Bye bye blue flame, your gas stove has gotta go! Says Manager in RMI's Carbon-Free Buildings program, Brady Seals, on Climate Curious.

Transcript: Want to green your home? Start with your stove.

TEDxLondon Climate Curious

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Bye bye blue flame, your gas stove has gotta go, says Manager in RMI’s Carbon-Free Buildings program, Brady Seals, on the Climate Curious podcast by TEDxLondon. In conversation with Ben Hurst and Maryam Pasha, Brady explains the success of the induction hob movement so far, and why despite 50 years of research gas stoves are only just getting their comeuppance, and what you can do today to decarbonise your home! 

Further resources:
Follow Brady on Twitter bradytoday
Follow RMI on Twitter RockyMtnInst



Brady Seals: It’s a wild ride. Gas stoves after 50 years of relative, um, you know, obscurity of the health impacts, gas stoves are having their moment in the limelight. Um, for better or worse, So we released a report in December and there has been a flurry of media and attention here in the US and overseas, uh, and a lot of people saying, wait a minute, my gas stove may be harming my health. What’s the science?

Ben Hurst: Who are ya? 

Brady: Well, my name is Brady Seals. I work at RMI. We’re a nonprofit organization and I’ve worked on cook stoves my whole career, so going on 14 years. I started out working, uh, in Africa, the Caribbean, where around 4 billion people are still cooking with wood and charcoal. And we were working to promote cleaner alternative fuels, uh, such as gas.

Brady: And I would come home from these trips and cook my own food on gas. And then about three years ago, I started at  RMI, uh, in our buildings program. And so we are out there trying to help electrify our buildings, make them efficient, but one thing kept happening when we talked about the climate impacts of burning fossil fuels in buildings, people kept saying, The stove.

Brady: The stove has this outsized health impact. Hmm. And I started talking to air quality experts. Health experts, and they said nothing has changed. But we’ve been studying this for 50 years. Um, and there’s really real studies. There’s over 50 studies, uh, around the world. Some of the very. Early studies were in the UK in the seventies, um, but there’s been hardly any policy and gas stoves are unvented.

Brady: So we dug into the research, we talked to tons of experts and we started compiling it. So in some ways I may have started my career on. Wood and charcoal stoves and, and moving to cleaner alternatives. And this, hopefully is, is the next chapter of helping move to the cleanest of stoves, uh, for health and for climate, which are electric and induction stoves.

Ben: Mm. So can I ask a question? Well, obviously I can ask a question. I’m gonna ask you a question, which is in the hierarchy of clean energy, where does gas fall? Because you said it to me, it sounds like it’s in the middle with. Call at the bottom and electric at the top. Is there other stuff or is that the whole picture?

Brady: That’s a lot of the picture. So exactly at the bottom we have the traditional fuels, uh, wood, charcoal, dung. Um, these things produce a lot of particular matter dung. Yes. Yeah. Little hard cakes of dung. Yes, exactly. All right. Um, maybe how all of our ancestors would cook at some point, but in, in some places, um, that is still a fuel source.

Brady: So I spent my early career in. Some of the Somali refugee camps in Ethiopia where it was so desperate, there was hardly any wood fuel. It was getting really deforested. Mm. Um, and so at the time I was helping to promote a bio ethanol, so an ethanol based cook stove where, for example, in Ethiopia and places where they have a lot of sugar production, the waste product, the molasses could be turned into, into ethanol.

Brady: Oh. So you have the solid fuels and then you have, um, Pellets. So these are a bit more efficient, like taking the waste from the sugar cane and turning it into pellets. Mm-hmm. Um, like that. And then you have your liquid fuel, so that’s the gas. Um, you also have, uh, bio ethanol, um, and also biogas, uh, which people use.

Brady: But then really coming to the top where we see. Because there’s no combustion pollutants. Mm-hmm. Uh, is electric, electric cook stoves. Um, and here in the US, uh, about over a third of households still cook with gas. And so, although in the US electricity is the dominant fuel source, there’s still a significant number of people cooking with gas and.

Brady: Even I thought three years ago that gas was the, the cleaner fuel. It was one of the, it was a lot better than wood. But what we’ve learned, or what I’ve learned is that there’s been a whole body of research for 50 years that have said gas has all these other nasty pollutants that we’re burning and living within our homes.

Brady: Um, and in fact, the last couple of months we’re actually learning even more about that gas.

Ben: And you, so you’ve worked with all of the materials across all of the sectors or, um, I dunno if sectors is the right word, but you’ve worked across the board, right? And it should, does, am I wrong in assuming that every household in America has access to electricity?

Ben: Like there’s electricity running through the majority of the houses, right.

Brady: So then that’s right here in

Ben: the us Yes. So why, why are. Why are people still using gas stoves? What’s, what has gone wrong here? Why are we stuck? Or what did, what did you find with the research?

Brady:  Well, we found in the research that there are very well documented risks of gas stoves.

Brady: And in fact, a summary study, which looks at all the research says,our strongest evidence is on children’s health, right? And it finds that children who live in a home with a gas stove have a 42% increased risk of having asthma symptoms and about a 24% risk of being diagnosed with asthma.

Brady: By a doctor. So these are big numbers and in our most recent study we found that that risk is almost comparable with living with a smoker with children’s asthma, risk of secondhand smoke. But nobody knew about this. I didn’t know about this. I’ve worked on stoves. For so long. Um, I do think that there’s been a well-funded marketing campaign.

Brady: Uh, now you’re cooking with gas and the blue flame. And so I think that that has helped people think that gas is a superior product.

Brady: So induction stoves, most people haven’t heard of them. I hadn’t cooked on an induction stove until three years ago. Mm-hmm. Less than 3% market share. And so I think the other piece was there wasn’t this modern, amazing technology that you could say, this is so much better than gas.

Ben: And I, I remember the, um, Mar, I dunno if you remember this, but do you rem the British gash logo used to be like a blue fame did it used to be a little blue fireman.

Maryam Pasha: It used to be a little blue dancing flame and it was all like natural gas and it was so I remember that.

Maryam: I used to really like that.Yeah, I mean, I have to say like I remember the first. Few weeks into this podcast and really starting to think about fossil fuels and. I mean, I’m gonna, I’m gonna hand my, you know, put my hand up and say that I didn’t even at that point realize that gas was a fossil fault.

Maryam: Right. I mean, in hindsight, of course it is. Right. But it’s it what you were talking about here with that marketing campaign, it was so well done. Yeah. It’s so decoupled in our minds, the risk of burning something you like this fine, you know, in small confined spaces. And, you know, our health and I th those numbers that you talk about with childhood asthma, that’s, that’s quite, um, that’s huge.

Maryam: And I’m curious to know when this research came out, you know, as you said, there’s been 50 years of research, which I’m also shocked to hear, like I had no idea there was such, such a kind of rich, long history of it. But I’m just curious to know with this new piece that’s come out, what’s been the response where you are in the US.

Brady: Exactly. So we, we knew there was this 50 years of evidence, we had this 42% increased risk. And so we knew it was bad, and the question that we had was, how bad is it and how can we try to quantify that? And so we partnered with two epidemiologists from Albert Einstein College of Medicine here in New York, and also from University of Sydney in Australia.

Brady: What’s, and what we did was,

Ben: sorry, what’s an epidemiologist?

Brady: Oh, an epidemiologist is a public health expert. Um, right, so these are Yes. Public health often professors. Right, right, right. It’s

Ben: the kind of word that people say it, I feel like I’m supposed to know, but I have no idea.

Brady: It’s a great question. It’s a great question.

Brady: Um, yeah, so we worked with these two public health experts, these epidemiologists. Mm-hmm. And we did a very basic calculation. It’s essentially a math calculation. Um, and so we, we, we knew this 42% increase risk figure. Um, that was from 41 studies. And so we said, okay. Let’s just pull out the US studies, the Canada studies and the um, European and uk cuz those housing characteristics are probably similar.

Brady: Mm-hmm. So with that, we actually got even a, a little bit of a decreased risk. 34%. So 34% risk from that geography. Then we had to figure out how many households in the US with children cook with gas. And the interesting thing we found was we know about. At the time, the best data we had, 35% of households cook with gas, but the proportion of households with children that cook with gas is higher.

Brady: So nationally in the US it’s 43%, but in some states like Illinois, it’s 80%. California is in the seventies, New York. So you have some states where almost 75% of households with children cook with gas. So what we did then was very, um, basic. We just calculated this 34% increase risk for this amount of households.

Brady: And so what we found is that nationally, about 12.7% as our best estimate of, um, childhood asthma could be linked to gas stoves. So 12.7%, what does that mean? And that’s where we looked at what else is around this 12. 12%, 12, 13%, uh, risk for childhood asthma. And that’s where we found exposure to secondhand smoke.

Brady: Mm-hmm. So when you look at the risk profile of gas dose for children and asthma, where we have the most evidence in the peer reviewed literature, it’s very similar, but because of the high proportion of, um, Households in certain states that cook with gas, that number was much higher. So almost 20% in Illinois, or 18.8% in New York.

Brady: And so it’s very regional. So that study, we put it out there, it’s a calculation, it was peer reviewed. Uh, we got a couple little news articles about it explaining the science. But then what really happened is gas stoves aren’t regulated in the us It’s technically a consumer product, but there is. Hardly any rules.

Brady: So gas stoves have almost like a free reign to pollute. They don’t have to meet any standards, which is wild. Think about all the things in our households, baby products, et cetera, that have to meet a safety standard. Wow. So even plugs and stuff. Even plugs. Exactly. Mm-hmm. And these are basically having high levels of emissions, combustion emissions, which are reach levels that if they were outdoors, would be illegal.

Brady: Wow. With, with no limits on them. So, uh, here we have the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Their job is to regulate products and make sure they’re. Safe, um, for us as consumers. And so when you trace it back, uh, one of the consumer product safety commissioners had said, look, if a product can’t be made safe, it can be banned.

Brady: Mm-hmm. And it was this B word, the B word, the banned word that really. Started the floodgates of the media, right? I was doing 50 interviews a week. We had, you mentioned before, 25,000 media hits. And interestingly it was across every major publication, the, the right, the left, the middle, uh, academics. And I think a lot of people were realizing that gas stoves.

Brady: Aren’t as safe as we thought. But then there was unfortunately this culture war here, as it’s called in the US where um, other people were afraid that. Somebody was gonna come into your home and, and take your gas stove and on, yeah, on Twitter, people were taping themselves to their stoves and turning on all their burners, which of course is never going to happen.

Brady: Um, even any performance standard would have to go, have to relate to new, new stoves. And so for better or worse, it became a cultural moment. Went a little viral, but it got people talking. Mm-hmm. And we’re seeing now the polling that it’s made a huge impact. 60% of parents would consider switching from their gas stove to an electric stove because of health impacts.

Brady: Mm.

Ben: Wow.

Maryam: That is quite incredible. Like, that’s quite an incredible journey to go on. I wanna unpick a couple of things about it actually, so just zoom me in specifically. That must feel quite good to know that you’ve gotten through people, like despite this kind of, um, I remember reading those headlines like, you can take my gas stove from my cold, dead hands, kind of, you know, rhetoric.

Maryam: Um, despite that polarization, which I wanna come back to in a second. Do you feel like you’ve gotten through? Do you feel like now this is something that is much more on people’s radar and, and are you getting different kinds of questions? Is the work, I’m just curious to know if you’re already starting to see a different attitude around this.

Brady: Absolutely. I, I think it, it was a huge success. I don’t know your media if you think any news is good news, but I think overwhelmingly people see the science and are. You know, it makes sense. Mm-hmm. When you start looking at your stove and side, eyeing your stove and realizing, yeah, this thing is unvented maybe, and burning a open flame with emissions that we know is bad and, and it makes sense.

Brady: And so I think there is part of that. I also think, and you know, working in climate and you guys with this podcast, um, health is something that maybe hits people. Before climate. Yeah. If it’s bad for climate, it’s probably bad for your health, but what are you gonna feel first? And if you’re worried about your kids’ health or your own health or your parents’, um, health and a retirement home.

Brady: And so I think for a lot of people, this can make it feel very personal, which can be uncomfortable. A lot of people said, A lot of my family members and Fred said, well, I love my gas stove. It’s so fast and it’s so great. Um, So it becomes personal, but I think that there’s a benefit to that that gets us really thinking about it and talking about it.

Brady: Um, and we as a climate organization sometimes talk to the same people who’s reading our reports, probably similar audiences, but with this, we reached corners that we don’t often reach. And so when I think about it and. I don’t know if you’ve heard of the, the sort of six audiences of climate people and there’s the people alarmed about climate and everything and then the people who are dismissive mm are very small.

Brady: It’s a very small percentage of people who can’t be moved. Uh, and I think that health is one of these things, especially something in your home, in your kitchen. It can get personal and it can be uncomfortable, but to me, I think. And I’ve heard from others that induction stove presales are just skyrocketing and people are ready to make the switch.

Brady: And thank goodness we have a product like induction, which is actually so much better and easy to clean and fast to cook on that you don’t have to go back to an electric coil stove. Mm-hmm.

Maryam: I have to say I love my induction. Okay. Like I would never, even if it wasn’t like, even if it wasn’t for the health and the climate, I would never go back to.

Maryam: That , like why would you have something that like, literally like it’s just, there’s like a million reasons why I wouldn’t go back to it. And I think you’re right. Like it’s, it’s, it is, once you start, you go down that route. It, I think it’s the same with electric cars. Actually, I have to say this. Like people are all like, whatever.

Maryam: And then the first time you sit in an electric car you’re like, oh my God. Oh, this is so much

Ben: better. Yeah, yeah,

Maryam: yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. Um, I.

Maryam: I think that there’s a real, like one of the reasons we were so excited to have you on on the show as well is, you know, we have listeners from all around the world, but also the, you know, the uk and actually I feel like this conversation hasn’t taken off in the UK in the same way. Mm-hmm. And it really should.

Maryam: And I think.

There’s a real concern for people because it’s so many people, especially younger people, like people Ben’s age, my age, we rent, we don’t own. So we have so little control over the appliances in our home, and I think that there’s really like, this is basically an appeal to anyone listening who.

Maryam: Works in policy in this country where we need to start regulating gas stoves out of rental properties. Yeah, because you know, and, and so this made me think, Brady, is there, in the research that you did and the kind of breaking down of all these demographics, were you finding that certain demographics were also, like you talked about various states.

Maryam: Were there other things, other demographics that you looked at where they were more at risk of being exposed to kind of these levels of toxic gas in their homes?

Brady: Absolutely. So one thing that’s very clear from the research is the smaller the home, the smaller the unit size, the higher the concentration.

Brady: Oh yeah. And I’m so glad you brought up renters because you know, we’ve all been in some places. My sister-in-law has been in the UK for a while and I remember being her and her little flat with her two kids in London. Um, and so I think. For you as well as for us. And  I’m from New York originally. Uh, we have a lot of renters and small apartments with unvented gas stoves.

Brady: And so size of your dwelling is a huge one. Uh, we also know that there’s an environmental justice, um, concern from this because one of the things that’s also very clear from the research is if you already have asthma, Gas pollution can exasperate exacerbate that, especially for children. And asthma is one of the most unequal diseases with black and brown children having much higher rates of asthma.

Brady: Mm-hmm. And if you live in a place in a polluted, you know, your, your outdoor air isn’t fresh. And I know this is a big problem in London from diesel and some, some of the other things, so. What do we need to do ventilate? Well, if you’re opening your air and your indoor air is polluted and your outdoor air is polluted, um, it can be a big problem.

Brady: And here in the US because of, uh, sort of legacy redlining and, and  poor policies, it’s very unequal the air that we breathe. And so I would say the two things that stand out to me when I see the literature is really already having an unequal health burden to begin with, which is, Very compounded by living in maybe polluted neighbourhoods.

Brady: Um, and then having a smaller unit size and also having more people in that unit size can lead to higher concentrations of pollutants, which can affect exposure.

Maryam: Feels like, just like so many other issues, Ben, that we’ve talked about in this podcast. Mm-hmm. Is it, it just intersects with so many other things that are happening and putting certain communities and certain kinds of kind of people under, under. More risk and more pressure. Yeah. Um,

Ben: and it’s interesting, right?

Ben: You, you were saying earlier about this idea of, well, you weren’t saying, my brain was talking about like conspiracy bin was activated and the idea of like the, the PR campaign that has surrounded this. Because if like, I’ve got questions around. How long did we know all of this information for and like why, why was nothing done about it?

Ben: And I think one of the good things about this podcast is that we don’t spend a lot of time pointing fingers and assigning blame to people, which I think is actually important to move the conversation forward. But I, I am interested in like, how. How we start to, if, if we are talking about, cause it sounds like it’s all about power.

Ben: It sounds like it’s all about power and the more power you have over individual decision making, like you can change situations for yourself. I’m interested, Miriam, you already mentioned the idea of like policy and lobbying, um, for renters to, to have appliances in the household changed.

Ben: I’m wondering if you’ve got any other examples of lack. How we can change the situation it, cuz this is literally as bad as smoking in the house, right? In terms of like poisoning children and air pollution and all of those kinds of ideas. So how do we start to change that in lack the public consciousness, but also allow people to have access to making better decisions for themselves?

Brady: I’m so glad you brought that up. And you’re right, we, we can’t always. Point a finger, and let’s be honest, gas kept the lights on for us for a long time and it’s a lot better than coal. Uh, and that’s where we went. But let’s talk about coal for a second. So coal was the dominant heating fuel in the US for so long, and could you imagine?

Brady: Just sort of the drudgery associated with getting your coal and it just, it, it, it was terrible. And so when gas came, it made people’s lives so much better and it was better for the climate. Mm. And we got off as the us we got completely off of coal within 40 years. This was way back when. So we had the technology of gas and we were able to roll it out.

Brady: Mm-hmm. So I think we can do that now is, is I think that we’re at the moment where, With gas where we were with coal and the positives are. It might be a lot easier to electrify our buildings and make them more efficient than address some of the really the other really challenging climate problems.

Brady: Like what are we gonna do about the cement industry and steel of where we don’t, where we’re still working on solutions. Mm-hmm. And so to me, Buildings seem like such an amazing opportunity for policy to address, because we have induction stoves, we have heat pumps. Mm-hmm. We know what to do. All these homes, like you say, already have electricity.

Brady: We’re not reinventing the wheel, so we got off coal in 40 years in the us. How long is it gonna take to do that with. With gas, I think, you know, given the reports that are coming out this week, we need to do it soon, but to me it seems like, can you think of a climate solution that is more about people?

Brady: And health than our buildings where we spend 90% of our time. Um, and it has to be a mix of policy and incentives. Here in the US we have the biggest climate bill that I will probably ever see in my lifetime. You can get up to $840 to get an induction stove of electric stove. So that’s great if I can do that.

Brady: How, how, how is with, with rebates, with, is

Ben: that available to me because, I could use 840.

Brady: It’s part of the Inflation Reduction Act. And there is so much in there for heat, for heat pumps and and everything, which is amazing. But it has to go with policy because what about our public housing? What about our renters?

Brady: And we know that these are the exact populations who should be getting the benefits first, right? And so I think you’re right, it’s gotta be policy. It can be incentives as well. We did it in coal in 40 years. We have the solutions for electricity, political will, and funding, and I think we can get there.

Maryam: I’m so hopeful about, I have to say like, You know, or based in, in the UK obviously works. I work a lot in the us. I think, you know, the Inflation reduction Act was such a hopeful moment, you know, I know it’s the beginning, but it does make me really hope that it inspires like Europe and the UK to start passing similar kinds of really kind of once as you said, like once in a lifetime.

Maryam: Legislation that could just transform the economy. Cuz I feel like that’s what’s needed at this point. And it, I think we look over with some, i, I look over at the US with envious eyes at this point. Mm-hmm. Hoping that it, that somehow we start to, to think about something. Um, and I think Europe is starting to think about something similar.

Maryam: Um, I wanted to ask two questions. Just to, to round this out, one of them is, we’ve been talking a [00:26:00] lot about, the climate impacts of gas and the climate impacts of buildings, and I’m just wondering for people who maybe aren’t as familiar with it, maybe could you just take us through a little bit of some of the top line things we need to understand when we are thinking about gas and climate and buildings and climate It.

Brady: Absolutely. So buildings are actually our global biggest polluters. Uh, 40% of global emissions comes from buildings. And so from a climate perspective, there’s a big need to address the fossil fuels and the materials we use to build our buildings. But let’s talk about the home. So in our homes, we have a couple of appliances, maybe four or five, that might burn fossil fuels your furnace.

Brady: Your water heater, your stove, and maybe your clothes dryer. So if you have these appliances in your home and they burn gas, most of them have to be vented outdoors because of building codes and laws. So our furnaces and water heaters vent pollution outdoors, and this pollution, um, is bad for climate and bad for health because it produces things like nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter.

Brady: Which turns into smog and ozone, right? And other pieces. So outdoors, it’s really about neighbourhood level air quality and some of these greenhouse gas emissions that are bad for climate, but also the other air pollutions, which we, we see like smog and ozone, that the gasstove has this outsized health impact because it’s the one appliance that often is unvented in our homes where we spend 90% of our times that we’re standing in front of.

Brady: And so gas stoves don’t have as. Big of a climate impact outdoors because they’re vented inside, right? They don’t use as much energy, but taken together these couple of appliances added up with all the other homes and businesses burning them, lead up to this 40% global emissions. And so it’s a key area to target

Brady: And also just to add that new research is showing how much methane, methane, which is a, a very potent greenhouse gas, um, how much methane is actually leaking from the natural gas supply chain. Unfortunately, gas, when it’s in pipes, it just wants to get out and leak and it ends up leaking in our homes and it ends up leaking in our, under our.

Brady: Streets In the US we have 3 million miles of pipelines. So there’s this macro issue with the pipelines and how much methane, which natural gas, almost all methane, um, and new studies on gas stoves is showing that benzene and other air toxins are also present in gas and could potentially be leaking alongside the methane.

Brady: So the more we learn, I think the worse the picture is getting from a climate and health perspective.

Ben: Yeah, this really just isn’t good for us at all. Is it? Like I feel like this is over, it’s the same as last time. It’s just overwhelmingly bad when faced with like the reality of the situation. There really is no reason to continue to, to use this method of MM.

Ben: Of cooking.

Maryam: This actually brings me to my last question for you, Brady, which is, um, I’m assuming I’m gonna make an assumption, listeners, that you are all now convinced. Yeah. If you weren’t before, um, What are some alternatives? We talked about induction. Are there other things that people could switch to?

Maryam: You know, what are some things that come to mind?

Brady: Well first all, um, if you’re listening to this and feeling terrified, uh, I want you to know that there are some things that you can do right now today. The first is if you do have a gas stove, you can open a window. You can, if you have a range hood. Turn on your range hood and actually cook on the back burners where range hoods are more effective.

Brady: The next step is to try to displace some of your cooking. I’m sure a lot of people in the uk everyone has an electric kettle, I bet. Electric kettles, air fryers, toaster ovens, um, instant pots. So if you have these appliances already, you can try to limit the amount of time you have to turn on your gas stove. That’s the second step. The third step, um, is you can get a plug-in induction, either a one plate or a two plate.

Brady: And so I’ve seen really creative, uh, ways where people actually turn their gas stove into an induction stove. If you’re a renter or if you can’t afford, uh, or can’t commit to getting an induction stove right away, where. As long as your gas stove doesn’t have pilot lights, you can put a butcher block or two sheet pans on top of it, and then you can plug in your induction stoves nearby, put them on top, save yourself counter space and see if you like the induction experience.

Brady: That would be the third stage. And then the fourth stage, I think, is trying to transition to an electric or an induction range.

Brady: So, I don’t think that people need to run out right away and, and, and change it out if they want to. That’s also great. But when it’s time, I think the key thing is to make that decision as an individual or as a family that I won’t switch, like for like, I won’t change out the gas stove to just get, um, Another gas stove because truly one of the biggest things that we can do for the climate that makes the highest impact is the way we heat and cook our homes, uh, and also how we drive.

Brady: And so if you’re conscious and curious about climate solutions, I think it’s a really great one to make the decision when it’s time to switch to electric or induction. Mm-hmm.

Ben: An important messaging, right? That it’s not like, do it now. Do it today, but like, when, when it’s possible. Mm-hmm. Feel empowered that you have the ability to make a better decision, um, and also a better decision for your own health.

Ben: Right? Even if, especially if you are somebody who’s, I dunno why you’d be listening this far in, but if you are somebody who’s listening to this podcast and you’re like, nah, I still don’t care,] well think about yourself. Think about your own wellbeing. Um, and then maybe it’s just a better decision for you on a personal level.


Maryam: Now the reason we do this is not to shame people. Uh, there is no climate shame here. It’s actually the opposite. It’s easy when you were first learning about and being part of the climate movement and trying to understand things to feel like you can only really care if [00:34:30] everything. You do is perfect.

Maryam: Mm-hmm. But actually as Ben, I have come to realize there is no such thing as perfect and everyone, um, is on a journey, and this is just about bringing a bit of light to that darkness. Mm-hmm. Um, I’m happy to go first so that we break the ice once. One is a, a constant confession, but one that, uh, was really highlighted to me yesterday.

Maryam: So I, um, I was doing a bit of an inventory of my, of the last year. Um, and [00:35:00] just to see kind of, I don’t know, I was just, I was taking stock and I counted the number of, uh, trips I had taken Oh. Last year. Ooh. And I, I was really shocked. I’ve got a lot of offsetting to do and replanning of my travel this year to do, cuz it’s all flying.

Maryam: So, um, yeah, I, I took. More than one flight a month.

Ben: Oh. You better start planting some trees, mate, and some shrubs or, so I’m sure somebody’s told us that that’s not how it works.

Maryam: Yeah, it’s all right. I’ll, I’ll, yeah, we’ll do something. Um, okay. Uh, Brady, over to you.

Brady: Put you on the hot seat. Okay. I’m on the hot seat.

Brady: Uh, I have to admit that since I found out I was doing this podcast, I have been to not one, but two climate happy hours. And I have asked this question to other climate people, and I think people love to confess. It feels good to get it off their chest. Uh, it’s, I love it. It’s a, it’s a great question. Um, for me, I’m gonna stay in the kitchen for this one and admit that I.

Brady: Am a very lazy and often n not a great composter, which I, I feel terrible about, but I, I know that composting and project draw down and, and others say it’s one of the best things that we can do for the climate. Um, and sometimes I just really get lazy and months will go without me taking, putting something in my compost bin.

Maryam: Mm. Now, okay, hold on. We to explain this to us, why just explain to us a bit more about composting, because I actually am intrigued by

Ben: this. Yeah. I’m like, that’s mine as well. I’ve never compost a day in my life.

Maryam: Um, what, tell us more about it. Like what, why do we, why, why are, why should we be doing it? Why does Project draw down say that it’s so effective?

Maryam: Yeah, just tell us a bit more about that. Oh,

Brady: okay. So, um, food waste is such a huge contributor to climate problems. And so if we can collect all of our food waste together, it can actually make such a huge impact and. I think I’m, I’m feeling shameful about this because I live in Boulder, Colorado, which makes it really easy, the city compost.

Brady: So maybe where you are if you don’t have a backyard, um, it’s really hard to get to get something. But essentially by taking all of our food scraps, we can turn it into, uh, food for worms and things like that. So we’re regenerating, and it’s not ending up in landfills. Um, even here in Boulder, if you go to a coffee shop, Your coffee cup is probably coming in a compostable mug, and even in the city they’ll have recycling, garbage and compost.

Brady: Mm-hmm. And so I, I am shamed about this because I live in one of, probably the places in the world that makes it as easy as possible for me to collect all of my food scraps in a pale, take it to a specific compost bin and somebody will come and the city will. Compost it. So, uh, in Boulder where I live, maybe this is, feels especially shameful.

Brady: Um, but there’s a really interesting, if you’re, if you’re compost curious, uh, there are some fascinating podcast. There are some fascinating, um, options where you can actually get a device that’ll compost itself and it’s all self-contained, or you can create boxes. Oh, yeah. [00:38:30] Uh, so it’s really trying to reduce food waste and prevent it from ending up in landfills.

Brady: Mm.

Maryam: I’ve said I’m so intrigued by composting. Mm. I’m like, I’m like on the border because I also have been learning more about food waste and methane and all this kind of stuff, and I feel like. Yeah, I feel like maybe I could have one more burger if I compost

Ben: more. Yeah, it’s like the other half of recycling, right?

Ben: It’s like you recycle the, well then this is what I was

Maryam: gonna say is that I feel like it’s better than recycling. This is what I’m coming to think about because I feel like recycling has gotten so confusing, if that makes sense. Like, Are they actually recycling it? Are they not? Where are they taking it to?

Maryam: Who’s doing it? Is it being shipped? All of that kind of stuff has just become, it’s become so opaque and, and there’s so like, so many systems where you can’t see what’s happening. It feels like maybe there’s some issues here, but it feels like if, if you can compost, it’s like food. It goes into a thing, it becomes a thing.

Maryam: You can use it, you’re just seeing the whole life cycle. Mm-hmm. I’m, I’m, I’m, I love this. We should do a, we’re gonna do a whole. Episode, I think I’m composing now. That’s three or four. And we’re gonna call it and we’re gonna call it Compost Curious. Yeah.

Maryam: I love it. I love it. Ben, sneak your As. Oh,

Ben: I thought I was gonna get away with it. Um, well, one of them is that I have not been composting, but I, yeah, that is evidently something to think about. Um, I have, I feel like I’ve regressed, man.

Ben: I feel like the cost of living crisis got me and I, I fell into the idea of like, um, Like using the fireplace and, and burning a lot of wood, which we did all through the winter cuz it was cheaper than switching on the heat in. Um, and now I feel really, really guilty about it. Which is not the purpose of this.

Ben: No. But, um, yeah, I think that’s a reality. Yeah. But a reality. So many people, and that’s something I think something that, uh, I’ve gotta consider in terms of like, Where the balance is. Do you know what I mean? In terms of like the, the financial aspect and the actual like survival of the planet aspect and kind of meeting those somewhere and finding some better solutions.

Ben: So that’s something I’m gonna be thinking about. I think, well, not for now, because we’re moving into the spring and the summer, but in a couple of months we’ll swing

Maryam: back around when you’re cold again. Yeah,

Ben: when, when it gets desperate. Oh my gosh.

Maryam: Well, thank you so much. This has been an incredible conversation and, um, just so interesting to, for you to share the research with us and the work you’ve been doing and, and kind of how you’ve been getting the, the word out there.

Maryam: Um,  and yeah, just incredible to see real impact, I feel, and real movement, which is, which is awesome.


Brady: It’s amazing. We should do this again in five years and see what the market share of induction is. Right. But I love talking to you both. Yeah, this has been great. I really enjoy my time.

Maryam: Thanks Brady and Ben.Ben: Remember, stay curious.



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Josie Colter

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