Kate Aronoff on the Environmental Consequences of the Coronavirus Pandemic
In conversation with Andrew Keen on the Keen On
The coronavirus pandemic is dramatically disrupting not only our daily lives but society itself. This show features conversations with some of the world’s leading thinkers and writers about the deeper economic, political, and technological consequences of the pandemic. It’s our new daily podcast trying to make longterm sense out of the chaos of today’s global crisis.
On today’s episode, Kate Aronoff, New Republic staff writer and co-author of A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green New Deal, discusses the potential in the longer term for governments to find money for the climate crisis.
From the episode:
Andrew Keen: Am I being ridiculously optimistic about being cheerful of the environmental consequences of the crisis?
Kate Aronoff: [Not really.] The take that I would have is to see this moment as kind of a hopeful time. I’ve seen a lot of the stories about nature returning with clear canals, mostly through viral tweets, but I think there are a lot of reasons to be hopeful for this moment. I would not point to what are likely to be momentary reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. It’s not a situation anybody was hoping for.
What is helpful for me about this scary, terrifying moment is that every lie we’ve been told about how economies work, particularly in the United States and places like the UK, is really being just thrown out the window. The idea that we don’t have enough money to spend when there is a big crisis at hand and that we need to sort of tighten our belts and that the public sector just can’t get its act together to do something really big. Those are really being thrown out the window. I think that’s an interesting opportunity here for climate, more than the clearer streets. I’ve been going on more runs than I ever have, and it’s nice to not be trapped in smog in New York, but we need to think longer term.
Kate Aronoff is a staff writer at The New Republic. She is the co-author of A Planet To Win: Why We Need A Green New Deal (Verso) and the co-editor of We Own The Future: Democratic Socialism, American Style (The New Press).