1:04 mins

The Problem with Climate

Jon Talks Climate Change: It Gets Heated

We don’t want to send the message that criticizing us on Twitter is a ticket to the podcast...but that’s what climate reporter Kendra Pierre-Louis did, and now here she is. Kendra had some issues with our climate episode on Apple TV+, so Jon invited her on for a conversation. And just like our planet, things heated up—insofar as you can call a thoughtful exchange of ideas “heated up.” Jon is also joined by writers Rob Christensen and Tocarra Mallard to talk about Twitter trolls, beard maintenance, and the importance of a steady government job.


Episode 20 Final Transcript

Jon: Do you journal, Tocarra?

Tocarra: I do. Yes.

Jon: That’s interesting. I don’t journal, I have a diary and I mostly write about my crushes.


Rob: So we’re both in there then. Yeah.


Jon: Hello, everybody. Welcome to The Problem podcast, we are joined by Rob Christensen and Tocarra Mallard, two of our finest writers. I’m going to say something to you both.

Tocarra: Talk to us.

Jon: And please don’t tell the other writers this. You’re my favorite.

Tocarra: I knew it.

Rob: I felt it.

Jon: The two of you.

Rob: Yeah.

Jon: Together.

Rob: I’ve been saying that to the other writers already the whole time. So it’s out the bag.

Jon: Oh God, they realize that.

Rob: Yeah.

Jon: Rob, I want to say the beard once again is —

Rob: Thank you.

Jon: It’s majestic.

Tocarra: It’s thriving.

Rob: I oiled it this morning. You know, the lighting doesn’t quite capture it, but it’s oiled. It’s very oiled.

Jon: Mm hmm. I oiled it — mine, but it turns out it’s just like rubbing oil on my face. It’s just not enough of a beard that I can really do that. But what can I say to this? What an incredible transition. Because you mentioned oil. Our episode. [ROB LAUGHS]

Jon: Right?

Rob: Yeah.

Jon: Isn’t that how it’s supposed to go? I’m supposed to use that as a segue of some sort.

Tocarra: So poetic.

Jon: To show that I’m present in the conversation. We talked about climate change on the episode, and as you know, climate change is a real and catastrophic event that is occurring as we speak, and we have been told that the cataclysm is coming, that we have to keep it to 1.5 degrees centigrade. And the point of the episode being some things not matching up in the conversation. That in the conversation, what they’re saying is that a catastrophe is upon us. We must do something. And yet the governments seem not to be doing it. It’s been going on for about 30 years now, 35 years. So we were trying to get some semblance of integration, synchronicity on the real conversation we thought maybe we should be having, which is mitigating some of the more catastrophic results of this future that is clearly upon us right now, and we’re going to get to that later. We’ve got Kendra Pierre-Louis, she’s a senior climate reporter. She’s going to join us a little bit later on and tell us what we missed and some of the things that we could have done. But before we get to that, before we do that, I wanted to tell you guys, we’ve got another episode dropping today on the media on Apple TV+.

Rob: Yes.

Tocarra: Yes. Happy St. Paddy’s. [ROB LAUGHS]

Jon: Happy St. Paddy’s. And I want you to know that the media is a cataclysm that is upon us as we speak. And I think in the next and the conversation really should be, how do we mitigate the effects of the media?

Rob: What show that we do is not a cataclysm upon us? [JON LAUGHS] It’s sort of our thing.

Jon: How are you guys doing cataclysmically? Is everything OK?

Rob: You know, actually, this morning my mother texted me. Shout out Eileen Monahan. There’s a poll going around about you running for president. Yeah.

Jon: How often does your mother text you?

Rob: A lot. Yeah, we’re in contact. [TOCARRA LAUGHS]

Rob: She’s in my life.

Tocarra: That’s a baseline, “We’re in contact my mother and I.”

Jon: And generally, is she just sending you internet polls?

Rob: No, this is the first one. And she says that if you need someone to campaign for you, she’ll do it.

Jon: Oh, Eileen Monahan, thank you so much. Tocarra, are you, do you get texted by your family and what is the general basis of it?

Tocarra: Jon, I have to say my mother — shout out to Melissa Holt — did text me this morning to let me know that the IRS is hiring [ROB LAUGHS] in case I needed steady employment.

Jon: What?

Rob: Wow.

Tocarra: We’ve had this conversation before. She thinks this is just a flight of fancy and I should be looking for stable government employment. God bless her.

Jon: What?

Tocarra: Yeah.

Jon: I love the fact that she wants you in the IRS. Does she understand that you are, in fact, in the Writers Guild, the vaunted organization that many aspire to, only few can attain? Tocarra, you’re making it.

Tocarra: She’s like, “Jon could fire you at any moment. [ROB LAUGHS] Don’t you want the protection of government steps?”

Jon: I just want her to know that that is not the case, that there is no need to. That Tocarra Mallard is a treasured and valuable writer. That the IRS can go f*** themselves. They can suck it [TOCARRA LAUGHS] because we’re not giving Tocarra up. We’re not giving her up to the IRS. We’re not giving her up to the VA. We’re not giving her up to any governmental institution. This individual is a writer par excellence.

Rob: Yes.

Tocarra: I should send her my packet, maybe she’ll understand.

Jon: Is your mother accepting packets right now? Because I would like take that. [TOCARRA LAUGHS]

Rob: Is the IRS accepting packets right now? [ROB LAUGHS]

Tocarra: She only wants to know if I can do math and show up 8:30 to 5:30 Monday through Friday.

Jon: Oh my Lord. That’s so interesting. But she does understand that what you’ve done is like, kind of an incredible achievement, right? For those who are listening out there, Chelsea Devantez who was our head writer came up with a really nice egalitarian methodology for creating packets. Usually, they’re very onerous. We opened it up and we received one page or two pages of monologue jokes Tocarra’s was in it. Tocarra, you were working in Indiana at that moment weren’t you?

Tocarra: Yeah, I was in Indianapolis, Indiana, I was working at a social services agency.

Jon: So our process was able to rob the social services agencies in Indiana.

Rob: Yeah, we were able to take you away from doing the good, important work [TOCCARA LAUGHS] to come in over here and doing pee poo poo jokes with us.

Jon: Here’s what show business is about: finding people that are actually doing good things and corrupting them.

Tocarra: Yeah, but anyhoo, those are my text messages. Just concern over job security.

Jon: Oh, rock solid. I just got a message from Sophie, who is our producer, she said I am trending on Twitter right now and I’m not exactly sure why. I’m assuming it’s because I texted from my bed about Kanye.


Rob: Jon, do you know what getting ratioed is?

Jon: Say that again?

Rob: Getting ratioed on Twitter? Do you know what being ratioed is?

Jon: I don’t.

Rob: You don’t. It sounds like you don’t that’s when a tweet has like more quote tweets and responses than it does likes, meaning that people are upset with the tweet and that’s currently what’s happening to a tweet from our account, the show’s account.

Jon: Oh, which one? What is it?

Tocarra: I’ll fall on the dagger. This was all me, Jon. I am so sorry.

Jon: What happened?

Tocarra: I did a late night tweet. I was trying to be cute. I was trying to say in a funny way that fossil fuels have powered the last 200 years of our progress. So, I mean, we can only vilify them so much. I mean, yes, we have to make change. We also have to acknowledge and instead of saying that I call them our frenemies and the internet said, “Die you dumb person die.” So that’s what they’re doing right now.

Jon: Now, when they say “Die, you dumb person die.” I’m assuming they mean me, not you.


Rob: Thanks for taking that heat, Jon. Thank you.

Tocarra: Yeah. Don’t fire me, please. You just said you wouldn’t, so.

Jon: No worries. I’ve been ratioed. If that is the term.

Rob: Yes.

Jon: Many, many times in my career, sometimes by my own family. I’ve been ratioed at breakfast by my children.


Rob: Can I give you a particular response that I liked a lot here? Someone tweeted that “Jon Stewart has a kink for being trolled on the internet.”

Jon: A kink for being trolled on the internet?

Rob: Is that your thing? Is that what gets you going?

Jon: That is what gets me going. I wake up in the morning and I think, “What could happen to me on the internet today?” Although to be perfectly frank, I think the internet is kind of built for that. And you know, what’s interesting about that, which I think is instructive. The take is basically this, fossil fuel companies are standing in the way of the progress that we need to make on climate. I don’t think there’s any question about that, the lobbying that they do and all those things. So the basic premise was, I think we’ve got to co-opt them. I think we’ve gotta bribe — if we want to get to where we need to go with the speed we need to go, these guys have too much power in the governments and everything else. So we got to figure out a way to co-opt them. But what will happen is because it’s the internet. People will respond to the caricature of what you say. They’ll respond to frenemies or they’ll respond to the cuteness, and it won’t be thoughtful. Now, within those responses, there may be some thoughtful criticisms that are constructive that we can take and we can learn from. But the overwhelming majority of it is bloodsport. Basically, what it will be is a lot of individuals coming out to see if they could club the baby seal that is me in that moment. But if their understanding of what we’re saying, I’m I’m always happy to defend it.

Rob: And I think we’re on the same side, right? We do think that the oil companies are evil. It’s just that they have all of the power. So we’re negotiating with a psychopath.

Jon: I think they’re a corporation. They’re for profit. They’re neither more evil or less evil than most gigantic for profit corporations who think only in terms of the rapaciousness of their growth. You know what it reminds me of? Do you remember there was a woman that testified in Congress? About Facebook.

Tocarra: Oh, that’s right, the whistleblower,

Jon: Frances Haugen, and she said, “Facebook puts profits over people,” and I was like, “Hmmm. Wait till she finds out about every corporation known to man.” That’s kind of their thing. So I was thinking in terms of judo. Can we use that energy that governments and corporations are being too slow to act? And we have to find a way to get this thing kickstarted. That’s all. But we’re going to learn more about it. We’ve got with us and maybe this is a good time to bring her in. We have with us an expert who is a senior climate reporter with the Gimlet Spotify podcast “How to Save a Planet,” which is what we’re trying to do, save the planet. Previously, she was a climate reporter with The New York Times and authored the book ‘Green Washed: Why We Can’t Buy Our Way to a Green Planet’. So please welcome to the podcast Kendra Pierre-Louis. And you guys, you guys want to stick around and hear the conversation because I think you’ll enjoy it.

Tocarra: Absolutely.

Interview with Kendra Pierre-Louis

Jon: Why don’t we have you guys stick around, Kendra? Are you there?

Kendra: I’m here. Hello.

Jon: Bam.

Kendra: Thanks for having me.

Jon: Kendra, we’re delighted. You watched the episode we did on climate change, and I don’t want to necessarily characterize your thoughts on it, but —

Kendra: I have some thoughts.

Jon: I’m going to say pure fan love, love, love. [KENDRA LAUGHS]

Maybe five loves. She gave us — it wasn’t five stars, I believe, she said, “Can I give it eight?” No, you had. You had some thoughtful criticisms of it. And so we thought we’d bring you on to give your thoughts on it. [KENDRA LAUGHS]

Kendra: One that I want to begin with is it’s kind of the tiniest and easiest to wrap your head around. It was when you said recycling doesn’t work. You didn’t explicitly say that you were talking about plastic recycling, which does not work. I’m onboard with you. Plastic recycling doesn’t work, but we recycle lots of other things and it does work. Metal recycling works, paper recycling works, glass, it would be better if we refilled than if we recycled. The plastic companies co-opted a system that was developed to recycle these other products to create this false belief that we could recycle plastic. And that’s why we have this fake belief that, you know, that’s why people put plastic in recycling bins. But like and it’s kind of the issue with climate in general is that there’s always a lot of nuance and you have to be really careful in how you talk about it because it, if you’re not it, it can really muddy the water for people and you can have people throwing out things that they should recycle, that they should make an effort to dispose of properly.

Jon: I think in terms of recycling, I think the point that we were trying to make, however, you know, not nuanced it was because it probably wasn’t. Is that oil companies and the larger corporations have made it seem as though the way to get out of this environmental catastrophe is through personal virtue. And it felt like they did it purposefully so that we would look at ourselves rather than them. But it’s pretty clear that their role in this is much larger than ours. If that makes sense.

Kendra: Yeah but in doing that, even in looking at them, asking the question of like, what can we do to co-opt the oil companies? What can we do to get them on our side in terms of it’s almost the wrong question. We have almost two centuries of their behavior knowing that they’re not going to do that, right? So this is an industry that Exxon knew in the 1970s that fossil fuels were causing climate change and they kind of borrowed from the tobacco industry playbook and said, “Hey, how do we suppress that information?” The coal industry knew in the 1960s so like they had a long time to figure out how to pivot and how to do something different. And they doubled down. And so the question we need to be asking is, how do we defang them? Not how do we co-opt them. So if you look at the companies that are sort of doing a little bit better, you look at a company like Equinor, which is Norwegian, it’s that oil. It’s 56, roughly renewable.

Jon: Can I tell you something about the Norwegians?

Kendra: What?

Jon: They always come through. I don’t know what it is about the Norwegians, but they always come through in a responsible way. They’re always the ones that are kind of leading the charge as it were.

Kendra: The reason that that company looks the way that company looks, I would argue is two. One it’s state owned. Right, so there is a huge, tremendous — it’s state owned and state employed

Jon: Oh, Kendra. Now, you’re, stepping in it, Kendra. [KENDRA LAUGHS] If you’re going to go full socialist —

Kendra: And then the second, and this is kind of important is in Norway, your income taxes are public.

Jon: Are you serious?

Kendra: I’m dead serious.

Jon: Well, I think we know Elon Musk isn’t going to move to Norway. [KENDRA LAUGHS]

Jon: That’s wild. So let me ask you about that because when you say defang. And I say co-opt. In some respects, we’re talking about the same thing. And maybe it’s a methodology. The way I look at it is this. When I look at the political process, right? Versus the profit process. Our government doesn’t act fast enough or with enough tenacity to defang large corporations, especially ones when it comes to energy that are so politically fraught. I mean, we’re seeing it right now. When gas prices go up, when oil prices go up, there is a rush to open all the oil leases to open the petroleum reserves. And I think that the oil companies are smart enough to manipulate that cycle.

Kendra: Yeah, but —

Jon: What I was trying to appeal to was their profit motive. Because they know the energy future doesn’t belong to them.

Kendra: But the problem with that is again. Well, one we used to be able — we used to have a lot more control over corporations up — it used to be much easier for the —

Jon: Teddy Roosevelt. Trust busters.

Kendra: Even before then. If you’re looking at the 1800s, if you look at a lot of the environmental regulations that popped out in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, a lot of that was based on 1800 law that sort of extended it because there was a period of time where it was much easier to revoke a corporation’s charter. We have this whole idea, essentially this expectation that corporations are going to make money at the expense of society and we’ve normalized that. We have this expectation that our government doesn’t function and we’ve normalized that. And one of the things that I thought was really interesting in the episode is you brought up like as a species, we’re not good at self-sacrifices but that’s not true. And you used the pandemic as an example. But if you look at different countries, some countries acted remarkably well and in solidarity with each other to better contain the pandemic than we did in the United States. And I’ve been thinking a lot about that and a lot about World War Two, for example, and how people planted victory gardens in the wake of knowing that there would be food shortages, right? But they didn’t just wake up one day and say, we’re going to plant a victory garden. There was propaganda and there was promotion, and there was opportunity that helped people do that. What we didn’t do during the pandemic is we didn’t hand out masks. But we also didn’t do things like, here are things that you can do that are COVID safe. We sort of like YOLO. If you figure it out, you’re on your own. And naturally, a lot of people were like, “I just want my life to get back to normal because I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to be in my house all day and I don’t know what else to do because nobody’s told me what else I could be doing in this time.” And so when you take that example and you move it to sort of fossil fuels, we need to just think differently about everything. It’s not just a question of about getting rid of gas and oil, it’s about the way our whole system is predicated on this kind of extractive economy that will not propel us into the future. So it’s not just about getting your car off of gas and onto EV. It’s about rethinking communities so we’re not as dependent on cars, and it’s not even about sacrifice. And that’s the other thing is we constantly talk about sacrifice. I’m in New York. I don’t know if you live in New York or Jersey, but like, I walk everywhere because I have sidewalks. This is a —

Jon: Wait, what?

Kendra: I know it’s wild. I have sidewalks. A lot of the country doesn’t even have sidewalks.

Jon: You know, realistically, though, you know, Kendra, when you talk about rethinking the idea of, you know of — imagine the government in this moment revoking the charter of a corporation. You know, I almost think that a corporation that produced Soylent Green probably couldn’t get its charter revoked. And aren’t we on a tighter timeline than that?

Kendra: I would argue that you don’t have to think that big, right? So like we know that fossil fuel prices are very high, right? So what if the government didn’t respond by saying, “Hey, I’m going to make gas prices cheaper?” Why didn’t they say, “Hey, we have this military with all of these vehicles and these busses? And what we’re going to do is we’re going to set up impromptu mass transit systems all across the country in places where people need it, and we’re going to make it free. And that is what we’re going to do to help reduce the cost burden on you of the gas prices that are increasing.” And that is two fold increases; that is two benefits. It teaches people that mass transit is an option in places that don’t traditionally have mass transit.

Jon: When you say set up mass transit, you mean you mean the military would run like, like bus lines or something.

Kendra: Yeah, just yeah. Why not? [KENDRA LAUGHS] Why not? We give them enough money.

Jon: The only reason I would say why not is. I don’t know if you know you’re aware that trust in the government is is really low and —

Kendra: Yes.

Jon: And collective government action is seen as tyranny. I mean, when they put in mask mandates. There were protests in state capitals just to wear —

Kendra: Yeah, but those were funded by the Koch brothers. Y9our next episode is on the media. But those early anti-mask protests, those were funded by the Koch brothers and other institutions that had an entrenched interest in having us reopen. And then the media covered them earnestly, magnifying the messages of what had been really small protests. The first weekends of those open up protests there were keep it closed protests that got a fraction of the coverage. So, so so there’s this interplay there were like —

Jon: I mean the media inflames these conflicts in a way that I think I think you’re absolutely right. Keeps them going.

Kendra: But, and despite the mistrust in the government the day the Post Office, like people, were signing up for free government at home COVID tests before it was even officially announced. People were not angry at their free checks. If you run a transit line and you say it’s free and you’re not pushing people on them, you’re just saying, “Hey, this is an option for you.” That’s very different.

Jon: I guess I would probably question whether or not some of that is politically viable. But I hear your point and your point being that if we could take collective actions that would move us more towards the types of net zero solutions that you’re talking about behaviorally, we’d be in a better place. I think that’s probably absolutely true.

Kendra: And get people thinking, wait, like if, like you see it all the time, people come to New York, they’re like, “Oh man, I love the subway.” And then they go home and they have to get in their cars right?

Jon: Now wait a minute. [KENDRA LAUGHS]

Kendra: They do! They say it. You’re just a curmudgeonly New Yorker.

Jon: I was moving all the way through and then you just said out loud “People come to New York and say, ‘I love the subway.'”

Kendra: They do. People love the subway. They do.

Jon: Really? I’ve not met many people who say, “Can I bottle this smell and bring it home with me?”

Kendra: No, but they appreciate relatively cheap, relatively convenient transit.

Jon: Yes. Isn’t that a function of population density?

Kendra: So everybody thinks population density and they think midtown Manhattan. And I don’t think that. I think Montreal, I think Somerville. I think population density helps for a subway, but you don’t necessarily need it for a bus line. One of the things that I think about a lot is 80 percent of our public funding goes to like roads versus 20 percent for mass transit. And mass transit often operates under a mandate that it needs to be profitable. Roads don’t make money, but transit somehow has to do. That doesn’t make any sense.

Jon: Aren’t you having to untrain us, though? Because the American ethos, true or not, is individual spirit and frontier mentality. It’s the individual. You know, the move to autonomy in cars, the car culture, the interstate culture. That’s going to be a difficult thing to unravel and to retrain towards the model that you’re talking about. And I’m not suggesting that the model you’re talking about isn’t better for us. I think it probably is. I’m just trying to be realistic about our time horizon.

Kendra: Some of it is relearning, but some of it is also just making it so that the driving is a pinch point. I like the subway. I think we overestimate rail. I think dedicated bus lanes are cheaper and easier to put in lots of countries, I think Cartagena did a really good job with their best transit. If you look at South America, if you, if we stop looking at ourselves and start looking at other countries, especially middle income —

Jon: Kendra, we’re Americans. This is the only people we look at. There’s, I didn’t even know there were other countries.

Kendra: They exist.

Jon: What?

Kendra: I’ve lived in some of them.

Jon: Kendra, how could you? Do you think there’s something particular in the American mentality that makes these kinds of transitions more difficult? Because even when I look at like Germany, right? Germany is one of those countries and England to some extent that have made a real effort to move towards EV to move towards net zero to move off of fossil fuels. In this crisis, the first thing that they did wasn’t to restart their reactors, which would be a more fossil fuel efficient. They moved to restart coal. And does that speak to that we haven’t become resilient enough in the more energy efficient space to withstand these kinds of crises.

Kendra: So if you’re talking about Germany. Germany is a really strong anti-nuclear culture, so it’s just not socially tenable to restart nuclear. A lot of people think in the US that we have a strong anti-nuclear culture and that actually isn’t really true in the United States. Nuclear is a problem because it costs too much. It’s not profitable.

Jon: Right. Are we wrong to be against nuclear energy? Because I think people conflate nuclear weapons with nuclear energy sometimes.

Kendra: It is much faster and easier. Like to build a wind farm or a solar farm than it is to build a nuclear power plant to that time horizon question. If we could start building nuclear power plants today and we would not have them built up in time fast enough, we just we don’t have the capacity to —

Jon: So time horizon wise, nuclear is not necessarily the option.

Kendra: No, it might be an option later. Do you know what I mean? It might be like we decarbonize to 20 at 2050 and then we’re like, “Well, what else can we do for energy?” That’s a question that you can raise for that timeline. But in terms of getting enough us off fossil fuels, getting us to decarbonize, nuclear isn’t the immediate solution just because it takes so long to build. But to circle back like the question is like, how do we spend — you’re talking about political will and it’s expected – electrify everything, all the things that we need to do. We can’t do that through individual solutions like I’m a renter. I really doubt my landlady is going to spend tens of thousands of dollars to completely remove all of the systems in the apartment and electrify it so that I can have an induction stove and so that the entire apartment, the heating system runs on electricity without money.

Jon: You would be the greatest landlord history.


Jon: No, I think I think you’re right there. So, you know, in some ways, I think what we’re talking about is similar. It’s just a question of, I think your idea of getting there and jumping the time horizon is maybe a little different than mine.

Kendra: Even if somehow a fossil fuel company decided to become overnight to completely keep everything in the ground, it wouldn’t deal with all of these other issues that we need to deal with if we move towards full electrification, right? It wouldn’t deal with the connectivity issues. It wouldn’t deal with the fact that a lot of people live in places that don’t have consistent energy. The Vermont utility, Green Mountain Power, they’re on record as telling a lot of the rural customers that they can’t consistently provide them with electricity, given the growing climate issues. And so they’re pushing them really towards heat pumps and they’re pushing them towards whole house batteries to provide backup. So it’s about figuring that out. It’s about that redundancy because climate change is here and it’s going to get worse.

Jon: The battery issue is an interesting one, Kendra, because I think that’s, you know, because if we’re talking about, you know, they say we’ve got 10 to 20 years to make that energy transition.

Kendra: We need to have emissions from 2020 levels by 2030 and to get to net zero by 2050 to effectively keep things below 1.5 degrees C.

Jon: Right. Do you think even that keeps things below 1.5? Because now I’m hearing that what they’re saying is realistically, even that only gets us to two degrees or two point five.

Kendra: Yeah. So there’s a couple of things to keep in mind when there’s more recent research that has come out that says that the lag in the climate system may be less severe than we thought it was. So that like the analogy that I often use is that we’re on a train hurtling at a wall and it matters if we hit the wall at a thousand miles per hour versus 30 miles per hour.

Jon: Wait, that sounds like the movie Speed; I don’t want that.

Kendra: Right but it matters if we hit the wall at 100 miles per hour or a thousand miles per hour or 30 miles per hour, right? Like some of those are survivable. Some of those are not, right?

Jon: Right, I like that. Now you got me.

Kendra: So what really matters is every, every increment of warming that we can avoid. Is awesome, is great. And so ideally, we would hit those targets. But even if we missed those targets but don’t hit three, that’s great. So like, we need to move away from thinking of climate as —

Jon: Is three the catastrophe?

Kendra: I mean —

Jon: Is this one where you’re like —

Kendra: Well it depends on where you’re living, right? I mean, if you were in Ecuador this year and your house got swept away by a landslide, it was a catastrophe for you.

Jon: I mean, that’s the other thing is climate effects will be felt incredibly unequal. I mean, more vulnerable communities will suffer at much higher rates than other communities, even if we’re able to keep this at the lower levels, yes?

Kendra: Yes. And so two things I feel like we should say not “Will suffer,” but “Are suffering,” because we’re already feeling the effects of climate change,

Jon: Suffering now. Right.

Kendra: And the second that’s why there’s this upcoming COP, the big global U.N. conference. A lot of that is —

Jon: Do you trust this COPs? Do you trust them in any way because we’ve had 26 of them? And every time the political leaders and everybody else have the same urgent warnings and every time they don’t act with that urgency.

Kendra: I mean some things have come out of COP. We have reduced globally in the United States. We have reduced greenhouse emissions, not as much as we should have, not as much as we need to, but emissions have gone down, one of the other things to recognize is that when the first environmental conference happened in Rio in ’92. The science wasn’t as settled, partly because the fossil fuel companies were working really hard to make sure that that to muddy the waters, but the science wasn’t yet settled. So part of their goal of that first conference was to help — was to settle the science. It wasn’t so much about acting on climate. It was like, “Hey, we need to know what the science says.” The first IPCC report, climate change report hadn’t come out in ’92. That wasn’t out yet.

Jon: On the practicality of using political power, right?

Kendra: Mm hmm.

Jon: In this, it feels to me like when gas prices go up, governments that are looking to work to stabilize climate change get pushed out in favor of drill baby drill. And it seems politically expedient to slow the adaptations and changes that you’re talking about. How do we battle that?

Kendra: Well, one, it’s a myth, right? By the time you can extract enough oil to have any effect on global oil prices, it’s too late. And second, this is the thing that’s really frustrating. The vast majority of people in the United States want action on climate change. Overwhelming numbers are either very concerned or alarmed about climate change. Yale Climate has great data on this. The problem is we’re not talking to each other and we’re not talking to our legislators. Our legislators don’t think that they have to listen to us. And so the real question is, is how do we sustain the political will to push our legislators for change? One of the things that I watched recently was a documentary about the 2013-2014 Ukraine protests, and it put into really good context what’s happening in Ukraine now, because it’s for them, it’s a very new democracy and they put their lives on the line for it.

Kendra: And so why aren’t we willing to do the same, right? We pay this language for future generations, but we’re unwilling to like kick people out of office. We’re willing to see our rights get eroded over and over again, and we just sort of take it passively. And that’s a really broader question that we need to ask for U.S. society, right? Like, it’s not just about the political will, like one of the things that really frustrates me about media coverage is the way we cover politics in general, which is you cover politics as a spectator sport. It’s like watching football or something. And we don’t talk about it as these are elected officials who are elected on our behalf that they respond to us and that they’re there to enact the will of the people. And if they’re not doing that, then they have no business in being in those offices. And it’s our job as American citizens to be aware of the policies that they’re enacting. And it’s our job as the media to make it clear what those policies are in a timely manner that we can push our legislators to either act on or to deny them. So often we don’t even talk about policies when they’re a done deal or we talk about policies in terms of which side likes it or which side doesn’t like it. We don’t talk about policies in terms of what is in it for us as people.

Jon: No question. No, they’re focused on the horse race of it, and they’re focused on the conflict of it. You know, even the polarity of right and left is the only way that you’ll ever see it talked about within the news media, and it’s always about the conflict. But I also think we can’t ignore, though, that. You know. Fuel and energy is probably in a lot of ways, one of the most regressive taxes that we have on struggling people. You know, if you’re on a very tight budget, and we know that most people are and so many people live paycheck to paycheck. When you double fuel prices, when you raise the cost of electricity, it affects those at the lowest end of the economic ladder the hardest. The essential worker, those people. How do you mitigate that?

Kendra: It’s really easy, actually, but we don’t want to do it.

Jon: Great! Bring it. How?

Kendra: We know what people make. We have income taxes and what we do when we what Biden could have done just as easily said, “If you make below this threshold, we’re cutting you a check, you get a check. And that will cover the increased cost in your gas prices. And we’re going to continue to do what we’re doing in the renewable energy. We’re not going to release the reserves. We’re not going to do all of these other things. We’re just going to cut you a check. But there’s no political will.

Jon: This is what I’ve said for many years. The Fed, right? The Federal Reserve has been pumping $120 billion a month into the bond market. The Fed has been artificially keeping interest rates low for larger corporations. Why can’t we use that money hose? I said the same thing about wages. Why can’t we use the money hose on people at the lower end of the economic ladder that have food insecurity, that have wage insecurity? And do those things and it’s —

Kendra: It’s racism.

Jon: OK, that’s interesting.

Kendra: Yeah so —

Jon: Talk to me.

Kendra: The easy — if you look at the United States and you look at Roosevelt, we had great social programs in place up until segregation. Once we got rid of segregation.

Jon: Well, the New Deal though kept black people out of it, the New Deal did not —

Kendra: It did keep black, right. It did keep black people out of it. And then we —

Jon: It exclusively kept black people out of it.

Kendra: Right and then and so it was fine to give people resources. And then the 1960s happened and we said, “Hey, we’re going to start eroding these things. We’re going to say that if you have a public pool, black people have to go into your pool. So they filled in the swimming pools or made them private.”

Jon: Right, right, right.

Kendra: Like, over and over again, it’s the boogeyman of racism and the idea that minorities and that black people are going to get something.

Jon: Right. You’re going to give money to people coming across the border. So how do you fight that? How do you? Because that, boy is that deeply ingrained, Kendra, and I think you’re onto something here, and that is really the essence of resource guarding. How do we make it so that it’s understood that you’re not resource guarding when you’re investing in communities that struggle? Because if you can lift them up, the productivity of everybody goes up. So how do we get that message across?

Kendra: If I knew I think I’d have a Nobel Peace Prize. But I think the first step is to name it right? To talk about how like that scarcity mindset is baloney, and all it does is enrich the richest people and it leaves the rest of us fighting over scraps, right? Like, I think it’s really important to at least name why we’re doing the things that we’re doing. And so that more and more people are aware of it. You know, there are a lot of solidarity movements. There are a lot of people who are having these conversations and that’s how it starts. It can often feel like conversations don’t matter, but they do. And so having these conversations, not just with like minded people, but with like your friends and with your family and raising it — and who may not agree with you, but raising it and being like, “Isn’t it better for everyone if we have X, Y and Z?” And it’s true. I often joke that the way that we should advertise and push for mass transit is if we can call it, “It’s better for parents and it’s better for alcoholics”, right? Like you can go to the bar, you can get drunk and then you can get home safely. If you’re a parent, you’re like counting the days until you reach —

Jon: Isn’t that the whole reason Uber exists? That was the whole point of Uber.

Kendra: But Uber isn’t everywhere and Uber’s bad for the environment. Mass transit’s better. But also, as a kid, I grew up in New York. I started riding, I started going activities on my own when I was like 10, 11, 12 because I could ride the bus. My parents didn’t have to cart me everywhere. That’s such a tax that we put on parents and it creates a have and have not culture, but like of who can do that right. But if you can have a transit system that is safe enough and efficient enough and frequent enough that you can put, you know, children on it, then all of a sudden that gets better. We don’t talk enough about the fact that, like, cars kill so many people. We have normalized cars as a mass putting aside climate, everything moving people into transit also reduces death, it reduces accidents, it reduces injuries. It opens up a world of ability. If you’re blind, if you’re epileptic, you can’t drive right. Like, there are all of these people who are sort of put onto the margins of society because of the way that we structured it and we can restructure it in a way that is better for the environment, yes, but it’s also a better place for us to live in. And I think that’s the message that we need to get across to people that it’s not just a message of sacrifice, but everything else will be better.

Jon: Yeah, it’s a retraining, though Kendra because it is, you know, to roll back that feeling of autonomy is a hard one meantally.

Kendra: But it’s the myth of autonomy. Right? It’s a myth. If you’re spending, I think the average families spend around 20 percent of their take home income on their cars. If you’re spending 20 percent of your income on your vehicle, how autonomous are you? It’s a change in oil prices.

Jon: I agree with you there. I think the 60s is a really interesting era to look at because that was the divergence of suburban culture from city culture. In the 60s, the Immigration Act of the 60s, the Civil Rights Act of the 60s, that really feels like a point where what you’re talking about in the culture, about resource guarding, where this idea of the other coming to get us really took hold in a very practical way for people. This fear of this creeping other thing that was not American and not of them. I think it’s some of it has to do with what people believed to be the default setting of this country, which is, you know, white Anglo-Saxon, Protestant. I think they look at it still in that lens.

Kendra: Yeah. And it’s funny because when you talked about giving up autonomy, when I think of what makes me autonomous, it’s my bicycle. It’s not my car. My car is like a chain that I think about selling every day

Jon: In New York, yes. Outside of New York, different.

Kendra: I lived in rural Vermont.

Jon: Did you really?

Kendra: Yeah, I did. I lived on for 30 acres, 10 miles outside of town next to a cattle farm. And my big takeaway was, I don’t want to be that car dependent, and I moved back. That was my takeaway.

Jon: Yeah, I can see that. Can I ask you a question that is completely off topic, though?

Kendra: Sure.

Jon: How nice are cows? Cows are —

Kendra: Cows are sweet. But do you know? Do you know what are delightful? I got to spend time on a sheep farm.

Jon: They’re the best. They’re like a big hug. They’re remarkable. I know this doesn’t have anything to do with anything, but I just thought I wanted to get it that sheep are all that.

Kendra: Well it does. You know, what’s cool about sheep is you can graze them under a solar panel, and it’s good for the solar panel because it keeps the grass low and solar panels need low grass to produce maximum electricity. And it’s great for the sheep because they get shade. And so they like grazing any of the solar panels and it’s like a win-win situation.

Jon: This world that you live in Kendra. [KENDRA LAUGHS] This world of synchronicity, where each creature helps the next creature.

Kendra: It’s what happens.

Jon: This wonderful world you’re talking about Kendra.

Kendra: It’s what happens when you look at climate through the lens of solution versus the lens of what’s the problem? We know what the problem is, how do we fix it? And that’s what I try to —

Jon: How do you do this then. So let’s get back to the original premise and then we’ll let you go. The oil industry presents an enormous roadblock. The legacy profits of that industry allow them to have outsized influence in the political system. They have a real stranglehold on political will because, as you can see, fluctuation in price sends people reeling. How do we defang them? If we can’t co-opt them, my my thought was cut them in on the energy future. Your thought is cut them out of the energy future, but defang them now. So how do we do that in a way that is consistent with the time horizon that we keep talking about?

Kendra: I mean, there are several ways of doing it. You can start with eliminating the subsidies that we give them. We shouldn’t be subsidizing people that are killing humans and the planet.

Jon: Boom. We shouldn’t be giving them $20 billion a year. How do you give a business making billions in profits a subsidy of 20 billion a year? It’s bonkers. But that should be done no matter what.

Kendra: The other is what I floated earlier is you can make it state owned, which has its benefits, pros and cons.

Jon: If we can’t get health care in this country, there’s no way we’re going to be able to nationalize the oil industry. I just, I just don’t think it’s feasible. Can I tell you something? State owned oil industries don’t behave in a beneficial way, either. You talk about Gazprom, you talk about China’s state owned industries, even Venezuela. They get weaponized by governments. They really do.

Kendra: They can. The other is we stop leasing. We stop the fossil fuel leasing moving forward. You can do things like staggered taxation. So like you — this amount of oil that they take out the gets taxed at this rate in this amount of oil gets taxed at this rate and you keep dropping the rate. So like if you extract 10 gallons of oil, you get taxed at two percent. If you extract the next 30 gallons, you get taxed at three percent the next 40 years.

Jon: What do you do, though, about the political problem of rising gas prices? Because what you see —

Kendra: Well what yeah.

Jon: Well, here’s what will happen in 2022. So let’s say gas prices are $5 a gallon in 2022. Democrats get swept out, Republicans come in and the first thing they do is unravel whatever progress was made on energy efficient legislation and we become a rapacious petro state.

Kendra: But I guess the question is if so many people in the United States care about climate change and so many people care about the future and they’re aware of the problem. Why is it so easy for it to get swept out when gas prices are high?

Jon: Because one is theoretical.

Kendra: Well, it’s not theoretical anymore.

Jon: For a lot of people, the effects of climate change are not really something that they interact with on a day to day basis.

Kendra: Jon.

Jon: Yeah.

Kendra: The sky was orange in New York City last year because of the smoke from the fires out West.

Jon: I know, but —

Kendra: There’s this other issue, too, which is we have had decades and decades of erosion of the Voter Rights Act and voter suppression. So many of the people who want to vote cannot vote. And so if you are asking me, like, where should we be spending our energy right now as much as I care about climate change and I don’t want to undermine that, I also very scarily watching this erosion of democracy that’s happening, this marginalization of voting. And if you, the people who want action, need to be able to vote and the people who want action are overwhelmingly people of color, and those are exactly the same people that are being targeted for voter suppression. Again, you can’t just take out the racism that if you’re talking about the near term, what should we be doing if you’re concerned about climate should be making sure that everyone who is legally allowed to vote should be able to vote.

Jon: Yeah. No. I mean, political power is a thing. I think you have more faith in humankind’s ability to be preventative rather than reactionary. I think my experience with humans has been — we are a better, we react to crises better than we prevent crises. And by the way, I’m not downplaying the change in gas prices for people because it’s real and it has a grand effect. But the crisis is generally what’s in front of your face, not what’s down the road.

Kendra: You’re seeing that people are only reactionary. And in a lot of countries, Taiwan sent emissaries to China, but as COVID was breaking out because they could see it was coming, we — so this is one of the things that I keep pushing back against. You’re saying as a species we’re reactionary, that is incorrect. Americans are reactionary, and I think that —

Jon: I would honestly disagree with that.

Kendra: Wait, there’s a ton. Wait there’s a ton of psychological literature about this because so much of psychology is based on Western, mostly American college students. It’s called WEIRD, western educated, industrialized, rich, developed nations. And so we base our perception of what humankind is like on the sub population that actually, if you look at globally, is an anomaly, it’s not the same. So like, yes, I think there are many of the things that you say are true of the way in which Americans act, but I wouldn’t say that’s the way that people act globally. I would not at all ascribe that to humanity. Robin Wall Kimmerer wrote this beautiful book called ‘Braiding Sweetgrass’ and one of the things that she notes is in her book that many of her students have no perception of the ideas of human having the capacity to live in harmony with nature. If that’s the attitude that you’re going into dealing with climate change of course, you’re going to think we can’t solve this problem. But if you look and you see other people like Costa Rica has a far smaller carbon footprint than we do. And they do far more with less money. They have a higher longevity than we do. And they don’t have anywhere near the money or the resources that we do.

Jon: They’re a tiny country, though.

Kendra: They’re tiny, but there are always these reasons to say “Well, well, well. But, but, but.”

Jon: And, they’re not they’re not heterogeneous in the same way that we are. You know, one of the difficulties that America has is multiculturalism is just more difficult to wrangle. So when you talk about Finland or you talk about Costa Rica, I understand what you’re saying that Americans are or that western and industrial societies are more selfish as a function of that. I mean, look, it’s colonialism, it’s imperialism. It’s all those exploitative practices that got these societies to where they are. But I guess my faith in humanity —

Kendra: OK, so look at New Zealand. They’re a heterogeneous society and they manage to contain COVID. And we didn’t. And yes, they are a smaller country —

Jon: They didn’t let anybody in like they stopped everything.

Kendra: But America decided that we were going to effectively do nothing. And almost almost as soon as we started something —

Jon: That’s not. That’s not fair.

Kendra: Wait. Wait. Almost as soon as —

Jon: We didn’t decide to do nothing. We didn’t. That’s not fair.

Kendra: Almost as soon as we decided to do something, the data started coming out that the people who were predominantly affected were people of color, and the open up started again. I think we’re such a special country and we’re complex in so many ways that it is unfair to the rest of the world to extrapolate to all of humanity based on this country. That’s all I’m saying.

Jon: Oh, I don’t disagree with you there, but my feeling about people is we’re a successful species because we’re exploitative, like not just in America and not just in the western world. Look, as human beings, we are hierarchical. So I agree with you about the western world. But let’s not pretend that the non-Western world lives in harmony because they don’t.

Kendra: I didn’t say the non-Western world lives in harmony. But literally, humans have only been able to survive as a species because of cooperation.

Jon: Yes, I agree with your premises but with skepticism. But I do appreciate it, and I hope you were able to get the points that you wanted to get out and some of your frustrations at watching the episode by having this discussion. And I certainly learned a lot and I appreciate the perspective that you’re bringing to it.

Kendra: Thanks for taking the time and responding to my criticism.

Jon: Please. That’s what we do. And thank you for joining us. And I hope that we will see progress on certain areas of it and that we can have further conversation in the future.

Kendra: Yes. And if nothing else, you should listen to our recycling episode. It’s quite good. [KENDRA LAUGHS]

Jon: It’s on ‘How To Save A Planet.’ That’s correct. Kendra Pierre-Louis, Senior Climate Reporter. Please check out their podcast and the book that she had written ‘Greenwashed: Why We Can’t Buy Our Way to a Green Planet.’ Fascinating stuff. Thank you so much for joining us, Kendra.

Kendra: Thank you so much for having me.


Writers Segment

Jon: Man, there were moments where I was like, “Oh my God, we’re going to do this. I’m hopeful.” And then there were other times where I was like, “Oh, I’m not. I don’t know, man, I don’t believe in people the way that she might.” And I understand the Western chauvinism or prejudice, but I still don’t. You know, and we missed each other a little bit on that stuff, but I thought her comments on, you know, the racial underpinnings of this were really spot on. I just don’t know about the let’s all take the bus. You know?

Rob: I feel like Kendra had all of the information needed, she had the answers, but when we ask how do we solve the climate crisis, we get a lot of scientific answers that will work, but that’s not going to solve the crisis. We need human emotional answers. We need to change. And so it’s more of how do we go about communicating.

Jon: Her point about the media I thought was well taken.

Rob: I think we agree with that. Yeah.

Jon: Yeah, I think that. Tocarra, what do you got?

Tocarra: You know, this is my major takeaway from the episode, but I really do think tackling voter suppression and thinking that, you know, black and brown communities overwhelmingly support politicians who want to do something to prevent a climate apocalypse, and they’re being shuttered from their right to a fair voting process is actually something that’s really, really scary. And I think it’s going to have a tremendous effects on the state of this, not only this country, but the world. And that’s scary to think about and incredibly disappointing.

Jon: In terms of also the idea of of weakening this democracy —

Tocarra: Yes, absolutely.

Jon: – to the point where it’s a minority rule country. Or it’s more authoritarian. I agree with that. Tocarra and Rob, let me ask you this, though, because there’s one thing about that that troubles me and that is this idea that, you know black and brown communities would overwhelmingly vote for greener policies when higher gas prices hit those communities harder. If you’re on a tightrope financially, $3 to $4 on a gallon of gasoline, I’m not convinced that you won’t vote that more than you’ll vote for a future.

Tocarra: It’s hard to see your future when you just need to drive down the f***ing road, you know what I mean?

Jon: That’s what I’m saying.

Tocarra: And not just black and brown people, but anyone.

Jon: Anybody.

Tocarra: Anyone who’s like, “You know what? I’m making $15 an hour or less. I have children. I have medical expenses like if anything comes up to burst my bubble, I’m screwed.” And gas is one of those things that’s just like, “Oh my God, I had it all figured out I was. I had all these plates spinning. And now here comes this f***ing thing that’s going to make me drop one.” So, yeah, I do think that’s a concern, and I do think it’s going to be weaponized or someone’s going to be like, “Listen, I’m going to be the guy who lowers these gas prices. And that’s all you see, because if I can keep those f***ing plates spinning, that’s all I care about.” So I do think it’s going to be a political ploy this year and in 2024.

Rob: And those problems are closer. Those —

Tocarra: Yeah it’s closer —

Rob: Your budget problem’s going to happen before the climate change problem happens.

Tocarra: Exactly.

Rob: For the most part.

Jon: Right. But that’s what I’m saying. Like every, every turn that I keep getting to gets me back to it. We got to also get these guys to turn the ship around a little bit. That’s my only point is all these other things. Are also very fragile. And if we could just, you know, they’re all going to have to be working in concert, if we’re going to in the next 30 to 50 years, be able to mitigate and get a handle on all these different things. But, you know, so many wild cards get thrown in there, including, by the way, World War Three [ROB LAUGHS] which tends to throw another monkey wrench into it. But I always had this sense of like because the narrative we’ve all been told is that the good guys always rise up to defeat authoritarianism. As you watch it unfold in real time, boy, it seems less certain. You know, you’d like to think like, “Oh, OK, Putin is the villain. He wears the black hat, so he’s definitely going to go down.” And then you’re watching it unfold and you’re going, “He does go down, right?” And they’re like, “Well, hold on a second.” Maybe China’s going to jump in and give him weapons and you’re like, “Wait a minute. So if China and Russia join together, like, does democracy lose? Like, how does this play out?”

Rob: I’m scared of that narrative as well of good guy, bad guy, because I’m waiting for us to be sold something. Right, so you know, Ukraine is the good guy, Russia’s the bad guy. We all get fired up and all of a sudden there’s a bill, there’s a budget, there’s a new weapon, there’s some troops somewhere we’re going to get done in somehow again, you know?

Jon: I hope not. Jesus, you’re dead on right when it comes to that. I want to get back to the days where all we need to talk about is Rob’s beard oil.

Tocarra: The simple times.

Jon: Yeah. But you know what, this media episode, this will be a great chance to look at that. You know, it’s interesting dropping this in the middle of it now because it’s really about the overly urgent, overly speculative coverage, which for the most part, within the Ukraine situation, they’ve done a really great job. And in some ways, it’s almost more upsetting because it shows they’ve had this ability all along.

Tocarra: Yeah. Well, it does feel like a spectator sport, and it feels like that rhythm of the, if true, is really popping up right now.

Jon: Are they starting to go with that now? Have they run out of real news and they’re starting to speculate through the Ukraine thing now?

Tocarra: Well, now that you know, everyone’s talking about, “Oh, is Russia having conversations about, you know, getting reinforcement from China? If true, does that mean are we going to have to form a coalition? Is NATO going to have to do something? Are they gonna close the airspace over Ukraine now, if true, what’s going to happen?” You know?

Rob: And China wins no matter what. We cannot fight China. China makes everything in the U.S. all of our products.

Jon: Why are we fighting any of these f***ers? Like, here’s the thing. China’s got China’s thing. Russia’s got Russia saying, we got our thing. Like, Didn’t imperialism die?

Tocarra: No.

Jon: Doesn’t everybody realize that it’s going to be against their own interest to spread themselves out in that way? Look, people just want to have their own identity and their own, you know, autonomy and imperialism is just going to hollow you out from the inside.

Rob: Agreed. And that’s why I think we can’t trust our media right now. It’s the same media when we were getting out of Afghanistan that we didn’t trust, who had hawks on, warmongers on MSNBC and CNN. And now it’s that same media. It didn’t change. Now they’re selling us, “Ukraine. Zelensky. Let’s go.” And I do feel for them. I do feel for them. But I don’t feel less when I see dead Russian bodies. But they want me to be desensitized to dead Russian bodies so I can root for Ukraine so they could sell me a f***ing weapon or a bill or put troops somewhere. You know, we’ve already sent billions.

Jon: That’s coming from a gentleman who served so for those of you —

Tocarra: I was just going to say, like the veteran talking just so we’re clear. [ROB LAUGHS] And speaking of veterans talking —

Jon: And just so we’re clear, this is coming from experience.

Tocarra: Yeah. Speaking of veterans talking, I don’t know if you guys saw this and another speculative piece, someone wrote an article they’re like “In Search of a Just War’ where there there are people who are nearing retirement in the U.S. military who are wanting to go to the Poland-Ukraine border, to the Russian-Ukraine border. And they want to fight because they’re like, “You know, when I joined the U.S. military, this is what I wanted. I wanted a just war.” And so for them, this is the just war that they were looking for. And there was a marine who was quoted. Obviously, he was anonymous, but he was like, “This is what I was looking for when I joined the service. Instead, I got sent to the Middle East and I did things that I don’t think was right at the time. But now I can perhaps go back and write these wrongs if I just go over there and fight a just war.” And that just broke my heart for a number of reasons. One, you shouldn’t have been over in the Middle East in the first place. And two, the fact that you need you think that you need to go and redo those war traumas to solve a problem. And again, I do believe that that is the media posturing and making it so that someone’s like, “Oh, this is it, this is the bad, this is the good, and we’re going to keep you here watching it because if true, it’s going to be real good.”

Jon: If true, we can finally put the white hats back on.

Tocarra: Exactly.

Rob: And let’s not forget, like in the Middle East, we were Russia.

Jon: Oh dude you just blew my f***ing mind there.

Rob: What Russia’s doing, we did to the Middle East. But we were sold that we were the good guys then, and I love everyone in the military. And if there is World War Three, I’ll go back if I have to, but I don’t want to. I don’t want to.

Jon: No, but you said something really interesting, which is to desensitize you to Russian bodies, and that’s boy, does that get to a very hard truth, which is there are certain bodies we cry for and certain bodies we don’t. Until we get to a point where we just want to minimize the bodies we lose.

Rob: Agreed.

Jon: Because you’re dead on, right. And the sad thing for a lot of the people in Russia is they’re being desensitized to the bodies in Ukraine and they’re being shown information that’s not accurate to desensitize them to those bodies. And that’s how this goes down. Is that desensitization. We got to figure out like a palate cleanser.

Tocarra: I know.

Rob: We went dark here.


Tocarra: Do something funny, Rob right now.

Jon: Do we have a morning show button we can press? That was. That’s one of the things like if we were doing Stern, we do it. And then like somebody would hit the fart noise and we’d all be like, “Ahhh baba booey.”

Tocarra: Bring in the babies. Yeah.

Jon: And Tocarra, I believe you are going to end the segment today.

Rob: Here we go. Here’s the Morning Show button

Tocarra: In the in the pettiest way possible.

Jon: What is it? What are we about to hear from you? That’s going to end this? That’s going to end this episode? What’s our segment?

Tocarra: Really it’s just a suggestion. It’s a suggestion to those out there who are trying to romance and woo someone that just because we’re in the middle of a climate apocalypse doesn’t mean that you should stop flying out the girls to an island getaway somewhere [JON LAUGHS] and paying for all of their things and making sure that are crab legs all around. [ROB LAUGHS]



Tocarra: It’s time for another edition of “Now That’s What I Call Petty.” Mm hmm. Today, I’m speaking on behalf of all the girls that still want to enjoy the finer things in life, even though the planet is heating up faster than a Harlequin romance novel just because sea levels are rising. Droughts are intensifying and hurricane seasons are treacherous. Does it mean that it’s impossible to plan a luxurious weekend getaway? The girls deserve to be flown out. The girls deserve crab legs and fancy drinks named after Halle Berry movies. OK, that last part was an idea I had for themed restaurant, so please disregard. But tell me you would knock back a gothica colada or swordfish spritz? Refreshing. You can’t call yourself a sugar daddy or sugar guardian if you aren’t willing to spring for a plane ticket and a suite with a beach view. Oh, all the beaches are underwater. Make one! Are you worried about the birds in the sky dropping dead from starvation? Wear a helmet, preferably designer looking at you. Helmut Lang. Are the rays of the Sun too intense? You’re lying. Nothing is more intense than my love of crab legs. You guys the butter. And then there’s a mallet and you wear a bib like OK. Climate change is not an excuse for you to stop caring about romance or mutually beneficial transactional dating practices. If anything, climate change is a challenge to see how far you will go to impress someone whilst in the middle of an apocalypse. que romantico. Let the record show that this podcast is pro wooing, and honestly, you should be beyond thrilled that I took time out of my busy schedule to share this with you all because I’m currently packing for a beach trip myself with the Monster’s Ballini. Halle Berry has not signed on for this project, but you know we can convince her if there is a lot of us coming in at the same time, I think we can move her to take some action. Where am I going? Don’t worry, you’ll find out on Instagram. Petty. I know.


Jon: Can I tell you something? Kendra should have been on for this one.

Tocarra: Yeah, I’m glad she’s gone.

Jon: This week’s episode is on the media. You can check it out on Apple TV+. That’s our show. Thanks to Kendra Pierre-Louis for joining us. Thanks to Rob and Tocarra, we got a newsletter problem dot com and enjoy the media episode and then whoever hates that, you can come on. You know what I think we’re doing, incentivizing people to rip it apart.


Tocarra: Rob as a PSA about that really quickly.

Rob: Listen, we like criticism, but don’t be a dick. OK, so criticize us. Disagree with us. But don’t be a dick because you’ll never be on our podcast.

Jon: Has it been wild?

Rob: You know, people love recycling and don’t like when I curse and when it comes to cursing, I’m going to work on this s***. I promise. [TOCARRA LAUGHS]

Jon: Ah, you’re a good f***ing man. Tocarra, Rob. Good stuff. We’ll see you guys next week.

Tocarra: Later.

Rob: Peace.

Jon: Later. buh-bye.


Jon: The Problem with Jon Stewart podcast is an Apple TV+ podcast and a joint Busboy production.