A Change is a Chance
By Ryan Lo
A Change is a ChanceSep 03, 2020
Episode 32: Underneath the Hood: How Government Programs Assist Youth Activism
Adriana Cosgriff is a former US Department of State Program Manager and Lecturer at the Harvard Chan C-CHANGE Youth Summit of Climate, Equity, and Public Health, a program I attended this past summer. My interview with Adriana left me with hope and optimism as we discussed the numerous ways youth can tap into programs and grants to aid them in their cause. We discussed how the divisive legislative branch does not reflect the demeanor of program management, nor does it bring light to the power these programs have in activism. As youth activists, we protest, we march, we share and we educate, but it is also important to learn about various programs that could potentially become our allies, and help us move closer to our goal. Tune in now to learn more!
Episode 31: Reclaiming the Cannabis Narrative: Breaking Stigmas and Fixing Past Injustices
In this episode, I interviewed Deepa Sood, CEO of Citizen Grown, a company focused on democratizing cannabis industry. Cannabis has always been a rather controversial topic, but there are long-forgotten truths behind its stigmas and the actual positive effects it can have on people and communities. A long history of propaganda has buried this sprouting industry deep in negative association and unjust enforcement, but for us to reclaim its legitimacy and give back to those affected by past injustices, we have to push through the stigma and bring cannabis and its benefits to the forefront.
This is a topic that I know very little about, but Ms. Sood truly helped me understand just how closely cannabis and social injustices are intertwined. While we, the youth, absolutely should not be using the product, there's still so much we can do to make sure that the benefits of cannabis are reaped by communities in need, rather than big rich pharmaceuticals, looking for the next big money maker. Tune in now to learn more!
Episode 30: Igniting Change through Youth Activism
This is the 30th episode of A Change is a Chance, so I thought it was a good time to bring it back to the reason this podcast was created: a young desire to make change! It is very fitting that this episode features Ella Niederhelman, someone who has been driving change through activism since 6th grade! Ella is a senior in high school who has worked in environmental journalism as well as interning at climate focused Pre-College programs. Listeners, you will all be inspired by her passion and dedication to fighting climate change. Tune in now to learn more!
Episode 29: Building Bridges and Breaking Myths Around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
In this episode, I discussed with Professor john a. powell, the director of the Othering and Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley, about the problems with the term DEI, how human nature perpetuates those problems, and just how deep the institutionally racist structures in America really are. I learned from him what it takes to build transformational bridges across different ideals, and saw how vast the gradients of discrimination and "othering" really are. Professor powell explained how for the human race to change, it requires not just shifts in ideals, but in the way we treat each other as well. Our conversation was truly eye opening and Professor powell has helped see racism in the U.S. in a new way, one based in human connection. Tune in now to learn more!
Episode 28: Youth versus Plastic Pollution - A Panel Interview
Part of a special series on A Change is a Chance focusing on youth climate activism, Episode 28 features guests from Plastic Tides' Global Youth Mentorship (GYM) Program. Plastic Tides is a non-profit ocean conservation organization looking to inspire action through education and empowerment towards a plastic-free future. I learned about Plastic Tides through an interview with its co-founder, Christian Shaw, in Episode 12. This year, I became a Youth Leader to work with other change makers to help inspire action against plastic pollution.
In this episode, the panel interview features Ella Katsner, a Youth Leader focusing on eliminating plastic utensils; Lawrence Mayaki, a multi-faceted Youth Mentor working on eco-education; and JD Whitman, the GYM Program director, as well as a marine plastic specialist. We dive into the importance of the GYM Program and why this generation of youth, my generation, can and must be the ones fighting the obstacles to a cleaner future. From greed and obstinacy, to community engagement and environmental justice, our conversation represented many perspectives, and was both inspiring and encouraging. Please tune in now to join the movement!
Episode 27: The Intersection Between the Environment and Social Justice
In this episode, I talked with Mr. Torrealba, the Member Mobilization and Engagement Organizer of the non-profit Climate Justice Alliance, an organization dedicated to inspiring change in frontline communities, building resilient, equitable economies, and exposing false promises posed as “solutions”. I talked with him about environmental or climate justice, the intersection between the environment and social justice, that focuses on how environmental conditions are spread around the world. He explained to me how environmental injustices have affected people based on race and class, all the ways they can perpetuate, from an interpersonal way to an institutional one, and how government involvement is correlated to the propaganda spread about it and the myths of individualism spread through them. Our conversation was enlightening and I would say that I have a new view of the world after it. Tune in now to learn more!
Episode 26: The Drawbacks of Traditional Higher Education and an Equitable Alternative
In this episode, I talked with Mr. Rajendran Dandapani, the President of Zoho Schools of Learning, an alternate course of higher education, free to all, that focuses on what comes after school. We talked about how higher education lacks the necessary preparation for one's career path, despite the high cost and selectivity. We also discussed how Zoho Schools is providing opportunities for the more impoverished communities and what a good educator truly looks like. Tune in now to learn more!
Episode 25: Employee Ownership and the Fight For Economic Equity
In this episode, I talked with Ms. Alison Lingane, the co-founder of the non-profit organization, Project Equity, where she and her co-workers help businesses transition into employee-owned businesses. Despite this being the first time I had heard of employee ownership, I learned so much from her, from the structural benefits of employee ownership itself, to Project Equity's standout successes. Ms. Lingane outlined why employee ownership is an effective way to fight poverty and socioeconomic inequity. Tune in to learn more!
Episode 24: Born This Way Foundation Breaks Down the Youth Mental Health Crisis
In this episode, I talked with Ms. Shadille Estepan, the Communications and Creative Manager at Born This Way Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Lady Gaga, focused on helping youth to build a kinder, braver world. Our conversation went over the teen mental health crisis, to the programs Born This Way Foundation has to counter it, and how parents can help brighten their kids' future. It was rather amazing to learn about how much support we, as the youth, have at Born This Way Foundation and I can't wait to check out and get involved with some of their programs. Tune in now to learn more!
Episode 23: How Algalita Advocates for a Plastic Free Future
In this episode, I interviewed Ms. Anika Ballent, the Director of Education at Algalita, a non-profit organization that fights the plastic problem through youth education, research, legislation and beyond. We discussed the incredible projects that Algalita has taken on, as well as why education is so crucial to solving our environment problems. Learning about things like gyres, nurdles, and so much more was invigorating, and I can't wait to see what they do next. Algalita is also a special organization to me because they were kind enough to name me a Stay Stoked Winner last year and believed in the work I was doing to help educate youth on plastic pollution. Tune in now to learn more!
Episode 22: The Hidden Solution of Composting
In this episode, I talked with Dr. Emily Creegan, a soil/ecosystem regeneration scientist and teacher, about one of her specialties, composting. She explained how despite common belief, composting is actually a very feasible way to mitigate climate change. From alarming statistics about the methane in our world, to the many ways composting can protect our environment, I learned so much! Tune in now to learn more.
Episode 21: The Criticality of Representation and Voice
In this episode, I talked to Lana Wong, the Director of Communications for the Education Commission, a current Board member for Shout Mouse Press, and team leader for the Shootback project. Ms. Wong talks about representation for marginalized and under-represented communities, and why it's critically important. We discussed representation through a camera, through books, and the urgency of educational access to youth across the world. Tune in now to learn more.
Episode 20: Why AAPI Representation Matters
In this episode, I talked with Ms. Renee Yang, co-founder of TeachAAPI, an organization fighting for AAPI representation in schools around the country, about teaching AAPI-inclusive curriculum in K-12, why it's necessary, and how we can help. She explained to me the urgency of Asian representation and how her organization is working towards in-school Asian history, especially elementary school, around the country. Tune in now to learn about why our stories are worth sharing.
Episode 19: Breaking the Myth: Why Sharks are the Heroes of the Marine Ecosystem
In this episode, I talked with Mr. David McGuire, founder of Shark Stewards, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting sharks. He explained to me why sharks are not only uninterested in humans, as a mere 10 shark attacks occur on average, but also help the ocean produce 50% of the air we breathe. We went over how important these apex predators are to the marine ecosystem, and the creatures that live there. Our conversation gave me a new sense of urgency to help these incredible creatures from the dangers of trophy hunting, commercial fishing, and the shark fin soup industry. Listen now to understand these creatures yourself and do your part in ensuring their survival in the future.
Episode 18: Writer, Comedian, Actor Brian Copeland Takes on 2022
Brian Copeland, a writer, actor, comedian, and many more, joins A Change is a Chance to discuss the most polarizing issues of our time: Critical Race Theory, voter suppression, Covid-19, alternative facts, and the fight for democracy. Mr. Copeland also gives us a hint on his next big project!
Episode 17: Q&A with Founder of Plastic Free July on the State of Our Fight Against Plastic Pollution
This episode was my second interview with Ms. Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, the founder of Plastic Free July. We discussed current events like COP26, the documentary Seaspiracy, and the 2021 Plastic Free Foundation Impact Report. We also talked about Ms. Prince-Ruiz's book, "Plastic Free", and her plans for the future. Learning Ms. Prince-Ruiz's opinions was enlightening, including the hope that she provided. Please take a listen to understand what's going well in our fight against plastic pollution and areas that need more work and attention from all of us.
Episode 16: Tackling the True Dangers of Plastic with the Schippers Brothers from Parley for the Oceans
In this episode, Mr. Nick and Mr. Hans Schippers, two brothers from Parley for the Oceans, who specialize in upcycling, green education, and , talked with me about the plastic dangers that industries hide in plain sight, green-washing, and the myth of recycling. We also discussed the amazing work the Schippers brothers have done with SCHroadtrip (Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii), Parley for the Oceans, and the Parley AIR Station at Bishop Museum in Oahu. Listen to learn the truth about recycling.
Episode 15: Afro-Asian Solidarity and its Importance in the Fight Against Systemic Injustices
This episode is the second part of the 2 part series with Hip-Hop for Change, an organization that empowers and teaches youth to speak up and fight through hip-hop, as well as unlearning and relearning the role of BIPOC in history. Ms. Stephanie Liem, Mr. Marlon Richardson, and I discussed the importance of Afro-Asian Solidarity, what it is, and why cross-group solidarity is critical in fighting white supremacy. The interview moved me in many ways. It was enlightening and quite personal as well. Please give it a listen and I hope it inspires you too.
Episode 14: Conversation with Hip-Hop fo Change on the Importance of Having a Voice Through Hip-Hop
This episode is the first part of a 2 part series with Hip-Hop for Change, an organization that empowers and teaches youth to speak up and fight through hip-hop, as well as unlearning and relearning the role of BIPOC in history. I talked with Ms. Stephanie Liem, the Communication Director, and Mr. Marlon Richardson, the Education Director, about what Hip-Hop for Change is, what its missions are, and how the organization works towards those missions. In the second part of this interview series, you'll hear my interview with Ms. Liem and Mr. Richardson on the importance of Afro-Asian Solidarity, what it is, and why it's needed to fight white supremacy. Stay tuned for the next part, coming out soon.
The Multi-Generational Impact of Reforestation: A Q&A with Mr. Hank Dearden, Founder of Forest Planet
This episode, I talked to Mr. Hank Dearden, the Founder of Forest Planet, an organization that plants trees across the globe to create sustainable food sources and save ecosystems. Mr. Dearden discusses the greater impact of reforestation and shares specific examples of projects where Forest Planet have successfully restored food sources and ecosystems for villages. It was an enlightening conversation and has opened my eyes to think beyond just planting a tree to reduce CO2.
Episode 12: Understanding Youth Empowerment Through Change-Making with Christian Shaw from Plastic Tides
Mr. Christian Shaw is the co-founder of Plastic Tides, an organization that reduces plastic in a totally different way. Instead of beach clean-ups and an effective plastic free month, Plastic Tides takes the approach that kids should be making this change. They implement this idea by having mentors guide kids on a change-making journey.
Episode 11: Saving the True Beauties of Hawaii with Rebecca Mattos and Hideki Kimukai from Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii
Ms. Rebecca Mattos and Mr. Hideki Kimukai from Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, an organization that keeps the coastlines of Oahu clean and so much more, talk to me about the true beauties of Hawaii. Hawaii is filled with many beautiful sights from the magnificent beaches and reefs to the breathtaking scenery, but as I have learned, the genuine, deeper beauty is seeing people like Ms. Mattos and Mr. Kimukai fighting to keep the environment and ecosystems of Hawaii thriving and clean.
Episode 10: State of the Air with Will Barrett from the American Lung Association
Mr. Will Barrett is the Director of Clean Air and Advocate of the American Lung Association. Mr. Barrett specializes in smart growth and clean fuel policies. He's also part of the committee that makes the State of the Air Report, "a report card of the air quality". Along with that, this is the 10th episode of A Change is a Chance. Thanks to everyone who has stayed with me this far and I look forward to making more episodes to educate you.
Episode 9: Creating Opportunities for Minorities and Ensuring Diversity in Leadership Positions with Mr. Brent Leary
Mr. Brent Leary is a Black business owner and technology influencer. He is here to teach us about diversity in the workplace, unique challenges that Black businesses face, and what we can do as citizens to help ensure equality in opportunities for minorities and diversity in positions of power.
Episode 8: The Truth Behind the Right to Vote, a Discussion with Mr. Josh Greenbaum, CTO of US Vote Foundation
In this episode, Mr. Greenbaum answers my questions about why it is so critical to vote, the impact of voter apathy and voter suppression on our democracy, the outdated role of the Electoral College and how young and future voters can get engaged now!
Episode 7: Racism and Anti-Racism in the United States
Mr. Dave Smith, a technology research analyst and musician, talks to me about his encounters with racism as a Black-American, the Black Lives Matter movement, and this uncomfortable conversation around race that we need to bring to the forefront.
Episode 6: Battle the Plastic Problem with the Founder of Plastic Free July
Plastic Free July is an amazing challenge for people to participate in. Ms. Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, the founder of the Plastic Free July Foundation, is here to talk to us about Plastic Free July, what it's like to be plastic free, and how you can join in the challenge.
Episode 5: Global Environmental Facility's Director of Communications, Mr. Robert Bisset
Mr. Robert Bisset is here to talk to us about some current projects the GEF (Global Environment Facility) is undertaking to improve the environment. We will be going discussing climate change, international waters, and deforestation.
Episode 4: Dangers of Vaping with Dr. Victoria from the American Lung Association
Dr. Victoria Howard is the Health Promotions Specialist at the American Lung Association in Northern California. She is here to educate us on the dangers of vaping and the many myths behind the e-cig industry.
Episode 3: Conversation with the Author of "Age of Sustainability" - Mr. Denis Pombriant
Learn about all the ways to reduce carbon pollution to help keep the planet habitable.
Episode 2: Conversation with the Father of the Green Building Movement (LEED standard), Mr. David Gottfried
In this episode, I am interviewing Mr. David Gottfried, the Father of the Global Green Building Movement . He will be teaching us about the LEED standard and his Green Building Council. We will find about the initial goals of the Council, Mr. Gottfried's books and podcast, and how you can limit your usage of CO2.
Inaugural Podcast Interview w/ an Inspiration: My Saklan School Science Teacher Ms. Vickie Obenchain
Learn about how Ms. Obenchain got interested in science and how you can help make a difference in climate change. I have had Ms. O as a Science Teacher since I was in Kindergarten at Saklan. She has inspired me year after year. She has taught me that reading and learning isn't enough, you need to get out there and make things happen. I hope this podcast is the start of a movement. Thanks Ms O!