Emma hosts Drew Pendergrass, doctoral student in Environmental Engineering at Harvard University, and Troy Vettese, environmental historian at the European University Institute, to discuss their recent book Half-Earth Socialism: A Plan to Save the Future From Extinction, Climate Change, and Pandemics, on putting together a socialist model for a society that operates without economic markets and with respect for ecological theory, climate science, and urban and land-use planning. Drew and Troy begin by situating their work as an attempt to think through what socialism does, and can mean when attempting to tackle modern questions and social issues, with a particular focus on conservation. They then dive into the specific systems and infrastructures that would be necessary in such a society, from mass investment in public transportation, greater food choice to support a transition away from industrial husbandry, and a commitment to re-wilding and building up nature preserves from around 10-15% of land to around 50%, before looking at why socialism is necessary as the overarching system supporting this world. Next, Emma, Drew, and Troy look deeper at the history of conservation and the ideologies that drive it, first looking at their work as a critique building off of E.O. Wilson and completely changing our relationship to land-use as we try to undo our creation of a sixth mass extinction, before they jump back to the 1700s and the major schools of thought around our relationship to nature – including the influence of Hegel and the humanization of nature into utopia, and the Malthusian social Darwinism that sees “positive” checks (mass deaths) on population numbers as central to humanity’s continued existence. They also touch on how the role of conservationism, particularly today, almost entirely serves the realm of philanthropy, as they dive into prevailing narratives and models around tackling the climate crisis we face, and how they often act contrary to the ecological crisis, looking at nuclear power and carbon capture technology specifically, before wrapping up by discussing their own perspectives on the issue, and the video game attached to their work that lets people practice building their own environmental models for the future, and see what worlds they could support. Emma also covers a Florida judge’s overturning of the federal mask mandate on public transit and planes, Israel’s continued air raids on Gaza at the height of Ramadan, and Ron DeSantis banning textbooks for discussing social-emotional learning.
And in the Fun Half: Emma takes a call with Ken from Charleston as they unpack today’s interview, before watching Eric Bolling take Ilhan Omar’s suggestion of praying on an airplane as disrespect towards good Christians, and Fox’s the Five dive behind who’s really in charge of Biden, refusing to walk on eggshells as they daringly analyze the Easter Bunny’s role at this weekend’s White House Celebrations. She also touches on Alex Jones’s clinging to Tucker Carlson as his walls of conspiracy crumble around him, Carter from NorCal discusses the importance of the collective element of collective bargaining, even when outside of a union, and a Swedish caller dives into this weekend’s Quran book burning and the corruption of the Swedish police. Comrade Greeting Card discusses airline COVID policy, Matt and Emma dive into the Right Wing’s inability to differentiate between investigative journalism discussing the possible identity of an anonymous harasser, and the revealing of all personal information (doxxing), plus, your calls and IMs!
Check out Drew and Troy’s book here: https://www.versobooks.com/books/3818-half-earth-socialism
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