TONIGHT ON METROFOCUS

Pigeons, roaches, rats and widespread neglect were discovered inside thousands of dilapidated tanks that supply drinking water to millions of New Yorkers. Frank Runyeon, a senior reporter for City & State, broke the story. He takes us inside his shocking investigation. Citizens, doctors, and lawmakers came together for a candid conversation about New York City’s opioid crisis and to meet New Yorkers who’ve been personally affected by the epidemic. We’ll share their stories. A new study asserts that loneliness could be hazardous to your health, and warns that if left untreated, it can lead to heart disease, cancer and even death. We have the details. We’ll take you inside the citizen science project working to restore one billion oysters to New York Harbor by 2030.

Aired May 30, 2018. 

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON METROFOCUS, WOULDN'T ROOF TOP WATER TANKS ARE HOLDING MORE THAN JUST WATER.

PICKNELLENS ROACHES, RATS AND WIDESPREAD NEGLECT DISCOVERED INSIDE THE DILAPIDATED TANKS THAT SPLAY DRINKING WATERS TO MILLIONS OF NEW YORKERS.

AND THAT'S NOT WORST OF IT.

CITY AND STATE TAKES US INSIDE THE SHOCKING INVESTIGATION.

> TOUCHED BY THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC, CITIZENS DOCTORS AND LAWMAKERS RECENTLY CAME TOGETHER FOR A DAN ARE CANDID CONVERSATION ON THE OPIOID CRISIS IN THE CITY AND TO MEET NEW YORKERS PERSONALLY AFFECTED.

WE'LL SHARE THEIR STORIES.

> COULD LONELINESS BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH?

A NEW STUDY SAYS YES.

IT CAN LEAD TO HEART DECEASE CANCER AND DEATH.

THE DETAILS AHEAD.

> AND WE'LL TAKE YOU INSIDE THE CITIZEN SCIENCE PROJECT WORKING TO RESTORE 1 BILLION OYSTERS TO NEW YORK HARBOR.

CAN IT BE DONE?

THOSE STORIES AND MORE AS METROFOCUS STARTS RIGHT NOW.

ANNOUNCER: THIS IS METROFOCUS WITH RAFAEL PI RAMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY --

ANNOUNCER: CORPORATE FUNDING FOR METROFOCUS WAS PROVIDED BY MUTUAL OF AMERICA, YOUR RETIREMENT COMPANY.

AND BY PSE&G, SERVING CUSTOMERS, STRENGTHENING THE BUSINESS COMMUNE AND INVESTING IN THE FUTURE.

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO METROFOCUS.

I'M RAFAEL PI RAMAN.

WE BEGIN TONIGHT WITH AN INVESTIGATIVE REPORT FROM CITY AND STATE MAGAZINE THAT HAS EXPOSED EXTENSIVE DECAY AND ALARMING CONDITIONS IN THOUSAND OF THE WODEN WATER TOWERS THAT PROVIDE DRINKING WATER TO MILLIONS OF NEW YORKERS EVERY DAY.

FROM CAULK ROACHES TO DEAD PIGEONS AND RATS THE FINDINGS ARE SHOCKING.

A REVIEW OF CITY RECORDS KATE THAT MOST BUILD OWNERS DO NOT RESPECT AND CLEAN TANKS DESPITE A LAW REQUIRING THEM TO DO SO.

AND THERE IS WIDESPREAD AGREEMENT AMONG EPA SCIENCES AND HEALTH EXPERIENCE THAT THE CONDITIONS FOUND ALMOST CERTAINLY PRESENT HEALTH RISKS.

JENN AIF FLANAGAN SPOKE WITH FRANK RUN ONSENIOR REPORTER FROM CITY AND STATE WHO BROKE THE STORY.

THANKS.

RAF WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME ON.

HOW ON EARTH DID YOU EVEN DISCOVER THIS STORY OR REALIZE THIS WAS A PROBLEM.

IN GOES BACK TO 2011 BEFORE I WAS ACTUALLY A PAID JOURNALIST, WAS ONE OF THE EARLY STORY PITCHES I HAD.

I WAS WONDERING WHAT WAS INSIDE THE WATER TANKS.

SUPPOSED TO BE A FEATURE PIECE.

NEVER DID I THINK THERE WAS DRINKING WATER INSIDE THEM.

BUT THERE WAS.

AND FROM THERE BEGAN A VERY LONG STORY OF LOOKING INTO THESE WATER TANKS AND TRYING TO BE ABLE TO BEST HE TELL THE STORY OF WHAT'S GOING ON INSIDE OF THESE TANKS.

AND THAT SEEMS A GREAT JOURNALISM STORY.

SOMETHING I WAS JUST WONDERING.

I WANT YOU TO TAKE US INSIDE THE TANKS BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT MAKES THIS ARTICLE SO SHOCKING IS THAT IT'S GROSS.

IT IS VERY SURPRISING, I THINK PARTICULARLY WITH ALL THE RHETORIC AROUND NEW YORK CITY BRAGGING ABOUT WATER QUALITY AND HOW WONDERFUL AND PURE IT IS, HOW MUCH MONEY THEY INVEST IN IT AND THEY CAMPAIGN ON IT.

THERE IS A BLIND SPOT IT SEEMS IN THE OVERSIGHT.

IT'S METICULOUSLY TESTED AND TAKEN CARE OF.

THEY BUY LOTS OF LAND AROUND THE RESERVOIR, THE STATE.

AND YOU KNOW BUT WE IT ARRIVES AT CURBSIDE AT BUILDINGS IT'S THE LANDLORD'S RESPONSIBILITY TO CARE FOR THE DRINKING WATER.

UM-HUM.

AND IT'S AT THAT POINT THE WATER IS PUMPED UP TO WOODEN BARRELS, THE CONSTRUCTION OF WHICH REALLY HAS NOT CHANGED MUCH IN 100 YEARS.

THERE ARE ELECTRIC PUMPS.

THERE ARE HEATING MECHANISMS.

BUT WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO IT IT IS A WOODEN BARREL UPON A ROOF TOP.

ALL RIGHT AND THEN IT'S NOT JUST THAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT WATER HELD IN A WOODEN BARREL ON A ROOF TOP.

THERE WERE SEVERAL INSS OF ACTUAL DEAD THINGS FLOATING IN THE WATER TOWERS.

SO THEN LARGELY PEOPLE TAKING WARE ARE CARE OF THE TANKS REFER TO THEMSELVES AS TANKMAN THEY BUILD THESE THESE THINGS AT GREAT RISK TO THEMSELVES THEY CLIMB INSIDE AND KNOW THEM BEST.

THEY HAVE A CATALOG OF STORIES ABOUT THE DIFFERENT CREATURES THEY HAVE FOUND INSIDE.

NOT EVERY TANK HAS A PAIGEN IN IT OR A RODENT.

I BELIEVE ONE MAN MADE THE REFERENCE TO A RAT MARTINNY.

SQUIRREL MARTEN Y.

HE HAD SEEN THE SQUIRREL.

HE MADE THE SKBLOEK TO THE CLEANER AND WHO THOUGHT IT WAS FUNNY.

THERE WERE SQUIRRELS WHO DROWNED THE DRINKING WATER.

YOU DID REACH OUT TO SEVERAL SCIENTISTING ALARMED AT WHAT YOU WERE FINDING.

BUT WERE THERE HEALTH RISKS WE KNOW TO PEOPLE DRINKING THE WATER?

IT'S VERY DIFFICULT WHEN YOU TALK TO SCIENTISTS ABOUT A PARTICULAR TEST CASE AND THEY'RE NOT ABLE TO BE THERE WITH, YOU KNOW, THEIR EQUIPMENT AND TEST THE SAMPLES.

AND SO THERE IS ONLY SO MUCH THEY CAN SAY.

BUT THE BIG TAKE AWAY FROM THIS FROM ALL THE EXPERTS' PERSPECTIVE IS HOW LITTLE IS KNOWN AND HOW LITTLE IS PROPERLY RECORDED IN TERMS OF THE ACTUAL DAY TO DAY CONDITION OF THE WATER TANKS.

AND THAT'S WHAT THEY WERE CALLING FOR, TESTING THAT HAPPENS BEFORE YOU BLEACH AND CLEAN THE TANK.

UM-HUM.

AT THE MOMENT THEY BLEACH AND CLEAN THE TANK AND THEN RECORD OBSERVATIONS OF IS IT DIRTY AFTER IT'S CLEANED.

OKAY.

AND SO MANY OF THE REPORTS ARE REALLY SPOTLESS.

AND THEY DO NOT MATCH WHAT IS COMMONLY UNDERSTOOD TO BE THE TYPICAL CONDITION OF THE TANKS.

WHAT WAS THE CITY'S RESPONSE TO YOUR STORY?

THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT HAS YET TO REACH OUT TO ME.

THEY SAID THAT THEY WOULD CALL ME BUT THEY HAVE NOT SINCE WE PUBLISHED.

THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT THAT IS AND NOR HAS THE DEPARTMENT OF CITYWIDE ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES IN CHARGE OF THAT PARTICULAR TANK ON TOP OF THE CITY SANITATION OFFICE THAT WE HAD A PHOTOGRAPH OF THAT WAS IN REALLY BAD CONDITION.

LAWMAKERS, HOW HAVE, HAVE REACHED OUT TO ME.

AND THEY WERE VERY CONCERNED ABOUT THE REPORT.

AND I'M ACTUALLY AT MY DESK WRITING ABOUT THAT NOW.

WELL, OF COURSE WE'LL LIKE LOOK FORWARD TO THAT.

ONE LAST QUESTION FOR RESIDENTS WHO WILL BE SEEING THIS AND WANT TO KNOW WHAT CAN I DO OR IS THERE A WAY TO KEEP MYSELF SAFE?

I KNOW I HAVE A WATER TOWER ON MY BUILD SNG WHAT CAN WE DO?

WHAT WOULD YOU RECOMMEND?

THE WAY THE SYSTEM IS GEARED IS THAT YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO REQUEST THOSE RECORDS FROM YOUR BUILDING ORION.

AND THEY MUST PROVIDE THOSE WITHIN FIVE BUSINESS DAYS.

AND IF THEY -- IF THEY FAIL TO DO THAT YOU SHOULD GET IN TOUCH WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH.

AND IN THE MEANTIME YOU SHOULD HOPEFULLY BE ABLE TO G INSPECTION RECORDS DESCRIBING THE CONDITIONS IN TANK, AND BACTERIALOGICAL TESTING WHETHER BACTERIA WAS FOUND IN THE TANKS.

BUT MOST TELLING OF ALL IS IF YOU DON'T HEAR ANYTHING BACK THIS IS SOMETHING YOU MIGHT WANT TO RAISE TO THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND ASK THEM TO LOOK INTO IT.

BECAUSE THEY MAY NOT BE RESPECTING OR CLEANING THE TANK AND MIGHT NOT HAVE ANY RECORDS TO GIVE YOU

THANKS FOR JOINING US, FRANK.

AND THANK YOU FOR UNCOVERING THE STORY THAT MOST OF US DIDN'T EVEN KNOW WAS FLOATING ABOVE OUR HEADS.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

THANK YOU.

THERE IS A CONSTANT OVERDOSE IS JUST NON-STOP.

RESPONDING TO OVERDOSES IN THE AREAS THAT I GREW UP HITS HOME A LITTLE BIT.

WE HAVE A TOOL THAT CAN.

STOP YOEFRPDS DEATHS?

ARE WHY ARE WE NOT USE SFWLOOG WE KNEW IT THERE WAS AN OVERDOSE CRISIS BEFORE CITY HALL.

I DON'T THINK SUPPORTING DRUGS IS THE ANSWER.

> SINCE 2010 ALMOST 7,000 PEOPLE HAVE DIED WITHIN NEW YORK CITY DUE TO DRUG OVERDOSES.

STATEWIDE 1 MILLION OF OUR NEIGHBORS HAVE SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROBLEMS.

A RECENT INVESTIGATIVE TOWNHALL SPECIAL, THE NEW YORK CITY OPIOID BATTLE HOSTED BY SPECTRUM NEWS NEW YORK 1 TOOK ON THE SCOURGE THAT IMPACTED NOT JUST NEW YORK BUT THE ENTIRE NATION.

AND THE GOAL, WELL THAT'S TO DISCUSS EFFORTS TO COMBAT THE EPIDEMIC.

THE NYPD ROLE IN ENDING IT AND IF CONTROVERSIAL SAFE INJECTION SITES ARE IN FACT THE ANSWER.

HERE IS WITH INIS LYDIA HUGH AND DR. LIPPY ROY MEDICAL DIRECTOR OF A NEW YORK ADDICTION TREATMENT CENTER AND A PERCEIVER AT NYULANGON WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

I WANT TO START WITH THE DOCUMENTARY.

IT'S REALLY INTENSE AND SOMETIMES DIFFICULT TO WATCH.

I WANT TO GET YOUR TAKE ON HOW YOU GUYS WERE ABLE TO PUT THAT TOGETHER BECAUSE YOU GOT SOME REALLY EMOTIONAL STORIES.

WE DID.

YOU KNOW AT NEW YORK 1 WE WANTED TO TAKE A NATIONAL TOPIC, A NATIONAL CONCERN, THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC AND SHOW VIEWERS HOW IT'S AFFECTING US LOCALLY IN NEW YORK CITY.

WE REACHED OUT TO FRONT LINE WORKER AT SYRINGE SITES THAT'S HOW WE FOUND NOAH ONE OF THE PEOPLE WE FOLLOWED HE IS BATTLING A HEROIN ADDICTION AND HOMELESSNESS AS WELL WHICH COMPLICATES HIS ACCESS TO TREATMENT.

AS YOU SEE IN THE TUMTRY WE WERE ABLE TO ANOTHER INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER WAS ABLE TO GET INCREDIBLE ACCESS TO THE NYPD TO SHOW WAS LAW ENFORCEMENT IS TACKLING IN STATEN ISLAND TAKING DOWN AN ALLEGED DRUG DEALER AND USER ALSO.

WE WERE TRYING TO GET ON THE GROUND SEE HOW IT'S AFFECTING COMMUNITIES, THE FRONT LINE WORKERS WHO KNOW THE EPIDEMIC AND EXPERIENCE IT THE BEST.

I WANT TO GET BACK TO WHAT CAME OUT OF THE TOWNHALL AND POSSIBLE OPTIONS WE HAVE.

BUT I DO WANT TO TALK MORE ESPECIALLY WITH YOU, DOCTOR, ABOUT THE ISSUE OF STIGMA.

BECAUSE AS WE SEE IN THE DOCUMENTARY NOAH DEFINITELY WANTS TO GET HELP.

AND HE TRIES BUT YOU ALSO SEE HIM BATTLE WITH HIS OWN ISSUES AROUND GOING TO GET TREATMENT.

TWO KEY POINTS I ALWAYS LIKE TO TELL PEOPLE THAT ARE REALLY NECESSARY, ONE IS THAT ADDICTION IS A CHRONIC MEDICAL DISEASE, A DISEASE OF THE BRAIN WHERE RELAPSE IS EXPECTED.

IT'S NOT A SIGN OF MORAL WEAKNESS OR FAILURE.

THE SECOND POINT IS THAT MOST PEOPLE WITH ADDICTION ONCE CONNECTED TO THE APPROPRIATE TREATMENT AND CARE GET BETTER.

BUT WE JUST DON'T SEE THAT.

OF THE 23 MILLION AMERICANS WHO SUFFER WITH THE DISORDER ONLY 10% ACCESS TREATMENT AND STIGMA IS A MAJOR BARRIER TO CARE.

BUT WHAT SEEMS TO BE ONE OF THE REALLY STICKING ISSUES RIGHT NOW IN NEW YORK IS THIS ISSUE OF SAFE INJECTION SITING.

THAT'S RIGHT.

SAFE INMAGICS THE SITES WE ALSO DISCUSS IN OUR OPIOID SPECIAL.

THIS WAS AN ISSUE AND SOMETHING THAT FRONT LINE WORKERS ARE THINKING ABOUT AND WERE ADVOCATING FOR SOP SAFE INJECTION SITES HAVE BEEN AROUND FOR 30 YEARS AROUND THE WORLD.

THERE ARE NONE IN THE UNITED STATES.

THESE ARE WHERE DRUG USERS CAN CONSUME THE ILLEGAL DRUGS UNDER SUPERVISION OF MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS.

IT'S AN IDEA TO SAVE LIVES.

WE ALSO SEE IN THE FILM THERE IS THE OVERLAPPING ISSUE OF HOW DO THE POLICE TREAT THE LOCATIONS?

RIGHT.

AND ALSO WHO IS OKAYING IT, RUNNING, CITY, STATE, ET CETERA?

WE FOLLOW A LITTLE BIT OF THE CONTROVERSY.

IN 2016 THE NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL KMILGS COMMISSION ADD STUDY SPENT $100,000 CALLING IT A FEASIBILITY STUDY FOR SAFE INJECTION SITE FIGURING OUT IF THE FACILITIES CAME TO NEW YORK HOW WOULD THEY WORK AND BE FUNDED?

THE PRODUCT OF THAT WAS A REPORT RELEASED IN EARLY MAY WHERE THE MAYOR SHOWS HIS SUPPORT FOR PILOTING FOUR OF THESE SAFE INJECTION SITES.

HE CALLS THEM OVERDOSE PREVENTION CENTERS AROUND THE CITY.

THE PREM HAD BEEN PASSED ALONG NOW THROUGH A COMPLEX APPROVAL PROCESS AND NEW AWAITS APPROVAL BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH BEFORE IT MOVES FORWARD.

BUT IF IT DOES IT WOULD TAKE MUCH LONGER THAN SEVERAL MONTHS -- PROBABLY A YEAR BEFORE ANY SAFE INJECTION SITE WOULD BE ABLE TO OPEN ITS DOORS.

BUT IF THE PROPOSAL MOVES FORWARD FOUR OF THEM COULD POTENTIALLY OPEN AROUND THE CITY.

AND A CONSERVATIVE ESTIMATE WOULD BE IT WOULD SAVE 130 LIVES A YEAR.

I AGREE WITH HER POINT ON THE SAFE CONSUMPTION SITING IF YOU TOLD ME FIVE YEARS AGO WE WERE GOING TO GOING TO CREATE SPACES TO INJECT HEROIN.

THIS SEEMS COUNTERINTUITIVE.

I REALLY GET THE CONCERN THAT PEOPLE HAVE.

NEW YORKERS HAVE ABOUT CREATING THE SITES.

BUT MY RESPONSIBILITY AS A DOCTOR IS TO SAVE LIVES AND IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF MY PATIENT'S LIVES.

AND SO WHAT I'VE LEARNED LIKE LYDIA LEARNED AS WELL IS THAT THESE SAFE CONSUMPTION SITES OR FACILITIES THAT THAT ARE NOW IN OVER 60 CITIES AROUND THE WORLD, THE DATA FROM THE SITES IS UNEQUIVOCAL.

THEY REDUCE OVERDOSE INCIDENTS, OVERDOSE DEATHS, DECREASE HIV AND HEPATITIS C TRANSMISSION AND AS LYDIA POINTED OUT THEY ENGAGE PEOPLE IN CARE.

THAT'S WHAT WE WANT.

THEY HAVE MENTAL HEALTH DOCTORS ON-SITE.

ADDICTION DOCTORS.

AND BY THE WAY, NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THE INJECTION FACILITIES HAVE HAD A FATALITY.

I THINK THAT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT POINT.

LISTEN, I WANT TO THANK YOU BOTH FOR JOINING US.

AND OF COURSE FOR MAKING THIS INCREDIBLE DOCUMENTARY.

I GUESS WE'LL BE LOOK TO SEE WHAT COMES OUT OF THE STATE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

> IT'S THE BIG APPLE.

THE CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS.

AND EVEN THE CAPITOL OF THE WORLD.

NEW YORK CITY.

OVER 8 MILLION STRONG.

BUT AMONGST OUR NEIGHBORS THE PEOPLE WE WORK WITH WALK THE STREETS WITH AND COMMUTE WITH THERE WAS A GROWING EPIDEMIC OF LONELINESS.

ACCORDING TO A RECENT STUDY BY A CIGNA INSURANCE NEARLY HALF OF ALL AMERICANS FEEL ALONE AND THE IMPACT OF THEIR LONELINESS IS FAR GREATER THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT.

SO JOINING ME NOW WITH INSIGHT IS NYU SOCIOLOGIST ERIC REYNEN BURGER, THE AUTHOR OF GOING SOLO.

ERIC WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU IT'S NICE TO BE HERE.

SO, FIRST, TO BEGIN WITH, THIS IS NEW YORK CITY.

HOW IS IT IN A CITY OF 8 MILLION CAN PEOPLE FEEL LONELY?

WELL, ONE OF THE THINGS ABOUT LIVING IN A BIG CITY IS THAT EVEN IF YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS YOU ARE CONSTANTLY SURROUNDED BY STRANGERS.

SO IF YOU LIVE IN A SMALL TOWN YOU MIGHT KNOW FEWER PEOPLE BUT YOU KNOW JUST ABOUT ALL THE PEOPLE YOU WALK BY IN THE STREETS.

WHEN YOU'RE ON THE SUBWAY OR WALKING DOWN A BIG AVENUE, YOU CAN FEEL PROFOUNDLY ALONE AND SO MODERN CITIES HAVE ALWAYS GIVEN PEOPLE THAT FEELING.

BUT HOW MUCH OF THIS IS NEW YORKERS OWN MAKING.

IT'S A GREAT QUESTION.

AND LET ME BE CLEAR THAT THERE IS A REAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LIVING ALONE OR BEING ALONE AND FEELING LONELY.

SO RIGHT NOW AN EXTRAORDINARY NUMBER OF PEOPLE HAVE THEIR OWN APARTMENTS.

AND YOU'RE RIGHT.

THEY GET THEIR OWN APARTMENTS BECAUSE THEY CAN AFFORD IT.

THEY GO TO THE RESTAURANT BY THEMSELVES BECAUSE THEY FEEL COMFORTABLE DOING THAT.

AND IT'S OUR AFFLUENCE AND SUCCESS THAT ALLOWS PEOPLE TO LIVE WITHOUT THE TRADITIONAL SOURCES OF SOCIAL SUPPORTS.

BUT AT THE SAME TIME AT SOME POINT YOU CAN START TO FEEL LONELY IF YOU FAIL TO MAKE THE CONNECTIONS THAT ALL OF US NEED TO BE HAPPY IN LIFE.

SO NO MATTER HOW WEALTHY YOU ARE IF YOU ISOLATE YOURSELF YOU'LL FEEL THE PENNSYLVANIA PAIN.

SEWS DOES SOCIAL MEDIA PLAY A ROLE?

SOME HAVE SAID WE SPEND SO MUCH TIME LOOKING AT OUR PHONES AND NOT UP AT PEOPLE WE'VE LOST THE ABILITY TO MAKE A CONNECTION.

ALL OF US HAD THE EXPERIENCE WHERE YOU'RE WITH A PERSON AND THEY SEEM CONSTANTLY DISTRACTED.

AND SOCIAL LIFE CAN BE UNSATISFACTORYING PROCESS THE PEOPLE YOU'RE WITH IS ALWAYS LOOKING FOR SOME OTHER STIMULATION THAT MAKES ALL OF US FEEL WE'RE FOR THE GETTING WHAT WE NEED.

THAT SAID, THE BEST RESEARCH WE HAVE RIGHT NOW TELLS US THAT THE HEAVY QUEST USERS OF SOCIAL MEDIA WILL ALSO THE HEAVIEST IRIS OF FACE-TO-FACE INTERACTIONS.

THEY'RE PEOPLE WITH A HEALTHY APPETITE FOR SOCIAL LIFE.

AND THIS STUDY THAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT TODAY SURPRISED MANY PEOPLE.

BECAUSE IT SHOWED THAT THE MOST ACTIVE USERS OF SOCIAL MEDIA WERE NOT MORE LONELY THAN PEOPLE WHO ARE JUST USING IT A LITTLE BIT.

THAT DOESN'T REALLY SEEM TO BE THE DRIVER OF THIS.

SO THIS IS ONE THING WE CAN'T BLAME AND FACEBOOK.

JUST ONE.

ONE THING.

ALL RIGHT.

SO BREAK DOWN FOR ME, IF YOU WILL, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PHYSICAL HEALTH DETRIMENTS THAT COME FROM BEING LONELY, FROM FEELING ALONE AND BEING LONELY.

WELL WE NOW KNOW THAT FEELING LONELY IS NOT JUST A MINOR ANNOYANCE IF IT GETS CARRIED AWAY.

IF YOU FEEL JUST LIKE A LITTLE BIT OF LONELINESS.

THAT'S ACTUALLY YOUR BODY GIVING YOU A CUE YOU NEED TO GO OUT IN THE WORLD AND MAKE STRONGER CONNECTIONS.

YOU NEED TO HAVE BETTER SOCIAL SUPPORT.

AND SO YOU CAN HAVE A HEALTHY DOES OF DON'TLINESS BUT IT CAN BE DANGEROUS WE IT BECOMES SEVERE AND CONSTANT.

BECAUSE LONELINESS CAN LEAD TO WITHDRAWAL, SOCIAL WITHDRAWAL AND ALSO TO DEPRESSION.

THAT DEPRESSION CAN LEAD YOU TO BE MORE ISOLATED.

IT CAN ELEVATE YOUR STRESS.

AND THAT CAN LEAD TO DIABETES.

INCREASE THE INCIDENCE OF CANCER.

MAKE YOU ARE MORE LIKELY TO COMMIT SUICIDE.

AND SO MEDICAL DOCTORS ARE INCREASINGLY CONVINCED THAT LONELINESS IS IN AND OF ITSELF A HEALTH PROBLEM THAT WE SHOULD ALL TAKE MORE SERIOUSLY.

BUT ON THE FLIP SIDE, THOUGH, BECAUSE IN YOUR BOOK GOING SOLO YOU TALK ABOUT SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF DOING THINGS SOLO.

THAT'S RIGHT.

AND HERE AGAIN WE HAVE TO MAKE A DISTINCTION BETWEEN SOL ATTITUDE WHICH CAN BE VERY PRODUCTIVE AND HEALTHY AND PROFOUND LONELINESS WHICH CAN BE DESTRUCTIVE.

I THINK WE LIVE AT A TIME NOW WHERE WE'RE ALL SO HYPERCONNECTED, ON OUR PHONES ALL THE TIME, CONSTANTLY COMMUNICATING WITH PEOPLE, ENTERTAINING OURSELVES, AND WE HAVE LOST A LITTLE BIT OF OUR ABILITY TO CHECK OUT.

AND THINK ABOUT HOW WE'RE LIVING OUR LIVES, ABOUT OUR RELATIONSHIPS, ABOUT WHAT WE WANT AND WHAT WE NEED TO BE HAPPIER.

AND IN FACT IT'S HAVING THAT SAL ATTITUDE AND MAKING USE OF IT THAT ALLOWS US TO LIVE MORE RICHLY AND TO DISCOVER WHAT IT IS THAT WE REALLY WANT.

ALL RIGHT.

WELL, IF THERE IS ANYTHING THAT YOU WOULD WANT PEOPLE TO TAKE AWAY FROM, ESPECIALLY SOMEONE WHO MIGHT BE SORT OF ON THAT CUSP WHERE YOU ARE STRUGGLING WITH THE FEELINGS, ANXIETY FEELINGS OF LONELINESS YET AT THE SAME TIME YOU DO ENJOY THE FACT THAT YOU FINALLY DON'T HAVE ROOMMATES.

WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO BE THE TAKE AWAY OF THE EPIDEMIC OF LOEPLYNESS FOR I THINK MOST OF NEWS THAT AREA.

WELL, FIRST OF ALL, I WOULD SAY I ACTUALLY DON'T THINK THERE IS AN EPIDEMIC OF LOEPLYNESS.

I THINK WE'RE JUST ABOUT AS LEPLY AS WE'VE ALWAYS BEEN IN MODERN CITIES.

I'M A LITTLE CAUTIOUS ABOUT EACH NEW REPORT BECAUSE THEY TEND TO SHOW RESULTS ALL OVER THE MAP.

I THINK WE'RE NOT NOT NECESSARILY LONELIER THAN WE'VE EVER BEEN.

BUT WHAT WE FEEL LENLY IT'S SERIOUS AND IMPORTANT.

AND YOU SHOULD KNOW IF YOU FEEL LONELY THAT YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

THIS IS A SITUATION THAT'S SHARED BY MANY PEOPLE AND THERE IS SUPPORT THERE.

ERIC, LISTEN, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US ON THE PROGRAM.

AND GIVING US SOME INSIGHT INTO HOW TO HANDLE SOME OF THESE ISSUES THAT WE ALL WRESTLE WITH IN A CITY LIKE NEW YORK.

THANKS, IT'S BEEN MY PLEASURE.

THANK YOU.

> NEW YORKERS LOVE OYSTERS.

THAT'S A WELL-KNOWN FACT.

BUT WHAT ISN'T SO WELL-KNOWN IS THAT NEW YORK CITY WAS ONCE CONSIDERED THE OYSTER CAPITOL OF THE WORLD.

BUT THAT WAS THEN.

TODAY OYSTERS ARE FUNCTIONALLY EXTINTING IN NEW YORK HEREBIER WHAT HAPPENED?

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

WHAT CAN WE DO?

ONE PROJECT CREATED TO DO SOMETHING IS THE BILLION OYSTER PROJECT WHICH AMONG OTHER THINGS ENLISTS SCHOOL CHILDREN IN THE EFFORT TO RESTORE THE CITY'S OYSTER POPULATION.

JOIPG US TO TALK ABOUT THAT AND AS PART OFF YOU ARE PERIL AND PROMISE INITIATIVE ON THE HUMAN IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE WE ARE NOW JOINED BY PETER MALENNOUSKY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE BILLION OYSTER PROJECTS AND SALARY McGEE.

DIRECTOR AT THE NATURE CONSERVANCY WHICH PROTONWOOD THE BILLION OYSTER PROJECT.

LET ME START WITH YOU WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF OYSTERS IN NEW YORK CITY?

WERE WE THICK IN OYSTERS BECOME IN THE DAY.

WHEN EUROPEANS ARRIVED THERE WAS OVER 200,000 OF OYSTER REEF IN NEW YORK HARBOR SOME ESTIMATED IT WAS HALF THE WORLD'S OYSTERS.

THOSE OYSTERS SUPPORTED A REALLY VAST AND DIVERSE ECOSYSTEM.

WE EUROPEANS ARRIVED THEY COULD CATCH FISH BY LOWERING A BASKET AND BRINGING BACK UP FULL OF FUCH.

OIF OYSTERS FILTER THE WATER.

STABILIZE THE SHORE.

PROTECT THE SHORE FROM WAVES.

YOU KNOW, IN THAT WAY THEY ENGINEERED A WHOLE ECOSYSTEM THAT FILLED THE HARBOR BEFORE WE ATE THEM ALL.

HOW DID THEY BECOME FUNCTIONALLY EXTINTING.

ONLY 100 YEARS AFTER OL COLINIZATION WE HAD EATEN ALL THE OYSTERS.

WE DREDGED OYSTERS OUT OF THE HARBOR BY THE EARLY MID-180 OHs ALL THE WILD OYSTERS FISHED OUT.

THEN THEY KBRTED THEM IN SEEDING BEDS IN THE HARBOR AND THAT WORKED UNTIL THE COMPLETION OF THE CROTON AQUEDUCT AND THEN THEY HAD AS MUCH FRESH WATER A AS THEY WANTED AND FLUSHED TOILETS AND TOOK SHOWERS AND IT WENT DOWN TO THE OYSTER BEDS.

CAME AS A BIG SURPRISE TO NEW YORKERS THAT POURING RAW SEWAGE ON THE FOOD SUPPLY WAS A PROBLEM.

IN THE LAST OF 190 OHs THEY CLOSED THE OYSTER BEDS.

GIVE US THE REASON THE OYSTER POPULATION HERE OR ANYWHERE IS IMPORTANT.

FIRST IS WE WANT TO GIVE PEOPLE IN NEW YORK THE ABILITY TO GET OUT AND ENJOY THE WATER MORE.

AND IF THE WATER AND ECOSYSTEM IS HEALTHIER THEN THEY'LL BE ABLE TO DO THAT MORE.

ANOTHER REASON IS LIKE PETE SAID, OYSTERS, THEY'VE WONDERFUL WATER QUALITY FILTERS.

SO YOU KNOW A SINGLE OYSTER A SINGLE ADULT OYSTER CAN FILTER 50 GALLONS OF WATER.

FILTERS WHAT?

WHAT TOES IT FILTER.

IT EATS PHYTOPLANKTON.

OH.

AND A CONDITION LIKE THE WATER IS IN NEW YORK HARBOR, THERE IS TOO MUCH OF THAT.

SO YOU HAVE OYSTERS IN THE WATER.

AND THAT IMPROVES THE WATER QUALITY.

AND OYSTER REEVES, HOW MUCH DO THEY HELP, FOR EXAMPLE WE WE HAVE A HURRICANE AND THE WATERS ARE COMING ONTO THE ISLAND.

THEY DO HELP.

THEY DEFINITELY DO.

THAT'S ONE OF THE BENEFITS OF SHELL FISH REEF RESTORATION IS THAT THEY PROVIDE A BUFFER FROM STORM SURGE AND WAVES.

SO TELL US ABOUT THE PROJECT.

WELL WE'RE TRYING TO RESTORE SUSTAINABLE OYSTER POPULATION TO NEW YORK HARBOR AND THROUGH THAT WORK CHANGE THE RELATIONSHIP THAT NEW YORKERS HAVE TO THE NATURAL RESOURCE.

WE BELIEVE THAT ACTIVE ENGAGEMENT IN A RESTORATION PROJECT IS A POWERFUL WAY TO BUILD ENTHUSIASM AND EXCITEMENT AND KNOWLEDGE OF THAT RESOURCE.

YOU CAN'T RESTORE OYSTERS IF YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO DRIVE BOAT, SKUBA DIVE GROW OYSTERS AND GET IN THE WATER AND DO THE WORK.

WE WORK WITH ABOUT 100 PUBLIC SCHOOLS THROUGHOUT ALL I'VE BUHROWS WHERE WE WEECH O TEACH MATH AND SCIENCE TEACHERS TO TEACH LESSONS THROUGH THE LENS OF OYSTER RESTORATION.

UNDERSTANDING WHAT EXISTS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE LAND OF THEARY WATER BARRIER SEES THERE IS ANIMALS IN THE WERT.

UNDERSTANDING TIDES AND CURRENT AND STORMS AND EVERYTHING WITH THAT.

YOU WANT TO ESTABLISH A CULTURE OF STEWARDSHIP AMONG KIDS.

WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF US WHO DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT IT?

THAT'S ONE OF OUR -- WE HAVE NO CHANCE OF RESTORING A BILLION OYSTERS IF WE CAN'T ENGAGE AS MANY OF THE 8 MILLION PEOPLE HERE AS POSSIBLE.

PEOPLE EYE WHO LIKE EATING THE OYSTERS CAN PARTICIPATE JUST BY EATING THE OYSTERS AND RECYCLING THE SHELLS.

YOU CAN COME OUT AND BE A MEMBER OR A VOLUNTEER OF THE BILLION OYSTER PROJECT.

THE NATURE CONSERVANCY DOES OTHER THINGS BESIDES PARTNERING ABOUT THE O WITH THE BILLION OYSTER PROJECT.

WE HAVE AN EXCITING NEW PROJECT BEEN IN THE WORKS ABOUT A YEAR NOW THAT WE JUST STARTED, WORKING WITH SHELL FISH FARMERS.

THESE ARE THE PEOPLE GROWING THE OYSTERS THAT END UP ON YOUR PLATE AS A OYSTER ON THE HALF SHELL AT HAPPY HOUR.

SO WE ARE WORKING WITH A GROUP OF SHELL FISH FARMER WHO ACTUALLY CAME TO US REALLY CONCERNED ABOUT THE IMPACT THAT THEY WERE SEEING ABOUT -- OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON THEIR FARMS.

SO THEY WANTED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

THEY ARE SEEING THE IMPACTS.

AND DIDN'T REALLY HAVE THE MEANS TO DO THAT.

SO THEY APPROACHED THE NATURE CONSERVANCY.

AND SAID WE ARE REALLY CONCERNED ABOUT THE CHANGING WATER CHEMISTRY THAT'S HAPPENING, THE INCREASED FREQUENCY AND INTENSITY OF STORMS, YOU KNOW, WHAT CAN WE DO?

AND SO WE HAVE CREATED WHAT WE'RE CALLING THE SHELL FISH GROWERS CLIMATE COALITION THAT IS A GROUP OF SHELL FISH GROWERS ON THE EAST AND WEST COAST AND GROWING EVERY DAY.

ALL RIGHT THANK YOU, PETER AND SALLY FOR JOINING US TODAY PROCESSES REALLY INTERESTING AND IMPORTANT.

THANK YOU.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

ANNOUNCER: FUNDING FOR THIS

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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