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Sri Lanka Easter Sunday Bombings Aftershock; Sri Lanka Government Ignored Impending Attack Warnings; Harsha de Silva, Sri Lanka Economic Reforms Minister, is Interviewed About the Government's Failure to Act on the Warnings; Extinction Rebellion Protests; Jack Harries, Filmmaker and Climate Activist, is Interviewed About Climate Change. Bill McKibben, Author, "Falter," is Interviewed About Climate Change. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired April 22, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
In Sri Lanka, hundreds of people are dead after an Easter Sunday series of terrorist attacks. I'll ask what did the government know and why did it
fail to act?
And today, Earth Day, I talk to activists spanning the generations. First, Jack Harries of Extinction Rebellion galvanizes his millions of young fans
to challenge governments on climate change. Then the veteran climate Cassandra, Bill McKibben, on all the signs and signals lost.
Also, another activist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMBER TAMBLYN: I was broken because I spent so many years only ever knowing how to walk into other people's rooms, predominantly rooms of men.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: She's on the front lines of the #MeToo movement. Our Alicia Menendez speaks with the author and actress, Amber Tamblyn.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Aftershocks continue from the devastating Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka. A state of emergency and curfew are in effect now.
Today, police performed a controlled detonation on a suspicious van that was found parked near one of the targeted churches.
With almost 300 people dead, this is among the most lethal terror attack since 9/11 and the worst violence in Sri Lanka since the bloody Civil War
ended there 10 years ago. Officials blame a local group, nations Thowheed Jamath for the attacks but claim they could not and did not work alone,
saying that there must be a wider group behind them. And U.S. official see indications that the group was inspired by ISIS.
Meanwhile, the government admits it ignored warnings from international and local intelligence agency of the impending attacks and it's apologized for
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAJITHA SENARATNE, SRI LANKA CABINET MINISTER: So we are very, very, very sorry as a government we have to say, and we have to apologize to the
families and the other institutions about this incident.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
My guest tonight tells me the intelligence came from the United States and India. The stories from Sri Lanka are heartbreaking. Dozens of tourists
were killed, including Americans, Indians, Briton, Turks and Chinese. A Danish retail billionaire lost three of his four children.
Also, among the dead, a popular local chef and television star along with her daughter. They were killed during Easter breakfast at one of the
luxury hotels targeted by the bombers. Two dozen people have been arrested while the United States State Department warns terrorist groups continue
plotting possible attacks in the region.
And I've been speaking to Harsha de Silva, Sri Lanka's Minister of Economic Reforms, about the catastrophic failure to act on the warnings and about
who might have coordinated those attacks.
Minister de Silva, welcome to the program.
It's a really dark day for you all, and everybody is feeling very, very sorry for what's happened in your country. You visited one of the
churches. Tell me what you saw at St. Sebastian.
HARSHA DE SILVA, SRI LANKA ECONOMIC REFORMS MINISTER: Well, it was a very sad, sad visit to St. Sebastian church earlier today. I spoke to the
parish priest there and I spoke to many who were in the congregation earlier.
102 Catholics perished in that terrible, terrible suicide bomb attack there. I spoke to people outside, they were angry. I spoke to members of
the local council, they were not happy with the government. I spoke to some opposition MPs who had gathered there. Of course, they had a lot of
criticism. So all in all, it was a very, very kind of a sad visit on a gloomy Easter Monday.
AMANPOUR: You know, you say people were not happy with the government. I'm sure that's an understatement, Minister. It's really hard to believe,
it beggars' belief in this age of terrorism that the deputy police chief sent a memo specifically talking about an alleged attempted suicide bomb
plan, and that was 10 days before the attack, and your government has had to apologize for failing to act on it.
Can you tell me why, why would the responsible people not have acted on it? What happened? [13:05:00]
DE SILVA: I mean, that is the question. That is absolutely the question. It is not a failure of the intelligence service. They had the intel. They
were collaborating with both local and foreign intel agencies. And we did receive information from overseas that something terrible was to happen.
And like you said, a memo had been sent to the Ministry of Defense who then directed it to the inspector general of police who then sent it to various
other people. So, it was not a failure of the intelligence apparatus. It was a failure of implementing what had to be implemented.
So, the question is, why was it not done? And also, the prime minister was unaware. He was kept in the dark. The acting or rather the State Minister
for Defense was not aware. And the president was on a private visit overseas, and I would have expected that prime minister to have been well
briefed, but that hadn't happened either. So, there was a colossal failure in the communication of this intelligence to the right people who could
have taken measures to prevent at least some of what happened.
AMANPOUR: Minister, can you tell me which foreign intelligence briefed you? Can you tell me how you got the information?
DE SILVA: From what I understand, it came from both India and the United States. That's what I hear.
AMANPOUR: And the United States has now said that it believes this attack was sponsored or inspired by ISIS. Do you -- have you got evidence that
this was in any way coordinated, directed by ISIS or an international terrorist organization?
DE SILVA: Well, having lived here all these years, we have a fair sense of what our people are capable of doing, even in terms of terror. The LTTE
for all their killings and suicide bombing was never able to coordinate something like this at this scale in the city. So, it is questionable
whether these people who we have never heard of, the so-called National Jamath Thowheed (ph) or some organization like that, was able to under our
own coordinate such a massive, devastating attack.
So, while it seems that these people who are finally responsible are local, questions are being raised certainly whether they had any connection with
any organization outside. And also, what we hear today that some people connected to I.S. celebrating these attacks raise valid questions, whether
this was isolated Sri Lanka only incident or whether this is a part of some multinational global effort.
So, those questions need answers.
AMANPOUR: And let me first ask you. You talked -- you raised some initials. You said despite their long history with terrorism, they've
never been able to muster the ability to carry out something like this. Who were you referring to? Because obviously, Sri Lanka went through a
very, very long and devastating war, although it's been at peace with very little violence since that war ended nearly 10 years ago.
DE SILVA: Yes, obviously, I was referring to the LTTE, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. But like you said, you know, for 10 years we
haven't heard a bomb go off anywhere in this country. So, people were used to peaceful, you know, environment. And this was Easter Sunday. People
were celebrating. It was also Buddhist holiday.
So, you know, it was a day of celebration. So, you know, it was completely -- complete shock that this happened.
AMANPOUR: Some have suggested that one of the reasons why perhaps this piece of raw and now, obviously, accurate intelligence did not get passed
right up the chain of command [13:10:00] was because of internal factional dispute between the people who make up the government and the ruling
government. Is that a possibility?
DE SILVA: Well, I don't want to speculate. But what I can say is that the Ministry of Defense is under the president, and the secretary to the
Ministry of Defense and the inspector general of police report directly to him.
And people, including myself, people are angry. People want at least the heads to roll at the highest levels of the defense establishment. Of
course, that is not going to bring the lives back, but at least there has to be some level of accountability.
AMANPOUR: And this president, Minister, this president fired the current - - Minister, fired the current prime minister and then was forced to reinstate him, correct? So, there's bad blood between the president and
the prime minister who did not get this intelligence. Is that correct?
DE SILVA: That is correct. He fired the prime minister, but the courts held that it was unconstitutional. So, therefore, the prime minister got
his job back at the end of December. So, yes, there's bad blood. But in a coalition, not always everything is rosy.
So, we are managing nevertheless. I'm not trying to pin blame that this was done intentionally, but the fact of the matter is that the prime
minister and all the cabinet was aware of this memo.
AMANPOUR: Is there any factional violence that could have led to this? I mean, has there been any animosity between what's a small minority Muslim
community and the massive Buddhist community, or between the Christian community and the Buddhist community? I mean, give me the picture of that.
DE SILVA: This is a terrorist attack and it's categorically a terrorist attack. And it doesn't matter which community it's coming from, whether it
is a Buddhist, the Muslims, the Christians, the Tamils, the Hindus. None of us want any sort of terrorism here. So, all communities together are
standing up against this terrorist attack.
And I just want to categorically say that we don't want to attach any community to this. This is clearly a terrorist attack perpetrated on the
people of this country. Yes, it happened in a church. Yes, Catholics died, but this is an attack on a peaceful Sri Lankan society. After the
war for 10 years, we've been building peace, and some people want to disturb that. So, we see it in that light.
AMANPOUR: Well, it's a deep, deep tragedy. A real atrocity on such a holy day as well. Minister de Silva, thank you very much for joining us.
DE SILVA: Thank you very much.
AMANPOUR: And now, we have video of a man identified by Sri Lankan state television as a reported suspect outside one of the targeted churches. St.
Sebastian's Catholic church in Negombo, Sri Lanka, which Minister de Silva visited.
Now, according to the state TV network, the man, of course, died in the explosion.
Now, around the world, people have mobilized for the annual Earth Day marches, protests and warnings. Rising up to compel or try to compel their
governments to attack climate change.
Here in London, Greta Thunberg, the teenage activist who help inspire the Youth Movement for Change spoke to a crowd from Extinction Rebellion. A
climate change group that's taken to the streets for the past week. More than a thousand protesters were briefly arrested.
Jack Harries is a popular YouTube activist with millions of followers. He's a documentary filmmaker and an ambassador for the World Wildlife Fund.
He's been involved with the Extinction Rebellion since day one and he's joining me here now in the studio.
Jack Harries, welcome to the program.
Now, it's not just Extinction Rebellion, but you've been doing this, according to your YouTube channel, since you were about 14. Your mom took
you to your first climate protest. How did that come about?
JACK HARRIES, FILMMAKER AND CLIMATE ACTIVIST: Yes. So, my mom ran a local climate action group when I was a 14-year-old, it was called Climate Action
Now. And as a young kid, I watched her go and protest outside parliament. And remember her telling me, "Boys, you know, I may be arrested tonight. I
may not come home tonight but I'll be back in the morning."
And of course, at age 14, I didn't really understand it. I was inspired by, you know, my mother protesting in [13:15:00] and taking action. But it
was only when I became older that I started to understand the severity of the issue wherein and that was through my documentary filmmaking. And when
I was 18, I had a chance to go to Greenland and understand the issues of climate change there.
AMANPOUR: We've got some clips from that film. But I just want to ask you because this week has been full of Extinction Rebellion protests. The kind
of things that your mother was probably warning you about more than a decade ago now.
So, just tell us, what is Extinction Rebellion? What is the -- not the point because we understand the point, but the sort of -- the structure by
which you want to demand change.
HARRIES: Extinction Rebellion is a nonviolent direct-action group. It's formed of everyday people, teachers and parents, concerned parents and
every day citizens really. It's quite young. It was formed about eight months ago. And their vision is that direct-action is the only way to make
change. The change necessary -- that's necessary that they want the government to declare a climate emergency.
And they have three main requests. One is that the government tell the truth, the other is that we achieve net carbon emissions by 2025 and the
third is to form assistance (ph) assembly. And personally, for me, it's the most exciting thing I've seen in the environmental movement in my life.
AMANPOUR: You did you get arrested. I mean, you basically get arrested briefly. You glued your hands I think to, what? Tell me.
HARRIES: So, I was arrested a few weeks ago for supergluing my hands to the front doors of Intercontinental Hotel here in London and that was a
protest against the International Petroleum conference that was going on in London. I was arrested alongside nine other activists. And spent 13 hours
in a cell.
And yes, I didn't -- I definitely didn't intend to be arrested that day. I was there just to support the protest but it just so happened I was
arrested and I'm now facing criminal records and I've lost jobs as a result of it. So, it's not something that I'm advertising. It's not a sort of --
you know, not sort of flashing it around but it's something that happened as a result of myself taking actions.
AMANPOUR: So, that's interesting because, you know, if it has these dire consequences and for a young man like yourself to say you've lost a job
because of it, the point, though, is, sort of civil disobedience that inevitably does lead to these arrests, whether you look back at the Civil
Rights Movement in the United States, whether Gandhi, I mean, all these places where you're drawing inspiration. Arrest is kind of de rigueur.
HARRIES: Let's say -- yes. So, Extinction Rebellion was started by a man called Roger Hallam (INAUDIBLE). He's one of the core founders of it. And
Roger has recently done a Ph.D. in direct action activism. He studies social movements for years. And it's his belief that arrests are the
single best way to take action to make the government make change.
And this week, we've seen 700 arrests and 1,000 since Extinction Rebellion started. And it is having an impact, you know. And I think there are many
people who are putting themselves on the line and putting their freedom on the line. These aren't people who want to be arrested, who enjoy being
arrested but I think they are people who so desperate for change, who are so scared about the severity of the situation we're in, which is climate
change, that they feel this is the only action they can take. They feel this was necessary.
AMANPOUR: And I'm going to ask you in a second whether you feel that since you started momentum is changing but in order to get there, let's get this
clip from your Greenland videos. So, you went to Greenland, you looked at the glaciers, you saw the melting and you were with some professionals out
there. Here's a little interaction out there between you and one of your traveling companions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIES: I think often people aren't sure what they as individuals can do about it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Climate change is certainly one of the biggest challenges that we face currently is humanity. But I'm actually quite
optimistic about this. The technology is there for us to deliver most of our needs without burning fossil fuels already. We just need the political
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, I really glommed on to that because it's all there. We could -- the world could stop this climate change. But it's about the
political will. So, you are a young man. But do you feel that the will is changing, that public opinion is changing, that all these protests and
books and Greta Thunberg and you with your YouTube followers are making a difference?
HARRIES: Yes, totally. I think people are waking up to the reality of the situation. You know, the fact is that we have the scientists. Scientists
around the world have been ringing, sounding the alarm bells, have been for 30 years. We have many of the solutions, renewable technology, green
power. We don't have the political will. And that's in part due to the fact fossil fuel companies have consistently funded campaigns to confuse
the public, they bought renewable technologies and closed down the companies. You know, they are some of the climate criminals here in this
So, I think that people are waking up and I think our generation are asking a lot of questions, where does the food come from that I eat? Where do the
clothes come from that I buy, the fuel that I use? What impact does that have on the environment? If I take that plastic bag or cup, where does it
end up? And it's an amazing thing to see because people are asking questions and then we lift the sort of thick veil that protects us from
seeing the processes involved. And then young people will start to feel angry and take action.
And I think the thing that's given me the most hope in the (INAUDIBLE) environment movement is the young people rising and holding the older
people accountable. You can't argue, the young 16-year-old girl, she is taking days off school in order to fight for her future.
And so, I think that's incredibly powerful. And I hope I'm still a part of the youth movement. I'm 25. So, I'm sort of the top end of that. But
then there's Extinction Rebellion too that's sort of -- you know, sort of the adults. And I hope, just to say this, so the youth strikes [13:20:00]
goes further and becomes a global strike. You know, this is -- it's young people's future but it is everyone that is implemented by climate change
and it's everyone's responsibility to take action.
AMANPOUR: You just mentioned all sorts of activities that individuals can take. Obviously, this is not going to change unless governments get
serious about whether it's a carbon tax, whatever it might be to stop the emissions and really scale it up at government level.
But you are a vegan, right?
AMANPOUR: I mean, you have done your own thing. On the other hand, you do have to, or you do travel by plane.
AMANPOUR: It's difficult. It's complicated.
HARRIES: It is difficult and complicated and an inter contradiction that I battle with myself. I'm traveling a lot less. Some say a contradiction to
fly in order to talk about the degradation of our environment. And I offset all my flights using a carbon scheme. I've adopted a vegan diet.
And so, we all have to make changes in our own lives.
But as you rightly pointed out, it's also our responsibility to hold our government and corporations accountable. It's almost in their interest to
say unless, you know, we make these micro changes. Turn off our lightbulbs. Have short showers. Those things are great. (INAUDIBLE) told
us to do that when the truth came out. And now, it's about doing a lot more than that. It's a lot bigger.
AMANPOUR: Yes. And just answer the people who have said, you know, "Must they go and disrupt traffic and why in the middle of the city and et
cetera." I mean, I saw a lot of the protesters. I found them all very, very polite. Apologizing for any disruption. But nonetheless, you'll have
the naysayers. What do you say to them?
HARRIES: To those naysayers I'll say that the protest this week in London could be compared to a fire alarm, right. If a fire alarm goes off in your
house, it may be inconvenient and it may be loud, it may be annoying, but ultimately, it's there to sort of save you and protect your future and your
And I think we think of ourselves as the exact same way. And, you know, that film, "An Inconvenient Truth," it's the best name, climate change is
an inconvenient truth but it's here and it's going to affect us all. And so, I think Extinction Rebellion are helping to sound the alarm to bring
that reality to people so that we can all take action. You know, we have got ourselves into this crisis in 100 years, in one human lifetime, we can
get ourselves out of it in less as long as if we have the political will and the people power to do it.
AMANPOUR: So, I'm going to just take a quote from one of your heroes, I believe, Bill McKibben --
AMANPOUR: -- who I'm going to be interviewing after you.
AMANPOUR: He said -- this week he said, "The respectable have punted. So now, it's up to the scruffy, the young, the marginal, the angry to do the
necessary work. They are what's left of our fighting chance." And I don't know whether you think you are, you know, scruffy and angry and marginal.
But nonetheless, do you feel an unwanted burden at being the generation that has to -- you know, has to recoup what our -- my generation and the
previous generation have failed to do?
HARRIES: I think it is shameful in a way it's falling on the responsibility of 16-year-old children or, you know, everyday people in
London to go out and to take action. It should be our government, you know, taking action. It should be corporations coming out and speaking
about these things. I don't want to be arrested. I had many plans for my life besides protesting in London for a week, getting arrested and
suffering in ways, you know, that I am as a result of that.
But indeed, it has, you know. And I think we feel that no one is talking about this and so we must take these actions. And responsibility has
fallen on our shoulders. And it shouldn't be that way but that is the way it is.
AMANPOUR: That is the way it is. And many people will thank you for it. Jack Harries, thank you for joining me.
HARRIES: Thanks for having me.
AMANPOUR: Thank you.
So, in 1989, the journalist and activist, Bill McKibben, who I just mentioned published the "End of Nature." The seminal book on the threat of
global climate change. His book has the sobering title "Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?" It ties together climate change with
other more recent technological threats to our embattled species. And Bill McKibben joins me now from New York.
Welcome to the program, Bill McKibben.
BILL MCKIBBEN, AUTHOR, "FALTER": It's good to be with you, as always, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: You just heard Jack Harries, one of your -- you know, the next generation or the current generation of activists reacting to what you have
said and the responsibility that they are having to shoulder now. Does this give you hope?
MCKIBBEN: Oh, absolutely. There is -- we're in a climate moment finally. I mean, I wrote the first book about this 30 years ago and I spent the last
15 years trying to help build these movements and going to jail and so on. It's very good to see it now reaching a kind of crescendo.
In the States, we see the Green New Deal, mostly backed by young people. In Europe, we see Extinction Rebellion at work. Around the world, these
remarkable school strikes that Greta Thunberg kicked off in the fall. We're going to need even more.
And Jack is right, the next step is adult strikes too. We need to be disrupting business as usual because it's literally business as usual
that's doing us in. Just the fact we get up each day and continue forward as if we weren't in the middle of an enormous crisis.
AMANPOUR: And just to wrap (ph) about the arrest and the sort of process of these protests. You know, you can look back to the 1980s and the fairly
similar protests against nuclear war and nuclear weapons and obviously, further back to civil rights and other [13:25:00] major civil disobedience
I just want to read something that your mother said about you. Because you, when you were 10 years old, were told that your father had been
arrested when he protested against the Vietnam war. And your mom basically said, "It really had an impact on him. It taught him that you stand up for
what you believe." Is that where you can chase your activism to?
MCKIBBEN: Probably some of that. But I don't think -- I mean, I don't think we should have to be doing this. In a rational world, if scientists
said, "The worst thing that ever happened is happening now and here's how to stop it, put up a lot of solar power and wind turbines," you would think
our corporate leaders and government leaders would get to work. But they haven't. We've wasted those 30 years mostly because the fossil fuel
industry, the richest industry on earth, has run a concerted campaign to make people not do anything.
Now, we're at the point where we seem to be having to force the issue. Look, one place where I really agree with Jack, it's young people shouldn't
have to be going to jail. They have careers ahead of them. I wrote the letter asking people to come to Washington and get arrested at the starting
of the Keystone Pipeline protest which was the largest civil disobedience action in the environmental movement in decades. And one of the things I
said was, "Young people shouldn't have to be the cannon fodder here."
Once you've reached a certain age it's like, what the hell are they going to do to you? And that's the role that -- you know, I now have older
people telling me, it's on their bucket list to get arrested and I tell them, "I can help you with that."
AMANPOUR: It's not just young people, of course, although they do form the backbone of this current momentum. But it's also the gray beards. And I'm
not talking just about you, I'm talking about the 92-year-old, David Attenborough, who is known and beloved around the world for being a
naturalist, for bringing all these stories of our beautiful, beautiful planet into our living rooms. And now, he has a new Netflix series which
is specifically activism. It's specifically showing the danger and what climate change is doing to the animals.
And this is what he told me about why he's decided to, you know, not punt anymore and step right up to the plate of activism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID ATTENBOROUGH, BRITISH BROADCASTER AND NATURALIST: Look, we're not telling lies. The evidence is there. We are showing the evidence of
what's happening around the world. And if you take any account of knowledge, of research, of science, we know what's causing these disasters.
And we -- what is more, we know how to deal with it. Please join the rest of the world. The rest of the world, the entire rest of the world is
united in trying to take action on this. The United States is a very, very powerful voice. Please, please, join us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So. let us talk about that plea to the United States particularly because it's unique in the developed world in having climate
denialism as practically and pretty much an official plank of the Republican Party platform. Tell us a little bit of how we got there and --
well, then I'm going to get to the title of your book and ask about the shrinking game board of humanity.
MCKIBBEN: We got there in the 1980s, really, when the fossil fuel companies looking at climate change, studying it, figured out what was
going on. They believed the scientists. I mean, Exxon began raising all the platforms on its new drilling rigs to compensate for the rise in sea
level they knew was in (INAUDIBLE) but they didn't tell the rest of us. Instead, they spent billions building this architecture of deceit and
denial and disinformation that's kept us locked in a completely phony debate for 30 years about whether or not global warming was real.
A debate both sides knew the answer to when it began. It's just one of them was willing to lie. And it's become the most consequential lie in
human history. Look how far it penetrated. The president of the United States believes or so he says that climate change was a hoax manufactured
by the Chinese. A position so delusional that if you heard someone muttering it next to you on a public bus you'd get up and change seats.
But it's now led the U.S. to be the only country on earth not taking part in the Paris Climate Accords. This, the country that put more carbon into
the atmosphere over the course of history than any other.
AMANPOUR: So, let me -- you mentioned President Trump. I want to play a little of what Al Gore, Vice President Gore told me about this specific
situation and about the possibility of there being a backlash to Donald Trump on this. Just listen to what he said.
AL GORE, FORMER V.P. OF THE U.S.: I honestly think Christiane that Donald J. Trump has become the global face of climate denial. And that in itself
is causing a lot of people to say whoa, I don't want to be associated with that.
I don't want to be associated with him or those views. I think that's actually one of the factors that's driving these record poll numbers
showing Americans at a all-time high in demanding solutions for the climate crisis.
AMANPOUR: So, again you have been activist for much of your life, you're also a writer and a journalist who has written the authority books on this.
Do you see that there is a tipping point, a movement against the hoaxes and for forcing political change?
MCKIBBEN: Well, I hope so. I mean it's cutting both ways. Brazil just elected a president who wants to pull Brazil out of the Paris accord and
that would be tragic because of course the Amazon is utterly necessary part of the planet's defense mechanism.
There obviously is rising concern with each year that goes by that we do nothing. And I think now we're starting to act on it. The question is can
we act fast enough? Climate change is the first timed test that human beings have come up against. If we don't solve it soon, we won't solve it.
And so that's why this need for urgency, that's why there are people in the streets. That's why there are people going to jail. That's why there are
people working around the clock to try and build the collisions to put enough pressure on the power that powers the B (ph).
Look, 50 years from now we're going to run the planet on sun and wind because it's free. But if we take 50 years to get there, then the planet
we run on sun and wind is going to be a broken planet. Our job is to speed up that transition so that we have civilizations left worth powering with
AMANPOUR: Because as my previous guest Jack and his friend in Greenland basically said the technology is there. We know we can do it; it's just
the political will. So, I mean I know you want to answer that.
But see if you can put it in the context of the title of your book which is genuinely alarming. That the game board of our human activity is
shrinking. Tell me what you mean by that.
MCKIBBEN: Look at the last -- just look at the last year, we have seen the highest temperatures ever reliably recorded on planet earth. Several
cities in the Asia subcontinent and the Middle East reached 129 degrees Fahrenheit. That's too hot for humans to survive for more than a little
bit of time.
But it's precisely what the scientists now say will be the regular temperature sin the summer across a huge swath of and from the Middle East
in the subcontinent in to north China, home to billions of people.
The world -- we've been expanding outward as a species ever since we left Africa. But now we're beginning to contract, our coastal cities are
beginning to feel the rise of the oceans and so people are starting to move inland. We're beginning to find places where resurgent disease like Zika
is cramping our freedom of movement.
Look what -- look at the pictures from California last fall. California is kind of our global idea of what heaven kind of looks like thanks to
Hollywood. But now it's very different. I mean we watched a city literally called paradise literally turn in to hell inside half an hour
after the most extreme temperatures and drought we'd ever seen.
A kind of sense now of unease hangs over the golden state much of the year because the smoke from the wildfires is in the air that everybody's
breathing. This is the world that we're building. And we've got to stop building it now. We've got to make this transition happen while we still
have some margin to work with.
AMANPOUR: And it seems because you have said this and others have said it, that some of the big migration issues and refugee issues which are causing
so much political upheaval are powered also by this climate change.
For instance, the Central American so-called caravans not only by violence and gang land warfare in their home countries but by crop failure as well.
MCKIBBEN: A drought up in the highlands of Honduras and Guatemala, or look at the refugees streaming out of Syria. It's now pretty well understood
that the deepest drought in the history of what we used to call the Fertile Crescent was one of the things that touched off that civil war.
The million people that left Syria for Europe were enough to discombobulate the politics of an entire continent. So now imagine what happens when, as
the U.N. predicts, the number of climate refugees in the course of the century will be somewhere between 200 million and a billion. Try to
imagine what happens to war and peace and development on a planet like that.
AMANPOUR: So just finally, Katherine Hayhoe, the conservative and Christian, she's helped write the latest U.S. study and who's trying to
change her community's views on this to make them see the urgency of now has said that she has found that people fear the solutions more than the
impacts of climate change. In other words, they think oh my gosh, whatever I do whether it's stop cars an airplanes or eating meat is going to
devastate my way of life, what do you say to the people who fear the solutions?
MCKIBBEN: I think that the first and most obvious set of solutions aren't very hard at all. Nobody when they flip a light switch thinks, oh, I worry
where the power is coming from. I hope it's coming from a coal-fired power plant. If anything, people are just as happy to learn that it comes from
the sun. That's doable now. So it's no question that this is going to be real changes to ways of life going forward, but they're nothing at all like
the changes that are coming if we don't do anything about climate change.
AMANPOUR: Bill McKibben, author of "Falter", thank you so much for joining us. So an important conversation on the most crucial challenge facing our
planet and one we follow very closely on this program.
Now, our next guest has dedicated herself to another reckoning in society and that's the Me Too movement. The actress Amber Tamblyn grew up in
Hollywood starring in TV hits such as General Hospital and Joan of Arcadia, and in the film beloved by teens, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. But
her coming of age was marked by a growing awareness of the toxic environment facing women in the industry, a journey she details in her new
book, "Era of Ignition", and she tells our Alicia Menendez how she went from actor to feminist activist.
ALICIA MENENDEZ, CNNI CORRESPONDENT: Amber, thank you so much for being here with us today.
AMBER TAMBLYN, AUTHOR "ERA OF IGNITION": My pleasure. Happy to be here with you Alicia.
MENENDEZ: So tell me what does it mean, an era of ignition.
TAMBLYN: The era of ignition for me is this time of really palpable trajectory and movement that we are all going through together that doesn't
really have any answers or doesn't really provide any roadmap for how we're going to get on the other side of this huge moment for us culturally. And
it's a time that really comes after this great sort of national existential crisis. What happens when we evolve - whether going through our own
personal existential crises or whether we're confronting the ones that are happening to our country - what comes after that? What is the harnessed
change that we are all so deeply rooted in right now?
MENENDEZ: Especially to your point because we're trying to grapple with that out of cultural, societal level and at the same time we're each, as an
individual, trying to grapple with these questions.
TAMBLYN: Oh yes, 100 percent. I mean, what was so powerful in the writing of this book for me was, you know, looking at my own experiences growing up
as a child actress. So I'm 35 now. I started acting when I was 11-years- old. I was on a soap opera for seven years, and I went into doing some other shows. I was on this show Joan of Arcadia and did a lot of acting
roles for most of my life. But when I got into my 20s, I really had this personal existential crisis of feeling like I knew I had more to offer the
world. I knew there were more things that I wanted to do. I wanted to write. I wanted to create. I wanted to be the arbiter and the creator of
my own - of my own life and of my own creative work and my own creative visions.
In the book I talk about this idea of an invisible alphabet, this idea that we all sort of sometimes see ourselves at A and we see this beautiful,
glowing Z in the distance, and we know that's going to be us, but how do we manifest the letters in between? How do we find that language to become
the person that we want to become? And so, I spent a large portion of my late 20s really dealing with that and getting to the point of the person
that you see here now and I think that our country's kind of going through a little bit of that itself.
MENENDEZ: You write about your experience as a child actor, coming out of that and realizing you were broken. I think that's the word that you used.
Why were you broken?
TAMBLYN: I was broken because I spent so many years only ever knowing how to walk into other people's rooms, predominately rooms of men because men
were always the decision makers, have always been the decision makers in Hollywood in my industry. So I only ever know how to go in and interpret
their words of their script or act a certain way as a character in a way that appealed to them, smile in the way that appealed to them, weigh the
right amount that appealed to them. I really only ever know how to go into anybody else's room but my own because my own personal creative room didn't
- didn't necessarily exist in a certain point.
But the brokenness really came from feeling tired and exhausted with not only my status quo but the status quo and feeling stuck and not knowing how
to move myself out of that experience, the experience of just going into other people's rooms. And so, in that way, I was feeling - I had always
felt kind of - kind of just like a guest in my own life, as opposed to a person who belonged there, a person who was the owner of that - of that
And so, from that brokenness, I think I really had to examine my part in that, especially as an adult. There's only so much time that you can go -
well, I've been doing this my whole life. I was a child actress. You know, I should - I deserve better. There's more I want to do, and at a certain
point, I had to take it on myself and say, "What am I doing to try and not break out of that?"
MENENDEZ: There's another incident from your youth that I want to pick up on because I think it's a thread that connects to the moment we're in now.
It's your encounter with the actor, James Woods.
TAMBLYN: So in that particular case, the actor, James Woods, picked up on me when I was a teenager at a diner in Los Angeles, where I born and
raised. And when I said this publicly, he said I was a liar. He accused me of lying, which normally is something that you would maybe have a debate
about, or you would just shut up and be quiet and go, "I've said my peace. I'm going to leave it alone now."
But I think in that moment, it was after Donald Trump had been elected. It was after this - this feeling of not only being so - so boxed out of my own
experience and being told indefinitely that I was never -- that I had to manage my expectations for my career. that I had to manage my expectations
for my looks, that I just had to, you know, consider always taking second best for myself.
Pressed against the image of a president who was now doing the same thing and being able to say whatever he wanted about women without any
consequences. And so something was triggered for me.
Something in that moment was sort of weaponized for me, and that I felt like I had every right to be able to push back on someone, on an - on an
older man in a position of power, saying that I had lied and to be able to push back on that and say I'm not a liar and not only am I not a liar about
this story, I am going to prove it, and I'm going to write about it, and I'm going to keep going further.
And I don't - I don't actually care what the consequences might be for me and my career, even though I know speaking out, traditionally in the
entertainment business, before 2017's Me Too movement, was very dangerous. It was like a very, very dangerous thing to do.
MENENDEZ: I think it continues to be dangerous, in the sense that I think we can publicly applaud women for their bravery and then quietly, in
whispers, call her a problem.
TAMBLYN: Well, so much of what's happening right now is you are seeing a lot of - a lot men and a lot of people in positions of power quietly
whisper about how maybe they're not going to interact so much with women anymore in the workplace or even hire them in the workplace because they're
afraid if they just, you know, just tap them on the back that they'll get accused of something they didn't intend to do.
And we're not going to know how to handle it and deal with it, so their way of doing that is to just sort of step away and push back from it. But
that's okay. All of these things happening are important, and it's okay to know that the part that all of this chaos that we're feeling, this sense of
it's not over, things are still happening.
There is still a reckoning. And we have to remember that no civil rights movement was ever comfortable. At no time when - in our nation's history,
or, you know, I'm sure in the world as well, was there a huge systemic cultural change. a change around the way in which people treated each other
and valued each other and their livelihood and their work.
In no way, at no time was that ever comfortable or easy. Part of what makes this so great is how difficult it is, how - you know, the hard
conversations we're having to have, whether that's, you know, white women having to own white feminism and inabilities to sort of see what real
intersectional feminist work, whether that is men feeling like they're being attacked because - you know, that they feel they're being pushed out
of rooms and conversations and that there's going to be this sort of large witch hunt, which is a term that's used a lot.
I think that it's OK for all of this to be happening because out of this chaos is going to come some kind of clarity. It may not come immediately,
but people are really finding out where they fit and where they - where they fit and where they want to land in this discussion.
MENENDEZ: Right. You keep raising this point which I think is really interesting is where men fit into this moment and into this debate, and in
some ways this is not just theoretical for you. I mean, you in the context of your own marriage have grappled with what this moment means.
TAMBLYN: My husband is a standup comedian. His name's David Cross, and we've been together for 11 years. And I know for him and for a lot of his
friends, they've never had to think twice about jokes that they've told or the ways in which they've told those jokes. They've never had to question
it. And that's their privilege and that's also part of what makes their art so powerful is that no one has every stepped in and said publicly,
"this has hurt me." So my husband has had to deal with finding out his way and figuring out his way along with, I think, a lot of the other men that I
know, that I love and care about.
MENENDEZ: In one case a very public incident.
TAMBLYN: Yes, a very public incident where another comedian accused him of being racist, of saying racist things, and he had to come to real terms
with the way in which he tells jokes, the way in which he talks to other people. You know, something you might say to your friends who are like a
Zach Galifianakis or a Michael Cera might not be acceptable for someone who's a young, Asian-American comedian and a women.
You have to understand the context in which you are saying things, and part of our own self examination and part of what's so beautiful and why I love
him is he was able to take on that self examination and to be able to sort sit with himself and this failure and say, "how can I grow from this? I
don't think I know. I don't really have the answers, but I'm interested and I'm curious." And the curiosity is so important for us not to just
sort of put up our guard and put up our defenses and to act from our defenses.
MENEDEZ: And in the midst of that conversation, there were a lot of accusations of you as a white feminist which forced you to grapple
internally and externally with what that meant.
TAMBLYN: Yes, and those demands were fair because people were saying you cannot be the head of this. You cannot come out and say these things are
unfair and, you know, be apart of Time's Up and be apart of this, you know, public moment in time without saying something, without giving us some
context, which is why I didn't shy away from it in the book. And I write pretty openly about my experience talking with my husband. I also did this
I want to say because I don't want people to feel alone in their own conversations with their husbands, they're brothers, their fathers.
I talk to so many women and some men, too, who are going through this experience, especially in heterosexual couples and relationships where
they're having really difficult, painful conversations about the ways in which we have not felt sort of unseen or not listened to. Having these
conversations with the men in our lives is not easy right now. It's very hard, and I don't know a woman whether she's famous or my mother or, you
know, anybody in between who has not had some conversation with their partner that has been very hard. And so, I shared a lot of that in the
book because I wanted people to know that it's no different for me.
MENENDEZ: If you're woman who's just going into your nine to five where you need that paycheck, do you have the luxury of being an agent of radical
TAMBLYN: That's a great question. So I think what we have now as far as being an agent of radical change and taking that on in our own personal
experiences is that we have ally ship and we have community. And when you have strength in numbers like that, you can change anything. I know that
might sound hopefully optimistic and maybe a little not true, but I think it's very true. I think one of the things, for instance, the inception of
Time's Up came from a lot of women being really angry, and not just women in the entertainment business.
You had, you know, women in the Farm Worker's Union, you had activists like Monica Ramirez and Ai-jen Poo and Tarana Burke. You had women across
sectors, across industries saying we're done with what's happening in our communities and we're going to reach out to each other and create this
really strong, powerful bond in which we can all help and work together to change this. So for - in the actress community in specific in my
experience, which I know is an experience of privilege, but even to be able to get into rooms together with women who you never would normally be in a
room with without a man there. So you never had conversations devoid of the male perspective.
MENENDEZ: Right. That part of the book as well that you sort of look around at each other and you're like, "so who's going to run this meeting?"
TAMBLYN: That's right. You're like - but also, what can we say? What can we not say? Like it's weird. It's a very strange experience, and I've had
so many young women ask me this on this book tour. I'm a waitress.
There's this one guy that always comes in who will always like give me a pat on the butt.
And my boss is not great either and is -- how do I -- what do I do? How do I get out this situation? Get this guy to stop with a boss who's not
supportive who would probably just tell me to essentially shut up and take it. And my advice to her was to remember two things.
One, there's got to be other people in that workplace that are experiencing something similar whether it's with the boss or with a customer. Maybe you
need to get together with this specific aim to talk to them and bring them onboard and create a small collision even if it's two people, three people.
And then the second thing I would just remind people always is that no one -- no business likes things in writing. No establishment like to see
something in writing, it's scary. It's really scary because that is a literal paper trail of harassment.
That is a paper trail of behavior and also of people not doing their jobs, not taking in to account your wellbeing, your safety. So put something in
writing. Put a letter together whether it's -- and have it signed by whoever you can have sign it.
But the support together in one document so that you have it there and state what it is that you need an that you're looking for whether that's
the behavior to end, whether you're looking for more support no matter what it is.
MENENDEZ: You're a big Hilary Clinton surrogate, bi Hilary Clinton supporter twice over. And now in this race we have at least four major
candidates that happen to be women. Have we in the media learned our lesson? Do we know how to cover them correctly this time around?
TAMBLYN: I will say that it is interesting to me that even though we do have incredibly capable, amazing women running on the democratic tickets
right now, they are still not at the top of who's getting the donors who's getting funding, who's getting money. And they're also not really seen as
It always ends up being about well here's a really capable man that has the best policies for women. Here's the most capable man who has -- who will
create the best laws for women, who will help to help push congress and the senate to support more women, who will help with -- fill in the blank.
But it always ends up being that the visualization of female empowerment stems still from a patriarchal voice. And that's a problem. And that's a
problem that we have to continue to grapple with. Everyone talked about how they wanted a woman to be president but not that woman.
I always wonder -- I say OK, but what -- then not that woman, than what kind of woman? What is the pedestal? What does it look like? What does
she have to have? There's a long list joke in this nook where I talk about requirements for becoming a candidate for president of the United States if
you're a woman.
And the list goes on for like ten pages. It's got all these addendums. It's got all these sub lines, some category lists, emotions are illegal,
having your period's illegal, talking above a certain decibel is illegal.
It's a joke but also it's not a joke because one of the biggest problems that we have is that this is not just about saying who's the right woman.
It's about not seeing women in totality as being worthy of these positions. We still have a problem visualizing it and seeing it.
And until -- truly until a mediocre woman can become president in the way that mediocre men have been presidents for the entire history of the United
States of America, then we have a fundamental equality problem.
And that is a -- it resounds in the mind, it's part of what we have been thinking about when we think about women, is that they have to be so
exceptional, they have to be so perfect, the standard is so high for them that that is all we will accept. And then even sometimes we won't accept
MENENDEZ: Amber, thank you so much.
TAMBLYN: Yes, my pleasure. Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Amber Tamblyn throwing down the gullet there and we'll soon have the chance to see how the women in the presidential pack perform in 2020.
But that is it for now. Remember you can always listen to our podcast. You can see us online at Amanpour.com.
And you can follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And because this is Earth Day, we want to leave you with some incredible sights from our planet
earth. Thanks for watching, and goodbye from London.