Natural rubber is widely considered a more eco-friendly and better product than synthetic rubber, but it still presents some issues. Natural rubber contributes to deforestation, biodiversity loss, pollution, and more. But climate change and disease also threaten natural rubber. And in a global market that already sees volatile prices, impoverished farmers, the stealing of land from Indigenous communities, and an international rubber cartel, these climate challenges just add to a laundry list of concerns. Today, we explore how rubber is made, what environmental, economic, and national security issues rubber presents, and what options we have moving forward. With special guest Dr. Miles Kenney-Lazar: Assistant Professor of Geography at the National University of Singapore.
The Sweaty Penguin is presented by Peril and Promise: a public media initiative from The WNET Group in New York, reporting on the issues and solutions around climate change. You can learn more at pbs.org/perilandpromise.
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Writer: Ethan Brown
Fact Checker: Haley Cronin
Editor: Frank Hernandez
Producers: Olivia Amitay, Ethan Brown, Megan Crimmins, Shannon Damiano, Frank Hernandez, Dain Kim, Caroline Koehl
Ad Voiceover: Maddy Schmidt
Music: Brett Sawka