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A World of Possibilities

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Chicago, IL


A World of Possibilities is an award-winning one hour weekly program that penetrates behind the headlines to uncover the deeper meanings of events. It offers in-depth analysis, informed commentary and an exploration of new approaches to our most challenging problems.




Hong Kong, China's Green Gateway? Minicast

Hong Kong has always been a world unto itself. But today it's a city uncertain of its identity. As mainland China surges to the front rank of the global economy, its vast industrial base has upstaged Hong Kong. Many civic leaders are now asking what's left for Hong Kong to do that makes use of its unique gifts and strengths. In this program we hear two civic leaders share their far-reaching visions of how a densely industrialized capital of high finance could become a model for urban green...

Full Circle Innovation Minicast

In its breakneck pursuit of modernization, China has given nature a back seat to its turbo-charged industrial development. Now, with drought, desertification, and extreme pollution, China's leaders are beginning to realize that better treatment of its natural capital is vital to the country's survival. Today we'll speak with a leading Chinese landscape architect who is redefining the relationship between humans and nature with an ingenuity that sets a new standard for innovation itself and...

Take Me For A Ride In Your E-Car! Minicast

These days we think of electric vehicles as futuristic inventions, coming our way just a little before commercial flights to the moon. But actually, they preceded the infernal combustion engine by more than half a century. Now, as we choke on the exhaust, we turn once more to electricity. Only this time, the momentum is building not in Detroit but in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and California.

Better Together? Chinese Innovators on Green Tech Partnerships Minicast

Like "Made in Japan" a generation ago, the "Made in China" label has long been viewed by Americans as a low-cost, low quality knock-off of a costly original designed and manufactured in more advanced nations. But these days China is transforming itself from the world's factory into the world's laboratory. That's creating vast new opportunities for green innovation. Two leading Chinese entrepreneurial innovators in renewable energy ask why the nation that pioneered many such technologies is...

China's Great Green Wager Minicast

China today is the most polluted nation on earth. But it's also on its way to becoming the most environmentally advanced. And it's no coincidence. Long seen as the Great Replicator, China is now becoming the Great Innovator in all things environmental. Join us as we explore how the world's most populous nation is betting that the next economy will not be gray but green.

The Gas Rush Minicast

Host Mark Sommer continues his journey across the communities lying above the Marcellus Shale Play, a gigantic natural gas deposit stretching under the Northeast United States. In this program we hear the conflicting ideas and conflicted emotions of those living and working in the Southern Tier of New York State, where gas "fracking" is proposed but not yet underway.

Slow Money: Reducing Velocity, Increasing Value Minicast

Each day, billions of shares flash through stock markets worldwide. Fortunes are made and lost at the flick of a keystroke, wreaking havoc on millions of people far from the trading floor. Meanwhile, both value and values are wantonly destroyed. Today we'll hear from two pioneering economists, one of them a Nobel Prize winner, who seek to slow the pace of business in order to reclaim value and values.

Gross National Happiness: From Private Wealth to Public Well-Being Minicast

"Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." This most famous phrase from the U.S. Declaration of Independence places happiness at the front and center of the role of government. Today we'll hear from the Minister of Happiness in the Royal Kingdom of Bhutan, where Gross National Happiness, rather than Gross National Product, is the preferred measure used to guide national policy. We also hear from a Seattle city councilman who's been inspired by Bhutan's example to propose similar indices...

Fractured Bedrock, Fractured Communities Minicast

Nine thousand feet beneath the surface of several Northeastern states lie vast deposits of shale impregnated with natural gas. The Marcellus Shale play, as it is called, is being touted by energy analysts as one of the largest in the world. For a chronically hard-pressed region in a season of recession, the promise of mailbox money just for signing a simple lease to subsurface rights is almost irresistible. Almost, that is, until they've signed and discover the implications of their...

Food and Forests: Reviving Diversity Minicast

As we seek ways to make both our economies and food supplies more sustainable, we would do well to look at what worked for hundreds of years before modern technology gave us both greater productivity and greater vulnerability. In this program we visit with specialists from around the world who are combining the newest techniques of sustainable agriculture with ancient practices of subsistence forest farming to create food production systems robust enough to weather the unpredictable extremes...

Transforming Misfortune Minicast

It's clear now that the economic collapse of 2008, the second "September shock" after 2001, will have a more enduring impact than most of us once supposed. Today we'll meet two individuals who've pursued and long advocated ways of life based not on lifestyles of the rich and famous but on our enduring capacities for creativity, imagination and love. And, they've traced how what we choose to do as individuals can reshape the nature of the larger world.

Toxic Legacy: Healing from Agent Orange Minicast

Thirty-five years ago the war in Vietnam came to an abrupt end, yet for millions of Vietnamese soldiers and citizens and for thousands of American veterans and their descendants, a legacy of diseases, disabilities, and unexplained symptoms echo down the decades. During the war, some 4.5 million Vietnamese were exposed to highly toxic dioxins sprayed by the American military. Today we'll hear from a range of individuals from varied sectors and backgrounds who've gathered together in support...

Back to the Garden: Cacao's Role in Reviving Biodiversity Minicast

Species of both plants and animals are dying out at unprecedented rates. Overpopulation, industrialization, and mono-cropping are stressing the world's food supply. Now radical shifts in climate change could conceivably trigger ecological and economic collapse. Today we'll hear from specialists worldwide in the new science of agro-biodiversity who are combining the best of both ancient and organic agriculture and using cacao's charismatic attraction to inspire the replanting of tropical...

Life in Slo Mo Minicast

In a global culture dominated by the impatience of youth, counted in nanoseconds and fueled by "just-in-time" supply chains, everything needs to be done "yesterday" since today is no longer soon enough. Today we'll hear from two individuals who've slowed their pace even as they've quickened their creativity and deepened their appreciation for those things that speeding causes us to miss.

Growing Pains: Organics Come of Age Minicast

Organic agriculture has grown up. A once-marginal movement of plucky and slightly eccentric home gardeners has bloomed into mega-farms that ship around the world selling at premium prices. In this program we'll examine both ends of the organic industry food chain -- a mid-size organic farming family and the world's largest organic food retailer. We'll see what growing mainstream has done for - and to -- organic farmers, and what remains to be done to give farmers and consumers the...

Saving Sacred Lands Minicast

Our failure to protect and respect innately sacred natural places is a direct reflection of our loss of connection to the land and water that sustain us - and a harbinger of self-destruction. These sacred places are sometimes known only to their ancestral guardians and the peoples that have long revered them. Others are those special places in our own neighborhoods where we go for solace, reflection and refreshment. Today we'll travel to remote regions of the planet where indigenous peoples...

Blowin' the Blues Away: The Healing Power of Music Minicast

Today we explore the remarkable power of soulful music to transform sorrow into solace and sadness into joy, not just for the singer but for the listener as well. We'll hear from two remarkable musician/songwriters who grew up in challenging circumstances and found music to be the life raft in stormy weather and the vessel to calmer waters. Whether you play an instrument, dance, or simply listen, explore with us the healing power of music.

Hearts Broken Open Minicast

Most of us take life for granted. But what happens when we're forced to think hard about whether we want to live? Suicide and the impulse to attempt it are a great unacknowledged epidemic in public health today. It not only scars those who try it, but all those who care about them, often for life. This is the story of Steve Fugate, a self-described ordinary guy who found himself thrust into the crucible of suicide at close hand and chose to express his grief and redemption in a most unusual...

Building Cathedrals: The Slow Work of Social Transformation Minicast

When Barack Obama was elected president in November 2008, both supporters and critics saw it as a watershed in political and social transformation. But a year later, a seemingly unstoppable tide appears to have reversed and surged in the opposite direction. Many progressives feel frustrated, even betrayed by policies that seem only marginally different from those that came before while conservatives have found new energy in strategic obstruction and militant resistance. Over the years, in...

International Trade: Free, Fixed, or Fair Minicast

In the view of its proponents, free trade as promoted by the United States and other leading industrial powers is the swiftest and surest route to global economic development. But in from the perspective of many in the developing world, it is the most effective means of extracting natural resources, exploiting low-wage labor, and producing goods from the world's poor at the lowest cost while keeping the value added for those who already have more than enough. In response to these critiques,...
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