Climate One TV: Covid19 and Climate

Air Date
August 24, 2020


Susan Clayton

Whitmore-Williams Professor of Psychology, College of Wooster

Peter Atwater

Adjunct Economics Professor, College of William & Mary

Robert Frank

Professor of Management, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business

Aaron Bernstein

Interim Director, Center for Climate, Health, & Global Environment, Harvard

Brian Allan

Associate Entomology Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Barbara Gottlieb

Director of Environment and Health, Physicians for Social Responsibility

Why does an invisible, life-threatening virus prompt a nationwide emergency, but invisible, life-threatening gases don’t? Experts have been emphasizing the dangers of unchecked climate change for years, underscoring the need for rapid, bold action early-on to avoid the worst impacts. Now, health experts are pushing the same level of global mobilization to quell the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Why are humans wired to respond to some fears and emergencies more than others? Can the reaction to the Coronavirus pandemic teach us anything about how humans respond to other invisible, worldwide threats? A conversation with Peter Atwater, adjunct economics professor at the College of William & Mary, Susan Clayton, Whitmore-Williams Professor of Psychology at the College of Wooster, and Robert Frank, economics professor at the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business and author of Under the Influence: Putting Peer Pressure to Work. And in the second half of the show: What can the spread of Coronavirus teach us about the spread of climate change? Both crises have global reach, invisible perpetrators, and require aggressive, early action for containment. But while an infectious disease is acute and deeply personal, the impacts of a changing climate are systemic and vague. Scientists point out that the Coronavirus family — which includes COVID-19 and SARS — originated as an animal disease that can be passed along to humans. With increased human development encroaching into wildlife areas, should communities be preparing for more pandemics? A conversation on climate factors shaping human health with Brian Allan, associate professor of entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Aaron Bernstein, interim director of the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at the Harvard School of Public Health, and Barbara Gottlieb, director of environment and health at Physicians for Social Responsibility. #letstalkclimate 3:37 The Katrina Covid19 connection 6:51 The relativity of success 10:37 Working from home reducing carbon impact 15:09 Segment 2 18:32 Human contact with animals increases as we expand into the wilderness 24:06 Bright spots to learn from