Episode 2: For The Birds

In the second episode of The Latest, we look at the Endangered Species Act and whether your garbage will turn into a ski slope. Joe Avella (Business Insider) also joins us for our first O.J. Simpson Twitter Update.

The Latest with Greg Ott
The Latest with Greg Ott
Episode 2: For The Birds


Those voices are addressing new changes to the Endangered Species Act, which will shrink protections for endangered species while making it easier for companies to drill and mine in their habitats. It makes sense: if you’re going to drain the swamp, you might as well check for oil underneath it.

The Endangered Species Act protects creatures like the bald eagle. It’s an animal we like enough to put on our coins, but if we want those coins, we’re going to have to mine some copper, and if those copper mines kill a couple of bald eagles, it’s okay, ‘cause they’ll always be on our coins. 

The news dropped the same week as a new report from the World Wildlife Fund stating more than half of all forest wildlife has died in the past 40 years. And that’s just in forests — it doesn’t count that lion that was shot by that dentist, because that happened in a field.

And in Brazil, the deforestation of the Amazon is approaching a tipping point that it might never recover from. Brazil’s rainforests are being destroyed faster than retail stores, which is essentially turning the Amazon into the Amazon of the Amazon. 

I’m not telling you this because I’m an environmentalist. When a restaurant wants you to separate your recycling into four separate containers, I just throw everything in whichever one’s the biggest. 

Because even though I want to do the right thing, all that trash is going into the same bag, which is then going to the landfill, which is then going to become a ski slope in Michigan in 20 years. That’s a joke — there’s not going to be any snow in 20 years. 

And that’s my point. I know I need to be doing a better job of caring for the planet, but when the rainforests responsible for a fifth of the planet’s oxygen are being cut down to make printer paper and oil for your ass, it’s hard to get excited about switching to a metal straw. Or a paper straw, which gives you the sensation of Flat Stanley pissing in your mouth. 

It’s no wonder people don’t take these half-measures seriously. Mr. Trump’s campaign website is trolling environmentalists by selling $15 sets of plastic straws. The plastic is a way to reject “liberal paper,” and the straw lets  people know that you suck. 

At home, I recycle. I turn off the water when I’m brushing my teeth. And to save energy, I don’t watch anything on my TV that involves a “cinematic universe.” 

But for the bigger changes that need to happen, they need to be seamless and as easy as possible so it doesn’t feel like you’re trading something that works for something that’s going to leave wet cardboard in on your tongue. 

Earlier this week, I ate Burger King’s new, plant-based Impossible Whopper. It was impressive: it tastes exactly like a regular Whopper, which is another way of saying it’s terrible. 

And that’s the point: meat is one of the largest contributors to climate change, and you could replace every fast food burger on the planet with this thing, and nobody would tell the difference. 

It doesn’t matter if it’s a fresh, never frozen 100% beef patty, or a bunch of vegetables and chemicals glued together by some scientist — because people are still going to go to a drive-thru to pick up a meal that a teenager spit in. 

At least until their job becomes automated, and a machine does the spitting.