A Change is a Chance Podcast

Empowering youth to break barriers, seek truths, and make change.

This is the 30th episode of A Change is a Chance, so I thought it was a good time to bring it back to the reason this podcast was created: a young desire to make change! It is very fitting that this episode features Ella Niederhelman, someone who has been driving change through activism since 6th grade! Ella is a senior in high school who has worked in environmental journalism as well as interning at climate focused Pre-College programs. Listeners, you will all be inspired by her passion and dedication to fighting climate change. Tune in now to learn more!

In this episode, I discussed with Professor john a. powell, the director of the Othering and Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley, about the problems with the term DEI, how human nature perpetuates those problems, and just how deep the institutionally racist structures in America really are. I learned from him what it takes to build transformational bridges across different ideals, and saw how vast the gradients of discrimination and “othering” really are. Professor powell explained how for the human race to change, it requires not just shifts in ideals, but in the way we treat each other as well. Our conversation was truly eye opening and Professor powell has helped see racism in the U.S. in a new way, one based in human connection. Tune in now to learn more!

A Change is a Chance On Location Interview: Sustainability in Hospitality Industry
I met Mr. Hector Ramirez, General Manager of Las Qolqas Eco Resort, during a trip to South America. Mr. Ramirez outlines their standards for sustainability: Cultural, Environmental and Social.  Las Qolqas adopts a multi-faceted approach to sustainability: food, water, waste management, power, and people as they only hire from local villages and also invests in local education.  Please listen to this on location interview on what sustainability can do for the hospitality industry. I hope more hotels will take this approach. 

Part of a special series on A Change is a Chance focusing on youth climate activism, Episode 28 features guests from Plastic Tides’ Global Youth Mentorship (GYM) Program. Plastic Tides is a non-profit ocean conservation organization looking to inspire action through education and empowerment towards a plastic-free future. I learned about Plastic Tides through an interview with its co-founder, Christian Shaw, in Episode 12. This year, I became a Youth Leader to work with other change makers to help inspire action against plastic pollution.


In this episode, the panel interview features Ella Katsner, a Youth Leader focusing on eliminating plastic utensils; Lawrence Mayaki, a multi-faceted Youth Mentor working on eco-education; and JD Whitman, the GYM Program director, as well as a marine plastic specialist. We dive into the importance of the GYM Program and why this generation of youth, my generation, can and must be the ones fighting the obstacles to a cleaner future. From greed and obstinacy, to community engagement and environmental justice, our conversation represented many perspectives, and was both inspiring and encouraging. Please tune in now to join the movement!

In this episode, I talked with Mr. Torrealba, the Member Mobilization and Engagement Organizer of the non-profit Climate Justice Alliance, an organization dedicated to inspiring change in frontline communities, building resilient, equitable economies, and exposing false promises posed as “solutions”. I talked with him about environmental or climate justice, the intersection between the environment and social justice, that focuses on how environmental conditions are spread around the world. 

He explained to me how environmental injustices have affected people based on race and class, all the ways they can perpetuate, from an interpersonal way to an institutional one, and how government involvement is correlated to the propaganda spread about it and the myths of individualism spread through them. Our conversation was enlightening and I would say that I have a new view of the world after it. Tune in now to learn more!

In this episode, I talked with Mr. Rajendran Dandapani, the President of Zoho Schools of Learning, an alternate course of higher education, free to all, that focuses on what comes after school. We talked about how higher education lacks the necessary preparation for one’s career path, despite the high cost and selectivity. We also discussed how Zoho Schools is providing opportunities for the more impoverished communities and what a good educator truly looks like. Tune in now to learn more!

In this episode, I talked with Ms. Alison Lingane, the co-founder of the non-profit organization, Project Equity, where she and her co-workers help businesses transition into employee-owned businesses. Despite this being the first time I had heard of employee ownership, I learned so much from her, from the structural benefits of employee ownership itself, to Project Equity’s standout successes. Ms. Lingane outlined why employee ownership is an effective way to fight poverty and socioeconomic inequity. Tune in to learn more!

In this episode, I talked with Ms. Shadille Estepan, the Communications and Creative Manager at Born This Way Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Lady Gaga, focused on helping youth to build a kinder, braver world. Our conversation went over the teen mental health crisis, to the programs Born This Way Foundation has to counter it, and how parents can help brighten their kids’ future. It was rather amazing to learn about how much support we, as the youth, have at Born This Way Foundation and I can’t wait to check out and get involved with some of their programs. Tune in now to learn more!

In this episode, I interviewed Ms. Anika Ballent, the Director of Education at Algalita, a non-profit organization that fights the plastic problem through youth education, research, legislation and beyond. We discussed the incredible projects that Algalita has taken on, as well as why education is so crucial to solving our environment problems. 

Learning about things like gyres, nurdles, and so much more was invigorating, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.  Algalita is also a special organization to me because they were kind enough to name me a Stay Stoked Winner last year and believed in the work I was doing to help educate youth on plastic pollution.  Tune in now to learn more!

In this episode, I talked with Dr. Emily Creegan, a climate engineer and teacher, about one of her specialties, composting. She explained how despite common belief, composting is actually a very feasible way to mitigate climate change. From alarming statistics about the methane in our world, to the many ways composting can protect our environment, I learned so much about such an amazing solution! Tune in now to learn more.

In this episode, I talked to Lana Wong, the Director of Communications for the Education Commission, a current Board member for Shout Mouse Press, and team leader for the Shootback project. Ms. Wong talks about representation for marginalized and under-represented communities, and why it’s critically important. We discussed representation through a camera, through books, and the urgency of educational access to youth across the world. Tune in now to learn more.

In this episode, I talked with Ms. Renee Yang, co-founder of TeachAAPI, an organization fighting for AAPI representation in schools around the country, about teaching AAPI-inclusive curriculum in K-12, why it’s necessary, and how we can help. She explained to me the urgency of Asian representation and how her organization is working towards in-school Asian history, especially elementary school, around the country. Tune in now to learn about why our stories are worth sharing.

In this episode, I talked with Mr. David McGuire, founder of Shark Stewards, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting sharks. He explained to me why sharks are not only uninterested in humans, as a mere 10 shark attacks occur on average, but also help the ocean produce 50% of the air we breathe. 

We went over how important these apex predators are to the marine ecosystem, and the creatures that live there. Our conversation gave me a new sense of urgency to help these incredible creatures from the dangers of trophy hunting, commercial fishing, and the shark fin soup industry. Listen now to understand these creatures yourself and do your part in ensuring their survival in the future.


Brian Copeland, a writer, actor, comedian, and many more, joins A Change is a Chance to discuss the most polarizing issues of our time: Critical Race Theory, voter suppression, Covid-19, alternative facts, and the fight for democracy.  Mr. Copeland also gives us a hint on his next big project!

Mr. Copeland also talked about his book, “Not a Genuine Black Man”, where he discusses his life and ethnic identity in the then predominantly white town, San Leandro. From books to CRT, my conversation with Mr. Copeland was as enlightening as it was funny.

This episode was my second interview with Ms. Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, the founder of Plastic Free July. We discussed current events like COP26, the documentary Seaspiracy, and the 2021 Plastic Free Foundation Impact Report. 

We also talked about Ms. Prince-Ruiz’s book, “Plastic Free”, and her plans for the future. Learning Ms. Prince-Ruiz’s opinions was enlightening, including the hope that she provided. Please take a listen to understand what’s going well in our fight against plastic pollution and areas that need more work and attention from all of us.


Parley for the Oceans aims to raise awareness for the beauty and fragility of the oceans, and to inspire and empower diverse groups such as pacesetting companies, brands, organizations, governments, artists, designers, scientists, innovators and environmentalists in the exploration of new ways of creating, thinking and living on our finite, blue planet. 

In episode 16, Mr. Nick and Mr. Hans Schippers, two brothers from Parley, who specialize in up-cycling, green education, and more talked with me about the plastic dangers that industries hide in plain sight: green-washing and the myth of recycling.  We also discussed the amazing work the Schippers brothers have done with SCHroadtrip (Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii), Parley for the Oceans, and the Parley AIR Station at Bishop Museum in Oahu. Listen to learn the truth about recycling and more.

Episode 15 is the second part of the 2 part series with Hip-Hop for Change. As I previewed, Ms. Stephanie Liem, Mr. Marlon Richardson, and I discussed the importance of Afro-Asian Solidarity, what it is, and why cross-group solidarity is critical in fighting white supremacy. The interview moved me in many ways. It was enlightening and quite personal as well. Please give it a listen and I hope it inspires you too.  

Please check out episode 14 if you haven’t already to learn more about Hip Hop for Change and its work.

My 14th episode was with Mr. Marlon Richardson and Ms. Stephanie Liem of Hip Hop for Change, a non-profit organization that works to empower and teach youth to speak up and fight using hip-hop, as well as unlearning and relearning the role of BIPOC in history. 

I talked to them about what Hip-Hop for Change is, what its missions are, and how the organization works towards those missions. I learned so much from them, from advice about breaking free from the media’s lies and propaganda, to the impact of a simple radio station.

My 13th episode featured Mr. Hank Dearden, the founder of Forest Planet, an organization working to create sustainable food sources for starving humans and save ecosystems around to world by planting trees for the small price of 15 cents each. 

My conversation with him lead to topics like the Forest Planet mangrove project, the reason behind affordable tree planting, and how we can combat deforestation from our homes.

My 12th episode was a conversation with Mr. Christian Shaw, the co-founder of Plastic Tides, an organization founded for the unique purpose of teaching youth how to enter the world of change-making. Plastic Tides does this by hand-picking mentors and recruiting passionate teens. They then match the mentors with the mentees so they can start their own special projects.

By talking to Mr. Shaw, I learned how teaching youth is one of the most important steps in saving Earth, how Mr. Shaw feels about youth empowerment, and of course, his very special words for any kids discouraged from standing up and making change, “Make your own green light!” My conversation with Mr. Shaw hopefully helped many kids in the same way it would’ve helped me. By explaining to us why we can save the world even at our age.

Learn from educators of the guardians of Oahu's environment, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii

My 11th episode featured not 1, but 2 guests! Those guests were Ms. Rebecca Mattos and Mr. Hideki Kimukai, both community leaders and educators at Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, an organization that keeps Oahu clean.

Through my conversation with them, I learned incredible things such as the meaning and importance of aquaculture and marine debris, the most harmful plastic items in the ocean, the significant impact of cigarette butts in the environment, and so much more.

Learn from the American Lung Association's Director and Advocate of Clean Air

My 10th guest was Mr. Will Barrett, the Director and Advocate of Clean Air of the American Lung Association.

I had an amazing conversation with him and I learned so much about the State of the Air Report, the most concerning environment laws that were rolled back, and how important reducing our emissions through vehicles really is.

Talking with the founder of Plastic Free July

Ms. Prince-Ruiz was my 6th guest and she is the founder of Plastic Free July, an amazing organization made to reduce the amount of plastic in the world by as much as possible. 

My talk with her was amazing! We chatted about the Plastic Free Foundation and Plastic Free July from how it started, to where it’s going now.

Learn about voting from the amazing U.S. Vote Foundation

Mr. Josh Greenbaum was my 8th guest and he’s the Chief Technology Officer of the U.S. Vote Foundation, a place where everything related to voting is studied and cared about.

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