Hey climate heroes! Welcome to The Climate Roundup, where we round up the change, er the news about climate and the environment. As part of the Gen E community, we thank you for making climate action part of everyday life. (Reading this newsletter counts!)
In Pop Culture:
New images were just released of the TV climate drama, Extrapolations, starring Meryl Streep, Forest Whitaker, Kit Harrington, Yara Shahidi, and more. According to the studio, “Extrapolations features eight interconnected stories which explore the life-altering choices people are forced to make in the wake of an escalated climate crisis all whilst they navigate love, faith and family.” Dang, sounds like I’m gonna have to cancel one of my other 95 streaming services and subscribe to Apple TV+ again.
GETTING DOWN TO CLIMATE BUSINESS:
🌎 Some experts are concerned about possible trade wars resulting from policies in the US and Europe intended to speed the energy transition. Such policies subsidize domestic sources of green energy production, which put foreign companies at a disadvantage – which has traditionally been forbidden by the World Trade Organization, which sought to “knock down trade barriers” and “boost global commerce.” But here’s the thing – if we want to stop mining coal and oil at home, we need to switch some of those jobs to renewable manufacturing, and the only way to do that cheaper than other countries is with domestic subsidies. If you want to learn more about the WTO’s impact on renewable technology and jobs, check out Naomi Klein’s book, This Changes Everything. And if you want to learn LESS, I dunno. Check out that new Natasha Lyonne detective show, she’s great.
🐘️ In the US, Republicans have traditionally been the party that ignores or even denies climate change. But, whether it’s because they’ve actually had a change or heart or because they realized young people are going to stop voting for them, it looks like they’re starting to develop their own climate policy. The Energy Subcommittee has been renamed the Energy, Climate and Grid Security Subcommittee, and some GOP lawmakers have proposed policies that would sequester carbon for tree planting and boost deployment of renewable energy. However, even within the Republican party, there is criticism of these efforts. One congressional staffer said, “They have not yet articulated clear climate goals, and their proposals are inadequate to address the risks associated with climate change.” Basically, we should treat the Republicans like we treat Bigfoot: I’ll believe it when I see it.
👴 The aging populations of certain countries has been getting a lot of buzz recently, and while many fear that soon, we won’t have enough young people to care for the elderly, “some are arguing that these aging and shrinking populations could be good for the climate movement. Smaller populations in first-world nations, who emit the most, mean less consumption and less demand for fossil fuels. I am, frankly, a little skeptical of this line of thinking, because it’s pretty easy to go from seeing the benefits of a smaller population to straight-up genocide. But it does allow me to recommend my new favorite podcast to you, since they did an episode all about this. I love recommending things. I get all the credit for good taste without having to actually make anything.
🌡️ A new study shows that the process by which carbon is pulled out of the air by rain, dissolved and combined with limestone, and washed into the sea, where it gets locked away in rock — otherwise known as Earth’s “thermostat” — is too slow to prevent climate change. However, some scientists have proposed mining and grinding rock to lay out in crop fields, which would theoretically hasten this process. That sounds much smarter than my suggestion: buying a gigantic Google Nest smart thermostat.
🌱 The United States doesn’t have enough native seeds to restore damaged landscapes in the wake of fires and floods. These native plants have adapted to their local environments and are the best option to restore not only those environments’ natural beauty, but also their functional integrity. Now, the Bureau of Land Management is working to build its seed supply. Some private companies produce native seeds, but with inconsistent demand, it can be hard to have all the needed seeds ready following a disaster. One way to alleviate this is to start proactively restoring public lands so the demand is more consistent. Not to mention, we should probably be proactively restoring public lands anyway. It’s kind of like how cleaning for 5 minutes a day means you never have to spend an afternoon wearing an old bridesmaid’s dress at the laundromat because you haven’t done laundry in so long. Don’t ask me how I know.
🇫🇷 In France, small plastic pellets, the raw material that factories melt down to produce larger plastic items, have been washing up on a beach. Because this type of plastic pellet is so ubiquitous in manufacturing, it’s impossible to know exactly where they came from, but they’re likely the result of a shipping container spill. Gen E affiliate The Surfrider Foundation organized one cleanup that collected more than 60,000 pellets from a single beach. The only fun thing about this story is that the French call these little pellets “Mermaid Tears,” which is a really whimsical way to talk about an ecological disaster.
34: DAYS THE AVERAGE SKI RESORT’S SEASON HAS SHRUNK BETWEEN 1982 AND 2016 (BBC)
$60M: THE DAILY WIRE SPENT THIS MUCH ADVERTISING ON GOOGLE SEARCHES FOR “CLIMATE HOAX” (THE GUARDIAN)
The Daily Climate Show
Hate to toot my own horn two newsletters in a row, but we did a couple climate stories on The Daily Show this week that I’m really proud of! The first, at this timecode, was a piece that host Wanda Sykes brought in about an oil commercial she saw, and the chat with the correspondent was written by yours truly. Later in the week, Roy Wood Jr. visited the Forest Defenders in Atlanta to find out more about their efforts to preserve a local area from deforestation to create a police training course. It can be tough to get climate stories on late night TV, so whenever they pop up, I like to share them! Tell the networks this is what we want!
Thanks for reading! – Nicole