Episode 49 – The World Might Be Broken (Transcript)

Chapters

  • 02:05 The Presentation
  • 13:13 Audience Questions
  • 25:30 Post Presentation Discussion

Thank you ALLFALL for this transcription!

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Daniel Forkner:

[0:00] Hey listeners! This is Daniel Forkner here.

David Torcivia:

[0:03] And this is David Torcivia.

Daniel Forkner:

[0:05] And you might have noticed that we're starting this episode different from all of our other episodes. And that's because it is a different episode.

David Torcivia:

[0:12] That's right Daniel. And that's because this week we had the pleasure and honor of attending the Sound Education conference at Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Daniel and I as well as many other educational podcasters from around the country were able to go and talk shop about how to make all this great content that we provide to you all learn some tools techniques and also do some talking about what we're doing and why.

[0:36] Daniel and I were on a panel of ethics in podcasting because that's something that's very important to us. And we were also able to give a live presentation of one of our shows that we turned into a sort of trailer of the concepts that we talk about. And we're going to play that for you in just a moment as well as the discussion.

Daniel Forkner:

[0:52] I had a great time David. We met a lot of great podcasters learned a few things about audience growth. Mainly I learned that my inaction on social media is probably not a good policy. Going forward maybe I'll try to work on that. Maybe send a tweet every now and then.

[1:10] But there were also some things that kind of left a sour taste in my mouth related to the institution and just the general energy and discussions that were being had among people. And I mean I guess that's to be expected especially at a place like Harvard. But maybe we can go into that after the presentation.

David Torcivia:

[1:28] I think it should be no surprise to our listeners that the two of us that come across as pessimistic as we are despite the fact that we absolutely are optimists encountered some problems with the presentation and the way things were done at this storied institution for lack of a better phrase. But like you said we'll discuss that in just a little bit.

[1:48] For now without further adieu - and please pardon our audio quality on this. This was recorded in a small echoey room with some small mics - here is our presentation and the following discussion from this conference. It's entitled "The World Might be Broken".

The Presentation

David Torcivia:

[2:07] I'm David Torcivia.

Daniel Forkner:

[2:08] I'm Daniel Forkner.

David Torcivia:

[2:09] And we are Ashes Ashes. This is a show about systemic issues cracks in our civilization and ultimately the collapse of our environment. And we're hoping that we're not unlucky because if it is well it might be the end of the world.

Daniel Forkner:

[2:24] But if we learn from all these systems maybe we can stop them. The world might be broken but it doesn't have to be.

David Torcivia:

[2:31] No conversation about the problems in our world today right now can be complete without I mean the big thing in the room climate change. It's a serious threat to so many of the systems on earth. It's loss of species habitats ecosystems but also our own systems our infrastructure the culture that we've built our civilization are at risk and that means ultimately the lives that we know.

Daniel Forkner:

In the face of these climate threats the countries of the world have come together to offer joint assessments of the damage projections of risks and commitments to action and change. The Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) recently released its latest report. And that was just a few weeks ago. But it begs the question. In that report are the recommendations and assessments are they enough?

David Torcivia:

[3:17] I mean I think at this point we've all seen that IPCC report and it's scary. The warnings are dire. But the fact of the matter is that some of them don't go far enough. Things are much worse than they make it out to be. And because of politics and abundance of caution from these scientists they've made things seem not as dire as they are. But they are dire. And we're already seeing the effects of this right now.

[3:37] I mean here in the US we have wildfires ravaging huge parts of the country causing billions of dollars of damage at this point. We just saw these extreme weather events. The CNMI the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands part of the US was just devastated by a category-five storm with 180 mph winds. It's incredible. And these things are happening all over the world. Germany right now is facing one of the worst droughts in years. The Rhine is at some points just 20 cm deep. Ships can't go by. And if that's not enough in some places where the water's too low well sea level rise is coming at us very quickly. The IPCC reports 1.5 meters by the end of the century. But new studies are saying that's not nearly enough. It's actually going to be three meters to five meters which buries most of our cities that exist on the coast. And that puts tens of millions to hundreds of millions of people out of their homes and destroys their livelihood. Beyond that the ocean itself dying. It's becoming a giant blue desert. Acidification deoxygenation the warming of the water itself are causing huge swaths of the ocean that were once filled with abundant life to become empty anoxic zones no oxygen for the fish. It's devastation that hasn't been seen since the last great mass extinction.

[4:44] And here on land I mean the heat is causing problems with each and every one of us. The physiological damage to people who are caught out in these storms the mental damage that happens with having to suffer heat every day these are real problems right now.

Daniel Forkner:

[4:59] Problems that are going to add up. The UN itself predicts over one billion climate refugees by mid century. And as you would expect these types of climate shifts are going to affect people disproportionately. Those on coasts who live in cities will be impacted by sea-level rise. The poor who cannot escape these changes and those who just happen to live in areas that just happen to be riskier than others. But ultimately these impacts will be felt by all of us. Not just in those areas but everywhere. Because these added stress will impact the infrastructure broadly. Infrastructure that our entire civilization that we've built up depends on.

[5:36] I mean here in the United States the American Society of Civil Engineers released a report recently that gave our entire infrastructure a failing grade. We're unable to keep up with the runaway costs associated with maintaining water pipes that deliver treated water. Between 14 to 18 percent of them leak. Our bridges are in disrepair. And the US power grid has no way to recover in the event of a few very large transformers going offline. And already our transmission and distribution lines are at capacity in summer and those capacities will be stressed even more as these extreme weather events play out and as rising heat raises the demand for air conditioning. But these problems are not unique to the United States.

[6:18] In addition to the ones that we've outlined here violent conflicts are already breaking out across the world for such declining resources like I dunno what would you expect David?

David Torcivia:

[6:28] Cobalt.

Daniel Forkner:

[6:29] Cobalt diamonds maybe the things that we need for our electronics. But in fact we're seeing conflict break out over such declining resources as sand. As we struggle to maintain the construction necessary in concrete in order to support our infrastructure. And it goes without saying but all of these stress add up to exorbitant costs. Impossible costs not just for municipalities and cities but entire nations.

David Torcivia:

[6:55] And a nation is not a bank. Eventually it can run out of money. It runs out of funds to pay for all of these upgrades. And for us on more of a local level municipalities. And that has direct affects on each and every one of us because we're the one's left with the bill at the end of the day. And unfortunately on top of that well we're making less money than ever before. We're being impacted on an individual level. Real wages in the developed world have dropped off precipitously over the past few decades. We're making way less now than we were in the past. I mean one example in Canada. Two fifths of people there have to pull out of their retirement savings just to make their day-to-day costs. In the US 40% of Americans cannot afford a surprise bill of $400. And if you up that to $1000 well 60% of Americans don't have that money. They can't afford it. That's bankruptcy. And so because of this we're forced increasingly on an individual level to rely on debt. And that fuels these systems and these problems in the first place.

Daniel Forkner:

[7:50] And here's where we need to take a step back David. Because we're listing a lot of problems and our goal here is not simply to add to the anxiety and depression that people are already feeling as a direct result of these problems. The point of discussing these issues is to reveal how they are all connected. Those financial hardships you mentioned the consumer debt that is increasing and these dramatic climate shifts are all connected. Amidst these global problems we're seeing a rise in things like chronic health issues related to those climate issues like heat and things like air pollution as well as the need to adapt our lifestyles to an unhealthy world. And so as people struggle more and more economically to afford a basic quality of life their individual health is suffering which drives up medical debt. In fact in America medical bills are the #1 cause of bankruptcy.

David Torcivia:

[8:38] And as we've alluded these are just small problems that are bits of bigger problems unfortunately. Earlier in this episode we mentioned that we have 1 billion climate refugees coming by mid century and the UN estimates that's actually 1.5 billion by like 2060. Look at the panic our country's at right now over the 5,000 refugees that are in a caravan coming to the country. Now multiply that by orders of magnitude worldwide globally. Borders are going to be challenged. And at the same time nations around the world have conventionally thought of themselves as having total sovereignty over what's inside their borders but as increased globalism comes to the world as we see more trade breaching these borders that sovereignty has been eroded and it's going to be more as these refugees come across.

Daniel Forkner:

[9:24] And so these migrants crossing borders this globalized economy it all combines to make these nations feel insecure but that also trickles down to us as individuals as more people are feeling helpless to control their very lives. And so all this has lead in part to the rise of nationalism that we see around the world government surveillance and corporate surveillance and aggressive immigration policies just to name a few.

[9:50] In fact despite our increasingly global world we as nations around the world are building more walls than at any point in history. Walls that purport to stop crime and migration while propping up national sovereignty but in reality just exacerbating violence and raising the risk of war and conflict.

David Torcivia:

[10:06] Now I know we keep saying that we're not trying to depress you all and that this is really heavy and we could go on literally for hours with all these problems. We have. So far we have 50 hours and counting of us exploring each one of these things in like really deep depth. It's heavy. But we're not trying to list these out endlessly because there's no use to that. We want to dig into each of these topics and really explore the rot that causes all these symptoms. And rooting out that rot ultimately it's not going to be easy because we do all this because we want to see change and action on this to give people power and your own individual autonomy to step out of this and start pushing others to do the same.

[10:49] But unfortunately we know the solutions but they're really hard. I mean we have too much CO2 in the air that's what's causing all this global warming. The solution to that is easy. Don't burn fuel. But fixing that is not so much. I mean we're depleting our resources like crazy. We just need to produce less. And of course that means consume less. We see vast inequality around the world. Well if we stop exploiting people then that disappears. But these are all changes that are systemic that are at the very fabric of what it is to live in our world. And if we want to fix that it means re-writing what our world is.

[11:25] This is not easy. But as we understand the sheer magnitude of the problems that we're facing and unfortunately the potential they have for devastation well we're going to increasingly realize that we don't have another choice. If we want to preserve the core of what is means to be human our humanity then we're going to have to make sacrifices.

Danial Forkner:

[11:40] One of the keynote speakers at this conference mentioned how structures influence decisions. And so ultimately if we want to solve this broken world we need to recognize the structures that undergird our society. Our civilization has been propped up by systems that profit on short term extraction. And this profit comes only by either borrowing from the future or directly stealing somewhere in the present. It's why we have arrived at a point where some experts are projecting that global top soil will be depleted by 2075 which puts our entire global food security at risk which is something that 50% of the global population depends on.

[12:19] We destroy the world because we try to profit off the individual components of a total system. When we attempt to break the world apart into its different cogs we ultimately must shed the whole in this pursuit. We must shed common sense and common knowledge. As Helen Norbert Hodge[?] once said "Our arms have grown so long we can no longer see what our hands are doing." And so in the end once we have extracted "value" what's left in the ashes is a broken world.

David Torcivia:

[12:53] This is a show we hope isn't about the end of the world. But these are tales of systems out of control our environmental collapse and ultimately that broken world. But we create this show each and every one of them because we care. Because we're actually believe it or not optimists and because we truly want a better world.

Daniel Forkner:

[13:13] The world might be broken but it doesn't have to be.

Audience Questions

David Torcivia:

[13:18] Yeah so there's a lot of back and forth that we do in the show.

Audience Member #1:

[13:23] So then with that in mind ... the system rotten to the core do you give ...

David Torcivia:

[13:27] Yeah we always end "What can we do?"

Audience Member #1:

[13:29] ... how you can rip it up at the core rather than just ...

David Torcivia:

[13:32] Exactly. That's every single episode ends that way. And sometimes unfortunately we get to some points like um that episode we did on ocean deoxygenation and acidification there's as an individual we're very powerless and even on a governmental or unified UN level there's not much you can do besides like we said these dramatic things where we burn less fuel. And even then a lot of the damage unfortunately is baked in. So there's a couple episodes that end like that where we're unfortunately very powerless uh but the vast majority there are things that we can do a lot of community building a lot of individual actions that you can take to curtail your own. But more than anything it's sharing these stories and that's what we really want to do. Like it's easy to think about things as a symptom and just throw news at people all the time like "This thing sucks. This thing sucks." But when you can get people thinking about it in a symptomatic or in a systemic way then you empower them to explain those ideas to others and that's really the core of the show.

Daniel Forkner:

[14:21] And even when we can't directly like say what you as an individual can do to stop ocean acidification we still feel like that awareness is really important because like we mentioned the IPCC which is the highest body right now trying to collectively fight climate change they leave out things because it's not politically digestible. So if you only look to those types of sources for like what can we do you get a false you know image is that some of the things that we need to do would quite frankly destroy the economy as we built it. Because it's built on short term extraction. And if we can all become aware of it that collective awareness will help us you know I think be more open to more dramatic and radical shifts to our whole economy systems.

Audience Member #2:

[15:07] I don't want to get too deeply into root causes but the very existence of a money economy has been both an incredible enabler but also like when Mass when Boston was a little colony of five hundred people if there was some natural threat by climate change people didn't sit around and go well my job is I'm a blacksmith and so I'm going to sit here and hope someone saves us. Everyone dropped what they were doing. Except now the question is...

Audience member #3

[15:35] Do you think that's tied to like community?

Daniel Forkner:

[15:38] Absolutely.

David Torcivia:

[15:38] Yeah. And also like how our politics have evolved. This is something that we touch upon in the last show that came out where I think a lot of people see their involvement in politics ending in voting and maybe a little bit farther than that you will call up a representative or like write a letter to a senator but that's how far people are willing to take it on the vast majority and unfortunately a lot of people don't even vote. Not necessarily because they're lazy or something but rather because they've lost faith in the system and it feels like they're not showing up if they can vote at all. But trying to get people to think about politics as basically everything unfortunately. Every action you take every time you help somebody you're filling the role of politics because a government is ultimately it's made up of all of us and its role is to serve us all and to help us all. And so if you can do that as an individual you are part of that greater system and you are a political agent in that. And so making people realize that they have political autonomy that they can actually take things into their hands is a big thing that we're trying to do.

Daniel Forkner:

[16:39] Yeah because that's like a trend right now in politics is like we need to respect everyone's opinions. Really the differences in politics is really just about like preferences and like perspectives where in reality I mean if our society is broken if communities have been broken down if it's harder to become connected with your neighbor if we're atomized as individuals it's because there are policies that are behind our civilization our society is structured that have lead to that. And so in a lot of ways the politicians we support is not just a matter of like oh I like this guy because he's charismatic or her or whatever but the policies they enact will directly impact how we relate in society.

Audience member #3:

[17:20] ... I have a question about I work with data a lot. Wasn't trained in data but now I find myself in this field. I'm really surprised at how we try to quantify everything. I work with non-profits so a lot of the work that they do is not really quantifiable but there's this huge push show us numbers of you get no money. And it's hard to show numbers for something that either you can't see the effects now or its more long term. Whether you're an educator you can say x amount of people passed the test but that means nothing ... can you talk about your work with metrics and perhaps data?

David Torcivia:

[17:59] Yeah we talk a lot about quantification and over quantification specifically. We do use a lot of stats and numbers in our show because sometimes you have to show the magnitude of a problem and that's a great way to do it. Uh but I mean at one point we were discussing how this way that we quantify everything we assume that we got it all because it's in the numbers. But when you really break down these things that are unaccounted for damage to the environment things you can't like put on a balance sheet then our world is not profitable. That we're talking... and that's what we mentioned borrowing from the future to make money here now.

Daniel Forkner:

[18:36] And part of it is directly like ignoring things. But data... the need to quantify everything in a lot of way serves the economy but directly harms people. And a great example is like the World Bank for example that says "Look our goal is to end poverty and we target people who make less than two dollars a day." But the problem with quantifying everybody's quality of life in terms of dollars is you look at a subsistence farmer who's part of a community who takes care of herself himself their children their community they all interact and all have a happy life but they don't make any dollars because that doesn't fit into their community structure. You know someone like the World Bank comes and looks at that and says "This is abject poverty. They live on less than two dollars a day." So they come in here do some development and push these people into an urban setting where they now live in slums but they drive for Uber or they bring tourists around on bicycles and they make three dollars a day and we say "Look we raised people out of poverty because we can quantify that." And we've actually seen reports from World Bank that says "The growth of slums is a sign of progress." And uh so absolutely data and the quantification of everything is you know a problem.

Audience member:

[19:52] I was wondering ... you don't do any kind of analytics on people going to your site or looking at episodes. Are there any other ways that you ...

David Torcivia:

[19:59] Well we do so I have very anonymized analytics. I get a rough location so I do know when people visit though you can opt-out so all the people that are opting out like if you have do not track checked on your phone or browser which a lot of the new ones do which is awesome we don't see it. But our podcast host we use Pinecast does have statistics in there. We started less than a year ago. We started in January and we're at I think 25,000 to 30,000 plays a month right now which we're totally independent we have no ads no Patreon nothing.

Daniel Forkner:

[20:37] Yet.

Audience member #4:

[20:40] ... you should do an episode on ...

David Torcivia:

[20:43] Yeah we will. We have a huge list of stuff to do. But yeah the market based solution to things is and the way that we underprice CO2 credits. I mean I don't know how many people flew here but flying across the country shouldn't be something that you can do for $300. If you include the actual externalities there that's $1,000 to $1,500 in terms of what it costs just to fly one way. Of course that kills the airline industry which if we were serious about climate change we would end overnight.

Audience member #4:

[21:10] ... meat too ...

David Torcivia:

[21:12] Yeah. I mean meat's a big one

Daniel Forkner:

[21:15] That ties into agriculture I mean just how much land we require to raise the livestock that we eat is a big problem.

David Torcivia:

[21:23] Yeah I mean it's endless. Everywhere you look you can see "Well if we were serious we would change this" but we're not serious yet but we might be when we have no other choice.

Audience member #5:

[21:30] What do you guys think of the carbon tax or like the idea of a carbon tax?

David Torcivia:

[21:34] It's a great first step. I mean that's what we were just mentioning but it's underpriced. So $50 for a CO2 ton which is usually what you see on the lower end is way undercutting it. It should be closer to $500+. And part of this peak is a graph from governments the way they price things and pushback from lobbyists who are I mean they don't want the carbon credits at all but when they are put in they like push the price down so that it's affordable because if you actually price everything the way it should be in terms of how we're damaging the environment nobody can afford anything. And of course that gets back to the fact that it destroys the whole economy. So it's a great first step but it doesn't go far enough and the problem with that is that it might mollify people into thinking that we are doing something that is making a difference when it's just a band-aid over a gaping chest wound.

Audience Member #2:

[22:20] ... moral licensing?

David Torcivia:

[22:22] Moral licensing?

Audience Member #2:

[22:23] Yeah. Basically it's a concept I think it's from social psychology but if you if someone does something that ... a small moral act they kinda feel like they're off the hook ...

Audience member #3:

[22:26] Oh I read that!

David Torcivia:

[22:37] Yeah.

Audience Member #2:

[22:39] So like I'm very anti-recycling.

David Torcivia:

[22:49] That's the big problem we have with the IPCC report is that it doesn't actually express it so people when they agree to the Paris Treaty and then they all miss their stuff anyway like Germany is missing their targets but everybody thinks that it's signed and that 'Oh no the US dropped out and now we're doomed.' But it doesn't matter because even if we followed the Paris Treaty it's still not enough and we're still fucked. So like taking it...

Audience Member #2:

[23:00] But at that point we can say "Well we signed the treaty" and we don't feel the need to do ...

David Torcivia:

[23:04] Exactly.

Daniel Forkner:

[23:05] And then there's also like the moral hazard with like we continue to hear more like emphasis on like climate engineering. Like 'Oh this thing is so big of a problem we need to just dump billions of dollars into you know building a giant lens in space that will block the sun.' Or like and the problem with that too is the same thing. It's like 'Oh if we're doing this big project it allows us to continue the status quo while also burning huge amounts of fossil fuel.'

David Torcivia:

[23:29] And recycling is a scam. I mean we should recycle but it was about it was introduced to take the accountability away from corporations and put it on individuals and that movement has really carried over into the green movement since now and that's why people say "Oh don't eat meat. Don't fly." When really we should be just taking this at like an industry-wide scale. And that's the only way to actualize change.

Audience Member #2:

[23:46] Yeah the individual is the wrong place to intervene.

Daniel Forkner:

[23:50] And I think that's the corporate like approach is don't blame us it's the individual for consuming too much and all this comes back to us as individuals and that's part of the whole atomization of the economy in general.

David Torcivia:

[24:03] But that's end of the show we want to give people actionable things they can do. It's a balance we have to walk where you as a person should be able to do something to empower you but a lot of the problems need to be done at the much larger scale. But so giving these ideas to you and pushing it is what we hope will kick start that process.

Audience Member #1:

[24:18] For you guys to keep this sustainable because it is so important why are you doing it personally?

Daniel Forkner:

[24:24] Well I'm personally doing it because a lot of these things we talk about were I didn't know about. I mean I went to a I got a finance degree and then I went into real estate investing and I thought that I was doing a great thing in the world because I was taught if you were making money you're adding value and I didn't realize that the things I was doing was actively harming people. And so once I learned more about how the world works I'm like 'Wow I knew nothing.' But that awareness I feel like at least helps me change in a way so I feel like bringing awareness to some of these issues can help people examine why they do their own life. You know I get a sense of purpose out of that.

[24:57] Yeah. For me I mean I've been in this collapse community for forever like reading about all these things following it. It's an unfortunate depressing passion of mine I guess like serial killers is for other people. But I'm also like I have pretty radical politics that we tend to leave out of the show and I'm very politically active so for me it's a form of activism to sort of get out and empower myself in this otherwise hopeless void.

Audience Member #1:

[25:26] Now I feel like we're all going to die.

(Laughter)

Audience Member #2:

[25:29] Well we are ...

David Torcivia:

[25:32] Hopefully it's in a long time though.

Post Presentation Discussion

David Torcivia:

[25:34] So I hope that was an interesting talk for yall but unfortunately I think what was really the most fascinating part of the conference for us was our ethics panel. In particular one thing that we discussed there about bias which is something that we find very important on this show and that we have a lot of thoughts on. Now you as the listener have been subjected to our bias throughout the show. We never made any claims to be this sort of neutral arbiting body. In fact we don't even think that it's possible to be that or that one exists in any way shape or form which is something that we'll get onto in just a little bit. But we've always had very defined beliefs about our bias. And even if you aren't aware of them directly or we haven't explained them to you clearly which is something we're about to do we think that it's important to just take a moment and explain these concepts that we hit upon in this panel to you our listeners because you're the ones most affected.

Daniel Forkner:

[26:23] We felt that it was really important to bring up this idea of bias because we find ourselves in a culture right now where so many of our media platforms and those that are presenting information and interviewing people attempt to do it without bias. Many of the information that it presented to us is ostensibly unbiased very neutral. You know NPR a lot of the times does this thing where they frame every issue in terms of two perspectives and they kind of just leave it out in the open like 'Well this side says this. And this side says that. So there you go.' And we find this deeply disturbing because everything has bias. The way you present information. The way that you choose to leave some things out versus others it all serves an underlying purpose and a world view ultimately an ideology. And right now we have so many platforms in our world that present the CEOs the business magnates even the academic scientist celebrity like Neil deGrasse Tyson they present these people as good just on the face of it because of their success. And we ask questions of 'How did you become successful? What are your daily habits? What did you eat for breakfast? How can I be successful like you?' And missing from all of these discussions is the underlying question of 'What is right and wrong about the way these people live? What is the underlying ideology and world view that will at the end of the day impact your life and the community that you are a part of?'

[27:57] And so we mentioned at the beginning how there was a small part of this conference that left a little bit of a sour taste I know in my mouth David and probably yours as well.

David Torcivia:

[28:08] We got up and walked out of the panel. It wasn't a small sour taste.

Daniel Forkner:

[28:13] Right. Because this is exactly what was going on. There was a celebrity podcaster there. Maybe we won't mention his name but he has a very famous history podcast. And you know he had some great things to say about crafting narratives just from like the logistics standpoint. He had some things to say about politics. He was very charismatic. He made us laugh. But at a certain point the moderator made a joke of like 'Hey we need you for president.' And of course the whole auditorium erupted in applause. And I think that was just very symbolematic of this culture of not questioning the underlying values and ideologies and worldviews of people where this guy's charismatic he's great at crafting narratives and he's good at reading history books and making podcasts about that. But that's where we should be drawing the line.

David Torcivia:

[29:04] Maybe you've heard this cliché before that we see so often in places especially like Silicon Valley where because somebody assumes that because they're good at something in this case often times programming a computer that they're good at everything else as well. Things like suggesting solutions to all the problems we cover on this show to fixing the social woes of our society because they just know their way around an IDE. This is rampant in the celebrities we see around the world probably because we give them a platform and we encourage them to do this. People like Neil deGrasse Tyson who is more than happy to give the most inane and often incorrect statements about things he has no idea about. But we listen because we've given him that platform and we haven't punished him for abusing it in this way. Celebrities like Bill Gates who has made huge mistakes with some of the questionable philanthropy his organizations have done as well as the misappropriate of those funds to programs that could have been far more effective if somebody with more knowledge on the fields that they're tackling was controlling the program. These examples are endless. And our celebrity worship and culture has encouraged this. We assume that just because someone is famous or successful or rich that they know what they're doing in every other aspect of their life. And that they know how to fix these problems in our own lives and our society at large. But this could not be further from the truth.

Daniel Forkner:

[30:35] And so maybe this is getting a little bit too political for our normal systems analysis shows but it's still important I think to drive home David because there is a system going on. And like you mentioned just because someone is good at explaining some scientific concept does not necessarily make them an expert on how we should live our lives. But again even deeper than that is it's less about what someone is an expert in or what someone's experience is in but more what their ideology and worldview is. And that's what we should spend more time questioning. Not 'Is someone an expert?' but 'What do they fundamentally believe about how our nation should conduct foreign policy how our communities should be structured what kind of resources should be accessible to one group verses another group whether our economy should be allowed to be globalized and fictionalized or if it should be more local?' These are values that ultimately at the end of the day will make a direct impact on our lives and our abilities to go forward in this world in a healthy and sustainable way.

David Torcivia:

[31:35] And we encourage you listeners to ask these same questions about us. It bears repeating that we mentioned in the very first episode of this show that we are not experts in the fields that we discuss. We're just like you. We read about these topics. We collect our research our journals our articles our books our interviews. We put them online so you can check them out. You can go through and read the same things that we do and verify the fact that what we're telling you is in fact true. Occasionally we'll get corrections form listeners who have done just this and we applaud you for making sure that we stay honest and that our biases are there visible in the list of links that we present to you with each and every episode. And remember when you listen to us that we are not the ends of these conversations. We're just trying to kick off thoughts about what is affecting us all in this world to encourage all of us to question these systemic issues that affect every single part of our day to day lives change the communities that we live in and alter the course of the world. And with the kickoff of these conversations you can carry these thoughts out into the world take your own bias spin on them and present them to your friends your family your communities and those around you so that they can do the same and that we can start talking about these topics that are so important to the continued survival and success and health and happiness of each and every one of us.

Daniel Forkner:

[33:00] Next week is going to be episode 50. We'll be back on a regular format. We'll be discussing the new IPCC report and maybe what bias it may have and what it might mean for our environment our economy and our society going forward. This is a special episode for us because it is that episode 50 and so we are returning to those climate talks that really kicked off the genesis of this show. We hope you'll tune in for that because we have a lot to say.

[33:34] In the meantime you can read more about this conference. You can see recordings of our presentation and eventually our ethics panel once that becomes available up on our website as well as a full transcript of this show at ashesashes.org.

Daniel Forkner:

[33:48] As always a lot of time and research goes into making these episodes possible. And we will never use ads to support this show. So if you appreciate it and would like us to keep going you our listener can support us by giving us a review recommending us to a friend or hitting that five star button on your favorite podcast app. We do have an email address it's contact@ashesashes.org and we encourage you to send us your thoughts. We'll read them and we appreciate them.

David Torcivia:

[34:12] You can also find us on your favorite social media network at ashesashescast or on Reddit at r/ashesashescast.

Daniel Forkner:

[34:17] Until next week.

David Torcivia:

[34:19] This is Ashes Ashes

Daniel Forkner:

[34:21] Bye.

David Torcivia:

[34:22] Buh bye.