Transcript: Podship Earth Episode 004: HAIR DAY ZERO 

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Hi, this is Jared Blumenfeld. Welcome to Podship Earth. The first 700 miles of my hike from Mexico to Canada was through some of the most arid lands in the US.  It beat the crap out of me. There was one stretch in the Mojave Desert where there was a 43-mile gap between water sources. I began obsessing about water during the day and wake up at night, parched. Up until that point, I’d only understood the preciousness of water from an abstract level. During that first month in the desert, I learned what it feels like to be with much, much less water and it's painful. From dizziness to exhaustion, being dehydrated felt like life was being drained from me. Local volunteers put out caches of water along the trail and they literally saved my life. A huge thank you to everyone that fills up those ten-liter bottles to help hikers survive. Sometimes though, those relief stations were empty, so I realized nothing beats being prepared.

 

This week we traveled to South Africa to look behind the headlines in Cape Town where the government has announced a day zero when this modern city is expected to completely run out of water. Cousin David and I then talked with Lisa Gautier about how what is growing on the top of our heads may be more important for solving environmental problems than what's in our heads. Let's start with talking with Dr.  Musa Mhlanga who I've known since 1992, when we were seeing what countries in the UN were doing to follow up on the Rio Earth Summit commitments.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: So, Musa and I first got to hang out together in the Security Council of the United Nations. I don't know how we got these badges, but we got these NGO badges that, back in the day, remember?

 

MUSA MHLANGA: Yeah, what a time. Amazing time.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: So, you get this badge to be an NGO and within a day Musa and I realized that this actually gave us all UN access.

 

MUSA MHLANGA: You remember the day we met Kofi Annan before he became secretary general, like in the UN?

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Cafeteria. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

 

MUSA MHLANGA: It's like crazy. We're like sitting there and talking to him like we didn't even know he was going to become secretary general.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: We didn't know anything.

 

MUSA MHLANGA: We didn't know. We were like so wet behind the ears.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: So, Musa he has had an incredible career. He became a PHD. He is now running his own lab. The Musa Mhlanga memorial. I mean you'll still alive, but you're treated like, you know, someone who died 100 years ago because he's got labs named after him in Cape Town.

 

MUSA MHLANGA: Every, every PI, principal investigator, is named after the lab. So, it's nothing. Nothing new. But anyway.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Our family takes special credit in all Musa’s work, you know, my kids - Marcus tells people that he met someone that cured cancer.

 

MUSA MHLANGA: I haven’t done that yet.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Yeah. But Musa’s closer than any other friend we have to doing that.

 

MUSA MHLANGA: Well, all your friends, if they're as close as I am, then none of us are close.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Every time we go onto Facebook, I wonder what the fuck I'm doing. But now I realize what we're doing is we're giving money to Mark Zuckerberg. He then gives it to his wife whose name is Chan, Priscilla Chan. Right. And together they give money to Musa and other people, but he’s in town because he just got some prestigious Chan Zuckerberg cash upfront donation.

 

MUSA MHLANGA: I'm working with several other scientists on a project called the human cell atlas. And here we're mapping the over 40 trillion cells in the human body and trying to identify at the molecular level, the levels of gene expression in each of these cells. I think it will revolutionize medicine.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Cool. I mean, that sounds unbelievable. I've never heard of the human cell atlas before. So, you live in Cape Town, South Africa?

 

MUSA MHLANGA:  I do.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: What's it like living there these days?

 

MUSA MHLANGA: I think one of the most beautiful cities in the world, natural beauty is spectacular. It's got a huge mountain called Table Mountain in the middle of the city. And then in the middle of Table Bay is a, is an island, a very famous island called Robin Island. And that's where a Nelson Mandela was a held as a prisoner for over 20 years.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: And what's the politics like? It's gone a long way since Mandela took over the ANC and brought South Africa out of apartheid.

 

MUSA MHLANGA: South Africa is a very vibrant democracy and it's a very free and open press and there's been a lot of exposure of sort of the ills of corruption and political wrongdoing. I think the country's coming along bravely in trying to solve these problems. And I think a big step was taken in that direction with the new leadership in the AANC. Cape Town has a massive water crisis. In fact, the water crisis is so bad that there is a day zero where the city is going to run out of water.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Wow.

 

MUSA MHLANGA: And that day is in, I think it's in sometime in May of this year.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: So, in May 2018, Cape Town is projected to completely run out of water completely.

 

MUSA MHLANGA: Completely.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Wow.

 

MUSA MHLANGA: Major city. And I, and I think running out of water in a major city is like famine. It's a political thing.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: So, what is, what is South Africa, or Cape Town, doing to meet that challenge?

 

MUSA MHLANGA: Desalination plants with very strict water regulations, but the foresight in doing some of these things was not adequate. If you ask me, much more could have been done.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: So, what will happen Musa in May this year?

 

MUSA MHLANGA: The city is trying to drill into aquifers under Table Mountain. Deploy desalination plants. They're trying to do all kinds of things, ration water. But you know, I don't want to sound like a doomsday caller, but there is a very, very likely high likelihood that the city is going to run out of water.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Right now is your summer. Yeah. So there's no rain.

 

MUSA MHLANGA: There’s no rain in Cape Town in summer. Whereas in the northern part of South Africa, it rains in summer. Yeah.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: So this is really serious.

 

MUSA MHLANGA: It’s like California, but worse.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Much worse.

 

MUSA MHLANGA: Yeah.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Because we had a drought that went on for five, six years and there were serious ramifications, but we never got to a place where anyone was even contemplating, let alone mentioning something like a day zero. I mean these are, these are kind of post armageddon stories that I didn't think we'd hear about for years.

 

MUSA MHLANGA: Now we just set up a five-liter bottle of water outside my shower.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: So, I mean, being a chemist, maybe you could just get hydrogen and oxygen and mix them. You could like create a bar just from scratch, bring those in, have pure water.

 

MUSA MHLANGA: You know what happens, like hydrogen is a gas, right?

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Yeah. But isn’t H20 water?

 

MUSA MHLANGA: Hydrogen. Oxygen is a gas. Just Bang them together. Right?

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Exactly. Just mix them.

 

MUSA MHLANGA: Thanks Jared.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD:  We're very lucky to have Dana Smirin, our very own Podship Earth correspondent on the ground in Cape Town today. H Dana.

 

DANA: Hello, Jared.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: We were just talking to Musa in the studio about day zero. What's it like right now in Cape Town?

 

DANA: The water crisis is very real and the bounds of the city of Cape Town are surrounded by all sorts of agricultural areas. Just this week, the city has pushed back the ground zero date saying that we're doing incredible conservation, around 60 percent reduction from 2017. However, this still looks dire. We don't trust the day to truly is pushed back because it has been getting moved around back and forth. So much people are concerned, farms are not producing, jobs are being lost. Multiple municipalities are having the water randomly turned off. I've just spent the day speaking to farmers working the land and a biodynamic farm 20 minutes from Cape Town.

 

JOHN: My name is Acon.  I’m living in Klasies River.

 

DANA: And tell me what is happening with water in Klasies river?

 

JOHN: Yes. Uh, it's a problem about the water because other days is no water, other days is the water.

 

DANA: And what are you doing at home to save water?

 

JOHN: Yes, to save water on my side, I just make sure that if I wash dishes, I just keep that water and I put it in a toilet to flush. Yes.

 

DANA: Excellent.

 

JOHN:  Also, the farms are struggling about the water and we also are scared about our jobs.

 

DANA: What do you think can happen to your jobs because of the drought?

 

JOHN: It's because if there's no rain and the trees are getting dry, so the farmers can’t produce the fruit.

 

DANA: So, you're worried about job security?

 

JOHN: Yes, because without water, we can’t survive.

 

DANA: What are people saying? Are they worried?

 

JOHN: Even the president is worried. Even the president of the nation is worried about water, which means that everyone is suffering.  If you end up with the government saying, oh, there's a water crisis. There’s a problem before the president. Which means if you go there, there's no water.  But I don't blame the government. I don't blame anyone. It happens in life. It's natural. But do we have very little control ourselves.

 

DANA: Do you think climate change?

 

JOHN: Yes, it’s about climate change and we have to help out with the situation which is there.

 

DANA: This is Dana Smirin and with Podship Earth signing off from Cape Town, South Africa.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Thanks Dana. We look forward to hearing from you again soon. Take care of yourself. Although Cape Town is likely to be the first major modern city to face the threat of running out of drinking water, it's just one extreme example of water scarcity. Thanks to a combination of climate change, aging infrastructure and population growth, global demand for fresh water is predicted to exceed supply by 40 percent in 20, 30. Unfortunately, there are many other cities that are nearing their own days zeroes for water. Sao Paolo went through a similar ordeal to Cape Town in 2015 when the main reservoir fell below four percent of capacity. At the height of the crisis, the city of 21 million people had less than 20 days of water supply and the police had to escort water trucks to stop looting. The city of Beijing is facing water shortages, and China is home to almost 20 percent of the world's population but has only seven percent of the world's fresh water.

 

In Cairo, the Nile, which represents 97 percent of the city's water supply is nearly unusable because of untreated agricultural and residential pollution. In Jakarta, Indonesia, aquifers are not being replenished despite heavy rain because the city is blanketed in concrete and asphalt, which can't absorb the rainfall. In Mexico City, more than 40 percent of their city's water gets lost from leaking pipes and in London, I couldn't believe it. It was on the list because it rains so frigging much, but London draws 80 percent of its water from rivers, including the Thames and is lightly to have supply problems by 2025 and serious shortages by 2040. And finally, in Miami, an early project to drain swamps nearby had an unforeseen result. Water from the Atlantic Ocean contaminated the Biscayne Aquifer. In Hallandale Beach, where my grandmother Bert used to live, they recently had to close six of its eight wells due to salt water intrusion. At the end of the show, I'll talk about what you can do to tackle the water scarcity at home right now.

 

Up next, cousin David and I talked with Lisa Gautier who runs Matter of Trust, a grassroots organization that does more than many large national environmental nonprofits combined. Lisa is a force of nature. One of her projects helped match up things like binders that businesses no longer need with a school that has no money for binders. Lisa was on the front page of the Wall Street Journal and on TV around the world because of her success in mobilizing hair salons to ship their trimmings to oil spills where the hair is used to clean up the mess. Lisa, welcome to Podship Earth.

 

LISA: Hi Jared.  Hi David.

 

DAVID KAHN: Hello.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: What was it in your life that inspired you to get involved in this field?

 

LISA: Well, I've always known that I wanted to do something with the environment. I was very excited about this one person who named Gerald Durrell who wrote a book called My Family and Other Animals and I fell in love with that book. And I went to go live at his zoo in Jersey in the Channel Islands when I was 17, as soon as I got out of high school. And he had a course called Breeding of Endangered animals and Zoo Management. And it was for veterinarians and zoo owners and things from around the world. And I was a 17-year old but I begged and pleaded and they let me take the course.  And I can just tell you that zoo management has been really helpful my entire life. I came back and I had a funny English accent for about three weeks until I was like, don't do that. That sounds silly.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: That's what people say to me all the time.

 

LISA: Yes. I could imagine

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: So, David and I yesterday came and visited you at the eco center that you've built at 1566 Howard Street in this old industrial, really cool building.  Anyone who comes to San Francisco, go to a matteroftrust.org and they’ll have all the opening times and you can see. It’s definitely worth it. You had fun, David, right?

 

DAVID KAHN: I loved it. I felt like I was in like a museum or a school. It was very educational, informative and I felt inspired.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Literally Lisa, he hasn’t shut up about it.

 

DAVID KAHN: I just feel good knowing that people are doing this kind of work because sometimes I feel like I don't contribute enough. What's my contribution? And then I see you somebody who has sacrificing and is on the front line and it's inspiring. Like I'm just like, I can't believe that people do this stuff. Like I sit there and it's just overwhelming to be honest.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: David. I think a lot of people feel overwhelmed, and I mean, I guess Lisa, was that part of the motivation? Why did you end up creating this eco center in San Francisco?

 

LISA: We wanted to have a space in the middle of the city that we could talk about, you know, perhaps noise pollution or um, or smells or toxins. And if you have it in the middle of the city, then you have people talk about it and, and you can change it through design. I would say to the kids that come into our eco-hub there, it's important to concentrate on the environment that you do want. If you are composting, if you eat less meat, if you are walking instead of driving and you're taking care of your insides as well as your family and your city block and your city, then you start to become a beacon. Then, that grows and more and more people see that and want to go to there. And that's ultimately how everything's going to get better. And we have a website, excessaccess.org, and you can just sign up, it's all free and just make a wishlist. And if you have things you want to give away, you can post your gifts as many as you want. It's limitless. If you're the kind of person that likes to make sure that something goes to the right place, then you want to post the things that you have to give away and see that they get to the right person.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Were there any like weird or funny things that you got requests to try and dispose of?

 

LISA: Yes, many, many, many, many. Um, so, uh, we got, we were told that we have Michael Phelps's underarm hair. Um, so that was a special surprise.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Someone just phoned you up and said, we have Michael Phelps underarm hair?

Lisa We got an envelope with a letter inside of it that said that the Olympic team was a shaving all of their underarm hair and that they were going to donate it to our cause.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: And did that put a smile on your face?

 

LISA: Oh, we, we, we get smiles every day.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: So you go into the ECO industrial hub and one of the displays all around the back is different types of hair - there was buffalo hair, they have a salon where they cut your hair and then they turn the hair into mats.

 

LISA: Our charity has always loved to look at matching needs with surplus. And somebody told us about this gentleman named Phil McCrory in Alabama who was a hairstylist and shampooing a really oily head of hair while the TV in his salon was playing the news of the Exxon Valdez in Alaska. And that big oil spill had otters that were collecting oil in their fur, and the water around them was a little bit cleaner. And it just clicked for him that you shampoo because hair collects oil and he was cutting about two pounds of hair a day and there are 370,000 hair salons in the US.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: 370,000 hair salons in the US. That’s a big number.

 

LISA: Yeah.  And there's about 200,000 pet groomers. There's several thousand fleece farmers. So that's a lot of fiber.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: And it's like Forrest Gump moment, right? How did you know that story?

 

LISA: He was on dateline and he was in a lot of press and that's how people started sending it to me. Then we had a wishlist from a group on our excess access program from a group in the Galapagos islands. And there was an oil spill there. And we were talking to them and they were complaining that there were all these chemicals that were being used in these fragile ecosystems. And I was like, why aren't you using the hair mats? And they were like, what are hair mats? And it was the first time that I sort of realized that there are a lot of great ideas out there that just never get picked up. And so, I called every hairstylist in Huntsville, Alabama, and I found Phil and he's like, I've got a garage full of hair, I've never been able to make a business out of this. And I was like, well I would love it if our charity could partner with you. And so that was in late 1999. And by the year 2000 we started doing this.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: And what, what does doing “this” mean?

 

LISA: So, doing “this” means that we have a database of many, many, many hairstylists and pet groomers and farmers that are ready at a moment's notice to send out fibers to an emergency oil spill.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Okay. So, there are 370,000 hair salons. And then more pet groomers and farmers. Right. So, during the Costco Busan oil spill in San Francisco, I get this call from Lisa. Do you think that we can have surfers tow hair mats in the water? She didn't wait for anyone to say we should do this. She sent the surfers out.  

 

LISA: So, then we drove to the beach and at the beach we saw this group of from surf rider and kill this bill that you had a phone tree that just brought all these surfers out and they were all looking at the oil washing up on the beach and I said, you know, look, I have a lot of hair mats if you guys want them. And they were like, yeah, bring them out. So that day we had 80 people on the beach. The next day we had 250. The next day we had over 500, 1600 people wanted to get trained on doing hair mats and it was, I mean, there is no training. It's just like, you know, just put down the hair mats and it soaks up the oil. It was bunker fuel, so it was kind of thick. And so, it came up in sort of silver dollar sized droplets because the water is relatively cold and, and so it was easy for people to just kind of pat them all up in the mats.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: There's an enormous thirst and appetite when the shit hits the fan with an oil spill for people to help and government agencies are shit, really shit at getting anyone mobilized quickly and really tapping into that talent. So, you energize the hair salons, right? So they feel part of the solution. Then you energize all these volunteers and you're actually helping do something demonstrable and cleaning it up. So, watching you, it's just, it was inspiring to me that that first Costco Busan Oil Spill, I was like holy shit.

 

LISA: it's really very empowering and everybody knows that you're growing this renewable resource on top of your head. The answer to oil spills is literally growing in front of your eyes.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: I love that.  

 

DAVID KAHN: I have a question. How did you get from the Galapagos Islands to testing your first sample to knowing that this is actually a viable solution? And how did you know that, that it worked?

 

LISA: It's immediate, you literally can stick a ponytail into salad dressing or motor oil or whatever you want, that's, you know, dark and oily, and you lift it up and it's gone within seconds.

 

DAVID KAHN: This is crazy.

 

LISA: Everybody wants to jump in. And we realized early on that we needed to have a system because it's a free service to have everybody sending their hair, but we got three quarters of a million pounds in four days at one point and we've gotten hair from every zip code in North America and 30 other countries. They pay to pay for the postage to send it in.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: And do you hear stories about those people?

 

LISA: Oh, all the time. So, all the ponytails that come in, so many of them come with a little letter that are super heartwarming and, and delightful and some of them are heart wrenching. Um, lots of times people that are on chemo will shave their whole head at some point and so we get those stories. You're attached to your hair, so it's a, it's a very personal touch.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: And if anyone out there that has a man bun, this could be your moment. People have been talking about your man bun, maybe you don't know it, but I would suggest now's a great time. Cut it off. It was maybe cool in 2015, 2016. But now you could be helping Lisa.

 

DAVID KAHN: I just cut mine off about five months ago.

 

LISA: Looks good.

 

DAVID KAHN: You look, you look alive and well now.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Okay. So, Lisa, if people were really interested, in a nonemergency, sending in and making their hair count, what should they do? Do you want them to send it to you or do you want them to hold onto it? Is there, are there like hair banks? What should they do with their hair?

 

LISA: So, matteroftrust.org has on its homepage a section about donating hair, fur, and fleece.  When there's not a large oil spill that needs urgent assistance, we make hair mats that go into storm drains for municipalities and they soak up the runoff from motor oil drips and things like that that are on the street when rain hits it and goes into the storm drains and often it’ll go out into bays and the hair catches all of that.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: How many cities have that storm drain hair mat program?

 

LISA: So right now, they're all in Texas. I think we have five of them in Texas.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: California always thinks it's like the leader of everything. Texas is leading in hair mats.

 

LISA: Absolutely. Yeah.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Is there one particular town that we should give a shout out to who did it first?

 

LISA: Garland, Texas did it first.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: We want to give props to Garland, Texas. Anyone listening from Garland we love you. Thank you for doing that. Okay. So, Galapagos came then, Costco Busan, and then the mother of all frigging oil spills happened with BP Deepwater Horizon. I remember passing Lisa's house and the boxes went up to the second story. There were so many boxes of hair from around the world.

 

Obama Newscast: Already this oil spill is the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced.

 

News: We're sorry for massive disruption this caused to their lives. There's no one who wants this thing over more than I do, I want my life back.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Tell us what you did. How did you mobilize? What did you do during Deepwater Horizon?

 

LISA: All the salons from all over the south were calling me and they wanted to set up what they called boom-b-q’s. They were barbecues, but on the beach and so it turns out Haynes nylons is actually out of Alabama and they donated I think a couple of hundred thousand pairs of nylons. Okay. And you can stuff hair into nylons and kind of create like a boom or you can start sandbagging beaches. Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida have spectacularly beautiful white beaches that were getting covered in oil. Hooters restaurant called us and they donated - all those waitresses wear these very special nylons and they cut off $250,000 pairs - and just cut off all the crotches and just sent us all the legs and we stuffed all those nylons with hair.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Crotchless nylons from Hooters got stuffed with hair. You heard it here first on Podship Earth.

 

LISA: They were awesome. They were just so amazing.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: And you went out there. I remember there were like warehouses, like talk about the logistics, it was frigging amazing.  

 

LISA: 19 warehouses donated to us in all those different states, right on the water. So, everything went through us through us, through excess access, and we were sending out the addresses to make sure that no warehouse would get overwhelmed. And then it was buffalo fleecing season again and there was a huge Alpaca convention. All of that fleece came to us.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: Literally tens and tens of millions of gallons of spill that they get paid for to pay themselves to clean it up and you’re with volunteers doing the Lord's work and you get no support at all.

 

LISA: They were getting so many questions at every press conference about hair and because they knew nothing about it or they didn't understand where this was coming from. When you went to bp.com, just the plain old home homepage in huge type, they had, “BP will not use hair” that was the top of their website and we were like, whoa. But as it turned out at the same time, they're a boom acquisition lead inside BP was talking to us, she'd heard about us through Rachel Maddow because we were getting a lot of press at that time. I had my cell phone number on my home page and they were like, Fort Knox.  Of course, all the press was coming to us because on top of that, every person in the media that was going to their hairstylist at that point was hearing about it. They were like the captive audience of their hairstylist. They were like, I hear hairstylists…

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: I love that.

 

LISA: It gets good again. Yeah. So, there was just this huge loop of us getting media and BP getting ticked off and, and so their boom acquisition lady was just fabulous. And she's like, we just, we need all the fiber so open the flood gates, let in the buffalo fleece, let in everything. She said, we'll repackage it. We're not going to use your nylons. That's ridiculous. But, but we'll take the fiber. I was actually on the phone with NPR and my phone beeped and it was the head of public relations for BP and I was like, I'm on the other line with NPR, can I conference you in? And he's like, if you conference this call, I will hang up on you. He was screaming at the top of his lungs and became very hysterical on the phone. And at the end result of it was he offered me $10,000 to go away.

 

And I was like, first of all, I don't know whether to be insulted that it's so little or to be insulted that you even would offer that. Because obviously I’m not going to take $10,000. I'm nervous about how much fiber I have coming in now because you guys have told us to bring it all in.

 

DAVID KAHN: Here's the thing, like how long were you there? Like, it's crazy to me that you were, you fly from San Francisco, you bring all the resources, you're mobilizing all these volunteers and these people have billions of dollars and you're doing this by yourself with all the other volunteers. Like, it's crazy to me. It really bothers me though, this is a serious.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: David, don’t you remember, it was a big deal.

 

DAVID KAHN: I have no idea. I read this in the newspapers and I'm glad. I'm glad that you're on the case. I know he's been on the case for a long time. I'm just like a normal person who just reads the newspaper and I'm very upset.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: So, the guy offers you 10 grand, what do you do?

 

LISA: So, we said, no.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: 11.

 

LISA: No, I was actually very polite. I said, you know, well I think I'm going to have to ask my board about that and I'll talk you later because I just didn't know what to do with him. He was so upset. But one of the things that had happened, was at first, he came on and he was like, you know, I can't believe you're lying to the press about working with BP. And I said, well I'm not lying. I'm working with this person. Her name was Lisa too. I said her name, and I said in her phone number, it looks an awful lot like yours. These are the last four numbers. And I could hear his chair creak back as he was talking to somebody else and that's when all of a sudden, the conversation changed. He's like, well, you can't do this, you know, we have a fund that's going to our own cleanup efforts and we can't be dealing with a recycling, hair project at this time. And, and how about if we just pay you this much to help you for, you know, your trouble so far or whatever.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: That was an amazing story. Thank you for sharing that. Okay. Switching gears for a second, I want to talk to you about your view that government is changing the weather through chemtrails.

 

LISA: My stance is that I would like to have the discussion. I never dismiss anything without looking at it anything. And so, my thing is like, why can't we look at this if there's people that would like to know more information about dimming skies or what chemicals might be coming out the back of an airplane or if it's water vapor or ever dismiss when a large population wants to bring up their concerns.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: The chemtrail folks, they definitely believe there is sufficient evidence to say it is happening. And then, you know, when I was at EPA and other federal agencies, they feel like they have looked into it and there isn't credible evidence that it is happening. So, it seems like we're a little bit of a impasse it would be fun to explore. So maybe, maybe you can help us moderate that.

 

LISA: My goodness, wouldn't that'd be great. Thank you, Lisa. You've been a beacon for me and so many people, really appreciate you spending the time with us and look forward to doing an episode in the future on chemtrails with you.

 

LISA: Thank you, guys. This is great.

 

JARED BLUMENFELD: I'm grateful that Musa, Dana, and Lisa were able to join us today. Thank you. How cool is it to have a Podship Earth correspondent in Cape Town? If you'd like to be a Podship stringer from your corner of the planet, let me know by dropping me an email at Jared@Podshipearth.com. All you need is a mic, a recording device, and an intrepid spirit. What I took away from the struggle being faced by Cape Town is that we need to prepare our homes and cities for a future with much less water. At home, one step we can all take is to capture rainwater. In Adelaide, an Australia city of 1.2 million people, a remarkable forty-five percent of homes have rooftop rainwater capture tanks that are used to irrigate lawns, flush toilets, and even run washing machines. They have mandatory for all new homes.  Even if it only rains one inch, a thousand square foot roof captured 600 gallons of water.

 

We can also reduce the amount of water we use each day from taking shorter showers to investing in high efficiency, washing machines or dishwashers, to making your toilets are all low flow and that if you do have a yard, you install a drip irrigation. You'll save money and be prepared for a dry a future. I've posted rainwater harvesting guides and a tip to saving water on my homepage at Podshipearth.com. What Lisa taught me was that each of us can make a big difference if we're involved in projects that we love. There are times that it's important to make a sacrifice, but it really helps to be genuinely excited when we get out of bed each morning. That excitement is contagious and in Lisa's case, changed the way people help clean up oil spills. I would definitely recommend you go and see Lisa at 1566 Howard street when you're next in San Francisco.

 

Next week, Brenna and I will be in the back of a sprinter truck talking with Eli and Sarah about their decision to move into vans as a way of reducing their commutes, avoiding skyrocketing rents, and gaining independence. We'll also talk with Rochelle Tilousi, a member of the Havasupai American Indian nation, located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon about how she sees the world. Thank you so much for being part of the Podship Earth journey. From the entire Podship Earth crew, Cape Town correspondent, Dana Mirren, editor Rob Spate, producer Nancy Ferranti, executive producer, David Kahn, and me, Jared Blumenfeld. Have a fabulous week.