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Fareed Zakaria GPS

Interview With Bob Woodward About Ruth Bader Ginsburg And His Book About Trump; UAE And Bahrain Sign Peace Deals With Israel; The Coming Climate Reckoning In America; Lustgarten: The Financial Sector Sees There Are Real Costs To Climate Change; Lustgarten: Half Of Americans Might Need To Relocate Due To Climate Change; Highlights From 2019 U.N. Biodiversity Report. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired September 20, 2020 - 10:00   ET



JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SUPREME COURT ANALYST: Something about her that was still -- had a schoolgirl, youthful enthusiasm about everything, whether it meant, you know, the underpinnings of Roe or just her own learning experience. She always -- she was always in the game 100 percent.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. What a treat to talk to all three of you. Thank you so much.

Fareed Zakaria starts now.

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: This is GPS, the GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria coming to you live from New York.


ZAKARIA: Today on the show, Trump and his powerful friends. What is behind his relationships with the likes of Putin, Kim, Xi, and Erdogan? The legendary journalist Bob Woodward on what he learned while reporting his new best seller "Rage."

Then peace in the Middle East. On Tuesday the White House hosted Israel, the UAE and Bahrain for a peace deal signing. Is this the shape of the new Middle East? And what happens to the Palestinians? We have a voice from the region.

And America's West Coast is on fire in a way it has never been before. People are fleeing. Is this the beginning of climate migration? And just how will climate change affect where people live in America and around the world?


ZAKARIA: But first here's my take. What explains why some countries handle the COVID-19 pandemic well and others did poorly? It's a complicated question, but my interview last week with Taiwan's former vice president got me thinking. If we look at the place that has arguably had the greatest success, the answer is failure. Taiwan gets the gold medal for its coronavirus strategy. It had close

ties with mainland China where the disease originated, receiving almost three million visitors from there in a typical year. It is a densely populated land and Taipei, the capital city, has crowded public transit. And yet, with a population of nearly 24 million people, Taiwan has had just seven deaths. New York state with a smaller population has had 33,000.

Taiwan's greatest asset turns out to be its failed response to an earlier pandemic in 2003, SARS, which taught it many important lessons. SARS was a respiratory virus, less contagious than COVID-19 but more deadly. SARS also came out of China where authorities bungled the initial response and withheld information from the outside world. The Taiwanese were caught unprepared and made several mistakes.

But in the aftermath they totally overhauled their pandemic preparedness procedures. They ensured they had adequate supplies of equipment on hand, they made plans to act early, smartly and aggressively. Many Asia-Pacific countries have succeeded against COVID-19, South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia. All were hit by SARS or witnessed its economic damage, and they learned from the experience.

The only non-Asian country with a SARS outbreak was Canada, and it, too, changed its procedures after 2003 and took precautions. Even China learned a great deal from its disastrous SARS response and despite early stumbles this time, Beijing has managed to crush COVID- 19 so completely that the disease has virtually disappeared from the country where it began. SARS doesn't explain the success of every country that has handled COVID-19 well, but it reveals an important aspect of the story.

Consider, on the other hand, countries that have handled COVID-19 badly. Anthropologist Martha Lincoln writing in "Nature" points out that several of these countries tend to think of themselves as exceptional in some way. She notes that the United States, Britain, Brazil and Chile all have strong national narratives that see themselves as separate, distinct and better than others. The United States is notorious for this attitude, but that is after all also the motivation behind Britain's desire to quit the European Union.

Brazil meanwhile believes it enjoys good fortune because, as the saying goes, God is Brazilian. Chile is smug about being the region's economic superstar. That sense of being special makes a country unlikely to adopt the standard attitude of any business when confronting a challenge. To look around for best practices.

Bill Gates recently wrote that he has always tackled every big new problem the same way, by starting off with two questions, who has dealt with this problem well and what can we learn from them? He suggests we apply the same philosophy to the pandemic. And yet America is remarkably uninterested in how other countries approach similar challenges.

[10:05:06] Plenty of advanced countries have health care systems that deliver better results than America's at much lower costs. Most have a fraction of our homicide rates. They often have better infrastructure and their elections aren't dominated by money. Yet not only do we not learn from them, we barely bother to look.

In an essay in "Foreign Affairs," Jeremy Konyndyk argues, "American exceptionalism, the notion that the United States is unique among nations and that the American way is invariably the best has blinded the country's leaders and many of its citizens to potentially life- saving lessons from other countries." He quotes the eminent U.S. historian Eric Foner who once explained that American exceptionalism goes along with hubris and closed-mindedness and ignorance about the rest of the world.

Since the United States is so exceptional, there is no point in learning about other societies. Konyndyk concludes that mentality is now costing American lives. I fear he may be right.

Go to for my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a lawyer and a jurist for the ages. She spent her career fighting for women first and foremost, for their right to control their own bodies, their own finances and their own careers. Her death Friday sent the American left into mourning knowing that they had lost a tireless fighter for their cause and fearing they might lose her seat on the Supreme Court as well.

My first guest today is Bob Woodward, made famous by his work on Watergate, he's the preeminent reporter on Washington power and politics. We are lucky to have him with us to talk about Justice Ginsburg and the ugly political battles to come but also his new best- selling book, "Rage."

Bob, welcome. I wanted to ask you first --


ZAKARIA: -- for your reflections on Justice Ginsburg. It strikes me as fascinating, how iconic she became. She was not the first female Supreme Court justice. That was Sandra Day O'Connor. She's the second, but in a sense she seems to represent the first -- she's the feminist icon for the Supreme Court, or something like that. What do you think?

WOODWARD: Well, I knew her a little bit, and 40 years ago I did a book on the Supreme Court and what Ruth Bader Ginsburg did is she talked about basic principles -- equality, freedom, it's the old Earl Warren, who's chief justice for -- before Berger and did all of the civil rights cases. And Earl Warren would always talk about fundamental fairness, what Ruth Bader Ginsburg did is she said, oh, let's be logical, let's be fair, use kind of simple American principles of freedom and equality and let's apply them to women.

And so it was simple, direct, brilliant, and had a giant impact because she had that basic understanding, I call it, a moral voice. She really -- having done reporting in Washington for almost 15 years -- 50, I'm sorry, 50, that one of the things you learn is that somebody can come and seize an issue, but it's generally simple and it's moral. Morality, in a broad sense, I think you would agree with this, is bipartisan.

It's not Democrats, it's not Republicans, it's not independents. And so she became a moral voice and stuck to very simple principles, quite frankly.

ZAKARIA: I remember reading your book, Bob, that you mentioned 40 years ago, "The Brethren." It was about the Supreme Court then. I wonder when you think back to that book and to the court and, you know, the kind of politics surrounding the court, it feels like you were writing about a different country. It was so much more gentile, so much more -- there was a degree of bipartisanship.

The court, you know, did not -- I mean, right now it seems so polarized, and you see this with the battle -- the upcoming battle to replace Justice Ginsburg.


WOODWARD: Well, 40 years ago it could get pretty nasty and there were lots of elbows thrown around, but you're right, the conclusion about the Berger court was that the center is in control, center justices like Lewis Powell, Potter Stuart, Whizzer White, and the left of Douglas and Thurgood Marshall actually did not control, and the right of Berger and Blackman did not control.

So now we have a Supreme Court, as you say, is astonishingly, almost embarrassingly polarized. And we see it now as we come into the last days of the election and there's going to be a brutal, brutal battle over the nominee that Trump is going to put forward.

But just think about it. The two leading candidates that Trump may appoint are age 52, age 48. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was only on the court for 13 years, but she died at age 87, so we could have a justice that Trump appoints, if he gets her through, who would be on the Supreme Court for 35 years. Think of that.

ZAKARIA: And what do you think of the politics of getting that nomination through -- the Republican Party has established a precedent with Mitch McConnell saying we will not fill a court seat a year before the election with the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Lindsey Graham, saying that, saying unequivocally this is a precedent, keep the tape, you can play it reversing themselves.

Will the Republican Party pay any price, you think, for, you know, essentially reversing itself within a matter of four years?

WOODWARD: Actually, I think if the Republican Party gets Trump's justice through and that -- a woman because Trump said he's going to appoint a woman, will really help the Trump campaign and Trump in a very profound way, help the Republican Party. I mean, think about the Trump supporters, people who are evangelical. The whole issue of abortion is front and center, and if he gets one of these justices appointed who is very conservative, very anti-abortion, you kind of solidify the conservative base there.

Look, what Trump is doing, what Mitch McConnell is doing, I'm going to release some transcripts and audios later today that will show Trump talking about that relationship and how important moving the Supreme Court and the judges. Trump will have appointed 300 judges? I mean, think about that. That remakes the federal judiciary. If he gets another appointment here it will be the third justice that he's put on the court. A --you know, a thunder clap if you look at it in terms of this country.

Now, yes, it's true, the Republicans have reversed their position, but it's still Mitch McConnell having a Republican majority that can do this. It's majority rules. A lot of it seems unfair. They're accused of hypocrisy. But you can -- when you have the power, and he has the power, and there's such an interesting history in this, if you'll bear with me.

Go back to 2013, it was Harry Reid, Democratic majority leader, who lifted the filibuster rule on judicial appointments so it could be done just with a majority. And that's what McConnell is going to use. That new rule. And, you know, we'll see. But Trump is going, I suspect knowing him, getting to know him very well, he's going to push, he's going to -- McConnell's going to push.


They're in alliance on this. There will be a lot of screaming, a lot of, oh, my god, how can they do this, this seems unfair, it's inconsistent. But often the exercise of power is inconsistent.

ZAKARIA: Bob, stay with us. I want to talk about your new best-seller "Rage," which exposes many issues, Trump's friendship with Putin, Xi, but a lot more. We'll be back.



ZAKARIA: I'm now back with Bob Woodward. We're going to talk about his terrific book "Rage." But Bob being a great reporter told me in the break that he wanted to make sure people knew Ruth Bader Ginsburg in fact served in the court 27 years. So he stands corrected on that.

Let me ask you, Bob --

WOODWARD: I stand corrected.

ZAKARIA: That's right. That's right.

WOODWARD: I was wrong. She was there for 27 years. Bill Clinton appointed her.

ZAKARIA: Correct.

WOODWARD: In 1993. ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about the book. One of the things that I was

struck by in the book is Trump gives you 17 on-the-record interviews. He calls you late at night. He seemed, you know, to have this desire to unburden himself, to show off to you. How did you read -- you've had so many people talk to you? This struck me as almost unique in his -- you know, in this sort of energy with which he was calling you repeatedly.

WOODWARD: Well, I -- he knew I wasn't going to put words in his mouth. I would let him have his say. I think almost 20 percent of the book is quoting him. Trump said the -- just a couple of days ago, he said some great things in this book, he said. That's because I let him put his case forward on all of these issues. I promised to do that. I went into the Oval Office, it is first interview, December 5th, plunked down my Olympus tape recorder and said, this is all on the record for a book that will come out in September and October.

That was my demarcation line. And so he would call, but I would call him. And he would come on the phone or he would call me back later. And he said repeatedly he worried that it was not going to be a book he liked. I said, I'm just going to deal with the facts and I'm going to dig into all of these issues.

Fareed, an extraordinary opportunity for a reporter book author because I could prepare questions, I could think about what was going on. In May when George Floyd was killed and there erupted a very significant movement for racial justice, Black Lives Matter, I was able to talk to Trump directly about that. So -- about the economy, about the virus, and you look through it and you see -- go ahead.

ZAKARIA: You talked to him specifically about his fascination with dictators, and he admits it to you in a way which I have never seen him before. He says, the meaner they are, the tougher they are, the better I seem so get on with them. What do you think that's about?

WOODWARD: And the good ones I don't get along with. Well, I think it's true. And you know better than anyone, Fareed, that the president has total control on foreign relations and he is our face to the world. Under the Constitution, he has that power and practice. He and his secretary of State, in this case Mike Pompeo. And they picked their friends, Putin, the MBS, the crown prince in Saudi Arabia, Kim Jong- un.

I mean, think about it right now. I was thinking this morning, suppose Joe Biden as the Democratic presidential nominee wants to go abroad now. He could do it. Presidential nominees have done it. But, you know, it's -- he'll get pushed around by Trump. Hey, look, there's only one president, there's only one president who does this. So you know it is an extraordinary power. And Trump is exercising it and defining the United States to the world based on what -- how he looks at it and how he picks these strong authoritarian leaders. It's extraordinary.

ZAKARIA: Let me ask you --

WOODWARD: Sure. ZAKARIA: I've got a little time and I have to get -- I have to ask you

this, which is in this book after 50 years of reporting you say something you don't say in any of your other books. You say Donald Trump is the wrong man for the job. Why did you decide to make that judgment about this president?

WOODWARD: It is a conclusion based on overwhelming evidence. I spent 4 1/2 years looking at Trump.


You see how he operates, the failure to have a plan, the failure to have a strategy, to operate on impulse, there is no organization. His cruel words toward people who served in senior Cabinet positions from the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, to Secretary of State Tillerson to -- I asked Trump about General Mattis, the Defense secretary. And I said, what do you think of him? Oh, he's just a PR guy.

Well, whether you like Mattis or don't, and you read what he did as secretary of Defense, he's not a PR guy. He's certainly the most serious military person we have had in the secretary of Defense position for a long time. So it is -- Trump has obliterated the notion of some sort of organization, some sort of management.

In the first book I did on Trump called "Fear," I said there is a nervous breakdown of the executive branch. This is just an extension of that. And if you go through the book -- I think the most devout Trump supporter could read through this book and say, well, yes, there's some things I like, but there are big questions about what Trump is doing to this country and our value system.

ZAKARIA: We've got to leave it at that. Bob, thank you. As always, unbelievable reporting.

WOODWARD: Thank you.

ZAKARIA: Thank you so much. Pleasure and honor.

WOODWARD: Thank you.

ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, a new peace in the Middle East when we come back.



ZAKARIA: On Tuesday at the White House the UAE and Bahrain normalized relations with Israel. President Trump said the event would change the course of history. Will it? Joining me now is Mina Al Oraibi; she is the Editor-In-Chief of "The National", a newspaper based in the UAE.

Mina, welcome. Let me ask you, the question I hear being talked about and I read being talked about in the Arab world is having the UAE and Bahrain sold out the Palestinians. In other words, wasn't this meant to be about providing the millions of Palestinians who live in the occupied territories with some kind of political rights, with a state, that has been the reason Arab countries have not recognized Israel for decades and decade and that the UAE and Bahrain did it without any progress on the Palestinian issue. What do you think the feeling is in the UAE about that?

MINA AL-ORAIBI, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, THE NATIONAL: Fareed, thank you for having me on. First of all, absolutely the Palestinians deserve to have their own state. And it's an issue that globally is recognized, international law says that the settlements in occupied territories are illegal. Nothing that the UAE and Bahrain, for that matter, did changes that.

The Emirates are very clear and Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed the UAE Foreign Minister in his speech at the White House during the signing ceremony, made that very point. He said we support the Palestinians' right for a state. The issue is that nothing has moved in the right direction for the Palestinians for decades.

They signed the Oslo Accords over a quarter of a century has passed since any Arab country has signed any sort of agreement or come to any agreements with the Israelis. On the contrary, the Palestinian's plight has only gotten worse.

So the question is does this actually help the situation in the Middle East or not? And what the Emiratis have been clear about is that for them first of all a very important move from the Israelis' was this hold to the annexation of Palestinian lands.

In May and June of this year, here in the region, we were all very concerned that the Israeli Prime Minister would go ahead with his decision to annex Palestinian land, annex the Jordan Valley, which would have been terrible for the Palestinians but also for the Jordanians.

ZAKARIA: But in that case BB Netanyahu seems to have out played the UAE. He threatens something which he never did and returns for not doing something that he never did. He got a major concession from the UAE. That doesn't - that doesn't reflect well on the UAE's leadership.

AL-ORAIBI: Well, not really because he didn't do it because there were back channel talks happening. The UAE Ambassador to the U.S. Yousuf Latib publicly came out in June and said that any steps towards normalization would be halted if annexation went ahead.

So it was very clear from the Emiratis said that whatever the Gulf countries were thinking would over if the annexation went ahead. So I think we have to see a sequencing here. The second element I think is important is that for the Palestinians, they still have to find a way to get their state, and it's something that not only the UAE but of course all the Arab countries still stick to the Arab peace initiative.

That was in 2002. It's been 18 years. It's a real issue with the international community, actually, and the region, the fact nothing has happened on the Arab peace initiative side--


ZAKARIA: But it has happened because Israel hasn't accepted it and why Israel would accept it since the prize in the Arab peace initiative was recognition of Israel, and the UAE has provided the prize without Israel recognizing a Palestinian state.

So, if they're getting the rewards without making the compromise, why would they make the compromise?

AL-ORAIBI: Yes, look, again, don't forget, API is 57 countries, so it's more than one or two countries. As far as the Emirates are concerned and what we've been saying hear and what we're hearing from officials here is that, for them this was a strategic decision for them bilaterally and with Israel.

But also looking at the Middle East, and looking at ways how can we change the stagnation that's happened? We've not seen any positive developments towards peace or even allowing the Palestinians a sense of changing the dynamic on the ground.

The annexation was a real threat. That for the time being is off the table. But more importantly, it's looking at how the region can find ways to come up with--

ZAKARIA: Mina, I'm so sorry. We are out of time. We will have you on again, as we have in the past. I really want to thank you for coming on. Stay with us. We'll be back in a moment.



ZAKARIA: America's West Coast is on fire on an unprecedented scale. There are around 80 active large fires, and more than 5 million acres have burned so far. Australia recently had its worst fire season on record with 15,000 fires over almost 30 million acres.

Scientists say the higher temperatures created by climate change are fuel for these fires. Climate change is offering our world, and it won't just reshape how we live, but where we live? My next guest has had two big cover stories on the subject in "The New York Times" magazine, one in July on global migration caused by climate and one in today's paper about America's shave of the problem.

Abrahm Lustgarten is a senior reporter at Pro-Publica who does climate related investigations. He joins us from the bay area. Abrahm, you mentioned that scholars have figured out that human beings over the last thousands of years have tended to live in a fairly narrow band of the planet, the part that's sort of habitable.

But that this is changing. People are going to be stuck in places that are inhabitable. How big is the scale? Describe to us the kind of change that's coming. ABRAHM LUSTGARTEN, SENIOR REPORTER, PROPUBLICA: Yes, this is based off research that was published in the proceedings and National Academy of Sciences last year. It essentially projects that about a third of the planet's population will soon live outside of this ideal band of temperature and precipitation that has proved ideal for humans for the last 6,000 years.

So, over the next, you know, 50 years from now we'll see about a third of the planet's population pushed outside of that zone or having to cope with living in a starkly different environment. ZAKARIA: So, you're talking about hundreds of millions of people being pushed out.

LUSTGARTEN: Yes, that's right. So, presently about 1 percent of the planet's population lives in this, you know, relatively uninhabitable part of the planet by 2017 that will approach 19 percent or 20 percent of the planet's population, so 2 to 3 billion people will be confronted with rapid changes in their climate.

ZAKARIA: And so, when you think about that, people is being forced to move because it just gets too hot, too dry. You focus on the areas close to the United States, Central America, Mexico. Explain the dynamic and what do you think could happen?

You kind of have two scenarios. One where they manage to get into the United States and, two, where there is a real hard shutdown of the U.S. borders.

LUSTGARTEN: That's right. So, we looked at movement of people out of Central America and we tried to model how their migration might progress? So, the more the climate warms, generally, the more people will be displaced and begin moving towards the United States maybe somewhere on the scale of 30 million people influenced by climate change, 5 million people moving specifically because of climate factors.

But almost more interesting, we found that if we, for example, close borders, stop investing in foreign aid, take a less globalized and less economically integrated approach, then there might be less migration, but population booms and poverty increases in those host countries, places like Guatemala, El Salvador might see more rapid urbanization, deepening discord that goes with increase in poverty in their biggest cities.

ZAKARIA: So in your second article you point out to Americans who might think this is all happening in foreign countries and we don't need to worry about it, that's actually not true. We have some of the same pressures in the United States as well. Explain how?

LUSTGARTEN: Yes, that's right. The United States is not immune to climate change. We might not see the most dramatic changes we would see in, say, North Africa, but climate change will have a rapid and really deep affect on our lives here in the United States.

So, we looked at the best climate data that's available and we tried to map that data. And it portrays a picture of the walls closing in on the United States. We have fires in the west and intense heat coming from the south and sea level rise approaching on the coasts and failing crops in the Midwest.

And you start to see that there's not too many places left untouched. It's very difficult to predict exactly how many people would move in response to that, but our numbers suggest that it could be upwards of half of the population in the United States.

ZAKARIA: One of the most disturbing points you make in the piece is that in some ways, public policy has encouraged some of this kind of more dangerous living. Explain how?


LUSTGARTEN: Yes. In the rest of the world there's quite a logical response of impoverished people moving generally northward but at least away from the Equator in the hot zones. The United States has long had policies and incentives in place that have more or less encouraged us to do the opposite.

You know, Americans move towards the coasts. We build on beaches. We move to Arizona in search of sunny climates where there's not a lot of water. These movements have been encouraged by policies ranging from the easy and cheap availability of insurance to farm subsidies that encourage farmers to plant the wrong crops in the wrong places and things like subsidized water in Arizona, from the Colorado River, for example.

So there's a whole host of kind of economic factors that have, you know, supported bad decision-making. And part of what I looked at is how that's beginning to shift?

ZAKARIA: It seems like we need a kind of almost rethink of the entire way we are - where we are living. Do you see that happening?

LUSTGARTEN: I think it's just beginning to happen. Part of it comes with this economic change, this realization in the financial sector but also among the public that costs of climate change are real and that they might outweigh some of the benefits of the sort of subsidies that we're talking about.

So, as that happens, you know, you'll see that economic support shift. I think you'll see a behavioral shift in response to it. And it is not that everyone needs to flee these zones but I think that there are places where, you know, we'll see that, you know, just aren't practical to live.

Maybe that means, you know, in the most rural or exposed wild land, you know, wildfire interface areas or right on the coasts of places like North Carolina that are extremely vulnerable to sea level rise. You know, what they call forest retreat, I think that's going to be an increasing phenomenon in the United States.

ZAKARIA: Abrahm, pleasure to have you on.

LUSTGARTEN: Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

ZAKARIA: Climate change is not the only major crisis we face, of course. We are also in the midst of a global pandemic. Why are we facing these crises and why do they seem to be accelerating? I say it is because we are living in a world in overdrive. I will explain what I mean when I come back.



ZAKARIA: Now for the last look. The United States accustomed to being on top has found itself number one in the world for COVID-19 cases and deaths. Now some West Coast cities are hovering atop the charts for the worst air quality in the world.

Last week Portland's air was almost three times as unhealthy as notoriously polluted cities like New Delhi. The scenes of red skies out of America's west have an unreal quality to them, as if they come from a different planet. In a sense, they do, they are portends of the future. There are many proximate reasons for these forest fires, fireworks, camp fires, a stray spark, but there is one large cause that is blindingly clear - human actions that have led to climate change.

To put it simply, the world is getting hotter and that means that forests get dryer. We can be sure of one thing it's going to get worse. Temperatures continue to rise, drought conditions are worsening and the combined effect of all these forces will multiply to create cascading crises in the years to come.

Cascade in which small sparks are happening all around us, think of COVID-19, which began with a viral speck lodged in a bat somewhere in China and is now a raging global pandemic. While viruses have been around forever, they mostly originated in animals?

When they have jumped to humans remained largely local, but over the last couple of decades, many viruses that began in animals have switched hosts to infect humans and then gone global, causing widespread epidemics, SARS, MERS, EBOLA, ZIKA and now the novel Coronavirus.

In a recent essay in "The Scientific Journal" Cell, The country's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci and one of his colleagues Dr. David Moron speculate that we may have reached a tipping point that forecasts the inevitability, of an acceleration of disease emergencies in other words, get ready for more pandemics.

The fundamental reason behind this acceleration, they argue, is human actions the ever-increasing scope and pace of development. This is why I wrote my new book "Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World" which has been excerpted in "Time" magazine this week and I have drawn from that essay for this segment.

Let me quote from lesson one of the book. We have created a world that is always in overdrive. People are living longer, producing and consuming more, inhabiting larger spaces, consuming more energy and generating more waste and greenhouse gas emissions. Just one example, a 2019 U.N. report written by 145 experts drawn from 50 countries concluded that nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history. It noted that 75 percent of all land has been severely altered by human actions, as has 66 percent of the world's ocean area.

Ecosystems are collapsing and biodiversity is disappearing. We are tempting fate every day. The pandemic, for its part, can be thought of as nature's revenge. The way we live now is practically an invitation for animal viruses to infect humans. Why do diseases seem to be jumping from animals to humans at a faster pace?


ZAKARIA: Because in many parts of world people are living closer to wild animals. Developing countries are modernizing so quickly that they effectively inhabit several different centuries at the same time. And the people who live in these places are more mobile than ever before, quickly spreading information, goods, services and disease.

We have to recognize that the way we are living, eating and consuming energy are all having an impact on the planet and increasingly it is fighting back. I explain the urgency of these kinds of problems and the solutions in my book, which you can preorder by going online to your local bookstore or just visit

Do it now so you are sure to get your copy. Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. And I will see you next week.