Climate Candidates To Watch In The Midterms | Crooked Media
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October 14, 2022
Climate Candidates To Watch In The Midterms

In This Episode

This week on Hot Take, Amy & Mary discuss the new wave of Southern Black Democrats running on climate centric platforms and break down the important climate cases before the Supreme Court. They also bring updates on this year’s hurricane season and more.

 

If you want to contribute to relief efforts in Florida, here are a few places to give to:

 

Disaster Relief at Work

Florida Disaster Fund

Convoy of Hope

 

If you want to contribute to the relief efforts in Puerto Rico, here are a few places to give to:

 

Proyecto Matria (women’s rights org): 

Taller Salud (women’s health org) 

Brigada Solidaria del Oeste: Mutual Aid Network

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

 

 

TRANSCRIPT

 

 

Amy Westervelt Hey, hot cakes. Welcome to Hot Take. I’m Amy Westervelt.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar And I’m Mary Annaise Heglar. Yeah. Happy October.

 

Amy Westervelt It’s sweater weather, Mary. No, just kidding. I know you hate that.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah, I do hate that. I do hate that.

 

Amy Westervelt *laughs* It’s not sweater weather in any way where I am. It’s like 80 degrees and, like, 55% humidity.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Oh, yeah. No, that’s still pretty tropical shorts weather. But, you know what? I’ll I’ll survive. You know, of of all the people in the world, I don’t think I get to complain about the weather right now, so I won’t.

 

Amy Westervelt Oh, that’s true.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah, we’re going to talk about that. Yeah.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Ah, but the other thing about October is that it is the month before the midterms, it’s a month before election day and it’s almost Scorpio season. So that means I need to pull out my big book of revenge and get to work. But before that. This this episode, we’re going to talk about the midterms. I’ve got some candidates that I’m very excited and are very excited to talk about. And we’re going to talk about, you know, the crazy weather we’ve been having all over the world, including, you know, hurricane in the latest with that. And there’s a lot going on with the Supreme Courts um as I understand it.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah. Can you add some of those douche bags to your list, please? Thank you.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar It’s a long fucking list, Amy. All right. So, yeah. There’s a lot to talk about. So with that, I think it’s time.

 

Amy Westervelt It’s time to talk about climate.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar All right. Okay. So, Amy, one of the things I am most excited about with the midterms is this new generation of southern black Democrats that have like some serious grit and some serious fight to them. And I want to talk about three in particular today that I think are climate candidates to watch. And I also I just want to underscore this idea that I think is still out there, that climate change is not a black person’s issue. And all three of these candidates completely shatter that.

 

Amy Westervelt I like how they’re just like outspoken climate candidates, too, which is another total myth I think that we hear is like, Oh, you can’t say it out loud or else people won’t want to vote for you.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar No, it’s thackley. Exactly. And it’s also like, what’s the point of running for office if you’re not going to fight to do the right thing? Like, I seriously don’t understand this. Like, you got to, like, be secretive about doing the right thing. What the fuck is that? And also, they seem these candidates seem to take it seriously, that it is incumbent upon them as candidates to also be public communicators and climate communicate and to emphasize to their constituents what is and is not important. So if you keep pushing climate change to the backburner because, quote, people don’t care about it, like it is incumbent on you to make people care about it. What else are you really talking about? Health care like that. Like I mean, people were concerned about health care, of course, because, you know, they live in their bodies and they need their bodies to function. Right. But nobody knew the ins and outs of like how health care policy worked until the Democrats talked about it for fucking decades.

 

Amy Westervelt Certainly no one knew what the fuck single payer meant. I mean, you know?

 

Mary Annaise Heglar For you. For real? Yeah. For real. So the first climate candidate that I want to talk about is Charles Booker. Oh, my favorite. Yeah. So, you know, then that he is running to replace Rand Paul of Kentucky, who is most famous in my book for getting his ass kicked by his neighbor.

 

Amy Westervelt Yes, I love that.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar As you’ll go back to that memory every once in a while, just be all something.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Um Charles. Charles ran in 2020 for the Democratic nomination to replace Mitch McConnell, but he very narrowly lost that primary to Amy McGrath, who’s the more centrist candidate, and went on to lose to Mitch McConnell, unfortunately. Yeah, I remember being I.

 

Amy Westervelt Remember that that yeah, yeah, I remember that primary too because yeah, I just to me, Booker seemed like the clearly the better candidate. But I think it was another one of those two, right, where the the the DNC kind of threw a lot of money and weight behind McGrath.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar As the safe choice.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah, as the safe choice. And yeah, I just it’s like again and again, I’m like, you can’t beat Mitch McConnell with, like, something in the middle. No. Yeah. It’s never gonna work. Never.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar And to be clear, McGrath would have been way better than Mitch McConnell.

 

Amy Westervelt First of all, like, I’m sitting on my kid’s bed and there’s a bizarre stuffed animal staring at me that would be better than Mitch McConnell.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar I’m going to need a picture of that stuffed animal. But yeah. So Charles previously served as the administrative services director at the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. So this man is not new to environmental protection.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar That’s awful out there. Yeah. He think he’s.

 

Amy Westervelt Like, on the ground doing that.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah. That’s not something that’s added in because it’s like the flavor of the day. So I want to emphasize that he is endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, Sunrise Movement, Justice Democrats, and he’s got strong union support. And that’s another thing people think is, you know, compatible with climate action.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah, that’s awesome. That’s a fucking awesome coalition, too. It’s like you actually do not often necessarily get the League of Conservation Voters and the Sunrise Movement and Justice Dems and Union people all in one group supporting anyone or anything that’s like. That’s great.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah, exactly. And also, Kentucky is, in a lot of ways ground zero for climate change in a way that I don’t think is often acknowledged. Like just this past year, they had these extreme floods and these extreme tornadoes and it was exploited for coal mining. I often associate coal mining so much with West Virginia, and I sometimes I’ll admit I forget about Kentucky, but they’ve been really, you know, exploited by that for their. Labor for their land resources, leaving them with like polluted water and, you know, people with so many diseases and such. So yeah, they’re a frontline state for sure. Charles believes in reclaiming and revitalizing abandoned coal mines and allowing people in the hardest hit communities to lead the way and address just transition. He believes in creating a climate court to do exactly that, which I love. Yeah, I you know, I think that sounds a lot better than just being a job creator, right? Like the Climate Corps feels more like a calling to me.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah, it’s like coalition building, community building, all that kind of stuff.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah, exactly. And he’s advocating for a Kentucky New Deal, which kind of like builds on the Green New Deal and of course, the actual New Deal and makes it specific to Kentucky. And and I really, really love that. So he’s been out here, you know, beating the drum and advocating for climate action. And I really, really hope to see him in the Senate because he would be the first black senator from Kentucky.

 

Amy Westervelt Geez, that I mean, that’s wild to me, given the fact that Kentucky has a large black population that they’ve never had a black senator as. It’s kind of kind of mind blowing.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah. You know what has a very low black population. Hmm. The Senate.

 

Amy Westervelt Ohhh. Painful but true.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah. Over the course of history.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah. Mmmhmm. Its true.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar So, yeah. Another climate candidate to watch building on this generation of new black southerners in the Democratic Party is, of course, Stacey Abrams, who is running for the second time to be the governor of Georgia against the same opponent.

 

Amy Westervelt She won the first time. That seems like a good idea. Famously, Brian Kemp actually, like completely stole that election from me the last time. So.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar You know, I think a lot of people have forgiven him because he stood up against Trump when he tried to, you know, overthrow the elections are like nah, nah. Right. Brian Kemp. He can still kick rocks. Yeah. So another just like Charles Stacey is not new to environmentalism. This woman interned for two summers with the Environmental Protection Agency, and she wrote. Whoa! Yeah. And she wrote her thesis on Cancer Alley in Louisiana.

 

Amy Westervelt He. Wow, that’s amazing. I did not know that about her. And you have to be a serious environmental nerd to want to intern two summers for the EPA.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Right.

 

Amy Westervelt Commitment is committed right there.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah, she’s cared about this for a long, long time. In 2019, she founded the nonprofit Southern Economic Advancement Project, which is focused on environmental justice as a main issue, publishing several reports on climate change and building resilience in the face of it. And so she again, she didn’t just tack this onto her, you know, onto her campaign to be in the in the zeitgeist. Right. She has published a seven page environmental policy plan that leans really heavily on the already and the infrastructure bill. And to make those two things work for Georgia in ways that I think are really smart.

 

Amy Westervelt That’s really smart. Awesome.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah. She’s like, those dollars out there, they belong to us, and here’s how I’m going to go get them. Her three main goals are better resilience in the face of climate change, creating 25,000 green energy jobs over the next four years and reducing energy costs for people in Georgia in particular. The one of the things I love the most about her environmental policy plan is this stronger approach to adaptation. So she’s calling for more state sponsored shelters to handle the growing number of communities affected by bad weather. Because Georgia gets hurricanes on its coast and it gets the back door storms that come through the Gulf because they those storms will like you know, they’re not really losing strength as they go over land. But even when they do, they tend to create a lot of tornadoes and stuff for for places like Georgia. Yeah. And so right now, the shelters and evacuation routes and all of that is is not really handled in a centralized way, is through like local nonprofits, local governments and then some backup support for FEMA. And Stacey’s plan was centralized there and make it a lot more seamless for people because then in the event of a disaster, you really don’t have the time to go through like a million different bureaucracies. So she wants to centralize it and streamline it. And I think that is so, so, so smart.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Well, it’s also like a form of climate adaptation that people will see right away. You know, I think that, like, I don’t know, like, you know, making making people’s lives work better is definitely part of addressing climate change. And I don’t understand why more folks don’t, you know, see it that way and come up with plans like this.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Exactly. And she wants to expand Medicaid to deal with the health impacts of climate change. And that’s something I don’t think a lot of people put together with climate change.

 

Amy Westervelt That’s so interesting. So so stuff like like extreme heat, maybe access to clean water, the like general health impacts of of climate shifts on people’s overall health. Yeah, that’s awesome.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar And like getting ready for vector borne diseases, like waterborne diseases that can be more prevalent in the wake of like a storm or a flood or things like that.

 

Amy Westervelt So yeah, future pandemics and all that shit, too. That’s so smart. So.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Exactly. She is so smart. She is so smart. So, yeah. Stacey Abrams is definitely a climate candidate to watch and to phone, bank for or knock doors for, if that’s what you can do. She would also be Georgia’s first black governor and the first black female governor ever. Anyway, that is fucking ridiculous. Like.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar It is. It is.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah, it is. Wow. Wow. Yeah. I mean, I think, like, I think of Stacey Abrams as an awesome democracy candidate in general, too. But yeah, I think I think you’re right. Like, people forget that she’s a very, very credible and serious climate candidate with a lot of really good new ideas.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Mm hmm. Yup. And again, not new to this. True? Nope. So. And. And the woman can fight. Okay. Like Stacey Abrams. I remember when she fought against Brian Kemp for stealing the election and all of a sudden love. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Because everybody was like, oh, just like, let it go or whatever. And she was like, no, I won that election. And then you started to see other Democrats actually stand up against elections that had not been conducted fairly. It’s like, wow, black women always go lead the way.

 

Amy Westervelt Always. Yeah.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar So and the last one I want to talk about is one that I’m actually not just watching, but voting for. This is Gary Chambers from Louisiana. He is running to replace Senator Kennedy from Louisiana. I don’t know if you know this guy, but he is recently on everybody’s nerves for saying that the next time you don’t want to call the police or you want to defund the police, call a crack head the next time you’re in trouble.

 

Amy Westervelt Oh, my God.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar I’m not making that up.

 

Amy Westervelt The the eighties called and they want their racial slur back or Jesus.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar What? Yeah. Yeah, I like it. Does it? I don’t know. I don’t know. This guy fucking sucks. Like you already knew he sucked because he’s a Republican. Right. Gary is one of the strongest challengers to to see Senator Kennedy. But the way the elections are run in Louisiana, he’s not the only challenger. He’s not even the only Democratic challenger. We’ll talk about that in a second. So Gary is probably best known from that viral I’mma talk about you, Connie clip from 2020.

 

Clip So I had intended to get up here and talk about how racist Robert E Lee was, but I’m gonna talk about you Connie. Sitting over there shopping while we talking about Robert E Lee. This a picture of you shopping while we talking about racism in history in this country. Only white members of this board got up while we were up. You talking to because you don’t give a damn. And it’s clear. But I tell you what, the slaves, my ancestors said about Robert E Lee. Since you don’t know history system, let me tell you that they said when he got the plantation, after he got off the field with 27,000 people die at Gettysburg, Connie. Robert E Lee was a brutal slave master. Not only did when he took the slaves, he said, Lay it on them hard. After he said lay it on them hard. He said, put brine on them. So it will burn them. That’s what Robert E Lee did. And you set your arrogant self in here and sit on there shopping while the pain and the hurt of the people of this community is on display. But you don’t give a damn. And you should resign. You should have resigned two years ago when you choked a white man in this house. You should have resigned two weeks ago when you got on TV and say foolishness and you should walk out of here and resign and never come back because you are the example of racism in this community. You are horrible. Now, to the rest of the board.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Do you remember this?

 

Amy Westervelt Yes. Its that guy? Amazing.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Its that guy. Yeah.

 

Amy Westervelt Amazing.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar So Gary is an activist from Baton Rouge. And in this campaign, he’s released a slew of provocative ads, starting with one where he’s smoking a blunt, talking about marijuana legalization. So what I’m saying is I think they saw that.

 

Amy Westervelt Oh, you like I saw it making the rounds on Twitter. That’s how I guess. Yeah.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar The man didn’t come to play. He didn’t come to play. It didn’t come to play nice. He didn’t like.  *like*.

 

Amy Westervelt He’s not toning down his message to reach the middle. I love it.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Fuck that. Fuck that. I’mma talk about what I’mma talk about, right? So, yeah, I’ve been watching him ever since. He kind of came on the scene with that blunt smoking ad. And I wanted to see what he was going to say about climate change and environmental justice, especially since, you know, being from Baton Rouge is kind of in the heart of the fossil fuel infrastructure and cancer alley and all of that. Right. Like, there’s no way to be from Baton Rouge and not, you know, think about the environmental disasters of the petrochemical area. So he like I mentioned, there’s another Democrat running against Kennedy. This guy’s name is Luke Mixon, and his site says that oil and gas isn’t going anywhere. And I got to tell you, he lost me right there. Right there. Meanwhile, Gary on his site has a robust environmental justice plan with top with six top priorities, including support for the Green New Deal. He wants to increase and enforce fines on petrochemical companies and increase community engagement and eliminate the use of eminent domain, which is something I know a lot about.

 

Amy Westervelt That’s amazing. Well, yeah, I honestly, I can’t I can’t imagine even if you were like, okay with the remaining like with the existing structures there, that that like anyone who claims to remotely represent that community wouldn’t be like. Baton Rouge is full thinks no more of these facilities. It’s it’s terrible. Yeah.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah, yeah. But real quick, though, tell the audience what how eminent domain gets used.

 

Amy Westervelt In these areas. Oh, well, eminent domain is something that the government and oftentimes in kind of partnership with private interests, you can take your land. They can force. They can. Yeah, they can force you to sell your land, especially if it’s something for so-called critical infrastructure, which is like a railroad or a gas pipeline or an oil pipeline or a refinery or a power plant or any of these kinds of of things. So, you know, even if you don’t want to sell, even if your plan was to hold out and stand strong against the oil company, you can be forced to sell that land. So. So, yeah, getting rid of that option would be amazing. Yep.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar And I’ll just tell you one more thing. The thing I really love about Gary’s platform is a has a strong emphasis on public Transit’s.

 

Amy Westervelt Amazing.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Including regional rail. And you know how close to my heart when railing about this for a while, like where are the Southern Democrats who are going to stand up for the need for public transit? Yeah, you know, it’s deeply disinvested in across the entire region. You know, Louisiana actually has some of the better public transit, especially in New Orleans as some of the better public transit in the south. But it’s not great. It could use a lot of help and a lot of protection and it would help with evacuations. It would help lower.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah. Costs for people too? Yeah.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar It would lower, you know, greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. It would it cleaner air. It would like it would increase health for a lot of people. I mean, of course, we would need accessible public transit, but like it would create more. It would bring back the walkability of our cities. You know, southern cities used to be walkable. They had to be cause everybody didn’t have no car, right?

 

Amy Westervelt That’s right. Yeah.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar I, I love that he’s focusing on that in his plan.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar And again, Gary would be another first. He would be the first black senator from Louisiana.

 

Amy Westervelt Again, absolutely incredible given the population of Louisiana.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Exactly. Exactly. So I earlier this week just went in triple check to make sure that my registration went through. I’ve had the hardest time getting registered to vote. It’s like a whole thing. But I triple check. I’m definitely registered to vote and I can’t wait to vote in this election.

 

Amy Westervelt Awesome. I mean, it’s nice, right, to have candidates. You’re excited about voting for it. That’s nice. I do want to just just emphasize to folks, too, that, you know, I know we’ve talked about this before, but especially because it’s coming up. I think there’s I think there’s like a tendency to have a little bit of voter fatigue, you know, a feeling like, okay, sure, you guys keep telling us to vote, but then we vote. And, you know, these big changes that we want don’t happen. Yeah, I absolutely understand that. I feel that way myself sometimes. But right now I think especially on climate, we have a very limited amount of time. The political system we have is not going to change in a major way in the time that we have to act on climate. And the only thing that will actually move the needle in the right direction on that is getting control of Congress, especially as we’re going to talk about later with the horrendous Supreme Court that we currently have. So could not be more important to vote and especially in the midterms, because I tell you what the where again, that the courts are going, states are going to be absolutely where things are happening in the next decade. And we need, you know, good climate candidates in all of those places. And we need them at the federal level too. So. So, yeah, I’ve never really been like a big get out the vote booster, I have to say. But like right now, it could not be more important.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Look, as somebody born on November 4th, which is a day that is often election day, you know, I mean, I grew up excited to be able to vote one day. You know, people in my family have put their lives on the line for me to be able to vote.

 

Amy Westervelt So I have that right. That’s right.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah. Big believer in voting. I’m not a big believer in voting and then going to bed with anybody to tell you to vote and then stop. So. Right, yes. Vote is definitely one thing to do. It is not the only thing to do. But if you can do it and do it.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, do it.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar And with that, we’re going to be back in a minute. All right.

 

Amy Westervelt [AD]

 

Amy Westervelt All right. Obviously, Hurricane Ian is over, but its impact is still being felt in a pretty major way. The death toll is over 100 and still climbing. I think, unfortunately, people forget about that, that, you know, it’s not just like the day of the storm that things happen. It’s many, many days and weeks and months and years later that that should still going down.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. All of those deaths have been counted. All right. In Florida’s Florida. There haven’t been any deaths listed in the Carolinas, and almost all of them are drownings.

 

Amy Westervelt Thats awful. God.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar It’s unusual for that many of the deaths to be to be background drownings. And that means that those are the ones that are those are the ones that are more readily identifiable as related to the hurricane. Like you said, disaster deaths are difficult to count and it takes a while for the official death count to be resolved. I think the first time a lot of people got exposure to that was probably Katrina and then Maria, because I remember in the early days after Maria, it was like 64 people died and now the death toll is about 3000. And Katrina is not much lower than that. And that’s because there’s all these sort of ripple effects that happen because the death due to a hurricane or any bit of extreme weather can be because the hospital was shut down or the evacuation conditions were really dangerous. And it takes a while to kind of suss that out. So we’re not going to know just yet is. I’ve said this before and is the type of storm that can change a state, a region forever. Like we we’re really not going to know how deep this goes for a while.

 

Amy Westervelt At least 13 million people lost power, too. So there again, a it’s like a giant number. But also, you know, if you lose power for a significant amount of time and say you have a machine that you rely on for some aspect of your health care that you like dialysis. Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. There’s like various types of breathing machines that people have, you know, to do pulmonary care at home, too. There’s there’s all kinds of monitors and things, too. So all kinds of things could be going wrong in the aftermath of of a storm like this. And and it’s just scary. I mean, you know, you’ve had power out for some period of time. I know. I think the longest I’ve ever had it out is maybe four or five days in like a big snowstorm. And it was scary, like the storms were running out of food because things start to go bad. Yeah. It’s not yeah, not a not a good time.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar I think the longest for me was like it was either it’s hard to remember. It was either ten days or a week after Katrina.

 

Amy Westervelt Wow. Yikes.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah. That was a long time, but not as long as it was in so many other places, including Puerto Rico after Maria. That was almost a year.

 

Amy Westervelt Oh, I mean, almost outrageous. Yeah. There’s still places in Puerto Rico now that are continuing to be without power after Fiona, which was the storm that came before and too. Right. And yeah. And I do want to mention that the entire island of Cuba had a blackout in hurricane into which is is also terrifying. Absolutely terrifying.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Right. Which brings us to another point. Is that even made for landfalls, which is not that’s not terribly unusual, because hurricanes will go from island to island in the Caribbean. But to make two U.S.. Landfall is very strange because one was on the other side of another state. That’s very.

 

Amy Westervelt Unnatural. So weird. And then it was like. And it remained very strong, too, right? Like a lot of precipitation, a lot of power.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar It lost a lot of its strength that first time it hit Florida or the the landfall in Florida was by far the strongest it ever was. But you it went down to below hurricane strength and then went back up to hurricane strength once it got back over the Atlantic and then it went to the Carolinas. And I can’t stress how unusual that is. I mean, by conventional hurricane wisdom, by climate change. Hurricane wisdom. Okay. That’s a whole other ballgame. But, yeah, it’s. It was very strange.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Another hurricane. Hurricane Julia just hit Nicaragua yesterday. I actually was bracing for that one here in Costa Rica. And then it sort of just missed us and went went to Nicaragua. Yeah. Again, very, very dangerous. A lot of flash floods and mudslides and they just had quite a few big storms last year and the year before, too. So it’s again, this like this thing of, you know, you used to maybe get one every few years in some of these places. And now you’re getting not only storms every year, but like major hurricanes and sometimes more than one in a season. And yeah, you know, a lot of these places haven’t had time to recover from the last one before another one hits. So yeah.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar I think they’re going to have to redo the categorization of of hurricanes because, you know, a category. Hurricane Fiona was a category one. But like you need to adjust that rating for the infrastructure of the place is projected to hit. You need to adjust it for how wet it is. You need to adjust it for, you know, because the category really only does the wind. It doesn’t include all of the other factors of the storm that make it dangerous. And I just feel like if you’re going by the number of the category, you really might not understand how much trouble you could be in. So I think they might need to to revisit that. And another thing I’ve been thinking about is that while I don’t want this hurricane season to get any worse, and I definitely don’t want to downplay how bad it has been for the people who have been affected by it. I worry that since this hurricane season so far has not lived up to the projections. We were projected to have an extremely active hurricane season, much more active than it has been. I’m worried that since it didn’t live up to that prediction, the right wing might pounce on the Noah prediction and instead of and basically just say that they were lying because they do that fucking thing right.

 

Clip Oh.

 

Amy Westervelt I really hope that like any kind of statements like that are immediately met with with pictures of like what’s happened in Florida and you know, like being like, is this not enough? Like, I just I don’t I don’t understand. I don’t know. I mean, it’s not there’s nothing to understand. It’s a bad faith argument. It’s totally disingenuous. They know that, you know, predictions are never 100% accurate and that that doesn’t mean that they’re lies or made up or that the science or any of that. Yeah, yeah. They’re just saying it because they’re playing a political game and you know. But yeah, but.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Honestly, it’s just sheer luck that it hasn’t been worse and it’s definitely been bad enough, you know, but in the end, like, oh, terrible.

 

Amy Westervelt Also, I don’t know if this is happening with hurricane season, but I know with fire season like the season just keeps getting longer. It’s basically just the whole fucking year now. So like, I don’t know the idea that, that like these weather patterns are going to continue to follow the same patterns that they always have seems pretty unlikely. And like who knows what we could see, you know, as, as the rest of the year goes on.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar So exactly. You know, and part of getting prepared for that and pushing back on those sorts of arguments requires us to learn how to talk about climate change a little bit better. And, you know, just a quick plug. I wrote something about that.

 

Amy Westervelt Yes.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Like how I slid that in there.

 

Amy Westervelt That’s nice. That’s nice. We’ll link to it in the in the show notes. But yeah, I thought that was great. The like, the media, the way that the media covers these issues just needs to get better and it is starting to get better. You know, we, we see a lot of improvements and we talk about them on this show. But, but, yeah, I just, I really feel like the media needs to step up its game and learn how to cover this stuff.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Mhm. Yeah. For sure. But yeah I also wanted to talk a little bit about the impacts of the hurricane on the food supply because I like food. Yeah. And I hate her. Yes.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So that’s, I mean, it’s important, right? It’s not just that like, oh, there’s immediate short term food problems when people can’t get into grocery stores or grocery stores can’t get deliveries. But also these really long term impacts where where crops are destroyed.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Exactly. Because these storms hit places to grow food. Hello. Right, right. And and food prices are already severely compromised because of inflation.

 

Amy Westervelt Yep. Yep. Mhm.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Um, yeah. So, so the latest figures from the Ian damage say that over 4 million acres of Florida farmland was hit by the hurricane.

 

Amy Westervelt Holy shit.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar I know, right. Imagine being one of those farmers, right? Because if you’re them and even if you are insured, it can take months or even a year to get paid out on Federal Farm Insurance claims.

 

Amy Westervelt Mhm. Yeah. Like well I’m just thinking I have farmers in my family and I feel like if one of their farms got entirely totaled by a storm or a fire or whatever else, that that would probably just be the end of their business, you know.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah. Exactly. It would. And that could put a lot of small farmers out of business. And I it’s also true that it’s difficult for farmers of color to get that type of assistance anyway. So and then salt water rises with the storm. And with storm surge, it means there’s less space for fruit tree roots to grow. And saltwater can really fuck up your fields just in general.

 

Amy Westervelt Totally. They’ll mess with the soil and and the the, you know, the whole balance of things in the soil. So the yeah, this is a big problem.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar It’s that ongoing.

 

Amy Westervelt Problem.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah. Yeah. It can affect things like oranges, of course, from Florida and tomatoes. Something I love a lot. So yeah, these are like staples in people’s diets. And so yeah, something to keep an eye on.

 

Amy Westervelt Also another another aspect of this is, is that, you know, Florida is a pretty major user of agricultural chemicals, including a lot of fertilizers. And when those fertilizers get washed out in a storm, you have a giant red algae problem. So like, yeah, Florida has this thing all the time called red tide, which I don’t know. Do you get that? Louisiana, too, from, like, agricultural runoff in the ocean? Oh, really?

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Fucking gross. I feel like some of everything’s running off in Louisiana with all that oil.

 

Amy Westervelt It’s gross. It like it looks it definitely it actually does look reddish like rust color basically like the the chemicals. Help a certain type of algae to bloom, and then it makes it so you can’t even go in the ocean. But it also kills off a bunch of fish and other marine life. It’s it’s it’s quite bad. Very bad. So. So, you know, it’s just like, oh, I don’t know. Again, I just I feel like, you know, we talk about these big extreme weather events and the immediate aftermath, but there are these layers of things that happen that, you know, continue to affect a place for a very long time.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Yep.

 

Amy Westervelt Yep.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Okay, let’s take a break and then let’s talk about your favorite place in the world, the Supreme Court.

 

Amy Westervelt My favorite place to hate. Yes. Let’s get into it.

 

Amy Westervelt [AD]

 

Amy Westervelt Okay. So the Supreme Court is back in session. Mary.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar I’m so excited.

 

Amy Westervelt Oh, God, it’s sad. Its so bleak. It’s so bleak. You know, actually, we were talking about midterms earlier and one of the midterm elections that I feel like has not gotten any national attention at all. And it really should is the race for Texas attorney general, which sounds like small potatoes, but it’s actually a really big deal. It is.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah. I feel like we actually talked about that on our first season. Our first episode of the season. Fossil Fuel for Voice. Oh, yes. Because, again, you know, there’s a lot of fossil fuel companies based in Texas.

 

Amy Westervelt That’s right. There are. And and Texas has been out in front on a lot of these things, like they were really leading the charge on this anti quote unquote, woke capital thing, you know, like kicking kicking BlackRock out of Texas because they weren’t going to do business with anyone that wasn’t pro fossil fuels. They passed a law that basically said the state of Texas would not do business with any company that that was at all critical of fossil fuels. They have allowed Exxon to do all kinds of crazy shit with the courts. But the reason that the attorney general in particular is important is that a lot of the big constitutional challenges that end up in the Supreme Court start out in Texas, and the Texas attorney general’s office is a total hub of the right wing judicial machine of right. Yes. Yeah. I mean, the the Texas attorney general is always really influential in Raga. So that’s the Republican Attorneys General Association, the Texas A.G., way back when was one of the founding members of Raga. And they’ve retained a very sort of powerful position there. So, yeah, they’ll like Ken Paxton, who’s the current AG will file case. He knows exactly which district to file his cases in because he has a favorite judge that does whatever he wants them to do. And then they just sort of like have this well-oiled machine that his case is up for the Fifth Circuit. Mm hmm. And then. And then boots them up to the Supreme Court. So, you know, you have a lot of of stuff kind of swirling around Texas. And Paxton has I mean, I don’t understand how the guy has managed to hold on to his job, period. He’s like, he’s been under FBI investigation for years at this point. His entire staff quit in 2020 because of corruption.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Oh, wow.

 

Amy Westervelt From from Paxton himself. Like, yeah. I mean, it’s it’s insane. He just last week, like, ran away from people that were trying to serve him a subpoena to appear in a case that that one of the abortion funds has against Texas. He just I mean, he’s absolutely he’s outrageous. But for some reason, you know, he never seems to sweat getting reelected. And now he has a pretty serious challenger in Rochelle Garza, who is a Democrat. She’s running for Texas attorney general. She probably has like 1/10 of Ken Paxton’s campaign budget. But, you know, it would be a really big deal if if a Republican wasn’t running that office, I think it would be the first time in like 50 years. You know? So, yeah, one, two, one to watch. Okay. So the big climate case that everyone is watching at the Supreme Court this session, this is like this sessions West Virginia versus EPA is a case called Sackett versus EPA all part of this one. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. So this is this is a couple that has been suing on this issue for a while. But as with most of these cases, this is not like this couple was actually mad about this thing and decided to sue. It’s like a bunch of right wing entities went out looking for plaintiffs that could bring this suit. And their entire intention is to kind of whittle away the Clean Water Act. So last session we had the Clean Air Act on the chopping block. This session we have the Clean Water Act, which I mean, it’s a pause.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar I’m sorry. Is there any better indication that the Republican Party is a death cult than that they want dirty air and dirty water?

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah, it’s like they honestly, like. Yeah, it’s it’s outrageous. And I, I have to say, I don’t understand why people on the left have not made a bigger issue out of that in general. Like, you know, there’s a there are many, many very real ways in which you can use the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act to clean up air and water in a way that very much gets at climate change as well. Right. And I don’t know why we’re not doing that more.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Exactly. I think the other thing to understand is that the opposite of clean air is dirty air, the opposite of clean air. Dirty water. That’s not warm more. That’s not air no more. That’s just poison.

 

Amy Westervelt That’s right. Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. I mean, they will like I don’t know, like why why are Democrats not forcing Republicans to make arguments about like, you know, why dirty air is okay? You know what I mean?

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Make it make sense

 

Amy Westervelt Like, cause they will like. Yeah. Make it make sense. Exactly. Yeah. So this case, it’s a it’s like fairly it’s a fairly smart legal strategy. They their parts on their part instead of coming right out and saying, we want to get rid of the Clean Water Act or we want to, you know, reduce the ability of the Clean Water Act to actually keep water clean. They are saying that the Clean Water Act should not apply to certain types of wetlands or like smaller streams. This is insane. If you know how water moves. Like you can’t protect a large lake or a large river if it’s no holds barred upstream.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah, but I mean. But think about the water. The thing about water is that it flows.

 

Amy Westervelt Exactly. It’s all connected. You can’t, like, protect one part and not the source of of that that water.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar So it’s like trying to put your in, like, one part of your coffee.

 

Amy Westervelt Yes, exactly. It doesn’t work that way. Does not work. So this is something I mean, it’s kind of it’s kind of a thing that the right and particularly various polluting industries like the fossil fuel industry, the big ag industry, the petrochemical industry, all the people who would like to be able to have fewer regulations on water pollution and also be able to fill in wetlands wherever they want. Have been kind of pushing this argument for a while. I will say that oral arguments happened in Sackett last week and a couple of the conservative justices actually seemed like they would maybe like go on the side of letting water scientists tell us what needs to be protected instead of like conservatives just deciding what is and isn’t a wetland. That’s somewhat promising. You know, we could maybe see something not terrible there. The other like really big one, this this session is called the National Pork Producers Council v Ross.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Okay. Yeah. This was kind of the more so.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah. This one is challenging a law that California passed that mandated that any pork that is sold in the state of California has to come from animals that meet a very low bar for humane treatment. And that that bar is basically that the animal can stand up and be able to turn around the national fuckin. GROSS And the National Pork Producers Council is saying that this violates something called the dormant Commerce Clause, which basically is like given the fact that, you know, Congress is supposed to regulate interstate commerce if a state passes a law that that affects interstate commerce in some way, which this theoretically would, because California is saying, you know, we don’t want, you know, pork that has been raised this way in our state. So that could given the size of California’s market, kind of dictate terms to other states. They’re saying like this, this violates this this kind of very squishy interpretation of of how the interstate commerce laws are supposed to work. So that is interesting in its own right, like, you know, has a lot of implications for for food supply and animal welfare issues. But also there’s a concern from a lot of climate folks that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the pork producers, that it could mean the same argument could be made to knock down renewable portfolio standards in various states. So that’s something that it’s actually an argument that’s been made that, you know, because if you have a renewable portfolio standard, which is basically like a target for a certain amount of renewable energy on your state’s grid, that impacts the rest of the grid, which could impact energy in another state. So so yeah, there’s a lot of folks watching that one.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah. I mean, I got to say, the climate implications of this are really scary. But yeah, you know, I know we talk a lot about not boiling environmentalism down to just the animals, but I still care about the animals. Yeah. And pigs are like they have an emotional intelligence. And I think we’ve kind of a lot of folks maybe think that they don’t feel pain, that they don’t feel fear or emotions, but they definitely do. Pigs are about as smart as like a five year old child, I believe, or at least a three year old child. So it’s just it’s incredibly cruel and it’s incredibly unnecessary. I you know, I’m not a preachy vegan, but there is no reason we need to treat animals like that in order for people. No.

 

Amy Westervelt No. Yeah, I’m not. I’m not a vegan or even a vegetarian, and I will say that. Oh, I just. I like this is going to sound so woo woo. But I don’t think that you can treat other living things that way and not have like a really fucked up society going on.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar You can. You can, you know, I don’t think that sounds woo woo at all. I think that sounds like basic common sense. And you. Well, I don’t know. It’s just like the lack of respect for life is evident at all the different levels of this. Yeah. And yeah, it breaks my heart to hear about animals being mistreated in that sort of way.

 

Amy Westervelt Well, yeah, the fact that you have to mandate that an animal can, like, must be able to stand up. And that is a contentious law.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar That’s crazy. Oh, that’s crazy. It’s cruel. And I don’t know.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah, I don’t know. Yeah, it’s gross. Unfortunately, those are not the only two cases that are that are potentially bad news in this session.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Oh.

 

Amy Westervelt We also have. Oh, yeah, there’s a long list, Mary.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Goodie.

 

Amy Westervelt Get ready. Yeah, we also there’s. We also have a fun little group called Students for Fair Admissions. This is.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Why do I feel like this isn’t fair?

 

Amy Westervelt Nope. Yeah, you’re right. It’s. This is a group that was started by this guy named Edward Bloom. He is best known for architecting the case, Shelby versus Holder, which took aim at the Voting Rights Act in 2013. So this was like the first big hole in the Voting Rights Act. And that guy moved on from there to make sure that he could dismantle any last vestige of affirmative action. So he has been bringing a bunch of lawsuits against various universities. He actually is the guy that represented Abigail Fisher in the in the case against University of Texas Austin, which was a very like laughable case because this was like a very mediocre student claiming that the reason that she didn’t get into this college was because of reverse racism. Um, that case was, was like not successful at the Supreme Court. But now he is back with two new cases. One is against Harvard, the other is against University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. And. Oh, boy, he has. Yeah, I mean, he’s done this thing. This is like a strategy that’s been used, honestly, since the late eighties, early nineties, to kind of do this whole reverse racism thing, which is to find plaintiffs of color that you can make your case about. So he has found high achieving Asian-American students and he is saying that affirmative action harms them. This is a strategy that I actually like Clarence Thomas came up with back in the late eighties. And like.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar This fucking guy.

 

Amy Westervelt This fucking guy and encourages like, a bunch of right wing lawyers to, um, you know, to go at it and build cases around. He was like, No, no, no. Guys, like, stop. Like, the reverse racism thing is dumb. Like.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar You want to know the thing about Prince Thomas that makes me like, a little bit like gives me a little bit of peace is I just imagine when he dies and he steps into the afterlife, Thurgood Marshall is going to be his.

 

Amy Westervelt Absolutely. Beat his ass. Yes.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Like he is waiting with brass knuckles. He’s just gonna whip that ass all through the afterlife.

 

Amy Westervelt I yeah I just, I’m just like, oh my God, this guy is the worst. Like, actually, honestly, Clarence Thomas’s fingerprints are all over every fucking case this session. And it’s really like this, this argument that’s getting made in the Students for Fair Admissions Cases. It also comes up in mayoral versus Milligan, Brackeen versus Holland. We’re going to talk about those cases in the second, too. But it’s this whole idea that like the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, which is supposed to guarantee equal representation under the law, is supposed to be, quote unquote, race blind. This is this is like a real Clarence Thomas special. He’s really into this idea that, like, equal opportunity doesn’t guarantee equal results and that, you know, you shouldn’t there’s there shouldn’t be any need to sort of systematically address a century plus worth of structural racism. But basically, like, it’s really weird. Like there’s this real magical thinking around it that like as soon as slavery was abolished and everybody had the right to vote, that was the end of needing to fix any discrimination in this country. And like everything after that is just like down to people’s own, you know, individual skills and merits or whatever. Like as though none of that history had any impact as it was all wiped away with the stroke of a pen. Yeah.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar You know who else is going to be waiting to whip Clarence Thomas’ ass?

 

Amy Westervelt Who? Who?

 

Mary Annaise Heglar His grandfather who raised him. Who was a big activist for civil rights.

 

Amy Westervelt Yes. Oh, my God. Yes, yes. Yes. He is just a uniquely terrible influence on on the law country. Anyway, so the reason we’re talking about, you know, Students for Fair Admissions and their cases is that there is some concern that if the court rules, not necessarily if it rules in favor of of students for fair admissions, but like depending on the actual wording of the ruling and what sorts of things they invoke, that that it could have an impact on federal environmental justice programs and how we look at those programs. And like, you know, how, like, I don’t know this idea that, oh, if you say that it’s correlated with race, then all of a sudden that’s going to invalidate your program or it’s going to like land your program in court. So that’s awesome.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah.

 

Amy Westervelt Ughhh, yeah. Yeah. So, like, I want to just mention the really, really, the two really big democracy cases which are more versus Harper. So you might have seen some stuff about this online. I feel like there’s been more and more kind of perking up about it. This is basically this idea that independent state legislatures should be able to kind of do whatever the fuck they want with federal elections. This is very, very scary, especially in the wake of of everything that happened with the last election and the January 6th insurrection and all of that. Like this is this is kind of the thing that that the big lie folks have turned to as as a way to, you know, make it possible for states like Arizona, for example, to be like, well, we just don’t believe these results or we we don’t want to allow mail in voting, so we’re just not going to allow it here or whatever. Yeah. So that’s very, very important and it’s pretty frickin important. And obviously, like, why are we talking about this on a climate show? Because you can’t have climate policy without democracy.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Well, you can have climate policy without democracy.

 

Amy Westervelt You can’t have good climate policy. You can’t.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Have climate justice without climate policy. Without democracy.

 

Amy Westervelt That’s right.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar So. Yes. Yeah. You don’t want, you want that problem.

 

Amy Westervelt That’s right. That’s right. Yeah. Yeah. The other big one is Meryl versus Milligan. This is the Alabama voting rights case. The argument this, again, is another area where this whole is is the 14th Amendment race blind or not? The question has come up. The solicitor general. Yeah, the solicitor general of Alabama was arguing that Alabama’s redistricting map, which basically concentrates all the black voters into one district and waters down the number of black voters and all the other districts to kind of effectively minimize the power of black voters in the state. The solicitor general of Alabama is saying, well, the only way that that we would end up with a map that doesn’t do that is if we did take race into account. And that would be in violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. That’s the argument.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Oh, my God, I want to scream. Okay.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Folks, I’m in Birmingham right now and just like.

 

Amy Westervelt Ughhhhh

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah, thinking about, you know. How many people risked their lives for the right to vote in this very city?

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah. So, like, the one sort of silver lining in this is that Justice Tom Jackson actually shot down this argument in the most brilliant way, where she actually went and did the thing that the conservative justices do, which is to be, like the framers said, that this law, you know, like they like to sort of make this so-called originalist argument. And she said actually, there’s a very clear documentation that this was not supposed to be race blind, that actually the entire intention of this law was to address racial bias from the past, and therefore, it could not and has never been, quote unquote, race blind. I was like, yes. Yes, we’ll see. You know, we’ll see what the court ends up doing with that. But, yeah, this is bad news. This is very, very bad news.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah. And so do we have a timeline for when we might hear the verdict on any of these?

 

Amy Westervelt They will start let’s see. They they will be continuing to hear oral arguments through October and November. And then we’ll start to hear decisions like in December and January of next year. So so yeah, I like there’s just one more I want to mention and that is Breckin versus Holland, which is really threatening Indigenous sovereignty. And again using this fucking argument about the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, there’s they’re basically saying that having a law that is specifically geared towards preventing Native kids from being separated from their tribes and from native culture in general is a violation of this equal protection clause and therefore is unconstitutional. And the big, big problem there is that, you know, kind of all of the laws that are collectively considered to be Indian law are based on this idea that in the law, quote unquote, Indian is a political, not a racial designation. So like in the same way that a citizen of Mexico or Japan or Canada has certain rights given to them by that government and enjoys certain rights within the U.S. because of the relationship between the U.S. and their government. Native people have certain rights because of the political designation of their tribe and the treaties that their tribe has signed with the US. If this case is allowed to say, Oh, actually this definition is racial, there’s a big concern that that could be used to sort of unravel all the rest of federal Indian law, which means, you know, reservation status, land rights, water rights. Yeah, like tribal sovereignty, really kind of across the board. So that is a very, very big deal. And yeah, oral arguments for that one are happening in November. So yeah, a lot of big.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Really big November is going to be a big month.

 

Amy Westervelt Oh yeah. It’s just like. Not at all to downplay the impact that overturning Roe had or any of the other big, you know, cases last session. But I just unfortunately, they’re not done. And there’s going to be a lot more of these kind of really big structural cases coming. Oh, God. Oh.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Okay. You know, we haven’t done one of these segments where we surprised one another with a news story and. Yes, yes, let’s do that.

 

Amy Westervelt All right. Do you want to go first or do we need to go first? Me? Okay. I want you to go first. All right. All right. Did you know, Mary, that there’s something called World Octopus Day?

 

Mary Annaise Heglar When is it?

 

Amy Westervelt October 8th was World Octopus Day. And the only reason I know this is that I was I was sent a press release about various protests that were happening in Spain to try to stop the world’s first octopus farm, which seems like the worst of the worst worst idea.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar I never heard of worse ideas, but that’s a bad idea.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah. Like, why would you do that to our alien overlords? You’re just asking for trouble.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Why would you do that to something that can come back and haunt you and then go back out to this planet and then come back and abduct you? And now you look stupid being on somebody, you know, a little bored while they’re probing you and shit. Yeah.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I just like we just talked about pigs earlier and like, the horrors that have come with industrial pig farming. The idea that we’re even considering getting into, like, industrial ag farming of octopus is so. It’s fucking gross.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar This is how the movie starts.

 

Amy Westervelt It’s true.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar It’s true. Yeah.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah. There’s a multinational company called Nueva PESCA Nova. And they are planning currently to open the world’s first octopus farm in 2023. So there was a big nationwide protest in Spain on World Octopus Day, October eight, this year to protest that that farm. There were also partner protests in 20 other locations, including Buenos Aires, Edmonton, Great Canary Islands, Tel Aviv, Toronto, Mexico City and Mumbai. So, yeah, like, I really I just. I can’t. I can’t.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar My girlfriend from farm and octopus. You can farm up this if you want to. I’m a stay far, far.

 

Amy Westervelt Far away. Yeah. Yeah. Octopus are, like, smarter than us. So good luck with that, guys. Good luck.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah. Or maybe just don’t. Don’t, don’t, don’t do it. Yeah.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Oh, boy, oh, boy. Thank you for giving me something else to have nightmares about it so much. But you know what? Maybe my surprise for you will give you a little bit of a nightmare. So I’m going to talk about the mental health of natural disasters on children. How about that? Ahhhhhhhh *screams*

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Mm hmm. Mm hmm. So there is a study published recently in the Journal of Childhood Psychology and Psychiatry. I read about it from Dr. Norris study in Boston Globe, a friend of the pot. So this study said that children who were in the womb during the Superstorm Sandy in 2012 were at substantially increased risk of developing depression and anxiety, as well as attention deficit in disruptive behaviors, disorders and early childhood.

 

Amy Westervelt Is that because of like the stress hormones that are released when of course you’re going through something like an extreme weather event or evacuation or whatever?

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah. I mean, a mother being stressed out is never good for a child from any. And in you know, in the event of natural disasters, often the mother is in fear of her life. Yes. Never good for a baby. Right. So this study analyzed 163 preschool age children in New York City whose mothers had lived in parts of New York City that Sandy hit particularly hard. The researchers examined the children’s health records and interviewed their parents each year after the storm. 66 of the children were in the womb during the hurricane and the remaining 97 were born before the storm or were not yet conceived. Wow. Yeah. So each of the children’s Paris experienced some form of trauma during Sandy. Half were forced to evacuate in the storm’s wake, and another 10th evacuated before it touched down. And the remaining ones opened their homes to other people displaced by the storm. So here’s something weird. The impacts or the effects on the children vary by sex. So researchers found that female children were at far higher risk of developing anxiety disorders, while male children were at increased risk for attention deficit and disruptive behavioral disorders.

 

Amy Westervelt Wow, that is fucking fascinating. And also terror. Yeah.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar And also kind of predictable, right?

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah, yeah. So this is part of a growing body of research that that looks at the impacts of extreme weather on children. There was a 2019 paper that found pregnancy complications increased by 17% shortly after Sandy, with the highest increases, of course, being among uninsured people and people of color. And then there are these other stories or other studies that linked extreme heat to gestational diabetes, premature birth, increased risks of stillbirth and low birth rates. So, you know, we we don’t even know where all of the impacts of climate change are going to be to health at this point, which I’m sorry to bring it all back. Full circle is why I love Stacey Abrams environmental policy.

 

Amy Westervelt Yes. Yes.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar It’s because it ties in Medicaid. Because you kind of gotta.

 

Amy Westervelt Yes.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar So. Yes.

 

Amy Westervelt So smart. It is so, so smart. God, that’s so upsetting. Bad. I know. Oh, geez. I like that. We both came with really depressing surprises for each other this week.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah no, yours is just terrifying. So with that, I think that’s enough for this week.

 

Amy Westervelt Yeah. We’ll see you guys next time.

 

Mary Annaise Heglar See you guys next week.

 

Amy Westervelt Hot Take is a Crooked Media production. It’s produced by Ray Peng and mixed and edited by Jordan Kantor. Our music is by Vasilis Fotopoulos. Leo Duran is our senior producer and our executive producers are Mary Annaise Heglar, Michael Martinez and me. Amy Westervelt. Special thanks to Sandy Girard. Ari Schwartz, Kyle Seglin, and Charlotte Landes for production support and to Amelia Montooth for digital support. 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.