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Playlist: Science

Compiled By: Jeff Conner

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Big Picture Science (Series)

Produced by Big Picture Science

Most recent piece in this series:

Animals Like Us

From Big Picture Science | Part of the Big Picture Science series | 54:00


Laughing rats, sorrowful elephants, joyful chimpanzees.  The more carefully we observe, and the more we learn about animals, the closer their emotional lives appear to resemble our own.  Most would agree that we should minimize the physical suffering of animals, but should we give equal consideration to their emotional stress?  Bioethicist Peter Singer weighs in. Meanwhile, captivity that may be ethical: How human-elephant teamwork in Asia may help protect an endangered species.


Sidedoor (Series)

Produced by Smithsonian

Most recent piece in this series:

The Feather Detective

From Smithsonian | Part of the Sidedoor series | 27:16

Side_door_logo_640x640_small In 1960, investigators found dark bits of feather stuck inside a crashed airplane's engines. They needed someone to figure out what bird they belonged to—and how that bird took down a 110,000-pound plane. Enter Roxie Laybourne, a Smithsonian bird expert who not only answered that question, but also invented the science of using feathers to solve bird-related mysteries. This time on Sidedoor, we revisit some of Roxie's greatest cases and learn how she and her team helped keep the friendly skies friendly for both birds and people.

Planetary Radio (Series)

Produced by Mat Kaplan

Most recent piece in this series:

The News From Saturn-With Linda Spilker

From Mat Kaplan | Part of the Planetary Radio series | 28:50

Daphnis_shapes_the_ring_at_saturn_small_small It has been many months since the great Cassini spacecraft plunged into Saturn’s atmosphere and fiery death.  Yet the mission lives on as the reams of data and images reveal much more of this beautiful world, its rings and its moons.  Project Scientist Linda Spilker is back with Mat to provide a fascinating update. We close with Bruce Betts and and a What’s Up segment that anticipates the mission of LightSail 2. Learn more about all of this week’s topics at:  http://www.planetary.org/multimedia/planetary-radio/show/2019/0626-2019-cassini-update-spilker.html

Climate One (Series)

Produced by Climate One

Most recent piece in this series:

2019-06-21 Can a Circular Economy Salvage the Climate?

From Climate One | Part of the Climate One series | 58:55



Host: Greg Dalton

John Lanier, co-author, “Mid-Course Correction Revisited: The Story and Legacy of a Radical Industrialist and his Quest for Authentic Change” (Chelsea Green, 2019)
Beth Rattner, executive director, Biomimicry Institute
Peter Templeton, president and CEO, Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Institute
Mike Sangiacomo, president and CEO, Recology       

Produce, consume, discard; we all know the routine. Raw materials are extracted, produced into goods, and used -- sometimes only once -- before turning into waste. And maybe we think that recycling that Starbucks cup or Smartwater bottle is the best we can do for the planet. But that’s only one part of the story. Now, innovative companies are “going circular” by transforming how their products are designed, used, and remade. Can a circular economy salvage the climate and save the planet?

This program was recorded in front of a live audience at The Commonwealth Club of San Francisco on May 7, 2019


Produce, consume, discard; we all know the routine. Raw materials are extracted, produced into goods, and used -- sometimes only once -- before turning into waste. And maybe we think that recycling that Starbucks cup or Smartwater bottle is the best we can do for the planet. But that’s the wrong way to think about it, says John Lanier of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation.

“Recycling is not the answer or the solution to advancing the circular economy,” Lanier asserts.  It's an answer, but actually one of the weakest ones. It’s what we should do as a last result before we throw something in a landfill.”

Like his grandfather Ray Anderson, a pioneer in corporate sustainability, Lanier advocates for a mindset in which products are designed and manufactured with a focus on permanence, rather than disposability.

“In this vision for the future we become owners of things…not consumers of them,” Lanier explains. “That’s a big and radical shift.”

Rethinking our manufacturing methods and energy resources is another key element, says Beth Rattner of the Biomimicry Institute. “When we start talking about pulling carbon out of the air, taking it from source emitters, pulling methane off of farms and creating new kinds of stuff, new kinds of plastic…that’s the recycling story we should be telling.”

Finding ways to imitate nature’s most efficient methods, such as structural color, is an exciting new development in product design.

“Imagine if everything we made was functionally indistinguishable from nature,” Rattner says. “That's the goal.

“Because when you walk into a forest, that whole forest is working toward a single common good, which is the protection of the forest; that is its survival strategy.” 

And as more and more corporations and consumers embrace the concept of a “circular economy,” it may turn out to be ours as well.



Ray C. Anderson Foundation
Biomimicry Institute
Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute
Nathaniel Stookey's Junkestra: A Symphony of Garbage | The Kennedy Center (Youtube)
The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability (Paul Hawken)


Sound Ecology (Series)

Produced by Jessica Eden

Most recent piece in this series:

Sound Ecology: Northern Harrier

From Jessica Eden | Part of the Sound Ecology series | 01:59

Sound_ecology_logo_small An audio postcard featuring the northern harrier. Formerly called a marsh hawk, naturalist Ken Burton shares some life history about this easily identified raptor.

Got Science? (Series)

Produced by Got Science

Most recent piece in this series:

Building a More Resilient Puerto Rico with Clean Energy

From Got Science | Part of the Got Science? series | 28:30


In this episode Yanel and Ramón talk about:

  • What resiliency means, and how to explain it to difference audiences
  • ResilientSEE and its work for Puerto Rico
  • Changing the process of transparency and accountability to build stronger communities