#118 After Harvey: Climate Change Insurance. Gernot Wagner

Is climate change to blame for Hurricane Harvey and the devastating floods around Houston? Even though we can't be certain about the cause of a single storm, Harvey's epic rainfall and surprisingly long duration remind us of the need for urgent action.

In this edition of our solutions podcast, economist Gernot Wagner, executive director of Harvard University's Solar Geoengineeering Research Program, makes the case for market-based climate insurance: A fix that even skeptical conservatives could love.

If there was a 10% chance of a tree falling on your house, you'd buy home insurance. Gernot says that's what the U.S. and every other nation must do to reduce global warming. His fix for the planet? Carbon pricing through a program of cap-and-trade that lets the market find the cheapest way to cut greenhouse gas emissions. 

Companies that exceed their emissions cap pay a penalty. Energy-efficient firms make money by selling their pollution allowances. Cap-and-trade can boost growth and jobs. California has designed its own system to reduce pollution as it makes a transition to a clean energy economy

The weather is already changing. The daily surface temperature of the Gulf of Mexico this year is the warmest on record.  When the sea warms, more water evaporates into the air, leading to greater rainfall. 

How do we help the victims of the Houston flood? This link has some smart suggestions.

#115 Refugees Are Just Like You: Ahmed Badr

Far too often refugees are thought of as "the other"-- a mass of people who are victims of war, persecution or natural disasters. President Trump has added to the problem, making negative, harsh comments about immigrants.

This episode with 19 year-old Iraqi-American refugee Ahmed Badr, looks at how to fix the way we view refugees and migrants. We look at their personal stories and what they bring to enrich the lives of the communities where they now live.

Through writing about his own life, Ahmed, now a student at Wesleyan University, realized that his blog helped others see him in a more personal light. Today, he is empowering others to do the same. His art and poetry site, Narratio, is a growing platform where young people from around the world use creative expression to share their unique experiences. Ahmed is also the host of "Together", a soon-to-be released podcast about refugees and migrants.

"I've learned other people tell their story versus just telling my own," says Ahmed. "A global citizen is someone who is willing to entertain the other side, no matter how much the other side hurts us to listen to or witness."

Ahmed was 7 when his family's home in Baghdad was bombed during the violent aftermath of the invasion of Iraq. The family was uninjured and moved to Syria. In 2008, they came as refugees to the U.S. through a resettlement program run by IOM -- the U.N. migration agency.

#111 The Urgent Case for Going Outdoors

Going outdoors and taking on new challenges makes you healthier, happier and smarter. Spending time in nature away from cities and suburbs can also bring spiritual and emotional benefits.

Co-host Jim Meigs tells us why he's a big outdoor guy, who loves to hike, bike and head for the hills.

In this episode we look at ways to add adventure to your life and embrace the excitement of leaving your comfort zone. 

Kio Stark, author of "When Strangers Meet: How People You Don't Know Can Transform You," explains why meeting people you don't know can have genuine emotional benefits. Even brief chance encounters, she says, can make a difference to how you view the world. 

We also discuss cycling in cities with Nicole Gelinas of The Manhattan Institute. She tells us about ways to improve urban safety for bikers, pedestrians and motorists.

#110 Is Summer Fun Under Assault? Lenore Skenazy

Lenore Skenazy of Free Range Kids makes the case for carefree summer activities and unstructured playtime---arguing against those who put safety fears ahead of a child's need to explore, be curious and grow

"If You're a Kid, the Experts Want You to Have a Fun-Free Summer" is the title of a recent article by Lenore.

Summer is a time to "dig in the sand, gulp from the hose, play at the park, and leap with joy," writes Lenore. "Unless you're a kid-- in which case, find yourself a comfy sofa in a dark, quiet room and settle in."

Parents are bombarded with safety messages from the American Academy of Pediatrics, Parenting Magazine and other well-intentioned sites, which give urgent warnings about the hazards of summer. Their advice, says Lenore, is "don't have fun, it's too dangerous."

Find out why being safety obsessed comes at a heavy price. Worried parents risk robbing their children of curiosity about the world and pride in their own achievements.

#109 Secrets of Your Stuff: Mover, Finn Murphy

Are you too attached to your stuff? Do you have a big move coming up?

Long-haul trucker, Finn Murphy has covered more than a million miles of packing, loading and hauling people's material possessions all across the country. In this episode he shares his insights into the moving business, truckers, his many customers and how American households have changed in recent years.

Finn is the author of "The Long Haul: A Trucker's Tales of Life on the Road," a wise, vivid and charming account of his years in the business. His book gives a penetrating look into the lives of big-rig drivers and the people they move.

More than 35 million Americans move house every year.  Finn has intelligent advice on how to avoid moving scams, the best way to pick a mover, and when finding a new place to live might not bad a smart move. 
 

#107 How Trust Can Save Journalism: Aron Pilhofer

Journalism is in crisis. Our trust in the news media has fallen to an all-time low. One recent poll found that two thirds of Americans believe mainstream news organizations often publish fake news.

The business model at many newspapers, magazines, radio stations and websites is failing.  Declining revenues have forced layoffs and other cutbacks at news organizations across the country.


Professor Aron Pilhofer of Temple University, one of the world's most respected experts in digital innovation for journalists, is our guest.  Before joining Temple, Aron was Executive Editor of Digital journalism at the Guardian in London and was a former senior executive at the New York Times.

"It's impossible to overemphasize what a vast change there is now in the way people get their information," Aron tells us. For his young students at Temple, the news "finds them" through their feeds at Facebook, Twitter and other social sites. The news is not handed down from high. Instead, it's part of a conversation. 
Aron says regaining readers' trust is essential to the future of journalism. Covering "what now" of news - solutions - is one answer. Greater transparency in how stories are covered and a much deeper commitment to diversity in newsrooms are among the fixes we discuss.

#10 Fix It Shorts: What We Learned in Our First 100 episodes

For Jim and Richard "How Do We Fix It?" has been a great big learning experience.

From how to switch careers to the search for meaning and the importance of speaking to strangers, our guests have proposed many smart, practical solutions. And they've also challenged conventional wisdom.

Our podcast invites listeners to get into their discomfort zone as a way of being more receptive to change.  

Jim starts this show revealing what he learned from David McRaney, host of "You Are Not So Smart," - a podcast about psychology.  David told us about our deep attachment to confirmation bias - where most of us try to confirm our views, rather than challenging ourselves with an opposing hypothesis.  

As someone who admits he knows little about science, Richard says he has learned about the scientific method from several guests, including Ainissa Ramirez and Michael Shermer. In the lab, scientists routinely test and try to disprove a theory before they embrace it as fact.

Some Fix It episodes were ahead of the curve. John Gable, Joan Blades, Geoff Colon and other guests raised the alarm about filter bubbles and online information silos well before Mark Zuckerberg and other Silicon Valley executives voiced their concerns.

Last year, Megan McArdle, a columnist at Bloomberg View, spoke to us about the tangled problems of fixing Obamacare months before President Trump and House Republicans realized how hard it be to "repeal and replace" without a massive fight. 

We also heard from Steve Hilton, former personal advisor to British Prime Minister David Cameron.  He made the pro-European case for Brexit in a surprising and enlightened way.

Richard tells Jim: "I've learned a lot from you," declaring himself to be a "thorough convert" to Jim's conviction that we romanticize the past and catastrophize the present. Richard has also come over to Jim's view that the challenge to free speech on college campuses is a much more serious problem than many believe.

Now on to the next 100 shows.