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Find Your Sustain Ability

Education Podcasts

What the heck does sustainability mean, anyway? Turns out, it means more than you might think. Lee Ball has insightful conversations with faculty experts, and in doing so, helps each of us find our Sustain Ability.


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What the heck does sustainability mean, anyway? Turns out, it means more than you might think. Lee Ball has insightful conversations with faculty experts, and in doing so, helps each of us find our Sustain Ability.








019: Get to Know Team Sunergy Pt.02

Two App State Team Sunergy members join Chief Sustainability Officer Lee Ball in the podcast studio to share their experiences with solar vehicle racing. Zach Howard and Logan Richardson explain how they got involved with the team, as well as the impact it has had on their personal growth and their job prospects post-graduation. Show Notes Transcript: Lee Ball Welcome to the Find Your Sustainability podcast. My name is Lee Ball. I'm the Chief Sustainability Officer here at Appalachian State University and today we have part two of a three part series where we're talking to members of Appalachian State University's Team Sunergy today. With me, I have Logan Richardson, who's the embedded systems lead, majoring in computer science and actually a graduate student in computer science. Lee Ball And Zack Howard, a mechanical lead who is majoring in sustainable technology. Welcome to the podcast. Both Thank you. Thank you. Lee Ball You know, in part one, we talked to the team about various different things. I have a feeling that we'll get into some of the same things. But I wanted to ask you, Zach, what first attracted you to get involved with Team Sunergy? Zach Howard So, I was looking for schools, looking for colleges. I'd come across App State and I had heard about the solar vehicle team. I saw it on Instagram a couple of times and I deemed the team and Sam Cheatham responded to me. He gave me his personal number and he just told me to reach out when I had questions. And I think the first person I met when I started coming to the team was Reed. Zach Howard It just was a really cool community and I really enjoyed being a part of it and it just felt natural. Lee Ball Were you a first year? Had you started when you heard about the team, or is this even before this was? Zach Howard I saw I knew about the team coming into the school, so I was looking out for it at the club fair that my freshman year and my fall semester. Lee Ball It's amazing how many people have heard about us. You know, in high school. Zach Howard Yeah, I was really looking forward to it. I wasn't sure what the team structure was going to look like and if I would be allowed to join the team or if I had to try out or submit a resume. But being a really inclusive team really opened up that opportunity and I've been super excited about it. Lee Ball Yeah, now I want to clone you. Logan, what first attracted you to get involved with Team Sunergy Logan Richardson Well, funny enough, I. I saw Rose in the homecoming parade when I was an undergrad, and I knew nothing about the team. And I just saw Rose in the parade, and I went, “Man, that's cool looking!” But during my undergrad, I never did get involved in it. And I came back for my master's degree and it was kind of one of those, friend of a friend of a friend things. Logan Richardson And I knew Sam, who was on the team, invited me in. And I think just the first time I walked in the warehouse and saw the car up front, I was hooked. I knew. Lee Ball So, both of you joined the team. In your first race last year, 2022, during the Formula One Grand Prix American. So, our challenge we raised from Independence, Missouri, to Twin Falls, Idaho. Zach, can you share a memory from that race? Zach Howard I mean, yeah, that race, there was a lot that happened in those three weeks. It's hard to take just one thing. I have to say, one of my favorite experiences overall through the structure of the race, the camaraderie of the teams is super cool. And adding on to that, we shared a campsite one night in Idaho with Polytech, Montreal. Zach Howard Their team was called Esteban, and we taught them how to play American football. We just had a great time. And we sat out there after dark for hours with a campfire, and they were passing around a cowboy hat, singing a bunch of country songs. And we were trying to sing French Canadian songs and it was a great time. Zach Howard We completely forgot about...


018: Get to Know Team Sunergy Pt.01

Two App State Team Sunergy members join Chief Sustainability Officer Lee Ball in the podcast studio to share their experiences with solar vehicle racing. Nicole Sommerdorf and Patrick Laney explain how they got involved with the team, as well as the impact it has had on their personal growth and their job prospects post-graduation. Show Notes: Lee Ball: Hello everybody. Welcome to another Find Your Sustainability Podcast. My name is Lee Ball. I'm the Chief Sustainability Officer here at Appalachian State University. Today, this is the first of three parts with Team Sunergy Appalachian State's solar vehicle team. Appalachian State University's internationally recognized Team Sunergy is an interdisciplinary team with a passion for sustainable transportation and the ingenuity, innovation, and drive to create it. It's premier solar car, Apperion, gained national attention with top three finishes in the 2016 and '17 Formula Sun Grand Prix, an international collegiate endurance competition that sets the standard for and tests the limits of solar vehicle technology. In 2018, the team's second cruiser class car rose, racing on solar energy, placed third in the FSGP competition and tied for second place in the American Solar Challenge, an international solar vehicle distance race held every other year by the Innovators Educational Foundation. In FSGP 2021, Team Sunergy captured second place in its class advancing to the ASC and winning first place for multiple occupant vehicles. In 2022, team Sunergy finished second place in the American Solar Challenge, and that race took place from Independence Missouri to Twin Falls, Idaho. So, joining me today are two team Sunergy members that I've had the great pleasure of getting to know for several years now. Nicole Sommerdorf and Patrick Laney. So, welcome to the podcast to both of you. Nicole Sommerdorf: Thank you. Lee Ball: Nicole Sommerdorf is the electric director and majors in sustainable technology and environmental science. Very ambitious double major, Nicole. And Patrick Laney, who's the lead mechanical engineer, is a sustainable technology major. So, welcome to the podcast. I'm real excited to talk about Team Sunergy and talking about kind of your connection to Team Sunergy and really what got you involved and why you're excited to continue to be involved with such an interesting and sometimes grueling and exhausting program. So, I'll first start with you Nicole. What first attracted you to get involved with Team Sunergy? Nicole Sommerdorf: I actually heard about Team Sunergy when I was in high school and I was looking for a place to go for college, and it actually led me to Appalachian State in the first place. I got initially into the team my first year of college during COVID, fall 2020. And at first the electrical meetings were on Zoom, but then I just kept being on the team and I finally got to go to the warehouse in spring 2021. Lee Ball: Patrick, what about you? Patrick Laney: I also discovered the team when I was in high school. I was actually here on a visit to see my sister who was a student here and when I saw it in the newspaper, I applied early admission to App State on the drive home. So, I joined my freshman year and never looked back. Lee Ball: Yeah, that's awesome. We need to make sure enrollment management listens to this podcast. Nicole, can you share a memory from your first race? Nicole Sommerdorf: My first race was in 2021 and the best memory from that race was when Jessica and Stephanie finally made it over the big hill during the ASC route. And no other teams at that point had made it over the hill, and one team even broke down trying to get their solar car over the hill. So, I think it was a really great feat when they finally made it over on top of the hill, they all jumped out and we all hugged them. So, it was a really nice memory. Lee Ball: I think I share that memory. Just seeing the smiles in their...


017: National Geographic CEO Dr. Jill Tiefenthaler

Dr. Jill Tiefenthaler, the first female CEO of the National Geographic Society, joins App State Chief Sustainability Officer Lee Ball in the podcast studio to discuss the journey that led her to her current position. She shares her thoughts on the importance of higher education and the history of the Society’s National Geographic magazine, as well as a few of her favorite National Geographic Explorers. Show Notes Transcript Lee Ball: Welcome back to another episode of Find Your Sustainability, where we talk to many of the world's experts about sustainability and what the heck that means. On today's episode, we spoke with Dr. Jill Tiefenthaler, who is the CEO of National Geographic. Jill was on App State's campus for the 11th annual Appalachian Energy Summit, and it was my pleasure to have a chance to interview her on the podcast. As Chief Executive Officer at the National Geographic Society, Dr. Tiefenthaler oversees the development and implementation of the society's mission driven work and programmatic agenda. She leads our global community of explorers, scientists, innovators, educators, and storytellers in our mission to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. Jill sits on the Society's board of trustees and the Board of National Geographic Partners. To read more about Jill, you can find a link to her bio on our show notes. Dr. Jill Tiefenthaler, welcome back to North Carolina. Jill Tiefenthaler: Thanks. It's great to be back, Lee. It's fun to be with you today. Lee Ball: You did your graduate work at Duke, you were the provost at Wake Forest and more recently you were the president of Colorado College for nine years. How's it feel being back on a college campus and especially back in North Carolina? Jill Tiefenthaler: Well, it's wonderful to be back on a campus. It's one of the things I miss most about leaving higher ed and being in my new role at National Geographic is the dynamism and excitement of a college campus. And back when I was college president and provost too, I used to teach every year, so I really miss teaching and being in the classroom and that interaction with students, especially. It's also great to be back in North Carolina, especially up here in Boone. I used to enjoy escaping the heat of Winston-Salem and coming up here and hiking and camping. I have very fond memories of my time both at Duke and Winston-Salem. Lee Ball: Yeah, it's funny, I go to Winston-Salem and I tell people that, "Yeah, we just came here for the day." They're like, "Oh my gosh, it's so far away." I'm like, "No, it's not. You should be coming here often." Jill Tiefenthaler: Yeah, just a couple hours. Lee Ball: What role do you think higher education plays or can play to help promote the type of education that is in line with Natural Geographic's mission? Jill Tiefenthaler: Well, I think higher ed is critical. I'm obviously a true believer in getting students to have awareness of these critical issues. And now more and more, I think they have that awareness through the media and through high school education, but they really still need those skills to figure out how to put them to work. To get the work done, we need to do both for climate change and biodiversity loss. I think they see the urgency. I also hope higher education really focuses on solutions, because I don't want our students to feel hopeless about the future. I want them to feel hopeful and motivated, inspired to make the change that we need to see in the world. Lee Ball: Yeah, that's definitely something that we focus on here is engagement opportunities, and I'm a real big believer that it does inspire hope when you can get your hands dirty or whatever. Jill Tiefenthaler: Yeah, when you can see something change. When you can see something get better and you can see how the power of collaboration and community can make that happen, I think it can be...


016: App State at The United Nations Climate Change Conference

Lee welcomes Dr. Dave McEvoy, Professor and Chair of the Department of Economics in the Walker College of Business along with Grace Waugh, a senior sustainable technology major and Matthew Mair, a senior economics and political science major. The 4 discuss their January 2023 trip to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. Links: Appalachian Today Article about the COP27 Trip Transcript: Lee Ball: Welcome to another episode of Find Your Sustainability. My name is Lee Ball. I'm the Chief Sustainability Officer here at Appalachian State, and today we have three guests in the podcast studio. It's our first ever attempt to have multiple guests, more than one. First we have David McEvoy, Professor and Chair of the Department of Economics in the Walker College of Business. Welcome, David. Dave McEvoy: Thanks for having me. Lee Ball: Grace Waugh, a senior sustainable technology major. Welcome, Grace. Grace Waugh: Happy to be here. Lee Ball: And last but not least, we have Matthew Mair, a senior economics and political science major. Welcome, Matthew. Matthew Mair: Thanks for having me. Lee Ball: So, I'm going to start with Dave. The goal of this podcast is to share with our listeners an experience that we've all had together of attending the COP27 Conference of Parties in Egypt this past fall. Prior to talking about the experience in Egypt, I just wanted to ask you, Dave, can you tell us a little bit about the UN Conference of Parties? Dave McEvoy: Yeah, sure. My interest in climate change negotiations and the United Nations, the UN kind of Climate Conference, really started way back in graduate school as an economics major. Been interested in kind of the strategic aspects of policy surrounding climate change. And so the body that governs this, at an international level, is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change or the UNFCCC. And every year since 1992, except for maybe a COVID year, we have an annual conference of the parties. Roughly 200 countries get together and try to work towards a common goal of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and limiting the damages from rising temperatures. Lee Ball: So Dave, why did you want to provide students the opportunity to attend a COP? Dave McEvoy: I mean, to be honest, I just thought it would be a fun, cool, interesting, hopefully life-changing kind of experience. Not knowing too much about how it would shake out, we have two of our initial cohort students here with us today. And so I thought that bringing students would be kind of eye-opening in the sense of how massive this problem is. And although from the press, I don't know, the coverage can be disappointing in terms of how we've done in trying to manage this problem. Just being there, kind of demonstrates how important this is for so many people. I mean, thousands and thousands, 30 to 40,000 delegates spend resources, time, energy, effort, to try their best to work on this problem. And so I think just being there is something that you can't capture in a classroom environment. Lee Ball: Grace, why did you want to attend the COP? Grace Waugh: Yeah, so my major in sustainable technology is in large part a very technical degree, so I added an economics minor my sophomore year, in order to try and get another perspective on sustainability because the biggest argument against a lot of the renewable energy initiatives that we have is that they're not going to be economically feasible, and I don't believe that to be entirely true and so I wanted to get another perspective on that. And so when the opportunity to go to the conference and see, not only what all of the other countries are doing in their sustainability efforts, but also the economic aspects of it and the negotiation portions, it seemed like a really great experience to see what the rest of the world is doing and get out of the bubble that I've lived in, in the United States, for my whole...


015 Brian Crutchfield on sustainability since the 1970s

Brian Crutchfield joins Lee in studio for a discussion ranging from tobacco farming to photovoltaics and the Tennessee Valley Authority. A North Carolina native and Virginia Tech graduate, Crutchfield has seen his share of changes in the field of sustainability since the 1970s. Crutchfield shares some of the ways he has found to make real and lasting impacts in your community. Lee Ball: Welcome to another episode of Find Your Sustain Ability. My name is Lee Ball. Today, we have joining us Brian Crutchfield, a longtime energy advocate, and I was really interested in getting Brian on the show because of the current state of energy in the world today. Brian worked with the Tennessee Valley Authority for many years. More recently, he worked with Blue Ridge Energy as their sustainable development director. Welcome, Brian, to the show. Brian Crutchfield: Great to be here, Lee. Lee Ball: How did you first become interested in advocating for the environment? Brian Crutchfield: Well, I was in grad school back during the original energy crisis, '73 and '74, when there were gas lines. OPEC had cut off the supply, sort of like they just recently did. Prices were high. And not only that, you couldn't get it. It was an odd-even day kind of thing, or according to your name when you could get in line just to get gas. At the time, I was in graduate school at Virginia Tech working on a degree in city and regional planning, had a professor who really was into this type of thing and got us working with a group that was trying to bring coal back to Southwest Virginia. They were selling so much coal and shipping it out of Norfolk to Japan and other places that low income folks couldn't buy it. We were bringing a carload back on every return empty train just for local folks. It was pretty unusual. Got into energy resources analysis at that time in '74, got my master's degree, did some work up in Washington, DC. Basically being in graduate school regarding planning, realizing that all of a sudden energy was a factor, that you couldn't necessarily predict what was happening in that field anymore. You need to start planning around energy issues, not just transportation and highways and development, because now the cost of energy was driving a lot of things, business and communities and society. That was the beginning, during the first crisis. Lee Ball: Going back a little before that, you grew up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Brian Crutchfield: Yeah. Mount Airy, Winston-Salem area. Lee Ball: Mount Airy is a pretty rural environment. Was there something about your formative years that enabled an environmental ethic that just kept you connected to the land? What was it about your childhood that led to being interested in being an advocate for the environment? Brian Crutchfield: Well, my family had been involved in agriculture. My great-grandfather was one of the folks that actually blended Lucky Strike and had his own tobacco company in Reidsville, North Carolina. Ended up selling his company to James Buchanan Duke of American Tobacco Company. And back then, it was the old handshake kind of thing. If you'll sell me your company, I'll make sure any of your kids, their kids and grandkids will always have a job. My grandfather worked for the company. My father worked for the company. It almost seemed like I was heading in that direction to be a tobacco buyer. But knowing all the hard work that went into growing tobacco back in those days, they really didn't use a lot of chemicals. Everything was pretty non-filter even. But it was interesting to see how agriculture was changing, so an appreciation for rural farmers and what they had to go through. My dad was a tobacco buyer. He would buy tobacco from farmers. They would show their appreciation for him and the company buying from them by bringing us country hams, things like that. Nice relationship back in those days. Lee Ball: I have a very similar story from my family on both...


014 Jamie Parson on the goals and challenges of in the work of diversity, equity and inclusion

Host Dr. Lee F. Ball visits with App State Chief Diversity Officer Jamie Parson. The two discuss her experiences in the world of insurance and academia. Parson shares goals for her position as chief diversity officer and defines some of the greatest challenges to her work in diversity, equity and inclusion on App State's campus. Transcript Lee Ball: Welcome to the podcast, Find Your Sustainability, where we discuss complex sustainability issues with experts from a variety of perspectives. Today, I would like to welcome Jamie Parson, Chief Diversity Officer here at Appalachian State University. Jamie was an associate professor in the Department of Finance, Banking and Insurance at App State, where she taught undergraduate courses in business law and insurance. In addition, she led the Walker College of Business' Inclusive Excellence Team, formerly Diversity Advisory Team, as well as the Risk Management and Insurance Diversity Initiatives in the Brantley Risk and Insurance Center. She also serves on numerous boards and committees, including the university's Diversity and Inclusion Accountability team. Jamie, welcome to our podcast. Jamie Parson: Thank you. Lee Ball: Can you tell me a little bit about what led you to the role of chief diversity officer? Jamie Parson: Yeah, so I think much of my diversity and inclusion work started when I was younger. I was in the youth NAACP when I was in high school. And when I got to college, I was one of 7% underrepresented students in my undergraduate institution, and being a part of a multicultural student organization was really important to building communities. So I was a part of a group called The Meeting of Students Addressing Intercultural Concerns. And then when I went to law school, I became involved in our Black Law Student Association and our Multicultural Law Student Association. And I think being involved in those programs when I was in college really led me to find a lot of value in those in my career. So when I went to working at State Farm, I had the opportunity to participate in employee resource groups, which I found were really valuable. Before I went back to State Farm, I was also a Title VII investigator. And then when I got to this position here at Appalachian, being able to do diversity and inclusion work just seemed like a natural fit for continuing in my career. Lee Ball: Yeah. Like me when I was young, the chief sustainability officer wasn't a thing and I don't think chief diversity officers were a thing, but we just kind of fell into these roles. Jamie Parson: Absolutely. Lee Ball: Well, you certainly deserve it. You have a lot of experience and it's always been great working with you. Jamie Parson: Thanks. Lee Ball: Can you expand on your experience teaching and working in the Walker College of Business? Jamie Parson: Yeah, so I was hired to teach primarily the legal environment of business course, which is a introduction course to law for all business majors, had the opportunity to then start working in teaching some of the insurance courses. So I taught a personal insurance course and then had the opportunity to participate in the rollout of the employee benefits minor, which is the first employee benefits minor in the entire nation. So getting the opportunity to teach in the College of Business, it's a lot about innovation and what kind of creative, practical things you can bring to the classroom, which is a model I really like. Because I see such value in bringing those practical experiences to students rather than spending a lot of time talking about high level theories and things that they can't necessarily relate to, thinking about how we take some of those theories and put them into practice. Lee Ball: Are you seeing students in the College of Business really valuing the employee experience, just the people part of the business community? Jamie Parson: Absolutely. I think that hands on experience gives them the opportunity to see...


013 Nicole Hagerman Miller on the journey not just the destination

Nicole Hagerman Miller is the Managing Director at Biomimicry 3.8, a Missoula, Montana based company that draws it's design inspiration and functional instruction from nature and natural systems and tailors those ancient and refined principals to modern day businesses and organizations the world over. She shares intriguing success stories, some of the bright moments during her covid quarantine time as well as the story of her personal growth from an ideology of achievement above all else, to a value system that emphasis the importance of the journey not just the destination. Transcript Lee Ball: Welcome to another episode of the podcast, Find Your Sustain Ability, where we have deep conversations about the meaning and varying perspectives of sustainability. Today, we're speaking with Nicole Hagerman Miller. Nicole serves as the Managing Director of Biomimicry 3.8, a certified B corp and social enterprise dedicated to helping change makers create a more sustainable world by emulating nature's designs and core principles. Welcome to the show, Nicole. Nicole Hagerman Miller: Thank you. I'm happy to be here. Lee Ball: It's really nice to have you on the podcast today. Always love talking to you and appreciate your perspective, but I wanted to start by asking you how you're doing these days as we begin to navigate out of our global pandemic much like the cicada emergence? Nicole Hagerman Miller: Well, thank you for asking. I'm doing well. I always am hesitant to answer that question because I understand that people can be in not so good situations. I feel very fortunate that I live in Montana, a place where I have access to nature, I can get outside. My work wasn't impacted heavily by COVID. Overall, I feel very grateful coming out of COVID and coming out of, I think, the awakening that so many people had. I think I am so hopeful that the awakening stays rich and conscious for people and that there was so much awareness I think that occurred for people in the value of slowing down and pausing and getting outside. Nicole Hagerman Miller: I think all of that that surfaced was just really inspiring to see happen in the world. This is a really long answer to your question, but I'm really well and I'm really hopeful and I'm really encouraged by some of the things that we did see. As much as there was the horrible and the restless and the unnerving and the scary aspects of it, there were also some really beautiful outcomes of COVID, and I'm choosing to focus on those silver linings. With that, it embodies me with an overall feeling of being well and grateful. Lee Ball: What did you say that nature was a big part of your pandemic experience for you and your family? You're in Montana, so I know it was cold during a lot of the pandemic, but also know that you are not afraid of the cold. Nicole Hagerman Miller: Well, I don't know about that. I feel like as I get older in my years, my tolerance for cold goes down a little bit each year. Yeah, absolutely. Nature was a massive part of being able to be resilient in such an unnerving time. I think the thing that I often think about is last spring, when COVID was at its height, I remember sitting in my yard and being like, "Wow, these birds are so loud and everything is so green." I work with an amazing group of biologists. We were talking about that and it was actually Janine Benyus, the co-founder of our company who said, "I'm also sure that it is different. I just think that we're noticing it for the first time in a way that we've never noticed it before." Nicole Hagerman Miller: That really struck me and I did start noticing things in a way that I hadn't before. I think I was chalking it up to, oh, the world is slowing down, and therefore nature is really showing her glory. But I think it's always there. It's just we're not always looking in that way. I definitely became more conscious of what was happening in nature and having that space, as I mentioned earlier, to slow...


012 Dr. Rajat Panwar on deforestation, corporate social responsibility and global value chains

Join App State Chief Sustainability Officer Lee Ball and guest Dr. Rajat Panwar, associate professor in App State's Walker College of Business, as they discuss deforestation, corporate social responsibility and global value chains, as well as Panwar's journey from India, to the Himalayas, to App State — an institution that "values sustainability and sustainable business so much," Panwar, said. Transcript Lee Ball: Welcome to the podcast Find Your Sustain Ability, where we discuss active solutions to some of the world's toughest problems related to climate change, social justice and sustainability. My name is Lee Ball, and I am your host. On today's show, we have Dr. Rajat Panwar, who is an associate professor of sustainable business management here at Appalachian State University. Dr. Panwar has a versatile academic background that includes researching and teaching in Asia, Europe, North America and South America. He has earned two doctoral degrees, one in the forest sector, business sustainability, and the other in strategic management. A native of India, Dr. Panwar now lives here with us in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Appalachia. Rajat, welcome to the show. Rajat Panwar: Thank you very much, Lee. Thank you for having me. Lee Ball: So can you tell us what it was like growing up in India? And can you share any stories that inspired you to advocate on the behalf of people and places through your work as a professor and a researcher? Rajat Panwar: That's a very good start of the conversation. Thank you, Lee. Growing up in India as a child was very different than the experience the kids are having these days. Things have changed dramatically. Back in the day, the gap between the developed and the developing world was even more dramatic than it is today. So for example, I did not have a television in my household until I was in senior year of high school. And the first time I made a phone call in my life was when I was already in college. So just to give a framework around where I grew up and all that. India happened to be a developing country even then, and the economy was growing fine, and actually at a remarkably faster rate than many others when I was growing up. Rajat Panwar: But at the same time, my memory of the development happening in India is not a story that is very exciting. Why I say that, Lee, is because I was growing up at a time when the word sustainable development had not entered the policy lexicon, at least in a country like India. So I witnessed, growing up, devastation of natural resources, particularly the forests around the area that I grew up in, sometimes purely to see a road being constructed or a telephone line being put up and things like that. So growing up, I was very ambivalent with this whole idea of economic development and that perhaps led into my research and my professional pursuits in the area of sustainable development. That is what I would say in terms of growing up, my story in India, it was filled with very mixed emotions. What I was seeing was not what I wanted to see, and that definitely shaped who I am as a person and who I am as a scholar. Lee Ball: Was there still a lot of nature that you grew up around, a lot of beauty? I'm always trying to understand people like you and me that have a devotion to protecting these places. A lot of times that was really inspired by a deep connection at an early age. I was just wondering if that was something that you experienced. Rajat Panwar: Yeah, absolutely. And so, I mean the notion of nature is very different to different people. So for example, anybody growing up or living in Appalachian Mountains or Blue Ridge Mountains, their idea of nature is green trees and those kind of things. I grew up in a rather arid part of India. So we didn't have lots of greenery, so to speak, around, but there was a big river and the watershed of that river really was what I would call nature growing up. Like bushes and some animals around...


011 U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich on the climate crisis and repairs and upgrades of national parks

Lee Ball: Welcome to the podcast Find Your Sustain Ability, where we discuss active solutions to some of the world's toughest problems related to climate change, social justice and sustainability. My name is Lee Ball, and I am your host. On the podcast today, I have an old friend, the honorable Senator Heinrich from New Mexico. Senator Heinrich is no stranger to environmental and sustainability issues. An avid conservationist, he has worked for decades on behalf of the environment and the people of his home state of New Mexico. Now, as an acting U.S. senator, he continues this work, and much more, on behalf of our country. Senator Heinrich, welcome to the podcast. It is a real pleasure to speak with you after all these years. Senator Heinrich: Yeah, it's great to be with you, Lee. Lee Ball: So we first met in Albuquerque while I was working on my master's in environmental education at the University of New Mexico. At the time, I remember being hopeful that we're slowly, slowly starting to get a handle on the environmental crisis. Fast forward 25 years and the environmental crisis is exponentially worse, coupled with a climate crisis of unimaginable proportions. The majority of the state has warmed at least 1 degree over the last century. There are more fires, droughts, floods, extreme heat, pests, decreased snowpack, changing landscapes and even desertification. As someone who's spent decades actively working on these problems, what's really troubling you about these issues in your home state right now? Senator Heinrich: You know, I think when you and I first met there was a growing awareness of the problem. But I think in our generation, we were more the exception than the rule in choosing to really focus on these issues with our life's work. And I see that differently today in this rising generation. It seems that the entirety of the generation really sees these challenges very clearly and they expect not just, you know, words, they expect action for changing the myriad of challenges that we face. They expect us to fix the climate crisis. They expect us to do something about biodiversity. And I think the political power in that is really going to open up a flood gate of action. And the reality is that this kind of change does not happen in a linear way. There's a lot of effort that goes in for a long time before you really get to see anything but incremental change. Senator Heinrich: And then all of a sudden, the curve bends and things happen quickly. And so, as frustrating as it has been to spend my entire adult life fully aware of the changing climate and seeing very little action, now we're reaching a point of dramatic action, and technology is changing very, very quickly because they're not on a linear path either. And so I have more hope about doing something right now that I've had for most of my life. And I'm hopeful, in part, because you know, when I was in college, we didn't have all the solutions to these things. We have the technology to fix the climate crisis today. We have the agricultural practices, but what we need is mass implementation. And what we need is to bring down the costs of some of those solutions, but we can see a path and that wasn't true in the past. And we just need to, you know, across the board, we need action and we need cooperation with the rest of the world. And as we've all seen, that's been a real challenge in the last four years, shall we say. Lee Ball: I'm glad you shared that perspective. That really takes me back, you know, back when I was really thinking about what I wanted to do when I grew up. I thought that spreading awareness was really important at the time. I did feel like there was, you know, a lot of momentum back in the '90s. You know, fast forward to today, we don't spend any time in our work trying to convince people that climate change is real. We're actually working with these youth that you mentioned, they're telling us we're not doing it fast enough. And so...


010 David Karlsgodt discusses sustainability on college campuses

Appalachian's Chief Sustainability Officer Dr. Lee Ball is joined by David Karlsgodt, Brailsford and Dunlavey’s director of management advisory services and host of the Campus Energy and Sustainability Podcast. Topics covered include the future of sustainability on college campuses; how the pandemic is impacting, and will continue to impact, sustainable practices in higher education; and jazz music. Transcript Lee Ball: Yeah. So today we're with Dave Karlsgodt, and he is the director of energy advisory services for Brailsford & Dunlavey Inc. And you know, David, we've been trying to get you on this podcast for quite some time and, you know, welcome. David K.: Well, thanks, Lee. It's really nice to be on the show. Lee Ball: Yeah. This is my "Find Your Sustain Ability" podcast and you and I have talked a long time about getting you on my podcast since you had me on yours, I think, over two years ago. So, it's been a long time coming. David K.: Yeah, it's kinda hard to believe it's been that long. But yeah, I had hoped to come out to see you this summer, but I don't think that's going to happen. Lee Ball: No, that's not going to happen. We'll talk about the pandemic a little bit later. I definitely have, you know, I'm curious to get your feedback and little insight on what you've been thinking and what you've learned. David K.: Well, I'm glad to be there virtually, if not physically. Lee Ball: Yeah. So Dave, you're the director of energy advisory services with Brailsford & Dunlavey Inc. and, you know, you had a career with Fovea before that. And I like to start a lot of my podcasts by asking a little more personal stories of my guests, just to find out how you got on your path to helping in the sustainability space and climate action. So, if you don't mind, just tell us a little bit about your personal story, and how'd you get into this work, and why do you care so deeply about sustainability and climate action? David K.: Absolutely. Well, I suppose like lots of people in sustainability, I have a nonlinear path to get here. I'd like to say it's unique in the sense of, you know, not having a traditional path, but I don't think a lot of people have a traditional path in sustainability. I actually grew up in Western Montana in a little town south of Missoula called Hamilton. You know, surrounded by mountains, ranches, wilderness, you know, it was a pretty idyllic childhood in many, many ways. So, I certainly gained an appreciation for the environment and just the natural world when growing up. But I really didn't appreciate it either because it was all I had ever known at that point. I went off to college at the University of North Texas to study jazz, which was an amazing school for music and ... but I did really miss Montana quite a bit and learned quickly that the urban sprawl of Dallas was not, sort of my native environment anymore. But I had a great time learning music. As I was wrapping up college, I spent some time working on cruise ships and kind of got to see the world. And also kind of got to see the world economy. We always called the cruise ships sort of the world economy in a tin can. And that gave me some perspective on, you know, just how the world works, both good and bad, and I got to see some amazing places. And I also saw some fairly nasty parts of humanity as well, you know, just kind of the waste and the sort of inequities in the world. So I suppose all of that kind of added up to maybe where I've landed today, but before I became a sustainability professional, I was working as a software developer, which I always joke was my ... the way I got out of poverty after being a musician for a while. And then through that work, I was introduced to, I think my first big project was with the King County Housing Authority, which gave me a chance to work with large public institutions and kind of learn that world a little bit. You know, spent a lot of time doing the more traditional...


009 Baker Perry on installing the world’s highest weather station

Host Dr. Lee F. Ball visits with climate scientist and Appalachian geography and planning professor Dr. Baker Perry. Perry shares details about his recent trip to Mount Everest to install the world's highest weather station, the applications of the data being collected at the station and even a little about his time playing basketball under Duke's coach K. Transcript Announcer: Define sustainability. Odds are your definition is completely different from the next person's. Appalachian State University's Director of Sustainability, Dr. Lee Ball, sits down with his guest to explore the many ways in which sustainability affects our lives. This is Find Your Sustainability. Lee Ball: On today's podcast I'm here with Baker Perry. Baker is a professor in the Department of Geography and Planning here at Appalachian State University. I invited Baker to today's podcast because I'm really interested in you hearing about his work in climate science related to tropical glaciers in South America, and more recently his adventure to the Himalayas, installing a weather station on the highest mountain in world, Mt. Everest. Lee Ball: Thank you so much for being here. Baker Perry: Well, it's a real pleasure to be here, Lee. Thank you for the invitation. Lee Ball: Baker, you've spent a whole career working in climate science, in that realm, working on glacier research in far-flung places around the world. And most recently you were on an adventure on Mt. Everest. What I'd love for you to share with our listeners is just a quick summary of how you get invited to be a part of that team, and how long you were there. And then I just have a few more questions to follow up. Baker Perry: No, great question. Looking back, this all happened relatively quickly. It was about a year ago that the official invitation came about from National Geographic and this happened in conjunction with a close colleague, Paul Majewski, who we had here on campus about a year and a half ago, and he's somebody that I had been collaborating with the last couple of years on ice core paleoclimate research project in Peru. And he was tasked by National Geographic to lead the expedition, be the science lead for it. Baker Perry: And so as a result of that, he had a little bit of latitude on people he could invite to participate, and obviously that had to be cleared by National Geographic. But based on our experience working together and in particular my role in installing and maintaining a network of weather stations in Peru and Bolivia, there was an opportunity for me to join the team and really take a lead on the planning and the installation of the weather station network on Mt. Everest. And so this was a bit of an unanticipated move, perhaps, from the Andes where I've spent so much of my career, and even life before my professional career to the Himalayas. Baker Perry: But it was a region that I was not entirely unfamiliar with either. I had been to the Everest region, to Nepal about 20 years ago when I was a graduate student, so I had some familiarity with it. And of course, there's, you know, for a lot of us that study the highest mountains and weather processes, extreme weather and snow and ice, there's always a certain degree of fascination with the Himalayas, and in particularly Everest. And so the opportunity to participate in an interdisciplinary scientific expedition with National Geographic was pretty exciting to say the least. Lee Ball: I'm guessing that the data that will be retrieved, that this weather station's going to be used in a wide variety of ways. Baker Perry: They are. The data have lots of applications. We're working on several publications right now with direct applications on improving the forecasting on Mt. Everest. The models, what we found are pretty good up there, especially in the short term, but we can make them better and we can improve those forecasts and so we're demonstrating that. Baker Perry: We're also improving the data that go...


008 Amory Lovins explains how “off-the-shelf technologies” and integrated design can achieve energy and cost efficiency

On this Find Your Sustain Ability, Appalachian's chief sustainability officer, Dr. Lee F. Ball, welcomes who he calls “one of the country’s foremost leaders in renewable energy and energy efficiency” — Amory Lovins. Lovins is chairman emeritus and chief scientist at the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), a nonprofit with a mission to “transform global energy use to create a clean, prosperous and secure low-carbon future.” Transcript Announcer: Define sustainability. Odds are your definition is completely different from the next person's. Appalachian State University's director of sustainability, Dr. Lee Ball, sits down with his guest to explore the many ways in which sustainability affects our lives. This is Find Your Sustain Ability. Lee Ball: Welcome everyone. My name is Lee Ball and I am your host of Find Your Sustain Ability. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with The Rocky Mountain Institute's chief scientist Amory Lovins. We've had the pleasure of knowing Amory Lovins for the past eight years through our relationship with The Rocky mountain Institute. Amory Lovins is one of the country's foremost leaders in renewable energy and energy efficiency. We sat down with him to talk about potential challenges and solutions in renewable energy and I hope you enjoy the podcast. LB: So we're here today with Amory Lovins. Amory, thank you so much for taking your time to come to Appalachia State and to join me on my podcast that we call Find Your Sustain Ability. Amory Lovins: Nice title. Thanks for having me. LB: So what's keeping you busy these days? Are you still traveling a lot? AL: Yeah. I'm just back from almost a month travel in East Asia and West Asia. And working on some interesting bits of research. One is on how to save most of the cement and steel and other energy-intensive materials we use. And another's how to make an integrative design the general practice instead of rare. That means you're designing buildings, vehicles, factories, as whole systems rather than as a pile of parts. And if you make the parts work together rather than against each other, you get several fold bigger energy savings at a lot lower cost. So I'd like to make that come out of the water faucets. LB: So that reminds me of what Wendell Berry used to call solving for pattern. AL: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Same idea. And in fact, I love Wendell and his work. And I use that concept all the time. If I want to help you design a car better, I might talk about my house, where I grow bananas up in the Rockies, down to minus 47 F with no furnace. But it's cheaper to build that way because I save more construction cost leaving out the heating system than I pay extra for the stuff that gets rid of the heating system. AL: So if you wanted to design a really good car, we take out a lot of weight and then you need less propulsion system to haul it around. And that gets cheaper and pays for the lightweighting. In fact, I a car that does that, it's a carbon fiber electric car. And people thought carbon fiber costs too much, but guess what? It's paid for by needing fewer batteries. And then they recharge faster and everything gets better. LB: So Amory, you've often mentioned that we have, a lot of the technologies that we need, you refer to them as off-the-shelf technologies. Can you speak a little bit about that? AL: Yeah. The technologies we had in 2010 were enough to save three quarters of our electricity at about a 10th the cost we pay for it. Most of the rest of the energy we use, a lot cheaper than buying it. And that technology keeps improving. Although actually what's improving even faster is design, the way we choose and combine technologies. AL: So give you a little example from big office buildings. In 2010, when we led the retrofit of the Empire State Building, we saved 38% of the energy. They'd already saved some. And that paid for itself in three years and that was thought pretty good at the time. But then three years later, in a big...


007 Dr. David Orr on sustainability education and politics and his earliest memories of the natural environment

Before most people even knew what the S-word was all about, David Orr was pioneering the field of sustainability education. His groundbreaking work in the '90s led to the construction of one of the greenest buildings in North America. On this podcast, Orr discusses The Oberlin Project's mission to reduce carbon emissions and create a new, sustainable base for economic and community development. He also shares his thoughts on sustainability politics and what he calls a "dramatic shift" in our capacity to protect the environment. Transcript Intro: Define sustainability. Odds are your definition is completely different from the next person's. Appalachian State University's Director of Sustainability, Dr. Lee Ball, sits down with his guest to explore the many ways in which sustainability affects our lives. This is Find Your Sustain Ability. Lee Ball: Welcome, everybody. I am Lee Ball, and I'm your host of Find Your Sustain Ability. Today's podcast is a conversation that I had with David Orr. David Orr is Emeritus faculty at Oberlin College. And David is one of the country's foremost leaders in sustainability education. David pioneered the field of sustainability education before most people even knew what the "S" word was even about. Because of David's insights and his deep perspective on campus sustainability and political science and the politics of sustainability, we've asked him to join us in our podcast today. And I hope you enjoy it. Lee Ball: David Orr, thank you so much for coming back to Boone and joining me in our podcast. We call this Find Your Sustain Ability. David Orr: Well, thanks for having me. This is a great place to be. And your work is really great. So thanks to you for doing what you're doing. Lee Ball: Yeah. This is your eighth Appalachian Energy Summit that you've attended. And we're extremely lucky to have you to be a part of the Appalachian family. Again, thank you for taking the journey from Oberlin, Ohio down to Boone. David Orr: Well, Lee, thank you for all the leadership and the work that you do here and the excitement and creation of alternatives within higher education. That's critically important. And you're carrying that on, so thanks to you. Lee Ball: You're welcome. I understand you have some family in the area? David Orr: We do. My roots of both my mother and father's family go back in North Carolina for two centuries. And mostly dirt farmers and hell raisers around Charlotte. I think they're part of the Mecklenburg crowd back in the 17 whatever it was, but yeah, North Carolinian by lineage. Yeah. Lee Ball: Yeah. That's fantastic. So having a sense of our place is so important to the work that we do. I know that you feel the same, especially with your work in Oberlin and the Oberlin Project. I know that that place is a big part of what you focus on. David Orr: Oberlin is interesting. Like Boone and Appalachian State, there's a legacy that builds up over the years. And in the case of Oberlin, it was the first college to accept African Americans and women and graduate them. That goes back into the 1830s. That was part of the DNA of the institution. It wasn't as wonderful as it sounds. There were real conflicts. The board votes to accept African-Americans were close calls, but it happened. And it marked the institution and it's carried that commitment into the present. David Orr: What we tried to do in the past, in my roughly 30 years in town, most of that, 27 years on the faculty or in the administration, is to begin to broaden that sense of commitment to include environment. What good is a great college if you don't have a decent planet to put it on, to paraphrase Thoreau. That's been our attempt to see environment and climate and energy issues as flip sides of a coin that involve equity, fairness, decency and justice. That's the role. But Oberlin has been a great place to live because of that commitment. Lee Ball: What do you think was special about Oberlin to create a space where...


006 Kailash Satyarthi — fighting child labor from Delhi sweatshops to U.S. tobacco fields

Host Dr. Lee F. Ball, Appalachian's chief sustainability officer, interviews Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi. Satyarthi has spent 40 years freeing 80,000 children from slavery. Listen to his journey and his advice to App State students on the latest "Find Your Sustain Ability." Transcript Dr. Lee Ball: Kailash Satyarthi has spent his whole career saving the lives of children who are working as laborers around the world. Kailash was on our campus today, he actually flew over from Delhi, India, and he's leaving our campus to go straight to London, England. He was here today speaking and meeting students. He spoke to a full house in our Schaefer Center of over 1,000 people and had the opportunity to meet a lot of people. He stayed for a long time and shook hands and took pictures and people were extremely moved by his talk. Kailash was kind enough to stop by the studio. He had a lot to share about his organization and about the plight of child slaves and young laborers all around the world. There's a lot more information about Kailash's organization in our show notes. If you're interested in learning more, please check it out. We'll switch to his conversation now and I hope you enjoy. L. Ball: Kailash Satyarthi, I want to thank you for coming here at Appalachian State. It's an honor to meet you and I welcome you to Boone, North Carolina. Kailash Satyarthi: Thank you, Lee. L. Ball: So for those who don't know, you've spent almost 40 years freeing over 80,000 children from slavery and unimaginable working conditions in India and around the world. You and your family and your colleagues have risked your lives countless times doing this work. You're like a modern day superhero. K. Satyarthi: Not really. L. Ball: Yeah. But unfortunately you can't solve these problems alone. I recognize that. There are over still 150 million children working in these conditions around the globe. My work here at the university with sustainability overlaps with yours because we cannot create a sustainable world on the backs of our children. So if we're going to ever find a way to create a sustainable future for the planet and its people, then we must end child slavery around the world that supports the desire for inexpensive goods, where the costs are externalized and subsidized by children. So because of your dedication to children around the world, you were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. But first of all, congratulations, and thank you for this very important work. Secondly, has this attention of receiving the Nobel Peace Prize benefited your work trying to end child slavery around the world? K. Satyarthi: Thank you, Lee, for this opportunity. First of all let me tell you that I am not a superhero. Superheroes can do the things on their own, but I always believed in togetherness, building coalitions, partnerships and mobilizing ordinary people for this sustainable change in the society to end child slavery and child labor. Though I had been working across the world, almost 150 countries for the last 20 years, with local partnerships and organizations to fight child slavery, we could not move much as I was expecting that people should recognize that it's serious evil that must end. It should have the political priority at local level and global level too. But after the Nobel Prize, it helped definitely. Because for the first time when the Nobel Peace Prize has been conferred to this cause through me. In their 100 years of history, they did not link the need of eradication of slavery and protecting children from it for a sustainable peace in the world. K. Satyarthi: But they did it, so it was helpful. In fact, I kept fighting that this should be included in the Millennium Development Goals when they were being formulated in 1998, 99. In 2000, I did my best for the demand, organized some demonstrations and parallel meetings at the U.N., But it did not work. There was no mention of child labor or child slavery in MDGs. Then for...


005 Adam Hege on Social Justice and Food Insecurity in rural Appalachia

Understanding and addressing food insecurity, social determinants of health and quality of life in the rural Appalachia region of North Carolina


004 Majora Carter ”The Prophet of Local”

Whether she's turning a landfill into an award-winning 3 million-dollar park, or transforming a neglected streetscape into a picturesque, Parisian-cafe inspired greenspace, Majora Carter's vision and drive for sustainable, local living is potent and compelling.


003 Former Head of EPA Gina McCarthy

Gina McCarthy discusses what it was like to be in charge of 15,000 people at the EPA and shares why she remains hopeful about our nation and our world.


002 Jeff Biggers on Regenerative Cities and Sustainability in Appalachia

A history of sustainability in Appalachia and life after coal.


001 What does Social Justice have to do with Sustainability?

Are sustainability and social justice answers to the same question?