020) Natural enemy herbivore networks along local management and landscape gradients in urban agroecosystems. Ecological Applications. in press.

That’s on Sunday, May 2nd, 2021, from 5-6 PM, on KSQD, 90.7 FM and streaming live on the internet.  Rebroadcast Tuesday, May 4th, 6-7 AM.

Previous broadcasts of Sustainability Now! are archived at and on Pocket Casts, Google Podcasts and Spotify.

Sustainability Now! is underwritten by the Sustainable Systems Research Foundation.

UCSC’s Agroecology Farm is known around the world for innovation, training and inspiration.  But before there was a Farm, there was a Garden: the Alan Chadwick Garden, launched in 1967 on a steep, rocky clay hill side. It is still there today, although very few people know of its existence.  Join host Ronnie Lipschutz in a conversation with Orin Martin, who has managed the Chadwick Garden since 1977 and where he is widely admired for his skills as a master orchardist, horticulturalist, and teacher.  Tune in to hear about Orin’s role at the Chadwick Garden, as well as its origins and history since the 1970s.  You’ll be well-prepared to visit it when UCSC reopens.

You can read Orin’s oral history for the UCSC library here.  A website dedicated to Alan Chadwick is here. And oral histories of organic and sustainable farming on California’s Central Coast are available here.


These days, we are hearing a lot about plans to transform the country’s energy infrastructure from one based on fossil fuels to one based on renewable energy resources.  President Biden appears to be making this transformation one of his signature initiatives.  Certainly, the technology exists, the money is (probably) there but there is one elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about: getting the American public to go along.

Central to going along will be greening the economy and central to the greening of the economy will be the greening of businesses and companies, large and small.  Hear Green Business expert Brooke Wright talk about the network.  She manages the Monterey Bay Green Business Program, which is part of the California Green Business Network.  The CGBN is a network of local programs, funded by grass-roots contributions from local government and utility partners to allow small to medium-sized businesses implement specific practices to reduce pollution, save water, conserve energy, and protect human health.

You can read James O’Connor’s on “The Second Contradiction of Capitalism” at

Radio Show #41, Sunday, March 21st: Water in California’s Future, with Dr. Ruth Langridge

It’s beginning to look as though California is headed into another multi-year drought. The snowpack is meager and contracted water supplies through the state’s delivery systems are likely to be much less than requested.  Farmers and cities are looking to groundwater to make up the difference, but even groundwater is heavily depleted.  Hear Dr. Ruth Langridge, UCSC Researcher and instructor in Legal Studies, who has studied California groundwater and climate change since 2009, the current state of underground resources and ways to conserve and restore groundwater. You can find information about her work here.

Radio Show #40: Sunday, March 7th: There Otter be a Law! Will the Southern Sea Otter Survive? A conversation with James Estes

The southern sea otter is a keystone species in kelp forest communities, acting to increase the species diversity and providing ecosystem services. Despite federal protection since 1977, the southern sea otter population has struggled to recover and there are only an estimated 2,800 sea otters in California.

Listen to this conversation with Dr. James Estes, Emeritus Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at UCSC.  Estes is author of Serendipity: An Ecologist’s Quest to Understand Nature and appears in “The Serengeti Rules,” a 2019 film about “five unsung heroes of modern ecology,” of which he is one.  Of course, Jim is best known for his research on California sea otters, once almost wiped out, then recovered and now again threatened by marine toxins, disease, orcas and agricultural chemical runoff.

More information is available on the Tinker & Estes Lab’s  web page.

Radio Show #39, February 21, 2021: Environmental Literacy for K-12 Students, with Amity Sandage, Santa Cruz County Office of Education

Host Ronnie Lipschutz speaks with Amity Sandage, environmental literacy coordinator for Santa Cruz County Office of Education. Sandage leads a countywide effort to build environmental literacy by increasing student access to outdoor learning. She also supports teachers in using local environmental connections to increase relevance of core classes and to create opportunities for civic and environmental action.  You can learn more about the state’s environmental literacy goals in “A Blueprint For Environmental Literacy: Educating Every California Student In, About, and For the Environment” (2016).


Radio Show #38, February 7, 2021: Reconnecting with Nature through Ecospirtuality: A Conversation with Dr. Michelle Merrill​

Join host Ronnie Lipschutz for a a conversation with anthropologist Dr. Michelle Merrill, whose teaching and counseling experience led her to establish Novasutras, an egalitarian spiritual movement with scientific sensibilities. Novasutras responds to the need for spiritual community centered on the biggest challenge humanity currently faces: how do we help people through the transition from an “Industrial Growth Society” to an “environmentally sustainable, socially just and spiritually fulfilling human presence on the planet“?




Radio Show #37, January 24, 2021: W(h)ither California & the Nation? A Conversation with State Senator John Laird​​

Join host Ronnie Lipschutz for a conversation with newly-elected California State Senator John Laird, to talk about energy, resources, environment and politics, in the state and the country, and his hopes and dreams for the State Senate.  Laird’s political career began in 1981, on the Santa Cruz City Council, and included stints in the State Assembly and Jerry Brown’s second administration as Secretary of Natural Resources. He has just begun his term in office and represents Senate District 17, which includes Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo Counties in their entirety, as well as portions of Monterey and Santa Clara Counties.



Radio Show #36, January 10, 2021: “To Say Nothing of the Dog”*  Understanding connections between culture and nature in environmental art​​​

Hear Jeffrey Downing, Professor of Art at San Francisco State University and Artist-in-Residence at the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art talk about how his work connects culture and nature. Downing was featured in the San Francisco Chronicle a few weeks ago for his environmental sculpture in Richardson Bay, designed to mark today’s king tides, which will be swamped by rising sea levels in the future.

According to a website describing his work: “Jeff Downing’s sculpture is informed by the humor and pop sensibility of the California artist Robert Arneson; by the stripped-down economy of Alberto Giacometti’s figures; and by the spontaneity and energy characteristic of the work of Pablo Picasso. Downing’s work with dog imagery depends on chance discovery of form but seeks to invoke feelings concerning the human condition and our varied relationship with the natural world. In Jeff Downing’s world view, studying the dog – with all of its expressiveness, intelligence and sensitivity – leads us to a better understanding of the connection between culture and nature.”

(Check out Marisha Farnsworth, an Oakland-based environmental artist, who appeared on the show on July 27, 2020.)

(* with apologies to Connie Willis, author of the eponymous book).

Radio Show #35, December 27, 2020: Are we Becoming “Plastic People of the Universe” Or, What does “compostable” really mean?

As you may have read in a number of places, not only is the ocean full of plastic, we are literally living in an ocean of plastic microparticles falling from the sky.  Before you know it, we will all be “Plastic People of the Universe.”

On this show, Sustainability Now! addresses this and related topics. Ronnie Lipschutz and Kevin Bell, co-founder and co-director of the Sustainable Systems Research Foundation in Santa Cruz, discuss the biodegradability of plastics and which ones don’t really break down. Along with a raft of SSRF volunteers and interns, Bell has been conducting research into the plastics recycling dilemma and the diffusion of plastic through the environment and also looking for ways to make sure that take-out containers and utensils are truly biodegradable and compostable.

If you’d like to read more about the plastics problem, here are three recent publications of interest:

“Choked, Strangled, Drowned: The Plastics Crisis Unfolding in Our Oceans,” Kimberley Warner, et al., Oceana, November 2020.

“The Mixed Message of Earth-Friendly Design–Does buying more elegant objects help heal the planet?” Blake Gopnik, New York Times, December 11, 2020.

“Biodegradable, Hygenic, and Compostable: Tableware from Hybrid Sugarcane and Bamboo Fibers as Plastic Alternative,” Chao Liu, et al., Matter 3, 1–14
December 2, 2020.


Radio Show #34, December 13, 2020: Environmental Justice through Building Green, Healthy and Sustainable Communities

Host Ronnie Lipschutz speaks with Darryl Molina Sarmiento, Executive Director for Communities for a Better Environment, a 40-year-old environmental justice organization with offices in both Southern and Northern California. The mission of CBE is to build people’s power in California’s communities of color and low-income communities to achieve environmental health and justice by preventing and reducing pollution and building green, healthy and sustainable communities and environments.  CBE provides residents in heavily polluted urban communities in California with organizing skills, leadership training and legal, scientific and technical assistance, so that they can successfully confront threats to their health and well-being.


Radio Show #33, November 29, 2020: Permaculture & Regenerative Agriculture on a Small Farm

Host Ronnie Lipschutz and Dave Blume of Blume Distillation go on a for a walking interview and tour of Whiskey Hill Farm, its permaculture and regenerative agriculture practices and technological innovations connecting alcohol distillation and organic agriculture.  Whiskey Hill Farm is a 14-acre organic farm on Calabasas Road near Watsonville that employs poly-cropping, permaculture techniques in six large greenhouses to create “food forests” of multi-layered polyculture. Dave is CEO and Director of Research and Development at Blume Distillation and Whiskey Hill Farm.  He is author of the critically acclaimed book Alcohol Can be a Gas! and has been engaged in one sort of farming or another for more than 40 years. This is an edited version of the full 70 minute tour, which you can hear at:

There is now a video of this tour available on You Tube at:


Radio Show #32, November 15, 2020: Electric Vehicles on the Road and in Our Future

In September 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order requiring that by 2035 all new cars and passenger trucks sold in the state will have to be zero-emission vehicles, producing no greenhouse gases.  While there are various types of zero-emission power plants in existence and on design boards, most of these will probably be electric vehicles, or EVs. This goes along with a parallel push to electrify the state by 2045. Getting from here to there will be no easy task.

Ronnie Lipschutz speaks with Beverly DesChaux, President of the Electric Auto Association of CA Central Coast about Newsom’s mandate and related topics.  We’ll talk about electric vehicles, past, present and future, and how they could become an electricity storage solution to the ups and downs of the California electrical grid.  We’ll also discuss “virtual power plants,” which are based on the aggregation and remote control of rooftop solar panels, batteries and electric vehicles as part of the electricity grid.  You can find out more about EVs at: Plug-in America, the Sierra Club, and the Monterey Bay Electric Vehicle Incentive Program.


Radio Show #31, November 1, 2020: Forests and species after wildfires & climate change

Ronnie Lipschutz speaks with Dr. Joseph Stewart, a conservation biologist with special interests in biogeography, prediction, demography, ecophysiology, and climate change. He received his PhD in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from UCSC in 2018 and is now a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy. He works with the US Forest Service and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection on forest regeneration after wildfires and the impacts of climate change on biodiversity and species migration.  You can find more about his work at and  (The opening tune is “Sky Pond,” performed by American Pika aka Greg Douras, a musician and mountaineer from Colorado.  Joe has done research on the American Pika, a small mouse and rabbit-like critter that lives in the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountains.)


Radio Show #30, October 18, 2020: Clean Water as a Human Right

Did you know that Section 106.3 of the California Water Code states that “every human being has the right to safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water adequate for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes.” Ronnie Lipschutz talks with Mayra Hernandez, a community organizer at the Community Water Center in Watsonville, about safe water and the human right to it.  The Community Water Center works towards realizing the Human Right to Water for all communities in California through education, organizing, and advocacy. The Center has offices in Visalia, Sacramento and Watsonville.


Radio Show #39, October 4, 2020: As long as grass grows–The indigenous fight for environmental justice

Ronnie Lipschutz and guest Dina Gilio-Whitaker talk about indigenous environmental justice, environmental philosophy and the restoration of balance between humans and nature. Gilio-Whitaker is a member of the Colville Confederated Tribes in the Pacific Northwest, a lecturer in American Indian Studies at California State University, San Marcos and Policy Director and Researcher at the Center for World Indigenous Studies. She is author of As long as grass grows: The indigenous fight for environmental justice, from colonization to Standing Rock (Beacon Press, 2019) and co-author, with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, of “All the Real Indians Died Off”: And 20 Other Myths About Native Americans (Beacon Press, 2016). Professor Whitaker has just received a journalism award from the Native American Journalist Association for an editorial she published in High Country News, on indigenizing the Green New Deal.


Radio Show #28, September 20, 2020: Healthy Eating and Economic Justice in the Pajaro Valley

Ronnie Lipschutz welcomes his guests, Mireya Gomez-Contreras and Ana Rasmussen, codirectors of Esperanza Community Farms.  Esperanza Community Farms is a system-changing, sustainable community agriculture project focused entirely and directly on increasing food security and good health among low-income families from under-resourced communities in the Pajaro Valley. ECF cultivates fresh, pesticide-free, culturally preferred vegetables and fruit varieties, then deliver bi-weekly boxes of produce directly to members’ homes via a subsidized Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. You can find out more about Esperanza Community Farms at:  and more about sustainable urban agriculture at


Radio Show #27, September 6, 2020 (First Anniversary Show!): Accessory Dwelling Units in our Backyards

Ronnie Lipschutz and his guest, Santa Cruz architect Mark Primack, talk about how we might address the California housing crisis through construction of accessory dwelling units.  Primack has lived and worked in Santa Cruz since the late 1970s, served on the City Council, written Divisible Cities: Acting Local in a Transient World and writes a regular column on local matters for The Santa Cruz Sentinel (for example, here and here). Additional resources on ADUs are available at SSRF’s “ADU Resources” page.


Radio Show #26, August 23, 2020: Sustainability & Politics after Annus Horriblis 2020

Join Ronnie Lipschutz and his guest Kim Stanley Robinson, for a wide-ranging conversation about sustainability, politics, 2020 and after, and how we might prepare for the future. Robinson is a science fiction author, California futurist and environmental optimist of the will. His recent work, such as New York 2140 (2017) has addressed environmental and climate issues. His current book, The Ministry for the Future, imagines a new, global organization that advocates for the world’s future generations and protects all living creatures, present and future.


Radio Show #25, August 9, 2020: Climate Change, Public Health & Birth Impacts

Dr. Rupa Basu is Chief of the Air and Climate Epidemiology Section at California Office on Environmental Health Hazards in the California Environmental Protection Agency and a lecturer in the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.  She is coauthor of a recently-published review article in JAMA Open Network about the effects of air pollution and climate change on birth outcomes and conducts research on the health effects of climate change. Dr. Basu received her PhD in Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology from The Johns Hopkins University and a Masters of Public Health from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.



Radio Show #24, July 26, 2020: Environmental Art in Built & Natural Landscapes

“Environmental artists seek to investigate our human relationship with the environment through embedding their artistic practice within it” (“The Art Story”). Learn about the practice of environmental art on Sustainability Now! on Sunday, July 26th, from 5-6 PM, when Ronnie Lipschutz speaks with Marisha Farnsworth. She is an Oakland-based artist, whose large-scale public space interventions explore future ecosystems, infrastructural utopias and the social and ecological implications of materiality in the built environment.  Her work has been exhibited at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Venice Biennale and is in the collection of the Nevada Museum of Art. She was the lead artist for the 2017 Temple at Burning Man. You can find out more about her work here. The Nevada Museum of Art’s Center for Art + Environment has an extensive archive of ecological art projects.


Radio show #23, July 12, 2020: Sustainable Community Commons in Santa Cruz

Len Beyea is a semi-retired energy engineer and commissioning agent, former land-use planner, musician, Interfaith Minister, gardener, dancer, political and cultural commentator. He is host of the Wednesday broadcast of Talk of the Bay on KSQD and shares hosting of Border-Free Radio, which airs just before this time slot.  He addresses the current state of Santa Cruz County’s urbanized spaces and their unsustainable characteristics, principles of urban design for walkable neighborhoods and “new urbanism” that can bring our cities back into balance, visualization of a transition to more sustainable and inviting spaces for various local neighborhoods where we live, work, and engage socially, and exploration of the concrete and specific changes that can help get us there.   You can read about attempts during the 1960s to turn Santa Cruz into an industrial city in “The plan to make Santa Cruz into Detroit and Los Angeles,” by Ross Eric Gibson in the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Another interesting publication about sustainable planning is “Civic Commons: Reimagining Our Cities’ Public Assets,” 2016.  You can find additional resources on urban sustainability here.


Radio show #22, June 28, 2020: Climate Change and Black Lives Mattering on the California Coast

Kalina Browne was a  2019-20 RAY Diversity Fellow at the Ocean Conservancy to learn about Climate Change and Black Lives Mattering on the California Coast, and is currently in the Coastal Science and Policy Program at UCSC.  Browne grew up on the Caribbean island of St Vincent and the Grenadines. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Geoscience from the University of Buffalo. She has worked with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center in Belize, the Garifuna Heritage Foundation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning, Sustainable Development and Information Technology for the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.   You can find her recently coauthored brief on seabed minerals mining here.



Radio Show #21, June 13, 2020: Public Lands on Pacific’s Edge

Jo Chamberlain is Executive Director of the Coastside Land Trust in Half Moon Bay. She is a graduate of College Eight (aka, Rachel Carson College) at UC Santa Cruz and was provost’s assistant there for several years during the past decade.  She has served on several non-profit boards, including the San Francisco Zoological Society and Friends of Westwind. The Coastside Land Trust is dedicated to the preservation, protection and enhancement of the open space environment, including the natural, scenic, recreational, cultural, historical, and agricultural resources of Half Moon Bay and the San Mateo County coast for present and future generations. You can find out more about California’s land trusts at the California Council of Land Trusts.



Radio Show #20, May 31, 2020: The Wheels on the Bus”–Getting ‘Round the City

Rick Longinotti is a member of and spokesperson for the Campaign for Sustainable Transportation, a “group of volunteers dedicated to making Santa Cruz County a place where everyone in our diverse community can access their needs and activities in a way that is safe, affordable, convenient and sustainable for future generations.” You can learn more about transportation in Santa Cruz County at the Regional Transportation Commission website and the City of Santa Cruz Public Works website and from the work of Adam Millard-Ball, an environmental studies professor at UC Santa Cruz.



Radio Show #19, May 17, 2020: Struggling to Survive: Bi-national Farmworkers on the Central Coast

Dr. Ann Lopez is Founder and Director of the Center for Farmworker Families in Watsonville, California and emerita professor at San Jose City College. She holds degrees in biology and a PhD in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz. The Center works with binational farmworkers and their families to promote their well being. She is author of The Farmworker’s Journey about the human side of the binational migration circuit from the subsistence and small producer farms of west central Mexico to employment in California’s corporate agribusiness. In 2019, Ann was chosen as Woman of the Year by the 29th Assembly District of California. Be sure to watch “A Migrant Farmworker’s Story,” a CFF video filmed during on of the Centers Farmworker Reality Tours.



Radio Show #18, May 3, 2020: Protecting Sacred Lands of the Amah Mutsun

Valentin Lopez is Chair of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band of the Costanoan/Ohlone Indians and President of the Amah Mutsun Land Trust.  The Amah Mutsun are descendants of the more than 20 politically distinct indigenous peoples of the territories ranging from Año Nuevo to the greater Monterey Bay area. We talked about the history of the Amah Mutsun, some of their research and relearning projects and plans for Juristac, a sacred tract of land near Gilroy.



Radio Show #17, April 19, 2020: By the Beautiful Sea 

Rachel Kippen is Executive Director of O’Neill Sea Odyssey and a columnist for the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Rachel was previously Director of Programs at Save Our Shores. She has also worked as a marine science educator, a kayak guide and a whale tour naturalist. She holds two degrees in Environmental Studies. She grew up on two islands, one in the Puget Sound and the other in Hawai’i, so she spent her youth learning about the ocean by snorkeling, surfing, and paddling.  O’Neill Sea Odyssey is a Monterey Bay-based introduction to marine science for students in grades 4-6 aboard the 65-foot O’Neill Catamaran. 



Radio Show #16, April 5, 2020: Urchins in the Storm

KSQD engineer Emily Donham, a 5th-year PhD candidate in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at UCSC.  Emily’s research focuses on how sea urchins, which graze on kelp forests, may be vulnerable to ocean acidication and global warming.  Emily is the producer of “Santa Cruz Naturalist,” which airs on Tuesdays at 7:54 AM, Wednesdays at 3:55 PM and Saturdays at 11:54 AM. at Her favorite crustacean is the horseshoe crab.



Radio Show #15, March 22, 2020: No Place Like Home

UCSC Sociology Professor Steve McKay, director of the UCSC Center for Labor Studies and codirector, with Professor Miriam Greenberg, of “No Place Like Home,” a community-initiated, student-engaged research project on the affordable housing crisis in Santa Cruz County.




Radio Show #14, March 8, 2020: Auto-Free Live in Hayward?

Dr. Sherman Lewis, Emeritus Professor of Political Science at Cal State East Bay, will talk about a proposal for Bayview Village, a car-free development in a disused quarry in Hayward and urban sustainability more generally.



Radio Show #13, February 23, 2020: Climate Justice in the Pajaro Valley

Nancy Faulstich is Director of Regeneración, a non-profit focused on climate and social justice in Watsonville, California and the Pajaro Valley. Tamela Harkins is a Pajaro Valley High School English Teacher, along with three members– Itzel Sanchez, Luke Zamora and Reuben Garcia–of La Vida Verde, a student environmental club at the high school.



Radio Show #12, February 9, 2020: Caring for the Prairie

Professor Jenny Reardon of the UCSC Sociology Department talks about “Caring for the Prairie,” a “project involving biking through the prairies and small towns of Kansas, designed to develop embodied knowledge of the land and to find out more about attitudes towards contemporary US politics from the denizens of the prairies.” You can hear a podcast about her experiences in Kansas here.



Radio Show #11, January 26, 2020: A Conversation with Extinction Rebellion

Members of Extinction Rebellion in Monterey and Santa Cruz, Vanessa Mekarski, Dwight Mitchell, Jennifer Brugman and Magali Morales, talk about climate. Extinction Rebellion is a leaderless, decentralised, international and apolitical network using non-violent direct action and civil disobedience to persuade governments to act justly on the Climate and Ecological Emergency.



Radio Show #10, January 12, 2020: Is Bioethanol the Answer? 

David Blume, CEO & Director of Research and Development at Blume Distillation, and author of Alcohol Can be a Gas, to talk about his distillation & permaculture operation just outside of Watsonville. There are two versions of this show: a shorter, edited one of my interview with Blume (hyperlinked above); a longer one with 15 minutes of filler here.




Radio Show #9, December 15, 2019: Can Solar Energy Provide a Basic Income for Everyone in the World?

Robert Stayton, author of Power Shift: From Fossil Energy to Dynamic Solar Power and Solar Dividends: How Solar Energy Can Generate a Basic Income for Everyone on Earth, discusses his proposal to give everyone on Earth 10 kilowatts of solar PV panels. You can request a free e-book of Solar Dividends at:





Radio Show #8, December 1, 2019: What Do You Do About a Problem Like PG&E?

Professor Dustin Mulvaney is a member of the Environmental Studies at San Jose State University.





Radio Show #7, November 17, 2019: Down on the Farm in Santa Cruz

Nina Vukecevic is Farm Manager at Common Roots Farm in Santa Cruz, which provides disabled adults with access to agriculture.






Radio Show #6, November 3, 2019: Zero Waste Living?

Liz McDade runs the “No Trace Shop,” an online business dedicated to providing customers with a “sustainable lifestyle.”





 Radio Show #5, October 20, 2019: Where are the Mountain Lions?

Professor Chris Wilmers, Department of Environmental Studies at UC Santa Cruz, talks about mountain lions.





Radio Show #4, October 6, 2019: An Environmental History of UC Santa Cruz

Professor Emeritus Jim Clifford, History of Consciousness at UC Santa Cruz, talking about the University and its history.



Radio Show #3, September 22, 2019: Where Does Your Bottle Go?

Tim Goncharoff, Zero Waste Programs Manager for Santa Cruz County, discusses garbage.





Radio Show #2, September 8, 2019: Green Architectural Design

Thomas Rettenwender, Principal Architect at Ecologic Design Lab in Carmel, California, talks about green architecture and buildings.



Radio Show #1, August 25, 2019: Climate Action!

Dr. Tiffany Wise-West is  Sustainability & Climate Action Manager for the City of Santa Cruz. For more information, see the City’s Climate Action Program web site.