27 minutes | Dec 9, 2020

COVID-19 and Climate Change Part 1 (with Alicia Harley, Rob Paarlberg, and Troy Vettese)

COVID-19 forced radical change on the world, but isn’t that just what we need to combat climate change? The simple concepts of how we use land and how we eat may very well determine the future of our species—and our planet. Three Weatherhead Center scholars guide us through the complex environmental and political systems that constrain efforts for systemic change, and discuss what needs to be done today.The first episode of this two-part podcast series looks at how COVID-19 and climate change are part of the same human-made crisis. The lynchpin of these two crises is land—how much of our planet’s surface area is dedicated to raising and growing food for animals. Troy Vettese believes we will not be able to slow down the effects of climate change without giving up meat production, which is something human beings do not need to survive. But how can people be convinced to stop eating meat? Robert Paarlberg describes the vast improvements in agricultural output in recent decades and the known methods for protecting humans from animal viruses in the factory farm setting, as witnessed in Europe. Alicia Harley emphasizes the new momentum around climate change politics and demand for plant-based meats, both of which have increased during the pandemic.What a sustainable society would really look like and whether or not we can get to that goal without drastically changing our economy or our governance is a question of utmost urgency, and our scholars agree major steps must be taken in the next ten years.Host:Kathleen Molony, Director, Weatherhead Scholars Program.Guests:Alicia Harley, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Sustainability Science Program, Harvard Kennedy School; Lecturer in Environmental Science and Public Policy, Harvard College. PhD, Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School. Robert L. Paarlberg, Weatherhead Center Associate. Associate, Sustainability Science Program, Harvard Kennedy School; Betty F. Johnson ‘44 Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Department of Political Science, Wellesley College.Troy Vettese, Weatherhead Center William Lyon Mackenzie King Postdoctoral Fellow, Canada Program. PhD, Department of History, New York University.Related Links:Resetting the Table: Straight Talk About the Food We Grow and Eat by Robert Paarlberg“Sustainability Science: Towards a Synthesis” by Alicia Harley and William C. Clark (Annual Review of Environment and Resources, October 2020) “Debating Green Strategy” by Troy Vettese (New Left Review, May/June 2018)Half-Earth Socialism: A Manifesto to Save the Future by Troy Vettese and Drew Pendergrass (Verso Books, forthcoming 2022)“The Climate Crisis and COVID-19 Are Inseparable” by Troy Vettese and Drew Pendergrass (Jacobin, May 2020)“Covid-19, Food Systems, and Wild Animals” by Robert Paarlberg (Commentary, Center for Strategic and International Studies, October 21, 2020)Follow the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs:WCFIA WebsiteEpicenter WebsiteTwitterFacebookSimplecastSoundcloudVimeo
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