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!)

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In Pop Culture:

🎥 The Wild & Scenic Film Festival just wrapped up in California, and if you love both the environment and film, this is for you! There was quite a variety, with films covering activism-inspired stories about people protecting places, and also films highlighting the intersection of climate/nature and many other aspects of life, like sports, mental health, hiking, visiting national parks, farming, and even the aftermath of nuclear testing. This article is a great overview of it all and includes info on where and how you can watch some of these films now. Very Gen E-approved!

🌚 The US landed on the moon for the first time in over 50 years, in what can only be described as in very American fashion. The private-owned unhumaned spacecraft was co-branded with Columbia Sportswear logos, carried a Jeff Koons sculpture on board, and was outfitted with a special camera for taking selfies. Oh and NASA paid $118M to get some of their equipment up there. Current spacecraft status: tipped over on its side and can’t get up (too soon to lol?!). Maybe next time it should think twice about lugging a sculpture around on what is essentially an interstellar backpacking trip! Pack light, bro.

🫡🦉 RIP Flaco The Owl, who died tragically Friday evening in NYC. We love you and we’ll miss you. 😢


🚘 EV Standard Slowdown: Biden is easing his foot off the gas pedal when it comes to the US’s electric vehicle transition plan. Transportation is the largest source of emissions in the US, so electrifying all vehicle types is key to reducing our contributions to climate change. But in this election year where EVs are becoming politicized, the EPA is expected to relax short term tailpipe emissions standards, originally meant to accelerate the transition to emission-free EVs. While a pause in stricter standards would allow more time to expand a national charging network, build a domestic supply chain that reduces the cost of EVs, and appease labor unions, time is the one thing we don’t have on a warming planet.

♨️ Harnessing Geothermal Energy: Using heat from the Earth’s core to produce electricity is an underleveraged renewable energy source that is getting fresh funding from the DOE and investors alike. Currently, geothermal energy makes up only 0.4% of the national mix. But startups are leveraging technology from fracking, as well as new tech to bring enhanced geothermal energy to more parts of the country, at a lower cost. One startup is testing a method to use it for energy storage too, where the deep underground becomes a natural battery to complement wind and solar farms when they aren’t producing electricity. While we’re not going to match Iceland in their geothermal dominance, the potential for it to represent up to 20% of our electricity is there.

🦞 Kelp + AI: Australia is losing its giant kelp forests at an alarming clip; only 5% remain around coastal Tasmania. The kelp simply can’t survive the warmer ocean temperatures induced by climate change, which also supports invasive species that further dwindle populations. So Aussie scientists, environmental nonprofits, and Google have partnered up on a project to restore 30% of the lost kelp forests with more heat resilient strains. Google’s AI will scour enormous volumes of satellite images and create a map of any remaining kelp forests to first get the lay of the ocean. It will then identify the most heat resilient kelp. From there, the teams will target areas to reforest. If AI can be an environmental ally, and not destroy us all, then fine.

🗄 SEC Caving On Climate: Those at the intersection of finance and climate have been waiting with bated breath for the SEC to finally release its climate disclosure rules for publicly-listed US companies. Well, we’ll just have to wait longer, but in the meantime, the SEC just announced a disappointing development – it will not require companies to report on Scope 3 Emissions. Scope 3 represents the bulk of most company’s emissions. They include emissions generated from supply chains and from consumers using the end product. This omission in future disclosures is a big win for the corporates who have been lobbying against reporting on Scope 3 emissions in order to avoid responsibility for what they produce and how it’s made. However, global companies won’t be off the hook, since the EU now requires Scope 3 disclosures for large companies, and California will require the same starting in 2027. Take that.

🤥 Recycling Is Trash: Misinformation is nothing new. In the latest installment of We Know What You Lied About Last…3 Decades: Plastics Edition, new evidence has surfaced proving that Big Oil (oil is used to make plastic) and the plastic industry knew that recycling was a sham. “Recycling cannot go on indefinitely, and does not solve the solid waste problem” they said, but decided to go all in on marketing it as a waste solution anyway. Sadly and unsurprisingly, their advertising and lobbying efforts worked as the world has invested heavily in recycling infrastructure and influencing consumer behavior. But recycling plastics doesn’t work. It’s not economically viable, plus plastic can only be recycled 1-2 times before it degrades and ends up in a landfill. Expect more lawsuits against plastic manufacturers, consumer goods companies, and oil companies as the rest of us look for accountability and responsibility for cleaning up the plastics crisis.



Wild Ice Skating

⛸ Some of my fondest memories from growing up in New Jersey, Ontario, and Ohio are related to ice skating and playing hockey on frozen ponds (sometimes frozen driveways!). There’s a carefree, pure joy about skating on freshly frozen natural ice that is hard to match. I’m a winter person. So the fact that the very existence of frozen natural ice is becoming an anomaly in parts of our country where it was once standard is deeply disturbing. On a warmer planet, the joys of ‘wild skating’ could be lost for next gen kids and adults alike. But it’s not lost yet, and preserving true winter is one of the things I’m fighting for. This article has some beautiful images of people who drop everything to skate on fresh ice in Alaska. I’ll be adding ‘wild skating in Alaska’ to my bucket list, because the idea of ice skating for miles while surrounded by snow-capped mountains and glaciers is just wow.