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The town that would transform the world

Ithaca sustainability director Luis Aguirre-Torres (second to left) meets with Cornell students, scientists, and artists at the Soil Factory maker space in Ithaca, NY.

Story House Ithaca co-director Jonathan Miller tells a hometown story for a national audience in a half-hour podcast on Ithaca’s ambitious Green New Deal and what it might mean for hometowns everywhere.

The Little Town that Would Transform the World” introduces us to Ithaca’s sustainability director, Luis Aguirre-Torres, a Mexican-born engineer (his Ph.D. research was on entropy) with a global vision and an activist’s passion for disruption. Aguirre-Torres is both an insider and an outsider, a veteran of international climate policymaking but new to Ithaca. On arrival, his first impulse was to broaden the climate conversation to include social change agents and people who are likely to be most affected by climate change -- and climate policy.

We also meet Richard Rivera, an outreach worker at Ithaca’s sprawling homeless encampment, who deserves a podcast of his own, and civil rights activist and organizational consultant Laura Branca. Both know how hard social change can be, but both are also hopeful that progress is possible. And they appreciate a local government that doesn’t just see the connections between social justice and climate change, but pushes hard to bring the two together.

The episode is part of Living Downstream, a podcast about environmental justice produced by Steve Mencher of Mensch Media and distributed by Northern California Public Media.

Special thanks to Jimmy Jordan, Felix Teitelbaum, Esther Racoosin, and Fred Balfour from WRFI, community radio for Ithaca and Watkins Glen.

You can listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Audible , NPR, or wherever you get your podcasts. And if you like it, please write a review and spread the word!

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