The New Northwest Passage and the West Virginia Chemical Spill

Last week the NPR program Fresh Air broadcast a pair of interviews that are to be recommended.

On Tuesday Dave Davies interviewed journalist McKenzie Funk about the commercial opportunities related to global warming. The opening of the Northwest Passage with the shrinking of Arctic ice, for instance, is but one of many commercial opportunities that global warming provides, and there is a scramble amongst nations and business interests to exploit new shipping lanes and extract fossil fuels and mineral resources suddenly made accessible. There is plenty to be learned here about capitalism, coercion, and environmental degradation.

On Wednesday Dave Davies interviewed journalist Ken Ward about the chemical spill into the Elk River in West Virginia. The story is one of a profound failure of regulatory oversight, but also the failure of a discursive regime that disempowers the citizenry by distorting basic reality. The interview ends on a hopeful note, though, as Ken Ward suggests that a cultural shift may be afoot that we outsiders may be largely unaware of.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *