DiscoverThe Disruptive Environmentalist
The Disruptive Environmentalist

The Disruptive Environmentalist

Author: Rob Wreglesworth

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Seeking new solutions to big environmental problems: An exploratory podcast shining a light on innovators and thought leaders taking direct actions to tackle environmental issues.
29 Episodes
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End of Season 1

End of Season 1

2019-11-0702:32

For a variety of reasons I thought now was a good time to have a short 'end-of-season' break to help reflect and plan the future of the podcast. This break should hopefully allow me to book lots of interesting guests and improve the overall quality of the show for you the listener. If you are itching to chat and share stories about environmental solutions and innovations then you can join the Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/disruptiveenvironmentalist If you have any ideas for guests or would like to appear on the show yourself please email disruptiveenvironmentalist@gmail.com, it would be great to hear from you. Or if you simply have any feedback on particular episodes you prefer and would like to see more of then that would be amazingly helpful too! If you haven't already please rate, review and share the podcast it really does help spread the word and makes me very happy :D.
As more people move to live in cities, the disconnect between where food comes from and our plate seems to be growing all the time. But today's interviewee is hoping to change that by helping design alternative food solutions from the very heart of London. The amazing place that is the focus of today's podcast is called Green Lab. Founded by Andrew Gregson as a maker space with the belief that design is the most effective way to tackle big challenges, they have set out on a mission to radically change the way we produce and consume food Whereas many people might see our ever-expanding cities as concrete jungles devoid of life, they see them as places with opportunity, to experiment and develop food systems that make people and spaces healthier For more information and info on open days and courses head to www.greenlab.org Please like and subscribe and follow me @environment_rob and @disruptive_env And join the Facebook Community at www.facebook.com/groups/disruptiveenvironmentalist
With approximately 90% of the world's freight moved about by large ships, it's perhaps not surprising the industry has a big impact on the environment. In this episode, I interview someone who is on a mission to change that. Danielle Doggett is one of the founders of SailCargo Inc who are currently building a large sailing vessel called Ceiba in Costa Rica. The idea is that once finished it will not only have a positive impact but act as a model for others to copy around the world as they hope to #seashippingchange To find out more about this amazing project and info about how to invest head to https://www.sailcargo.org and watch some videos of the construction at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-oMwu50sTk Follow me on Twitter @environment_rob Join the Facebook community at www.facebook.com/groups/disruptiveenvironmentalist
There are certain topics amongst environmentalists that seem particularly controversial. One of these is Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). In this episode, we explore the topic of ‘beliefs’ within the environmental community and whether those beliefs are no different to ones of religion such as creationism. So I’m stepping out of the realms of environmental scientists and innovators once again to speak to Stefaan Blanke is a philosophy professor at The University of Tilburg, who has taken his work looking at matters such as creationist beliefs in humans and applied that thinking to look at pseudoscience, particularly around GMOs. Join the Facebook community at www.facebook.com/groups/disruptiveenvironmentalist Follow me on Twitter @environment_rob
Biochar is a product created by applying lots of heat to plant matter in the absence of oxygen. This creates a form of pure carbon, not that dissimilar to what you would put on a bbq, but much purer. This substance that is created can then be stored in soils which locks away this carbon for hundreds, potentially thousands of years. It also has the added benefit of holding moisture and nutrients within its pores, potentially boosting crop growth too. It sounds like an interesting idea but I wanted to speak to someone in the know to find out a bit more. My guest today is Jamie Bakos from Titan Projects. After graduating as an environmental engineer student, Jamie worked his way through jobs where he had to figure out what to do with waste streams. This is what eventually lead him to set up Titan Projects and to focus on biochar as a solution to many organic matter waste streams and also as a solution to climate change. We also chat about some of Titan Projects other projects all trying to find a use for carbon. For more info on TitanProjects check out www.titan-projects.com and for more on carbon-based products go to https://carbon4climate.com/ Please join the Facebook Community to help us find more solutions at https://www.facebook.com/groups/disruptiveenvironmentalist
Shah Selbe is a spacecraft engineer turned conservation technologist and founder of non-profit Conservify, whose mission it is to lower barriers to entry for effective conservation by providing anything from equipment to apps and all with a big push towards open-data. For more info on Conservify head to www.conservify.org You can find Shah on Twitter @shahselbe Conservify @conservify on both Twitter and Instagram Field kit @fieldkitorg also both on Twitter and Instagram Please join the new Facebook community page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/disruptiveenvironmentalist And a like and share would be awesome too!
We’ve spoken about the issue of plastic waste in a few previous episodes, but the problem of litter extends much beyond that. There are many other materials and items that are used in an increasingly disposable manner and that contribute to this epidemic. Litterati is a mobile app, created by Jeff Kirchner. It started off simply as an Instagram hashtag, but it started to grow into a global movement. Jeff then realised he was collecting lots of useful data and perhaps this data could be leveraged to approach brands who were the main litter offenders. In the interview, Jeff will share some of the stories of how that is working in the real world and how the power of ‘big data’ can be used for good and not evil for a change. We also talk about how even though littering isn’t necessarily the biggest environmental issue of our time that the app can be used as a gateway into other issues and a way to engage people on an accessible issue. Download the app on iTunes or Android and have a go, it's actually really fun! If you want to join the growing Facebook community head to: https://www.facebook.com/groups/350453888983249/
Currently, the equivalent of one garbage truck full of plastic enters the oceans every single minute of every day. So until we cut out this plastic habit completely, we need to find a way to put it to use and stop it harming wildlife and ecosystems. In this episode, we look to the circular economy model once more for a solution and I interview Toby McCartney, the founder of MacRebur, a Scottish based company that takes waste plastic that would otherwise be destined for landfill (or more likely the ocean) and use it to build roads. We chat about where the idea came from, the difficulty of getting from idea to product, the importance of local circular economy thinking and finally the plan to scale and tackle the plastic problem around the world.
Land-based food production is in crisis - driven by climate change & population increase. We have to grow 70% more food by 2050 to accommodate 2 billion more people on the planet (World Bank 2017). So with the oceans covering over 70% of the earth's surface surely there must be opportunities for food production there? We know fishing with large nets hasn't worked, putting fish stocks under a lot of pressure. And fish aquaculture has many negative impacts too. But today's guest Bren Smith from non-profit GreenWave is pioneering a new technique known as 3D ocean farming which is a no input, ecosystem restoring, carbon-storing innovation that could provide sustainable, affordable food and millions of jobs in the process. For more info head to www.greenwave.org
Fast fashion focuses on speed and low cost delivering new ‘collections’ of clothing for every season of every year inspired by the latest catwalk looks or celebrity styles. But this low-cost, disposable way of buying clothes is having an impact on the environment. This often includes growing the cotton (land use and chemicals), huge amounts of freshwater use, toxic chemicals in the manufacturing process and the impact of endless clothes filling landfills. Rapanui is a clothing company that has always had the environment at the center of their business, using renewable energy, organic cotton and recycling all the water they use. And their latest idea is a circular economy t-shirt which can be sent back over and over cutting down many of the environmental impacts of disposable fashion. In this interview I speak to one of the two brothers who founded the business Mark Drake-Knight about the company, this product and the exciting idea of Tee-Mill a platform they created which helps anyone set up a circular economy fashion brand.
Biomimicry is the process of looking to nature for ideas and inspiration on how we can solve human problems and design things that better fit in with life on earth. Taking advantage of 3.8 million years of evolution to give us a ‘jump start’ on research and development. In this interview, I speak to Megan Shuknecht who is from the Biomimicry Institute, an organisation set up to promote the use of the principles of biomimicry in design and innovation. As Megan will explain, they do this by hosting design challenges, with a launchpad for new businesses and even an award-winning free tool (AskNature.org) which anyone can access to get inspiration from the natural world. For more information on The Biomimicry Institute head to: https://www.biomimicry.org And for AskNature: www.asknature.org
With the issue of climate change seeming so vast with so many factors influencing our carbon emissions, many people have started to focus on what they can do as an individual. Because at least we have control over that. In this episode, I speak to Roger Tyers, an academic working on climate change at the University of Southampton (UK) who is leading by example by pledging to stop flying. But with research based in China, how do you get halfway around the world without leaving the ground? I ask how this journey was, how he planned it, what it was like and what it cost. We also spoke about the wider issue of flying, why it is so cheap? Finding fulfillment in flying less often and we also touch on his research as well. Follow Roger on Twitter: @RogerTyersUK and Instagram: doctorchoochoo If you want to sign the pledge head to: https://www.flightfree.co.uk/ in the UK or in the wider world check out https://noflyclimatesci.org/
This episode focusses on the environmental problems caused by agriculture and I speak with the co-founder of a The Small Robot Company who aim to tackle many of those problems by approaching farming in a completely different way. We speak about the environmental problems caused by past and current intensive agricultural practices, how the small robots work and why that is positive for the environment, integration with internet of things technology, what to do with new spared land/ obsolete farm buildings and how they plan on stopping them getting stolen.
The first vertical forest in the world was designed by Italian architect Stefano Boeri in Milan, completed in 2014. The Bosco Verticale towers are residential apartment blocks, one of which is over 100m high. But most strikingly they are both covered from top to bottom in vegetation. 800 trees, 4,500 shrubs and 15,000 plants make up this urban jungle. The equivalent of 20,000 square metres of forest. Natural vegetation provides many benefits for the environment from CO2 absorption, reducing the effects of harmful pollutants, cooling, flood prevention the list goes on. So with over half the world’s population now live in cities could this provide a potential solution to making our cities greener?
Apparently electric flying cars will be appearing very soon, with some big names such as Uber and Boeing currently developing them. Some newspaper headlines have said they could solve our greenhouse gas and pollution woes….this seems like a bold claim that I think needs further investigation, so in this episode I speak to Akshat Kasliwal from the University of Michigan was part of a team that published a paper recently titled: Role of flying cars in sustainable mobility. In the interview, we discuss how they might fit into current and future transport systems and take a closer look at the potential environmental benefits
This week we are talking about the blockchain. Could the technology behind Bitcoin help us tackle some of the worlds biggest environmental problems? In this interview I speak to Pete Howson a Lecturer in International Development and Nottingham Trent University who has published papers on this very subject. We speak about how the technology works, how that might be applied to environmental problems and the potential pros and cons. We also talk about the issues of setting up environmental markets and how we need to stop thinking with a traditional capitalist mindset if we are truly to get to the root of what is causes some of the issues. To follow Pete's work and for more info go to www.crytonature.org Or you can follow him on Twitter @peterjhowson
Today I take a deeper look into the human psychology behind climate change. Is there any way we can change tactics to convince the denialists?…..or are there more important battles we should be fighting first? I interview Dan Rubin PsyD, a clinical psychologist from Portland, US. We speak about this topic of communicating better, the rise of individualism and ‘peak entertainment’, mindfulnesses and how anyone can apply their job or skill to become a climate change activist. For more of Dan's work relating to climate change you can follow him on Twitter: @DanRubin13 or check out his articles: https://medium.com/s/story/how-to-have-a-useful-conversation-about-climate-change-in-11-steps-d4bbd4135e35 https://medium.com/@danrubinpsyd/everyone-an-activist-25f68fe6d448
It is now pretty common knowledge that cutting down on meat consumption is one of the best things we can do individually for the environment…. but globally we just keep eating more of it. So is there another way we can greatly reduce this impact and without going vegan? Today's interviewee is Shir Friedman from clean meat company SuperMeat, based in Israel. They are one of the leaders in this growing industry and with a focus on poultry currently, they are getting closer and closer to a final product. In this interview, I ask about the process, how big meat producers feel about this disruptive idea and how it might go down with vegans.
The computer games industry is now estimated to be worth over $100 billion. But could this ultimate disruptive industry help us save the planet? In this episode, I speak to Dr Umran Ali a computer games professor and self-confessed ‘digital native’ from the University of Salford (UK), about how we can potentially use games to educate and inspire around environmental issues.
Most of us want to cut down on the amount of bottled water we buy, but why is it so hard to find anywhere to fill bottles in our cities.?This episode's guest is part of a volunteer group called Water for London who are campaigning for more water fountains in stations and public places across the capital. Justine is also a sustainability blogger so we start with bottled water but end up chatting about all sorts; from waste to palm oil to minimalism.
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