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Natural Awakenings Dallas -Fort Worth Metroplex Edition

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Environmental Solutions from Everyday Conversation: Healthy Living Healthy Planet Radio

Mar 31, 2021 08:30AM ● By Sheila Julson
Bernice Butler, founder and host of Healthy Living Healthy Planet Radio, airing Saturdays from 3 to 4 p.m. on iHeart KFXR 1190 AM, doesn’t consider herself an expert on the human costs of climate change. That’s why she created a radio program aimed at helping people understand the interdependence of health and the environment. “My goal is that everyday people realize that caring about and being concerned about environmental issues is not optional, it is an existential necessity,” she emphasizes.

The show covers monthly themes such as water, air pollution, clean energy and more. Past episodes have highlighted challenges to urban waterways; updated listeners about improvements and pitfalls in the energy sector; explored the economics of waste and environmental impacts of overconsumption; and examined the impact of plastic pollution on cancers, the endocrine system, lung and heart issues and other aspects of human health.

Butler is the publisher of Natural Awakenings Dallas. Having a radio show dedicated to an issue she is passionate about allows her to expand the mission behind the magazine. Amid myriad options for receiving information, Butler believes radio still excels at conveniently reaching people in their cars, homes and offices. Healthy Living Health Planet is also available via podcasts (HealthyLivingHealthyPlanetRadio.com/listen-online) and YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrkbfkf10-f8FzDRiIhfNfg)

Butler avoids a negative tone and focuses on solutions-based discussion to educate listeners and create environmental empathy. Her guests come from Texas and globally, including scientists, researchers, community leaders and activists. Butler frames discussions in a conversational tone from a nonexpert perspective. “I consider myself ordinary, so here’s an ordinary person asking questions listeners want to ask of these experts in their fields,” she explains. “One thing I did not anticipate was that these experts love doing our show because their purpose, like mine with Healthy Living Healthy Planet Radio, is that they realize it’s necessary to get this important information out into the public space, framed in a way that people understand how it affects them.

Past guests have included Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of TerraCycle, Inc. As an expert in recycling and upcycling, Szaky discussed recycling options to help keep oceans and waterways cleaner. Katharine Hayhoe, Ph.D. at Texas Tech is an expert in atmospheric science and climate change. She helped listeners connect the dots between climate change and what’s happening in their day to day lives, including wildfires and droughts. Dr. Maria Neira with World Health Organization shared how air quality affects chronic disease, mortality and the wellbeing of our children.

Healthy Living Health Planet Radio is often a starting point for discussion on environmental topics, but Butler doesn’t want the conversation to end after listeners change the dial. She hopes people use information gained from the show to start discussions during day-to-day interactions. “What can people do in their daily lives to drive solutions?” Butler asks. “It can be as simple as chatting about the weather while waiting in line at the grocery store.” Those simple conversations can segue into how extreme weather events such as the “snowmageddon” that pounded much of Texas throughout February are related to climate change, and how droughts can cause wildfires.

Butler is not only a host, but also listener, and has learned a lot from hosting the show. One topic that resonated with her is how climate change and environmental issues affect children’s health. “People often talk about vulnerable populations, but I kept hearing over and over again that children bear 80 percent of the brunt of environmental issues,” she says. “We’re being assaulted, and I say it judiciously, because I like to be positive, but we’re being assaulted by air pollution and plastic pollutants. Children’s systems are not developed, so they’re more susceptible to this environmental assault.”

Healthy Living Healthy Planet Radio’s first season was generously sponsored by EarthX. Butler invites individuals, businesses and organizations that are passionate about creating dialogue surrounding climate change and human health to become a friend and supporter. “By supporting us, you get to be true green, not just ‘light green’ or ‘greenwashed’. We’re dealing with real scientists, real issues and real information, providing a significantly deep level of environmental education all year long,” she notes.

For more information and to hear past episodes, visit HealthyLivingHealthyPlanetRadio.com.
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