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In Over My Head

Author: Michael Bartz

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Michael is on a quest to get his environmental footprint as low as humanly possible. So he built his own off-grid Tiny House. But downsizing and minimizing weren’t enough. He had to take more drastic measures, altering his lifestyle in some extreme ways, all in the name of saving the planet. But when it comes to his goal, he still feels in over his head. He doesn’t know if all the downsizing, minimizing, reducing, reusing, recycling, and sacrificing make a difference. It’s time to bring in the experts.

Join Michael as he sits down with scientists, policymakers, industry leaders, and environmental experts to figure out how to effectively reduce his footprint in all aspects of life. From food and fast fashion to cars and caskets, he gets into what the worst culprits really are and how we can all make more informed choices when it comes to the impact we have on the planet.

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58 Episodes
In this new segment, Michael explores the little everyday choices we make to lower our environmental impact. He talks to the University of Michigan's Shelie Miller about reusable kitchenware including straws, cutlery, coffee cups and sandwich bags to see if they're always more environmentally friendly than the single-use versions.   
In this special edition of Planet-saving superstar, Michael takes a road trip to New Myrnam School east of Edmonton Alberta to see the sustainable building projects they have been working on over the last 6 years. From solar-powered golf carts to an off-grid Tiny House bus conversion, New Myrnam School is preparing their youth to be leaders in our low-carbon future. Michael chatted with staff, students, and parents to learn how these projects have benefited the school and the community.     New Myrnam Project VideosInside Education
Michael briefly sat down with Kathleen Sheppard from Environment Lethbridge to reminisce about the inaugural episode, and chat about what Environment Lethbridge is up to now. Kathleen also offers advice on how to start talking about climate change with friends or family. In Over My Head WebsiteClimate Cafe
Michael speaks with the University of Oxford’s Sacha Altay all about misinformation and mistrust. Sacha covers why miscommunication happens, the challenge of conveying scientific information, and the importance of trust. He touches on the role of media, the challenge of changing our own opinions, and irrationality. They discuss online versus offline communication, beliefs, and what you can do to have an impact. In Over My Head WebsiteSacha Altay's Website
Michael speaks with the University of Groningen’s Linda Steg all about emotions. They discuss the connection between emotion and pro-environmental behaviour. She covers the role of identity and groups in predicting emotional reactions. Linda highlights how our biases factor in, and the influence of media. She stresses the importance of values and exposes some of our misperceptions about environmental psychology. Lastly, Linda offers advice on what you can do to have an impact.In Over My Head Website
Michael speaks with the University of Victoria’s Robert Gifford to discuss the Dragons of Inaction. Robert explains what these psychological dragons are and how his work started. They make their way through the lair, exploring the seven genera of dragons including limited cognition, social comparison, sunk cost, and ideology. Robert offers solutions to slay your dragons and what you can do to have an impact.In Over My Head WebsiteRobert Gifford's Website
Michael speaks with the College of Wooster’s Susan Clayton all about our mental health and climate change. They discuss climate anxiety, including who is most affected, its connection to inaction, and the role of media. Susan touches on climate change denial and the importance of identity and attachment to place. She highlights the connection to nature and well-being, as well as the value of social interactions, and human connection. Lastly, she offers advice on what you can do to have an impact.In Over My Head WebsiteSusan Clayton's Website
Michael speaks with Chris Bryant all about changing the culture when it comes to cultured meat. Chris covers what cultured meat is, and how people feel about it. They discuss the social barriers to accepting meat alternatives. Chris breaks down the psychological barriers as well, examining the diffusion of innovations, status quo, habit, cognitive dissonance, framing and more. They also tackle the role of media, identity, social norms and regulation. Lastly, Chris offers advice on what you can do to shift the culture. In Over My Head WebsiteChris Bryant's WebsiteAnimal Charity Evaluators
Michael talks with the University of Colorado Boulder’s Beth Osnes about how comedy motivates climate action. Beth describes her art and gets into the history of comedy in theatre through the ages. She takes us to her climate communication class, sharing her students' experiences doing stand-up and sketch comedy. Beth highlights effective types of comedy to convey climate information, including good-natured comedy. She talks about her musical Shine and the importance of telling authentic stories. Lastly, Beth celebrates the power of youth voices and offers advice on what you can do to have an impact.  In Over My Head WebsiteBeth's WebsiteInside the GreenhouseEnacting Climate Website
Michael talks with experts from around the world about environmental psychology. From confirmation bias to cognitive dissonance, they'll be thinking deeply about all the ways our cognition hinders or helps climate change.
Michael chats with Alison Gu, who at the age of 24 became a Councillor for the city of Burnaby British Columbia. Alison talks about her journey into politics, and some of the important climate-related work she is doing. She also offers advice for anyone considering a political career.   
Michael speaks with Steven Gonzalez about the human side of The Cloud. They cover the environmental impact of The Cloud and why it is so energy-hungry. Steven takes us on a journey to places like Printer's Row in Chicago, or Chandler, Arizona where the noise or water pollution from data centres is affecting these communities. He puts us in the shoes of the people running our data centres, and the demands it places on them. Steven eloquently describes the social and cultural aspects surrounding The Cloud and why storytelling is so important to making a positive change. Lastly, Steven offers advice on what you can do to have an impact.             In Over My Head WebsiteThe Cloud is Material: On the Environmental Impacts of Computation and Data Storage
Michael speaks with Henrik Saetra about the role of Artificial Intelligence as it relates to the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals. They discuss how AI can influence climate action, the double-edged nature of AI, Big Tech, and social inequality. Henrik touches on AI and the shifting of power, data colonialism, privacy as a public good, and AI ethics. They discuss the role of human imperfection in our digital life and abstaining from certain AI. Lastly, Henrik offers advice on what you can do to have an impact.In Over My Head WebsiteAI for the Sustainable Development Goals BookUN Sustainable Development Goals
Michael speaks with Tilman Santarius about making our world greener through digitalization. They focus on his latest book Smart Green World? Making Digitalization Work for Sustainability. Tilman explains the problem of add-on consumption of digitalization, rebound effects, radical digitalization and digital sufficiency. Michael and Tilman discuss the importance of getting sustainable apps out of the niche and into the mainstream. They cover decentralization, digital governance, and raising awareness of sustainable digitalization. Lastly, Tilman touches on digitalization and the good life, and what you can do to have an impact.In Over My Head WebsiteSmart Green World (German)Smart Green World (English)Digital Reset Report
Michael speaks with Ugo Vallauri, co-founder of The Restart Project, a UK-based charity that inspires and supports people to repair their digital devices. Ugo talks about what it's like to attend one of their restart parties and the exciting growth of the organization over the last decade. They discuss the environmental impact of the smartphone, and the importance of extending the life of our devices. Lastly, Ugo highlights the Right to Repair campaign, what you can do to make your devices last longer, and how to affect a larger change.         In Over My Head WebsiteThe Restart Project
Michael speaks with Dr. Kelly Widdicks all about video streaming and our demand for data. She explains the findings of her study looking at household data demand in the UK and discusses media-multitasking, digital sufficiency, and streaming music through YouTube. She stresses the importance of putting pressure on data providers and explains the larger impact of ICT. They discuss efficiency and consumption, rebound effects, and what you can to do have an impact.  In Over My Head WebsiteStreaming, Multi-Screens and YouTube: The New Unsustainable Way of Watching in The HomeThe Real Climate and Transformative Impact of ICT
Michael speaks with Dr. Anne Goodchild all about making urban freight more sustainable. Dr. Goodchild describes the journey your package takes from ordering to arriving, and what items are typically moving around a city. She stresses the importance of consolidated delivery, and what might erode this. Dr. Goodchild discusses some of her sustainable pilot projects focusing on the final 50 feet, including a locker program, and e-cargo bikes. She also shares some of her findings on drone delivery research. Anne talks about ways to make online ordering more sustainable, including delivery fees and slowing our consumption. Lastly, she offers advice on what you can do to have an impact. In Over My Head Website The Final 50 Feet Research Program             
Michael connects virtually with experts from around the world to talk about our digital life. He's going to try and figure out how all our clicks, comments, and constant connectivity affect the climate crisis, and what we can do about it.
One topic Michael couldn't fit into his conversations around money was the carbon footprint of money itself. So in this bonus episode, he sits down with Ravi Shankar Chaturvedi, Co-founder and Director of Research at Digital Planet to chat about the carbon footprint of cash. They discuss the life-cycle of cash, and how it compares to other transactions such as cryptocurrency. They touch on the need to study the environmental impact of other types of digital payment and what you can do to make a difference. In Over My Head WebsiteHow Green is the Greenback?
Michael chats with Megan Takeda-Tully, Founder and CEO of Suppli, a Toronto-based reusable takeout container company. Megan talks about the logistics around implementing this zero-waste solution, the journey to making her idea a reality, and the committed community Suppli has built around sustainable takeout.In Over My Head WebsiteSuppli Website
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