Posts tagged “podcasts”

Planet Money, T-Shirts... and Household Energy

Planet Money recently tracked the creation of a t-shirt — from the farms of Mississippi and the yarn factories of Indonesia to garment factories in Bangladesh and in Columbia. They wrapped up with a meta-political piece about how trade deals allowed the creation of the garment industry in Bangladesh and opened the doors of the US to imported garments. The entire series is fantastic — well reported, compelling, fun, and insightful.

Household energy and cooking got a mention in the piece on Bangladesh. The story follows two sisters — Minu and Shumi — who move from a village to a city to work in a garment factory. Minu and Shumi cook on a gas stove that they share with neighbors near their modest one room apartment. The story then follows them to their parents’ home in a village a few hours away.

Their mom cooks in the back room. The difference between her life and her daughters’ lives is very clear. No gas burners here — its a fire pit, made from mud. There are holes underneath to stick branches into and the room fills with smoke when she cooks. Minu and Shumi grew up cooking like this, with sticks instead of gas…

Shumi and Minu send money back to the village… And you can see how that’s changed things right here in the kitchen. The stove is the same as what they had growing up — but what’s inside the pot is different. It’s chicken… Factory money has paid for a new house for Shumi and Minu’s parents. The house they grew up in was made of bamboo — it leaked — this house is made of brick. It’s water-tight.

Telling - and a little surprising - that Planet Money used a gas stove as an indicator of modernity and as a way to draw contrasts between city and village life. The flow of money back to the village paid for household improvements and chicken and fish, still cooked on the traditional stove. It would be interesting to track the point at which the transition to a more efficient cooking technology occurred, if ever. What other needs are perceived as priorities over replacing the stove? How much of the issue is related to supply of liquid fuels and their costs? How much is related to the perception that wood and biomass are free? You can see a niche for clean cookstoves in there — meeting the requirements of using a ‘free’ fuel, but also using it more efficiently and more cleanly. The endless challenge will remain - finding a clean stove that people want to use - and use often.

see a whole load of stories here

Lisa Jackson on the Moth

Lisa Jackson, former EPA Administrator, tells an audience at the Moth about how she transitioned into Environmental Engineering. Great story.

Whuck: Alec Baldwin interviews Thom Yorke on Here's The Thing

This shouldn’t work, but Baldwin nails it. Listen below or read the transcript here.

Decode DC: The DecodeDC Voter Guide

An exemplary episode of Andrea Seabrook’s new, crowd-funded, political podcast. The series is outstanding — but this is the best one yet, and offers a slightly more optimistic take on the election.

Perhaps the most cockeyed voter guide you’ve ever heard, this piece intentionally avoids the big issues of this race. Instead, Andrea talks to brilliant thinkers — among them Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma), Lawrence Lessig (The Future of Ideas, One Way Forward: The Outsider’s Guide to Fixing the Republic) and Jim Wallis (Sojourners, God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It) — about what they’re thinking as they head to the voting booth.

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