Show for August 6, 2011

This week’s show looks at technology and how it can help us and the environment. From measuring radiation on the other side of the world to generating power right here at home, sometimes tech works for us.

Within a week of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster in Japan last March, the people behind Safecast realized the information on radiation levels that was being published was questionable. So they decided to do something better. They decided to go there and do some digging. They deployed a network of stationary, hand-held and mobile Geiger counters to measure radiation levels, and made all collected data free and open to anyone. Sean Bonner, co-founder & acting director of Safecast, talks about the project that is making a huge difference to families in Japan.

Over 300 CPM air contamination here

One go-to technology for supplementing or replacing fossil fuels is solar. Standard photovoltaic systems do one thing…convert sunlight to electricity…and they don’t do it terribly efficiently. But what about the rest of the solar spectrum? Can solar technology become more attractive to consumers if it provides additional cost savings by better utilizing available sunlight? That’s the question posed by Dr. Jason Lu and his team at Enfocus Engineering who have developed a new array of “daylighting” solar cells. Each optical module in the array is able to track the sun, accomplishing multiple tasks. It converts heat and sunlight into electricity, at much higher efficiencies than conventional PV arrays, and it acts as an intelligent skylight, piping diffused sunlight into commercial spaces.

Finally, landfills can sometimes get a bad rap in the green community, but until we all achieve zero-impact living, they’re going to be a reality. Far from being the holes in the earth of yesteryear that were simply filled and covered, today’s landfills are designed with minimum impact and sustainability in mind. Susan David is with landfill operator Republic Services. At the Republic Services website you can find the company’s sustainability report, which has more about some of the exciting projects they’ve undertaken.

You can listen to the full show here: The Earth Train – August 6, 2001

Show for July 23, 2011

How can you and I get involved in environmental issues and make a difference in our communities? We’ll talk this week with some every day activists and offer some tips on how you can get involved in spreading the green message.

We begin the hour with Tanna Frederick, an avid Surfer, actress, writer, producer and environmentalist. She founded Project Save Our Surf to bring the entertainment and surfing industries together in support of clean oceans. The 4th annual SURF 24 surf-a-thon is scheduled for October 15th and 16th in Santa Monica with the goal of raising 50-thousand dollars to keep our beaches and oceans clean.

So you’ve found a cause you’re excited about. What is next? How do you organize and run an effective campaign for change? Green Corps can provide the answers and guidance you’re looking for. Josh Buswell-Charkow talks about effective campaigns for change and Green Corps’ Field School for Environmental Organizing.

Finally, Andrea talks with a legend in the green community, Denis Hayes. Denis received his undergraduate degree from Stanford and left Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government after being selected by Senator Gaylord Nelson to organize the first Earth Day in 1970. Since then, the event has grown to have a far-reaching impact.

It all goes to prove that a few individuals, sharing a common vision, can make a difference.

Show for July 16, 2011

This week Andrea Ridout talks with film-maker Mai Iskander about her documentary “Garbage Dreams”, which follows three young men of the Zaballeen people in Egypt, outside Cairo. Far ahead of any modern green initiatives, the Zaballeen survive by recycling 80 percent of the garbage they collect. You can learn more at the Garbage Dreams website.

What if we could find a way to vastly reduce the volume of waste going in to landfills by 75 to 80 percent, converting a ton of garbage to about 600 pounds of nutrient rich plant food?

Paul Jackson talks with Moe Memon and Jacob Dickinson of Ecologico-Logic about their new product “The Muncher”, a highly efficient state-of-the-art waste reduction system that is poised to transform the waste management industry. Reducing the strain on landfills is an obvious application, but only one of many…

It’s all this week, as we talk a little trash on The Earth Train!

Show for July 9, 2011

After plummeting all through 2010, new housing starts appear to be on the rebound. Of course we’re not out of the woods yet, and many families entering the home building process are looking for ways to maximize their budget, stretching their dollars further to get the most home for their money. This week’s show features Andrea Ridout’s discussion with Sara Susanka, the author of “The Not So Big House”. The visionary architect’s home designs are getting smaller and smaller, but provide better value as they integrate with the green lifestyle. Check out her web site at www.notsobighouse.com/.

To continue with our theme of building green, Andrea Ridout also talks with Don Ferrier, the National Association of Home Builder’s Green Builder Advocate of the year. Don’s passion for sustainable construction has been coursing through his veins since the early 80’s. Representing the 3rd generation of the Ferrier Companies, Don is no stranger to construction. He is a true visionary of energy efficiency, sustainable construction techniques, and travels across the US educating & guiding those within the industry & beyond on its inherent benefits. You can learn more about Ferrier Custom Homes at www.ferriercustomhomes.com.

Ashton Ritchie of the Scott’s Miracle-Gro Company has some great tips for helping your lawn survive the summer. Among the tips: don’t water so often and let your grass grow a little longer! There are great tools available to help you become a better gardener at www.scotts.com.