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:
This week The Hollywood Reporter released their Sustainability Issue, and they asked celebrities like Natalie Morales, Alicia Silverstone, and Quannah Chasinghorse about their sustainable habits. Would you believe it – none of them mentioned flying in private jets!
GETTING DOWN TO CLIMATE BUSINESS:
🌎 The big climate news this week was the release of the new IPCC report, which was as strongly-worded as a climate report has ever been: we gotta cut it out with the fossil fuels or face catastrophe. Per the report, we’re likely to pass 1.5C degrees of warming by 2030, and children born today could experience, “several feet of sea level rise, the extinction of hundreds of species and the migration of millions of people from places where they can no longer survive.” The report demands action now. But! Before you get too depressed, remember: the report urges action because we are still able to take action. It reminds us that we have the tools and technology and could start bringing emissions down today. We also have the technology to create AI photos of Abraham Lincoln riding a dinosaur, but I don’t think that will help us fight climate change.
🌳️ Make no mistake, the most important thing we can do to achieve that goal is stop extracting and burning fossil fuels, post haste, but the report also advises sucking carbon out of the atmosphere. As we’ve mentioned before, some methods for doing so are more realistic than others (looking at you, ocean fertilization). You can read about some of the options here. My personal favorite is simply planting trees and reforestation. Call me old fashioned, I guess!
💧 The UN warns that carbon isn’t our only problem — the world is staring down a water crisis, too. The amount of people in cities around the globe facing water scarcity could double by 2050. Currently, agriculture uses up about 70% of the world’s water supply, and shortages and droughts are exacerbated by climate change. Some solutions include international cooperation to avoid water conflicts, flood and pollution control, and, of course, fighting climate change. And I guess it would also help if I stopped having long imaginary arguments in the shower. I always win, though!
↗️️ The American climate migration has already begun, as Americans living in vulnerable areas migrate to the upper midwest region seeking more stable climate conditions and reliable fresh water. One unexpected hot spot (cool spot?) is Duluth, Minnesota, or, as one real estate expert put it, “climate-proof Duluth.” To me, that sounds a little like calling the Titanic “unsinkable,” but maybe I’m just superstitious.
🚢 One under-discussed pollution source is the large cargo ships that bring goods across the world, but there’s good news on that front. Apparently, “new hi-tech wind-propulsion can be fitted to existing ships to cut fuel use, supplying between 10% and 90% of a ship’s power needs.” As the article points out, wind blows harder at sea than on land, and also, “wind is free.” Then what the heck is ConEd charging me for?!
⚖️ Montana youth are suing the state for violating its own constitutional “right to a clean and healthful environment.” This is the culmination of legal efforts that began in 2011, when a group called Our Children’s Trust brought a suit to the Montana Supreme Court, who told them they needed to start with the lower courts. They’ve been documenting the impacts of climate change on Montana, as well as the state’s support for fossil fuel interests, ever since. Now they’ve teamed up with young people between age 14 and 18 to sue the state for their future. I hope these teens win their case, even as I’m jealous that they’re too young to serve on jury duty for it.
120: NUMBER OF LAWYERS WHO SIGNED A DECLARATION SAYING THEY WILL NOT PROSECUTE PEACEFUL CLIMATE PROTESTORS (THE GUARDIAN)
2300: THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION NEEDS TO ADD ROUGHLY THIS MANY WORKERS TO THE EPA TO REACH PRE-2016 STAFFING LEVELS (WAPO)
Get The Lead Out
With all the stories about lead pollution coming out around the country, from places like Jackson MS, Schenectady NY, and Milwaukee WI, you might be concerned about contamination in your own life. If you want to make sure you’re not starting the morning with a hot cup of lead, Gizmodo put together this handy guide on what to do if you think your community has lead in the soil.