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:
An organization called the Climate Ambassadors Network is working with screenwriters to inject stories on the big and small screens with more climate details. Some experts believe that television might be extremely important in informing people’s behavior about climate: “Recent research by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication found that while 65 percent of American adults said they were worried about the climate crisis, only 35 percent reported discussing the topic even occasionally.” Look, I’m already watching so much TV. I’d like to at least FEEL like I’m helping the world by doing that.
GETTING DOWN TO CLIMATE BUSINESS:
🛢️ As you’ve probably heard by now, the Biden administration has officially given the green light to the Willow project off the coast of Alaska. It’s a disappointing move coming from the supposed ‘climate president’. Although the White House is framing this in the context of the other leases it won’t approve, the Willow project is extremely bad news for the climate, and it will easily cancel out all the progress the Inflation Reduction Act will make on reducing admissions. One commenter noted called Willow “a colossal and reprehensible stain on [Biden’s] environmental legacy.” One might even call it a colossal and reprehensible oil spill in the ocean of his conscience.
📰️ Speaking of Willow, the blog Heated did an informal analysis of various outlets’ reporting on the project, and they found that the vast majority of outlets are reporting on Willow as primarily a political problem as opposed to a climate one. These articles often fram this as Biden angering “environmental activists,” with little to no mention of the climate consequences of a project like Willow. News outlets do this to avoid the appearance of bias, but leaving out the essential scientific context of climate impacts is simply bad journalism; it’s not biased to tell readers that a huge oil project will make the climate crisis worse. If anything, leaving that part out makes you seem a little biased in favor of the oil companies. Whoopsie!
🇫🇷 Fortunately, some countries are doing better at it than we are. TV stations in France will start adding climate context to their news reporting, changing regular meteorological reports to “weather and climate bulletins.” The news director of France Télévisions, the media group spearheading the change, announced that this measure will “explain the weather differently, not just to say: ‘It’s going to be sunny tomorrow or it’s going to rain’, but to explain why.” Man, between this and the protests against raising the retirement age, the French are really speaking my language (metaphorically. Literally, we’re still speaking different languages).
🥞️ The maple syrup industry is the latest facing threats from climate change. Maple trees rely on a freeze-thaw cycle to produce syrup, and rising temperatures prevent this natural process from occurring, limiting production. Yeesh, I was already worried about what climate change was gonna do to the planet, but now I’m worried about what it’s gonna do to my pancakes.
⚖️ Some well-intended environmental laws are being used to reinforce the status quo, blocking new climate-friendly projects from going up or stalling progress on removing longtime polluters. 1970’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies to analyze the environmental impact of projects before they get the official okay to proceed. These documents used to be short and to the point, but they’ve ballooned in size to hundreds of pages and often take years to complete, making climate progress infeasible. After the LA City Council voted to end oil drilling, one oil company was able to block progress on removing oil derricks by claiming that the environmental impact study wasn’t comprehensive enough. Interesting how much oil companies loooooove the environment when they stand to make money off of it!
🪨 Researchers have found “plastic rocks” on a mostly uninhabited volcanic island, which are produced when sedimentary granules are held together with plastic, largely from plastic fishing nets. The island is an important nesting spot for turtles, and the only humans there are members of the Brazilian navy there to protect those turtles. The appearance of these plastic rocks in a place like this is further evidence that the fossil fuel era will now be reflected in the geological record. So in millions of years, when alien archaeologists are examining our planet, they’ll be able to tell exactly when humans started screwing things up.
1.8M: METRIC TONS BY WHICH PREVIOUS RESEARCH HAS UNDERESTIMATED HOW MUCH PLASTIC RICH NATIONS SEND TO THE DEVELOPING WORLD (MOTHER JONES)
7%: DUE TO CLIMATE CHANGE, OUR ATMOSPHERE CAN HOLD THIS MUCH MORE MOISTURE, CONTRIBUTING TO ATMOSPHERIC RIVERS (THE HILL)
Time To Start An Only Fans
Now that March is here, it’s time to start planning for keeping cool this summer. One energy-efficient alternative to AC is the humble ceiling fan, which can be an extremely effective way to cool your home in the summer AND keep it warm in the winter, depending on which way the fan is spinning. Did I convince you? If so, check out this guide on how to pick the right ceiling fan for your square footage.