We’re waving two very different green flags this week when Neil Tyson interviews NASCAR driver and environmental activist Leilani Münter. Eugene Mirman co-hosts, with guests Dr. Marcia DeLonge and Don Anair of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Skip the commercials support. Star talk on patriarch to listen to every episode. Commercial free welcome to start off your place in the universe where science and pop culture collide dartle begin right now This is start talking, I'm your host, neither Grass Thyssen your personal astrophysicist, and I am also the director of New York City, is Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural history. Co host today, Eugene, Merman, Eugene Love haven't you rate to be here: yeah how's, your brain, so quick when you get a joke so quick, I never understood that joke ready made, and I just invented something to tell you and it fits perfectly in a nanoseconds. This I have come, I'll show on that one day today, we're featuring my interview with later Lahti, winter she's, a professional race car driver
and environmental activists and will be juxtaposing those two seemingly Congress concepts to find out if it when driving away array scarred might actually help to make the world go more green. If you can imagine that I can, it fits a car that uses alternative energy, for very veterans. So a little bit about Lee Lonnie, she's she's a little weird, ok maybe the weirdest race car driver ever early. Certainly them here is one. I know of Sheep art rover I'll, go out seats, he's kind of a she's, a paradox rolled up into a single person. Ok, so, first of all the list of female professional race car drivers issue I definitely a male dominated sport, guys love their cars, shoot. She was a biology major, a vague in she refuses to accept sponsorship,
any company or cause is not environmentally responsible using race cars that, if their spattered with all manner of corporate sponsorship, yet oil companies. You know there's no end of it, and so, and she also adopts one acre of rainforest for every race runs and she uses this this this platform, this racing platform to to stimulate awareness, look awareness, certainly, not only in the mass car and and and brought a racing community, but in the general public, and she made it doc. Many recently called rate racing extinction and it came out in December two thousand fifteen, and so I know a little bit about science. Its role in the environment, but I want to bring someone who, there's more: Frank. Is nice we're having maybe yes Eugene, so they help us a pic apart. Some of this
so that science behind environmental issues we bring bringing a scientific guest from all the way across the country coming to us via Skype. Thanks for joining Us Dawn, thought and an end. I pronounce your lesson done. An air is correct that the excellent thanks for being on star talk and end you are. What I have here, your research and deputy director, the clean vehicles programme at the Union of concern scientists, so she went to car wash ice It's just a joke that a joke that as a very good, you know that it's a good job, when you pointed it comedian and say, is that a good Joe, the hallmark so who knew that your position even exists? So can you tell us a little bit about it? Sure you need an insane scientist. Is national nonprofit we put rigour, science to work, healthier planet in a safer world without means is we put scientific analysis first, one thinking about smart policies too,
issues like climate change, oil use increasing renewable energy and those types of things, so the clean vehicles programme. I work Issues around electric vehicles, making gasoline diesel vehicles more efficient, expanding. The use and development of low carbon alternative fuels and we are in the clean vehicles programme and you we did out practical plan to cut oil using as for the next twenty years, so we're working hard to implement that plan today, so to cut oil usin half since the primary use of oil in the world is not heating oil. It's not for not even for electricity, for transportation is an incorrect, not even its making agents frying fried chicken to sit so so its transportation issue, and that's why vehicles are
important, I'm I'm I'm surmising here that Corazza about two thirds of our oil use in the: U S is in the transportation sector, and so that's from passenger car heavy duty? Trucks are the biggest users of oil in the? U S, so am I from my notes, as you remember, of corn else formulas we have automotive engineers, vehicle team is that right was like what is that Colonel University, that is going on. And a number of other universities, have similar teams and Basically, the collegiate competition, which requires a group of dunes to manufacture a race car from the ground up centrally. Starting with nothing in a frame inciting engine tuning it operating its building. The fuel systems which could about a competition is that you get too to exploit the sun of creativity far greater than what
just hiring a single team to solve that one problem, could you get to see how creative many many different teams can be an incomplete that creativity? Really that's that's right, in dozens of teams, compete in this competition and an international competition when doing this, and ninety suicide in in Michigan erased around the parking lot upon act, Almoner open wheel. And so the other the award winning car that you design what what what it run on and what was fundamentally different about it yet so The competition covers a lot of different areas, but obviously having a fast car and when the candles was is key and the key is you it's if, instead, you had just racetracks that were straight handling, wouldn't matter that area of the race was just in Nebraska. This wouldn't be such a big deal, but I am so. I wanted it
The key is around alternative fuels, we're running the vehicle, I'm methanol, which is an alcohol base fuel, and it was an interest in the Eightys and Ninetys as an alternative to gasoline, and so additional point, SAM for getting your vehicle to run on our method also worked, and some of that It was an interesting challenge. We I was designing some of them a system for the vehicle and trying to find you, for example, that compatible with across it and toxic because you are not on a shelf. You have to be created from scratch run. How could it run on whisky like how similar and then let us try that loud remains now that you're, your own person, you could try it yourself. That's true and tell me, tell me about the pack of diesel fuel on the environment relative to other fuels. I think the public knows much about that, but in the end, in The world is a very well known fact that diesel is
sort of singularly more polluting than other fuels is not correct. That's that's right It was about the view about how it using the combustion of the engine. So Emissions from diesel vehicles have typically at higher nitrogen oxide. Emissions, emissions of which contribute to ozone. Their smog which obviously has significant health impacts from respiratory disease, heart harden one disease, I asthma attacks and in those things and Diesel engines have a much higher rate of nitrogen oxide emissions, as well as particulate matter, which is also Significant health risk it's over the years it there's been a focus on trying to clean up and typically is there a problem more in the heavy duty truck sector? diesel engines are more prominent right right right and they do all the travelling and whether the ones that do thousands of miles- that's how we get our bananas
We expect strolling the earth attack the interestingly trucks themselves are responsible for about If I presented the fuel used, I roads. And only about certain presided vehicle. So they aren't they contribution. So again, we re pretty my interview with about which I had to send him a hundred times just to make. I get it right at lay wanting winter lonely, winter and she's she's she's a walking paradox, and I just want to find out what. How can you raise cars and, at the same time be an advocate for the environment? And I don't, let's see, let's see where she takes us, I just want to see but see where she takes us Your madame environmentalist, I get that. But do you know this too hard do live. Remember idea, I had,
solar panels on my roof, I'm currently producing more solar power that I'm using for my house and my electric car. I have actual garden. I'm began. I confess my scraps and I've got a five hundred and fifty gallon rainwater collection tank in my back yard. So you feel so raised cars, which is the least gleamed thin. Anybody can imagine doing sometimes solutions are not always through the path that they have. The the rose garden, the flower, sometimes the path is messy. And then the result may be stronger, okay, so their pay. Ways that are not always what you think they should be, yet they could be accomplished something greater then whatever it is, you thought couldn't happen
like an environmentalist striving raise cars forger, because I didn't write that race car, the visibility of your cause with him. None of the race man's would listen to me. Can you imagine if I was you stood biology graduate showing but the NASCAR raised trying to get them to go. We again and puts we're panels on their reason by an electric fire. Like you, a hundred fifty miles ceremonies are known to cause. That, ultimately, will be we'll pay dividends far beyond anything that could have yes, Everything open algebra tat were that you know the thirty five gallons but I burn during the risk, as my gallons being burned or on tv. I can actually turn on Fox sports and watch. Lay Lonnie burning. Far
feels like how can she be an environmentalist when she's like? I can see her burning fossil fuels on tv, but they're not considering like outside Did that The last time I went to a gas station September, two thousand Thirteen, the my car, I try and use it to raise awareness around environmental issues. The most recent car that I was running was actually it was called the Energy Freedom Car and we were trying to highlight the battle that taking place between utilities and people like me, who want and put solar up on their rooftops so, like the last time that I ran was actually a private donor. Who was a woman not just under stood there than ask her proud me another. Seventy five million NASCAR events in the? U S and she wanted them to understand what the country more than three hundred million people, certainly in France, is limited. Almost everybody I mean I don't know anything other than football that has that kind of support to it
really, the sport and its typically, not being A lot of environmentalists are not reaching out to NASCAR fans. The only issue starting this something had caught was, the Congress or that the courts that knocked down a plan by Obama to reduce carbon emissions? What what we could do a catch up on that? I said yes done recently less in court. Old implementation and the clean power plan. Which is a plan to reduce carbon emissions from power plants across the? U S, why do they do that with the court's? Why did you let courts did that? There's been lawsuits against the plan and there are some initial guidelines that are coming up pretty soon, and so are they didn't throughout the plan, but they did put angle ass. The implementation dates so that there is time to address the real, Jews,
we're being raised, so was anything deemed unconstitutional. Her was just DM two quick bathrooms wondering here I mean. Is it a constitutional thing now at this point there's no decision on the merits of the actual plan, it's just I stay Sequoia holding they're not going forward with impulse. Until they make a decision. So this is not a political thing I mean, because if, if we he was way. Even more effective than she is. Could the court have even found itself found itself in this situation to say no, get that neither did I struck at a well said. I almost answered it. You know we're. Ok, if Congress resists movement, you can say: ok, they built the representing an electorate and it they're carrying an opinion into law. Policy with the Supreme Court has the constitution. So is there something that could have happened before that for the Supreme Court to have said yes
idea, let's pursue it and we're not gonna block it. Well, I guess they haven't said the boy. The plan, I think say, there's a lot of regos. I met a lawyers. I can't speak out the details on this, but I think that the knee issue here? Is that that, despite some of the challenges at the federal level, for these policies is obviously states too I want to follow these rules and they're gonna, be there in a fire lawsuits, but on the flip side, there's doesn't this data? actually moving forward with clean energy. Now as it was in workplace, so we can some states into acting because they might be laggards compared with other regions of the country, absolutely in them leadership is really critical and has been in moving energy for deploying renewal energy like solar and wind power outside
He's had some really significant successes in general policy moving, towards more efficient vehicles and saving oil it actually oil is the largest fossil fuel climate source ever missions in the: U s then call and natural gas so, the fact that we are making some significant briars endless oil side of things and also good news and those those standards we're going forward. Essentially what place now, would roughly doubled the autonomy of new vehicles by twenty five compared to twenty one who had some limit for, two and I got here, I'm looking it sort of some data on NASCAR course is the number one spectator sport America, and if, if you out of the real estate on the skin of a car, it's huge and the cap stays on them as they go around for the intelligent duration of the race, so it is very high sort of march. Getting real estate value, don't even think about it. That way, since here to Forest a billion dollars a year industry and here's lay on it.
Whose that's her megaphone, that's her landscape and I wanted to know by what rules she governs herself ass. She entered, just check it out. I have some rules. I do not work with any companies that work with fossil fuels, so no oil, no call no natural gas. I don't work with them. Companies get sponsored by yeah, I will not. I will these were pretty gas in your car. I happy I have something like then I'll go is couldn't get in your car. That's something I can't do anything about that. They are not a sponsor of mine, so they are. I have to run their fuel in order to be in the race, because they're trying to even the field out that's the goal of NASCAR stock are raising right. You're trying to make everybody works, just to driver is supposed to be, which is obviously, if you have more money and more sponsorship you can afford to have.
Engineers, they're gonna, find ways to make your car faster? And that's the goal, so the goods Nino it still not completely even but we all do have to run the same fuel. So what are your criteria to be squandered? What is it with which you have read What is it sat, silent rule book and people? I won't work when it's it's a pretty big list have declined. Autocrat with only fossil fuel company, so no oil, no corner natural gas. No companies tests on animals, no company produce me or dairy products are used, leather or fur. So for the NASCAR marketing groups, when I'm trying, to them- and I give them this lists they're kind of light. While you just eliminated, you know. Ninety five percent are much less meadows, slept yes or no
make sure your black area very cars that waiting for somebody else to come on I'm evil. Usually when I ran the car, I get enough sponsorship that its one primary sponsor so like when I ran my Pericles solar car. It was their logo on other quarter, hurdle prayer, prairie solar me. Actually, I'm in charge of my pet box, we used a portable, I'm solar device that was developed for the military actually, and I've heard my entire pit box and all of my all of the equipment that my guys are using the arrogance we didn't have a generator we solar so normally the guys are using diesel generators and their very loud. So the interesting thing that happened when I started using solar and are upheld other Rees. Teams were coming over and warlike. It's so quiet in your pay. I can talk to my crew. About screaming over the generator. So now I think there is actually some teams that are looking into getting solar, not based on like mine. I dont want to use any fuel right, but
why use any fuel right, but they're gonna. Do it, because there's slain and been to having been later in the pit better new, Munich, Fine, it's either law kinds of benefits to going green that doesn't necessarily have to do is even the planet it might have to do a recent said Don. What would NASCAR be if cars were silent. Actually, interestingly, there is a formula erasing serious. Now all electric formulary scars was, it would be quiet. But then still artificially make a sound just just speakers and yeah. It's it's like your your smartphone artificially making the tapping sound, none of the click of a shudder, the hour, the capping of a keyboard, so in it in an electric car, the obviously do not refueling they have to swap out the batteries. I guess so that would be the test such as swap
we also be swapping out the batteries. Do they have two guys that do they re so they switch? They switch vehicles, but am behind this typical race? They ve got they go about an hour of driving up with due to different cars. Ok, let's not talk returned feature. More of my interview with race car driver, Leilani, Munter move on stocks have got a little secret for you. I'm gonna considers singing all of the ads on this shell there's just one. And where to get out of hearing there go to patriarch arms last star talk and support. Where does at the five dollar level or higher, to listen the star ad free You can download all current episodes into your favorite podcast player and never
we're here. Another commercial on star talk ever again. You will definitely not have to hear me saying if you support us at Patria, dark coms. Last our talk, radio, I mean I'm just thinking I mean just saying. Welcome back from star talk with cold Eugene ermine and our guest down an air. This done you just you know stuff that most people don't know about vehicles about energy, about energy conservation, about alternative sources of energy, and you are, you are working in a field it's gonna have to change it. We're gonna bring civilization into existence, its makes it a existing sinew existence and, of course we featuring my interview with race. Car driver lay Lonnie winter. She she drives professionally and she's an environmental activists,
and we reviewed in the last segment just how big NASCAR is? Maybe what NASCAR stands for the national. What does it do you? as you are aware that a little national stock car racing rating is probably in there. Yes as moonshine, hopefully be in there? I've known you demand is showing me what's it about just noted his NASCAR, that's gonna, be there I'd I'd. I thought I was the first to determine this, but of course clearly I wasn't that race car is its own and anagram you didn't you just got. It will not only anagram, I mean what he called when its use.
Single o, Palin, drawing out its humanitarian me what has raised card state for a bit rates or that you can take the letters and spell watching dinner, something so so so might might crack team of researchers, so the National National Association for Stock Car or there you go. Gregson sense were now we're on the same page exec now the US and everyone in it, and it is so great car small backward spells race, car gettest of why I and my there so popular and so de my interview with money laundering, which had a briefly about a race that she was in, that she didn't win, and that was better for her than having had she won the race. I don't know what that means. Find out. What are you talking about?
On that I had with my car one of my favorite Reese cars that I raised was the cove car, so the cove is a fantastic documentary that won the Academy award in two thousand nine. It's about the dolphin slaughter in Japan and I became a passionate. Those very gently received the Treasury words. Did you see a judge of the cold car? I was driving us for the dolphins. It was my first time than I ever did crowd funding to get enough money to go run a car. So the cove highlights the connection between the dolphin slaughter and tv, and purchasing tickets to dolphin shows. So I wanted to get this in front of the now scar crowd, especially than ask her proud at Dayton. That's only an hour away from Seaworld Orlando, so I had been too tired. You I'd seen thousands doc, getting slaughtered, and I felt like you know I was on the track representing their fight, and so I said I you know, need you to help me get this car and tv so that people can find out about what's happening. And then
the entire blue, and when my tire, blue, you know is coming out of turn to I spent around I kept it off the wall so was able to. You know not wreck the car, but my time exploded. My my left, we retire, and so the cameras cut to my car you did it without getting another car. I didn't hurt anybody and I kept it off the long, but I mean essentially marries was ruined by it. The commentator the television commentator, one they flashed to my car and they were showing my tire that had exploded. What did he do? Let's talk about the movie the cove and what it was about and how it was about dolphin captivity, and so my wish kind of came true that I was getting their issue in front of millions of people on tv, but it wasn't. I have learned that have to be more specific
about. I want you to get me on tv by helping me when there is a saying anything they want to win or be running, because I've already won a rap. The dolphins didn't know they didn't know. I wasn't specific view. The dolphins got you on tv good was imply that tell you wanted the out, so I wouldn't have. Of course, if you were in a wreck, the all the cameras are on you, that's a whole other occasions are known right way to promote. Some would have all the cards start just crashing nobody's winning, but there I'll get in their issues out there again pay very bad. They get their pay day. Do guys Your community do follow race, car driving as sport or you just Why is it to see how to make a different idea? And I to some extent the risk our industry has actually lighter innovations in automobile technology which are helping to improve efficiency and safety of these vehicles are, to some extent following that Why, then, have been true from the beginning? As I understand it, there advances
NASCAR like like the Tipp Tipp chronic gear changes the way the paddles, as I understood, those starting with NASCAR fuel injection what weren't, weren't analogue breaks, NASCAR, initially or not on a lot of a lot of the innovation, actually comes from the formulating serious. Rather the master it as we learned from it. The best current stock caressing, so their stock vehicles, although all ready vehicles that are then ok, gotcha, of course, so they ve been a lot of it, not cost cutting edge of some of the other racing as serious viable, but dear, that racing cars itself, which so many people people would say. Oh that's a crow Magnin sport. Basically it has can limited the trickled down engineering from it has indeed, The only time trickle down works, race, cars, so ok, it's not ass cards is therefore it's the open wheel
carrying out these guys, but nonetheless I am heartened to learn that there is this, this trend of it of the technology, the NASA of cars. There you go, that's what I'd. Like to be known- and I was but NASA should have a race car and then just strapped solid rock boosters on the site, it would probably way when every race, of course, so I actually wanting what cart you had. I had to ask I have to ask what Carta she drive when she's not drive in a race car and turns out she drives a Tesla, let's lit. Let's I would have get hurt: let's let let's, let's check it out actually driver test, Lamont, alas, tussle models such a hundred percent electric dollars- yes, Booker, they're they're they're, not cheap, but there is a cheaper version coming out next year. The moon is already know the model for us to be in the thirty five thousand dollars and that should be unveiled in the spring some time. Ok, so you view Porter your car. I play
my party young, at done over thirty one thousand miles completely free of gasoline, and when I'm at my house, also actually charging you know after the solar, so technically running off a free, solar, electrons and then Dr Long distance, rude trips, I'm using the Tesla Super charter. So some of those are the true power to dotted across the country. They're all over the place. I've driven five thousand mile road trips from actually from here in New York. I drove all the way to San Francisco, I kind of zigzags five thousand malware dread that could have been less than twice as far This is about twenty five miles. So the efficiency of an electric car is much higher than internal combustion engine. So at an end not combustion engine, only about seventeen to twenty one percent of a fuel and energy that contain
you're, actually makes it to the wheels to push the carts very inefficient, nor the rest of the energy goes into heat. Very inefficient so most of the inefficiencies of engines of any kind machines of any kind is dumped as heat, and so is ass. Coming out the engine get hot. Everything is hot. You put your heaters on if it's in the winter, all those there. You ve got greenhouse gas and the little thing called greenhouse gases at the back. Ok, so the electric even if I'm plugging into the grid install still far more efficient, even if I'm plugging an in West Virginia where the majority of the grid is coming from coal, I'm still going to be reducing my greenhouse gas emissions because of the fact that an electric car is much more efficient and also because it back that, you use electricity to refine oil, so we'll the wheel, its moral,
driving electric car, even if it's coming from fossil fuels. Now. The other thing you have to keep in mind is the electorate. Grid is getting cleaner and cleaner, as time goes on, were serving put up with in firearms. They currently in the? U S, every two and a half minutes a solar rays going up on a homer business, so the it is getting cleaner and therefore people who have electric cars, even if their plugging into the grid and go have solar panels. Their cars there cleaner and cleaner, something that will never happen at the gas car, Let me ask you dont: what is what is it any downside to everybody having an electric car, not that I can think of You know, I think, Lonnie really now this in terms of the benefits of electric vehicles, We then been looking at this question very closely around the emissions of electric cars and he's asking the question in a lot of people are saying: hey what you know comparing these things by on the just any great in their school on a greater they still good, abandoning,
so the answer is yes, agencies right, I'm pretty much across the country. No matter where you live, pointing an electric car is gonna, be better than the average in gasoline vehicle. Leslie looked at a test for the mass of a Tesla model S, primarily in its batteries and end. It holds the you know: the five passengers, not clear how that with scale to an eighteen, wheeler truck where most of trucks mass is gonna have to be the cargo that it wants to carry not batteries that did apples on pine out as a microwave, so these in theory a point where electric transportation stops working because it doesn't scale We also need so that a good point overall, there's no silver bullet to this challenge of transportation. In the way vehicles have a role to play, and I also say it's not just battery. I do feel that the opportunities and you may have heard of fuel cell vehicles. They were something
NASA used early on in the space programme, and actually, though, there are some, passenger vehicles and the market. Now California? If you'll buy hydrogen, they turned again into electricity, to power electric vehicle and, in fact, in my office at the hidden planetarium I have a leader bottle of water and on it it says, exhaust and the Bmw but to make they drove a car from Washington to New York, using a fuel cell and the exhaust, as was exhausted, essentially water, you recovering the energy from the hydrogen and oxygen, they recombine to become order because it did is highly exothermic if you well. Yes, I know sorry I gave you the bottle of water, not the car, not. That is what do you need to flip there. I gotta work, I'm so workin on you get me a disk internet. Tesla done! I'm sorry! I can't do it. I could get one do all look in but for both of us, then so tough, so now habitable
batteries. There's a lot of talk about caustic chemicals, rare earth elements in the batter. Is that might be bad for the environment when you wanted to suppose them. So how does that enter the equation? How green a vehicle is. So we look specifically at The global warming emissions are from reading the batteries and, like you said one of the mass of the test. The vehicle is the batteries itself, so it actually does increase the manufacturing emissions of video converter gasoline vehicle, but over the letter that that's why you plugging it. Instead of pumping oil out of the ground- and you are you actually got for those emissions, very quickly and then save on the emissions in terms of the battery toxicity thing That is it. That is an issue that can be addressed through proper disposal and recycling of the batteries, and so that's an area that continue the early stages of these vehicles in the market so we need to move forward with making sure that those batteries after their use in that
because actually eighty percent, seventy or eighty percent still left in those batteries, and they can be used. In a second use at her energy storage on the electricity grid, for example, and then after that they could be recycled as well. So I don't have much experience in a Tesla because I like looking at them in thinking about them. But one time I was getting award in California and by the planetary society, and they pick me up at EL acts. In a tesla I mean that the car service- I am in a Tesla, that's kind of cool and was silent as long as they all are, and then I realized, I don't see any teslas in Manhattan, you're, no Tesla Car services in Manhattan and then I'm sitting with the driver and we figured out why? Because the back seat of any car, that's picking me up as a car service is bigger than the back seat of a Tesla model S,
and if all I want is to get to where I'm going and comfort. Why squeeze into anything? Just because it's electric, I want the comfort and so Tesla doesn't have currency in New York City. The way it does on the east coast on on the West Coast and oh, do you foresee sort of regional, its them region to region. This is going to have to resolve this need a luxury Tesla much jury backs the drinking their eggs, they're fine exit offs. In writing I had exhaust, I would you say voting time in the transportation sector. Others over twenty electric vehicle models out there, so there's gonna be more options coming. I can see what you're saying as we saw with such infancy. I shouldn't try to make any conclusion, James about anything at all that still can benefit from the creativity. Engineers, zune ones like you to guide them to where they need to go. Absolutely it's just that again acts or
will soon have roomy electric car roomy electric shocks so so so down and our thanks for be announced. Our talk and it's good no, you do that. Can we find you again excellent? Would we We'll find you again with them going where you do you go from there. We will fight again thanks for banana start things. You have to say that when we come back to start or more of my interview with race car driver iranian winter, Welcome back to start out with those Eugene murmured, and we ve been featuring my interview with late alarming mood, her professional race, car driver and environmental activists, one of the oddest combinations of things I've ever known in my,
we ve talked about. Does it even makes sense for race car driver to double as an environmental is? What does it even mean? We talk about the pros and cons of electric cars, the importance of renewable energies, and now, if we can dig a little deeper into some of those issues that Lonnie brought up, we ve got something to help me out here. This woman is a professional in a topic I didn't even know there was a word for it, so we VON video call doktor. Merci, hello, I haven't my notes here: you are grow ecologist. Forgive me we're having no four idea. What that is so powerful, and you are also with the union's concern scientist- is that right? That's right, so we also an activist, so just concern oh she's, just deeply concerned that suits. I am. I am deeply concerned find so but what is it? What is an agro ecologist? Well, let's break it
right now, you're having their clearly ecologists, ecology or think more people know about ecology is study of the interactions among organisms. So that's plans most humans and their environments right and so then we are agro agro ecologists was agro, is referring to agriculture. So we're talking about lawyers who are studying specifically kinds of systems and include farming and ranching, we're ok, that the New York that's an important place to be because we, via our agriculture, are completely transforming this That's right, we are, we are doing a lot of. We have in a lot of impacts on our planet these days through culture. Ok, other than lobbies. Activism cause you to watch this with us. And her races and this sort of thing she released a documentary on the discovery channel directed by Louis Seahorse. I think I pronounced that right, who could any also did the cove and in the film we points-
how much energy and fuel and co2 emissions are involved in agriculture farm animals and all the rest of this. So so, let's check out what she says about them. Such called racing extinction, and it's about six mass extinction of species, so there's been five major mass extinctions on the planet racially. Actually I see what you do their racing clever. I figure that up. Ok, come up about by the way that was about oceanic preservation. Good, it's good at it. Ok, so racing extinction two years ago, take us so yeah southern some, a thumb touches on
pretty big issue. I'd say one of the biggest issues in a world which is that were driving species to extinction. Array. That's like a thousand times greater than the natural backer hungry, so we're losing species faster than we can even record their here. They they actually instrument. We could lose up to half the species on the planet by the end of the century, and so twenty first century. Yes, so are our film is highlighting first, the endangered species trade, which is second only to the drug market, and in terms of its. Lucrative lucrative and in terms of how much money is being exchange. So we do a lot of undercover work, you'll see under cover cameras and us going into one Why would anyone want been in danger to me What are you getting out of sight,
some cases it's an issue of like wanting a trophy re like Cecil. The lion good example that got a lot of time by the dentist reduce the dangerous there. Dentist in Minnesota. It's also there's also a lot of myths around lake treatments for cancer, or that it's going to there's some sort of medicinal quality which there is no scientific proof, and I know you're a data and approve guy. It's it's kind of old while things for aphrodisiacs yeah, anything that can somehow enhanced improve your physiology right. So where we expose allotted these sort of black markets and but we also address you, know the injured at hand of man. So us driving our cars around and burning fossil fuels eating meat. For example, so Maureen
gas emissions actually go into the atmosphere from raising animals for food than the entire transportation sector. So we address these issues of people that are not necessarily going out and trying to buy rhino horn, but their personal choices every day in the things that were all just doing to live and how that is affecting the planet This is Berman me out here so so Mercier I, that which is message everything up? Ok, we read about this everyday. Do you have a solution, because I'm not gonna stop eating I'm glad you can't siberian wireless think for a minute about about Wilbur working with today. Today we have a system that strongly incentivize is a particular kind of one size fits all industrial farming, and I think we all know that one size fits all means doesn't fit quite right right. So this is the system that is damage
our soil quality is creating dead zones and our waterways, our favorite lakes, notions polluting the air promoting, that's a troublesome, weeds and, of course, contributing to climate change. So, in addition to climate changes, all these other problems- but this is this- is huge. When you dig in a little bit? What you see is that below this, What looks like a very monotonous landscape in the? U S, soil, what whether climate and other conditions that are underneath that actually vary quite a bit, and so we're not really considering that in the way that we farm. Today, also have plants and animals the give and take different things from our firms and branches and right now we're putting the same plans and the same animals in the same spot year after year. So we're blunt instruments on the environment? That's what you're saying what that we're blunt instruments on the environment we are that way? We are blunt instruments on the environment, but it doesn't have to be that way right. So we, if
I think a little bit more carefully about how we might be strategically. My design are our landscape so that We are in a great in our problem. Lies dog and smarter ways that we are thinking about what kinds of plants can give back to the. This is where different ones talk a different you're talking about a more intelligent way of using nature right, other than trying to get people to change their own behaviour by making everyone vision, for example, yet that adsense? Just a little baby, just a little chicken. We can have a little trick and did you hear a big problem. It was because I think we need to be approaching it from all angles. Right tell me a little busily in the little chicken yeah. You know I mean about that. The piece of baleful that piece of chicken, of course, there's a lot of different ways that you can grow and produce those that they could be your garden or they could be flown across the world could be a chicken
listen to factory farmer could be a chicken that's produced a farmer who is really a true steward of the land whose whose using it as an instrument for healthy farm, so that your books- you both smart about this but she's doing it is obviously too very different way kid. I guess, there's room for all of these tactics. I guess is that right I mean the internet. I guess how be asked, but what I'm asking you is, what, in the in the end. Should more people do it? the money, is doing or do anymore like you who work, and you know it behind the scenes in the trenches trying to make this work. We everybody on board. You know we need. We need to have all of us when we have the option to develop relationship with our local farmers to buy food from, this is that we really know how its created and then you know when we can't do that can't have a local access. We really need to think about where food is coming from water, food companies, Howard,
what, how are they promoting farming practices and a bigger say? It's also we have to think about The leaders that we have in this country and and and everywhere really thinking about wanting to have leaders who are thinking about these issues, were making decisions that shift the I make and policy setting that we have that can really help farmers to produce healthier food People have access to those foods. You know on a day to day basis, but a cow is gonna produce methane out of both ends of its digestive tract, no matter what it does so in methane is, of course, a greenhouse gas. So at some point you can't just let's be a little smarter. You really gonna have to change people's behaviour, aren't you or grow cows underwater crook? I haven't any scientific papers on growing. Maybe you should write what book Britannia very interesting, very interesting up. Opportunity house would snorkel.
The world now, but it might be some rope. I mean not yet we're poking fund, it is idea, but maybe revolution, ideas such as that or even just simply growing beef and laboratories, synthesizing proteins right? Do you that's not the way. You turn your head when you're excited about an idea we like, like I said earlier in the universe is a really. This is really serious problem. There is no silver bullets here. We need to be approaching the problem with every angle that we can think of fight you, I've and agro ecologists. Of course, I'm thinking about how the whole system works together. You know how we get the most benefits out of not just our farms and ranches, but the communities that around them supporting farmers supporting the parts in the forest that we all love. How can we get? How can we design landscapes? There really work together to give us the food, the fiber in the fuel that we need and also protect our natural resource.
So. How do you then affect policy, do published paper research papers and then do it? Do it do a white paper based on that or do you you're part of your? We agreed at the beginning, you a concern, scientists and see that, and so what happened what are you doing when you are most potent in effecting change and are in our lives and our culture yeah. I mean I think, that there there's two pieces to that, and one is of course continuing to to research to develop new idea is to make sure that we are finding the best ways of moving forward in all these areas, but There is really just to be steam tuned to all of the great resource coming out from sight, this war, all across our nations, universities and institutions, and reason profile of their research right, because we really we ve, seen that these axes are working. We know that they work. We know that people dont know that much about them in part. This is because
Hearing about it and part of it is because we need more of it. So that's just another thing that that we're doing we're trying to increase the on a funding? That's that's going into this kind of agricultural research because we know that when we invest in research and agriculture, it pays off and we wanted to pay off and he's really sustainable forms of agriculture and that we are desperately in need of right now? So you need, you need a scientifically literate public, so they even know how to listen to you. As we need to be better at communicating to the public in a way that they can really here our message so that that allow some of that is either possibility of profession as well to improve our communication skills to get out there with our message start talking we're going to scientists to me well mercy thanks for Saint thanks for being so tight and teaching me that you even exist as as a profession
person in that profession and will surely want to come back to you for Future STAR talk topic because now than we know you exist, we're gonna be called, You, like your mother, you cook, had kids come over dependent upon clause is a real pleasure. Thank you. Ok, excellent. I want to thank Eugene thanks for doing another star luckier nightly money. Winter for being at the first ever see a race car dry. And of every interviewed. It turns out she's vague in green that up again our message to make so much when people get mad. It out. For travelling in an airplane? I'm suddenly banal my who, in rural life, how am I going to go to any other risk? Are events race, car driver that you know you could do it green? So Let me just say I think she's right, I think, she's right. Why did we have to tackle as on many frontiers,
I think at the center of it all is science and human behavior and that's kind of what the startalk is always a bad. I've been your host Neil Degrasse Tyson. As always, I bid you to keep looking up We should listen, restore talk, commercial, free, joint stock, talk on Patria for as little as five dollars per month and the ads will disappear. Learn more at patriarch dot com slap star talk, radio
Transcript generated on 2020-01-25.