Climate Conversations S2E13: Season 2 Wrap-Up
After a whole season of climate justice episodes, the ClimateX team and podcast producer Dave Lishansky step back and take stock. How has our understanding of climate justice evolved? What voices and stories have stuck with us?
The team discusses recurring themes, such as visibility issues, collaboration across social divides, institutional oppression, and intersectionality. They also explore areas of difference among the guests (and among themselves), such as whether capitalism is inherently exploitation or can be a force for social good.
The episode and the season ends with dreaming big: if you could wave a magic wand to correct one injustice, anywhere in the world, what would it be?
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[00:00:00.09] CURT NEWTON: A big part of the work to be done in these justice issues is to draw people back together, so that it can be made visible again-- to put it back in the faces of the people who would prefer to look away, and prefer that everybody else look away from it, too.
[00:00:14.19] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: And part of Climate Conversations' job is to make it as explicitly visible as possible, to connect the threads. This is Climate Conversations, by ClimateX. Welcome to Climate Conversations. I'm Rajesh Kasturirangan in The Office of Open Learning.
[00:00:34.09] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: And I'm Dave Damm-Luhr. Glad to be here to wrap up season two.
[00:00:37.79] CURT NEWTON: And I'm Curt Newton. And today, we're also bringing on a special guest who's actually been lurking, very importantly, in the background through all of these podcasts.
[00:00:47.09] DAVE LISHANSKY: My name is Dave Lishansky. I've been producing these ClimateX podcasts.
[00:00:51.02] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: He has listened to us way more than anybody should have to.
[00:00:57.02] So let's get started. Season two.
[00:00:58.97] CURT NEWTON: Season two is about climate justice. Yeah.
[00:01:01.76] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: All right. I'm going to ask the obvious question. What is climate justice?
[00:01:07.06] [IMITATES JEOPARDY THEME SONG]
[00:01:11.24] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: Well, it certainly has to do with power relations. And justice is when power relations are balanced, and all voices are heard, and people can weigh in from different perspectives, and that sort of thing.
[00:01:27.20] CURT NEWTON: I've been thinking a lot about how our established energy system has all of these invisible places. If you live your life in a, kind of, you know, middle class, upper middle class way, how little you see of the fossil fuel extraction, the coal-fired power plants and the like. And there's something really important about making the things that go on to deliver the energy and the other things that we count on really visible, and understand the toll that it can possibly take. So yeah, there's something really important about visibility and awareness, and thinking ethically about those impacts.
[00:02:09.65] DAVE LISHANSKY: Yeah. I think as we've spoken with so many different guests from so many different backgrounds, it's just become so clear that climate justice is the heart of intersectionality in climate change, right? You recognize wow, all of these things that I do could be hurting someone. And I have no idea. And that's something I do every single day. Right? And the ways that they hurt different groups of people, and the ways that they affect different groups of people is scary.
[00:02:37.49] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: Right. And one of the definitions that came up for me, that I've held onto and found very useful, is the question, what's the distribution of benefits and burdens, here? And whether it's an energy extraction, like you were saying, Kurt, or it's in the effects of climate change. We have to look real closely. Who's getting hurt? Who's getting helped, here, by the decisions that are made?
[00:03:02.40] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: So I want to put another thought on top of what you said, Dave, because you could say that there is a cost-benefit version of justice. And then there is, you could say, an intrinsic value or an intrinsic harm, where--
[00:03:14.29] CURT NEWTON: A sort of ethical framing.
[00:03:16.37] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: Right, which is that there are certain things that are wrong even if someone else is benefited by that process, whatever that might be.
[00:03:27.89] CURT NEWTON: Got something in mind? An example?
[00:03:30.78] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: So for example, if there was renewable energy infrastructure put into place that harmed a community around which that infrastructure was being put into place, because they were, let's say, dispossessed of their lands in order for that to happen, I would say that that's a problem.
[00:03:52.42] CURT NEWTON: And that is not in the abstract. We're recording this podcast in the middle of February and here and in Massachusetts, there's a big flap going on around getting, quote, "renewable energy from Hydro Quebec." Massive dammed flooding of indigenous communities' lands up there.
[00:04:14.12] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: Don't even get me started, because I feel like hydro power--
[00:04:19.88] CURT NEWTON: Let's get you started.
[00:04:20.48] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: Go ahead, go. Go. You're on. Because I feel like hydro is an aspect we haven't really hit.
[00:04:26.30] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: I should tell you this, because I got into any form of activism because of being inspired by these enormously influential protests against large dams in Western India, right? In today's age, they would be climate-friendly, but if you look at whose lands were inundated, what kind of harms were caused, what happens when you change agricultural practices by building these dams, I feel like relabeling them as climate-friendly is a terrible idea.
[00:05:06.38] CURT NEWTON: Yeah. One of my favorite quotes from guests this year was Kyle Whyte's statement about. If you've quote, "solved--" I'm going to mess this up-- if you've, quote, "solved the climate problem on the backs of, say, an indigenous community, have you really solved anything? Your answer would be no."
[00:05:26.39] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: And I should say this-- that many of the communities in India that were negatively impacted by these dams were, you could say, the Indian version of the indigenous communities. So tribal communities that are very poorly represented in the Indian power structure.
[00:05:42.55] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: So what was going on for our guests this season? What was their analysis of the problem?
[00:05:50.67] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: If you weren't a slogan from me, I would say it's capitalism, stupid. I would say that that pretty much--
[00:05:57.30] CURT NEWTON: And a particular form of capitalism.
[00:06:00.66] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: Right, right. Extractive.
[00:06:02.26] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: Right, but this goes way back beyond capitalism in terms of the will to dominate, whether it's other people or nature, or whatever. And that predates capitalism. Surefire thing.
[00:06:15.37] CURT NEWTON: Imperial capitalism.
[00:06:17.94] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: So you know, not someone who I admire, necessarily, but Lenin-- you know, the famous Lenin-- wrote this book called Imperialism, The Last Stage of Capitalism, right? But you could argue that imperialism predates capitalism. And in fact, there's a very good reason to think that European capitalism arose precisely because gold and silver from the Americas was made available for the advancement of industrialism later on.
[00:06:50.95] CURT NEWTON: Well, so in today's conversations, we hear a lot about things like conscious capitalism, sustainable business practices. I mean, some people-- yeah, we had some of them here on the podcast. Do you think there's something to that? Do you remain a little skeptical, Rajesh?
[00:07:07.54] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: I think skepticism is on the gentler end of what I think.
[00:07:13.89] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: Curt, were you thinking of Geoffrey Supran, or?
[00:07:16.38] CURT NEWTON: Oh, no, I was thinking more of Jason Jay, for instance. Saying, you know, the problem is not capitalism per se. It's a particular brand of capitalism that's taken over our political process, and is focused so much on, say, short-term profits-- quarterly earnings reports and things like that. And it should be possible, and there are people who are working really hard to try to reformulate capitalism in a way that has a much more human, ethical face to it. Which is not to say it's going to cut it.
[00:07:45.01] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: Right. So one of the things that Trish Weinmann said in response to the magic wand question was, hey, how can we get rid of greed? Because greed seems to be at the root of most of the impulses to dominate. I want more. I want better. And it doesn't matter at whose expense.
[00:08:05.29] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: I feel like-- I mean, you know, just so that my sponsors don't cut me out-- I feel that I should distinguish between capitalism and just trade or business. Right? I mean, humans have been trading with each other forever. It's very old. So I don't think that that's a bad thing. I can't produce everything I want, so it should be possible for someone else to give me something that I need, and in response, get the same-- either from me or someone else.
[00:08:39.78] So I feel like that is not capitalism. I think capitalism, to me, is a very specific version, and especially today, very closely tied to fossil fuel on one end and finance on the other.
[00:08:52.78] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: Right. So Kyle Whyte was telling us about how tribes collaborated, cooperated. If one area had a shortage of salmon and the other one didn't, or different seasons, that they figured out a way to help each other out. There was really a spirit of cooperation around scarce resources.
[00:09:11.92] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: Right. I think that in any situation where resources are limited, you're going to have to learn how to trade favors.
[00:09:17.55] CURT NEWTON: Yeah. And that brings to mind our conversation with Zeyneb about the way that her group, Mothers Out Front and the Gas Leaks Allies, figured out a way to cooperate, collaborate with unexpected partners in the form of utility companies. I think there's something really interesting to continue to look at, and ways to reframe some of those challenges, and find places, ways that we can collaborate.
[00:09:42.16] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: Which prompts a question on my part, right? Because I feel like-- I'm now going to maybe almost switch 180 degrees-- but the arc of justice is long. I don't know how long it will bend before we get there. But it's absolutely clear that we will need to make either temporary or permanent alliances with people who we perhaps disagree with-- and very strongly sometimes. What's your take on that?
[00:10:17.11] CURT NEWTON: All I can say is, absolutely. We don't have time to get to agreement. And then we won't get there, frankly. Finding ways to have those difficult conversations, find the common ground, find the shared values, is essential.
[00:10:30.86] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: Right. And a lot of the problems that I was hearing in the podcast that we recorded this last season was around how easy it is if you're the dominant group, whoever that might be-- the colonial power, the wealthy white folks, or whoever it might be-- to demonize the other, and just say they're not really worth it. They're not human, actually. Or, we've got the power, so we can do whatever we want with them and their resources.
[00:10:59.79] DAVE LISHANSKY: I think in that-- making alliances-- the power of reframing becomes really important. Because even for us, who think, oh, we can't make these deals with oil companies, if we can reframe our arguments to something that's going to appeal to them, like what Zeyneb was talking about-- like, hey, we care about our children. Don't you care about your children? It's about reframing not just the argument, but the outcome too, right?
[00:11:25.26] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: Yeah.
[00:11:25.97] DAVE LISHANSKY: And there's so much power in that.
[00:11:27.58] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: But let me give an extreme version of reframing. Let's say Exxon came to us and said, we want to help. We love your work. We know you're critical of us. We want--
[00:11:42.76] CURT NEWTON: Would they like to fund Climate Conversations?
[00:11:44.89] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: Yeah. Let's say-- bankroll Climate Conversations. Would you take the money?
[00:11:51.95] DAVE LISHANSKY: Yes. I think I would.
[00:11:54.65] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: I wouldn't.
[00:11:55.34] CURT NEWTON: It's complicated. I'm not sure.
[00:11:56.82] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: It's very complicated. I think it depends on the extent to which there's evidence that they're actually changing their business model, and recognize that in 25 to 30 years, they have to be out of the business-- totally out of the business-- of extraction of fossil fuels. If there were any sign in that direction-- I don't see those signs right now. So I'd have a hard time--
[00:12:17.45] CURT NEWTON: Quite the opposite. Exxon's latest report last month said, nah, we're going to be here for the long run. Don't worry about that climate stuff.
[00:12:25.37] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: So keep it in the ground is not a model that they're likely to sign on to anytime soon.
[00:12:29.94] CURT NEWTON: But there might be other fossil fuel-based companies that'd be more open to--
[00:12:35.63] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: Total, I think in France, is one of those that is changing its business model and putting heavy investment into renewables, and seeing that their current business model of fossil fuel extraction is not viable for the long run.
[00:12:48.49] CURT NEWTON: Lishansky, you look like you've got to say something here.
[00:12:50.27] DAVE LISHANSKY: So, if Exxon's going to bankroll this podcast, and we can bring on Geoffrey Supran every other day and have him read their reports, I think it's fine to take their money.
[00:13:00.52] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: Well, in fact, Exxon-- there was a vote in last year's corporate annual meeting, in which the shareholders won, for the first time in the history of the company, that at the next annual meeting at the end of May, they will be required to report out the climate consequences of their activities.
[00:13:20.53] CURT NEWTON: That's the thing that they've already reported out. And they said, yeah, don't worry about this climate stuff. It's not really going to affect our business model.
[00:13:26.50] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: Oh, I was understanding that it was at their annual meeting.
[00:13:29.47] CURT NEWTON: So they've checked the box. And it looks like they're continuing on.
[00:13:34.84] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: So let me give a different version of this. I mean, you can see, right? I feel like one version of this that I find particularly poignant is if you look at-- COP23 happened in Bonn. Right? But actually, it was hosted by Fiji. So this, to me, is a microcosm of both what is good and what's bad.
[00:13:57.76] It's good, because it's been recognized that an island Pacific nation such as Fiji is going to be threatened, or actually much more than threatened by climate change than others, their voice needs to be heard. And yet, it needs to be heard in Bonn, which strikes me as saying that only if you are hand-in-hand with the great powers will you have any voice. And so, if I was Fiji, what would I do? I mean, clearly, they decided that they need to be in Bonn. But why didn't they say, well, you're going to have to fly out here?
[00:14:37.99] DAVE LISHANSKY: Well, I think it points to-- the action is not on Fiji's front. The action is on the people with power's front. And that's, I think, the scary thing about going back to the capital as a [INAUDIBLE].
[00:14:48.52] And I think it's something important that Jason Jay talked about, too. Because his whole thing was that it can work, as long as we A, fix market failures, and B, get money out of our politicians-- you know, out of their realm of, we need to do this to keep moving forward. And I think that's a pretty positive, hopeful idea. And we haven't tried it yet.
[00:15:10.54] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: So I have a question for us, though. Looking back over the 12 podcasts that we had in this season, what approach should we be recommending? You guys are talking at the very high, institutional, global level, and yet, we had folks who were talking about individual change of consciousness-- working in families, in small communities, in urban areas, like [INAUDIBLE], and things like that. So is it all of the above, or is there a priority ranking that we ought to be trying to craft here?
[00:15:40.26] CURT NEWTON: I do lean towards all of the above, frankly, but recognizing that getting things moving, and from a tactical perspective, really hits on the local level. You know? If you can coordinate the actions of all of these local things so that different groups are connect with one another, they're sharing best practices, they're sharing tips, and they can scale, I think that's kind of the best of all worlds.
[00:16:04.96] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: And by connecting with each other, they build power. Right? I mean-- it's an interesting situation I'm occupying, because I'm not an American citizen. I am an Indian citizen. And I see what's happening in India as perhaps-- you know, more Indians will face the consequences of the climate crisis than, perhaps, almost anybody else. Maybe Chinese, right? I mean, if you just look at numbers.
[00:16:36.24] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: Sheer numbers.
[00:16:37.19] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: Right? And so I feel compelled to do something about that, which by its very nature, is going to be global, because I'm sitting here in Cambridge. At the same time, I feel Cambridge and places like that can create a model of collaborative action that can be replicated elsewhere, partly because it's easier here, I think. Just technology-- I mean, all the things that make it easy to collaborate are easier here.
[00:17:08.28] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: So virtually all of the participants were trying to raise consciousness, change consciousness, and that can be, like you were saying, Curt, at lots of different scales. The question is, which scale is more effective? What solutions can be put up to the global level and help people around the globe, not just in one community, but in multiple communities? So I'm sitting with that question.
[00:17:32.03] CURT NEWTON: It's a good question.
[00:17:33.93] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: And there were a lot of different approaches. Some people said, OK, we need to educate generally, or we need to educate in particular settings, or we need to have particular approaches that are right.
[00:17:46.65] CURT NEWTON: I mean, I see a lot of the justice issues really being manifest in the particulars of a particular place, right? Things that come up through this intersection of the nature of the culture that's in play.
[00:18:00.51] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: Whether it's Appalachia--
[00:18:01.81] CURT NEWTON: The geography, and the weather, and their food system, and all of this stuff. And so it's got to be grounded in what's going to work in those local places. But again, these local places are not disconnected from one another. There are kind of stunning similarities from place to place, such as hydropower.
[00:18:19.67] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: Or a lot of the stuff that Nick Mullins was talking about in Appalachia.
[00:18:22.80] CURT NEWTON: Yeah.
[00:18:23.31] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: The history of coal mining, and how unions were busted there, and how the coal companies have appropriated the language of the Appalachians to try to co-opt them.
[00:18:35.73] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: And I'm just thinking, again, you know, when I look at-- or when I listen to Nick Mullins talk about Appalachia, versus Jacqui Patterson talk about the Gulf Coast, they both engage, you could say, in the class sense, blue collar constituencies? And yet, very different. In fact, I think mostly antagonistic blue collar constituencies.
[00:19:02.94] CURT NEWTON: Because Nick is representing, or coming from, a community that has been making its living from some of these systems. And Jackie, representing folks who were more on the receiving end of--
[00:19:16.75] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: Right? Some of it has a racial component to it.
[00:19:20.70] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: Let's not forget that black lung disease has affected hundreds of thousands. I mean, I think Nick was saying over 100,000 people have died from health-related consequences of coal mining in the last 40 years in Appalachia. So it's not as if they've just been making a living and having fun.
[00:19:38.49] CURT NEWTON: Yeah.
[00:19:38.79] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: Absolutely not. I mean, there's a brutality to any extractive industry that we should just not deny it, right?
[00:19:46.95] CURT NEWTON: But as Nick described so eloquently, it might be brutal, but it's our brutal thing. And again, there's this way that you get attached to it.
[00:19:55.49] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: Right. And the other thing that struck me about the conversation we had with Nick was about the role of outsiders-- the people who are not there in that community coming in and telling them what to do, or making suggestions, and that sort of thing.
[00:20:09.26] CURT NEWTON: It was a really powerful message, there.
[00:20:11.13] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: Yeah, very powerful.
[00:20:12.30] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: I want to understand this insider/outsider logic a little bit more, because it's going to happen in every single place.
[00:20:18.93] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: That's for sure.
[00:20:19.95] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: Right? For example, let me put on something where I'm both an inside and an outsider. If I talk to friends and colleagues in India, they will often say, you know, who is the west to tell us what to do? And it's a pretty fair criticism. And yet at the same time, you can say, well, why do you want to do what they did?
[00:20:45.34] CURT NEWTON: Why would you, India, want to do it the West was doing?
[00:20:48.00] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: Yeah. So I feel like I straddle that every single day. And I don't have any really powerful answers, to be frank.
[00:20:58.16] CURT NEWTON: I find that there's this inclination, when you're engaged in an issue, to kind of come in leading with your solutions. Right? And that's always going to be a bad fit. If you're not in the place connected to the local situation, you're there to support, to be an ally, to lend whatever help you can, but it's not your place, frankly. We need to step away from that.
[00:21:24.18] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: What's Lisa's perspective on that? I wasn't in on that conversation, but in looking at the transcript, it seemed like she had some useful observations there.
[00:21:32.46] CURT NEWTON: Yeah. It's all about supporting the group that is really planted there, and is living through the challenge that they're trying to address.
[00:21:43.73] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: But of course, this couldn't have been the first time people are facing this problem, right? I mean, if you look at how unions organize-- obviously, in this factory, it's my local problem, and that has to be leadership that emerges. But at the same time, there is a kind of a class structure to capital versus labor, and it's through larger collaborative sort of solidarity that you aggregate power. Right? I mean, if it only stays in the local, you're going to get smashed by the big powers that be who are not local.
[00:22:21.66] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: Right, right. And one of the things that I am very painfully aware of in my home town in Western Michigan, that 50, 60 years ago, the captains of industry, or, you know, the people who owned the property, who were the owning class, lived in the town. And you saw them at church, and you saw them at different social functions, or whatever, across class and color distinctions. And that doesn't happen anymore.
[00:22:48.47] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: No?
[00:22:48.60] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: They live far away. Those factories closed. They moved south. They moved offshore. And the owners of capital are not in the same communities where those factories are anymore. So there's not that accountability, in that sense of, oh, you're shafting us. You're making decisions that are not in our interests of our health or our welfare.
[00:23:09.84] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: Yeah.
[00:23:10.59] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: In other words, you can't see their eyes anymore. You can't make eye contact with them, because they're not local anymore. It's the globalization of capital.
[00:23:18.17] CURT NEWTON: Yeah. A big part of the work to be done in these justice issues is to draw people back together so that--
[00:23:26.67] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: Right.
[00:23:27.15] CURT NEWTON: So that it can be made visible again, to put it back in the faces of the people who would prefer to look away, and prefer that everybody else look away from it, too.
[00:23:36.36] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: Right.
[00:23:36.93] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: And part of Climate Conversations' job is to make it as explicitly visible as possible, right? To connect the threads.
[00:23:46.87] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: And Jackie Patterson did that so well, in connecting the dots and saying these are all related issues. They're not separate issues that we're going to be working on in our separate stovepipes, here.
[00:23:58.20] CURT NEWTON: Yeah. I'm wondering where you all are at. Can you name a dominant emotion that comes up from the result of all of these conversations in the last couple of months? Where does it leave us? Because we've been talking in kind of analytical terms. Where are you guys in your hearts? How are you feeling?
[00:24:18.39] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: I'm, like, wait, no, that's the wrong one.
[00:24:22.62] I was going to say I'm, like, "Onward, Christian soldiers."
[00:24:27.80] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: Doesn't quite fit your persona.
[00:24:29.13] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: No, it doesn't. No, but I feel like there are so many incredible people who doing so many incredible things.
[00:24:36.78] CURT NEWTON: Some gratitude?
[00:24:37.50] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: Yeah. And solidarity. That's my thing, I think.
[00:24:44.31] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: I'm feeling uplifted, to build on what Rajesh just said, that there are people in lots of different situations looking at it with different lenses, and seeing each other as allies. So this is different than it was in the environmental movement 30, 40 years ago, when I stepped into this space.
[00:25:05.76] DAVE LISHANSKY: Totally determined right now. You know, you listen to people moving in so many different directions. And as Rajesh said, it's, like, keep going. Onward, onward.
[00:25:15.36] And I think a lot of that determination is also determination to question, too. I started to realize the importance of every single personal action that I make. And I'm so determined to think about it every time I make any choice. And it's a really intense and powerful thing to think about, but I'm determined to keep going.
[00:25:38.23] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: What about you, Curt?
[00:25:39.21] CURT NEWTON: Well, I'm getting to know feelings of outrage that are unfamiliar to me, you know? I was able to sweep a lot of this stuff aside for many years, and the last few years have really been shifting that. And so it's a really powerful feeling of, like, why the hell didn't somebody tell me about this before? You know? How dare you keep this under the rug?
[00:26:05.10] But also, I feel like I'm able to channel some of those feelings in productive ways, through these conversations we've had with people-- the kind of nuance and depth of the stories they're sharing. I feel like I'm just beginning to get a clear picture of what's going on out in the world, and that can only help.
[00:26:23.92] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: I feel that anger-- productive anger-- has to be a huge part of what we do. And generally, I should say that liberal circles don't deal with anger well. And I think that being able to take that anger and turn it into something that shifts the world is absolutely crucial.
[00:26:47.68] DAVE LISHANSKY: I think anger at injustice is such a new experience for white guys like me. And learning what that process is like and how to harness it into something productive-- that's a powerful lesson. And it's important.
[00:27:02.81] CURT NEWTON: Yeah. And I think there's a lot of people out there who can teach us. Show us the way.
[00:27:09.43] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: Yeah. I'm also feeling gratitude for the people who are helping us, collectively, to call things into question that we've just taken for granted. So I'm thinking about [INAUDIBLE], who was saying, hey, we're stuck with land use patterns that were developed in service of car companies and fossil fuel companies, and having people all over the place that are not easily served by public transit. And we have to call those into question. That is not OK to just say, well, that's the way it's been for the last 80 years, so we're going to continue on just the same.
[00:27:44.02] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: So that actually brings-- you know, it's not just that bad things happen because of fossil fuels, which we all agree they did and continue to, but that even ideas of the good life were crafted by the fossil fuel industry. Right? That starting, I'm guessing in the 30s and the 40s onward, what it was to lead the good life-- the American way of life-- is really a fossil fuel way of life.
[00:28:17.47] CURT NEWTON: And who knew it would have these kind of downsides? I mean, wouldn't you like to be electrified? Wouldn't you like refrigeration? Yeah, sign me up. I totally understand why the choices were made the way they were, knowing people working with the knowledge they had at the time.
[00:28:34.57] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: Yeah.
[00:28:35.08] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: Right. And look at the stories that [? Ramon ?] told about Puerto Rico, in terms of the centralization of electricity there, and what trouble that got the island in when Hurricane Maria hit this last fall.
[00:28:46.06] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: Right? But centralization and control and command-- I mean, all of these were the things of the 20th century.
[00:28:54.14] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: Yeah. Almost a military model of top-down. And I think one of the themes that I've picked up from this season is that we need to call into question that a distribution-- a fair distribution of power-- both literally, in terms of electricity, but also in terms of political influence, needs to come to the fore.
[00:29:12.90] DAVE LISHANSKY: It makes you think about everything that's been normalized in the world. And I think this is where the intersectionality comes back, is that all of these things that have been normalized are causing the deepest problems. And they're the hardest ones to see if you're not actually thinking about it. And so thinking about all of the different things that our guests have brought up that are challenging these norms, that sometimes feel, like, I've never even heard of this before.
[00:29:38.86] CURT NEWTON: Yeah. Anything come to mind, particularly, there?
[00:29:41.77] DAVE LISHANSKY: Yeah. For me, it's actually been-- and this is something I'd love to explore more-- is the implications of land use with animals. You know? You look at McDonald's on every single street, and what are the implications of the normalization of the American diet? It's scary to think about.
[00:29:57.70] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: Yes.
[00:29:59.26] CURT NEWTON: Speaking as a vegan.
[00:30:00.30] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: Yes. I would say that, in fact, the greatest injustices have been done not to humans at all, but to everything that is not human. That, to me, is actually what is missing in the climate justice world.
[00:30:16.15] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: Well, this is something that Kyle certainly brought up-- that when they think about communities, they think about all species, not just humans. So it's, how does whatever we're doing impact the living planet?
[00:30:29.48] CURT NEWTON: Yes. Our universe is expanding. That's what they say.
[00:30:33.82] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: While this podcast is shrinking, however.
[00:30:38.60] CURT NEWTON: Is it fair to turn the magic wand question onto ourselves? Rajesh, if you had a magic wand, and you could wave at the climate justice situation, to what would you direct it?
[00:30:51.19] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: End factory farming. There's no question. That's my magic wand for almost everything-- definitely at the climate movement
[00:31:00.28] CURT NEWTON: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
[00:31:02.20] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: For me, it's that people connect the dots-- that they see the interrelation among all the key issues, all the things that are troubling us and inspiring us. And that we need to be able to work with people that have different viewpoints about what's wrong and how to fix it.
[00:31:24.31] DAVE LISHANSKY: I think it would be that-- well, first of all, I'm with Rajesh. End factory farming. I think the implications of that are scary. But I think if people could see the grossest injustice done by every single decision that they make every day-- you know, as you're buying your coffee and you see where that plastic goes, and who that's harming. You know, if people could just see that every time, it would be a sad--
[00:31:48.57] CURT NEWTON: Here we are at MIT. Maybe we can get some of those augmented reality folks to work on that.
[00:31:52.49] DAVE LISHANSKY: It's the perfect augmented reality situation.
[00:31:54.84] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: You look at your Starbucks coffee cup, and you suddenly see-- it opens up into a matrix.
[00:32:02.91] DAVE LISHANSKY: Exactly.
[00:32:03.69] CURT NEWTON: That would be totally awesome.
[00:32:04.94] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: So one of the things that's occurred to me over the years is, you know, like, all food wrappers have something about nutrition facts? Well, we could have climate facts for each thing. You could say, OK, so not disposing of this properly or consuming this has these implications.
[00:32:21.54] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: Curt still has an idea.
[00:32:22.45] CURT NEWTON: Yeah, I mean, not to be totally self-centered about this, but I feel like the experience that I've gone through for the last couple of months with this podcast, and more broadly, kind of waking up to this stuff, I just want to shout it from the rooftops and have it be heard. You know? I'd like to download this stuff into the minds of everybody who's, because of the way the system is set up, able to have been oblivious to this. I feel like this is really important information.
[00:32:48.99] So more concretely, podcast listeners, please share season two, climate justice on Climate Conversations with-- what's reasonable? This is a magic wand. 50 of your friends. And that would take us a long way.
[00:33:01.56] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: Forward it to another 50 of their friends.
[00:33:03.69] CURT NEWTON: There we go.
[00:33:04.44] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: And before that, share your magic wand with us. And with that, season two comes to an end. Thank you for listening, everybody. And thank you Dave [? Alf, ?] for joining us today.
[00:33:19.84] DAVE LISHANSKY: My pleasure.
[00:33:20.34] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: For being our magic wand, actually.
[00:33:22.50] CURT NEWTON: Yeah. You are. Stay tuned for season three. We are devising what that will be about as we speak. It's going to be good.
[00:33:30.13] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: In any case, looking forward to engaging with you in the coming months.
[00:33:34.52] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: And in the meantime, if you have any thoughts on what you would like to hear from us, do share your feelings, your thoughts, your comments on Facebook, Twitter, on our site. Send us an email-- firstname.lastname@example.org.
[00:33:50.58] CURT NEWTON: Thank you, everybody.
[00:33:51.30] DAVE DAMM-LUHR: Hope to hear from you real soon.
[00:33:52.41] DAVE LISHANSKY: Thanks.
[00:33:52.71] CURT NEWTON: Bye-bye.
[00:33:53.01] RAJESH KASTURIRANGAN: Bye, now.
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