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The Sweaty Penguin

The Sweaty Penguin

By Ethan Brown
Sometimes, climate change IS a laughing matter. Every week, The Sweaty Penguin cuts through the noise and the doom-and-gloom of the climate conversation with late-night-comedy-style monologues and in-depth conversations with leading global experts on a variety of environmental issues. Through a nonpartisan approach, The Sweaty Penguin makes environmental issues less overwhelming and politicized and more accessible and fun. In partnership with Peril and Promise, a PBS/WNET public media initiative on climate change, The Sweaty Penguin invites you to join the hottest conversation in town.
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45. Tea
There isn’t anything inherently bad about tea, but the current tea agriculture system faces a number of issues, from excessive pesticide use to deforestation to extremely inhumane working conditions. And as climate change progresses, tea flavor and antioxidant content is worsening, tea yields themselves are decreasing, and the aforementioned environmental and human rights issues are poised to worsen. Today, we discuss all these problems, and consider how we can improve the production of the world’s second-most consumed beverage. With special guest Dr. Yixian Sun: Assistant Professor of International Development at the University of Bath. The Sweaty Penguin is presented by Peril and Promise: a public media initiative from PBS flagship station The WNET Group in New York, reporting on the issues and solutions around climate change. You can learn more at pbs.org/perilandpromise. Support the show and unlock exclusive merch, bonus content, and more for as little as $5/month at patreon.com/thesweatypenguin.
36:38
May 14, 2021
Bonus: Cicada Coachella
After some of the latest environmental news updates, Ethan sits down with Christian Alberga and Matt Grottkau for a bipartisan conversation on episode 30: “International Accountability.” Support the show and unlock exclusive merch, bonus content, and more for as little as $5/month at patreon.com/thesweatypenguin.
32:15
May 7, 2021
44. Jellyfish
While climate change threatens most marine species, jellyfish could be poised to come out stronger than ever. Research remains ongoing, but many scientists suggest the populations of certain species of jellyfish could be increasing, which could lead to more harmful stings, impeded tourism and fishing industries, and disrupted marine ecosystems. Today, we explore what we know about jellyfish so far, why we may have cause for concern, and how we might adapt moving forward. With special guest Dr. Kylie Pitt: Discipline Head of Marine Science at Griffith University and the leader of the Griffith Sea Jellies Research Laboratory. The Sweaty Penguin is presented by Peril and Promise: a public media initiative from PBS flagship station The WNET Group in New York, reporting on the issues and solutions around climate change. You can learn more at pbs.org/perilandpromise. Support the show and unlock exclusive merch, bonus content, and more for as little as $5/month at patreon.com/thesweatypenguin.
39:38
April 30, 2021
43. NGOs
Happy belated Earth Day, and happy almost one year anniversary of The Sweaty Penguin! Earth Day is a special holiday for many reasons, one of which being that it is organized by an NGO, or nongovernmental organization. And there are an estimated 10 million NGOs around the world working on a range of causes, with a prime one being climate change. However, on top of a long list of documented successes, when we look at many NGOs’ strategic decision making, accountability, and fundraising, there are a lot of questions about if environmental NGOs are actually living up to their full potential. Today, we discuss how NGOs create impact, discuss a few of these challenges, and contemplate how NGOs might be able to improve. With special guest Dr. Cristina Balboa: Associate Professor in the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College. The Sweaty Penguin is presented by Peril and Promise: a public media initiative from PBS flagship station The WNET Group in New York, reporting on the issues and solutions around climate change. You can learn more at pbs.org/perilandpromise. Support the show and unlock exclusive merch, bonus content, and more for as little as $5/month at patreon.com/thesweatypenguin.
43:53
April 23, 2021
42. Brownfields and Superfund Sites
From old petroleum sites to chemical dumping grounds, toxic waste sites are disproportionately located in low income and minority communities, and carry lots of adverse health and environmental impacts. And today, climate change threatens to make it even worse, with floods, hurricanes, and wildfires ravaging brownfields and spreading toxins into these communities. Today, we cover what brownfields and Superfund sites are, what problems they create, and some strategies for how to clean them up. With special guest Dr. Lemir Teron: Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. This episode is part of Covering Climate Now’s Living Through the Climate Emergency joint coverage week, reporting on the realities of climate change and its solutions through the week leading up to Earth Day 2021. The Sweaty Penguin is presented by Peril and Promise: a public media initiative from PBS flagship station The WNET Group in New York, reporting on the issues and solutions around climate change. You can learn more at pbs.org/perilandpromise. Support the show and unlock exclusive merch, bonus content, and more for as little as $5/month at patreon.com/thesweatypenguin.
41:59
April 16, 2021
41. Fracking
It’s in the news all the time, but what actually is fracking, and why is it under such heavy scrutiny? To kick off season three, we’re diving into one of the most high profile climate issues, examine how fracking adversely impacts climate, water, land, health, justice, and the economy, and considering some directions we can go to improve the practice and/or sensibly transition away from it. With special guest Dr. Kate Neville: Assistant Professor of Global Environmental Politics at the University of Toronto. The Sweaty Penguin is presented by Peril and Promise: a public media initiative from PBS flagship station The WNET Group in New York, reporting on the issues and solutions around climate change. You can learn more at pbs.org/perilandpromise. Support the show and unlock exclusive merch, bonus content, and more for as little as $5/month at patreon.com/thesweatypenguin.
44:40
April 9, 2021
Trailer
Sometimes, climate change IS a laughing matter. Every week, The Sweaty Penguin cuts through the noise and the doom-and-gloom of the climate conversation with late-night-comedy-style monologues and in-depth conversations with leading global experts on a variety of environmental issues. Through a nonpartisan approach, The Sweaty Penguin makes environmental issues less overwhelming and politicized and more accessible and fun. In partnership with Peril and Promise, a PBS/WNET public media initiative on climate change, The Sweaty Penguin invites you to join the hottest conversation in town. Support the show and unlock exclusive merch, bonus content, and more for as little as $5/month at patreon.com/thesweatypenguin.
01:14
April 8, 2021
Bonus: Mac and Cheese Trees
After some of the latest environmental news updates, Ethan sits down with The Sweaty Penguin’s Producers Shannon Damiano, Frank Hernandez, and Caroline Koehl to recap season 2. They’ll share favorite episodes, biggest takeaways, best behind the scenes moments, plus a surprise bonus segment and some exciting updates about season 3.
47:06
April 2, 2021
40. Rethinking Natural Resources
When we talk about natural resource issues whether they be food, water, energy, land, or materials, we typically discuss them one at a time and craft policy for them one at a time. Because of that, it’s easy to forget that all these resources are interconnected and interdependent. As climate change worsens, those interconnections become more important than ever, as resource scarcity issues can lead to global conflict and even violence. Today, we discuss why resources are so intertwined and what that means for our future. With special guest Dr. Stacy VanDeveer: the Chair of the Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.
32:36
March 26, 2021
39. The Amazon Rainforest
The Amazon Rainforest is the largest rainforest in the world, home to 427 mammal species, 1,300 bird species, 378 reptile species, over 400 amphibian species, and 30 million people. It’s also a massive carbon sink, pulling an amount of CO2 out of the atmosphere that’s equivalent to around three years worth of global emissions. But due to cattle ranching and soybean farming among other industries, the Amazon is being chopped down at breakneck speeds, spelling danger for the climate, millions of plants and animals, the economy, and the livelihoods of Indigenous communities that live there. Today, we cover why the Amazon is so important, in what ways it’s threatened, and where we could go from here. With special guest Dr. Adriane Esquivel-Muelbert: Lecturer in Global Forest Ecology at the University of Birmingham.
41:14
March 19, 2021
38. DDT
In 1962, Rachel Carson published the famous book “Silent Spring,” which explored the impacts of the pesticide DDT on the environment and human health and catalyzed a movement that led to the passage of the National Environmental Policy Act, establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the ban of DDT in the U.S. in 1972. But DDT is still poses problems today: all the DDT we used to spray still persists in the environment, and some parts of the world still need to use DDT to control malaria and don’t yet have a viable alternative. Today, we discuss why we’ve used DDT, what impacts it’s had, and how we might improve. With special guest Dr. Jessica Templeton: Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Social Science at the London School of Economics.
45:29
March 12, 2021
37. Corn
It’s the most produced food commodity in the United States, but only 1% of it is actually sweet corn eaten by humans. The rest is turned into ethanol, animal feed, processed ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, and exported. And making that much corn causes a slew of environmental, economic, and health issues. Today, we cover why corn got so popular, what problems corn agriculture creates, and how we might improve. With special guest Dr. Natalie Hunt: Teaching Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering at the University of Minnesota.
39:46
March 5, 2021
Bonus: Baby Boomer Polar Bears
After some of the latest environmental news updates, Ethan sits down with Leo Brother and Velina Georgi for a bipartisan conversation on episode 17: “Vanilla.”
30:08
February 26, 2021
36. The Great Barrier Reef
Spanning over 100,000 square miles off the coast of Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, providing a home to thousands of marine species, sequestering millions of tons of carbon, and creating 64,000 jobs and 56 billion dollars in economic value. But it’s under threat, from climate change, coastal development, and a coral-eating starfish whose population is out of control. Today, we discuss why the Great Barrier Reef is important, what challenges it faces, and what we can do about them. With special guest Dr. Michael Kingsford: Distinguished Professor of Marine Biology at James Cook University in Queensland, Australia.
39:57
February 19, 2021
35. Elementary Education
As climate change becomes more and more pressing, educators have faced the challenge of how to teach it to young children. The Next Generation Science Standards have started to push the needle with a few climate standards, but with many states not adopting the standards or even deleting out the climate ones and many teachers not receiving the training and support they need to teach new information, climate education still has a ways to go. Today, we’ll discuss some of the challenges in integrating climate change into elementary education, and consider some ways to further teach students about climate moving forward. With special guest Kottie Christie-Blick: an Instructor at the University of San Diego and a Climate Education Consultant who helps educators design lesson plans on climate change and sustainability.
35:33
February 12, 2021
34. Mangrove Forests
Mangroves are the only type of tree that can grow in saltwater, but that barely scratches the surface of why they’re special. These tropical coastal forests protect the adjacent land from storms, provide nurseries for young fish, and sequester enough carbon to account for 10% of global emissions. But mangroves are being destroyed left and right from sources like coastal development, wood harvesting, and even shrimp farms, meaning one of our best defenses against climate change could be gone in the not-too-distant future. Today, we explore what mangroves do, why they’re under threat, and where we go from here. With special guest Dr. Margaret Awuor Owuor: Lecturer in the School of Environment, Water, and Natural Resources Management at South Eastern Kenya University.
44:10
February 5, 2021
33. Plastic Straws
It’s the environmental issue everyone’s talking about, with companies and cities banning plastic straws all over the world. But while it’s often played up as either a super simple environmental issue that cities and companies can get tons of clout for single handedly fixing or a stupid issue that we should stop wasting our time on, the reality is that neither of those are really the case. Plastic straws, like every other episode topic on The Sweaty Penguin, are a surprisingly complex problem that demand a nuanced solution. Today, we’ll discuss to what extent plastic straws actually are a problem, and a variety of solutions (beyond the more newsworthy bans, paper straws, and pasta straws) for how the problem can be improved. With special guest Dr. Travis Wagner: Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at the University of Southern Maine.
39:54
January 29, 2021
Bonus: Neptune Balls
After some of the latest environmental news updates, Ethan sits down with episode 3’s Velina Georgi and Leo Brother for a bipartisan conversation on episode 21: “ADHD.”
32:10
January 22, 2021
32. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence is most often discussed in the environmental world as a sustainability solution capturing invasive starfish and detecting the sound of illegal loggers. But in addition to these exciting developments, AI has the potential to cause environmental problems and inhibit environmental progress. Today, we discuss a few of the many challenges AI poses for the environment, and consider where to go from here to make AI more of an environmental good and less of an environmental bad. With special guest Dr. Peter Dauvergne: Professor of International Relations at the University of British Columbia and author of “AI in the Wild: Sustainability in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.”
45:34
January 15, 2021
31. Landslides
For many living on or by mountains, cliffs, or other slopes, landslides pose a huge risk. The ground itself can come crashing down or slip out from under you. Globally, landslides kill thousands of people per year and rack up costs in the billions. And while they are a natural phenomenon, human activities like deforestation, mining, and climate change could make them more frequent. Today, we discuss why landslides happen, how we’ve exacerbated them, and how we can both mitigate them and prepare for them in the future. With special guest Dr. Žiga Malek: Assistant Professor in Land Use and Ecosystem Dynamics at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
34:25
January 8, 2021
30. International Accountability
International environmental treaties are a fantastic start, but they also regularly struggle because even when a country signs a treaty, they still don’t actually have to do anything. There is no global governing body to enforce agreements, meaning countries often fail to uphold their end of agreements, which is concerning since environmental issues are not isolated to any one country—everyone contributes, and everyone is affected. So how do countries then hold each other accountable? Today, we’ll explore some of the strategies currently used, why they often fail, and some options countries could consider from here to promote environmental progress on the global level. With special guest Dr. Susan Park: Professor of Global Governance at the University of Sydney.
39:17
January 1, 2021
29. Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is a staple for every breakfast on Christmas morning, but with climate change harming the health of maple trees, maple syrup is under threat. Today, we’ll break down how climate change affects maple syrup production, what that could mean for maple syrup’s messy economic situation largely run by a maple syrup cartel wrought with illegal activity (one such crime becoming the largest police investigation in the history of Quebec), and how we can protect the future of this delicious condiment. With special guest Dr. Pamela Templer: Professor of Biology at Boston University.
40:41
December 25, 2020
Bonus: Cyclone Simba
After some of the latest environmental news updates, Matt Grottkau and Christian Alberga sit back down with Ethan for a bipartisan chat about episode 13: “Wild Salmon.”
27:02
December 18, 2020
28. Airplanes
Airplanes are a really tricky issue. They emit greenhouse gases, create air and noise pollution, and operate in a ridiculously unstable business model leading airline after airline to go bankrupt. But airplanes are obviously important too, and certainly don’t need to be banished from existence or be a source of guilt for travelers. Today, we’ll highlight a few of the challenges facing aviation, and discuss some of the exciting technologies and policies that could make airplanes cleaner, healthier, and more economically viable. With special guest Dr. Kevin Lane, Assistant Professor of Environmental Health at Boston University. This episode is part of a four-episode series made possible by the Sustainability Innovation Seed Grant from BU Sustainability and Innovate@BU.
45:42
December 11, 2020
27. Electrification
Powering everything through clean, carbon-free energy to mitigate climate change requires not just decarbonizing electricity, but actually making several things like cars, furnaces, and factories electric. But with the positives of electrification comes some questions. How do you store and transmit clean energy? How do you meet the skyrocketing demand for electricity? How do you avoid blackouts? Today, we’ll dive into some of the challenges of electrification and consider how they can be addressed. With special guest Dr. Peter Fox-Penner: Founder and Director of the Boston University Institute for Sustainable Energy and Professor of Practice at the Questrom School of Business. This episode is part of a four-episode series made possible by the Sustainability Innovation Seed Grant from BU Sustainability and Innovate@BU.
34:26
December 4, 2020
26. Ventilation
To help prevent the indoor spread of coronavirus, buildings around the world have been checking up on their ventilation systems, often for the first time in a while. And unfortunately, many will find old, poorly designed, or otherwise inefficient HVAC systems that waste energy and money. Today, we’ll cover how many ventilation systems are inefficient, why they’re important for preserving indoor air quality, and how we can improve them, both small and large scale. With special guest Dr. Michael Gevelber: Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Boston University. This episode is part of a four-episode series made possible by the Sustainability Innovation Seed Grant from BU Sustainability and Innovate@BU.
37:27
November 27, 2020
25. Carbon Neutrality
When organizations and governments create climate plans, they often contain the same phrase: carbon neutral. And carbon neutrality is a major piece of mitigating climate change. But carbon neutrality plans regularly fail to act quickly on more feasible short-term objectives, offset the amount of carbon they intend to, and actually count every single source of emissions. Today, we’ll discuss some of the issues associated with carbon neutrality, and how plans can sidestep them moving forward to create the most positive impact possible. With special guest Dennis Carlberg, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Earth & Environment and Associate Vice President of University Sustainability at Boston University. This episode is part of a four-episode series made possible by the Sustainability Innovation Seed Grant from BU Sustainability and Innovate@BU.
37:10
November 20, 2020
Bonus: Diners, Drive-Ins, and Yellowstone Hot Springs
As promised, the bipartisan discussion bonus episodes are here! Today, Ethan sits down with episode 1’s Christian Alberga and Matt Grottkau to hear their first impressions and find some common ground on episode 20: “Economic Recovery from Coronavirus.” Plus, some environmental news and yet another update on the John Oliver Memorial Sewer Plant.
29:15
November 13, 2020
24. Organic and Fair Trade Certifications
Certifications such as organic and fair trade are great ways to quickly inform consumers that a product they want to buy was made at a high environmental and ethical standard and give producers meeting those standards an edge in the market… that is, if the certifications use proper, well-enforced criteria, producers can actually obtain the certification, and consumers actually know what the labels mean. Today, we break down some of the challenges facing certification schemes, as well as some specific issues with organic and fair trade, and ponder how these programs could improve. With special guest Dr. Graeme Auld: Professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University in Canada and author of “Constructing Private Governance: The Rise and Evolution of Forest, Coffee, and Fisheries Certification.”
39:17
November 6, 2020
23. Old-Growth Forests
Old-growth forests provide a lot of services that are unique from their younger counterparts, from increased carbon storage capabilities to homes for several endangered species. And on Wednesday, the United States announced the rollback of a rule preventing commercial logging and road construction in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska, opening up 9.3 million acres of land in the United States’ largest carbon sink to logging and development. Unfortunately, the Tongass is one of many old-growth forests facing these types of threats. Today, we’ll cover why old-growth forests are important, what issues they face, and where we can go from here. With special guest Dr. Michael Dietze: Associate Professor of Earth & Environment at Boston University.
36:20
October 30, 2020
22. Light Pollution
We often hear about light pollution preventing us from seeing the night sky, but it is responsible for so much more, from massive economic costs to catastrophic human health impacts to disrupting mating and migrations of birds, frogs, and insects to causing the deaths of baby sea turtles. Today, we break down why light pollution causes all these issues, and discuss some ideas for how to mitigate them. With special guest Dr. Douglas Arion: Professor of Physics and Astronomy and Donald D. Hedberg Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Carthage College.
32:39
October 23, 2020
21. ADHD
October is ADHD Awareness Month, and in addition to genetic and biological causes, ADHD is partly caused by toxins in the environment such as BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene), lead, and mercury, which all have distinct impacts on brain functionality. Today, we’ll break down why these neurotoxins contribute to ADHD, why ADHD costs the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars per year, how ADHD hits low income and minority communities the hardest, and some ways we can address these issues. With special guest Dr. Luz Claudio: Professor of Environmental Medicine and Public Health and the Chief of the Division of International Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
42:15
October 16, 2020
Bonus: Annoying Orange Jr.
In the final episode of season 1, Ethan sits down with The Sweaty Penguin Researchers Olivia, Megan, and Dain to discuss the most recent four episodes and their reflections on the season. After that, he chats with the Producers Shannon, Frank, and Caroline to recap season 1 and preview season 2, which begins next week on Friday, 10/16. We’ve also got some new environmental news, and some updates on the John Oliver Memorial Sewer Plant in Danbury, CT. It’s a jam-packed bonus episode today, so don’t miss it!
33:15
October 9, 2020
20. Economic Recovery from Coronavirus
The coronavirus plunged the world deep into an economic recession, and to recover from a recession, governments typically start spending a lot  of money. Where that money goes has a lasting effect on the economy and the environment, and historically, due to investments in fossil fuels,  neither the environmental nor economic impacts of these stimulus  packages have been stellar. Today, we take a look at a couple of the missteps in the economic recovery from the 2008 financial crisis, and then examine some policy ideas that might create a stronger, more sustainable recovery this time. With special guest Dr. Jennifer Allan: Lecturer in International Relations at Cardiff University in Wales.
34:36
October 2, 2020
19. Mercury
John Oliver seems quite taken by Danbury, Connecticut’s history as the Hat City, but hatmaking came at a price: the mercury used to make felt  for hats caused mercury poisoning. The resulting tremors were even  nicknamed “the Danbury shakes.” But while Connecticut banned mercury for  hatmaking, the mercury previously emitted never actually left the  environment, and new sources of mercury such coal plants and artisanal and small-scale gold mines are still putting new mercury into the  atmosphere, leading to catastrophic environmental, economic, and human health impacts. Today, we break down why we’re exposed to mercury, what effects it has, and how we can improve. With special guest Dr. Noelle Eckley Selin: Associate Professor of Data, Systems, and Society and Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the co-author of “Mercury Stories: Understanding Sustainability through a Volatile Element” which comes out  on October 20th.
39:48
September 25, 2020
18. Wastewater Treatment Plants
Wastewater treatment plants made national news this month after the mayor of Danbury, CT (the city where Ethan was born) responded to a joke on “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” by naming Danbury’s sewer plant the “John Oliver Memorial Sewer Plant.” But in addition to being the ~butt~ of a joke, wastewater treatment plants have been responsible for some environmental issues. Today, we discuss a few of those issues from overflows to energy to microplastic contamination to antimicrobial resistance, what threats they pose to the economy and public health, and how we can improve wastewater treatment to make it the sustainable water sanitation solution it was designed to be. With special guest Dr.  Patricia Keen: Visiting Assistant Professor of Energy Management at the New York Institute of Technology, Vancouver Campus.
37:55
September 18, 2020
17. Vanilla
The global vanilla market is ridiculously unstable, with vanilla prices  swinging from $20/kg to $600/kg in the span of a few years, higher than the price of silver. And 80% of vanilla is grown in Madagascar, an island facing extreme poverty and, increasingly, cyclones which threaten to destabilize the market even further. Today, we break down why the  vanilla price swings so dramatically, how cyclones threaten to impact it, the consequences of these swings for the environment, economy, and Malagasy farmers’ livelihoods, and where we could go from here. With special guest Dr. Julie Zähringer: Senior Research Scientist in the Centre for Development and Environment at the University of Bern in  Switzerland.
36:43
September 11, 2020
Bonus: Queen Methane Emissions
Join us for a conversation with The Sweaty Penguin’s three Researchers  Olivia Amitay, Megan Crimmins, and Dain Kim about mega(n)cities, fast  fashion, salmon, and some of the recent climate-induced hurricanes and  wildfires currently hitting the United States.
26:36
September 4, 2020
16. Fast Fashion
As fibers like cotton and polyester became cheaper to procure, fast  fashion stores began creating items that appeared fashionable at a  fraction of the price. In doing so, they created a culture where people  buy a lot more clothes and wear them for much longer periods of time,  and that over-consumption has spurred countless environmental, economic,  and humanitarian problems. Today, we touch on a few of those problems,  and discuss where governments, companies, and individuals can make  improvements. With special guest Dr. Jennifer Le Zotte: Assistant Professor of U.S. History and Material Culture at the University of  North Carolina, Wilmington.
40:03
August 28, 2020
15. Pellagra
During the coronavirus pandemic, a global economic collapse, and  increasingly frequent and severe droughts, what better time for southern  African countries to see upticks in another disease: pellagra.  Pellagra, a disease caused by chronic deficiencies in Vitamin B3  (niacin), is prevented with nothing more than a half-decent diet. So why  is it still here in 2020? Today, we go on a journey through history to  figure out what caused this vitamin deficiency disease to appear, why it  still exists, and what we can do about it. With special guest Dr.  Christopher Conz: Lecturer in African Environmental History at Tufts University.
31:22
August 21, 2020
14. Megacities
In the last thirty years, the number of cities with a population of over  ten million jumped from 10 to 34. Today, 55% of the world population  lives in a city. And those numbers are only going up, which creates  concerns since megacities face disproportionate effects of climate  change due to their population densities and geographic locations.  Today, we’ll break down some of the many environmental risks facing  megacities, and some strategies to manage them. With special guest Dr.  Madhu Dutta-Koehler: Director of the City Planning and Urban Affairs  program at Boston University.
36:22
August 14, 2020
13. Wild Salmon
We often hear about projects that will harm salmon such as the recently  proposed gold and copper mine in Alaska, but why does it matter? As it  turns out, salmon isn’t just a tasty meal, but a multi-billion dollar  economic engine, a centerpiece of Native American and Alaskan culture,  and a species that rivers, streams, and nearby ecosystems can’t survive  without. Today, we’ll break down four primary human threats endangering  salmon, and discuss a few ways to protect them in the future. With  special guest Dr. Syma Ebbin: Professor of Agricultural and Resource  Economics and the Connecticut Sea Grant Research Coordinator at the University of Connecticut. 
38:43
August 7, 2020
Bonus: Chariot of Chameleons
On this week’s bonus episode, we’re discussing the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, reflecting on last week’s Rethinking Climate Change episode as Frank’s home in Puerto Rico experiences a tropical storm, sharing some behind the scenes stories about the making of “The UNEP Song,” and more. With Sweaty Penguin Researcher Olivia Amitay and Producers Frank Hernandez and Caroline Koehl.
26:01
July 31, 2020
12. Rethinking Climate Change
Climate change is so often framed as a problem for “our kids and our  grandkids,” and that’s true, but climate change is also here right now,  and it’s causing a lot of problems. We’ll take a look at a few of the  countless problems climate change causes today, and how we can better  conceptualize climate change as we move forward and try to adapt to  these issues. With special guest Dr. Adil Najam: Inaugural Dean of the  Boston University Pardee School of Global Studies and co-author of the  Third and Fourth Assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate  Change, work for which the panel was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
37:43
July 24, 2020
11. Gypsy Moths
Murder hornets may be getting all the attention, but gypsy moths are another invasive insect species causing a lot of damage by defoliating trees, disrupting wildlife, causing skin rashes, and costing cities, homeowners, and the timber industry millions of dollars. Today, we’re talking gypsy moths: why they’re so harmful and what we can do about it. With special guest Dr. Valerie Pasquarella: Earth & Environment Research Professor at Boston University.
31:29
July 17, 2020
10. United Nations Environment Programme
Aside from some scary climate change reports you may hear in the news, what does the United Nations Environment Programme do? As it turns out, a lot less than you might expect, and that’s because UNEP was designed to have less power than many other UN affiliates. Today, we break down what UNEP has and hasn’t accomplished, some proposed improvements to UNEP, and why international cooperation on the environment is important regardless of one’s foreign policy beliefs. With special guest Dr. Henrik Selin: Associate Dean of Studies and Professor of International Relations at the Boston University Pardee School of Global Studies.
39:58
July 10, 2020
9. Asthma
As coronavirus continues to spread, people with asthma have faced a higher death rate. And asthma itself is a huge issue too, killing ten Americans every day. This week, we take a deep dive into the South Bronx in New York City, a low-income, high-density, predominantly Black and Latino community nicknamed “Asthma Alley” due to its high asthma rate, and discuss what causes and triggers asthma, why the South Bronx and other marginalized communities face such high rates, and how we could treat and prevent asthma moving forward. With special guest Dr. Elizabeth Garland: a pediatrician and Professor of Environmental Medicine and Public Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
39:17
July 3, 2020
Bonus: Socks, Sandals, and Barbecue Fires
This week, we bring you our top environmental news headlines, and then sit down with The Sweaty Penguin’s Producers Shannon Damiano, Frank Hernandez, and Caroline Koehl to share updates and reflections on Beef and Natural Gas Compressor Stations.
22:36
June 26, 2020
8. Natural Gas Compressor Stations
Whether it’s for heat, cooking, or electricity, most Americans use natural gas regularly. But before arriving at your home, natural gas traveling through a long pipeline enters a compressor station, and compressor stations release greenhouse gases, neurotoxins, carcinogens, and an absurd amount of noise. To make matters worse, compressor stations are disproportionately built in low income and minority communities, causing devastating economic and health impacts. Today, we break down what compressor stations are, why they’re harmful, and some ideas to both regulate them and make them obsolete. We’re joined by Nell Curtin (Boston University), Jack Kelly (Northeastern University), and special guest Dr. Nathan Phillips: Earth & Environment Professor at Boston University and Acting Director of BU’s Sustainable Neighborhood Lab.
43:10
June 19, 2020
7. Earthquakes
Most environmental issues we hear about are caused and controlled by humans, but earthquakes happen whether we’re here or not. But just because we can’t stop them doesn’t mean we can’t significantly reduce the injuries, casualties, and economic damages. Today, we discuss why earthquakes happen, why they’re so hard to predict, what problems they cause, and how earthquake-prone cities can better prepare for them. We’re joined by Joe LoDuca (University of Connecticut), Mollie McGrann (University of California, Los Angeles), and special guest Dr. Robert Buchwaldt: Earth & Environment Research Professor at Boston University specializing in geology.
54:33
June 12, 2020
6. Rare Earth Minerals
What do cell phones, computers, airplane engines, and wind turbines have in common? They all require rare earth minerals, and while these minerals can be mined and processed sustainably, they currently are not, leading to environmental, health, and national security issues. Today, we discuss these issues, and consider ways to clean up the supply chain, scale back on our rare earth mineral consumption, and make our phones and computers more eco-friendly. We’re joined by Joe Perrotta (Marist College), Melani Zuckerman (Boston University), and special guest Dr. Julie Klinger: Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Delaware and author of the award-winning book “Rare Earth Frontiers: From Terrestrial Subsoils to Lunar Landscapes.”
50:20
June 5, 2020
5. Beef
Wondering why there’s so much fuss in the news over cow farts? We’ve got you covered. This week, we discuss why beef’s environmental impact far exceeds most other food products and consider ways to reduce those impacts without giving up too many of our steaks and burgers. We’re joined by Sebastian Bishop (Reed College), Adrian Castanon Galicia (Boston University), and special guest Dr. Rachael Garrett: Professor of Environmental Policy at ETH Zürich.
46:37
May 29, 2020
Bonus: Plankton Buys a Glowstick
This week, we bring you our top environmental news headlines, and then sit down with The Sweaty Penguin’s Producers Shannon Damiano, Frank Hernandez, and Caroline Koehl to discuss some updates and clarifications on our Traffic, Lawn Pesticides, Yosemite National Park, and Lead Paint episodes, as well as how each issue has developed during the coronavirus pandemic.
26:42
May 22, 2020
4. Lead Paint
We often think of lead paint as a problem of the past, but in reality, any house built before 1978 could have lead paint on the walls, and when they do, the health risks are enormous, especially for young children. We’ll discuss the environmental and health problems lead paint poses and consider ways to test for and abate lead in our homes. We’re joined by Frank Serpe (Boston University), Katherine Wright (Boston University), and Rick Reibstein: Lecturer at Boston University and Founder and Director of the Coalition for a Public Conversation on Lead.
41:41
May 15, 2020
3. Yosemite National Park
Yosemite was set aside as a national park in 1890, and since then, we haven’t done a spotless job preserving and managing it. There’s even a Starbucks in the park! We’ll discuss the economic inefficiencies, inequities, and environmental degradation currently taking place at Yosemite and consider ways to both solve these specific issues and think about the land where we live. We’re joined by Leo Brother (Elon University), Velina Georgi (College of Charleston), and special guest Dr. Sarah Phillips: Professor of History at Boston University and author of “This Land, This Nation: Conservation, Rural America, and the New Deal.”
49:27
May 8, 2020
2. Lawn Pesticides
We often hear “pesticides are safe” or “pesticides are toxic,” but in reality, it’s not that simple. We’ll discuss the impacts of various lawn pesticides on public health and the environment, what improvements could be made from a policy perspective, and how you can safely control weeds and insects on your lawn. We’re joined by Ben Brod (University of Connecticut), Spencer Brown (Quinnipiac University), and special guest Christopher Brown: CEO and Co-Founder of Teed & Brown Lawn Care.
42:54
May 1, 2020
1. Traffic
Not only does traffic contribute to climate change, but it costs the average American $1,377 per year in lost time. We’ll break down the issue, and debate some possible solutions like mass transit renovations, bike sharing, congestion pricing, and smaller market-based mechanisms. We’re joined by Christian Alberga (Williams College), Matt Grottkau (Washington University), and special guest Dr. Cutler Cleveland: Professor of Earth & Environment at Boston University and Associate Director of the BU Institute for Sustainable Energy.
50:31
April 24, 2020