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:
Lots of musicians are finding that their songs about climate change are resonating with Gen Z. According to Vox, “releases that describe the world ending in floods, droughts, and fires, like Hozier’s Wasteland, Baby!, Childish Gambino’s ‘Feels Like Summer,’ and Soccer Mommy’s ‘newdemo’ are making such an impact with the under-25 set — these millennial songwriters can relate to their generational frustrations and fears.” Fortunately, the piece ends on a hopeful note (pun intended) — music that helps young people process their feelings of grief also motivates them to act and find solutions.
GETTING DOWN TO CLIMATE BUSINESS:
🌡️ Some bad news from the U.N., as their newest environmental report has found “no credible pathway to 1.5C in place.” It sounds pretty grim, but this isn’t an all-is-lost moment. To stay on track to achieve 1.5C, the world needs to halve its emissions by 2030. The report indicates that no steps have been taken to make a gradual transition to this low-emissions world, but we can still achieve the target by prioritizing dramatic changes. The world is more conscious of climate change than ever, and is devoting more time and resources every day to finding solutions (and by supporting Gen E’s partners, you’re helping too!). Let’s think of this as a midterm report card. We’re not doing so well, but now we know to start banking extra credit and start cramming for the climate change final. Also, jeez, we really need to get a study system going.
⛰️ In the Alps, water resources could become contested as nations fight over disappearing snowmelt. Eight Alpine countries met this week to discuss how to divy up the water, and more importantly, how best to protect it. According to one representative, “governments have done well to put water on the agenda but stopped short of steps to tackle the issue — by setting up working groups, expanding research, or coming up with ways that water can be better shared in the future… they have still no courage to really address the elephant in the room.” As someone who grew up in the Colorado River Basin, allow me to say to these Europeans… Bienvenue/Benvenuta/Välkommen/Welcome to the club.
🌍️ U.S. climate envoy John Kerry emphasized the need for wealthier countries whose emissions are higher to address climate impacts in Africa. Much of this year’s most popular climate action has promoted the idea of “loss and damages” for these developing countries, but few high-ranking government officials have addressed this. While Kerry did not make a firm commitment to loss and damages, earlier this week he did not outright dismiss the idea, speaking of the need for “something real that we can begin to define for everybody.” So he didn’t say no! It’s sort of the climate policy equivalent of “go ask your mother.”
🏘️ Planners have started to create climate-proof towns, and there’s some good news and some bad news. The good news – they seem to be working! The bad news – they’re very expensive. According to one study, “planned communities tend to skew whiter, wealthier, and more college-educated than state averages. (74% of Babcock [Florida] residents have an undergraduate college degree, for example, compared to 30.5% state-wide).” And while old housing stock can be retrofitted to be more climate resilient, that’s expensive, too. My pitch? Let’s get HGTV in here. If we can start up a Property Brothers Climate Adaptation Extravaganza, we can have all of California fireproofed in a month, tops.
🧑🏿🤝🧑🏾️ In related news, hyper-local projects are helping to keep disadvantaged areas liveable. Things like planting trees in neighborhoods to provide shade, community gardens, and bioswales for water collection all contribute to climate adaptation that will protect local residents. Even better, most of these smaller initiatives don’t require high-level governmental permission, so it’s easier to proceed with them even when national climate talks have stalled. Turns out starting in your backyard is more effective, which is very convenient for lazy people like me.
🥤 According to a new report by Greenpeace, the “vast majority” of U.S. plastic waste is not recycled, even though much of it is being sent to recycling centers. Consumers can try to switch to alternatives, but it can be difficult given the sheer amount of plastic in the world. The solution: get corporations to stop producing single-use plastic and instead switch to items like refillable glass cola bottles. In addition to being better for the planet, they make a much more satisfying “clink” when you use them to cheers.
1.4M: DECREASE IN POUNDS TO THE EAST COAST’S CLAM HARVEST SINCE 2010, CAUSED LARGELY BY CLIMATE CHANGE (FORTUNE)
67%: PERCENTAGE OF AMERICANS WHO “RARELY” OR “NEVER” DISCUSS CLIMATE CHANGE WITH THEIR FAMILY AND FRIENDS (THE HILL)
A Little Self Promotion
Longtime newsletter readers will remember that when I’m not writing for Gen E, I work for a YouTube channel called Climate Town. We released a humdinger of a video this week about fossil fuels funding major news sites. And if you like my work as a newsletter writer, you’ll love my work as an amateur video editor in this post about updates to the channel and our new climate partnerships. Just one step closer to my EGOT!
Thanks for reading! – Nicole