The Power is Yours! Popular Environmental Narratives and the Legacy of Captain Planet

This week we took a break from the exciting-but-heavy subject matter that has occupied the It’s Hot in Here crew as of late, in order to mull-over the legacy of Captain Planet–perhaps the most recognizable environmentally-themed character of the 21st century, the product of a children’s television show no less!

Gaia - Captain Planet Dunkin Donuts Card (Photographed by Mark Anderson)
Gaia – Captain Planet Dunkin Donuts Card (Photo by Mark Anderson)

Although the show ceased production in the mid-90s, our blue-skinned, green-haired hero still pops-up at Halloween parties and climate rallies to this day.  What should we make of Captain Planet’s legacy?  Is the show just a cheesy relic from the heyday of Saturday morning cartoons or can it also offer us a meaningful glimpse of popular environmentalism’s past and present?

To this end, we sat down with three environmental thinkers to ponder clips from the show: Continue reading The Power is Yours! Popular Environmental Narratives and the Legacy of Captain Planet

Financing Biodiversity Conservation: The Case of the Bird’s Head Seascape

This week’s broadcast debuts a new partnership between IHIH and Michigan Sustainability Cases (MSC), a new case-based learning platform which integrates podcasts into sustainability curriculum. Hosts Katie Browne and Andrea Kraus first speak with Laure Katz of Conservation International about her role managing the transition of the Bird’s Head Seascape, from donor-supported to fully financially self-sustaining — in four short years. Suffice to say the demands of such a challenge live little time for sleep.

We are then joined in studio by Peter Pellitier, a student of both coral and soil, who conducted research in Papua New Guinea and the Coral Triangle a year ago. Peter speaks to the importance of protecting marine biodiversity, as a foundation of livelihoods and buffer against climate change, and the difficulty of sustaining homegrown conservation initiative. Continue reading Financing Biodiversity Conservation: The Case of the Bird’s Head Seascape

Craig Packer: Real Price Tags for Wild Lion Prides

This week’s It’s Hot Out There brings Craig Packer, conservation ecologist and professor at the University of Minnesota, into our den. Though given his expertise on lions, this segment may be better characterized as within his den and not ours. We caught up with Craig on his visit to the School of Natural Resources and Environment, where he discussed the keys behind conservation ecology in Africa.

Continue reading Craig Packer: Real Price Tags for Wild Lion Prides

Last Animals, Lasting Solutions: Lions, the Last Animals, and Conservation Strategies

This week on “It’s Hot in Here,” hosts Mike Burbidge, Claire Poelking, and Katie Browne continued with the second part of the Conservation Series with an in-depth discussion of ongoing efforts to curb poaching in Africa. Inspired by the visit of reknowned conservationist Craig Packer to the University of Michigan, we spoke with photojournalist and documentary filmmaker Kate Brooks about her first-hand experience at the epicenter of poaching, as well as with Drew Cronin, a researcher exploring how bushmeat off-take is affecting the abundance of primates in Equatorial Guinea. Continue reading Last Animals, Lasting Solutions: Lions, the Last Animals, and Conservation Strategies

Aaron Mair’s Hope for Climate Justice

This segment of It’s Hot Out There features Aaron Mair, the President of the Sierra Club. Aaron visited the School of Natural Resources and Environment  on MLK Day as a part of the university-wide celebration of the late, great Martin Luther King, Jr. Our exclusive interview with him complements our show on “Diversity in Environmental Organizations” as his election on May 16, 2015 to the post of President of the Sierra Club marks a first for an African American in the history of that organization.

Continue reading Aaron Mair’s Hope for Climate Justice

Diversity Matters: The State of the Environmental Movement

This week, in honor of Martin Luther King Day, “It’s Hot in Here” brings you in-depth discussion of the state of diversity in the environmental movement and the University of Michigan. We kicked off the show with a brief review of the findings of the recently released report, “The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations: Mainstream NGOs, Foundations, and Government Agencies,” spearheaded by Dr. Dorceta Taylor (SNRE) and the Green 2.0 Working Group.

Guests Beatriz Canas and Samantha Shattuck talk us through the implications of the report’s conclusion that, despite increasing racial diversity in the US, minorities remain underrepresented across the spectrum of environmental organizations. As a result, diversity tends to decrease as responsibility increases, with the “Green Insiders Club” remaining overwhelmingly white. Continue reading Diversity Matters: The State of the Environmental Movement

Capturing “The Last Animals” with Kate Brooks

This week’s It’s Hot Out There segment features Kate Brooks. We reached her in Geneva, at the CITES (or Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) meetings, where she is shooting a final for her film on wildlife poaching (a topic we talked about on last Friday’s episode Its Hot in Here). Talking to kate brings back memories for Rebecca:  

We are sitting in the Sweetwaters Cafe on Ashley one winter afternoon in 2013, watching fat snowflakes fall on the wreaths outside Ann Arbor’s Downtown Home and Garden. Kate Brooks is missing her apartment in Beirut, and nursing a cold in the Michigan winter. She wraps her hands tighter around a hot mug of tea and lets loose these words: “I don’t know, this title just came to me last night: The Last Animals. I love it because–listen to this–here is the definition of animalis..it is having the breath of life or life force….We are literally destroying the most ancient life force on the planet with this wave of poaching and I think I could make either a series or a feature length documentary about it. Will you help me?”

Continue reading Capturing “The Last Animals” with Kate Brooks

Militarization of Conservation: Narratives of Poaching

In this week’s broadcast, we dive into a complicated and contentious issue, discussing the increasing militarization of conservation and anti-poaching efforts on the African continent, especially as they relate to broader anti-terrorism agendas.

Host Katie Browne, accompanied by first time co-hosts Mike Burbidge and Claire Poelking, introduce this week’s topic with discussion of the new Global Anti-Poaching Act (H.R.2494), currently under debate in the US Senate, which calls for support of anti-poaching efforts, strengthening of partner country capacity to counter wildlife trafficking, and designation of major wildlife trafficking countries. Continue reading Militarization of Conservation: Narratives of Poaching

The Greening of Social Work

This week’s environmental news, views, and grooves bring hosts Rebecca Hardin and Emily Durand to the world of social work. Through their discussions with Dr. Lucy Lawrence, professor of social work at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC, our hosts delve deep into the environmental movements happening in the field.

Here is a little background on the field of social work: it seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through direct interaction. Also, individuals in this field strive to ensure social IMG_2688welfare and security for those affected by social disadvantages such as poverty or disabilities.  This week’s show runner Emily Durand, pictured, has first hand experience in this area of study and the field of environmental justice.

Continue reading The Greening of Social Work