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Environment & Climate Change: Can Young Americans Bridge the Gap?

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They agree the government should take action on climate change. Can young voters lead the way to common ground?

Young Americans, aged 18-29, believe that the threat from climate change is real regardless of their ideological leanings, compared to older Americans. Recent polling shows that Republican voters, born after 1980, are much more likely than older Republicans to think that government efforts to reduce climate change have been insufficient (52% vs. 31%).

In this episode, we ask: can the youngest generation of voters put aside partisan differences and agree on policies needed to protect climate and the environment as well as address the needs of business and the economy? We discuss the roles of government and business, and how to find common ground.

Our guests are Danielle Butcher, a conservative political executive and a leader of the American Conservation Coalition; and a liberal, Andrew Brennen, who is a National Geographic Explorer and Education Fellow, who co-founded the Kentucky Student Voice Team.

Andrew Brennen

Andrew Brennen is a National Geographic Explorer and Education Fellow supporting youth led movements and organizations around the globe. As a junior in high school he co-founded the Kentucky Student Voice Team, which helps to amplify and elevate students as partners in improving Kentucky schools.

Today, the Kentucky Student Voice Team consists of over 150 young people from across the Commonwealth and serves as a national model for how young people can hold educational institutions accountable. Andrew graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a bachelor’s degree in political science and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. 

Danielle Butcher

Danielle Butcher is a conservative political executive who aids organizations in developing and implementing their national strategies. Danielle currently serves as Executive Vice President of the American Conservation Coalition and on the Advisory Board of the British Conservation Alliance, where she merges her love of leadership with her passions for free-market capitalism and the environment. She is also a Visiting Fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) working on environmental and energy issues. Danielle was recently named to 2020’s Forbes 30 Under 30 list.

She has spoken at several prominent conservative events including CPAC, appeared as a frequent guest on Fox News Radio and NPR, and has had her work featured in publications such as The Times, The Hill, The Washington Examiner, VOX, and more. With her work prior to ACC, she served in leadership roles at various conservative nonprofits and organizations. Danielle attended Bethel University in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where she studied Political Science and Rhetoric Communications.

Environment and Climate: Can Business Bridge The Gap?

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Banks & businesses are betting big on sustainable investments. Can they help politicians bridge the gap on climate change?

When Joe Biden talks about the challenge of fighting climate change, he mentions jobs: not green jobs or renewable energy jobs, but “millions of good paying union jobs.”

The new administration is working to reframe the conversation about the environment at a time when many of Wall Street’s largest banks and corporations are betting big on sustainable investments — from electric cars and trucks to new kinds of renewable and carbon-free energy.

On Let’s Find Common Ground, we interview journalists Stephanie Hanes and Mark Trumbull of The Christian Science Monitor, and learn the latest on the changing landscape in the great debate over the environment and climate. Can business help politicians from both major parties bridge some of their differences? Listen to find out.

Stephanie Hanes

Stephanie Hanes is The Christian Science Monitor’s environment and climate change writer.  After covering justice for both The Concord Monitor and The Baltimore Sun newspapers, she began writing for the Monitor as a correspondent from southern Africa in the mid 2000s. There, she took particular interest in the many intersections of development, conflict, conservation and culture. Her environmental reporting in Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe and elsewhere led to her book, White Man’s Game: Saving Animals, Rebuilding Eden and other Myths of Conservation in Africa (Henry Holt/Macmillan, 2017).

From the US, Hanes has written broadly on subjects ranging from climate and the environment to education, families, food and farming. She has been an Alicia Patterson fellow and a multiple-time grant recipient from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.  She holds teaching positions at Yale University’s School of the Environment and The College of William & Mary.

Read more by Stephanie Hanes: Biden Wants to Tackle Climate Change. His Pitch is All About Jobs.

Mark Trumbull

Mark Trumbull is currently serving as The Christian Science Monitor’s economy and science editor. He has reported for the Monitor from both US coasts while maintaining ties to the Midwest where he grew up. Having majored in history during college, he’s aware that today’s linkages between economic and environmental sustainability echo age-old challenges that humans have faced before.

Mark’s reporting on climate change has included stories on shifts among Republican lawmakers, state governments, neighborhoods, and the business community. He has written about some of the “big ideas” for policy, like a carbon tax or carbon “dividends,” and the tension between environmental regulation and economic freedom. On a lighter note (or maybe heaviest of all) he’s explored how people with differing views can “talk turkey” constructively with one another – a step, perhaps, toward finding durable points of agreement.

Read more from Mark Trumbull and Stephanie Hanes: Explore The Christian Science Monitor’s Environment page.

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Bridging the Rural-Urban Divide

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Can a former urban liberal learn how to appreciate the perspective of rural conservatives?

She lived in liberal Seattle and covered science, climate change, and the environment for NPR for more than a decade. Then in 2018, journalist Ashley Ahearn made a big jump, moving with her husband to one of the most conservative counties in rural Washington State.

In this episode of Let’s Find Common Ground, we hear about the profound rural-urban divide in America, and what Ashley discovered about her new neighbors and herself when she switched from the city to the country, now living on a 20-acre property with a horse and a pickup truck. We also discuss how politics and views of the land and climate differ greatly according to where people live.

Recently, Ashley Ahearn launched her 8-part podcast series, Grouse, which looks at life in rural America through the lens of the most controversial bird in the West — the greater sage-grouse. One of her great passions is storytelling, and helping scientists better communicate their research to the broader public.

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Ep. 28-Bridging the Rural-Urban Divide

Ashley Ahearn

Ashley Ahearn is an award-winning public media journalist who has covered science and the environment for NPR and member stations for more than a decade. She co-created, hosted, and produced the national climate change podcast, Terrestrial, in partnership with the NPR Story Lab and KUOW in Seattle. Ashley’s stories have appeared on Marketplace, All Things Considered, Here and Now, The World, and other NPR shows.

She has a master’s in science journalism from the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California and has completed reporting fellowships at the Knight Center at MIT, the Vermont Law School, the Metcalf Institute at the University of Rhode Island, and the Institutes for Journalism and Natural Resources. A few years ago she moved to rural Washington State and started her own podcasting company, Ahearn Productions, which released an eight-part series about sage grouse in partnership with NPR member stations across the West. Grouse was listed as one of the top 20 podcasts of 2020 by the Atlantic Magazine. In her spare time, Ashley rides motorcycles and moves cows on horseback or plays in the sagebrush with her husband and dog.

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Episode 20 - Let's Find Common Ground Podcast

2020 Special Moments: Our Search for Common Ground

Episode 20 - Let's Find Common Ground Podcast

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In a year marked by crisis, we look back at remarkable moments of hope, collaboration and healing.

From the tragedy and disruption of COVID-19 through impassioned pleas for racial justice heard across the country, to the deep divisions in our politics, 2020 was a year like no other.

In the first year of our “Let’s Find Common Ground” podcast, we’ve enjoyed a mix of thoughtful, personal and surprising conversations about some of the most important topics of our time. We revisit a few of the most memorable and special moments in this year-end episode.

Among the highlights: Houston’s Chief of Police Art Acevedo, and New York City civil rights activist and mayoral candidate, Maya Wiley, discuss ways to find common ground on police reform. Eva Botkin-Kowacki of The Christian Science Monitor talks about how environmental activists and farmers use different language to discuss the threat of a changing climate. Republican Brian Fitzpatrick and Democrat Abigail Spanberger reveal how they work together to pass laws and find solutions to controversial issues in a dysfunctional Congress.

We also listen to remarkable insights from an inter-racial couple, Errol and Tina Toulon, about their marriage and the story of Jordan Blashek and Chris Haugh, two young men with different political backgrounds who took a cross-country road trip across an ideologically divided nation  to explore an important question – how far apart are we really?

Join us for our special moments of 2020 in the search for Common Ground.

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Ep. 20- Special Moments

In This Together: Climate Change

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After years of warring narratives, can conservatives and activists find common ground on climate change?

For decades, environmental activists have cast themselves as defenders of the planet against greedy, profit-hungry corporations. At the same time, many conservatives have ridiculed the science of climate change and warned against the economic fallout from the Green New Deal and similar initiatives.

In this podcast, we explore a new narrative with two environmental campaigners. Bill Shireman and Trammell Crow are authors of the new book In This Together: How Republicans, Democrats, Capitalists and Activists Are Uniting to Tackle Climate Change and More.

Bill Shireman is President of the non-profit Future 500, which brings together people of all points of view to discuss environmental reform. He teaches leadership and negotiations at UC Berkeley Haas Business School, and is a founding member of BridgeUSA.

Business leader and developer Trammell Crow is the President of the Crow Family Foundation. He is a founder of Texas Business for Clean Air and a member of the Clean Capitalist Leadership Council.

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Ep. 19-In This Together

Bill Shireman

Bill Shireman is a recidivist social entrepreneur, environmental policy innovator, and rare San Francisco Republican-in-plain-site. He brings together people who love to hate each other – capitalists, activists, conservatives, and progressives, among others.

As President of the non-profit Future 500, he invites Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network (RAN), ExxonMobil, Mitsubishi and other corporate and environmental leaders to slip into bed together to create, among other healthy offspring, the world’s first corporate supply chain standards for sustainable forestry (between Mitsubishi, RAN, and then 400 other companies), the most effective beverage container recycling program (the California CRV deposit system and its progeny), and the 2008 agreement by both Greenpeace and Exxon-Mobil to support precisely the same federal tax on carbon, which went absolutely nowhere.

So others can take up where he eventually leaves off, he teaches leadership and negotiations at the UC Berkeley Haas Business School, and serves as a surrogate founding father of BridgeUSA, where young progressives, conservatives, libertarians, and independents all register decline-to-hate, and engage in democracy by listening, speaking, learning, teaching, and then solving problems together.

Professor Shireman is a prolific author who has written nearly as many books as he has sold. His latest book, In This Together: How Republicans, Democrats, Capitalists, and Activists Are Uniting to Tackle Climate Change and More, was published on July 4, 2020. He has three children ranging in age from 13 to 29, none of whom plan to follow in his footsteps. They are making their own. He loves his wife Aileen Ichikawa, who seems to love him back, despite it all.

Trammell S. Crow

Trammell S. Crow is the President of the Crow Family Foundation which operates and manages the Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art as well as the Trammell Crow European Sculpture Garden. Mr. Crow is the son of Trammell Crow, founder of the Trammell Crow Company, and his wife, Margaret.

After graduating from Yale University, Mr. Crow began his career doing warehouse leasing in Denver and then transferred to Houston to develop residential subdivisions and subsequently, to lease retail space. He returned to Dallas to join the development team of the Anatole Hotel, and later worked at the Dallas Market Center when it expanded by more than 2 million square feet. By 1985, he developed the Dallas Communications Complex, the Studios at Las Colinas, INFOMART and the Dallas/Fort Worth Teleport. From 1986 to 1993, Mr. Crow was the Chief Executive Officer of Trammell Crow International.

Mr. Crow is a member of the Board of Directors of the Crow Collection of Asian Art and is actively involved in Thanksgiving Square, a multi-denominational center for the promotion of gratitude and religious tolerance.

Mr. Crow is also a founder of Texas Business for Clean Air, an organization of prominent business leaders throughout Texas who are committed to matters that affect air quality in the state. He is also a member of the Clean Capitalist Leadership Council. The Council offers a transpartisan fellowship of leading clean capitalists, free market and conservation donors, and green conservatives, focused on smart policy innovation.

As the founder of EarthX (formerly known as Earth Day Texas), Mr. Crow has created the largest annual exposition and forum showcasing the latest initiatives, discoveries, research, innovations, policies and corporate practices serving to re-shape a more sustainable future.

With a focus on inspiring environmental leadership across sectors and party lines, Mr. Crow serves on the board of directors for ConservAmerica and is a co-founder of Texas Business for Clean Air and Texans for Clean Water. He is also a long-term supporter of the Texas Conservation Alliance, the Nature Conservancy of Texas, Texans for Lawsuit Reform, Log Cabin Republicans and the League of Conservation Voters. His philanthropy benefits various nonprofit organizations that are active in family planning, education, the environment, community initiatives and political causes.

2020 Election Briefing: Climate Change

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Climate change is increasingly important to voters. But can we find a common path forward?

Climate change is a much more important issue for many voters in the November election than it was in 2016. According to a recent poll by Pew Research Center, a record-high 60% of Americans say it is a major threat to the well-being of the United States.

To gain a deeper understanding, we focus on controversial questions about climate, from the role played by government and the private sector to questions about fracking, renewable energy and nuclear power.

Our guests are journalists Eoin O’Carroll & Eva Botkin-Kowacki of The Christian Science Monitor. Eva and Eoin are staff reporters on the newspaper’s science, technology and environment team.

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Ep. 11 – 2020 Election Briefing: Climate Change

Eva Botkin-Kowacki

Eva Botkin-Kowacki is a staff reporter on The Christian Science Monitor’s science, environment, and technology team. Previously, she was the Robert Cowen Science Journalism Fellow at the Monitor. She first joined the Monitor as an intern in June 2014.

Eva has also reported for The Reading Eagle in Reading, Penn., The Tennessean in Nashville, Tenn. and The Recorder in Greenfield, Mass. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Vanderbilt University.

At the Monitor, Eva covers everything under the sun and beyond. She is particularly interested in space, anthropology, human impacts on the Earth, and the relationship between non-scientists and science.

During her stint at The Reading Eagle, Eva was part of a reporting team that dug into the story behind the trash piling up in the county. The resulting piece, “Landfill capital of Pennsylvania,” won first place in the Special Project category at the Pennsylvania Keystone Press Awards.

Twitter: @EBotkinKowacki

Facebook: @eva.botkinkowacki

Eoin O’Carroll

Eoin O’Carroll is a staff writer for The Christian Science Monitor’s science, technology, and environment desk. He began working at the Monitor in 2005 as an HTML producer. Since then, he has worked as an environment blogger, web producer, SEO coach, and science editor.

Before joining the science desk as a writer, Eoin was an editor for the Monitor’s Rapid Response Team, where he trained early-career journalists in writing and web production.

Eoin holds a Master’s degree in journalism from Boston University’s College of Communication and a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Wesleyan University.

Twitter: @eoinocarroll

Website: http://www.eoinocarroll.com/