Carbon Valley, Ep1

Today is a guest spot featuring Episode 1 of Carbon Valley, a new series from Wyoming Public Media. In the coal capital of the country, in the least-populated state in the union, leaders had to make a move. So, they turned to a silver bullet and brought in a $20 million competition to jumpstart a new era for coal country. Along the way, an unlikely ally emerges: a skateboarding environmentalist.

Yum

Few things in life are better than savoring delicious food. We all know this to be true today… but we’ve never stopped to consider just how important flavor-seeking might’ve been in the distant past. It turns out that the science of flavor can teach us a lot about the story of human evolution, and how we might reign in our rapacious appetites as we confront global environmental change.

Individual Reckoning

Climate change sometimes feels like a problem that can only be solved by governments, corporations, and large sectors of the economy. The truth, though, is that we as individuals can make an impact too. And, as it turns out, it’s not all sacrifice. In her new book, Under the Sky We Make, Professor Kim Nicholas of Lund University explores the humanity that emerges when we’re willing to do engage in a little personal reckoning.

Never A Catalytic Moment

At some point global warming will get so bad that the world will HAVE to take action, right? Well, maybe not. In this conversation with environmental journalist, David Roberts, we dive into the scary reality of shifting baselines syndrome. That’s the human tendency to rationalize, normalize, and otherwise brush stuff under the rug. Along the way we drop a bunch of f-bombs, and also have a good chat about hope.

Zombies, Covid-19, and The Anthropocene

Are you afraid of the end of the world? Sure! Who isn’t?! Sometimes, though, it’s hard to unpack all the stories we tell ourselves about the looming apocalypse. So perhaps the most popular monster of the 21st century, the freakin’ ZOMBIE, can help us unearth and confront our collective fears. Let’s do this. See you in the graveyard at midnight!

Timefulness, with Marcia Bjornerud

When I fell in love with geology, I developed a new relationship with TIME. It’s not just the vastness of Earth history that blew my mind— it’s imagining all that’s happened, all that’s transpired to make the Earth what it is today. In her book, Timefulness, Marcia Bjornerud captures this idea as well as anyone I’ve ever met. I had to talk to her. She’s my new favorite person.

Sounds of the Ocean

When you imagine ocean sounds, maybe you hear the smooth arcing songs of the humpback whale, or the energetic, rhythmic clicks and snaps of dolphins. But it turns out the oceans are home to a much wider range and diversity of sounds than we could ever imagine, and today some of them are being captured by hydrophones (underwater microphones). In this episode, we take an audio journey of the oceans, learning what sound can reveal, what scientists have yet to identify, and how the underwater soundscape is changing in the Anthropocene.

Telltale Signs

Two stories of ecological disruption: the great sea star wasting, and a graveyard of trembling aspens. As climate change unfolds, one of the scariest prospects is that we will witness large scale ecosystem collapse. So is that moment already upon us? Will we be able to recognize the symptoms in time, and do we have enough information to take steps in advance? In both of today’s stories, from the oceans to the mountains, scientists are trying to understand the magnitude of ecological transformation underway – and what that might mean for the future.