• News/Talk
  • Music
  • Entertainment


Bill Radke's Environmental Impact

Listen to this Story
Larger view

Of all the American Public Media hosts who took the "Consumer Consequences" test -- our online calculator that measures a person's environmental footprint -- Weekend America's Bill Radke scored the greenest. But he doesn't consider himself an environmentalist. Radke explores what does and does not motivate people to change the world.


I don't consider myself an environmentalist.

I do walk to the bus stop. My wife drives a hybrid, we're doing a green remodel and shopping for solar roof panels.But here's the thing, messages that berate us for not caring about things like global warming don't work for me.

In a Greenpeace video a boy in grey hood says, "You adults have known about this for years and though you could've done something about it, you haven't. Starting today, the lines are drawn. Either you're for my future or against it."

There are a lot of environmental messages like that, telling us that global warming is immoral and you should feel horrible about it.

NASA administrator Michael Griffin thinks differently: "I think that's a rather arrogant position for people to take. In an NPR interview this spring, Griffin took a lot of flak for saying that people are not obligated to stop climate change.

"Which human beings - where and when - are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings?" he asked.

I don't agree with Griffin about what to do about global warming. But I'm with him on this one point. I don't know what's best for the planet. For all I know, humans will deal with climate change by cooperating across the world. We'll become closer than ever. Or maybe homosapiens will die off and we'll mutate into a species that doesn't choke itself to death.

Believe me, I want my baby daughter to thrive in this world. But I'm saying that's not noble of me, it's just tribal. I am not righteously outragedabout the environment.

So here's my question: If you don't feel outrage, fear or guilt, then what motivates you? Here I turn to an unlikely muse: my governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"For too long, the environmental movement had been powered by guilt. Guilt is passive, guilt is inhibiting, and guilt is defensive. Successful movements are built on passion not guilt," he said.

Interesting. So what if you didn't feel you knew you what was best for the earth, but you were passionate about the elegance of renewable energy(the way I love sailing across the water using only the wind)?

Could you appreciate the brilliance of hybrid and solar technology and green home design, without resenting the SUV driver or regretting your own impact on the Earth?

Well, I've found that I can. And so, this green radio host offers you an environmental message:

Did you know you could be reducing your carbon emissions and still polluting the planet with anxiety? Remember: passion burns clean. So save the guilt. And save the world.

More stories from our Sustainability series


  • Comment | Refresh

  • Post a Comment: Please be civil, brief and relevant.

    Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. All comments are moderated. Weekend America reserves the right to edit any comments on this site and to read them on the air if they are extra-interesting. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting.

      Form is no longer active


    You must be 13 or over to submit information to American Public Media. The information entered into this form will not be used to send unsolicited email and will not be sold to a third party. For more information see Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Download Weekend America

Weekend Weather

From the January 31 broadcast

Support American Public Media with your Amazon.com purchases
Search Amazon.com:
 ©2015 American Public Media