This week we revisit our interview with Paul Ehrlich. Ehrlich rose to notoriety in the 1960s following the publication of his bestselling book “The Population Bomb.” In the book, he foresaw a world characterized by widespread famine and societal collapse driven by overpopulation. In the years since, Ehrlich has received considerable criticism for his predictions. In this quintessential Gen Anthro conversation, our former student Jenny Rempel challenges Ehrlich about his past predictions and how his views have evolved.
Trash. Garbage. Refuse. Waste. Call it whatever you like, this is the stuff we deal with everyday that we no longer want in our lives. It’s not that it has no value; it actually has negative value. That’s why we’re getting rid of it! And apart from remembering when to drag out the bins to the curb, our trash mostly stays out of sight and out of mind. But on today’s show, we explore what happens when we don’t look away and follow our trash around. Where does it go? What happens to it? And what does our garbage say about who we are?
THIS EPISODE WAS PRODUCED BY LESLIE CHANG, MIKE OSBORNE, AND MILES TRAER.
In the late 1970′s, tens of thousands of Brazilian agricultural workers found themselves out of work due to technological advances on farms. To combat the problem, the government, with help from the World Bank, set up a program to settle people into the rainforest and allow them to farm commercial crops. The hitch? No one had tested the soil to see if it could support the crops being grown. From there, the ambitious social and ecological experiment quickly turned into a nightmare of Hollywood proportions involving strife between ranchers and local tribes, clear cutting of the rainforest, and disease outbreaks of all kinds. What can we learn from what went wrong in Rondônia?
This episode was produced by Leslie Chang, Mike Osborne, and Miles Traer.
Additional music by Kevin MacLeod (License available here)
Climate change is one of the many defining characteristics of the Anthropocene. But it’s about more than greenhouse gases, energy consumption, and rising temperatures. Climate matters because of the ways it interacts with us. So what is at stake? On today’s show, we’re looking at those stakes at the global scale. Our first story is about the link between climate change and human conflict, reaching across the planet and back through human history. Our second story is about a radical approach that might enable humans to control the climate system – geoengineering.