Episodes
Stunning Indigenous resistance to the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access pipelines has made global headlines in recent years. Less remarked on are the crucial populist movements that have also played a vital role in pipeline resistance. Kai Bosworth explores the influence of populism on environmentalist politics, which sought to bring together Indigenous water protectors and environmental activists along with farmers and ranchers in opposition to pipeline construction. Here Bosworth argues...
Published 05/16/22
Tonlé Sap is one of Southeast Asia’s, if not one of the world’s, natural wonders. Between the dry and wet seasons, the lake expands almost six times in size to cover an area the size of Kuwait. The flows are so strong that the Tonlé Sap river actually reverses course, with water from the lake flowing into the Mekong river. And that means the lake is one of the most biodiverse in the world, with fish populations that have sustained fishing communities for generations. But the lake is currently...
Published 05/12/22
When and why does international order change? The largest peaceful transfer of wealth across borders in all of human history began with the oil crisis of 1973. OPEC countries turned the tables on the most powerful businesses on the planet, quadrupling the price of oil and shifting the global distribution of profits. It represented a huge shift in international order. Yet, the textbook explanation for how world politics works-that the most powerful country sets up and sustains the rules of...
Published 05/10/22
In today's NBN Environmental Studies interview, dancer, performer, and literary scholar Dr. Taylor Eggan joins us to speak about his new book Unsettling Nature: Ecology, Phenomenology, and Settler Colonial Imagination (University of Virginia Press, 2022). A text best described as an intellectual bestiary using environmental philosophy, literary theory, settler colonial studies, decolonial theory, and speculative realism, Unsettling Nature addresses logics embedded with ecological homecoming...
Published 05/09/22
As the turmoil of interlinked crises unfolds across the world—from climate change to growing inequality to the rise of authoritarian governments—social scientists examine what is happening and why. Can communities devise alternatives to the systems that are doing so much harm to the planet and people? Sociologists Stephanie A. Malin and Meghan Elizabeth Kallman offer a clear, accessible volume that demonstrates the ways that communities adapt in the face of crises and explains that sociology...
Published 05/05/22
In this Pandemic Perspectives Podcast, Ideas Roadshow founder and host Howard Burton talks to bestselling author and University of Oxford law professor Charles Foster on how the coronavirus pandemic reveals how so many of us—including so many scientists—have replaced rigorous scientific skepticism with an alarming cult of "scientism." Ideas Roadshow's Pandemic Perspectives Project consists of three distinct, reinforcing elements: a documentary film (Pandemic Perspectives), book (Pandemic...
Published 05/04/22
Jo Guldi tells the story of a global struggle to bring food, water, and shelter to all. Land is shown to be a central motor of politics in the twentieth century: the basis of movements for giving reparations to formerly colonized people, protests to limit the rent paid by urban tenants, intellectual battles among development analysts, and the capture of land by squatters taking matters into their own hands. The book describes the results of state-engineered “land reform” policies beginning in...
Published 05/03/22
In 1997 sixty-two containers fell off the cargo ship Tokio Express after it was hit by a rogue wave off the coast of Cornwall, including one container filled with nearly five million pieces of Lego, much of it sea themed. In the months that followed, beachcombers started to find Lego washed up on beaches across the south west coast. Among the pieces they discovered were octopuses, sea grass, spear guns, life rafts, scuba tanks, cutlasses, flippers and dragons. The pieces are still washing up...
Published 04/29/22
Ice caps are melting, seas are rising, and densely populated cities worldwide are threatened by floodwaters, especially in Southeast Asia. Building on Borrowed Time is a relevant and powerful ethnography of how people in Semarang, Indonesia, on the north coast of Java, are dealing with this existential challenge driven by global warming. In addition to antiflooding infrastructure breaking down, vast areas of cities like Semarang and Jakarta are rapidly sinking, affecting the very foundations...
Published 04/29/22
The investment industry is fast approaching a point where one-third of global assets under management are invested with a sustainable objective. But do sustainable investment products do what investors expect them to do? How can an investor tell if their investments are having the social impact they want? Does that impact come at a financial cost? And how can investors weave their way through the web of confusing acronyms, conflicting agency ratings, and the mass of fund offerings, confident...
Published 04/28/22
In Planetary Longings (Duke UP, 2022), eminent cultural theorist Mary Louise Pratt posits that the last decade of the twentieth century and the first decades of the twenty-first mark a turning point in the human and planetary condition. Examining the forces of modernity, neoliberalism, coloniality, and indigeneity in their pre- and postmillennial forms, Pratt reflects on the crisis of futurity that accompanies the millennial turn in relation to environmental disaster and to the new forms of...
Published 04/27/22
Rivers of the Sultan offers a history of the Ottoman Empire's management of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the early modern period. During the early sixteenth century, a radical political realignment in West Asia placed the reins of the Tigris and Euphrates in the hands of Istanbul. The political unification of the longest rivers in West Asia allowed the Ottoman state to rebalance the natural resource disparity along its eastern frontier. It regularly organized the shipment of grain,...
Published 04/22/22
In No Standard Oil: Managing Abundant Petroleum in a Warming World (Oxford University Press, 2021), Deborah Gordon shows that no two oils or gases are environmentally alike. Each has a distinct, quantifiable climate impact. While all oils and gases pollute, some are much worse for the climate than others. In clear, accessible language, Gordon explains the results of the Oil Climate Index Plus Gas (OCI+), an innovative, open-source model that estimates global oil and gas emissions. Gordon...
Published 04/19/22
In 2020, COVID-19, the Australia bushfires, and other global threats served as vivid reminders that human and nonhuman fates are increasingly linked. Human use of nonhuman animals contributes to pandemics, climate change, and other global threats which, in turn, contribute to biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse, and nonhuman suffering. Jeff Sebo argues that humans have a moral responsibility to include animals in global health and environmental policy. In particular, we should reduce our...
Published 04/18/22
In the past few years, youth-led groups such as the Fridays for Future school strike movement have changed the face of climate activism globally. In this interview, Malaysian youth climate advocate Farhana Shukor talks about her experience working on climate change issues in her native country as well as at the international stage as an observer at the COP26 climate conference in November 2021. Farhana discusses the significance of loss and damage in the Malaysian context, her wishes for...
Published 04/18/22
In Black Earth, White Bread: A Technopolitical History of Russian Agriculture and Food (University of Wisconsin Press, 2022), Dr. Susanne A. Wengle shows how agrotechnology served—and undermined—Soviet and Russian political projects. “The book emphasises a tight connection between political change, technological change in food systems, and the transformation of everyday lives - a connection that we can grasp and understand through the lens of technopolitics.” Like all facets of daily life,...
Published 04/15/22
Time cannot be measured in so many coffee spoons, or that is what editors, Dr. Bethany Wiggin, Dr. Carolyn Fornoff, and Dr. Patricia Eunji Kim argue in Timescales: Thinking Across Ecological Temporalities (U Minnesota Press, 2020) Bearing the marks of radical hope and constructive pessimism, Timescales resembles something-like a twenty-first century manifesto. By Writing, righting, and rioting across pages and disciplines, Timescales enters an entangled plurality of temporal streams with...
Published 04/13/22
John Linstrom talks about the ecosphere, a way of understanding the world deriving principally from the work of ecologist and philosopher Stan Rowe. We also refer briefly to James Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis, crown shyness in trees, Aldo Leopold’s idea of a ‘land community’, Wendell Berry’s The Way of Ignorance and knowledge humility. John Linstrom is a 7th year Ph.D. Candidate at the Department of English, New York University., and series editor of The Liberty Hyde Bailey Library for the...
Published 04/13/22
Environmental restoration is a global pursuit and a major political concern. Governments, nonprofits, private corporations, and other institutions spend billions of dollars each year to remove invasive species, build wetlands, and reintroduce species driven from their habitats. But restoration has not always been so intensively practiced. It began as the pastime of a few wildflower enthusiasts and the first practitioners of the new scientific discipline of ecology. Restoration has been a...
Published 04/13/22
In this Pandemic Perspectives Podcast, Ideas Roadshow founder and host Howard Burton talks to renowned University of Cambridge political theorist John Dunn about what the COVID-19 pandemic reveals about our alarming low levels of collective political judgement. Ideas Roadshow's Pandemic Perspectives Project consists of three distinct, reinforcing elements: a documentary film (Pandemic Perspectives), book (Pandemic Perspectives: A filmmaker's journey in 10 essays) and a series of 24 detailed...
Published 04/13/22
In this Pandemic Perspectives Podcast, Ideas Roadshow founder and host Howard Burton talks to Andy Hoffman, the dynamic and innovative business professor at the University of Michigan, about what the pandemic has brought to light to effectively address our many pressing global problems. Ideas Roadshow's Pandemic Perspectives Project consists of three distinct, reinforcing elements: a documentary film (Pandemic Perspectives), book (Pandemic Perspectives: A filmmaker's journey in 10 essays) and...
Published 04/06/22
As modern empires rise and fall, ancient Rome becomes ever more significant. We yearn for Rome's power but fear Rome's ruin--will we turn out like the Romans, we wonder, or can we escape their fate? That question has obsessed centuries of historians and leaders, who have explored diverse political, religious, and economic forces to explain Roman decline. Yet the decisive factor remains elusive. In New Rome: The Empire in the East (Harvard UP, 2022), Paul Stephenson looks beyond traditional...
Published 04/06/22
When Hurricanes Irma and María made landfall in Puerto Rico in September 2017, their destructive force further devastated an archipelago already pommeled by economic austerity, political upheaval, and environmental calamities. To navigate these ongoing multiple crises, Afro-Puerto Rican women have drawn from their cultural knowledge to engage in daily improvisations that enable their communities to survive and thrive. Their life-affirming practices, developed and passed down through...
Published 04/05/22
“An atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership,” is how UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the IPCC report published in February 2022. But what did the report have to say about climate impacts, adaptation and vulnerability in Southeast Asian cities? What are the greatest climate risks for the region and where are we in terms of adapting to them? And why are the concepts of maladaptation and climate resilient development important as we focus...
Published 04/04/22
As much of daily life migrates online, broadband—high-speed internet connectivity—has become a necessity. The widespread lack of broadband in rural America has created a stark urban–rural digital divide. In Farm Fresh Broadband: The Politics of Rural Connectivity (MIT Press, 2021), Dr. Christopher Ali analyzes the promise and the failure of national rural broadband policy in the United States and proposes a new national broadband plan. He examines how broadband policies are enacted and...
Published 03/29/22