Season 4, Episode 5: Working to Death

Dec 15, 2020, 02:23 PM
In this episode of Connect the Dots, host Rob Verchick discusses one of the more perplexing challenges facing those working to mitigate climate disruption: industrial workers, the people laboring in factories, farms, coal mines, and other businesses directly affecting or affected by the climate crisis. 

On the one hand, industrial workers need jobs. They depend on these jobs to feed their families and support themselves. On the other hand, they’re suffering because of it. So is our planet. The industrial worker tends to work long hours under harsh conditions. Many struggle to make ends meet. Due to climate breakdown, these working conditions and spaces have become grave. They’re hot, toxic, and frequently unregulated. Going to work can be unbearable at times, and as a result, not only livelihoods but lives are at stake. 
 
The conflict of the industrial worker presents a tough duality: an appeal to restore health and salvage the Earth versus the need to sustain a living. Can both be achieved? The answer is yes, with some caveats and conditions. Listen now to find out more.
 
Joining Rob in this episode are:
  • Neza Xiuhtecutli, Research Coordinator for the Farmworkers Association of Florida
  • Leslie Fields, Senior Director of Environmental Justice and Healthy Communities at the Sierra Club
  • Maxine Burkett, Member Scholar of Center for Progressive Reform and Professor of Law at the University of Hawaii
  • Vicki Arroyo, Executive Director of the Georgetown Climate Center
  • Dr. Aaron Bernstein, Interim Director of the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard University