Infinite Earth Radio – weekly conversations with leaders building smarter, more sustainable, and equitable communities

By Mike Hancox, CEO of Skeo - Host | Vernice Miller Travis – Co-Host | Local Government Commission | Equitable Development | Smart Growth | Sustainability | Healthy Communities | Environmental Justice | Community Resiliency

Listen to a podcast, please open Podcast Republic app. Available on Google Play Store.

Description

Infinite Earth Radio is a weekly podcast produced by Skeo and the Local Government Commission and hosted by Mike Hancox and Vernice Miller-Travis. Each week they interview visionary leaders, dedicated government officials, savvy businesses and forward thinking individuals who are working to build smarter, more equitable, sustainable, and prosperous communities through social and economic inclusion that values the contribution of all citizens and seeks meaningful lives for everyone. You will discover new leading edge strategies for lifting up and building great 21st century communities, along with cutting edge strategies for revitalizing under resourced communities and empowering excluded populations. Smart Growth, Prosperity and Sustainability are not possible without social, civic, and economic inclusion for people of all economic, social, and racial backgrounds.

Episode Date
128: Prosperity and Poverty in Urban America
32:19
Topic:
Urban Resilience Series – growth in American cities
 
Guest & Organization:
Alan Mallach is a senior fellow at the Center for Community Progress in Washington, DC. He is the author of many works on housing and planning, including Bringing Buildings Back and Building a Better Urban Future: New Directions for Housing Policies in Weak Market Cities. He has served as director of housing and economic development for Trenton, N.J. as a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, and as a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.    
 
Resources:
Download the Island Press APP! Learn more about the APP here, and find it on Google Play and Apple App Store

 

Jun 14, 2018
127: Transportation Inequity in Baltimore
23:37
Topic:
Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Environmental Justice and Equitable Development Series – transportation inequity
 
Guest & Organization:
Tracee Strum-Gilliam, AICP is the Director of Mid-Atlantic Client Solutions for PRR. For her, working at PRR is thrilling! The core part of her position at PRR is to grow the Baltimore office and PRR’s transportation and infrastructure practice on the East Coast. As a 20-year veteran of the transportation industry, it is most certainly a challenge that she welcomes, because she loves helping clients solve challenges and achieve their goals through strategic planning. She is a proud member of several Transportation Research Board committees, Women in Transportation Seminar Baltimore Chapter, and the Waterfront Partnership Board of Baltimore. When she’s not working, she’s traveling with my family. She always has a passport handy and a suitcase ready.
PRR specializes in advancing major public issues and sparking market transformation across a diverse range of segments that include environmenttransportationhealthcare, and land use.
 
Resources:
Jun 07, 2018
126: Resiliency Planning Success Stories
33:40
Topic:
Adaptation and Livable Communities Series – getting adaptation and resilience projects to move forward
 
Guest & Organization:
Ellory Monks is co-founder of The Atlas Marketplace, a free online community for public officials upgrading their systems to be stronger, smarter and more sustainable.
 
The Atlas is a hassle-free space where cities come to learn, share, and connect about what’s working in their communities. As co-founder, Ellory works with 70+ partner cities to help them scale and replicate proven urban innovations – and the benefits they generate – in their own communities. Prior to co-founding The Atlas, Ellory was Partner at re:focus partners, a firm dedicated to the design & financing of resilient infrastructure, and before that, held a fellowship in Washington D.C., where she acted as the executive secretary of the Obama Administration’s Climate Data and Tools Initiative, and more broadly, provided analytical and technical support to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). She has a B.A. in Civil & Environmental Engineering and Public Policy from Rice University.
 
Resources:
Atlas Marketplace – access is free!
May 31, 2018
125: Local Policies and the Transportation Revolution
21:07
Topic:
Smart Growth and Livable Communities Series – integrating new mobility technology into cities
 
Guest & Organization:
Working out of BB&K’s Washington, D.C. office,
Greg uses his unique experience working on Capitol Hill and as in-house counsel for a transportation planning agency to provide legal and regulatory guidance concerning federal grant and contracting requirements, and monitors, counsels and advocates for clients on federal legislation, rulemakings and funding opportunities related to transportation infrastructure. Greg’s practice includes providing strategic guidance, policy tracking, and legal assistance on
the regulation and incorporation of emerging transportation technologies into our transportation network, including on-demand mobility, automated and connected vehicles, and drones. Greg is a co-host on the @MobilityPodcast and can be found on Twitter at @smartertranspo.
 
Resources:
May 24, 2018
124: Resilience for All
25:25
Topic:
Urban Resilience Series – Resiliency planning, equity and community-driven design
 
Guest & Organization:
Barbara Brown Wilson is an Assistant Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning at the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture. Barbara Brown Wilson’s research and teaching focus on the ethics, theory, and practice of sustainable community design and development, and on the history of urban social movements.
 
Wilson's current research projects include understanding how grassroots community networks reframe public infrastructure in more climate and culturally appropriate ways across the U.S. and helping to elevate the standards of evaluation for community-engaged design around notions of social and ecological justice. Her research is often change-oriented—she collaborates with real community partners to identify opportunities for engaged and integrated sustainable development.  She is a member of the Equity Collective, whose work is currently featured in the Cooper Hewitt Museum's By the People: Designing a Better America Exhibition. Alongside Architect Jeana Ripple, Wilson is coordinating the community engaged aspects of the Public Art Installation for the ArtHouse Social Kitchen Project in Gary, Indiana. She is also working, as a researcher, an educator, and a board member of the Piedmont Housing Alliance (PHA) with their leadership
to identify venues where PHA residents can more actively engage in and shape their communities. In those collective posts, Wilson is serving as a resource ally to PHA's new Youth Leadership in Land Use program that brings in resident youth from Friendship Court as valued members of the design team for the Redevelopment project currently underway in their neighborhood.
 
She is a co-founder of the Design Futures Student Leadership Forum, a five day student leadership training which convenes students and faculty from a consortium of universities with leading practitioners all working to elevate the educational realms of community-engaged design; and a co-founder of the Austin Community Design and Development Center (ACDDC), a nonprofit design center that provides high quality green design and planning services to lower income households and the organizations that serve them.
 
Resources:
Download
the Island Press APP! Learn more about the APP here,
and find it on Google
Play and Apple
May 17, 2018
123: Charlottesville Beyond the Headlines
35:04
Topic:
 
Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Environmental Justice and Equitable Development Series – current political climate in Charlottesville and beyond
 
Guest & Organization:
 
Dayna Bowen Matthew is the William L. Matheson and Robert M. Morgenthau Distinguished Professor of Law and F. Palmer Weber Research Professor of Civil Liberties and Human Rights at the University of Virginia. Matthew is a leader in public health who focuses on racial disparities in healthcare. She joined the Virginia faculty in 2017. She is the author of the book "Just Medicine: A Cure for Racial Inequality in American Health Care."
 
Matthew previously served on the University of Colorado law faculty as a professor, vice dean and associate dean of academic affairs. She was a member of theCenter for Bioethics and Humanities on the Anschutz Medical Campus and held a joint appointment at the Colorado School of Public Health.
 
She has also taken on many public policy roles. Matthew worked with a law firm partner in 2013 to found the Colorado Health Equity Project, a medical-legal partnership incubator aimed at removing barriers to good health for low-income clients by providing legal representation, research, and policy advocacy. In 2015 she served as the senior adviser to the director of the Office of Civil Rights for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where she expedited cases on behalf of historically vulnerable communities besieged by pollution. She then became a member of the health policy team for U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and worked on public health issues.
 
During 2015 and 2016 she was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow, in residence in Washington, D.C., and pivoted her work toward population-level clients. She forged relationships with influential policy groups such as the Brookings Institution, where she is currently a non-resident senior fellow, and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.
 
Resources:
May 10, 2018
122: Peter Katz and GoTrans
23:30
Topic:
SmartGrowth and Livable Communities Series – active transportation and community design
 
Guest & Organization:
Peter Katz has been a leader in advancing innovative approaches to community planning for more than two decades. He played a catalytic role in launching the New Urbanism by writing a seminal book, The New Urbanism: Toward an Architecture of Community, and serving as the founding executive director of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU). During Peter’s tenure, CNU adopted its charter, obtained its first grant funding, began a strategic partnership with the U.S.
 
Department of Housing and Urban Development, and convened its first international congress. He was recently named a fellow of CNU in recognition of his contributions to the movement. As strategic consultant to government, public agencies, and private-sector clients, Peter addresses real-world needs with state-of-the-art planning practices. He has also played a key role in shaping and implementing a range of nationally significant community design and development projects.
 
Resources:
May 03, 2018
121: Replay - Portland is a Movable Side Yard Feast
24:48

Topic:
Providing local food to the local community


Guests:
Stacey Givens is the farmer, chef and owner of The Side Yard Farm & Kitchen in Northeast Portland, Oregon’s Cully Neighborhood. Givens grows diverse organic produce for Portland’s top restaurants and provides food, education and opportunity to her community. Givens was raised the youngest of seven children in a large Greek family in Redondo Beach, California where she was instilled with do-it-yourself values from a young age, farming in their backyard garden and small orchard, foraging with her mom, picking and brining olives and helping prepare large Greek family-style suppers. Givens has been in the food industry since age 15. She worked her way up the West Coast, including at the nationally acclaimed Millennium in San Francisco, before landing in Portland in 2006. Givens established The Side Yard Farm in 2009. The Side Yard Farm & Kitchen currently consists of several urban farm lots maintained by Givens and her team, a farm-to-table private catering company, and the ‘Nomadic Chef’ supper club where she features her urban-grown goods. Givens also organizes invaluable community services at The Side Yard like DIY workshops, grief support groups and kids camps. While The Side Yard has a hyperlocal focus, Givens’ drive to build a strong community and make lasting connections with talented and passionate people is globally-minded, traveling around the world to meet fellow organic farmers and chefs. In 2014, Givens was the recipient of Portland’s Local Hero award in the chef category, and continues to give back to the community she loves through volunteerism and her indispensable work at The Side Yard. In 2015, she competed on the Foodnetwork’s ‘Chopped’ and brought home the win for Portland.

Stacey Givens Twitter
https://twitter.com/thesideyardpdx

Organization:
The Side Yard is an urban farm, supper club and catering company located in the NE Cully Neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. Since 2009 they have provided local restaurants with creative organic produce and the community with food, education and opportunity. The farm is largely operated by volunteers and interns who gain hands on experience with the urban seed to plate movement. The Side Yard offers urban farm suppers & brunches, private catering, nomadic pop-ups, educational DIY workshops, farm tours and grief groups. Their focus is to provide local food for the local community, from the seeds they sow, animals they raise, and to the craftsmanship they embrace.

 

Take Away Quotes:
“It’s all about the experience of seed to plate. All of that was harvested the day before, the day of. You can just taste the freshness and that connection of hyper local.”

“After I lost my father I decided I’m done with going to grief groups in hospitals- why not have one at the farm. It’s such a beautiful place and I think it’d be easier for people to share the loss of their loved one…and we just become this big ole family.”

“I hope that what we’re doing is we’re teaching people that being local is really important, being organic is extremely important, and I guess that’s what I would hope for is that we’re doing our job educating people and bringing them closer to their food.”


Resources:
The Side Yard
http://www.thesideyardpdx.com/

Presidio Graduate School
http://www.presidio.edu

Apr 26, 2018
120: 20 Years Of Life – Public Health and Political Power
27:29
Topic:
Urban Resilience Series – Addressing public health disparities
 
Guest & Organization:
Suzanne Bohan covered health and science for 12 years with the Bay Area News Group, a 650,000-circulation newspaper chain which includes the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, and Oakland Tribune. She previously worked for the Sacramento Bee, and her writing has also been published in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Miami Herald, San Francisco Chronicle, and other newspapers nationwide.
 
Bohan has won nearly 20 journalism awards, including the 2010 White House Correspondents’ Association Edgar A. Poe award for the series “Shortened Lives: Where You Live Matters” on why life expectancies vary so dramatically between nearby neighborhoods, and initiatives to shrink this unjust gap. Her earlier book, 50 Simple Ways to Live a Longer Life: Everyday Techniques from the Forefront of Science, won a National Health Information Award for health promotion/disease prevention. Bohan has a master’s degree in journalism from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree in biology from San Francisco State University. She interned at CNN and worked in radio, but decided to focus her
career on print media. She lives in Northern California with her husband.
 
In Twenty Years of Life, award-winning health journalist Suzanne Bohan exposes the disturbing flip side of the American dream: your health is largely determined by your zip code. The strain of living in a poor neighborhood, with sub-par schools, lack of parks, fear of violence, few to no healthy food options, and the stress of unpaid bills is literally taking years off people’s lives.
 
Residents living in distressed communities die upwards of 20 years earlier than those living in wealthier neighborhoods often just miles away. But there is another way. In Twenty Years of Life, Bohan tells a success story that has resulted in the passage of more than 500 new policies and laws that are improving millions of resident’s lives. 
 
Resources:
Download
the Island Press APP! Learn more about the APP here,
and find it on Google
Play and Apple
Apr 19, 2018
119: Art and Creative Place Making
16:41
Topic:
The arts and community engagement as highly effective community and economic development strategies
 
Guest & Organization:
Juanita Hardy is the Senior Visiting Fellow (SVF) for Creative Placemaking at the Urban Land Institute (ULI). Her work supports the Institute’s Building Healthy Places Initiative by deepening and broadening ULI’s focus on creative placemaking through content, the ULIDistrict Council network, and the HealthyCorridors grant program.
 
Hardy has a passion for making business and cultural connections that foster healthy,thriving, and culturally rich places to work, live, and enjoy. 
 
She founded Tiger Management Consulting Group, a global training and business consulting services firm, after retiring from IBM in 2005.  Hardy has over 43 years of business experience, including 31 years with IBM, and over 35 years in the arts as a nonprofit leader, trustee, collector, and patron of the arts.  For IBM, she led many client transformational leadership initiatives and frequently coached leaders on making change at the individual and organizational level.  Her work with Tiger Management included helping clients build successful relationships with businesses in other countries and cultures.
 
As SVF for ULI, Hardy has done extensive research and identified best practices, conducted an assessment on the presence of creative placemaking at ULI, worked with ULI District Councils on programming and capacity building activities, and authored a guide on implementing creative placemaking in real estate development.
 
Hardy is the former Executive Director of CulturalDC,
a nonprofit committed to making space for artists and art organizations and fostering cultural and economic vibrancy in communities through its creative placemaking services. While at CulturalDC, she worked closely with area developers to integrate arts and culture into development projects across the Washington, D.C., area. She served as an awards program juror for the ULI Washington District Council’s Real
Estate Trends Conference for three years, 2015-2017. Since
2006, Hardy has served as an executive coach with Right Management, a global human capital development firm, and has served on many nonprofit art boards dating to the 1980s. She co-founded Millennium
Arts Salon, an art education initiative, in 2000. Hardy is an accomplished writer and public speaker.  Her recent writing includes a trilogy of creative placemaking articles in Urban Land magazine.
 
Resources:
Apr 12, 2018
118: Collateral Environmental Federalism
26:16
Topic:
Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Environmental Justice and Equitable Development Series – Advancing environmental justice and equity at the state and local levels
 
Guest & Organization:
Dr. Adrienne L. Hollis is the Director of Federal Policy at WE ACT for Environmental Justice, in the Washington, DC office. Dr. Hollis is an experienced environmental toxicologist as well as an environmental attorney. She has worked with a number of community organizations and has a wealth of experience in community-based participatory research around environmental justice issues.
 
It is well-documented that some of the most polluted environments in America are where people of color live, work, play, and pray. WE ACT was started in 1988 when three fearless community leaders saw that environmental racism was rampant in their West Harlem neighborhood, and they demanded community-driven, political change. Today, the organization has grown to over 16 staff members and 2 locations in NYC and Washington, D.C., and is considered an active and respected participant in the national Environmental Justice Movement.
 
WE ACT’s mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring that people of color and/or low-income residents participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices.
 
WE ACT envisions a community that has:
 
  • informed and engaged residents who participate fully in decision-making on key issues that impact their health and community.
  • strong and equal environmental protections. 
  • increased environmental health through community-based participatory research and evidence-based campaigns.
 
Resources:
Apr 05, 2018
117: Coastal Adaptation in Louisiana
32:12
Topic:
Adaptation and Livable Communities Series – Issues Facing Coastal Communities
 
Guest & Organization:
Liz Williams Russell is the Coastal Community Resilience Director at the Foundation for Louisiana where she designs strategies to support communities influenced by land loss and relative sea-level rise across coastal Louisiana. With a background and training in architectural design, landscape systems, and urban planning, Liz incorporates the complexities of the developed urban ecosystem to promote equitable opportunities in areas altered and affected by land change. Liz manages coastal grant-making areas with an advisory committee and relevant partners that work to help communities face a range of issues and challenges that range in scale from mega-regional networks and hydrologic basins to stormwater management and flood insurance.
 
Risk mitigation and resilience-based programs require an awareness of and participation with these transitioning watersheds. In order to better provide opportunities, establish and cultivate partnerships, and advocate for informed and diverse public engagement, Liz supports fundraising initiatives and guides the common campaign and funding plan across Foundation for Louisiana’s Coastal Resiliency Leverage Fund.
 
Liz previously has worked as a Research Fellow and Affiliate with the Coastal Sustainability Studio at Louisiana State University. In this role she led and collaborated with cohorts of civil engineers, urban planners, coastal scientists, and landscape architects alongside economic, legal, and cultural advisors. Each project engaged a set of unique conditions within the coastal landscape and proposed developments through which residents and communities might advance and thrive in a future with evolving challenges.
 
The mission of the Foundation for Louisiana is to invest in people and practices that work to reduce vulnerability and build stronger, more sustainable communities statewide.
 
Resources:
Mar 29, 2018
116: Adaptation Professionals – ASAP
34:27
Topic:
Adaptation and Livable Communities – An Introduction to Adaptation Professionals
 
Guest & Organization:
Beth Gibbons is the Executive Director of the American Society of Adaptation Professionals (ASAP). In this role, she is responsible for strengthening ASAP as an emerging nonprofit organization, managing relationships with its members, board and donors, and bringing adaptation best practices into the broader urban conversation. Beth brings a decade of experience in sustainable development and climate adaptation to her role. Additionally, she has nonprofit management and governance experience and is highly skilled in climate communications, research and outreach, collaborative project management, and stakeholder management. Previously, Beth was Director of the University of Michigan Climate Center and managed NOAA’s Great Lakes Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center. She also worked for the Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute as a research specialist, helping develop and implement the Great Lakes Adaptation Assessment for Cities. Previously, Beth worked for the International Forestry and Research Institute and the General Federation oF Women’s Clubs supporting organization operations and communications. She served in the Peace Corps in Agodopke, Togo. Beth earned her undergraduate degree in Comparative Politics from the Catholic University of America and holds a Master of Urban Planning from the University of Michigan.
ASAP connects and supports climate adaptation professionals, while advancing innovation in the field of climate change adaptation. Through ASAP’s website, affinity groups, webinars and meetings climate adaptation leaders interact, share what’s working, collaborate with their colleagues and build essential climate resilience for communities across the country.
 
Resources:
Mar 22, 2018
115: Three Revolutions – The Future of Cars
28:44
Topic:
Autonomous vehicles, shared vehicle services and electric vehicles
 
Guest & Organization:
Dr. Daniel Sperling is the Blue Planet Prize Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science and Policy and founding director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis, which oversees the 3 Revolutions Future Mobility Program.
He has held the transportation seat on the California Air Resources Board since 2007 (appointed by Governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown) and served as Chair of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies in 2015-16. Among his many prizes are the 2013 Blue Planet Prize from the Asahi Glass Foundation for being "a pioneer in opening up new fields of study to create more efficient, low-carbon, and environmentally beneficial transportation systems."
He served twice as lead author for the IPCC (sharing the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize), has testified 7 times to the U.S. Congress, and provided 40 keynote presentations in the past five years. He has authored or coauthored over 250 technical papers and 12 books; is widely cited in leading newspapers; has been interviewed many times on NPR, including Science Friday, Talk of the Nation, and Fresh Air; and in 2009 was featured on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
In Three Revolutions, transportation expert Dan Sperling, along with seven other leaders in the field, share research–based insights on potential public benefits and impacts of the three transportation revolutions. They describe innovative ideas and partnerships, and explore the role government policy can play in steering the new transportation paradigm toward the public interest—toward our dream scenario of social equity, environmental sustainability, and urban livability.
 
Resources:
Mar 15, 2018
114: The History and Power of the Built Environment
28:21
Topic:
Urban revitalization and land regeneration
 
Guest & Organization:
Dekonti Mends-Cole serves as the Director of Policy for the Center for Community Progress. Prior to joining Center for Community Progress in September 2015, Dekonti worked in Detroit as the Deputy Director of Dispositions for the Detroit Land Bank Authority overseeing disposition, property management and compliance programs.  In addition, she served as a fellow with the White House Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative embedded in the City of Detroit’s Law Department.
Dekonti brings international experience and best practice having previously worked on local economic development projects in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa including infrastructure investment strategies in Iraq and Zambia for the United Nations and community development projects tied to the 2012 London Olympics. She holds an MSc from London School of Economics in Urban Regeneration and Affordable Housing, a Juris Doctor from Georgetown Law Center, and a BA from University of Miami in International Studies and Economics.
 
Resources:
Mar 08, 2018
113: Tax Policy and Urban Form
23:35
Topic:
The relationship between tax and land use policies
 
Guest & Organization:
 
Joe Minicozzi is an urban planner imagining new ways to think about and visualize land use, urban design and economics. Joe founded Urban3 to break down and visualize the market dynamics created by tax and land use policies. Urban3's work is establishing new conversations across multiple sectors, policy makers, and the public to creatively address the challenges of urbanization. Urban3’s extensive studies have ranged geographically from over 30 states, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
 
Joe holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Miami and Master of Architecture and Urban Design from Harvard University. In 2017, Joe was recognized as one of the 100 Most Influential Urbanists of all time.
 
 
Resources:
 
Mar 01, 2018
112: Puerto Rico and Disaster Capitalism
31:18
Topic:
Post-disaster relief efforts to rebuild and revitalize Puerto Rico
 
Guest & Organization:
Elizabeth Yeampierre is a internationally recognized Puerto Rican attorney and environmental and climate justice leader of African and Indigenous ancestry born and raised in New York City. A national leader in climate justice movement, Elizabeth is the co-chair of the Climate Justice Alliance. She is Executive Director of UPROSE, Brooklyn's oldest Latino community based organization. Her award winning vision for an inter-generational, multi-cultural and community led organization is the driving force behind UPROSE. She is a long-time advocate and trailblazer for community organizing around just, sustainable development, environmental justice and community-led climate adaptation and community resiliency in Sunset Park. Prior to assuming the Executive Director position at UPROSE, Ms. Yeampierre was the Director of Legal Education and Training at the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund, Director of Legal Services for the American Indian law Alliance and Dean of Puerto Rican Student Affairs at Yale University.  She holds a BA from Fordham University, a law degree from Northeastern University.
 
Resources:
Download the Island Press APP! Learn more about the APP here, and find it on Google Play and Apple App Store!
Feb 22, 2018
111: Realtors Promoting Smart Growth
24:19
Topic:
Smart growth and the real estate industry
 
Guest & Organization:
Hugh Morris has practiced urban planning for twenty-five years with a focus on transportation issues.  After graduating from UCLA with a Masters in Planning, he spent five years with a transportation consulting firm working on transit plans, travel demand forecasting models, and travel surveys.  He spent the next two years working for an energy efficiency think tank where he focused on transportation issues, including investigating the real cost of our transportation system.  The next ten years were spent working with the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy helping communities convert abandoned railroad corridors into hiking/biking trails.  His principle area of focus was urban trails that were used for trip making as well as recreation.  He has spent the last twelve years with the Smart Growth Program at the National Association of Realtors where he helps local Realtor associations around the country to become advocates for smart growth style development in their communities.
He has had two papers presented at and published by the National Academy of Science’s Transportation Research Board.  Additionally, he has contributed to the American Planning Association’s publication titled “Planning and Urban Design Standards” as well as “Trails for the 21st Century: a planning, design, and management manual” published by Island Press.
 
Resources:
Feb 15, 2018
110: Funding Climate Adaptation
22:52

Topic:

Holistic Approaches to Climate Challenges

Guest & Organization:

Senator Bob Wieckowski represents the 10th Senate District in the California State Legislature. The district stretches from southern Alameda County into Santa Clara County and shares the member’s focus on job creation, clean technologies, protecting our environment and reducing unnecessary regulations.

Mr. Wieckowski chairs the Environmental Quality Committee and Budget Subcommittee 2 on Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy and Transportation.  He is also a member of the Senate committees on Judiciary; Budget and Fiscal Review; Transportation and Housing; and Ethics.  He was appointed by Senate President Pro Tem to serve on the Energy and Environment Committee of the Council of State Governments West and in 2017 became the first Californian to chair the committee. The Senator is a state leader in advocating for climate adaptation programs and has participated on state and regional panels examining green infrastructure investments.

A strong voice in the Legislature for consumers and low-income earners, he received the “Champion of Justice” Award from the East Bay Community Law Center for fighting against abusive debt collectors and oppressive wage garnishments.  Statewide organizations have selected him Legislator of the Year and the California Judges Association gave him its “Scales of Justice Award” for his steadfast support for increased court funding. Tech America also named him “Legislator of the Year.”

Mr. Wieckowski is a small business owner and a bankruptcy attorney.  He has helped hundreds of families and seniors persevere through economic hardship, keep their homes and live with dignity.  He received his B.A. from the University of California and his J.D. from Santa Clara University School of Law. Senator Wieckowski lives in Fremont with his wife, Sue.

Resources:

California Senate Standing Committee on Environmental Quality

California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research – Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program (ICARP)

California’s Climate Adaptation Strategy – January 2018 – Safeguarding California Plan

Local Government Commission 

 

Feb 08, 2018
109: Recovering from Wildfire in Northern California
25:15

Topic:

Wildfire recovery in wine country

Guest & Organization:

Chris Coursey grew up in a military family, and by the time he graduated from college had never lived in any city for more than three years. He came to Santa Rosa in 1980 to take a job that he thought would be a brief stop in his rising journalism career. Instead, he found a community that has sustained him for 37 years, and a city that has become his home town. He worked for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat for 27 years, covering a variety of subjects and writing a column sharing his personal thoughts on a wide range of community issues. In 2007, he was hired by the SMART rail district to manage communications and community outreach in advance of the successful 2008 sales tax election. He left SMART in 2011 to establish a consulting business focusing on freelance writing and public relations. 

He was elected to the Santa Rosa City Council in 2014. In December 2016, he was selected by his fellow Council members to serve as Mayor. His term expires in December 2018. 

Tennis Wick has served as Sonoma County’s Permit & Resource Management Department Director since November 2013.  The agency balances environmental protection and sustainable development of Sonoma County’s natural resources through the agency’s planning, engineering, building, well and septic, code enforcement and customer service authority.   

Before joining the County of Sonoma, Wick worked as a principal at Berg Holdings responsible for government affairs, site acquisition, design and entitlement.  Previously, Tennis practiced as a partner at the engineering and planning consulting firm CSW/Stuber-Stroeh Engineering Group, Inc.  He began his career with the County of Marin where he led current planning as Development Chief.   

Wick is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (10447) and the American Planning Association.  Tennis Wick holds a Juris Doctor degree from Golden Gate University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with a Public Service Emphasis from the University of California, Santa Barbara. A long-time Petaluma resident, Tennis Wick has been civically active twice serving as a City Planning Commissioner and as Board President of the Friends of the Petaluma River, Petaluma Peoples Service Center and the Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce.  Wick is also a member of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau and the Sonoma County Alliance. Tennis is part owner of Hen House Brewing Co.  He and his wife Holly have four grown daughters and are active in endurance sports, cooking and gardening. 

Resources:

Santa Rosa and Sonoma County Fire Recovery: www.sonomacountyrecovers.org 

Local Government Commission  

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018 

Feb 01, 2018
108: Millennials – The Next Generation of Public Service
21:47

Topic:

Supporting the next generation of young leaders

Guest & Organization:

Danielle Metzinger is a Learning and Development Specialist at CalSTRS, and serves as Membership Lead for NxtGov including administering the new NxtGov Ambassador Program. Danielle’s interest in public service led her from the nonprofit to the public sector in 2013 when she began her career at the State of California. Since then she’s collaborated on several initiatives to develop the state workforce and improve civil service. Danielle is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Organization Development from University of San Francisco.

Angelica Quirarte, “Angie,” is the Assistant Secretary for Digital Engagement at the CA Government Operations Agency (GovOps) and the founder of NxtGov. She started her career in public service as an Executive Fellow in 2013 and has been leading efforts in open data and web user-centered design through the management of data.ca.gov and ca.gov. She was part of the team that launched the Lean Academy,  partially project managed the Civil Service Improvement Initiative, and most recently helped coordinate the creation of the new Department of Tax and Fee Administration. Angie was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and migrated to the Bay Area with her parents and two younger brothers when she was 10 years old. She has a BA in History of Public Policy from UC Santa Barbara.

Resources:

NxtGov

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018

Jan 25, 2018
107: Watersheds and Homelessness – Part 2
27:52

Topic:

Homelessness and water resource protection

Guest & Organization:

Mike Antos is a Senior Watershed Manager for the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority, facilitating the One Water One Watershed program and leading engagement with members of disadvantaged communities for collaborative watershed management. Mike holds a PhD in Geography from UCLA where he remains a member of the Water Resources Group of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. He is on the advisory board of the Loyola-Marymount University Center for Urban Resilience, a founding board member of the Mediterranean Cities Climate Change Consortium, and is a Fellow of the Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation. Mike serves as co-chair of the American Water Resources Association Integrated Water Resources Management technical committee, and sits on the Technical Advisory Council of California’s Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resilience Program.

Resources:

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 106: Water and Homelessness with Mike Antos 

One Water One Watershed 

Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA) 

Local Government Commission  

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018 

Jan 18, 2018
106: Watersheds and Homelessness
33:23

The intersection of homelessness and water management 

Guest & Organization:

Mike Antos is a Senior Watershed Manager for the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority, facilitating the One Water One Watershed program and leading engagement with members of disadvantaged communities for collaborative watershed management. Mike holds a PhD in Geography from UCLA where he remains a member of the Water Resources Group of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. He is on the advisory board of the Loyola-Marymount University Center for Urban Resilience, a founding board member of the Mediterranean Cities Climate Change Consortium, and is a Fellow of the Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation. Mike serves as co-chair of the American Water Resources Association Integrated Water Resources Management technical committee, and sits on the Technical Advisory Council of California’s Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resilience Program.

Resources:

One Water One Watershed 

Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA) 

Local Government Commission  

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018 

Local Government Commission 

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018

Jan 11, 2018
105: Affordable Housing and A Politics of Yes
25:14

Yes in my back yard (YIMBY)

Guest & Organization:

Sonja Trauss is the founder of the San Francisco Bay Area Renters' Federation – an unincorporated club of pro-building, pro-density renters. Born and raised by a labor and delivery nurse and legal aid attorney in Philadelphia, PA, Trauss learned at an early age the importance of representing the city's most vulnerable populations. 

As an undergraduate at Temple University, she worked for the local Neighborhood Advisory Committee, where she first learned about the mechanics of municipal government. During the financial crisis, she worked as a paralegal for Philadelphia Legal Assistance, helping to defend low income homeowners from foreclosure. She earned her master’s degree in economics in 2011 at Washington University in St. Louis where she then relocated to the Bay Area. As a renter – in El Cerrito and West Oakland, and now in Soma (South of Mission) – she has experienced the Bay Area's housing and transit issues. 

Trauss started the San Francisco Bay Area Renters’ Federation (SFBARF) in 2014 as a response to the anti-growth, anti-newcomer mindset driving housing prices higher in the Bay. Higher housing prices displace many of the most vulnerable long-term residents, making it harder for people to move there, and increase the cost of living for everyone. SFBARF has been nationally recognized as a pioneer in the YIMBY movement to densify our cities, and drive housing prices lower by increasing the number of available houses. 

Trauss is currently running for supervisor and aims to raise her son in a neighborhood that's greener, denser, more pedestrian-friendly, inclusive and more welcoming for everyone, regardless of their origins or present condition.

Resources:

YIMBY Action 

California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund (CaRLA) 

Sonja Trauss for Supervisor 2018 

Local Government Commission  

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018 

Jan 04, 2018
104: Design & Dignity
33:45

The dignifying power of design

Guest & Organization:

An architect by training, John Cary has devoted his career to expanding the practice of design for the public good. John's first book was The Power of Pro Bono and his writing on design, philanthropy, and fatherhood has appeared in The New York Times, CNN, and numerous other publications. John works as an advisor to an array of foundations and nonprofits around the world and frequently curates and hosts events for TED, The Aspen Institute, and other entities. Deeply committed to diversifying the public stage, he is a founding partner in FRESH, a next-generation speaker’s bureau that represents young women and people of color. For seven years, John served as executive director of nonprofit Public Architecture, building the largest pro bono design program in the world, pledging tens of millions of dollars in donated services annually. 

Resources:

Design for Good: A New Era of Architecture for Everyone by John Cary 

Island Press Urban Resilience Project 

Download the Island Press APP! Learn more about the APP here, and find it on Google Play and Apple App Store

Dec 28, 2017
103: Updates from Bonn
24:19

Topic:

Adapting to a changing climate 

Guest & Organization:

Ellie Cohen, President and CEO of Point Blue Conservation Science since 1999, is a leader in catalyzing collaborative, nature-based solutions to climate change, habitat loss and other environmental challenges. She and Point Blue’s 160 scientists work with natural resource managers, ranchers, farmers, local governments and others to reduce the impacts of environmental change and develop climate-smart conservation approaches to benefit wildlife and people.  

Ellie is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Observer Organization representative for Point Blue. She is Immediate Past Chair and Steering Committee member of the CA Landscape Conservation Cooperative, an invited member of the SF Bay Area's Resilient by Design Research Advisory Committee, and co-founder of the Bay Area Ecosystems Climate Change Consortium.  Ellie was honored with the Bay Nature 2012 Environmental Hero Award for her climate change leadership.  

Ellie received her undergraduate degree in Botany with honors at Duke University and an MPP from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government where she was honored with the first Robert F. Kennedy Public Service Award. She speaks regularly on the urgent need to include nature-based approaches in the climate change solutions toolbox. 

Learn More about Ellie and her work here.  

Jonathan Parfrey is the Executive Director and Founder of Climate Resolve, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, founded in 2010, that is dedicated to creating practical solutions to meet the climate challenge while making Southern California more livable and prosperous today and for generations to come by inspiring people at home, at work, and in government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution, as well as prepare for climate change impacts. 

Climate Resolve is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, founded in 2010, that is dedicated to creating real, practical solutions to meet the climate challenge while building a better city for Angelenos. Their mission is to make Southern California more livable and prosperous today and for generations to come by inspiring people at home, at work, and in government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution, as well as prepare for climate change impacts. 

Resources:

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 096: Bonn Chance with Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists 

City Climate Planner from the World Bank 

City Climate Planner Certificate Program 

Carbon-Free City Handbook (a publication released at COP23 at the UN 2017 climate conference in Bonn, Germany that helps city staff implement climate policies and actions that resolutely place their communities on an aggressive path toward sustainable, low-carbon economies)  

Point Blue Conservation Science 

Climate Resolve 

Local Government Commission  

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018 

Dec 21, 2017
102: Government Alliance on Race and Equity
23:02

Dwayne S. Marsh serves as Vice President of Institutional and Sectoral Change at the new Race Forward. The new Race Forward is the union of two leading racial justice non-profit organizations: Race Forward and Center for Social Inclusion (CSI). He also serves Deputy Director of Government Alliance on Race & Equity (GARE), a core program of the new Race Forward. 

Prior to GARE/Race Forward, Marsh was, for six years, a senior advisor in the Office of Economic Resilience (OER) at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. There, he helped advance sustainable planning and development through interagency partnerships, departmental transformation, and funding initiatives managed through OER. He was OER’s principal coordinator for a $250 million grant program and led the development of capacity building resources that reinforced the work of pioneering grantees in 48 states and the District of Columbia. Under his leadership, OER prioritized equity as a foundational principal for its planning and investment initiatives. 

Marsh brings to GARE/Race Forward his expertise and considerable experience in coalition building for regional equity and leadership development for policy change. He provides technical assistance and capacity building knowledge to equitable development initiatives that address continuing disparities in affordable housing, transportation investment, and environmental justice. 

Before HUD, Marsh spent a decade at PolicyLink, the national organization committed to economic and social equity. Before PolicyLink, he directed the FAITHS Initiative for eight years at The San Francisco Foundation, building a nationally renowned community development and capacity building program that continues to this day. 

Resources:

Race Forward  

Center for Social Inclusion (CSI) 

Local Government Commission  

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018 

Dec 13, 2017
101: Rural Economies and Urban Sustainability
26:16

Steve Frisch is President of Sierra Business Council and one of its founding members. Over the last 20 years, Sierra Business Council has leveraged more than $100 million of investment in the Sierra Nevada and its communities through community and public-private partnerships. Sierra Business Council also manages the Sierra Small Business Development Center focusing on advancing sustainable business practices and linking new and expanding businesses to climate mitigation and adaptation funding.

Sierra Business Council pioneers and demonstrates innovative approaches and solutions to increase community vitality, economic prosperity, environmental quality, and social fairness in the Sierra Nevada. In the Sierra Nevada, change and challenge create opportunities. Through innovation, integrity, and respect, Sierra Business Council harnesses these opportunities by implementing projects that model proactive change. Their goal is a diverse, inventive, and sustainable region where the economy is vibrant, the land is thriving, and the communities offer opportunity for all. They act as steward leaders of the region, taking responsibility for the care and responsible management of our place, guided by the triple bottom line that considers the economy, environment, and community simultaneously.

Resources:

Infinite Earth Radio – Climate Adaptation Series with Steve Frisch and Jonathan Parfrey

  •  Episode 36 – Part 1
  •  Episode 37 – Part 2
  •  Episode 38 – Part 3
  •  Episode 39 – Part 4

Sierra Business Council

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018

Dec 07, 2017
100: The Future of Smart Growth
22:50

Celebrating our 100th episode by kicking off the conversation about the upcoming New Partners for Smart Conference

Guest & Organization:

Matthew Dalbey is the Director of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities. The Office of Sustainable Communities (OSC) supports locally led, community-driven efforts to revitalize local economies and attain better environmental and human health outcomes. OSC collaborates with other EPA programs; federal agencies; regional, state, and local governments; and a broad array of nongovernmental and private-sector partners to help communities become stronger, healthier, and more livable. OSC helps to meet communities at their needs by collaborating with other agencies and programs to use federal resources effectively and efficiently and better leverage public and private investment. This work directly supports EPA’s mission of protecting human health and the environment, contributing to clean air, clean water and other important goals in communities all across the country.

To help communities learn about and implement development strategies that protect human health and the environment, create economic opportunities, and provide attractive and affordable neighborhoods, the Office of Sustainable Communities:

Resources:

EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018

Nov 30, 2017
099: Firestorm
25:53

How wildfires will shape our future

Guest & Organization:

Edward Struzik is an award-winning writer and photographer. His previous books include Firestorm, Future Arctic, Arctic Icons, and The Big Thaw, among others. A fellow at the Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, his numerous accolades include the prestigious Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy and the Sir Sandford Fleming Medal, awarded for outstanding contributions to the understanding of science. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta.

Learn More About Ed

In Firestorm, journalist Edward Struzik visits scorched earth from Alaska to Maine, and introduces the scientists, firefighters, and resource managers making the case for a radically different approach to managing wildfire in the 21st century. Wildfires can no longer be treated as avoidable events because the risk and dangers are becoming too great and costly. Struzik weaves a heart-pumping narrative of science, economics, politics, and human determination and points to the ways that we, and the wilder inhabitants of the forests around our cities and towns, might yet flourish in an age of growing megafires.

Resources:

“Firestorm: How Wildfire Will Shape Our Future”

Island Press Urban Resilience Project

Download the Island Press APP! Learn more about the APP here, and find it on Google Play and Apple App Store!

Nov 23, 2017
098: Street Soccer USA: Transforming Lives and Neighborhoods
27:06

Topic:

The role of sports in increasing social mobility and improving communities

Guest & Organization:

Lisa Wrightsman is the Regional Program Manager of Street Soccer USA Sacramento and the Founder and Coach of Sacramento Lady Salamanders. Lisa earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication with a concentration in Digital Video from California State University, Sacramento. She was a member of the University's NCAA Division I Women's Soccer team and currently holds multiple program records as well as recognition as a member of the All-Decade team. After college she played over five years of semi professional soccer for the Elk Grove Pride.

Today her passion for soccer is seen in her social entrepreneurship initiatives with Street Soccer USA; a nationwide non-profit that uses soccer to break the cycle of homelessness and domestic abuse. Lisa is the founder and current Director and Coach of Street Soccer USA’s Sacramento Lady Salamanders. She started this program in 2010 and has since seen tremendous results and growth of the program as it has proven to successfully reverse the effects of addiction and domestic violence in 92% of team participants. Street Soccer USA uses this team platform to create a training curriculum of job preparation, life skills, and other specialized services, ultimately connecting participants directly to jobs, education, and housing.

Lisa was recognized in 2015, as one of Sacramento Business Journal’s top 40 Under 40 young professionals. She is a Senior Fellow of the Nehemiah Emerging Leader’s Program. Since 2010 Lisa has coached the USA Women’s Street Soccer team at the Homeless World Cup and in 2016 was selected as Women's Coach of the Tournament. Most recently Lisa was selected as a 2016 Change-Maker by TEDx Sacramento where she shared her story of resilience, hope, and how to be a catalyst for change

Resources:

Street Soccer USA

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018

Nov 16, 2017
097: Reconnecting Planning and Public Health
18:43

Topic:

Making the connection between planning and public health

Guest & Organization:

Anna Ricklin, AICP is the Manager of the Planning and Community Health Center at the American Planning Association (APA) in Washington, D.C. Anna works with APA members and partners to research, educate, and promote planning practice that improves public health through increased physical activity, healthy eating, and access to health and human services. With a background in public health, transportation planning, and nutrition, Anna is an emerging leader in applied research, strategic planning, and coalition building for healthy communities. She has worked in the fields of health impact assessment, community outreach and active transportation, including transit and bicycle planning. She has a MHS from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a BA in Anthropology from American University.

The Planning and Community Health Center leads the first nationwide program linking public health and planning practice. Community design directly effects human health. Development patterns, zoning, and land use impact walkability and transportation options, access to services, the availability of healthy foods, and vulnerability to hazards. Planners can help create places that offer choices for everyone to be healthy and safe. APA’s Planning and Community Health Center provides tools and technical support to members so they can integrate health into planning practice at all levels. Areas of focus include active living, healthy eating, and health in all planning policies. They implement their aims through applied research, place-based investment, and education.

Resources:

American Planning Association’s Planning and Community Health Center

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018

Nov 09, 2017
096: Bonn Chance
19:31

Guest & Organization:

Alden Meyer is director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists and the director of its Washington, DC, office. He provides general oversight and strategic guidance for the organization’s advocacy on energy, transportation, agriculture, and arms control issues. Mr. Meyer is also the principal advocate for UCS on national and international policy responses to the threat of global climate change. In addition, he works extensively on renewable energy and electricity policy.

Mr. Meyer has nearly 40 years of experience in energy and environmental policy at the state and national levels. He has testified before Congress on global warming and energy issues, and has authored numerous articles on climate change, energy policy, and electric utility and nuclear power issues for environmental and general interest publications. He has also served on several federal advisory panels, including the U.S. Secretary of Energy's advisory board.

Mr. Meyer is an expert on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change process, and the key design issues that will likely comprise the next global climate agreement, slated to be signed in 2015. Mr. Meyer has attended the climate negotiations since they first started in 1990 and his expertise has helped shape U.S. and UN policies. 

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet’s most pressing problems. Joining with citizens across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.

Learn More about Alden and the Union of Concerned Scientists

 

Resources:

COP 23 Bonn

Climate Action Business Association (CABA)

 

Union of Concerned Scientists

Nov 02, 2017
095: Energy Democracy
31:53

Topic: 

The Connection Between Race and Energy

In This Episode:

01:35  _Guest Denise Fairchild is introduced.

02:12  Denise explains what energy democracy is and why it’s important.

05:31  Denise shares how energy shapes our political system.

08:11  Denise talks about the ownership and distribution of energy.

11:03  Denise touches on how a community ownership of energy would work and gives examples of models.

17:01  Denise tells why production decentralization matters and if distributive production meets all of our needs.

21:22  Denise gives the connection between race and energy.

24:30  Denise describes how confronting racial issues will drive a new energy democracy.

28:29  Denise agrees to come back on another episode to discuss the parallels between the fossil fuel interests and the struggle to end slavery.

30:48  Denise shares where people can go to buy her book.

Guest and Organization:

Denise Fairchild is president and CEO of Emerald Cities Collaborative, a national nonprofit organization of business, labor, and community groups dedicated to climate resilience strategies that produce environmental, economic, and equity outcomes. She is co-editor of the new book Energy Democracy: Advancing Equity in Clean Energy Solutions.

Take Away Quotes:

“It’s interesting that we are really seeing the reason for economic democracy when we look at what’s going on in Puerto Rico right now.  It is the prime example about how the burning of fossil fuel is leading to climate crisis, that’s led to the loss of life and property, showing that the fossil fuel economy, the extractive economy, not only impacted our environment but our economy.”

“Our current economy, our dirty energy economy, is also impacting issues of equity.  Dirty energy lifts up the racial inequality that exists in our current capitalist economy.  Those that are most challenged by and vulnerable to the impacts of dirty energy are low-income people.”

“Energy democracy’s addressing the challenges of a centralized monopoly over energy where profit matters more than planet and people.”

“If you can put the source of energy on your rooftop or in a community, two or three miles from where energy’s going to be used, you’re going to save 20 or 30% more in terms of the cost of transmitting energy.”

Resources:

Emerald Cities Collaborative 

http://emeraldcities.org/ 

Energy Democracy: Advancing Equity in Clean Energy Solutions

https://islandpress.org/books/energy-democracy

Island Press Urban Resilience Project

 

Download the Island Press APP!  Learn more about the APP here, and find it on Google Play and Apple App Store!

Oct 26, 2017
094: Biking as a Way of Life
22:19

Topic:

Making Urban Streets More Bicycle and Pedestrian Friendly

In This Episode:

01:07  Guest Grace Kyung describes Trailnet.
01:16  Grace shares what motivated her to become a bicycle and pedestrian planner.
02:31  Grace tells what she’s learned and what we need to do to make communities more bikeable and pedestrian friendly.
05:18  Grace explains what traffic calming is.
06:25  Grace states how, at a local level, to start making communities more pedestrian friendly.
10:05  Grace addresses the obstacles to redesigning bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly streets.
14:42  Does St. Louis have a capital improvement plan that tells where the city will invest in infrastructure and when it will happen?
15:41  Grace continues with strategies for making communities more pedestrian friendly.
18:12  Grace tells where people can go to learn more about Trailnet.
18:24  Grace mentions how communities can learn about becoming more pedestrian and bike friendly.

Guest and Organization:

Grace Kyung is the Special Projects Director at Trailnet, a non-profit improving walking, bicycling, and transit as a way of life. Grace provides technical assistance on how to improve the built environment to increase accessibility for all ages and abilities throughout the state of Missouri. Grace enjoys the challenges and opportunities of using tactical urbanism approaches to engage and educate stakeholders about safer street designs. Grace is interested in using place-based approaches to create healthy equitable communities. Before moving to St. Louis, Grace received a Masters in Public Health and Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. While a student, Grace ran a successful campaign to bring in a permanent funding source for bicycle-related projects at the university, led social justice campaigns, planned student service trips, and served on a local non-profit board. Grace serves as co-chair on the Healthy Communities Collaborative an interest group of the American Planning Association. She is focused on bridging the connection between public health and urban planning to address transportation and equity concerns. Grace enjoys conversations about how to create livable communities where people come first. Grace is a multi-modal commuter who loves riding her bike to find doughnuts and a good book to read.

For more than 25 years, Trailnet has brought together friends, organizations and people from many communities to create positive change in the St. Louis bi-state region by encouraging healthy, active living. Trailnet works to improve the quality of life for our families, neighbors, and communities. Their work and their partnerships directly impact local citizens, schools, businesses, communities, and nonprofit agencies throughout their region.

Take Away Quotes:

“So with how we’ve built our cities, and especially within the city of St. Louis, our streets are just overbuilt. We just have really wide travel lanes, and it’s just what people have gotten used to, so more people don’t feel comfortable walking or biking outside because it’s not as safe.”

“With the paradigm of how things have been, if we’re going to make actual shifts to address what the larger concerns are, we need to start looking at, from a community’s perspective, more of a grassroots level what’s going on with these communities, how are decisions made that the cities are built that way; and if we are trying to promote more walkable or bikeable infrastructure, is that through changing policies or is that how the city funds these sort of projects, and how do we work with the city in creating new structures?”  

“In St. Louis, we’ve been having these deeper-level discussions of talking about ways that we can work with the community to understand even what they want in the first place and seeing how we can bring them the resources in order to walk or bike places.”

“It’s shown [nationally] that 12% of fatal crashes involve people walking; in St. Louis, that figure is 36%.”

Resources:

Trailnet

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018

Oct 19, 2017
093: Inclusive Creative Place Making
33:54

Topic:

Transforming a Community Through the Power of Art

In This Episode:

01:44  Guests Linda Steele and Roseann Weiss are introduced.
02:44  Vernice shares her interest in place-making strategies through art and artistry.
03:39  Roseann tells of the work that is happening in St. Louis.
04:59  Linda tells of the work that is happening in Memphis.
07:24  Linda shares her background.
09:02  Roseann shares her background.
11:32  Linda gives her thoughts on what her work’s role is in building stronger, more vibrant communities.
17:28  Roseann gives her thoughts regarding art and culture being the component that connects people in St. Louis.
22:12  Roseann states if her work could be coupled with the urban vitality and ecology initiative in the Wells-Goodfellow community.
26:01  Linda states if reclaiming the arts and culture and the blues-jazz-gospel history in Memphis is a driver for revitalization.
28:27  Vernice shares her thoughts on the importance of capturing the history of the physical place where people live.
29:27  Linda and Roseann provide the one policy that she would advocate for to advance community revitalization from the arts and culture space.
29:49  Roseann states what an individual can do to contribute to the work that she’s doing.
30:37  Linda states what an individual can do to contribute to the work that she’s doing.
31:05  Linda shares what art and culture place making looks like 30 years from now.
31:35  Roseann shares what art and culture place making looks like 30 years from now.
32:27  Roseann identifies where listeners can go for further information.
32:40  Linda identifies where listeners can go for further information.

Guest and Organization:

Roseann Weiss is the Director of Artist and Community Initiatives for the Regional Arts Commission. The Regional Arts Commission leads, strengthens, and gives voice to a creative community where every citizen can be proud to live, work, and play in a world-class region. In short, we are proud of our St. Louis cultural identity and want to do whatever we can to grow, sustain, and promote that identity in the future. We are at the forefront of helping transform St. Louis into a more vibrant, creative, and economically thriving community through the arts – and want everyone to know just how special the creative community is within the region.

Linda Steele is Founder & CEO of ArtUp, an innovative startup based in Memphis, Tennessee that uses arts, culture and design strategies to redevelop and revitalize disinvested communities. Linda spent 3 years incubating the work of ArtUp at local arts agency and United Arts Fund, ArtsMemphis including launching the game changing Fellows Program which has received the Robert E. Gard award from Americans for the Arts and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Linda has worked in various arts and cultural organizations including performing arts center, museums, and arts education organizations. Linda is a graduate of Amherst College where she has served as a Wade Fellow and Harvard University.

Take Away Quotes:

“About 20 years ago, we started something called the Community Arts Training Institute…we believe that it should be cross-sector, and that has been the beauty at the Regional Arts Commission of the CAT Institute in that it’s been cross-sector. So, we train not only artists of all disciplines, but we train their community partners as well—so, social workers, community activists, teachers, politicians, have all gone through the CAT Institute, and we know have 350 alumni working within our community.”—Roseann

“Memphis is considered the poorest major city in the nation, and also, it has one of the poorest, if not poorest, zip codes in the nation.  So there’s a lot of segregation in terms of not only racial and cultural segregation but certainly socioeconomic as well.”—Linda

“I think it’s a very bold statement to say that arts and culture can actually address issues and challenges such as poverty, unemployment, blight, and crime.”—Linda

Resources:

Regional Arts Commission

ArtUP

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – February 1-3, 2018

Oct 12, 2017
092: WE ACT For Environmental Justice
27:14

Topic:

Looking at the Past, Present, and Future of the Environmental Justice Movement

In This Episode:

02:06  Guest Peggy Shepard is introduced.
02:24  Peggy shares of her experience as a journalist.
06:34  Peggy relates how she made the transition from being in a political space to being in the environmental justice space.
08:25  Peggy gives her response to those who say that environmental and climate justice are new concepts.
09:30  Peggy states what the biggest environmental justice threats were in 1991 and what the threats are now.
10:25  Peggy informs us how racism is intertwined with environmental injustice.
12:22  Peggy tells if there has been progress in lessening the targeting and the disproportionate impact on populations of people of color from environmental threats.
13:53  Peggy describes the Northern Manhattan Climate Action Plan.
17:28  Peggy says if it was easier to get people’s attention about climate resilience issues after living through Superstorm Sandy.
19:18  Peggy identifies the political and social objectives that WE ACT is trying to accomplish.
23:47  Peggy elaborates on the power of speaking for ourselves.

Guest and Organization:

Peggy Shepard is co-founder and executive director of WE ACT For Environmental Justice and has a long history of organizing and engaging Northern Manhattan residents in community-based planning and campaigns to address environmental protection and environmental health policy locally and nationally. She has successfully combined grassroots organizing, environmental advocacy, and environmental health community-based participatory research to become a national leader in advancing environmental policy and the perspective of environmental justice in urban communities — to ensure that the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment extends to all. Her work has received broad recognition: the Jane Jacobs Medal from the Rockefeller Foundation for Lifetime Achievement, the 10th Annual Heinz Award For the Environment, the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award from the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, and an Honorary Sc.D from Smith College.

Take Away Quotes:

“That report [Toxic Waste and Race] has been reconfirmed around this country in so many other research studies that race is the primary predictor of where a toxic waste facility is and that income is the secondary predictor.”

“People really want energy security.  They want to feel that they can help reduce greenhouse gasses by using alternative energy sources but also secure their energy future by being able to have a little more autonomy over energy—how they use it and what kind of energy they use.”

“We are working from the ground up, and we know that community organizing is essential but that you can’t really organize a community to be empowered and advocate on their own without information.  So we have a…nine-week environmental health and leadership training program that we put all of our members through…We’re making sure that they are informed about air pollution, water quality, children’s environmental health, toxics, climate change, energy, the whole host of issues that evolve to have importance at varying times in communities.”

Resources:

WE ACT For Environmental Justice

Island Press Urban Resilience Project

Download the Island Press APP! Learn more about the APP here  and find it on Google Play and Apple App Store!

Oct 05, 2017
091: Disaster Recovery Activist
24:44

Topic:

Disaster Preparedness, Recovery, and Resiliency for Smaller and Rural Communities

In This Episode:

01:37  Guest Laura Clemons is introduced.
01:44  Laura tells how she became interested in community resiliency and disaster work.
02:50  Laura explains the difference between an advocate and an activist.
04:24  Laura describes how individuals may be able to help after a disaster.
07:36  Laura identifies how to mobilize people, before disaster hits, to develop a more resilient community.
09:23  Laura shares how to communicate to people that they have the ability to create networks of resiliency.
11:56  Laura mentions how the process lends itself to focusing on certain issues or if it’s open to any issue.
14:13  Laura states where people can go to learn about her diagnostic tool and her work.
15:14  Laura walks us through the process of attacking problems and being an activist on frustrating issues.
18:59  Laura expresses how to intervene in the division between urban and rural.

Co-Host:

Kif Scheuer is the Climate Change Program Director at the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kif is a solution-oriented sustainability professional with a strong history of engaging diverse audiences in real-world climate protection efforts through innovative, market-focused research and analysis, creative program design, effective project implementation, and compelling public advocacy and education. In 2013 Kif organized the first California Adaptation Forum, which attracted over 800 attendees and served to kick start the statewide conversation on adaptation. Kif led the development and growth of one of the LGC’s key coalitions – the Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation, a statewide network focused on addressing adaptation at the regional scale.

Guest and Organization:

Laura Clemons is the founder and CEO of Collaborative Communities Management Company, LLC, (CCMC) and serves as the company’s head project team leader. Ms. Clemons is a LEED Accredited Professional with a specialty designation in Building Design and Construction and has been working in the sustainable built environment since 2008. She transitioned into disaster recovery after the devastating tornados of April 2011 and has combined her diverse background into being a foremost expert on resiliency.   

She has been working with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) since 2014 on a comprehensive approach to Hurricane Sandy recovery that is designed to protect over 350 acres of Sandy damaged NYCHA property from increasing climate change risks including storm surge, sea level rise and rain inundation. Her strategy for stormwater management is that it be achieved through creative land re-engineering to maximize perviousness and drainage while embracing Placemaking. Currently she is invested in helping flood ravaged communities across Texas and Louisiana rebuild in a safer, more sustainable way.  

CCMC is based in Austin, Texas but works with clients across the U.S. They provide a range of local constituencies with logistical support for environmentally sustainable and socially conscientious community revitalization in both pre- and post-disaster scenarios. CCMC serves in both a consultative and project management role ensuring that all project participants operate on budget and schedule and that the client gets a project with multiple co-benefits.

CCMC was created because of the widely acknowledged need for hands-on, focused coordination of various groups involved in creating projects and programs that benefit communities. They approach holistic resiliency solutions through partnership building and collaboration. They have a sensitivity to diversity and inclusion with special attention paid to the most vulnerable populations.

Take Away Quotes:

“What I really focus on when I talk to people—whether it’s at conferences or it’s with clients that I meet with in a post-disaster situation or just neighborhoods that want to try and be better—it’s about personal activism and figuring out how you can unleash your inner activist.  Find the things in the world that you can change and figure out who the other people are that feel the same way that you do, connect with them, and find your tribe, expand your tribe, include more people, and then it turns out that big changes can happen at the individual level.”

“I think that a lot of people in rural communities and small towns are very used to doing for themselves and then their neighbors.  We’re fairly resilient in that way and taking care of each other and sort of springing to action when something needs to be done.”

“These networks just started springing up because there were a lot of people like me: we’re not trained to be first responders or disaster recovery experts; we assume that there’s someone that knows how to do this.  The truth is, it’s just about doing it and figuring it out as you go.”

“When I use the term ‘expand your tribe,’ what it simply means is, if there’s something that you don’t understand, that you’re suspicious of, or that you’re scared of—maybe you even have legitimate reasons to be scared of it; more times than not, you don’t have a legitimate reason—it’s ‘cause you’ve heard something from somebody or you saw something that led you to believe, but it’s not about your firsthand experience, take your fear and convert it to curiosity, and that’s the first step.”

Resources:

Collaborative Communities Management Company, LLC  

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – February 1-3, 2018

 

Sep 28, 2017
090: Disaster Preparedness and Recovery
26:29

Topic:

It’s “Just” Rain: Weather Events Impacting Rural Communities

In This Episode:

02:41  Laura explains the impacts of extreme weather in smaller rural communities.
05:48  Laura states some of the resources that help small communities recover from a weather event.
08:49  Laura talks about what a disaster declaration is.
10:30  Laura tells if the weekly average of a federal disaster declaration is an increase from past years.
14:36  Laura mentions some strategies that communities can engage in when a disaster hits.
19:35  Laura states how to integrate weather events into planning.
22:46  Laura tells how communities can learn what they should be doing to be prepared.
23:41  Laura comments on how consultants on your behalf get paid.

Co-Host:

Kif Scheuer is the Climate Change Program Director at the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kif is a solution-oriented sustainability professional with a strong history of engaging diverse audiences in real-world climate protection efforts through innovative, market-focused research and analysis, creative program design, effective project implementation, and compelling public advocacy and education. In 2013 Kif organized the first California Adaptation Forum, which attracted over 800 attendees and served to kick start the statewide conversation on adaptation. Kif led the development and growth of one of the LGC’s key coalitions – the Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation, a statewide network focused on addressing adaptation at the regional scale.

Guest and Organization:

Laura Clemons is the founder and CEO of Collaborative Communities Management Company, LLC, (CCMC) and serves as the company’s head project team leader. Ms. Clemons is a LEED Accredited Professional with a specialty designation in Building Design and Construction and has been working in the sustainable built environment since 2008. She transitioned into disaster recovery after the devastating tornados of April 2011 and has combined her diverse background into being a foremost expert on resiliency.   

She has been working with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) since 2014 on a comprehensive approach to Hurricane Sandy recovery that is designed to protect over 350 acres of Sandy damaged NYCHA property from increasing climate change risks including storm surge, sea level rise and rain inundation. Her strategy for stormwater management is that it be achieved through creative land re-engineering to maximize perviousness and drainage while embracing Placemaking. Currently she is invested in helping flood ravaged communities across Texas and Louisiana rebuild in a safer, more sustainable way.  

CCMC is based in Austin, Texas but works with clients across the U.S. They provide a range of local constituencies with logistical support for environmentally sustainable and socially conscientious community revitalization in both pre- and post-disaster scenarios. CCMC serves in both a consultative and project management role ensuring that all project participants operate on budget and schedule and that the client gets a project with multiple co-benefits.

CCMC was created because of the widely acknowledged need for hands-on, focused coordination of various groups involved in creating projects and programs that benefit communities. They approach holistic resiliency solutions through partnership building and collaboration. They have a sensitivity to diversity and inclusion with special attention paid to the most vulnerable populations.

Take Away Quotes:

“There’s a lot of philosophical discussion about climate change and climate adaptation, and when I go to conferences, I see a lot of people talking about Katrina and Sandy.  It is very disappointing to me because I work in disaster recovery, and I see the events that are happening: we’re averaging a federal declaration about one a week.  And when I poll most audiences and ask people, how often do you think we are having a disaster, they say, like, one a year, maybe two a year.”

“We’ve done a good job in this country of building dams.  However, when you have a place that’s seeing a lot of rain, everyone’s upstream of someone, and I think we failed to recognize that.”

“I show up super late, usually very late in the process, where there’s already millions of dollars of missed opportunity of how these small communities could have not just been made to be safer but they could pivot into how this folds into their economic development strategies, how are they attracting new businesses, how do they build new houses or get a new factory to move to town.”

“The risks that we know of, we’re comfortable planning for.  It’s the risk that you don’t know about that will bite you.”

Resources:

Collaborative Communities Management Company, LLC  

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – February 1-3, 2018

Sep 21, 2017
089: California Leading the Nation on Carbon Legislation
22:47

Topic:

California’s Cap-and-Trade Program

In This Episode:

01:16  Guest Arjun Patney is introduced.
02:11  Arjun describes his work at the American Carbon Registry.
04:28  Arjun explains how the California carbon market works.
07:26  Arjun tells what was exempt from the market.
08:42  Since California is a large exporter of agricultural product, did that have a part in the decision making?
09:22  Arjun gives his thoughts on why the agricultural sector is less regulated than the industrial sector.
09:56  Arjun tells why there’s been less-than-expected revenue for various programs.
12:37  Arjun talks about making the cap-and-trade legislation a bipartisan issue.
15:29  Arjun states what was done in this legislation to address concerns about people who might bear burdens disproportionately.
17:46  Arjun touches on the future of carbon market legislation.  

Co-Host:

Michael Green is the Executive Director of the Climate Action Business Association (CABA). He is also co-host here on Infinite Earth Radio. Michael is a seasoned advocate for climate policy and environmental action and has played strategic roles in several of the largest national, as well as international campaigns dedicated to fighting climate change. Since 2012, he has served as a representative to the United Nations focusing on international climate science and policy. As an activist, he has played strategic roles in several of the largest national, as well as international campaigns dedicated to fighting climate change. In his role at CABA, Michael manages staff and oversees the development of all program areas. He sits on the Board of Boston area non-profits as well as a policy advisor to national business associations on topics ranging from energy policy to climate adaptation. Michael is a Northeastern University graduate with degrees in international affairs and environmental studies, course work at the University of Edinburgh’s MSc Program in Environmental Protection and Management and Harvard Business School’s CORe Program.

Climate Action Business Association (CABA) is a membership-based organization in Boston, Massachusetts, that helps businesses take targeted action on climate change. We provide our member businesses with the resources and tools needed to work within their business on sustainability efforts, political advocacy and building a community of shared values.

Guest and Organization:

Arjun Patney is the Policy Director of Winrock’s American Carbon Registry, which engages with regulators in California and other jurisdictions to help ensure that market-based climate change mitigation programs address the full range of emissions reduction opportunities. In this way, he advances greenhouse gas mitigation that delivers economic opportunities as well as environmental and social benefits. Patney’s diverse experience in the environmental field spans technical, policy and business spheres. Practical sustainability solutions have been the common thread of his work in the U.S. and Asia, whether he was negotiating carbon credit deals, implementing environmental management systems, engineering spill controls, or helping foreign clean tech companies enter Asian markets. Patney previously established the U.S. carbon trading desk at the multinational corporation Cargill and subsequently worked with USAID to advance international forest carbon markets. He received a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an M.S. in environmental management and policy from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School.

Winrock has long recognized the threat posed by climate change. The American Carbon Registry (ACR), founded in 1996 and operated by Winrock, is dedicated to the belief that markets are the most effective tools to tackle climate change. As such, ACR has developed transparent and science-based methodologies to incentivize carbon reductions in agriculture, transportation and other industries. ACR is also a partner in assuring that California’s landmark Cap-and-Trade Program can manage, verify and credit carbon offsets effectively.

Take Away Quotes:

“American Carbon Registry, or ACR, is broader than just California. We did exist long before the California market was established. We were actually the first voluntary greenhouse gas registry in the world.”

“The Cap-and-Trade Program here covers most of the economy—some 80, 85% of the economy—and it covers emissions from power generation, including imports; it covers industry…and transportation and heating fuels, meaning all of the gasoline for use in the vehicles is also covered by the program, which is a first for a cap-and-trade program.”

“Agriculture, conventionally in this country, has not faced the same types of environmental regulation as the industrial sectors of our economy.”

Resources:

Climate Action Business Association (CABA)

American Carbon Registry at Winrock International

 

Sep 14, 2017
088: Green Stormwater Management
24:30

Topic:

Incorporating Green Infrastructure into Street Design

In This Episode:

01:57  Guest Corinne Kisner is introduced.
02:10  Corinne shares about the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO).
02:33  Mike tells about NACTO’s soon-to-be-released book, “The Urban Street Stormwater Guide.”
03:17  Corinne explains why sustainable stormwater management matters and why transportation officials should be concerned about stormwater management.
05:12  Corinne gives the benefits of using green stormwater infrastructure in street design.
06:49  Corinne comments on green stormwater systems making cities more desirable and more attractive as places to live.
08:30  Corinne gives the characteristics of successful city projects.
11:03  Corinne shares the elements that help make green infrastructure work within a street design.
13 :07  Corinne states the challenges that cities face in stormwater street design.
14:02  Corinne supplies what should be kept in mind when designing or implementing a stormwater street project.
15:08  Corinne talks about underserved communities using green infrastructure as a community-building, community-investment strategy.
17:16  Corinne tells if there is a role for green stormwater infrastructure in areas that have a drier climate.
17:47  Corinne makes known how green infrastructure projects can positively change a city’s growth and development.
19:06  Is green infrastructure more expensive or less expensive than traditional infrastructure approaches?
20:35  Is the book currently available, and where can people go to buy the book?
21:25  Corinne discusses what needs to happen next to get more cities to implement green infrastructure as part of their normal course of business.

Guest and Organization:

Corinne Kisner is the Director of Programs at the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO). In this role, she facilitates networks of peer cities working to build safe, sustainable transportation systems and equitable, active cities through better street design and transportation policy. Corinne directs the annual Designing Cities conference and facilitates city policy initiatives on issues such as Vision Zero, planning for automated vehicles, and integrating green stormwater infrastructure into multi-modal street design. Corinne also oversees NACTO’s communications, external partnerships, and leadership development program for city transportation officials.

Previously at NACTO she served as the Designing Cities Program Manager (2014-2015) and a Designing Cities Fellow (2013), coordinating the Urban Street Design Guide endorsement campaign, growing a national network of bike share professionals, writing case studies of local street design projects, and directing and managing the 2014 Designing Cities conference in San Francisco, the 2015 Designing Cities conference in Austin, and the 2016 Designing Cities conference in Seattle.

Prior to joining NACTO, Corinne held a Mayoral Fellowship at the City of Chicago, worked as the Sustainability Associate in the Center for Research & Innovation at the National League of Cities, and worked at the Climate Institute in Washington, DC. She received a Taubman Scholarship to pursue a Master of Urban Planning degree from the University of Michigan and holds a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.

NACTO’s mission is to build cities as places for people, with safe, sustainable, accessible and equitable transportation choices that support a strong economy and vibrant quality of life.

Take Away Quotes:

“NACTO is an association of 55 member cities and transit agencies across North America, formed to help exchange best practices and ideas in city transportation and raise the bar nationally to what city transportation can do in cities.”

“We’ve been seeing cities across the country really thinking critically about the design of streets and how that plays in to city goals for sustainability and equity and access and really livable, vibrant cities.”

“The network of cities that we work with are starting to think critically, too, about how streets play a role in the stormwater infrastructure, in the stormwater network within the city.  Most streets are very impervious, meaning that water can’t absorb through the concrete or the asphalt into the ground, and so you just get enormous volumes of stormwater runoff running across streets and into storm drains.  That really separates water from the natural cycle and causes water pollution and is very expensive to treat and manage.”

Resources:

National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)

Island Press Urban Resilience Project

 

Sep 07, 2017
087: Equitable Civic Engagement
31:44

Topic:

National Engagement Starts with Local Engagement

In This Episode:

01:18  Guest Mindy Romero is introduced.
02:14  Mindy shares if there’s a resurgence of civic engagement.
05:52  Mindy tells if there’s an opportunity to translate national engagement to a local level.
08:48  Mindy speaks about building trust with communities whose local policymakers aren’t demographically reflective.
12:26  Mindy states if she’s seen strategies where communities have attempted to create more accessible pathways.
17:10  Mindy gives her thoughts on how trust plays into voter turnout and if there are strategies to increase voter turnout.
22:07  Mindy addresses measuring the quality of the engagement.
27:08  Do events like what happened in Charlottesville make us stronger?
30:06  Mindy provides where people can find out more about her work.

Guest & Organization:

Mindy Romero, Ph.D. is the founder and director of the UC Davis California Civic Engagement Project (CCEP).  Romero is a political sociologist and holds a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, as well as an M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from UC Davis.  Her research focuses on political behavior and race/ethnicity, and seeks to explain patterns of political underrepresentation.   

Romero has been invited to speak about civic engagement and political rights in numerous venues, testifying before the National Commission on Voting Rights and the California Legislature, among others.  Her research has been cited in major news outlets, including The New York Times, Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee, Politico and the Huffington Post.  She has also been a frequent guest on National Public Radio, Capital Public Radio, and several other NPR-affiliated stations in California.  She is a regular op-ed contributor to the Sacramento Bee.   

Romero works with a wide array of policymakers, elected officials, voter education groups and community advocates to strengthen political participation and representation.  To this end, she has served on a number of boards and commissions.  She is currently a member of the Public Policy Institute Statewide Survey Advisory Committee, President of the Board of the non-profit organization, Mutual Housing California, and Vice-Chair of the Social Services Commission for the City of Davis.

The California Civic Engagement Project (CCEP) is a non-partisan civic engagement research and outreach initiative for the state of California and the U.S. Founded and directed by Mindy Romero, it is housed at the UC Davis Center for Regional Change. The CCEP provides data and analysis to inform public dialogue about representative governance. We believe that inclusive civic engagement can help overcome disparities in social and economic well-being, and can improve health, education and employment outcomes for all Californians. The CCEP has become a go-to source for electoral and civic engagement research, including the examination of nationally relevant election reforms such as automatic voter registration, online voter registration and vote centers. Legislators, public agencies, advocates, researchers, media (state and national) and community leaders use its pioneering research to track disparities and opportunities in civic participation by place and population.

Take Away Quotes:

“I think it’s important, no matter what the numbers actually look like, the fact that we’re having these conversations, the fact that we are bringing more awareness to the importance of engagement, period—no matter, by the way, what side you fall on.  We’re seeing engagement on all ends, I think, of the political spectrum.”

“When it comes to looking at our history, we know that, not just in terms of voting but in other forms of political engagement and civic engagement, that participation is low.  We have some of the lowest turnout rates in the world, and if we look at some of the standard measures of engagement—protesting, or sending money to campaigns, or writing to your congressperson, or joining a board or a commission, or that sort of thing—participation is really low, and it’s really uneven across subgroups of the population.  Those of color, and those that are young, participate even less.”

“We need to continue to push for more engagement and more representative engagement.”

“I would say that the local level is absolutely critical… at the local, that’s where you can make the case to people that if they’re worried about how their family is doing, their economic wellbeing, the quality of their water, affordable housing—these decisions are influenced by the federal level certainly, at the state level, but very much at the local level.  And you can create that narrative to really show people what that connection is and how voting, participating, having a voice, speaking up at the local level can actually have a real, tangible, visible, immediate effect in people’s everyday lives.”  

Resources:

California Civic Engagement Project (CCEP)

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference– February 1-3, 2018

Aug 31, 2017
086: Ethnodrama and Youth Leadership
21:07

Topic:

Inviting People to Share Their Stories

In This Episode:

01:26  Guests Sahdiyah Simpson and Sarah Hobson are introduced.
01:39  Sarah describes the STL Youth Smart Growth Leaders program.
04:40  Sahdiyah shares her experience with the STL Youth Smart Growth Leaders program.
05:59  Sahdiyah states what her topic was.
06:19  Sarah explains the mechanics of the program.
07:38  Sahdiyah talks about the time commitment required for the program.
08:47  Sarah provides how the program makes difficult conversations easier to have.
10:49  Sahdiyah gives her thoughts about the drama part of the program.
12:00  Are the drama performances used as a tool to help people understand what those in the program learned?
14:12  Sahdiyah tells about her school.
15:09  Why would this program be valuable in schools or communities that aren’t doing a program like this?
18:18  Sarah states how people can learn more about her work.

Guest and Organization:

Dr. Sarah Hobson, founder and President of Community Allies, LLC. received her Ph.D. in Reading, Writing, and Literacy from the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. She served as an Assistant Professor in Adolescence English Education at The State University of New York at Cortland where she taught courses in language acquisition, grammar, the teaching of writing, and digital literacies. She is currently teaching literacy assessment at the University of Missouri St. Louis.

Educational institutions are products of systemic policies that for years have contributed to various discriminatory practices that affect youth and communities similarly and differently. Dr. Hobson’s ethnodramatic programming, researched for over 10 years, helps youth acquire sophisticated understandings of societal processes that hinder progress. Throughout the programming, youth gain communication skills that help them begin to interrupt these practices as they learn where and how they can advocate for themselves and others. Schools and communities in turn access new ways of learning from youth the ethical complexities they have inherited. As students use their research to teach others, administrators, teachers, parents, and communities access much-needed healing.Dr. Hobson’s ethnodrama programs are multi-faceted. They are the result of years of teaching and research and must be implemented with multi-dimensional educational knowledge and care. They require institutional support, staff support, careful collaborative research and documentation, and constant reflection and interrogation. When implemented with the right support and investment, they help transform institutionalized cultures, opening up new possibilities for teaching and learning that expand youth, teacher, and administrator agency and advocacy.

Community Allies is available to school districts, educational leaders, administrators, teachers, parents, and students for short or long-term mentoring of educators in culturally relevant, student-centered curriculum enrichment. Our mentoring comes in a variety of formats primarily focused in two areas: professional development for administrators and teachers and after-school programs for students. We help you integrate student-centered real-world research into any grade, school-wide inquiry, or subject area.  We help you increase student retention, academic and college and career success through dynamic, real-world literacy learning opportunities.

Take Away Quotes:

“The mission of Community Allies is to bring people together across the county and the city…as part of that program, I’ve done after-school programs focused on ethnodrama, which is a program around which students become youth leaders by collecting a variety of stories and using those stories to open power-packed conversations in their communities about issues that are really pertinent to their lives.”—Sarah

“The program is about…us talking about what we would like to change in St. Louis, what we saw in St. Louis that we think could be better.  And so, then, we started getting into our topics that we really wanted to do, then we started interviewing people and seeing what they had to say about it.”—Sahdiyah

“The program really helped me start to really talk about sensitive topics…I wasn’t the type of person to talk about sensitive topics; I would steer away from that ‘cause it would make me uncomfortable.  Now I’ve gotten more comfortable with it, and I haven’t really stood up for certain things like this, but now I’m starting to.  I’m starting to get more into it because of that program.”—Sahdiyah   

Resources:

Community Allies, LLC

Ioby Campaign

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference — February 1-3, 2018

Aug 24, 2017
085: Reimagining Retail
30:14

Topic:

Reusing and Revitalizing Retail Spaces

In This Episode:

02:57  Guest Michele Reeves is introduced.
04:03  Michele tells of the impact she’s seeing from the decline of retail.
06:52  Michele talks about what to do with vacant retail spaces and what some of the obstacles are.
10:48  Michele addresses huge parking lots.
13:32  Michele expresses her thoughts regarding retail space based on sales tax revenue rather than need, and market studies.
18:16  Michele speaks of strategies to make community corridors a destination.
21:56  Michele shares what local businesses can do to have a more dynamic experience that can compete or complement e-commerce offerings.
28:54  Michele states how people can get in touch with her.

Co-host:

Kate Meis joins the Infinite Earth Radio as the co-host for this episode. Kate Meis is the Executive Director of the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kate is a champion for local governments; a recognized leader in local climate change adaptation, mitigation and clean energy efforts; and an ardent coalition builder. She obtained a Masters of Science degree in Community and Regional Development from the University of California, Davis, and has a Sociology Bachelor’s degree from California State University, Sonoma.

Guest and Organization:

Michele E. Reeves is an urban strategist with significant private sector experience revitalizing districts.  Her qualifications, derived from over 16 years of work in various facets of renewal, include facilitating public/private partnerships, marketing unknown or undesirable districts, pre-development consulting, siting manufacturing facilities, strategizing acquisitions and development with private sector investors, and creating retail leasing plans. Michele founded Civilis Consultants to assist mixed-use districts, small businesses, property owners, and public sector organizations to recognize and leverage their strengths, identify and accomplish economic development goals, and craft their unique stories to create compelling, multi-faceted brands. Michele has a bachelors degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

Follow Michele on Twitter

Take Away Quotes:

“It’s kind of funny.  Even that phrase ‘decline of retail’—I would call it sort of a change in retail.  And I think one of the things I would just say fundamentally about retail—there’s kind of a saying we have inside retail that retail’s about reinvention, and that’s always true.  Retail is always changing, and it’s always finding new avenues and expression for itself.”  

“I think the biggest impact that these changes in retail are having is that it’s leaving us—it’s a retail problem and a real estate problem because one of the biggest things it’s doing is leaving us with these really challenging land-use issues and a lot of vacant buildings that are, in some cases, difficult to reuse.”

“A lot of times the biggest obstacle to reusing these spaces as mixes of different kinds of space, whether it’s church space—which is another common reuse of old Walmarts or Kmarts—or whether it’s manufacturing or light manufacturing, or wholesale, or Internet sales and distributorship, mostly the zoning often stops these spaces from being something else.”

“Everything that you do that’s brick and mortar, everything that’s in person is really going to have to have fundamental elements of a really positive experience, expertise and knowledge, and service that you can’t get through the online experience.”

Resources:

CIVILIS Consultants

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – February 1-3, 2018

Aug 17, 2017
084: Building Communities for an Aging Population
23:55

Topic:

Planning and Creating Age-Friendly Communities

In This Episode:

00:57  Co-host Paul Zykofsky and guests Kathy Sykes and Bill Armbruster are introduced.
01:24  Kathy shares why she’s interested in the field of aging and public health.
01:47  Bill discusses why he’s interested in the field of aging and public health.
02:56  Why is planning for an aging population so important?
04:43  What can we learn from the change in how communities have developed and from the past generation?
06:57  Kathy states what the USEPA’s interest is in this issue of an aging population.
07:49  What are some aspects of the issue of rural versus urban communities?
10:48  Does AARP or the USEPA have a guide for communities on how to think about, and what they should be doing, in terms of planning for an aging population?
14:05  Are there examples of places that have embraced planning for an aging population?
17:07  How does one get started in planning an age-friendly community?
20:36  How much could be saved in seniors’ health costs if age-friendly communities were created?  

Co-host:

Paul Zykofsky directs the Local Government Commission’s (LGC) programs related to land use and transportation planning, community design, and health and the built environment. In the past 20 years, he has worked with over 300 communities to improve conditions for infill development, walking, bicycling, and transit. Mr. Zykofsky provides technical assistance to communities throughout the nation on issues related to smart growth, infill development, transit-oriented development, street and sidewalk design, health and the built environment, and public participation in the planning process. Mr. Zykofsky is a co-author of Building Livable Communities: A Policymaker’s Guide to Transit Oriented Development and Emergency Response: Traffic Calming and Traditional Neighborhood Streets. In 2006, Mr. Zykofsky co-wrote (with Dan Burden of Walkable Communities) the section on “walkability” in the American Planning Association’s Planning and Urban Design Standards.

Guests and Organizations:

Bill Armbruster manages the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, which is a program within AARP Livable Communities. He has been with AARP since 2000, joining as an associate state director for AARP New York. In that role he served the upstate and western region of the Empire State and was responsible for the development, implementation and assessment for community outreach programming. That body of work included livable and age-friendly communities initiatives, partner development and grassroots volunteer organizing for a 30 county region both near and far from his Rochester home base. In addition to his work at AARP, Bill has extensive experience in corporate wellness programs, occupational rehabilitation and ergonomics, pain treatment and physical therapy.

Kathy Sykes is Senior Advisor for Aging and Public Health at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Since 1983, Kathy has held policy positions in the U.S. Senate and Congress and in federal agencies: U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, with Congressman Obey and at the NIOSH within CDC and for almost 20 years at the Environmental Protection Agency, where she developed the Aging Initiative that focused on environmental health issues and the built environment. She also serves on Washington, D.C.'s the Mayor's Age-Friendly Task Force. She is a fellow of the GSA and currently Chair of the Social Research Policy and Practice Section. Ms. Sykes holds a master's degree in Public Policy and Administration and a certificate in Health Services Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Take Away Quotes:

“We’ve got a huge demographic shift that’s occurring right now.  I’m part of the baby boomers, and there’s an awful lot of us, and our population over 65 will double by the year 2050.”—Kathy

“I think a lot of communities aren’t ready.  A lot of communities plan for the 35-year-old, and they think about youth, and families is where they plan, but they haven’t planned for those people who hit 50, 65, and now even, it’s not uncommon to be 90, over 100.”—Bill

“We now have many more people who are able to get involved at their community level to make a difference for people of all ages but also to make communities think about the people who are moving at slower paces.”—Kathy

Resources:

The AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – February 1-3, 2018

Aug 10, 2017
083: Bottom Up Water Solutions
28:34

Topic:

Fresh Water, Climate Change, and Community Resilience

In This Episode:

02:10  Guest Rebecca Wodder is introduced.
03:19  Rebecca expresses how the first Earth Day impacted her life and career path.
05:06  Rebecca tells if fresh water has always been the focus of her environmental career.
05:48  Rebecca talks about how water affects climate change.
09:18  Rebecca explains the degree to which our fresh-water supply is being threatened.
11:28  Rebecca describes the Clean Water Rule.
14:41  Rebecca shares which industries are most impacted by the 2015 Clean Water Rule.
16:26  Rebecca addresses natural capital and social capital.
18:33  Rebecca speaks about New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina.
21:39  Rebecca states where people can learn more about her work.
23:10  Rebecca mentions the wisdom she would pass along to her younger self on Earth Day 1970.
25:52  Rebecca makes known if she’s more hopeful now than she was in the past.

Guest and Organization:

Rebecca Wodder is a nationally known environmental leader whose conservation career began with the first Earth Day. As president of the national advocacy organization, American Rivers, from 1995 to 2011, she led the development of community-based solutions to freshwater challenges. From 2011 to 2013, she served as Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Interior. Previously, Rebecca was Vice President at The Wilderness Society, and Legislative Assistant to Senator Gaylord Nelson. In 2010, she was named a Top 25 Outstanding Conservationists by Outdoor Life Magazine. In 2014, she received the James Compton Award from River Network. In her writing and speaking, Rebecca explores how communities can enhance their resilience to climate impacts via sustainable, equitable approaches to rivers and freshwater resources.  She serves on the boards of River Network, the Potomac Conservancy, and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Take Away Quotes:

“When the first Earth Day came along…my high school chemistry teacher asked if I would organize this event for the community.  We really didn’t know what it was supposed to be about, but we knew it was intended to engage people and help them recognize the environmental issues that were so prominent at the time…The first Earth Day was just a great event in my life because it showed me how I could  combine my passion for making a difference with my academic interests in science and biology.”

“Water is the way that we experience weather, and weather is the way we experience climate change in our daily lives.”

“Ultimately, the reason that we have a blue planet, the reason there is life on this planet is because of water.  It is the fundamental reason for life.”   

“One of the things that is so important about small streams is that they are the head waters, they are the sources of our drinking water, and something like one-third of all Americans get their drinking water—it starts with these small streams.”

Resources:

Island Press Urban Resilience Project

A Community Approach to Climate Resilience

The Community Resilience Reader

Aug 03, 2017
082: Market-Driven Water Conservation - AquaShares
24:56

Topic:

Innovative Solutions for Resilient Water Management

In This Episode:

02:43  Guest James Workman in introduced.
03:42  James tells about his book and what motivated him to travel to Africa.
07:13  James shares why he created programming based on what he saw in Africa.
08:50  James describes AquaShares.
11:51  What measures are people taking to reduce their water use?
13:37  James addresses AquaShares’ partners and the incentives for homeowners.
16:43  James informs us of how many people have signed on to participate in the program.
19:07  James expresses what success looks like for this program and for water resilience in general.
23:05  James states where people can go to learn more about AquaShares.

Guest and Organization:

James Workman creates conservation markets for water and marine life. He wrote the award-winning Heart of Dryness: How the Last Bushmen Can Help Us Endure the Coming Age of Permanent Drought, and is co-author with Amanda Leland of the forthcoming Sea Change: How Fishermen Are Irreversibly Restoring Life Offshore – and On. Workman studied at Yale & Oxford, taught at Wesleyan & Whitman, but his real education came blowing up dams, releasing wolves, restoring wildfires, guiding safaris, smuggling water to dissidents, breaking down in Africa's Kalahari Desert, and becoming a dad. An investigative journalist, he served as White House appointee to U.S. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, later joining the World Commission on Dams under Nelson Mandela. In San Francisco, he writes for Environmental Defense Fund, edits the International Water Association’s magazine, The Source, and is founder of AquaShares Inc., the world’s first online water savings market.

Follow James Workman on Twitter

Take Away Quotes:

“A lot of problems, especially environmental problems, can be solved by regulation alone. You just say, okay, that factory over there is pouring its waste, its sewage, its pollution into the air, into the water; we’ve got to just put a cap on that, lock that. But what do you do with the 50,000 people who are all competing with each other for the same resource? And that’s the tragedy that…makes all, to me, conservation issues interesting.”

“The approach of AquaShares is to give people a sense that they’re not just renting access to as much water as they want, as cheap as they want, but they have an ownership stake, that they’re stewards of that water that they save, and that they can profit from saving water, not just feel good about it.”

“One of the biggest water users in every city is the city itself. There’s lots of water loss, in some cases, 10, 20, 30 percent, and while, for more than a decade or more, utilities have been pointing a finger at families and firms, saying, ‘You should save water, you should save water,’ utilities themselves had real no incentive to spend $100,000 to systematically find and fix their leaks, manage their water pressure, and address that, because it might only save a few thousand dollars’ worth of water.”

“It’s a crazy business model for me, but success is when we go out of business; there’s no need for AquaShares anymore because everyone is autonomous, they’re using the bare-minimum water, there’s nothing left to trade, there’s no more water that can go towards a higher-value use.”

Resources:

AquaShares

Smart Markets

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – February 1-3, 2018

Jul 27, 2017
081: Local Leadership
26:57

Creating Successful Communities Through Positive and Determined Leadership

In This Episode:

  • 02:36 Guest Mayor Rey Leon is introduced.
  • 02:56 Mayor Leon describes his community.
  • 05:54 Mayor Leon tells how long he’s been mayor.
  • 07:16 Mayor Leon conveys what he would like to accomplish during his time as mayor.
  • 19:20 Mayor Leon gives the status of three projects.
  • 21:38 Mayor Leon identifies some of the challenges he faces as a mayor in a small community.

Guest and Organization:

Rey Leon is the Mayor of Huron, California. Leon is also president and founder of ValleyLEAP and a member of the Air Resources Board Environmental Justice Advisory Committee (EJAC) in California.

Take Away Quotes:

“Huron is a farm-worker city. It’s got the highest rate of Latinos for an incorporated city in the nation, at the national level. And, of course, it’s a small community, around 7,000 on paper. I venture to say that there’s at least 10,000 residents. We, having an agricultural base and being a farm-worker community, we have a population that good amount of folks that are, I would say, economic refugees… It’s a community that speaks a good nine languages at least, which, to me, is amazing.”

“[A plaza is] just a magical space where you’re able to bond with the rest of the folks in your community, some way, somehow. It’s where young men, young women meet their mates; it’s where entertainment is shared; it’s where farmers’ markets happen; it’s where you do some exercise out there; it’s just ’the’ place.”

“The vision, the goal, my dream, in the period not just as mayor because it was prior to this but as we continue forward whether as mayor or just as a leader that I’ve been even before getting into elected office is making Huron the greenest farm-worker city in the country.”

Resources:

“Changing Huron for the Better”

ValleyLEAP

Jul 20, 2017
080: World Bank — Turning Down the Heat
27:24

Topic:

Carbon and The Paris Agreement

In This Episode:

03:10 Guest Tom Kerr is introduced.
03:26 Tom explains what the World Bank is.
05:00 Tom describes the kind of work that the climate change group does.
07:37 Tom tells of the change he’s seen since Kim Yong became the World Bank’s president.
09:27 Tom speaks of his work at the IFC in engaging the private sector.
12:20 Tom addresses the response to President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement.
14:11 Tom shares his thoughts on if there will be a ripple effect from the U.S. pulling out of the Agreement.
16:21 Tom conveys if there is a financial-commitment hole that the U.S. will no longer fill with regard to developing countries.
18:43 Tom gives his thoughts about the upcoming bond talks and if ambition will be there.
21:27 Tom provides his sense of where the Trump administration is going to end up with regard to carbon.
22:39 Host Mike and co-host Michael discuss the Paris Agreement.
23:48 Mike states what he noticed this week in the news.
24:31 Michael identifies what he noticed this week in the news.
25:18 Mike and Michael discuss the economy of renewable energy and the Paris Agreement.

Guest and Organization:

Tom Kerr has worked for 20 years designing and implementing public/private efforts that transform markets for resource-efficient climate business solutions. He currently leads the IFC’s private sector climate policy engagement, which involves working with emerging economy governments and major corporations to develop investor- and climate-friendly national strategies; designing coalitions to advance carbon pricing and performance standards; and providing private sector input into international policy processes such as the G20 and the United Nations climate talks.

Mr. Kerr was previously the director of climate change initiatives at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, where he worked with international organizations, government leaders, and industry executives to advance practical solutions via platforms such as the G20, the United Nations, and the Forum’s Annual Meeting at Davos. While at the Forum, he designed and led the Green Growth Action Alliance, a public-private coalition launched at the 2012 G20 with over 60 leading companies developing solutions to unlock private investment for sustainable growth. From 2006-10, he worked in Paris for the International Energy Agency, leading the development of global reports, including the Technology Roadmap series, the flagship Energy Technology Perspectives publication, and the Clean Energy Progress Report.

Mr. Kerr started his career with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, where he designed and launched a suite of innovative voluntary programs such as Energy STAR, Green Power, and methane programs that today continue to engage thousands of businesses to adopt clean, efficient technologies and practices.

Take Away Quotes:

“Where I sit is the IFC. The International Finance Corporation is the private-sector arm of the Bank, so we work in developing countries, lending to private-sector clients and helping them to find profit in development, and in my particular group, trying to find profit in climate business. So we work across the world and emerging markets to really try to tackle poverty—that’s the main mission; then, development—make it smarter; and then, in my case in particular, we try to make profits out of climate business.”

“[Kim Yong, president of the World Bank] wanted to know what the current problem was, and once he found out, he got quite alarmed and made it a top priority for him personally and raised attention externally and also within the World Bank’s priorities. So, we’ve always been doing this, but he put an increased urgency behind it and really tried to push the agenda.”

“The [Paris] Agreement is…190 plus countries making their own national commitments, and so other than the U.S., we haven’t seen any other governments come forward and say, okay, now I’m reconsidering my pledge. And I think that was also another element to this resilience of the Paris Agreement is that it’s not a top-down process where if one big party, like the U.S., pulls out it completely collapses; but, instead, it’s got all these different commitments that are from the bottom up.”

“I think the biggest worry I have is that we do need to now make good on those pledges that were made in Paris and help those countries really go from a pledge to implementation, to see shovels in the ground and money going out the door to these lower-carbon investments.”

Resources:

World Bank

Jul 13, 2017
079: Autodesk: Climate Change and Equity as Design Challenges
27:45

Topic:

Using Design to Create Positive Impacts

In This Episode:

01:29 Guest Lynelle Cameron is introduced.
01:39 Lynelle describes Autodesk.
02:48 Lynelle shares her journey to becoming the vice president of Sustainability at Autodesk.
04:06 Lynelle discusses Paul Hawken’s new book, “Drawdown.”
05:17 Lynelle tells about the Autodesk Foundation.
06:41 Lynelle defines the term “design.”
07:08 Lynelle talks about climate change through the lens of design.
09:58 Lynelle states how the Foundation provides support to companies and organizations.
14:03 Lynelle gives examples of organizations that are working domestically on issues of urban design and social and environmental justice.
15:44 Lynelle provides where people can learn more about the Foundation’s work.
16:07 Lynelle explains how investing at an intellectual-capital level has impacted Autodesk and its culture.
19:00 Lynelle speaks to the benefit of Autodesk employees’ ability to make a positive impact in the world.
20:57 Lynelle addresses what the current state of corporate social responsibility is and what the outlook is of sustainability and equity being a part of a business’s core mission.
22:40 Lynelle supplies her thoughts on if the current administration’s roll back of the climate progress that was made will have an impact on the business community.
24:05 Lynelle makes known how people who might benefit from the Autodesk Foundation’s programs can get more information.
25:17 Lynelle mentions if there is an effort to share the lessons, or best practices, that have been learned.

Guest & Organization:

Lynelle Cameron is president and CEO of the Autodesk Foundation and vice president of Sustainability at Autodesk. She established both to invest in and support people who are designing solutions to today's most pressing social and environmental challenges. Under Cameron’s leadership, Autodesk created the Sustainability Workshop, an online learning platform for sustainable design that has reached over 2 million students and professionals worldwide, and launched two software donation programs: the Technology Impact program for nonprofit organizations and the Entrepreneur Impact program for early-stage clean-tech and social-impact companies around the world. Cameron has also led the company in setting ambitious science-based greenhouse-gas-reduction targets, committing to 100 percent renewable energy and integrated reporting. Since Cameron joined nine years ago, Autodesk has received numerous awards for sustainability leadership and innovation. A published author and regular speaker, Cameron has degrees from Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, University of Michigan, and Middlebury College.

Take Away Quotes:

“Autodesk is a leading provider of 3D design software that is used to make quite literally anything on the planet. Whether you’re building a car, a highway, a building, or even a whole city, there’s a good chance that you use one of Autodesk’s products.”

“The turning point for me was reading a book called ‘The Ecology of Commerce’ by Paul Hawken, and that’s when I realized to really make the kind of transformative change that I was looking for, I needed to go work from within the private sector.”

“We launched the Autodesk Foundation about three years ago, and we have historically as a company always given back to communities where we work. So the idea of philanthropy was not new for the company, although the actual foundation is … As a foundation, we invest in people and organizations who are using design to address, initially, a whole range of social and environmental challenges.”

“Design is the creation, the idea, and then the actual making of anything, quite literally, on the planet…it’s all about imagining and creating things that, in our mind, are going to make the world a better place for billions of people.”

Resources:

Autodesk

Jul 06, 2017
078: Leadership in a Time of Change
36:23

Topic:

Adjusting to the Rapid Pace of Change

In This Episode:

02:20 Guest Carl Guardino is introduced.
03:03 Carl talks about what is being done to stay relevant in technology and innovation.
05:45 Carl describes what leaders can do to be resilient and to continue to come up with innovative ideas.
08:05 Carl informs us if this administration’s tax reform proposal is where we need to go in response to the changing economy.
09:06 Carl shares if this administration is more responsive in terms of listening to the business community.
12:34 How has congestion impacted business in Silicon Valley, and how have you responded?
16:34 How are you addressing the housing crisis, and how is it impacting local businesses?
18:40 Carl speaks about the region’s response to the evolving workforce.
21:41 Carl shares what cities can do to retain and attract businesses.
25:10 Carl describes what current leaders should do to prepare and what types of innovation are on the horizon.
27:21 Kate shares what caught her attention during Carl’s interview.
28:28 Mike supplies what caught his attention.
29:14 Kate mentions what she noticed this week in the news.
33:15 Mike talks about what he read this week in the news.

Guest and Organization:

Carl Guardino, one of Silicon Valley’s most distinguished business and community leaders, is the President and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a public policy trade association that represents nearly 400 of Silicon Valley’s most respected employers.

In February 2007, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Guardino to a four-year term on the California Transportation Commission, and he has been reappointed twice by Governor Jerry Brown. Known throughout the region as a consensus builder, Guardino has championed a number of successful ballot measures, especially in the areas of transportation and housing.

Guardino was born and raised in San Jose and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from San Jose State University, where he is a Distinguished Alumnus. Carl is married to Leslee Guardino. In their spare time, they compete in marathons, triathlons, and duathlons.

Take Away Quotes:

“What we try to explain to executives constantly is, we have a choice as executives: we can be engaged, or we can be enraged. And it’s much more productive and positive to actually be engaged with policymakers making incredibly difficult decisions in their difficult processes. And we, again, try to remind executives, if you’re just going to sit on the sidelines and be frustrated and wring your hands, not only are you not going to be successful in explaining to policymakers the ramifications of a product or services, but you are probably going to end up as dinner rather than at the dinner table when those decisions are made.”

“It has been since 1986 — 31 years ago — since our federal government has made major changes in federal tax law. Thirty-one years ago. eBay didn’t exist, PayPal didn’t exist, Google didn’t exist, Facebook didn’t exist…Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft — none of those companies even existed let alone a twinkling in our eye of the technologies that they would be creating, and the tax laws haven’t changed in a major way in this nation for three decades.”

“In the Silicon Valley and Bay Area, when we ask individuals about the concerns they talk about in their living rooms, or we’re asking CEOs and senior officers about the concerns that they face as companies here in the region in their boardrooms, the common themes are the same, and they’re the flip side of the same coin: housing and traffic.”

“When it comes to education, we always try to remember in Silicon Valley, it’s cradle through career; from the moment we’re born to the moment we retire, we have to focus on education.”

Resources:

Silicon Valley Leadership Group

 

Jun 29, 2017
077: People's Climate March
29:22

Topic:

The People's Climate March, the Economy, and Policy Making

In This Episode:

01:40 Vernice Miller Travis is introduced.
02:14 Vernice tells about the Climate March.
04:50 Vernice gives her thoughts regarding the amount of press coverage of the Climate March.
07:23 Vernice describes the impacts of the various recent marches.
10:55 Is there evidence of impact on the direction the government is taking?
12:13 Vernice shares if there will be a change for various groups who have overlapping agendas but who don’t work well together.
16:58 Are we doing enough to overcome “tribalism”? Or are we working with other “tribes” just because it’s expedient?
25:35 Mike speaks about the modern economy.
26:48 Vernice talks about the possibility of future climate marches.

Guest and Organization:

Infinite Earth Radio Co-host Vernice Miller Travis is a nationally recognized expert in brownfields redevelopment, community revitalization, collaborative problem solving, multi-stakeholder design and planning and environmental justice.

Her interests have focused on economic and environmental restoration and the inclusion of low-income, people of color and indigenous communities in environmental and economic decision making at the federal, state, local, and tribal levels. Vernice enjoys listening to and singing gospel music, visiting her family in the Bahamas, traveling with her husband, and eating Maryland blue crabs and barbecue.

Take Away Quotes:

“There’s an initiative that is training young people, particularly young women of color, to run for elective office…it’s really to get a new generation of people engaged in the electoral process and to really put themselves out there, because a lot of the hard-core politics of our country, particularly the electoral national politics, have really rubbed a lot of people the wrong way and really pushed a lot of good people away from ever thinking that they may run for office, whether it’s a local school board or a county council or a planning commission or, certainly, any higher office than that. People like, ‘I don’t want to be a part of that;’ but if they’re not a part of that, you get folks in office, making decisions that actually adversely hurt people.”

“You cannot continue to operate and try to affect national policy by representing the top 10% of wage earners and mostly affluent and middle-class white communities—-those are not the only communities in the United States—-and if you want to have broad-based impact, you’ve really got to reach a much broader, much deeper constituency that really is activating and doing things and trying to drive change in their local communities.”

“We talk about shutting down coal-fired power plants, but I don’t hear any environmentalists talking about what happens to the people who work in the power plants, or who work feeding the stock digging the coal.”

Jun 22, 2017
076: Bike Boom
31:20

Topic:

The Future of Cycling as a Mode of Transportation

In This Episode:

01:59 Guest Carlton Reid is introduced.
02:49 Carlton explains the history of the bike boom.
07:24 Carlton tells why there was a bike boom in the early ’70s.
09:18 Carlton talks about cycling as a mode of transportation, not just for recreation.
10:32 Carlton informs us of the degree to which bicycling is popular in the U.S.
13:07 Carlton addresses the percentage of modal sharing in the Netherlands compared to the U.S.
14:34 Carlton discusses having the bicycle infrastructure be more favored than the auto infrastructure.
19:58 Carlton mentions his support for cycleways.
22:05 Carlton gives his thoughts on the unpopularity of cycling among women, ethnic minorities, and the urban poor.
24:21 Carlton addresses Mike’s comment about the trend that may reverse the number of cars on the road and individual car ownership.
27:20 Carlton answers the question, what is the future of biking?

Guest and Organization:

Carlton Reid is executive editor of BikeBiz magazine and is writing a book about the recent history of roads. He is author of Roads Were Not Built For Cars and Bike Boom: The Unexpected Resurgence of Cycling. He also writes adventure travel articles for publications such as National Geographic Traveller and The Guardian – his forte is cycle touring. Founder and rider-manager of the first ever British mountain bike team – which competed in the World Championships in France in 1987 –Reid was inducted into the MBUK Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 2008, one of the first 20 inductees. He has ridden solo in the Sahara and Kalahari deserts and, from his mountain bike in 1994, he researched the first guidebook to Lebanon since the end of that country’s civil war.

A digital native, Reid’s then one-man website BikeBiz.com tied for second with BBC.co.uk in theEuropean Online Journalism Awards of 2000. Working for the Bicycle Association of Great Britain he also commissioned the world’s first cycle-specific 3D satellite navigation, which has since been through a number of upgrades and can now direct cyclists on bike paths via beeps and wrist-buzzes on the Apple Watch.

Take Away Quotes:

“I would say the book is very much more interested in the advocacy side of cycling, the getting around as an everyday form of transport form of cycling, because at the end of the day, that’s actually what keeps cycling afloat.”

“Cities who want to increase their cycling modal share have, pretty much, got to bite the bullet and restrict the use of motoring.”

“It’s inescapable that many communities don’t see the bicycle as an aspirational form of transport; it’s very much the opposite of an aspirational form of transport. The white, hipster cycling thing is a thing because it’s genuinely a thing. Cycling, for some strange reason, now is this relatively middle-class, white activity.”

Resources:

Island Press Urban Resilience Project

Island Press – Bike Boom

Bike Biz

Bike Boom

Jun 15, 2017
075: Put a Price on It
33:38

The State of Carbon Pricing

In This Episode:

05:41 Michael tells what brought him to working on carbon pricing.
08:12 Michael addresses how people would feel the impact of a carbon tax.
10:38 How would putting a price on carbon play out?
12:17 Michael comments on the cost of carbon pricing.
13:19 How is carbon pricing implemented at the state level?
14:38 Is there a proposal in the state of Massachusetts to implement carbon pricing?
16:00 How close is Massachusetts to implementing the proposal?
17:18 Michael shares if other states or governmental entities have passed putting a price on carbon.
19:37 Michael states how close the vote was in the state of Washington.
20:26 Michael explains how British Columbia’s system works.
23:06 Michael indicates if any of the proposals in Massachusetts are modeled after the one in British Columbia.
23:42 How does Massachusetts compare with other states in relation to passing carbon pricing?
25:08 Michael addresses the concern of making a state less competitive than others.
26:32 What is California’s stance on carbon pricing?
27:42 Michael gives his thoughts on where we’ll first get some form of carbon pricing.
29:50 Michael shares what he noticed this week in the news.
31:12 Mike tells what he noticed this week in the news.

Guest/CoHost:

Michael Green is the Executive Director of the Climate Action Business Association (CABA). He is also co-host here on Infinite Earth Radio. Michael is a seasoned advocate for climate policy and environmental action and has played strategic roles in several of the largest national, as well as international campaigns dedicated to fighting climate change. Since 2012, he has served as a representative to the United Nations focusing on international climate science and policy. As an activist, he has played strategic roles in several of the largest national, as well as international campaigns dedicated to fighting climate change. In his role at CABA, Michael manages staff and oversees the development of all program areas. He sits on the Board of Boston area non-profits as well as a policy advisor to national business associations on topics ranging from energy policy to climate adaptation. Michael is a Northeastern University graduate with degrees in international affairs and environmental studies, course work at the University of Edinburgh’s MSc Program in Environmental Protection and Management and Harvard Business School’s CORe Program.

Organization:

Climate Action Business Association (CABA) is a membership-based organization in Boston, Massachusetts, that helps businesses take targeted action on climate change. We provide our member businesses with the resources and tools needed to work within their business on sustainability efforts, political advocacy and building a community of shared values.

Take Away Quotes:

“My original goal, going into college, was that I wanted to be a forest ranger. I’m from upstate New York and really wanted to be working out and preserving our forests and the Adirondack mountains. As I learned more about the challenges of climate change, I realized that being way out in the woods wasn’t going to be enough to really protect our natural habitat.”

“If people are starting to respond to a carbon tax because it’s already implemented, then, essentially, we’re losing the fight already because what it’s going to mean is it’s going to mean more expensive reliance on fossil fuels. So for those who are not able to make the transition, or are not willing to make the transition, they’re going to see an increase in cost.”

“We’re also going to create huge market signals for renewable-energy development and financiers who are questioning whether or not these transition technologies and opportunities stand to gain financially over time. So as much as we would see a price on our fossil-fuel reliance, at the same time you’re going to see a rapid decrease in cost in other technologies and other opportunities.”

“The number-one challenge that they faced wasn’t from the fossil-fuel industry, it wasn’t from conservative lawmakers, or climate deniers; it was actually from the Left. It was various groups that were concerned about making sure that the ballot initiative was written in a way that would be the most equitable way of going about putting a price on carbon.”

Resources:

Climate Action Business Association

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 65: #Carbon Series: Conservative Republicans Propose a Carbon Tax, with Catrina Rorke

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 70: Years of Living Dangerously, with Camila Thorndike

Jun 08, 2017
074: Broadband for All — Part 2
28:50

Topic:

Broadband Access in Rural Communities

In This Episode:

02:04 Mike gives a recap of last week’s podcast episode.
03:53 Guest Cecilia Aguiar-Curry is introduced.
04:51 Cecilia talks about why the issue of broadband is important to her.
06:19 Cecilia speaks of the relationship between under-connected communities and Internet access.
07:55 Cecilia informs us about AB-1665, the broadband-access bill.
10:42 Cecilia discusses if she’s in federal-level discussions regarding infrastructure services in rural areas.
12:49 Cecilia expresses the role that broadband plays in agriculture.
14:33 Cecilia shares the application she sees in helping people access state government in relation to smart-city applications and open-data portals.
16:10 Cecilia states her thoughts on how to continue innovation in smart technology, without leaving rural communities behind.
17:55 Cecilia addresses the decline of retail.
22:39 Kate shares what she noticed this week in the news.
25:54 Mike states what he noticed this week in the news.

CoHost:

Kate Meis joins the Infinite Earth Radio as the co-host for this episode. Kate Meis is the Executive Director of the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kate is a champion for local governments; a recognized leader in local climate change adaptation, mitigation and clean energy efforts; and an ardent coalition builder. She obtained a Masters of Science degree in Community and Regional Development from the University of California, Davis, and has a Sociology Bachelor’s degree from California State University, Sonoma.

Guest & Organization:

Cecilia Aguiar-Curry is an American politician who has been elected to the California State Assembly. She is a Democrat representing the 4th Assembly District, encompassing Wine Country and parts of the Sacramento Valley.

Cecilia grew up in western Yolo County and has long served her community. After going to school and working in the Bay Area for several years, she moved back to her hometown of Winters where she almost immediately became active in the local community and a regional leader on several issues. She first served as planning commissioner and then was elected to the city council eventually serving as the first female mayor of Winters.

While growing up, Cecilia was surrounded by agriculture. As a youth, she cut apricots in the packing shed and helped her father in the walnut orchards in the area. She is still involved in local agriculture to this day as she and her brothers own an 80-acre walnut orchard.

Take Away Quotes:

“It was really important for me to make sure that the families had the digital literacy training. I didn’t want anybody, ever, left behind, and I don’t think anybody in a rural community, as well as urban community, should be left behind and not be able to be part of the digital age.”

“People always said, well, in a rural community, you don’t have, necessarily, an educated population to be able to take on this digital literacy. I say that’s wrong. And the problem is that you’re not exposed to these opportunities. So bringing this kind of education to the forefront in our schools, in our libraries, in our community, is really important to all of us — it helps with the economic development, it helps with telehealth, it helps with so many things.”

“We wanted to make sure that the rural communities were connected, because it’s very easy to say the state of California, 95 percent of the people had Internet capabilities, but quite frankly, that 95 percent could be just taken up with the populations of the San Diegos, the Los Angeles’, the Silicon Valleys, the San Franciscos — the bigger communities — but rural communities weren’t included in that, so on this bill, it was really important that we included rural communities had to have the connectivity the same as 98 percent as everyone else had throughout the state.”

“Many people know that I farm 80 acres of walnuts, with my brothers, outside of Winters…now a lot of the requirements is that everything has to be filed electronically. Well, lo and behold, at our ranch, we have really, really poor connectivity where we can’t even get some of the forms over to the government agencies for filings. So it’s really vital to the future of agriculture that we have this Internet capabilities. For example, many of the farmers are now replanting their orchards, or they’re planting new orchards, and we really need to monitor water more precisely. Obviously, it helps with the conservation of water, but we can do a lot of that via the Internet if we had the capabilities as some of these areas.”

Resources:

Cecilia Aguiar – Curry

AB-1665 Telecommunications: California Advanced Services Fund

Winters, California

Jun 01, 2017
073: Broadband for All — Part 1
38:58

Topic:

Broadband Access Impacts Environment, Health, Agriculture, and Jobs

In This Episode:

01:20 Co-host Kate Meis is introduced.
02:04 Kate talks about the Local Government Commission.
03:11 Kate shares the LGC’s upcoming events.
05:00 Kate makes known the next two podcast guests and what the podcast topics will be.
06:43 Mike mentions that access to broadband is a national issue.
07:56 Kate comments about how cutting some of the services in the infrastructure makes broadband access that much more important.
09:47 Guest Trish Kelly is introduced.
11:23 Trish tells how she became involved in the broadband-access issue.
12:18 Trish gives some statistics on who’s being left behind in the digital divide.
13:50 Trish defines the term “underserved.”
14:32 Trish informs us of the demographic breakdown of underserved communities.
16:22 Trish conveys the economic-development impacts of the rapid changes in the job force.
19:11 Trish highlights the connection between broadband and the environment.
22:21 Trish comments on the use of technology in agriculture.
24:38 Trish states some steps to position communities for job opportunities.
27:07 Trish supplies what we should be asking from our community leaders.
29:34 Trish speaks to the accessibility of information and people feeling more connected in their community.
31:52 Trish tells how people can learn more about her work.
32:46 Kate provides what she noticed this week in the news.
36:42 Mike adds his thoughts to Kate’s observations from this week.

CoHost:

Kate Meis joins the Infinite Earth Radio as the co-host for this episode. Kate Meis is the Executive Director of the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kate is a champion for local governments; a recognized leader in local climate change adaptation, mitigation and clean energy efforts; and an ardent coalition builder. She obtained a Masters of Science degree in Community and Regional Development from the University of California, Davis, and has a Sociology Bachelor’s degree from California State University, Sonoma.

Guest & Organization:

Trish Kelly is the Managing Director of Valley Vision. Trish joined Valley Vision as Senior Vice President in 2014, having been involved with Valley Vision on several projects over the years. As a consultant, Trish has contributed to Valley Vision initiatives in such areas as regional food systems and agriculture, broadband, economic vitality, and quality of life indicators. She is managing Valley Vision’s agriculture and food system projects and the Connected Capital Area Broadband Consortium, and is supporting other Valley Vision regional leadership efforts. Trish has a passion for projects that provide strong research and accessible information as the basis for engaging community leaders, stakeholders and partner organizations in collaborative, solution-driven strategies that will ensure a Triple-Bottom Line for the region – with shared opportunity, environmental quality and economic prosperity for all.

Valley Vision is a leadership organization dedicated to making the Sacramento region a great place to live, work, and recreate.

Take Away Quotes:

“In the 21st century, high-speed Internet access is no longer a luxury amenity but rather an essential service for homes and businesses in this interconnected world. No other technology has produced as much innovation, competition, and economic growth.”—Congressional letter to the new administration

“I started this process more than 10 years ago. We were working with the governor’s cabinet, looking at issues that really impeded or affected rural economic vitality, and broadband kept coming up as the number-one issue. So that led to a series of activities which have culminated, for many of us in the regions, in a program that’s supported through the Public Utilities Commission, that provides funding for regional broadband consortium and then also funding for infrastructure and other opportunities to help meet our infrastructure gaps.”

“Every year there’s a public survey that tracks overall adoption and infrastructure deployment across our regions and across the state. So we are making progress. But we know, for instance, a recent survey by the Public Utility Commission showed that only 47 percent of our rural areas have the same Internet access as urban areas. So that’s a huge divide. In our region, we looked at the grades, using Public Utility’s data, on our infrastructure in four of our counties that make up our consortium, and the grades ranged from C- to F+. So, clearly, we’re very far behind.”

“‘Underserved’ might mean that you don’t have enough competition in service, so your service might be unreliable; it might be too cost prohibitive. You might not have access to the technologies that you need to connect; maybe you’re connecting by a cell phone, but you don’t have access to a computer, so you can’t write a paper for school on a computer, or it’s very hard to do a job search, or it’s very hard to get healthcare services online. So we have a lot of variations of what ‘underserved’ looks like.”

“The data shows, through the PUC and other surveys, that the hard-to-serve markets or the underserved markets include high levels of poverty, economically disadvantaged, people who have disabilities, communities of color, and then we also have challenges in some of our older neighborhoods and our kind of industrial parks or job centers. Those are areas that didn’t have forward-leading broadband infrastructure.”

Resources:

Valley Vision

Connected Capital Area Broadband Consortium

May 25, 2017
072: Charting the National Healthy Communities Platform
24:51

Topic:

Incorporating Public Health Considerations in the Local Government Planning Process

In This Episode:

02:40 Co-host Paul Zykofsky is introduced.
02:48 Guests Miguel Vazquez and Erik Calloway are introduced.
03:10 Miguel tells how he came to be working on healthy-communities issues.
04:13 Erik tells how he came to be working on healthy-communities issues.
05:02 Erik describes ChangeLab Solutions.
05:41 Miguel describes the Riverside University Health System-Public Health (RUHS-PH).
09:09 Miguel shares about the National Healthy Communities Platform.
09:44 Erik expresses why there’s a need for a National Healthy Communities Platform.
11:13 Erik evaluates the state of the healthy-communities movement.
12:25 Miguel gives his evaluation of the state of the healthy-communities movement.
13:42 Miguel identifies what he hopes will come out of the National Healthy Communities Platform.
15:04 Erik comments on the breakdowns of the social limitations of health.
15:51 Erik supplies his recommendations of how to get started to address the issues of the social limitations of health.
18:30 Miguel states the challenges that will be encountered as the healthy-communities movement is pushed forward.
20:45 Erik states the challenges that will be encountered as the healthy-communities movement is pushed forward.

CoHost:

Paul Zykofsky directs the Local Government Commission’s (LGC) programs related to land use and transportation planning, community design, and health and the built environment. In the past 20 years, he has worked with over 300 communities to improve conditions for infill development, walking, bicycling, and transit. Mr. Zykofsky provides technical assistance to communities throughout the nation on issues related to smart growth, infill development, transit-oriented development, street and sidewalk design, health and the built environment, and public participation in the planning process. Mr. Zykofsky is a co-author of Building Livable Communities: A Policymaker’s Guide to Transit Oriented Development and Emergency Response: Traffic Calming and Traditional Neighborhood Streets. In 2006, Mr. Zykofsky co-wrote (with Dan Burden of Walkable Communities) the section on “walkability” in the American Planning Association’s Planning and Urban Design Standards.

Guests & Organizations:

As a senior planner at ChangeLab Solutions, Erik Calloway focuses on the links between the built environment and health. He conducts research, prepares strategies, and develops tools to help communities support healthy living and sustainability. Prior to joining ChangeLab Solutions, Erik worked for 13 years as an urban design consultant. He has led multidisciplinary teams on streetscape and public space design, district and corridor restructuring, city planning, neighborhood development, and downtown revitalization projects.

Learn More About Erik

Miguel Vazquez, currently serves as the Healthy Communities Planner for the Riverside University Health System-Public Health (RUHS-PH) (formerly known as Riverside County Department of Public Health) in California. Our work directly impacts the quality of life of 2.2 million people living in 28 cities and the unincorporated area of Riverside County. For the past five years, my leadership role has focused on the integration of planning and health through policy, programs and outreach.

Learn More About Miguel’s Career Journey as a Planner

Take Away Quotes:

“My journey has been kind of strange in a sense that I’m an urban planner, but urban planners typically don’t work for public-health departments. Now, a conference like the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference has provided an open door for everyone to understand each other, so my boss saw that connection of public health and planning, and at some point he decided to hire a planner. So, somebody said, hey, there’s an opportunity, would you be interested in applying for it; so I went for it, and here I am.”—Miguel

“ChangeLab Solutions is a nonprofit organization. Our mission is healthier communities through law and policy. And so we work…to help communities integrate health into their everyday actions of planning—land-use planning, community outreach, complete streets. So we do model policies, we do technical assistance, and we help communities build their own capacity to transform themselves.”—Erik

“In Riverside County, we’re responsible for the health of 2.3 million people, and the statistics have shown that 63 percent of our deaths are related to mainly three major conditions: they have to do with cancer, respiratory conditions, and diabetes. And they are correlated to three behaviors—behaviors are actually given by the places in which you live, work, play, and learn—and they are how much physical activity you have, access to healthy foods and vegetables and clean water, and smoking.”—Miguel

“I think that a National Healthy Communities Platform can provide some clarity to those various sectors—development sector, planning…health departments—so that the actions that they do, they’re aware of what other sectors play, what role that they play, in supporting their own outcomes so that everybody, when they’re doing their work, can all be aligned and heading in the same direction.”—Erik

Resources:

Climate X Change – Carbon Pricing Awareness Raffle – Buy a Raffle Ticket!

Health in All Policies

ChangeLab Solutions

Riverside University Health System-Public Health

May 18, 2017
071: Coal Blooded — Coal Power Plants as a Civil Rights Issue
34:06

Topic:

Coal, Coal-Fired Power Plants, and the Impacts on Communities

In This Episode:

01:58 Mike shares information about Island Press.
03:18 Mike mentions what will be covered in today’s podcast.
05:15 Vernice identifies why the EPA was focused on regulating the emissions from coal-fired power plants.
10:50 Guest Jacqueline Patterson is introduced.
11:31 Jacqueline defines the term “urban resiliency.”
12:49 Jacqueline shares what she thinks motivated the NAACP to create the energy and climate-justice program.
14:34 Jacqueline tells of the reactions she gets for the NAACP taking on environmental issues.
15:53 Jacqueline expresses if there is a legal advantage to looking at environmental issues as a civil-rights issue.
17:02 Jacqueline tells about the NAACP’s “Coal Blooded” report.
19:41 Jacqueline conveys her thoughts on the seeming lack of conversation around the negative impacts on communities of color and people living near power plants.
21:30 Jacqueline discusses why uninterrupted energy service should be looked at as a civil-rights issue.
25:35 Jacqueline addresses how to alleviate the hardship for people who can’t pay their utility bill.
28:55 Jacqueline states the accomplishments she’d like to see in the public-policy conversation.
31:14 Mike shares what he noticed this week in the news.
32:10 Vernice conveys what caught her attention this week in the news.

Guest/Organization:

Jacqueline Patterson is the Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program. Since 2007 Patterson has served as coordinator & co-founder of Women of Color United. She has worked as a researcher, program manager, coordinator, advocate and activist working on women‘ s rights, violence against women, HIV&AIDS, racial justice, economic justice, and environmental and climate justice. Patterson served as a Senior Women’ s Rights Policy Analyst for ActionAid where she integrated a women’ s rights lens for the issues of food rights, macroeconomics, and climate change as well as the intersection of violence against women and HIV & AIDS.

Environmental injustice, including the proliferation of climate change, has a disproportionate impact on communities of color and low-income communities in the United States and around the world. The NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program was created to support community leadership in addressing this human and civil rights issue.

Take Away Quotes:

“The reason that EPA was so focused on trying to regulate the emissions from coal-fired power plants is that those emissions create huge pollution issues that then create and trigger huge public-health challenges…the combustion of coal has a lot of adverse impacts.”

“Resilience, I guess in any context…would be the ability of a community to withstand disturbances, basically, to life and living. And as we define resilience in our work as a civil- and human-rights organization, we look at the structural inequities that make certain communities more vulnerable—whether it’s disasters or sea-level rise or other types of shifts—and as we build resilience, it includes eliminating those vulnerabilities.”

“Communities of color; low-income communities; women, to some extent; and other groups are being disproportionately impacted by the environmental injustices—whether it’s exposure to toxins, air pollution, water pollution, land contamination, etc.—to the effect that these communities do hold these pre-existing vulnerabilities that make them more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including sea-level rise, extreme weather events, shifts to the agricultural yields, etc.”

“The price of poverty should never be death.”

Resources:

Island Press

Urban Resilience Project

NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program

Coal Blooded Report

Lights Out in the Cold: Reforming Utility Shut-Off Policies as if Human Rights Matter

May 11, 2017
070: “Years of Living Dangerously”
36:43

Topic:

Putting a Price on Carbon

In This Episode:

01:37 Co-host Michael Green is introduced.
02:23 Mike and Michael talk about “Years of Living Dangerously.”
04:50 Mike and Michael mention the Put a Price on It campaign.
06:44 Guest Camila Thorndike is introduced.
07:22 Camila shares the origin and goal of Put a Price on It.
08:39 Camila describes how the partnership with the “Years of Living Dangerously” team came about.
12:12 Camila reflects on carbon-pricing stories that she’s heard.
17:53 Camila expresses if celebrity involvement is an advantage in terms of communicating the climate-crisis message.
21:42 Camila states her response to the question, “What can I do?”
26:30 Camila tells where people can go to connect with Our Climate and Put a Price on It.
28:33 Camila provides how she stays positive during the climate-change issue.
32:06 Michael identifies what in the news caught his eye this week in the news.
33:40 Mike conveys what caught his eye this week in the news.

Guest:

Camila Thorndike has been an environmental advocate and social entrepreneur for 10 years. At Whitman College, she led the largest campus club and founded a tri-college leadership network. After graduating with honors in 2010, Camila directed outreach for a regional urban planning project in Arizona; advanced green jobs for the mayor of D.C.; worked at the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution; and co-founded COAL, a nationwide musical theater project about fossil fuels. She is a Udall Scholar, Fellow of the Center for Diversity and the Environment, Sitka Fellow, Mic50 Awardee, and member of the 2016 class of the Young Climate Leaders Network.

Organization:

Our Climate mobilizes and empowers the generations most affected by climate change to pass inclusive, science-based climate policy through creative civic engagement.

Take Away Quotes:

“It takes a lot of education and encouragement to make sure that young people, especially, feel confident advocating for the policy, but once they’re hooked, it’s amazing what they’ve been pulling off.”

“We’re finally getting more creative in how we bring people in, and there’s nothing more powerful than story. It’s not unique to the efforts around carbon pricing, but I think the climate and sustainability movements as a whole have really gotten the memo that you can’t just broadcast facts and figures and graphs and charts—it won’t resonate emotionally—and that when you don’t have that emotional link, then you can’t expect folks to prioritize this above their grocery list or paying the bills or whatever it might be.”

“Something that young people everywhere need to realize is that you don’t wait until some magical moment—that you have this right title or the right position—to speak out on something that you care about. It is actually your youth and your perspective of being in the most imperiled generation and facing down the barrel of this gun that is the core message that will resonate and move the rest of society, and, in fact, if you don’t speak out, you’re missing this incredible opportunity which is going to fade with time.”

“…more and more people are waking up and taking action, and I think that comes from refusing to take no as an answer and doing the hard work of honing your skills and your knowledge base and, again, making use of this precious time that we have when we’re alive on this earth to advance something that we believe in, whether or not we win. The victory is not guaranteed, but the effort is in your hands.”

Resources:

Our Climate

Years of Living Dangerously

Watch Years of Living Dangerously

Find #putapriceonit online

Follow #putapriceonit on Facebook

May 04, 2017
069: The Play Everywhere Challenge
13:08

Topic:

The Importance of Play in Our Society

In This Episode:

01:50 Aisha Alexander is introduced.
02:02 Aisha shares what KaBOOM! is.
02:40 Aisha provides why play opportunities are so important.
04:06 Aisha explains why access to play is an issue.
06:02 Aisha describes the Play Everywhere Challenge.
09:08 Aisha states how people can learn more about KaBOOM! and the Play Everywhere Challenge.
09:38 Mike comments how playspaces have dual benefits.
10:16 Aisha expresses how kids are indicator species for cities.

Guest/Organization:

Aisha Alexander is a Director of External Affairs for KaBOOM!, where she leads efforts promote the creation of kid-friendly cities. She attended Hampton University, where she earned her BA in English and Early Childhood Education; and Temple University, earning a Master of Social Work, concentrating in Community and Policy Practice. Before joining KaBOOM!, she worked in municipal government, most recently for the City of Charlotte, where she managed the city’s neighborhood improvement programs. Aisha is an expert in community engagement, neighborhood quality of life and social sector innovation.

Take Away Quotes:

“KaBOOM! is a national nonprofit organization that’s committed to making sure that all kids have the access to the play opportunities they need to thrive.”

“There’s lots of reasons that play is really important. Number one, we believe that play is a fundamental right of childhood; it is the work of children.”

“We realized through our community-built playgrounds that we could not address the problem at scale, and so we worked with Ideas42, a behavioral research firm, to figure out what are the barriers to play, and when we looked at those barriers, we found out that what needs to happen to be able to give access to all kids is to really make play everywhere.”

“We really wanted to have this Play Everywhere Challenge to help spur these types of ideas of how you can infuse play into everyday spaces where kids and families are already spending time.”

Resources:

Play Everywhere Challenge

The Play Everywhere Playbook

KaBOOM

Apr 27, 2017
068: Resiliency: New Buzzword or New Normal
28:15

Topic:

Expanding the Conversation of Community Resiliency

In This Episode:

01:50 Co-host Kif Scheuer is introduced.
01:54 Guest John Zeanah is introduced.
02:05 John shares how he became involved in community resiliency
04:20 John explains what he thinks the word resiliency means.
05:31 John informs how communities across and within jurisdictional boundaries are responding to resiliency.
09:58 John relates the kind of conversation that takes place within the community he works in.
14:40 John comments on energy-cost burdens and how costs are factored into response strategies.
18:09 John tells if resiliency is just another word for disaster preparedness.
20:29 John addresses how to have the conversation of investing money for the benefit of something that won’t happen, like a flood.
23:28 John identifies the pieces of his plan that will continue beyond the grant.
27:07 John mentions how people can look at his plan.

Guest/Organization:

John Zeanah is the Deputy Director of the Memphis and Shelby County Division of Planning and Development. In this role, Mr. Zeanah assists the direction of planning functions including land use, comprehensive planning, sustainability and resilience, transportation, housing, and development services. Prior to this role, Mr. Zeanah served in the roles of program manager and administrator for the Memphis-Shelby County Office of Sustainability, coordinating various program areas including energy efficiency, waste reduction and recycling, green infrastructure, and sustainable food systems. Recently, Mr. Zeanah led the development of the Mid-South Regional Greenprint and Sustainability Plan, a unified vision for a regional network of green space connecting across the Greater Memphis area, and Shelby County's Greenprint for Resilience initiative, which received over $60 million in HUD's National Disaster Resilience Competition. Mr. Zeanah holds a BA in Political Science from Rhodes College and a Master of City and Regional Planning from the University of Memphis.

Take Away Quotes:

“I think the evolution of resilience is pushing people to think beyond just, how do you bounce back from a flood, or how do you build back from a hurricane, but also as you’re building back, as you’re bouncing back, how are you doing that in a way that’s addressing so many of the social and economic issues that your community may face.”

“I don’t know that the way that we’ve thought about disaster preparedness as a practice has taken in, at least to the degree that we’ve seen in the last few years around resilience, this concept of focusing on co-benefits, focusing on the multiple benefits, and ensuring that what we do around a preparedness initiative or project in a community has benefits throughout the year.”

“My advice for any community out there is think about when you have a disaster, whether it’s a flood or something else, what are the systems that have to get in place to be able to prevent damage from happening? What are the cleanup efforts that have to take place? What’s the dollar value of those things?”

Resources:

Learn More about Shelby County’s Resilience Efforts

Resilient Shelby – Resilience Plan

Shelby County Planning and Development

Mid-South Regional Greenprint

Apr 20, 2017
067: Sales Tax Distribution - Equity and Sustainability
24:25

Topic:

Sales Tax Issues and Impacts

In This Episode:

02:27 Guests Bob Lewis, Jim Brasfield, and Sarah Coffin are introduced.
02:57 Jim shares why he’s interested in sales tax and distribution equity.
03:18 Bob tells why he’s interested in sales tax and distribution equity.
03:52 Bob talks about his role as Principal at Development Strategies.
04:13 Sarah speaks about why she’s interested in sales tax and distribution equity.
04:55 Bob gives his view of what sales tax distribution equity is.
06:13 Jim explains where sales tax money goes and what it pays for.
08:15 Sarah shares what the negatives of sales tax distribution are.
09:43 Bob speaks about how the sales tax system drives land-use decisions.
11:30 Who decides who is a point-of-sale city?
12:54 Mike speaks of the incentives for more commercial development than housing development.
13:51 Sarah comments about the zoning decisions made by local governments and the affordable-housing issue.
14:48 How do we fix the problem of poorer communities going to rich communities to shop and the rich communities taking the sales tax?
16:26 Is there any property tax sharing or is it just the sales tax?
17:31 Mike mentions the challenges of too many local governments and overlapping jurisdictions.
18:02 Bob adds to the conversation of sharing the costs.
18:55 Sarah reflects on how St. Louis County supports its cultural districts.
20:23 Are there any words of wisdom for other parts of the country that aren’t doing sales tax sharing?

Guests/Organizations:

Sarah Coffin is an Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Development at the Center for Sustainability at Saint Louis University. Learn more about Sarah and her research here.

Bob Lewis is the Principal at Development Strategies. Learn more about Bob.

Jim Brasfield is a Professor Emeritus at the George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology at Webster University. Learn more about Jim.

Take Away Quotes:

“In St. Louis County, when you buy something at a store, depending on the kind of city you live in, the money goes in a pool and is distributed to other cities around the county, or if you are in a city that is a point-of-sales city, it means that most, but not all, of the money goes to that particular city. And one of the unique things about St. Louis County, and I think fairly unique in the country, is that the point-of-sale cities share about twenty percent of the total revenue collected in sales tax with other cities in the county on a per capita sharing.”

“The jobs-housing mismatch is a challenge for St. Louis, and some of the research I’ve done on tax increment financing (TIF), those communities that are wealthier communities, that are low-minority, low-poverty communities, are the one’s that…use their TIF tool for retail, to promote retail sales, which is then those large clusters of low-wage jobs, which are the jobs that a lot of the poor people need, but they’re located further out in the county, whereas in the poorer communities, the more distressed communities tend to focus on residential TIFs and mixed-use TIFs that have a high degree of residential use.”

“It was a tough political battle to ultimately get the sharing, but I think in that instance, both sides had to be willing to compromise, and that’s something that these days in politics seems to be in short supply as people stake out their positions. But as someone who was involved in that discussion leading to the sharing, there was a willingness on both sides to sit down and discuss it and find a middle ground, and I think that’s a key to this and other decisions is that you can’t sit in an ivory tower someplace and say this is what’s best; you’ve got to work with the local people and try to develop some kind of consensus, even if that means you don’t get everything that you would like to get.”

Resources:

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 52: Affordable Housing and Employment Patterns in the San Francisco Bay Area (Re-release), with Dr. Chris Benner

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 65: #Carbon Series: Conservative Republicans Propose a Carbon Tax, with Catrina Rorke

Development Strategies

George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology at Webster University

 

Apr 13, 2017
066: Food Security—Growing Food Connections
24:18

Topic:

Making Sure All People Have Access to Affordable Food

In This Episode:

02:16 Mike gives the topic that will be addressed in today’s episode.
02:38 Julia Freedgood is introduced.
02:47 Julia tells about the American Farmland Trust.
03:08 Julia shares why farmland and food equity are important.
04:19 Julia explains what food equity is.
05:40 Julia discloses if food insecurity is a real problem.
06:50 Julia reflects on what needs to be done to attack the problem of food insecurity.
09:08 Julia gives examples of communities that are making progress in the issue of food insecurity.
11:28 Julia provides information regarding the content on the Growing Food Connections website.
13:44 Julia indicates how to get access to the Community Guide to Planning for Agriculture and Food Systems.
15:00 Julia identifies some of the issues that are creating an obstacle to food security and food equity.
19:45 Julia communicates what the average person can do to be supportive of more food security for other people.
23:23 Mike mentions the book “The New Grand Strategy.”

Guest:

Julia Freedgood is the Assistant Vice President of Programs for the American Farmland Trust and oversees federal, state and local program and policy efforts to support farmland protection and agricultural viability.

Organization:

American Farmland Trust is dedicated to preserving the nation's farm and ranch land – and critical natural resources like soil and water. They also make sure to never forget that it is people – our family farmers and ranchers – who feed us and sustain America.

Take Away Quotes:

“The American Farmland Trust is a national nonprofit organization. We were founded in 1980 to protect farmland for farming, so our mission is to save the land that sustains us by protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices, and keeping farmers on the land.”

“For us, in the context of the project that I was talking about, which is a project American Farmland Trust is part of called Growing Food Connections, and the goal of that project is to strengthen community food systems by supporting small and midsize farmers who are growing food within their communities and regions, and also by improving food access, food security, or food equity. And so for the food-equity piece, we’re really looking at making sure that all people in a community have access to affordable food that’s culturally appropriate, the kind of food they’re familiar with and like to eat, and that it’s readily available.”

“Fifty million people in the country are affected by food insecurity, and so that means lack of access to food on a regular basis. It doesn’t mean that they’re starving, necessarily, but it does mean that they don’t have food access every day, three meals a day, healthy food. It’s gotten a little bit better in the last few years, but it’s still worse than it was before the Great Recession, and it’s still a problem that we need to work on. And you find it especially in low-wealth communities and communities of color and rural communities.”

“Through the project [Growing Food Connections], we studied what we call Communities of Innovation, and so these would be places across the country that have really addressed food-system issues through planning and policy and building partnerships and making investments.”

Resources:

American Farmland Trust

Farmland Information Center

Growing Food Connections

“The New Grand Strategy”

Apr 06, 2017
065: Carbon Series: Conservative Republicans Propose a Carbon Tax
34:40

Topic:

Climate Change and Putting a Price on Carbon

In This Episode:

01:10 Carbon series co-host Michael Green is introduced.
01:40 Michael shares what he hopes to bring to this podcast series.
02:22 Mike shares his excitement for sustainability and equity at the sub-national level.
02:48 Michael tells about CABA’s (Climate Action Business Alliance) expansion efforts to help state-based networks.
03:31 Mike mentions the list of diverse topics that he and Michael have come up with for this new series and introduces what today’s episode will be about.
04:32 Michael conveys his thoughts regarding the Republican party’s view on climate change.
05:01 Mike describes the carbon tax proposal.
06:44 Michael gives his view on the carbon tax proposal.
08:03 Mike states his thoughts of the conversation that upcoming episodes should have.
08:28 Catrina Rorke is introduced.
08:58 Catrina tells about R Street.
10:44 Catrina elaborates on carbon pricing.
11:24 Michael agrees with carbon pricing and says that they will be talking about what to do with the revenue.
11:49 Catrina answers the question of whether carbon pricing and the idea of putting a market signal on an externality is a conservative idea.
13:06 Catrina speaks about the idea of a direct rebate to taxpayers.
14:37 Catrina explains how the R Street approach would work and if it would be fair to those who are paying taxes.
17:19 Catrina expresses her thoughts on putting a price on carbon.
19:12 Catarina shares if climate change is a populist-enough issue for the Republican party.
20:28 Catarina gives her insights of how effective a carbon tax would be.
24:53 Catarina comments on the increase of the carbon tax and how to ensure an environmental outcome from a price signal.
28:03 Michael discusses information on what he’s been following regarding sustainability, the future of climate change, and the outdoor-sports industry.
30:22 Mike talks about an article he read about the Alberta tar sands and the Keystone XL pipeline.
32:24 Michael provides information about his interest in the pipeline.
32:54 Mike shares what he knows about ExxonMobil and supplies an issue with the tar sands.
33:33 Michael mentions that Canada is going to be putting a price on carbon.

Guest:

Catrina Rorke is senior fellow and energy policy director for the R Street Institute. She founded and leads the institute’s energy program, which works to clarify a well-defined and limited role for government in shaping decisions about infrastructure, wholesale and retail electricity, research and development, fuel choice and diversity, and climate adaptation and mitigation.

Follow Catrina on Twitter

Organization:

The R Street Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan, public policy research organization (“think tank”). Our mission is to engage in policy research and outreach to promote free markets and limited, effective government.

Take Away Quotes:

“As an organization that’s dedicated to conservative free-market principles, the carbon tax sort of checked the boxes, and so R Street has long advocated for a revenue-neutral form of a carbon price, especially one that includes preemption for regulatory programs that currently try to price carbon into the market.”

“It’s certainly a conservative idea to use the lightest touch possible to correct a market failure. So, when you look at a role for government, as a conservative you don’t want government to expand beyond addressing substantive market failures, where the market isn’t addressing problems on its own. And climate change is a really perfect example of this. We know that there’s risk related to anthropogenic emissions, the market isn’t pricing that on its own, and so without the ability to enforce reductions to emissions, I guess through property rights…and then, that’s not working, so how do we address reducing emissions? There should be a role for telling the market that there’s this failure, and we’ve traditionally depended on government to fill that role. So I don’t want to say that a carbon tax is a conservative idea, but the idea of using a light touch to address externalities, that’s a conservative idea, and that’s what leads us to a carbon tax.”

“One of the main obstacles to getting the carbon price internalized in the market is that it’s affecting every corner of the economy, right? So nearly every industry is in some way going to be impacted if we start pricing emissions, and because that’s the case, we’re going to see economic contraction. What we want to do is use the revenue that we collect to solve that contraction, and we think we can do it by dedicating all of the revenue to the most distorting taxes that we currently have on the books, and those are taxes to capital. So while a Baker-Shultz proposal is suggesting a dividend, R Street doesn’t think that that’s the most conservative idea. In fact, we think it leaves out sort of the crucial part of this situation which is that you don’t want addressing climate change to damage the economy. You want addressing climate change to lead to a more productive economy.”

“Climate change, also, is this funny problem that just makes all of the existing problems we can measure today worse. So climate change leads to water insecurity, which we already document; it leads to trouble accessing sanitation services, which we already document; it expands the range of disease, which we’re already having trouble addressing.”

Resources:

R Street

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 027: Businesses Acting on Rising Seas with Michael Green of the Climate Action Business Association (CABA) – and our newest Infinite Earth Radio podcast co-host! 

Mar 30, 2017
064: Urban Agriculture—Infrastructure and Impact
22:52

Topic:

The Impact Domino Effect: From Neighborhoods to Cities to Regions

In This Episode:

01:19 Rachel Deffenbaugh is introduced.
01:29 Rachel shares how she became involved in urban agriculture and why urban agriculture is important to her.
02:15 Rachel states what Gateway Greening is.
02:31 Rachel describes the difference between community gardening and urban agriculture.
03:19 Rachel answers how we look at urban agriculture in terms of it being a system within a community.
04:58 Rachel talks about why we should focus energy on urban agriculture.
07:25 Rachel conveys her thoughts on the direct economic benefits of urban agriculture.
10:49 Mike comments that urban settings can make the food system more economically viable.
12:13 Rachel speaks about the consumer side of food.
13:11 Mike mentions a book called “The Two-Income Trap” by Elizabeth Warren, and that our economy has other things that are more expensive than food.
14:16 Rachel tells what Gateway Greening is doing to make St. Louis more of an urban agricultural place.
17:50 Rachel talks about the goals and vision of Gateway Greening.
20:33 Rachel states how people can support the work of Gateway Greening.
21:24 Rachel shares if there are resources for those who do not live in the St. Louis area.

Guest:

Rachel Deffenbaugh managed the Gateway Greening Urban Farm for over 6 years, during which time she developed and implemented dynamic employment and therapeutic programming for individuals struggling with homelessness, mental illness, and/or addiction. She has a diverse background in sustainable agriculture and therapeutic horticulture. She recently transitioned to supervising the Therapeutic Horticulture program at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Organization:

Gateway Greening isn’t just about gardens and plants. It’s about working together to create something beautiful — safer, more colorful neighborhoods for our children; food for the underprivileged and opportunities for the homeless; and a city that embodies our vision of sustainability and hope. Gateway Greening is a community of gardeners, neighbors, friends and volunteers. And we believe that by educating and empowering our community through gardening and urban agriculture, we can continue to grow St. Louis into the city we know it to be.

Take Away Quotes:

“For me, community gardening has a very localized effect. So it’ll be a garden in a neighborhood, or at a church, that is really focused on whatever community is connected to that garden, which is really significant and impactful for that community. Urban agriculture has a much bigger focus. Maybe it’s a whole city that is impacted by the programing and the produce that is grown there, or potentially even a whole region. So it’s really kind of the scale of what you’re working with.”

“Urban agriculture can be easily integrated into any sort of community with intention behind it… in the case of where I work, it might look like a big—we have a two-and-a-half acre urban farm in downtown St. Louis; and we operate a lot of different programs and impact people struggling with homelessness; we bring in volunteers from all different walks of life, all different communities; we have a teen-employment program. So that’s a very centralized, kind of top-down approach to urban agriculture, which I don’t think is bad by any means, but there’s also the bottom-up approach that is out there as well.”

“Another thing that urban agriculture can be if you’re a city planner or developer or something is tucking in agricultural elements into what you’re already doing. So if you’re redesigning the streetscape in some cute little neighborhood or something, rather than using nonfood-producing trees, use apple trees, pear trees, whatever kind of trees fit your climate best, but some sort of food-producing tree. They take the same level of maintenance and care as any other tree, but the community can benefit that, and it’s no more effort than anything else, and there’s a whole urban-agriculture element already tucked into what exists.”

“…the other thing that I really love about urban agriculture is that it has this incredible power to bring people together, which I think is true of anything having to do with plants. Whether we’re talking about a food-producing plant or your Aunt Margaret’s prize-winning rosebush or whatever the case is, I think humans are inherently drawn to plants.”

Resources:

Gateway Greening

Mar 23, 2017
063: Heart and Soul—A Barn-Raising Approach to Community Wealth
21:11

Topic:

People Taking Charge of Their Own Community

In This Episode:

01:20 Jane LaFleur is introduced.
01:28 Jane shares what interests her about community development and how she got involved in community-development work.
02:30 Jane provides some of the economic challenges.
03:33 Jane defines community wealth.
04:13 Jane states what “a barn-raising approach to community wealth” means.
06:06 Jane tells more about the Heart and Soul approach.
07:31 Jane mentions how long she’s been doing the Heart and Soul approach.
08:14 Jane gives a success story of the Heart and Soul approach.
11:14 Mike discusses the problem of getting people engaged in their communities.
11:30 Jane replies with the old way of doing business.
11:41 Jane supplies another success story of the Heart and Soul approach.
13:26 Mike states his thoughts about the disconnect between government and the people.
13:40 Jane informs that the Heart and Soul approach is about what communities can do for themselves.
15:00 Mike shares his view of what governance is.
15:48 Jane says how people can learn more about her work.
16:04 Jane speaks about the inclusiveness of the Heart and Soul process.
16:58 Mike clarifies which website to go to, depending on your state of residence.
17:33 Jane answers if community wealth is an economic-development process.
18:52 Mike mentions focusing on social capital.
19:32 Jane conveys that social capital is a part of asset-based planning and that businesses are attracted to a community that knows what its values are.

Guest:

Jane LaFleur is the Senior Program Director of Lift360, a state-wide organization that inspires leadership, builds stronger leaders, and equips those leaders to tackle the critical issues facing Maine. Lift360 works to strengthen leaders, organizations and communities through its work with cities and towns, non-profit organizations and community members. Jane served as the Executive Director of Friends of Midcoast Maine (FMM), a regional smart growth, planning and civic engagement organization for 13 years until joining Lift 360 in September 2016. She developed The Community Institute, a program of Friends of Midcoast Maine and has been named a coach and champion on the Orton Family Foundation Heart & Soul planning program. Jane grew up in Lewiston, Maine and has been a city and regional planner since 1981. Her work has received the Maine Associations of Planners Plan of the year award in Damariscotta, Maine and in South Burlington Vermont and in 2015 she was named The Professional Planner of the Year by both the Maine Association of Planners and the Northern New England Chapter of APA. Jane is a sought after lecturer and trainer on planning and civic engagement topics at the local level as well as at national and state conferences including NNECAPA, APA, New Partners for Smart Growth, Community Matters, and MAP Annual Meetings. She has recently published an article in the “Communities and Banking” magazine of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston as well as other publications. Jane graduated from the University of Maine and received her master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from Harvard University and lives within Camden, Maine.

Organization:

Lift360 focuses on leadership every day – for individuals, in organizations, and throughout communities.Their mission is to inspire leadership, build stronger leaders, and to equip those leaders to tackle the critical issues faced in Maine. That focus takes them into communities and boardrooms, reaching all sectors and all areas of the state. They deliver programs and services working side by side with organizational and community leaders. The impact of their work and the stories they hear from those they collaborate with is an incredible reward. It’s their way to make Maine an even better place to live and work.

Take Away Quotes:

“I’m a city planner by training, and I’ve been involved with communities since about 1980, when I got out of graduate school, and I really started to care about how communities grow and change and help people take leadership positions in communities to make a difference…I love watching communities wrestle with tough decisions, and I love watching young people get engaged in communities, because we need more of that. We need new young people to take over our roles as we get older.”

“Community wealth is not necessarily cash, it’s not necessarily money; it’s all the things that make up your community, and it’s the assets in your community, it’s who’s living in your community, it’s the social fabric of the community, it’s whether you have engaged people, whether you have people making tough decisions and helping to grow that community.”

“The [Heart and Soul] approach is outlined on the Orton Family Foundation website, and with lots of free materials. It doesn’t cost anything for someone to take on this process; they don’t charge. There are some costs as you’re running the process—you need to fund a coordinator to help keep all the ducks in a row and keep all the activities in line so you know who’s doing what. But it’s an 18-month to two-year, four-phase process. It starts with identifying who’s in your community and who are the connections in the community. Often, some never really think about all the organizations and groups and individuals that are making that community function.”

Resources:

Lift360

Orton Family Foundation

Mar 16, 2017
062: Tiny Homes and Smart Infill Housing—Improving Housing Choices
15:32

Topic:

Spurring Community Revitalization

In This Episode:

01:36 Co-host Kate Meis is introduced.
01:44 Guest Darin Dinsmore is introduced.
01:53 Darin shares how he ended up working on affordable-housing and infill-housing issues.
02:24 Darin explains what smart infill housing is.
02:50 Darin describes what infill and smart growth look like in rural communities like Truckee, California.
03:54 Darin provides information on his tiny-home project.
06:04 Darin discusses the zoning ordinance for the tiny-home project in Arizona.
06:50 Kate mentions that with the growing interest in tiny homes, local governments are having to figure out how to keep the zoning updated.
07:23 Mike comments on the dynamic of minimal residential house size and people who are living in hotel rooms in dilapidated buildings.
08:11 Darin speaks about micro units and single-room occupancy units.
08:46 Darin tells about the infill score and revitalization roadmap tool.
09:27 Darin states where people can go to take the infill-readiness test.
09:48 Darin describes the Crowdbrite tool.
11:25 Darin shares where people can go to access the Crowdbrite tool.
11:39 Darin mentions the city where the Crowdbrite tool is bring used.
12:06 Darin supplies some of the things that communities can do to be infill ready.
13:01 Mike adds to the discussion that there’s a public-approval issue.
13:24 Kate conveys that most Americans prefer smart growth.
13:33 Darin provides some of the challenges that cities face in becoming infill ready.

Co-Host:

Kate Meis joins the Infinite Earth Radio as the co-host for this episode. Kate Meis is the Executive Director of the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kate is a champion for local governments; a recognized leader in local climate change adaptation, mitigation and clean energy efforts; and an ardent coalition builder. She obtained a Masters of Science degree in Community and Regional Development from the University of California, Davis, and has a Sociology Bachelor’s degree from California State University, Sonoma.

Guest:

Crowdbrite CEO Darin Dinsmore is an urban planner and landscape architect with over 15 years experience in community based planning and design. His award winning projects have transformed communities and neighborhoods. Darin is an expert in collaborative techniques and community engagement.

Organization:

Crowdbrite is a leader in civic engagement. They combine next generation online tools and award winning approaches for meaningful engagement.

Take Away Quotes:

“I’m originally a planner from Canada, came to the United States, came to California, back in 1999. As a nonprofit planning director, really got involved in working with communities, doing community-based planning, and one of the big issues is infill development and, today now more than ever, affordable housing.”

“Most cities, as you’re aware, including St. Louis, where we are now, have lots that are underutilized or could be utilized better or parking areas that could be used for housing and things. It’s just making better use of those lands where there are existing services—water, sewer, parks, schools—and how can we use those lands more efficiently and more effectively.”

“Truckee, for instance, was one of the last incorporated cities in California, and it really was and grew as a bunch of, sort of, scattered neighborhoods in Placer County. And since they’ve incorporated, they’ve been, basically, trying to knit that community fabric together with roads, parks, schools, and infrastructure to really become that community and that town that’s more walkable and friendly for its citizens. And so their type of infill isn’t large-scale projects; it’s small two- and three-story buildings, accessory dwelling units, even, maybe, tiny homes in your backyard.”

“About a year ago we launched this infill-score tool. It’s a tool for citizens, elected officials, and planners to kind of get a number in terms of their infill readiness, and it takes about 10 minutes online to calculate your score. And in the last year, without really any advertising, we’ve had 250 cities in seven countries and every state except Delaware use the tool. So we’re seeing that there’s a lot of interest and demand in tools and strategies for smart infill.”

Resources:

Crowdbrite

Infill Score

Infill Planning Tool – Community Revitalization Roadmap

Mar 09, 2017
061: Plan4Health: Fighting Deadly Chronic Diseases Through Better Planning
19:08

Topic:

How Community Design Impacts lives

In This Episode:

01:31 Elizabeth Hartig is introduced.
01:40 Elizabeth shares how she became involved in planning for health issues.
02:23 Elizabeth tells about the American Planning Association.
03:02 Elizabeth states if there are specific objectives to achieve with the Plan4Health initiative.
04:08 Elizabeth relays the degree to which community design impacts health versus access to healthcare.
05:05 Elizabeth answers the question of how to move to a more healthy-community design.
07:18 Elizabeth shares her thoughts on what needs to be done to get a faster-moving healthy-community movement.
08:36 Elizabeth provides the degree to which her work focuses on communities that have a lower quality of health outcomes and what needs to be done for those communities to be healthier.
10:54 Elizabeth relates what she is doing to get the people who are building communities to be more responsive to the urban walkable-community market demand.
12:37 Elizabeth tells where can people learn more about Plan4Health.
13:53 Elizabeth provides the first steps to making healthier communities.
15:38 Mike mentions one of the biggest mistakes that planners make.
16:06 Elizabeth comments on the mistake that planners make.
16:59 Elizabeth mentions if there is an expected end to the program or if it’s ongoing.


Guest:

Elizabeth Hartig joined the American Planning Association (APA) as a project coordinator for the Planning and Community Health Center in January 2015. Immediately prior, Elizabeth was a program officer with the Chicago Foundation for Women, leading the foundation’s volunteer grantmaking committee, managing the final evaluation plan for each proposal and supporting the foundation’s grantee community. Elizabeth received her master of arts in social administration from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration and has worked in a variety of direct service and administrative positions.

Organization:

Plan4Health is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The American Planning Association’s Planning and Community Health Center is an awardee of the CDC’s National Implementation and Dissemination for Chronic Disease Prevention funding opportunity. Plan4Health is one community within the larger project — sharing lessons learned and expertise with the American Heart Association; the National Women, Infants, and Children; Society for Public Health Education; and Directors of Health Promotion and Education.


Take Away Quotes:

“My background is actually in social work, so I worked with a community foundation in Chicago, really thinking about how we can reach vulnerable populations, how we can support families and women and girls, and a lot of our work focused around places, so where people were and how that impacted their lives and their health and their choices. So when the opportunity to work with a Plan4Health project came up, I was really excited to take this to a deeper level and really think about how the design of our communities can impact our lives.”

“APA is a membership organization. We have about 38,000 members across the country. Our members are working at all different levels, with local communities, in regions, really thinking about how we can create healthy, vibrant communities.”

“APA was awarded a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September of 2014, so we are in our second-and-a-half year of the project, and, really, the goal of the award and the goal of our overall project is to prevent chronic disease. So, how do we do that? We can make it easier to walk and bike and increase opportunities for physical activity, and we can also make it easier to get healthy food.”

“I think a lot of times we think about health equalling healthcare, but, really, most of your health is not happening at the doctor’s office, it’s happening in your daily life.”

Resources:

Plan4Health

2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference

Local Government Commission

Planners4Health Project

American Planning Association (APA)

APA’s Planning and Community Health Center

Mar 02, 2017
060: Is the Smart-Growth Movement at an Inflection Point?
21:07

Topic:

Sustainability and Economic Opportunity and Inclusion

In This Episode:

01:24 Co-host Kif Scheuer is introduced.
01:32 Julie Seward is introduced.
01:40 Julie shares how she became interested in working in resiliency, sustainability, and community equity.
03:14 Julie describes the biggest successes and the biggest challenges in the smart-growth movement.
05:23 Julie speaks about the subtopics and interconnected terms of the smart-growth movement and if there’s confusion for the public.
06:47 Julie comments on who is involved in the smart-growth movement and the roles they play.
08:28 Julie addresses challenging issues that go beyond jurisdictional boundaries.
10:41 Julie states how to weave together thriving-economy areas and non-thriving-economy areas of the country.
14:37 Kif mentions the economic imbalance of coastal urban areas, valuable resources we have under a stressed climate, and the “makers and takers” of the environment.
15:35 Julie expresses her thoughts on the future leaders who may be able to help shape the future
16:50 Mike adds to the discussion his opinion that the biggest need is for people to have equitable opportunity to participate in the economy.
18:29 Julie responds with her perspective on economic inclusion, urban economies, and the inflection point.

Co-Host:

Kif Scheuer joins the Infinite Earth Radio as the co-host for this episode. Kif Scheuer is the Climate Change Program Director at the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kif is a solution-oriented sustainability professional with a strong history of engaging diverse audiences in real-world climate protection efforts through innovative, market-focused research and analysis, creative program design, effective project implementation, and compelling public advocacy and education. In 2013 Kif organized the first California Adaptation Forum, which attracted over 800 attendees and served to kick start the statewide conversation on adaptation. Kif led the development and growth of one of the LGC’s key coalitions – the Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation, a statewide network focused on addressing adaptation at the regional scale.

Guest:

Julie Seward is the Principal of Julia Seward Consulting. Julie is skilled at building the foundation for long-term initiatives and transforming strategies into actions. Her consulting work often involves finding solutions and promoting common goals and collaboration among highly diverse stakeholders. Julie’s particular areas of interest and experience include building sustainable communities through smart growth; creating and integrating state policy partnerships; and planning and orchestrating conferences and meetings that produce innovative outcomes.

Organization:

Julia Seward Consulting provides strategic planning, project management and implementation, and facilitation to national organizations, local, state, and regional governing bodies, community based organizations, foundations and consulting firms.

Take Away Quotes:

“The biggest success in the smart-growth movement, in fact, is there is a smart-growth movement that is understood, and smart growth is now a fairly accepted frame of reference for people. If you had asked people a decade ago what that means, certainly there are a core of people who would understand that, but many people would not have. I think there’s huge success and the…people that are involved in smart growth should really claim great credit for having really created something that has become a common word for people in the United States. Sustainability is now a part, I think, of the way most people think about the work they do—certainly not that way a decade ago—so I think in some ways that’s the greatest success is it’s become an integral part of the way people think about their lives.”

“Well, I think sometimes we even confuse ourselves. Yeah, I think in many people’s minds they [the interconnected terms of smart growth] are the same thing. I think that people assume that if you are a smart place, you are a resilient place, and that means not only do you deal with some type of disaster well but also do you deal with the stresses that are inside your communities. So, in my mind, I guess, when I hear the word resilience, I love the word itself—I think it sort of says what it is—but how that gets connected into and used in the same context of smart, I don’t think we clearly know. But many people would say smart growth is no longer, perhaps, the best way to describe what we’re about. So maybe resilience is becoming the way we describe that work in the future.”

“Equity is sort of a word that, as my father would have said, you can drive a truck through; it means many different things to many different people. But I think that people that are trying to work around equity issues now, a lot of that conversation is moving toward economic inclusion as a way they like to think about equity as we move forward. And to me there’s a great connector between that and sustainability and resilience, and how that’s something that is afforded to everyone and is that something that, in fact, can apply to all communities in an equitable way, because when you’re thinking about equity or economic inclusion, it’s just not about individuals; it really is about cities and towns…so that whole concept, I think, of economic inclusion becomes something that could, well, potentially certainly could cover a lot of that work that’s going on among all those actors.”

Resources:

2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference

Local Government Commission

Feb 23, 2017
059: Affordable Housing-Walking the Inclusionary-Zoning Tightrope
29:48

Topic:

Serving Lower-Income Families Through Inclusionary Housing

In This Episode:

01:13 Co-host Kate Meis is introduced.
01:21 Sasha Hauswald is introduced.
01:30 Sasha shares how she ended up working on affordable-housing issues.
02:21 Sasha talks about some of the tools that cities are using to ensure that there is a supply of affordable housing so that families can stay together.
04:33 Sasha conveys her thoughts on challenges that municipalities have with providing affordable housing.
05:10 Sasha explains how inclusionary zoning is used.
06:42 Sasha states if there’s an incentive to the developer to include inclusionary housing.
08:33 Sasha elaborates if the impact of housing affordability is long term or short term.
10:28 Sasha discusses how one has to think of inclusionary housing differently in strong versus weaker up-and-coming markets.
16:13 Sasha addresses if there is anything else in the inclusionary zoning, beyond incentives to developers, that can incentivize more housing creation.
20:04 Sasha communicates why affordable housing should matter for those who already have housing.
22:47 Sasha comments on how policy decisions can favor or disfavor certain people.
24:32 Sasha gives advice on how smaller communities can get started on this conversation around affordable housing.
26:11 Mike mentions the importance for people to understand zoning and how that impacts housing prices.
27:20 Kate discusses the misalignment of the planning process with zoning codes.
28:20 Sasha shares how people can learn more about her work.

Guest/Organization:

Prior to serving as Director of State and Local Policy at Grounded Solutions Network, Sasha was Senior Program Officer at Cornerstone Partnership, where she led Cornerstone’s inclusionary housing engagements and activities. Before that, Sasha worked in at the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development where she oversaw legislative affairs, strategic planning, and program evaluation projects as Public Policy manager.

Grounded Solutions Network is supporting strong communities from the ground up. We work nationally, connecting local experts with the networks, knowledge and support they need. Grounded Solutions Network helps promote housing solutions that will stay affordable for generations so communities can stabilize and strengthen their foundation, for good.

Take Away Quotes:

“I started off working in foster care, and a lot of the kids who I was looking after in foster care were trying to be reunited with their families, but their parents were not able to find housing. So their parents are dropped in shelters, and the kids are dropped in foster care, and I just realized that it was sort of an underlying issue that was keeping families apart.”

“[Kate] read a study that said that there isn’t a county anywhere in the nation that can fill all of its low-income-population need for affordable housing.”

“Now, places are finding that they have affordability challenges even for moderate-income workers, and it’s just become a problem that affects “normal people” in “normal places,” so it’s not just the super-hot markets or the extremely low income anymore.”

“There are, I’d say, ecological benefits, economic benefits, and social benefits. The ecological benefits are that if people have to drive really far from some very far out suburb into their job in the city, then, it’s polluting the air for all of us, and that’s something that isn’t just impacting that family that has to drive. If you’re empathetic, you might feel bad that they have to drive for two hours to get to their job, but, regardless… The economic benefit is that there are businesses that need employees of all wage levels everywhere, especially in job centers…so businesses need affordable housing in order to be able to survive because they need to be able to pay their workers a level that the business can actually feasibly make happen, given what their revenue stream looks like. The third reason, the social benefit, is that we know concentrated poverty leads to bad outcomes for kids, and if you have all of the kids who are of the lowest income all living together in a far out place, then we know that those kids are going to grow up to have poor academic achievement, poor economic outcomes, and poor health outcomes, which is bad, again, for our infrastructure, our hospitals, and our economy.”

Resources:

Grounded Solutions

Policy Link’s Equity Tools

National Low Income Housing Coalition

2017 New Partners for Smart Growth conference

Local Government Commission

Feb 15, 2017
058: Entrepreneurship and Place-Based Economic Development
23:06

In This Episode:

01:14 Erik Pages is introduced.
01:39 Erik talks about how he ended up focusing his work in economic development and entrepreneurship.
02:27 Erik supplies the keys to success of communities that have reinvented themselves.
03:38 Erik explains why his approach to economic recovery is not more widely used.
04:44 Erik shares an example of a community that’s been successful with his kind of economic-recovery approach.
05:28 Erik describes what a place-based approach is.
06:17 Erik provides an example of someplace in Coal Country that is taking the place-based approach.
07:14 Erik gives advice to those living in a community that needed to reinvent itself.
08:04 Erick makes known how to leverage the entrepreneurial talent that’s found in every community.
09:12 Erik states how communities can make themselves more resilient to economic changes.
10:53 Erik tells if it’s possible to build an economy that will keep people’s jobs since technology is replacing some jobs.
12:25 Erik shares his thoughts on the Trump administration’s objective of creating more jobs through better trade deals and a better tax structure.
13:49 Erik speaks to the opportunity of the coal economy coming back.
15:46 Erik expresses how people can help the people in Coal Country make an easier transition so that they might have more political support for an alternative-energy economy.
17:20 Erik proposes a national-level policy that would move our economy forward.
19:18 Erik shares if there is a need of a better system for re-training and job-transition programs.
19:55 Erik gives his suggestion that would allow easier and faster reinvention of communities.
20:43 Erik tells how people can learn more about his work and entrepreneurial economic development.

Guest:

Erik Pages is the President of EntreWorks Consulting, an economic development consulting and policy development firm focused on helping communities and organizations achieve their entrepreneurial potential.

Learn More About Erik

Organization:

Based in Arlington, VA, EntreWorks Consulting is an economic development consulting and policy development firm focused on helping communities, businesses, and organizations achieve their entrepreneurial potential. EntreWorks works with a diverse base of clients including state and local governments, Chambers of Commerce, business leaders, educational institutions, and non-profits. Since its founding, EntreWorks has worked with customers in forty states and overseas. EntreWorks Consulting works with communities, organizations, and civic leaders to design, implement, and promote innovative economic development strategies, policies, and programs. They help create and publicize the best of new thinking about community economic development. Their work is based on a belief that entrepreneurship in all its forms is the key to revitalizing our communities, ranging from the booming technology hot spots to distressed rural and urban communities.

Take Away Quotes:

“I think I come at entrepreneurship from a slightly different perspective of most people. I’m not one of these people that adores Bill Gates or adores Steve Jobs. I’m interested in entrepreneurship because I think it’s an economic-development strategy that’s available to all communities, unlike some other, say, high-tech-development strategy. So that’s why I’m a big fan of entrepreneurship, and I think it’s an economic-development strategy that can fit in almost any kind of community.”

“I do think that there’s a couple things that successful communities do. One is that they engage everybody in the community. It’s not just a handful of leaders doing it. The other thing—and this is really the biggest challenge for economic-development folks—is you need to, what we like to say is, hit for singles, not for home runs. Don’t try to replace all of the lost jobs in one fell swoop, because that’s not possible. Recovery from an economic shock takes time, and you have to be in there for the long haul, and you’ve got to rebuild yourself one job at a time. That’s the way to do it.”

“When we look at economic development, you could have a place-based strategy that tries to make a place better for business or for individuals, and we also have a people-based strategy where you provide education and training to people and give them the skills you want. Most of the programs that we have in the United States—public programs, at least—are people-based programs, primarily education and training programs. We don’t invest as much as we should in place-based programs that are trying to improve the quality of life in a place, that could improve the business prospects of a place so that every community, no matter where you live, you could have economic opportunity.”

Resources:

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 56: Autonomous Vehicles—The Future Much Sooner Than You Think, with Lisa Nisenson & Ryan Snyder

2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference

EntreWorks Consulting

Center for Rural Entrepreneurship

Kauffman Foundation

U.S. Economic Development Administration

National Association of Development Organizations

Feb 09, 2017
057: Missing Middle Housing: Responding to the Demand for Walkable Urban Living
22:13

Topic:

The Shift in Demand for Walkable Urban Living

In This Episode:

01:16 Daniel Parolek is introduced.
01:53 Daniel tells about when he first knew that architecture and urban design were going to be what he would do for a living.
03:11 Daniel answers the question of, what is missing middle housing?
06:09 Daniel speaks of the transition to support the housing that would support more walkable communities.
08:15 Daniel addresses if it’s possible to create a more diverse mix of housing options in communities that are already built out.
10:32 Daniel identifies how to adapt building codes to allow for a more diverse mix of housing.
12:59 Daniel talks about using floor-area ratio in a residential context.
14:16 Daniel gives his thoughts on the affordability benefits of missing middle housing.
16:09 Daniel discusses the good response from builders and developers.
19:01 Daniel mentions if there’s been any work done on how a community’s finances are affected.
20:02 Daniel says where people can learn more about his work and more about missing middle housing.

Guest:

Daniel Parolek is a nationally recognized thought leader in architecture, design, and urban planning, specifically in terms of creating livable, sustainable communities and buildings that reinforce them. He is the founder and a Principle at Opticos – an architectural and urban design firm located in Berkeley CA.

Learn More About Daniel

Organization:

Opticos Design, Inc. is an award-winning multidisciplinary design firm founded in Berkeley, CA, that specializes in creating great places by revitalizing old ones and creating new pedestrian-oriented neighborhoods and cities by designing well-crafted traditional and classical architecture. They are recognized nationally as leaders in their field and have won various awards for their diverse work. Their designs emphasize the creation of vibrant, sustainable communities, comfortable pedestrian environments, and memorable places that will withstand the test of time. Opticos was named to B Lab’s “2013 B Corp Best for the Workers List,” honoring the top 10% of all Certified B Corporations in the world that have made a positive impact on their workforce.

Learn More About Opticos

Take Away Quotes:

“…actually, I wrote an essay when I was in sixth grade about wanting to be an architect, so I guess it was maybe between growing up in a really great, sort of vibrant community and also being let loose on my grandfather’s farm and having lots of time to build lots of cool forts out of stacked hay bales and treehouses and such, sort of, ultimately, ended up me having a real interest and passion for it.”

“[Missing Middle Housing] is the scale of housing in between single-family homes and sort of the four- and five-story apartment buildings, and it’s the duplex, it’s a fourplex, it’s a small-courtyard apartment or a bungalow court, that this range of housing types exist in every pre-1940’s neighborhood across the country. Some of them are usually mixed in with other, even, single-family homes, and they make up a really vibrant part of a community and provide housing choices in those places that they exist.”

“We’ve also been having great conversations with builders, builder’s who’ve historically built mostly single-family homes, that are realizing that they need to shift and add these missing middle housing types to their portfolios to respond to the shift in demand. Even apartment builders are starting to look at this as well.”

“What we find is a lot of our work is actually being hired by cities to go and fix their zoning codes, and a lot of times it entails writing a form-based code, which is just a different approach to it, and the biggest thing is we’ve created these, both, planning and zoning systems based on density, which is the number of dwelling units per acre, and just inherently, out of the starting gate, if you have a system that allows a certain number of dwelling units per acre, it is discouraging and creating an unlevel playing field for small units.”

Resources:

Keep up with the exciting happenings at the 2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference –happening February 2-4, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri!

Missing Middle Housing

Sign up for updates and more information about Missing Middle Housing from Opticos

Opticos Design

Feb 02, 2017
056: Autonomous Vehicles—The Future Much Sooner Than You Think
27:27

Topic:

The Inevitable Future of Transportation

In This Episode:

01:10 Mike shares how to register for the 2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference.
01:16 Mike describes the Infinite Earth Lab program and how to sign up.
02:17 Lisa Nisenson is introduced.
02:39 Ryan Snyder is introduced.
03:06 Ryan explains what an autonomous vehicle is.
03:54 Lisa gives her sense of what the timing is for autonomous vehicles to come and what the state of the technology is.
04:47 Ryan discusses autonomous technology and cab services.
05:47 Mike comments that those who will save money because they won’t have to pay drivers will move faster.
06:13 Ryan replies with his perspective that commercial vehicles will move first toward autonomous vehicles.
06:39 Lisa mentions that there are different phases for incorporating autonomous vehicles.
07:32 Ryan gives his view of potential implications in terms of infrastructure and community design.
08:53 Lisa shares her thoughts of potential implications in terms of infrastructure and community design.
10:08 Ryan talks about the shape and size of autonomous vehicles.
11:31 Lisa also talks about the shape and size of autonomous vehicles.
12:15 Ryan speaks of lane size in relation to autonomous-vehicle size.
13:21 Lisa speaks of lane size in relation to autonomous-vehicle size.
14:00 Lisa provides the benefits of moving to autonomous vehicles.
14:49 Ryan discusses the benefits of moving to autonomous vehicles.
17:06 Lisa identifies some of the challenges in moving to autonomous vehicles.
17:39 Ryan states some of the challenges in moving to autonomous vehicles.
18:49 Mike discusses the inevitable job loss.
24:14 Ryan expresses what the transportation system looks like 30 years from now, if the technology and the vehicles work correctly.
25:00 Lisa adds her perspective on what the transportation system looks like 30 years from now, if the technology and the vehicles work correctly.
26:05 Ryan adds additional comments on the transportation system.

Guests/Organizations:

Lisa Nisenson has 20 years of experience and leadership in smart growth, sustainable development and civic engagement. She founded an award-winning tech startup, GreaterPlaces, will release a mobile app in May and is working with Alta Planning + Design to integrate technology into health, active communities.

GreaterPlaces is an award-winning website, forthcoming mobile app and consulting firm. The demand for smart city + emerging transportation is growing, even as cities, suburbs & towns invest more in walkable, bikeable and sustainable design. The mission of GreaterPlaces is to help you create a greater community by providing a visual, organized trove of placemaking and community planning solutions.

Ryan Snyder is Principal with Transpo Group, a transportation planning and engineering firm that prepares sustainable transportation plans. Ryan is a widely known presenter, activist, and educator and has established himself as one of the forefront experts of the Complete Streets movement.

Transpo Group is a specialty transportation planning and engineering services firm with offices in Washington, California, and the Middle East. Transpo plans and designs transportation systems for people — not just drivers of cars and trucks, but also the pedestrians and cyclists who share these systems. They create connected solutions that enable a sustainable tomorrow for communities of all sizes, and still get everyone safely where they need to go today. Their team of engineers, planners, and technical resources includes- a full range of skilled experts that have assisted clients with transportation planning and traffic engineering services since 1975.

Take Away Quotes:

“There are, what we call, five levels of autonomous vehicles that have been identified. The first level is where you just have your basic sort of technology that we’ve had for years—for example, cruise control, and now we’re getting adaptive cruise control and lane assist and park assist. Level two is where you combine two of those together and can use them simultaneously. Level three is where the driver can let the car do the driving most of the time but has to intervene at certain intervals. Level four is full self-driving, except that it’s kind of restricted as to where it can go. And level five is unrestricted, fully self-driving.

“I’m pretty certain that within ten to fifteen years we will see a significant number of fully self-driving vehicles on our streets and roads.”

“One of the big things that we are looking at is, what happens in areas with heavy pedestrian and traffic, because in the first sort of rah-rah statements people had—yay, cars will stop for pedestrians and the death rate will be lower—but what is missing is what happens when there’s a hundred cars and two hundred pedestrians for whom crossing in the middle of the street now carries little risk because they won’t get hit, and all of a sudden traffic comes to a halt and there’s gridlock?”

Resources:

Register for the 2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – February 2-4, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri! Add our brand new Infinite Earth Lab training to your conference registration and receive a special discount.

Sign up to attend the FREE training - Equitable Development in Practice– Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 1:30 Eastern

GreaterPlaces

Transpo Group

Jan 26, 2017
055: Solving the Affordable Housing Crisis
30:30

Topic:

What’s Driving the Affordability Problem

In This Episode:

01:53 Mike shares how to register for the 2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference.
02:04 Mike describes the Infinite Earth Lab program and how to register to be involved.
03:00 Jeff Bellisario is introduced.
03:21 Shannon Peloquin is introduced.
03:51 Jeff reflects on what he finds so compelling about community development.
06:06 Shannon shares how affordable housing and community development motivate her.
07:49 Jeff conveys how significant the affordability problem is in the San Francisco Bay Area.
09:39 Shannon also states how significant the affordability problem is in the San Francisco Bay Area.
11:25 Jeff addresses the drivers of the affordability problem.
13:13 Shannon gives her perspective of what’s driving the affordability problem.
14:13 Jeff discusses the population of San Francisco and job growth in that area.
16:26 Shannon supplies her thoughts of what San Francisco needs to do to alleviate the housing affordability crisis.
18:39 Jeff weighs in with his opinion of what San Francisco needs to do to alleviate the housing affordability crisis.
19:52 Shannon discusses financial incentives to create commercial development.
22:46 Jeff adds to the discussion of financial incentives.
23:30 Shannon describes what’s currently happening in the San Francisco Bay Area to create housing.
24:24 Shannon mentions if there have been any housing-shortage studies done in the Bay Area.
25:19 Jeff contributes to the topic of housing-shortage studies.
26:20 Shannon identifies what needs to happen to make progress on the affordable housing issue.
28:19 Jeff tells his thoughts on what needs to happen to make progress on the affordable housing issue.

Guests/Organizations:

Jeff Bellisario is a Research Manager for the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. He supports a wide range of Institute research through project management, research design, and analysis. His research interests lie at the intersection of community development and finance, and his past projects include analyses of Bay Area housing programs, public-private partnerships for infrastructure, and the economic impacts of transportation investments. Prior to joining the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, Jeff worked in Chicago in various portfolio management and investment analysis positions for John Hancock Financial Services and State Farm. Jeff holds an MPP degree from the UC-Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy and a BS in Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He enjoys long runs through the hills of the East Bay and cheering on his favorite baseball team, the Chicago Cubs.

The Bay Area Council Economic Institute is a public-private partnership of business, labor, government and higher education, that works to support the economic vitality and competitiveness of California and the Bay Area. Its work builds on the twenty-year record of fact-based economic analysis and policy leadership of the Bay Area Economic Forum, which merged with the Bay Area Council in January 2008. The Bay Area Council and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) are the Institute’s leading institutional partners. The Economic Institute also supports and manages the Bay Area Science and Innovation Consortium (BASIC), a partnership of Northern California’s leading scientific research institutions and laboratories.Through its economic and policy research and partnerships, the Economic Institute addresses major issues impacting the competitiveness, economic development and quality of life of the region and the state, including infrastructure, globalization, science and technology, and governance. Its Board of Trustees, which oversees the development of its products and initiatives, is composed of leaders representing business, labor, government, higher education, science and technology, philanthropy and the community.

Shannon Peloquin is an Associate Partner in McKinsey’s San Francisco Office and a leader in their Infrastructure, Electric Power & Natural Gas (EPNG), and Aerospace & Defense practices. Prior to rejoining McKinsey in 2012, Shannon worked in the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) Office of the Chairman. She holds an M.B.A. from Stanford and a Bachelor of Science in Business in Marketing and Non-Profit Management, summa cum laude, from the University of Minnesota.

McKinsey & Company is a global management consulting firm that serves leading businesses, governments, non governmental organizations, and not-for-profits. They help their clients make lasting improvements to their performance and realize their most important goals. Over nearly a century, they’ve built a firm uniquely equipped to this task.

Take Away Quotes:

“Just to throw a couple numbers out, average rents in San Francisco are over $3,500 a month; median home prices are over $1.3 million; and these are numbers that you don’t see anywhere else—maybe Manhattan. So in San Francisco, it’s an issue of there not being enough housing supply to meet all of the demand.”

“What does ‘affordable’ mean? We use ‘affordable,’ and when I talk about ‘affordable,’ it is households that are spending more than 30 percent of their pre-tax income on housing-related expenses…What is ‘affordable’ housing? That is kind of also based on kind of a standard, call it two bedroom, one bath for a family or a household of four.”

“When we look at San Francisco and we use that affordability threshold, what we found is that more than 70 percent of San Francisco households are cost-burdened, and when we say ‘cost-burdened,’ it’s they are spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing-related expenses.”

Resources:

Register for the 2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – February 2-4, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri! Add our brand new Infinite Earth Lab training to your conference registration and receive a special discount.

Sign up to attend the FREE training - Equitable Development in Practice– Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 1:30 Eastern

Local Government Commission

Bay Area Council Economic Institute

Bay Area Council

McKinsey & Company

McKinsey’s Infrastructure, Electric Power & Natural Gas (EPNG)

McKinsey’s Aerospace & Defense

Jan 19, 2017
054: New Partners for Smart Growth 2017
35:06

Topic:

Leaving a Lasting, Tangible Impact

In This Episode:

01:44 Mike shares how to register for the 2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference.
01:54 Mike tells how to register for the Equitable Development training from Infinite Earth Academy.
02:31 Kate Meis is introduced.
02:53 Kate expresses what she is most excited about for this year’s Conference.
06:24 Kate conveys the time frame for the projects to be done in St. Louis.
07:01 Kate mentions some of the key topics of the Conference.
09:05 Kate identifies some challenges of continuing the momentum towards smarter, more sustainable communities.
12:49 Mike discusses environmental policies and the effects of moving to a carbon-neutral economy.
14:26 Kate comments about what smart growth looks like.
16:04 Kate describes her thoughts on what she sees are the most promising developments that are impacting smarter and more sustainable communities.
19:43 Mike mentions the arrival of self-driving cars and trucks and that driving is one of the biggest employers in the U.S.
22:35 Kate weighs in on the topic of job automation.
23:46 Mike replies how the economy won’t function and that we shouldn’t be afraid of technology.
24:34 Kate responds that we should rethink what change means for our education system and workforce training.
25:31 Kate relates what the change in administrations might mean for smart growth and sustainability efforts.
32:00 Mike talks about the high demand for walkable, smart-growth communities and about the shifting economics of energy markets.
33:04 Kate agrees about the market momentum.
33:54 Mike tells how to register for the Conference in St. Louis.

Guest:

Kate Meis is the Executive Director of the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kate is a champion for local governments, a recognized leader in local climate change adaptation, mitigation and clean energy efforts, and an ardent coalition builder. She obtained a Masters of Science degree in Community and Regional Development from the University of California, Davis, and has a Sociology Bachelor’ s degree from California State University, Sonoma.

Organization:

For over 35 years LGC has connected cutting-edge leaders from across the nation. Together they are advancing transformative policies and implementing innovative solutions for sustainable communities. LGC works to build livable communities and local leadership by connecting leaders via innovative programs and network opportunities, advancing policies through participation at the local and state level, and implementing solutions as a technical assistance provider and advisor to local jurisdictions. With roots in California and a national reputation, LGC offers inspiration, information, and partnership for local and regional champions dedicated to building thriving communities that integrate civic engagement with environmental, social and economic priorities.

Take Away Quotes:

“This year I’m really looking forward to having a tangible impact in the community we’re going to be in in St. Louis. So, in the past we’ve gone, we’ve had a great few days, we’ve done local tours, we’ve engaged our local partners through a local advisory committee, and we’ve made some great partnerships and some great connections, but we had never really utilized all these experts we’re bringing together across the nation to leave a lasting impact in our host city. So that’s our priority this year.”

“We will also be working with some art organizations in three neighborhoods to provide some technical assistance and in critical areas that they identify, and then also working with some local youth to build and install three large, what they’re calling, mandalas in each neighborhood. So they’ll be painted on wood and weatherized, and they’ll be really large installations that focus on themes of transportation and urban renewal.”

“In the U.S. we have roughly four times more parking spaces than vehicles, so I see huge potential to open up that space and to really have communities invest in housing people rather than our cars. And I think the timing is really right for that sort of a revolution: we have seen the pace of car use slowing, people up until now are pretty maxed out on their commute distances, we see millennials turning away from the car, and, like I said, we are seeing ride sharing increasing pretty exponentially.”

Resources:

Register for the 2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – February 2-4, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri! Add our brand new Infinite Earth Lab training to your conference registration and receive a special discount.

Sign up to attend the FREE training - Equitable Development in Practice– Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 1:30 Eastern

Local Government Commission

Jan 12, 2017
053: Civil Rights and Access to Recreation and Open Space (Re-release)
36:40

Topic:

Advancing Racial, Social, and Environmental Equality

In This Episode:

01:23 Mike announces the Infinite Earth Lab training program.
02:44 Mike explains this episode of Infinite Earth Radio.
03:11 Robert Garcia is introduced.
04:07 Robert explains when he realized fighting for civil rights would be his life’s work.
05:37 Robert describes the victory of the Bus Riders Union versus the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
07:51 Robert shares why Title VI of the Civil Rights Act is an important tool in the battle for environmental justice.
12:24 If those who receive federal funding violate the agreement of Title VI, what can the federal government do?
16:19 Robert explains why The City Project is focused on equal access to natural resources.
21:00 Robert discusses his efforts to restore the Los Angeles River.
25:07 Robert shares what it was like for The City Project to be involved in creating new national monuments.
28:47 How will the communities with newly restored natural areas going to benefit from the investment and the restoration and not become displaced?
33:33 Robert shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
33:59 Robert describes the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
34:19 Robert explains what California, our national parks, our natural resources and monuments look like 30 years from now.

Guest:

Robert García is a civil rights attorney who engages, educates, and empowers communities to seek equal access to public and natural resources. He is the Founding Director and Counsel of The City Project, a non-profit legal and policy advocacy organization in Los Angeles, California. Robert graduated from Stanford University and Stanford Law School and is an Assistant Professor at Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science.

Robert has extensive experience in public policy, legal advocacy, mediation, and litigation involving complex social justice, civil rights, human health, environmental, education, and criminal justice matters. He has influenced the investment of over $43 billion in underserved communities, working at the intersection of equal justice, public health, and the built environment. He served as chairman of the Citizens’ School Bond Oversight Committee for five years, helping raise over $27 billion to build new, and modernize existing, public schools as centers of their communities in Los Angeles. He has helped communities create and preserve great urban parks and preserve access to beaches and trails. He has helped diversify support for and access to state resource bonds, with unprecedented levels of support among communities of color and low-income communities, and billions of dollars for urban parks. He served on the Development Team for the National Park Service Healthy Parks, Healthy People Community Engagement eGuide.

Robert served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund. He received the President’s Award from the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice for helping release Geronimo Pratt, the former Black Panther leader, from prison after 27 years for a crime he did not commit. He represented people on Death Row in Georgia, Florida, and Mississippi. Stanford Law School called him a “civil rights giant” and Stanford Magazine “an inspiration.” Robert served on the Justice and Peace Commission for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles under Cardinal Roger Mahony. He is an immigrant who came to the U.S. from Guatemala at age four.

Mr. Garcia’s Publications

Organization:

The City Project, a non-profit legal and policy advocacy team in Los Angeles, California. The City Project works with diverse allies on equal access to (1) healthy green land use through community planning; (2) climate justice; (3) quality education including physical education; (4) health equity; and (5) economic vitality for all, including creating jobs and avoiding displacement.

President Barack Obama and federal agencies are catapulting The City Project’s work on green access to the national level. As the President recognized in dedicating the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, “Too many children, . . . especially children of color, don’t have access to parks where they can run free, breathe fresh air, experience nature, and learn about their environment. This is an issue of social justice.” Conservation isn’t about locking away our natural treasures. “It’s about working with communities to open up our glorious heritage to everybody — young and old, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American — to make sure everybody can experience these incredible gifts.”

The National Park Service and the US Army Corps of Engineers agree. Their studies on green access and the Santa Monica Mountains, the San Gabriel Mountains, and the Los Angeles River rely on The City Project’s analyses to document that there are disparities in access to green space for people of color and low-income people in Los Angeles, that these disparities contribute to health disparities, and that environmental justice requires agencies to address these disparities. The City Project worked with Ranking Member Raul Grijalva and the House Natural Resources Committee to organize the historic forum on environmental justice, climate, and health. The forum included seven Members of Congress and community advocates at the L.A. River Center in 2015.

Take Away Quotes:

“I am a civil rights attorney. I am an environmental justice and health attorney. We consider environmental justice the environmental arm of the civil rights movement, and we focus most specifically on equal access to parks and recreation—we have since we started The City Project in 2000—and many people wonder, how is that a civil rights issue? But, in fact, access to parks has been a central part of the civil rights movement ever since Brown versus Board of Education.”

“We’ve always recognized that equal access to public resources is a core part of the battle for justice and dignity for all.”

“Residential segregation contributes to many of the disparities that we see in cities and rural areas—disparities in fair housing, decent housing; disparities in health; disparities in access to green space; disparities in quality education; disparities in the kinds of jobs you have access to; disparities in transportation to get to the jobs and schools and parks; and in general, disparities in infrastructure.”

“It’s not only the parks that have been created—and there are many—and it’s not even the planning process and the compliance with the law—which is rewarding; ultimately, we measure success by the smiles on children’s faces from playing in parks and schools that did not exist before. And that’s what we’re the most proud of.”

Resources:

The City Project – Equal Justice, Democracy, and Livability for All

Donate to The City Project

Read The City Project’s Fact Sheet

The Loneliness of Being Black in San Francisco – NY Times

2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference

Register for the Conference!

Get on the Infinite Earth Lab Waiting List!

"Using Civil Rights Tools to Address Health Disparities" - Policy Report, The City Project, 2015 
Learn about civil rights tools and the 5-step compliance and equity analysis

Jan 05, 2017
052: Affordable Housing and Employment Patterns in the San Francisco Bay Area (Re-release)
35:27

Topic:

How High-Wage Jobs Affect Affordable Housing

In This Episode:

01:22 Mike announces the Infinite Earth Lab training program.
02:52 Mike explains this episode of Infinite Earth Radio.
03:25 Dr. Chris Benner is introduced.
04:23 Chris shares his background and what draws him to issues of economic and social equity and inclusion.
06:40 Chris gives the importance of education for disadvantaged populations for our economic future.
07:09 Chris explains a study of job growth in the San Francisco Bay Area.
09:54 Chris gives information about the next study and how people can get access to it.
10:34 Chris shares the report findings of a lack of housing affordability is causing displacement of residents and long commutes.
12:53 Chris explains the report data of a significant number of low-wage jobs are being created but no new affordable housing units are being created.
15:04 What are the policy implications? What can we do to fix this problem of no new affordable housing?
18:18 Do you see any indication that there’s a movement to create inclusionary zoning or some kind of development incentives to create more affordable housing?
19:54 Are San Franciscans changing how they think of themselves since the city’s character seems to be changing and it now seems to be a city that people can’t afford to live in?
21:52 Chris explains, within a regional context, how residents are needed to have the basis for the sales tax to buy goods.
23:15 Chris shares how he was made aware of the dynamic of people in poor communities who are shopping in other places that are benefiting from the tax dollars being spent there.
24:28 Mike brings up the fact, and Chris agrees, that the poor pay more in regard to commuting time, cost of commuting, and quality-of-life and economic implications.
26:20 Chris explains how the job, inequality, and political crises play out in the context of housing affordability and the overall quality of life in the Bay Area.
30:14 Chris shares where people can go to learn more about his work.
31:14 Chris provides one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
32:26 Chris explains the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
33:24 Chris shares what the world looks like 30 years from now.

Guest:

Dr. Chris Benner is the Dorothy E. Everett Chair in Global Information and Social Entrepreneurship, Director of the Everett Program for Digital Tools for Social Innovation, and Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His research focuses on the relationships between technological change, regional development, and structures of economic opportunity, focusing on regional labor markets and the transformation of work and employment patterns. He is the author of multiple books including Just Growth: Inclusion and Prosperity in America’s Metropolitan Regions, co-authored with Manuel Pastor (Professor of Sociology and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California), which helps uncover the processes, policies and institutional arrangements that help explain how certain regions around the country have been able to consistently link prosperity and inclusion. His most recent book, also co-authored with Manuel Pastor is titled Equity, Growth, and Community: What the Nation Can Learn from America’s Metro Areas. Benner’s work has also included providing research assistance to a range of organizations promoting equity and expanded opportunity, including the Coalition on Regional Equity (Sacramento), Working Partnerships USA (San Jose), the California Labor Federation, and the Congress of South African Trade Unions among others. He received his Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisBenner

Chris’ email is cbenner@ucsc.edu

Organization:

The Everett Program – Digital Tools for Social Innovation at the University of California, Santa Cruz merges the enthusiasm of student leaders with information technology to promote structural social change by building social networking capacity across non-governmental and community-based organizations. Everett’s goal is create a new generation of “info-savvy” advocates using information technology to overcome informational exclusion–based barriers to civic participation and social justice. The learning goes both ways: While advancing the larger public good, Everett students accumulate valuable technical knowledge, while sharpening their leadership and project management skills.

Take Away Quotes:

“I got into this work…[had] sort of a broad interest in social-justice issues, both domestically and internationally, and for me that interest is really rooted in, just, I care about the future; and if you care about the future, you have to care about those populations that have been historically marginalized, because they are the future.”

“That commitment to education for disadvantaged populations is fundamental for our economic future because that is, in many ways, the current workforce as well as the future workforce.”

“We had 15,000 new low-wage jobs just in sort of a narrow categorization of industry categories like restaurants and other types of services. So you’ve got tremendous growth in those kind of jobs and just no new housing that’s available for that.”

“I think part of our challenge is the financing structure of local government, because in California…housing is a net drain on city resources. The cost of services to new residents in the forms of, you know, the water and sewage and electricity and garbage and fire and police and all the things going with that, the cost is higher than the local revenue that comes from property taxes.”

Resources:

Infinite Earth Radio Ep. 002 Equitable Development and Economic Growth with Dr. Manuel Pastor

Equity, Growth, and Community: What the Nation Can Learn from America’s Metro Areas

Get a free digital copy of the book

Find the book on Amazon

The Everett Program – Digital Tools for Social Innovation at the University of California, Santa Cruz

University of California, Santa Cruz – Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California

Dr. Chris Benner’s TED Talk

Just Growth: Inclusion and Prosperity in America’s Metropolitan Regions Find the book on Amazon

2017 New Partners for Smart Growth conference

Register for the Conference!

Get on the Infinite Earth Lab Waiting List!

Dec 29, 2016
051: Come Hell or High Water-Climate Equity, Part 2
58:12

Topic:

The Story of Turkey Creek: Self-Determination and Resilient Communities

In This Episode:

01:46 Derrick Evans is introduced.
01:55 Derrick shares his background, which led to the Turkey Creek Community Initiatives.
14:46 Derrick reflects on what it felt like when he first moved to Boston and what kept him there.
22:31 Derrick talks about the impact of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita on Gulfport and on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
31:59 Is the Gulf Coast Fund what Derrick meant by resilient communities?
32:48 Derrick discusses his definition of climate change.
36:03 Derrick agrees that people in Gulf Coast communities saw the climate changing.
37:34 Derrick describes the documentary film “Come Hell or High Water” and mentions the impact it’s had on Turkey Creek.
43:43 Derrick tells about the things that communities can do to make themselves better prepared to withstand or recover from climate impacts.
46:35 If environmental-protection responsibility gets pushed back to the states, what will that mean in terms of work with Gulf Coast communities around resilience and Mississippi DEQ? Are there good working relationships there?
49:08 Derrick adds his closing thoughts.
56:06 Derrick provides one change that would lead to more resilient, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
56:31 Derrick states the action that listeners can take to help build a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable future.
56:43 Derrick shares what resilient Gulf Coast communities look like 30 years from now.

Guest/Organization:

Derrick Christopher Evans is the director of Turkey Creek Community Initiatives and a managing advisor to the Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health. Since 2001 he has worked to help protect and revitalize his coastal Mississippi community and sister communities throughout the region. Prior to that he taught civil rights history at Boston College and social studies in the Boston Public Schools.

Take Away Quotes:

“My community went from being entirely undeveloped—swamplands—to being sort of a pastoral, forested, agricultural type of thing where people were subsistence farmers and fishermen to a community that was the site of multiple coastal timber-industry employments and facilities.”

“This is what, pretty much, TCCI’s m.o. has always been was to recognize the very long list of community ailments and challenges, turn those into an equally long, if not longer, list of possible prescriptions or remedies, including things that we had never thought of before, like coastal ecological restoration, which now is bearing fruit nearly twenty years later; historic preservation; even looking at a historic longstanding, uncleaned, EPA-toxic cleanup site and saying, you know what, that’s a historic site as well as a headache. Let’s use some creative visioning to frame this in such a way that it makes our circle bigger. When you have that list of possible solutions, it attracts from within the community and from without the community potential contributors to the problems that need to be solved.”

“I had a teacher once—the greatest teacher I ever had—who told me that is was no accident that the overwhelming majority of the most impactful ‘spokespeople’ for the race—the black race—historically, like, Frederick Douglass, Dr. DuBois, even Louis Farrakhan, and so forth and so on, had spent formative time and years in and around Boston, Massachusetts.”

“I remember when Hurricane Katrina hit, and my first thought was that this event is either going to…finish off Turkey Creek and its sister communities or open a door for their survival and transformation, particularly as the most not only impacted but instructive places on what not to do again.”

“We’re not resigned to injustice, we’re not resigned to the structuring of privilege and access and inequitable ways; but we will not be resigned at all to inefficacy on our own parts.”

Resources:

Bridge the Gulf

Come Hell or High Water – The Battle for Turkey Creek

Purchase the film, “Come Hell or High Water – The Battle for Turkey Creek”

A Brief History of Turkey Creek

Dec 22, 2016
050: Surviving and Thriving in the Face of Rising Seas, Part 1
33:22

Topic:

How Climate Change is Impacting Low-Income Communities

In This Episode:

01:56 Rachel Cleetus is introduced.
02:20 Rachel shares her background.
02:54 Rachel mentions what motivates her to do the work that she does.
03:44 Rachel defines the term “climate change.”
05:13 Rachel describes “climate equity” and “climate justice.”
06:38 Rachel differentiates between climate equity and climate justice.
07:46 Rachel explains the concept and some of the major findings in UCS’s “Surviving and Thriving in the Face of Rising Seas” report.
11:05 Rachel tells us about the case studies mentioned in the report, specifically Dorchester County in Maryland.
13:57 Rachel supplies where people can go to learn more about the report.
14:55 Rachel imparts what the phrase “resilient communities” means to her.
16:52 Rachel indicates some of the biggest barriers to enabling vulnerable communities to become more resilient in the face of climate-related disasters, and what preventative measures people can do.
21:10 Rachel gives her thoughts on how other areas in the world that have been impacted by weather can be resilient without support from the U.S. and other neighboring nations.
24:14 Rachel conveys what communities and local governments can do to make themselves better prepared to withstand or recover from climate impacts.
28:57 Rachel provides one change that would lead to more resilient, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
29:19 Rachel states the action that listeners can take to help build a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable future.
30:03 Rachel shares what our coastal communities will look like 30 years from now.

Guest:

Rachel Cleetus is the lead economist and climate policy manager with the Climate and Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). She designs and advocates for effective global warming policies at the federal, regional, state, and international levels. These policies include market -based approaches (such as cap-and-trade programs) and complementary, sector-based approaches (such as efficiency, renewable energy, and clean technology research and development). She also analyzes the economic costs of inaction on climate change.

Prior to joining UCS, Dr. Cleetus worked as a consultant for the World Wildlife Fund, performing policy-focused research on the links between sustainable development, trade, and ecosystems in Asia and Africa. She also worked for Tellus Institute in the energy and environment program, under the mentorship of Steve Bernow. Dr. Cleetus holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. in economics from Duke University and a B.S. in economics from West Virginia University.

Take Away Quotes:

“For me, climate change is one of the biggest threats we face as humanity, and it’s touching every aspect of our life. It’s not just an environmental problem; it is an economic problem, it’s a social problem, it’s a justice issue, because the impacts are already playing out around the world, and they are disproportionately affecting communities of color and low-income communities. So, for me, this work has always been about how do we make a better future for our kids and grandkids, and how do we do it in a way that’s inclusive, that brings people in to work towards a common purpose.”

“Climate change, as we all know, is something that—the climate change we’re experiencing right now is human caused. It’s primarily a result of carbon emissions from our burning of fossil fuels as well as cutting down tropical forests. These carbon emissions are accumulating in our atmosphere, and they’re creating a heat-trapping blanket, essentially, around the earth, and that’s making global average temperatures increase. We are seeing record impacts because of these temperature increases, and those impacts include changes in precipitation patterns. For example, we get these extreme rainfall events that cause flooding, we get heat waves, we get drought, we get wildfires. We’re seeing sea levels rising around the world, and here in the U.S., on the East Coast, we have some of the highest levels of sea-level rise globally that have been experienced.”

“We know that poorer communities, people who have fewer resources, are more extremely affected when extreme events happen. They’re disproportionately affected, and their ability to bounce back from these kind of events is also compromised because of the fact that they have fewer resources.”

“We have to make sure that our policy makers at every level of government are making policies on the basis of science. That just has to be a threshold of how we can do better going forward. We are almost unique in the global community to be still disputing the reality of climate change. It’s long past time to move beyond that.”

Resources:

Union of Concerned Scientists

Surviving and Thriving in the Face of Rising Seas (2015) –Union of Concerned Scientists

Climate Resiliency Toolkit

Dec 15, 2016
049: The Future of “Infinite Earth Radio” and Sustainability and Equity in the Trump Era
29:33

Topic:

One Year of Spurring Innovation for the Future of Sustainability and Equity

In This Episode:

01:19 Kate Meis is introduced.
02:04 Kate reflects on her feelings of how the podcast has been doing over the past year.
03:04 Mike adds to the conversation with his own perspective of the podcast.
03:33 Kate provides the question of how she sees the recent election impacting sustainability and equity efforts.
07:46 Mike comments on his interest in how sustainability efforts will play out over the next four years.
08:49 Kate mentions the area that advocates are paying attention to in the sustainability space.
10:49 Kate talks about the membership survey that was conducted before the election.
14:10 Mike supplies his thoughts about the survey results.
15:55 Kate speaks about some of the themes that were found in the survey results.
18:24 Mike mentions what he learned from the survey.
19:29 Kate tells of the split between urban and rural areas that she saw in the election.
21:18 Mike conveys that the suburban and rural voters feel disrespected by the urban voters.
22:02 Kate shares what’s being done to foster more innovation and progress at the local level.
23:38 Mike describes what’s coming up for “Infinite Earth Radio.”
27:37 Kate adds her thoughts on an upcoming plan for “Infinite Earth Radio.”
27:58 Kate shares some words of encouragement.

Guest:

Kate Meis is the Executive Director of the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kate is a champion for local governments, a recognized leader in local climate change adaptation, mitigation and clean energy efforts, and an ardent coalition builder. She obtained a Masters of Science degree in Community and Regional Development from the University of California, Davis, and has a Sociology Bachelor’ s degree from California State University, Sonoma.

Organization:

For over 35 years LGC has connected cutting-edge leaders from across the nation. Together they are advancing transformative policies and implementing innovative solutions for sustainable communities. LGC works to build livable communities and local leadership by connecting leaders via innovative programs and network opportunities, advancing policies through participation at the local and state level, and implementing solutions as a technical assistance provider and advisor to local jurisdictions. With roots in California and a national reputation, LGC offers inspiration, information, and partnership for local and regional champions dedicated to building thriving communities that integrate civic engagement with environmental, social and economic priorities.

Take Away Quotes:

“Our mission, really, is to get the word out about great projects and policies that can be scaled and implemented in communities across the nation, with the goal of improving those communities, making them more livable and sustainable, so to be able to reach the number of folks we’ve reached through these podcasts has been really rewarding.”

“…the next four years will really determine whether or not we’re able to deliver on the Paris Agreement, so the next four years are going to be critical. So that is why we’re concerned about the signals we’re getting from the administration, but that said, climate-change leadership has always happened at the subnational level, so at the level of cities, regions, and states.”

“No matter what happens with the new administration, we are seeing strong signals that states are going to continue to lead, that cities are going to continue to lead…We are seeing leadership continue, and that’s going to be critical moving forward.”

Resources:

Sign up to attend the FREE training - Equitable Development in Practice– Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 1:30 Eastern

Register for the 2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – February 2-4, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri! Add our brand new Infinite Earth Lab training to your conference registration and receive a special discount.

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 21: When a Climate Change HERO Comes Along, with Barbara Spoonhour and Dustin Reilich

Local Government Commission

Dec 08, 2016
048: Regenerative Agriculture with John Roulac of Nutiva: Voting for a Sustainable Future Three Times Per Day
27:13

Topic:

What You Eat Can Help Save the Planet

In This Episode:

01:47 John Roulac is introduced.
02:23 John tells about his background and how he became so passionate about the environment and regenerative agriculture.
03:35 John defines regenerative agriculture.
05:53 John discusses why more is needed than just reducing the creation of carbon.
08:44 John speaks to the common argument of needing big agriculture because the planet’s population is growing and people can’t be fed without modern farming approaches.
14:48 John explains the purpose of his article called “Starbucks, Destroyer of the Seas.”
17:38 John discusses the bee population, technology, and nature.
19:37 John describes his company, Nutiva.
21:18 John mentions what needs to happen to ramp up regenerative agriculture.
24:49 John shares how people can learn more about Nutiva and his work, and where to buy his products.
25:23 John expresses his thoughts on the impacts of not eating meat.

Guest:

John W. Roulac is the founder and CEO of Nutiva, the world’s leading organic superfoods brand of hemp, coconut, chia, and red palm superfoods. John founded Nutiva in 1999 with a mission to nourish people and planet. Through his leadership, Nutiva has become the fastest-growing superfoods company on the planet, with a 55 percent annual growth rate since 2002, and has for five years in a row been named one of Inc. magazine’s fastest-growing companies in America. This growth keeps bringing John closer to his dream of a world that places people above profits—one where people everywhere have access to wholesome, organic foods.

Learn More about John here

Learn More about John’s work

Find John on Facebook


Organization:

Nutiva® is the world’s leading brand of all-organic hemp foods, coconut oil, red palm oil and chia seeds. We’re a values-driven brand, dedicated to “Nourishing people and planet.” In a world where the industrialized food system has led us down a tangled path, where food choices have been reduced to the lesser-of-evils, and where distrust reigns, we are the champions of the greater good. Tireless seekers of pure and delicious foods that will nourish our bodies and our planet, we have devoted ourselves to a dream, a vision, a mission. We will revolutionize the way the world eats! And in so doing we will bring nourishment and balance, health and well being, sustainability and community to people and planet.

We know change is hard, but we want to make it easy. We went out looking for the kind of foods that packed a powerful amount of nutrition into every bite, so that you could make small changes to big effect. We found superfoods—nutrient-dense powerhouses that can also be grown and processed in a sustainable way. These are foods that are truly good for you and for the planet. They’re foods like hemp and coconut, chia and red palm. They’re organic, full of vital nutrition, easy to use and delicious additions to your diet.

We say food doesn’t have to be a choice between the lesser of evils.
We say let food lead us to a better world.
We say super people deserve superfoods.
We say, come join us in our mission.
Together, we can change the world.

Learn More about Nutiva

Nutiva’s Real Food Manifesto

Take Away Quotes:

“I think it’s part of our fixation with technology. We’re so into, like, that wind and solar will carry the day, or some new battery technology. And these are obviously important, and we need to stop burning coal and invest in renewables, but equally important is to use regenerative agriculture through a variety of practices such as composting; holistic grazing, which is a more intelligent way to raise animals versus putting them in a pen and cages; growing more diverse crops, cover crops; and the like can really help create more income for the farmers, reduce our inputs, and create a better quality of life for our communities and our globe.”

“Regenerative agriculture not only deals with climate change, it also deals with healthcare; it also deals with finance because healthcare is a huge expense for us.”

“Industrial agriculture will be responsible, along with the petrochemical energy industry, for our current pathway which, in my view, will result in 90 percent of all species on the planet disappearing by 2060—less than 50 years away. And the reason being is that all that carbon is going into the oceans, and the oceans can no longer absorb this.”

“We’re an ocean planet, not a land planet.”

Resources:

Nutiva

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 24: “The New Grand Strategy: Restoring America’s Prosperity, Security, and Sustainability in the 21st Century” with Joel Makower of GreenBiz, and Mark Mykleby of Case Western Reserve University

Starbucks, Destroyer of the Seas – EcoWatch

Why Are Climate Groups Only Focused on 50% of the Solution?– EcoWatch

The Solution Under Our Feet: How Regenerative Organic Agriculture Can Save the Planet (Part 1)–EcoWatch

Part II: How Regenerative Organic Agriculture Can Save the Planet – EcoWatch

Dec 01, 2016
047: Encore Careers in Sustainability and Energy—Transferring Knowledge, Experience, and Wisdom
24:25

In This Episode:

02:09 Paul Johnson is introduced.
02:46 Paul tells about his journey and how he personally became involved in the CivicSpark Encore program.
04:47 Paul gives details about the Encore program.
06:52 Paul shares how an Encore fellow is funded and who supports the program.
07:40 Paul describes what makes a good candidate for the program.
08:44 Paul answers the question of what a nonprofit needs so that it would make sense to get an Encore fellow.
18:58 Paul tells where nonprofits or late-career professionals can go to learn more about the Encore program.
11:31 Paul explains how the encore program overlaps with the CivicSpark program.
12:47 Paul talks about the work that he’s done as a fellow working with agencies or organizations.
15:16 Paul comments on the chance to interact with and mentor CivicSpark fellows.
16:54 Paul conveys the lessons that he’s learned while doing this work.
17:57 Does Paul see himself continuing this work?
18:46 Paul provides one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
19:34 Paul states the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
21:21 Paul discusses what the Encore program looks like 15 or 20 years from now.

Guest:

Paul Johnson is the President of Paul Everett Johnson and Associates (PEJ), a small business that provides consulting services to develop successful self-sustaining clean energy programs. Paul has over 40 years experience developing and managing clean energy programs and policies in the public, private, and nonprofit sector. During this period, he had 30 years of increased management experience at the US Department of Energy, capped by two years as the Acting Deputy Director of the Seattle Regional Office of DOE. Since 2005, he has served as President of PEJ and conducted a wide variety of consulting projects around the country. From 2007 until 2011, Paul served as the Executive Director of the San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization, a non-profit organization focused on increasing the level of clean energy activity in the eight counties of the San Joaquin Valley. For the past few years Paul has worked to develop an Encore Climate Fellows program within the Encore program in several locations in the West to help communities be more resilient to deal with climate change.

Organization:

Encore Fellowships are designed to deliver a new source of talent to organizations solving critical social problems. These paid, time-limited fellowships match skilled, experienced professionals with social-purpose organizations in high-impact assignments. During the fellowship period (typically six to 12 months, half- to full-time), Fellows take on roles that bring significant, sustained impact to their host organizations. While they are working, Fellows earn a stipend, learn about social-purpose work and develop a new network of contacts and resources for the future.

Take Away Quotes:

“The Encore program is dedicated to leveraging human capital of very seasoned, adult experience to adult professionals to improve communities in this country and around the world…A program like this—strengthening nonprofits right on the front lines of dealing with environmental and climate challenges—it just seemed like a great opportunity, and I jumped into the program and have been working in the program in a number of capacities for about four and a half years.”

“The key component of the program that I work on is the Encore Fellowship Network, which refer to themselves as the proof point for the Encore concept. And the Encore Fellowship Network has been around since 2009, and they currently work with partner organizations in 13 different locations around the U.S. and Canada and match seasoned business leaders into fellowships with nonprofits.”

“The Encore program is partnered with the CivicSpark program. CivicSpark has a team approach that works primarily with AmeriCorps folks that delivers a broad array of efficiency, clean-energy services, climate services to jurisdiction partners in California. Encore provides senior-level, seasoned expertise of people who have had full careers to provide mentoring and support services, leadership, to these AmeriCorps interns. So it provides a complementary piece to CivicSpark, and it provides a really neat example of a multi-generational approach where you have people at the beginning of a clean-energy career, working with people at or near the end of their career to tackle climate and environmental needs of communities.”

Resources:

Encore Fellowships

Encore Fellowship Network 

Learn More about Encore Climate Fellows

Strategic Energy Innovations

CivicSpark

Local Government Commission (LGC)

Nov 24, 2016
046: Food Security, Clean Water, and Economic Development in Southern Colorado
20:00

Topic:

Food Justice and Self-Empowerment

In This Episode:

01:35 Justin Garoutte is introduced.
01:57 Justin describes where the Conejos Land Grant Region is and why it is important.
03:05 Justin tells who predominately lives in the region now.
03:25 Justin shares his background and how he came to have the job that he currently has.
04:36 Justin explains if food justice and food security is a big issue in his region.
05:37 Justin relays how receptive people are to growing their own food.
06:24 Justin conveys information about the Conejos Clean Water organization and its background.
07:36 Justin speaks of the things that he’s currently working on.
10:01 Justin expresses how Conejos Clean Water is funded.
10:41 Justin discusses how many people live in his region, the number of acres, and how the overall economy is.
12:10 Is the water from the Valley supplying any other regions?
13:09 Justin discusses if there is any financial support from people downstream.
15:07 Justin shares how people can learn more about his work.
15:33 Justin conveys how people can support his work.
16:38 Justin provides one change that would lead to safer, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
17:26 Justin states the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
18:02 Justin shares what the Conejos Land Grant Region will look like 30 years from now.

Guest:

Justin Garoutte is the Executive Director of Conejos Clean Water. Justin is an Antonito native who recently returned home to give back to his community and be closer to family. His family has been farming and ranching in Conejos County for multiple generations. At an early age, he was fascinated with traveling and took the first opportunity to get out and see the world. He was one of sixteen Americans chosen to be a citizen ambassador for the U.S. Department of State LINC Program in Tunisia in 2005. His experience in northern Africa inspired him to study abroad again, and he received a scholarship for a full-year of study in Germany on the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) program.

After returning from Germany and graduating high school, he headed off to Colorado College on scholarships from the Daniels Fund, Hispanic Annual Salute, and CC Presidential Fund. While at Colorado College, he explored his interests, including courses in Native American and Mexican American Literature. After another year abroad in Göttingen, Germany, Justin graduated cum laude with a BA in German Language and Culture in 2012. Immediately after graduating, he embarked on what would turn out to be a three-year journey to Germany and other European countries. While in Germany, he taught English at the University of Bremen and German for high school exchange students from the United States, Thailand, and China. In addition, he returned to Colorado College in 2014 to teach a month-long, intensive German Theatre course and direct Das letzte Feuer, a German theatrical production by Dea Loher.

Upon his latest return from Europe, Justin founded Valleybound, the Antonito School and Community Garden, which serves as an empowering educational space, offering a variety of activities for youth and adults alike. Educating and empowering community remains his main focus. Currently, he coordinates and teaches literacy and healthy choices at Guadalupe Elementary and serves as a mentor to at-risk youth throughout Conejos County.

Organization:

The mission of Conejos Clean Water (CCW) is to build public awareness and encourage advocacy and education around environmental, social, economic, and food justice issues in the Conejos Land Grant Region. CCW operates under the basic premise that water is our life source; therefore, protecting the water and fostering a healthy environment promotes public health and serves as a natural resource management system. CCW works to protect public health by promoting environmental justice. CCW views the environment as people: where we live, work, play, and learn. CCW views environmental justice as a convergence of civil rights, environmentalism, and public health. Environmental justice is multicultural and multiethnic, it is grassroots, and it increases links to global struggles. Therefore, CCW is focused on social justice and pollution prevention in order to reduce cumulative health impacts from the built, social, political, and natural environment.

Take Away Quotes:

“A lot of the counties here in the San Luis Valley and the Conejos Land Grant Region are, according to median household income, the poorest in the state, and so we have a lot of kids that don’t necessarily have a lot of food at home. Some families have lost a lot of their ties to having a garden in their backyard or foraging for some of the wild, edible plants that we have in the area. So, we have our school and community garden, known as Valleybound, and that’s where we really have tried to reconnect our community with our roots, teaching kids how to grow microgreens. We have a permaculture class for the seventh graders that we’re doing, cooking lessons out there, and just really trying to reconnect people with the fact that growing food is something that you can do, and you don’t have to rely on outside sources to get that for yourself.”

“We have weekly gardening sessions out there once a week, and the students at the school are the most receptive. And that’s something my dad told me, too, when I came back is, if you want to affect social change and really look at bringing people to self-empowerment, you have to start with the kids because those are the minds that are ripe for change. And that’s where we see the most interest, and the kids just running out there to the garden and learning about quinoa and purple potatoes and all these things that are so magical to them because they’ve never seen them before.”

“The Department of Energy, with Los Alamos Labs, started transferring this nuclear waste here in town, without talking to any of the local municipalities or the local people. People were angry, and people were afraid of their health and the environmental impacts that could have if it were to spill. People went door to door canvassing, gathering signatures, gathering a membership base for the organization. That’s how we [Conejos Clean Water] started. It ended up ending in the courts through litigation with a partner, the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council, and we were able to effectively halt the transfer of nuclear waste right here in town, a town of eight hundred people.”

Resources:

Conejos Clean Water

Donate to Conejos Clean Water

Valleybound - Antonito School and Community Garden

Río Grande del Norte National Monument Expansion

 

Nov 17, 2016
045: Radical Innovation and Resilient Infrastructure—Climate Adaptation
32:36

Topic:

Finance Strategies, Sustainable Development, and Future Benefits

In This Episode:

01:11 Shalini Vajjhala is introduced.
02:10 Shalini tells about the moment when the idea of re:focus came into existence.
05:27 Shalini shares what re:focus is and the work it takes on.
06:56 Does Shalini have a favorite project or a project that she thinks was particularly innovative or successful?
09:20 Shalini discusses if her favorite project has been built and how it was financed.
11:05 Shalini explains if the majority of RE.bound projects are in post-catastrophe situations.
16:24 Is there a catastrophe bond currently in place?
17:22 Shalini elaborates on the financial flow of the catastrophe bonds.
19:00 Shalini discusses the insurance-policy transaction.
21:40 Has the insurance industry been receptive or supportive?
23:10 How does this work impact low-income communities?
27:48 Are there any reports about who is still missing and who lost the most as a result of Hurricane Katrina?
28:55 Shalini shares where people can learn more about her work.
29:17 Shalini provides one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
29:52 Shalini states the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
30:35 Shalini shares what disaster preparedness and community resilience look like 30 years from now.

Guest/Organization:

Shalini Vajjhala is the Founder and CEO of re:focus partners. Shalini has an interdisciplinary background with over a decade of experience in green design, engineering, economics, and policy. Before starting re:focus partners, Shalini served as Special Representative in the Office of Administrator Lisa Jackson at the US Environmental Protection Agency. In this position, she led the US-Brazil Joint Initiative on Urban Sustainability (JIUS) announced in March 2011 by Presidents Obama and Rousseff. The JIUS was a signature initiative of the June 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), demonstrating how environmental protection can serve as a driver for economic growth and job creation in building the greener economies and smarter cities of the future.

Previously, Shalini served as Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Office of International & Tribal Affairs at the US EPA and as Deputy Associate Director for Energy and Climate at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. She joined the Obama Administration from Resources for the Future, where she was awarded a patent for her work on the Adaptation Atlas.

Shalini received her Ph.D. in Engineering and Public Policy and B.Arch in Architecture from Carnegie Mellon University.

re:focus partners are social entrepreneurs with expertise in public policy and sustainable development. They design integrated resilient infrastructure systems — including water, waste, and energy projects —and develop new public-private partnerships to align public funds and leverage private investment for vulnerable communities around the world.

Take Away Quotes:

“My work has taken a number of really interesting turns over the last few years, most of which look much more coherent in hindsight than I could have ever planned them out to be, but the common thread is actually working with communities on designing both policy systems and actual infrastructure services for the most vulnerable.”

“A lot of environmental mandates are really difficult to comply with for cities that are really trying to do the right thing. So take, for example, a city like Philadelphia that was dealing with a failing stormwater system—the systems that are designed to manage sewers and storm flows—and Philly did something really creative: they actually announced that they were going to try to move to 100% green infrastructure.”

“re:focus was really born out of trying to build a new approach for how governments could work with the private sector, with new investors, and with communities directly to provide safer and better services over time.”

“A lot of the work we do creates benefits that aren’t just about direct revenues, like building a toll road and collecting tolls; we design things that create future benefits as well.”

Resources:

re:focus partners

RE.bound Program

Follow re:focus partners on Twitter

Hoboken moves to acquire land for its 'largest' and flood-resistant park

Nov 10, 2016
044: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 5
18:15

Topic:

Transitioning Out of a Toxic, Unsustainable Industry

In This Episode:

02:09 The introduction of José T Bravo is given.
02:32 Jose describes the mission and goal of Just Transition Alliance.
03:40 What are the goals of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition and Californians for a Healthy & Green Economy (CHANGE)?
04:35 Jose explains what green chemistry means.
05:38 Jose tells why the gathering at the 2016 National Training and Resources Summit to Revitalize Vulnerable Communities was significant.
06:29 Jose shares if measurable progress is being made in addressing the environmental and public-health challenges that are facing vulnerable communities.
07:33 Was there an avenue for the voice of impacted communities and workers to be a part of the TSCA (Toxic Substances Control Act) reform process?
08:22 Jose supplies the message he brought to the Summit, from his stakeholder perspective.
10:16 Jose states what he was hoping to accomplish when he co-lead at the Summit.
11:08 Jose shares about the consumer campaign that Just Transition Alliance is helping to lead.
13:32 Jose conveys why we should all be working toward addressing the disproportionate impact of pollution and health threats to vulnerable communities and workers.
14:35 Jose provides one change that would lead to safer, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
15:51 Jose states the action that listeners can take to help build a more safe, equitable, and sustainable future.
16:29 Jose shares what chemical and toxic exposure looks like 30 years from now.

Guest/Organization:

José T Bravo is the Executive Director of the Just Transition Alliance. José is a leader in Californian and national chemicals policy reform work, and Green Chemistry as a member of Safer Chemicals Healthy Families and Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy (CHANGE). CHANGE is an alliance of health, environmental, labor, resource organizations and EJ organizations throughout California. Also, José is on the steering committee of the State Alliance for Federal Reform of Chemicals Policy (SAFER). SAFER is an alliance of organizations in key states working to create a pre-market testing system and regulation for all chemicals. José works directly with Environmental Justice (EJ) Communities and Labor (Organized and Unorganized). His work in social justice issues is rooted in his upbringing in the Southern California farm fields alongside both his parents. José has also worked on immigrant rights issues since his days as a student organizer in the 80s to the present. José has participated in the EJ movement since 1990 and over the years he has gained recognition as a national and international leader in the movement. José also serves on the board of Communities for a Better Environment.

The Just Transition Alliance was founded in 1997 as a coalition of environmental justice and labor organizations. Together with frontline workers, and community members who live along the fence-line of polluting industries, the Just Transition Alliance creates healthy workplaces and communities. They focus on contaminated sites that should be cleaned up, and on the transition to clean production and sustainable economies. The Just Transition Alliance is a 501(c)3 organization based in San Diego, California.

Take Away Quotes:

“For the first time, we were able to go and talk about what a regional economy looks like, what a safe job should look like, what a community-driven infrastructure should be looking like, and it’s so important to involve the communities in what goes in those communities.”

“We tested 164 products. We found products with—earrings for children, targeted to children, with over 4,000 parts per million of lead…At least 81% of the 164 products that we tested had one chemical of concern or more.”

“There’s liquor stores and dollar stores…But this is also putting us in a position, in an environmental justice position, that many of these chemicals are actually made in our communities, they’re put into products in our communities, they’re sold back to our communities, and they’re also dumped back in our communities. So we get a multi-fold of impact while many communities, many white communities primarily, they do have access to dollar stores, but, at the same time, they don’t have the whole myriad of impact that they pose in an environmental justice community.”

“What we believe in the environmental-justice movement is that if our communities are safer, society as a whole in the United States will be safer because we share and we put up with the disproportionate burden.”

Resources:

2016 National Training & Resources Summit to Revitalize Vulnerable Communities –Moving Communities from Surviving to Thriving

Just Transition Alliance

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 43: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 4 –with Sharon Beard, NIEHS

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 42: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 3 –with Khalil Shahyd, NRDC

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 41: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 2 –with Gilbert Campbell, Volt Energy

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 40: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 1 –with Mustafa Ali, EPA

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 5: Environmental Justice and Smart Growth – with Mustafa Ali and Carlton Eley, EPA

Nov 03, 2016
043: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 4
33:03

Topic:

Worker Training and Workforce Development

In This Episode:

02:05 Introduction of Sharon Beard.
02:22 Sharon describes the Worker Education and Training Program at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
03:38 Sharon tells why there was a need for the Minority Worker Training Program at NIEHS.
06:18 Did Congressman Louis Stokes visit NIEHS?
06:56 Sharon identifies some of the most successful outcomes of the Minority Worker Training Program.
09:04 Sharon conveys the purpose of the 2016 National Training and Resources Summit for vulnerable communities.
10:50 Sharon answers the question of why it was important for NIEHS to co-sponsor an event like the 2016 National Training and Resource Summit for Vulnerable Communities.
11:43 Sharon gives her response to the criticism that says the federal dollars could be better spent elsewhere than in job training and workforce development.
14:37 Sharon explains if the target of the Environmental Career Worker Training Program is those who have been in the criminal-justice system.
16:37 Sharon gives information about the hourly wage of those who come through the program.
18:26 Sharon tells if there are any people, of the thousands who have been helped, who stick out in her mind.
20:02 Sharon communicates her hopes of what is accomplished at the National Training & Resources Summit to Revitalize Vulnerable Communities and what the ongoing impact will be.
25:21 Sharon discusses one change that would lead to more effective, more dynamic, better-funded environmental work or training.
27:38 Sharon states the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable workforce.
29:12 Sharon gives information on how people can reach her program.
30:25 Sharon shares what federally supported environmental workforce development and employment opportunities look like 30 years from now.

Guest/Organization:

Sharon Beard is an Industrial Hygienist in the Worker Education and Training Program of the Division of Extramural Research and Training (DERT) at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), National Institute of Health (NIH) in Research Triangle Park, NC. As an industrial hygienist, Sharon is responsible for coordinating, evaluating, and improving the nation-wide worker education and training program especially in the area of the Minority Worker Training Program (MWTP) initiative. She uses her background in industrial hygiene to provide expert review, guidance, and leadership in managing a multi-million portfolio of worker training grants in the area of hazardous waste, emergency response, and nuclear weapons/radiation reaching communities all over the US. She has also worked within in DERT assisting with efforts to facilitate and coordinate translational research through the Partnership for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) Program. The PEPH program is an umbrella program that brings together scientists, community members, educators, health care providers, public health officials, and policy makers in the shared goal of advancing the impact of environmental public health research at local, regional, and national levels.

Building on her environmental and occupational health experience acquired while working in the Environmental Restoration and Industrial Hygiene & Safety Departments at Westinghouse Savannah River Company in SC, she is currently a member of the NIEHS Science Advisory Committee, HHS Environmental Justice Working Group and the Brownfields Federal Partnership Interagency Working Group. She is also a member of the American Public Health Association and ACGIH. Beard holds a Master of Science in Environmental Science and Management from Tufts University, Medford, MA where she received the prestigious Environmental Science and Management Fellowship from the National Urban Fellows, Inc. She also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with minor in Business from Western Carolina University, NC.

The major objectives of the NIEHS Worker Training Program are to prevent work-related harm by assisting in the training of workers in how best to protect themselves and their communities from exposure to hazardous materials encountered during hazardous waste operations, hazardous materials transportation, environmental restoration nuclear weapons facilities, or chemical emergency response, and to undertake brownfields and minority workforce development. A variety of sites, such as those involved with chemical waste clean up and remedial action and transportation-related chemical emergency response, may pose severe health and safety concerns. These are often characterized by the multiplicity of substances present, the presence of unknown substances, and the general uncontrolled condition of the site. A major goal of this program is to assist organizations with development of institutional competency to provide appropriate model training and education programs to hazardous materials and waste workers.

Take Away Quotes:

02:37-“The Worker Training Program at NIEHS is really focused on prevention. It’s a grants program that we fund organizations to conduct health and safety training for workers engaged in all different types of hazardous waste removal, containment, or chemical emergency response.”

03:51-“I think one of the major reasons why this program [the Minority Worker Training Program] was started is that we were noticing the major changes that were happening in urban communities, and primarily, this particular program was started because Congressman Stokes saw that there was a need to train urban, underserved workers who needed to have access to quality job training and have a way to help clean up their communities, and so he worked to get the program funded in 1994 so that we could start training in 1995.”

07:16-“Under the Minority Worker Training, we’re now calling that the Environmental Career Worker Training Program. We’ve actually trained over 10,000; we’re close to 11,000 workers under that program. And what’s unique about it is that we did it in partnership with community-based organizations.”

08:23-“We have been able to at least get a 70% job-placement rate since we started this program back in 1995. And even over the last five years, we’ve had job-placement rates that’s ranging from 70 up to 81 percent for some of these communities, and that’s pretty much unheard of when you think about what’s happening in workforce development right now.”

10:56-“One of the biggest things about being a part of this program is that communities do not understand all of the different types of benefits that these programs have addressed over the years, and what we’ve been able to do here at NIEHS is to really focus on building communities and wanting to share the successes and lessons learned across the board.”

13:20-“Most of the individuals who came out of this program [the Environmental Career Worker Training Program] receive higher earnings as a result of it; there were fewer workplace injuries and related costs; we had reduced crime-related costs, which is a reduction in recidivism of those who were going back to prison; we had all different types of benefits in reference to lowering hiring costs, and there are several other things that we were able to do.”

Resources:

2016 National Training & Resources Summit to Revitalize Vulnerable Communities –Moving Communities from Surviving to Thriving

NIEHS Worker Training Program

NIEHS Environmental Career Worker Training Program

The Economic Impact of the Environmental Career Worker Training Program – NIEHS, November 2015

Minority Worker Training Program: Guidance on How to Achieve Successes and Best Practices –NIEHS, March 2014

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 42: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 3 –with Khalil Shahyd, NRDC

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 41: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 2 –with Gilbert Campbell, Volt Energy

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 40: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 1 –with Mustafa Ali, EPA

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 5: Environmental Justice and Smart Growth – with Mustafa Ali and Carlton Eley, EPA

Oct 27, 2016
042: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 3
23:10

Topic:

The Workforce-Development Component

In This Episode:

01:52 Introduction of Khalil Shahyd.
02:06 Khalil describes the Urban Solutions Program at NRDC.
03:27 Khalil shares the purpose and goal of the 2016 National Training and Resources Summit to Revitalize Vulnerable Communities.
04:12 Khalil answers the question of why workforce development is such an important component at the Summit.
05:59 Khalil identifies some of the sessions he’s developing for the Summit in the workforce-development track.
07:21 Khalil expresses what he thinks of the workforce development that’s occurring now.
08:44 Khalil discusses how his hometown of New Orleans is doing in regard to the Summit’s theme of moving communities from surviving to thriving, after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
13:17 Khalil tells how energy inequality presents itself.
15:30 Khalil explains the connection between the reality of energy inequality and workforce development.
16:48 Khalil talks about the importance for people from vulnerable communities to attend the Summit.
17:56 Khalil provides one change that would lead to energy equity and more sustainable urban communities.
19:21 Khalil states the action that listeners can take to build a more equitable, energy-efficient, and sustainable future.
20:56 Khalil shares what urban communities look like 30 years from now.

Guest/Organization:

Khalil Shahyd, PhD is a Project Manager for the Urban Solutions Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Khalil’s work focuses on the Energy Efficiency for All Project, which aims to increase utility-funded energy efficiency programs in the affordable multifamily housing sector. He coordinates with NRDC’s affordable housing partners to advocate for efficiency investments in the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. As part of the LEED Neighborhood Development initiative, Shahyd also promotes the expansion of “green” communities in New Orleans. Prior to joining NRDC, he worked domestically and internationally in urban and rural community development and in economic and environmental justice organizing. He holds a master’s degree in sustainable international development from Brandeis University and is based in NRDC’s Washington, D.C. office.

Take Away Quotes:

“The Urban Solutions Program—we work, as the name suggests, with cities and municipalities to make cities, neighborhoods, communities, much more sustainable, walkable, and equitable. Our vision is working with cities where more than 70 percent of our population actually lives, also accounts for more than 70 percent of our carbon emissions that induce climate change, and so we feel that if we can tackle these issues at the urban scale then we can have a large impact in addressing climate change.”

“As you all know, our cities are also one of the leading sources, or scales, or locations, that are driving our rising inequality, both nationally but also around the world. Much of the gap in wealth, gap in income, gap in affordability, that is happening across our nation is really concentrated in our cities most heavily. And so we feel that attacking climate change and inequality have to be paired together, they have to come in tandem, particularly as we see cities being the major driver of each of those.”

“The goal of the Summit is really to…highlight what’s working in communities and to highlight those leaders at the local level that are actually driving that positive change and to be able to bring those communities, those leaders, those organizations, together to be able to talk about their experiences about what’s working, what’s not working, and then to come together with EPA and with others to begin to think about what additional resources, what support, can bring leverage at the national scale to really support what’s going on in communities across the country.”

“When you’re talking about how people experience environmental degradation, how they experience environmental burdens, how they experience climate change, the threat to livelihood is one of the most pressing concerns.”

Resources:

2016 National Training & Resources Summit to Revitalize Vulnerable Communities –Moving Communities from Surviving to Thriving

Natural Resources Defense Council

Lifting the High Energy Burden in America's Largest Cities – Energy Efficiency For All
A review of 48 major U.S. metropolitan areas finds that low-income households devote up to three times as much income to energy costs as average households in the same city, and that energy efficiency is critical to closing the gap.

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 40: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 1 –with Mustafa Ali

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 41: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 2 –with Gilbert Campbell, Volt Energy

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 5: Environmental Justice and Smart Growth – with Mustafa Ali and Carlton Eley

Oct 20, 2016
041: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 2
11:04

Topic:

Opportunities Through Alternative Energy

In This Episode:

02:17 Introduction of Gilbert Campbell.
03:08 Gilbert describes Volt Energy.
04:29 Gilbert conveys his thoughts on the potential to create economic opportunities in the renewable-energy sector.
05:21 Gilbert relates why he’s involved in the 2016 National Training and Resources Summit to Revitalize Vulnerable Communities.
06:31 Does Volt Energy’s business model address the seeming lack of focus on providing solar-power access to lower-income communities?
07:29 Gilbert shares if he thinks energy efficiency could be a strategy to reduce poverty and move communities from surviving to thriving.
08:06 Gilbert relates why it’s important for those who care about economic and environmental inequality to attend the Summit.
08:45 Gilbert provides one change that would lead to more energy-efficient, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
09:10 Gilbert states the action that listeners can take to help build a more energy-efficient, equitable, and sustainable future.
09:24 Gilbert shares how widespread solar and alternative energy will be and how widespread access will be for low- and moderate-income folks 30 years from now.

Guest:

Gilbert Campbell is a co-founder of Volt Energy, a renewable energy project development firm that builds, operates, and maintains state-of-the-art solar energy systems for commercial, industrial, government and educational institutions.

Gilbert was recently named to EBONY magazine's 2014 Power List, which recognizes influential achievements by African Americans annually. Additionally, under Gilbert’s leadership, Volt Energy is largely recognized as an emerging national renewable energy development firm. Volt is a 2014 recipient of Amtrak and The Washington Wizards Pioneer Award, honoring companies that have made a positive impact in their community. Gilbert is a member of The American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE), an Advisor to the US Department of Energy’s Minorities in Energy Initiative, and an Advisory Board Member of The Center for Energy Research and Technology at North Carolina A&T. Gilbert also serves on the Board of Directors for the Greater Washington Boys and Girls Club and is on the Ambassador Board for KIPP DC. Gilbert graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.B.A in Finance from Howard University and has done post-graduate leadership training at Harvard University.

Organization:

Volt Energy is one of the largest minority owned solar energy development firms that builds, operates, and maintains state-of the-art solar energy systems for commercial, industrial, government and educational institutions. Volt Energy offers its clients solar energy at significant savings through a solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), which requires no upfront costs. Volt Energy draws on the experience of its diverse project team of professionals in project finance, engineering, land use law, project management and business development to deliver quality solar solutions for its clients.

Take Away Quotes:

“Volt Energy, at its core, is a renewable-energy firm, and we really focus on innovative finance solutions…where we can bring solar, with no upfront cost, or it could be electric-vehicle charging stations, or it could be a combination of energy storage, where we’re helping organizations reduce their energy load, carbon footprint.”

“The solar industry…is growing twelve times faster than national economy. However, there’s room for improvement. When you look at statistics as far as minorities employed in the solar industry—and women is a little bit better, but it still has a lot of room for growth—it’s right around twenty percent, so the industry is growing very fast, but when you look at vulnerable communities, the jobs aren’t growing as fast as the industry.”

“There’s a lot of incentives promoting solar that really helps business owners and home owners being able to reduce their energy cost, and a lot of times in our vulnerable communities, we don’t know about it. So, when I say we show up, we really get engaged in the community, letting people know here are the benefits. That’s something that we, at our core, are really passionate about. But I do want to mention that under President Obama’s leadership, this is an issue that he’s outlined steps to address this.”

Resources:

2016 National Training & Resources Summit to Revitalize Vulnerable Communities –Moving Communities from Surviving to Thriving

Volt Energy – Providing Green Power Solutions

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 40: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 1 –with Mustafa Ali

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 5: Environmental Justice and Smart Growth – with Mustafa Ali and Carlton Eley 

Oct 13, 2016
040: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 1
25:43

Topic:

Strengthening and Revitalizing Communities

In This Episode:

01:47 Introduction of Mustafa Ali.
02:22 Mustafa explains the purpose of the 2016 National Funding and Resources Training Summit to Revitalize Vulnerable Communities.
03:25 Mustafa gives the dates and location of the Summit.
03:46 Mustafa tells who the primary audience is for this Summit.
04:22 Mustafa shares how listeners can learn more about the Summit.
04:41 Is there an intent to do this Summit annually?
07:13 Is this a culminating event for this administration to lift up the many resources it has developed to support the revitalization of vulnerable communities?
08:20 What are the biggest unmet needs that vulnerable communities and those living with environmental burdens face?
09:46 Mustafa talks about the change he has observed in the EPA’s approach to working with environmental justice and vulnerable communities.
11:53 Mustafa shares what kind of response he’s getting from the business community.
13:50 Mustafa addresses his viewpoint of the seeming notion that community revitalization has become a focal point of EPA’s environmental justice efforts.
15:22 Mustafa describes the Environmental Justice 2020 Action Agenda.
17:32 Mustafa speaks to the intent of the Action Agenda of eliminating childhood lead poisoning, and ensuring everyone has access to safe drinking water.
18:37 Mustafa explains how the Training Summit relates to EJ 2020.
19:12 Mustafa again shares how listeners can learn more about the Summit.
19:48 Mustafa gives his idea of what success of the Summit would be.
22:19 Mustafa shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable and less vulnerable communities.
22:47 Mustafa expresses the action that listeners can take to be supportive of the goals of the Summit.
23:57 Mustafa states what environmental justice communities look like 30 years from now.

Guest/Organization:

Mustafa Ali has been a national speaker, trainer and facilitator on social and environmental justice issues for the past 17 years. During that time, Mustafa has worked with communities on both the domestic and international front to secure environmental, health, and economic justice. He currently serves as Senior Advisor to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy on Environmental Justice and Community Revitalization.

Take Away Quotes:

“It’s pretty simple. It’s actually just a few words is what the real meaning, the foundation and goal and vision for this [the Training Summit] is, and that’s moving vulnerable communities from surviving to thriving, which is really grounded in the environmental justice movement, the social justice movement, civil rights, sort of the economic justice movement. All those various movements are all pointing in a similar direction, and it’s about strengthening and revitalizing communities, giving voice to the visions and the opportunities that exist in our most vulnerable communities.”

“When we say ‘vulnerable communities,’ we are talking about low-income communities, we’re talking about communities of color, and we’re talking about tribal populations, and those are the folks that we are currently focusing on to help them to be able to revitalize and address issues that are happening inside of their communities.”

“What we’re hoping to accomplish is that folks will be able to take this [the Summit event] and begin to do smaller, regional events that will be able to actually meet the needs of folks on the ground, even in a much more substantive way.”

Resources:

2016 National Training & Resources Summit to Revitalize Vulnerable Communities –Moving Communities from Surviving to Thriving

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 5: Environmental Justice and Smart Growth – with Mustafa Ali and Carlton Eley

Oct 06, 2016
039: Cap and Trade, Where Do We Go From Here? – Climate Adaptation Series, Part 4
27:11

Topic:

Building Support and Communication

In This Episode:

01:57 Steve answers the question of how to build support and communications for the cap and trade program and other programs to fight climate change.
05:30 Kate describes if the environmental justice community is a group that needs to be brought on board to continue support for cap and trade.
06:52 Jonathan speaks to the involvement of the environmental justice community to support cap and trade.
08:08 Steve talks about the reduction of emissions in markets.
09:49 Steve discusses communities that are exposed to pollution and have low life expectancies.
11:02 Jonathan weighs in on the discussion of pollution.
16:07 Steve joins in on the topic of pollution.
17:26 Jonathan talks about the image of the climate movement and the largest factor of pollution.
19:17 Steve adds to the topic of pollution.
19:33 Jonathan speaks to getting a new brand.
19:56 Kate mentions a branding campaign to communicate the need for change.
21:28 Mike mentions the need for rethinking how communities and cities are built.
22:05 Jonathan identifies the biggest leverage point that would make a difference in climate impacts.
23:21 Steve identifies the biggest leverage point that would make a difference in climate impacts.

Guests:

Kate Meis is the Executive Director of the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kate is a champion for local governments, a recognized leader in local climate change adaptation, mitigation and clean energy efforts, and an ardent coalition builder. She obtained a Masters of Science degree in Community and Regional Development from the University of California, Davis, and has a Sociology Bachelor’s degree from California State University, Sonoma.

Jonathan Parfrey is the Executive Director and Founder of Climate Resolve, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, founded in 2010, that is dedicated to creating practical solutions to meet the climate challenge while making Southern California more livable and prosperous today and for generations to come by inspiring people at home, at work, and in government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution, as well as prepare for climate change impacts.

Steve Frisch is President of Sierra Business Council and one of its founding members. Over the last 20 years, Sierra Business Council has leveraged more than $100 million of investment in the Sierra Nevada and its communities through community and public-private partnerships. Sierra Business Council also manages the Sierra Small Business Development Center focusing on advancing sustainable business practices and linking new and expanding businesses to climate mitigation and adaptation funding.

Organizations:

For over 35 years LGC has connected cutting-edge leaders from across the nation. Together they are advancing transformative policies and implementing innovative solutions for sustainable communities. LGC works to build livable communities and local leadership by connecting leaders via innovative programs and network opportunities, advancing policies through participation at the local and state level, and implementing solutions as a technical assistance provider and advisor to local jurisdictions. With roots in California and a national reputation, LGC offers inspiration, information, and partnership for local and regional champions dedicated to building thriving communities that integrate civic engagement with environmental, social and economic priorities.

Climate Resolve is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, founded in 2010, that is dedicated to creating real, practical solutions to meet the climate challenge while building a better city for Angelenos. Their mission is to make Southern California more livable and prosperous today and for generations to come by inspiring people at home, at work, and in government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution, as well as prepare for climate change impacts.

Sierra Business Council pioneers and demonstrates innovative approaches and solutions to increase community vitality, economic prosperity, environmental quality, and social fairness in the Sierra Nevada. In the Sierra Nevada, change and challenge create opportunities. Through innovation, integrity, and respect, Sierra Business Council harnesses these opportunities by implementing projects that model proactive change. Their goal is a diverse, inventive, and sustainable region where the economy is vibrant, the land is thriving, and the communities offer opportunity for all. They act as steward leaders of the region, taking responsibility for the care and responsible management of our place, guided by the triple bottom line that considers the economy, environment, and community simultaneously.

Take Away Quotes:

“Of course we need metrics. Of course we need data. We need to be demonstrating what the job-creating benefits are, what the ecosystem benefits are, what the water-yield benefits are, what carbon-sequestration benefits are of implementing all of these programs. But we need a really smart communication strategy that hits people in where their values really are.”

“Some people respond to the data. Some people respond to the story. Some people respond to the risk, the threat. But we have to be smart enough to put all of that together and deliver all of those messages and do it in a way that we tell people we can make a difference, we can make a change, we can solve this problem for the seventh generation.”

“I think one of the really interesting stories behind the cap and trade program so far is that it has been so remarkably successful. I mean, we really are on track to reduce our emissions by 20% by 2020, probably more than that. And it’s pretty clear that we can do 40% by 2030, and that benefits everyone, including disadvantaged communities.”

“There is a way to transition to an almost-zero carbon economy, but it really is going to take fifty years to really get there, to decarbonize industrial processes and all of the transportation networks and products and everything else. We’re really, at this point, dealing with the low-hanging fruit, which is switch to renewable energy and begin to create lower carbon fuels.”

Resources:

2016 Climate Adaptation Forum

Local Government Commission (LCG)

Climate Resolve

Sierra Business Council

Sep 29, 2016
038: Economics of Climate Change-Climate Adaptation Series, Part 3
18:56

Topic:

Finding Equity Around Funding and Financing

In This Episode:

02:15 Jonathan tells about the dynamic in Maryland, where the worst impacts are being felt by people who are not politically powerful.
05:43 Steve tells how he’s bringing the vulnerable populations into addressing climate-change resilience.
10:50 Steve describes if he’s been able to utilize funding in a way that addresses resiliency at the community level.
14:14 Jonathan weighs in on the subject of cool roofs.

Guests:

Kate Meis is the Executive Director of the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kate is a champion for local governments, a recognized leader in local climate change adaptation, mitigation and clean energy efforts, and an ardent coalition builder. She obtained a Masters of Science degree in Community and Regional Development from the University of California, Davis, and has a Sociology Bachelor’ s degree from California State University, Sonoma.

Jonathan Parfrey is the Executive Director and Founder of Climate Resolve, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, founded in 2010, that is dedicated to creating practical solutions to meet the climate challenge while making Southern California more livable and prosperous today and for generations to come by inspiring people at home, at work, and in government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution, as well as prepare for climate change impacts.

Steve Frisch is President of Sierra Business Council and one of its founding members. Over the last 20 years, Sierra Business Council has leveraged more than $100 million of investment in the Sierra Nevada and its communities through community and public-private partnerships. Sierra Business Council also manages the Sierra Small Business Development Center focusing on advancing sustainable business practices and linking new and expanding businesses to climate mitigation and adaptation funding.

Organizations:

For over 35 years LGC has connected cutting-edge leaders from across the nation. Together they are advancing transformative policies and implementing innovative solutions for sustainable communities. LGC works to build livable communities and local leadership by connecting leaders via innovative programs and network opportunities, advancing policies through participation at the local and state level, and implementing solutions as a technical assistance provider and advisor to local jurisdictions. With roots in California and a national reputation, LGC offers inspiration, information, and partnership for local and regional champions dedicated to building thriving communities that integrate civic engagement with environmental, social and economic priorities.

Climate Resolve is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, founded in 2010, that is dedicated to creating real, practical solutions to meet the climate challenge while building a better city for Angelenos. Their mission is to make Southern California more livable and prosperous today and for generations to come by inspiring people at home, at work, and in government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution, as well as prepare for climate change impacts.

Sierra Business Council pioneers and demonstrates innovative approaches and solutions to increase community vitality, economic prosperity, environmental quality, and social fairness in the Sierra Nevada. In the Sierra Nevada, change and challenge create opportunities. Through innovation, integrity, and respect, Sierra Business Council harnesses these opportunities by implementing projects that model proactive change. Their goal is a diverse, inventive, and sustainable region where the economy is vibrant, the land is thriving, and the communities offer opportunity for all. They act as steward leaders of the region, taking responsibility for the care and responsible management of our place, guided by the triple bottom line that considers the economy, environment, and community simultaneously.

Take Away Quotes:

“Los Angeles is a county of about 10 million people, and a recent study found that over 50 percent of the population was at moderate or high vulnerability to climate impacts. So, in this one county, that’s over 5 million people that are at risk to climate impacts, and the vast majority of those people come from disadvantaged communities or low-income communities.”

“I do think that we need a more focused look at what constitutes a disadvantaged community or a disadvantaged person in California, and we need think about how we come up with a better way to take regional and geographic and different disparities into consideration.”

“All of these programs really should be focused at addressing an incredibly important problem in California, which is the raising gap between the rich and the poor, and poverty in California, which has increased dramatically in the last decade. If we can’t link poverty reduction and climate adaptation and mitigation, then I think we’re going to have some real problems implementing a policy in this state.”

Resources:

2016 Climate Adaptation Forum

Local Government Commission (LCG)

Climate Resolve

Sierra Business Council

Sep 22, 2016
037: Climate Communication-Climate Adaptation Series, Part 2
17:20

Topic:

Effectively Communicate Climate-Change Issues to Diverse Audiences

In This Episode:

02:32 Jonathan explains the messages he uses that resonate with community members.
04:02 Steve describes the messages that resonate with his community members.
06:59 Steve speaks of the impacts of years-long drought, millions of dead trees, and wildfires are changing the conversation in the Sierra Nevada.
08:21 Jonathan shares his viewpoint of the climate impacts in his region.
10:35 Steve speaks about a communication strategy to make a difference.
11:57 Steve discusses how to communicate climate change in a way that people can understand how it impacts them.

Guests:

Kate Meis is the Executive Director of the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kate is a champion for local governments, a recognized leader in local climate change adaptation, mitigation and clean energy efforts, and an ardent coalition builder. She obtained a Masters of Science degree in Community and Regional Development from the University of California, Davis, and has a Sociology Bachelor’ s degree from California State University, Sonoma.

Jonathan Parfrey is the Executive Director and Founder of Climate Resolve, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, founded in 2010, that is dedicated to creating practical solutions to meet the climate challenge while making Southern California more livable and prosperous today and for generations to come by inspiring people at home, at work, and in government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution, as well as prepare for climate change impacts.

Steve Frisch is President of Sierra Business Council and one of its founding members. Over the last 20 years, Sierra Business Council has leveraged more than $100 million of investment in the Sierra Nevada and its communities through community and public-private partnerships. Sierra Business Council also manages the Sierra Small Business Development Center focusing on advancing sustainable business practices and linking new and expanding businesses to climate mitigation and adaptation funding.

Organizations:

For over 35 years LGC has connected cutting-edge leaders from across the nation. Together they are advancing transformative policies and implementing innovative solutions for sustainable communities. LGC works to build livable communities and local leadership by connecting leaders via innovative programs and network opportunities, advancing policies through participation at the local and state level, and implementing solutions as a technical assistance provider and advisor to local jurisdictions. With roots in California and a national reputation, LGC offers inspiration, information, and partnership for local and regional champions dedicated to building thriving communities that integrate civic engagement with environmental, social and economic priorities.

Climate Resolve is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, founded in 2010, that is dedicated to creating real, practical solutions to meet the climate challenge while building a better city for Angelenos. Their mission is to make Southern California more livable and prosperous today and for generations to come by inspiring people at home, at work, and in government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution, as well as prepare for climate change impacts.

Sierra Business Council pioneers and demonstrates innovative approaches and solutions to increase community vitality, economic prosperity, environmental quality, and social fairness in the Sierra Nevada. In the Sierra Nevada, change and challenge create opportunities. Through innovation, integrity, and respect, Sierra Business Council harnesses these opportunities by implementing projects that model proactive change. Their goal is a diverse, inventive, and sustainable region where the economy is vibrant, the land is thriving, and the communities offer opportunity for all. They act as steward leaders of the region, taking responsibility for the care and responsible management of our place, guided by the triple bottom line that considers the economy, environment, and community simultaneously.

Take Away Quotes:

“One of the things that we’ve done that has been most successful is tying all of our program implementation, really, to trying to build local employment, local jobs, measuring the job creation from it.”

“I am noticing a dramatic culture shift, not just from that kind of relatively negative driver but also the positive driver of younger people coming up in the system, becoming decision makers and community leaders, even in rural communities, who want to make a change. It’s very, very encouraging.”

“Climate, by its nature, is an abstraction. It is an average of twenty or thirty years of weather. By its nature, weather is very direct, it’s experienced, it’s understood. But climate is something a little bit more vague. There is a former president of the American Meteorological Society had the following metaphor to distinguish between weather and climate. He said that weather is your mood—you’re sometimes up, you’re sometimes down, you’re sometimes a little misty—but climate is your personality; it’s kind of the way that you are all the time.”

Resources:

Path to Positive

Path to Positive Success Stories –Climate Resolve Brings Unique Voices to Build Climate Awareness

2016 Climate Adaptation Forum

Local Government Commission (LCG)

Climate Resolve

Sierra Business Council

Sep 15, 2016
036: Making the Global Local-Climate Adaptation Series
26:33

Topic:
The Local Impacts of Climate Change


In This Episode:
02:05 Introduction of co-host Kate Meis.
03:17 Introduction of Steve Frisch.
03:53 Introduction of Jonathan Parfrey.
04:30 Steve describes his organization, Sierra Business Council.
05:56 Jonathan describes his organization, Climate Resolve.
08:53 Jonathan explains the governance of jurisdictional-boundary issues.
10:47 Steve and Jonathan discuss how he brings people together to think about issues of governance and building resiliency.
15:55 Steve and Jonathan speak about the opportunities to bring regions together to mobilize a unified voice around change.
21:21 Jonathan relates how he’s been able to locally engage people, as well as some of the efforts of The Path to Positive.


Guests:
Kate Meis is the Executive Director of the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kate is a champion for local governments; a recognized leader in local climate change adaptation, mitigation and clean energy efforts; and an ardent coalition builder. She obtained a Masters of Science degree in Community and Regional Development from the University of California, Davis, and has a Sociology Bachelor’s degree from California State University, Sonoma.

Jonathan Parfrey is the Executive Director and Founder of Climate Resolve, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, founded in 2010, that is dedicated to creating practical solutions to meet the climate challenge while making Southern California more livable and prosperous today and for generations to come by inspiring people at home, at work, and in government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution, as well as prepare for climate change impacts.

Steve Frisch is President of Sierra Business Council and one of its founding members. Over the last 20 years, Sierra Business Council has leveraged more than $100 million of investment in the Sierra Nevada and its communities through community and public-private partnerships. Sierra Business Council also manages the Sierra Small Business Development Center focusing on advancing sustainable business practices and linking new and expanding businesses to climate mitigation and adaptation funding.


Organizations:
For over 35 years LGC has connected cutting-edge leaders from across the nation. Together they are advancing transformative policies and implementing innovative solutions for sustainable communities. LGC works to build livable communities and local leadership by connecting leaders via innovative programs and network opportunities, advancing policies through participation at the local and state level, and implementing solutions as a technical assistance provider and advisor to local jurisdictions. With roots in California and a national reputation, LGC offers inspiration, information, and partnership for local and regional champions dedicated to building thriving communities that integrate civic engagement with environmental, social and economic priorities.

Climate Resolve is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, founded in 2010, that is dedicated to creating real, practical solutions to meet the climate challenge while building a better city for Angelenos. Their mission is to make Southern California more livable and prosperous today and for generations to come by inspiring people at home, at work, and in government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution, as well as prepare for climate change impacts.

Sierra Business Council pioneers and demonstrates innovative approaches and solutions to increase community vitality, economic prosperity, environmental quality, and social fairness in the Sierra Nevada. In the Sierra Nevada, change and challenge create opportunities. Through innovation, integrity, and respect, Sierra Business Council harnesses these opportunities by implementing projects that model proactive change. Their goal is a diverse, inventive, and sustainable region where the economy is vibrant, the land is thriving, and the communities offer opportunity for all. They act as steward leaders of the region, taking responsibility for the care and responsible management of our place, guided by the triple bottom line that considers the economy, environment, and community simultaneously.


Take Away Quotes:
“It was very clear from the first minute I was in business in the Sierra Nevada that we weren’t really properly valuing ecosystem function, the natural environment, people’s connection to nature as part of the system. Sierra Business Council was really founded around this idea that natural, social, and financial capital should be equally valued and that economies should serve nature and the community at the same time.”

“If you just tell people that there’re going to be these huge impacts from climate on a local region, people turn off, they don’t pay attention. You have to provide some tangible, real ways that are commensurate with the problem that they can help meet that climate challenge. And so even though climate change is global in nature, it really does come down to where people live, and so our organization decided to focus in on how Southern California can meet the climate challenge and also what can be done locally, what we can do to tangibly make things better within our own region.”

“We believe it’s essential to take this global issue and make it felt in a very tangible way at the local level, basically neighborhood by neighborhood and household by household.”

“I think one of our great challenges and great opportunities is really strengthening the connection between urban climate adaptation planning and rural climate adaptation planning, because we share the same ecosystem and we’re often working in the same ecosystem. And I think that’s an incredibly important part of what something like the climate adaptation forum can do is provide an opportunity to work across the boundaries that have traditionally divided us.”


Resources:
Climate Adaptation Forum
http://www.californiaadaptationforum.org/

Local Government Commission (LCG)
https://www.lgc.org/

Climate Resolve
http://climateresolve.org/

Sierra Business Council
http://sierrabusiness.org/

Sep 08, 2016
035: Water Resiliency in the Inland Empire-CivicSpark Fellows
19:52

Topic:

Water Conservation with Inland Empire Utilities Agency and Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority

In This Episode: 

01:39 Introduction of Arya Moalemi.
02:25 Arya describes the CivicSpark program.
02:47 Arya tells about working on water issues in Southern California.
03:24 How much acreage is within the Inland Empire?
03:54 Arya elaborates on his work addressing water issues in Southern California.
05:35 Arya explains the challenge of Southern California drying out.
06:17 Arya shares the goal of the agencies he’s working with.
06:39 What does the future of water in Southern California look like?
07:40 Arya describes the impact of his work.
09:52 Arya shares when he decided he wanted to become a CivicSpark fellow.
11:21 Arya tells if he anticipates having an ongoing, networking relationship with the other CivicSpark fellows.
12:39 Arya explains what he’ll be doing after his CivicSpark fellowship ends.
13:11 Arya describes if his CivicSpark skills will make him a stronger job candidate and better professional.
14:01 Arya describes if his CivicSpark experience will make him a stronger job candidate?
14:36 Arya shares the advice he would give to someone who is interested in becoming a CivicSpark fellow.
15:12 Arya comments on the focus group of CivicSpark fellows looking at water issues and water infrastructure.
15:43 Arya shares where people can learn more about the CivicSpark program.
16:12 Arya shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
16:24 Arya states the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
17:11 Arya comments on the fact that there’s a demand and not enough supply of walkable places where people can live.
18:16 Arya says what the water-system resilience in Southern California looks like 30 years from now.

Guest: 

Before earning his masters' degree in City Planning and Regeneration at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, Arya Moalemi went to the University of California, Irvine and received his degree in International Studies. He has lived in Le Mans and Lyon, France and has since lived in Montreal, Canada. He is passionate about the field of urban planning.

Organization:

CivicSpark is a Governor’s Initiative AmeriCorps program dedicated to building capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management issues in California, administered by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. The mission of CivicSpark is to build capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management needs.

Each year, CivicSpark recruits 68 fellows—48 Climate Action Fellows, and 20 Water Action Fellows—who contribute over 65,000 hours to help California communities respond to climate change and water management needs. In collaboration with local government staff, CivicSpark fellows implement a needed climate or water-focused project, while also building long-term capacity to ensure the work is sustained after their service year is completed. Local governments get dedicated project support from a focused team of enthusiastic emerging professionals who receive specialized professional development and sector training.

Take Away Quotes:

“With IEUA [Inland Empire Utilities Agency], for example, I really appreciate how they have a really strong goal—and it’s the same as SAWPA [Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority] as well—of trying to be as self-sufficient as possible. And so that is putting a huge emphasis on groundwater storage and groundwater management as much as they possibly can because ground water doesn’t evaporate, it comes from us, it comes from the rain, and so that seems to be a big push, at least in the Inland Empire.”

“One of the hugest things that I have learned in the few months that I have been with these agencies is how closely tied water and energy are together and how one affects the other.”

“We have this notion that we need it—a car—and we really don’t in many respects. To be fair, it does depend on where you live, but if you can find a way to avoid that, I think that’s such a better and healthier way to live.”

Resources:

CivicSpark

Find CivicSpark on Facebook

Learn More about the Fellowship and Check out the 2016-2017 Fellowship Application!

Local Government Commission (LCG)

Sep 01, 2016
034: Urban Heat Island and Public Health in LA County
21:48

Topic:

Addressing Climate Change at the Los Angeles County Health Department

In This Episode:

01:26 Introduction of Sergio Avelar and Teresa Perez.
02:06 Teresa gives a description of the CivicSpark program.
02:41 Have the CivicSpark fellows just graduated from college, with a bachelor’s degree?
02:56 Sergio describes the projects he’s been working on.
04:08 Sergio explains what a cool roof is.
04:29 Sergio tells how to make a cool roof.
05:07 Teresa describes the project she’s been working on.
05:51 Teresa gives an example of how the public health impacts of climate change can be reduced.
06:26 Are there health impacts of climate change that are more long term or more chronic?
07:21 Teresa tells about the impact she hopes her work makes.
08:05 Sergio shares the impact he hopes his work makes.
09:31 Sergio describes if there is collaboration between the City of L.A. and the partner organizations to work on projects.
10:57 Teresa tells about the moment when she decided she wanted to become a CivicSpark fellow.
11:35 Sergio tells about the moment when he decided he wanted to become a CivicSpark fellow.
12:40 Are there a lot of people applying to be CivicSpark fellows?
13:18 Teresa shares what she expects to do after she completes her fellowship.
14:05 Sergio explains what he expects to do after he completes his fellowship.
15:05 Teresa describes how the CivicSpark-fellow experience impacted her and how it will serve her in the future.
15:52 Sergio describes how the CivicSpark-fellow experience impacted him and how it will serve him in the future.
17:13 Teresa shares the advice she’d give to anyone who’s interested in becoming a CivicSpark fellow.
17:46 Sergio shares the advice he’d give to someone who’s interested in becoming a CivicSpark fellow.
18:43 Teresa tells where people can go to learn more about the CivicSpark program.
19:04 Teresa and Sergio share one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
19:38 Teresa and Sergio tell the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
20:10 Sergio and Teresa share what Los Angeles County Health Department’s efforts to address climate change look like 30 years from now.

Guests:

Sergio Avelar is from Los Angeles, CA and has experience working in education, local government, and sustainability. He graduated from the graduating from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies.

Teresa Perez is from Whittier, California and graduated from California State University Long Beach with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science and Policy. She is passionate about educating the community in what it means to be sustainable and why it is important to live with an environmentally conscious mind. She is eager to learn about the dynamics in the public sector and how to work with a large number of people to create positive and effective change.

Organization:

CivicSpark is a Governor’s Initiative AmeriCorps program dedicated to building capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management issues in California, administered by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. The mission of CivicSpark is to build capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management needs.

Each year, CivicSpark recruits 68 fellows—48 Climate Action Fellows, and 20 Water Action Fellows—who contribute over 65,000 hours to help California communities respond to climate change and water management needs. In collaboration with local government staff, CivicSpark fellows implement a needed climate or water-focused project, while also building long-term capacity to ensure the work is sustained after their service year is completed. Local governments get dedicated project support from a focused team of enthusiastic emerging professionals who receive specialized professional development and sector training.

Take Away Quotes:

“I [Sergio] am helping the County develop an urban heat-island-reduction plan, which is a sort of climate mitigation plan, essentially to address the urban heat-island effect. For those who don’t know, the urban heat island is a phenomenon in which urban areas are slightly warmer than their surrounding rural areas. Most of that is because of typical materials used to develop urban areas, mostly roofs and pavements, they’re more heat-absorbent materials, and so on a really hot day they can really warm up the surrounding area.”

“Los Angeles County is very park poor, so we’re looking at how we can incorporate more green infrastructure, whether that includes building more parks or creating more access to existing parks. And, also, a big component is to try to increase the tree-canopy cover. Trees provide many benefits, and one, essentially, for cooling.”

“Climate change, especially in L.A., can have a major effect on people’s health.”

“Most people think of climate change as saving the polar bears because of global warming, but when you actually tell people, extreme heat can really have an effect later through your air quality, or if you are sick or a loved one is sick it could have many effects, so people really tend to listen to that more.”

Resources:

CivicSpark

Learn More about the Fellowship and Check out the 2016-2017 Fellowship Application!

Local Government Commission (LCG)

National Association of County & City Health Officials

Aug 25, 2016
033: Climate Justice as an Encore Career
24:28

Topic:

Environmental Justice, Equity, and Livability in California

In This Episode:

01:52 Introduction of Cyrus Keller.
02:31 Cyrus shares how working with CivicSpark compares with other job positions he’s held.
03:29 Cyrus explains his role in the CivicSpark program.
04:44 Cyrus tells what excites him the most about the CivicSpark program.
07:22 Cyrus describes the impact the CivicSpark program is having.
08:45 Cyrus shares his thoughts on the millennials’ values and work ethic.
09:47 Cyrus explains if there is a project that exemplifies the value that CivicSpark creates.
10:56 Cyrus shares how the program impacts the fellows and the communities that they’re working in.
12:14 Cyrus gives a sense of the projects that are being worked on in Northern California.
16:38 Cyrus discusses the ethos of sustainability, equity, and livability in the Bay Area.
20:57 Cyrus shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
21:13 Cyrus tells the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
21:36 Cyrus shares what the Bay Area and California will look like 30 years from now.

Guest:

Cyrus Keller is a career professional and social activist. He has over thirty years of combined experience in aerospace, technology and software, and education. His professional experience includes working with both the public and private sectors, enterprise customers, federal, state, and local government agencies, and managing global and virtual teams in a number of settings from start ups to Fortune 50 corporations. Combined with a lifetime of engagement in a wide range of community, social, and international issues, he brings a unique insight to the process of social change, activism, and organizing, as well as a wealth of managerial and training experience, to the CivicSpark and Encore programs.

Organization:

CivicSpark is a Governor’s Initiative AmeriCorps program dedicated to building capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management issues in California, administered by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. The mission of CivicSpark is to build capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management needs. Each year, CivicSpark recruits 68 fellows—48 Climate Action Fellows, and 20 Water Action Fellows—who contribute over 65,000 hours to help California communities respond to climate change and water management needs. In collaboration with local government staff, CivicSpark fellows implement a needed climate or water-focused project, while also building long-term capacity to ensure the work is sustained after their service year is completed. Local governments get dedicated project support from a focused team of enthusiastic emerging professionals who receive specialized professional development and sector training.

CivicSpark also includes retired professionals who share their project management expertise with the next generation. Encore Fellows serve as regional coordinators, providing day-to-day guidance for CivicSpark fellows and also act as project managers for the teams.

Take Away Quotes:

“I think more than 50 percent of the program [CivicSpark] this year are women, and of the fellows that I am working with, there are three that are men and four that are women, and that’s unusual for me. In most of my career, men have dominated the space…But it’s unusual for me in more the science and technical fields that I’ve had experience in to find that many women. So that’s really a sort of a refreshing and rewarding change, that there’re that many women in this program.”

“I think probably the most exciting thing for me was the coming to the realization that a lot of the community organizing I did actually does fall under the umbrella of environmental justice…So, for me, what was exciting about this was recognizing that I could connect a lot of the work I had to the environmental movement and then sort of working on those issues on this side as opposed to from the community grassroots-base side.”

“We want each fellow to actually get some program-management experience, so we ask them to take on a community-service project and manage it from cradle to grave, from inception to completion. So the activity is that they have to do a service project, the form it takes varies from place to place, but that would be the thing I would identify that I think exemplifies the real value, that we do service projects as a component part of the program, and each fellow does a service project, or the fellows in a region do a collective project.”

Resources:

Encore

CivicSpark

Local Government Commission (LCG)

Aug 18, 2016
032: Regional Sustainability Indicators in Southern California – CivicSpark Fellows
25:43

Topic:

Supporting the Development of Sustainable Practices

In This Episode:

01:45 Introduction of Mackenzie Bolger.
02:16 Introduction of Mike Kloha.
02:45 Introduction of Bree Swenson.
03:20 What is the sustainability indicators project?
03:57 Mike gives more details of the project.
04:59 How many people are involved in this project?
05:47 What kind of project report will be issued?
07:19 When the project is complete, how will people access the information?
08:48 What impact are Bree, Mackenzie, and Mike hoping to see from the work that they’re doing as CivicSpark fellows?
10:02 Could this work produce healthy competition between municipalities?
10:41 Mackenzie, Bree, and Mike share when they decided they wanted to become a CivicSpark fellow.
12:41 Bree, Mike, and Mackenzie describe how they feel about the ability to have a significant impact on issues of sustainability and climate change.
16:28 Could municipal governments have a significant impact on sustainability if the right set of resources were in place?
17:32 Bree shares what’s next for her in her career and how the CivicSpark experience impacted that.
18:18 Mackenzie describes what’s next for her in her career and how the CivicSpark experience impacted that.
19:13 Mike explains what’s next for him in his career and how the CivicSpark experience impacted that.
21:00 What advice would be given to anyone who’s interested in becoming a CivicSpark fellow?
22:34 Where can people find out more about the CivicSpark program?
23:04 What is one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities?
23:23 What action can listeners take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future?
23:58 What will Southern California communities look like 30 years from now?

Guests:

Mike Kloha is from San Diego and is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) with a degree in Environmental Policy and a minor in Urban Planning. He is a former NCAA athlete in cross country and track. Mike developed a great interest for sustainable urban planning, and has also worked in local government for over a year. He hopes to learn more about the sustainability needs of Los Angeles and to actively be a part of addressing those needs throughout the region.

Mackenzie Bolger is a 2015-2016 CivicSpark Americorps Fellow located in Los Angeles, California. In 2015, she graduated with honors from Arizona State University’s School of Social Transformation with a Bachelor's degree in Justice Studies and a minor in Sustainability. She is committed to transforming Southern California into a socially just, environmentally healthy, and economically vital region that will model sustainability for the rest of the world.

A Southern California native, Bree Swenson graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a major in Anthropology and a focus on Global Health and Environment. She has worked on distributed energy policy, energy efficiency, and land use policy in St. Louis, DC, and Los Angeles and hopes to use her passion for environmental sustainability to continue this work in her hometown.

Organization:

CivicSpark is a Governor’s Initiative AmeriCorps program dedicated to building capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management issues in California, administered by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. The mission of CivicSpark is to build capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management needs.

Each year, CivicSpark recruits 68 fellows—48 Climate Action Fellows, and 20 Water Action Fellows—who contribute over 65,000 hours to help California communities respond to climate change and water management needs. In collaboration with local government staff, CivicSpark fellows implement a needed climate or water-focused project, while also building long-term capacity to ensure the work is sustained after their service year is completed. Local governments get dedicated project support from a focused team of enthusiastic emerging professionals who receive specialized professional development and sector training.

Take Away Quotes:

“The indicators, they span pretty much every topic you can imagine in sustainability. We’re looking at water conservation, renewable energy, climate action planning, greenhouse gas inventories. Basically, what we are trying to do is look at all the cities in the region and assess how well their policies and their actual performance on the ground is doing for all these various indicators.”

“It’s [the project] been ongoing for the past five years. Our manager here at SCAG has been sort of measuring progress and expanding the research over that time. Last year, SCAG had CivicSpark fellows also and so they’ve started working on this, and we’re continuing their work. We’re definitely not going to complete it in the time that we’re here; we’re setting it up to transition for the people who will work on it next.”

“We also are working with the mapping team here at SCAG to develop an interactive, web-based map, where anyone from the public will be able to click on various different indicators and see where their city falls as far as that indicator goes.”

Resources:

CivicSpark

Learn More about the Fellowship and Check out the 2016-2017 Fellowship Application! 

Find CivicSpark on Facebook

Local Government Commission (LCG)

Aug 11, 2016
031: Civil Rights and Access to Recreation and Open Space
35:03

Topic:

Advancing Racial, Social, and Environmental Equality

In This Episode:

01:23 Introduction of Robert Garcia.
02:30 Robert explains when he realized fighting for civil rights would be his life’s work.
04:00 Robert describes the victory of the Bus Riders Union versus the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
06:15 Robert shares why Title VI of the Civil Rights Act is an important tool in the battle for environmental justice.
10:47 If those who receive federal funding violate the agreement of Title VI, what can the federal government do?
14:43 Robert explains why The City Project is focused on equal access to natural resources.
19:23 Robert discusses his efforts to restore the Los Angeles River.
23:30 Robert shares what it was like for The City Project to be involved in creating new national monuments.
27:10 How will the communities with newly restored natural areas going to benefit from the investment and the restoration and not become displaced?
31:56 Robert shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
32:23 Robert describes the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
32:42 Robert explains what California, our national parks, our natural resources and monuments look like 30 years from now.

Guest:

Robert García is a civil rights attorney who engages, educates, and empowers communities to seek equal access to public and natural resources. He is the Founding Director and Counsel of The City Project, a non-profit legal and policy advocacy organization in Los Angeles, California. Robert graduated from Stanford University and Stanford Law School and is an Assistant Professor at Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science.

Robert has extensive experience in public policy, legal advocacy, mediation, and litigation involving complex social justice, civil rights, human health, environmental, education, and criminal justice matters. He has influenced the investment of over $43 billion in underserved communities, working at the intersection of equal justice, public health, and the built environment. He served as chairman of the Citizens’ School Bond Oversight Committee for five years, helping raise over $27 billion to build new, and modernize existing, public schools as centers of their communities in Los Angeles. He has helped communities create and preserve great urban parks and preserve access to beaches and trails. He has helped diversify support for and access to state resource bonds, with unprecedented levels of support among communities of color and low-income communities, and billions of dollars for urban parks. He served on the Development Team for the National Park Service Healthy Parks, Healthy People Community Engagement eGuide.

Robert served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund. He received the President’s Award from the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice for helping release Geronimo Pratt, the former Black Panther leader, from prison after 27 years for a crime he did not commit. He represented people on Death Row in Georgia, Florida, and Mississippi. Stanford Law School called him a “civil rights giant” and Stanford Magazine “an inspiration.” Robert served on the Justice and Peace Commission for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles under Cardinal Roger Mahony. He is an immigrant who came to the U.S. from Guatemala at age four.

Mr. Garcia’s Publications

Mr. Garcia’s Major Cases

Organization:

The City Project, a non-profit legal and policy advocacy team in Los Angeles, California. The City Project works with diverse allies on equal access to (1) healthy green land use through community planning; (2) climate justice; (3) quality education including physical education; (4) health equity; and (5) economic vitality for all, including creating jobs and avoiding displacement.

President Barack Obama and federal agencies are catapulting The City Project’s work on green access to the national level. As the President recognized in dedicating the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, “Too many children, . . . especially children of color, don’t have access to parks where they can run free, breathe fresh air, experience nature, and learn about their environment. This is an issue of social justice.” Conservation isn’t about locking away our natural treasures. “It’s about working with communities to open up our glorious heritage to everybody — young and old, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American — to make sure everybody can experience these incredible gifts.”

The National Park Service and the US Army Corps of Engineers agree. Their studies on green access and the Santa Monica Mountains, the San Gabriel Mountains, and the Los Angeles River rely on The City Project’s analyses to document that there are disparities in access to green space for people of color and low-income people in Los Angeles, that these disparities contribute to health disparities, and that environmental justice requires agencies to address these disparities. The City Project worked with Ranking Member Raul Grijalva and the House Natural Resources Committee to organize the historic forum on environmental justice, climate, and health. The forum included seven Members of Congress and community advocates at the L.A. River Center in 2015.

Take Away Quotes:

“I am a civil rights attorney. I am an environmental justice and health attorney. We consider environmental justice the environmental arm of the civil rights movement, and we focus most specifically on equal access to parks and recreation—we have since we started The City Project in 2000—and many people wonder, how is that a civil rights issue? But, in fact, access to parks has been a central part of the civil rights movement ever since Brown versus Board of Education.”

“We’ve always recognized that equal access to public resources is a core part of the battle for justice and dignity for all.”

“Residential segregation contributes to many of the disparities that we see in cities and rural areas—disparities in fair housing, decent housing; disparities in health; disparities in access to green space; disparities in quality education; disparities in the kinds of jobs you have access to; disparities in transportation to get to the jobs and schools and parks; and in general, disparities in infrastructure.”

“It’s not only the parks that have been created—and there are many—and it’s not even the planning process and the compliance with the law—which is rewarding; ultimately, we measure success by the smiles on children’s faces from playing in parks and schools that did not exist before. And that’s what we’re the most proud of.”

Resources:

The City Project – Equal Justice, Democracy, and Livability for All

Donate to The City Project

Read The City Project’s Fact Sheet

Using Civil Rights Tools to Address Health Disparities - Policy Report, The City Project, 2014
Learn about civil rights tools and the 5-step compliance and equity analysis

The Loneliness of Being Black in San Francisco – NY Times

Aug 04, 2016
030: A Carbon-Neutral Santa Monica by 2050—CivicSpark Fellows
22:27

Topic:

The Experience and Work in the CivicSpark Fellowship Program

In This Episode:

01:44 Introduction of Mikael Matossian.
02:22 Mikael describes the CivicSpark program.
03:14 Mikael shares what he’s been working on for the city of Santa Monica.
04:44 Mikael elaborates on the reduction of Santa Monica’s carbon emissions.
05:57 Mikael explains if the new plan that he’s working on has a particular target and date?
06:59 Mikael shares the impact he hopes his work will bring about.
08:24 Is the report going to be available in other languages?
09:00 Mikael explains when he decided that he wanted to become a CivicSpark fellow.
10:54 Does Mikael’s experience as a CivicSpark fellow make graduate school more valuable to him?
12:17 Mikael describes his experience as a CivicSpark fellow.
14:00 Mikael shares if he would become a CivicSpark fellow again.
15:24 Mikael describes the advice he would give to someone who’s becoming a CivicSpark fellow.
17:51 Mikael explains that CivicSpark is still a new program but is expanding.
18:46 Mikael shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
19:13 Mikael describes the action that listeners can take to build a more equitable and sustainable future.
19:53 Mikael explains what the city of Santa Monica looks like 30 years from now.

Guest:

Mikael Matossian is a 2015-2016 CivicSpark AmeriCorps fellow in the City of Santa Monica's Office of Sustainability and the Environment, working on various climate action and energy initiatives. Mikael graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2015 with his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science. He plans to pursue a master's degree in energy systems at Carnegie Mellon University. His main research interests include the introduction of energy efficiency practices and renewable energy technologies in the Republic of Armenia.

Organization:

CivicSpark is a Governor’s Initiative AmeriCorps program dedicated to building capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management issues in California, administered by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. The mission of CivicSpark is to build capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management needs.

Each year, CivicSpark recruits 68 fellows—48 Climate Action Fellows, and 20 Water Action Fellows—who contribute over 65,000 hours to help California communities respond to climate change and water management needs. In collaboration with local government staff, CivicSpark fellows implement a needed climate or water-focused project, while also building long-term capacity to ensure the work is sustained after their service year is completed. Local governments get dedicated project support from a focused team of enthusiastic emerging professionals who receive specialized professional development and sector training.

Take Away Quotes:

“I’m working on climate action and energy projects. So, I have three major projects, the first one being a final report or a view of the city’s last climate-action plan… that has 15 measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions community wide of the city by 2015, compared to a 1990 level as a baseline…fortunately, we actually did achieve 15%—we kind of surpassed that. We’re at a 21.8% reduction from 1990 levels.”

“The city [Santa Monica], really, for decades has been kind of a bold leader in sustainability and taking innovative action. It was the first city in 1994 to adopt a sustainable city plan of that size, a really comprehensive plan, to look at how we’re going to enhance, protect our resources, preserve the environment, in all these sectors, in water, waste, energy, social equity, things like that.”

“I really hope that this product, the final report—and I do believe it will—communicate the bold action that the city, that the government, is taking to the public so the public can be reminded of how, you know, innovative and leading this city is in sustainability, and, hopefully, that will motivate them to take part in the next plan and become more sustainable themselves.”

Resources:

Listen to Infinite Earth Radio Episode 019: Taking Back the Power – Community Choice Aggregation

CivicSpark

Learn More about the Fellowship and Check out the 2016-2017 Fellowship Application!

Local Government Commission (LGC)

Jul 28, 2016
029: Redefining Water Infrastructure
30:13

Topic:

Forests and the Water Supply

In This Episode:

02:19 Introduction of Laurie A. Wayburn.
02:39 Laurie shares when she realized forest and natural-resource conservation would be her life’s work.
04:28 Laurie elaborates on what she means by “wealth” in her quote, “Nature is central to our emotional, physical, and spiritual wealth and well-being…Nature is where our wealth comes from.”
06:23 Laurie describes the Pacific Forest Trust and what their mission is.
08:35 Laurie shares the extent of the drought and water crisis that western states are facing and if there is a connection between the drought and frequent wildfires.
12:12 Laurie confirms the accurate description of California’s water availability and population.
12:29 Are there regional inequities in terms of accessing available fresh water sources in California, and are there really water wars happening in the West?
14:25 What are the challenges in California of preserving the relationship with those with the water supply, and what’s being done to preserve that relationship?
17:17 Laurie explains what could be done for the landowners in order to compensate them in a way that would preserve the water supply.
20:34 Laurie addresses the EPA’s waters of the United States rule of which water bodies, including wetlands, need to be protected.
23:17 Why is the concept of a water fee or tax—which could accumulate into a very large fund—so controversial?
27:22 Laurie shares where people can learn more about her work.
28:03 Laurie shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
28:22 Laurie describes the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
28:36 Laurie explains what the forests in California look like 30 years from now.

Guest:

Laurie A. Wayburn is the Co-founder, Co-CEO and President of the Pacific Forest Trust. Ms. Wayburn is an accomplished forest and conservation innovator who advises policymakers at the state, regional, national, and international levels. She pioneers new approaches to develop sustainable resource economies using her deep experience in the fields of conservation, ecosystem services, and sustainability. A preeminent authority on the climate and ecosystem benefits of forests, she leads efforts enacting climate change policies that unite conservation and sustainable management with market-based approaches. She has received several highly prestigious honors bestowed for her leadership and is a frequent speaker, writer, and media commentator on working forest conservation.

Prior to co-founding Pacific Forest Trust with Constance Best in 1993, Ms. Wayburn worked internationally for 10 years in the United Nations Environment Program and Ecological Sciences Division of UNESCO. She later served as Executive Director of the Point Reyes Bird Observatory and was the Founder and first Coordinator of the Central California Coast Biosphere Reserve. Ms. Wayburn is a graduate of Harvard University and currently serves on the Northwest BioCarbon Initiative Steering Committee, the American Forest Policy Steering Committee, and the Land Trust Alliance Advisory Council.

Organization:

The mission of the Pacific Forest Trust is to sustain America’s forests for their public benefits of wood, water, wildlife, and people’s well-being, in cooperation with landowners and communities.

For more than 20 years, Pacific Forest Trust has epitomized innovation, daring, and a savvy understanding of market forces to create new economic incentives that reward private forest owners for conserving their lands and practicing sustainable forestry.

They are a visionary think-and-do tank of scientists, conservationists, policy wonks, entrepreneurs, and outdoor enthusiasts that have helped shape forest conservation and climate policy. Working closely with other forest stakeholders, from landowners to agencies to environmental nonprofit partners, they create and advance high-leverage, catalytic strategies that engage the commitment, imagination, and resources of many individuals, businesses, and organizations to make it easier and more rewarding to do good things for the forests—and forest landowners—on which we all depend.

The only conservation organization focused on private forests in California, Oregon, and Washington, they have conserved 250,000 acres of vital forestland regionally. Their work has been recognized for its excellence by government agencies, philanthropies, and non-profit organizations.

Take Away Quotes:

“It is both scientifically and empirically shown that being in forests makes you feel better. And it does; it really does raise the body’s own ability to fight infection and disease.”

“Our [Pacific Forest Trust] big mission is to sustain America’s forests for all their public benefits of wood, water, wildlife, and well-being, in cooperation with landowners, managers, and communities.”

“…We [Pacific Forest Trust] said, well, gosh, is there a way we can marry how people earn money, with stewardship and protecting the public benefits of those forests; and so we really wanted to create an organization that pioneered and developed new sources of financial return for landowners who managed for the public benefit and stewarded and protected their forests.”

“Twenty-five thousand, fifteen thousand years ago we had about double the rainfall in California that we have today in Southern California. A significant drying trend has been rapidly accelerated with the rise of global warming and the increase in these global-warming gasses.”

Resources:

Learn why forests matter to EVERYONE

Support the Pacific Forest Trust

Sign up to receive monthly updates about Pacific forests, conservation projects, and more from the Pacific Forest Trust

Pacific Forest Trust

Follow Pacific Forest Trust on Twitter

Jul 21, 2016
028: CivicSpark Fellows—Making the Central Valley More Sustainable
22:11

Topic:

Bringing New Economic Opportunities to Disadvantaged Communities

In This Episode:

02:04 Introduction of Trevor Wilson and Mitchelle De Leon.
03:05 Trevor and Mitchelle share what the CivicSpark AmeriCorps program is all about.
04:13 Mitchelle shares the moment he decided that he wanted to become a CivicSpark fellow.
05:10 Trevor shares the moment he decided that he wanted to become a CivicSpark fellow.
06:08 Trevor describes the application process.
07:27 Mitchelle explains his application experience.
07:41 Trevor describes his experience of what it’s like to be in the program.
09:13 Mitchelle shares his experience of being in the program.
10:37 Mitchelle explains the project he’s working on.
11:51 Trevor shares the project he’s working on.
12:53 Mitchelle and Trevor tell what’s next for each of them.
14:28 Trevor and Mitchelle describe how the CivicSpark experience has impacted them and how it will serve them in the future.
16:40 Trevor and Mitchelle share the advice they would give to someone who is interested in becoming a CivicSpark fellow.
18:57 Mitchelle and Trevor share one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
19:59 Trevor and Mitchelle describe the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
20:53 Trevor and Mitchelle explain what California-San Joaquin Valley looks like 30 years from now.

Guests:

Mitchelle De Leon recently graduated from California State University, Bakersfield with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a concentration in Finance. During college, he engaged his fellow students on environmental justice issues in Kern County. He aspires to work on policies on state and federal levels, ensuring fair and equitable solutions to climate change. In 2016, he plans to start a nonprofit organization focused on building youth leaders' capacity to address climate change

Trevor Wilson grew up in the middle of Michigan and moved on to Michigan State University, where he received a Bachelor's degree in International Relations. He focused on renewable energy policy and sustainability. Trevor’s senior thesis paper was on Germany's energy transition to renewables, leading him to a summer internship with an environmental protection organization in Berlin, Germany.

Organization:

CivicSpark is a Governor’s Initiative AmeriCorps program dedicated to building capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management issues in California, administered by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. The mission of CivicSpark is to build capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management needs.

Each year, CivicSpark recruits 68 fellows—48 Climate Action Fellows, and 20 Water Action Fellows—who contribute over 65,000 hours to help California communities respond to climate change and water management needs. In collaboration with local government staff, CivicSpark fellows implement a needed climate or water-focused project, while also building long-term capacity to ensure the work is sustained after their service year is completed. Local governments get dedicated project support from a focused team of enthusiastic emerging professionals who receive specialized professional development and sector training.

Take Away Quotes:

“Fellows complete eleven months of service, working on a variety of climate-change-related projects, from developing climate action plans, increasing electric-vehicle infrastructure, to completing greenhouse gas inventories for cities. You can think of us foot soldiers for local climate action throughout California.”

“CivicSpark is really about showing passionate young people what the reality of climate action looks like, so taking all of these very passionate, ideological young people and turning them into goal-oriented doers instead of thinkers; and so I [Trevor] think that, really, the goal is to create these local champions throughout California and throughout the world.”

“During college I [Mitchelle] grew increasingly passionate about climate change and the disproportionate impacts of climate change on disadvantaged communities. Having lived half my life in the Central Valley and another half of my life in the Philippines, climate change is an incredibly personal issue for me. And throughout college my theory of change centered around advocacy and grassroots organizing, and I saw CivicSpark as an opportunity to identify different leverage points to take action on climate-justice issues, and so when I learned that my primary focus for CivicSpark would be water then I knew that was a perfect opportunity to take action.”

“It’s hard to tell just from an online posting exactly how impactful a job will be, but this one was just worlds beyond what I [Trevor] was expecting.”

“Climate action is for everyone. Climate action really involves every type of every field of work. It involves every major in college. It really is an overall problem to tackle.”

Resources:

WE CAN (Water-Energy Community Action Network) — San Joaquin Valley

CivicSpark

Learn more about the Fellowship and check out the 2016-2017 Fellowship Application!

Local Government Commission (LCG)

Jul 14, 2016
027: Businesses Acting on Rising Seas
27:56

Topic:

Small Businesses-Climate Change and Preparedness

In This Episode:

02:37 Introduction of Michael Green.
03:09 Michael explains what the Climate Action Business Association (CABA) is and what its mission is.
03:51 Michael shares how the organization got started and how long it’s been around.
05:35 How long has Michael been working at CABA?
05:48 Michael describes how he personally came to this work.
08:11 Michael shares a basic summary of what CABA does and how it serves businesses.
11:11 Michael explains what the Businesses Acting on Rising Seas (BARS) initiative is.
14:55 Is there a threat of rising seas or flooding to the businesses in the Massachusetts area?
16:20 How is it that GE is moving into a place where they’re at risk of sea rising?
18:11 Michael explains the guide that helps businesses outline an approach to decrease the risk of going out of business due to consequences of climate change.
20:47 Michael shares where people can learn more about CABA and BARS.
21:33 Are there resources on the website that will help small businesses learn what kind of steps they need to take to be resilient against climate change?
22:18 Michael shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
23:01 Michael describes the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
24:05 Michael explains what Massachusetts looks like 30 years from now.

Guest:

Michael Green is the Executive Director of the Climate Action Business Association (CABA). He came to CABA as a seasoned advocate for climate policy and environmental action. Since 2012, he has served as a representative to the United Nations focusing on international climate science and policy. As an activist, he has played strategic roles in several of the largest national, as well as international, campaigns dedicated to fighting climate change. In his role at CABA, Michael manages staff and oversees the development of all program areas. He sits on the Board of Boston area non-profits as well as a policy advisor to national business associations on topics ranging from energy policy to climate adaptation. Michael is a Northeastern University graduate with degrees in international affairs and environmental studies, course work at the University of Edinbrough’s MSc Program in Environmental Protection and Management, and Harvard Business School’s CORe Program.

Organization:

CABA’s mission is to help solve the climate crisis by organizing local business leaders to be more effective advocates for climate change action within our communities, at the business, and at local, state, regional, national and international levels. CABA envisions a new economy based on a strong, cooperative local business community, working together to create and maintain a resilient and sustainable future that is responding to climate change, with business leaders helping to achieve collective agreements at all levels of governance.

CABA provides participating businesses with the resources and tools needed to work within the business on climate change and sustainability efforts, and within the coalition on broader policy initiatives. The coalition members set policy priorities, and create opportunities for business owners to leverage voice in policy. CABA welcomes all independent businesses looking to be effective policy advocates and offer resources to this collective effort. CABA’s work focuses on 3 main areas: internal sustainability, political advocacy, and building community.

CABA’s summer campaign is called Businesses Acting on Rising Seas (BARS). For eight weeks, the CABA team will educate local businesses across the state of Massachusetts about the impacts of rising sea levels. CABA will engage into face-to-face conversations with business owners and managers providing education that is crucial to sustaining economic vitality and business continuity in the region with the threats of climate change looming. CABA will provide free resiliency guides, which outline an eight-step approach to decrease the risk of going out of business due to the consequences of climate change. The aim of the campaign is to prevent the loss of local business and support a secure economy for Massachusetts in the event of a natural disaster and to build better understanding of climate resilience and a sense of community in the city of Boston and along the coast of Massachusetts.

Take Away Quotes:

“Climate Action Business Association is a Boston-based business group. We’re focused on climate and energy policy, and we work on policy here in the state, in the city, assisting with several of the administration’s plans on climate adaptation and preparedness, and then we also work on national policy.”

“What happened was I have a career prior to this of working in advocacy and as a climate activist; and the more that I was involved in various movements globally, whether it was here in Massachusetts on the national level and even spending some time in the UK, I saw this debate of us versus them—us being a progressive, forward-thinking, in my case young, green movement versus them being this voice that was hard to pin down that said taking action on climate change is bad for jobs and bad for the economy. I knew from my time working with small businesses in Massachusetts that that just wasn’t the case, that there’s plenty of businesses that look at their carbon footprint as just as important as their community impact and their bottom line. Yet that’s not the narrative that we hear.”

“We quickly got to about a dozen businesses in the first six months or year and saw that there was a real need for this. So we spent about a year developing our programs and figuring out what exactly our niche and our role we wanted to play within this movement and then also what services and products we wanted to offer the local business community. Since then, we’ve really been growing leaps and bounds, spread across the state, and we’re getting prepared to launch in other states across the country.”

“On the internal-sustainability side, we’ve developed a web app. It allows a business to track its wastewater, energy, and transportation usage. It kicks out a greenhouse-gas footprint and then also allows the business to check that greenhouse-gas footprint in comparison to business metrics that are slightly more normalized—like their full-time employees, square footage, fiscal goals—so they’re able, on a clear dashboard, to see how their carbon footprint relates to their business growth.”

Resources:

Climate Action Business Association

Learn more about CABA’s BARS2016 campaign

CABA’s Blog

Connect with CABA on Facebook and learn about the businesses CABA supports in Boston

Follow CABA on Twitter

Interested in what you can do to address climate change? Check out Infinite Earth Radio’s other climate change episodes:

Infinite Earth Radio Bonus Ep. 005 From Unemployed Berkeley Dropout to Climate Change Warrior, the Tyi Johnson and Rising Sun Energy Story

Infinite Earth Radio Ep. 014 Climate Change and Storm Water Utilities [U.S. Water Crisis Part Two] with Matthew Naud

Infinite Earth Radio Ep. 022 When a Climate Change HERO Comes Along with Barbara Spoonhour and Dustin Reilich

Infinite Earth Radio Ep. 023 Using Nature to Combat Climate Change—The Nature Conservancy with Louis Blumberg

Jul 07, 2016
026: Mobility and the Sharing Economy
24:14

Topic:

The Shared-Use Strategy of Transportation

In This Episode:

02:33 Introduction of Susan Shaheen.
02:56 Susan explains what shared-mobility services are.
03:46 Susan describes the societal and individual benefits of shared-mobility services.
05:48 Susan shares if car-sharing services are being universally accessed or if they are more concentrated in certain areas.
07:10 Is anyone currently making car-sharing services available to other parts of the population?
07:42 How is the Zipcar model—individuals sharing a car—expanding, and what is the market acceptance?
10:38 Susan shares the benefits of shared-mobility services to municipalities and society.
12:34 Are these shared-mobility services putting cab companies and their drivers out of business, and is there any data about these services driving down wages for those drivers?
14:35 Are all communities being served by shared-mobility services?
16:30 Are shared-mobility services impacting the need for public transportation, as well as the investments that would result in the reduction of vehicle-miles traveled?
20:29 Susan shares where people can learn more about her work.
21:31 Susan shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
22:17 Susan describes the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
22:34 Susan explains what our communities look like 30 years from now.

Guest:

Susan’s interest in environmentally- and socially-beneficial technology applications led her to focus her doctoral research on carsharing, linked to public transit in the mid-1990s. Today, she is an internationally recognized expert in mobility and the sharing economy and co-directs the Transportation Sustainability Research Center (TSRC) of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California (UC), Berkeley. She is also an adjunct professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley. She has authored 57 journal articles, over 100 reports and proceedings articles, four book chapters, and co-edited one book. Her research projects on carsharing, smart parking, and older mobility have received national awards.

Organization:

The Transportation Sustainability Research Center (TSRC) was formed in 2006 to combine the research forces of six campus groups at UC Berkeley: the University of California Transportation Center, the University of California Energy Institute, the Institute of Transportation Studies, the Energy and Resources Group, the Center for Global Metropolitan Studies, and the Berkeley Institute of the Environment. Since TSRC was founded, it has been a leading center in conducting timely research on real-world solutions for a more sustainable transportation future. In addition to performing research informed by a diverse array of perspectives, TSRC also engages in education and outreach to promote its core values of sustainability and equity, to ensure that we are able to meet the transportation needs of the present without compromising future generations.

TSRC conducts research on a wide array of transportation-related issues, addressing the needs of individuals as well as the public. Research efforts are primarily concentrated in six main areas: Advanced vehicles and fuels, Energy and infrastructure, Goods movement, Innovative mobility, Mobility for special populations, and Transportation and energy systems analysis.

TSRC uses a wide range of analysis and evaluation tools, including questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, automated data collection systems, and simulation models to collect data and perform analysis and interpretation of the data. The center then develops impartial findings and recommendations for key issues of interest to policymakers to aid in decision-making. TSRC has assisted in developing and implementing major California and federal regulations and initiatives regarding sustainable transportation. These include the California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), the Low Emission Vehicle Program and Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate, the Pavley Law, Low Carbon Fuel Standards policies, California SB 375 (anti-sprawl legislation), and the federal Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

Take Away Quotes:

“Shared mobility is broader than just car sharing or what we call ride-sourcing services that are on demand, like Uber and Lyft. It’s the shared use of a vehicle, bicycle, or other mode; and it’s a strategy that enables its users to gain access on a short-term basis to transportation modes that they need.”

“…what we found was that in a round-trip model similar to the Zipcar model, that’s quite popular around the world, that about 25% of the people surveyed said that they gave up a car. Another 25% postponed an auto purchase…We found that people who engaged in round-trip car sharing report saving anywhere from about $150 to about $435 per month.”

“One of the things we’re really interested in seeing is, can we start to scale these services to other parts of the population, to individuals from a diverse range of socioeconomic backgrounds and also to the disabled population and elderly population.”

Resources:

Infinite Earth Radio Ep. 018, “The Future of Transportation: Mobility as a Service,” with Steve Raney

University of California, Berkeley, Transportation Sustainability Research Center

Innovative Mobility Research

Jun 29, 2016
025: Power of Small—A Housing Revolution
28:05

Topic:

The Multi-Generational Housing Model Movement

In This Episode:

02:49 Introduction of Rachel Ginis.
03:30 Rachel describes what an accessory dwelling unit is.
04:05 Rachel explains how she become an advocate and champion of accessory dwelling units.
06:51 Rachel shares the benefits of individuals who create accessory dwelling units.
08:52 Is the multi-generational housing form a good thing in society?
10:30 Rachel describes the obstacles that are involved with this model.
13:07 Rachel explains the regulatory environment of an accessory dwelling unit.
19:47 Rachel talks about the rise in the cost of housing and creating affordable communities.
23:28 Rachel shares how people can learn more about her work.
24:26 Rachel explains what people can do to introduce accessory dwelling units in their communities.
26:15 Rachel shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
26:31 Rachel describes the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
26:44 Rachel explains what communities look like 30 years from now.

Guest:

Rachel F. Ginis is the Executive Director of Lilypad Homes. Rachel held on to her home as a single working mom by temporarily turning the master bedroom into a lovely junior apartment. That experience led her to develop an innovative model for flexible housing and to successfully advocate for its adoption in California. Rachel is a third-generation designer, following in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother. She received her bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Maryland where she studied housing patterns as a reflection and influencer of society. She has been in high-end residential design for over twenty years, is a LEED accredited designer, and a general contractor. Rachel has a passion for small, efficient spaces and believes the home plays a critical role in financial and personal well-being.

Organization:

Lilypad Homes is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating flexible housing that offers more affordable housing options for homeowners and renters. We do this by supporting and facilitating the creation of second units or in-law apartments that meet individual homeowner needs. Lilypad offers services to help homeowners assess their home’s suitability for a second unit, and to assist them through the financing, design, permitting, and construction process.

Lilypad Homes was created for many reasons: to provide much-needed housing, to make homeownership more affordable, to house loved ones, caregivers and people who work in the community, and to create resilient, self-sufficient communities capable of housing critical service providers. While all of these are true and vital reasons they do not actually explain how Lilypad Homes got its start. The idea for Lilypad germinated in 2000 when Rachel Ginis, the organization’s founder, became a single parent. As a residential designer, she did not earn enough money to remain in her home in Marin County (California). Rachel determined to temporarily repurpose the master bedroom into a lovely little living space. The income from that 230 square foot efficiency apartment allowed her to hold onto her home, keeping her daughter in school just down the road from her father’s house. Because Rachel’s daughter was 4 years old at the time, she did not feel that taking on a roommate was a viable option; she needed to secure their privacy. She also needed to ensure she could meet the monthly mortgage. Privatizing a bedroom was a sensible solution and created a reliable income stream from a little-used room.

Rachel created Lilypad to empower other women going through transitions to hold on to their homes, since women are often left with the house after a divorce or death in the family. And because they make less money on average than men, they are often not in a position to cover the costs of homeownership on their own. She recognizes, of course, that this housing strategy is an opportunity for everyone.

Take Away Quotes:

“An accessory dwelling unit is a home on a property that’s secondary to the main living space. It acts as a completely independent living unit, meaning that it has kitchen, living, sleeping, and sanitation facilities. In general, they run on average around 750 square feet, and most people require that the owner occupies the property.”

“I can tell you from my anthropological background I recognize the fact—and many people do—that we are moving back towards a multi-generational housing model. In other words, families are more and more pooling their resources to maintain and even purchase homes, and so people are also more often looking to their home as a resource to create income because we are in the middle of a massive housing crisis and yet we are the most over-housed community, I think, in global history.”

“I think it’s true that families are again coming together and we’re creating more long-term, vested communities; and I also think that we are living in a time of great diversity, and resilient communities have diversity built in. I say that this type of model allows us to really create communities with, if it all goes well, the people who serve our community, who participate in our community—whether that means family members or the people who actually work to make our community happen every day—can actually live in that community. And based on, from an environmental perspective, the idea that people can live close to their work is, I would say, vital for our very survival, if you will; but it also builds diverse, resilient communities.”

Resources:

Show your support for AB 2406 that will make Junior Accessory Dwelling Units possible throughout California!

Interested in introducing an ordinance where you live? Contact Lilypad Homes for a model ordinance!

Lilypad Homes

Learn More about Lilypad Homes Homeowner Services

Jun 23, 2016
024: "The New Grand Strategy: Restoring America’s Prosperity, Security, and Sustainability in the 21st Century"
35:42

Topic:

Addressing the Economy, Climate Change, and the Challenge of Global Unsustainability

In This Episode:

01:39 Introduction of Joel Makower.
01:56 Introduction of Mark Mykleby.
02:29 Where can listeners buy a copy of the book, “The New Grand Strategy: Restoring America’s Prosperity, Security, and Sustainability in the 21st Century”?
03:22 What is grand strategy, and have we had grand strategies in the past?
05:38 Why did we stop using grand strategy?
07:25 Is the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after World War II considered one of the grand strategies?
08:23 Why was the Pentagon interested in a new grand strategy?
09:57 Why wasn’t the plan embraced by the Pentagon or the Obama administration?
11:24 What are the three pools of pent-up demand that are currently seen in our society, and how will tapping into them make us safer?
16:28 What would need to happen to tap into these three pools of demand?
21:44 How do we move forward in getting this grand strategic plan in place? Are there people who could drive this within the business community that would then drive the politics in Washington to be more supportive?
27:09 How could a grand strategy affect the conversation about climate change?
30:45 How would a grand strategy address the growing income inequality and lack of social mobility? How does this help the working class and disenfranchised communities of color?

Guests:

Joel Makower is chairman and executive editor of GreenBiz Group, Inc., a media and events company focusing at the intersection of sustainable business and clean technology. He also serves as a senior fellow at the Strategic Innovation Lab at Case Western Reserve University. A former nationally syndicated columnist, Makower is author of more than a dozen other books, among the earliest books on corporate environmental responsibility and corporate social responsibility. In 2012, he was awarded the Hutchens Medal by the American Society for Quality, which cited “his ability to tell compelling stories that both inform and inspire business leaders toward profitable action.” In 2014, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the International Institute of Sustainability Professionals. The Associated Press has called him “The guru of green business practices.”

Mark Mykleby is a founder and co-director of the Strategic Innovation Lab at Case Western Reserve University. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps following his graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1987. Designated as a qualified F/A-18 pilot in December 1990, he served in five fleet fighter squadrons from 1991 to 2006. In 2007, Mykleby was assigned to the U.S. Special Operations Command, where he developed strategy for the Special Operations Forces. From 2009 until 2011, he served as a special strategic assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In that capacity, he coauthored with Navy Captain Wayne Porter A National Strategic Narrative, a concept and vision for a 21st century grand strategy for the nation. Mykleby retired from the Marine Corps in 2011. From 2011 until 2014, he served as a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, working alongside Patrick Doherty to develop the framework for a new U.S. grand strategy.

About the Book:

“The New Grand Strategy” tells the story of a plan, born within the Pentagon, to recapture America’s greatness at home and abroad by elevating sustainability as our new strategic imperative. It aligns our enduring national interests of prosperity and security with a new framework that addresses pressing economic, social, and environmental issues at home, tapping into a trillion-dollar market demand for walkable communities, regenerative agriculture and resource productivity. It is an inspiring vision of what’s possible when Americans hold a collective view of the future and come together to bring it to reality.

This is no idealistic pipe dream or wonky policy prescription. The story that unfolds in this book weaves together hard-nosed economic analysis, a clear-eyed study of demographic and societal shifts, the realities of climate change and resource scarcity, a risk-based assessment of America’s challenges and opportunities, and on-the-ground reporting of how much this is already unfolding throughout the country. By rediscovering the power and discipline of grand strategy―and taking responsibility for our future―America can reimagine the American dream and once again take on “the cause of all mankind.”

Released during one of America’s most divisive presidential election campaigns, The New Grand Strategy avoids the partisan rhetoric dividing our nation today. Instead of placing blame, it offers a clear, pragmatic plan that can unite Americans and launch a new era of prosperity and security.

Why sustainability should be America's 'grand strategy'

Get the Book:

“The New Grand Strategy: Restoring America’s Prosperity, Security, and Sustainability in the 21st Century” can be found anywhere you buy books! Find it in local stores near you or on:

Amazon (hardcover & Kindle)

Barnes & Noble

iBooks

Take Away Quotes:

“America, right now, is standing on the unique opportunity to reframe its grand strategic approach, its grand strategic framework, by focusing in on sustainability as our grand strategic organizing logic, where we can stand on our economy and we can align our governing institutions and our foreign policy to take on this big, global challenge of unsustainability.”

“The idea of grand strategy originated primarily in the worlds of military and foreign policy, and that certainly is how we’ve used it—America has used it—in the past, doing things like fighting fascism or containing communism…but the way we’ve played this out in the book is not a military, not a foreign policy, not even a government strategy—at least not a federal government strategy. We’ve taken this concept that has been used successfully in this country to take on the big challenges of the day.”

“The three big pools of the demand…are walkable communities, regenerative agriculture, and resource productivity…each of these, we’ll say right now, are massive economic opportunities to realign our economy with sustainability and security, creating resilience…and, therefore, be in a much better place as a nation to then take on and address the larger global needs.”

Resources:

“The New Grand Strategy: Restoring America’s Prosperity, Security, and Sustainability in the 21st Century”

Green Biz

Strategic Innovation Lab at Case Western Reserve University

Learn More about Joel Makower

Jun 16, 2016
023: Using Nature to Combat Climate Change—The Nature Conservancy
20:18

Topic:

Enhancing Resilience of Human and Natural Communities

In This Episode:

01:27 Introduction of Louis Blumberg.
01:57 Louis describes the moment when he realized that combating climate change would become the focus of his career.
03:29 Louis explains what ecosystem services are.
04:37 What are some of the other natural solutions to climate change?
05:26 Louis describes the comprehensive suite of natural climate-change solutions that he’s working on.
06:28 How do these natural climate-change solutions impact low-income, people-of-color, and indigenous communities?
07:29 Does working with the people in other countries translate to low-income, people-of-color, indigenous communities in California and on the West Coast?
08:20 Are there any leading-edge innovators or implementers when it comes to natural climate-change tools?
09:52 Is there anybody in the private sector supporting your work?
11:21 Louis explains the three-prong approach of using nature to address climate change.
12:41 Are there any large-scale projects of using nature to actually restore carbon?
14:10 Is the decrease in forest cover an international issue or a domestic issue?
15:01 Are urban forestation programs going to make a significant difference, or should we be focused on larger international projects to reforest large areas?
16:38 How can people learn more about your work and support it?
17:16 Louis shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
18:22 Louis describes the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
18:48 Louis explains what California and the West Coast look like 30 years from now.

Guest:

Louis Blumberg, is the Director of the California Climate Change Program of the Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter where he leads a multidisciplinary team developing a comprehensive suite of natural climate solutions including strategies to reduce and avoid greenhouse gas emissions from forest and other natural lands, and to enhance resilience of human and natural communities from the escalating impacts of climate change.

Follow Louis on Twitter

Organization:

The Nature Conservancy - protecting nature, for people today and future generations. Founded in 1951, the Conservancy is the world's leading conservation organization. The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Our vision is a world where the diversity of life thrives, and people act to conserve nature for its own sake and its ability to fulfill our needs and enrich our lives.

The Forests 4 Climate Network consists of several nonprofit organizations working together to fight one of the world’s worst climate change problems: deforestation. Through tropical forest credits, these organizations believe jurisdictions across the world can limit greenhouse gas emissions by saving and restoring forests.

Take Away Quotes:

“We see that nature is a very powerful tool to address climate change; and by using nature, you often are able to accomplish—make progress, at least—in all three key strategies; and those are (1) reducing or avoiding the emissions of greenhouse gas; (2) restoring carbon to the earth; and (3) reducing climate-magnified risk and enhancing resilience of both human and natural communities.”

“In California, there are two Native American tribes. Both of those tribes have been able to produce forest carbon credits and sell them on the market, and…they’re using the revenue to buy back adjacent cutover timber land that was part of their ancestral land base. This is a great way to protect and restore their cultural heritage while protecting the environment and fighting climate change.”

“Unfortunately, many of the other large environmental groups have not focused on the role of nature to address climate change; and while their work is very important at helping to transform the energy, electricity, and transportation sectors, the Nature Conservancy is the only group I know that’s taking a full, comprehensive, three-way approach, that I mentioned earlier, to addressing climate change.”

“What we need to do right now is stop deforestation, wherever it’s happening. That’s quick and easy…If we can stop the destruction of forests, we can maintain the carbon that’s there and benefit from the carbon those forests will store over time, the increased sequestration value over time.”

Resources:

The Nature Conservancy

Learn How You Can Get Involved

Forests 4 Climate Network

Jun 09, 2016
022: Race, Ethnicity, and Urban Land Use Decision-Baltimore Ecosystem Study
27:11

Topic:

History of an Unlevel Playing Field

In This Episode:

01:41 Introduction of Morgan Grove.
02:05 Morgan explains what the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES) is.
03:13 Who is participating in the Baltimore Ecosystem Study?
04:07 Morgan shares what his role is on the BES team.
05:06 Morgan describes some of the sub-projects that he’s working on.
07:40 Morgan shares economic and social inequality and diminished access to nature.
15:20 Morgan talks about health disparities and other quality-of-life indicators.
17:42 What have been the most unexpected findings that have emerged from the BES so far?
19:36 Morgan explains how we can overcome the misunderstanding of white people to the persistence of the disempowerment of African Americans throughout history.
23:35 Morgan shares where to learn more about the BES.
24:27 Morgan shares where to find his book, “The Baltimore School of Urban Ecology.”
24:58 Morgan shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
25:12 Morgan describes the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
25:49 Morgan explains what Baltimore city and the Chesapeake Bay looks like 30 years from now.

Guest:

Morgan Grove is a social scientist and Team Leader for the USDA Forest Service's Baltimore Urban Field Station. Morgan has worked in Baltimore since 1989, with the Forest Service since 1996, and has been a Co-Principal Investigator in the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES) since its beginning in 1997.

Learn More about Morgan Here

Organization:

The Baltimore Ecosystem Study is a long-term ecological research project. It is funded by the National Science Foundation to learn how an urban area works as an ecological system. We want to know the ecological interactions in the whole range of habitats -- from the center city of Baltimore, out into the surrounding rural areas. We are conducting research on the soil, the plants and animals on land and in the streams, the water quality, and condition of the air in and around Baltimore. For that information to make sense, we are also studying how families, associations, organizations and political bodies make decisions that affect ecological processes. In other words, we are treating the whole collection of urban, suburban and rural areas as an ecological system that includes people and their activities. This is a really unusual approach to ecology because it combines with social sciences, physical sciences, and education to understand a big metropolitan area as an ecological system. Saying that an urban area is a system just means that we are concerned with the interactions between wild and domestic organisms, people and their organizations, and the natural and built environment all affect one another. It is these relationships that determine the quality of the environment we experience in the places where we live, work and relax. The research project is long-term, because conditions in the past affect the urban environment we experience now, and we also need to be able to say what environmental effects the things we are doing now in and around our cities will affect the environment in the future. This information can help people, including individuals, families, organizations and government agencies, to make decisions that have the environmental effects that they want.

The Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES) seeks to
• Pursue excellence in social-ecological research in an urban system;
• Maintain positive engagement with communities, environmental institutions, and government agencies;
• Educate and inform the public, students, and organizations that have need of scientific knowledge; and
• Assemble and nurture a diverse and inclusive community of researchers, educators, and participants.

Take Away Quotes:

“Because [the Baltimore Ecosystem Study is] an urban site, we’re interested in studying not only the environmental long-term change of the city but also the social and the economic change of the city. Quite humbly speaking, our goal is to understand Baltimore and its region from 1650 to 2050, building data and understanding and, ideally, tools that can be used to understand how the city has changed, to understand how it’s come to be, and to try to understand where it might be going.”

“We need to do three things: we need to look at how we can improve the environmental quality of [disadvantaged] neighborhoods, we need to remove the housing stock that no longer is habitable, and we need to do it in a way where we don’t have greenwashing and people are displaced because of the improvements to the neighborhoods.”

“Baltimore was the first city in the United States to use race as a driving factor in local land use and zoning, and this whole pattern of residential segregation really took off from the process Baltimore city put in place in 1917. So it’s really interesting…to hear…it’s still with us…and it’s still framing and shaping life outcomes.”

“I think that we need to disabuse folks of the notion that everyone has choice, that we can all live where we want to live, that we all have been able to live where we want to live…Some people weren’t able to live where they wanted to and other people enjoyed privilege, and to help people understand that it hasn’t been always fair and it’s still not fair; and even as we work to make it more and more fair, we have the footprint of history upon us, and it affects not only what we have—the patterns of decline of poor environments and economic situations and of housing—but also affects the way that we can move forward.”

Resources:

Baltimore Ecosystem Study

Morgan’s book, “The Baltimore School of Urban Ecology: Space, Scale, and Time for the Study of Cities”

New Approach to Urban Ecology Emerges from Forest Service Research in Baltimore

Jun 02, 2016
021: When a Climate Change HERO Comes Along
33:16

Topic:

Providing Turnkey Sustainability Programs

In This Episode:

01:18 Introduction of Barbara Spoonhour and Dustin Reilich.
01:52 Barbara shares how the Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO) program started, what the goals were, and how the program works.
03:29 What does PACE stand for?
04:50 Barbara and Dustin describe the early years of the program.
06:45 Was Renovate America on board with HERO from the very beginning?
07:50 Dustin explains that the money that would have gone to utilities is being used to create jobs.
08:55 Is there an opportunity for individual households to reduce their carbon footprint as a result of the HERO program?
09:30 Is the program available to multi-unit houses, apartment buildings, etc.?
10:26 How did the HERO program ramp up so quickly?
11:40 How is the program different today than when it started in 2011?
12:46 Barbara shares the specific, measurable outcomes she wants to achieve.
14:31 Dustin explains how the expansion is going.
15:59 Are there aspects of HERO that are designed to deal with issues of environmental justice, racial justice, income inequality?
18:25 Is there any effort to target lower income communities?
19:43 Barbara and Dustin share when they realized their career focus was working on issues of sustainability.
22:14 Barbara and Dustin share if they ever imagined this program would become so big so fast.
24:55 Dustin share how people can learn more about HERO and how they can get involved.
25:50 Barbara and Dustin share one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
27:35 Barbara and Dustin describe the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
29:26 Barbara and Dustin explain what Western Riverside County, California, and our country look like 30 years from now.
30:46 Barbara explains what motivated WRCOG to reach beyond local governments to have this program statewide in California.

Guests:

Barbara Spoonhour, Director of Energy and Environmental Programs, has been with Western Riverside Council of Governments (WRCOG) since 2001. Ms. Spoonhour has over 10 years of experience in local government and over 15 years in implementing environmental programs. She oversees the energy efficiency and water conservation program for Western Riverside County, referred to as HERO (Home Energy Renovation Opportunity). The HERO program expanded statewide in 2014 and currently has over $1 billion in approved projects. In addition, Ms. Spoonhour oversees the Western Riverside Energy Leader Partnership, which is a public-private partnership with Southern California Edison that promotes jurisdictional leadership for the promotion of energy efficiency.

Dustin Reilich is the Senior Director of Municipal Development for Renovate America - HERO Financing. The HERO (Home Energy Renovation Opportunity) program provides turnkey Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program management designed for municipalities. The HERO program includes a full set of program deliverables that incorporate best practices utilized by other municipalities. This ensures each program builds on the experience of other programs, while at the same time allowing municipalities to modify the program to meet unique requirements.

Organization:

HERO (Home Energy Renovation Opportunity) is a PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program that provides financing for energy-efficient and renewable energy products. In the state of California, HERO provides these same financing options for water-saving and drought-resistant products. The program offers more consumers access to energy-efficient options because HERO is financed as an assessment on your property. It incorporates renewable energy products (solar PV, solar thermal, etc.), energy efficiency products (heating systems, cooling systems, lighting, windows, insulation, etc.) and water efficiency products (low-flow toilets, weather based sprinkling systems, etc.). Clients prioritize potential eligible products based on the derived benefits which may include: costs savings, energy savings, greenhouse gas emission reductions, air quality improvements, and water usage reductions.

Take Away Quotes:

“[PACE] gives property owners access to capital they normally would not have had. It gives them options to, when they’re doing a project, of not using their credit card with super-high interest rates if they don’t have cash available or if they don’t have access to home-equity lines of credit. It is another way that they can finance a project.”

“Obviously, some projects are going to pencil out to where it creates a very positive cash flow on a monthly basis for a constituent, and some other projects just enable them the ability to get a project done that they had not been able to get done previously or they didn’t have the financing available to get that project done for, maybe, a new roof or for new doors and windows that are energy efficient. So it improves, also, their quality of life and standard of living on a daily basis as well as conserving energy.”

“Consumer protections have always been our number-one priority. We have, through lessons learned, increased and heightened those consumer protections that have always been in place but have enhanced them to look out for the elderly, additional protections there; really working with the contracting community because they are the boots on the ground and making sure that they fully represent the HERO program in a manner that we want them to represent us as and being more engaged in that whole process.”

Resources:

WRCOG

Residential HERO Program

HERO Program Hotline: 855-HERO-411

HERO Program Frequently Asked Questions

May 26, 2016
020: Fair Trade and the World’s Largest Coffee Break
30:15

Topic:

The Impact of Trade Deals in America

In This Episode:

02:36 Introduction of Rodney North.
03:13 Rodney shares about when he became passionate about fair trade.
04:27 Rodney explains the mission of Fairtrade America.
05:54 Rodney describes the coffee-focused project that Fairtrade America is involved in.
07:45 Is there a corollary within the tea industry for those who don’t drink coffee?
09:24 Why is fair trade an important issue for working-class and lower-income Americans?
10:24 How would you define “fair trade”?
13:33 Rodney explains NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement).
16:15 How do trade deals impact the environment, working-class Americans, and our communities?
18:52 Is it possible to structure a trade deal when the cost-of-living imbalance is so great on a global scale?
23:03 If people don’t understand the value of organized labor and being paid a fair wage, are they able to understand what’s happening with the undermining of workers in other parts of the world?
26:07 Where can our listeners learn more about Fairtrade America?
26:48 Rodney shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
27:40 Rodney describes the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
28:52 Rodney explains what trade looks like 30 years from now.

Guest:

Rodney North is Fairtrade America’s Director of Marketing and External Relations. Rodney oversees Fairtrade America’s marketing, public relations and advocacy efforts to increase awareness and support for equitable business practices involving smallholder farmers and other stakeholders. He has worked in the fair trade foods movement longer than all but a handful of individuals in the nation and has been deeply involved in communicating the fair trade story to diverse constituencies. Prior to his role at Fairtrade America, Rodney worked for Equal Exchange, a worker-owned cooperative and market leader in the fair trade and organic food movements. North joined the pioneering company in 1996, serving in various positions, including for the past 15 years in media relations and public advocacy roles. He earned the nickname The Answer Man because of his extensive knowledge of fair trade, the global food industry, small farmer co-operatives, socially responsible and sustainable business practices, and how business models intersect with human development. At Equal Exchange, North was also one of the co-operative’s 120 worker-owners. He was a two-term director of the enterprise’s Board of Directors, and he served as Vice Chair for three years. North has also volunteered with the Fair Trade Federation (membership screening committee), and for four years was an advisor to the board of directors of La Siembra, a Canadian worker co-operative and 100% fair trade, 100% organic food company.

Organization:

Fairtrade America is a national, nonprofit organization committed to helping smallholder farmers and workers around the world get a fairer price for their products, access to international markets, and funds for community development that will enable them to lead better lives, and invest in their communities. Fairtrade America is a member of Fairtrade International, which comprises 25 such organizations around the world and three producer networks that together establish international Fairtrade standards. Fairtrade International is unusual among ethical certifications due to the large governance role played by its members in the global south. Participating farmer producer groups hold half the votes in the Fairtrade International General Assembly and more than one-third of the seats on the Fairtrade International board of directors. The Fairtrade Mark is the most recognized and trusted ethical label worldwide, found on products sold in over 120 countries that are sourced from over 1,200 producer organizations representing 1.5 million farmers and workers in more than 65 countries. The FAIRTRADE Certification Mark is backed by high level global standards and audited by a rigorous auditing system from farm to shelf.

Take Away Quotes:

“If we, as a society, turn a blind eye to the fate of struggling workers elsewhere, that ultimately doesn’t help us here. Conversely, if we do show an interest and say, hey…looking at what’s happening in rural Puru or the mines of South Africa, if we look at that and say, you know, that just ain’t right, that’s not acceptable; well then that begins a conversation, like, well wait a minute, you know, what’s happening down the row, you know, in Toledo or, you know, the farm fields of Florida, well that isn’t right either. It rarely promotes justice anywhere by turning a blind eye to it somewhere else. I’m paraphrasing what Martin Luther King said about injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

“You could say there’s fair trade—two words—which is a movement that goes way back, certainly to the post-war era, and, really, any kind of conscientious set of voluntary business practices that are designed explicitly to deliver an extra benefit—an extra social, economic, political benefit—to the producers…It’s not charity; it is saying that through my commerce with you…I’m going to try to apply something of the Golden Rule. I’m going to put myself in your shoes and ask, well, what would I want…if I was that worker in the Caribbean or Africa or wherever it is.”

“A trade deal, theoretically, could be very good for workers on both sides of the border. As it is, I would suggest that the way they’re written, it puts the owners of businesses—the ones who can move back and forth across the border—that they’re the winners, whether they’re American or Mexican or Canadian or what have you. And that’s the real issue…So, that it’s not so much about Americans versus workers in other countries, but it’s workers in both countries, or every country, who are in a struggle with the owners of the businesses.”

“Trade deals are rules agreed upon by many parties. One problem is that who is at the table shaping those rules? And I personally, Rodney North, would say that too often it’s shaped by money, not shaped by people. These rules are shaped by lobbyists and therefore it’s not the average person in either country who’s winning. It’s, rather, like, the party of money.”

Resources:

Fairtrade America

Fairtrade America’s Blog

“Free” can be Good, but Fair is Better (Fairtrade America blog post)

World Fairtrade Challenge

National Cooperative Business Association

May 19, 2016
019: Taking Back the Power - Community Choice Aggregation
32:56

Topic:

The Next Frontier in Community Energy

In This Episode:

01:39 Introduction of Alex DiGiorgio.
01:57 Alex describes what Marin Clean Energy is.
03:45 What is Community Choice Aggregation, and how does it work?
06:53 Do the consumers get to choose the mix of energy that they’re receiving?
09:17 How many different choices do consumers have?
10:33 What is the price difference between the lowest option and the highest option?
12:17 Can the cost be lowered if more people join the CCA?
13:52 How is MCE doing with their opt-out rates?
15:14 Who is the opposition?
16:00 How widely spread is Community Choice Aggregation (in California)?
17:30 Is there anything outside of California that is comparable to the CCA concept?
18:22 Alex explains the success of sourcing alternative renewable energy at a lower price.
21:18 Alex shares how a CCA impacts low-income communities and how it creates more equitable outcomes.
24:57 Will the Clean Energy Incentive Program help make CCAs available everywhere?
27:24 Alex shares how listeners can learn more about CCAs.
28:50 Alex shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
29:46 Alex describes the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
30:10 Alex explains what the energy field in California looks like 30 years from now.

Guest:

As MCE Clean Energy (MCE)'s Community Development Manager, Alex DiGiorgio collaborates with stakeholders throughout MCE’s service area to advance sustainable development and expand access to competitively-priced renewable energy. By cultivating partnerships with residents, businesses, local leaders, and community groups, Alex helps MCE customers determine which resources they wish to support through their electricity purchases. Alex received his law degree from UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall, where he earned certificates of specialization in energy regulation and environmental law.

Organization:

MCE’s mission is to address climate change by reducing energy-related greenhouse gas emissions through renewable energy supply and energy efficiency at stable and competitive rates for customers while providing local economic and workforce benefits.

MCE makes it possible for you to take advantage of cleaner energy that’s better for the environment without doing anything at all. When you sign up for PG&E service in Marin County, unincorporated Napa County or the cities of Benicia, El Cerrito, Richmond and San Pablo, you are automatically enrolled in our standard Light Green 50% renewable energy program, which comes from sources like solar, wind, bioenergy, geothermal, and small hydroelectric. Or, you can sign up for Deep Green 100% renewable energy from Green-e Energy certified, non-polluting sources. PG&E will continue to deliver your energy through their standard power lines, and their repair and maintenance teams in the familiar blue trucks still provide the same reliable service you’re used to — rain or shine.

Take Away Quotes:

“Community-choice programs allow cities and counties to join together and then offer an alternative energy-supply portfolio to all of the electricity consumers within their jurisdiction. That’s really what CCA is: it’s the public option for energy administered at the local level.”

“If CCA’s can keep their opt-out rates low—and better yet, if they can get their opt-up rates high—then…that should help to both stabilize rates and reduce them.”

“Community-choice programs—and some of these are called something different. They’re sometimes called municipal-choice programs, but they’re essentially the same thing. They’re often operated very similarly.—They’ve been operating in other states, about five or six other states, since the 1990s.”

“With a CCA, there are no shareholders to whom we have to pay a dividend, so we can take what would have otherwise gone to shareholder profits and reinvest those in other ways, either developing more renewable energy supply or piloting new programs in innovative policies or giving it back to the rate base in the form of lower rates.”

Resources:

Episode 004: Renewable Energy and Taking Control of Your Future – In this episode, we speak with Richmond, CA Mayor Tom Butt about renewable energy in the City of Richmond and the role MCE Clean Energy has played in bringing sustainable energy and economic benefits to the community.

MCE Clean Energy website

Learn more about Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) and AB 117 on the Local Government Commission’s website

Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) Fact Sheet funded by California Energy Commission and Department of Energy prepared by the Local Government Commission

Local Energy Aggregation Network

Sonoma Clean Power

CleanPowerSF

May 12, 2016
018: The Future of Transportation: Mobility as a Service
23:26

Topic:

Reducing Single-Occupancy-Vehicle Commuting

In This Episode:

01:13 Introduction of Steve Raney.
01:59 What is Joint Venture Silicon Valley?
02:45 Steve explains the goals of the Bay Area Mobility as a Service project.
04:11 Why is it challenging to decrease single-occupancy-vehicle miles travelled in areas that were designed and built for single-occupancy vehicles?
05:13 Steve describes what congestion pricing is and why it’s important to reducing carbon emissions.
07:56 Steve shares what Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is and how it works.
09:34 Steve explains how the software on your smartphone would help you connect with different commuting options.
10:31 Where can people go to learn more about the Bay Area MaaS program as well as the concept of Maas?
12:10 Are there other industries working to combine compatible fields into one brand?
13:02 Steve describes the Bay Area Maas project.
15:47 How can MaaS be used to create more equitable commuting policies and conditions for low-wage workers?
18:27 Steve shares how he became involved in this work.
19:16 How can people learn more about Joint Venture Silicon Valley and Bay Area MaaS?
19:30 Steve shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
20:10 Steve describes the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
20:39 Steve explains what the San Francisco Bay Area looks like 30 years from now.
21:22 Steve shares his thoughts about the rise of Uber and Lyft.

Guest:

Steve Raney leads Joint Venture Silicon Valley’s Mobility as a Service project. Previously, Steve led autonomous vehicle commercialization studies for Nissan and Google and he led the EPA’s “Transforming Office Parks into Transit Villages” Study. He is the parent of MTC’s Climate Innovations grant program. Steve has 5 university degrees.

Learn more about Steve here

Organization:

Established in 1993, Joint Venture Silicon Valley provides analysis and action on issues affecting our region's economy and quality of life. The organization brings together established and emerging leaders—from business, government, academia, labor and the broader community—to spotlight issues and work toward innovative solutions.

Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is Joint Venture Silicon Valley’s umbrella term for our Silicon Valley commute-focused project to improve options besides driving alone. MaaS dissolves the boundaries between different transport modes, providing a more customer-centered, seamless experience while improving the efficiency of the entire transport system. Bay Area employers provide a range of customized employee programs to facilitate commuting: transit passes, Wi-Fi motor coach service, last mile shuttle buses from transit, payroll subsidies and more.

Take Away Quotes:

“We focus on difficult challenges, in areas like economic development, transportation, energy, communications infrastructure, hunger, and climate change; and I think we’re a pretty compassionate organization.”

“[The drive-as-you-go insurance] is one of the one’s that’s relatively viable politically. It’s not at all a tap-in putt in golf, but it’s something that is more worthwhile to pursue to get something enacted.”

“We’re trying to internalize the negative externalities of pollution and carbon and congestion and create a more efficiently functioning mobility market with better choices.”

“We know that higher-income workers are more likely to drive alone, so that kind of a policy is a progressive transfer of wealth from high-income folks to low-income folks. So that kind of policy scores relatively high for a congestion-pricing policy, whereas a big increase in a gas tax—because low-income folks, so much of their budget is taken up by transportation costs—that really hits them hard. So there are more compassionate pricing policies within the mix of congestion pricing.”

Resources:

Joint Venture Silicon Valley – Mobility as a Service (MaaS)

EPA’s Final Report: Transforming Office Parks into Transit Villages

May 05, 2016
017: Community-Benefits Agreements: A Vital Tool for Equitable Community Reinvestment
23:31

Topic:

Equalizing the Balance of Power


In This Episode:

01:48 Introduction of Veronica Eady.
02:14 Veronica explains when she realized being an environmental justice advocate would be her life’s work.
03:59 What is a community-benefits agreement?
05:20 Do community-benefits agreements work in equalizing developers and communities?
07:50 Why are community-benefits agreements important for equitable reinvestment or development?
11:33 Are there other examples of a good environmental-benefits agreement, and is an environmental-benefits agreement the same as a community-benefits agreement?
13:40 Veronica describes the elements of obtaining a community-benefits agreement.
16:21 Where can we learn more or get advice about a community-benefits agreement?
18:17 Veronica explains about the Conservation Law Foundation and the work that is done there.
19:27 Veronica shares how listeners can learn more about the Conservation Law Foundation and get in touch with her.
19:55 Veronica shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
20:37 Veronica describes the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
21:27 Veronica explains what the New England region looks like 30 years from now.


Guest:

Veronica Eady is the Vice President and Massachusetts Director of the Conservation Law Foundation. She is a lawyer whose practice has been focused on issues of environmental justice. Veronica is a former chair of the U.S. EPA's National Environmental Justice Advisory Council and the principal author of the State of Massachusetts' environmental justice policy.

Check out Veronica’s recent posts on the Conservation Law Foundation website

Veronica’s email address is veady@clf.org


Organization:

The Conservation Law Foundation protects New England’s environment for the benefit of all people. They use the law, science and the market to create solutions that preserve natural resources, build healthy communities, and sustain a vibrant economy. Their vision is for a healthy, thriving New England – for generations to come.


Take Away Quotes:

“Generally speaking, the interests on the community side in a community-benefit agreement are wide-ranging. It can be community-based organizations; it can be labor unions, faith organizations, or mainstream environmental groups, or any combination of those. But typically those are the types of groups that have an interest in community-benefits agreements.”

“I’ve seen some community-benefits agreements that have been very good, and I have seen some that have not been so good…Over the last 20 years, we’ve seen them change quite a bit, to the extent that in some states, community-benefits agreements are mandated by law.

“…here in Massachusetts, where I live, our casino gaming law requires a community-benefits agreement with the community, and the fact that these community-benefits agreements are now more so embodied in a statute and required, that’s really changed what the playing field looks like. So no longer is it community organizations, the environmental groups and such coming together and insisting on their power and their place at the table, the dynamic is a little bit different now because you have the state government, in Massachusetts, for example, saying you have to do this community-benefits agreement…it changes the lead of the agreement; it changes the tenor of the agreement…it really has shaken up the playing field and the balance of power.”

“[Community-benefits agreements] continue to be an important tool because they are still a way for communities to be at the table and formally engage in this conversation, even if it is a conversation mandated by statute.”


Resources:

Conservation Law Foundation

Conservation Law Foundation – People & Communities

Conservation Law Foundation 2015 Year in Review

Take Action!

Apr 28, 2016
016: The California Endowment: Empowering Grassroots Communities
36:10

Topic:

Giving People a Voice

In This Episode:

01:31 Introduction of Dr. Craig Martinez.
01:59 Introduction of Veronica Garibay and Phoebe Seaton.
02:27 Craig describes the California Endowment and its mission.
03:15 Craig explains that health happens in neighborhoods, not just in a doctor’s office.
04:10 Craig shares why this work is important to him.
05:27 What is the geographic description of the San Joaquin Valley, and what are the economic and social conditions there?
07:00 What are the health outcomes overall within San Joaquin Valley?
09:43 Craig shares that there’s a benefit to building healthier communities to get better health outcomes.
11:26 Veronica describes the organization of the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability.
15:23 What steps are needed to give people a voice when they aren’t being heard in their communities?
20:01 Phoebe shares why this work is important to her.
21:22 Veronica shares why this work is important to her.
23:54 Craig shares that the people who produce the food for the country don’t have the most basic quality of life.
25:26 Craig explains the California Endowment and the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability working together.
28:10 Phoebe and Veronica explain the partnership of the work they’ve been doing together with the California Endowment.
30:32 Phoebe and Craig share how people can access their work and get in touch with them.
32:03 Craig, Phoebe, and Veronica share one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
32:45 Veronica, Phoebe, and Craig share the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
33:25 Veronica, Phoebe, and Craig explain what the San Joaquin Valley looks like 30 years from now.

Guests:

Dr. Craig Martinez, joined The California Endowment in May 2012 as a program manager to work towards policy and systems changes that will result in improved neighborhood environments that support health. Prior to joining The Endowment, Dr. Martinez served as a health policy advisor in the Health Policy Office of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee. He is based in The California Endowment’s Los Angeles office.

Veronica Garibay is Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability. Veronica immigrated from Michoacan, Mexico at a young age along with her parents and four siblings to the City of Parlier in Fresno County. Veronica grew up in this small farmworker town and graduated from Parlier Unified District Schools. As a first generation student, she attended the University of California, Santa Barbara where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Law and Society in 2008. Upon graduation, Veronica joined the California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. Community Equity Initiative (CEI) as the programs first Community Worker. While at CRLA Veronica earned a Master of Public Administration from Fresno State.

Phoebe Seaton is Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability. Prior to launching Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, Phoebe directed the Community Equity Initiative (CEI) at California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. and was the Policy Coordinator for issues related to water and land use at California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation. She initiated the CEI to address critical infrastructure and service deficits in low income, unincorporated communities in California. She and her colleagues at CRLA litigated civil rights and fair housing claims and maintained a robust writ practice, litigating against local and state agencies. At CRLA, Seaton also directed the organization's Delano office and engaged in legal advocacy on Housing and Employment claims. She received her JD from UCLA and her BA in History from UC Berkeley. Prior to and during law school, Phoebe worked in Guatemala, addressing human rights violations.

Organizations:

The California Endowment’s mission is to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians. They focus on fixing broken systems and outdated policies, ensuring the balance of power is with the people. The goal is simple: First, change the way people view health—from the notion that health happens in the doctor’s office to a belief that health happens where you live, work, learn, and play. The California Endowment calls this “narrative change.” Second, integrate smart solutions in communities across the state. The California Endowment does this by working with our partners and grantees to fundamentally change “the rules”—laws, policies, and systems—that impede health in our communities. They are changing the narrative around health to ensure health and justice for all.

The Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability is a not-for-profit based in the agriculturally rich San Joaquin and East Coachella Valleys that works alongside the most impacted communities to advocate for sound policy and eradicate injustice to secure equal access to opportunity regardless of wealth, race, income, and place. Through community organizing, research, legal representation and policy advocacy the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability will impact land use and transportation planning, shift public investment priorities, guide environmental policy, and promote the provision of basic infrastructure and services. In collaboration with local and statewide advocates, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability will reverse trends that have reigned throughout our history and confront the inequality and deficiencies that continue to plague this state.

Take Away Quotes:

“For example, if a doctor says to someone who has a chronic disease, ‘You need to eat healthier,’ and in their community they’re not able to access fresh fruits and vegetables, that points to the importance of having those resources in the community.”

“It’s really hard to promote healthy communities when you don’t have those things in place that help to promote healthy behaviors.”

“What was really important was developing that relationship and the trust with community residents, that we were an organization that isn’t going to drive the agenda; we’re going to be a tool to support their agenda and support their priorities.”

Resource:

The California Endowment

Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability

California Communities Environmental Health Screening Tool (CalEnviroScreen)

Apr 21, 2016
015: A Holistic Approach to Drinking-Water Infrastructure (U.S. Water Crisis, Part Three)
27:09

Topic:

Water Sustainability in Urban Areas

In This Episode:

02:09 Introduction of Dr. Tamim Younos.
02:44 Tamim describes his scope of the problem of the water crisis and the number of Americans who lack access to safe drinking water.
05:37 Tamim shares about water testing.
08:04 Are certain geographic areas or certain populations more likely to be impacted by the lack of proper water infrastructure?
09:30 What kind of implications does the lack of access to clean water and wastewater facilities have on families and communities?
10:54 What are some common health issues that are related to lower-quality drinking water?
12:40 Tamim explains what the Green Water-Infrastructure Academy is doing about the problem of unsafe drinking water.
17:38 Tamim describes the obstacles of getting a broader knowledge of the policies that are needed.
20:11 How can people learn more and support the work that is done at the Green Water-Infrastructure Academy?
20:54 Tamim shares what motivates him to do this work and why this work is important to him.
21:45 Tamim discusses the frequency of the issues of poor and lacking water infrastructure in the U.S.
23:19 Tamim shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
24:40 Tamim explains the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
25:17 Tamim shares what water infrastructure looks like 30 years from now.

Guest:

Dr. Tamim Younos is Founder & President of the Green Water-Infrastructure Academy. Dr. Younos earned a doctoral degree in urban and environmental engineering from the University of Tokyo. His research and educational interests include watershed assessment, sustainable water management systems, and water-energy nexus in urban environments. Dr. Younos has authored/co-authored more than 150 publications and has edited five books: “Advances in Watershed Science and Assessment” (Springer 2015) “Potable Water: Emerging Global Problems and Solutions (Springer 2014), “Climate Change and Water Resources” (Springer, 2013); “Total Maximum Daily Load: Approaches & Challenges” (PennWell Books 2005), “Advances in Water Monitoring Research” (Water Resources Publications 2003). Dr. Younos is a former Research Professor of Water Resources and Interim Director of Virginia Water Resources Research Center at Virginia Tech, and a past President of the Cabell Brand Center for Global Poverty and Resource Sustainability Studies, a nonprofit organization.

Organization:

The Green Water-Infrastructure Academy is a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C. The mission of the Academy is to enhance human health and quality of life in global urban environments by promoting green water-infrastructure research, education and outreach programs. The Academy promotes a paradigm shift toward a holistic approach for sustainable management of water resources in global urban environments. The Green Water-Infrastructure Academy activities include awarding competitive grants to support green water infrastructure research and development, developing and coordinating partnerships between academia, governmental entities, nonprofits and private sector to support green water infrastructure projects, sponsoring green water infrastructure educational and outreach opportunities, and encouraging policy discussions pertinent to implementation and regulation of green water infrastructures.

Take Away Quotes:

03:05—“We have public water systems, like the one in Flint, Michigan, and then we have private water systems; and the public water systems serve about 86% of the population, which is about 260 million people in the United States, and the remaining is served by private water systems, which is about 45 million people.”

03:29—“The public water systems, such as the one in Flint, are regulated by the U.S. EPA, so they’re supposed to measure 94-plus water-quality parameters when it leaves the treatment plant.”

04:59—“The water is tested at the time it is leaving the water-treatment facility, and it travels through the pipelines, which sometimes are corroded and sometimes they’re falling apart, to the households and other facilities. So the tap water is not tested that often because utilities reporting to the EPA, the water which leaves that utility, and the tap water is not tested that often; and if it’s tested, then we find lead problems or other problems.”

07:05—“In 2008, there were about 19.5 million cases of waterborne diseases reported in the United States—19.5 million—and about 76% of these cases attributed to the private water wells. So it means that the remaining, which is 24%, can be attributed to the public water supplies, which are mostly small systems.”

Resource:

Green Water-Infrastructure Academy

Apr 14, 2016
014: Climate Change and Storm Water Utilities [U.S. Water Crisis Part Two]
25:09

Topic:

Integrated Water Resource and Infrastructure Management

In This Episode:

01:43 Introduction of Matthew Naud.
01:54 Matthew explains what his job as the Environmental Coordinator for the City of Ann Arbor entails.
02:42 Matthew shares his personal background and what motivates him to do his work.
03:33 Matthew describes his session at the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference.
04:42 What kind of water or climate-change challenges is Ann Arbor facing, and what’s being done to meet those challenges?
06:10 What’s being done to deal with the increased amount of precipitation, and what are the implications to the community of that increased precipitation?
08:24 Matthew explains why increased rainfall and runoff is a challenge and why the storm-water utility was created.
10:23 Matthew shares the implications of not managing the storm-water runoff.
11:31 In Flint, is the source of the water that is being used part of the problem?
14:00 Are there other communities that have created this storm-water utility and taken this approach that Ann Arbor has?
15:00 How long has Ann Arbor had that system in place?
15:13 Did it face any legal challenges or real political pushback?
16:14 Is funding the rest of the infrastructure equally challenging?
18:49 What is the quantity of water that people can get for a dollar?
19:42 Is there any reason why these approaches that are taken in Ann Arbor not broadly transferrable to other places?
20:25 Do you get many people asking you how you do it and learning from Ann Arbor’s approach?
21:30 Are there any other cities in Michigan that have a storm-water utility?
21:49 Matthew shares where listeners can learn more about he’s doing in Ann Arbor.
22:23 Matthew shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
23:03 Matthew explains the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
23:29 Matthew shares what Ann Arbor looks like 30 years from now.

Guest:

Matthew Naud has been the Environmental Coordinator for the City of Ann Arbor since 2001. He staffs the City’s Environmental Commission and makes recommendations to the City Administrator, Mayor, and City Council on a broad range of sustainability issues. Mr. Naud is a member of the Urban Sustainability Director’s Network where he serves on the Planning Committee, Innovation Committee, and Small Cities User Group. Mr. Naud was recently appointed to a three year term on the USEPA Board of Scientific Counselors – Sustainable and Healthy Communities Subcommittee. He holds Masters degrees from the University of Michigan in Biology and Public Policy and an undergraduate degree from Boston College.

Organization:

The city of Ann Arbor is committed to providing excellent municipal services that enhance the quality of life for all through the intelligent use of resources while valuing an open environment that fosters fair, sensitive, and respectful treatment of all employees and the community they serve. Ann Arbor has 114,000 residents, spans 28.6 square miles, and is frequently recognized as a foremost place to live, learn, work, thrive and visit (www.a2gov.org/news). To keep up with City of Ann Arbor information, subscribe for email updates (www.a2gov.org/subscribe), follow us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/a2gov) or become a city fan on Facebook (www.facebook.com/thecityofannarbor).

Take Away Quotes:

“We work a lot with—it’s called the Graham Sustainability Institute and they have a climate center and so for about the last five years we’ve been working together. One of the things that they’ve demonstrated is…we’ve seen a 42% increase in precipitation. We’ve seen a significant change in the amount of rain. Extreme storms are up 40%. So, that’s what we’re measuring, and it’s been great information as we go out to the community and share some of our thinking about how we’re going to need to adapt.”

“We’ve had a storm-water utility for quite a while and in 2006 redesigned it to be a true utility. So we use near-infrared flyover data. It tells you what’s photosynthesizing, what is pervious surface, and what’s hard surface. We calculate pretty much down to the square foot for every parcel, and we put folks in one of four bins, and so we basically charge people, as part of the storm-water utility, for the amount of impervious surface they have. And because it’s a utility—you have to be able to use more or less of it—we then credit people for installation of rain barrels, rain gardens.”

“Finding sustainable funding is one of the key things that cities need to do. If you’re going to, kind of, really take a long-term view and tackle these problems, you’re going to have to figure out a way to finance them.”

“With a lot more water, we’re going to get a lot more runoff—any of the chemicals, things like that—will just run to the river without any treatment at all, whereas creating these bioswales, detention ponds creates an opportunity for the water to rest there and settle before it’s released further downstream, and there’s a lot of opportunity for biological systems to treat some of the things that we don’t want to go into the river directly. And so it really is both a water-quantity remedy but also a solution to improve the water quality that ends up in the river.”

Resources:

City of Ann Arbor Sustainability

City of Ann Arbor Sustainability Action Plan

Matthew’s presentation, From Trickle to Torrent: Resilient Strategies for an Uncertain Water Future from the 2016 New Partners for Smart Growth conference

View all of the presentations from the 2016 New Partners for Smart Growth conference

New Partners for Smart Growth conference

Local Government Commission

 

Apr 07, 2016
013: Access to Safe Drinking Water in Rural America [U.S. Water Crisis Part One]
25:02

Topic:

Water Infrastructure in Rural Communities


In This Episode:

01:39 Introduction of Hope Cupit and Andy Crocker.
02:18 In light of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, how many Americans lack access to safe drinking water?
03:16 Is it accurate that the number of people who don’t have access to drinking water doesn’t take into account those who may have access to below-standard drinking water?
03:49 Is the lack of water infrastructure disproportionately located in other geographic ways, or are certain populations more likely to be impacted?
05:45 How are investments for new developments justified when distressed communities have been trying for years to get water infrastructure?
08:55 What are the health and economic implications for rural communities that don’t have access to clean water and wastewater facilities?
10:28 What has the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project been doing to address this problem of inequity in access to water infrastructure?
12:26 Is South Carolina one of the states that you work in?
12:49 How do you get infrastructure to communities that have been trying to get onto municipal water supplies?
14:21 On a national level, what are some of the obstacles that get in the way of being able to get communities what they need?
15:50 How are tribal communities enduring the lack of water infrastructure?
18:02 How can people learn more and support the work that you’re doing at SERCAP?
19:36 Hope and Andy share information about the larger network that SERCAP is part of.
21:09 Does the larger RCAP network have its own website?
21:34 Hope and Andy explain why this work is important to them.
23:00 Andy and Hope share one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
23:25 Hope and Andy explain the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
23:55 Hope and Andy share what the world looks like 30 years from now.


Guests:

Hope Cupit is the President and CEO of the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project (SERCAP). She also is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and is a Professor at Virginia Western Community College where she teaches Financial Accounting. In 2007, Mrs. Cupit began her tenure at Southeast RCAP as the Controller, then was promoted to become the Vice President/Deputy CEO and was hired in 2009 as President and CEO for the organization. Mrs. Cupit comes from a background of community leadership and has been actively involved with community economic development efforts for over 25 years. She is devoted to assisting the less fortunate and maintaining the integrity of improving the infrastructure of small rural communities. She enjoys working with these small communities, learning first-hand about the challenges people face in everyday life and advocating on their behalf.

Andy Crocker is the Virginia State Manager for Regional Programs at SERCAP.


Organizations:

Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, Inc.’s (SERCAP) mission is to improve the quality of life for low-income individuals by promoting affordable water and wastewater facilities, community development, environmental health, and economic self-sufficiency. As a member of the National Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP), SERCAP serves all of the rural citizens of seven southeastern states: Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. To date, SERCAP has brought clean water and wastewater facilities to more than 450,000 residents in our seven state network.

In keeping with their focus on water and wastewater needs, a majority of their services are directed to rural individuals, families and small communities who are tackling the tough financing, infrastructure, and troubleshooting problems associated with getting and maintaining clean drinking water. But SERCAP also focuses efforts to serve those same folks on housing needs, economic development, community capacity building and other development issues facing rural communities.


Take Away Quotes:

“It is estimated that 1.6 million people in the United States do not have access to water, and that cost is 1 trillion over the next 20 years just to fix it, and the estimated cost in that industry—the capital investments by water industry—is 23 billion dollars per year below what should be spent to meet the water-quality needs in this country.”

“There might be only a certain portion of people within the community that really want the water service or wastewater service and are willing to pay for it, and others are not because hookup fees, perhaps, are prohibitive, whereas in a new development those costs are kind of built in to the building lots and selling of the homes and all that kind of thing.”

“Education is a really key component, obviously; and we work pretty closely with, for example, the Office of Drinking Water’s division of Capacity Development which helps us identify at-risk water systems and communities that need that assistance.”

“Mostly, we work closely with the USDA office to obtain grants—mostly grants because the community cannot sustain any loans—so that we can put in the infrastructure to get them connected to the public water system.”


Resources:

Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, Inc.

SERCAP’s A Day Without Indoor Plumbing Campaign

Find Your Local Legislator!

National Rural Community Assistance Partnership

Mar 31, 2016
012: Youth Perspective-How to Engage the Next Generation in Decision-Making
22:52

Topic:

Young Women and Youth for Smart Growth

In This Episode:

01:29 Introduction of Zelia Gonzales.
02:03 Zelia explains what motivates her to be an activist in her community.
02:48 Zelia shares the first time she got involved with becoming an activist?.
03:37 Zelia describes the definition of complete streets.
04:25 Zelia shares about advocacy projects she’s been involved with, including the Sacramento Young Feminists Alliance.
06:51 Can you explain what feminism means to you and why you were motivated to start the group?
08:11 How do your parents and other adults react to your activism?
09:41 Can you tell us how the session at New Partners for Smart Growth Conference went and what did you accomplish or try to accomplish during the session?
11:12 What advice would you give to people in communities who want to get more young people involved?
13:53 As communities work on revitalization issues, are there certain areas that resonate more with young people?
15:05 As the younger generation sees more possibility than the older generation, can the urge of the older generation to stifle the idealism and the potential the younger people seek be a turnoff in the process?
16:59 Zelia shares some of the issues that SYFA is addressing.
18:39 Zelia explains how New Partners for Smart Growth Conferences has supported her and made her a better activist.
20:31 Zelia shares where people can go to learn more about SYFA.
20:55 Zelia shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
21:22 Zelia explains the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
21:40 Zelia shares what Sacramento looks like 30 years from now.

Guest:

Zelia Gonzales is a high school senior and political activist for a variety of causes ranging from feminism to fair wages. She has worked for the City of Sacramento for two years and will continue through college and career as a public servant. Her work with the Sacramento Young Feminists Alliance (SYFA) has led her to presenting at the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference.

Organization:

The Sacramento Young Feminists Alliance (SYFA) strives to unite high school feminists’ coalitions and clubs from all around the Sacramento area. They unite students with the common mission of destroying patriarchy and inspiring all women and people to be who and what they want. SYFA builds solidarity and cooperation between Sacramento area high school feminists, in order to empower young women, through meetings twice a month and facilitating youth led projects and education.

Contact SYFA at sacyoungfeministsalliance@gmail.com

Take Away Quotes:

“Seeing unjustices around me and recognizing my privilege from a very young age, that allowed me to see the contrast and try to work towards equalizing that out. When I was younger…I saw how they [Zelia’s peers] were treated unjustly through a system, not by any one individual, and as I got older and I could put words to that and I could work on actual topics, I could change that, it really manifested into creating a space for other people to do the same thing.”

“I’ve found people that have been really, really supportive and believe that what we are doing with SYFA and what I’m doing individually with all these other organizations really does make a difference, and so it’s really allowed another activist wave to form, which is youth advocacy.”

“When you’re engaging with youth, it’s really important to remember that they are not held back by anything—you know, they’re not held back by any of this bureaucracy or preconceived notions about certain people or ideas—and so their ideas may be a lot more innovative and fresh than some of the people that have been on staff for fifty years, you know what I mean?”

Resources:

Sacramento Young Feminists Alliance (SYFA)

Zelia’s session, Young Women for Smart Growth, from the 2016 New Partners for Smart Growth conference

Practicing feminism: Sacramento area students rally for social change

New Partners for Smart Growth conference

Local Government Commission

Mar 24, 2016
011: Affordable Housing and Employment Patterns in the San Francisco Bay Area
33:32

Topic:

How High-Wage Jobs Affect Affordable Housing


In This Episode:
01:31 Introduction of Dr. Chris Benner.
02:29 Chris shares his background and what draws him to issues of economic and social equity and inclusion.
04:46 Chris explains the importance of education for disadvantaged populations for our economic future.
05:14 Chris explains a study of job growth in the San Francisco Bay Area.
07:58 Chris gives information about the next study and how people can get access to it.
08:39 Chris shares the report findings of a lack of housing affordability is causing displacement of residents and long commutes.
10:58 Chris explains the report data of a significant number of low-wage jobs are being created but no new affordable housing units are being created.
13:09 What are the policy implications? What can we do to fix this problem of no new affordable housing?
16:23 Do you see any indication that there’s a movement to create inclusionary zoning or some kind of development incentives to create more affordable housing?
18:00 Are San Franciscans changing how they think of themselves since the city’s character seems to be changing and it now seems to be a city that people can’t afford to live in?
19:58 Chris explains, within a regional context, how residents are needed to have the basis for the sales tax to buy goods.
21:13 Didn’t George Lucas move his company to Emeryville?
21:20 Chris shares how he was made aware of the dynamic of people in poor communities who are shopping in other places that are benefitting from the tax dollars being spent there.
23:46 Chris agrees that the poor pay more in regard to commuting time, cost of commuting, and quality-of-life and economic implications.
24:25 Chris explains how the job, inequality, and political crises play out in the context of housing affordability and the overall quality of life in the Bay Area.
28:19 Chris shares where people can go to learn more about his work.
29:12 Chris shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
30:31 Chris explains the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
31:28 Chris shares what the world looks like 30 years from now.


Guest:
Dr. Chris Benner is the Dorothy E. Everett Chair in Global Information and Social Entrepreneurship, Director of the Everett Program for Digital Tools for Social Innovation, and Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His research focuses on the relationships between technological change, regional development, and structures of economic opportunity, focusing on regional labor markets and the transformation of work and employment patterns. He is the author of multiple books including Just Growth: Inclusion and Prosperity in America’s Metropolitan Regions, co-authored with Manuel Pastor (Professor of Sociology and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California), which helps uncover the processes, policies and institutional arrangements that help explain how certain regions around the country have been able to consistently link prosperity and inclusion. His most recent book, also co-authored with Manuel Pastor is titled Equity, Growth, and Community: What the Nation Can Learn from America’s Metro Areas. Benner’s work has also included providing research assistance to a range of organizations promoting equity and expanded opportunity, including the Coalition on Regional Equity (Sacramento), Working Partnerships USA (San Jose), the California Labor Federation, and the Congress of South African Trade Unions among others. He received his Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisBenner


Organization:
The Everett Program – Digital Tools for Social Innovation at the University of California, Santa Cruz merges the enthusiasm of student leaders with information technology to promote structural social change by building social networking capacity across non-governmental and community-based organizations. Everett’s goal is create a new generation of “info-savvy” advocates using information technology to overcome informational exclusion–based barriers to civic participation and social justice. The learning goes both ways: While advancing the larger public good, Everett students accumulate valuable technical knowledge, while sharpening their leadership and project management skills.


Take Away Quotes:
“I got into this work…[had] sort of a broad interest in social-justice issues, both domestically and internationally, and for me that interest is really rooted in, just, I care about the future; and if you care about the future, you have to care about those populations that have been historically marginalized, because they are the future.”

“That commitment to education for disadvantaged populations is fundamental for our economic future because that is, in many ways, the current workforce as well as the future workforce.”

“We had 15,000 new low-wage jobs just in sort of a narrow categorization of industry categories like restaurants and other types of services. So you’ve got tremendous growth in those kind of jobs and just no new housing that’s available for that.”

“I think part of our challenge is the financing structure of local government, because in California…housing is a net drain on city resources. The cost of services to new residents in the forms of, you know, the water and sewage and electricity and garbage and fire and police and all the things going with that, the cost is higher than the local revenue that comes from property taxes.”


Resources:
Infinite Earth Radio Ep. 002 Equitable Development and Economic Growth

Equity, Growth, and Community: What the Nation Can Learn from America’s Metro Areas

Get a free digital copy of the book

Find the book on Amazon

The Everett Program – Digital Tools for Social Innovation at the University of California, Santa Cruz

University of California, Santa Cruz – Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California  

Dr. Chris Benner’s TED talk

Just Growth: Inclusion and Prosperity in America’s Metropolitan Regions Find the book on Amazon

Mar 17, 2016
010: Authentic Community Engagement in Gentrifying Communities
18:58

Topic:
Making Sure That Underrepresented Communities Are Heard


In This Episode:
01:57 Topic for this episode is introduced.
02:01 Introduction of Helen Leung.
02:12 Introduction of Amanda Daflos.
02:30 Helen shares her background and what motivates her to work on issues of equity, smart growth, and sustainability.
04:17 Amanda shares her background and what motivates her to work on issues of equity, smart growth, and sustainability.
05:54 Helen tells about LA-Más.
06:48 Amanda tells about the Mayor’s Office of Innovation in L.A. and the Bloomberg Philanthropies.
08:01 Helen and Amanda explain alternative approaches to traditional models of community-engagement initiatives that are ineffective.
12:02 What are some practices to ensure that underrepresented populations are represented in decision making?
14:58 How do we keep current residents from being pushed out as private investment occurs in underrepresented neighborhoods?


Guests:
Amanda Daflos serves as the Director of the Innovation Team (i-team) in the Mayor’s Office of Budget and Innovation in the City of Los Angeles. Her team, funded by the Bloomberg Philanthropies Innovation Teams grant, works on key mayoral priorities and collaborates across the City to define pathways to improvement. Amanda previously worked as a Senior Manager at Deloitte Consulting, and has spent the last decade working with on and leading federal, state and local government projects in the US and abroad. Prior to joining Deloitte, Daflos was the Director of Programs for an international non-profit organization where she was responsible for programming and operations in the US, Tanzania, Peru and Nepal. Daflos presently serves as a Deputy to the Los Angeles Honorary Consulate General to Nepal, a role she accepted in the wake of the 2015 earthquake. Daflos holds a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Colorado and a BA from Hamilton College. She is a 2014 graduate of the Leadership Tomorrow program in Seattle and lives in Los Angeles.

Helen Leung is Co-Executive Director of LA-Más, a cross disciplinary non-profit community design organization based in Los Angeles. Helen ensures that all LA-Más projects are grounded in community need and policy potential. She is passionate about redefining the intersection of community development and social equity, with a focus in minimizing displacement in gentrifying neighborhoods. A native Angelino and urban planner, Helen has extensive community-based experience working for former Los Angeles Council President Eric Garcetti. Helen holds a Masters in Public Policy and Urban Planning from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Organizations:
The Innovation Team (i-team) in the Mayor’s Office of Budget and Innovation in the City of Los Angeles is a group of "in-house consultants" that work on key mayoral priorities thanks to a $2.55 million, three-year grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. Los Angeles was one of 14 cities to win the grant, which sponsors the creation of Innovation Delivery Teams that aim to design and implement new approaches for city halls across the nation to improve neighborhoods and residents' quality of life – relying on data, open innovation, and strong project and performance management. The Los Angeles team focuses on neighborhood revitalization in low-income areas, with the goal of improving the lives of existing residents and minimizing displacement of long-time residents and local businesses.


LA-Más is a non-profit that performs design-based experiments with the city (Los Angeles) as their lab. The mission of LA-Más is to look critically at systemic problems in the LA Area and provide solutions based on research and community engagement. By using alternative models of social inclusion and collaboration, LA-Más hopes to shape the future of equitable city growth. Más is an organization committed to offering architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design services to support and strengthen communities. Addressing the health and wellbeing of a community is often a dynamic exercise requiring the coordination of a diverse range of expertise under one umbrella. The organization believes that this interplay of planning, research, and design is itself a community endeavor. To that end, they foster social connections among diverse stakeholders to aid in sustainable place making and to provide multiple paths to community growth. They offer a bottom up approach to challenge and re-define the traditional expectations of civic engagement in the built environment. They uncover new questions that lead to innovative solutions and designs in the areas of public health and community space.


Take Away Quotes:
“I think in Los Angeles there is a long history of, kind of, development seen as evil, and a lot of communities have been trying to take different approaches so they’re not just being ‘nimby’s—not in my backyard—so we put together a panel that has community-based organizations representing a lot of different communities in Los Angeles where there is a long history of advocacy and organizing.”

“Our mayor has been very interested in engaging the community to really understand, at the community level, what is of interest, and as we look at our opportunity on my team to really think about this question of, as neighborhoods are changing, what are ways that we can be engaging individuals and really thinking about what the future of Los Angeles looks like, and we’ve been really, I think, very dedicated to bringing in the community voice but at a very resident-focused level.”

“And there are so many different technologies available now that things we used to do don’t necessarily make sense and the things that we’re doing today probably won’t make sense in the future, in terms of how we interact. Is it Twitter, is it email, is it community meetings—how do you invest in the things that reach the most people, to find the ways that you diversify your communications so that you’re having that two-way conversation, knowing that over time things inevitably have to change.”


Resources:
City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Office

http://www.lamayor.org/

Bloomberg Philanthropies Innovation Teams

http://www.bloomberg.org/program/government-innovation/innovation-teams/

LA-Más

http://www.mas.la/

 

Mar 10, 2016
009: Blue Zones and the Secret to Living to 100
25:02

Topic:
Making the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice


In This Episode:
1:36 Introduction of Dan Burden.
1:57 Dan shares what motivates him in his work of bike-able, walkable communities.
3:28 Dan explains his role as Director of Inspiration and Innovation at Blue Zones, LLC.
4:07 Dan explains what blue zones are.
4:54 Dan tells about the Blue Zones Project and how people can get their community to be a blue zone project.
5:55 Dan shares where listeners can get more information about Blue Zones, LLC and the Blue Zones Project.
6:12 Dan tells about the Blue Zones Project he’s been working on in Hawaii.
7:56 Are any projects occurring in primarily low-income or minority communities?
9:05 What are the obstacles of having projects occur in low-income or minority communities?
11:09 Dan shares what role the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference has played in raising the interest in walkable, bike-able communities.
11:56 Dan shares if walkable, bike-able communities are more equitable in addition to being healthier and better for the planet.
13:15 What is it about Missoula, Montana that makes it such a great walkable, bike-able community?
14:25 What do we need to do in our cities to start a transition away from an auto-central design to a more people/bike design?
16:20 Dan shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
16:44 Dan explains the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
17:07 Dan shares what the world looks like 30 years from now.
17:44 Dan shares the importance of change.
18:10 Dan explains that we live in a “vuca” world.


Guest:
Dan Burden is one of the most recognized names in the development of walkable and bicycle friendly communities. During the past 32 years he has been studying, interpreting and implementing insights and skills of changing human habitat to be focused on people first. Dan is the Director of Inspiration and Innovation at Blue Zones. He has relentless energy and has personally helped 3,500 communities throughout the world make their means of transportation healthier, more active and affordable. Many of Dan’s streets designs and town centers are now celebrated in numerous publications and books and, of course, everyday by the millions of feet utilizing his designs. He joins our podcast to talk through the history, benchmarks, key steps, principles and best practices in making walking and all of active transportation the natural choice in motion.


Organizations:
The mission of Blue Zones is to help people live longer, better lives. Blue Zones works with industry leaders to bring the Blue Zones mission to life. The Blue Zones Project is a systems approach in which citizens, schools, employers, restaurants, grocery stores and community leaders collaborate on policies and programs that move the community towards better health and well-being. It implements long-term, evidence-backed policies and interventions that optimize environments within communities, nudging people towards healthier choices throughout their day. The program is based on the assumption that we spend 90% of our lives in a 20-mile “Life Radius”. Rather than relying on individual behavior change, the program focuses on making the healthy choice the easy choice. Instead of nagging people to exercise, we make walking easier and more desirable than driving. By making wholesome foods more accessible and less expensive than junk foods, people begin to eat healthier naturally. The approach is based on the cornerstone of sustainability. Unlike other health or wellness initiatives Blue Zones Projects address the environment not just the individual, resulting in long-term impact that stands the test of time.


Take Away Quotes:
“Blue zones, if you can just imagine picking up a blue magic marker, are those places in the world where people live longer, happier, better lives…and the only reason they’re called ‘blue zones’ is that the magic marker someone picked up when they were drawing them happened to be blue.”

“Right now there are roughly 25 designated cities that are blue zones. It’s a formal process that people go through. We want every single one to be successful.”

“[Hawaii wants] to become the healthiest state in the nation. They have many things that are already underway, and so what Blue Zones will be able to do there is to meet them where they are and keep going forward.”

“We, basically, do a full assessment of where the opportunities are and then figure out where we can give the greatest lift, we call it, to where we empower, what we call, the ground cover, the people working from the ground up and work with the leadership and provide the training.”


Resources:
Blue Zones

https://www.bluezones.com/

Mar 03, 2016
008: Beyond Talk: A Tool for Planning & Evaluating Equitable Development Projects and Plans
28:52

Topic:
Moving Equity from a Buzzword to a Metric


In This Episode:
3:32 Topic for this episode is introduced.
3:56 Introduction of Joan Vanhala.
4:13 Introduction of Shauen Pearce.
5:04 Shauen and Joan explain why a scorecard tool that ensures benefits to everyone is necessary.
6:44 What are the five categories that are incorporated into the tool?
7:48 Are there a set of underlying principles or values that drive the whole scorecard?
10:33 How is this tool used?
15:04 To what degree was the development community involved in the creation of this tool, and how have they embraced it?
18:13 How can people learn more about the equitable-development principles and scorecard tool?
18:55 Why is this work important, and what is the motivation to do this work?
24:52 Shauen and Joan share one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
25:50 Shauen and Joan explain the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
26:26 Shauen and Joan share what the world looks like 30 years from now.


Guests:
Joan Vanhala is a Coalition Organizer at the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability. Joan joined the Alliance in February 2008. Joan has an accomplished career that includes: expertise in community organizing to achieve lasting results through effective partnerships; leadership development to sustain organizing efforts for long-term community strength; and the inclusion of racial equity as a necessary component of grassroots community development. Her work in leadership development includes creating curriculum and leading classes in organizing, conducting community best practices workshops and providing one-on-one technical support to community leaders. Before joining the Alliance, Joan worked for the Seward and Longfellow neighborhoods to develop and implement restorative justice programs for juveniles. She previously worked as the Native American Educational Services college campus director and a program manager for the Community Leadership Development Program at Family & Children's Service. As a community organizer for the Phillips neighborhood, Joan led several successful campaigns that resulted in Green Institute/ReUse Center, Midtown Greenway Coalition, Franklin Avenue revitalization, public art projects created by neighborhood youth, and an energized citizen participation process in neighborhood planning and development. Joan has a degree in Community Organizing, Leadership Development: Methods and Practices from Metropolitan State University.

Shauen Pearce is the Executive Director of the Harrison Neighborhood Association. She is an educator, organizer, and strategist with training in critical analysis, program development, campaign organizing, and capacity development. Shauen has over 15 years of success in policy and administrative leadership in the public and private sectors. Growing up in a society marked by corruption, violence, and displacement, Shauen is inspired by the struggles and successes of wise elders and visionary leaders. She enjoys the intersections of life, encouraging everyone to think critically and selflessly about embracing justice and harmony through fearless community building.


Organizations:
The Alliance for Metropolitan Stability is a coalition of advocacy and community organizing groups formed in 1994. We work together to advance racial, economic and environmental justice in economic growth and land development in the Twin Cities region.We believe the people and places of our region are deeply connected. We work to ensure that our regional investments like housing, transit and economic development benefit everyone--especially low-income people and people of color, who are often left behind when resources are allocated. We bring grassroots organizations together to build more power and create a region that allows everyone in the Twin Cities region to thrive.

The Harrison Neighborhood Association is working to create a prosperous and peaceful community that equitably benefits all of Harrison Neighborhood’s diverse racial, cultural and economic groups. We work to foster community awareness to improve the quality of life within our community, to provide a forum for information and communication within our community, to educate residents in the use of effective procedures for resolving problems or initiating improvements and to unite all efforts within the community in raising and acting on issues of common concern, directed toward improving the quality of life.


Take Away Quotes:
“The tool is really necessary to move community, government, and developer into more of a partnership approach to making sure our communities benefit the people who’ve been invested in them for years.”

“Essentially, the overarching principle is that we believe that all public subsidies should result in concrete benefits to low-income communities of color and that they’re part of defining what those benefits are.”

“So the community that fought for the benefits ends up being displaced by the development over time, and so the peace here is that the scorecard and the principles are meant to frame, really, the culmination of that fight to ensure that communities, which are actually the majority of this country, communities that are on the front lines, continue to benefit from all of the hard work that they’ve been doing to make sure that we have healthy, equitable, connected neighborhoods across the country.”

“The true test of the success is the willingness on all parts, on all parties, to really invest the time to have that authentic conversation and that dynamic dialog where community might have a vision, the developer knows how to realize the vision, and the government is providing—and also including planning expertise—but also providing investment so that people can end up with a project that everybody is proud of.”

 

Resources:
The Equitable Development Scorecard

http://www.hnampls.org/scorecard/

Alliance for Metropolitan Stability

http://www.metrostability.org/

Harrison Neighborhood Association

http://www.hnampls.org/

 

Feb 25, 2016
Bonus 008 Revitalizing Baltimore in the Wake of the Freddy Gray Tragedy
20:49

Topic:  
Revitalization in Baltimore after Freddie Gray

Guest:  
Mel Freeman is the former Executive Director of Citizens Planning & Housing Association, a regional organization whose mission envisions a well-planned Baltimore region with equity among jurisdictions, where citizens respect diversity and have access to responsive government and quality housing in vibrant neighborhoods. Currently, Mel is leading his own consulting firm, Freeman Consulting Group, where he continues to work to advance community-led planning processes that provide residents and organizations with the tools to self-manage change within their own communities. His approach is grounded in the belief that people change neighborhoods themselves not by waiting on others to lead the way.

Organization:  
The Citizens Planning & Housing Association (CPHA) is the catalyst for civic action to bring about a healthy, inclusive Baltimore, with economically vibrant communities and opportunities for all people. The organization does this by bringing together people and neighborhoods to create innovative solutions to challenging, community-wide problems; empowering citizens with information and skills for advocacy and organizing; and championing solutions through legislative and policy reforms. Their programs include Community Association Support and Leadership Training, Policy Research and Legislative Pressure, Citizen Outreach and Organizing, and more.

Website – http://www.cphabaltimore.org/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/bmorecpha
Twitter – https://twitter.com/bmorecpha

Take Away Quotes:
“There is a big fear of the word gentrification, do we have to have other folks who don’t look like us in our neighborhoods to increase the value of our communities?”

“There is never enough public money, ever! So private investment needs to happen in these communities.”

“We do need change in communities, but we also need to secure the families that are there.”

“You can’t get anything done unless you’re out there talking to people, and trying to really understand what their needs are.”
“Nobody in their neighborhood uses this train, hundreds of cars drive to this train station and then those people go to work, and those jobs are for them, not for us.”

“What we have to do is get out in these communities and talk about what is for them, and not have them constantly thinking that the next thing that happens in their community is not for them, it is for them and they need to know that.”

Feb 18, 2016
007: The Philadelphia Land Bank and Equitable Community Development
21:08

Topic:
Building Strong Neighborhoods and Communities


In This Episode:
2:27 Introduction of Frank Woodruff and Beth McConnell.
3:16 Frank explains if the goals of equitable development and smart growth are at an impasse.
4:35 Beth shares if she sees the issue of smart growth and equitable development as being at odds with each other.
5:25 Beth and Frank give suggestions for how we can move past the impasse.
7:21 Beth gives an example of a place where they think smart growth and equitable development are coming together in a synergistic way.
8:50 Beth explains if her model can be important to other communities.
9:20 Beth shares the challenge in Philadelphia that the Philadelphia Land Bank seeks to solve.
11:25 Beth shares what needs to happen to streamline the process of reacquiring properties and how that works with the Philadelphia Land Bank.
13:01 Frank tells how to encourage private investment in neighborhoods while protecting the public interest.
16:53 Beth shares if she’s encountered a place where people have figured out how to live together.
18:05 Frank and Beth share one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
18:54 Frank and Beth explain the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
19:12 Beth and Frank share what the world looks like 30 years from now.


Guest:
Frank Woodruff is the Executive Director of the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA). Frank joined NACEDA in September 2010, becoming executive director in January 2012. During a time of significant political and economic challenges for community development, Frank saw this as an opportunity to take NACEDA to a new level of success and sustainability. As our country emerges from the great recession, he believes community and economic development will be a critical tool for those communities and neighborhoods that are organized, demanding, and capable of instituting change. 

Beth McConnell is the Policy Director for the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations (PACDC). PACDC represents more than 100 member organizations, including nearly 50 community development corporations, who work to develop affordable housing, revitalize commercial corridors, and stabilize Philadelphia's neighborhoods. Beth works to advance a policy agenda that helps them do their great work.


Organization:
The National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA) is a national alliance of community development associations. Its member organizations are champions, stewards, and thought leaders for community development at the state and local level. With 43 association members in 28 states, more than 3,500 community-based organizations are represented by their members.

The Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations (PACDC) is dedicated to advocacy, policy development and technical assistance for community development corporations and other organizations in their efforts to rebuild communities and revitalize neighborhoods. Through their policy and advocacy work, they strive to create a more supportive environment for community development activities and to enable members to more effectively meet the needs of lower income residents and advance neighborhood revitalization. In addition, they aim to build the capacity of CDCs through resource and information delivery, a sharing of ideas and practices among CDCs, technical assistance, and promotion of the community development industry. The PACDC’s vision is to see vibrant and diverse neighborhoods across Philadelphia that equitably meet the needs of all community members, preserve and enhance community assets, and foster a stronger city and region.

Today, Philadelphia has approximately 32,000 properties that are vacant and tax delinquent, 8,000 of which are publicly owned and the remainder are in private hands. Most of these – about 24,000 – are vacant lots. The structures are in various stages of disrepair; some can be stabilized and occupied, and others must be demolished. The Philadelphia Land Bank is a powerful tool to return vacant and tax-delinquent properties to productive use. It will simplify the process of transferring properties from public agencies to private owners. It can also acquire privately owned vacant parcels that are roadblocks to revitalization by foreclosing on them. And the Land Bank’s ability to clear liens from titles will make properties more attractive to potential new owners.


Take Away Quotes:
“We have strategies. There are things that we can do to mitigate those impacts. For example, if you are a property owner in that neighborhood and you can’t keep up with the increase in your property taxes, because your home value has gone up but your income sure has not, we can freeze people’s property taxes to allow them to stay in their home and stay in that neighborhood and enjoy the benefits of an improving community.”

”I think when people have a place to come and voice their concerns, are listened to and respected and are taken seriously, I think you can address a lot of these issues around neighborhood change.”

“The community-building process, through whatever model, works best when communities are engaged with each other across cultures and across ethnicities and across differences, and one way to do that is through the arts.”

“In thirty years, I would like to live in a world where when I turn on the news at night our differences are bringing us together and not tearing us apart.”

 

 

Resources:
National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations

http://naceda.org/


Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations

http://pacdc.org/


Philadelphia Land Bank

http://www.philadelphialandbank.org/


PACDC Magazine

http://www.phillylandbank.org/sites/phillylandbank.org/files/u3/PACDCMagazine_15webHi.pdf


Beyond Gentrification Toward Equitable Neighborhoods: An Equitable Development Policy Platform for Philadelphia

http://www.phillylandbank.org/sites/phillylandbank.org/files/u3/PACDC_EcDevPlat_Full%20Platform.pdf


Land Bank Defeatism Solves Nothing by Beth McConnell, Policy Director for the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations (PACDC)

http://progressivephillyrising.org/why-the-land-bank-is-reform-philadelphia-needs/

 

Feb 18, 2016
Bonus 007 Community Wealth Building, a Superior Economic Development Model
29:05

Topic:  
Anchor Institutions and Community Wealth Building
 
Guest:
Ted Howard is the co-founder and Executive Director of The Democracy Collaborative at the University of Maryland. In July 2010, Mr. Howard was appointed the Steven Minter Senior Fellow for Social Justice at The Cleveland Foundation where he was a member of a team that developed the comprehensive job creation and wealth building strategy, which resulted in the Evergreen Cooperatives Initiative.


Full Bio – http://democracycollaborative.org/content/ted-howard
 
Organization:  
The Democracy Collaborative is a national leader in equitable, inclusive and sustainable development through their Community Wealth Building Initiative. This initiative sustains a wide range of Advisory, Research and Field Building activities designed to transform the practice of community/economic development in the United States.

Website
http://democracycollaborative.org

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/democracycollaborative

Twitter
https://twitter.com/democracycollab
 
Take Away Quotes:
“Rooting wealth in communities is the future of economic development in America”

“Ownership and control of capital is a key determinant of power in any economic system”

“There are 50 million or more people living in poverty in the US.”

“For profit with a social mission and a broadly shared ownership structure – that is what community wealth building is about.”

“A job alone is not enough…how do you create assets in addition to income.”
 
Additional Resources:
The Spy Who Saved Cleveland
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/02/what-works-cleveland-115324

Evergreen Cooperatives
http://evergreencooperatives.com

The Cleveland Foundation
http://www.clevelandfoundation.org

The Cleveland Clinic
http://my.clevelandclinic.org

Feb 11, 2016
006: Smart Growth as a Driver of Equity
35:30

Topic:
Equitable Opportunities for All People and Communities

In This Episode:
1:50 Introduction of Ron Sims.
3:36 Ron describes his background and his motivation for his work on the environment and social justice.
5:26 Ron talks about the history and current status of the name change of King County.
9:21 Clarification that the official name is still King County, but it is now named after Dr. Martin Luther King, but the area also recognizes the role that other races and cultures play.
12:03 Ron will be giving the keynote address at the 2016 New Partners to Smart Growth Conference and a panel discussion.
12:26 Ron shares the major themes of his keynote.
14:02 Why do you think those who have been focused on improving the built and natural environments are only now realizing that the key to improving our physical environment is greater economic and social inclusion for underserved and disadvantaged communities?
17:09 Where have you seen the biggest advances on issues of access to economic and social inclusion?
23:40 Ron discusses how we can make investments that will fundamentally make a difference.
29:00 Ron shares what the Equity and Social Justice Initiative is trying to accomplish and how it’s working.
33:38 Ron shares one change that would lead to more sustainable and more equitable communities.
33:58 What one action could our listeners take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future?
34:12 What does Martin Luther King, Jr. King County, Washington look like 30 yrs from now?


Guest:
Ron Sims is a civic volunteer active in health, education, environmental and social equity issues. Appointed by Governor Jay Inslee, Sims serves as the chair of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board. The board is responsible for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Washington State.

Sims is on the Board of Regents of Washington State University. He was appointed to the board by former Governor Chris Gregoire. The Board of Regents is the university's governing body. Sims is on the Board of Directors of the Washington Health Alliance, formerly the Puget Sound Health Alliance, a nonprofit organization he helped found where employers, physicians, hospitals, patients, health plan providers and others from throughout the region come together to improve healthcare quality.

Sims served as the Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from 2009 to 2011. He was appointed by President Obama and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. As the second most senior official at HUD, Sims managed the day-to-day operations of an agency with 8,500 employees and an operating budget of nearly $40 billion.

Prior to his appointment at HUD, Sims served for 12 years as the elected Executive of Martin Luther King, Jr. County (also known as King County), in Washington State, the 13th largest county in the nation with over 2 million residents and 39 cities, including the cities of Seattle, Bellevue and Redmond. As County Executive, Sims was nationally recognized for his work on the integration of environmental, social equity, and public health policies that produced groundbreaking work on climate change, health care reform, affordable housing, mass transit, environmental protection, land use, and equity and social justice. Born in Spokane, Washington in 1948, Sims is a graduate of Central Washington University.

Organization:
The Equity and Social Justice Initiative of King County, Washington recognizes that economy and quality of life depends on the ability of everyone to contribute. They will work to remove barriers that limit the ability of some to fulfill their potential. They are committed to implementing their equity and social justice agenda, to work toward fairness and opportunity for all.


Take Away Quotes:
“It’s something my parents taught: always work collaboratively—you can be surprised at who your friends are.”

“If smart growth does what it’s supposed to do and really changes how we impact the lives of other human beings, we would see some really radical changes and results in every community because, all of a sudden, you would see people flourishing.”

“The people who now are in the smart-growth movement, the opportunity’s never been greater to see a transformation of this country in ways that are going to be stunning.”

“King County adopted an ordinance, and the ordinance basically says one never makes somebody else’s life worse. And our goal is to make sure that everybody would have a high quality of life, no matter what neighborhood they’re in.”


Resources:
King County, Equity and Social Justice
http://www.kingcounty.gov/elected/executive/equity-social-justice.aspx

New Partners for Smart Growth Conference
http://NewPartners.org

Local Government Commission
http://www.lgc.org/

Feb 11, 2016
Bonus 006 Investing in Opportunity
19:37

Topic:  
Investing in Opportunity

Guest: 
Alan Jenkins is Executive Director of The Opportunity Agenda. a communications, research, and policy organization dedicated to building the national will to expand opportunity in America.

Full Bio – http://opportunityagenda.org/alan_jenkins_extended_biography

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/pub/alan-jenkins/5/634/570

Organization:  
The Opportunity Agenda. Is a communications, research, and policy organization dedicated to building the national will to expand opportunity in America.

Website – 
http://opportunityagenda.org

Facebook – 
https://www.facebook.com/opportunityagenda

Twitter – 
https://twitter.com/oppagenda

LinkedIn – 
https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-opportunity-agenda

Take Away Quotes:
“The ideal of opportunity is the notion that everyone deserves a fair chance to achieve his or her full potential.”

“Where the door of opportunity was cracked open a bit, Americans of all backgrounds have always rushed to get in the door.”

“Ultimately it’s up to all of us to make sure that we move from concern, to action, to solutions and that those solutions are lasting.”

Additional Resources:
American Opportunity Communication Toolkit: 
http://opportunityagenda.org/american-opportunity-communications-toolkit

Compact for Home Opportunity: 
https://opportunityagenda.org/compact_home_opp

Opportunity for Black Men and Boys:  
http://opportunityagenda.org/black_male

Feb 04, 2016
005: Environmental Justice and Smart Growth
35:47

Topic:
Incorporating Environmental and Economic Justice and Equitable Development


In This Episode:
02:28 Introduction of Mustafa Ali.
02:52 Introduction of Carlton Eley.
03:23 What brings Mustafa and Carlton to their work and what motivates them to work on issues of equity, environmental justice, and community revitalization?
08:53 How would Mustafa and Carlton assess the progress made by the Smart Growth movement over the past 15 yrs?
12:58 Carlton explains why his focus of embedding the principles of environmental justice into the planning process resonates with him.
17:52 Have we exhausted the equitable-development discussion?
25:01 If you could implement one change or pick one leverage point that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities, what would it be?
27:45 Carlton explains what someone could do to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
30:27 Mustafa explains if you can achieve sustainability without achieving social justice.
32:11 Mustafa and Carlton explain what the world looks like thirty years from now, if they are successful in the work that they are currently doing.


Guests:
Mustafa Ali has been a national speaker, trainer and facilitator on social and environmental justice issues for the past 17 years. During that time, Mustafa has worked with communities on both the domestic and international front to secure environmental, health, and economic justice. He currently serves as Senior Advisor to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy on Environmental Justice and Community Revitalization. Carlton Eley is an environmentalist, urban planner, and lecturer. While working to normalize environmental justice during the planning process, he has become an accomplished expert on the topic of equitable development in the public sector. He currently serves as Senior Environmental Protection Specialist for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


Take Away Quotes:
“No one should be creating activities, programs, policy without there being a strong voice from the communities of those folks who are not only being impacted by the choices that are being made but also can be strongly benefitted and can actually help to move their communities to a much stronger place.”

“So when you actually get away from Washington—and I wish that more federal officials did that—and actually spend time on people’s porches, having a conversation with them, learning what they’re dealing with on a daily basis; in their kitchens, hearing about the things that are going on in their lives and how, if they could only get traction, things could change and move in a much more progressive and proactive way, that does something to you because it’s no longer just about theory. It’s about real people who are having real lives and who are looking for real opportunities.”

“We need to make sure that we are developing public policy that really works for those segments of the population that may be underserved and vulnerable.”

“Once you have some knowledge…it begins to change the way that you view your world and the role that you play in it and the opportunities that exist.”


Resources:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
http://www3.epa.gov/

Feb 04, 2016
Bonus 005 From Unemployed Berkeley Dropout to Climate Change Warrior, the Tyi Johnson and Rising Sun Energy Story
07:25

Topic:
The Green Economy and Workforce Development

Guest:
Tyi Johnson is a graduate of the Green Energy Training Services (GETS) program at Rising Sun Energy Center and an employee of Community Energy Services Corporation. She also serves on Rising Sun Energy Center’s Board of Directors.Equitable Opportunity Radio Episode 013: From Unemployed Berkeley Dropout to Climate Change Warrior the Tyi Johnson and Rising Sun Energy Center Story

Organization:
The Smart Lights Program at Community Energy Services Corporation is designed to help small businesses become more energy-efficient. This program offers free start-to-finish technical assistance and instant rebates to help defray the cost of upgrading and/or repairing existing equipment. SmartLights can help with comprehensive lighting retrofits, refrigeration tune-ups, controls, and seals replacement, and referrals to appropriate HVAC programs.

Services include: a no cost and no obligation energy-efficiency assessment, instant rebates (typically range from 25%-75% of total project costs), negotiated volume pricing with qualified installation contractors, free start-to-finish project management and quality control, rebates paid directly to your contractor to help defray your out-of-pocket costs, and referrals to other energy efficiency programs as needed. See some of our work on cafes,auto repair shops, facilities, and retail stores.

Website – http://ebenergy.org/commercial-services/smart-lights-program/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Community-Energy-Services-Corporation-610255012322031

Take Away Quotes:
“After the internship ended, it was hard-going for me. This is when unemployment was at an all-time high… I stayed the course, I was meeting with my case-manager week after week. I really appreciate the fact that Rising Sun continued to collaborate with me and to encourage me and work with me until I was gainfully employed.”

“I feel like Rising Sun and the GETS program have put me in the prime position to be doing what I’m doing right now… I had three reasons why I joined GETS program: to learn about the green field, to learn about the energy efficiency field and by extension sustainability, and to learn how to save on my PG&E bill. And they did all three of those things for me. So it’s really great that I got all of those things, and got employed in the green energy efficiency field.”

“If I can empower others to be good stewards of this one great beautiful planet called Earth that we have, then I’ll do so, and I’m so appreciative of Rising Sun for setting me on that path.”

Jan 28, 2016
Bonus 004 Green Job Training and Workforce Development with Jodi Pincus of Rising Sun Energy
15:58

Topic:  
The Green Economy, Youth Employment and Workforce Development

Guest:  
Jodi Pincus is the Executive Director of Rising Sun Energy Center and a recognized expert in the green economy, youth employment, social enterprise and workforce development.

Organization:  
Rising Sun Energy Center is a green workforce development and energy retrofit services organization working throughout the San Francisco Bay area. Their mission is to empower individuals to achieve environmental and economic sustainability for themselves and their communities. Rising Sun Energy Center runs three programs, which include the California Youth Energy Services (CYES), Leaders-in-Field-Training (LIFT) and Green Energy Training Services (GETS). The CYES program includes summer and after-school programs that train and employ young adults ages 15 to 22 to provide no-cost Green House Calls (energy efficiency and water conservation upgrades) to homes in their community. The LIFT program gives top employees in Rising Sun’s CYES program peer leadership roles and teaches business and leadership skills. The GETS program is a pre-apprenticeship training program that prepares adults for careers in construction, energy efficiency, and the solar industry.

Website – http://www.risingsunenergy.org/
Blog – https://risingsunenergy.wordpress.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/risingsunenergycenter
Twitter – https://twitter.com/RisingSunEC

Take Away Quotes:
“We believe that you can’t solve climate change without addressing unemployment.”

“Our youth, not only are they earning money and feeling a sense of purpose by doing the work but they’re gaining a lot of self-confidence, self-esteem; they’re going on to careers in business, social service, and environmental science.”

“This wonderful young man… he was in the foster care system… he came out of prison and into our job training program, and he had never graduated from anything in his life, and he graduated from our program.”

Additional Resources:
Rising Sun Energy Center’s Best Green Resources
Rising Sun Energy Center’s California Youth Energy Services (CYES)
Rising Sun Energy Center’s Green Energy Training Services (GETS)
Rising Sun Bright Night 2015 (Participants of the California Youth Energy Services and Green Energy Training Services programs explain what Rising Sun means to them, and how it has affected their lives.)

Jan 28, 2016
004: Renewable Energy and Taking Control of Your Future with Richmond Mayor Tom Butt
22:34

Topic:
Renewable Energy


In This Episode:
1:17 Mike introduces Tom Butt, Mayor of Richmond, CA.
2:06 Why was Chevron motivated to defeat Tom?
3:29 How the refinement project, Community Power and City Action: Solar Farming in the Refineries Backyard, came into existence.
6:13 What type of emissions impact will Richmond’s solar farm have on the city and surrounding cities?
7:55 How will the Environmental Benefits Agreement improve the lives of local citizens?
9:29 Tom discusses the holistic approach they took when developing the Environmental Benefits Agreement.
11:25 Tom shares advice to other community leaders who are looking to bring more sustainable energy to their city.
14:57 Tom discusses how Richmond successfully built strong relationships between the police department and low income communities of color.
17:29 What role did the Richmond police chief play in the positive response of the local Black Lives Matter movement?
18:08 How can others learn more about what Richmond is doing with the refinement project.
18:54 What one change would Tom implement to improve the future?
20:00 What action would Tom recommend that listeners take to make a difference?
20:25 What will Richmond look like 30 years from now if Tom’s plans are successful?

Guest:
Tom Butt is a 20-year member of the Richmond, California City Council, and was elected to a four-year term as mayor in 2014. He serves on the board and is vice-chair of Marin Clean Energy (MCE), a Community Choice Aggregation joint powers authority serving parts of four California counties.


Take Away Quotes:
“Statistically, people who come from low income neighborhoods don’t live as long, they don’t have as good health as people who live in wealthier neighborhoods. I think this example of the 50% local hire rule and training people from low income neighborhoods in Richmond be proficient in the solar industry and to find jobs in that is a way of essentially ultimately improving their health.”

“Well, the big thing here really is getting control of your future. Once you can control your future, whether it is in energy or whether it is in agriculture or whether it is in heath or whatever, then you have an opportunity to make it better because you are no longer subject to somebody else’s decision making.”

“About 80-85% of electricity users have chosen to stay with Marin Clean Energy. The way it’s set up, it’s an opt-out system, so once the city decides to make that change over then everybody gets changed over automatically unless they decide not to.”

“This is an example of how people can get control of their destiny.”

Resources:
https://newpartners.org/2016/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Equitable-Development-Brochure_NPSG16.pdf

Jan 28, 2016
Bonus 003 Portland is a Movable Side Yard Feast
24:48

Topic:
Providing local food to the local community


Guests:
Stacey Givens is the farmer, chef and owner of The Side Yard Farm & Kitchen in Northeast Portland, Oregon’s Cully Neighborhood. Givens grows diverse organic produce for Portland’s top restaurants and provides food, education and opportunity to her community. Givens was raised the youngest of seven children in a large Greek family in Redondo Beach, California where she was instilled with do-it-yourself values from a young age, farming in their backyard garden and small orchard, foraging with her mom, picking and brining olives and helping prepare large Greek family-style suppers. Givens has been in the food industry since age 15. She worked her way up the West Coast, including at the nationally acclaimed Millennium in San Francisco, before landing in Portland in 2006. Givens established The Side Yard Farm in 2009. The Side Yard Farm & Kitchen currently consists of several urban farm lots maintained by Givens and her team, a farm-to-table private catering company, and the ‘Nomadic Chef’ supper club where she features her urban-grown goods. Givens also organizes invaluable community services at The Side Yard like DIY workshops, grief support groups and kids camps. While The Side Yard has a hyperlocal focus, Givens’ drive to build a strong community and make lasting connections with talented and passionate people is globally-minded, traveling around the world to meet fellow organic farmers and chefs. In 2014, Givens was the recipient of Portland’s Local Hero award in the chef category, and continues to give back to the community she loves through volunteerism and her indispensable work at The Side Yard. In 2015, she competed on the Foodnetwork’s ‘Chopped’ and brought home the win for Portland.

Stacey Givens Twitter
https://twitter.com/thesideyardpdx

Organization:
The Side Yard is an urban farm, supper club and catering company located in the NE Cully Neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. Since 2009 they have provided local restaurants with creative organic produce and the community with food, education and opportunity. The farm is largely operated by volunteers and interns who gain hands on experience with the urban seed to plate movement. The Side Yard offers urban farm suppers & brunches, private catering, nomadic pop-ups, educational DIY workshops, farm tours and grief groups. Their focus is to provide local food for the local community, from the seeds they sow, animals they raise, and to the craftsmanship they embrace.

 

Take Away Quotes:
“It’s all about the experience of seed to plate. All of that was harvested the day before, the day of. You can just taste the freshness and that connection of hyper local.”

“After I lost my father I decided I’m done with going to grief groups in hospitals- why not have one at the farm. It’s such a beautiful place and I think it’d be easier for people to share the loss of their loved one…and we just become this big ole family.”

“I hope that what we’re doing is we’re teaching people that being local is really important, being organic is extremely important, and I guess that’s what I would hope for is that we’re doing our job educating people and bringing them closer to their food.”


Resources:
The Side Yard
http://www.thesideyardpdx.com/


Presidio Graduate School
http://www.presidio.edu

 

Jan 19, 2016
Bonus 002 Food Waste in America - The Beauty in Ugly Food
19:55

Topic:
Decreasing Food Waste Through the Real Good Produce Program

Guests:
Megan Burritt is Raley’s Supermarkets Director of Wellness and Sustainability. Passionate about creating sustainable food systems and bringing good, clean food to the everyday American, Meg has lived every link in the food chain, from working on the farm to line cooking to category management. Meg attended Stanford as an undergrad, majoring in Human Biology, and is a graduate of Presidio Graduate School where she obtained an MBA in Sustainable Management. As a 2014 First Movers Fellow with the Aspen Institute Business and Society Program, Meg continues to learn and grow as an innovator. First Movers is a group of exceptional innovators in business who are creating new products, services and management practices that achieve greater profitability and positive social and environmental impacts. Meg lives in beautiful Curtis Park, Sacramento where she enjoys baking, riding bikes and spending time with her veterinarian wife, Amanda, and their family of rescue animals. Twitter - https://twitter.com/misskeen LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/meganburritt

Organization:
Raley's Supermarkets (also known as Raley's Family of Fine Stores) is a privately held, family-owned, regional grocery chain that operates stores under the Raley's, Bel Air Markets, Nob Hill Foods, and Food Source names in northern California and Nevada. Raley’s operates 128 stores, 40 of them in the Greater Sacramento area and employs around 13,400 workers today. Headquartered in West Sacramento, California, Raley's is the dominant supermarket operator in the Sacramento metropolitan area.

Take Away Quotes:
“Up to 40% of the food that we grow here in America is often wasted before it gets to the consumer. That’s the high end of the statistic, but it really is mind boggling when you think about that much food that we’re putting resources into growing, that isn’t getting into the hands of people who would like to eat it.”

“At Raley’s we do still have some produce waste because some of it just goes off while it’s waiting to be purchased at the grocery store. And we actually divert from the landfill. We send all of our produce waste to an anaerobic bio-digester where it becomes essentially compost and then natural gas energy.”

“We are used to selling only one type of very perfectly shaped, sized, and colored fruits and vegetables in conventional grocery stores. So to go out here with this what people sometime call “ugly produce” we were taking a little bit of a risk. But we did see a really positive reception with our consumers that they understand that every fruit and vegetable is unique and it’s still nutritious and delicious no matter what it looks like.”

“People don’t realize that the food sector is the largest producer of greenhouse gasses of all our sectors, including transportation. So if you have an industry that’s wasting 40% of its effort, there’s this huge opportunity to reduce waste, to reduce environmental impacts, to reduce greenhouse gas impacts, at the same time reduce food costs [and] deal with issues of food insecurity. So across the board it’s just vitally important work.”

Resources:
Aspen Institute

http://www.aspeninstitute.org

Aspen Institute - First Movers Fellowship Program

http://www.aspeninstitute.org/policy-work/business-society/corporate-programs/first-movers-fellowship-program

Raley’s Supermarkets

http://www.raleys.com/www/home.jsp

PBS News Hour Video on Food Waste

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/almost-half-americas-food-go-waste/

Presidio Graduate School

http://www.presidio.edu

 

Jan 19, 2016
Bonus 001 Hunger in America - Thinking Outside the Food Pantry
30:40

Topic:
Taking a Look at Food Insecurity

Guest:
Sharon Thornberry is the Community Food Systems Manager at the Oregon Food Bank. Sharon has been a grassroots organizer, trainer and advocate for community food systems, rural communities, and anti-hunger work in Oregon since 1986. She grew up on farms, was very active in 4-H and Girl Scouts, and was one of the first female members of Future Farmers of America. In 1979, she was a homeless mom with two small children. Sharon has served on the Oregon Hunger Task Force for 16 years, the board of the Community Food Security Coalition for six years (three as President), and the board of Bread for the World and Bread for the World Institute for six years. The sum of her experiences have come together to make her a passionate and knowledgeable community food security and anti-hunger advocate. She is the 2009 recipient of the Billi Odegard Public Health Genius Award from the Community Health Partnership of Oregon. She has worked for Oregon Food Bank for the past 16 years focusing on rural food systems and is the creator of “FEAST”, the nationally recognized community food systems organizing program. She has been a resident of Philomath, Oregon for 30 years. She is an avid gardener and loves to share the cooking traditions learned in the farm kitchens of her youth with friends and family.

Sharon Thornberry Twitter
https://twitter.com/ofb_sharont


Organization:
Oregon Food Bank collects and distributes food through a network of four Oregon Food Bank branches and 17 independent regional food banks serving Oregon and Clark County, Washington. Along with approximately 970 partner agencies, they help nearly one in five households fend off hunger. They work to address the root causes of hunger by offering nutrition education, strengthening local food systems, collaborating with community groups, and advocating for hunger relief at the local and federal level.

Take Away Quotes:
“The statistics say that rural hunger is not as bad as urban hunger, I think people in rural communities are less likely to admit they’re hungry too. There’s a lot of pride that goes with living in rural communities.”

“There aren’t equal opportunities for everybody and there’s a lot of deniers that say that all of this stuff is made up. But I’m here to tell you it’s not made up. We don’t think about the challenges of access. People with small children are the most financially insecure. Salaries have not kept up with the cost of living in this country.”

“We’re leaving a lot of kids in a really bad place because it’s impossible for their parents to have a living wage, especially in rural communities. There’s a whole systemic thing that we need to look at and figure out how we solve it as a country.”

“Just think: the food banks across this country, there are hundreds of feeding american food banks, there are thens of thousands of food pantries across this country, they all have volunteers. If those folks had taken even a fraction of the hours they’ve taken handing out food and been saying to the powers that be: to congress, to their state senators, to their state legislators, even to their county commissioners, “This is wrong, we have to do this differently,” what do you think the picture would be? I think we’d be in a different space?”

“It’s about keeping the discussion going, and people having success, and supporting small farmers. You can’t do enough to do that. Go out there and get to know your small farmer, find out what their issues are, and find out how you can help them stay in business.”

Resources:

Oregon Food Bank
http://www.oregonfoodbank.org

Presidio Graduate School
http://www.presidio.edu

Jan 19, 2016
003: Local Food Systems and Food Justice
24:14

Topic:
Local Food Systems

In This Episode:
2:48 Laura explains the mission at The Center for Regional Food Systems
3:16 What is the Food and Community project?
9:43 The importance of creating local food systems
12:30 Laura defines food justice and sovereignty
15:30 What motivates Laura?
17:52 New Partners Pre-Conference Food System Activities
20:55 Learn more about The Center for Regional Food Systems
21:40 The one change Laura would like to see to lead to better food systems
22:34 Actions that listeners can take to build a more sustainable food future
22:53 30 years from now: how Laura sees the future of food systems

Guest:
The Michigan State University (MSU) Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) engages the people of Michigan, the United States and the world in developing regionally integrated, sustainable food systems. CRFS extends MSU’s pioneering legacy of applied research, education and outreach by catalyzing collaboration among the diverse range of people, processes and places involved in regional food systems. Our vision is a thriving economy, equity and sustainability for Michigan, the country and the planet through food systems rooted in local regions and centered on food that is healthy, green, fair and affordable.

Laura Goddeeris, AICP, is a Specialist at CRFS and coordinates outreach engaging national organizations in improving food systems and community environments, linking ground-level efforts and national stakeholders to inform policy and systems change. She is particularly focused on exploring opportunities for local governments to support regional food systems. As a part of this work, she has partnered with the Local Government Commission to develop a series of pre-conference workshops on healthy, equitable food systems in conjunction with the annual New Partners for Smart Growth conference. Laura’s background includes more than a decade of experience in research, outreach, and program administration around issues of economic development, community and social equity, and transportation planning, much of it within the context of food systems. She holds a Master’s degree in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago, is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and is a graduate of the Great Lakes Leadership Academy Emerging Leaders Program.


Take Away Quotes:
“Access to good food, food that’s healthy, green, fair and affordable, I think it’s also important to note culturally appropriate, really should be a basic human right that is available to all of us regardless of differences in race, in gender, in ethnicity, in class, all of those things. But the idea of food justice exists because there are all these structural inequities in our food system that impede that access and they are often tied to those differences. So, I see food justice as a lens that we can apply to our efforts to work toward more equitable systems. Food Sovereignty refers to the idea that communities hold the power to determine what a just food system looks like. And I think you will most often hear about that in the context of communities that have been disenfranchised by the food system in the past.”


"I think it's important for communities to try and foster conversations about what people need and want in their community. I don't think there is a one size fits all approach for how to incorporate, even just urban agriculture in all cities, it's really place specific and as you mentioned before, the shift from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy, think about how that has played out in Detroit and now you have this urban agriculture movement, but some people don't want to see a city like that shift back in that direction, but some people think its great. So, we really need to continue to have some dialogue about what are the needs and what are the opportunities."
"I was realizing how food systems really drew, or cut across a lot of areas that were interesting to me, including community development and economic development and also environmental issues and sustainability and so any time I had the freedom to pick an area to do more research in, it was always food systems, even though that wasn't a focus of my program's curriculum."

Resources:
http://FoodSystems.msu.edu
http://Facebook.com/MSUCRFS
http://Twitter.com/MSUCRFS
http://NewPartners.org

Jan 19, 2016
002: Equitable Development and Economic Growth with Dr. Manuel Pastor
25:39

Topic: 

Intertwined Crises in America


In This Episode:
2:48 Manual talks about his background and motivation.
4:05 Spacial, political and intellectual segregation in America
5:57 Manual talks about the tree big crises in the US.
9:23 Diverse Dynamic Epistemic Communities
11:58 Examples of where these communities have come together
17:02 The key to economic growth
23:28 One change that would lead to better communities
24:08 One action listeners can take to build a better future
24:17 What does the world look like 30 years from now?

Guests:
Dr. Manuel Pastor is Professor of Sociology and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California (USC), where he also serves as the Director of USC’s Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) and Co-Director of USC’s Center for the Study on Immigration Integration. He is the author of multiple books, including most recently, Equity, Growth, and Community: What the Nation Can Learn from America’s Metro Areas, which he co-authored with Chris Benner from UC Santa Cruz.

 

Take Away Quotes:
“We are in a place where people don't agree on the basic facts. An epistemic communities are about creating opportunities for people to know together so they can grow together. The thing that we sort of left out in this book is that it's important for them to be diverse and dynamic. You can't be surrounded simply by like-minded or like-raced people. You need to make sure that who is at the table is coming from different sectors, different communities, et cetera to be able to understand what it is that weaves us together and where our mutual interests lie.”

“It's basically a nerd fest. We consider ourselves to be nerds for social justice and we did this for a couple of different reasons. Essentially, it was born when Angela Glover Blackwell and I—she's the head of PolicyLink—were at a meeting at the White House and we realized that while we had pretty good ideas about what to do, few people were paying attention because we didn't have the kind of data that we needed behind the ideas. This created a way to sort of democratize data.”

"Making sure that people understand that there is more than one leverage point; that we need to move the needle on multiple things at the same time; that we need to make sure that people are reentering from the criminal justice system successfully; that we are dealing with immigration reform. We are dealing with gender inequality. We need to get away from the idea that there is a silver bullet for our problems."


Resources:
National Equity Atlas Tool
http://NationalEquityAtlas.org

Jan 19, 2016
001: The Future of Smart Growth with Kate Meis and Matthew Dalbey
30:08

Topic:
Smart growth and Sustainability in Communities in the US


In This Episode:
3:30 Kate explains her passion for her work with the Local Government Commission.
5:37 Matt talks about his motivation to start at The Office of Sustainable Communities.
8:08 The impact that the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference has had over the years.
11:43 What does the Office of Sustainable Communities do for the EPA?
14:33 How does the Smart Growth and Sustainability Act affect how we make community decisions now?
15:50 Where we are now, and where do we need to go?
23:02 One change that Kate and Matt would make.
24:49 Action steps for listeners to take to help their communities.
26:45 What will our country and communities look like 30 years from now?
29:15 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference Information

Guests:
Kate Meis has served as the Executive Director of the Local Government Commission (LGC) since 2013. Since assuming directorship, her focus has been to strengthen partnerships and capacity to serve a growing number of community leaders across the state and the nation. Kate is a champion for local governments, a catalyst of early local climate change adaptation, mitigation and clean energy efforts, and an ardent coalition builder. Under Kate’s leadership LGC has become a forerunner on climate change – advancing the first California Adaptation Forum, developing a new Governor’s Initiative CivicSpark capacity building program and providing fiscal and staffing support for the new Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation. Kate is driven by the belief that given the right tools and partners people will innovate to improve their communities and respond to pressing challenges. Her unique background in agricultural research, social work, alternative transportation and community development has helped her to establish a rich network of partners and an integrated approach to assisting local governments.

Matthew Dalbey is the Director of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities. The Office of Sustainable Communities (OSC) collaborates with other US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) programs; federal agencies; regional, state, and local governments; and a broad array of nongovernmental partners to help communities become stronger, healthier, and more sustainable through smarter growth, green building, green infrastructure and related strategies. OSC leads EPA’s participation in the interagency (HUD-DOT-EPA) Partnership for Sustainable Communities, as well as EPA’s cross-Agency focus on Making a Visible Difference in Communities. This work is integral to EPA’s priorities of improving air quality, addressing climate change, protecting America’s waters, cleaning up our communities and promoting environmental justice.

Take Away Quotes:
“The trajectory of growth that we all relied on for generations is not there any longer fundamentally all across this country we are trying to reinvent our economy there are places that have done better since the great recession and there are many places that have not yet begun to move forward. And I think the big challenge for all of us that are working in the smart growth, sustainable communities, environmental justice space is how do we work in our communities to help reinvent the economies that are not the economies of the 20th century but are the economies of the 21st century. I don’t know what that is going to look like but we need to figure it out because the trajectory of growth is just not there any longer. We have to work on economic development in every single one of our communities. We have to become good stewards of not only the environment but the economy in our communities right now. And I think it is a great space for all of us to move into as we continue to work together going forward.”
“For the past 6 years, what I am most proud of, and as an organization, we're most proud of--and working with partners like you Bernice and Matt, and all of the other partners across the nation--is that we've been able to make equity and environmental justice a core of the programing at the conference. I think that has been a huge necessity and it's really shaped the dialog, and evolved the dialog in some really important ways. Lastly, we’ve been able to not just bring people together but we’ve seen tangible results in the communities, and that’s really what this is all about. “

“If stakeholders in communities could spend some time envisioning what our communities will be looking like in the next 20 or 30 years, have a vision of that, even if it's in someone's mind or you could write it down, or draw a picture of it. Spend some time thinking about what you want your community to look like in the next 20 years and stick with it. Then, see what are the pieces that need to be pulled together in order to get there and the pieces have to be thought of very very broadly.”

Resources:
New Partners for Smart Growth Conference, Portland, Oregon February 11 - 13
http://newpartners.org

Local Government Community
http://LGC.org
 

Jan 19, 2016