On this week's show we focus on farming and solutions to bring economic resiliency. We welcome California Assemblymember Monique Limón. We also discuss how states are playing a significant leadership role in creating policies to address climate change.
This episode of Solutions News focuses on FARMING and solutions to bring economic resiliency as well as support farms in addressing climate change & corporate consolidation. We were also thrilled to welcome California Assemblymember Monique Limón, as our guest for this show. We also discuss how states are playing a significant leadership role in creating policies to address climate change. And of course, we have some fun “didyaknows”
Story 1: Midwest states invest in Wind Energy
Our first story takes a look at wind power in Iowa, which happens to be one of the most successful renewable energy programs in the country. In 2017, wind power accounted for 37% of all of Iowa’s power. Republican Governor of the State, Kim Richards points out that the wind energy industry employs between 7,000 and 8,000 Iowans and is making the state an attractive place for large tech companies due to the availability of cheap, green energy. Since it can easily be installed in the fields for an extra revenue burst, using more wind power is a great way to help create a greener energy future, while also giving farmers a revenue stream that is independent of crop price instability.
Other interesting blendings between agriculture and energy include the methane capture and use on dairy farms - which we mentioned on the show last week, and which works even better for pigs AND solves a major source of water pollution as well! Or the installation of solar panels on some organic farms in Massachusetts, which we discussed back in January. Along these lines, a new fund being developed by Cliff Bar, the Cliff Ag Fund, will fund investments by Organic Farmers in midwest states - including Iowa, Minnesota, North and South Dakota - to install wind turbines on their land - as a way to improve their resilience - both economic and in the face of climate change.
Story 2: Breaking up the Corporations
Elizabeth Warren has been making headlines nearly every week lately - calling for sweeping reforms to anti-trust laws that break up monopolies in the tech industry, finance, and most recently in agriculture. She’s positioning herself as a modern day Teddy Roosevelt - Mr. “Trust-Buster” himself, who also happened to be a Republican.
In her most recent policy outline -which came out on April 3rd, she calls out several companies specifically that dominate the food industry -Tyson, Dow-DuPont and Bayer-Monsanto. She focuses in on the example of chickens, where the top three chicken companies have a 90% market share. The chicken industry is completely locked down because larger companies can mandate everything in the process from the number of chickens that can be produced, to what they are fed, to the way in which they are processed. The result is that the business is completely vertically integrated and chicken farmers are essentially involved in “contract farming” - which more closely approximates historical TENANT FARMING than anything resembling being an independent Farm Operator.
Her policy paper also points out that the Department of Justice has not updated its guidelines for vertical integration in 35 years. And in that time, many many mergers have occurred, consolidating every aspect in the production chain - and squeezing out the small or midsize family farm. Chicken is only one aspect of the agricultural business that’s been affected - hogs, soy beans, corn, transportation, banking… the list goes on, and what it amounts to is that it’s harder and harder for a small farmer to make it today. Even if they do everything right, even if the weather cooperates.
For something as essential to our country as food production, we can’t let a handful of companies control every aspect of it. It’s time for some smarter policies, and rational rules to break the corporate food monopolies and support our farming communities. Good on ya Liz! We like where you’re taking the conversation!
Story 3: The Power of California
It is very easy to see that the federal government is completely against any type of environmental regulation. In fact, the current administration has made it a primary focus to undo key environmental regulations, namely, extensions of the Clean Water Act. As a result, it falls to the individual states to be the progenitors of environmental regulations. Here in California, the state government is using more stringent regulation of the environment to reject federal projects and ensure the environment remains a central issue. For a state like California that is equivalent to the fifth largest economy in the world, using influence is not only a way to lead change in the nation, but around the world. Environmental regulations have led to increased economic success, meaning that it is not necessary to sacrifice economic success for environmental protection. In fact the opposite is true.
Iowa - leading the country in wind energy use.
On this week's episode, Rinaldo talks to Leonard Wallock, along with Dana Wallock and Ellia Limón about their exciting non-profit public discourse project, Public Square.
On this episode of Solutions News, Rinaldo talks to Leonard Wallock, along with Dana Wallock and Ellia Limón about their exciting non-profit public discourse project, Public Square. Topics on the show include the "Great Green Wall" that's being built at the border of the Sahara desert, how instituting a $100/ton carbon tax would be an economically viable way to curb carbon dioxide emissions quickly, and how the military is turning to mindfulness training to improve troop readiness and overall well-being. We also feature some great "didyaknows".
The Great Green Wall:
The first story this week is about the Great Green Wall, a cooperative project between 20 countries along the southern border of the Sahara Desert in Africa. The countries are building a wall of trees, miles wide, from the Atlantic Ocean in the west, to the Red Sea in the east. Though the forest is only 15% completed currently, the newly created ecosystem is already having amazing results. Groundwater supplies and depleted wells are being replenished as are animal and plant life. This project helps the environment and it also helps to stop the progression of the Sahara Desert southward.
A Carbon Tax:
The second story this week focuses on the idea of a carbon tax as a possibility to fund environmental solutions. If we think about trash and material pollution in society, there is a precise system to deal with it. It would be completely irresponsible for a restaurant to dump all of the trash and excess food they have onto the sidewalk at the end of a night. But in the same way, a factory is not held responsible for the huge amounts of carbon dioxide produced during industrial processes like making cement. Clearly carbon needs to be taxed and in a substantial way. A tax at $100 per ton or carbon would just be enough money to pay for capturing and storing the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through Direct Air Capture. While a larger investment might be needed to rapidly reduce the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, this would get us much closer to where we need to be. A carbon tax incentivizes people and corporations alike to reduce their carbon footprints. The added costs to fuel and food in the meantime can be returned to the public as a tax credit or annual payment to help offset the increases, so the net result would be a zero $ out of pocket cost, with a huge environmental benefit. Sweden did it in 1990 with a $130 per ton carbon tax and we can too.
Mindfulness in the military:
Our last story about this week is about the importance of mindfulness especially in stressful or chaotic situations. Specifically, the military has been considering more broad mindfulness training for all soldiers, not just officers. After experiencing combat, veterans who have mindfulness training are much better off than those who have no training or those who try to treat issues like PTSD with medicine. Studies of soldiers who undergo mindfulness training during basic training are similarly much better off than those who do not receive the training. In the short term, mindfulness leads to more effective rest after exercise as well as lower levels of stress. In the long term, mindfulness leads to better focus and fitness up to 24 hours after rigorous exercise. Studies have also found that mindfulness leads to a better quality and quantity of sleep. However, to truly feel these benefits, mindfulness must become a routine that is practiced regularly rather than a trick to only be used when you feel stressed.
A living barrier of trees along the southern border of the Sahara’s Sahel desert.
On this week's episode, Rinaldo talks to Sam Horn about her latest book, SOMEDAY is not a Day of the Week, and about how to take positive action in our lives. Topics on the show include Universal Basic Income.
On this episode of Solutions News, Rinaldo talks to Sam Horn about her latest book, SOMEDAY is not a Day of the Week, and about how to take positive action in our lives. Topics on the show include Universal Basic Income - now being tried out in Stockton, CA, how the technology behind bitcoin - blockchain - is revolutionary despite bitcoin's questionable worth, and how 3D mapping of the Notre Dame which was completed in 2015 might make rebuilding the iconic structure possible. We also feature some great "didyaknows".
Universal Basic Income:
The first story this week is about the concept of a Universal Basic Income, also called a negative income tax. This idea would provide impoverished citizens with a monthly check that would allow them to purchase all necessities needed to survive. The idea is being heavily debated after being endorsed by CEOs like Elon Musk and Richard Branson as well as presidential candidate Andrew Yang, but has roots much earlier. Leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and economist Milton Friedman both supported the issue. The rich would end up paying a small amount and would receive little benefit, but the lowest classes in society would be lifted up. Stockton, CA is the first city in the United States to implement a Universal Basic. It is paying $500 a month to a select group of 130 citizens to see what economic benefits it will bring. The rest of the country is watching with interest.
The second story this week is about the technology behind Bitcoin, called Blockchain. Blockchain works by creating a decentralized leger, or a list of all the transactions that have occurred in a system. Information is not stored in one physical location or on one specific computer. Instead, computers on a network are linked, so that all computers have small portions of data, making it extremely secure and almost impossible to hack. The result is an important secure and transparent process. All over the world, companies are using the technology to create secure and efficient transactions in finance, healthcare, insurance, shipping, and other industries. For example, IBM has partnered with credit unions in Denver to use blockchain to provide fast transaction speeds, security, and an easy to audit leger. Blockchain has potential as a solution in both business and government.
The world was shocked this week watching as most of the spire and roof of the cathedral of Notre Dame burned. Already the President of France has pledged to fully rebuild the Cathedral within five years and multiple billionaires and companies have stepped up with large donations. However, this reconstruction is only going to be possible because of the late Vassar professor Andrew Tallon. Tallon took five years, from 2010 – 2015 to map the entire cathedral using laser scanners. Using 50 different scanners, Tallon was able to take one billion points of data to create a map that is accurate within 5 mm of the original. As the cathedral is re-built, the treasure will continue to inspire millions of people for many years to come.
Iconic Notre Dame de Paris
On this week's episode we discuss the costs of higher education - and spotlight some new ideas being explored on how to pay for it. We welcome Santa Barbara non-profit powerhouse Geoff Green, CEO of the Santa Barbara City College Foundation.
On this episode of Solutions News, recorded on April 26, 2019, we discuss the costs of higher education - and spotlight some new ideas being explored on how to pay for it. We are also thrilled to welcome as our guest, Santa Barbara non-profit powerhouse Geoff Green, who is currently the CEO of the Santa Barbara City College Foundation, where he has led the effort to establish the SBCC Promise – tuition-free education for local graduates of Santa Barbara County high schools. We also have some great “didyaknows”, and a final note on LeBron James’ new educational promise.
The first story this week is about the ballooning amount of student debt in the United States; at the end of 2018, it totaled $1.47 trillion. Believe it or not, adults age 60 and older are the fastest-growing age cohort amongst student loan borrowers. However, younger Americans continue to carry the largest debt burden, which is preventing them from buying homes or starting new businesses. Relieving this debt burden would free up money that consumers would spend on goods and services and lift the economy. The idea of free college has been heavily debated in recent years as a solution to the problem, and most recently, debt forgiveness has been raised in some quarters. Democratic Presidential hopeful and Senator Elizabeth Warren has proposed complete debt forgiveness for the first $50,000 of any family that makes under $250,000 each year. This would eliminate 75% of all student debt and could be fully paid for with a 2% tax on the wealthiest Americans who are worth more than $50 million. An intriguing proposal for certain.
Income Sharing Agreements
The second story this week is about another alternative method of paying for college, called Income Sharing Agreements (ISAs). These agreements are investments in the future of students. The agreements mandate that for a certain amount of time (10 years for example) after graduation, the greater a salary the graduate makes, the more they pay back to the school. For the college lending the money in these income-sharing-agreements, there will be an incentive to help students land high paying jobs with potential for rapid career advancement. This focuses institutions of higher education on job preparation, career counseling, and other professional help.
At Purdue University, which is pioneering the program in the United States, these agreements create motivation for the school to invest more in each student and ensure they are ready after with a stable job after graduation.
Even in an ideal world where college is largely free, paying for expenses from meals, housing, and school supplies will still be a part of higher education and ISAs might be a great way to do that, as long as they focus on the student as a human being, rather than treating them as stock options paying a dividend.
The last story this week is about the “I Promise” school, founded by Lebron James in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. The school is taking children who are far below their grade level or are at risk of not graduating, even as early as third grade. This public school, which functions with joint funding from the school district and Lebron James’ Family Foundation, offers a cultural shift to focus on immersing the entire family in the learning process. The students are given supplies, free meals, and high teacher-student ratios, while their parents are given their own educational support and other essential supplies to help them function optimally. After just half a year, the students enrolled in “I Promise” are making remarkable progress; they have already made improvements that would be impressive in an entire school year. Already, the school is progressing faster than 99% of all schools across the nation. As the success continues, the school will expand by one grade each year, to foster new cohorts of children so that the “irredeemable” labels they were given in second grade will not define them for the rest of their lives.
Former administration building of Akron Public Schools
Assemblymember Monique Limón was elected to the California Assembly in November 2016 and represents the 37th district that includes over half of the County of Santa Barbara, as well as nearly a quarter of the County of Ventura.
Born and raised in the 37th district, Monique has worked continuously to serve her community as an educator, leader, and an advocate for causes advancing the quality of life in her community.
For Monique, education has always been a priority. A UC Berkeley graduate with a Masters degree from Columbia University, Monique served two terms on the Santa Barbara Unified School Board and as Assistant Director for the McNair Scholars Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara prior to serving in the Assembly.
Monique has worked with countless local students at Santa Barbara City College and UCSB as an advisor and mentor to help them achieve their professional and academic goals through higher education.
Women’s issues are also a priority for Monique. As former Commissioner on the Santa Barbara County Commission for Women she helped connect private and public resources with women in the community. Monique has a passion for bringing community groups together and building strong coalitions among local nonprofit organizations and civic groups.
Monique’s roots go deep in the 37th district. Her extended network of family and friends include a range of small business owners and important leaders in the community. Her husband, Michael Medel works at Santa Barbara City College as Director of Admissions and Records and serves as President of the 19th District Agricultural Association. Monique and Michael were both raised in the area and currently live in Goleta.
Monique Limón, our guest on April 5, 2019
Leonard Wallock is the Executive Director of Public Square, an organization dedicated to convening highly informative and interactive seminars led by distinguished commentators exploring innovative policy solutions to the critical issues of our time and inspire the next generation of civic leaders. Dr. Wallock holds a BA in history from Sarah Lawrence College and a PhD in American urban history from Columbia University.
While teaching undergraduate history courses both at public and private colleges in New York City, Dr. Wallock lectured on behalf of the New York Council for the Humanities and co-directed Columbia University’s Seminar on the City. After becoming a tenured professor at Hunter College, Dr. Wallock accepted an administrative appointment at UCSB to serve first as Associate Director of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, then as Program Coordinator for the Taubman Symposia in Jewish Studies, and finally as Associate Director of the Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion and Public Life. Across these administrative roles, Dr. Wallock programmed over 300 free, educational public lectures and forums for the local community. Dr. Wallock also served as a primary fundraiser for these educational programs, raising over $4,000,000 through matching grants, foundation grants, endowments, individual donations, and institutional co-sponsorships.
Leonard Wallock, our guest on April 12, 2019
Sam Horn, Founder/CEO of the Intrigue Agency, is on a mission to help people create a quality life-work that adds value for all involved.
Her impressive client list includes National Geographic, NASA, Capital One, Intel, Nationwide, Boeing, Four Seasons Resorts, Cisco and National Governors Association.
Her books – SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the Week, Tongue Fu!®, POP!, and Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? – have been featured in New York Times, Forbes, Fast Company and on NPR and have been endorsed by Dan Pink, Stephen Covey, Tony Robbins and Marshall Goldsmith. Her newest book, SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the Week, was endorsed by Sheri Salata (Executive Producer of The Oprah Winfrey Show) who calls Sam “one of the brightest lights and most accessible wisdom-sharers in our culture today.”
As former Executive Director of the world-renowned Maui Writers Conference, and Pitch Coach for Springboard Enterprises (which has helped entrepreneurs receive $8.8 billion in funding), she has helped hundreds of clients create quality books and high-stakes presentations for TED-MED, TEDx, SXSW, Wisdom 2.0, Google and Facebook.
Sam hosts SOMEDAY Salons across the country for organizations who would like to facilitate conversations about really matters and how to focus on that now, not later.
For information on how to host a salon, or to arrange for Sam to share her inspiring keynote with your organization, contact Cheri Grimm at Cheri@IntrigueAgency.com
Sam continues to be a season-bird, following the sun and living by the water in Hawaii, Colorado, California and New York. To receive Sam’s newsletter, stay updated on her travels, and to find out when she’ll be in your area, visit www.IntrigueAgency.com
Sam Horn, our guest on April 19, 2019
Geoff Green is the Chief Executive Officer of the SBCC Foundation, where he has served since 2015 and has led the effort to establish the SBCC Promise.
A native of the San Francisco Bay area, Geoff came to Santa Barbara as a UCSB student where he also began organizing on issues of racial equity, access to education, environmental health and LGBTQ equality. After pursuing his dream job as a Park Ranger/Naturalist in Yosemite National Park in the mid-1990s, Geoff returned to Santa Barbara in 1997 and joined the Fund for Santa Barbara, a grassroots community foundation where he served as Executive Director from 2003 to 2015.
Geoff served as Co-Chair the national Board of Directors of the Funding Exchange from 2006 until 2009, as President of the Board of the Santa Barbara Ventura Counties Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2012, President of the Foundation Roundtable of Santa Barbara County from 2014 to 2015, and as Chair of the Board of Directors for the California Association of Nonprofits from 2016 to 2018.
His other community work includes more than ten years of public affairs radio programming on KCSB and as a campaign field organizer. Geoff was honored as a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara North in 2006, and served on the Leadership Council that drafted Santa Barbara County’s 10-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness in 2006-2007. Geoff also consults professionally and has advised hundreds of nonprofit organizations, foundations, and public agencies in the areas of board development, fundraising, strategic planning, lobbying & advocacy, and coalition-building.
He currently serves on the Board of Commissioners for the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara, and on the Board of Directors for the Chamber of Commerce of the Santa Barbara Region and the Network of California Community College Foundations. In 2018 he was appointed to the CASE National Committee for Institutionally Related Foundations (IRF). He also serves on the advisory boards of KCRW Santa Barbara, the Center for Nonprofit Leadership at California Lutheran University, and PATH Santa Barbara homeless center.
Geoff Green, our guest on April 26, 2019