For Bill Weir, chief climate correspondent for CNN and host of The Wonder List, every day is Earth Day. In the latest episode of Friday Sessions co-host Gregory Scott Brown, MD, talked with him about the challenges of climate change as well as how he maintains hope.
As Weir sees it, calling whats happening to the climate a greenhouse effect makes it sound like there are flowers and tomatoes and other nice things. I use the hot car baby effect. We all know what happens when you leave an infant in a car in the sun on a hot day. Well, were the baby. And weve built this car out of our own climate-cooking pollution. And we need to roll down the windows and move into the shade as fast as we can, he says. By the middle of the next century, he says, it will feel like most American cities have moved 500 miles south.
On one hand, progress has been made; when the first Earth Day was celebrated 52 years ago, in Los Angeles, you could taste the air. Rivers in Ohio were catching on fireit was so obvious how we had fouled our own planetary nest. The Clean Air and Clean Water Acts helped ameliorate those, but there is still so much more to do to protect the earth, Weir says.
Eco anxiety is rampant, and figuring out how to make an impact can feel overwhelming. But in his reporting around the globe, hes noticed that people are more alike than they are different, he says. Happiness is directly proportional to how many people you can comfortably hug in the course of your day; how many people you would hand your child to in an emergency. Weve seen it in the pandemic; the societies that are the tightest and the most trusting of each other are usually the most prepared and suffer the least, he says, which gives him hope for solving the climate crisis. Weve made a lot of the problems we talk about on Earth Day. Together, we can solve them.
How? There are a billion different solutions. Theres not a golden bullet; its buckshot and each one of us is like a little pellet doing the best that you can. Keep in mind that mitigationtrying to stop a problem at its sourceis important. But so is adaptation, he says. That could be spending 30 minutes making a checklist of what you need to do if storm season comes.
Climate change isnt just a menu item of things to be concerned about and take action on, he emphasizes. Its the whole restaurant. Everything else is a menu item. For more insight and advice, see the full interview with Bill Weir below:
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