The Largest Mass Poisoning in History

In the mid-1980s, a small problem began to surface in a relatively obscure corner of the world.  In 1994, just about a decade later, the World Health Organization published a statement that this little problem had developed into “the largest mass poisoning of a population in history.”  On today’s show, we speak to the doctors, epidemiologists, and geologists who helped hunt down the origin of this tragic event.  Join us as we venture through the human body and through geologic time to uncover the twists and turns and remarkable coincidences responsible for this ongoing epidemic.


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Special Announcement

The producers of Generation Anthropocene – Mike Osborne, Miles Traer, and Leslie Chang – are making a special announcement about the future of this show.  We’re going to be expanding the scope of our storytelling as well as the types of material available on our website.  We might not release a new podcast episode every Tuesday as we have been doing for this past year, but we will continue to report on all things Anthropocene through audio interviews and new material like written blog posts and photo essays.  We thank all of you for your understanding in this time of transition.


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Sandy, NOAA, and the woman in charge

Jane Lubchenco, the former head of the US government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), discusses what it’s like being asked to join the president’s “science team,” the tremendous breadth of research covered by NOAA, and what it’s like sitting in an airplane flying through hurricane Sandy.  Dr. Lubchenco also reflects on her work as a science communicator and the now “platinum standard” of open science communication she helped develop at NOAA.

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Are you an environmentalist or do you work for a living?

We revisit one of our first interviews with environmental historian Richard White. He addresses the (mis)perceptions of the natural world, the ambiguities surrounding the Anthropocene boundary, and explains what he meant when he wrote the provocative essay “Are you an environmentalist or do you work for a living.”

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