Background Briefing: December 26, 2019


Saving Our Endangered Earth

For the next few days, as we close out 2019, we are looking back on some of the defining stories we covered this past year. We begin today with the single most pressing issue facing the country and the planet and that is the climate crisis which remains unaddressed as the consequences of inaction grow worse.  We begin with a program from March 24th of this year with David Wallace-Wells, deputy editor at New York magazine and the author of the new book The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, who joined us for a stark assessment of global warming’s effects on human life over the coming decades. We discussed how significant an impact the acceleration of global warming has been in the relatively short window of the past 30 years since Bill McKibbon and Al Gore first alerted the public about the threat to life on this planet that global warming poses. Welles describes a scenario and presents a grim vision of what life could be like in the not-too-distant future on our endangered Earth if immediate actions are not taken. And while the United States is the only country on earth where global warming denial is holding up progress, our growing awareness of the need to address the issue still does not begin to catch up to the scope of the catastrophe global warming presents.


Saving Our Public Lands

Then to focus on our land and the threats posed to our public lands by the Trump Administration, we revisit an interview from August 1 of 2019 with Christopher Ketcham, the author of “This Land: How Cowboys, Capitalism, and Corruption are Ruining the American West”, a book full of colorful characters like scrappy earth defenders, villainous cowboys, obsequious bureaucrats, legendary conservationists and the plutocrats of the industrial extraction economy. He joined us to discuss the pillaging and profiteering from the 450 million acres of public lands across 12 Western states underway due to the regulatory capture of the BLM and the Forest Service by powerful oil, mining and grazing interests which can be undone by congress if the owners of the land, the public, rise up and demand it.