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CNN10 2022-10-24

CNN 10

The Debate About Student Loan Debts; Environment and Tourism in Botswana. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired October 24, 2022 - 04:00 ET


COY WIRE, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. So good to be with you. I hope you had an awesome weekend. Highlight of mine was meeting one of you when I was on a daddy daughter's date at a ramen restaurant. Super cool you said. Hey, it really ramen a lot to me.

I'm Coy. This is CNN 10. Let's start this week off strong.

First up, we're talking student loans. For years, the cost of college has steadily increased and today, more than half of students leave school with debt. Tackling the growing amount of student loans in the U.S. has been a difficult challenge. One that's been a hot topic in politics for years and with good reason.

Americans have $1.6 trillion in student loan debt. That's more than they owe in credit card debt or car loans. In August, President Biden unrolled a new plan that his administration says will help those borrowers.

Under Biden's plan, if you make less than thousand dollars a year or two hundred and fifty thousand dollars for married couples, the government will forgive ten thousand dollars of your previous student loan debt, meaning the government won't make you pay back the money they gave you for school.

Now, the plan doesn't apply to everyone and those who oppose it have said it'll be a burden on taxpayers and that it doesn't solve the root problems of why Americans have so much student loan debt. Others feel like it's not fair for those who never went to college in the first place.

The Department of Education on the other hand estimates that 90 percent of the loans being forgiven will be for lower or middle income families making less than seventy five thousand dollars, and supporters of the plan say if more people could be freed from paying off their debt, that money could go back into the economy instead.

Now, last week, the White House began officially accepting applications for the student debt cancellation program but on Friday a federal court of appeals put a temporary hold on the program after six Republican-led states filed a lawsuit saying the president doesn't have the authority to cancel debt.

It's a tricky subject so I'm going to toss it over to Camila Bernal in Los Angeles who weighs the pros and cons of forgiving student loan debt.


CAMILA BERNAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It may take a little longer but Cody Hounanian is still expecting a third of his student loan to be forgiven.

CODY HOUNANIAN, DIRECTOR, STUDENT DEBT CRISIS CENTER: It's a light at the end of the tunnel.

BERNAL: He's referring to President Joe Biden's student loan forgiveness program that would cover ten thousand dollars of his student debt because while he's been out of college for nine years, he still owes thirty thousand dollars.

HOUNANIAN: I recently married me and my wife are going to be thinking about purchasing a home. So it's all of a sudden kind of right in front of me again because I'm thinking about the kind of debt I have and I need to finance my future and get a home.

BERNAL: But while the administration was expected to start granting loan discharges as early as Sunday a federal appeals court put a temporary administrative holds on the program, a move being argued in and out of the courtroom.

USC economics professor Robert Dekle says that while all his students support the program he asked them to consider different perspectives.

ROBERT DEKLE, PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS, USC: Relative to defense spending and the overall government budget, the annual cost is not huge. But there is -- it's going to be a burden on current taxpayers.

BERNAL: He also says if the goal is to help low-income families, the government should instead invest in say early childhood education.

As an economist, Dekle says he thinks short-term loan forgiveness will only make inflation worse, but as a professor, he believes long term, this will make the U.S. more competitive.

DEKLE: We need people with skills and the way to get it is in higher education.

BERNAL: And it's that education that Hounanian says got him to where he is today, now the executive director of the Student Debt Crisis Center, a non-profit focused on ending the student debt crisis.

HOUNANIAN: For me the only way to open the door was to take on student loan debt even though it's created really unnecessary challenges and you know we've had to be stressed and all that. But my future is brighter nonetheless.

BERNAL: Now, he's not only waiting for his loan forgiveness, but also fighting so that others can also get the relief.

HOUNANIAN: My dream, my vision for a better America in the future is one where my kids don't even have to consider student loan debt.



WIRE: Ten-second trivia:

In which of these African nations would you find Chobe National Park?

Sudan, South Africa, Cameroon or Botswana?

Chobe National Park is located in northern Botswana and is home to herds of elephants and Cape buffalo.


WIRE: Next up, we're going on safari and we're not alone. Botswana's Chobe National Park has people flocking like a herd of elephants, a tower of giraffes, a confusion of wildebeest or a crash of rhinoceroses -- what a collective noun for your teachers be.

Anyhow, all the people are excited about the incredible wildlife in the region and that's good for the local economy but it's challenging the environment. My colleague Bill Weir is learning how park rangers there are using more environmentally friendly equipment to help preserve the ecosystem.


BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tourism is big business in Botswana, a landlocked country in southern Africa where wilderness and game reserves are the main attractions.

Of its approximately 2.3 million people, nearly nine percent work in the industry, with the majority of visitors coming to bask in the jewel of the Kalahari, the Okavango Delta and its neighbor Chobe National Park.

TSHEPISO VIVAN DIPHUPU, ENVIRONMENTALIST, CHOBE GAME LODGE: Tourists, they're traveling from very far places from their countries to come and see our beautiful country.

WEIR: But while all that traffic can be good for the economy, it can come in a huge environmental cost, as waste pollution and an increasing number of vehicles damage the health of the region's ecosystem.

BAINAME MAOME, SAFARI GUIDE, CHOBE GAME LODGE: This is the lion trek. It's heading to the west side. So it could be the lions that we saw down by the riverside yesterday.

WEIR: Here in Chobe National Park, home to Africa's largest elephant population, Bainame Maome works as a guide for Chobe Game Lodge, the only permanent property inside its borders and the first in Africa to use in electric safari vehicle and electric powered boat.

MAOME: All this electricity that used to power the boats and the vehicles are generated in-house from the solar panel. Even when we are driving the boats, the solar charges from the sun.

It's such a magical experience on electric boats because they are much more quiet than you can even hear birds calls and the animal calls like alarm calls for those who are bed watchers is a great moment and you can easily approach most potentially dangerous animal like elephants and hippos without even disturbing them.

WEIR: According to the lodge, the electric vehicles have helped them save over 2,500 gallons of diesel, reduce their carbon emissions by nearly 28 tons, and drastically cut back on an invisible but highly important issue in the natural world, noise pollution.

DIPHUPU: We can hear the noise from the other boats. You know, obviously, the diesel powered or petrol power, they make a lot of noise and then ours are so silent. Of course, being driven in the water, they produce zero emissions.

So they're so nice to maneuver around especially when elephants were swimming across, going to the other side. We can actually be close, you know, a few meters away just to watch them.

WEIR: Earlier this year, the fully eco-tourism certified lodge took another step to ensure their credentials by appointing Tshepiso as their first environmentalist and she says their sustainable practices extend across the entire property and beyond, from guest laundry services to up-cycling waste products.

For a population so reliant on the income that tourism brings, eco lodges like Chobe are vital in forging a path that can maintain and even boost visit numbers, without damaging the very ecosystem that makes Botswana such an attractive destination.

DIPHUHU: It's all about conserving and preserving what we have, you know, taking care of our environment, making sure we take good care of our flora and fauna. That's what matters most.


WIRE: Okay. For today's "10 out of 10", if you love playing cornhole or bags as some people call it you'll like this one big time. Matt Brokaw from Missouri made a beanormous cornhole board, it's so big that you need a giant slingshot to toss the bean bags. It's times larger than a standard board and it even lights up at night.

Matt said he'd bean dreaming of it for a while and it took several months to build and now it's getting a whole lot of attention. He thinks cornhole will be an Olympic sport one day. Do you think you could be a cornhole Olympian?

Well, it's bean a blast, and this show is almost in the bag, lovely people, and I can't wait to hang with all of you and see what's in the news for us tomorrow.

But before, I go I want to give a big shout out to Green Mountain Union High School in Chester, Vermont. Let's all go out today and do the little things that make this world a better place, even if it's just a friendly smile. I'm Coy and this is CNN 10.