A current tour of The Future Earth with author Eric HolthausA current tour of The Future Earth with author Eric Holthaus
Episode #

A current tour of The Future Earth with author Eric Holthaus

Episode #

A current tour of The Future Earth with author Eric Holthaus


We tend to think of climate change as a problem in and of itself. But what if the climate crisis is a symptom of a bigger issue? What if we can’t solve climate change without social justice?

Meteorologist Eric Holthaus is the climate correspondent for The Correspondent and author of The Future Earth: A Radical Vision for What’s Possible in the Age of Warming. Today, Eric joins Ross to explain how climate change is a symptom of broader societal inequalities and discuss the role ownership has played in causing the climate crisis. He shares his vision for a cooperative political and economic system based on distributed production that supports the ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all.

Eric goes on to explore the complexity of our connections with the each other and advocate for a system of ethics that promotes care work and prevents overconsumption by a privileged few. Listen in for Eric’s insight around what the pandemic has taught us about the potential for a radically different life and learn how actively reducing inequality is the first step in solving climate change—once and for all.

Key Takeaways

[1:16] The themes Eric presents in The Future Earth

  • Combination of urgency + optimism (picture of what fighting FOR)
  • Climate change provides chance to fix other structural problems

[5:20] How quickly ‘radical solutions’ have become mainstream

  • Demonstrated in numbers published by Data for Progress
  • Example—100% renewable energy seemed out of reach

[7:26] The relationship between climate and justice

  • Climate change = symptom of broader inequalities + injustice
  • Perspective lends to expanded list of solutions (e.g.: care work)

[8:08] The role ownership has played in causing climate change

  • Idea of private property consolidated wealth to few
  • Overconsumption by those who control resources
  • Can only survive by caring for each other and our home
  • Must become stewards of objects, own as community

[17:41] Eric’s vision for our future economic and political systems

  • Yet to be invented, drawn out of ecologically focused world
  • Can’t survive in competitive economic system on finite planet
  • Believe life, liberty and pursuit of happiness possible for all

[21:35] The concept of distributed production

  • Democratize everything for broader societal goal of cooperation
  • Example of libraries as community resource anyone can use

[27:58] Eric’s take on toxic masculinity and care work

  • Must understand complexity of relationship to world
  • Develop skills in asking for help, admitting when wrong

[32:08] How Eric thinks about energy efficiency and overconsumption

  • Break addiction to overconsumption with focus on reducing inequality
  • Wealth tax provides universal access to housing, food and water

[37:18] The potential for us to lead radically different lives

  • Demonstrated by Coronavirus pandemic
  • Reframe what is and is not necessary (e.g.: air travel)
  • Rebuild purpose of society in zero carbon context

[40:47] Eric’s insight on travel and the auto industry in the US

  • Bike networks in Amsterdam don’t interface with roads at all
  • Surface areas of cities 30% to 40% car infrastructure
  • Highways built to boost economy but destroy neighborhoods

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