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Can the Market Save the Planet?/Long Haul Heroes

Ralph welcomes the Washington Post’s Steven Mufson to point out how some corporations are finally making efforts to achieve carbon neutrality. And author, Pete Davis, joins us to talk about his new book, “Dedicated: The Case for Commitment in an Age of Infinite Browsing” where he argues that the modern mindset of “always keeping your options open” does not necessarily lead to happiness, progress, fulfillment, or justice.

Steven Mufson is a journalist who reports on the business of climate change for the Washington Post. He shared the Pulitzer Prize in 2020 for a climate change series,2C: Beyond the Limit.

An important part of this whole exercise would have to be a much greater degree of transparency than companies have now. The Biden administration, I think, is going to try to get the Securities and Exchange Commission to require that companies reveal more about their greenhouse gas emissions… So ideally, you’d like people to both be transparent and actually succeed in hitting those targets.

Steven Mufson, Washington Post climate journalist

Pete Davis is a civic advocate and cofounder of the Democracy Policy Network. He is the author of Our Bicentennial Crisis: A Call to Action for Harvard Law School’s Public Interest Mission and “Dedicated: The Case for Commitment in an Age of Infinite Browsing.”


Authenticity is very important– finding your authentic self. But if your authenticity is about never subsuming yourself in something bigger than yourself, never dealing with the messiness of working with other people or being part of a larger thing that might not fit you perfectly, you might end up with… anomie. The feeling of total spiritual isolation that there’s no meaning in your life at all.

Pete Davis, author of Dedicated: The Case for Commitment in an Age of Infinite Browsing

We don’t want people to be nosy. We don’t want people to be hypocritically casting stones. We definitely don’t want the old judgements of patriarchy and white supremacy and homophobia that oppressed and belittled so many people. But a world where you have no morality, no judgement, is a world where people get away with things. And I try to point to examples of good forms of judgement… this warmonger is trying to whitewash his legacy and re-enter polite society without anyone calling him out and saying, ‘You just spent 20 years doing horrible things, why are we welcoming you to the party still without any atonement?’ Judgement is what keeps communities going.

Pete Davis, author of Dedicated: The Case for Commitment in an Age of Infinite Browsing

If [only] the very people who are engaged now in infinite browsing would realize how many of the things they take for granted — that they like in this country — started out with a few people who said ‘No. We’re not going to have a flitting short attention span life. We’re going to have a life of commitment. And we’re going to choose the course of justice that our temperament and our priorities lead us to.’

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 376 Transcript (Right click to download)


  1. Don Harris says:

    I am not sure whether the segment on long haul heroes should provide me hope and encouragement or is just more salt in the wound.

    Sometimes it almost seems like an excuse for not doing something now or even a way to discourage people from trying to do anything because it will take twenty years of trying before you get anywhere. This person/idea hasn’t put in the twenty years of trying yet so they haven’t earned entry into the public discourse like those long haul heroes of the past.

    Maybe the lesson to be learned isn’t that people should ready for a long haul commitment, Maybe the lesson is that people like you Ralph should pay more attention to those trying to do something now in a better balance with those reviewing the past in their latest book.

    As someone that has made a commitment that you recognized on Washington Journal (10-24-2018) by saying that someone with my persistence deserves to have the idea heard and that you would have me on the Radio Hour to discuss One Demand, a way for citizens to work together to demand small donor candidates and enforce that demand with their votes, it is disappointing that you have not done so yet or explained why you have changed your mind.

    You have said that politicians want our votes more than big money and talked about citizens forming Citizens Watchdog groups and how a small group of people working in congressional districts can mobilize other citizens on issues of common interest.

    80% of citizens want the big money out of politics. That sounds like an issue of common interest and One Demand is an idea that is using the Citizens Watchdog group model to achieve this worthy goal of common interest.

    As I have been trying to get you to give an opinion on this idea since 2015 and even got through to you when you were on Washington Journal in 2000 with the basic idea of the Hundred Dollar Party that became One Demand this provides you with a perfect opportunity to provide a real time example of someone making a long term commitment and finally making some progress by making good on your statement that you would have me on the Radio Hour to discuss One Demand.

    If you can’t find time for a segment on the Radio Hour as you only have one hour per week, maybe you could get an hour on Washington Journal to discuss One Demand with me as they have up to 21 hours per week. Or maybe you could invite me to participate in your upcoming conference where One Demand could be discussed by you and others at the conference that may not have heard about One Demand or just did not pay attention for whatever reason.

  2. Monte McKenzie says:

    ralph you been blindsided totally all this is not is there mitiigation systems available …but how does the FF industry keep profits going ,,forever !

    The bigest problem is corporate profits and jobs protection …only the job of the corporate giants to do good for socety?

    your guests and most Americans never ask ? HOW can America go to zero emmissions answer is Produce zero emmissions energy and transmission energy costs paid for by planting trees to capture the emissions cost from distribution costs It costs lits of energy to transmit energy so insted of thinking zero energy electric generation we need to spend all efforts on solutions of providing all needed good & services needed by society to eliminating as many of the so called necessities to as near zero as possible !America need to outlay corporate profits unsustainable costs, end all ownership of anything as we only loan all necessary systems facilities and utilities sharing electric drills mowers etc and then we will have reduced 90% of all manufactrued goods that sit in garrarges flee markets and landfills !
    That is how we pay for people only working 20 hours a week and much of that is in talking about how to save energy or use less energy to do more beneficial activity that help people …not th make profits!
    Untill we switch our social objectives to making life longer more interisting & pleasureable!

  3. Bruce K. says:

    I’m not really convinced there is something wrong with NetFlix viewers …. 99% of what is on NetFlix is either garbage or stuff that might not interest a particular person. For example, being an older adult I am not longer interested in children’s programming, or I cannot stand horror movies.

    I can recommend some stuff that is pretty good from NetFlix in case you are interested:
    ( not in any particular order )
    Unabomber – In His Own Words – Documentary
    To The Lake – Very Good, Different, Escapist Russian Apocalyptic Series
    The Kominsky Method – Michael Douglas/Alan Arkin Hilarious Star-Studded Senior Comedy
    Our Souls At Night – Jane Fonda/Robert Redford Cute Senior Romance
    Occupied – Fascinating Norwegian Political Drama, Way Better & More Realistic Than House Of Cards
    The Dig – Award Winning True Archeological Story Of Lay Archeologist Unearthing Famous Viking Ship
    Ricky Gervais – After Life – Comedy About Suicidal Man Whose Wife Has Died
    The Game Changers – Informative 7 Clever Documentary About Veganism
    Marriage Story – Scarlett Johansson/Adam Driver Get Divorced With Horrible Lawyers
    Capital In The 21st Century – Documentary About The Book
    The Great Hack – Documentary About Our Personal Data
    The Social Dilemma – Social Networking Documentary

  4. John Puma says:

    There is NO genuine solution to impending climate chaos that can be expected from the conglomerate that produced it, i.e. those Mr Mufson identifies as our best hope: corporations, markets, technology, capitalism (and it’s mantra “always consume more” … AND worship/normalization of bottomless avarice) and media outlets such as the WaPo, roundly suspected as a CIA mouthpiece until all doubt was removed when its owner, revealed (all?) CIA contracts, at another company, for $600 million – twice the price he paid for the WaPo. See, for example, “Too Smart for Our Own Good: The Ecological Predicament of Humankind” by C. Dilworth

    I will, grudgingly, commend your guest for seeking to reveal that “carbon sequestration,” itself is an energy-consuming (therefore CO2 emitting) process … but he left out several steps (all energy-consuming) of the process: liquefaction of gaseous CO2, its transport to storage sites and pumping into storage sites.

    • Bruce K. says:

      >> that “carbon sequestration,” itself is an energy-consuming (therefore CO2 emitting) process

      That simply does not follow. Any solution is going to be energy intensive … which is why at the end of this if we survive we will ultimately be powered by nuclear power.

      • John Puma says:

        Yes, “any solution is going to be energy intensive” and any prospective solution that will emit more CO2 than it “eliminates” needs to be identified as “part of the problem” and so avoided. I simply suggested that the FULL calculation must be done well before any all proposed “solutions” are physically undertaken.

        Have you seen any such calculation for proposed nuclear power solutions?

        • Bruce K. says:

          I have, and I disagree with the premises with which they are made and how the technology and implementation would change with technological advances and economies of scale. I have always been a strong environmentalist, and it took me a lot of thought and time to get to this point, but when I look at the energy needed to restore the environment of this planet, pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere, desalinating water and pumping it all over the world in order to restore forests and un-desertify large areas of the planet, as well as the energy necessary to put into place a system that will close the recycling loop, and perhaps even dig up and mine old landfills for resources, producing electric cars and railways … we will not get there without massive amounts of very inexpensive electrical energy.

          Also, remember solar energy is subject to the sun, blockage of the sun, volcanos, tidal waves, tornadoes, and very vulnerable to military attack – and probably software hacking. I am not against solar in the least by the way. We need an abundance of cheap limitless energy if we are going to engineer on the scale needed.

          I prefer this effort was not done privately or at least with strict federal regulation …


    • Patsy P. Body says:

      There is some practical value in carbon seq. where the relative concentration of carbon is very high = in a smokestack, or at a gas wellhead or borehole. However this is a rear-guard action. 2nd law of thermodynamics is a wall too high to climb. Once emissions escape there is no viable energetic pathway back into the ground.