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.
Sustainability Now! is underwritten by the Sustainable Systems Research Foundation.
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.
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: https://sustainablesystemsfoundation.org/201124_0004-mp3/
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 http://stewartecology.org/ and https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=5fMCYtEAAAAJ&hl=en. (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: https://esperanzacommunityfarms.org/ and more about sustainable urban agriculture at https://sustainablesystemsfoundation.org/sustainable-urban-agriculture-initiative/
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
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: http://solardividends.org/free-ebook-by-request/
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!
Working Papers & Policy Briefs
“Accessory Dwelling Units in our Backyards: Building Affordable Housing in Santa Cruz,” ADUBs Project, Feb. 25, 2020.
Justin Farris & Mark Buck, “Pilot Waste Audit Report,” 2019.
Ronnie D. Lipschutz, “Guest Commentary: Community choice aggregators to lead microgrid revolution” (aka, “Chicxulub is coming and PG&E is the dinosaur”) Santa Cruz Sentinel, October 5, 2019. You can also find the commentary here.
Articles & Papers on Sustainability
Ronnie D. Lipschutz, “Eco-utopia or eco-catastrophe? Re-imagining California as an ecological utopia,” Elemental-Science of the Anthropocene 6 (2018): 65. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/elementa.320.
Ronnie D. Lipschutz, “Review Essay: Can Climate Change Us?” Development & Change 48, #3 (2017): 623-35.
Ronnie D. Lipschutz, “Getting out of the CAR: DeCARbonization, climate change and sustainable society,” International Journal of Sustainable Society 4, #4 (2012): 336-56.
Ronnie D. Lipschutz, Dominique De Wit and Martin Lehmann, Sustainable Cities, “Sustainable Universities: Re-Engineering the Campus of Today for the World of Tomorrow,” pp. 3-16, in: W. Leal Filho et al. (eds.), Handbook of Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development in Higher Education (Cham, Switzerland: Springer, 2017).
Ronnie D. Lipschutz, “The Sustainability Debate: Déja Vu All Over Again?” pp. 480-91, in: Peter Dauvergne (ed.), Handbook of Global Environmental Politics (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2012; second ed.).
Ronnie D. Lipschutz, Unhappy in Its Own Way: An Institutional Biography of UC Santa Cruz (2020).
Ronnie D. Lipschutz, EPICS Press Release https://sustainablesystemsfoundation.org/epics-press-release/ (2020)
Ronnie D. Lipschutz & Alison Hahm, “EV.Trans@UCSC.EDU: A feasibility study for a sustainable 21st century UCSC transportation system,” Sustainable Systems Program, Rachel Carson College, July 7, 2015.
Ronnie D. Lipschutz, Dominique de Wit & Kevin Bell, “Practicing Energy, or Energy Consumption as Social Practice,” Paper presented to the 2017 Annual Conference on Behavior, Energy & Climate Change,” Sacramento, CA., Oct. 15-17, 2017.
Ronnie D. Lipschutz & Dustin Mulvaney, “The Road not Taken, Round II: Centralized vs. Distributed Energy Strategies and Human Security,” pp. 483-506, in: Hugh Dyer & Maria Julia Trombetta (eds.), International Handbook of Energy Security (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2013).