Transcript: Podship Earth Episode 003: INFINITY & BEYOND

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Hi, this is Jared Blumenfeld.  Welcome to Podship Earth. This week,  my cousin David and I went to a dog  and pony show put on by the Pruitt Environmental  Protection Agency, to take comments on Pruitt’s goal  of eliminating the clean power plan that would have reduced  greenhouse gas emissions from coal fired power plants. Later in  the show we'll talk to Lord Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal about  infinity and beyond. So, David, this is your first political rally, right?    

 

DAVID KAHN: That's correct.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: That's  amazing. Was there anything  that kind of struck you?

 

DAVID KAHN: I  mean the whole  thing was pretty  interesting. I like  seeing that everybody was  so organized, and they had  things to say that they wanted  to share. And there were kids lined  up from schools that must have bussed them  in.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: It  was quite a production.    

 

DAVID KAHN: Yeah,  and then there  was a bunch of professional  politicians or lobbyists that were  also there. It was just an interesting  mixture of folks.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Was  there anything that confused  you or bewildered you?

 

DAVID KAHN: I mean,  I just didn't  understand the whole  thing about the record  and why people had to get  on the record, like, where does  the record go?

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Well,  actually this was not really  democracy in action. It was more  like a show trial. I think Pruitt  and Trump already made their minds up  that they don't want the clean power plan,  but our voices still are important. By people  going and articulating their points and saying they're  against what Pruitt's trying to do, it goes into the federal  record and eventually there will probably be millions of more signatures  and notes in the record that say Pruitt's plan sucks, so that's basically  what this was all about.

 

DAVID KAHN: Interesting.  Thank you.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Yeah,  so let's take a listen  to what some of the public  had to say.

KARINA MARTIN: Good  morning. My name is  Karina Martin and I live  here in San Francisco speaking  today in my capacity as a human,  in support of the clean power plan...  

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: We  then heard from California's  top air regulator.

 

MARY NICHOLS: Good  morning. My name is  Mary Nichols. I'm the  chair of the California Air  Resources Board, a position to  which I’ve been appointed to three  times by Jerry Brown, and once by Arnold   Schwarzenegger. The mission of the United States   Environmental Protection Agency is to protect human health   and the environment. The proposal to repeal the clean power   plan does neither.

JARED BLUMENFELD: And,  just to add a touch of  ritziness, Tom Steyer, the  billionaire eco-philanthropist and  lead mover and shaker behind the   efforts to impeach Trump showed up for  a cameo.

TOM STEYER: Good  morning, my name  is Tom Steyer. It's  hard to recall now, but  it is important to remember,  that the environmental protection  agency was set up to protect our environment,  and central to its mission today is promoting clean  power and clean air.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: After  giving testimony, Tom Steyer  went and spoke on the steps of  San Francisco City Hall. Standing  next to him was a lady dressed up  in a polar bear outfit, holding a sign  saying, “Pruitt, keep your hands off the  clean power plan.”

 

DAVID KAHN: But  she overheated,  and she fell down  on the steps right next  to Tom.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: It  was terrifying. I mean,  she just keeled over.

 

DAVID KAHN: Yeah,  it was.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: It  was sad, and the fact  that the polar bear overheated  and fainted was bad. He didn't seem  to react at all, which is also a little  odd.

 

DAVID KAHN: Yeah,  they just kept on going.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: At  that moment, I got an  email from a friend saying  that a Kentucky coal advocate  was in town for the same EPA  hearings and would like to talk  with Podship Earth. I was intrigued.  Tyler White was named as President of  Kentucky Coal’s Association in 2016. He served  in the US Marine Corps and was selected to

help  develop  a psychological  operations capability  for the marines. Tyler  is nearing completion of his  master's degree from the Harvard  Extension School. So Tyler, you came  to San Francisco today for this EPA hearing?  

 

TYLER WHITE: Absolutely.    

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Where  are you from? Tell us  about yourself.

 

TYLER WHITE: I’m  from Lexington, Kentucky.  I'm the president of the Kentucky Coal  Association, so we represent the coal producers  in Kentucky as well as about 120 different companies  that are involved with the coal industry.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: And  how big an industry is  coal in Kentucky?

 

TYLER WHITE: It  fluctuates, and of  course it's gone down  a lot over the past few  years as we've seen our industry,  and especially from a producer's standpoint,  it’s just completely devastated. I think a lot  of people look at this industry in kind of an archaic  way where they envision a guy down in the coal mine with  a shovel or pickax. That was kind of how it was during the  industrial revolution. Now when you go down underground, there's  a guy with a remote control box and he is driving a piece of heavy   machinery from a remote control, called a continuous miner. We definitely don't  need the same amount of people that we once had, but we still need people willing  to go do that job that has been entrenched in communities, especially in Appalachia for  generations for 100 plus years, one of the hardest working workforces that I've seen in America.    

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Why  are you here today? Why  are you're in San Francisco?  

 

TYLER WHITE: So,  one thing that I  really felt was important  is that we do have different  ideas in the mix. I think that's  important. I think that's one of the  cool things about the fabric of our democracy  in America. I thought, you know, what a great  opportunity it is to come here and, and just inject  maybe a different thought process in terms of how we view  energy and especially production that energy.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: So  what will you be telling  the panel, the EPA folks today?  

 

TYLER WHITE: My  biggest thing is  that, number one, I  don't think that the EPA should  be in the business of picking power  sources and that's essentially what the  clean power plan did. The second is that,  I believe that energy provides opportunity, and  especially low-­‐ cost energy. See, in Kentucky where  we have fallen on hard economic times, and we are one  of the poorer states in the nation, and one of the things  that gives people opportunity is jobs. Well, we know how we create  jobs in Kentucky is low affordable energy prices that allow manufacturing  sectors to come in and create opportunity through jobs. But it starts with   that low energy price. And in Kentucky, 83 percent of our energy is produced  by coal. So we look at that resource as something that shouldn't be faded out,  especially before its time.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: So  when you go to these  communities that have been devastated  and talk to them about their future,  what is the hope there?

 

TYLER WHITE: So  this is really good.  This is a really good  question. And I like it because  I'm a younger guy, right? A younger  guy in the coal industry in Appalachia.  Are thousands of jobs going to come back  to the coal industry in Appalachia? No, they're  not. Do we need to put our miners back to work?  Absolutely. We need to because you have this displaced  workforce that I said is one of the hardest working workforces  in America. So how do we do that? I'm a big believer, especially  when we talk about Appalachia, in diversifying our economy because if  you put everything into one thing, you see what happens. If it goes away,  it becomes an extremely depressed state. And that's something that we don't, we  don't want to see again.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: It  feels like, just from  a national environmental  perspective, I'm an environmentalist,  it really feels like these are communities   that had been left behind it. There's no transition  plan to get them renewable energy and they just feel  forgotten, like “where are the people that might be looking  after us?” How can we turn that around to be a positive force?    

 

TYLER WHITE: I  think a lot of  people felt left behind.  I think a lot of people saw a  lot of government policies come in,  especially in these rural communities,  and put a lot of people out of work. Natural  gas was a contributor. It's a market force, but  there are also a lot of non-­‐market forces out there  at play, forces like the clean power plan. So it's not  through congress, not through their elected representatives,  but through the administrative state. It wasn't like the government  came in and said, yeah, but here's these other opportunities. Right?  And I think you saw a lot of that manifest in the 2016 election, especially  when you look at those different pockets.

JARED BLUMENFELD: Yeah.  Because if people don't  have jobs, they're going to  be frustrated. If they're going  to be frustrated, they're going to   take that out on the ballot box.

 

TYLER WHITE: Not  just the ballot box,  but you know, you look  at the opioid epidemic and  look at the belt that it's  hitting in our rural communities.    You know, you talk about loss of jobs  and then opioids, and it's just like this  cocktail. It's very sad. And yeah, there needs  to be more of a dialogue. So, it's kind of frustrating,   especially as a young person that's in the fossil fuels industry.  I mean, I get a lot of hate mail, right? Everything is so polarized,   right? What happened to the time where, you know, you thought this way, I  think this way, and we somehow come together.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: It’s  called Podship Earth.

 

TYLER WHITE: Where  were we can work on  it, right? We're human  beings and I think we've  kind of lost that in this  fabric of everything that's going  on. So, one thing I really take pride  in is coming out here to places that are  different, that aren't the same, talking with   people that don't have the same ideas as me. And  I've always said we're all human beings and we're all  in this struggle of life together, right? It's time that  everybody starts working a little bit better together. If you  talk to coal miners, people don't think we care about the quality  of water that is in our own communities or the air that our children  breathe. We do care about it.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Yeah.  I think we're in a really  dangerous time because we don't look  at the human side of the person on the  other side of the table. We just say, oh,  they have different views than us. I'm going  to ignore them. Tell us a little bit about the  people that you represent, their daily lives, and  what their aspirations and dreams are.

 

TYLER WHITE: These  guys take great pride  in their job, not just  because they're providing for  their families. I did my time  in the Marine Corps and I'm telling  you that I don't know how these guys do  it. These guys, you know, when they're  sitting around the table and they're talking  about energy, there's a great pride that when  you do turn on your light switch, or you plug in  your iPhone, or your Tesla, that they're providing that  energy source for millions of Americans, and billions of people  around the world.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Do  you feel like you have  a friend in the White House?  Does it feel like a big difference?    

TYLER WHITE: It's  absolutely a big difference.  It’s a big difference, especially with  the cabinet. We actually feel like we're  being listened to. We’re not offering, you know,  do this, do this, get them, get them here. I think  that we are very thought out when we communicate that to  administrator Pruitt and to the administration. And I think that  that's very welcoming to our industry to have that type of communication.    

JARED BLUMENFELD: And  what did it feel like  before?

 

TYLER WHITE: From  what I've seen that  communication didn't exist.    In fact, with hearings with listening  sessions about things like the clean power  plan, they didn't come to coal country to see  what people thought about that implementation.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: What  does the future of coal  look like in the United States  and in Kentucky, and just projected  out – what’s the next 10 years look  like, Tyler?

 

TYLER WHITE: It's  here to stay for  a long time, a lot  longer than what you  would read about.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: So,  coal is not dead.

 

TYLER WHITE: Coal  is not dead. People  have to remember this.  You don't phase out 30 percent  of the nation's energy overnight  and it would be ill advised to do  so.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: We've  been speaking to Tyler.  Thank you so much. I really  appreciate Tyler’s willingness to  engage in this discussion. His humanity  and receptivity to new ideas on ways of helping  Kentucky's transition to a healthy economy was not  at all what I expected. We both come from opposite sides  of the debate around the future of coal. But in talking to  Tyler, I felt a renewed optimism about the ability of environmentalists  and coal miners getting on the same page. It was also amazing to me how  Tyler's rhetoric as the head of the Kentucky Miner’s Association, was so much  more measured and thoughtful than Scott Pruitt's, of the US Environmental Protection  Agency.

 

DAVID: Jared,  I'm glad that  I got to sit in  on your interview with  Tyler. At the end, Tyler  said the one thing that shocked  him the most was the number of homeless  people outside the EPA hearing in San Francisco.  

JARED BLUMENFELD: Talking  of rough neighborhoods, when  I was studying law at UC Berkeley,  Alex and I lived in the heart of East  Oakland on 93rd and east 14th street, right  where the Black Panthers were founded by Huey  Newton and Bobby Seale in 1966. One enduring legacy  of the Black Panther Movement, including the blockbuster  movie currently in theaters which I can't wait to see, is  the way images and design were used to portray the struggle.  Here is Emory Douglas, the creative genius behind the Black Panther  political movement, talking about the importance of design.

 

Emory  Douglas: It  has to be able  to communicate, to  be a reflection of their desires  and their interests and concerns if  you want to be relevant in relationship  to change. It has to be a language that   communicates with people, that people when they  hear it or see it, they can get a sense of what  was going on. It can reinforce maybe their feelings or  thinking about ideals...

 

[SPONSOR MESSAGE]  

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Lord  Martin Rees has been The  Astronomer Royal since 1995. He  was the master of Trinity College  Cambridge and held the presidency of  the Royal Society. Lord Rees is the author  of more than 500 research papers and he's part  of the hundred-­‐million dollar effort called Breakthrough  Initiative, which has reinvigorated the search for extra-­‐terrestrial  life. Lord Rees is widely published and plays a critical role in captivating  an ever-­‐ larger audience interested in the universe and our place in it. Talking  to one of the smartest people on the planet, I was nervous that I had transposed cosmetology  for cosmology and astrology for astronomy, but somehow, I managed to keep them straight. I recorded  this interview with Martin Rees in his home in Cambridge, England. Welcome Martin.

 

LORD MARTIN REES: It’s  great to be talking with  you, Jared.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Thank  you. My daughter, Anya,  is 16 and right now she  is taking an astronomy class  and she went to Yosemite and it  wasn't a very large mirrored telescope,  but she was able to see the rings around  Saturn. And just the spark in her eye, literally,  she just got back last weekend and was like, “Dad,  this is the most amazing thing ever.” Just to realize  that there is this incredible universe out there and we're  such a small spec within it.

 

LORD MARTIN REES: Well,  that's right, one of the  most exciting discoveries in  the last year or so, was a very  faint star, which has seven planets  

orbiting  around it.  It's admitted  to solar system  where the year on  each of those planets  would be only two days  for the innermost ones, two  weeks for the outermost of the  seven planets, and that was discovered  using a 22-­‐inch diameter telescope.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: So  back when you started  in the sixties and seventies,  there was a astronomers and then  there was science fiction and now  they seem to nearly have blended together  in the public consciousness.

LORD MARTIN REES: We  know space technology  has advanced hugely, but  of course, science fiction  has been a stimulus and I would  tell my students, it's better to read  first rate science fiction and secondary  science. It's far more stimulating and no more  likely to be wrong. My cousin David was just so  excited that I was coming to talk to you. I mean,  he talks about very little else other than life on other  planets. The search for intelligent life habitable does not mean  inhabited, but for most of us, that is the number one question.   

Well  the one  thing we have  learned is that  there are in our galaxy  probably a billion planets  which are rather like the young   earth in the sense that they are about  the size of the earth and they're orbiting  their parent star at a distance such that water   could exist. Water doesn't boil away as it would  if they were to close, nor does it stay frozen if  they’re further away. So, they're in the so called, “habitable  zone.” And we know that there are probably billions of such planets  in our galaxy. But indeed, whether there is life on those, we still don't  know. And that's because we don't actually know how life got started here on   earth. Of course, we know that Darwinian selection has led from the simplest protozoa,  which existed three or three and a half billion years ago, into the marvelous biosphere  we have today and of which we are apart. We understand the process that led to that evolution  of our natural selection. But the initial transition, the transition from complicated chemicals to the  first metabolizing, replicating entity to be called alive, that is still not understood. Fortunately, people  are now working on it. But, of course, the other thing we can now do is look for evidence for life elsewhere  and that'll really pinch the case if we actually find it, and in our own solar system.

Lord  Martin  Rees Cont.: Of  course, the centuries  people have speculated about  evidence for life. If you ask  what's the most likely place where  there could be life in our solar system,  it's probably under the ice of Europa, which  is a moon of Jupiter or Enceladus, which is a  moon of Saturn. We don't know, but there could  be something

swimming  under that  ice, and in  10 or 20 years  we'll know. If we   were to find evidence  for life on Enceladus or  Europa, that would be very  important. Because that would immediately  tell us that life was not a rare accident.  Because if life had originated twice within a  single planetary system, then it must have originated  in a billion in other places. So long as we only know  about one origin of life, we can't rule out the possibility   that it is so rare, it only happened here, but if it's happened   twice within one planetary system, then it must be existent everywhere  and in billions of places. So that's hopeful, but no one expects any really  advanced life anywhere else in our solar system apart from the Earth. But when  we widen our horizons to the planet orbiting other stars, then of course the whole,   possibility opens up hugely. And I think at the moment, we can't observe these other planets  around other stars in enough detail to say much about them. But in 10 years we will able to  do better. We will have the next generation of huge telescopes on the ground.

JARED BLUMENFELD: Where  will they be, Martin?   

LORD MARTIN REES: Well,  the biggest is going to  be in Chile. It's called the  ELT, which

stands  for extremely  large telescope,  and it's going to  have a mirror 39 meters  in diameter. Which is huge.    Of course, not one sheet of glass,  but a mosaic of about 800 pieces of glass.    

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Martin,  what will these new, larger  telescopes allow us to see?  

 

LORD MARTIN REES: This  will have the ability  to actually image a planet  orbiting another star. But the  way I like to put it is, suppose  that some alien astronomers were looking  at our solar system. Then they’d see the  sun as an ordinary star. They'd see the earth  as in Carl Sagan’s nice phrase, “a pale blue dot”  very close in the sky to its star, our sun, but a  billion times fainter. But if the aliens watch this carefully,  they could learn a bit about it. They could learn that the shade  of blue is slightly different, sometimes compared to others, depending  on where the Pacific Ocean was placing them or the land mass of Asia,  so they could learn the constellations and oceans. They could earn the length  of the day. They could learn something of the climate and the seasons and by  analyzing the lights, they could learn if there was oxygen, or ozone in the atmosphere.  Now, those are just the kinds of inferences that in a decade or two, we'll be able to draw  about some of these earth-­‐like planets around other stars and this will be, of course, a huge  breakthrough and this will address the question of whether any of them have biospheres, life or vegetation.  Now, of course, the question of whether they have the kind of aliens with intelligence or technology, that's a  separate one. That's a higher risk one, but I think we will know whether life is widespread within 10 or 20 years.    

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: In  the last 30 years, we’ve  been able to understand the molecular  and cellular granularity of life at the  same time that we've been able to understand  the vastness of space.

 

LORD MARTIN REES: Well,  that's right. And there's  even more intimate connection because  when the earth formed, it's already had  complex geology and chemistry. It contained  lots of carbon, oxygen, phosphorus, and all the  chemical elements which are crucial for the emergence  of life. And they were present when the solar system formed  and we would like to know where they came from. Stars are nuclear  fusion reactors. They derive the energy to keep them shining by fusing  hydrogen to helium and helium into carbon up the periodic table as far as  iron. There's a recycling process going on where stars are dying all the time.   They're forming all the time. All the carbon, oxygen, et cetera, was forged in ancient  stars which lived and died probably at least 5 billion years ago before the solar system formed.    

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: So  we've been recycled,  Martin?

 

LORD MARTIN REES: We  are recycled materials.  So, we are literally the  ashes from long dead stars,  in a less romantic way, the  nuclear waste from the fuel that  made stars shine. So, we are intimately  linked to the cosmos. We are midway between  atoms and stars in scale, um, geometric mean of  the mass of a proton. And the mass of the sun is  about 50 kilograms, which is not far from the mass of   the average human being. So, it would take about as many   human bodies to make up the sun for atoms in each of us. So,   we are midway between the very small and the very large.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: As  you say, “our big bang  may not have been the only  one. Separate universes may have  cooled down differently, ending up  governed by different levels and defined  by different numbers. This opens up a new  vision of our universe, which would be just  one atom selected from an infinite multiverse.”  

 

LORD MARTIN REES: Yes,  I should say, this is  still speculation, but in  fact many theorists do a suspect  that that is the case. And if we  did get evidence that we are in this  kind of multiverse, it will be a sort of  fourth Copernican revolution. So, this means that  physical reality is vastly more complex and intricate  than what we see. What we are now becoming aware of  is that the observable universe may be only a tiny part  of physical reality.

JARED BLUMENFELD: One  of the areas that the  laws of Newtonian and Einstein's physics  may not apply are black holes, where you  describe them as a remarkable theoretical construct,  but more than that, evidence that they actually exist  is now compelling. Well, what are black holes and how do  they bend time and space and light?

 

LORD MARTIN REES: Well,  they are objects where  gravity is so strong, not  even light can escape from them.    From the 1960’s onwards, theorists agree,  myself speculated that they would exist, so  black holes as such are quite well understood.  And what we observe are objects where gas is swirling  down into this gravitational pit where it’s getting very  hot, and we can actually understand this. But deep inside  a black hole which we can't observe, there is probably a mystery  because inside the black hole, there's the so -­‐called singularity where  things go infinite, etc. And that's a signal that some new physics must come  in and this is one instance where we know that the physics of the 20th century  is incomplete. We've got a very good physics in micro-­‐world, which is quantum theory.  We have a very good theory of gravity, Einstein's theory, but those two separate theories  aren't linked together. Einstein's theory doesn't have a quantum dimension to it and quantum  theory doesn’t mention gravity. But, if you really want to understand what happens deep inside   a black hole, and more importantly, if we want to understand what happened right at the beginning  of the big bang, then we need this theory because if we extrapolate back to the very earliest days  of the big bang, we infer a universe of microscopic size. Unifying the very large and the very small,  is a challenge for 21st century physics. I like to say that even the smallest insect is far more complicated  than a star, because an insect has layer upon layer of structure, whereas a star is basically one big ball of  hot gas.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: And  as you quote E.O. Wilson  and your own observations on  the sixth great extinction, we're  losing so much every day in terms   of things that we could be learning about,  whether it's an insect or even more microscopic  species that we’ll never know existed.

 

LORD MARTIN REES: What  is happening now, which  has never happened before  in the 45 million centuries  of history, is that one species,  maybe ours, can determine the future  of the planet and that's because within  the last century, our numbers have grown. We're  more empowered by technology and we are transforming  the planet.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: In  our final hour, you,  you gave us a 50/50 chance  of surviving the century.

LORD MARTIN REES: It’s  unlikely we’d wipe ourselves  out completely, but I think it's likely  we will have a very bumpy ride through this  century. I would certainly say that there's a  50 percent chance of having a very severe setback  to our civilization caused by some environmental crisis,  or possibly some a runaway cyber crisis or pandemic or something  like that.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Do  you ever think that  we're in a computer simulation  that this is just all too perfect,  an infinitesimally dense atom that expands  14 billion years ago into an expanding universe  and you have to have these, you know, very precise  six variables in very precise numbers to create life on  earth... maybe is that a possibility?

   

LORD MARTIN REES: We  definitely find ourselves  in one where the shooting  was adequate, but as regards  to whether we're in a simulation,  this is an idea which some of us  have speculated about. It's not absolutely  crazy, but I wouldn't bet much on it. The idea  would then be that there has to be some even more  complex entities, which would underline the simulation.  So, it's not absurd to speculate that what we regard as  reality is not in practice the deepest level of reality.  It’s not a crazy concept, but I think it's rather unlikely.  

JARED BLUMENFELD: 20  years from now when  we have those telescopes  in Chile will also have video  games that people will be putting  virtual reality headsets on.

 

LORD MARTIN REES: Absolutely.    It just depends on the extent  to which Moore's law can be extended.  It probably involves going into three dimensional  chips, et cetera. But, of course, the other, the other   point which is relevant, is that the cost of gene sequencing  has fallen even more steeply than Moore's law because the human   genome first draft was at the beginning of this century, cost three  billion dollars, whereas now for less than a thousand dollars, you can  get sequencing of the human genome. It will have huge benefits for personalized  medicine, but also it will allow these designer creatures in a way that was not  possible in the past.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: We've  been talking to Martin  Rees, the Royal Astronomer, thank  you so much for your time. It's been  fascinating.

 

LORD MARTIN REES: Very  good to have the chance  to chat with you, Jared.  

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Excellent.  Thank you. I want to thank  Martin for expanding my mind  to the point where I feel less  significant and yet more unique at  the same time. Inspired by Martin Rees,  Brenna, who also hiked the Pacific Crest Trail  from Mexico to Canada, and I were talking this week  about sleeping under the stars.

 

BRENNA SHELDON: Yes.  I slept in a  tent the first five  nights and then did not  sleep in a tent until the  last three days when it rained.  I had spectacular weather and just  slept on the ground cloth every single  night. There was never a time where I  was taking it for granted. I mean, like every  night it’s amazing to look up at the stars. Right?    

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: It's  incredible. I mean just  visually spectacular. I mean  there's so much movement and  you feel so connected to it. I  mean there's this incredible connection  between me lying looking up at the stars  and those stars that I'd never felt.

 

BRENNA SHELDON: Yeah,  you get to know  them. There is a certain  constellation

that  we look  for every  night and we’d  be like, we're in  the right place, and  just that was kind of the  takeaway. Every day you're in  exactly the right place and you're  very connected to the sun setting and  the rhythm of the day, but yeah, laying  down on the ground and looking up at the  stars every night before bed was the best.   

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Thanks  Brenna. One way to connect  with the stars is to visit and  even join your local astronomy club.  They're a great resource and they can  get you started on your own amazing journey.  The best I found is Go-­‐astronomy.com. Thanks  to Tyler White for giving us a sense of the struggles  faced by Kentucky coal miners and how that is shaping the  current climate change debate. I want to thank each of you that  has either gone to an EPA hearing or let them know the importance  of keeping the clean power plan by providing comments on the EPA website.  If you haven't done it yet, the deadline is April 26.

 

Next  week we'll  talk to Dr.  Musa Mhlanga from  Cape Town, South Africa,  about how his city is about  to run out of water and to Lisa  Gautier about how the hair from Michael  Phelps and thousands of salons helped clean  up oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon Spill. Thank   you so much for being part of the Podship Earth journey.    From the entire Podship Earth crew, editor Rob Spate, producer   Nancy Ferranti, executive producer, David Kahn and me, Jared Blumenfeld,  have a fabulous week.