Episode #1115

Creative Minds Go Green

Originally aired: April 18, 2008

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Friday, April 09, 2010

Studio 360 saves the planet. On the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, we explore design solutions for a changing environment. Kurt Andersen visits a solar-powered subway station in Coney Island and talks to an engineer making biofuel from bacteria. And meet the creative thinkers behind a hand-cranked street generator, the adobe house of the future, carbon-neutral rock shows, and the Eco Art movement.

Special thanks this week to producer Sarah Lilley. Funding for our series on Creativity and Science is provided by the Sloan Foundation.

Power Cart

Mouna Andraos is an artist and web designer who's been fascinated by street vendors since her childhood in Lebanon. She created a working portable generator that uses a crank and a solar cell to charge cell phones and laptops, and even run small appliances.


Bacteria Biofuel

Frances Arnold is a biochemical engineer at Cal Tech working on one part of the energy crisis. In a process called "directed evolution," Arnold's team is altering the genetic codes of bacteria to evolve a strain of organisms than can digest grass and excrete biofuel.



In Hesperia, California, architect Nader Khalili created a housing movement for the future. Khalili, who passed away in March 2008, prototyped his dome-shaped adobes on a commission from NASA for a lunar colony. Then he realized that his "superadobes" could take root on Earth. Studio 360's

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Coney Island Sunshine

The New York subway system has one of the best environmental designs of recent years: Coney Island's Stillwell Avenue terminal, one block from the Atlantic Ocean, is topped by a state-of-the-art photovoltaic glass roof. Kurt checked it out with architect Greg Kiss.

Audio Slideshow: Stillwell Avenue ...

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William McDonough

William McDonough is a grand old man in the young field of green architecture. In the 1970s, he built the first "green roof" in America - a corporate headquarters with a meadow on top - and now works on green projects all over the world.


Paved Paradise

Joni Mitchell's song, "Big Yellow Taxi," from 1970, is the closest thing we’ve ever had to an environmental anthem. Mitchell told Reese Erlich why she’s bothered by "green" hypocrisy.

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Green Rockers

Corn-based shrink wrap on the CDs, biofuel buses, recycling riders, organic hair spray: this is the greening of rock n' roll. Sarah Lemanczyk talked to the indie rock band Cloud Cult, which manages its carbon footprint and has fun at the same time.


Eco Art

Photographer Brandon Ballengée hunts for frogs with extra legs and missing eyes. Andrea Polli translates hurricane data into soundscapes. By seeking out these (sometimes bizarre) ecological phenomena, they hope to bring environmentalism to new audiences. Produced by Studio 360's Trey Kay.

Weigh in: ...

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