Tag Archives: climate change

Ep. 36 – Rebecca Giggs on the world in the whale



In 2013, a sperm whale washed up dead on Spain’s southern coast. In its ruptured digestive tract, scientists found an entire flattened greenhouse that once grew wintertime tomatoes, complete with plastic tarps, hoses, two flower pots, and a spray canister. The whale also contained an ice cream tub, mattress parts, a carafe, and a coat hanger. And that was just the obvious human refuse. Our toxic chemicals build up in whale blubber over years such that the concentration of pollutants in some whale bodies now far exceeds that of the water surrounding them. In whales’ vastness, the reach of humanity’s destruction is magnified — but so too is the potential of our compassion. In her genius debut book, Fathoms: The World in the Whale, writer Rebecca Giggs asks: Who are we to whales? What does it mean to pollute not just places, but animals? What can understanding our ecological crises through the perspectives of other creatures teach us about ourselves? In this episode, we speak with Giggs about the astonishing ways in which whales and humans live in each other’s wakes and the enormous power of the world’s largest mammals to expand our own moral capacity.


Ep. 34 – Daniel Pauly on why overfishing is a Ponzi scheme



Born in Paris to an African-American GI and a French woman at the end of World War II, Dr. Daniel Pauly rose from a difficult and extraordinarily unusual childhood in Europe to become one of the most daring, productive, and influential fisheries scientists in the history of the field — and the first to illuminate the global extent and significance of overfishing. A professor and principal investigator of the Sea Around Us Project at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Pauly has devoted his career to studying and documenting the impact of fisheries on marine ecosystems and advocating for cutting-edge policies to address it. The software, scientific tools, and methods he and his research team developed have transformed understanding of how humans are impacting oceans. His research makes very clear that fish are in global peril — and so, in turn, are we. If our species manages to reverse course and avoid the “watery horror show,” as he calls it, for which we’re on track, it will be thanks in large part to his and his colleagues’ vision, courage, and decades of tireless work. In this episode, we speak with Dr. Pauly about the “toxic triad” that characterizes modern fisheries (catches are underreported, science is ignored, and the environment is blamed when fish populations collapse as a result), how “shifting baseline syndrome” — a term he coined — results in slow and inadequate responses to overfishing and climate change, why fish are shrinking and struggling to breathe as oceans warm, and why we need to end high seas fishing and government subsidies of international fishing fleets.


Ep. 33 – Valérie Courtois on Indigenous-led land and wildlife stewardship



As wildlife across Canada face unprecedented pressures from climate change and industrial development, Indigenous Peoples, who have relied upon and managed these animals for millennia, are leading the way on ensuring their protection. From Newfoundland and Labrador to the Yukon Territory, groundbreaking Indigenous-led protection initiatives are ensuring Canada’s treasured species like the boreal caribou and globally important landscapes are safeguarded for future generations. In this episode, we speak with Indigenous Leadership Initiative (ILI) founder and director Valérie Courtois, an Innu forester who is a leading advocate for Indigenous-run guardianship and land protection across Canada. Courtois discusses the remarkable efforts of seven First Nations to pull caribou in the Ungava Peninsula back from the brink and her work empowering Indigenous peoples to manage and protect their ancestral lands.


Ep. 32 – Gene Baur on changing hearts, minds and laws about farm animals



Amid the systematic cruelties and alienating conditions which define our factory farm system, Farm Sanctuary stands out as an exemplar of human kindness. Over the past thirty years, Farm Sanctuary — co-founded and led by our guest, Gene Baur — has rescued thousands of farm animals from short, tortured lives in industrial confinement and allowed them to live out their days in comfort. There, these rescued cows, pigs, sheep and more serve as ambassadors, teaching millions of people — from schoolchildren to Hollywood stars — that farm animals are individuals with personalities and emotions and deserve to be treated as more than just widgets on an assembly line. In this episode, we speak with Baur about the origins and evolution of Farm Sanctuary, how animals who have suffered transform when they are treated with gentleness for the first time, and the globe wave of farm animal sanctuaries that his work inspired. From spur-of-the-moment calf rescues with celebrity supporters like Joaquin Phoenix to lawsuits against companies and government agencies, Baur has fought tirelessly to protect farm animals from cruelty and to promote a more compassionate world.


Ep. 31 – Zak Smith on ending the international wildlife trade



The repercussions of the international wildlife trade, which is a primary driver of our planet’s biodiversity crisis, have recently hit close to home. With the society-altering impacts of Covid-19, which scientists think originated in wild animals, and the cultural storm around the Netflix hit “Tiger King,” the true cost of the wildlife trade and the U.S.’s role in driving it have become topics of national concern. In this episode, we speak with Natural Resources Defense Council Senior Attorney Zak Smith, who has fought for years to protect at-risk wildlife from exploitation. Smith discusses his work leveraging international, federal, and state and local mechanisms to safeguard some of our planet’s most iconic species — such as vaquitas, giraffes, and elephants — and his vision for a more sustainable, equitable world.


Ep. 30 – Sonia Shah on how animal microbes become human pandemics



Roughly two-thirds of emerging infectious diseases — including COVID-19 and almost all recent epidemics — originate in the bodies of animals. Microbes have spilled over from animals to humans for time immemorial, but, as our species dominates the biosphere and transforms the frequency and nature of human-animal interactions, the rate at which microbes are jumping the species barrier is rapidly accelerating. In this episode, we speak with investigative journalist Sonia Shah, author of “Pandemic: Tracking Contagions from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond,” about the history of viral infections and how our treatment of animals and the planet — via the burning of fossil fuels, biodiversity loss, deforestation, factory farming, the wildlife trade, and more — is fueling the eruption and spread of infectious diseases.


Ep. 28 – Bathsheba Demuth on capitalism, communism and arctic ecology



In her acclaimed first book, “Floating Coast,” historian Bathsheba Demuth explores how capitalism, communism and ecology have clashed for over 150 years in the remote region of Beringia, the Arctic lands and waters stretching between Russia and Canada. Demuth trekked through the landscape and historical archives in search of answers to questions such as: How did whales become known through the labor of their killing? What happened when human ideas of “progress” were subject to the pressures of arctic life? Why did the superpowers’ grand attempts to cultivate a reindeer farming industry fail? In this episode, we speak with Demuth about these questions and about how creatures like bowheads whales were understood, imagined, and treated vastly differently by three distinct groups of hunters over the past two centuries — indigenous Yupik and Inupiaq whalers, capitalist whalers, and communist whalers — and the fundamental role animals themselves played in how its history unfolded.


Bren Smith: Eat Like A Fish



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Happy New Year! Enjoy our first episode of the next decade with ocean farmer and longtime YSFP friend, Bren Smith. We feature his new book, Eat Like A Fish: My Life as a Fisherman Turned Restorative Ocean Farmer.

What does it take to build an economy for ocean farming? Training and empowering a new generation of growers, from veterans to indigenous communities. Developing recipes for sea-grown vegetables (barbecue kelp is delicious!). Creating jobs beyond growing, but in processing, research, and other new products, like seaweed-based bioplastics. Collaborating with investors to build better models for social impact.

These projects, and many more, have been part of Bren’s journey in advocating for ocean farming worldwide. Eat Like A Fish moves beyond his moving personal story and the arcs of global seaweed history and even climate change. It tells the journey of resilience: how we all work together to help people and planet thrive.

about us:

website: https://www.sustainablefood.yale.edu/chewing-the-fat-podcast

facebook: @yalesustainablefoodprogram

twitter: @ysfp

instagram: @ysfp

Chewing the Fat is a podcast from the Yale Sustainable Food Program. We cover people making change in the complex world of food and agriculture. We’re home to brilliant minds: activists, academics, chefs, entrepreneurs, farmers, journalists, policymakers, and scientists (to name a few!). Taken together, their work represents a reimagining of mainstream food movements, challenging myths and tropes as well as inspiring new ways of collaborating.

The podcast is an aural accompaniment to our on-campus Chewing the Fat speaker series, aiming to broaden our content beyond New Haven. Episodes are released every two weeks, featuring interviews, storytelling and more.

On the farm, in the classroom, and around the world, the Yale Sustainable Food Program (YSFP) grows food-literate leaders. We create opportunities for students to experience food, agriculture, and sustainability as integral parts of their education and everyday lives. For more information, please visit sustainablefood.yale.edu.


Elizabeth Hoover: From Garden Warriors to Good Seeds



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Native peoples in the United States are sustaining and revitalizing their unique relationships to food, land, and more broadly, their own cultures. But how have tribes learned from one another and built broader coalitions? Brown University Professor Elizabeth Hoover has traveled across the U.S. to document these efforts, interviewing indigenous growers, seed-keepers, chefs, and many others committed to indigenous food sovereignty. Besides framing their conversations around terms like “seed rematriation” and “indigenizing”, Elizabeth takes us on a journey to understand how Native communities protect their ways of life from colonization, corporate exploitation, and climate change.

Elizabeth Hoover is the Manning Professor of American Studies at Brown University. She studies environmental justice and health in Native American communities, and is the author of several journal articles; her first book was “The River is in Us; Fighting Toxics in a Mohawk Community.” She is also a published photographer, with work appearing in cookbooks like “The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen”. To learn more about her work, follow @LizHoover on Instagram and @bluefancyshawl on Twitter. Her website is gardenwarriorsgoodseeds.com.

Indigenous Food Sovereignty in the United States: Cultural Knowledge, Protecting Environments, and Regaining Health” is available today. “From Garden Warriors to Good Seeds: Indigenizing the Local Food Movement” is forthcoming.

about us:

website: https://www.sustainablefood.yale.edu/chewing-the-fat-podcast

facebook: @yalesustainablefoodprogram

twitter: @ysfp

instagram: @ysfp

Chewing the Fat is a podcast from the Yale Sustainable Food Program. We cover people making change in the complex world of food and agriculture. We’re home to brilliant minds: activists, academics, chefs, entrepreneurs, farmers, journalists, policymakers, and scientists (to name a few!). Taken together, their work represents a reimagining of mainstream food movements, challenging myths and tropes as well as inspiring new ways of collaborating.

The podcast is an aural accompaniment to our on-campus Chewing the Fat speaker series, aiming to broaden our content beyond New Haven. Episodes are released every two weeks, featuring interviews, storytelling and more.

On the farm, in the classroom, and around the world, the Yale Sustainable Food Program (YSFP) grows food-literate leaders. We create opportunities for students to experience food, agriculture, and sustainability as integral parts of their education and everyday lives. For more information, please visit sustainablefood.yale.edu.


Ep. 25 – Doug Kysar and Jon Lovvorn on law in the Anthropocene



Professors Doug Kysar and Jonathan Lovvorn are the Faculty Co-Directors of the Law, Ethics & Animals Program (LEAP) at Yale Law School. Launched in fall 2019, LEAP is a multidisciplinary “think-and-do” tank dedicated to empowering Yale scholars and students to produce positive legal and political change for animals, people and the environment upon which they depend.

Kysar is Deputy Dean and Joseph M. Field ’55 Professor of Law at Yale Law School, and a leading scholar in the fields of environmental law, torts, climate change, products liability, and risk regulation. In addition to his roles at Yale Law School, Lovvorn is Chief Counsel and Senior Vice President for Animal Protection Litigation at the Humane Society of the United States, where he built and manages the nation’s largest animal protection litigation program.

In this episode, Kysar and Lovvorn speak about how animal law, industrialized cruelty, and climate change are inextricably entwined; why advocates and academics must focus on “animal destruction” laws in addition to “animal protection” laws; the deep questions animals raise about our country’s larger legal structure; and the profundity of the Monsters of Folk song, “The Right Place.”