Both Sides of the Mississippi | Crooked Media
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September 09, 2022
Both Sides of the Mississippi

In This Episode

For this week’s Hot Take Labor Day special, Mary and Amy look into the connections between labor unions and the climate movement, the mega droughts in China and California, and the ongoing water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi.

 

If you want to contribute to the relief efforts in Jackson, Mississippi and Pakistan, here are a few places to give to:

 

Cooperation Jackson – Mississippi

 

Mississippi Rapid Response Coalition

 

Alkihidmat Foundation – Pakistan

 

Flood Relief – Akhuwat -Pakistan

 

Follow us on twitter @RealHotTake and sign up for our newsletter at hottakepod.com

 

TRANSCRIPT

 

[AD]

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Hey, hot cakes welcomes a hot take. I’m Mary Agnes Hagler.

 

Amy Westervelt And I’m Amy Westervelt. And we’re working on Labor Day. *laughs* I’m just kidding.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar We are working on Labor Day. But it’s a labor of love.

 

Amy Westervelt It’s true. It was our choice. It was our choice. So, yeah, today we’re bringing folks. A an update on all of the various bits of climate news, both in the US and outside of it. And we’re also going to take a look at what’s happening with labor. Unions and the climate movement. Because it is Labor Day, after all. And then Mary is going to walk us through the ongoing water crisis in Jackson. So that’s all coming up today.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar No pressure.

 

Amy Westervelt No pressure, Mary. That’s all. You know, just a 20 year plus of water infrastructure policy. Go. I’m just kidding. Yeah.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Definitely more than 20 years. It’s definitely more than seven years. But we’ll talk about all of that. But before we get to that, I have a question for you, Amy.

 

Amy Westervelt What?

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar How many carbons does it take to make a dioxide?

 

Amy Westervelt Mm hmm. One. None.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah, I don’t know. I literally don’t know the answer to that. And the reason I’m asking you is to promote our upcoming episode. Ask a scientist. We’ll have an actual climate scientist on the show. So if you have questions about climate science, you know, we talk all the time here about how you don’t need to understand the science to understand climate change, and you don’t. But it’s kind of fun. So if you have questions about climate science that you’ve been dying to ask, never wanted to ask in public, we don’t have to say your real name. We can give you fake names. Also, please don’t be ashamed. But send those questions to hot take at crooked dot com.

 

Amy Westervelt That’s right and and our guest for that is Dr. Kate Marvel, who is a frickin genius. The smartest person I think I’ve ever talked to, maybe.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Mmmmhmm.

 

Amy Westervelt I mean, we know a lot of smart people, but she’s up there. She’s hilarious and funny and can talk about not just the science itself, but also things around science, communication, science policy, anything in that world. Ask away. Yeah, we’re excited for that episode. It’ll be fun.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah, she is. One of her biggest skill sets is that she is very good at explaining science to people who have been told their entire lives that they are bad at math or science. So if that applies to you like it does to me, this is the perfect time to get those questions answered.

 

Amy Westervelt My favorite Kate Marvel quote is that Earth is the only good planet. It’s a very a short and simple way to answer the question, like, could we survive on Mars? Is like, should we be looking for other planets?

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah. Also fun thing about Kate is she loves questions about Elon Musk and space travel. So please send those.

 

Amy Westervelt Also horoscopes. *laughs*

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yes. Oh, don’t worry. I’ve got all the astrology questions covered. But you’ll understand why that’s funny once we actually have her on the show. So again send your questions to hot take at crooked dot com. And with that, I think it’s time.

 

Amy Westervelt It’s time to talk about climate.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Let’s get after it.

 

Amy Westervelt Let’s get after it. Oh, man.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar She said that to me earlier, and I had to tell her that that’s what people in gyms say.

 

Amy Westervelt I wouldn’t know. *laughs*. Okay. So we talked a lot about colonialism and climate last time, and especially in the context of what was happening in Pakistan this past week, which is continuing to happen. There are now.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah.

 

Amy Westervelt 30 million people displaced internally in Pakistan, which is absolutely mind blowing. I saw I kept seeing people try to put it in context. It’s like, you know, the population of like all these states put together or like the population of, you know, most of Western Europe put together or whatever. But I just don’t think it’s possible to wrap your head around that many people being homeless. But that is exactly the scale of the problem that we’re dealing with here and why we’re going to keep talking about climate reparations, because I don’t see any other solution that is like equal to the scale of the problem.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Right. The other thing I’m thinking about is the immigration crisis, you know, the refugee crisis from this year. And what happened the last time that there was a large wave of, you know, of refugees from a largely Muslim part of the world and how Europe reacted. And like all of those sorts of things and and the ways that they’re greeted in the global north. So I’m yeah, that’s something to be really concerned about. So we will have again the fun, the links to fundraisers that we trust in our show notes. And if you’re able to help people, please do. And thank you to everyone who already has sent money. I’m sure that that people will appreciate it.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah. Yeah. Meanwhile, in China, this record breaking heat wave has lasted for more than two months. This also blows my mind and this is the thing I think, you know, folks might be surprised to see some of these really extreme impacts coming kind of fast and furious and just one right after the other and like what seems like all of a sudden. Right. And that is because the progress of climate change is not linear. So it’s not like, oh, we warm a little bit and this happens and then we warm a little bit more and this happens. It’s like we warm a little bit and a little bit more and a little bit more and say kind of stable and then shit fucking pops off and and that is like what we’re seeing right now. So, so yeah, China has had this heat wave for generations. That is, of course, exacerbating drought in China. We now have a big heat wave on the west coast of the US, which weirdly was like the one region that hadn’t had a heat wave yet this summer. But now it’s happening. Of course, Europe had a heat wave.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Wait the West Coast hadn’t had a heat wave this summer?

 

Amy Westervelt No, not like a big one. I mean, we always get hot in the summer, but, you know, it was like all these other places in the country were like record high numbers and the West Coast was hot, but not like, you know, everyone was predicting that like the Portland Heat Dome would come back and it kind of did, but it wasn’t as bad as last time, you know? But now, yeah, we’re we’re on day three or four, I think now of triple digit numbers throughout most of the West. And, you know, this is like the peak of fire season, too. So that’s very scary. And there was one fire that kicked off in California, kind of near where the Paradise Fire was in a town, I’m not kidding, called weed. Weed, California.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Amy?

 

Amy Westervelt I know, it’s not my fault. That’s the name of the town.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Look. Look, Amy, I know that you’re trying to make a name for yourself as a punster, but making up the names of towns of the fire is just. Wow.

 

Amy Westervelt It’s true. It’s true. It like, it actually. Like this. The fire there was wild because it kicked off and just whipped up really, really, really quickly. So it ended up burning over a hundred homes and businesses in a very short amount of time. They did get it under control fairly quickly because the winds died down. But that’s the big the big fear this time of year is like you have this drought that’s ongoing. Then you layer a heat wave on top of it, and then you get these winds that just like whip things up. So everyone is definitely, you know, bracing for something bad this week on the west.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Fire-nadoes.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah. Yeah. Oh, and then at the like mid.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Are folks looking out for fire-nadoes.

 

Amy Westervelt They are looking out for fire-nadoes. But also this this past week there was a report that came out predicting a mega flood in California, the likes of which we’ve never seen. So like five times the damage of Katrina, like, just unbelievable, which is terrifying. So on top of, you know, the big earthquake that’s predicted to hit at some point and the heat and the fires and the drought. Now, apparently, there is a an epic mega flood headed for California. So not looking good.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Would that be related to is that related to the the earthquake or the flood or the fires rather?

 

Amy Westervelt It’s related more to the to the drought and the heat, actually. So it’s like and to these sort of erratic weather patterns that we’re seeing. So the the problem is that, like, you’d have no rain for a long stretch of time and then too much rain on soil that is so dried out that it can’t absorb the water quickly enough, which is where you. Where you get these big mega floods. So ugh yeah, that’s not great. Not not excited about that.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Nope.

 

Amy Westervelt It has the potential.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar How are you feeling about your decision?

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah. I feel okay about leaving California right now. Although, I mean, I still have like the rest of my family is there and you know, it’s yeah, it’s a large state with lots of people. They are actually making some some big moves to do something about climate in California, which we’re going to talk about in a minute. But,.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah.

 

Amy Westervelt You know, unfortunately, it’s it’s probably not enough to stave off some of the impacts that the state itself will be dealing with in the next few decades. So.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah, yeah.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah. How about hurricane season? How’s that going?

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Haha. How about it? I have a wooden table in my closet where I record, and I knock on it all every single time we talk about hurricane season. So. So far, nothing. I mean, as of September 5th, 2022. Nothing super scary to report. We have the first two named storms of of the high holy days of hurricane season. Danielle and Earl. Danielle, last I checked, just she was a hurricane that she went to a tropical storm, that she went back to hurricane. But she’s not expected to touch grass, as they say. So she’s not expected to affect any landmasses. Hurricane Earl will probably pass over some landmasses, but is pretty minor. It’s supposed to be going over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. So everybody cross your fingers, say a prayer, do whatever you do, because we could really use a break. We could use a more mild hurricane season, especially here on the Gulf Coast. But at the same time, there is typhoon, there is a major typhoon moving over South Korea and Japan. That’s the equivalent of a Category three hurricane strength. So the Atlantic might be quiet, but the Pacific is not.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar To put it mildly.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah.

 

Amy Westervelt Wow. Yeah. I mean.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Lemme just knock on this wood real quick.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah, do it. This is you know.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar I did.

 

Amy Westervelt This is why we need we need action quickly, because none of this stuff is going to go away anytime soon. And it’s especially not going to go away if nothing is is being done to to prevent it from getting worse. So anyway, speaking of which, let’s let’s talk about what’s happening with federal climate policy, shall we.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar After the break.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar [AD]

 

Amy Westervelt So, Mary, remember when we were talking about the Inflation Reduction Act a few weeks ago and there was all of.

 

Amy Westervelt This, wasn’t there, a few weeks ago or was it a year? I don’t know.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Did we ever stop?

 

Amy Westervelt Did we ever stop? Who knows? But, you know, the big thing that kept coming up over and over again was this the side permitting deal that Manchin had asked for in order to agree to the IRA. And that is the place where a lot of the really bad stuff was coming up that people were quite worried about. So one of those was, you know, kind of an automatic pass for the Mountain Valley pipeline. Another was streamlining, pipeline permitting in general, getting around some environmental regulations, all of that stuff. So now Congress is coming back from their recess later this week and people are kind of waiting to see what this what what this policy is actually going to be. Because the only thing folks had seen before was a leaked draft from Manchin’s office. Which had like at the top of it somewhere, API draft. So it’s possible that it was like.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Are you serious?

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah. I mean, listen, it’s possible that it was like American Permitting Initiative draft, but. API also stands.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Have you Googled that?

 

Amy Westervelt For American Petroleum Institute. So that’s not great. That’s not great.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar They give Manchin a shit ton of money so I’m feeling like it’s pretty likely.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar That it was that one.

 

Amy Westervelt Yes. Yes. So that’s another reason that people were really up in arms about it because it’s like, oh, this is literally written by the industry. What are you doing? So yeah, Congress comes back from recess soon, will see what is actually being proposed here. And progressives have been saying like, we are going to be very skeptical of anything that’s that’s presented here because, you know, the IRA has now been signed into law like they don’t need to play ball with Manchin on this permitting thing. So, yeah.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Quick question. What does this permitting bill have to do, if anything, with the Gulf Shore um or the offshore leases in the Gulf Coast?

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah, nothing. This is more about pipeline permits, although, I mean, okay, the thing that always comes up around leasing is that like you can have a lease and it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get to drill because you also need to get a permit. And so a big thing that oil and gas companies have been asking for is more of a streamlined permitting process. The kind of flipside of that is that we need to make it easier for solar and wind operations to get permitted as well to improve distribution and allow those projects to scale and actually get to people’s houses and businesses and stuff like that too. So there’s been a little bit of a like, okay, we’ll make it easier for for solar and wind, but you also have to make it easier for oil and gas, but mostly around pipeline permitting is the the big focus. So yeah.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar So if you wanted to prevent oil and gas leasing on the Gulf Coast under the IRA, like how would you go about that? Like where is that battle being fought?

 

Amy Westervelt Honestly, I’m not sure. I don’t know. Like, there’s the way that the law is set up right now. It stipulates that you’re only allowed to have offshore wind leasing if you have kind of commensurate offshore oil and gas leasing. So one thing would be don’t hold the wind leases. Another could be that you push Biden to like come out with an executive order that bans offshore drilling again, which he had in place a while ago, like at the beginning of his presidency, and then reversed himself on and then all of the Russia Ukraine stuff. So it’s possible that he could put a moratorium on on offshore leasing. That’s that’s one thing that could be done. I’m not sure who’s. And then you could fight each lease one at a time in court, too, so that that would at least probably slow them down in most cases. If if you’re tied up in court around the permitting question, then you’re not really able to like start drilling in the meantime. So. So. Yeah, those are some ways, but. Yeah. I’m not sure. I mean. I really I really wish that that particular stipulation had not been included in the final IRA because I think it’s, it’s quite bad you know.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Mhm.

 

Amy Westervelt We will see though.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar I doesn’t seem good.

 

Amy Westervelt Honestly. The thing that’s weird though is that like if you look at what oil and gas companies are actually doing, so they talk a lot about how they want to drill more and they want to increase production and all this stuff, but they’re not actually doing it. They’re still sitting on a bunch of leases and not drilling because at the prices that oil is at currently, they’ve been able to make back a bunch of money that they lost during the pandemic. They’re starting to pay their shareholders dividends the way that they used to and haven’t been able to for a long time. And honestly, I don’t I don’t know that they’re like I don’t know that they’re going to be like racing to to to drill a bunch of new leases offshore, maybe. You know, I could I could definitely be wrong. But like just just from reading, you know, the most recent round of, of shareholder calls and stuff, they’re not increasing production so.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Hmmm.

 

Amy Westervelt You know.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Meaning the prices are low and thus enabling this or the prices are high price?

 

Amy Westervelt No, the price per barrel is very high. And so usually what you would see when the price per barrel is high is that they would be drilling more and also buying up a bunch of assets from other companies to then draw more. And they’re not doing either of those things and they haven’t been for like a year. So that’s very unusual. And.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah.

 

Amy Westervelt You know, we’ll see what happens. They are, however, tapping all these resources in other places that are much lower cost to drill. Like, you know, we talked about Guyana last time, and Libya, Mozambique, the Cote d’Ivoire. A lot of places in Africa where, you know, the the environmental regulation is maybe not as stringent and in labor is cheaper. And so they can make more money off of that oil because their costs are lower. So. That’s the main place that they’re drilling right now.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar I guess. Yeah. I guess where this gets confusing for me is there was that big Guardian story a few months ago about all these carbon bombs that the fossil fuel industry wanted to explode, right. Like those really big projects that would release a shit ton of carbon that they’re going about secretly. So that doesn’t sound like an industry that’s backing down from drilling to me.

 

Amy Westervelt No, it doesn’t. But those carbon bombs are mostly not in the US because it’s expensive to drill in the U.S. you can’t like you can’t produce a barrel of oil in the U.S. for less than like 50 bucks a barrel about. And so now prices are $100 a barrel. So they can make pretty good money. But the in the past decade or so, the average has been around 60. So if you’re spending 50, that’s not a great return for an oil company. They’d much rather go somewhere where it costs like $20 a barrel to produce and increase production there. When when prices are high, too, it to make a serious amount of money versus doing it in the US and then having to like back off as soon as the prices drop. So, so yeah, we haven’t seen we haven’t seen them starting to produce more. In the US. Like I said, I think I think the biggest reason for that is that they have all these other assets elsewhere that they’re ramping up on and so they can sit on stuff in the US. They can blame Biden for them not producing, even though it’s their choice that works well for them politically. They can use that to get a bunch of weakened regulation that will help them in the long term, and then they can drill overseas and make a shitload of money. So that’s that seems to be what they’re doing right now. And we’ll see. We’ll see if they take advantage of these these things that they’ve been lobbying for. Yeah. Yeah, it’s very, uh it’s not good. I mean, the, the, you know, emissions are up. Oil production globally is up. We’re going the wrong direction on on fossil fuels in general.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Are we now?

 

Amy Westervelt Way wrong direction.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah. Yeah. Um. I will say.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar What a frustrating world.

 

Amy Westervelt It’s so frustrating. Yeah, yeah, there is like there, there are some bright spots at the state level on policies. So we mentioned California a little bit ago. California just this past week passed like a giant raft of climate bills. Um, there’s a lot of spending, so. Yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s wild. They, they approved $54 billion in climate spending. So it’s, it’s stuff that would, like, help to spur clean energy. And in one case, actually, they there’s a a tax refund for people who don’t have cars. So if you do not have a car, you get $1,000 from the state. It’s a little like incentive for people to to go car free, but also as an offset for low income people who are not going to benefit from some of the car focused things in the bill. Which is cool. Um, they also adopted a legally binding requirement to reduce greenhouse gases 40% by 2030 and 85% by 2040 and net zero by 2045. They have a non-binding goal of 109% net reduction by 2045. So this is like, you know, they’re legally required to get to net zero and there’s a whole bunch of incentives to get to actually like negative emissions, which is cool. This does include some carbon capture, but they stipulated that it cannot be carbon capture that’s connected to enhanced oil recovery, which is fantastic because that’s the primary use of carbon capture right now, is to get more oil out of the ground, which is not a climate solution. You know?

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar It’s like a climate problem.

 

Amy Westervelt It’s a problem.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar If we’re being real.

 

Amy Westervelt It’s a problem. Yeah. So yeah, that’s all. That’s all really good. They also included like housing bills in this climate package. So incentives for denser housing, they lifted the requirement there. There’s been a requirement forever in California that if you develop a new residential or commercial building, you have to include parking. They got rid of that, which is great. Um hmm. And they also passed set back laws. This is something that environmental justice folks have been trying to get passed in California for decades, and it passed. So oil and gas wells have to be at least 3200 feet away from homes, schools and hospitals. I don’t think people know this necessarily that California is actually a big oil and gas state. And a lot of the oil and gas in California is in residential neighborhoods. It’s very bizarre. If you drive around Southern California like L.A. County area, you will absolutely see people who have oil wells like right outside their backyard or right outside their kids school. You know, so this is is obviously.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Isn’t Chevron based in California?

 

Amy Westervelt Yes, they’re based in Richmond. Yeah, they sure are. Yeah. So, of course, the industry fought against especially the setback rules really, really hard. But they lost, which is is a little tiny bit of good news on the climate front. They also, um, they also passed a law banning gas cars by the year 2035, which is a pretty big deal. We’ll see. You know, if that gets hauled into court right away, I’m guessing that it will. But but, you know, I do think it sends a big message. About where the state’s headed. A lot of people were speculating that this is all being pushed by Governor Newsom because he’s toying with a presidential run. So I don’t know. We’ll see. That guy has a lot of skeletons in his closet. And apparently that’s like no longer, you know, a problem for presidential runs for so.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Sometimes it can be a boon, as we have seen. So I don’t know. Just thinking about the next presidential election, like sent me into hives.

 

Amy Westervelt I know. I know. So, you know, I mean, of course, as with every piece of policy, it’s not perfect. And I know that California is very, very good at making a lot of really big promises and throwing budget behind things and then not actually like following through on them. So we’ll see. We’ll see what happens on the ground. But yeah, it’s a pretty big chunk of money and like some actual regulation alongside the spending too, unlike what we’re seeing at the federal level, which is good.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Mm hmm.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Well, look at you coming through with good news. I’m so proud of you.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah. There you go.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah. Anyway, all right. Again, don’t forget to send us your questions for scientist Dr. Kate Marvel. We’re going to have an Ask the Scientist episode coming up soon. And we’re going to be talking about labor unions and climate after this quick break.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar [AD]

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar All right. So since we’re talking on Labor Day, I feel like it’s only right to connect the dots on labor and climate and also to note that today is not really the Workers Rights Day. That would be May Day, May 1st. And Labor Day is a day that the government just kind of made up to come up with like a bone to throw off people. I mean, I appreciate the bone. I’ll take the bone. But really, it’s mayday.

 

Amy Westervelt That’s right.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Right?

 

Amy Westervelt That’s right. Yes. Yeah. Mayday is the International Worker’s Day, dammit.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar I was just going to say, I feel like you probably know all the history there is around labor and fossil fuels. And I feel like those are two things that people often think of in tension with one another.

 

Amy Westervelt Yes. Yes.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Tell us the truth, Amy.

 

Amy Westervelt It’s such an interesting history because the first big opposition, like organized opposition to fossil fuel companies was labor unions. So, you know, if you think.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Right! And coal mines, right?

 

Amy Westervelt Coal mines, yeah. Like the very some of the very first unions were at coal mines. Some of the very first strikes in this country were coal mine workers against companies like Standard Oil, for example, or the Rockefellers, other mining venture. So, you know, there’s there was this very organized kind of movement against the sorts of things that fossil fuel companies were doing. And mostly this was around working conditions, especially like the requirement that workers live in company towns and be wholly dependent on the company for kind of everything in their lives. But you had, you know, not just oil and coal, but also you know, Henry Ford, very vehemently anti-Union. Yeah. You know. Yeah. Then you have like a long history of like auto workers unionizing and pushing for for better working conditions and whatnot, too. So there’s actually a pretty long history of it, right. But then in the seventies and eighties, the oil companies really start to wise up and they are like, oh.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah.

 

Amy Westervelt The unions could be a very useful ally to us. All we have to do is promised jobs and higher wages and they will keep the the left from passing environmental policy. And so they really successfully framed environmental policy as being anti-labor. So that yeah, that really happened like in the wake of, you know, Silent Spring in the first Earth Day and all of these things. A lot of industry is kind of came together and successfully forged partnerships with unions to to kind of frame the issue of, of any kind of environmental policy as being like anti-worker. Which is so interesting because it’s like who’s living in most? Like the workers are often living in the community closest to the mine or the refinery or whatever. So even from a like, you know, near term pollution standpoint. Like they’re bearing the brunt. You know? Yeah.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Right. Right.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Right. And this is an industry that like, you know, we’re talking about before the seventies is using convict leasing.

 

Amy Westervelt That’s right.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar So and I think still uses prison labor today.

 

Amy Westervelt Oh yea.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar So please spare me that. Oh, yeah. But when you were listing out the labor unions in the, you know, early 1900s, that also made me think of the very famous labor novel, The Jungle, which was about meatpacking plants in in Chicago. And meatpacking is another contribution to climate change.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah, that’s right. Upton Sinclair was like one of I mean, that was like one of the first books that really highlighted working conditions. I mean. Like this is it’s an interesting thing because in this country, in the very first kind of wave of industrialization, it was sort of like, oh, these amazing captains of industry building this country and whatever, you know. And then very quickly, people started to be like ugh, it’s like it’s it’s average people who are doing the work of building this country and that work fuckin sucks. So, you know.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah.

 

Amy Westervelt So, yeah, you start to see to. To see that. And then you start to see very quickly, you know, the emergence of the PR industry and lobbying as a reaction to regulations being put on businesses. So you I don’t know, you kind of see this all happening throughout throughout the 1900s and then yeah, in the in the seventies, as global warming starts to become an issue and as more and more environmental. He is getting past the fossil fuel industry did a really phenomenal job of making friends with unions and and like him that pretty they were unions were like a really big part of climate obstruction for a really long time at the state level in particular. So they would show up and they would they would, you know, lean on politicians to to block climate policy because it was it was painted as something that was going to cost jobs. You know, it was going to it was going to result in the canceling of construction projects. And it would cost jobs and it would put people out of work. And, you know, the industry was very profitable for a very long time and I think did a smart thing, which is pay higher wages even in the coal mines. Right. There was a period of time where coal miners made really, really good money. And and the jobs that were on offer, you know, for those same people outside of that industry paid half as much so so, you know.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah. One of the things I learned this weekend, I went to an event at the Whitney Plantation about climate and race. And one of the things I learned was that a lot of the land that the fossil fuel industry bought up, especially in Cancer Alley, they brought it up in the sixties and seventies when those plots of land were active plantations. And so it wasn’t like they had to remove a whole lot of people. Well, they did remove a lot of people, but they didn’t have to like buy a whole lot of people out. They could just buy the plantation, right? Give the money all to the plantation owner. And the folks who were working there and living there are like sharecroppers. They don’t own anything. It doesn’t take anything to move them. But also like they’re replacing this, you know, sharecropping system with fossil fuel jobs that well, sharecropping jobs, you could kind of argue they didn’t really pay that they weren’t really jobs, it was more like indentured labor. And then the replacing it with a job that actually pays your wage. And like of course, people are going to be all over that in the beginning.

 

Amy Westervelt Right.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar And welcome that sort of opportunity in the beginning.

 

Amy Westervelt That’s right. Yeah, that’s exactly right. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So then, you know, you can understand why you would often see unions showing up, you know, next to oil and gas guys on on various policy debates and whatnot so just like it’s useful context to have as we look at what’s happening today, which is that, you know, organized labor is having a major comeback. There has been an absolute explosion in the unionizing of workplaces across multiple industries. So the the National Labor Relations Board, which governs most private sector employees, they reported that union election filings. So this is like the workers filing to have an election where they vote about whether to unionize. Those filings increased by 58% have in the first three quarters of 2022, which is crazy to me. That’s a huge spike. And you know, we’ve seen it like we’ve seen the Amazon workers unionizing and Starbucks and nurses and airline workers and all of that. So it’s kind of led some people to.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar I feel like. Yeah. Yeah. I feel like the pandemic has had something to do with that and all of this, like, you know, this job, like, yeah, this isn’t worth my sanity sort of thing. And like the whole essential workers thing has had a lot to do with it too. Remember when oil and gas workers were essential? Workers that were fossil fuels had to keep flowing? Yeah.

 

Amy Westervelt Yes. And actually, you know, oil and gas companies treated their workers terribly during COVID. They they got essential worker status for them so that they could keep working. But then they were often working in very dangerous conditions, like, you know, in housing situations where they were in very close quarters or offshore or where they’re in very close quarters. They had the highest COVID rate of any industry, which they tried to keep quiet for a long time. They actually tried to hide those numbers for a while.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah.

 

Amy Westervelt And then when the COVID relief packages were being negotiated in the federal government, those fuckers lobbied to get a liability loophole in there that would block their employees from suing them, like with workman’s comp charges, because they had absolutely put them at risk in a really major way. So,.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah.

 

Amy Westervelt You know, we talked about this with with Sara Sneath on our our episode about fossil fuel jobs and what they really look like today. Because on top of the fact that, you know, they are not necessarily paying like the they still pay okay wages, but they’re not like so much more than other jobs anymore. And then there’s this real lack of stability. The conditions aren’t great. There’s no real permanence to it. As we saw during COVID, actually, like a bunch of people got laid off as well. And, you know, they’re really leaning into automation as a way to get rid of jobs because people are expensive and machines aren’t aren’t as expensive you know, so. So anyway, all of that’s happening. So you’re like, wow, if anyone. needs, needs to, like push back against the big bosses, it’s, it’s the oil and gas guys and they’re you’re starting to see like a little bit of that trickling up. I think some I think a lot of friends are still like worried about whether clean energy is established enough to provide those good paying jobs and, you know, benefits and and all of that stuff. Yeah, I don’t know. There’s still that, like, tension between, you know, like the necessary climate policy and whether it will take away jobs.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah. And the other thing I want to remind folks of from the Sarah episode is, you know, she was talking about getting to know these folks who work in the oil industry. And some of them are like environmentalists. Oh, yeah, they are not climate change deniers. They’re not these types of folks who like they don’t they they know that what they’re doing is harmful to the planet. And they hate that. They love animals. They love nature. So, like, it would make sense to me that we would see a lot more of them organizing against their employers very, very soon. And it also kind of reminds me of a couple of years ago, I think it was 2020 when a bunch of folks quit from Shell because they realized that the company was not ever going to put this money where its mouth was and was just. Yeah, it was just greenwashing.

 

Amy Westervelt Yes. You’re seeing it actually in the PR and advertising space, too, where employees in those realms are like, I’m not going to do this anymore, you know? So that’s it’s super interesting. And then also I think it’s worth pointing out that the Inflation Reduction Act had a bunch of safeguards further for Labor in it. They had a lot of stuff in there around paying their like a good wage to clean energy. Workers and developers of those projects get various financial incentives to pay good wages and also to provide training and benefits. And, you know, basically like a lot of incentives to make sure that those jobs are as good or better than oil and gas jobs. That’s happening at the state level, too. There’s been a few states that have passed policy that would ensure, you know, good wages and good conditions for for clean energy workers so that there’s some kind of like security in the transition. Because I think a lot of folks felt like, well, you know, I might have to like retrain. And then if I do, what if this job goes away or what if it starts to pay half as much next year or whatever, you know? So. So yeah, I think as you start to see more of that. But you know, the industry is very desperate to recruit talent. So they’re they’re trying to to make those jobs look as good as possible too yeah. They have like a major, major worker shortage in the fossil fuel industry, so.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Mm hmm.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Well, that might explain why I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts Reveal, and they are re-airing their their series on American Rehab, which included the fact that Shell and Exxon have used unpaid labor from drug rehab centers. So. Well, I guess Shell and Exxon would have played the paid the rehab center, but the people who actually performed the work don’t get paid. And as we’ve talked about plenty of times, these are dangerous jobs. And these folks are doing that with no training, no training whatsoever, let alone compensation. And so, you know, you know, just like imagine that these are folks who are fighting off major addictions, which is why they go to these rehab centers, which don’t really help them. And that’s a whole other story. And you should go listen to it because shit is crazy.

 

Amy Westervelt That series is so good. Yeah. Yeah.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah. But it was, like, crazy to be listening to that and here comes Shell and Exxon. Like these folks, the worst people are always the same people. Always.

 

Amy Westervelt It’s just any terrible thing you’re you’re finding out about. They’re there somewhere. Yeah. Yeah.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Right? Like your cereal got soggy? I guarantee the oil industry has something to do with it.

 

Amy Westervelt Probably. Yes, it’s true. It’s true. I do feel like we’re also starting to see progressive candidates at least just be better about talking about this issue. I feel like for a long time the climate movement was like just like weird and awkward on the labor stuff in general. Like, I would always hear people complaining.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar They totally.

 

Amy Westervelt Yes. Like I would hear people complaining about.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar They let the fossil fuel industry own jobs.

 

Amy Westervelt Oh, 100%. 100%. Yes. Yes. I would hear people complain about how the unions were always like showing up to block climate policy, you know, and like and I don’t know, I was I was like, okay, but like what are you doing to stop that? Like, it’s not I don’t know I’m just like, I just feel like if you’re your competition for a nice guy is Exxon and you’re losing, you’re just not trying. Right?

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Well, honestly, I think the climate movement has just been really, really bad at taking like. Just always accepting the fossil fuel industry’s narrative and reacting to that as opposed to being like calling bullshit and reframing.

 

Amy Westervelt That’s right. Yeah.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar And like calling them out as liars. Like, it has been only like a couple of years that the, the biggest voices in the climate movement have been calling out the fossil fuel industry and fossil fuel companies directly.

 

Amy Westervelt That’s true. It’s true.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar It’s weird.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar It’s weird. If that had to shift.

 

Amy Westervelt Mm hmm. Yeah. I mean I also I also think that like. You know, swinging the other way. And as you have put it before, like making climbing into like some big giant jobs fair. It’s like is not helpful either. You know, it’s like.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah.

 

Amy Westervelt You know, it’s a jobs generator, don’t worry. Is like not I don’t know not the greatest messaging. But I do feel like, you know, I mean this is honestly I feel like once again, it’s like the Green New Deal actually provided good messaging for the climate movement around jobs and and labor unions. It was like we have to ensure a just transition for workers and like, what does that look like? Training, wages, you know, all of this stuff. And at the time, a lot of people in the climate movement. Right. Was too much. You know, but, but like. Yeah, that’s exactly what’s needed. So so yeah, we’ll we’ll see we’ll see where oil workers end up as, as the labor movement kind of continues to pick up speed. But yeah.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar We’re getting there.

 

Amy Westervelt Getting there. We’re getting there. Slowly but surely.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar All right. So last week, we talked a bit about the water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi, which is still very much a crisis. So just to recap, the city of Jackson, Mississippi, with a population of 180,000 people, 82% of which is black, lost running water after the Pearl River flooded last Sunday into last Monday. As of today, most of the city has water pressure again, but is still under a boil water notice. It’s going to take at least $1,000,000,000 to get Jackson’s water infrastructure in shape again. And if you want to help, please donate to the Mississippi Rapid Response Coalition. The link is in the show notes. They are trying to work toward a long term solution because we can get the water flowing again. But the crisis is much, much deeper than that, which we’ll talk about. So I saw in a few places people getting the story wrong and saying that the city lost clean water last week. And that’s not exactly what happened. They lost running water. They had not had potable water, meaning water that didn’t have a boil water notice since last July. As far as clean drinking water. Bitch, please. That’s been a long ass time.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah. Yeah.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar But I want to talk a little bit about what happens when you don’t have running water, because then the consequences are a lot more deadly. Like we’re talking here about no water coming out of the tap at all that you could even put into a water filter to make drinking water. That’s no water to shower with no water to wash dishes with no water to wash your hands with. Mind you, we are in a pandemic. We are. We’re talking about no water to flush a toilet with. Do you know what sorts of diseases can run rampant in that sort of scenario? And it gets real gross real fast. And while this is happening, it’s blazing hot outside because climate change didn’t take a break.

 

Amy Westervelt Mm hmm. Mm hmm.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar So to illustrate more of what this looks like on the ground, I want to take a look at dialysis. And this is a process for people who have kidney failure. A kidney disease is kind of like a process that acts as an artificial kidney to flush out your body. And it requires a ton of clean water, not just potable water, not just running water, clear water, which, as I said, Jackson’s a long way from that. So most of the dialysis clinics in Jackson have to have trucks hooked up to make sure that they could take care of their patients. But as you can imagine, that’s, you know, kind of a nerve racking short term solution, right?

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah. Yeah. Oh, my god.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah. Yeah. So, like, there are patients who do their own dialysis treatment at home, but they can’t do that if they don’t have clean water. Right. And the rate of kidney disease in Jackson is 26% higher than the national average. And if we go beyond Jackson, there are 9000 Mississippians living within stage kidney failure. And the state has the highest death rate from any stage kidney disease in the country. And can you guess why?

 

Amy Westervelt Jesus. That’s awful. I mean.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Take a wild guess why Mississippi has such kidney, such high rates of kidney disease?

 

Amy Westervelt Well, because they don’t have access to clean water. I mean.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar All over the fucking state.

 

Amy Westervelt That’s ridiculous.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar On a regular fucking basis.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar The wide the water crisis in Mississippi is widespread is all over the state. I’m from a town that has been under a boil water notice since I was a small child. It’s not unusual to turn on the tap in the morning and the water has a smell. The water has a color. Sometimes that shit be having a texture like it’s just straight up mud coming out of the tap. I don’t think I have ever had clean drinking water in in Mississippi. Like I remember moving.

 

Amy Westervelt You know what’s crazy about that? It’s like when you go to different countries as an American people the first almost well especially in Latin America people are like don’t drink the water. Don’t drink the water there. It’s not clean. You know but like we have entire states in this country that don’t have clean water that’s just, like, unconscionable. Come on.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Mm hmm. I mean, it’s unconscionable that it’s acceptable anywhere, right?

 

Amy Westervelt Exactly.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar So when you do talk to people about the water crisis in Mississippi or in Texas or in Louisiana or in Alabama, people will immediately be like “in this country?” As though that’s acceptable anywhere.

 

Amy Westervelt Right.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar You know what I mean? You know that there’s shitty water somewhere. But not here. That’s not acceptable here. Like that drives me crazy, too.

 

Amy Westervelt Yes.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar But as much as my my heart is with Jackson right now, I’m troubled by this narrative that tends to build up on the left about problems like this being an urban problem when the exact same thing happens in rural communities all the time. Yeah, but those communities are too small to generate this type of attention and sympathy, and it kind of feels like that same ignorance in which Urban becomes a euphemism for black and it erases the existence of rural black folks. But also this kind of disinvestment that leads to like shitty water infrastructure happens to rural communities of all colors.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar And Mississippi is largely about black people, but like it happens to white communities too. Like, there are communities in this country where they don’t have indoor plumbing.

 

Amy Westervelt Oh, yeah.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Those do tend to be like all black towns and towns that have been all black since, like, slavery times.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar But, you know, like this water infrastructure problem in the U.S., like people associated with places like Flint, and now they’ll associate it with Jackson. But it really is a country problem. It’s a rural problem. And I worry about the compassion fatigue in this country. That’s like if as a city we can care. But if it’s out in the country, well, that’s what you get for living out in the country.

 

Amy Westervelt Yes. I saw someone posting on Twitter recently like, well, people who live in those places, meaning rural places, should just move. It’s like, wow okay. But yeah, I mean, I also I also want to point out that like, it’s often rural communities whose water is contaminated by oil and gas operations all the time.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Talk about that.

 

Amy Westervelt All of like the the fracking communities where, you know, you saw these videos for a while, maybe like a decade ago, where people could light their water on fire because there was gas. And those were all rural communities in Pennsylvania, in Colorado, Texas, all over. So it’s it’s pretty widespread. Like I actually think I wonder honestly, like if we’re at the point where it’s more rare to have clean water than it is to have dirty water at this point, because there’s it’s so prevalent. And we’re just not spending any money to repair that infrastructure. And those are like fucking basics, man. Like water, food, shelter. These are pretty.

 

Amy Westervelt Basic things that you’re supposed to like, honestly, that you’re supposed to get as like a member of a society, right? And that’s the deal. It’s like, yeah, I’m living in society. I pay a certain amount to the government and I also like, you know, expect a certain amount from them. And, and these are the basic things that that are supposed to come. That’s.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar You can’t live without that.

 

Amy Westervelt No, you can’t.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar You can’t live without water.

 

Amy Westervelt No. Yeah. No.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar So yeah. My, my hope and it’s a long, it’s a long shot. Is that when the cameras leave Jackson, they spend some time out in the rural communities that are suffering in silence. But another problem I’ve had with the coverage has been about the media’s inability to hold space for both climate change and environmental racism at the same time.

 

Amy Westervelt Yes, I hate how like they act like those are mutually exclusive. Like they’re very much right on top of each other.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah.

 

Amy Westervelt Yes, yes.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah. So while it’s true that the water system in Jackson was bound to fail after so many decades of disinvestment, but the floods that led to this particular breakdown and the freeze that caused it to break down in 2021, that was climate change. And we need to be able to talk about that, too. So it bothers me that environmental racism, which we should definitely be talking about too, becomes the shiny thing that distracts from climate change, which is the awesome form of environmental racism.

 

Amy Westervelt Yes. Yes, yes, yes.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah. They can’t cancel each other out.

 

Amy Westervelt Right. They. They intersect and exacerbate each other.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I kind of feel like the environmental racism becomes easier to talk about because you can wind up oftentimes you can create a narrative where you can blame the environmental racism on one person. Right. So right now, that person is Governor Tate Reeves. Which, you know. Yeah. So, like, don’t get me wrong, Tate Reeves sucks, but so did Haley Barbour before him. But also, so does ExxonMobil and BP and all these people they have like created climate change. You know what I mean? Like so it doesn’t one shitty person shouldn’t cover for other shitty people. That’s right. We got to have enough hate to go around. We can hate on all these people.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah. Yeah.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar So.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah. Yeah, definitely.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar So last thing is, I was reading through Evlondo Cooper’s latest, recent guest on the show, about the water crisis, and he was noting that most cable news segments completely fail to connect the dots on this as an environmental justice story. Period.

 

Amy Westervelt Period at all.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar So.

 

Amy Westervelt Great. That’s great.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah. Yeah, fantastic. This is a direct quote: “on cable CNN. Let total overall coverage airing 2 hours and 38 minutes. Compared to MSNBC’s one hour and 25 minutes, MSNBC aired the most individual environmental justice segments with eight accounting for 29 minutes of coverage. But CNN’s five segments included discussion of environmental justice accounted for 34 minutes. Fox aired a paltry 6 minutes of coverage about the Jackson water crisis and did not air any segments mentioning environmental justice.” You know, I expected a little bit more from Fox News.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah, yeah. I’m surprised.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar I expected more. I thought Tucker was going to be all over this, Um no.

 

Amy Westervelt Oh, yeah. Well.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Absolutely not.

 

Amy Westervelt I wonder if. Well, I’m surprised they didn’t find some way to spin it. That’s. That’s the main thing. So, yeah, yeah, yeah.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar I mean, I feel like they’re probably working on it in some, you know, nefarious little conference room. So.

 

Amy Westervelt This is what they’re going to get under climate policy is is just basically everyone’s going to be living in Jackson. I expect to see that.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar I don’t know how they’re going to spin that story, but they will. Yeah. Yeah. So another quote from his story was that:  “a strong environmental justice story must do much more than provide brief demographic mentions. The best segments, provide important context about how and why the residents of Jackson are dealing with a failed water system.” And that got me to thinking about something that we talked about in our episode with David Wallace-Wells. So remember how people were debating whether or not we should highlight that climate change hurts black and brown people worse because then it might make people check out check out the way that they did when they found out that Covid affects black or brown people the most. So I was. Like.

 

Amy Westervelt And the answer is, no, it’s evidence that you need to fucking tackle white supremacy. I really hate this framing in general that like. Oh. You know, people feel uncomfortable when you talk about race, so let’s just not talk about it or people feel uncomfortable when you talk about environmental justice. So let’s just sidestep that like, no, that’s the entire reason that you do need to talk about it. I feel like the same thing came up in the conversations around the Inflation Reduction Act, where it was like basically like, hey, environmental justice, people just pipe down and get on board. Like you’re giving the fossil fuel industry fuel to come out and you know, movement with or whatever and it’s like no, it’s, you know, like, no, like the climate movement needs to fix its white supremacy problem so that it’s no longer a weakness that can be exploited. You know, I just. Yeah.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Also, you. Yeah. You literally can’t give the fossil fuel industry fuel is in the name.

 

Amy Westervelt That’s right. That’s right.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar They will always find the fuel.

 

Amy Westervelt Also, like we’ve been like we’ve been avoiding talking about systemic racism and white supremacy in this country for how long and like how well has that gone? Not very. I think that people are like so freaked out by the like anti CRT backlash that like you’re seeing it bubble up in all of these other ways. But I just I think that’s such a fucking weak response. Like, oh, these people are coming after us. So we should just, yeah, cave and like, you know, talk about something else instead instead of, oh, that means that like maybe we’re actually finally going to tackle this problem, which needs to happen, you know. Like, it just.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah. And it also proves, you know, a lot of the times climate folks will be like, we’ll do climate action at the city and state level, which we definitely should do. But that’s not an ending solution for this, right? Like, that’s like trying to end segregation at the state level. You needed federal policy to get involved, to bring segregation down because you can like plenty of money has gone to Mississippi to fix the water infrastructure or just to fix infrastructure in general. But if you have the Republican power structure that will literally turn that money around, right. Like there is all this money given to extend unemployment benefits. And Mississippi’s governor famously was like, you know what, we’re good, like literally damming his state to to poverty.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah. Just to me, like just to win political points with Tucker Carlson. Uh.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Right. Which I guess what I’m saying is, like, we need both state and federal action is never a good place to be where we’re saying like, you know, it’s no problem not to have federal action because we’ll just do it at the state level because what you wind up creating is equal apartheid.

 

Amy Westervelt That’s right. That’s in fact, you’re seeing this. This actually the stuff we talked about with California contrasted with what we’re seeing. And Mississippi is a perfect example. In the wake of the IRA, people were like, but it’s okay. The states can make up the difference, right? Well, California is trying to do that. But then you have, you know, Mississippi is struggling to get clean water. That’s not that’s not something that should be happening in a country that claims to care about equality and democracy and all those things. You know, you can’t I don’t know. Yeah, you’re right. It does

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Or even to care about climate, right?

 

Amy Westervelt Yes. Yeah, it does create.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Cause like if California enacts. Yeah. But also, like, we all share the same atmosphere. So if Texas is fucking it up.

 

Amy Westervelt It’s true.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar California can’t alone patch it up.

 

Amy Westervelt That’s right.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Like that doesn’t make sense.

 

Amy Westervelt I remember I did this, story.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar You know, like’s like what they call hustlin backwards.

 

Amy Westervelt Totally. Totally. I it reminds me of I did this story years ago, like a really long time ago was just a teeny tiny story about the city of Austin, was trying to implement really strict air pollution regulations. And they were having all of these issues because, like, they only control their own airspace, right? And there was shit like blowing into their airspace from other places and they were trying to figure out like if they could find people that were outside of their city limits for the impact that they were having on air quality. And I was like, this is why you can’t do it like this like with, you know.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Mhm.

 

Amy Westervelt I mean like right now.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah.

 

Amy Westervelt You know again on the just the air pollution front like um, you know, there’s always those like gee whiz stories when the wind picks up and there’s like a fire in California and New York is getting the smoke from, you know, like, that’s what happens with air and wind, guys there’s no borders and. Yeah, well, yeah. And climate’s the same. That’s how it works.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Borders with water.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah, exactly.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah, yeah.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar I mean, I it also reminds me of, you know, the state of Louisiana is trying to deny New Orleans funds to prevent flooding because the state has refused to enforce the not the state. The city has refused to enforce the abortion ban in the state.

 

Amy Westervelt So as punishment, they’re like. God, that’s so fucked.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah.

 

Amy Westervelt When you consider that like the, the, the basis of being anti-abortion is supposedly being pro-life, but then you’re going to deny people help in a fucking disaster.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Right. Or to prevent a disaster. To the economic engine of not just the state, but kind of the region to, you know, like if New Orleans drowns, you go bankrupt. So, like it’s really, you that spiteful.

 

Amy Westervelt Yes.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar You that spiteful? Wow. Yeah. Wow. And then people on the left. I’ll say that, like, these things don’t have nothing to do with each other. Right? Like you were just saying about labor and climate.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar You know, we can’t connect the dots because then we’ll just have a single color page. I don’t know.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah, I mean, I understand that, like, you know, connecting the dots means that, like, we actually have to solve all of the problems or more, you know, we actually have to solve the root of all of the problems, which is, you know, white supremacy, capitalism, patriarchy, like we actually have to to deal with these long standing, entrenched systemic issues underpinning all of this stuff. That’s what connecting the dots shows you. Right. So I understand why that freaks people out, because it’s a lot you know, but but that doesn’t change that. That’s like what’s needed. And, you know, I’m sorry. It’s a lot of work. Get on board.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar There’s not shortcuts. Know if we learn anything from reconstruction, it should be that there are no shortcuts.

 

Amy Westervelt That’s right. That’s right.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar So. Um. Yeah, I mean, I feel like that’s a great place to leave it. I am angry.

 

Amy Westervelt No shortcuts, bitches.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Yeah.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah. Awesome. That’s it for this week, and we’ll see you next time.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Hot Take is a Crooked Media production.

 

Amy Westervelt It’s produced by Ray Peng and mixed and edited by Juels Bradley. Our music is by Vasilis Fotopoulis. Thimali Kodakara is our consulting producer and our executive producers are Mary Annaïse Heglar, Michael Martinez, and me, Amy Westervelt.

 

Mary Annaïse Heglar Special thanks to Sandy Girard Ari Schwartz, Kyle Seglin and Charlotte Landes for production support and to Amelia Montooth for digital support.

 

Amy Westervelt You can follow the show on Twitter at Real Hot Take. Sign up for our newsletter at Hot Take Pod dot com and subscribe to Crooked Media’s video channel at YouTube.com slash Crooked Media.