Conserving the world’s primates: A conversation with Andrew Marshall and Julie Jarvey


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 and Ben 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!

Food and Power: A Conversation With Phil Howard

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!

One of Phil Howard's infographics on corporate power in the food industry. This one is on the soft drink industry, and Malavika and Chris discuss it on air on this week's show! For more information like this, check out his website
One of Phil Howard’s infographics on corporate power in the food industry. This one is on the soft drink industry, and Malavika and Chris discuss it on air on this week’s show! For more information like this, check out his website

Advancing Sustainability in the Trump Era: A Discussion

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.


The Women’s March

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!

Woman Power

Cover photo taken by James Bourland at the Women’s March in Chicago

Transportation’s Future: Multi-Modal, IT-Enabled

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.

Standing Rock, Part 3

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.


Divest and Invest

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!

Standing Rock, Part Two

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!

COP 22 In Marrakech

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

Standing Rock- Part One

In the first of our three-part series on the Standing Rock protests we invited two Native American activists and graduate students from the University of Michigan, John Petoskey, JD candidate and Katherine Crocker, PhD candidate to join hosts Malavika Sahai and Chris Askew-Merwin to have a discussion on the evolution of the protest and its place in the larger scope of indigenous rights. Listen and learn about the injustices caused by the Dakota Access Pipeline but also about the threats posed closer to home by Line 5, an oil pipeline that cuts through the Straits of Mackinac. This show explores the legal framework behind Native American protests as well as a fascinating discussion on the responsibility of STEM academics to engage in political and ethical activism. Tune in also for the fantastic music from Native American artists such as Ojibwe rapper Thomas X, Ojibwe / Anishinaabe & Xicano emcee Sacramento Knoxx, and Cree rapper Drezus among others. We hope you enjoy the show and tune in later this month as we put out parts two and three.