Category: Social Justice

Interview: Camille Dungy

How do cultural constructs, like race, influence our relationship to the natural world? Poet and professor Camille Dungy explores this question by highlighting African-American voices in her 2009 anthology, Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry. In this conversation with producer Jackson Roach, Camille shares her perspective on the intersection of race, identity, history, and the human-environment relationship.

Carbon Footprint of Superheroes

We are all hugely grateful for the sense of justice and security that superheroes provide. Their service to society is, of course, immeasurable. However – did you ever stop to consider the environmental impact of all this crime fighting?? …No? Well, we here at Generation Anthropocene are proud to announce that our own Miles Traer, PhD took it upon himself to pioneer a new field of energy accounting. Herein we announce the carbon footprint of superheroes, and, *HOLY ENERGY CONSUMPTION BATMAN*, there are a lot of emissions to account for.

Drawing from his extensive experience as a research scientist, Dr. Traer (again, PhD) addressed many outstanding questions about our caped crusaders’ copious carbon counts. For example, what exactly is the power source Tony Stark uses to power Ironman’s suit? How many calories does Flash eat to run at the speed of light? What rare materials are needed for Spiderman’s webbing?

Again, we recognize the vital role our superheroes play in keeping us all safe. But let us always remember that there are trade-offs, and at the end of the day we ALL need to do our part to help save the planet.

Read the entire Carbon Footprint of Superheroes now!

Prefer to test your knowledge first?! Take the quiz.

Interview: Paul Shapiro

Are you a vegetarian, a vegan, or a lapsed vegetarian? Do you eat meat and feel a little conflicted about it? No matter where you fall on the spectrum, Paul Shapiro wants to welcome you into the conversation around animal agriculture. Shapiro is an animal rights activist and the Vice President of Policy for the Humane Society of the United States. With producers Benji Jones and Mike Osborne, Shapiro talks about the intersection of the environmental and animal welfare motivations to eat less meat. They also talk about alternatives to livestock slaughter, including plant-based meats and the emerging field of clean meats.

Livelihoods, Poverty, and Climate Risk

Perhaps you’ve noticed recently that there’s been a shift in way experts are approaching climate change. While much of the focus (rightly) continues to be on “bending the CO2 curve downward,” there’s also been a growing literature on climate adaptation. The sobering reality is that climate change is already upon us – so given that we cannot escape some of the consequences, we’re now faced with a whole new series of READ MORE

Rare Earth Elements

“Oil is the blood; steel is the body; but rare earth elements are the vitamins of a modern society.” While many of us can’t even pronounce elements such as praseodymium, yttrium, or gadolinium, these minerals drive our technology and our modern lifestyles. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill “common” Earth elements, these are the “rare” earth elements. But… they aren’t actually that rare. And their importance to modern life goes well READ MORE

Scars of the Past

Beneath Cambodia’s troubled history with the Khmer Rouge lies a complex agricultural legacy that reaches back centuries. Once the symbol of a thriving region, we see how a prolonged El Nino brought drought and increased human conflict, and how the ruthless Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge looked back to the temples at Angkor Wat and their proud agricultural heritage to motivate the atrocities of the Cambodian genocide. READ MORE

Preparing for Paris

When the Conference of the Parties meets in Paris in the coming weeks, it will mark the 21st time the nations of the world have met to try to strike a deal to combat climate change.  Given existing tensions between nations, and given that each country has a unique capacity to contribute to a comprehensive deal, we ask the question, “how can we measure success at the Paris negotiations?” Stanford researcher Aaron Strong and New York Time reporter Andy Revkin walk us through the history of previous negotiations to explore what went wrong, what we’ve learned, and why many are so optimistic about Paris.  They point out the areas where progress has already been made and where the potential sticking points lie.  As anthropogenic climate change continues to affect the world around us, success in Paris might look a little different than people have previously thought.

THIS EPISODE WAS PRODUCED BY LESLIE CHANG, MIKE OSBORNE, AND MILES TRAER.

Learning to Die in the Anthropocene

Does climate change mean the end of civilization? Maybe that sounds crazy, but, then again, all the forecasts are deeply sobering. There are reasons for hope, sure, but there are also reasons to believe that humans are unleashing forces beyond anyone’s control. If we assume for the sake of argument that we are on a collision course headed for global catastrophe, how do we make peace with that reality? How do we comport ourselves as ethical human beings, and what does it mean to be living through the late stages of this explosive time period? These are just some of the questions that Iraq War veteran Roy Scranton grapples with in his new book, “Learning to Die in the Anthropocene.” Drawing on his experiences, Scranton uses the framing of the Anthropocene to capture a deep time perspective and to confront mortality in a way that is rare in public discourse. In this conversation with producer Mike Osborne, Scranton talks about his journey as an intellectual, his decision to go to war, and what it means for a civilization to learn to die.

This episode was produced by Leslie Chang, Mike Osborne, and Miles Traer.
Additional music by Kevin MacLeod (License available here)