Trans Rights Are Climate Justice | Crooked Media
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June 24, 2022
Trans Rights Are Climate Justice

In This Episode

Today on Hot Take, Amy and Yessenia Funes, Climate Director of Atmos Magazine, discuss queerness and climate justice, recent elections in Latin America, the vanishing Colorado River, and more.Follow us on twitter @RealHotTake and signup for our newsletter at hottakepod.com.Learn more about Yessenia and Atmos’ work at atmos.earth//.

 

TRANSCRIPT

 

 

Amy Westervelt: Hey, Hotcakes. Welcome to Hotcakes. I’m Amy WESTERVELT.

 

Yessenia Funes: And I’m not Mary Annaïse Heglar. I’m Yessenia Funes Climate Director for Atmos Magazine.

 

Amy Westervelt: That’s right. Mary’s out this week, but we’re thrilled to have Yessenia here co-hosting and actually kind of good timing because Mary just wrote something for you at Atmos. Right, Yessenia.

 

Yessenia Funes: Yes, she said did. So I’ve been trying to get Mary to write something for us for seemingly ever. Finally, she came to me hoping to elaborate on some essays that she wrote for the Hot Take news that are actually, you know, dissecting eco-fascism and the way climate denial, crime and delay, climate extremism are all different manifestations of white supremacy.

 

Amy Westervelt: Yeah.

 

Yessenia Funes: And, you know, she looked at the way that this is contributing to the rise in violence, mass shootings. I thought it was really powerful.

 

Amy Westervelt: Yeah.

 

Yessenia Funes: Readers, you know, maybe not so much, but.

 

Amy Westervelt: Oh, really?

 

Yessenia Funes: Always. Yeah. People always get triggered.

 

Amy Westervelt: Do you get people complaining? People are like.

 

Yessenia Funes: They’re, like, what? Why is this about race? You know, this sort of typical response, I think that you can expect from white people.

 

Amy Westervelt: Yes. Yeah.

 

Yessenia Funes: But I know you and Mary have talked a lot about this, just like the explosion of eco fascism in the last few years. And, you know, it’s been freaking me out. But still, I can’t get over how just normalized all this death is getting, especially, you know, when it’s little ass kids like little babies. It feels like the news cycle has just moved on, but I can’t stop thinking about it.

 

Amy Westervelt: Yeah. Yeah, totally the same. Those kids were like in the same age group as my kids, and I am still struggling dropping them off at school. It’s really scary. It’s. Yeah, it’s just. I don’t know, it’s sad. And it actually, like before the of all the shooting, my husband and I had decided to leave the country because we got a notice that said, I mean, this wasn’t the only reason, but it was like in a growing mountain of reasons. This was like the straw that broke the camel’s back. We got a notice from our kids school that was like, your child will have to participate in active shooter drills starting next year. And I was just like. No, I can’t do it. I can’t do it because I feel like. I don’t know. Like on top of the very real threat of something happening, I feel like conditioning kids to live in. Like, constant fear is fucking sick. And,.

 

Yessenia Funes: Yeah.

 

Amy Westervelt: It’s fucking gross. That, like, that’s our solution. You know?

 

Yessenia Funes: It really is. I feel you. You know, I don’t have any kids.

 

Amy Westervelt: Yeah.

 

Yessenia Funes: No kids yet. I really want a bunch of babies. I guess very much something that I want. But I have my nephew. He just turned 13, he’s you know, in that cool, like, middle school age.

 

Amy Westervelt: Yeah.

 

Yessenia Funes: He’s, like, wanting to walk home from school and go see his friends and my niece she’s turning seven, and I worry a lot about them. You know, there’s mass shootings by these crazy ass white dudes. And then, you know, there’s also just like regular gun violence, you know, shootouts in the hood. And I’m just like in this place where I just wish all the guns would just disappear, you know, like, why do we need guns to do it? I don’t know. I just don’t understand the need for guns and this obsession culturally that we have with guns. My niece said this thing to me yesterday, actually. She was just like, I don’t want to think about all the stuff in the world anymore. Just like it’s just stressing me out. She’s like, I don’t want to think about anything. And I could just tell like, she meant something in particular, but she didn’t even want to say it. And it felt like she was trying to say something about, you know, the state of the world. And yeah. And it’s overwhelming for these kids are too small to, like, process whats going on.

 

Amy Westervelt: They shouldn’t have to. That’s the thing, too. It’s like they should be allowed to just have some phase of innocence, you know, where, where they don’t have to worry about that stuff. And especially like you mentioned in cities like in neighborhoods and cities too, it’s like, yeah, you, you know, no one can like make the argument that they have those guns for hunting.

 

Yessenia Funes: You know? Exactly. No, yeah, yeah, yeah. But but wait, Amy. Yeah? Where are you moving to? Unless it’s a secret, I don’t know if you can share.

 

Amy Westervelt: Yes, I am. I’m moving to Costa Rica. Actually, my kids go to a public school here and it has a Spanish immersion program, which is very cool. So they’ve been learning Spanish and we’ve been wanting to kind of move somewhere where the language, the people speak the Spanish so that they can really kind of solidify it. And also my husband and I have sort of varying competency to that. When I was little, my dad spoke Spanish to me, but then he sort of stopped once my my brother and I got into like third or fourth grade and we came home from school and we’re like, why don’t you talk to us in that language? And he just stopped like a punk. And.

 

Yessenia Funes: Yeah, oh no.

 

Amy Westervelt: Which I’m like, Oh, my God. Yeah. Why did you let a nine year old bully you.

 

Yessenia Funes: And then you grow up and you’re like, why did exactly why did you let me stop you from teaching me?

 

Amy Westervelt: I know. Exactly. So now I feel like I understand everything. But when I speak, I can’t think of certain words and I get really tongue tied. So I’m like, this is perfect. Will force me to to speak. And people in Costa Rica are like so used to everyone forcing them to speak English that when you speak Spanish, people are very, very supportive and like helpful.

 

Yessenia Funes: I love that.

 

Amy Westervelt: I love that.

 

Yessenia Funes: As someone who grew up speaking Spanish, I can say like I still get tongue tied, even though that was arguably my first language.

 

Amy Westervelt: Because you’re switching back and forth, right? It’s hard what your brain is trying to like do both things. I know, I know it’s.

 

Yessenia Funes: So hard, especially if it’s not just, like, basic, casual conversation. Yeah. There are words that I have no idea how to say in Spanish. Right, that I know very well in English. Like eggplant. And like, I have no idea how to say eggplant. The Spanish is like random and stuff like that. Yeah, my boyfriend makes fun of me because he speaks really well and he learn Spanish grammatically and stuff. So yeah, he thinks it’s funny when he hears me speak Spanish.

 

Amy Westervelt: Because he’s just like, okay, that’s funny. It’s so funny. Yeah. So I’m excited about that. And I’m excited about, you know, I mean, this is like a country that has actually implemented a lot of the climate policy that we talk about implementing here. And they actually, like, celebrate the day that they they got rid of their military to have like more money available for social services, which I also love. And, you know, these are all the things that, like people try to tell you are like terrible and scary and primitive and we’ll like rocket us back in time 100 years and are unrealistic and all these things. And I’m like, I don’t know, people seem to have like a pretty good deal going there. So anyway, it’ll be good to see it up close. I’m sure no place is utopia and there are lots of problems everywhere you go, so I’m sure that I will see plenty in Costa Rica too, but it’ll be cool to see what those policies look like up close.

 

Yessenia Funes: Yeah, and it’s going to be a whole new culture that’s going to be so exciting and really just kind of jealous of your ability to just go for it and just say, I’m. Going to do this and yeah. Uproot your life. It’s it’s strange because we hear a lot from, you know, here in the U.S.. Parents on the right. Right. Who don’t want their kids exposed to certain.

 

Amy Westervelt: Kinds of.

 

Yessenia Funes: Culture.

 

Amy Westervelt: Yes. Yeah.

 

Yessenia Funes: Or like read certain kinds of books. And really what they’re trying to say is they don’t want their kids to be, you know, gay or to be like a homemaker, to be someone who’s down. Yeah. And you’re just you’re concerned with keeping your kids safe, like friends are the actual problems, right?

 

Amy Westervelt: Like the real basics of, like, keeping your kid alive. That’s like biological imperative, number one.

 

Yessenia Funes: Yes. It seems like the bare minimum to not want your kids grow up scared of mass shootings. And so, you know, so I think that’s really brave, too, to do that. You know, it bums me out that any of us need to worry about this, especially the kids. Yeah. But it reminds me a lot of climate change, you know, where the threat is so blatantly obvious and interface. And there’s this very clear solution or several clear solutions, but a few powerful people are just walking it.

 

Amy Westervelt: Yeah. Yeah. And you hear the same excuses for why we’re not implementing those solutions to. Right. Another thing that I’ve just been thinking about recently as we’re getting ready to move, because it’s like a bit of chaos and like a mountain of stress and logistics, I’m trying to like, like spend time thinking about the things that will be good. Once you.

 

Yessenia Funes: Find the bright lights.

 

Amy Westervelt: Yes. And one of them is like that. You know, Latin America is is taking this big swing to the left right now. And I’m excited to kind of watch that unfold up close.

 

Yessenia Funes: I saw Columbia just elected their first leftist presidents. Alongside is the first black vice president that they just like the two. Yes. She’s supposed to be like a big social justice activist. Yes. And there is a bit of similar shifts and shifts left in Chile. Panama. Yeah. So it’s so interesting to watch Latin America swing left while the U.S., you know, just heads toward this authoritarianism. Actually, given, like the history. Right. Of of Latin America and yeah. The the sort of like dictatorships that have been also trying to take hold.

 

Amy Westervelt: Right. America. Right. Yeah. Like it’s I mean, I think the contrast between what you’re seeing in some places and then what you’re seeing in Brazil, for example, is really, really interesting. Yeah. And I think, too, that, like, in some ways, it makes me think about, you know, there was this big push in the U.S. after World War Two to really kind of demonize intellectuals and, you know, universities and things like that. There was there’s been all this, like, interesting documentation around just how scared companies in particular were about the fact that, like, Americans had gotten quite used to, you know, creeping socialism, like the government actually doing stuff for them and like the government actually getting involved in even, you know, pricing in markets and stuff to make sure that like everyone had enough food and prices didn’t go too out of control and all of that kind of stuff. And the companies in the U.S. in particular were like, Oh shit, we really need to get a handle on this. And the oil companies in particular, this is like when they started to invest heavily in trying to shape what people were learning at universities. And you see a similar thing with American companies, in particular in Latin America, really trying to crush the emergent intellectual left in both Latin America and the U.S.. And so in some ways, I kind of I don’t know, I’m looking at this like, hmm, I wonder if is this like a return to stuff that was happening pre-World War two? Is this like, you know, I almost like a continuation of like what maybe like where some of these countries would have been had the U.S. not been interfering all of those decades in a row, you know?

 

Yessenia Funes: Yeah. Yeah. Right. I mean, especially when you consider just like what the demographics could look like in terms of migration and stuff, like how many people were forced to flee Central America in particular after, you know, the U.S. imposed and like impose its like a rather non imposed by providing assistance to like their military and I think in El Salvador in particular.

 

Amy Westervelt: Yeah. Yeah.

 

Yessenia Funes: Now like the current president, El Salvador, like some people love him. Other people think that he’s like veering toward dictatorship and. Yeah, right. America’s very, very strange.

 

Amy Westervelt: Ruling, especially in Latin American politics, as it intersects with oil politics. Right. Because like you’ve got all these oil rich countries there, a lot of American companies went in early days of oil, colonialism and started to mess things up from that end as well. And then in Brazil, like, I don’t know, we’ll see what happens. I think it’s entirely possible we could see Bolsonaro actually lose, but. I talked to someone the other day who was like, well, you know, even if Bolsonaro goes like Bolsonaro, Nismo is here to stay. And like there’s a significant number of people who really feel entitled to burn down large patches of the Amazon and and take over indigenous land. This was someone who is working with a bunch of indigenous groups and she’s like, Yeah, I don’t see I don’t see that sense of entitlement going away with an election.

 

Yessenia Funes: It’s Trump. It’s like the Trump supporters. They’re not calming down one bit just because Trump’s out of office. If anything, that drives them up even more. The fact that he got removed.

 

Amy Westervelt: Exactly. If anything, I feel like Trumpism has only gotten stronger in recent years. So anyway, all of that is going on. And I feel like everywhere you look, you’re kind of seeing this thing that you mentioned before about a few powerful people kind of making these big decisions for everybody else. You know, this week we have the January six hearings are ongoing. There’s ongoing conversations about gun policy in the wake of you, Valda, and then some pretty apocalyptic drought and extreme weather happening all over the place in the U.S.. Outside the U.S., the South Asia heatwave is still happening. I feel like there were all these headlines a couple of weeks ago or maybe a month ago that were like record heat in India and Pakistan. And everyone was talking about how horrific it was and then it kept being horrific, but we just stopped hearing about it.

 

Yessenia Funes: Through our media system is just it’s just not equipped to handle the cascade of crises we face. It’s just one thing after another never ending. And yeah, I think that the media is just failing here. Yeah, but what do you think, Amy? Are you ready to get into it?

 

Amy Westervelt: Yep. It’s time to talk about climate. That’s coming up right after this break.

 

[AD].

 

Amy Westervelt: Yessenia, one of the many reasons I was so excited that you could join me this week is that I feel like we’re just seeing this enormous convergence of fascist authoritarian shit around trans rights just in the past month. Even in the past week, I feel like every week it’s more intense. The laws in Texas and Florida, but also the rhetoric across the right wing in general. I think for a really long time the climate movement has just not seen or acknowledged how LGBTQ rights intersect with climate. And this feels like a moment where we really need to fucking fix that and fast. I know that you.

 

Yessenia Funes: Definitely.

 

Amy Westervelt: You have actually covered this a fair bit, so I’m curious to hear what your experience has been.

 

Yessenia Funes: Yeah. You know, I think it’s important to firstly recognize that, you know, queer people at large are currently fighting for their ability to survive. Right. And so it’s hard to engage on climate issues when you’re just worried about whether your human rights are going to be stripped at any second, which they actively are. Right. Right. And in my coverage, you know, it’s been really strange covering this because, you know, I’m gay and bisexual. And our team at Atomos, the magazine where I work, you know, we are a very, very gay team. Like super gay people are still.

 

Amy Westervelt: Very gay crowd over there. Yes. Yeah.

 

Yessenia Funes: I would imagine it’s pretty clear, you know, our Instagram posts like our magazine, we put Patagonia at Drag Queen on one of our covers last year. Yeah, it does not it’s not a secret. And so, you know, I had initially covered this indigenous led effort to stop a lithium mine over in Nevada, which, you know, was meant to supply the electric vehicle industry. My story, that activism came out back in October 2021. And in January, journalist Jael Holtzman, she’s over at NBC News. She published a separate story on an organization called Deep Green Resistance, which is essentially what about terfs extreme radical feminist who are anti-trans as fuck, who do not respect or believe in transness very much, are like, you’re not a woman, this is a woman safe space anyway. So what they do is I spoke to for my initial story ended up being tied to that group and that group was funding many of the Indigenous led efforts to stop that lithium mine and it was pretty awful to find out about it that way. You know, I was obviously disappointed myself for giving a platform to these assholes, but also really grateful to jail’s reporting and that she discovered it in the first place. And so once I realized that, you know, my initial story had provided a platform to these people and that to me already felt like a big part of the story that needed to be shared. I updated that initial piece and we wound up publishing a second story that I linked to in my initial story that really sort of got at the heart of why environmentalists need to care about trans rights, why trans rights are inherent to climate justice. You know, we published an Instagram post that said there’s no climate justice about trans rights. And that was, you know, the whole the whole heart of the piece. And the reaction there was not it was not what I expected, which I think really speaks a lot to just like climate people and this big gap that exists about how people in the climate movement and I think people on the left really at large feel about trans people.

 

Amy Westervelt: Yeah. And like, in what way were people like, oh, this is a distraction from real climate stuff? Or like.

 

Yessenia Funes: It wasn’t even that people were just like saying, what does this have to do with carbon emissions? How does this connect to science? It was just this really big disconnect of, you know, how human rights for this specific group of people are, something that we in the climate movement and talk about. You know, a big part of the story was talking to indigenous people and sort of, you know, indigenous activists who are trying to decolonize the climate movement and who got into how colonialism, you know, you impose this binary worldview, impose this gender binary on them, right to spirit. People used to be a big part of many indigenous and Native American cultures and to scare people, you know that the meaning of that can vary depending on individual, but essentially it’s a non-binary, gender non-conforming person, right? We used to carry a lot of cultural significance and had important roles within many different indigenous cultures. And that person that that identity, you know, was erased from many cultures. And so it’s been an effort to just like bring that back. And many indigenous activists see this as like the same worldview that’s been imposed on them by the colonizers is also the worldview that has contributed to the climate crisis, has destroyed lands and so. Right. Colonize and the movement is also like bringing that back.

 

Amy Westervelt: Well, and in the case of Thacker past, which is this lithium mine, like there’s a very clear line of like, oh, these people and their anti-trans agenda are the ones that are undermining climate activism. And so I keep seeing this happen in the climate space where people will try to make the connection between any sort of human rights and the climate crisis. And inevitably, there will be a couple of people who will say, like, what does this have to do with carbon emissions? What does this have to do with climate science? Why are you imposing, quote unquote, identity politics on climate? And it’s like, no, dude, the actual thing that’s happening is that people who are white supremacists, who are transphobes, who are misogynists, are trying to make climate part of the culture war. And I feel like even if. You as a person are like, I don’t relate to this or I don’t really care about trans people or whatever. You should care that it’s the nexus of fascism in this country right now. Trans people and queer people in general are totally being scapegoated in a very Nazi Germany adjacent way, and it is spreading like fucking wildfire. It’s crazy how fast it’s been that it’s like, yeah, all of a sudden you’re seeing like the proud boys and the liberation from people. And all of these groups are now.

 

Yessenia Funes: Are.

 

Amy Westervelt: Specifically targeting drag shows and yes. Pride, new events and like. Yeah, yeah, it’s it’s.

 

Yessenia Funes: Yeah. And it’s like, you know, queer people, we get this one month to just celebrate and right now, you know, celebrate the fact that we’re queer, but also the fact that we’re here. You know, it’s people forget that there was a whole pandemic that affected, you know, queer people and HIV. And it’s a miracle for many of us to even feel that we exist.

 

Amy Westervelt: It’s totally people totally forget. I was I was talking to someone about this the other day because, like, I’m I’m almost 44. Next on Saturday, I turn 44. So like when I thank you when I was coming of age, it was like terrifying to have sex. I don’t think people understand that. It’s like it’s like you had to go get an AIDS test after every intimate encounter, every single one you went into every interaction, worried that, like, you were literally taking your life in your hands. This is how scary it was, you know? And then and then, like you knew tons of young, vibrant people who were dying a horrible death. Yeah, I’m just like, it hasn’t been that long, but I feel like people have really forgotten that history in a troubling way.

 

Yessenia Funes: Yeah, I think that a lot of people had the had the privilege of not having to see any of that, the folks who are around back then and so they choose to ignore it. Yeah, unfortunately, yeah. And it just, it just bums me out that there’s not more. I’m a reporter is paying attention to this community whose rights are being attacked, who suffer disproportionately from things that will be impacted by climate change or like homelessness. That’s a major issue affecting trans youth in particular. And every time there’s like a heat wave or hurricane flooding, wildfires, we know that the homeless are among the most vulnerable. They can’t take cover. They can’t stay away from the smoke. You know, they’re literally passed out in the streets. Sometimes people just walk by them like it’s a normal thing to see. It’s it’s really fucked up. And we know that climate change is going to make all these situations worse yet. There aren’t many climate people working on building awareness or solutions to these issues. There is this one story by Ezra David Romero over KQED. KQED it was sold on, so it reported back in February that examined the way disaster planning excludes trans communities in particular. And his is the only piece in recent memory that I can recall that took that approach of looking at the queer community through this climate lens and examining, you know, where those gaps are, what they need, the way that other environmental justice reporting looks at, you know, immigrants or other marginalized communities. Yeah, yeah. We don’t queer people do not get that attention. And it’s really, really alarming, especially how folks on the right are just blatantly attacking trans folks in particular.

 

Amy Westervelt: I feel like there’s this thing, too, and I know this came up. It has come up in your reporting and I’m sure you’ve just witnessed it, too, that the climate movement has not been welcoming to the queer community, really, you know, and so there’s this way that people feel like there’s a significant part of their identity, that they have to check out the door when they’re doing their climate work. And this, like, insistence that people sort of split themselves into different identities. Again, even if you can’t relate or you don’t know anyone who’s trans or you’re not part of the queer community or whatever, you should be concerned about the fact that we’re not building the strongest movement if we’re not being inclusive.

 

Yessenia Funes: And it’s bizarre because there’s there are so many queer people in the climate movement. Yeah, I mean, there are so many of us. But I’ve heard this from folks. You know, I’m doing the story now for the print magazine that’s coming out in the fall, looking at queer youth in Florida, queer youth, climate activists in Florida. And, you know, I keep hearing from them just how they feel. They have to separate these parts of themselves. Like when they’re doing climate activism, they’re not actively talking about their queerness. You know, there’s a teenage girl I spoke to and she’s like, I never told anyone from, like, my climate work that I was gay until I you know, I kissed my girlfriend at a rally and I don’t know, it just seemed like it was something a little uncomfortable for her in a way that it is in other spaces. And I think that’s because environmental activism is often super like hilly and like very political and very policy oriented. So there’s this, like, need to be like, suit and tie fresh and like. And I guess she’s very square in a way that queer people are just not, you know?

 

Amy Westervelt: Right. Right.

 

Yessenia Funes: There’s nothing square about it. Yes. Yeah, but it’s it’s it shouldn’t be that way. And we’re seeing those walls come down now, I think, with. Like Bipoc spaces, you know, like. Yeah. Women being more. More amenable and welcoming to nonwhite people. But I’m not seeing that effort. Um, hum. Through with queer people, there’s like this one outdoor group that I know is, like, advocating pretty heavily for queer rights. The oath they’ve been doing a lot of. Just like this large.

 

Amy Westervelt: Yeah, I.

 

Yessenia Funes: I think a few of the founders, I’m pretty sure are queer, so I’m sure that helps. But it shouldn’t just be like one group carrying the torch, you know, and like getting the work done.

 

Amy Westervelt: It’s frustrating that we that like, we have to go group by group and convince the climate movement that it’s a good idea to protect everybody’s rights. You know? I mean, like, it’s just like, man, I just talked to a researcher the other day who studies protests. She studies movements and protests. Right. And she’s spent the last 20 years looking at what is and isn’t effective. This is she’s a sociologist, Dana Fisher. And she has done a bunch of studies recently that show that like hands down, the most effective movements are intersectional movements. And then actually the climate movement is like well positioned to be intersectional. Like we already have a bunch of people who are willing to show up for both climate and social justice issues, you know?

 

Yessenia Funes: And I’m like lean into strength.

 

Amy Westervelt: Like having a non-inclusive space is a weakness that can be easily exploited and, and that is never going to be a winning strategy. Like, why wouldn’t you want the biggest tent possible and why wouldn’t you want to, like show up for all of these other related issues that like, I don’t know, to me, I’m just like, we’re all fighting for the same thing, which is like to reach to address this problem that we were talking about earlier of like a small group of people having an outsized amount of power, you know, like.

 

Yessenia Funes: And.

 

Amy Westervelt: That’s the root of it. All of this stuff, you know, surely.

 

Yessenia Funes: And with queer rights in particular, I feel like there’s so many times when you look at who’s behind these transphobic bills are oftentimes the same people behind, you know, like bills stopping climate action, whether that’s like, you know, a net metering bill in Florida or, you know, a bill trying to stop counties from, you know, banning oil and gas wells, whatever the hell it is. It’s often the same people who are like funding the politicians that are passing. That’s absolutely.

 

Amy Westervelt: Right. And that has been true for a real long time. So like, there was this this climate disinformation report that came out last week and they were showing it was from a group called the Institute for Strategic Dialog. And they usually focus on right wing extremism and hate speech in general. And they have been doing that for, I don’t know, like ten, 15 years. And they hadn’t really ever looked at the climate space before, but they started to because they started to see people who they know from other extremist spaces glomming on to a bunch of like anti climate policy talking points. And so this report laid out like how these these people who consider themselves to be like frontline warriors in the culture war are starting to like add climate to the mix. And I saw immediately people in the climate movement kind of using that as a justification for being like, See, this is why we shouldn’t dabble in identity politics. Like we should just keep it to science and policy. And I’m like, No dude, wrong leg. The entire machine that you are fighting against, they have always combined these issues. The Koch brothers were fuckin galvanized by Brown versus Board. They were racist segregationists way before they were climate deniers, you know, and and they’ve always combined those things. And they’re like those organizations Heritage Foundation, Heartland Institute, the Cato Institute, the Bradley Foundation, Sierra Foundation. I mean, there’s all these family foundations, right? And they have all always combined anti-civil rights, racism, anti-union shit. They’ve been trying to dismantle public schools ever since they were desegregated. And like Antioquia, like pro religious family stuff, and they’re all the same groups that do all of the anti climate stuff. So like I’m like, I don’t know in their minds, this is all like them fighting against control or against a multiracial majority. It’s like an ideological fight. And to them it’s all always been the same battle. It’s only actually on our side that we’ve always tried to separate these things.

 

Yessenia Funes: Yeah, yeah. And it feels so backwards, because if you want all the people on your side throwing down for you, you have to be willing to throw down for them to say no. Please consider all the ways. Queer people. Trans youth. Are being attacked. Like it’s hard to imagine them wanting to organize around climate change right now like they literally can’t. That was something that came coming up in my interviews with folks just like I want to do more for climate, but I have to focus right now on this. Don’t say gay bill in Florida because my rights are literally at stake. Like I want to see your.

 

Amy Westervelt: Family mental rights. Yes.

 

Yessenia Funes: Yeah. It’s like they’re too busy trying to stay alive. And yet, you know, climate advocates want them to join the climate fight. Meanwhile, climate people don’t even respond to this war that is being waged on there exists.

 

Amy Westervelt: Not only do they not respond, but they dismiss it as like some kind of a, you know, distraction from the greater cause of climate. It’s really offensive the way that some people talk about this, like, of course, if you want a large and powerful movement, then you have to be a good ally, too. I mean, you see it in the labor movement, too, right? All of a sudden now unions are having some real success. And I keep seeing climate people being kind of being like, how do we get in on that? And I’m like, Well, you could have not been dicks to labor for the last 20 years, you know, like, yeah.

 

Yessenia Funes: Yeah, I hope that folks figure it out. I think that the more we talk about it, that’s the big things. I just don’t think there’s enough people talking about this and like making those connections. And I’m really grateful that I work for a team that like is very dedicated to making those connections to readers. And like that stuff is a big focus area for us. And so we just got to keep reminding folks that they’re not doing enough and that they’re fucking up so that hopefully they can. Yeah, I guess change to change their behavior and get with it because it’s scary. It’s a scary time right now and like climate is scary enough, but there are other things happening like right now that are just. Very direct and urgent in a way that I think climate still doesn’t feel like for some people. Yeah.

 

Amy Westervelt: Yeah.

 

Yessenia Funes: And it’s important that those that those fears and realities are being come to.

 

Amy Westervelt: Definitely. Definitely. And I think, like your chances of doing anything about climate under an authoritarian regime are pretty slim, especially doing the things about climate that like, you know, we would like to see things that are not, you know, out and out eco fascism. Then you need some kind of a functional democracy. You know, I hate the framing of like first they came for this group and they’re going to come for you next because, like, you know, we should all be able to care about everybody’s rights in general without without it relating to some, like, personal fear for our own rights. But yeah, this is like definitely, you know, the canary in the coal mine here. Like, if you think that it’s going to stop at trans rights, you’re sorely mistaken.

 

Yessenia Funes: I think you said earlier, we need a functioning democracy if we’re going to actually pass any kind of policy.

 

Amy Westervelt: So the same reason that like, you know, we’re like, okay, if you care about climate, you got to care about voter suppression. You know, you got to care about like it.

 

Yessenia Funes: Really in the climate movement does not pay enough attention to.

 

Amy Westervelt: I know. I know. Speaking of showing up for people. Yes. Anya, how does a hurricane see?

 

Yessenia Funes: Oh. Through the tie. Yes. With one eye for the one eye. You got it. I’m so proud of myself.

 

Amy Westervelt: That’s very, very impressive. Very impressive. But it.

 

Yessenia Funes: Was like it was a climate dad joke, so it was.

 

Amy Westervelt: Its way. Well, okay. What is a tornado’s favorite game?

 

Yessenia Funes: Twister. Oh, my God.

 

Amy Westervelt: This is unheard of. Unheard of. Amazing.

 

Yessenia Funes: Wow. I’m leading up. I love this.

 

Amy Westervelt: Two in a row. Two in a row

 

Amy Westervelt: [AD].

 

Amy Westervelt: So I saw someone tweeting recently and I think it was Beth Sawan who is with the Multi Solving Institute. She said, We need to stop talking about the pandemic in the past tense and climate change in the future tense, which I loved. I was like, Yes, very well put, because I don’t know about you, Sonya, but I feel like everyone I know has COVID right now.

 

Yessenia Funes: I feel like everyone I know is getting or coming off, so. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Same.

 

Amy Westervelt: It’s wild. I feel like I know more people who either have it right now or just getting over it than I did at the so-called height of the pandemic, like before the vaccines came out. And yet I completely hear people talking about it like it’s over and just kind of generally acting like it’s completely over. And then on climate change, I feel like media here have gotten a little bit better about how the climate crisis can already be seen, but they mostly talk about it as like over there, you know, it’s like people will say, you can already see the impacts of the climate crisis in the global south, but somehow have missed that it’s showing up right here in the U.S. in a pretty major way. All of a sudden, I think the most recent example is the fact that the Colorado River is vanishing.

 

Yessenia Funes: I actually haven’t been keeping up with this too much. So, yeah, I am very, very mean to hear this.

 

Amy Westervelt: I don’t blame you because, A, the national media really hasn’t been covering it. And B, I think if you’re because of that, if you’re outside of the West, like, you really don’t get that much information on it because it’s kind of like, I don’t know, just sort of seen as this like western water issue over here. But it’s a big fucking deal. The Colorado River supplies water to seven states. Those states are California, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. It also supplies water to parts of northern Mexico. So there’s this like wild deal that we’ve had in place for a really long time between the U.S. and Mexico, where we send water back and forth, all from the Colorado River. So you have a ton of people on both sides now who are like, we’re not getting enough water, right? Because these agreements were all inked way before. Climate change was a thing in a completely different context. There were fewer farms, there were fewer people. There were, you know, not as densities. And we had more water. So now we’re into a longstanding drought in the West and California. They’re saying it’s the worst drought in 1200 years. All of these major lakes are at like 25% capacity and less. And a federal official said this week that these states that depend on the Colorado River for water will need to cut their water use by between two and 4 million acre feet next year to avoid outright catastrophe. So just to put that in context, because I don’t I don’t know anything about acre feet of water. I don’t know.

 

Yessenia Funes: Yes. I’ve never heard this phrase.

 

Amy Westervelt: Yeah. I’m like, what does that mean? Okay, so this is at the high end. So in the 4 million acre feet realm, this is about eight times what Los Angeles consumes from all sources of water in a year. So we would have to cut water usage by eight times of what L.A. uses in a year. That’s a fuck ton of water right there.

 

Yessenia Funes: That is a tremendous amount of water. And don’t aren’t there some tribes that also rely on the Colorado River?

 

Amy Westervelt: For us, there are several tribes that rely on the Colorado River for water. Plus, like I mentioned, people in Mexico. In fact, actually, the last time Mexico was supposed to send water to the U.S., there was a major protest of farmers who actually shut down the dam for a day because. Yeah, because they were just like, no, we can’t, you know, we can’t keep doing this.

 

Yessenia Funes: Yeah. And when I hear that they want to cut that much water usage, I just wonder, like, who’s actually going to have to cut and who’s going to get to keep, you know, business as usual. That’s right. And that’s why I brought up the tribes. I mean, I know that they’ve been fighting for so long just to get even, like.

 

Amy Westervelt: Basic water rights. Yeah.

 

Yessenia Funes: Yeah. Just like rights over the river. And I just, um, so curious how this is going to affect them. Yeah, that’s a lot of water to to cut down by.

 

Amy Westervelt: It’s a lot of water. And the Imperial Valley Irrigation District has a ton of control over quite a bit of that water. So this is the agricultural district in Central Valley, California, patch of land that’s like not great soil, didn’t have any of its own. Water was completely manufactured. Yeah. And now those folks have a ton of control over water in the state and they control over 3 million acre feet of water. And so they have to decide. They get to decide. If they’re going to sell any of that water to any of the other constituencies that need water, which includes tribes, cities, counties. It’s literally this five person board that can be like, nah, we want to keep it.

 

Yessenia Funes: So is it like a bidding war, though, or is it like so basically.

 

Amy Westervelt: Like the there’s all of these agreements in place that govern who gets what portion of Colorado River water. And you have all of these different groups who have different reasons for why they want the water right in the cities will often argue, well, you know, we’re talking about basic drinking water. So that trumps farming water. And the farmers will say, well, food is a basic necessity, too. And they get into this whole back and forth.

 

Yessenia Funes: Those are do those farmworkers even get any water themselves?

 

Amy Westervelt: No, good question, because no, they don’t. All of the workers who keep those farms going have to buy bottled water. There’s no drinking water in those communities. It’s it’s gross. I feel like, again, wow, there’s so much going on here. And like, the only outlet I see covering it regularly really is the Los Angeles Times and Sammy Roth there has been doing a great job and ProPublica is doing some stuff on this as well. I do want to also highly recommend a web series on YouTube called Altima. Have you seen this? It’s so good.

 

Yessenia Funes: I have not. No, I don’t really do YouTube. I don’t.

 

Amy Westervelt: Either. Like I stay away from it because I feel like it’s a cesspool of like rightwing wackos. But Gael Garcia Bernal did this series with a couple of different groups in Mexico looking at how climate change is showing up in different regions of Mexico. It’s really well done. It’s like a five part series. They actually made a huge effort to make it like not center him. They’re like, you know, it’s kind of good to have this famous person involved, but it can also be a liability. So we don’t want to be like too focused on him, but they have an episode. The first episode actually is about this whole water deal between Mexico and the U.S. and it gets into this strike where the people there shut down the dam for a couple of days when they were supposed to be sending water to the U.S.. So.

 

Yessenia Funes: I love a strike.

 

Amy Westervelt: I love a strike. Yeah, me too. I was like, yeah, shut down that dam.

 

Yessenia Funes: Wow. And it’s wild because we see this happening in Colorado and then up in Montana, they’re having the opposite problem, right?

 

Amy Westervelt: Yeah.

 

Yessenia Funes: Too much water like unexpected giant volumes of rain that caused massive flooding in Yellowstone. Have you seen the footage?

 

Amy Westervelt: It’s yes, pretty terrifying. It is terrifying. And it’s this it’s this combination issue of like the rain and the like, the thunderstorms. But then also because of the higher than usual temperatures, all the snow and ice pack melted at the same time. So you had like a double whammy. Yes. Which there again

 

Yessenia Funes: Rain and snow melt.

 

Amy Westervelt: Yeah. People don’t understand that, like because I don’t know. It’s like when I live in a place where it snows. Right. And whenever it snows, people are like, Oh, good, that’s good for the snowpack. But it’s like, Yeah, but only if it stays snow and ice for a long enough time, you know, because if it all melts at once, then like then you waste a bunch of water because you end up with floods and runoff and all of this other stuff. So yeah.

 

Yessenia Funes: Yeah. And it feels like that’s increasingly becoming a problem now in the plains where they get like these really severe snowstorms and springtime rolls around and it’s here too soon, right? Like it just melts so quickly before the ground can even take in the water that’s coming through. Yeah. And with Yellowstone, it’s, it’s it really hit close to home here because we were planning on sending a photographer there with at most for the next print issue. And it’s been affecting our ability to like figure out what’s happening now. I know the I think.

 

Amy Westervelt: Yeah, it is closed. It’s still closed. I think they’re opening in a few days. I don’t know. But that’s another thing too is like Yellowstone, right? Okay. It’s pretty remote. There’s a couple of little towns around there. And like those towns, the businesses and the people who live in those towns, they make all their money for the year in the summer. So so being shut down for like, you know, two weeks to a month in the summer is like devastating for that community. And then again, then you get into like, oh, well, this is you know, this is like a problem for tourism based economies that are going to be deeply impacted more and more as climate change continues to march forward.

 

Yessenia Funes: That’s right.

 

Amy Westervelt: Same with like the snow resorts and stuff, too. It’s like they’ve actually calculated I think there was I’ve seen a couple of reports from the outdoor industry about like the economic impact of climate change for for that industry. And it’s pretty crazy. It’s like. You know, I’m like, wow. Why can’t why can’t that economic problem be a thing that that we talk about when we’re talking about, like, the economy and climate change?

 

Yessenia Funes: You know, I’m in you know, I’m in New York. And I when I went to school upstate in Plattsburgh, which is like the farthest north you can get before you hit Canada. And even when I was going to school, like, it was really normal for folks to get out to the mountains for snowboarding and ski season in the winter. And now all of my friends who are into snow sports know I’m not one of them. I don’t like snow. I want my friends who would always go snowboarding every season and with their seasonal passes like it’s a joke now to them to go snowboarding in New York because rain snow just doesn’t stick like they always go to Vermont or they go even farther, or they go out to like Colorado, which now seems like that’s not even much of an option the way it used to be raised. Climate change is also affecting the snow cover there, right? Yeah, it’s it’s it does if it doesn’t get enough attention. And when we see these events, it’s like there’s, you know, luckily no one was hurt with Yellowstone. Yeah, no one was seriously hurt. But there’s also the elements of, you know, the ecosystem and the wildlife, the water. Like, how is that going to be affected by all this? Um, and I feel we often just think about human impact. I think you and Mary talked about this on a recent episode, just like how we like overcompensated, overcorrected, trying to like focus on people and environmental movement. Yeah, that we just completely stop thinking about like there are all these other organisms and, you know, beings, right. Also deserve attention and concern.

 

Amy Westervelt: Our fellow members of the ecosystem. Yeah. That I really I dislike extremely this the like the the sort of like fuck nature thread in the climate movement that emerged. I’m like, no, no, no, that’s not what we’re talking about, you know? I mean, I.

 

Yessenia Funes: Will and I will admit, like when I first started getting into climate, when I was like in college, that was sort of my ethos to it was like, fuck the polar bears. Like, what about people? You know? Yeah, that was an A in a landscape where people were not talking about people at all. Right, right, right. And now it’s like, okay, we got we can’t forget our four legged and our fen kin. And it’s also there are a lot of cultures where animals in indigenous cultures in particular animals are not treated separately like they very much.

 

Amy Westervelt: Like their relatives. Yeah, exactly. If you think it was Hunter Polley who’s a he’s a reporter in Montana who was tweeting about this and he said, you know, that actually there were government officials who came out immediately saying, you know, don’t use this as an excuse to talk about climate. And then there were and then he he was pointing out that like a bunch of them just so happened to be affiliated with various Koch funded organizations in the States. So I’m like, Yeah, of course, of course. But in this case in particular, I’m like, there’s actually like a very clear economic impact to exactly the kinds of like white small towns that like those organizations, you know, have made their poster children. To me, it was interesting because I’m just like, okay, now it’s starting to actually impact those folks, too, you know? How are you going to continue to spin this story? I don’t think.

 

Yessenia Funes: I’m as much of a cynic and Mariame like I have to hold on to this little piece of hope that there are going to be enough folks on the right who just, like, have their self-interests. Yeah. And will let their self-interest, like, drive their belief in climate and support for climate policy, even if they’re still racist at the end. And they’re still just like, want to believe that, you know, immigrants said this at least hopefully they will stop voting for people who do not give a fuck about climate change.

 

Amy Westervelt: Right. Because it is. Starting.

 

Yessenia Funes: It has to happen.

 

Amy Westervelt: To really impact their livelihoods. Yeah. I mean that actually like that reminds me of I did a story a long time ago on crab fishermen on the West Coast who ended up suing the oil companies over climate change. And I was really struck by the fact that there were a number of people in this group who are hardcore climate deniers, still as named plaintiffs against the oil companies in a climate case. And I was like, how did that happen? And they they I so I asked them, I was like, you know, how does this all come together for you? And they were like, Well, we were shown documentation of oil companies getting patents for like offshore platforms that could withstand sea level rise or tankers that could navigate a melting Arctic. And they were upset that oil companies were doing all these things to make their companies resilient to climate change, and they were telling everybody else not to worry about it. And so then they were like, for us, they’re like, it doesn’t matter what’s causing it. The fact is that they knew it was coming and they were preparing for it. And they told us. Not to, and that’s not fair. I was like, that’s so interesting, you know, that there there was this, like, ideological loophole that they found to be able to, like, do something about climate without like rejecting their sort of group social identity. And and that did that does actually make me feel somewhat more hopeful about where people will get to on on climate as we start to see more of these extreme weather events. Because I think most people are like, this is weird. This is not what I’m used to. You know, they can.

 

Yessenia Funes: See it. And I feel like increasingly the people who are seeing it are no longer just front line, vulnerable communities. The way that historically I think has been where the impact has been felt the most, like folks who can’t rebuild after a hurricane or, you know, folks who can’t find a new home after a wildfire. Now it’s affecting, like you said, you know, fishermen, ranchers, these farmers out west, the river, these tourism folks that are national parks like.

 

Amy Westervelt: Right.

 

Yessenia Funes: Right now affecting folks who are not, quote unquote, the most vulnerable. And I just hope that they’re wise enough to realize how their political choices contribute to this. And that’s that’s I think, where the biggest challenge is going to be, because the the misinformation machine is just so strong. Yeah. Yeah. And it lets people because, you know, voting, obviously, it’s like, I don’t want to be the person who’s like, you have to vote. Because we all know voting is like a problem in and of itself. Right? That our system is set up. Right?

 

Amy Westervelt: Right.

 

Yessenia Funes: If we keep having people vote for the wrong people, though, with these right wing assholes, then yeah, nothing’s going to ever change. It’s just impossible. Yeah, you can’t plan kind of policy if we keep having climate deniers in office.

 

Amy Westervelt: Yeah, yeah, that’s right. I do think that the media coverage is always a component of this as well. So I want to, like, give a shout out to CNN of all places. I feel like they’re starting to really do a good job on climate coverage.

 

Yessenia Funes: You know why they hired Rachel Ramirez? Shout out surveys show.

 

Amy Westervelt: Is it is it just all down to Rachel Ramirez? I’m going to say yes.

 

Yessenia Funes: I will say it is all because of Rachel Ramirez.

 

Amy Westervelt: Yeah. Seriously, there is a distinct correlation between her being hired there and their climate coverage improving dramatically. So, yes.

 

Yessenia Funes: Shout out to you, Rachel.

 

Amy Westervelt: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So they did this story that was called A Day of Extreme Weather across the U.S. where they just showed like how it was happening in all of these places in the U.S. at the same time. And I thought it was it was so compelling because it was like they showed the floods in Montana. They showed severe storms across the Midwest, which left 620,000 people without power in, well, the Ohio River Valley. Yeah.

 

Yessenia Funes: I didn’t even see that. I did not see that news. I now online like last week.

 

Amy Westervelt: Yeah, well, good for you. I mean, it’s good to be off.

 

Yessenia Funes: But then I missed this. I missed stuff like this.

 

Amy Westervelt: Holy shit. I know. And then there were more than 125 million people, so that’s a third of the U.S. population. More than a third actually were dealing with potentially dangerous heat. So record temperatures in Asheville, North Carolina, Saint Louis, Nashville, even in Nebraska, where apparently the town of North Platte hit a record 108 degrees. So, I mean, this massive heat dome was covering like enormous parts of the country at the same time that you had, you know. Yeah, like drought in the West and floods in Montana.

 

Yessenia Funes: I actually experienced this. You did the heat down the dome. I was in Nashville when this was happening and everyone kept talking about just how insane the weekend was going to be. They’re like, Make sure that you’re ready for this weekend. It’s going to be, you know, record heat. And I was like, interesting. Wow. I’m sorry. I really wanted to ask them, do you think climate change is to blame? But I wasn’t sure people’s politics down there. And I was like, I’m too brown to be like.

 

Amy Westervelt: The one I shot here. Yes. Yeah.

 

Yessenia Funes: But it was it was it was very, very intense. The kind of heat that was I mean, you’re standing there, you’re just, like, covered in sweat. Yeah. It’s like a humid kind of heat, too. Yeah. Yeah. I did not miss this news.

 

Amy Westervelt: Yeah. Yeah. And then only two days after the heat wave closed schools in Michigan, you had thunderstorms and floods there, which forced the closure of Abbott’s formula factories. So I was just like, oh my God, the compounding crises are just insane because, you know, this is like two weeks after they reopen it started, you know, the formula shortage is starting to very slightly ease and then you have an extreme weather event shutting them down again. So like these are the kinds of things too that I’m like, yeah, like these things are not separate. They’re going, these like climate is, is going to be exacerbating lots of other problems.

 

Yessenia Funes: It’s going to affect literally everything. And I’m really glad you brought up the the formula shortage, because when the shortage was on, I mean, as it was happening like earlier on. A member blogging to our team here. I was just like some. There is a climate story here. Like there is some way that we can cover this and talk about just in general, the way the supply chain is going to be affected in the future. And it just feels so ironic that, you know, not even a week later, perhaps after I posed that question to the team, that’s like actually here’s a real way that now climate change is affecting this ongoing crisis.

 

Amy Westervelt: Yeah.

 

Yessenia Funes: Just feels like a fucked up comedy or something.

 

Amy Westervelt: Yeah, totally. It feels like Murphy’s Law, in effect. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. But Yessenia, have you heard of Cole’s law?

 

Yessenia Funes: Cole’s law? Yes. I feel like I’m missing something here.

 

Amy Westervelt: It’s thinly sliced cabbage.

 

Yessenia Funes: Wait what?

 

Amy Westervelt: Coleslaw. Coleslaw. It’s another dad joke. That’s another dad joke. Okay. Why can’t you trust an atom?

 

Yessenia Funes: Um. Because. Because I have no idea.

 

Amy Westervelt: Because.

 

Yessenia Funes: I don’t know, why?

 

Amy Westervelt: Because they make up everything. Boom.

 

Yessenia Funes: Oh, that’s a good one. I like that one. I get that one. I did not get the coleslaw one.

 

Amy Westervelt: The first time I read it too, I was like, What? I don’t get it. Oh, I get it.  It’s coleslaw. We’re going to move on to, I think, maybe one of my favorite segments here at Hot Take, which is the Surprise Me segment. So Yessenia, what’s what story have you got for me today? What have you been reading?

 

Yessenia Funes: Surprise. So I have some really happy news, some good pop culture news for you, Amy. Love it. I don’t know. I don’t know if you heard, but Queen Bey’s about a drop a new album. And actually, she’s dropping a single tonight at midnight.

 

Amy Westervelt: Wow. Amazing. I did not hear and that is very good news I like it.

 

Yessenia Funes: Beyonce’s music is always just superb so I’m very very very hype about this.

 

Amy Westervelt: If you need a pick me up from all the bad news now, you have one. That’s amazing. I was like I was actually looking for good news to bring to this table, like hoping that you had found them and you did amazing.

 

Yessenia Funes: And. You know, I do think that Beyonce is like a climate person. I’ve been like dreaming of the day. One day she’ll give me an interview for Atmos or something. She does like hurricane work. Yeah. Her Black is King album for Lion King had all these, like nature elements lemonade did to I very I really do think that she’s like an undercover climate activist like she has to care about this shit. She’s from Texas.

 

Amy Westervelt: I was going to say, isn’t she from Texas? And also.

 

Yessenia Funes: She’s from Houston, yo, like she has to and she.

 

Amy Westervelt: And she has kids. Come on. She’s got to be. Yes, yeah. Yeah. Awesome. All right. Well, that is tremendous. Good news and a nice surprise. I, on the other hand, have brought you something to bitch about.

 

Yessenia Funes: I love it. Lay it on me. Lay it on me.

 

Amy Westervelt: Which is it’s so funny because last night we did this segment, Mary brought me an Ezra Klein column, and now I’m bringing you one, which is this op ed column that he wrote, I think it was today.

 

Yessenia Funes: Oh, my God. I think I saw it on my Twitter feed, but I didn’t read it yet.

 

Amy Westervelt: Yeah, it’s an opinion piece and it’s entitled This is a Weirder Moment Than You Think. And then it’s all about like futurism and trying to predict like the future of the U.S. and particularly the future of the US political system. And like, you know, whether all of these like big destabilizing events will actually happen or not. And he does not mention climate change at all in this column, but he does mention. Do you want to take a guess?

 

Yessenia Funes: Aliens?

 

Amy Westervelt: Yes. Aliens, fuking aliens.

 

Yessenia Funes: I saw your tweet. I’m a cheater. I didn’t like come up with this. I saw you tweeting about it. That’s what I saw. I saw your tweet response to it.

 

Amy Westervelt: Thinking like aliens, but not climate change. It kills me.

 

Yessenia Funes: Yo, to be real though, aliens are definitely coming.

 

Amy Westervelt: I am very interested in the creeping coverage of UFOs. Like, I don’t think. I mean, I do think that like the part where he talks about this is something that people should be aware of, which is that like we have actually been having some congressional hearings about UFO sightings.

 

Yessenia Funes: Yes we have.

 

Amy Westervelt: I’m not joking.

 

Yessenia Funes: I know this because I’m very into alien news. Actually, I find it really fascinating.

 

Amy Westervelt: My husband is, so I catch in on it like every once in a while, just like walk past him. And I’m like, is this is this like another is this an alien investigation? But he does he like takes it very seriously. He’s like listening to all of the, you know, naval experts and stuff.

 

Yessenia Funes: I mean, it’s pretty wild. The Navy sees some shit.

 

Amy Westervelt: I know, I know. Yeah. The House Intelligence Committees, Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence and Counterproliferation held a hearing in May about unidentified aerial phenomena. That is that’s the thing that happened. So, you know, I’m glad that he mentioned the aliens. I just think it’s weird that he didn’t mention it, but he.

 

Yessenia Funes: Really he really doesn’t mention climate change not once?

 

Amy Westervelt: No, no, no. He mentions sentient A.I. and again, a valid thing to be like freaked out and worried about. You know, he mentions the January 6th hearings and the fact that, you know, he’s kind of always pointed to Watergate and the fact that Al Gore conceded the 2000 election, even though there was a lot of like unknowns at the time as as sort of proof points of like the stability and strength of American democracy. And he was kind of like, I don’t think either of those things would go that way now, you know, which I agree. But, yes, amidst all of this talk of and he he actually talks about like the weaponization of disinformation and then, yeah. Does not talk about climate.

 

Yessenia Funes: What the heck did he give his last column? Wasn’t that the one that you all talked about?

 

Amy Westervelt: Yeah. Climate and kids.

 

Yessenia Funes: Climate change.

 

Amy Westervelt: Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

 

Yessenia Funes: C’mon Ezra.

 

Amy Westervelt: It’s weird. I feel like he gets a lot of, like, in my opinion, unearned cred for being, like, good on climate. I’m not seeing it.

 

Yessenia Funes: C’mon Ezra. I’ve never thought of him as a climate person, but I do.

 

Amy Westervelt: I don’t either.

 

Yessenia Funes: see people talking about him that way. And I’m just like, isn’t he? He’s the vox guy, right?

 

Amy Westervelt: Yes. Yeah, he is.

 

Yessenia Funes: That’s how I think of him. The vox guy.

 

Amy Westervelt: He’s the vox guy. Yeah. Yeah, he is. Exactly, yeah. So, yeah, unfortunate, I would say. Very an unfortunate missed opportunity, especially because like, I don’t know, I’m like, okay, sure, you’re cramming a lot in here, but like, even just one line, a throwaway reference. Come on, something. But. No. No.

 

Yessenia Funes: Yeah. Unfortunately, I think that’s also on his eds, though. Right. Like you have an editor and at the Times, the editing process is so intensive. You’d think at some point Editor would have been like, Hey, we should just at least throw in a line here and just acknowledge climate change, because, you know, that’s also a giant threat that humanity actually faces that we know and these like.

 

Amy Westervelt: And it’s very destabilizing, you know, like well, and also but I thought that about his his kids column, too. I was like, how did no editor clock the fact that only white people were interviewed for this column about reproduction in climate? Like really long man.

 

Yessenia Funes: The times, though. The times.

 

Amy Westervelt: You know, do better. New York Times do better. Yesenia, why do plants hate math?

 

Yessenia Funes: Because of division.

 

Amy Westervelt: Oh, I like that. But no, it’s because it gives them square roots. But that’s good. I like your version better. It sows division.

 

Yessenia Funes: So good. Oh, man square root is cute. Love these dad jokes. It’s cute.

 

Amy Westervelt: It’s cute also. Well, thank you so much for coming today. I appreciate it. And it was great talking to you and will be sure to link to Atmos in the show notes and all of the great stuff that you’ve been doing over there, too. We appreciate you.

 

Yessenia Funes: Thank you, Amy. Next time, hopefully I can be here with you and Mary.

 

Amy Westervelt: Yes. We’ll have you on with. With.

 

Yessenia Funes: We missed you Mary.

 

Amy Westervelt: The three of us?

 

Yessenia Funes: Yeah.

 

Yessenia Funes: Okay.

 

Amy Westervelt: Awesome. Thank you so much. And listeners, we’ll see you next week.

 

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.

 

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Jon Favreau: All right, guys. So this summer, we got a bunch of really terrible Supreme Court decisions coming down on reproductive rights, climate change and gun control.

 

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