003: Elizabeth Kolbert, Conversation 1: Honest reporting


Reading Elizabeth Kolbert's haunting The Sixth Extinction was difficult but enlightening. She presents what most people fear facing but is happening around us. We are causing the loss of almost unbelievably large parts of the natural world on which we rely without realizing it---sleepwalking, I would say. Her writing in the New Yorker covers more issues most people are too uncomfortable to learn about: overpopulation, the limits of technology to solve the problems most people think technology will solve, and the like. She presents the issues simply and directly, forcing you to draw your conclusions. I considered it critical to bring a guest so thoughtful and knowledgeable about relevant issues she saw firsthand. Her perspective is difficult to face, but the alternative of putting your head in the sand prevents you from solving the problems. Read the full transcript.

2 responses on “Elizabeth Kolbert

  1. As I was listening to Elizabeth, I suddenly became aware of how much plastic was in the bag to go out for the week. A lot. An overflowing bag. I used to be much better at recycling and reusing. Where and when did I stop? It’s time to start again!

    • Cutting my garbage started me on the path to this podcast and one of my greatest (and most delicious) life improvements. I look forward to seeing your results.

      By the way, before recycling and reusing comes reducing. Not using or accepting material stuff is a challenge in today’s world, but overcoming that struggle created freedom and community beyond what I could have expected. It requires vigilance. I share this post — https://joshuaspodek.com/avoiding-people-bringing-garbage — to all new visitors and nearly no one stops themselves from bringing needless garbage following mindless ritual. They’re slowly learning to enjoy avoiding garbage.

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