Episode 6: Jurassic Park

Join us on the adventure of a lifetime; listening to our discussion of the 1993 Steven Spielberg sci-fi hit Jurassic Park, based on a novel by Michael Crichton. With special guest Bradley Allf we discuss chaos theory, genetic engineering, for-profit science, and (of course) conservation biology and invasive species propagation, a Carbon Neutral favorite.

For more information on some of the real genetically modified animals we’ve managed to create check out the Environpig, AquaAdvantage Salmon, and the cuddly Featherless Chicken.

featherless_chicken

(http://pixdaus.com/featherless-chicken-breed-by-tim-flach-unusual/items/view/556068/)

You can listen to the full episode on here, or on iTunes, Google Play, or Stitcher. To learn more about our special guest Bradley, visit his website here.

Updates from the Field:

Jordan shares the news that Emirates Airline, which has been ranked the number 1 airline in the world, switched over their blankets from virgin material to 100 percent recycled content. They are called ECOthread blankets and each is made from 28 plastic bottles. They estimate that they will recycle 88 million plastic bottles by 2018.

Silvan brings us a new study out of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Research led by Biology professor Alan Jones has shown, for the first time, that plants can detect shadows and have identified how they do it, revealing a never-before-understood mechanism for how plants maximize the efficiency of capturing light and by extension, agricultural yield.

Steffi explains a new challenge to create a vegetarian diet for carnivorous fish grown in aquaculture, which is called the F3 (fish-free-feed) challenge. One team has successfully made a “meat” substitute for their fish using soy and substituting omega 3 fatty acids from algae, rather than from wild-caught fish. They estimate that they save about 40 metric tons of wild-caught fish for every ton of algae-derived omega-3s they use.

Bradley learned about eastern fence lizards which have started evolving longer legs and a new behavior called “running away” when confronted with invasive fire ants, instead of remaining motionless and hoping the ants go away, proving that life does indeed find a way.

What’s Giving Us Hope For the Earth:

Jordan shares that this month his company, More Recycling, put out a survey to plastics manufacturers and brand companies to gauge their ability to use recycled content. The aim of the study is to understand the potential market depth and hopefully increase demand for recycled content. The survey is funded by the Association of Plastics Recyclers, the American Chemistry Council and the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. Putting your plastic bottle in the curbside bin is one aspect of recycling, but since it’s a cycle buying products containing recycled content is also recycling because it creates demand.

Silvan tells us about a new nonprofit called Wholesome Wave, which has been working on a big project set to rollout in LA called FVRx. FVRx encourages health providers to give patients prescriptions for fruit and vegetables. Yum!

Steffi is feeling hopeful that the vast majority of Americans across the political spectrum oppose selling off or privatizing public lands. A new poll shows that 95% of Americans think protecting national parks is important and that 80% would even be willing to pay higher taxes to ensure preservation.

Bradley, the true evolutionary biologist, is hopeful because of the tenacity of life! Urban coyotes live 12 years as opposed to the three that rural coyotes on average live. Someone found a mountain lion in Tennessee last year—first one there in over a hundred years. Pandas and manatees have been taken off the endangered species list last year. What we’re doing really matters and the massive loss of biodiversity we are experiencing is heartbreaking. But we do need hope and the realization that fairly simple policies can change things to preserve species.

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