David Pellow has long been defining and then turning around and redefining work on environmental injustices. Pellow himself struggled and worked to get through college, attending multiple universities, but by the time he hit his stride as a young scholar it was clear he would shape fields. His first project led to the book Garbage Wars, and targeted occupational and community health hazards of waste processing in Chicago, tracing the trouble with first dumps, then incineration, and even recycling. For a generation of environmentalists who will no longer face the choice between problems and solutions, but rather will have to face the problems WITH the solutions, David’s work is a road map.That map leads us not only into the lives of those working in the waste processing plants of Chicago, but also into those of workers in Silicon Valley where Pellow himself worked briefly. His books tackling this topic include both The Silicon Valley of Dreams and the later work Challenging the Chip. They point to the challenge of making corporations truly accountable for the human damage created in electronic capitalism. But they also reveal the creativity and resilience of activist networks and the advocates, attorneys, journalists, and researchers who support them.
Documenting exposure to harm is a strong pillar of environmental justice scholarship, but Pellow has also followed the lead of our own Dr. Dorceta Taylor in building out how the environmental justice framework relates to conservation and landscape. His book The Slums of Aspen with Lisa Sun-Hee Park describes the ways that immigrant labor is embedded in ski resort aesthetics and services, but also blamed by patrons and public officials for environmental damage.
Chris Askew Merwin relates these questions of environmental privilege to the violence of conservation in Tanzania’s game parks, where residents are displaced for tourism. That makes Malavika’s riff on the Cold Play video Paradise, seem all the more relevant. With lyrics about gender inequality, and images of animal captivity and escape, the song begs the question: can you sing along with “intersectionality?”
If not, just say Total Liberation, the title of one of Pellow’s latest books on the animal rights movement as it blends advocacy for and value of animal life with visions of human freedoms from corporate domination or state repression. You might recall our recent convo on Trump Era Work on Climate Change , where we debate the power of single issue campaigns versus the imperatives of intersectional causes. Let’s face it, most of us don’t lead single issue lives. And no matter how we think about it, there is a lot of work to do. Thanks, Dr. Pellow, for showing us how it gets DONE.
In January, over 30 authors published a new report on the status of the world’s primates. The title gave a bleak prognosis: “Impending extinction crisis of the world’s primates.” This week, co-hosts Chris Askew-Merwin andBen Finkel ask why primates matter and how we can preserve them. We sat down in the studio with two Michigan primatologists and conservationists: Dr. Andrew Marshall, professor in the anthropology, Program in the Environment, and School of Natural Resource and Environment, and Julie Jarvey, member of the Gelada Research Project based here at the University of Michigan.
Our conversation delves into the unique role primates play in our understanding of tropical ecology. Marshall shares with us lessons learned in his research including a new edited volume: An Introduction to Primate Conservation, as wells a work in Gunung Palung National Park, Indonesia. Jarvey fills us in on what’s happening with a unique primate population on the other side of the world: the gelada monkeys of the Ethiopian highlands.
We also talk actions and solutions, from guidelines for being a tourist visiting primate countries, to being consumers here at home. Jarvey shares with us some outreach, including the hilarious and educational Gelada Rap video.
Between telling stories on global issues and primate behavior, we play some monkey-themed tunes from the Kinks, Simon & Garfunkel, and the Rolling Stones. If you love the content we provide on It’s Hot in Here,please consider donating to WCBN during our fundraising week. There are some neat premiums being offered in exchange for donations, and it’s your support that helps us continue to bring you this show!
In this week’s episode co-hosts Chris Askew-Merwin and Malavika Sahai talk food and power, with a focus on corporate control over the food industry. This conversation is based on an interview we air between Malavika and guest Phil Howard from Michigan State University, a professor and sociologist studying food markets and food systems. He has a new book out, entitled Concentration and Power in the Food System: Who Controls What We Eat?, and is perhaps most famous for his widely-circulated infographics about concentration of ownership in the food system. They talk taking back power through consumer purchasing power and sustainable movements in pre-existing markets.
The conversation between Malavika and Phil got us thinking about a previous show we had on sustainability in the craft beer industry, from November 2015. We review a clip from the episode, A Cultural Shift to Conservation, with Kris Spaulding of Brewery Vivant in which she discusses being a LEED certified brewery and profit sharing at Brewery Vivant.
Along with these fabulous content-rich interviews, we play some groovy tunes from Weird Al Yankovic and The Beatles. If you love the content we provide on It’s Hot in Here, please consider donating to WCBN during our fundraising week. There are some pretty neat premiums being offered in exchange for donations, and it’s your support that helps us continue to bring you this show!
In this week’s episode host Chris Askew-Merwin and our newest host Audrey Pallmeyer discuss clips from the fantastic panel titled Advancing Environmental Sustainability in the Trump Era which was held on Tuesday, January 31, 2017. The panel was hosted by the U of M’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. The panel is moderated by SNRE’s interim dean, Dan Brown and includes a range of phenomenal thinkers including, Professor Joe Arvai, Professor Rosina Bierbaum, Keith Creagh, Director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Laura Rubin, Executive Director of the Huron River Watershed Council, and Professor David Uhlmann. Listen as the panelists discuss their fears regarding this new administration and explain their reasons for optimism. If you are feeling worried but don’t know what concerns are valid or if there is any reason to be even slightly optimistic then this is the show for you! For more information about the panel or the panelists click here. To listen to the full panel watch the video below.
This inauguration weekend is coupled with an act of resistance: a Women’s March on Washington with sister marches happening across the globe in solidarity with socially marginalized individuals under a Trump presidency. Traveling all the way from Ann Arbor to be a part of the action are a group of students from our own School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Michigan who were compelled to demonstrate to defend women, the environment, and environmental justice.
Making posters for the march
Our guests Sindhu Bharadwaj, Tyler Fitch, and Katie Williamson reached out to friends in the area for housing, collected their coins for transportation, and made a plan to trek to D.C. and on today’s show discuss some of the nuances of an anti-oppression vs pro-justice framework for social movements. They also critically speak about parallels between The Women’s March and Occupy Wall Street, the impact of activist art, and strategies for keeping up energy and momentum for movements. A lot to take in, including some excellent music from Sleigh Bells, Aimee Mann, and the Dixie Chicks, you won’t want to miss this episode!
Cover photo taken by James Bourland at the Women’s March in Chicago
In this week’s episode of It’s Hot in Here, your host Chris Askew-Merwin investigates the future of transportation by speaking on the phone with Sue Zielinski, Managing Director for SMART (Sustainable Mobility & Accessibility Research & Transformation) at the University of Michigan. Listen as Sue explains how transportation is moving away from a culture of individually owned cars towards a future with a diversity of choices all connected through information technologies allowing consumers like you or I, to effortlessly navigate through urban and rural areas whether by train, plane, bicycle, or car.
Sue Zielinski, Managing Director for SMART
Then enjoy a fascinating pre-recorded lecture by Sue given on Thursday, January 12, 2017 and entitled “The New World of Transportation: Connected, Multi-Modal, and Information-Technology-Enabled.” This lecture was the second part of a 6-lecture series hosted by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, a University of Michigan institute which hosts educational events for adults to continue their learning. Check out the rest of the lectures they have coming up in the link listed below. Enjoy the show and tune in next week for more environmental news, views, and grooves.
In the third part of our Standing Rock series hosts Malavika Sahai and Chris Askew-Merwin are joined in studio by returning guests John Petoskey, JD candidate, and Jens Lund, a visiting scholar from Denmark. We are also joined by Becca Lynn a University of Michigan student getting her BA in Sociology. In this segment we discuss the recent progress made at Standing Rock through the efforts of water protectors and debate whether this is major victory or just an incremental piece of progress. Becca shares first-hand experience from Standing Rock and explains how the water protectors have organized themselves and their actions. We debate the impacts that the new presidential administration may have on this struggle, how similar struggles play out in other environments, and how recent political changes are impacting the morale and resolve of the water protectors and their supporters. Tune in also for the amazing Native American and First Nations music we jam to including songs by Sacramento Knoxx, A Tribe Called Red, and Thomas X.
In this week’s episode of It’s Hot in Here, hosts Malavika Sahai and Chris Askew-Merwin are joined by Bridget Vial, an organizer for Divest and Invest at the U of M and Jens Lund, a visiting scholar from Denmark to discuss the growing movement calling for institutions, cities, and countries around the world to divest their funds from fossil fuel stocks. We also chat with Valeriya Epshteyn, another organizer from Divest and Invest who gives us a great overview of the organization and how it fits into the larger divest movement. Hear Jens talk about international efforts and listen as Bridget gives us a sneak peak at what Divest and Invest are up to in the coming semester. This is a great show. Hope you all enjoy it!
In the second installment of our conversation on Standing Rock we hear about what it’s really like to be on the ground in the camp. First, correspondent Leana Hosea speaks with water protectors at the camp who discuss police presence on the ground and morale as they continue to defend their land. We also listen to some live music from the site. Then, School of Social Work Students Anna Lemler and Maria Ibarra join hosts Chris Askew-Merwin and Malavika Sahai to discuss their experience visiting the Standing Rock camp. They delve into some of the politics of colonization, the negative impact some white activists have had on the camp, and talk about the role that non-Native demonstrators have in the Dakota Access Pipeline struggle. Anna and Maria recently visited the camp and donated supplies collected from University of Michigan students and had firsthand experience working on projects following indigenous leadership on-site. These are some personal accounts you won’t want to miss!
Tune in for an update and discussion from the first week of the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) in Marrakech, Morocco. Graduate students Ember McCoy and Ed Waisanen from the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan join hosts Malavika Sahai and Chris Askew-Merwin to discuss their perceptions and experiences on the ground at COP 22 in Marrakech. Hear how the representatives from around the world reacted to the news about the surprising presidential election. But this isn’t all doom and gloom. We delve into Ed and Ember‘s experiences as well as clips from a few interviews they conducted and find reasons to be optimistic for the future of the environmental movement and for the fight against climate change. The discussion moves between the happenings at COP 22, the election, climate finance, international relations and even a few bad puns. You sure don’t want to miss this one!
From left to right: Ed, Ember, Cameron (our wizard of a producer), Malavika, and Chris