WXXI AM News

Climate Change

We continue our series of conversations about statewide efforts to curb climate change. We be joined by Sandra Steingraber, a scientist, climate activist, and scholar at Ithaca College, who recently took her cause and research to Albany.

She’ll be in Rochester this weekend for a program about environmental stewardship with Interfaith Impact of New York State, but first, she joins us on Connections. Our guests:

  • Sandra Steingraber, environmental activist, biologist, and distinguished scholar in residence in the Department of Environmental Studies at Ithaca College
  • Rev. Richard Gilbert, minister emeritus of First Unitarian Church of Rochester, and president of Interfaith Impact of New York State
  • Rev. David Inglis, retired United Church of Christ pastor

There is a discouraging new study about how humans are dealing with climate change. In short, we're getting used to it. And that's dangerous. The study finds that extreme weather can feel "normal" after only a few years, and that normalization could spark apathy regarding climate action. If a past generation thought something was extreme, what happens when the current generation shrugs?

Our panel discusses the implications of this study, and how climate activists plan to push back against normalization. Our guests:

The Green New Deal is getting most of the attention when it comes to legislative ideas for combating climate change. But individual states are working on their own approaches.

New York State is working on a number of policy plans and initiatives, and our guests offer their perspective on what is proposed, what might work, and why. In studio:

  • Sue Hughes-Smith, member of the leadership team for the Rochester People's Climate Coalition
  • Heather Dulisse, Greater Rochester parent leader, and team coordinator for Irondequoit Mothers Out Front
  • Aaron Micheau, president of the Metro Justice Council
  • Andrew Thomas, member of the Rochester chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America's Ecosocialist Working Group, and fundraising and membership director at Metro Justice
  • Mark Dunlea, chair of the Green Education and Legal Fund and one of the initial authors of the Green New Deal

Democrats in Congress have introduced what they call the Green New Deal. It’s already under fire from not only the political right, but also among some members of the Democratic Party. Does the Green New Deal have any chance of passage? What would it mean in terms of policy?

Our guests help us understand what the Green New Deal is and the possible impact it could have on policy, the economy, and the environment. Our guests:

When it comes to fighting climate change, there tends to be two schools of thought. One says that it’s all about personal responsibility, and acting every day in a way that is sustainable. The other says it’s mostly about policy, especially on the federal level.

Our guests believe the two camps are related, and they try to live every hour in a way that is sensitive to our changing climate. So what does that look like? What changes might they inspire in others? Our guests:

  • Enid Cardinal, senior sustainability advisor to the president at RIT
  • Kimie Romeo, activist and recent environmental sustainability award winner

Is your home energy efficient? The goal of the Sustainable Homes Rochester campaign is to encourage community members to install clean heating and cooling systems to improve energy efficiency. What does that look like?

Our guests discuss the different technologies, how they work, and how homeowners can decide what might be the right fit for their energy goals. In studio:

Writing for The Intelligencer, journalist David Wallace Wells poses some questions for parents and prospective parents: whether it’s moral to reproduce in this climate; whether it’s responsible to have children; whether it is fair to the planet or, perhaps more important, to the children. He's talking about the impact of climate change on the psyche of parents, and whether a growing number of couples is deciding not to have children at all based on the direction of our civilization.

It's a heavy subject, and our guests weigh in:

Late last month, five members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced what climate activists are calling the most significant climate change legislation Congress has seen in more than a decade – and the bill was introduced by members of both parties.

The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act would apply a nationwide price on carbon emissions and return revenue to taxpayers each month. The goal: to lower greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent in the first 12 years.

We’re joined by local climate activists who discuss their hopes for this bipartisan climate plan and if it can work. In studio:

A group of newly elected Democrats joined protesters in Nancy Pelosi's office last week, staging a sit-in to call for more serious climate policy. Critics called this a case of the left attacking itself; supporters argue that Democratic leadership has failed to produce climate policy strong enough to make necessary changes.

We discuss tactics and policy with a panel that includes:

The new report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that climate change is already further down the road that we had hoped, and without dramatic and quick changes, bad things are coming. In other words, it's worse than we thought.

Meteorological scholar Eric Holthaus responded by pledging to never fly in an airplane again, while listing other changes in his own life that he was willing to make for future generations.

Our guests discuss the path to dramatic change. In studio:

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