November 2019 Archives

Nov. 1: Rabbi Michael Lerner

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Rinaldo interviews Rabbi Michael Lerner, Ph.D., a leading author, public intellectual, and spiritual leader.

Nov. 8: Andrew MacCalla

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Rinaldo talks to Andrew MacCalla, VP of Emergency Response and New Initiatives at Direct Relief.

Nov. 15: Monika Penukonda

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Rinaldo and Kristy welcome the honorable Monika Penukonda, director of the Divine Lineage Meditation & Healing Center in Mendocino, CA. 

Nov. 22: Judi Weisbart

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Rinaldo interviews Judi Weisbart, who is one of the (24) founding artists for Mike Cregan’s new La Cumbre Center for the Creative Arts.

Nov. 29: Margaret K. Salamon

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Rinaldo interviews Margaret Klein Salamon, founder and director of The Climate Mobilization.

November 1, 2019 - Guest: Rabbi Michael Lerner

Revolutionary Love, 30-hour work week (& more)

On this week's episode, we interview Rabbi Michael Lerner about his newest book, Revolutionary Love: A Political Manifesto to Heal and Transform the World.

November 1, 2019 - Show Details

On this episode of Solutions News, we interview Rabbi Michael Lerner about his newest book, Revolutionary Love: A Political Manifesto to Heal and Transform the World. We also explore Americans' obsession with work and ask if a reduced work-week might actually improve productivity. In addition, we feature our "didyaknows" and spotlight voting and activism in shaping our world. As Anita Roddick once said: "If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in your sleeping bag."

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November 8, 2019 - Guest: Andrew MacCalla

Direct Relief, Puerto Rico Microgrids (& More)

On this week's episode, we sit down with Andrew MacCalla, VP of Emergency Response and New Initiatives at Direct Relief, one of the most nimble and effective non-profit aid organizations in the country.

November 8, 2019 - Show Details

On this episode of Solutions News, we sit down with Andrew MacCalla, VP of Emergency Response and New Initiatives at Direct Relief, one of the most nimble and effective non-profit aid organizations in the country. From being on the ground in Haiti for 2 years after the 2010 earthquake to managing medical deployments after Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Dorian, Andrew has tremendous experience on the front lines of disaster relief and recovery. We talk with him about providing life-saving medical packs, medicines and now helping local medical centers build their own solar and storage based microgrids to keep the power on in the face of the next outage. It may even be that Puerto Rico has something to teach California now that the major utilities are preemptively shutting off our power!


In addition to talking Direct Relief, Rinaldo gives an update on Puerto Rico's development into a microgrid leader. We also explore the role of NGOs in providing essential help after natural disasters and other unsettling events. And of course "didyaknows". (Produced by Kristy Jansen)

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Delivering Medical Supplies after Hurricane Dorian.  Image: Direct Relief.org

November 15, 2019 - Guest: Monika Penukonda

Divine Feminine, Ways to live in Harmony (& More)

On this week's episode, we welcome the honorable Monika Penukonda, director of the Divine Lineage Meditation & Healing Center in Mendocino. She was in Santa Barbara to raise awareness and funding for projects that exhibit possible ways to live in harmony as a community in times of changing climate.

November 15, 2019 - Show Details

On this episode of Solutions News, we welcome the honorable Monika Penukonda, director of the Divine Lineage Meditation & Healing Center in Mendocino, CA.  She was in Santa Barbara to raise awareness and funding for projects that exhibit possible ways to live in harmony as a community in times of a changing climate, especially in areas like Mendocino which are struggling in the face of power shut-offs and fire breakouts. Monika brings in a spiritual perspective of living in harmony as we move into an environmentally unsettled future. 


Because climate change is warming Earth by the day, it is essential for builders to consider adverse climate conditions such as fires, drought, and flooding in construction. In addition to hosting Monika as the featured guest, the show also explores innovative, sustainable, and resilient building construction for the future. Two specific technologies mentioned are Rammed Earth construction and 3D Printed housing.  After our “didyaknows”, we turn our eyes to Copenhagen, Denmark. This city nearly burned to the ground several times in its history, which perhaps is one of the reasons it stands out today as one of the “greenest” cities today. 

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Great Wall in Ningxia - Rammed Earth Construction (Photograph:Smith, 2006)  

November 22, 2019 - Guest: Judi Weisbart

Arts Education, Artist Collectives (& More)

On this week's episode, we focus on the creative arts and argue that art and arts education ought to be celebrated as a solution, not considered an afterthought with our guest Judi Weisbart.

November 22, 2019 - Show Details

On this episode of Solutions News, we focus on the creative arts and argue that art and arts education ought to be celebrated as a solution, not considered an afterthought.  Music, drawing, painting, photography, dance, poetry, storytelling, and even cooking, knitting and other hand-crafts - all these forms of creative expression are essential human skills.  Some argue that ART - defined broadly - is what makes us human, and see it as key to creating social cohesion and for individual self-development.  


Our guest is Judi Wiesbart, who is one of the (24) founding artists for Mike Cregan’s new La Cumbre Center for the Creative Arts.  We talk with Judi about the La Cumbre project, about her art and sculpture, along with her social activism and how it all fits together.    


For as the 19th century artist Edgar Degas explained: “ART is not what you see, but what you make others see.”  

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Edgar Degas's The Ballet Rehearsal, 1873

November 29, 2019 - Guest: Margaret Klein Salamon

Puerto Rico Microgrids, Food Companies (& More)

In this week’s episode, we discuss microgrids in Puerto Rico, talk about corporations underwriting farmers’ transitions to organic food, and Rinaldo interviews Margaret Klein Salamon.

November 29, 2019 - Show Details

In this week’s episode of Solutions News, we discuss microgrids in Puerto Rico, talk about corporations underwriting farmers’ transitions to organic food, and Rinaldo interviews Margaret Klein Salamon. After a discussion about the Green New Deal and Margaret’s organization The Climate Mobilization, Rinaldo discusses the ways in which gratitude changes your brain. (Original Airdate Feb 15, 2019

Puerto Rico


A year after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the island has a plan to recreate the electricity grid as a decentralized microgrid. The latest integrated resource plan (IRP), would divide the island into eight connected regional mini-grids generating independent sources of energy. In the case of a future storm, even if one of the grids was knocked out, the others would function and could pickup the slack. Rinaldo talks about the importance of creating a new sustainable grid but advises against portions of the plan involving liquid natural gas (LNG). He also relates the story to microgrids being created in Montecito and Goleta.

Transitioning to Organic Farming


In 2018, four of the largest food companies, Nestle USA, Danone North America, Mars, and Unilever United States formed the Sustainable Food Policy Alliance. The alliance is developing a loan system to help farmers transition to sustainable and organic farming. Because the process takes at least three years to make the transition, it has previously been tough to do without any financial support.

Gratitude Changes the Brain


It turns out that actively showing gratitude in everyday life not only changes your perspective, but it also chemically changes your brain. Studies have found that gratitude is associated with more health grey matter in the brain. Interestingly, other studies have been able to quantify that groups tracking gratitude in their lives felt 25% more happy than groups tracking neutral or negative events. Over a period of ten weeks, the “gratitude group” also ended up exercising an extra 1.5 hours on average compared to the other groups. Being grateful is an easy way to reduce anxiety and depression while feeling noticeably happier overall. See also: gratefulness.org

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New solar array being installed in Puerto Rico

Rabbi Michael Lerner, Ph.D.

Rabbi Michael Lerner, Ph.D., is a leading author, public intellectual, and spiritual leader.  He is the Editor of Tikkun Magazine, the world’s most widely read and quoted liberal/progressive Jewish and interfaith magazine which he founded in 1986 as an alternative to the Jewish neo-conservatives. Tikkun Magazine has received numerous awards for its creative synthesis of progressive politics and spiritual wisdom.

Rabbi Lerner is also the Co-founder and Chairperson of the interfaith Network of Spiritual Progressives and the rabbi of Beyt Tikkun Synagogue in San Francisco.


Rabbi Lerner received a Ph.D. in philosophy from UC Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in Clinical/Social Psychology from Wright University. He has been on the faculty at the University of Washington in Seattle and the University of California in Berkeley.

He is the author of eleven books, among them “Jewish Renewal,” a national best seller published in 1994 and “The Left Hand of God,” a New York Times National Best Seller in 2006.  In his book “The Left Hand of God” and through Tikkun Magazine, Rabbi Lerner presents a Global Marshall Plan as a model for America’s leadership to change from an attitude of domination to an attitude of generosity as a way of solving the world’s problems.


In 2005, Morehouse College in Atlanta awarded him the Martin Luther King Jr./Mahatma Gandhi Prize for Peacemaking in recognition of his work in forging a “progressive middle path that is both pro-Israel and pro-Palestine.” His most famous books include Spirit Matters: Global Healing and the Wisdom of the Soul (which was described by the Los Angeles Times a “one of the most significant books of the year 2000”), The Politics of Meaning, The Socialism of Fools: Anti-Semitism on the Left, and Healing Israel/Palestine for which Lerner received the PEN-Oakland award. Rabbi Lerner has been hailed by Rev. Jim Wallis, editor of Sojourners magazine, as “one of America’s most important spiritual teachers, a contemporary prophet whose insightful and visionary thinking has already had a profound impact on American culture and thought.”


He remains passionately committed to transforming global capital towards a “New Bottom Line” in which institutions, legislation, and social practice gets judged to be “efficient, rational and productive” not only to the extent that they maximize money and power but also to the extent that they maximize love and caring, kindness, generosity, and ethical and ecological sensitivity; enhance our capacities to respond to other human beings as manifestations of the sacred; and enhance our capacity to respond to the universe with awe, wonder and radical amazement at the grandeur of all that is. 

To read more about Dr. Lerner, visit his personal site. 

Michael Lerner, our guest on November 1, 2019

Michael Lerner, our guest on November 1, 2019

Andrew MacCalla

Andrew MacCalla is the Vice President of Emergency Response and New Initiatives at Direct Relief, the largest privately funded non-profit aid organization in California and the 7th largest in the country. Direct Relief’s mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies – without regard to politics, religion, or ability to pay. They provide medical resources to people in over 100 countries and all 50 US States and territories.


Andrew spent two years living in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake as the coordinator of Direct Relief’s response – the largest humanitarian effort since the organization was founded in 1948 –overseeing the distribution of over $350 million USD worth of essential medicine to over 100 health facilities. More recently, Andrew has been on the ground overseeing Direct Relief’s response to emergencies like Hurricane Sandy in New York, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone and Liberia, the Syrian refugee crisis, and Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Dorian.

Andrew studied Philosophy at University of California, Santa Barbara and has a master’s Degree in Public Policy and Management from the University of Melbourne. He has written numerous articles for the Huffington Post and The Sacramento Bee. 


Andrew also founded Sustainable Recycling Solutions, LLC, a social business in Haiti that provided a solution to Haiti’s plastic waste and large unemployment problem.

Andrew is also a founding Board Member of World Telehealth Initiative, a non-profit which provides medical expertise to the world’s most vulnerable communities to build local capacity and deliver core health services, through a network of volunteer health care professionals supported with state-of-the-art technology.

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Andrew MacCalla, our guest on November 8, 2019

Monika Penukonda

Monika trained in Vedic philosophy for 15 years in India, working closely with the spiritual master, Sri Kaleshwar. She assisted him in codifying translated knowledge from ancient palm leaf manuscripts that reveal how to awaken the divine potential in human beings. He asked her to make this knowledge accessible and practical for Westerners. The philosophy of this ancient body of knowledge reveals that solutions to healing ourselves and our planet will be found in the feminine. There will be a re-awakening of a reverence for the Divine Mother and the sacred feminine that will restore harmony on the earth. 

"The Divine Mother represents the feminine face of God—in every culture, race, or religion. When we connect to the feminine healing power of the divine, a higher collective consciousness emerges. All of nature moves into a higher state of being—women, men, children, plants and animals of Earth, forming a more loving, healthy, peaceful world.” 

Monika's focus is the rise of the feminine in our world and the balancing of the masculine and feminine energies to bring the change we need in society. It’s important that feminine energy comes forward now to heal and protect this creation. Today, she is devoted to awakening others through the energy of the Divine Mother at the Center in Mendocino County, as well as online broadcasts to a worldwide spiritual community.

Monika will be in Santa Barbara to raise awareness and funding for projects at the Divine Mother Meditation & Healing Center that will exhibit ways to live in harmony as a community in times of changing climate. This is especially urgent in areas like Mendocino which are struggling in the face of power shortages and fire breakouts. The Center will be a model for living in harmony with nature using Rammed Earth construction, a five-thousand-year-old, environmentally friendly building method, as well as a local sustainable microgrid, and the ancient Vedic science of Vaastu. 

She will bring a spiritual perspective of living in harmony as we move into an environmentally unsettled future.

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Monika Penukonda, our Guest on November 15, 2019

Judi Weisbart

Judi Weisbart is a social artist and the founder of “A Busy Woman Consulting."

Judi has a passion for social justice, peace, compassion and beauty these are the focus of her life’s work. In all her artwork, her purpose is to help create a better world. Art is a powerful avenue for communicating values thru the expression of art. There is a language that allows the viewer to feel and understand the artist emotionally. Judi has said that the voice inside her is loud, it yells at her to make a difference, speak out and be the change she wants to see.


Judi is the founder and president of A Busy Woman Consulting, helping for-profit and nonprofit organizations create events, raise funds, and develop business. The overriding vision of the business is to create Mission Driven events and strategics that form a bond of trust between the organizations and the donors. Judi  has served and worked with dozens of organizations, individuals, and businesses throughout the region and abroad. She has helped organize many large community events in Santa Barbara, such as the Women's festivals, Martin Luther King Day Celebration, and political fundraisers.


As a 30-year resident of Santa Barbara, Judi has deep knowledge of and connections to the myriad sub-communities--social, faith, arts, education, and business--that abound here. She has been recognized with several prestigious awards for her commitment to creating a better world. She is also an accomplished artist, whose works have been widely shown.

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Judi Weisbart, our guest on Nov. 22, 2019

Margaret Klein Salamon

Margaret Klein Salamon is the founder and director of The Climate Mobilization, a volunteer-powered organization that is working to initiate a WWII-scale mobilization that rapidly transforms our economy to protect humanity and the living world. In that role she has helped catalyze a burgeoning worldwide climate emergency movement. Thirty-eight cities and counties around the world have now passed climate emergency declarations based on the climate emergency policy framework that The Climate Mobilization has developed and championed. 


Margaret earned her PhD in clinical psychology from Adelphi University and also holds a BA in social anthropology from Harvard. Though she loved being a therapist, Margaret felt called to apply her psychological and anthropological knowledge to solving climate change. She is the author of The Transformative Power of Climate Truth and Leading the Public into Emergency Mode. Her forthcoming book is titled Transform Yourself with Climate Truth. 

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Margaret Klein Salamon, our guest on Nov. 29, 2019.