Fighting for a Green New Deal: Bill McKibben on midterm elections, unnatural disasters & Boston Red Sox

Author and activist Bill McKibben spent fall 2018 barnstorming the country for progressive candidates and a Green New Deal. He talks about the pulse of climate change activism around the US, his take on the midterm elections and what to expect from the 2018 Blue Wave. He also discusses threats to his life, which he wrote about in an op-ed for the NY Times, “Let’s agree not to kill one another.”. Finally, McKibben, a lifelong Red Sox fan, holds forth on whether the 2018 World Series champions are the greatest baseball team of all time. (November 14, 2018 broadcast)

Bill McKibben, author, activist, co-founder of global grassroots climate group 350.org

How Heady Topper is brewing social change: The Alchemist’s Jen Kimmich

Heady Topper, the legendary and elusive IPA from The Alchemist named one of the top 100 beers in the world, has spawned a cult following — and social change. Alchemist co-founder Jen Kimmich is an influential political activist who serves on the boards of the Vermont Public Interest Group, Vermont Council on Rural Development, Main Street Alliance, and Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, among other organizations. She has been at the center of efforts to pass paid family leave, reduce climate change, and raise the minimum wage. She discusses her commitment to good business and good politics, the work of the charitable Alchemist Foundation and its college scholarship fund for local high school students, and why she and her husband, Alchemist co-founder John Kimmich, insist on brewing local and staying small. (March 28, 2018 broadcast)

Jen Kimmich, co-founder, The Alchemist

Bill McKibben & Ken Squier: Media, resistance & the way forward

32637A rare meeting of two icons: Bill McKibben, author, activist and founder of 350.org, and Ken Squier, owner of WDEV Radio Vermont and a legendary sports broadcaster who will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in January 2018, held a public conversation moderated by Vermont Conversation host David Goodman on December 6, 2017 at Bridgeside Books in Waterbury, Vermont. McKibben’s latest book, Radio Free Vermont: A Fable of Resistance, is a story about a septuagenarian radio man and his people-powered independent radio station that lead a resistance movement against growing government tyranny. McKibben acknowledges that Squier and WDEV provide the inspiration for this fable. Squier has been an outspoken advocate of independent media and McKibben is a longtime fan of WDEV (and an occasional guest) when not traveling the world leading the movement to halt climate change. The two discuss the world under Trump, the vital role of an independent media, and the way forward. (December 27, 2017 broadcast)

Bill McKibben, author, founder of 350.org

Ken Squier, owner, WDEV Radio Vermont, legendary sports broadcaster, NASCAR Hall of Fame 2018

Bill McKibben: Radio Free Vermont & resistance

Could an aging Vermont radio man, aided by a crew of Olympic cross-country skiers and craft-beer drinking fellow travelers, lead the resistance to Donald Trump? That’s the plot of Radio Free Vermont: A Fable of Resistance, the latest book by author and activist Bill McKibben. The central character of McKibben’s first novel bears an uncanny resemblance to Ken Squier, the legendary owner and broadcaster of WDEV, the independent radio station that he and his late father have run since 1931 (on which the Vermont Conversation airs). “This is James Bond meets A Prairie Home Companion, and no one but Bill McKibben could pull it off,” writes author Naomi Klein.

McKibben is the founder of the grassroots global climate change organization 350.org and author of a dozen books, including The End of NatureEnough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age, and Deep Economy. He talks here about resistance–fictional and real–how he has been personally targeted by the fossil fuel industry, why craft beer matters, and his recent travels to Alaska and Africa in search of climate solutions and sanity. (November 1, 2017 broadcast)

Bill McKibben, author and activist

Naomi Klein: Resisting Trump’s shock politics and winning the world we need

Bestselling author, activist and filmmaker Naomi Klein is known for her critical writings on corporate globalization and capitalism. Her books include No Logo (1999), The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (2007) and This Changes Everything: Capitalism Versus the Climate (2014). Her newest book is No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need (Haymarket, 2017), has been nominated for a National Book Award. In our interview, Klein discusses climate catastrophes, the rise of Trump, what Democrats and have done wrong, and resistance. (September 20, 2017 broadcast)

Naomi Klein, author, No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need

Is Vermont’s climate economy a national model?

A week after Hurricane Harvey broke climate records and tore through Texas, Vermont is hosting a “national innovation summit” about responding to climate change: building the climate economy. “Answering climate change could be the greatest economic opportunity in world history. The Climate Economy includes key sectors such as clean energy development, thermal and electrical efficiencies, sustainable transportation systems, working lands, smart growth development, and many more. The Climate Economy is the economy of the future,” write conference organizers. Paul Costello, executive director of Vermont Council on Rural Development and a conference organizer, discusses how Vermont’s climate economy can serve as a model for other states. Rob Miller, president of Vermont State Employees Credit Union (VSECU), discusses how his small credit union is providing innovative financing for clean energy projects. (August 30, 2017 broadcast)

Paul Costello, executive director, Vermont Council on Rural Development, organizer, Catalysts of the Climate Economy: A National Innovation Summit

 Rob Miller, president of Vermont State Employees Credit Union (VSECU) 

Part 1, Paul Costello: 

Part 2, Paul Costello & Rob Miller: 

Youth demand climate action

On April 12, 2017, hundreds of high school students from around Vermont descended on the Vermont State House to demand climate action in the second annual Youth Lobby Day. We speak with the student activists and the founder of Youth Lobby Day, Matt Henchen. (April 12, 2017 broadcast)

Matt Henchen, founder Youth Lobby Day, teacher, Harwood Union High School 

Zoe Werth, Liliana Ziedins, Ellie Zimmerman, Duncan Weinman, Page Atcheson, and Vermont student activists from Harwood, Stowe, Hazen Union, Winooski, and Randolph Union high schools

A Conversation with Amy Goodman & Bill McKibben

20170114_195015Amy Goodman, host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, the daily grassroots global news hour, and Bill McKibben, author and founder of the international environmental group 350.org, participated in a public conversation at the Chandler Music Hall in Randolph, Vermont on January 14, 2017. They discuss climate change, the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Goodman’s ensuing legal battle when North Dakota authorities unsuccessfully charged her with rioting, McKibben’s experience being spied upon by Exxon, the critical role of independent media, and the importance of movements in making change–especially now. This audio is their unabridged 70 minute conversation (thanks to Chandler Music Hall for the recording). (January 18, 2017 broadcast)

Vermont climate activism under Trump

Pres.-elect Donald Trump has declared that climate change is a “hoax.” What are Vermont climate change activists to do? An organizer of a Climate Solutions Summit sponsored by Energy Independent Vermont discusses plans to press ahead on climate issues, and how she will maintain her activism under a Pres. Trump. (Nov. 16, 2016 broadcast)

Shaina Kasper, Vermont state director, Toxics Action Center

Earth Day 46: Can businesses be environmentalists?

On April 22,1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets across the country to demonstrate for a sustainable environment. “By the end of that year, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean AirClean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.” [earthday.org]

On Earth Day 2016, activists and sustainable businesses came to the Vermont State House for a People’s Lobby Day. We speak with participants from two leading Vermont businesses about the role of businesses in advancing environmental goals and the challenges that their own companies face in trying to meet them. [April 20, 2016 broadcast)

Ashley Orgain, Manager of Mission Advocacy, Seventh Generation

Chris Miller, Manager of Social Mission & Activism, Ben & Jerry’s

Shay DiCocco, brand manager, Seventh Generation

In the second half of the show, we discuss the carbon tax and other initiatives to address environmental and climate change goals:

Daniel Barlow, Public Policy Manager, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility

Johanna Miller, Energy Program Director, Vermont Natural Resources Council

Can Vermont adapt to climate change?

In the midst of one of the warmest winters in memory, how can Vermont adapt to the new realities of climate change? Paul Costello of the Vermont Council on Rural Development has been exploring this issue with community leaders all around Vermont. He has helped lead the Vermont Climate Change Economy Council, which recently issued a five-year report, Progress for Vermont. He argues that Vermont can be a national model for how states and communities thrive in a climate-changed world. (Feb. 24, 2016 broadcast)

Paul Costello, executive director, Vermont Council on Rural Development

When We Fight, We Win: Greg Jobin-Leeds on transformative movements

wwfwGreg Jobin-Leeds is the author of When We Fight, We Win: 21st Century  Social Movements and the Activists That Are Transforming Our World. The book, rich with art curated by the activist art group AgitArte, chronicles the movements for same-sex marriage, Black Lives Matter, the DREAM Act, climate justice, mass incarceration, Occupy Wall Street, and others. Jobin-Leeds is the son of Holocaust survivors. He discusses what he has learned about how to successfully make transformative change in the 21st century.

Greg Jobin-Leeds, author, When We Fight, We Win: 21st Century  Social Movements and the Activists That Are Transforming Our World (The New Press, 2016)

Biking to Paris for climate change

In June 2015, recent college graduates Morgan Curtis (Dartmouth ’14) and Garrett Blad (Notre Dame ’15) came on the Vermont Conversation to talk about the bike ride they were about to embark on: riding 10,000 km from Vermont to Paris (climatejourney.org), where would finish at COP21, the United Nations Climate Change Conference. Morgan and Garrett arrived in Paris for COP21 on November 25th, 2015 after 5 months, 3 days, 27 rainstorms, 91 homes, 18 ferries and 4979 kilometers of bicycling through New England, Atlantic Canada, Iceland, Scandinavia, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland & the UK.They join us from Paris to talk about their journey, and the UN climate summit.

 

 

Bill McKibben: How Exxon covered up climate change

Bill McKibben, author and co-founder of 350.org, talks about his decision to get arrested in Burlington, Vt. last week to bring attention to the recent revelation that Exxon covered up what it knew about global warming from its own research. The expose was published in Inside Climate News and the LA Times. McKibben charges that Exxon should be prosecuted under organized crime statutes for lying about its climate change research. He also talks about where the climate movement goes from here, and the upcoming UN climate summit in Paris.

Bill McKibben, co-founder, 350.org

Environmentalist Gus Speth: “Ultimate insider goes radical”

Nationally renowned environmentalist Gus Speth has come full circle: from working inside the White House as a top environmental adviser to Pres. Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, to getting arrested outside its gates. Speth co-founded the Natural Resources Defense Council in 1970. Under President Jimmy Carter, he was chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, then went on to found World Resources Institute, and was a senior adviser to Pres. Bill Clinton on natural resources, energy and the environment. He served as director of the United Nations Development Program, and was Dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He now teaches at Vermont Law School and lives in Strafford, Vermont. In 2011, Speth was arrested, along with 350.org founder Bill McKibben and others, protesting the Keystone XL pipeline. He argues that the environmental movement has lost its way and now advocates for a new political economy to combat climate change.

Speth’s recently wrote a memoir, Angels by the River, published by Chelsea Green. He talks about his life growing up in the Deep South under Jim Crow laws, his awakening to issues of civil rights and the environmental, how we went from insider to radical, and what gives him hope.

Gus Speth, environmentalist and author

Duane Peterson: From LA cop to VT solar guru, with a scoop of Chunky Monkey

Social entrepreneur Duane Peterson is on his 7th career with stints as a medic, LA cop, political campaigner, justice department official, legislative director and values-led business practitioner. The common thread throughout all of these roles has been organizing people to take meaningful action towards positive change. Duane moved to Vermont in 1996 to help Ben use Ben & Jerry’s as a force for social change. After 12 years there as Ben’s Chief of Stuff, Duane left to launch his latest venture — SunCommon — to make it easy and affordable for homeowners to help repower Vermont with clean, safe, in-state energy. A Benefit Corporation and a Certified BCorp, SunCommon is Vermont’s largest solar business with almost 100 workers. In September 2015, Duane received VBSR’s Terry Ehrich Award for his commitment to the environment, workplace, progressive public policy, and community.

Duane Peterson, co-founder, Suncommon

Tim DeChristopher, “America’s most creative climate criminal”

On December 19, 2008 University of Utah student Tim DeChristopher disrupted an oil and gas lease auction, effectively saving thousands of acres of pristine Utah land slated for oil and gas drilling. Rather than protest outside, DeChristopher entered the auction hall and registered as bidder #70. He outbid oil industry representatives on land parcels (some of which, starting at $2 an acre, were adjacent to Canyonlands National Park), winning 22,000 acres of land worth $1.7 million before the auction was halted. DeChristopher was removed from the auction by federal agents and taken into custody, Prior to his 2011 trial, DeChristopher toured the country, speaking to crowds of thousands. He co-founded the environmental group Peaceful Uprising. He eventually served 21 months in prison, including time in solitary confinement. He is the subject of the award winning documentary film Bidder 70. He is now a nationally known climate activist and frequent speaker.

Tim DeChristopher, climate activist

Climate journey: Biking round the world for climate change

Recent college graduates Morgan Curtis (Dartmouth ’14) and Garrett Blad (Notre Dame ’15) are riding their bikes 10,000 km from Vermont to Paris (climatejourney.org), where they will finish at COP21, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, in December 2015. As they bike across New England, eastern Canada, Iceland, Scandinavia, and the UK, they “are writing, photographing, filming, collaging and painting, telling stories of individuals and communities mobilizing for a just transition to a climate-stable future.” They talk about what motivates them to ride, how they will deal with fatigue and saddle soar, and what they hope will come of their climate journey.

Mark Bittman, NY Times food columnist: “Food is a social justice issue”

Mark Bittman writes (mostly) about food for the NY Times Opinion pages, and is The NYT Magazine’s lead food columnist. He is the author of the bestselling cookbooks, VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 and How To Cook Everything,  has published over 15,000 recipes. But Bittman also writes about a variety of social justice issues, from police brutality, inequality, the fight for a living wage, to climate change. Bittman talks about his background as a community organizer, his love for food and his insistence that “fast food is poison,” and how food is a social justice issue. He also discusses his articles about Vermont’s innovative eateries and the local food movement.

Legendary activist Tom Hayden on SDS, Chicago 8, climate change, and still making a difference

Tom Hayden was a leader of the student, civil rights, peace and environmental movements of the 1960s. He went on to serve 18 years in the California legislature. He was a founder of Students for a Democratic Society and was described by the NY Times as “the single greatest figure of the 1960s student movement.”

During the Vietnam War, he made controversial trips to Hanoi with his former wife, actress Jane Fonda, to promote peace talks and facilitate the release of American POWs. He helped lead street demonstrations against the war at the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention, where he was beaten, gassed and arrested twice. Hayden was indicted in 1969 with seven others on conspiracy and incitement charges in what became the Chicago Eight trial, considered one of the leding political trials of the last century.

Hayden is Director of the Peace and Justice Resource Center in Culver City, California, he organizes, travels and speaks on a variety of issues. He helps advise Gov Jerry Brown on renewable energy, and He is the author and editor of 20 books, his current one is Why Cuba Matters.

Tom Hayden is now 75 years old. I caught up with him last week at the U of Michigan Ann Arbor, where Hayden was speaking at the 50th anniversary of the first Vietnam War teach in held on a US college campus.

Donna Carpenter of Burton Snowboards on transforming workplaces for women, climate change, & life

Donna Carpenter and her husband Jake Burton Carpenter founded Burton Snowboards in 1977. Donna has worn many hats in the business, including building snowboards, answering phones and expanding Burton’s market to Europe. She is now the company President. Donna also heads Burton’s non-profit Chill Foundation, bringing snowboarding to underprivileged youth, and is the mother of three sons. Donna Carpenter talks about transforming a male dominated business to be female-friendly, the importance of women in her business, surviving Jake’s cancer, the threat that climate change poses to her work, and her future.

The Fall Line: Author Nathaniel Vinton on Going Downhill Fast with Bode Miller and Lindsay Vonn

Nathaniel Vinton, a sports reporter for the New York Daily News, talks about ski racers Bode Miller and Lindsay Vonn and how climate change has made ski racing more dangerous, in his new book, The Fall Line: How American Ski Racers Conquered a Sport on the Edge.

The People’s Climate March: An audio postcard

On September 21, 2014, some 400,000 people rallied at the People’s Climate March in New York City in an historic protest to demand that global leaders take action to slow climate change. Vermont sent 22 buses with over 1,000 people, and many more Vermonters traveled to the march on their own. Six alumni of the Narrative Journalism Fellowship at Middlebury College — Bianca Giaever, Ian Stewart, Kiya Vega-Hutchens, Luke Whalen, Veronica Rodriguez, and David Fuchs, along with teacher Sue Halpern — created an audio postcard featuring the voices of Vermonters at the march.

Can we save the planet? The many faces of the climate change movement

On the eve of the People’s Climate March in New York City, we speak with people involved in fighting climate change on different fronts:

Bill McKibben, author, activist, founder, 350.org, on building a global movement

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, on what VT is doing to move to renewable fuel sources and his view on fossil fuel divestment

Jonathan Lash, president, Hampshire College, on being one of the first colleges to divest of fossil fuel stocks

Clayton Thomas-Muller, co-director, Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign, organizer with Idle No More, on native resistance

Bill McKibben on climate change and activism, 2-19-2014

Aside

Bill McKibben, author, activist and co-founder of the global grassroots climate change organization 350.org, joins David Goodman in a public conversation. Time Magazine called McKibben “the planet’s best green journalist” and the Boston Globe says that he is “probably the country’s most important environmentalist.” In this public conversaiton, McKibben recounts his journey from journalism to activism, the three scariest numbers relating to climate change, the struggle against the Keystone XL pipeline, being arrested, and his other great passion, the Boston Red Sox. This was the inaugural event in the Vermont Town Hall public conversation series. It took place on January 31, 2014, at the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center in Stowe, VT.

Surviving the Shark Tank; Skiing and climate change, 12-18-13

David Glickman, owner of Vermont Butcher Block and Board Co., talks about surviving rejection when he asked for money on the ABC TV show “Shark Tank,” and Janice St. Onge, president of the the Vermont Flex Fund, talks about the financial lifeline and socially responsible investment the Flex Fund made in Vt. Butcher Block. In the second half, Porter Fox, author of Deep: The Story ofSkiing and the Future of Snow, talks about his global journey to explore the impact of climate change on skiing.

Vermont 2 Years After Tropical Storm Irene, 8-28-2013

Reflections on the aftermath of a disaster from Peter Edlund, disaster reconstruction supervisor; Larry Straus, Rochester selectman; Jeremy Ayers, Waterbury resident and potter; and Rev. Peter Plagge, pastor of the Waterbury Congregational Church and administrator of the Waterbury Good Neighbor Fund.

Bill McKibben, author & climate activist, 1/16/2013

Author and activist Bill McKibben talks about climate change, the fossil fuel corporate divestment campaign, a proposed wind moratorium in Vermont, and the Boston Red Sox.