Episode 8: Black Hills

Well, you tweeted, commented and emailed your votes after our first Nanosode, and we listened. In our eighth episode we tackle Black Hills, a 2008 novel by Nora Roberts. That’s right, the Carbon Neutral crew dives head first into our very first romance novel.

Black Hills brings us to beautiful country in Black Hills South Dakota where we meet Lil Chance, a Black Hills native, and Coop Sullivan, a city slicker from NYC who spent his summers growing up on his grandparents’ ranch in, you guessed it, Black Hills, SD. Lil unfortunately has no aspiration to become a rapper, but does succeed in her dream of starting a big cat wildlife refuge. When Coop’s grandparents are no longer able to take care of the farm on their own, Coop moves back into town for good to take over their ranch. We follow as these two lovers rekindle lost love just in time for a serial killer to set his sights on Lil, with his ultimate goal to release all the cats back into the wild!

In this episode we discuss the differences between zoos, refuges, and the entertainment industry (i.e. circuses) in how they treat animals. We also get into the big cat market, and how that is dangerous for genetic diversity, as well as animal welfare. Additionally, we discuss not so big cats, and their big impact on the world.



If you’re a romance novel fan, or new to them like Steffi, Jordan and Silvan, you should check out Emily’s new blog post, which helps unpack some stigma associated with romance novels and shows you the most energy efficient method for reading said novels! #smutlife

Suggested Further Reading:








Updates from the Field:

Jordan shares China’s new National Sword policy, which restricts the import of low quality plastic. This will make it harder for some plastics to be recycled in the US which were formerly sold to China.

Silvan shares a concerning fact, that consumers still value products with “all-natural” labeling higher than their unlabeled counterparts, even though that label is unregulated and means nothing. Her suggestion: go for labels that do mean something, like Organic, or Fair Trade Certified.

Steffi continues the conversation on the debate scientists are having over ocean circulation’s role in global climate change with a new study suggesting that Arctic sea-ice loss will not cause colder European winters, suggesting instead that the expected cooling brought about by more easterly winds is offset by the widespread warming effects of Arctic sea-ice loss. The increased winds happen because the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) spends a longer amount of time in its ‘negative phase’ – generating more easterly winds that bring colder air from Scandinavia and Siberia to the UK.

Emily shares a great article from Confectionery News about some of the challenges of covering cocoa sustainability. They have made some big strides towards addressing social and environmental issues in the sector, and it’s important to take a step back and recognize that.

What’s Giving Us Hope For the Earth:

Yale’s climate opinions map is making Jordan hopeful. They poll Americans on their perception of climate change and found that over 70% of americans polled since Nov. 8th believe in climate change, 82% believe that we should be investing in renewable energy research and 69% believe that there should be strict limits on carbon dioxide emissions from coal fired power plants. 66% of Americans would even support requiring power plants to produce at least 20% of their energy from renewable sources.

After our talk on the big cat trade, Silvan finds hope that the United Arab Emirates banned keeping wild or exotic animals as pets. This is a big deal because animals like cheetah, lions,  are often kept as status symbols by the super-wealthy. Infractions could come with up to 6 months in jail or fines of up to $136,000.

Emily shares the excitement of her friend from GreenTop farms is on this list of 61 badass disruptors that are changing our food system put out by Organic Authority! She is inspired to see all the different ways young people are changing the food system.

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