Sandy, NOAA, and the woman in charge

Jane Lubchenco, the former head of the US government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), discusses what it’s like being asked to join the president’s “science team,” the tremendous breadth of research covered by NOAA, and what it’s like sitting in an airplane flying through hurricane Sandy.  Dr. Lubchenco also reflects on her work as a science communicator and the now “platinum standard” of open science communication she helped develop at NOAA.

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If Bilbo Baggins had an environmental school

After growing up in a remote corner of Alaska, marine biologist Zach Brown wants to start a school to teach future scientists about environmental sciences and sustainability.  Zach tells producers Mike and Leslie about his vision for the Inian Islands Institute (nicknamed “The Hobbit Hole”) and how experiential education is perhaps the best way to clearly see the lost connections between human systems and the natural world.  Zach also remembers what it’s like growing up with only a single television channel, and how often the signal would drop out… with some interesting results.

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American Meat

Filmmaker Graham Meriwether discusses his new documentary American Meat: A Leave It Better Story that investigates the current condition of the meat production industry in the States.  He explains the importance of focusing on the farmers and why he’s optimistic about the future of farming.  After the interview, producer Leslie Chang had to call Graham back to discuss an unusual situation that developed during a screening of his film on the Stanford University campus.

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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).

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