tv PBS News Hour PBS August 4, 2022 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
♪ judy: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, detained in russia. brittney griner sentenced to nine years in prison for bringing a small amount of cannabis oil into the country. what still could be done to bring her home. then, scenes of war. soldiers use american weapons in a critical effort to push back russian forces. >> my home is now under occupation. there are guys on the other front fighting for liberation. i am doing the same on my front, fighting for someone else's home. judy: charges brought against
four officers in the raid that led to breonna taylor's death. all that and more tonight on pbs newshour. ♪ >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by -- >> fidelity advisors are here to help you create a wealth plan, a plan with tax sensitive investment strategies, plans focusing on tomorrow while you focus on today. that is the planning effect from fidelity. >> the kendeda fund, dedicated to restorative justice in investments in transformative leaders and investors. more at kendedafund.org.
carnegie.org. and with the ongoing support of these individuals and institutions. ♪ >> >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. stephanie: i'm stephanie sy with newshour west. the verdict is in. u.s. women's basketball star brittney griner now faces nine years in a russian prison. she was convicted and sentenced today on drug charges for having
cannabis oil in her luggage as she arrived in moscow last february. the biden administration had sharply criticized her arrest, and a u.s. diplomat condemned the verdict. >> this is a miscarriage of justice. the u.s. department of state has determined that ms. griner was wrongfully detained. nothing in today's decision changes that determination. president biden's national security team and the entire american government remain committed to bringing ms. griner home safely to her family, friends, and loved ones. stephanie: in washington, the white house urged moscow to accept what it called a "substantial offer" to release griner and another american, paul whelan. we'll take a closer look after the news summary. there's a major development in another high-profile case, the fatal shooting of breonna taylor in louisville, kentucky. today, the u.s. justice department brought civil rights charges against four current and former police officers.
they are accused of faifying information on a search warrant before she was killed by police during a raid on her apartment in march 2020. >> all people have a right to be secure in their homes, free from false warrants, unreasonable searches, and the use of unjustifiable and excessive force by the police. breonna taylor should have awakened in her home as usual on the morning of march 13, 2020. tragically, she did not. stephanie: one of those charged today was acquitted on state charges of wanton endangerment earlier this year. a jury in texas has ordered conspiracy theorist alex jones to pay more than $4 million in compensatory damages to the parents of a boy killed in the sandy hook elementary school rampage. jones had repeatedly claimed that the 2012 ooting massacre that killed 20 children and six educators in newtown, connecticut, was a hoax.
the jury must still decide how much to awarding punitive damages. the biden administration today declared a national public health emergency over monkeypox. the announcement makes federal money and other resources available to fight the virus. so far, the number of cases nationwide has passed 6600, nearly all of them linked to sexual relations between men. president biden has once again tested positive for covid-19. that makes six days in a row. the president's infection rebounded last weekend, but his physician said today that mr. biden is feeling well and his cough is improving. china launched a campaign of retaliation today as a dispute over taiwan escalated. it follows a visit to the island by nancy pelosi, speaker of the u.s. house of representatives. today, chinese forces fired missiles and sent warships and
planes into taiwan's waters and airspace. the aggressive moves sparked a war of words between the u.s. and china. >> the united states continues to have an abiding interest in peace and stability across the taiwan strait. we oppose any unilateral efforts to change the status quo, especially by force. >> the malicious provocation of the u.s. came first, while the legitimate defense of china came second. china's countermeasures are justified, and will certainly be resolute and forceful. stephanie: the u.s. condemned the chinese actions. the drills are set to continue into sunday. in afghanistan, taliban officials insisted today they did not know that al-qaeda leader ayman al-zawahri was in kabul. he died sunday in a targeted u.s. missile strike. american officials say he was living at a house linked to the taliban deputy director. the taliban had promised not to harbor al-qaeda members. a former governor of puerto rico, wanda vazquez, was arrested today in a federal corruption case. the s. justice department says
she took bribes to aid her 2020 campaign. she the first former leader of puerto rico to face federal charges. fire crews in northern california are making gains against the state's largest wildfire this year. officials report the mckinney fire is now 10% contained, with help from cloudy, rainy weather. the flames have scorched 90 square miles. so far, four bodies have been found in the burned-out landscape. in economic news, home mortgage rates on a 30-year loan fell below 5% last week for the first time in four months. and on wall street today, the dow jones industrial average lost 85 points to close at 32,726. the nasdaq rose 52 points. the s&p 500 slipped three. still to come on the newshour, u.s.a.i.d. administrator samantha power discusses global food security amid the ukraine crisis.
a nebook delves into how syemic racism is taking a toll on americans' health. a photographer gives her "brief but spectacular" take on the connection between humans and nature. and much more. >> this is the "pbs newshour" from weta studios in washington, and the west from the walter cronkite school of journalism at arizona state university. judy: let's look at what brittney griner could be facing, even as the u.s. government continues to negotiate for her release in a prisoner swap. the basketball star was sentenced to nine years in a penal colony. that happened after griner told a russian court that she "made an honest mistake." her defense team had tried to persuade the judge to be lenient, saying griner did not intend to break russian law deliberately. many wnba players posted messages of solidarity, and she
has been widelseen as caught up in the politics of the moment. but now, there are tough choices ahead. journalist julia yoffee follows osely.nd the russian system e'the founding partner of puck news and joins me now. julia, welcome back to the newshour. nine years in a prison, in a penal colony, for possession of a small amount of cannabis oil. how does this sentence compared to what a russian citizen or ordinary foreigner would have received? julia: it is hard to say, because right now an american would get a lot. in fact, earlier this summer, a couple months ago, an american teacher who used to work at the american embassy was sentenced to 14 years for possession of cannabis, even though he too had a medical marijuana prescription , which is meaningless in the russian system, which is a zero-tolerance country. of course, this is not about marijuana and this isn't about
medical marijuana. this is about the fact that russia sees itself as being at war with the u.s. and ukraine right now, and it is basically kidnapping american citizens and using them as pawns to get concessions out of the u.s. judy: the fact that she -- she tried to play it straight. she said it was a mistake. she apologized for what had happened. but that didn't seem to have any bearing on the sentence that she received. julia: even if we disregard the situation around her, russia invaded ukraine exactly a week after she was arrested. but even if we set that aside, even if we set aside the fact that relations between washington and moscow completely fell apart in the week after she was arrested, just the arrest for drug possession basically presupposes a guilty verdict. it doesn't matter what she said in court, whether she pled
guilty or not guilty, how she explained it, what kind of witnesses she brought, she would have been found guilty no matter what. the question is how long would the sentence be that the prosecutor asked for, and what kind of sentence the judge would have handed down. would it be somethg "light," like a five-year probation sentence, or something lenient, like six or seven years in a penal colony? it is worth noting the most common prison sentence for russian women, most russian women in penal colonies in russia are there for drug possession. judy: we don't know what to make of that. what do you think the prospects are that there was all this talk last week about a potential prisoner swap for brittney griner and another american being held in russia, paul whelen, for victor bout, a notorious arms dealer being held
in the united states? what do you think the prospects are for something like that coming together? julia: there are two things going on. the first thing, even though paul whelen was framed with a memory card and brittney griner was arrested with a small amount of cannabis oil and they are being potentially traded for an arms dealer who traded arms at a massive scale internationally, which you would think would be still a lopsided trade in russia's favor, the russians are saying let's do a two for two trade, otherwise it doesn't count. they are trying to offer things that are not serus. they are throwing into the equation an elite fsb officer convicted in germany of assassinating somebody in a german park in broad daylight. not only is he a murderer, he is in german custody. he is not somebody the u.s. can even hand over. he is not in u.s. custody. from what my sources in the
biden administration tell me, the talks are not going well. the russians do not seem eager to play ball, and they seem to be just kind of dragging their feet and seeing how much they can get out of the biden administration. judy: hardly any equivalents if there were to be a swap. what does she face? nine years in a penal colony. what kind of imprisonment are we talking about? julia: in russia, people are in prison for their pretrial detention, and while the case is being appealed, then they are transferred to a penal colony. many of these penal colonies are built on sites where gulags were. there is a lot of outdoor time, they are doing a lot of work. a lot of women's colonies are sewing, for example, uniforms for state agencies, and the heads of these prison colonies
make a lot of money off the slave labor of the women in these camps. these camps are often quite violent and have very elaborate hierarchies. there is a lot of sexual violence from the guards in these camps. my fear is that brittney griner, as a very tall american and black woman, really sticks out. she doesn't speak russian. unless somebody in the colony speaks english and takes her under their wing, she is going to have a really tough time navigating an already very har terrain. judy: very difficult to even think about that. julia, thank you for joining us. julia: thank you. ♪ judy: the war in ukraine has exacerbated a global food
crisis. the united nations says more than 800 million people go to bed hungry every night. a recent u.n.-brokered deal with russia and ukraine to allow ukrainian grain to leave the black sea offering some relief. but the problem goes well beyond that. nick schifrin has more with one of the administration's most senior officials, who's trying to tackle a worldwide challenge. nick: the u.s. says 40 million people have become hungry since russia invaded ukraine. the war has combined with covid, rising food prices, and the worst drought in 100 years in east africa. a senegalese minister recently warned more people could die from the food crisis than died from covid. among the most acutely affected, afghanistan, where 20 million people, more than half the country, are experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity. yemen, where 19 million are food insecure. and the horn of africa, where the u.n. says 37 million
people suffer from acute hunger. that is where usaid administrator samantha power recently visited to give a major speech about food insecurity, and she joins us in the studio. samantha power, welcome back the newshour. ms. power: good to be here. nick: ukraine and russia, there is a new deal to allow ukraine to export once again. ukraine and russia combined make up a quarter of the world's wheat exports. how big of a difference will that new u.n. brokered deal make? samantha: even since the deal was brokered, you saw an impact on global wheat prices. that is how significant it can be, but that was on the basis of the aspiration for the deal to stick for implementation to go forward, for the ships to start to move. we have seen one ship so far, 26 thousand metric tons of corn on that ship headed to lebanon, a place that is massively food insecure, a place that gets more than 80% of its weed from -- 80% of its wheat from ukraine. that is very significant. that is 26,000 metric tonshat would not have gone to lebanon if putin had stuck to the blockade, but it is one ship.
ukraine used to t into the global market before the war 6 million metric tons a month. we have 26,000 metric tons. very important, cannot discount that, but it gives you a sense of what he throughput needs to become if they get close to the 6 million metric tons and start to see the impact on global food prices and the reach of ukrainian sunflower oil, wheat, barley, and corn. nick: there are no u.s. sanctions on russian imports of -- exports of fertilizer or food, but there are sanctions on the transportation companies that would take that russian grain out, insurance companies that would protect the grain, and the russian banks into which people would pay for the grain. do you acknowledge that u.s. sanctions have contributed to the increase in global food crisis? samantha: what has caused the massive spike that we have seen since february 24 is russia's invaon of ukraine and this
completely willful blockade. all that had to happen was a security guarantee for any ship that was flowing. then you would have seen the insurance rates reflective of security guarantees. even in the wake of this deal, you see russia bombarding odessa, which has a massive effect on insurers. that is where the focus should be. in addition, you have seen the russian foreign minister travel to sub-saharan africa. and it is disappointing. there is a lot about who is to blame for global food prices, but not a lot that anybody can see, any assistance. misinformation, lies, but no actual support to countries like those in the horn of africa who are facing this incredible hour of need. nick: let's move to east africa. some of the largest buyers of ukrainian and russian wheat are in east africa, where tens of millions of people currently are suffering from various levels of hunger. food prices have risen dramatically.
there is historic drought. you went to kenya and somalia and announced $1.2 billion in assistance. some ways, is that a drop in the bucket for what is needed? samantha: well, it is a lot of money, and it will buy a lot of food and a lot of assistance. prior to the trip, i also announced an unprecedented investment in rutf, the therapeutic food and pouches, packets, for very malnourished, acutely malnourished, very small children under five. that is the largest investment in our atf that has been made. we are also doing a fundraising drive to get others to match that. nick: because others do have to step up. samantha: it is the rare form of food assistance where if young under five children do not receive these pouches, 90% of them will die ifhey are severely malnourished. but if they get those food pouches, 90% of them will survive.
for anybody who wants to contribute, unicef is managing this effort. this assistance is key. it is also key as a marker for other countries because we need other countries to do frankly what they did the last time the horn of africa faced a less severe drought back in 2016, 2017, which is to step up. right now, the united states is accounting for more than 80% of the world food program appeal. that is not sustainable. it is not sustainable to the taxpayer here, and we have had major bipartisan support for this effort to meet food needs, but it is also not sustainable because no one country can sustain funding for appeals that are going to be this significant. the scene is grim and we are seeing the precursors to what lies ahead. i met with pastoralists who traditionally are herding goats and cows and camels, which are very resilient in tough
climates, and many of them might have had 500 goats or cows or sheep even six months ago, gone. not one. suddenly their livelihood is gone, but also their fall back, their emergency reserve is the animals themselves. there are suicides among these individuals. but above all, there is severe hunger. we have to combine the emergency food assistance with the recognition that climate change is not going anywhere. it is only going to get worse in terms of the shocks. for individuals like that who are dependent on livestock getting access to feed but also to water, there are going to have to be alternative pathways for them. that is what usaid specializes in. there again congress has stepped up and given us more resources to invest in drought resistant seeds. but other countries are not in
that effort in the way we need them to be. nick: one country that is showing up in africa is russia. sergei lavrov just did a visit. the u.s. is the largest donor across the board when it comes to this stf, but nearly half of the african countries voted not to condemn russia's invasion of ukraine earlier this year. do you acknowledge in some ways your assistance does not match your influence? samantha: i think the u.s. has tremendous influence across sub-saharan africa. i will say because the u.s. is the country that shows up first, just a year plus ago with vaccines to help vaccinate those in sub-saharan africa who wish to be vaccinated, then so soon on the heels of getting ppe, diagnostics, and the vaccines so soon, to be showing up in this way, leading the world in providing food insecurity assistance and humanitarian emergency food and health aid, it is overwhelming, that show of
leadership. nick: russia is offering permanency on the un security council. samantha: where has russia been for the nearly 80 year history of the united nations in opposing reform? but putting that to one side, what is clear is that some of the voices that made the biggest difference in actually bringing about the u.n. and turkish brokered deal to let the grains go, to end putin's blockade and his war on food and war on the poor around the world, it was african voices, developing country voices that made a difference. whatever their fears about intimidation, because there is a lot of intimidation that occurs before a vote is about to happen, and there is a lot of bribery that goes on, but in the end, those appeals behind the scenes, the pressure from those countries has gotten us to this point and needs to be sustained. nick: i only have about 30 seconds, so very quickly. half the population of
afghanistan experiencing acute food insecurity. wfp says the number of donations is going down, the price of food is going up to the point where only 8% of the country will soon receive food rations. just 30 seconds. can the u.s. do more to help the people of afghanistan? samantha: we are the largest humanitarian donor by far since the fall of kabul. we have provided more than 500 million dollars in assistance in afghanistan, humanitarian assistance. this is another area where we need untraditional donors, those from, the gulf and elsewhere who might have ties with the taliban regime. we need them to step up and join us in providing assistance. nick: we have to end it there. thank you so much. samantha: thank you. ♪ judy: now to t war that is causing some of this food crisis.
russia bombed several key ukrainian cities today, including kharkiv, ukraine's seco largest city. it has been under fire since the first day of the invasion, and its proximity to the border makes it an easy target for russian artillery. but newly delivered western weapons are helping ukraine slow down the russian advance. special correspondent volodymyr solohub and videographer bohdan kinaschuk look at life on the frontlines. volodymyr: kharkiv has been under constant shelling for more than five months now. hundreds of thousands of its residents have fled the city. you can feel the war here on every corner. just a 10 minute drive from the city limit and you're in the middle of the war zone. we go there with members of khartiya volunteer battalion. >> our volunteer battalion was created in march, and the idea was to protect our city for people who are volunteers. mostly all of us, we are from
kharkiv and we are protecting our own city. volodymyr: you can hear the war the moment you leave the city. soldiers take us to their reconnaissance headquarters. these volunteers are working in close coordination with the regular army units to gather and share intelligence on the russian movements near kharkiv. rubens is a platoon commander. >> all of us here, we are not paid by the government. we are all volunteers. and all of us are willing to die defending the city of kharkiv. volodymyr: this platoon commander reminds us about his team's main motivation. but there's another source of motivation -- these pictures of russian brigade commanders. this one killed. when talking about russians and
their treatment of ukrainian prisoners of war, rubens becomes dark. the only thinghat brings a smile to his face is one thought. >> till the victory. i think it won't take too long. until we have victory, no one leaves. volodymyr: another team trying to bring that victory one step closer, on the outskirts of kharkiv, is this artillery brigade. the russians are about 10 miles away. dmytro joined the army and this brigade in early 2021. he fights to evict russians who've seized territory, including his hometown. >> i'm from kherson. my home is now under occupation. there are guys fighting on that front trying to liberate my home. i'm doing exactly the same on this front, fighting for someone else's home. volodymyr: and they fight with american weapons.
three months ago, they received these u.s. howitzers. they're more accurate, their range is about 20 miles, and they're faster loading. >> this is a great support from our friends, and it helps us to keep the enemy away in this area, to hit the targets precisely in on time, and provide support to our infantry. volodymyr: dmytro was among the ukrainian soldiers that went to germany to train to operate these weapons. americans get months of training. these ukrainians got just one week. the ukrainian military says these american m777 howitzers are lighter, easier to operate, but most importantly, more precise. afterward, they camouflage the howitzers to avoid russian drones. but they know they'll have to fire again soon. the fighting in this war never seems to stop. for the pbs newshour, i'm volodymyr solohub in kharkiv,
ukraine. ♪ judy: more than two years after breonna taylor was killed by police in louisville, kentucky, the u.s. justice department has filed federal charges against four police officers involved in her death. officers fired more than 30 rounds into her apartment. her case sparked national marches, protests, and calls for social and racial justice. stephanie sy has the latest development in the case. stephanie: judy, this is the first time multiple officers have faced criminal charges for actions that attorney general merrick garland said resulted in breonna taylor's death. four current and former officers -- joshua jaynes, brett hankison, kelly goodlett, and kyle meany -- are facing federal indictments. among the charges, the attorney general alleges that officers
submitted an affidavit for a search warrant that they knew was based on lies, and then conspired to cover up what they allegedly did. the department of justice also said hankinson used excessive force when he fired blindly into taylor's apartment. breonna taylor's mom, tamika palmer, reacted to the news. >> breonna has taken us to a place that we can't even imagine. today is overdue, but it still hurts. stephanie: breonna taylor's mom has been counting the days for federal charges to be filed. joining me is roberto ferdman, who has been covering the investigation. roberto, thank you for joining the newshour. breonna taylor's mother never stopped fighting in the last two years for some accountability for her daughter's death. how far did these federal charges go in offering hope for
her and others who feel those officers felt they were above the law? roberto: i would say tamika palmer is by no means the only person in louisville who feels like some semblance of justice is beginning to be served after the death of breonna taylor, her daughter. people in louisville have been waiting for over two years now, and they feel like they have been failed at the city level, at the state level, certainly by the kentucky attorney general's office's investigation. for instance, brett hankinson just a few months ago was acquitted on charges not dissimilar from those brought at the federal level. i think they view this as the start of some change, some justice. stephanie: as you mentioned, brett hankinson was just acquitted a few months ago, and there was criticism that none of the officers ever faced homicide charges. the kentucky attorney general decided not to do that. these do seem like serious
charges out of the department of justice, but are they enough to give some peace to breonna taylor's loved ones? roberto: it is hard to say what exactly peace would mean. but i know there were some eaer eggs in the presser earlier today by the attorney general's office and the doj where they made it clear this is the first part of what is being released as a result of their now year and a half long investigation into the louisville metro police department, and that investigation includes not only a look into what happened that night, but broader practices by the police department. i think people will pay close attention to see what announcements come next, what charges are announced next. stephanie: as far as these four officers are concerned, i know at least a few of them have turned themselves in, been arrested, been booked. what happens next in this process? roberto: three of the officers
have been arsted. one of them was not arrested. it seems it is pretty clear that is because she has already agreed to plead guilty and is potentially cooperating. what is next for them is a trial. the dates have been set for a few of them. the expectation is that kelly goodlett will plead guilty. the others, it seems like they are prepared to plead not guilty, but their lawyers have not shared anything other than confirmation of their arrests, which we also know from the mugshots that have been released. stephanie: ayou say, the department of justice is continuing a separate investigation into civil rights violations by the louisville metro police department. i kn you and your team at vice have also been looking into the department for the last two years. what have been some of your main takeaways about what is going on? roberto: a few months ago in may, we released a two-year-long investigatiobroken into two different parts. the first part focused on a pattern of sexual misconduct by police officers in the department, and the department's
failure to thoroughly investigate claims. this is part of what the doj is investigating, the internal affairs department. we released a second part that focuses on a pattern of disappearing money and drugs from search warrants. this is a problem specific to the narcotics unit. the doj is also investigating its practices around search warrants. so our hope is that the department of justice will uncover some of these things we pointed ouin our investigations, and our hope i that as a result of this news, more people, not just in louisville, but elsewhere, will become privy to that. it seems all too often, only through public disappointment, public outcry do these things actually change. not very much has changed locally in louisville. stephanie: in the last 30 seconds we have, what would you say as far as the message that this sends? the fact that these charges
against four officers, no less, federal indictments, have come down. what message does it send to police departments dealing with their own cases of excessive force and questionable police practices? roberto: i think there is a broad understanding that police departments are not capable of regulating themselves. there are examples of cities and states not doing it either, and i think the federal government is coming in in saying if are not going to do it, we are going to do it. stephanie: roberto ferdman with vice news. thank you so much for joining the newshour and for your reporting. roberto: thank you for having me. ♪ judyas we know, social media can certainly motivate people for good and otherwise. calls to action to clean up the oceans, rivers, and beaches have
galvanized volunteers and gone viral. given the magnitude of the problem, how should we assess the impact? paul solomon looks at one youtube-focused campaign that has hit a particular chord. it is part of our coverage of the global plastics problem. >> we are almost done, jimmy. >> four straight days of picking up trash. paul: two youtube superstars scouring the dominican republic for trash. >> this will take forever. paul: jimmy donaldson, a.k.a. mr. beast, known to his 99 million followers for pranks and giveaways -- >> closed two briefcases, there is $20,000 in them. if you retrieve it, you can give the money. this is a bird feeder and everything surrounding me in my yard is an attempt to protect it from a thieving squirrel. paul: and a former nasa engineer , with 22 million youtube fans, whose passion for engineering led to such science stuns as the squirrel run and do it yourself glitter bombs to deter package thieves.
in 2019, he and mr. beast launched team trees, donate a dollar to plant a tree. 17 million planted thus far. now, another internet campaign to combat climate change. >> which is why we are following up team trees with team seas. >> we need your help to get 30 million pounds of plastic and trash out of the friggin' ocean. paul: from rivers in far-flung countries to the shores of easter island, rubbish rules the waves. >> for every one dollar you guys donate, one less pound of trash will be in the ocean. paul: to spare the ocean and those who inhabit it besieged by plastic straws -- >> oh, man! paul: team seas raised $30,000 in two months. >> that is bake sale money, lemonade stand money, tooth fairy money. paul: money that now goes in part to their cleanups in places like l.a.'s dockweiler beach.
>> i decided to come out. my kid knows about the youtuber, so he wanted to come help. paul: you are a mark rober fan? >> he is. >> thank you guys for coming out here. paul: partnering with them is the ocean conservancy, which recruits volunteers like these to comb beaches worldwide. many of them are dirtier than dockweiler. >> you have to be careful the assumptions you make. when you get close to the surface, you start to see a lot of these things that are micro plastics. plastic wrap resembles jellies other types of foods heavily ingested by sea turtles, fish. paul: micro bits of plastic in the ocean and even our bodies. >> humans, being atop the food chain, arelso ingesting them. ul: anya brandon, among many scientists to think there might be a fix to the plastics problem, tried mealworms.
there got bacteria digest styrofoam. -- their gut bacteria digests styrofoam. after years of research, she concluded there was no real fix at all. >> it would take probabla couple thousand mealworms a month or two to eat something like a typical styrofoam coffee cup. and we've got a lot of cups out there in the world. paul: so brandon left the lab to work for the ocean conservancy. the other half of team seas ' $30 million goes to the ocean cleanup, a dutch nonprofit that makes interceptors. as an engineer, mark rober loves these garbage-gobbling robots. >> 80% of the garbage flowing to the ocean comes from 1% of the rivers. their idea is to put these trash cheating robots on the worst offending rivers, and that will go a long way to fixing the problem at the source. paul: the ocean cleanup reports that to date it has removed more than 3 million pounds of trash. >> here in l.a., you can see the moorings that will be built to anchor the device in place.
paul: lee works for los angeles county, where the first u.s. interceptor is headed, just north of doc weiler beach. this placid canal floods during winter storms, funneling debris from streets and drains into the pacific. >> every year, about 30 tons of waste, litter, bottles, food waste, floating trash into this water body here. paul: but are these really solutions? there are only eight interceptors worldwide, and this one will handle just nine of the 600 miles of waterways in l.a. alone. and plastic is pouring into our oceans at a rate of 8 million metric tons, more than 17 billion pounds each year. as for trash picking, how much beach gunk are volunteers likely to gather by hand? >> the amount of plastic we add to the ocean means that it is
added back to the ocean every 15 hours. paul: british atmospheric scientist simon clark. >> over time, the integrated difference you have in the environment will be much less than if you primed your audience to think that systematic changes the way to fix the problem. paul: clark is also a youtuber, though by contrast his is a micro-following, 430,000. but they follow his skepticism. >> if i lay in the ocean covered in plastic and someone comes in to help clean some of it up -- could you do something abut the people who are adding the plastic in? >> simon can sit in his bathtub and criticize all day long. i will be out here on the beach picking up trash, inspiring the next generation. paul: his argument is the only real solutions are big policy solutions. >> that's right. he is right, but how do you get policy? you elect people who care about those issues. if politicians know that people care about these issues and they see that $30 million was raised
grassroots, you better believe i'm going to be talking about those policies that enforce that. paul: and on the beach, pele were listening and spreading awareness. >> if i see somebody else doing it, maybe i can help out. >> even the people around here that are having their parties and doing their thing, they are seeing us clean up. it is creating this awareness. >> let's start a new bag. this one is getting heavy. paul: do you think you will be more aware of trash in the ocean and on the beaches? >> yes. paul: at the end of the day, 151 volunteers picked up 206 pounds of trash. with a little help from mark rober, less from me. but i started late. the motivation for the younger trash collectors -- do you pick up trash? >> yeah. paul: why? >> because the earth can get polluted. paul: for those who might be dawdling, rober added an incentive -- a selfie. -- a selfie in exchange for a
bucket. >> did you get a lot of big pieces? >> yes. >> then you earned this. you have to start somewhere and it starts with the hearts. i am in the business of getting the hearts and minds of the people caring about this thing. policies will come from that. paul: this is your first time picking up trash? >> yeah. paul: was it fun? >> yeah. paul: did you enjoy picking up trash? >> yes. paul: he snared some hearts and minds here. in between him and buddy mr. beast, another 122 million, mostly young people, are getting the message. for the pbs newshour, paul solman, combing dockweiler beach with only this story to show for it. ♪ judy: health disparities among different racial groups remain a major problem in the united states, one that was magnified during the height of the pandemic, but has been part of american history since its
earliest days. a new book looks at the causes for that. amna nawaz has our conversation. amna: linda villarosa puts it this way. "at every stage of life, blacks have health outcomes -- poo -- poorer health outcomes than whites. that is true whether we are talking about maternal health, cardiovascular disease or other conditions. she says racism, both personal dissemination anstructural racism, are at the heart of these problems and play a much bigger role than is generally acknowledged. it is the focus of her new book "under the skin: the hidden toll of racism on american lives and on the health of our nation." linda villarosa joins me now. linda, welcome back to the newshour. thank you for joining us. the book begins with kind of this personal revelation. i mean, you've been porting in this space for years, bueven you say at the beginning of the book, you came to realize what you believed about all these health disparities was wrong. what did you have wrong?
linda: i think i grew up in a household of strivers, and so we believed that personal responsibility was everything. so if you just took good care of yourself, you would be fine. and if you just did everything right. and then i ended up at essence magazine as its health editor. and that was, we believed in self health. we believed if every black person, every black woman especially, took care of herself and the others around her, it would lift the health status of the race in general, black americans. and no matter how hard we tried, that just wasn't true. so it took a minute to say, wait, i need to shift my thinking. amna: you write about this dangerous and persistent myth, as you say, that black bodies are somehow different, and in that section you tell us the story of the ralph sisters. tell me why their stories are important. linda: it was important to look at as a form of reproductive justice, that we didn't have the right to have children.
so during the enslavement years, we had a kind of forced labor and that had a double meaning. so our babies were worth something if we were commodified because of the free labor that was upholding the economic structure of the country. but once the enslavement years were over, then it was sort of like, well, no, we don't want you to have children anymore. and the ralph sisters fell into that. they were 12 and 14 in 1973, when they were sterilized without their parents' explicit consent and without their knowledge, even. and what i did was i looked into that case, and i had read about it, i had heard about it, and i went back to montgomery, alabama, where it happened, and i found the sisters, who are now in their 60's and, you know, they're living in a way that they don't exactly know how their case changed history. so after they won their case, it became illegal to sterilize people against their will or without their consent.
but they didn't benefit in any way. amna: you tell these stories, and i think sometimes people look at them and say, well, these ar things that happened, but you document how some of those dangerous ideas and myths persist today and impact health decisions and how health care is practiced today. there's a specific kidney test, which shocked me to learn about. i did not know that it's processed differently for black people than it is for any other race. tell me about the justification for that and why it matters. linda: it seems like the justification came a long time ago, and it was the idea that black people had genetically different bodies than white people, including in lung function, pain tolerance, and also in kidney function. and that became that dangerous idea and really myth became embedded in medical education and practice. and it was interesting because i was trying to tell someone that this still existed, that you get a black reading or a white reading. and i went to the doctor six months ago, i had a kidney
function test, and i got -- there was a black reading and a white reading, and the black reading was circled for me. and it was different. and i just had to say to my friend, look at this test. this proves that we're still doing this. amna: and we should say that so-called black reading, as you put it, requires a higher threshold for any kind of care, and that black americans suffer from kidney failure at a rate three times higher than white americans. so that's where it links to the outcome. but the book is intensely personal. i mean, i read your reporting for years. but you talk about your own family and your own experience and the racism you endured in a mostly white neighborhood in the denver suburbs. you also write that the research became real for you when you became pregnant. tell me about that. linda: i was very surprised. i was doing everything right when i became pregnant in the late 1990's. and, you know, i was expecting to have a really perfect pregnancy. i was eating right, i was taking care of myself. i was the health editor of
"essence," so i was being a role model for other people. so i was really surprised when i saw my doctor who, you know, i had really good health care and a doctor who was my friend, and i went to the doctor and she said, you need to go to a specialist because your baby is not growing at a rate that is expected at your level of pregnancy. so i went to the specialist and i got, you know, the specialist talked to me and was asking me what i was doing was wrong, sort of, how are you eating? what kind of drugs are you taking? and asking me about all kinds of illicit drug use. i finally said, what is going on here? my baby was born very small, four pounds, 13 ounces. she's a healthy young adult now. but i often thought of the racism that i endured as a younger person throughout my life, and i thought, does that have anything to do with my baby's size? and now, i mean, i'm a case study of one, but i've certainly heard and reported on a lot of other pregnant and birthing
people who have had terrible birth outcomes or tragic birth outcomes, and it's beginning to be widely acknowledged that something about toxic stress, something about enduring discrimination in america is bad for your baby and bad for your body. amna: these are issues that have been studied for generations. they have been well documented, the disparities, for generations. i'm curious what you think about, from your perspective, why are we still having this conversation today? linda: i think it's very hard to talk about race and racism in america. and even when i talk to medical groups and, you know, they're ry interested in these ideas, but there's a level of defensiveness, and it makes it seem like i'm saying to you, individual physician or nurse or medical practitioner, that you're racist, which i don't believe. i think that racism and discrimination are baked into
the our system and society and institutions, including the healthcare system. and when i talk about it, it's not an individual indictment. this has been well evidenced, very well documented, and it's not a personal indictment. what it is, is it should be a call to action to make a change in the way medicine is practiced in america. amna: that is linda villarosa, author of the book "under the skin: the hidden toll of racism on american lives and on the health of our nation." linda, thank you for your time. linda: thank you so much. ♪ judy: camille seaman is a photographer who has been documenting climate change in the polar regions. over the years, she has witnessed first-hand the drastic effects of climate change, and says she hopes to merge the realms of art and science in order to get a message across -- we only get this one earth, and we must take care of it. tonight, she shares her "brief
but spectacular" take on being a good ancestor. camille: art is not only important, it is necessary for us to communicate what is happening with our planet. without art, i don't think we will ever truly be able to communicate what climate change is. ♪ camille: i had an incredible childhood. primarily, ipent time at my grandparents' house. and my grandparents are of shinnecock and montauk descent. and my grandfather especially thought it was very important for us to know that we were interconnected and interrelated with all beings. as a small child, he would take me into the woods and introduce me to each tree. and he'd say, "this is your relative in the same way that i
am your relative, and you must respect it." when i saw my very first iceberg in antarctica in 2004, i remember just shaking because i was thinking, how many snowflakes is this? how many ancestors' water is this? and so, when i photograph them, i am literally photographing the water of my ancestors, as if i am making a portrait of my ancestors. i feel that a photograph is not successful if it's only giving you information without helping you to feel something. if you look at one of my photographs and feel nothing, i have failed. i look at the glaciers that i've photographed, for example, in antarctica, and those glaciers look crumbly. unwell, unsafe. the climate change that i have
witnessed in my now 20 years of visiting the polar regions is shocking. i hope that humans will realize that we are of this earth. we only get this one. and one day we will realize just how special it is. i just hope it's not after we have lost so much of what makes it special. my name is camille seaman, and this is my "brief but spectacular" take on being a good aestor. judy: spectacur photography. what a powerful message. you can watch more "brief but spectacular" videos at pbs.org/newshour/brief. also online, it has been two years since an explosion in a beirut port rocked the lebanese capital, killed hundreds, and left thousands injured. the search for answers is still ongoing, with families of victims calling for justice to
be done. we take a look back. that's on our instagram. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you. please stay safe, and we'll see you soon. >> major fding for the "pbs newshour" has been provided by -- >> for 25 years, consumer cellular has been offering wireless plans to help peopldo more of what they like. our u.s.-based customer service team can help find a plan that fits you. to learn more, visit consumercellular.tv. >> the ford foundation, working with visionaries on the front lines of social change worldwide. and with the ongoing support of these individuals and institutions. and friends of the "newshour."
and with the ongoing support of these institutio. and friends the "newshour." ♪ this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. ♪ >> this is the pbs newshour, from weta studios in washington, and in the west from the walter cronkite school of journalism. ♪
-"jacques pépin: heart & soul" is brought to you by... for those who cook with heart and soul, we present a kitchen made with passion. introducing the completely reimagined suite of appliances from kitchenaid. you can see more at kitchenaid.com. oxo good grips -- thoughtfully yours. vine connections, proud importer of la posta single-vineyard malbecs. argentina at your table. bertolli -- proudly crafting olive oil since 1865. -viva bertolli! -riedel, the wine glass company. -oceania cruises -- worldwide destinations, fine dining, personalized service. your world. your way. -i think that for the last 40 or 50 years, i've been making new recipes