Bill McKibben: Are humans losing the game to climate change?

Thirty years ago, journalist, author and activist Bill McKibben wrote The End of Nature, the first book for a general audience about climate change. He went on to found 350.org, the first global climate change movement, and he has helped launch the fast-growing fossil fuel divestment movement.  McKibben, who is the Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College, has a new book that details where we’ve come in the 30 years since he first warned about the dangers of climate change. Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? argues that climate change is proceeding at a far more rapid pace than scientists once predicted and humans are losing the race for survival and their own humanity. McKibben on his 30 year journey, where we are now, and where we are going. This Vermont Conversation was recorded live at Bridgeside Books in Waterbury, VT. (June 12, 2019 broadcast)

Bill McKibben, founder, 350.org and author, Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?

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Video and audio of complete discussion (courtesy of Bob Farnham, bobthegreenguy.com)

Banning plastic bags, losing minimum wage & waiting on campaign finance reform: #Vt Advocates on wins & losses in 2019 legislature

In January 2019, public interest advocates weighed in on the Vermont Conversation with their priorities for the 2019 legislative session in Vermont. Five months later, they return to discuss what happened: who won, who lost, what’s still in play on key legislation including banning plastic bags, $15 minimum wage, paid family leave, medical monitoring for toxics and campaign finance reform. (June 5, 2019 broadcast)

Paul Burns, executive director, Vermont Public Interest Research Group

Lauren Hierl, executive director, Vermont Conservation Voters

Dan Barlow, Public Policy manager, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility

“It’s been hard, emotional & frightening:” Judiciary Chair Rep. Maxine Grad on tackling guns, abortion & sexual abuse

This year, the Vermont House Judiciary Committee passed legislation on a number of national hotbutton issues. This included passing the strongest abortion rights law in the country, enacting a 24-hour waiting period for handgun purchases and removing the time limit for victims of child sexual abuse to bring claims against their abusers. Democratic Rep. Maxine Grad is the chair of the Vermont House Judiciary Committee. This is Grad’s 19th year representing the Mad River Valley towns of Waitsfield, Duxbury, Fayston, Warren and Moretown. This year saw her featured in a NY Times article about Vermont’s landmark abortion rights law. Grad discusses the challenge of confronting tough issues  and her priorities going forward. (June 5, 2019 broadcast)

Rep. Maxine Grad, chair, Vermont House Judiciary Committee

Women “have the right to have an abortion:” Vt Rep. Ann Pugh & Sen. Ginny Lyons on new protections for women and families

Rep. Ann Pugh, chair of the Vermont House Committee on Human Services, was recently featured in the New York Times discussing Vermont’s historic abortion rights legislation, which she co-sonsored. Sen. Ginny Lyons, chair of the Vt. Senate Committee on Health and Welfare, is a sponsor of a proposed amendment to the Vermont constitution protecting abortion rights. These two measures offer the strongest protection of abortion rights in the US. The two legislative leaders discuss abortion rights, child care and other new protections for women and families, as well as the political stalemate that ended the 2019 legislative session. (May 29, 2019 broadcast)

Rep. Ann Pugh, chair, Vermont House Committee on Human Services

Sen. Ginny Lyons, chair, Vermont Senate Committee on Health and Welfare

 

“Identity theft:” Deb Meyerson on emotional recovery after a stroke

What would you do if you lost your ability to speak? That was one of many challenges confronting Stanford professor Debra Meyerson when she suffered a stroke at age 53. Her book, Identity Theft: Rediscovering Ourselves After Stroke, explores the impact of her stroke on her life and the often-overlooked emotional recovery from a stroke. Her husband Steve Zuckerman (cousin of Vermont Lt. Gov David Zuckerman) joins her in the conversation. (May 29. 2019 broadcast)

Debra Meyerson, author, Identity Theft: Rediscovering Ourselves After Stroke

Steve Zuckerman, nonprofit consultant

Soak the rich: Patriotic Millionaire Alan Davis demands higher taxes

Do the rich pay enough taxes? Self described “Patriotic Millionaire” Alan Davis says no. The Patriotic Millionaires are a group of more than 200 individuals with annual incomes over $1 million and/or assets over $5 million who are committed to raising the minimum wage, combating the influence of big money in politics, and advancing a progressive tax structure. Davis says that Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez don’t go far enough in their various proposals to address growing inequality. He proposes a 10 percent surtax on all income over $2 million. He discusses how he became a millionaire, and why he is begging to pay more taxes. (May 21, 2019 broadcast)

Alan Davis, Patriotic Millionaire

“We trust women:” Sen. Becca Balint on Vermont’s historic abortion rights law

In the final days of the 2019 legislative session, the Vermont Legislature passed the most sweeping reproductive rights protections of any state in the country. Gov. Phil Scott has indicated that he will allow the law to stand. This has occurred against a backdrop of other states including Alabama, Georgia and Missouri effectively banning abortion. Vermont Senate Majority Leader Sen. Becca Balint (D-Windham) talks about what she considers to be one of the proudest moments of her legislative career. “We trust women to make decisions about their health care,” she said. “It’s radical notion right now to think that women should have full control over their bodies.” Balint also weighs in on why the legislature has struggled to pass a $15 minimum wage, and her response to climate activists who were arrested in the State House over what they charged was inaction on climate change. Includes longer version of interview than aired on WDEV. (May 22, 2019 broadcast)

Senator Becca Balint, Vermont Senate Majority Leader

Hard questions for good business: Sustainable business leaders on economic justice & impact

How can business be a force for positive change? Three of Vermont’s sustainable business leaders offer their thoughts. (May 15, 2019 broadcast)

Duane Peterson, co-president, Suncommon

Sarah Kaeck, CEO & founder, Bee’s Wrap

Jed Davis, director of sustainability, Cabot Creamery

“Nursing should be a right, not a privilege:” Sascha Mayer & Mamava

They went from nonexistent to now being everywhere: lactation suites, the standalone pods that enable new moms to nurse their babies in private, grew out of enlightened public policy that required accommodation for breastfeeding mothers. In 2013, Vermont entrepreneur Sascha Mayer launched Mamava, which offers “design solutions for nursing mothers on the go.” Mayer discusses the link between progressive policy and business, how lactation suites have become part of the public landscape, and how Mamava hopes to transform the culture of breastfeeding. “Nursing should be a right, not a privilege,” is a company motto. (May 15, 2019 broadcast)

Sascha Mayer, CEO & co-founder, Mamava

Voter fraud or voter suppression? The growing voter rights movement

Is vote fraud a national epidemic? Or is vote suppression the real problem? Joshua Douglas, professor at the University of Kentucky College of Law and the author of Vote for Us: How to Take Back Our Elections and Change the Future of Voting, discusses who votes, who is denied the vote, and successful efforts to roll back felon disenfranchisement, stop voter ID and expand voter access. (May 8, 2019 broadcast)

Joshua A. Douglas, professor, University of Kentucky College of Law, and author, Vote for Us: How to Take Back Our Elections and Change the Future of Voting

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Will there be skiing in the age of climate change? Ski industry leader Nick Sargent calls for climate action

As climate change threatens the very existence of many ski areas, “The snow sports industry is in a state of disruption,” warns Snowsports Industries America (SIA), the nonprofit, 70-year-old trade association representing snow sports manufacturers, retailers and resort communities. Nick Sargent, president of SIA and a resident of Stowe, Vt., offers his take on the bumpy trail ahead for the world of skiing and snowboarding. He says that skiing is “the canary in the coal mine,” and taking aggressive action on climate change, including levying a carbon tax, is more urgent now than ever. (April 24, 2019 broadcast)

Nick Sargent, president, Snowsports Industries America (SIA)

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Is 100% renewable energy possible? Mary Powell says the time is now

Green Mountain Power announced this month that it had established a goal of getting of getting 100% of its power from carbon-free sources by 2025 and 100% from renewable sources by 2030. The announcement by Vermont’s largest electric utility made national news. GMP president Mary Powell discusses how the utility plans to meet this ambitious goal, and how alarming news about climate change motivated her to act. (April 17, 2019 broadcast)

Mary Powell, president, Green Mountain Power

Is Vermont losing ground on climate change efforts?

Jared Duval of Energy Action Network discusses what will be required for Vermont to green its energy supply and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which are currently on the rise. He begins by offering perspective on the announcement by Green Mountain Power that it will get 100% of its power from renewable sources by 2030. (April 17, 2019 broadcast)

Jared Duval, executive director, Energy Action Network

 

Can universal health care work in Vermont?

Following the collapse of Gov. Shumlin’s single payer health effort in 2014, what is the future of universal health care in Vermont? Dr. Deb Richter, past president of Physicians for a National Health Program and president of Vermont Health Care for All, discusses how universal primary care can be a first step towards universal coverage. And she weighs in on national plans for Medicare for All. (April 17, 2019 broadcast)

Dr. Deb Richter, president, Vermont Health Care for All, past president, Physicians for a National Health Program

A long walk for the climate

On April 5, 2019, a group of marchers set off to walk from from Middlebury to Montpelier, Vermont to press the case for climate action from affected communities to the Vermont State House. The walk was organized by 350 Vermont and dubbed Next Steps: A Climate Solutions Walk. The walk culminated with 300 people in the Vermont State House. On Day 4 of the march, a cold, windswept day featuring sleet and howling gusts, I walked and interviewed marchers ranging from organizer Maeve McBride, to a pair of middle school students, to 85-year old Byron Stookey of Brattleboro, to learn why they were marching for climate justice. (April 10, 2019 broadcast)

Marchers on 350 Vermont Climate Solutions Walk

Is climate change killing skiing?

Is climate change killing skiing? One study argues that only about half of the 103 ski resorts in the Northeast will be economically viable by mid-century. The advocacy group Protect Our Winters says that in low snow years, reduced participation in skiing cost 17,400 jobs compared to an average ski season. In January 2019, the National Ski Areas Association joined forces with the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and Snowsports Industries America (SIA) to form the Outdoor Business Climate Partnership, which “aims to provide leadership on climate change and inspire meaningful action” and improve the resiliency of their $887 billion industry. We speak with Kelly Pawlak, president of the National Ski Areas Association about the ski industry’s response to climate change. And we talk with journalist Porter Fox, who argues in his book DEEP and in a New York Times op-ed that the ski industry has not done nearly enough to fight climate change. (April 20, 2019 broadcast)

Kelly Pawlak, president, National Ski Areas Association

Porter Fox, author, DEEP: The Story of Skiing and the Future of Snow

 

Fighting poverty with literacy and energy efficiency: Duncan McDougall

Duncan McDougall is the founder of Waterbury Local Energy Action Partnership (LEAP) and founder and executive director of Children’s Literacy Foundation (CLiF). LEAP’s energy fair, held each April, has grown to be the largest in Vermont, drawing over 700 people, and thanks to a LEAP campaign, Waterbury, VT has quadrupled its number of solar installations. McDougall discusses his passion for clean energy and literacy. (April 3, broadcast)

Duncan McDougall, founder, Waterbury LEAP and Children’s Literacy Foundation

Dying to Work: Jonathan Karmel on dangerous workplaces

In January 2019, the Trump admin dealt a blow to workers by blocking a rule requiring most employers to report details of workplace injuries. This is one of many rollbacks of workplace safety protections. The fallout could worsen an already treacherous situation for American workers. This story is told in the new book, Dying to Work: Death & Injury in the American Workplace, by Jonathan Karmel, a labor lawyer. He is co-chair of the American Bar Association Occupational Safety & Health Committee. Karmel discusses stories of workers who have been injured on the job with little legal recourse, and what can be done about it. (April 3, 2019 broadcast)

Jonathan Karmel, attorney, author, Dying to Work: Death & Injury in the American Workplace

Addiction, death & a sister’s crusade: Kate O’Neill on Vt’s opiate crisis

In the fall of 2018, a young mother, Madelyn Linsenmeir, died of complications related to her heroin addiction. Afterward, Madelyn’s sister, Kate O’Neill, wrote a heartfelt obituary that went viral. O’Neill was subsequently hired by Seven Days to report on Vermont’s opiate crisis in a series called HOOKED. Kate O’Neill discusses her sister’s life and death, who gets addicted and why, and her personal experience with Vermont’s opiate crisis. (March 27, 2019 broadcast)

Kate O’Neill, author of HOOKED, Seven Days

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From toilet paper to craft beer: Unconventional business mogul Alan Newman

A number of Vermont’s iconic socially responsible businesses have something in common: Alan Newman. Newman was involved in starting Gardener’s Supply Company, he founded Seventh Generation Inc., and co-founded Magic Hat Brewing Company. Newman discusses his roots on an Oregon commune, his unconventional approach to launching a business, and we debate the merits of growth in Vermont’s craft beer business. (March 20, 2019 broadcast)

Alan Newman, social entrepreneur

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From #StudentStrike to #ClimateSolution, Vermonters confront climate change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has called for radical reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, but emissions locally, nationally and globally continue to rise.  In response, some 54 towns–about one-fourth of Vermont communities–have passed Town Meeting Day resolutions calling for a halt to new fossil fuel infrastructure, 100% renewable energy, and a transition to renewable power. And Vermont students have called for a student strike on March 15, 2019. We talk with Vermont climate action leaders about new strategies for confronting climate change. (March 6, 2019 broadcast)

Maeve McBride, director, 350 Vermont

Leif Taranta, student at Middlebury College, active with Sunrise Movement and the Sunday Night Environmental Group

Jaiel Pulskamp, farmer and field organizer,  Re)Generate New Solutions,

Libby Brusa, student, Harwood Union High School, activist with Youth Lobby

Can a woman be jailed for a miscarriage?

Does a fetus have the same rights as a person? That’s at the heart of new laws that are resulting in the prosecution of pregnant women and women who have miscarriages. According to a remarkable 8-part editorial series in the New York Times, “Women who fell down the stairswho ate a poppy seed bagel and failed a drug test or who took legal drugs during pregnancy — drugs prescribed by their doctors — all have been accused of endangering their children… Such cases illuminate a deep shift in American society…toward the embrace of a relatively new concept: that a fetus in the womb has the same rights as a fully formed person.” Lynn Paltrow, founder and executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, discusses the national landscape of laws that she argues are aimed at restricting and eliminating women’s rights. (February 27, 2017 broadcast)

Lynn Paltrow, executive director, National Advocates for Pregnant Women

The fight to keep abortion legal in Vt: House Majority Leader Jill Krowinski

The Vermont House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved H.57, a bill guaranteeing a woman’s right to a safe & legal abortion regardless of laws restricting abortion that the Supreme Court or Trump administration may pass.  A lead sponsor of this bill is Rep. Jill Krowinski, the House Majority Leader. Krowinski has served in the House representing Burlington since 2012. For nearly eight years she worked at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, most recently as the Vice President of Education and VT Community Affairs. Krowinski, a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh. She was recently named executive director of Emerge Vermont. Rep. Krowinski discusses why protecting women’s right to choose has been a passion for her, how she came into politics, encouraging women to run for office, and her political future. (February 27, 2017 broadcast)

Rep. Jill Krowinski, House Majority Leader

Can Vermont end gun violence?

2018 was the year that shook the nation–and Vermont–when it comes to gun violence and gun safety. Following the shooting deaths of 17 high school students in Parkland, Florida in February 2018, high school students around the country mobilized, walked out, and demanded change. When a planned Vermont school shooting was thwarted, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) reversed his past opposition and signed three new gun safety laws, the most comprehensive in state history. UVM sophomore Grace Walter describes how the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting that killed 28 people affected her and her hometown of Newtown, CT; Dr. Rebecca Bell discusses the role of guns in suicide and what young suicide survivors have told her; Sen. Philip Baruth outlines new gun laws being proposed in the Vermont legislature, and Clai Lasher-Sommers, executive director of GunSense Vermont, discusses her own experience as a survivor of gun violence and the new focus of the gun safety movement. (February 20, 2019 broadcast)

Grace Walter, U. of Vermont sophomore from Newtown, CT, gun safety activist

Dr. Rebecca Bell, pediatric critical care physician, UVM Medical Center, vice president of Vt chapter American Academy of Pediatrics, asst. prof. of pediatrics, UVM Larner College of Medicine

Sen. Philp Baruth (D-Chittenden County), author of gun safety legislation

Clai Lasher-Sommers, executive director, GunSense Vermont

What Patagonia can teach the world: Director of Philosophy Vincent Stanley on suing Trump & running a business with values

Vincent Stanley has been with Patagonia, the iconic outdoor clothing company, since its beginning in 1973, for many of those years in key executive roles as head of sales or marketing. He is co-author with Yvon Chouinard of The Responsible Company: What We’ve Learned From Patagonia’s First 40 Years. He currently serves as the company’s Director, Patagonia Philosophy, and is a visiting fellow at the Yale School of Management. He is also a poet whose work has appeared in Best American Poetry. He discusses the challenge of running a value-based business, why Patagonia is suing Pres. Donald Trump, and what the future holds for America’s best known socially responsible business. (February 13, 2019 broadcast)

Vincent Stanley, Director, Patagonia Philosophy

“The other Vermont” vs. special interests: Vt. Senate President Tim Ashe

Vermont Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe launched the 2019-2020 legislative biennium with a challenge to his colleagues: “I challenge each of you, and I challenge myself, to never let go of this one question: what can we do to improve life in the other Vermont?” Ashe describes “the near complete takeover of the legislative process by special interests” that inspired his challenge. He also discusses his proposal to reduce Vermont’s incarceration rate and end the use of out-of-state prisons, legalize and tax marijuana sales, and speculates on whether this session will end in a raft of vetoes by Gov. Phil Scott as it did in 2018. (February 13, 2019 broadcast)

Vermont Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe

 

#MeToo aftermath: A Vermont story of challenging the culture of sexual harassment & assault

In June 2018, Stowe entrepreneur Lisa Senecal broke her nondisclosure agreement by publishing an explosive account of her sexual assault and harassment by Craig DeLuca, president of Inntopia. Her story, “The NDA Protected Our Predator. I’m Breaking My Silence, Because Women Deserve Better,” appeared in the Daily Beast. Senecal discusses the fallout of her revelations, a subsequent lawsuit by another woman against DeLuca and Inntopia, and the role of men in ending the culture of sexual harassment and assault. Senecal is a co-founder of The Maren Group and a member of the Vermont Commission on Women. She also serves on the board for the Stowe Education Fund and the Clarina Howard Nichols Center which serves survivors of domestic violence and their families. (February 6, 2019 broadcast)

Lisa Senecal, co-founder, The Maren Group, member, Vt Commission on Women

How enriching the 1% impoverishes communities of color

A new report from the Institute for Policy Studies highlights how a racial wealth divide has grown between white households and households of color over the past three decades. Since the early 1980s, median wealth among black and Latino families has been stuck at less than $10,000. Meanwhile, white household median wealth grew from $105,300 to $140,500, adjusting for inflation. This is documented in Dreams Deferred: How Enriching The 1% Widens The Racial Wealth Divide. If this trajectory continues, by 2050 the median white family will have $174,000 of wealth, while Latino median wealth will be $8,600 and black median wealth will be $600–falling to zero wealth by 2082. We speak with the co-author of the report about how we got here, and how to address this disparity. (February 6, 2019 broadcast)

Josh Hoxie, director, Project on Opportunity and Taxation, Institute for Policy Studies

Gov. Scott’s 2019 VT budget proposal: Do the numbers add up?

In his January budget address, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott declared that Vermont has a demographic crisis. He has proposed a range of solutions, including paying young workers $5,000 to move to the state. He also announced that he is abandoning his longstanding pledge against raising taxes and fees in order to raise funds to fight e-cigarette abuse. We talk with Stephanie Yu of the Public Assets Institute about whether the governor’s numbers add up, and explore who is thriving and struggling in Vermont today, inequality, school funding, and other issues. (January 30, 2019 broadcast)

Stephanie Yu, deputy director, Public Assets Institute

Rep. Tom Stevens on the Fight for $15, paid family leave, VT National Guard controversies & Gov. Scott

Rep. Tom Stevens is chair of the Vermont House Committee on General, Housing, and Military Affairs, He was elected in 2008 as state rep for Waterbury, Huntington, Buel’s Gore & Bolton. He  has served as Chair of the Waterbury Select Board and President of the Waterbury Village Trustees. Tom is President of the board of Downstreet Housing and Community Development. This year, Stevens was named Legislator of the Year by VBSR. He discusses prospects for a $15 minimum wage, paid family, allegations of sexual abuse at the Vt National Guard, and new political dynamics with Gov. Phil Scott. (January 30, 2019 broadcast)

Rep. Tom Stevens (D-Waterbury), chair, House Comm. on General, Housing and Military Affairs

Could carbon pricing save money & the planet?

A long awaited report on carbon pricing from the Vermont Legislature’s nonpartisan Joint Fiscal Office Leg’s was released this week. It’s key conclusion is that carbon pricing could enable Vermont to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without adversely impacting low-income residents or the state’s overall economy. The report was followed by a press conference of 25 organizations representing youth, low-income, business, public health, environment presenting a Climate Action Plan for Vermont legislators to advance. We discuss the new impetus for carbon pricing and other climate change strategies in the Vermont legislature. (January 23, 2019 broadcast)

Johanna Miller, Energy & Climate Action Program Director, Vermont Natural Resources Council

Tom Hughes, Campaign Director, Energy Independent Vermont

Rep. Sarah Copeland Hanzas, D-Bradford, chair, VT House Government Operations Committee

Has the time come for paid family leave?

Paid family leave — passed by the Vermont Legislature in 2018 ,only to be vetoed by Gov. Phil Scott — is back on the front burner. Gov. Scott has proposed a voluntary two-state program with New Hampshire, and the legislature has countered with mandatory paid leave. Why does paid family leave matter? Can the two sides bridge the gap to pass paid family leave in 2019? (January 23, 2019 broadcast)

How Vermont craft beer took over America

Vermont craft beer is taking over America. Vermont now leads the nation with 11.5 breweries per 100,000 adults, according to the Brewers Association. Vermont brewers produce over 150 pints of beer for every person in the state of legal drinking age (21+). Montana and Maine are tied for a distant second place. Vermont craft breweries add $681 per adult to the state economy. How did this small Vermont industry come to lead the nation? We discuss the rise and of craft beer and changing tastes with two beer connoisseurs and entrepreneurs who have front row bar stools to Vermont’s libation revolution. (January 16, 2019 broadcast)

Dave Juenker, co-owner, Blackback Pub, Waterbury, VT

Ari Fishman, co-owner, Zenbarn, Waterbury Center, VT

 

How does a small state tackle global climate change? Suncommon’s Duane Peterson tells how

How does one of the smallest states tackle one of the world’s most urgent problems? How can Vermont attract young workers? And how does a former cop lead a business that progressive millennial workers flock to? Duane Peterson, co-founder of Suncommon, Vermont’s largest solar business, offers his insights. Peterson is a former LA cop, aide to California State Sen. Tom Hayden, justice department official, and values-led business practitioner. The unifying theme in Peterson’s work has been organizing people to take meaningful action towards positive change. He moved to Vermont in 1996 to work at Ben & Jerry’s as Ben Cohen’s Chief of Stuff, then left to launch SunCommon to make it easy and affordable for homeowners to help repower Vermont with clean, safe, in-state energy. A Certified BCorp, SunCommon has over 100 workers. In September 2015, Duane received VBSR’s Terry Ehrich Award for his commitment to the environment, workplace, progressive public policy, and community. (January 16, 2019 broadcast)

Duane Peterson, co-founder, Suncommon

The Advocates: Vermont’s public interest groups mobilize for change

Will 2019-2020 bring Vermont paid family leave, $15 minimum wage, smart justice reform, stronger protection from toxic chemicals and clean water? These are some of the goals of advocates for social, economic and environmental justice who have descended on the Vermont State House pressing for change on these and other issues in the new legislative biennium. We hold a roundtable discussion with leaders from some of Vermont’s key advocacy groups to hear about their priorities and strategies for the 2019-2020 legislative session. (January 9, 2019 broadcast)

Dan Barlow, Policy Manager, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility

Paul Burns, executive director, Vermont Public Interest Research Group 

Lauren Hierl, executive director, Vermont Conservation Voters

Kate Logan, director of programming & policy, Rights & Democracy

James Lyall, executive director, American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont

 

From homeless teen to newspaper editor: Steve Pappas finds his voice

Steven M. Pappas is the editor of the Rutland Herald and Barre-Montpelier Times Argus, two of Vermont’s leading daily newspapers. Born and raised in Vermont, Pappas has not taken an easy road to journalism. Raised by his grandparents, Pappas was a successful high school student in Woodstock, Vt, but he hid a dark secret: he was homeless. Pappas recounts his odyssey through homelessness, being discovered by the school superintendent, and ultimately attending a journalism program at the University of Maine. He also discusses the attacks on journalists during the Trump era and his concerns for the safety of his staff, and the future of print journalism in Vermont. (January 2, 2019 broadcast)

Steve Pappas, editor, Rutland Herald and Barre-Montpelier Times Argus

How to get 67¢ back from every $1: The power of Buying Local

A new study shows that for every $1 spent at a locally-owned business, 67¢ stays in the local community. In the age of online shopping and big box stories, Buying Local has become a powerful rallying cry to strengthen local communities and sustain vibrant downtowns. We talk with two experts on the power of Buying Local, and hear about a Buy Local coupon book that saves shoppers $3,000 on local purchases in Vermont. (December 19, 2018 broadcast)

Melissa Kosmaczewski, program manager, Local First Vermont, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility

Michael DeSanto, co-owner, Phoenix Books

Rusty DeWees: How a Vt actor became The Logger

Rusty DeWees is an entertainer, comedian, actor, producer, writer, musician and, as many Vermonters know him, The Logger. The Logger is one-man comedy show that DeWees describes as “Blue Collar Comedy” meets “Prairie Home Companion.” DeWees discusses how he went from a kid growing up in Stowe, Vt., to acting in New York City, and what brought him back to the Green Mountains. He also talks about how he decided to parody rural Vermonters, teaching comedy to kids, and where the line is between humor and offense. (December 19, 2018 broadcast)

Rusty DeWees, actor, The Logger

Warriors to end wars: Veterans for peace

As The US has been embroiled in numerous foreign wars in the last few decades, some of the most passionate activists for peace have been military veterans. Guys Like Me: Five Wars, Five Veterans for Peace (Rutgers University Press, 2018), by Michael Messner, tells the story of these veterans. We speak with these veterans about what transformed them into fighters for peace. (December 12, 2018 broadcast)

Daniel Craig, US Army, Gulf War

Jonathan Hutto, US Navy, Operation Iraqi Freedom

Ken Mayers, US Marines, Vietnam War

Michael Messner, professor of sociology and gender studies, University of Southern California, author, Guys Like Me

 

The Fighting Mayor: San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz on Puerto Rico’s struggle & challenging Trump

When Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in September 2017, President Donald Trump minimized the damage and visited the island, famously tossing rolls of paper towels to desperate residents. By contrast, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz emerged as a hero, wading through flood waters to speak with residents and charging Trump and his administration of “killing us with inefficiency.” Trump subsequently attacked Cruz. Cruz was elected mayor of San Juan in 2012. A graduate of Boston University and Carnegie Mellon, she came to national attention following the hurricane, appearing frequently on national and international television. As Trump congratulated himself, Cruz pleaded for help in numerous media interviews. We spoke with Mayor Cruz about Puerto Rico’s recovery, the consequences of standing up, and why she says “Trump sucks as president.” (December 5, 2018 broadcast)

Carmen Yulin Cruz, Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico

What could you do with a few thousand dollars? Author Bob Friedman says you can change the world

What would you do with a few thousand dollars? Author Bob Friedman argues that you could transform your life, and the world, with an investment like this in his new book A Few Thousand Dollars: Sparking Prosperity for Everyone (The New Press, 2018). Friedman is chair emeritus of Prosperity Now, formerly the Corporation for Enterprise Development, a national economic development nonprofit founded in 1979. He helped create the US micro-enterprise and savings and asset-building fields and the international enterprise development and child savings fields. (December 5, 2018 broadcast)

Robert Friedman, author, A Few Thousand Dollars

Is welfare reform killing women? Felicia Kornbluh on the female face of poverty

Has welfare reform, passed in 1996 with bipartisan consensus between Pres. Bill Clinton and a Republican Congress, been an attack on women? That is the argument made by Dr. Felicia Kornbluh in her new book, with Gwendolyn Mink, Ensuring Poverty: Welfare Reform in Feminist Perspective (U of Pennsylvania Press, 2018). Kornbluh is Associate Professor of History and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at the University of Vermont.  She is a member of the board of directors of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and has served as a member of the Vermont Commission on Women. Kornbluh argues that welfare reform has actually shortened women’s lives, and that its new incarnation under Pres. Donald Trump will make matters worse. She discusses her role as a scholar-activist and the new book that she is writing about her mother’s efforts to win abortion rights in the 1970s. (November 28, 2018 broadcast) 

Dr. Felicia Kornbluh, professor, University of Vermont, author, Ensuring Poverty

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

Is philanthropy racist? Edgar Villanueva on decolonizing wealth

“Philanthropy has evolved to mirror colonial structures, ultimately doing more harm than good,” argues Edgar Villanueva in his new book, Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance. Villanueava is a nationally recognized expert on social justice philanthropy, a member of the Lumbee Tribe, and the vice president of programs and advocacy at the Schott Foundation for Public Education. Villanueva insists that philanthropy is “racism in institutional form.” He offers seven steps to restoring harmony and centering people who are at the margins into decisionmaking roles. (November 14, 2018 broadcast)

Edgar Villanueva, philanthropist & author, Decolonizing Wealth

Can we find common ground? Inclusion, diversity & nationalism

Does diversity matter? We discuss this with Dr. Jude Smith Rachele, an expert in the area of diversity, unconscious bias, inclusive leadership and cultural competence. She has designed programs to help professionals display inclusive behaviors and to understand and respond respectfully to various cultural traditions, behaviors and values. Rachele’s skills were put to the test when multiple callers to this show (at 39 minutes) challenged the notion that the term “nationalist,” which Pres. Trump identifies himself as, refers to white nationalists. A debate and discussion with callers about nationalism follows. Rachele is an Adjunct Professor at Marlboro College in its MBA program in Managing for Sustainability. She is CEO of Abundant Sun. (October 24, 2018 broadcast)

Dr. Jude Smith Rachele, CEO, Abundant Sun

Social media for small business: What works?

What’s the most effective way for a business to do social media? What types of business can benefit from social media engagement? What type of content is best? This show explores the best practices in social media. Three experts share their advice and experience. (October 10, 2018 broadcast)

Valerie Solof Monette, Breezy Hill Marketing

Tara Pereira, communications director, Vermont Fresh Network

Samantha Sheehan, communications manager, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility

Lift Us Up, Don’t Push Us Out: Breaking the school-to-prison pipeline

In 2008, Chelsea Fraser, 13, was doodling on her desk. The eighth grader was sent to the principal’s office along with three African American classmates. But instead of being reprimanded, the four students were marched out of their middle school by police and taken to the precinct. Chelsea spent three hours at the precinct handcuffed to a pipe  before her mother was finally allowed to see her. I told this story in an article in Mother Jones called “Hard Time Out.”

This is a symptom of a larger problem: When students of color enter school, it begins their fast track into the criminal justice system. In Texas, 75 percent of students of color are suspended by the end of high school, and statistics show that many of them land in jail as a result. This phenomenon is known as the school-to-prison pipeline. In response, a movement for educational justice is growing across the US. These stories are told in a new book, Lift Us Up, Don’t Push Out: Voices From the Front Lines of the Educational Justice Movement, a collection of essays by leading education activists, by Mark Warren and David Goodman. On this Vermont Conversation, these activists discuss the problems and solutions confronting students and parents in schools today. (October 3, 2018 broadcast)

Mark Warren, professor of public policy and public affairs, University of Massachusetts-Boston,  co-chair, Urban Research-Based Action Network

Roberta Udoh, pre-kindergarten teacher, Boston Public Schools and an activist in Boston Teachers Union 

Denyse Wornum, organizer and youth leader, Youth on Board, Boston

Carlos Rojas, director, special programs, Youth on Board

Part 1: Warren, Wornum, Udoh

Part 2: Warren, Udoh, Rojas

 

How socially responsible businesses became a movement

How did sustainable business that support a triple bottom line of people, planet and profit become a movement? We talk with leaders of this movement from its founding to today. We look at how Vermont energized the socially responsible business movement, and how Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility and New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility have evolved differently, and what issues and history they share in common. (September 12, 2018 broadcast)

Jane Campbell, executive director, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility 

Pat Heffernan, president, Marketing Partners, and a founder, first president, and former board member of VBSR

Michelle Veasey, executive director, New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility 

Can a vanilla ice cream company fight white supremacy & lead radical change? Outgoing Ben & Jerry’s CEO Jostein Solheim makes the case

Jostein Solheim has just stepped down as CEO of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream after eight years at the helm of this iconic progressive company. He took the job a decade after the company’s purchase by Unilever, and some worried that Ben & Jerry’s might retreat from its social mission. Instead, Solheim doubled down: during his tenure, Ben & Jerry’s became a certified B Corporation, signed an agreement with Migrant Justice called “Milk With Dignity” to protect and empower migrant dairy workers, and reduced chemical use within the company’s supply chain. Ben & Jerry’s is now among the only corporate sponsors of the Poor People’s Campaign, continuing work started by the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., more than a half century ago. Solheim is now directing Unilever’s North American food and beverage operations. He reflects on blending business and activism, fighting white supremacy and poverty, and making great ice cream. (August 29, 2018 broadcast) 

Jostein Solheim, CEO, Ben & Jerry’s, 2010-2018

Surviving amazon.com: How Don Mayer of Small Dog Electronics runs with the big dogs

Don Mayer began selling Apple computers out of his garage in Warren, Vermont in 1994. That business blossomed into Small Dog Electronics, which is now the largest independent Apple reseller in the country. Mayer has been an outspoken leader in the field of socially responsible business, pushing for single-payer health care and a livable wage. Mayer announced this month that he is retiring and selling his iconic Vermont company. He talks about how Small Dog runs with the big dogs and surviving in the age of amazon.com. (August 22, 2018 broadcast)

Don Mayer, CEO and founder, Small Dog Electronics