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Transforming Transportation for a Greener and More Just World: Pam Frank on PYP 447

Pam Frank is the CEO of ChargEVC, a non-profit promoting carbon reduction and clean energy through electric vehicles.

I wanted to talk with her about the political, social, economic, and technological challenges to shifting to all all-electric transportation grid. We covered those topics, but ended up swapping visions of a fully transformed world.

We talked about how humans see ourselves as separate from the rest of the world, a perspective encoded in the way we talk about “the environment” like it's some thing apart from and outside of ourselves. (Frank prefers “ecosystem,” which points to our embeddedness.)

And how greening up our transportation system, while a technological approach, is actually a potential “gateway drug” for millions of people to embrace an ethos of care and stewardship for the planet.

We also covered the possible reimagining of cities, and how to heal their relationships with exurbs, suburbs, and rural communities. And how that might begin to repair some of the “red/blue” distrust and damage that plays out politically.

And how perhaps we can learn from the failed cities of the past (basically, all of them imploded after a few thousand years, for predictable reasons), to create urban centers that are not only exciting and diverse and creative but also deeply connected to the earth and the land bases that support their life.

We also looked at solar power and offshore wind power as ways to cut down on the climate damage done by fossil fuels.

Drawing on Systems Theory, Frank pointed out that flows are much more generous and reliable and efficient than fuels. And that the transportation sector, the largest contributor to carbon emissions in her home state of New Jersey, is not just the problem, but the potential solution. Not just to global climate destabilization, but also to the problems of inequality and cultural Balkanization and social injustice.

Imagine a transportation system that truly connected humans, and allowed for the efficient and equitable sharing of the resources necessary for our survival and thriving.

We ended by musing on how nature does transportation, through chemical messengers in the air, through mycelial networks in the earth, through flows of energy from sun to plants to animals to fungi and decomposers, and back to plants in a beautiful dance of sharing.

And whether we humans can become humble enough to let nature be our teacher in this crucial realm of our existence.

Links

ChargEVC.org

Iron Bound Farm – Asbury NJ

Donut Economics, by Kate Raworth

GreenFaith

Rethinking Humanity (Tony Seba)

NY Times article from January 15, 2021: Electric Cars Are Better for the Planet – and Often Your Budget, Too

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Music

The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.

Gratitudes

Thanks to Plant Yourself podcast patrons – Kim Harrison – Lynn McLellan – Brittany Porter – Dominic Marro – Barbara Whitney – Tammy Black – Amy Good – Amanda Hatherly – Mary Jane Wheeler – Ellen Kennelly – Melissa Cobb – Rachel Behrens – Tina Scharf – Tina Ahern – Jen Vilkinofsky – David Byczek – Michele X – Elspeth Feldman – Leah Stolar – Allan Kristensen – Colleen Peck – Michele Landry – Jozina – Sara Durkacs – Kelly Cameron – Janet Selby – Claire Adams – Tom Fronczak – Jeannette Benham – Gila Lacerte – David Donohue – Blair Seibert – Doron Avizov – Gio and Carolyn Argentati – Jodi Friesner – RuthAnn Funderburk – Mischa Rosen – Michael Worobiec – AvIvA Lael – Alicia Lemus – Val Linnemann – Nick Harper – Bandana Chawla – Martha Bergner – Molly Levine – The Inscrutable Harry R – Susan Laverty the Panda Vegan – Craig Covic – Adam Scharf – Karen Bury – Heather Morgan – Bonnie Lynch of Plant Happy Oregon – Sabine Kurtzhals – Nigel Davies – Marian Blum – Teresa Kopel – Julian Watkins – Brid O'Connell – Shannon Herschman – Linda Ayotte – Holm Hedegaard – Isa Tousignant – Connie Haneline – Erin Greer – Alicia Davis – Heather O'Connor – Carollynne Jensen – Sheri Orlekoski of Plant Powered for Health – Karen Smith – Scott Mirani – Karen and Joe Crabtree – Kirby Burton – Theresa Carrell – Kevin Macaulay – Elizabeth Rothschild – Ann Jesse – Sheryl Dwyer – Jenny Hazelton – Peter W Evans – Justine Divett – Joshua Sommermeyer – Dennis Bird – Darby Kelly – Lori Fanney – Linnea Lundquist – Valarie Hummel – Emily Iaconelli – Levi Wallach – Rosamonde McAtee – Dan Pokorney – Stephen Leinin – Patty DeMartino – Mike and Donna Kartz – Deanne Bishop – Bilberry Elf – Marjorie Lewis – Tricia Adams – Ian Cramer – Nancy Sheldon – Lindsey Bashore – Gunn Marit Hagen – Tracey Gulledge – Lara Hedin – Meg from Mamasezz – Stacey Stokes – Ben Savage – Michael K – David Hughes -Coni Rodgers – Claire England – Sally Robertson – Parham Ganchi – Amy Dailey – Brian Tourville – Mark Jeffrey Johnson – Josie Dempsey – Caryn Schmitt – Pamela Hayden – Emily Perryman – Allison Corbett – Richard Stone – Lauren Vaught of Edible Musings – Erin Hastey – Sean Owens – Sagar Naik – Erika Piedra – Danielle Roberts – Michael Leuchten – Sarah Johnson – for your generous support of the podcast.

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