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Working to Death

In this episode of Connect the Dots, host Rob Verchick discusses one of the more perplexing challenges facing those working to mitigate climate disruption: industrial workers, the people laboring in factories, farms, coal mines, and other businesses directly affecting or affected by the climate crisis. 

On the one hand, industrial workers need jobs. They depend on these jobs to feed their families and support themselves. On the other hand, they’re suffering because of it. So is our planet. The industrial worker tends to work long hours under harsh conditions. Many struggle to make ends meet. Due to climate breakdown, these working conditions and spaces have become grave. They’re hot, toxic, and frequently unregulated. Going to work can be unbearable at times, and as a result, not only livelihoods but lives are at stake. 

The conflict of the industrial worker presents a tough duality: an appeal to restore health and salvage the Earth versus the need to sustain a living. Can both be achieved? The answer is yes, with some caveats and conditions. Listen now to find out more.

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More on Our Guests:

Neza Xiuhtecutli is the research coordinator at the Farmworkers Association of Florida. View bio.
Leslie Fields is the Senior Director of Environmental Justice and Healthy Communities at the Sierra Club. View bio.
Maxine Burkett is a Professor of Law at the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, and a Member Scholar at the Center for Progressive Reform. View bio.
Vicki Arroyo is the Executive Director of the Georgetown Climate Center based at Georgetown University Law Center, where she is also a Professor from Practice. View bio.
Dr. Aaron Bernstein is the Interim Director of the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Harvard Chan C-CHANGE), a pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. View bio.

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We’re also grateful to the musical artists featured in this episode, who make their work available to us through a Creative Commons license. Please check them out!