It started with a puzzle: why were people in West Oakland dying 12-15 years earlier than their counterparts in the wealthier hills? The people in the flatlands were dying of the same things as the people in the hills, just much younger. Meet the doctor who helped make the case that air pollution from cargo handling was one big part of the answer, and the smart-dressing, wise-cracking environmental activist who helped to clean up the air. This is an inside look at the problems that come with being a major node in the network of global trade—and the solutions that people have devoted their lives to implementing.
This episode has a great example of a negative externality. Our current administration would like to paper over such effects in society, particularly when they involve non-whites, and call fixing such problems “over regulation” instead of charging the businesses and corporations which cause them to fix or clean them up. I’m glad this particular one was managed to be dealt with, but I can’t help but think about all the others, many of which we simply don’t know about for lack of interest or data to measure them. Far better if we call them citizen protection measures and fix them.