Cover art for podcast Cool Solutions

Cool Solutions

35 EpisodesProduced by Wendy RingWebsite

Stories about regular Americans taking climate action where they live. What they're doing, how they're succeeding, and why their solutions are so cool. There's lots that communities can do about climate. Tune in and get inspired.

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Funding Cool Communities

April 11th, 2021


3 stories about the power of community to raise and multiply funding for climate action.  A town taxes itself for free transit. Communities crowdfund …

Land for New Farmers

March 11th, 2021

There's a lot of farmland about to change hands. We can make sure it's distributed fairly to good stewards. This show looks at agricultural land …

This Is My Home

February 12th, 2021


Meet the women defending their Texas and Louisiana communities from petrochemical pollution; in the courtroom, on the water, and in the streets.

Stories from the Great NJ Plastic Ban

January 28th, 2021


When Teaneck NJ Girl Scouts saw pictures of birds tangled in plastic bags, they got to work and sparked a movement that led to the strongest state plastic ban in the US.

This is an engaging story about how big change …

Re-Localizing Food: Transforming US Agriculture, Part 2

December 12th, 2020


Food hubs are not just for foodies. These homegrown networks provide markets for farmers moving beyond corn,soy, and CAFOs to regenerative modes of farming. This past spring, when supply chains failed, those lifelines …

Healthy Soils for a Healthy Planet

November 10th, 2020


How do we turn farming from climate pollution to climate solution?  In Part 1 of this mini-series we learn how changes in farming and ranching could …

Vampires Shut Down Power Plant

October 10th, 2020


You don't need solar panels to be part of greening the grid. Our refrigerators, hot water heaters, and air conditioners can shift energy use to when …

Campaign Giving for Climate Action

September 12th, 2020


Climate and science super PACs are a donor's best bet for getting climate leaders elected to public office. While 50% of direct progressive campaign contributions go to waste, these super PACs focus resources where they …

Dear Non-Voting Environmentalist

August 12th, 2020


There are millions of Americans who care deeply about climate change but rarely cast their ballots. A home-based army of volunteers is changing that. 

Small Forests, Big Carbon

July 11th, 2020


The best way to store more carbon in forests is to stop cutting down big trees.  Families own more US forest land than timber companies or the government. A new program pays them not to log their big trees and to help …

Join the Fight Against Voter Suppression

June 11th, 2020


Reclaim Our Vote volunteers are sending millions of postcards to people purged from voting rolls in recent years, often in error and without their …

Bringing Back the Tide

May 7th, 2020


Salt marshes absorb carbon and blunt climate impacts but we must heal them before they can protect us.  Local governments, non profits, and …

The Garbage Gourmets

April 10th, 2020


Climate conscious cooks turn discards into delicacies.  

Cool Pavings

March 17th, 2020


Future hot streets will fry more than eggs and solutions won't come on their own. Los Angeles is using its streets as laboratories to test out new …

School Bus Plus

February 10th, 2020


1500 electric school buses in Virginia will power the grid when parked, in the first US commercial application of vehicle to grid technology.




Depaving Portland

January 10th, 2020


In the face of rising temperatures and heavier rain, citizens wielding pry bars and thermometers turn parking lots into rain gardens and change city building standards to favor green space over asphalt.  

The lower …

Cities Declare Climate Emergency

December 11th, 2019


Two men treat their fear of climate change by sharing it with their entire cities.  They got their towns of Hoboken and Gainesville to declare a climate emergency. We hear the stories of their journeys from anxiety to …

Minnesota, the Solar Garden State

November 10th, 2019


For the 3 out of 4 Americans who can't put solar panels on their roofs, community solar gardens are a way to save money now and be part of building …

Sprouting from the Rooftops: Coops help neighbors go solar together

October 10th, 2019


The solar cooperative movement began with two teenagers going door to door in their neighborhood in Washington DC. Their work grew into a national …

Free Lyfts: Rural transit thrives without fares

September 11th, 2019


Vermont's ultra rural Northeast Kingdom and small towns in Sonoma County California find that fare free is the way to go. It's filling bus seats; …

Waste Not, Warm Not: App feeds people instead of landfills

August 10th, 2019


You don't have to be an extrovert to do something big for the planet.  Food Rescue US is a smartphone app developed by a pastor and a programmer that …

The Healing Power of Trees

July 10th, 2019


Health researchers are planting 8000 trees in Louisville, one of the fastest warming cities in the US, in an effort to discover why trees appear to prevent heart disease. 

We talk with members of the research team from …

So Good to Not Feel Alone: Solidarity stops oil by rail in its tracks

June 10th, 2019


Our own preconceptions of who is "on our side" and the mistaken idea that we are alone may be one of the biggest obstacles to climate action. That's the big takeaway from this story about how neighbors, longshoremen, …

Small Town Whups Big Oil : "You Don't Threaten Mainers"

May 9th, 2019


Story of how residents of South Portland Maine, a town of 25,000, stopped the export of tar sands from their port. We follow the story from a few …

Street Lights, Unplugged

April 11th, 2019


Solar streetlights are hyperlocal clean energy that can help US cities survive extreme weather events and break free of utility monopolies. We visit …

A Quiet Clean Energy Revolution

March 11th, 2019


How many people does it take to change what runs a city's light bulbs? In Norman Oklahoma and Hanover New Hampshire, they started with 12 and ended …

People Over Parking Lots

February 10th, 2019


We already have too much parking. Getting rid of requirements to build more is something any town can do. It cuts carbon, boosts business, and helps affordable housing. Here's the story of 2 cities that did it.  

Stopping the Gentrification Train

January 10th, 2019


Transit expansion leads to gentrification so often that some folks have started calling new light rail, the "Gentrification Train". A community land …

Riding into the Future: Macon's DIY Bike Lanes Lead to Change

December 10th, 2018


People in Macon, GA got tired of waiting and made their own bike lanes. Progress ensued. Josh Rogers of New Town Macon and Rachel Hollar of Bike Walk …

Taming Energy Vampires: Find and subdue your zombie electronic devices

October 30th, 2018


The average household has more than 40 electronic appliances that suck energy when they're off. We help you find and tame yours. Along the way: the …

Rising Green from the Ashes: Zero Carbon Homes

October 13th, 2018


Two California counties help wildfire victims rebuild zero carbon homes.  Its more affordable than you think. Hear one family's story, meet super efficient appliances, and learn something about your gas stove that will …

The Animals' Day Off: Meatless Mondays Go To School

October 8th, 2018


Meet Food Service Directors from 2 public school districts serving vegetarian lunches once a week and producing long lasting benefit in students' …

From Scraps to Riches: Community composters start with a few empty buckets and turn your garbage into gold

September 28th, 2018


Small entrepreneurs across the country are creating jobs and local food by composting food waste locally. We get down to the nitty gritty with eco-entrepreneurs in Boston, Chicago, and San Diego,  talk with a soil …

Clean Rides for Kids: Electric School Buses

September 25th, 2018


Diesel exhaust is bad for child and planetary health, but change is on the way.  We talk with the transportation director of Twin Rivers Unified …

Batteries Save the Day: Solar Storage

September 24th, 2018


Stories of 3 cities where battery stored solar beat out power plants.  An environmental justice victory in Oxnard, CA; an economic boon in Sterling, …

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