Focus - January 15, 2013

Solar Power in Illinois

The price of solar panels has fallen in recent years, but installation is still expensive and time intensive. Despite the cost, the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana is in the process of finalizing plans to build a 20 acre solar farm on campus, and some residents of downstate Illinois are starting to feed power into the grid with solar panels installed on their homes.

Focus - November 01, 2012

Ethical Chic: The Inside Story of the Companies We Think We Love

There are many reasons to purchase goods or services from one company over another: price, quality, and convenience. But sometimes, the decision is a moral one; we seek out businesses we believe support or represent our world view – or avoid those that defy it. (The debate earlier this summer over Chick-Fil-A was a demonstration of both).

At the heart of such decisions is whether we deem a company to be socially responsible. But how do you really know? How can you be sure that a reputation is accurate and deserved? And what if the truth is mixed – what if a company leads on one ethical precept, but falls short on another?

Journalist Fran Hawthorne has contemplated these questions, and set out to uncover whether some of the most beloved, trusted companies who have built up a socially responsible reputation really live up to the hype. In the book Ethical Chic: The Inside Story of the Companies We Think We Love, Hawthorne takes us behind the scenes of companies with powerful brand loyalty, companies like Tom’s of Maine, Starbucks, and Apple. Along the way, Hawthorne finds out why these companies have earned seemingly unflagging devotion from socially conscious consumers. And she calls out the companies and consumers alike with a provocative question: Is it really about being socially conscious, or just looking like you are?

This is a repeat broadcast from Tuesday, September 04, 2012, 10 am

Focus - October 04, 2012

Harvest The Wind: America’s Journey to Jobs, Energy Independence and Climate Stability

Philip Warburg, Author and former president of the Conservation Law Foundation, New England's leading environmental advocacy group

Host: Craig Cohen

Ask five people what alternative form of energy might best someday supplant fossil fuels and you’re likely to get five different answers. Some are bullish on solar power, others hydro-electric, or geothermal, or bio-fuel, hydrogen, ethanol. Heck, there are ways to derive fuel from algae. But actually replacing coal, oil, and nuclear? That’s a tall order.

Author Philip Warburg believes America’s path towards energy independence is lined with windmills. He writes about it in his book Harvest the Wind, and we’ll talk with him about wind energy on Focus.

Focus - August 03, 2012

Powering The Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology

Alexid Madrigal, a Senior Editor, The Atlantic

Host: David Inge

In 1900, people could use the sun to heat water for their homes. They could ride across New York City in an electric cab. In 1945 you could have bought a solar home or a one-megawatt wind turbine. Green technology has been viable for more than a century, so…why aren’t we using it? Our guest will be Alexis Madrigal, senior editor at the Atlantic and author of "Powering the Dream." His book explores the history of green technology, and argues that history has the potential to reshape the way we think about energy today.

This is a repeat broadcast from Wednesday, January 25, 2012, 11 am

Focus - June 14, 2012

The Future of Coal Energy

Massoud Rostam-Abadi, Ph.D., ., Principal Chemical Engineer, Illinois State Geological Survey, Prairie Research Institute; Adjunct Professor of Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois

Scott D. Elrick, M.S., Associate Geologist, Coal and Petroleum Geology Section, Illinois State Geological Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois

Host: David Inge

Availability and price helped make coal a major energy source for the U.S. and other countries. Now, concerns about its environmental impact, coupled with falling prices for other forms of energy, have led some to argue that coal has no future. Should we give up on coal?  We’ll look at what might be done to make coal an acceptable source of energy. We’ll have two guests, both from the Illinois State Geological Survey, Massoud Rostam-Abadi and Scott Elrick.

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