tv PBS News Hour Weekend PBS November 6, 2021 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by wnet >> sreenivasan: on this edition for saturday, november 6: >> finally, infrastructure week! ( laughter ) >> sreenivasan: the house okays president biden's trillion-dollar infrastructure spending plan. global protesters demand action on climate change as communities look for new ways to adapt. >> i like saying "no." itowers their enthusiasm. >> sreenivasan: and actor, writer, and woodworker, nick offerman. next, on pbs newshour weekend. >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: sue and edgar wachenheim iii. bernard and denise schwartz. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the anderson family fund. the estate of worthington
mayo-smith. leonard and norma klorfine. the rosalind p. walter foundation. koo and patricia yuen, committed to bridging cultural differences in our communities. barbara hope zuckerberg. we try to live in the moment, to not miss what's right in front of us. at mutual of america, we believe taking care of tomorrow can help you make the most of today. mutual of america financial group, retirement seices and investments. >> for 25 years, consumer cellular's goal has been to provide wireless service that helps people communicate and connect. we offer a variety of no-contract plans, and our u.s.-based customer service team can help find one that fits you. to learn more, visit www.consumercellular.tv. additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the
american people. and by contributions to your pbs station om viewers like you. thank you. >> sreenivasan: good evening, and thank you for joining us. the house of representatives passed one of the largest investments of federal funds in the nation's roads, bridges, rail lines and airports last night-- sending president joe biden a big legislative win. >>he motion is adopted. >> sreenivasan: the house approved the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, 228 to 206. the legislation is expected to create thousands of jobs, and provides billions for high speed internet, electric vehicle charging stations, clean drinking water, upgrades to ports, and more. the passage broke a months-long logjam between progressive and moderate democrats. 13 republicans supported the legislation, and six progressive democrats opposed it. at the white house today, president biden said the approval puts the nation on a path to win the economic competitn of the 21st century. >> a once-in-a-geration investment that's going to
create millions of jobs, modernizing our infrastructure, our roads, our bridges, our broadband, all range of things, to turn the climate crisis into an opportunity. >> sreenivasan: mr. biden vowed to keep up the fight for the rest of his agenda that would expand the social safety net and provide historic investments in combating climate change. this afternoon, a federal appeals court temporarily blocked the biden administration's covid vaccine mandate for private employers. the fifth circuit ruling comes just days after the occupational safety and health administration announced all companies with 100 employees or more must require vaccination or weekly testing starting january 4. the federal government must respond by monday. in houston last night, at least eight people were killed, and dozens more injured, following what is being called a "crowd surge" during the astroworld music festival. around 9:00 p.m., as rapper travis scott began his performance, the crowd, estimated at 50,000 people, reportedly began to push toward the stage.
hundreds were reported injured, with 23 people transported to hospitals, with 11 in cardiac arrest. in sierra leone, at least 98 people were killed in the capital of freetown late last night following a fuel tanker explosion. the explosion occurred as people rushed to collect fuel from the leaking vicle following a traffic accident. video showed scenes of chaos and fire through the night, and this morning, revealed the charred remains of those killed, and the destruction of buildings and vehicles. as the united nations climate summit continued in glasgow today, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets worldwide for what was called “a global day of action.” in south korea, activists rolled a huge red ball down the street, a symbol of "burning earth." and, climate activists marched and rallied in paris, london, and in glasgow, all calling on world leaders to take dramatic action to combat climate change. >> sreenivasan: for many young people, watching world leaders make pledges to do something about climate change
is not enough. not only do they protest in large numbers-- including in today's global day of action, marches and rallies-- they're organizing on state and local levels. as the cop26 conference continues in glasgow, i recently spoke with jasmine sanders, executive director of our climate. it is a non-profit that works to mobilize and empower young people to lead and to teach others about "science-based equitable climate policy solutions." miss sanders, are you optimistic or hopeful about what's happening at the cop26? i mean, considering that we have had these conversations so many times before. >> i do think that the barbados prime minister said it best when she said, "our people are watching, and they are taking note." it is time for us to make sure that we are making promises that are combined with true implementation pathways. i think that is where the potential is and also a challenging opportunity because,
in the past, we have not really seen that. >> sreenivasan: in some ways, some of the climate solutions are local. city mayors have a tremendous amount more sway to influence policy, or state legislatures and governors. how do you think of that? how do you lobby for that? how does your organization work with that? >> we really invest in our young people, developing their leadership development skills, really getting them in touch with their elected officials, whether that's on the local level, the state level, or the national level. so, making sure th you attend city council meetings, you get in touch with your elected officials, whether that's the mayor or your state representative. use those phones that we know most people have in their hands at all times. tweet them, write them, schedule a meeting with them. >> sreenivasan: have you been inspired by the notion that there is another generation, that they are taking notes, that they are the ones that are going to inherit kind of the mess that we're leaving here?
>> very much so. young people, specifically gen-z millennials, are some of the most knowledgeable people i know. they're very much-- they have solutions-oriented mindset. they want to hold people accountable, they want to acknowledge our history, and they want to get to the solutions. and those solutions are-- there's a multitude of them. i like to say that there's no one-size-fits-all for climate change; it needs an entire toolkit. so, it's very important for us to stay open-minded, do the research, and also use our creative ways to advocate. >> sreenivasan: in a way, this is a little different for you as a louisianan. i mean, i covered katrina after it happened, but the southeast and louisiana deals with the effects of climate change at a disproportionate rate than someone, say, in the middle of the country. >> i grew up in louisiana and definitely saw the impacts of katrina. i was in high school when it occurred.
and, although my house was not directly impacted, i have many family andriends who were affected. strangers, you know, fellow louisianans who have never returned back to louisiana because of the devastation. clate change is not a siloed issue. it's all-encompassing, and it only exacerbates every existing stressor and societal inequity that we have. and, right now, the gulf coast is just being pounded upon. and i think people are-- it's not that people haven't paid attention, but, right now, there's this urgency to we have to make changes, we have to make better evacuation routes, we have to acknowledge that some communities such as frontline communities have been impacted for years due to things called red-lining and blue-lining. when we start to do this, this is when we actually can move towards actually living in a
thriving world. >> sreenivasan: jasmine sanders, executive director of our climate, thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you so much. >> sreenivasan: for more national and international news, visit www.pbs.org/newshour. >> sreenivasan: the infrastructure bill approved last night includes $50 billion for climate resiliency, funding to help mitigate and adapt to the effects of global warming. newshour weekend special correspondent tom casciato reports now on a unique partnership in northern california that's adding behavioral science and cultural awareness to climate studies, to help communities cope with extreme weather. this story is part of our ongoing series, "peril and promise: the challenge of climate change." >> reporter: violet wulf-saena was raised in the pacific island nation of samoa. there, she says, everyone recognized the menace posed by climate change. >> you know, for a small island,
a hurricane can destroy the whole country, right? not like here-- if there's a hurricane in new york, you know, california is safe. >> reporter: wulf-saena once led samoa's climate change adaptation effort before moving to the states in 2005. she earned her masters in environmental management from duke university then settled in the san francisco bay area to work on climate issues. >> i was very surprised that, when i moved here, a lot of people didn't know what climate change was. >> reporter: and you're in california, which is a leader in the united states. >> yes! i mean, a leader in the united states, there are a lot of funding allocated to mitigation: mitigating greenhouse gases, greenhouse emission-- but not a lot was allocated to adaptation. >> reporr: the need for funding adaptation is here. the united nations recently called for fully half of all funds fighting climate change to be used for adaptation and acknowledged that some will need those funds more than others. >> there's a lot of evidence that climate change impacts the
most vulnerable, most marginalized people and communities globally. and it's also true here within the united states, true here within the bay area. >> reporter: climate scientist noah diffenbaugh and his fellow stanford university professor, marshall burke, published a 2019 study showing that global warming has increased the global gap between rich and poor countries by some 25%. that has implications for adaptation here at home. >> adaptation is hard. we're not succeeding at it. the climate change that's already happened is very costly. >> just thinking here in california, you need a house where smoke can't infiltrate. you need a house that you can keep cool. you need a house that's not going to be flooded. many of those things you can do, they just-- they cost a lot of money, and some people don't have the resources to, on their own, make all of those investments. >> the dilemma is that... >> reporter: wulf-saena's work involves helping low-income californians to adapt, and the need for that is acute. onexample? climate change-fueled wildfires
are becoming the new normal in california. so far this year, over 8,000 fires have burned some 2.5 million acres. the smoke, migrating hundreds of miles, can most harm the health of people who can't afford to weatherize their homes. >> you know, construction-wise, of course, the smoky air can enter the home. and a lot of them didn't know what to do that will keep them safe. >> reporter: finding solutions to keep the most vulnerable safe, and building a bridge connecting climate science to those most harmed by climate change, is the mission of stanford university professor and behavioral scientist gabrielle wong-parodi. >> i do not think that climate science and the public need to, kind of, stay over here in their-- on their own sides. i think we can study the change all we want, but we may identify the perfect solutions, but they may fail in the real world. and so, we have to engage with people. we have to engage with all
people. >> reporter: that's the rub-- not only helping people adapt, but figuring out how. she's begun a study of low-income areas to assess the ways technology and communication can help with the sometimes harrowing health risks people face in a smoky home. >> a woman who suffers from asthma wearing an n-95 mask at night when she sleeps, which exacerbates her asthma. people in homes during a wildfire smoke event, during a heat wave. "do i open my window? it's hot outside. i don't have air conditioning. what can i do? do i keep it closed? because if i-- i open it, smoke is going to come in." >> reporter: stanford is located amid some of the nation's wealthiest zip codes. the study's taking place among folks in nearby, low-income places, areas like north fair oaks. wong-parodi has teamed up with wulf-saena and a non-profit she leads called climate resilient communities, as well as a north fair oaks community leader, ortensia lopez. she's a crucial liaison to a
population often too concerned with other matters to be reached by traditional survey methods. >> people working two or three jobs to be able to survive, you know, trying to keep their kids in school and trying to be part of that. i mean, there's just other challenges. so, when you talk about climate change, it's another language. but it does not mean that they don't care; it just means that, right now, i got to worry about feeding my family. >> reporter: you're working with populations in low-income parts of this area. >> yeah. >> reporter: those areas are surrounded by people with a lot of money. >> yeah. and it's kind of this self-reflection that we do. we don't want to be guilty of that; that, "here we are, we have the answers. we have the capacity to do this analysis, and we're going to tell you-- and not necessarily work with you-- on what the solutions are." and it takes a long time to build that trust. >> reporter: lopez, the executive director of a non-profit here called el consilio, helps build that trust.
her group helps residents with educational and work opportunities, and protects them from the traditional scourges of the poor, like predatory lending practices. she knows people from the outside need to tread softly and slowly here. >> and then, we want you to come to the community and walk around and introduce you to people and have you eat food from our communities, because, you know, that's big in our communities. you know, and even hear the music in our communities. in translations, you lose a lot. so, for example, the whole issue of climate change. in spanish translation, this means change of a climate. well, for a person that may not understand what climate change is, you have to really say it in another way that it's culturally, linguistically, that they can relate to. for someone that i'm thinking i'm going to give this to, like a senior, maybe, that is limited english-speaking, i'm going to-- we're going to have to do something to massage this. >> reporter: they're planning to use technologies in the study, such as mattress sensors to assess sleep quality, and other devices to measure smoke exposure, as well as conduct
surveys about adaptation. for example, they hope to learn if the clean air shelters some communities create during a heavy smoke event are an effective tool, or would more people prefer to be provided air purifiers to try to cope at home? >> so, we're gng to be able to couple their self-reported information with all of this information we're able to capture passively to get a listic picture of what their exposures are. >> reporter: the surveys are done through a smart-phone app so people can report what they're experiencing in real-time. even here, lopez takes nothing for granted in preparing. >> i'm wondering if we should have a picture of the smartphone so they know exactly what we're talking about, because some people are not going to have necessarily this. and then, they see it, "oh, okay, now i know what they're talking about." >> okay. >> reporter: eventually, they hope to identify low-cost measures to help people directly, including sending messages in real-time about climate hazards. it's a small step toward addressing an enormous problem, but it needs to be taken, and
can't be until you understand people's real needs, says wong-parodi. >> the problem starts with people, and the solution ends with people. if we want to do something about climate change, we need to understand what sorts of solutions are realistic for them-- behaviorally realistic, culturally realistic, socially realistic-- if we're going to actually make meaningful change. >> sreenivasan: actor and comedian nick offern wears many hats. best known for his portrayal of ron swanson on the long-running tv sitcom "parks and recreation," offerman started his career as a theater set builder, and he continues to run a wood shop in los angeles. a new netflix miniseries released last week has offerman co-starring as colin kaepernick's adopted father, in "colin in black and white." it's directed by ava duvernay, and it's about the former n.f.l. quarterback.
offerman is also an author. newshour weekend's christopher booker caught up with him in a patch of woods in upstate new york to hear about his latest book. >> reporter: as was the case for many of us, life slowed down for nick offerman when the pandemic arrived. >> when it went down, i never got too freaked out, because my life... always shifts. i keep shifting hats. >> reporter: an actor, a comedian, a carpenter, a furniture maker, a competition reality show host, offerman's version of shape-shifting is an overlapping affair. one day may be spent in his woodshop, and the next, playing the ornery ron swanson on the tv show "parks and recreation." >> i like saying "no." it lowers their enthusiasm. >> reporter: but offerman has also written five books. his latest, "where the deer and antelope play," was written during the slow days of the pandemic. part travelogue, but more meditation on our relationship to the natural world, the book reflects on offerman's time spent outdoors. it opens with his pre-pandemic
trip to glacier national park with jeff tweedy, the frontman of the band wilco, and acclaimed author george saunders; continues with a trip to the u. to visit author and farmer james rebanks; and ends with him and his wife, actress megan mullally, on a road trip across a shut-down america, hauling a 30-foot air stream trailer. >> our lives underwent a profound change, where we were able to say, let's take two months on the road, and a lot of it will involve some state parks, some national parks, some more-- some more "on-purpose hiking," which is-- i was like, "that's my new thing, on-purpose hiking." >> reporter: "on-purpose hiking," yeah. >> i've bought a couple of specialized garments. i guess i'miker. >> reporter: do you have-- do you have the sticks, yet? >> no. in-- in part three of the book, a surprise character talks me into the sticks, so, soon as my knees start complaining enough, i'll come around. >> reporter: stick time.
>> yeah. >> reporter: this is a pretty little spot. offerman and i did some "on- purpose hiking" near the set of an amazon miniseries he was filming. so, when you're out in production, are you seeking out, like, "oh, i need to go and spend an hour or two outside?" >> well, you know, one of the great things about modern technology? no matter where i am, in a city or the country, if i have time off, whether it's a weekend or a week or an afternoon, i can pull out my smartphone and look at the map and it shows me green places. when i was younger, i wld google the phrase "best cheeseburger in pittsburgh" or "best barbecue in" any given place, and then i would hike to that place-- ( laughs ) --and eat a lot of meat. >> reporter: on the surface, there is some overlap between offerman's love of meat, whiskey, and woodworking, and the fictitious ron swanson, the character he played for seven seasons on nbc's "parks and
recreation." >> you've accidentally given me the food that my food eats. >> salad is traditionally the first course at a wedding. >> is a gerbil marrying a rabbit? >> reporter: swanson was the uber-manly, libertarian boss of pawnee, indiana's parks and recreation department, distrustful of government, while being fiercely protective of his loyal staff. >> i do consider myself a bit of a trojan horse. inexplicably, there's a-- there's a portion of the "parks and recreation" audience that didn't quite comprehend the sense of humor around ron, and instead, they were like, "finally, we're represented." >> reporter: this is the trick that is nick offerman. in the american consciousness, he is both the artist and the every-man; a beloved character, but also an author wrestling with our strained relationship with the environment. >> i don't know how we are taking care of or how we are getting along with mother nature. and we need to pay attention to that, which has become
strikingly clear in the time of climate change. and i-- i'm not a scientist or a scholar; i'm a dancing jackass, you know, that makes canoes. who-- who has a book deal. and so i was like, well, i'm going to do my best to sort of, you know, use whatever charisma i can find in-- in my life, to try and communicate this to my readership. >> reporter: and the "this" is how we can reconnect our lives to the world we live in, a theme pulled from his friend, novelist, poet, and farmer, wendell berry. for decades, berry has written about the decline of rural communities, and how large agribusiness has separated us from where our food comes from, and the land that must be cultivated and cared for. >> i told wendell berry many years ago, if i could just get a job communicating his writing to people, i'd be happy with that career. and it's working out, because here comes some more. but he writes really wonderfully about, you know, something from
his purview on his kentucky farm, seeing society go faster and faster. and he says, so what are you? you know, what did that buy you? it's so true what he says: that there's more-- there's actually more in an acre of land to fill your lifetime, if you just stop and actually look at it. >> reporter: as he writes, these were the ideas running through his mind as he hiked in the mountains of montana, just before the pandemic, with jeff tweedy and george saunders. a trio offerman describes as a "bromance," with a shared artistic vision. >> we're all three on this lifelong project of, how can we help? how can-- how can we use our art, our gifts, whatever they may be, to get more people to care about other people? >> reporter: offerman says, for his part, that means embracing his many shapes, and doing it with as even a keel as possible. >> i don't mean this in a false way; i'm grateful that i'm
simple. i have a steady demeanor that comes, i think, from my farming family, that i'm able to not get-- i'm able to-- to avoid panic and say, "okay. the house is on fire. there's three exits. everybody get the-- you know, get the-- grab the scotch. you grab the jar of change. and make sure we have a deck of cards, and we'll be all set." and that's my saving graces. i can say, okay, i-- i-- i'll never, you know-- i can't remotely begin to fix any of this stuff. i can do my part, which is, like, write this book, or take part in a tv show that has a-- has a good-hearted message of love or empathy or whatever. and that-- i can do that.
>> sreenivasan: that's all for this edition of pbs newshour weekend. for the latest news updates, visit www.pbs.org/newshour. i'm hari sreenivasan. thanks for watching. stay healthy, and have a good night. captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: sue and edgar wachenheim iii. bernard and denise schwartz. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the anderson family fund. the estate of worthington mayo-smith. leonard and norma klorfine. the rosalind p. walter foundation. koo and patricia yuen, committed to bridging cultural differences in our communities. barbara hope zuckerberg.
we try to live in the moment, to not miss what's right in front of us. at mutual of america, we believe taking care of tomorrow can help you make the most of today. mutual of america financial group, retirement services and investments. additional support has been provided by: consumer cellular. and by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the american people. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. you're watching pbs.
-this is where most of the truck drivers that go along these routes stop to eat. so we're going to try to capture and eat the food, and hopefully you can hear some of the conversation here, too, 'cause it's loud. the idea of the border has profound meaning to me. as a mexican-american, i always feel like i'm treading between two worlds. i was born and raised in mexico, then moved to america, and i'm raising my family here. and i've spent my career traveling my homeland, sharing mexican food and culture with the world. are you with me? i want to tell y things. now i'm setting my sights directly on the place where my two beloved countries meet. i'm traveling the texas-mexico border,