Oprah Talks to Bobby Kennedy Jr.
Bobby: I've been told that it's not supposed to, but I think it has. There's a treatment for it: Botox shots. They put a needle into your voice box every four months. They still haven't gotten my dose right.
Oprah: It's fascinating talking to you. What is the number one thing Americans need to focus on in terms of the planet?
Bobby: Global warming. The good news is that we have the technological and scientific capacity to avert the most catastrophic impacts. All the things we need to do to stop the globe from warming are also the things we ought to do for our national security and economy. For instance, if we raised fuel economy standards in American cars by one mile per gallon, we'd generate twice the oil that's in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. If we raised fuel economy standards by 7.6 miles per gallon, we'd yield more oil than is now being pumped in the Persian Gulf. We could eliminate 100 percent of our Persian Gulf oil imports simply by raising fuel economy standards! That's a tiny investment compared with the $2 trillion we're on track to spend in Iraq and compared with the $60 billion a year we spent on military protection of the Gulf before the war. It would preserve us from entanglements with Middle Eastern dictators who hate democracy and are despised by their own people. It would keep us out of humiliating and expensive wars like the one we're quagmired in now. It would reduce our national deficit by $20 billion a year. It would make us all healthier, because we'd be breathing cleaner air. And we'd all be richer. I used to drive a minivan that got 22 miles per gallon. I spent more than $2,000 a year on gasoline. I now drive a Prius, which gets 48 miles per gallon, and I spend less than $1,000 a year on gas. What if every American had an extra $1,000 in their pocket every year?
Oprah: Why is it so hard to get this message across?
Bobby: In part it's because the press in our country is sick. They don't explain the important issues. They appeal to the prurient interests at the reptilian core of our brains—the craving for sex and celebrity gossip. So they give us Laci Peterson and Kobe Bryant and Michael Jackson, Brad and Angelina, Tom and Katie. We're the best entertained and the least informed people on earth. You can't even get foreign news in America unless you go to the BBC.
Oprah: Let's end with the issue you've devoted so much of your career to—protecting our environment. What are the consequences if we don't?
Bobby: The environment is the infrastructure of our communities. As a nation, as a civilization, it's our obligation to create communities for our children that provide them with opportunities for dignity and good health. When we destroy nature, we diminish ourselves and impoverish our children. We ignore that at our own peril.