On this week's episode we interview Jessica Wishan, CEO of Habitat for Humanity, Southern Santa Barbara. In honor of Habitat’s mission to create safe, secure housing for people around the world, we take another stab at solutions addressing homes and habitat.
On this episode of Solutions News, we interview Jessica Wishan, the CEO of Habitat for Humanity, Southern Santa Barbara. In honor of Habitat’s mission to create safe, secure housing for people around the world, we take another stab at solutions addressing homes and habitat. We report on a project that turns plastic trash into bricks that build schools and homes. We tell you about programs and simple fixes that help people age in place with grace. And after our interview with Ms. Wishan, and our “didyaknows”, we discuss a unique matchmaking service bringing different generations together, solving different problems for young and old.
Abidjan, the main economic hub in Cote d’Ivoire, is the setting for a solution that will have us questioning our current building materials. In partner with UNICEF, a group of local women have started creating schools using bricks made entirely of plastic waste. Not only is this an economic and environmental opportunity, but it is also a solution to the educational crisis in the area. Working with Conceptos Plásticos, they will collect plastic waste and turn it into brick that lasts over 500 years. The company is constructing a brick making factory in Abidjan, and the women will be paid to gather plastic material for the bricks.
In Abidjan alone, more than 280 tons of plastic are produced every single day, and only 5 percent of that is recycled. The remainder is sent to landfills located in lower-income areas, feeding the loop of poverty and income disparity. By recycling the plastic that is constantly cycling into the dumps, these women are literally turning trash into treasure that is able to withstand both time and extreme weather, all while creating thousands of classrooms along the Ivory Coast.
Story #2: Granny Flat Living
Aging in place is a goal for many as they get frail, and often preferable to moving into an assisted living facility. Many homes are not ideal for aging bodies, or those with mobility challenges. Even small changes can help optimize living spaces for older generations. Another trend includes families building granny flats: extra, small housing units behind existing homes to be rented out for extra money, and maybe a place to move an aging parent into when the time comes. Multi-generational households are becoming more common due to the recent recession, so granny flats blend the generations while still allowing for individual privacy.
It can also be practical to make changes to already existing homes to better accommodate, like adding an elevator or shifting the layout of rooms. For details on easy renovations to already existing homes and for tips on how to live with “adult children” in granny flats, take a listen to the show.
Story #3: Matching Different Generations
Our world has become significantly digitized over the years, from online dating to ordering taxis from the ease of our mobile devices. Now, Nesterly is giving us a way to shop for affordable and sensical housing through their app. In a time where many people cannot find affordable housing in popular areas, there are many people of older generations that could use a bit of extra income and some help around the house. Bringing the two together, millennials and baby boomers, under one roof creates a beautifully symbiotic relationship.
The intergenerational matchmaking system addresses concerns of safety and reliability and has proven successful in the Boston area. Nesterly provides multi-generational service in a time when housing is limited and people are always looking for innovative opportunities.
A unique project in Côte d’Ivoire, uses recycled plastic as building blocks for schools.
On this week's episode we interview Barry Schoer, Executive Director of the Sanctuary Centers, and lifelong advocate for the humane and effective treatment of those who live with addiction and mental health issues.
On this episode of Solutions News, we interview Barry Schoer, Executive Director of the Sanctuary Centers, and a lifelong advocate for the humane and effective treatment of those who live with addiction and mental health issues. We explore the cultural implications of the current addiction crises in the United States and the world. We discuss how community based supportive living situations are a more effective and humane solution for the seriously ill rather than abandoning them to fend for themselves on the street or in the prison system. We end the show with a look at the crisis for connection that affects much of the world, and how we each might find our way towards human connection.
Story #1: The Culture of Addiction
There are many types of addiction: the ones we hear about, like the current crisis that is the opioid epidemic, and the others, such as shopping or watching television. Addiction is taking over society partly because of deteriorating family and cultural ties and pressures of the modern day.
Dr. Bruce K. Alexander spent years researching rats and their responses to morphine in efforts to better understand addiction. He found that rats were deliberately injecting themselves with the drug, often times to the point of death. It was eventually discovered that rats, much like humans, are social beings. Because of this connect, we can start to understand why people in horribly miserable situations are pushed toward addiction. We must focus on the human interpretation of this rat research, understanding that kindness, sociability, friendship, and love are often better antidotes for addiction than the criminal approach we are using now.
Story #2: Humane Treatment of Mental Illness
It is estimated that over 355,000 inmates in America’s prisons and jails suffered from severe mental illness in 2012, and it is likely much worse than that today. Over 100,000 homeless Americans also suffer from severe mental illness. The mentally ill are now often left to fend for themselves on the streets due to the country’s lack of adequate outpatient services.
Community-based approaches to mental health care are providing hope for the mentally ill. New York is working on this approach beginning with Kendra’s Law in 1999 to legalize Assisted Outpatient Treatment. Various studies show promising results for this type of treatment with 46 states now having them enacted. We are in need of novel approach to mental illness care, keeping in mind the difficulty of forcing treatment on patients.
Story #3: Curing our Crisis of Connection
There is a type of addiction that is quite different than the others we have talked about on this show, and that is the addiction of connection (or lack thereof) and social media. When we feel disconnected, we very quickly experience loneliness due to a lack of meaningful social interaction. We feel pressured to “fit in” and “suck it up,” always forcing ourselves to be polished and strong. Social media has taken over our lives, frequently replacing in-person socialization.
According to Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Professor Brené Brown, it takes courage to stand alone and actively seek true connection. We discuss several ways to make these human connections, ranging from weekly dinner plans with friends to simply asking for help. While social media may be dominating us currently, there is hope to evolve away from our phones and back into a comfortable, sociable, and lively state.
On this week's episode, we welcome Stan Roden, who along with being a recovering lawyer and currently a teacher and documentary filmmaker is also a leader in the Santa Barbara chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby.
On this episode of Solutions News, we welcome Stan Roden, who along with being a recovering lawyer and currently a teacher and documentary filmmaker is also a leader in the Santa Barbara chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby. We also discuss the national carbon fee proposal HR 763, direct air capture (DAC) as an essential technology to reduce extant ambient carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the national gas tax and our infrastructure, and after our “didyaknows” we outline 10 tips for making every negotiation a “win-win”. (Produced by Kristy Jansen)
Story #1 - Carbon Capture and Storage Update
The first story of this Friday’s show with Stan Roden is an update on a show we did last March on how carbon capture and storage is working. We know that the best way to capture and store carbon is to plant something green, but unfortunately we cannot keep up with the rate necessary. As good as it is to pull CO2 from the air using plants, that is only an immediate and short-term solution. The long-term solution is capturing the CO2 and locking it into a solid form, thus preventing it from going back into the atmosphere. How can we do that? Direct Air Capture, or DAC.
DAC is receiving plenty of attention from the business and scientific worlds as it is quite literally sucking CO2 out of the air and morphing it into a solid form. It is financially practical, and Climeworks, a Swiss company, has already launched its first test plant in Iceland. We predict there will be thousands of these plants operating within the next ten years, but for now we must stop burning fossil fuels immediately. We are in a global emergency and DAC plants can definitely help.
Story #2 - A History Lesson: The Federal Gas Tax
Our national infrastructure is in need of repair with crumbling roads and bridges. Something needs to be done quickly. The federal gas tax was first imposed in 1932 at one cent per gallon, and the last time it was increased was in 1993 to 18.4 centers per gallon. We need that gas tax to get even with inflation to keep up with the times. 33 states have raised their gas taxes because the Federal government is failing to meet our transportation needs.
The gas tax makes it slightly more expensive to use gasoline, pushing consumers toward alternatives like fuel efficient cars, hybrids, electric cars, bicycles, and scooters. While the market is already leaning in that direction, a gas tax would be a nudge to speed up that process.
Story #3 - Getting to Win-Win
The final story of the week is on negotiation. In any and every negotiation, the goal is for both parties to come to a meeting of the minds so both parties walk away with a “win.” Some essential tips to get in the right mindset for a successful negotiation are as follows: ask for what you want; shut up and listen; do your homework; be willing to walk away; don’t be rushed; aim high; expect the best outcome; focus on the other side’s pressure, not yours; show the other person how their needs will be met; don’t give anything away without getting something in return; don’t take it personally.
Negotiating is an art of achieving compromise to get us to where we want to go. It may take a stressful situation to achieve your goals, but negotiations are opportunities to secure what you’ve been wanting all this time.
On this week's episode, we are thrilled to welcome Rick Wayman of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, to help us tackle issues around violence, and alternatively how to wage peace.
On this episode of Solutions News, we are thrilled to welcome Rick Wayman of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, to help us tackle issues around violence, and alternatively how to wage peace. Our topics include violence at the state level, including a discussion on avoiding the Mutually Assured Destruction of escalating nuclear risks, and we also investigate solutions that thwart violence in our communities now that our kids now have “duck & cover” drills to prepare against a school shooter. After the interview with Rick Wyman and some didyaknows, we discuss the practice of “waging peace” in our own minds, in our families, in our civil discourse, in our international relations… because only by reframing the conversation can we move the needle on violence and regain the state of tranquility. The true definition of peace is NOT the absence of violence, but the active pursuit of harmony between nations, in society, in our homes and with the biosphere.
Jessica Wishan is the CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County and has spent more than a decade tackling housing issues for low-income, vulnerable and homeless populations in communities across Southern California, ranging from San Diego to Santa Barbara. Her work in this field has ranged from permanent supportive housing development, developing integrated social service centers, community advocacy and fundraising campaigns, homeless shelter operations, building integrated health care partnerships, and more. Additionally, she has worked on employment and social enterprise programs, veteran issues, as well as community preparedness initiatives and disaster relief operations.
Prior to joining Habitat Santa Barbara, she served as the Regional Disaster Officer and then interim Chief Executive Officer for the Central California Region of the American Red Cross. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a BA in Global Studies.
As a child growing up in New York, Barry Schoer couldn’t understand why his mother behaved the way she did and why he couldn’t help her. As a teenager, he was advised by a high school counselor to volunteer at a school for disabled children. Unfortunately, Barry was never able to help his mother, but his experience helping developmentally disabled children led him to find his purpose in helping others.
Barry worked as an undergraduate to help change the laws in New York State so that individuals with addiction were placed in treatment rather than in jails and prisons.
During his graduate program, Barry interned at Bellevue Hospital, where he was trained and then hired as a licensed psychiatric technician. It was Bellevue Hospital where Barry observed everything he believed was wrong with mental health treatment. This included inhumane conditions, excessive use of electroconvulsive therapy, the overuse of psychotropic medications without regard for long-term side effects, and the complete lack of any type of individual or group therapeutic engagement.
Barry eventually moved to California because he had read that treatment of mentally ill individuals was far more advanced and compassionate on the west coast. During his years working in the psychiatric unit at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, various nonprofits, and the County of Santa Barbara, Barry focused on finding ways to improve treatment and open new opportunities for children and adults living with mental illness and/or substance abuse issues.
In 1983, the President of the Board of Sanctuary House called Barry and asked him if he would take the position of Executive Director. He committed to staying a maximum of two years as he had other goals he wanted to pursue. Thirty-five years later, he is still here because the Board of Directors has continuously allowed him to nurture and grow Sanctuary Centers into a comprehensive system of care that puts respect for each and every client first. Barry remains unwavering in his commitment to Sanctuary Centers and our ongoing goal to treat each and every client as an individual not a diagnosis.
Barry Schoer, our guest on Aug. 9, 2019
Stanley M. Roden, JD, received his law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1966. His undergraduate degree is in political science from UC Berkeley, 1963. Mr. Roden has practiced civil and criminal law, including serving as the elected District Attorney for Santa Barbara County (1975-1982), and thereafter practiced exclusively civil trial law, specializing in water, real property and other commercial disputes.
Our interview with Stan will discuss his advocacy role with the Citizen's Climate Lobby, which is working to promote a national Carbon Fee. Having recently returned from a lobbying trip to Washington D.C., He will share his insights on carbon pricing and what it might mean for the future of our country and the environment. The bipartisan carbon fee is designed to drive down carbon emissions, thus helping to alleviate climate change, while creating jobs, encouraging greener alternatives, and cycling money to the American people.
As a trial lawyer (and courtroom storyteller), Stan participated in over 250 civil and criminal trials including murder, crimes of violence, major property crimes, real estate, commercial, water rights, environmental law, administrative law, construction, homeowners, probate, professional malpractice, real property & white-collar crime.
He currently teaches at Santa Barbara and Ventura Colleges of Law, though he has also taught at SBCC, UCSB, and at the University of Montana in the past. Roden has written extensively on the subjects of mediation, negotiation and alternative dispute resolution for the Santa Barbara Bar Association monthly publication, The Quibbler.
Stan Roden, our guest on Aug. 23, 2019
Rick Wayman is Deputy Director of the Santa Barbara-based Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. He will be taking over as CEO of the Foundation in January 2020. Rick is a graduate of Marquette University’s College of Business Administration and has a Master’s Degree in Non-Profit Management and Political Advocacy from the School for International Training.
Rick played a leading role in advancing the lawsuits filed by the Republic of the Marshall Islands against all nine nuclear-armed nations at the International Court of Justice and against the United States in U.S. Federal Court. He also participated in the negotiations at the United Nations in 2017 that led to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and a Nobel Peace Prize for ICAN.
His writing has been published in numerous outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Wall Street Journal.
Rick Wayman, our guest on Aug. 30, 2019