MetroFocus: November 18, 2021

FRONTLINE debuts its first-ever book, titled Miseducation: How Climate Change is Taught in America by Emmy-Award winning investigative journalist Katie Worth. She joins us tonight with damning evidence based on original investigative reporting revealing that in much of the country, children learn that climate change may or may not actually be happening — even when alarming evidence that it is can be found in their own backyards.

At 19, Jerome Foster II is the youngest White House Advisor ever. In March he was appointed to President Joe Biden’s Environmental Justice Advisory Council. He was a keynote speaker at the COP26 Conference in Glasgow. Tonight he joins us to talk about the impact of climate change on the world, particularly marginalized peoples. Join us for this important discussion on the policies he’s advocating for within the Biden administration and on why he believes Generation Z is the generation most impacted by the climate crisis.

Peril and Promise is an ongoing series of reports on the human impact of, and solutions for, Climate Change. Lead funding for Peril and Promise is provided by Dr. P. Roy Vagelos and Diana T. Vagelos. Major support is provided by Marc Haas Foundation and Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III. 

 

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION, THE MARK HASSE FOUNDATION.

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS,' I AM JACK FORD.

SO, ARE AMERICAN SCHOOLS MISLEADING CHILDREN ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE?

AND IF SO, WHY?

THOSE QUESTIONS ARE THE SUBJECT OF A NEW BOOK BY AWARD-WINNING INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST KATIE WORTH.

THE BOOK IS CALLED 'MISEDUCATION: HOW CLIMATE CHANGE IS TAUGHT IN AMERICA.'

IN IT, SHE ARGUES THAT POLITICS MORE THAN SCIENCE DETERMINES WHAT MILLIONS OF STUDENTS ARE BEING TAUGHT AND AS A RESULT COULD, INDEED, BE CATASTROPHIC.

JOINING US NOW TO TALK ABOUT HER BOOK AS PART OF OR ONGOING PERIL AND PROMISE INITIATIVE, REPORTING ON THE HUMAN STORIES OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND ITS SOLUTIONS, IS AUTHOR AND INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER KATIE WORTH.

KATIE, WELCOME.

SO GLAD TO BE HERE.

LET ME START WITH WHERE YOU START IN THE BOOK, BECAUSE IN THE INTRODUCTION, YOU TALK ABOUT GOING BACK TO ONE OF YOUR SCHOOLS.

TELL ME WHY YOU WANTED TO START WITH THAT AND WHY IT WAS SO SIGNIFICANT.

WELL, SO, I'VE BEEN REP REPORTING, STARTED THIS REPORTING PROJECT ABOUT WHAT KIDS LEARN AND -- IN SCHOOL ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE AND THEN IN NOVEMBER 2018, ACTUALLY, IT HAPPENS TO BE THREE YEARS AGO TODAY, THE TOWN OF PARADISE BURNED DOWN IN THE CAMP FIRE, YOU MAY REMEMBER IT.

IT WAS DEVASTATING.

IT BURNED 90% OF THE BUILDINGS IN THAT TOWN.

I'M FROM THE COUNTY WHERE PARADISE IS.

SO, I'M FROM A FOUND CALLED CHICO.

SO, OF COURSE ONE OF MY FIRST THOUGHTS ONCE THE FIRE WAS OUT WAS, WHAT ARE KIDS IN THIS COMMUNITY LEARNING ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE WHEN THEY HAVE ARGUABLY BEEN REALLY -- THEIR LIVES HAVE ALREADY BEEN SHAPED BY IT?

SO, I WOUND UP GOING TO -- TO MY ALMA MATER, CHICO JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL AND TALKING TO A SCIENCE TEACHER THERE WHO IS VERY INTERESTED IN TEACHING CLIMATE CHANGE AND SHE TOLD ME THE STORY ABOUT HOW ONE YEAR A COUPLE YEARS AGO, SHE WAS WORKING WITH HER STUDENTS ON SOLUTIONS PROJECTS.

THEY'D ALREADY HAD A WHOLE CLIMATE LESSON AND ALL OF A SUDDEN THEY STARTED COMING IN AND NOT KNOWING -- OR SAYING LIKE, WELL, THIS ISN'T REAL ANYWAY AND IT TURNED OUT THAT THEY HAD BEEN LEAVING HER CLASS WHERE THEY WERE LEARNING CLIMATE SCIENCE AND WALKING INTO A HISTORY TEACHER'S CLASS WHERE -- WHO WAS SHOWING THEM VIDEO, YOUTUBE VIDEOS, ALLEGING THAT THE CLIMATE CRISIS WASN'T REAL, THAT IT WAS A HOAX, THAT IT WAS ABOUT SCIENTISTS WHO WERE GRABBING FOR POWER AND SO THEY WERE GIVING THESE TWO -- IT WAS 11-YEAR-OLDS, SIXTH GRADERS, WHO WERE GETTING MIXED MESSAGES IN THEIR LIVES THAT THEY TRUSTED ON THIS ISSUE.

AND THERE WERE SO MANY POINTS OF TENSION OVER THIS ISSUE.

IT WAS REALLY ONE EXAMPLE OF MANY THAT I CAME ACROSS IN MY REPORTING.

TELL US ABOUT, IN TERMS OF YOUR REPORTING, BECAUSE YOU SPENT A LOT OF TIME AND YOU TRAVELED, TELL US SOME OF THE THINGS YOU DID, JUST QUICKLY, TO PUT TOGETHER THE INFORMATION THAT FORMED THE BASIS OF THE BOOK?

YEAH, SO, I TRAVELED TO A COUPLE DOZEN CLASSES -- I OBSERVED A COUPLE DOZEN CLASSROOMS AND A COUPLE DOZEN COMMUNITIES AROUND THE COUNTRY.

I BUILT A 50-STATE DATABASE.

I READ THROUGH DOZENS OF TEXTBOOKS.

I REALLY DID BOTH QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS OF THIS AND, YOU KNOW, AS I SAID, WHAT I FOUND WAS, THERE'S JUST -- THIS WAS A POINT OF FRICTION IN A LOT OF COMMUNITIES AND WHAT I -- AND ESPECIALLY IN PRETTY CONSERVATIVE COMMUNITIES, SO IN KIND OF THE REDDEST STATES AND THE REDDEST PARTS OF THE BLUEST STATES -- I'M FROM CALIFORNIA AND THAT'S WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN MY HOMETOWN, YOU KNOW?

THERE'S REALLY A RED/BLUE DIVIDE.

YOU CAN KIND OF ROUGHLY GUESS WHAT A KID IS GOING TO LEARN BY CLIMATE CHANGE JUST BY KNOWING WHETHER THEIR STATE LEGISLATURE IS RUN BY REPUBLICANS OR DEMOCRATS.

LET ME TALK ABOUT SOME OF YOUR FINDINGS, BECAUSE THERE'S SO MUCH IN HERE AND IT'S A MARVELOUS BOOK, WELL RESEARCHED AND PEOPLE SHOULD READ IT.

IT'S IMPORTANT.

LET ME TALK ABOUT SOME OF YOUR FINDINGS.

AND I GUESS THE OVERARCHING QUESTION IS, ARE TEACHERS ACTUALLY KNOWINGLY PROVIDING MISINFORMATION TO THEIR STUDENTS OR ARE THEY DOING THIS WITHOUT KNOWING THAT THEY'RE DOING IT?

I THINK IT'S FAR, FAR, FAR MORE THE LATTER.

I THINK, YOU KNOW, A LOT OF TEACHERS DIDN'T LEARN ANYTHING ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE THEMSELVES WHEN THEY WERE GROWING UP AND THEN THEY'VE HEARD, YOU KNOW, FROM -- FROM THEIR NEWS SOURCES, FROM THEIR POLITICIANS, THAT THIS MAY OR MAY NOT BE HAPPENING AND, YOU KNOW, SO, THEY -- THEY AREN'T -- THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE GOING TO PASS ONTO THEIR KIDS.

YOU KNOW, TEACHERS ARE ALL OVER THE SPECTRUM, SO, IT'S NOT SOME KIND OF, LIKE, FROM THE TEACHER'S POINT OF VIEW, IT'S NOT AN INTENTIONAL MISEDUCATION, IT'S JUST KIND OF PASSING ON MISINFORMATION THEY THEMSELVES HAVE ABSORBED A LOT OF THE TIME.

OR JUST COMPLETELY LEAVING IT OUT OF THE LESSON PLANS BECAUSE THEY KNOW IT WILL BE A POINT OF TENSION.

OR, YOU KNOW, IT'S JUST A MATTER OF THEM JUST NOLL HT HAVING THI TRAINING TO TEACH IT.

TALK ABOUT THE PROBLEM OF A BOTH SIDES-ISM APPROACH TO THIS IN THE CLASSROOM.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT AND WHY IS THAT CONCERNING TO US?

YEAH, SO, THE -- THERE HASN'T BEEN A TON OF RESEARCH INTO HOW TEACHERS TEACH CLIMATE CHANGE, BUT THERE HAVE BEEN A COUPLE OF SURVEYS AND THEY FIND THAT ABOUT A THIRD OF TEACHERS TEACH IT AS A DEBATE.

AND, YOU KNOW, IT'S -- THAT'S NOT -- DEBATE IS ACTUALLY PRETTY GOOD PETAGOGY IN CLASSROOMS, BECAUSE IT ENGAGES KIDS AND MAKES THEM THINK AND THINK CRITICALLY AND PAY ATTENTION, BUT IF YOU'RE HAVING KIDS DEBATE SOMETHING THAT'S NOT A DEBATE, SO, YOU KNOW, YOU'RE NOT HAVING KIDS DEBATE, YOU KNOW, MITOSIS OR, YOU KNOW, THE CELL THEORY, YOU KNOW, BECAUSE THERE'S THIS ABUNDANCE OF EVIDENCE FOR IT AND DEBATING IT MIGHT MAKE THEM THINK THAT THERE ISN'T, RIGHT?

AND THE SAME IS TRUE WITH CLUE MAT CHANGE.

THERE'S AN ABUNDANCE OF EVIDENCE AND THERE'S NO EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY AND SO TO HAVE KIDS DEBATE IT IS DOING A DISSERVICE, BECAUSE IT PLANTS THIS IDEA THAT, YOU KNOW, EVEN WITH AN ABUNDANCE OF EVIDENCE, IT'S -- IT MAY OR MAY NOT BE TRUE.

YOU TALK ALSO ABOUT THIS PROBLEM BEING COMPOUNDED BY MESSAGING.

BY GROUPS AND ORGANIZATIONS WHO ARE JUMPING IN AND ACTIVELY TRYING TO MOVE THE CONVERSATION AWAY FROM THE TRUTH OF CLIMATE CHANGE.

GIVE US A SENSE OF SOME OF THESE ORGANIZATIONS AND HOW ARE THEY GOING ABOUT DOING THAT?

YEAH, WELL, SO, THERE'S THIS LONG HISTORY OF FOSSIL FUEL -- THE FOSSIL FUEL INDUSTRY INSERTING THEIR MESSAGES INTO CLASSROOMS AND YOU KNOW, AT ONE POINT, THEY ACTUALLY -- THERE WAS A PLAN MADE TO INSERT CLIMATE DENIAL INTO CLASSROOMS IN A LEAKED MEMO THAT 'THE NEW YORK TIMES' PUBLISHED IN 1998, THEY SAID THAT THEY WANTED TO, QUOTE, ERECT A BARRIER AGAINST FUTURE REGULATION OF FOSSIL FUELS.

SO, THERE WAS KIND OF AN ACTUAL CONCERTED CAMPAIGN BY THE FOSSIL FUEL COMPANIES FOR A LONG TIME TO MAKE KIDS DOUBT CLIMATE CHANGE.

BUT THEN THAT, YOU KNOW, FOSSIL FUEL COMPANIES ARE NOW MORE OR LESS ONBOARD, THEY ARE NO LONGER PUSHING DENIALISM --

IS THAT TRUE?

BECAUSE I SUSPECT PEOPLE WOULD BE -- MIGHT NOT KNOW THAT, BUT ARE YOU SEEING GENERALLY SPEAKING THE FOSSIL FUEL-BASED COMPANIES ARE SAYING, OKAY, IT DOES EXIST?

YEAH.

THERE WAS -- IT TOOK A LOT OF PUBLIC PRESSURE, BUT THEY AT LEAST PUBLICLY NOW SAY CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL, WHICH IS SOMETHING THAT THEIR OWN SCIENTISTS HAVE BEEN SAYING SINCE THE '50s, BY THE WAY, BUT YEAH, THEY AT LEAST PUBLICLY ARE SAYING, YEAH, IT'S REAL AND WE'VE GOT TO DEAL WITH IT.

NOW THEIR STRATEGY IS SAYING, BUT THE ANSWER TO IT ISN'T TO REGULATE US, IT'S TO MAKE INDIVIDUALS TAKE THE BUS INSTEAD OF, YOU KNOW, DRIVING TO WORK OR MAKE IT AN INDIVIDUAL -- BECOME VEGAN, YOU KNOW, THEY'RE TRYING TO PUSH ANY ACTION ONTO INDIVIDUALS RATHER THAN ON THEIR CORPORATION.

BUT -- BECAUSE THERE CAME TO BE TOO MUCH PUBLIC PRESSURE TO CONTINUE THE DENIALISM, BUT IN THEIR PLACE, THERE ARE THESE CONSERVATIVE THINK TANKS, ONE OF THEM IS BASED IN CHICAGO, IT'S CALLED THE HEARTLAND INSTITUTE, AND A FEW YEARS AGO, IT SENT OUT CLIMATE DENYING MATERIAL TO, IT CLAIMED, EVERY SCIENCE TEACHER IN AMERICA.

SO, YOU CAN IMAGINE THAT A LOT OF TEACHERS RECEIVED THIS AND JUST IMMEDIATELY THREW IT AWAY, BUT SOME RECEIVED IT AND TOOK IT IN GOOD FAITH AND STARTED USING IT IN THEIR CLASSROOMS.

IT'S ALL ABOUT CLASSROOMS AND THERE'S A FASCINATINGS PART OF THE BOOK HERE WHERE YOU TALK ABOUT THE FACT THAT PUBLISHERS WILL DISTRIBUTE DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF THE SAME TEXTS TO DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE COUNTRY.

EXPLAIN THAT TO US.

YEAH, YOU KNOW, SO THE WAY THAT TEXTBOOK MAKERS CONDUCT THEIR BUSINESS IS THEY'RE REALLY TRYING TO SELL TEXTBOOKS AND SOME STATES, NOTABLY TEXAS AND FLORIDA AND CALIFORNIA, ALL HAVE STATEWIDE ADOPTION, SO, A TEXTBOOK MAKER PRODUCES A TEXTBOOK, THEN A COMMITTEE, BASICALLY, LOOKS AT THE TEXTBOOK WITH A FINE TOOTH COMB AND THEN EITHER APPROVES IT OR REJECTS IT.

AND THAT IS A MATTER OF, OF COURSE, MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO THESE COMPANIES.

SO, WHEN THEY'RE MAKING THESE TEXTBOOKS, THEY HAVE IN MIND, WILL THIS BOOK PASS THE SCRUTINY OF THE TEXAS TEXTBOOK COMMISSION?

AND, YOU KNOW, AND SO THEY KIND OF, YOU KNOW, THEY REALLY -- ARE VERY CAREFUL IN THEIR LANGUAGE ABOUT POLITICAL ISSUES.

AND I TALKED TO SEVERAL PEOPLE WHO WORKED IN THE INDUSTRY WHO SAID THAT THERE WERE EXPLICIT CONVERSATIONS ABOUT HOW TO PRESENT CLIMATE CHANGE IN THEIR TEXTBOOKS.

AND AS A RESULT, WHAT WE FOUND WHEN WE READ THROUGH ALL THESE TEXTBOOKS WAS THAT THERE'S A LOT OF CLIMATE DENIAL LANGUAGE IN IT.

SO, THERE'S GOOD INFORMATION ABOUT CLIMATE SCIENCE, BUT THEN THERE WILL BE A PARAGRAPH THAT SAYS, YOU KNOW, WHILE MANY SCIENTISTS BELIEVE THAT CLIMATE CHANGE IS CAUSED BY HUMANS, SOME BELIEVE THAT IT'S NATURAL AND IT'S BEING CAUSED BY SOLAR CYCLES, ET CETERA, WHICH, THERE'S NOT A SHRED OF EVIDENCE FOR.

IT'S NOT ACTUALLY BASED ON SCIENCE.

BUT THEY'RE INCLUDING THAT, SO, YOU KNOW, WHEN THAT CONSERVATIVE TEXAN TEXTBOOK COMMISSION LOOKS AT IT, THEY'LL BE LIKE, OKAY, WELL, IT INCLUDES BOTH SIDES, RIGHT?

SO, THERE'S A TEXTBOOK THAT'S MADE SORT OF WITH TEXAS AND LOUISIANA AND FLORIDA IN MIND AND THEN THERE'S NOW A SECOND TIER OF TEXTBOOKS THAT GOES INTO MUCH MORE DEPTH ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE FOR THE CALIFORNIANS OF THE WORLD WHO REALLY DO WANT A ROBUST EDUCATION ABOUT CLIMATE SCIENCE.

KATIE, THERE IS SO MUCH IN THIS BOOK THAT IS WORTHY OF OUR CONSIDERATION, WHERE WE NEED TO BE DEALING WITH IT, ESPECIALLY AS PARENTS, TO START A BETTER GRASP OF WHAT YOUR CHILDREN SHOULD BE LEARNING, BECAUSE WHAT YOU TALK ABOUT IN THE BOOK, THERE COULD BE DIRE CONSEQUENCES FOR OUR CHILDREN, ENTIRE GENERATION OF CHILDREN NOT TO BE TAUGHT ABOUT THE REALITY OF CLIMATE CHANGE.

ONCE AGAIN, THE BOOK IS CALLED 'MISEDUCATION: HOW CLIMATE CHANGE IS TAUGHT IN AMERICA.'

GO GET IT, GO READ IT.

GET IT INTO YOUR SCHOOL.

KATIE WORTH, APPRECIATE YOU TAKING THE TIME TO CHAT WITH US.

YOUR RESEARCH IS COMPELLING AND SHARING YOUR THOUGHTS AND YOUR FINDINGS WITH US HAS BEEN VERY PROFITABLE FOR US.

KATIE, THANK YOU SO MUCH.

YOU TAKE CARE NOW.

YEAH, THANK YOU.

MY PLEASURE.

BYE-BYE.

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS,' I'M JACK FORD.

TODAY'S YOUNG PEOPLE, PARTICULARLY THOSE BELONGING TO GENERATION Z, HAVE GROWN UP INTIMATELY ACQUAINTED WITH THE DRAMATIC EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE.

PERHAPS IT'S NOT SURPRISING THAT MORE GENERATION HAS BEEN MORE VOCAL ABOUT THE URGENCY OF ACTING NOW ON THE CLIMATE CRISIS.

UNTIL RECENTLY, THAT YOUNGER GENERATION, THE ONE MOST ENGAGED WITH ISSUES SURROUNDING CLIMATE, HAS HAD LITTLE POLITICAL POWER TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT.

BUT THAT APPEARS TO BE CHANGING.

OUR NEXT GUEST IS PART OF A NEW WAVE OF YOUNG LEADERS WHO NOW HAVE A VOICE IN THE PLACES WHERE POLICY DECISIONS ARE MADE, PLACES LIKE THE WHITE HOUSE AND THE RECENT CLIMATE SUMMIT IN SCOTLAND.

JEROME FOSTER II IS AN ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE ADVISER TO THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION AND AT 19 HE'S THE YOUNGEST WHITE HOUSE ADVISER IN U.S. HISTORY.

HE JOINS US NOW AS PART OF OUR ONGOING PERIL AND PROMISE INITIATIVE, REPORTING ON THE HUMAN STORIES OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND ITS SOLUTIONS.

JEROME, WELCOME, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

PLEASURE TO BE HERE.

AND WE'RE GLAD TO BE HERE.

I KNOW YOU'VE HAD A HECTIC FEW WEEKS.

YOU'VE BEEN IN GLASGOW, YOU TALK ABOUT THE WORK YOU'RE DOING WITH THE ADMINISTRATION.

LET ME JUST GIVE PEOPLE A SENSE OF YOU AND YOUR BACKGROUND HERE.

I MENTIONED YOUR AGE.

WHEN AND WHY WAS IT THAT YOU BECAME SO ENGAGED WITH THE STRUGGLE OVER CLIMATE CHANGE?

ABSOLUTELY.

WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THE CLIMATE JUSTICE MOVEMENT AND, FOR ME, PERSONALLY, HOW I GOT INVOLVED IS BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT CLIMATE IS SUCH A PRESSING ISSUE FOR MY GENERATION.

WE'RE GROWING INTO A WORLD THAT WE WERE TOLD WHEN WE WERE YOUNGER IS IN THE PROCESS OF DYING.

WE'VE BEEN GROWING INTO A SYSTEM WHERE A LOT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AROUND US IS CONTINUING TO DESTABILIZE BECAUSE OF WILDFIRES, EARTHQUAKES, SO MANY THINGS THAT ARE CAUSED BY CLIMATE CHANGE.

AND THAT'S KIND OF -- THAT MOMENT THAT WE'RE IN RIGHT NOW IS WHAT ENERGIZED ME TO TAKE ACTION, BECAUSE EVEN THOUGH I'M NOT A COMMUNITY THAT'S BEING IMPACTED WORST BY THE CLIMATE CRISIS, IT WAS THE EMPATHY AND THE COMPASSION OF SEEING COMMON HUMANS THAT WERE HAVING THE SAME EXPERIENCE AND I SAID, I NEED TO OORG NICE AND MAKE SURE THEIR VOICE IS HEARD, AS WELL.

AND WE MENTIONED HOW YOUR GENERATION IS, IN MANY WAYS, THE VOICES THAT NEED TO BE HEARD AND TO DRIVE CHANGE HERE.

I DID MENTION IN THE INTRODUCTION YOU HAD BEEN AT THE SUMMIT IN GLASGOW, YOU SPOKE THERE.

CAN YOU GIVE US JUST A QUICK SUMMARY OF WHAT CAME OUT OF THAT SUMMIT?

SO, THE CONFERENCE HAPPENED IN GLASGOW EARLIER THIS PAST COUPLE OF WEEKS CONCLUDED AND BASICALLY MARGINAL TO NO ACTION.

WHAT -- THE INTENTION OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES WAS TO REVISIT THE PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT, WHICH IS -- PRIORITIES WERE FOCUSING ON LIMITING EMISSIONS TO 1.5 DEGREDEGREE S CELSIUS.

WE WANTED TO LIMIT A THAT AND MAKE SURE COUNTRIES WERE HELD TO THAT.

INDIA CAME TO THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES AND SAID THEY COULD BE CARBON NEUTRAL BY 2070 WHEN THE GLOBAL CONSENSUS IS 2030, CHINA CAME TO THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES WITH ANOTHER TARGET FOR NET ZERO EMISSIONS BY 2060, AND THAT IS THE BIGGEST STRUGGLE THAT WE'RE TRYING TO GET OVER IS FOR POLITICIANS TO GET -- NOT JUST SAY PRETTY WORDS AND SAY EMPTY SPEECHES AND HOLD THESE SUMMITS, BUT TO PUT THEIR WORDS WHERE THEIR MOUTH IS AND MAKE SURE THAT OUR FUTURE IS SAFE AND WE DON'T HAVE TO CONTINUE TO HAVE THESE CONFERENCES WHERE VERY LITTLE ACTUALLY HAPPENING IN THE END.

IT'S INTERESTING.

I THINK OFTEN TIMES -- I TALK TO OTHER PEOPLE ABOUT THESE CONFERENCES, YOU GOT SOME FOLKS JUST KIND OF ROLLING THEIR EYES SAYS, OH, GREAT, ANOTHER CONFERENCE.

AS YOU SAID, THERE ARE GOOD INTENTIONS.

SOME THINGS, SOME MOVEMENT, BUT CERTAINLY NOT WHAT EVERYBODY HAD ANTICIPATED.

SO, LET'S TALK ABOUT WHAT WE'RE DOING IN THE U.S.

AND LET'S FOCUS A LITTLE BIT -- THROUGH THE FOCUS, IF YOU WILL, OF YOUR INVOLVEMENT, I MENTIONED WITH THE WHITE HOUSE ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE ADVISORY COU COUNSEL.

TELL US WHAT THAT IS AND THE PURPOSE AND HOPEFULLY THE GOALS OF THAT COUNCIL ARE.

SO, WHITE HOUSE ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE ADVISORY COUNCIL HAS THREE MAIN TARGETS.

THE PRIMARY FOCUS IS FOCUSING ON ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE, DISADVANTAGED COMMUNITIES.

IN OUR INFRASTRUCTURE AND FEDERAL AGENCIES, WE HAVE A WHOLE GOVERNMENT APPROACH IN MAKING SURE THAT ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IS PRIORITIZED IN OUR BUDGETING AND HOW WE MOVE FORWARD AS A COUNTRY.

AND WHEN WE TALK ABOUT WHAT THIS COUNCIL IS WORKING ON, OVER THE PAST SEVEN MONTHS THAT WE'VE BEEN WORKING WITH THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION, WE HAVE WORKED ON CREATING THE JUSTICE 40 INITIATIVE, WHERE WE AS AN ADMINISTRATION THAT MADE A COMMITMENT THAT EVERY FEDERAL AGENCY HAS TO COMMIT 40% OF THEIR BUDGET TO ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS.

AND THAT'S ONE OF THE MAJOR PROJECTS THAT WE'RE WORKING ON NOW AND HAVING ANOTHER REALLY CRUCIAL MEETING ON NOVEMBER 17th OF 2021 TO REALLY REVISIT WHAT WORK WE'VE DONE SO FAR AND LOOK AT WHAT THE NEXT SIX MONTHS ARE GOING TO LOOK LIKE FOR THIS ADMINISTRATION.

GIVE US A BETTER SENSE OF THIS NOTION OF ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE.

BECAUSE I SUSPECT THAT SOME PEOPLE ARE OUT THERE SAYING, WELL, I UNDERSTAND FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE, I UNDERSTAND EMISSIONS AND I UNDERSTAND THE NOTION OF PROVIDING FUNDING FOR THOSE NATIONS WHO WANT TO DO ALL THIS BUT DON'T HAVE THE FINANCIAL RESOURCES TO DO IT, BUT THEY MIGHT NOT UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT OF ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE.

WHEN WE BREAK DOWN ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE, REALLY WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT IS NOT JUST A SCIENTIFIC DILEMMA OR A MATHEMATICAL PROBLEM THAT WE'RE IN THAT WE JUST HAPPEN TO EMIT CO2 IN THE ATMOSPHERE AND NOW IT'S CAUSING HAVOC.

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IS CONTINUAL DESTABILIZATION OF OUR PLANET AND THE CLIMATE SYSTEMS THAT ARE AROUND IT AND BECAUSE OF THAT, THE GLOBAL SOUTH IS BEING HIT FIRST AND WORTH.

ACROSS SOUTH AMERICA, SOUTHEAST ASIA, THOSE COMMUNITIES ARE BEING HIT RIGHT NOW BY THE CLIMATE CRISIS.

THEY HAVE ENORMOUS AMOUNTS OF EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS THAT HAPPEN EVERY SINGLE YEAR.

AND IN THE GLOBAL NORTH, IN NORTH AMERICA, EUROPE AND MOST OF NORTHERN ASIA, THEY AREN'T SEEING THE MAJOR IMPACTS.

THAT IS WHAT ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IS ALL ABOUT, IS MAKING SURE THAT COUNTRIES HAVE ADMITTED MOST OF THE CO2 IN THE ATMOSPHERE, WHICH ARE FGLOBAL NORTH COUNTRIES, PAY THE DEBT.

COUNTRIES HAVE EMITTED THE LEAST AND CONTRIBUTED THE LEAST TO THIS PROBLEM.

ALSO ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE LOOKING AT A TIMELINE, REALLY BREAKING DOWN WHAT WE'RE FIGHTING FOR, AND LOOKING AT THE PAST, THE PRESENCE AND THE FUTURE.

THE CLIMATE CRISIS STARTED WITH THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION, BUT THE MIND-SET OF EXTRACT VICHL STARTED WITH RACISM AND STARTED WITH THE CONCEPT OF COLONIALISM.

WE'RE GOING TO LIMIT EXPLOITING PEOPLE.

NOW WITH THE CLIMATE CRISIS, WE'RE GOING TO EXPLOIT NATURE.

AND THAT'S AN IMMEDIATE THROUGH LINE.

THAT'S WHAT THIS MOVEMENT IS ALL ABOUT.

SAYING, LET'S DECOLONIZE OUR FRAMEWORK OF HOW OUR ECONOMIC SYSTEM WORKS.

MORE ABOUT ETHICAL PRACTICES IN OUR ECONOMICS, IN OUR POLITICS AND IN OUR SOCIETY AT LARGE.

I TALKED ABOUT IN MY INTRODUCTION ABOUT THE POWER OF THE VOICES OF THE YOUTH.

NOT JUST IN OUR COUNTRY, BUT THROUGHOUT THE PLANET, IF YOU WILL.

WHY DO YOU THINK THERE IS -- THERE SEEMS TO BE -- THIS IS A BIT OF A GENERALIZATION, I UNDERSTAND, BUT WHY DO YOU THINK THERE SEEMS TO BE MORE STRENGTH IN TERMS OF THE POWER OF THE YOUNG PEOPLE VERSUS THE POWER OF THE OLDER GENERATION?

I THINK THAT -- WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THE YOUTH, A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE CONFUSED ABOUT WHY THERE'S BEEN SO MUCH YOUTH ORGANIZING AND IT'S BECAUSE THE ADULTS HAVE BEEN HERE.

IN THE 1970s, PEOPLE ORGANIZED AND HAD THE BIGGEST EARTH DAY MARCH IN U.S. HISTORY.

SO, THAT WAS YOUTH THAT ORGANIZED IT.

AND WHEN WE TALK ABOUT A SOCIAL MOVEMENT, IT'S ALWAYS BEEN YOUTH.

THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT WHERE CONGRESSMAN JOHN LEWIS SPEARHEADED THE CHANGE THERE.

THE LGBTQ MOVEMENT ORGANIZED IN THE STREETS.

YOUNG PEOPLE UNDERSTAND SYSTEMS, BECAUSE THEY ARE GROWING UP AND SAYING, THE SYSTEM DOESN'T WORK FOR US AND NOT GOING TO WORK FOR OUR FUTURE, SO IT MUST CHANGE.

THAT'S WHY YOUNG PEOPLE ARE ORGANIZING.

CLIMATE CHANGE IS THE BIGGEST PROBLEM HUMANITY HAS EVER FACED, BUT IT'S THE BIGGEST OPPORTUNITY FOR US TO GO TO OUR FOUNDATION AND SAY, WHAT DO WE WANT FROM OUR SYSTEM AND WHAT DO WE WANT OUR WORLD TO LOOK LIKE?

AND YOUNG PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT BETTER THAN ANYONE CAN, BECAUSE WE ARE JUST BEING ACCLIMATED TO A SYSTEM THAT WHERE WE'RE GOING UP TO BECOME A PART OF.

LET ME COME BACK FOR A MOMENT TO THE GLASGOW SUMMIT AND YOU TALKED ABOUT THE FRUSTRATIONS AND YOU'VE SEEN A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO WERE PARTICIPATING THERE AND ESSENTIALLY SAID THE SAME FRUSTRATIONS.

WE CAME WITH CERTAIN GOALS AND ALL OF A SUDDEN, YOU CHANGE A WORD HERE OR CHANGE A WORD THERE AND YOU THINK A WORD WOULD NOT BE THAT SIGNIFICANT AND IMPACT CHANGE, AND THEY ARE.

YES.

DID YOU COME AWAY FROM THAT FEELING ANY SENSE OF OPTIMISM THAT, OKAY, WE DIDN'T GET DONE THIS TIME IN GLASGOW WHAT WE WANTED TO GET DONE, BUT WE SEEM TO MAYBE BE CREATING SOME MOMENTUM SO MAYBE THE NEXT TIME IT MIGHT HAPPEN.

DO YOU HAVE ANY SENSE OF OPTIMISM?

I THINK THAT RIGHT NOW THE WORD ISN'T OPTIMISM.

IT'S FRUSTRATION.

IF YOU CONTINUE TO HAVE HOPELESS OPTIMISM, WHAT'S THE GOAL IN THAT?

WHAT'S THE PRODUCTIVITY IN THAT?

RIGHT NOW IT'S FRUSTRATION AND REALLY JUST BEING DISAPPOINTED IN THE PEOPLE THAT WE LOOK TO AND VOTED FOR.

RIGHT NOW, ALL ACROSS THE WORLD, WORLD LEADERS WERE SUPPOSED TO COME TOGETHER AND HAVE A CONFERENCE, TWO WEEKS TO NEGOTIATE WHAT THE WORLD LOOKS LIKE.

BUT INSTEAD THEY DID NOTHING.

WE HAD THREE DEMANDS.

LIMIT WARMING TO 1.5 DEGREES CELSIUS, WHICH WOULD HAVE US IN A SEMISAFE CLIMATE.

TWO, STOP THE CREATION OF COAL MINES AND STOP THE USAGE OF FOSSIL FUELS AND THREE IS TO END ALL SUBSIDIES TO THE FOSSIL FUEL INDUSTRY.

C COP26 DID NONE OF THOSE.

WHEN IT TRIED TO REACH ENDING SUBSIDIES FOR THE FOSSIL FUEL INDUSTRY, IT WAS WEAKENED, IT ADDED EXTRA WORDS SAYING INEFFICIENT FOSSIL FUEL SUBSIDIES AND THOSE THAT WEREN'T INEFFICIENT, SOMETIMES MAY SEEM LIKE IT'S NOT REALLY IMPORTANT, BUT IT'S INCREDIBLY CRUCIAL, BECAUSE EVERY COUNTRY IS GOING TO SAY THEIR FOSSIL FUEL PRODUCTION IS EFFICIENT WHEN IT REALLY ISN'T, SO, THAT'S REALLY THE STRUGGLE THAT WE'RE IN NOW.

COP27, WE AREN'T TALKING ABOUT COP27 NOW, COP26 JUST ENDED, IT'S A COMPLETE DISAPPOINTMENT AND YOUNG PEOPLE ARE STILL WATCHING THIS.

AND BECAUSE OF THIS FAILURE, WE'RE GOING TO VOTE THEM OUT.

EITHER THEY STAND UP OR THEY STEP DOWN.

THAT'S THE NEXT STEP.

IS THAT BECAUSE OF THEIR BETRAYAL OF LEADERSHIP AND THEM NOT TAKING THE CLIMATE CRISIS SERIOUSLY, THAT'S MILLIONS OF PEOPLE THAT ARE DYING.

THAT'S TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE THAT ARE BEING DISPLACED FROM THEIR HOMES.

THAT'S REAL LIVES.

THAT'S NOT A MATHEMATICAL PROBLEM.

THAT'S WHY THE VOTES ARE GOING TO TALLY UP AGAINST THEM.

TALK ABOUT -- LITERALLY LESS THAN A MINUTE LEFT, BUT I WANT TO TOUCH BASE WITH YOU, ORGANIZATION YOU ARE INVOLVED WITH, 1 MILLION OF US WHAT'S THE PURPOSE OF THAT ORGANIZATION?

1 MILLION OF US, I FOUNDED IT, I WAS AN INTERN IN CONGRESS FOR CONGRESSMAN JOHN LEWIS WHO IS A VOTING RIGHTS LEGEND HIMSELF.

I SAID, WHY DON'T WE MOBILIZE THE YOUNG PEOPLE ON THE STREET, EXACTLY 7.5 MILLION YOUTH THAT ORGANIZED.

WHY DON'T WE TURN THEM INTO AT LEAST 1 MILLION YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE UNITED STATES THAT GET OUT TO THE POLLS?

AND THAT'S WHAT WE DID.

FROM 2019 TO 2020, WE ORGANIZED ACROSS SOCIAL MEDIA, EVEN THROUGH A PANDEMIC, WE MADE OUR VOICES HEARD AND BECAUSE OF THAT, YOUNG PEOPLE MADE UP 1 IN EVERY 5 VOTES.

1 IN EVERY 5 VOTES.

THAT'S AN EXTRAORDINARY ACCOMPLISHMENT, SOMETHING HOPEFULLY IT WILL MOVE FORWARD CONTINUOUSLY.

JEROME FOSTER II, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SPENDING TIME WITH US AND THANK YOU FOR ALL THE WORK YOU'RE DOING.

LOOK FORWARD TO TALKING WITH YOU AGAIN DOWN THE ROAD.

YOU BE WELL.

THANK YOU.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION, THE MARK HASSE FOUNDATION.

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