Breaking Down How Contact Tracing Works, Coping With Grief During Pandemic, How Coronavirus Is Reshaping San Diego And Films On Climate Change
KPBS Midday Edition / April 23, 2020
Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state will train thousands of contact tracers as part of his plan to reopen the state. We break down what contact tracing is and how it works. Plus, how to grieve during the pandemic as safety restrictions make the feeling of loss all the more difficult to deal with. Also, with more people working from home, there are fewer cars on the road. Advocates are asking the city of San Diego to make the street safer for pedestrians and bicyclists to social distance. And, more from our pop-up podcast “Pandemic Pivot” on how local creatives are adjusting to a lack of work. Finally, pop culture and science fiction have been dealing with the notion of climate change since the Industrial Revolution. Beth Accomando looks at films that tackle the topic of fictional global catastrophes.
Speaker 1: 00:00 Effective contact tracing is key to reopening the economy and dealing with loss while in quarantine. I'm Alison st John with Maureen covenant. This is KPBS mid day edition.
Speaker 1: 00:23 Today is Thursday, April 23rd debt was the top focus of governor Newsome's co-fund 19 update today with some relief for those people who have student debt and people who stimulus checks have been garnished by creditors. Newsome announced that a variety of student lenders have waived payments and fees for 90 days. And today he signed an executive order that stops banks and debt collectors from garnishing stimulus checks that the federal government has been sending out as part of the cares act. It's also retroactive. So if you're a debt collector and you did garnish, uh, those contributions, those checks, you gotta give them back. Uh, and so that is effective immediately. The governor also announced that Wednesday was the deadliest day from coronavirus in California. 115 people in the state died. That's an 8.5% increase in the number of deaths plus increases in the number of people who have tested positive.
Speaker 1: 01:20 But there remains some stabilization in the curve of patients. Admitted to the ICU and the governor is warning Californians to remember to practice social distancing and caution if they plan to get out of the house with a warm weather coming this weekend, but it's not only social distancing that will determine when we can get outdoors. Again, the process of lifting stay at home orders in California depends in large part on the state's ability to test for covert 19 and identify those who may have been exposed to the virus. The process of identification is conducted through contact tracing. Governor Newsome announced yesterday in his daily news update that the state wants to train 10,000 people to be contact tracers pulling some of those new tracers from the existing state workforce. In addition to that effort, governments are exploring the use of digital apps. To backtrack the movement of sick people and find out who they may have been in contact with. Joining me is Andrea LaCroix, professor of epidemiology at UC San Diego and professor LaCroix, welcome to the program.
Speaker 2: 02:26 Thank you. Thanks for having me. Maureen.
Speaker 1: 02:29 Contact tracing has been used for decades to control the spread of infectious disease. Can you explain how it works?
Speaker 2: 02:36 So contact tracing is one of the, you might say bread and butter methods for control of epidemics. What it does in an epidemic like Ebola is you start with the index person who's infected and you figure out, you, you create a list of people that that person was exposed to and you go talk each of those contacts, you find out who they were exposed to. You test this network of people and the positives you quarantine so that you are tracking the flow of the virus in the community and then quarantining people and getting them. Uh, you know, ideally if we have treatment, we treat them, um, getting them out of circulation so that you make it much harder for the virus to spread around. How do the attractors, the contact tracers, how do they track down the people who may be contacts? And what kind of questions do investigators ask?
Speaker 2: 03:36 Testing takes, uh, at least, you know, unless it's the rapid test, it takes at least a few hours or days when the person is notified that they're positive, they'll probably be a telephone interview to get a list of contacts. So what kind of person is a contact? Well, the County of San Diego defines a contact as somewhere anybody you had contact with, uh, between 48 hours before symptoms began, uh, with your COBIT infection until the coven person is no longer required to be isolated. And we define a contact is somebody you spent at least 10 minutes with within six feet, or had unprotected contact with their body fluids or secretions, um, including, but not limited to being coughed on or sneezed on, sharing utensils or drinking out of the same container. So it gets hard to do contact tracing, harder to define a contact, um, or to take anyone out of your contact list if you never were symptomatic at all.
Speaker 2: 04:38 Uh, for the people that have symptoms, they would think back to two days before their symptoms started. Make a list of anyone they spent at least 10 minutes with within six feet. And then those people would be followed up with and tested as well. And what happens if one of the contacts is experiencing symptoms? Same thing. You start over again with them as the case. So you test them and if they're positive you get all of their contacts and you follow this network until you've exhausted it, there's no more. So you can see it's really quite a huge job. What's your take on the governor's plan to get 10,000 contact tracers on the job in California? Is that too few to take them too long to train? What's your feeling about that? I think it's a great start and it can be right-sized after we see how hard the job's going to be.
Speaker 2: 05:30 I think a lot of the contact tracing can be done on the telephone. Um, and if they get some apps that people are willing to use, it'll be, the apps are interesting because they can actually, you can put an app on your phone and the app can, if you're a COBIT positive person, the, your phone knows where you've been all this time geographically. So they're talking about apps that can actually notify people that have been in that same area by virtue of their GPS and let them know that somebody's code positive might have been in their vicinity at the same time. That's the kind of technology I don't believe we've ever had. Um, for contact tracing. I think having a trained workforce reporting to the County or city health departments carefully supervised, um, is absolutely necessary to contain the epidemic. And the main thing we want to do is find the people who have active viral spread and make sure they don't, in fact many more people. Um, and if that can be done, we will get the virus to die out in our geographic area much quicker.
Speaker 1: 06:37 Why is it so important after the stay at home order is lifted, that contact tracing really kicks into gear.
Speaker 2: 06:45 It's so important then because we're all back outside. We're all at an at an increased probability of being within six feet of each other. We're circulating again. We're doing our jobs. We aren't going to be, it's not going to be this easily easy to stay, uh, socially distanced from one another. And that's how the virus loves to get from person to person.
Speaker 1: 07:07 Do you have any concerns about the, um, potential pitfalls of relying on apps? Some have raised privacy issues. How would you balance protecting public health with protecting our privacy and civil liberties?
Speaker 2: 07:21 Well, I think if people aren't comfortable with the phone apps, they don't need to use them. And um, I've been thinking a lot about um, what they've made work in other countries, some very unusual things. Like in South Korea for example, they would actually sound an alarm if somebody who was covert positive, uh, came within a certain geographic distance of you. So everybody knew it was anonymous supposedly. But of course people were curious and um, it was very stigmatizing. So if people don't want to use phone apps, that's fine. The method of reliance and contact tracing is really what we call shoe leather epidemiology. It's always been done going from house to house, investigating contacts. And we don't go house to house in this epidemic because we don't want to spread the virus ourselves, uh, by going house to house. But we can use, you know, landlines we can use, we can use regular telephone calls and text messages for example, um, to communicate with people. And so it's, if people are uncomfortable, I don't think this requires a giving up of your privacy except to reveal the people that you've had close contact with. And you could say, well, I don't want to do that. Um, that's probably your, you're right. But it, it also, I mean, I think we're faced with many situations during this pandemic where we have to decide if we're willing to give up a little bit of our freedom, a little bit of our privacy to protect the whole society. And that's the nature of public health.
Speaker 3: 08:55 I've been speaking with Andrea LaCroix, professor of epidemiology at UC San Diego, and thank you so much for your time and I appreciate it. Thank you.
Speaker 4: 09:13 [inaudible]
Speaker 5: 09:16 we are all touched at some level by loss in this covert 19 pandemic from the loss of our freedom to walk on the beach or connect with friends to the loss of a job or an income or more tragically to the loss of a loved one and the restrictions put on us during the pandemic make the feelings of loss. All the more difficult to deal with. Megan divine is a psychotherapist and lecturer who has written about grief and how to help those dealing with grief. Her book is called, it's okay that you're not. Okay. Welcome Megan. Thank you for having me. So grief and loss, it's a, it's a tough enough feeling to deal with it any time, but what would you say is the most important thing to remember when dealing with it during this pandemic?
Speaker 3: 09:56 I think the pandemic, what it changes for sort of everyday losses and grief is that we've got so many things coming at us all at once. Everything feels extra overwhelming. So the thing to really remember is that whatever you're feeling is normal, as messy as it feels, it's all normal.
Speaker 5: 10:15 And you talk about hierarchies of grief, you know, at this time, some people are feeling they, they ultimate loss of someone they love. Um, and others, you know, have lesser experiences of grief. It's very varied. But you say they're all valid, right?
Speaker 3: 10:31 They are all valid. There's a, there's a long continuum of losses from those sort of everyday smaller losses of, as you said, not being able to walk on the beach right up to losing a loved one. They aren't all the same losses, but they are all valid. No. If you are someone who is experiencing one of the lesser losses, do you have to have, you know, a little bit of consideration of who you express that to because of this situation where different people are experiencing different levels of grief? Oh, I think so. And I think that's true in, in normal times too. Not just in pandemic times. We want to choose our audience and choose our timing. Every loss is valid, but every loss isn't the same. So if you are wrestling with the loss of a job or the loss of your daily routine, find people to um, to support you and to, to talk about that who may be, aren't dealing with the loss of a loved one right at this moment. It's sort of a, an emotional triage, right? We want to reach out to people who are able to support us and maybe turn around and offer that support for folks who are maybe on the other end of the continuum where they are wrestling with a health issue or with a death of someone close. So thousands of us here in [inaudible]
Speaker 5: 11:45 yeah. Go have lost jobs and are feeling very insecure about their incomes and possibly how they're going to support their families. But um, tell us about what are some of the feelings that you have around that? It's not just the loss of the job is it, it might go even deeper than that.
Speaker 3: 12:02 We have a lot of our identities tied up in our work. We often think of that as a negative thing, right? You have too much of your identity tied up in your job. But it's aware we spend a lot of time, a lot of us have deep friendships that happen in our workplace, and suddenly having that job disappear while all of our other sort of daily touchstones and routines have also disappeared. That's even more stressful. So there, there are vast ripple effects from the loss of a job that go beyond just the loss of an income.
Speaker 5: 12:34 No, the death of a loved one is one of the hardest things anyone can go through in life. And during this pandemic, it's made so much harder because of the rules in hospitals and nursing homes that, you know, don't even allow family members to be with their loved ones in their final hours. What are you hearing about that and how do you deal with that?
Speaker 3: 12:52 Hmm. It's so heartbreaking. So I'm hearing from grieving people, right? Who, whether their person died of the virus or not, they weren't able to be with them during the last days of their lives. And, and that is brutal and it's crushing, right? It's hard enough to say goodbye to somebody you love, but knowing that they were alone adds another layer of suffering to that. So I'm hearing from grieving people that they feel guilty that they are more distressed than they think they might have been because they did miss out on those moments.
Speaker 5: 13:23 Any advice you can give us to really how to, how to work through this?
Speaker 3: 13:27 I think again, the thing to remember that whatever someone is experiencing or feeling is a normal response to an abnormal situation. I think we can beat ourselves up in a way for taking things so badly or feeling so upset or not being able to quote unquote deal with it. And that bar is too high, right? Expecting to be able to handle this sort of stuff. So reminding yourself, acknowledging how hard all of this is. Acknowledgement really is the best medicine we have. And sometimes it's the only medicine and that seems like it's too simple to be useful. But telling ourselves the truth about how hard this is makes it just a little bit easier. We're not fighting with ourselves in a sense. So one, acknowledge how difficult this is. Recognize that whatever you're feeling is normal, as uncomfortable at us as it is. And the other really important thing is in times of great stress, we want to come back to the foundational basics of taking care of our body and our minds, right?
Speaker 3: 14:27 So our bodies and our minds and our nervous systems are being asked to withstand a lot more stress and emotional input than usual. So doing whatever you can to help yourself withstand this eating as healthfully and as, as frequently as you can, getting enough rest as you can, moving your body, as you're able, finding moments to step back from the fire hose of tragedy and news to just give yourself a moment to sort of take a breath again. They don't seem like they would be helpful, but anytime you can support your body and your mind to withstand what is being asked to withstand, that's going to help.
Speaker 5: 15:07 One of the things about funerals is that people a chance to grieve together and now there isn't really that opportunity. So what advice would you give to people who are really struggling with the lack of a funeral?
Speaker 3: 15:21 One thing to remember is that this is not a once and done. There will eventually be a time when we can gather in person together. Again, it might be different, but there will come a time when we can do that. It's okay to plan for a future event. You don't miss your time window to sit Shiva or to have a Memorial or to have a funeral. The other thing is we can find creative ways to connect. The really important thing about the funeral or awake or or sitting Shiva together is having a time where we all come together and acknowledge what's happened. It's sort of a way to fill up the tanks of grieving people so that they have something to sustain them through the long haul. So finding creative ways to do that together. I've been hearing about a lot of uh, virtual Memorial brunches where somebody is the designated DJ and friends and family put in their music requests to the DJ and there's a playlist that plays in the background. Maybe we get a grandma's cookie recipe and all of us make that in our own homes so that we can share one common food together. As we gather, there are lots of creative ways to meet that need to gather and connect. So the fact that we can't have in person events right now doesn't mean we can't gather and it doesn't mean we can't meet those needs for connection. We just need to be creative in the ways that we do that.
Speaker 5: 16:43 So you've talked about how we can really take care of ourselves with the grief. What about taking care of somebody else? How can we help someone else who's really going through that? What's the best way to be with them?
Speaker 3: 16:56 That's a great question. So in ordinary times, in normal times, grief can feel really isolating. It can feel really lonely. One of the things that I'm hearing from grieving people a lot right now is they feel like their grief has been sort of erased in the wider, larger grief that's going on. So now more than ever, this is when we want to be reaching out to folks who we know are grieving and checking in with them. One of the things that we often do is we try to cheer each other up. And again, that can be sort of weird in the best of times, but right now cheering somebody up is gonna is gonna feel really strange. A better thing to do is to acknowledge that they're going through something tough and offer to be a listening ear.
Speaker 5: 17:38 That's something we could all get better at. Thanks so much for your, uh, words of wisdom. Megan, you're so welcome. That's Megan divine, who is a psychotherapist whose book is called. It's okay that you are not okay.
Speaker 6: 18:02 You are listening to KPBS midday edition. I'm Allison st John and I'm Maureen Cavanagh
Speaker 1: 18:07 with most San Diegans quarantining at home city streets have taken on an entirely different character. There are fewer cars, no question. And in some areas there are more people walking, jogging, or riding bikes, either for exercise, recreation, or essential trips. KPBS Metro reporter Andrew Bowen says, advocates want the city to adapt its streets to this new reality to prevent both collisions and the spread of covert 19,
Speaker 7: 18:34 it's just been a lot more easy. Um, more calm, just more peaceful. We've taken longer trips now
Speaker 6: 18:42 and King can Sheltie is riding her bike more often these days and she's not alone. She's noticed more people in her neighborhood of North park, biking, walking and jogging. She says with Jim's beaches and some parks closed, people are looking for ways to stay active and get some fresh air. Not to mention fend off the cabin fever.
Speaker 7: 19:01 And now that there's less cars on the street, it definitely is just more enjoyable. You can go at a slower pace. We, you know, sometimes we'll kind of zigzag through the side streets now instead of just taking one straight route and you know, get there, get there quickly, you know, like it was before and now we just kind of get to, to enjoy the roads.
Speaker 8: 19:24 Bye.
Speaker 6: 19:24 Shops are also seeing more business to Dan zap. Koski is owner of Pacific beach bikes. He says he's seen a flood of new customers, many of them young adults looking for new ways to exercise and parents who want to ride with their kids but don't have bikes of their own. And then we're also
Speaker 9: 19:42 seeing a huge, a huge uptick in old bikes. Had been sitting around for, you know, five, 10 years. I had a guy bring a bike from storage. He's like, it's been in storage for like 10 or 15 years, you know, needed a total overhaul. You know, we got in and out within a week. So he was, he was real happy. It saved them money versus buying a new bike.
Speaker 6: 19:58 Last week, representatives from 12 different advocacy groups co-signed a letter to mayor Kevin Faulconer asking him to make changes to local streets during the pandemic. They want pedestrian signals that intersections to be made automatic so people don't have to risk spreading germs by touching crosswalk buttons. And on some streets they want the city to cut vehicle lanes or parking. So pedestrians and cyclists can have more room for social distancing. Andy Hanshaw, executive director of the San Diego County bicycle coalition, says San Diego needs to catch up to other cities. We started to see several cities across the country implement slow street initiatives or networks
Speaker 7: 20:39 almost instantly or
Speaker 6: 20:40 very swiftly to alleviate the same. The similar problem we were having here, those cities include Oakland, Francisco, Denver, Minneapolis and Boston. LA Mesa recently made some pedestrian cross signals touchless and automatic. Faulkner is working on a plan in response to the letter but hasn't made an announcement yet. Hanshaw says the pandemic is providing an opportunity to help more people experience the benefits of safer, quieter street
Speaker 2: 21:07 when we come through this and more people understood sort of what's possible. I think understanding the bigger picture for the climate crisis we're in and having the opportunity for safer streets and fewer deaths will hopefully be realized and
Speaker 6: 21:22 understood more. In the meantime, Hanshaw says one of the most encouraging things is seeing families bike together.
Speaker 2: 21:28 When you start talking about the family unit biking more, it really warms your heart and it really makes you think, Mmm. You know, that's, it's a really sort of important time together and, and I think being outdoors, um, being together and you know, and having a safe environment to do that, that makes you feel better about doing that is what we're seeing. And, and um, I think it's great.
Speaker 6: 21:55 The bike shop, Dan's app Koski says he also hopes people stick with their bikes and when the need for strict social distancing is over that they ride some of San Diego's most popular routes like the boardwalk or the mission Bay path when they reopen.
Speaker 9: 22:09 I hope that people will get to enjoy the same things that I get to do when I, when I get to ride my bike on the boardwalk, we have it here. You can pick up a bike for a couple hundred bucks, go grab a sunset and I guarantee you're going to come home with a smile on your face. Absolutely.
Speaker 6: 22:23 Andrew Bowen KPBS news
Speaker 5: 22:30 diseases can shape and shift cities. What Mark will the Corona virus leave on San Diego? That's the question that comes up a lot and a new series of Instagram live talks that photographer Ian Petski is now doing with local architects, urbanists and designers. Ian is featured in the latest episode of the pandemic pivot KPBS pop up podcast series about how we're keeping connected through covert 19 isolation podcast host and producer Kinsey Morlan talks to Ian about how he's creating community by leading online conversations on how the pandemic Mike shapes San Diego first and talks about how the pandemic forced him to pivot from his budding career as an architectural photographer to an impromptu host of these live discussions. Nine out of 10 businesses fail within the first three years. Ian Pat skis three year Mark as an architectural photographer is now about six months behind him. He specializes in taking photos of buildings and homes for architects and designers and he absolutely adores the work he does, so he was starting to feel really good like he'd finally made it. That's a huge passion of mine.
Speaker 2: 23:39 Really fortunate to be able to work with such amazing people and and such amazing
Speaker 10: 23:45 pieces of architecture and be able to dive into projects that most people are never going to be able to have the chance to see.
Speaker 7: 23:54 But then coronavirus hit and well everything came to a screeching halt. Everything just stopped overnight except for the trolleys, which you can hear rushing by Ian's apartment. Those are still running anyway. When the country shut down, of course all of Ian's work shut down right along with it because ironically, unlike a lot of architectural photographers who prefer the clean, sharp lines of photos of buildings, sands, any people in them, Ian, he likes putting people in his photos
Speaker 10: 24:31 because architecture is for people. So a lot of my work is, is showing how people use the spaces.
Speaker 7: 24:40 So if Ian was your typical architectural photographer, he could still be out there solo right now quietly walking around job sites, snapping photos of cool new projects. But he needs his people. So everything just paused
Speaker 10: 24:54 for the most part. Overnight, everything was, it was, was postponed. So as is continued, the talks went from, well, maybe we can do this in a week or two to, well now we need to figure out where this is going before we can reschedule anything.
Speaker 7: 25:18 Like a lot of people whose jobs have been put on hold in got stuck in a state of suspended animation. He did a lot of scrolling on his phone until something grabbed him, something that inspired him to stop sitting around and scrolling and to do something. Anything he could to help
Speaker 10: 25:37 this idea came up. Well, why don't I make a connection with the world really asking for connection right now, which we weren't able to do because we're in isolation. How do I build? How do I build a connection so people can feel a little bit more whole again?
Speaker 7: 26:03 Ian Petski was basically born with buildings in his blood. His family did a lot of traveling, mostly to big cities across the globe, and Ian's dad, who was a lawyer by day, but an avid hobby photographer by night, well, he passed his passion for pictures onto his kid.
Speaker 11: 26:19 One of the things that he did was he gave me my first camera and I remember it was a little, uh,
Speaker 10: 26:27 was a little point and shoot camera and had each photo. It actually would, would put a, a little, a little picture of a teenage mutant Ninja turtle on it
Speaker 7: 26:40 instead of taking pictures of his family or himself, the type of things you might expect from a little kid with a Ninja turtle camera. The little dude was snapping pictures of buildings right from the get go.
Speaker 10: 26:51 I don't know what attracted me to architecture in the cities, but it just always felt right. And uh, not only with the, with the camera was I expressing interest in the cities, but I remember they gave me my first sketch book and I was drawing up light rail systems for, for possibilities of, of the city I grew up in, which is Milwaukee. And just being excited about what it was to be in a city.
Speaker 7: 27:23 Little N of course grew up into big Ian and big in like a lot of us knew he had to leave his hometown in order to truly grow up. But just as he was about to pack up his bags and move to San Diego to start his graduate degree in architecture, his dad got sick, real sick. He had a brain tumor and just a few months to live. Ian wanted to stay in Milwaukee to be with his dad, but his dad was adamant that he go. His dad agreed that Ian needed to have enough room to spread his wings, so he ended it. He moved and [inaudible] dove headfirst in architecture and fell in love. But when he graduated, he realized actually practicing his architectural craft, sitting at a computer all day. Well, that wasn't what he wanted to do, so he pivoted.
Speaker 10: 28:11 So after working in an office for a little bit and going on the path of the degree that I had received, I discovered that there was more out there for me than I had originally thought.
Speaker 7: 28:25 First. Ian just got a few side gigs here and there doing photography for people in the architecture and design community that he knew. But then word of mouth did its thing and he eventually became the photographer for the San Diego foundations annual awards program and boom, his career as a freelance architectural photographer officially took off, but then came coven 19 and it hit Ian at a critical time, but rather than freak out about how his own freshly budding career might possibly come crashing down around him, Ian picked up his phone and he saw a lot of friends of his and other countries doing Instagram live videos as a way to connect.
Speaker 10: 29:05 I started to think of myself, I said, well, what can I do with my work or what can I do with my work that would be beneficial and uplifting for others in the world?
Speaker 7: 29:17 So Ian, like so, so, so, so many people right now are doing, he picked up his phone one day a few weeks ago and after hesitating a few times in his face getting hot with nerves, he did it. He set up an interview with a local urbanist and press the go live button.
Speaker 10: 29:35 It's really interesting how you speak on that terms of not needing to have your architectural and do you see yourself going to get your license in the future? It's a good question. So instead of asking process or asking for theory, I asked people about themselves so we can start giving a name and a face to all these amazing people working in architecture right now, whether it's a an architect or a photographer or a developer, a real estate agent. A lot of times all we see is a picture of a building or a small drawing, but we don't get to know the person or the people that make it happen. So my format was based around creating that connection, especially in a time that that connection was needed and it was very hard to come by.
Speaker 7: 30:38 You can catch Ian's videos at instagram.com/ian.pat ski and on YouTube if you search for Ian Petski, P a, T. Z. K. E. you can find him there too.
Speaker 10: 30:50 Some really beautiful projects here in San Diego, stuff that is really pushing the envelope forward with materials.
Speaker 7: 30:58 And while a lot of Ann's videos are intentionally upbeat introductions to some cool designy type cats in town, the conversations about the Corona viruses, potential impacts on our city. That's what have me most interested.
Speaker 10: 31:11 One subject that's been brought up a lot is the need for more public space with inner density. Right now we're very driven to cover every square foot with a piece of property because that is money in in somebody's pocket, whether it's the cities or a developers or in architects. There's money to be had when there's a building on a piece of land. So one thing that has been talked a lot about is creating public space.
Speaker 7: 31:45 It says there have also been a lot of conversations about how people are rediscovering their own neighborhoods, learning how to live more of their lives well, where they live instead of where they can drive.
Speaker 10: 31:57 Before it was, well I can easily go to Costco and my car, so now people are discovering that they have that little shop that they have, that mom and pop shop that they don't need to go to that restaurant a half hour away. The restaurant that's a 10 minute walk from their house is not only great exercise and a great way to enjoy the community, but it's a lot safer and a lot more supportive in this time of need.
Speaker 7: 32:32 So Ian's been doing these videos and they're helping him stay positive and feel connected to his design community, but he's also struggling like a lot of us right now.
Speaker 10: 32:42 I'm a little worried, well I shouldn't say a little, I'm worried. I thought that this was going to be something that was going to last maybe at most a month and I was very, uh, positive with my outlook to be able to control this. As this continues on my thought process and my bank account start to break down at the same, at the same speed.
Speaker 7: 33:10 Ian says his videos have been teaching him a lot, both about the local urban landscape, but also about his own inner landscape too.
Speaker 10: 33:20 Yeah, it's, it's been a good time to reflect on myself. I've found a lot of different, uh, outlets for my energy and making connection. I've find it really kind of beautiful that a time that we would just normally would send a quick text message or a WhatsApp and and the conversation like that just to do a quick check in has now turned into a half hour conversation.
Speaker 7: 33:57 So again, you can catch in videos at instagram.com/ian.petski to hear the full episode of the latest pandemic pivot search for KPBS San Diego news matters podcast on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen.
Speaker 1: 34:24 2020 marked a major anniversary for earth day, 50 years since the first one in 1970 and 30 years in San Diego's earth fair in bell ball park. First marked the event, but there is no earth fair in the park right now because of the coven 19 pandemic organizers hope to have an earth fair in the park. This fall reporter Eric Anderson spoke with Carolyn Chase recently. She's worked on the event every year since it started
Speaker 12: 34:53 and I remembered because I had been in middle school for the first earth day in 1970 and I'd done a poster and I thought, Hey, whatever, have earth day. So I went to this meeting and, uh, there was a bunch of environmentalists, a bunch of volunteers, uh, formed the committees. Uh, San Diego earth day, 1990 coalition, we were called and they had a large events all over the County. Actually. We had a rainforest run. We had earth day on the Bay. Uh, we had the earth fair and Dubbo apart.
Speaker 10: 35:20 Well, take me back to that, that very first, um, earth fair. What was that? What was that like when it actually got off the ground?
Speaker 12: 35:27 It was way bigger than we thought. It was really attractive from the very beginning. People really want to find a way to help and has always been the case. And the best thing about it in my view was we had enough volunteers to pull it off.
Speaker 13: 35:43 What do you think the purpose was for the people who came out to the event every year?
Speaker 12: 35:47 I know for a fact that they're looking to get involved with something. I had a friend of mine from college who, who's not exactly, he would never call himself an environmental. Um, but he's like, gosh, counting, you know, I knew you so you went to earth day and you know what, I'm recycling now. So you meet people where they are. Some people are ready to reduce their meat consumption, you know, they turn vegetarian if they find out about vegetarianism. If you're a spare, some people are most interested in climate change, how it be a group. Uh, I get involved with a group for that. We have churches that have environmental program that kind of, if people want to have a spiritual angle to how they want to address environmental issues,
Speaker 13: 36:25 what do you think San Diego would be if they didn't have this annual gathering every year?
Speaker 12: 36:30 I do know that we would have a higher fossil fuel profile because, uh, back in 1990 even we had solar power provider though there was there. And every year ever since then it used to be just fantastic expensive and only people in remote locations cause use it and now people have them on their roofs and you can get tax credits still and actually save a lot of money on your utility. So utility bill would probably be a lot higher if, if you didn't have solar panels, if you have a place to put them. Uh, electric cars. Uh, we lived through the birth, the death and the resurrection of the electric car. And I have a hundred percent electric car in my driveway. And so now I don't have to stop at gas stations. Um, we've seen the rise of organic foods and San Diego County, uh, has one of the largest, if not the largest number of certified organic farms in the state of California, which is big agriculture as we know.
Speaker 13: 37:22 I know you say earth day every day. Um, and that's a good, a good motto to have. But how, how important is it to have kind of that touchstone event that, that people can experience?
Speaker 12: 37:35 I don't personally think you have to have a festival every year. It's just I got, I got involved with it cause it does make a difference. Um, but I don't know if it's going to carry on. We don't know if a lot of things are gonna carry on. We rescheduled for September cause that seemed like the first reasonable time when we might be able to come out doors and our public parks, I hope it's sooner than that fortunately is an outdoor event and a big public space. You don't have to get very close to other people to go up to the table, you know, and uh, get information. But it's going to be a challenge. We'll see if it happens. In September,
Speaker 1: 38:13 Eric Anderson spoke with Carolyn Chase of San Diego earthworks about the city's long history of earth fair in Balbo a park
Speaker 14: 38:28 [inaudible]
Speaker 1: 38:29 the book world war Z and the film contagion accurately predicted many aspects of today's pandemic and
Speaker 15: 38:36 even suggested ways to better prepare for such global catastrophes. But since they were works of fiction, most people dismiss them as mere entertainment. Kbps arts reporter Beth or commando says pop culture has been considering the notion of climate change for more than a century and has this look at some of their offerings from the earliest civilizations. You can find myths, fables and religious tales about a world besieged by apocalyptic events such as floods or fires. Sometimes in the forms of punishments followed by redemption later science fiction pondered how earth might become uninhabitable, maybe the extinction of the dinosaurs or theories about the ice age inspired writers to think about what could wipe out humanity or drastically change our world in the 18 hundreds Jules Verne may have been the first to consider the notion of climate change in a pair of books suggesting the tilting of the Earth's access could produce a change in global weather storytelling, especially when it takes the visual form of TV or film offers uniquely engaging ways of presenting hypothetical simulations of possible futures. And though some people may be immune to facts, most people are susceptible to a good story, especially when it taps into fears and anxieties.
Speaker 16: 39:48 One month ago, the earth suddenly changed its elliptical orbit and in doing so it began to follow a path which gradually moment by moment, day by day took it closer to the sun and all of man's little devices to stir up the air. I know no longer luxuries. They happen to be pitiful and panicky. Keys to survival.
Speaker 15: 40:06 Rod Serling is 1961 Twilight zone episode gave us an act of God that changed the world's climate, but in that same year, the British film, the day the earth caught fire suggested climate change was the result of two countries conducting nuclear tests that threw the earth off its access causing temperatures to rise.
Speaker 17: 40:24 It's opposing. The combined thrust of explosions shifted the tilt of the earth come on bill. That would alter the climatic regions, the complete change in the world's weather and the wise age for some new tropics and you were quite tough. I don't know what else. It's all guesswork. It's all science fiction, so we're rockets to the moon and man satellites.
Speaker 15: 40:45 Those works were early Harbinger's of climate change. It would be another decade before scifi films would tackle the issue with more Gusto. 1972 silent running had a spaceship carrying the last of the Earth's forests. Bruce Dern rails against those that let the environment get so bad that nothing can grow on the planet anymore.
Speaker 4: 41:04 Look on the wall behind you. Look at that little girl's face. Do you know what? She's never going to be able to see. She's never going to be able to see the simple wonder of the leaf in her hand because there's not going to be any trees. You think about that
Speaker 15: 41:22 the following year, Soylent green famously served up a scenario about drastic climate change leading to food shortages with ghastly consequences. They're making our photo X
Speaker 18: 41:34 thing that'd be breeding us like cattle for food. You gotta tell them you gotta tell 'em promise Tyga I promise. I'll tell the exchange. You tell everybody listen to me Hatcher. You ain't gotta tell them silent braiders babe. Hello.
Speaker 15: 41:51 But it's not just science fiction that addresses these issues. Documentaries play a crucial role in raising awareness. Al Gore's 2006 documentary, an inconvenient truth showed that audiences will flock to a well-delivered lecture on the devastating impacts of climate change.
Speaker 19: 42:07 The Arctic is experiencing faster Melbourne. If this work to go sea level worldwide will go up 20 feet.
Speaker 15: 42:16 Phil Mark, the beginning of a golden age for documentaries, exploring the topic of climate change films such as before the flood chasing ice and the 11th hour. But global warming is slow and hard to see. That's why the film, the day after tomorrow, sped up the process to make it more dramatic. It imagined what could happen in a cataclysmic scenario. It may have been more fiction than fact, but images of a tsunami hitting New York city stirred imaginations and media interest about the topic. Science fiction, especially in cinematic form, is great at taking any hypothetical situation and actually visualizing it in a way that you can't do if you're constrained by rules of reality or physics in suggesting the worst that can happen. Science fiction can deliver a very potent warning. You can also inspire people to come up with solutions. That's like Amando KPBS news. Check out Beth hug. Ammonia is blog post about climate change films at kpbs.org/cinema junkie.