Green New Generation

This week, hear conversations about climate change, a new generation of political activists, and the Green New Deal, with Senator Ed Markey, Saikat Chakrabarti, David Wallace-Wells, Olivia Freiwald, Angel Nwadibia, Nick Rabb, Saya Ameli Hajebi, and Drake Hunt. Hear it today at 2 pm or anytime at our website.

The acceptance of death-by-coronavirus in the U.S. brings to mind the American refusal to deal with climate change: in both cases, there’s a powerful inclination toward doom.

Still from Dr. Strangelove.
The crowd welcomes the world’s leading cause of COVID misinformation.

And doom seems ready for us, when you consider the facts of climate change. David Wallace-Wells of New York magazine tells us this week:

David Wallace-Wells.

But a new generation is emerging that cannot—for the sake of its own survival cannot—accept the politics and the compromises of earlier generations. This is the generation fueling the primary success of Green New Deal icon, Senator Ed Markey in Massachusetts. Markey’s victory over Joseph Kennedy sent a message: there’s a young movement inspired by the Green New Deal’s sponsors Markey and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a movement ready to reject the old political dynasties and mythologies.

Senator Markey joined us this week to talk about the new generation, and a persistent cause for optimism:

Senator Ed Markey.

Saikat Chakrabarti led efforts to bolster campaigns of a range of insurgent Democratic candidates, including, most famously, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Chakrabarti then became AOC’s Chief of Staff). He joined the show, too, with a lot to say about changing the politics:

Saikat Chakrabarti.

We talked to plenty other representatives of the new generation this week: activists with the Sunrise Movement (famous for its climate justice efforts, such as its showdown with Nancy Pelosi) and more. You’ll hear a clarity of purpose, and a recognition that doing something about climate change is a way to respond to intersecting threats.

Nick Rabb, Ph.D. candidate at Tufts and Sunrise activist, says: “One thing that marks our generation that I’ve seen, distinct from other circles that I’ve been in with older folks, is that we are very keen to share not just the facts but the emotions around everything.”

Nick Rabb.

Their experiences have made the stakes all the more obvious. Angel Nwadibia, undergraduate at Yale, says: “I come from Maryland, about 15 minutes out from DC. I remember going to school everyday hearing announcements about how our water was lead-infested and how we couldn’t drink it.”

Angel Nwadibia.

Olivia Freiwald, a Tufts undergraduate says, “There’s a certain transparency to the issues that are killing people and oppressing people and suppressing people . . . and that’s allowed us to be really clear-eyed about the most important things.”

Olivia Freiwald.

Saya Ameli Hajebi, director of the Academic Parity Movement, says: “I remember sitting there, feeling really frustrated and angry, that [Speaker of the Massachusetts Houe Robert DeLeo]was trading my generation’s future, dollar for dollar, for years of my life, and neglecting to pass climate legislation. And all of a sudden, we’re talking about how the next day we’re going to have a sit-in at Robert DeLeo’s office. And immediately my eyes lit up.”

Saya Ameli Hajebi.

Drake Hunt, an activist and student at NYU, explains the backdrop of this committed activism: “You’re sitting here like, the world does not give a damn about me. Because the world feels unfair. It feels unfair if you’re black, feels unfair if you’re poor, feels unfair if you’re gay, feels unfair if you’re a woman, feels unfair if you are anything but a member of the ruling elite. And now you’re a young person having to live out the rest of your life with the planet dying.”

Drake Hunt.

Read About: The Round Table

The Arming and Departure of the Knights, by Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris, and John Henry Dearle.

Among the great books never written about collective action is John Milton’s Arthuriad. The book isn’t real, it never happened, but Milton did apparently plan to write an epic about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Maybe it’s for the best that instead of a single Titan Poet on the subject, we have a multitude of voices, filmmakers and novelists and poets. There’s Tennyson’s Idylls of the King, Chretien de Troyes’s romances, T.S. White’s Once and Future King, Thomas Malory’s Le Morte Darthur. The Knights of the Round Table legend is about a sort of utopian collectivity, and it’s been collectively narrated.

See Malory’s book for a scene where the knights together have a vision of the Holy Grail: in this moment it’s a shared, elusive vision, inspiration for communal striving and hope and evasive bliss:

Watch: Halloween Movies from the ‘70s

The Criterion Channel maintains its status as a near-utopian bastion of intellectual and artistic brain activity. Now it’s reminding us that this is still Halloween season, and that the ’70s really were the ’70s: a time of grimy, messy, ambititious cinematic creativity. They have a series on 1970s horror up now. Here’s their pitch:

Support Open Source on Patreon and Hear Daniel Mendelsohn

For those who haven’t joined yet: subscribe to Radio Open Source on Patreon to find an ever-expanding library of conversations.

This week, Adam Colman talks with Daniel Mendelsohn, author of Three Rings, a new book about exile and narrative. Mendelsohn, a writer with a rare combination of erudition and literary elegance, talks especially about W.G. Sebald and Eric Auerbach. For more on this, you can also watch his Harvard Bookstore virtual event with James Wood this Thursday at 7 pm. And for Open Source on Patreon, go to

Next Week: The Upswing

Building off the optimism of this week and inspired by a new generation of leaders, we talk to Robert Putnam, author famously of Bowling Alone, the Harvard sociologist’s wake up call about the decay of America’s fabric of social connection. This is important book about civic re-invention. If we build it will you come?

Coming Soon:

Our friend Fred Logevaal has spent most of the last decade in search of “the real JFK.” This is a page-turner for Kennedy fans fans of history alike.

This week’s ephemeral library

Exxon’s Plan for Surging Carbon Emissions Revealed in Leaked Documents. What Do Colleges Owe Their Most Vulnerable Students? Fix America with Libraries. Inside a president’s “Masculinity Death Cult.Trump’s Illness and Ours. We were always rooting for the girls. Congrats Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna for your Nobel Prize! Donald Antrim on The Solace of My Suit Closet.

See you next week! Take your mind off your mind and go on out and peep at those leaves!

Your OS Climatologists



An American conversation with global attitude, on the arts, humanities, and global affairs, hosted by Christopher Lydon.

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Radio Open Source

An American conversation with global attitude, on the arts, humanities, and global affairs, hosted by Christopher Lydon.