Tackling Plastic Pollution

Plastics: From Pollution to Solutions (start time: 0:58)  We all want to think that the yogurt tubs, takeout containers and other plastic products that we toss into our kitchen recycling bin will actually get recycled. Chances are, they won’t.  Plastic product makers have for many years been deceptively applying the “chasing arrows” recycling symbol on their products, even when those products can not and will not be  recycled. But some progress is being made in tackling the enormous plastics-pollution problem, including by forcing producers to truthfully label their plastic products, and passing legislation that holds companies financially responsible for the afterlife of their products.  In this week’s show, host Susan Moran interviews Susan Shain, a reporting fellow at the New York Times who  recently wrote an article about plastic recycling; and Jennifer Congdon,  deputy director of Beyond Plastics, an environmental advocacy project based at Bennington College in Bennington, Vermont.

Host/Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Shannon Young
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome // Renewables

Rehmeyer coverWe offer two feature interviews on today’s show.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (start time: 11:49)  Imagine spending years waking up so sore and fatigued many mornings that you can barely move. And traversing the country to find doctors who could offer a clear diagnosis, only to find out they don’t really know. And feeling your friendships and professional relationships start to fray, as people question whether you’re making up your illness. For those who have suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS, or ME), or a similar disease, Julie Rehmeyer’s story may sound painfully familiar.  The science and math writer talks with host Susan Moran about her new book about the illness, called Through the Shadowlands: A Science Writer’s Odyssey Into an Illness Science Doesn’t Understand. Rehmeyer will speak about her book on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Boulder Book Store.

Nevada Solar One plant, Photo credit: Tom McKinnon
Nevada Solar One plant, Photo credit: Tom McKinnon

Renewable Energy Debate (start time: 3:20): A bitter scientific debate, as reported in the Washington Post, has surfaced among two scientific groups that are both pushing to decarbonize U.S. electricity generation. On one side  are experts such as Boulder mathematician Christopher Clack, who contends in a new analysis that the U.S. can cut its carbon emissions by nearly 80%, using existing technologies, by  2030. On the other side of this feud is Mark Jacobson, an atmospheric scientist and engineer at Stanford University. He claims the nation can move to 100% renewable energy by 2055. This week, in a peer-reviewed analysis published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, Clack and colleagues call Jacobson’s vision of 100% renewables unrealistic, and says his calculations and modeling are full of errors. Jacobson and his group have countered Clack et al’s analysis is full of errors. Dr. Clack, founder of Vibrant Clean Energy and with NOAA and the University of Colorado Boulder when he conducted this research, talks with host Shelley Schlender about the science, the debate, and what it means for the pursuit of clean energy.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Shelley Schlender
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineers: Maeve Conran, Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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