Friday, October 31, 2008

Energy Independence, Carbon Footprint Travel Guilt, and Huey Long This Weekend On The Election Day Edition Of Sustainable Georgia

As we hurtle towards Election Day on Tuesday, the conversation about national security is strangely absent from the debate. Environmental issues have also slipped under the tide of tax cut sound-bytes washing through these final days before the vote. But there may be no more important issue in front of us as a state and as a nation than energy independence. If we’re relying less on foreign oil, then we are a safer country, and a more sustainable country. Americans cut our use of foreign oil by more than half in the late 1970’s. What will it take to do that again? On this week's Sustainable Georgia we’re going to re-air an earlier interview with Jimmy Carter Library Director Dr. Jay Hakes about his book A Declaration of Energy Independence. The discussion encompasses history, public policy, and the differences between the two major candidates on energy policy and what that bodes for our future foreign oil consumption.

Atlanta-based UPS Corporation spends a lot of time thinking and engineering ways to save gallons of fuel every trip down your block. We'll hear from NPR and Melissa Stiers about their latest wrinkle, a hydraulic-hybrid truck that uses hydraulic pumps and hydraulic storage tanks to capture and store energy, similar to what is done with electric motors and batteries in a hybrid electric vehicle. In this case, the diesel engine is used to periodically recharge pressure in the hydraulic propulsion system. Fuel economy is increased in three ways: vehicle braking energy is recovered that normally is wasted; the engine is operated more efficiently, and the engine can be shut off when stopped or decelerating.

The Sustainable Georgia Shout Out this week goes to Keep Georgia Beautiful’s Man of The Year, Steve Levetan. Isla Earth reveals new lighting technology that uses old world ideas. Travel Experts Rick Steves and Tony Wheeler discuss world travel and carbon footprint guilt. And, we’ll recycle an old Huey Long campaign song to pump everyone up for Election Day.

Friday, October 24, 2008

E-Waste, Dystopia, Local Food Success In Carroll County and Kumbaya All On Sustainable Georgia This Weekend On GPB Radio

Tom Braziel is a Georgia-born writer now teaching at the University of Cincinnati, his first novel, Birmingham, 35 Miles is an entertaining but grim dystopian story about the Alabama of the year 2045, when climate change has rendered the American Southeast a windswept desert where people only go out at night because of deathly UV rays from the sun and the only job left is itinerant clay mining, and the people left there are trapped in the Southeast Desert and kept by the government at gunpoint away from the Saved Lands north of Birmingham, where its rumored that grass still grows and white puffy clouds still exist. It’s a compelling, quick read, and a great first novel, as cautionary in its own way as anything by Ray Bradbury or Philip K Dick.

While fiction is often a great foreshadowing of real life, Braziel's sort of doomsday scenario doesn’t seem imminent, although recent news about polar ice regions melting permanently should give us pause to consider what might be next. But while you can’t interrupt climate change by yourself overnight, you can keep from throwing toxic heavy metals into your local landfill, and by extension, your water supply. That might help. On Sustainable Georgia this week we talk about e-waste with green entrepreneur Michael Head from Georgia E-Waste. Isla Earth discusses whether sharks are more dangerous for humans or vice-versa. Our shout out goes to The Grower’s School in Northwest Georgia and their great local food success in Carroll County. For recycled music we’ll all join hands and sing Kumbaya. So there it is, dystopia on one end and Kumbaya on the other. Let us know what you think of the show. It airs Saturday at 12:30p, Sunday at 4:30p, Tuesday at 11:30p on GPB Radio. Available always online here.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Corn Ethanol, The EcoFocus Film Festival, and World Party All Featured On The Fall Membership Campaign Edition of Sustainable Georgia This Week

Sustainable Georgia this week takes up a big chunk of our time to ask you for your support for GPB Radio during our Fall Membership Campaign. As public broadcasters, we have to get the largest percentage of our funding for programming from you. That includes everything from the cost of rights to Morning Edition and A Prairie Home Companion to the salaries of everyone at GPB Radio. So if you did not call in or log on when prompted during the show, please click here and support Sustainable Georgia and GPB. We have some nifty 'green' thank you gifts, including the chance to have a tree planted in honor of a loved one. If you like what we are trying to do with Sustainable Georgia, please show your support. It means a lot.

This week, in between the emotional appeals for your support, we'll cover the opening of a new corn ethanol plant in Camilla, and feature Rickey Bevington's interview with Courtney Gale, an anti-development activist featured in the documentary Carving Up Oconee, which will be featured in next week's EcoFocus Film Festival in Athens. That event, presented by the UGA Odum School of Ecology, will feature a number of films primarily screened at Cine, in Chronic Town. Rickey wants to give a special shout out to Michael Cardin and Carl Zornes in Athens for their help with the interview.

Recycled music this week dips back into the 1980's, for Karl Wallinger's World Party and the title track to their 1986 album (remember those?) Private Revolution.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sustainable Georgia This Week-James Glave's Eco Shed, Sunbelt Ag Expo, Little Feat Covers Woody Guthrie

This week on Sustainable Georgia we catch up with James Glave, who has written a wise and funny book called Almost Green-How I Saved 1/6th of a Billionth of the Planet. The book is ostensibly about Glave's attempt to embrace sustainable design by building an Eco Shed adjacent to his home (pictured above). But the book is also about his attempts to seek out a green path for himself and his young family and it's filled with the truths and the contradictions rife when you decide to 'go green.'
In Georgia Earth News comes word that Fireman's Fund Insurance has become the first home insurance company in Georgia to offer a green homeowners policy that will will enable Georgia homeowners with conventional homes to rebuild to the latest environmental standards after a loss. While this seems an innovative and helpful idea on the surface, we live in a time when everyone has a green angle to play. It's up to you to weigh the costs and issues and decide whether you think an idea is green, or greenwashing.
Our Sustainable Georgia Shout Out goes to the venerable Sunbelt Ag Expo, taking place October 14-16 at Spence Field in Moultrie, Georgia. For the 31st year in a row, Farmers will gather on 700 acres just outside of Moultrie at Spence Field to kick tractor tires, compete for livestock prizes, and stroll grounds filled with more threshers, balers, irrigation rigs, and other machinery then you could possibly imagine until you’ve beheld it. From the stock dog competition to the Mennonite women selling pound cake by the slice, the Sunbelt Ag Expo is great fun for farmers and vicarious farmers alike.This year’s event includes demonstrations of such green initiatives as an Auburn University truck that runs on wood chips, organic gardening, and a humane predator program teaching new methods for controlling armadillos, opossums and other critters.
Recycled music comes courtesy of Little Feat, and their version of "This Land Is Your Land."

Saturday, October 4, 2008

You Don't Need A Weatherman To Tell Which Way The Wind Blows-Wind Power Pros and Cons This Week on Sustainable Georgia

Sustainable energy and alternative fuels can be a thicket of lofty promises and unanticipated consequences. Much has been made in recent times about the possibilities of wind-generated energy in America. T. Boone Pickens is the most recent high profile convert, filling up commercial media with messages about harnessing the energy of America's Midwestern 'wind belt.' At the same time, over half of our states have passed laws or plans mandating increasing percentages of alternative energy production going forward, most of those leaning heavily on wind energy. While Georgia is not expected to be a major player in wind (biomass alt-fuels are our best bet), we need to watch this issue closely.

Our feature interview this week on Sustainable Georgia is with The Atlantic Magazine Staff Editor Matthew Quirk, who has an excellent piece on wind energy in the October issue of the magazine (John McCain is on the cover). Quirk discusses the major issues affecting the success of wind energy initiatives, mostly centering around challenges of transmission and the innate variability of wind. His cautionary message for T. Boone Pickens and the rest of us is that just like the corn ethanol boom, bust, and unintended consequences, wind energy has definite pluses and definite minuses.

In Earth News this week we check in with the PATH Foundation, which has extended the Silver Comet bike trail all the way to the Alabama border to link up with that state's Chief Ladiga trail. GPB's Edgar Treiguts attended the opening celebration of the linkup and lets us know about this great resource in Northwest Georgia.

Our Shout Out this week goes to Fort Benning, which evades military stereotypes by winning a major award from the State DNR P2AD Program for being a good, sustainable, green citizen in Columbus.

Recycled music features Steve Earle and the Del McCoury Band with the title track from his 2000 release The Mountain, a song about Appalachian coal miners. Let us know what you think about the show, suggestions for a Shout Out to your community, or good interview subjects. You can post here or email us at