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.
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:
More than half of all the carbon that we’ve produced and put into the atmosphere since the beginning of human civilization has been done in the last twenty five years, that’s since Al Gore published his first book on warming. It’s since, you know, testimony in front of Congress. It’s since the U.N. established its climate change body. We’ve done more damage since then than in all the millennia that came before. So even in this period of growing environmental activism, we’ve really accomplished very, very little.
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:
We can create millions of new jobs. The technologies are there. Wind, solar, all-electric vehicles, plug in hybrids, battery storage technologies are increasing their efficiency at a rapid rate, energy efficiency technologies, A.I. is going to play a big part. So it’s all there. We just have to change the politics of this issue.
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:
There’s no more faith in anybody up top knowing what the hell they’re doing. You have to try figure it out yourself. Who are you going to trust? If you can’t trust the people up top doing their job, you gotta come up with a new generation of political leaders who do know what they’re doing, who can take power and actually solve these problems.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
Read About: The Round Table
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:
. . . anone they harde crakynge and cryynge of thundir . . .in the myddys of the blast entryde a sonnebeame, more clerer by seven tymys than ever they saw day, and all they were alyghted of the grace of the Holy Goste. Than began every knyght to behold other; and eyther saw other, by their seeming, fayrer than ever they were before. Natforthan there was no knyght that myght speke one worde a grete while; and so they loked every man on other as they had been doome.
Than entird into the halle the Holy Grayle coverde with whyght samite, but there was none that myght se hit, nother whom that bare hit. And therewas all the halle fulfylled with good odoures, and every knyght had such metis and drynkes as he beste loved in thys worlde. And whan the Holye Grayle had bene borne thorow the hall, than the holy vessell departed suddenly, that they wyst nat where hit becam.
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:
In the 1970s, everything was wilder, weirder, and more far-out — and horror movies were no exception. In North America, a new generation of maverick directors like Tobe Hooper (THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE), George A. Romero (THE CRAZIES), Wes Craven (THE HILLS HAVE EYES), Brian De Palma (SISTERS), and David Cronenberg (THE BROOD) responded to the decade’s heightened political anxieties and Vietnam War–era sense of disillusionment by pushing the genre’s psychological intensity and visceral violence to shocking new heights. Across the Atlantic, Britain’s legendary Hammer Films continued to serve up old-school gothic spine-tinglers (THE VAMPIRE LOVERS), while auteurs like Nicolas Roeg (DON’T LOOK NOW) wedded spellbinding terror to art-house experimentation. Bringing together some of the decade’s most iconic slashers, chillers, and killer thrillers alongside low-budget cult rarities (LET’S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH, DEATHDREAM) and camp-tastic oddities (TROG, THEATER OF BLOOD), this tour through the 1970s nightmare realm is a veritable blood feast of perverse pleasures from a time when gore, grime, and sleaze found a permanent home in horror.
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 patreon.com/radioopensource.
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?
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