Category: Law

Rare Earth Elements

“Oil is the blood; steel is the body; but rare earth elements are the vitamins of a modern society.” While many of us can’t even pronounce elements such as praseodymium, yttrium, or gadolinium, these minerals drive our technology and our modern lifestyles. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill “common” Earth elements, these are the “rare” earth elements. But… they aren’t actually that rare. And their importance to modern life goes well READ MORE

Scars of the Past

Beneath Cambodia’s troubled history with the Khmer Rouge lies a complex agricultural legacy that reaches back centuries. Once the symbol of a thriving region, we see how a prolonged El Nino brought drought and increased human conflict, and how the ruthless Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge looked back to the temples at Angkor Wat and their proud agricultural heritage to motivate the atrocities of the Cambodian genocide. READ MORE

The dawn of de-extinction

Hank Greely and Jake Sherkow discuss the science, morals, and ethics of de-extinction: bringing extinct species back to life.  As lawyers with an interest in biotechnologies, Hank and Jake explain how they first got involved with de-extinciton, how scientists propose to bring species back, and discuss the potential for de-extinction technology to help restore damaged ecosystems.  While discussing some potential side effects of this new process, Hank and Jake recall how a man obsessed with William Shakespeare transformed the ecosystem of New England, and how de-extinction might do the same.
[audio:|titles=Hank Greely & Jacob Sherkow with Miles]
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The human cost of climate change

Expert on international law Andrew Guzman takes a step back from analyzing climate change in terms of degrees and meters of sea level rise and breaks down all the ways climate change will affect humanity.  Dr. Guzman offers this perspective through his new book, Overheated: The Human Cost of Climate Change.  From environmental refugees to changing disease vectors to social conflict, Guzman illustrates how nearly all of our human systems interact with climate and therefore will feel the effects of even +2C.
[audio:|titles=Andrew Guzman & Mike]
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Anthropocene Borders

Geographer Reece Jones discusses his recent book “Border Walls,” examining the history of how and why societies have chosen to literally wall themselves apart.  He gives a brief history of political maps, how international lines reshape landscapes, and how the trend towards increased border wall construction contrasts with the view of a “borderless” world under globalization.  Jones also reveals which border wall is actually visible from space.
[audio:|titles=Reece Jones with Mike & Leslie]
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Masters of the Anthropocene Boundary

It’s our 50th episode!  To celebrate we sit down with four members of the Anthropocene Working Group: the scientists and experts who are deciding whether or not we formally adopt the Anthropocene into the geologic time table.  We discuss what makes the Anthropocene boundary different from all of the other boundaries in geologic history, how they deal with the increased public attention to this particular boundary, and some cultural ripple effects of the Anthropocene dealing with the Law of the Sea.  As we wrap up, the Generation Anthropocene producers take a minute to reflect on all of the rapid changes we’ve witnessed over the past 50 episodes.
[audio:|titles=Anthropocene Working Group Round Table]
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Whiskey is for drinkin’ & water is for fightin’ over

Expert in natural resources law and policy Buzz Thompson starts with a story of how his grandfather was tricked into selling his farm to the city of Los Angeles so they could get access to water on his land.  He then dives into water security and discusses the true cost of water, the complications in the US water law system, and what it was like to clerk for Justice William Rehnquist (which, it turns out, happened to involve quite a bit of tennis).
[audio:|titles=Buzz Thompson & Jens]
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F**cking science: the science of shale gas

Geophysicist and shale gas expert Mark Zoback speaks to the science of hydro-fracking to free shale gas.  He addresses many misconceptions he feels the public weigh too heavily and offers his view on the crucial role natural gas plays as a bridge to renewable energy.  Mark also looks to some critiques of the nuclear energy sector (including Fukushima) and finds intriguing parallels to the shale gas revolution.
[audio:|titles=Mark Zoback & Mike]
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The law of climate change

Climate scientist-turned-legal scholar Michael Wara discusses the nuts and bolts of greenhouse gas reduction programs and questions the value of the long-standing search for a one-size-fits-all, silver bullet solution.  He makes a case for small-scale experimentation when dealing with climate change and offers a few thoughts on why bad political ideas just never die.
[audio:|titles=Michael Wara & Jens]
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