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:
Brian Cox, who played patriarch Logan Roy on Succession, is calling attention to the global food system’s climate impacts. Speaking about recent weather changes in the UK and Europe, he told reporters, “When nature’s balance is disturbed, that goes all the way down through the whole system of how we feed ourselves,” adding, “There are not enough stipulations and rules about how we treat our animals and how we also treat our food. We need an entirely new paradigm on how we eat and when we eat and what we eat.” Prettty strong words from the man who warned his own family that they’re “not serious people.”
GETTING DOWN TO CLIMATE BUSINESS:
🌴 News of the devastating wildfires in Hawai’i rocked the world this week. The fires destroyed the historic town of Lahaina and killed at least 55 people. Climate change was a major factor in this fire. Higher temperatures and drought dried out native vegetation, and the invasive grasses that have plagued the state are extremely combustible. Further, climate change strengthens hurricanes, and the winds that stoked Hawai’i’s fires were generated by an off-shore hurricane. It’s imperative that we fight for climate solutions to prevent more tragedies like this one. In the meantime, you can donate to help relief efforts here.
📚 Florida’s department of education approved classroom use of climate denialist materials, and experts are concerned that approval in such a large state will pave the way for this damaging content to be used in other states. The material, produced by conservative nonprofit PragerU, promotes old climate denial chestnuts: that we’re experiencing a natural climate cycle, that renewables are dirtier than fossil fuels, and more. It’s pretty bad news, but hopefully they’ll be like me (not a climate activist — just someone who doesn’t pay attention in school.
🌫️ The US Department of Energy is funding two direct air capture hub developments in Texas and Louisiana to the tune of $1.2 billion. These are the biggest direct carbon capture developments in the world, and the hope is that they’ll create a path towards scalability and profitability. Hopefully, the plants will be over 25 times more powerful than the largest DAC plant currently underway in Iceland, and combined, they aim to pull 1 million tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere every year. Of note, one of the largest recipients of funds for these projects is Occidental Petroleum. If it works out, Occidental execs are going to start sounding like CO2’s mother: “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out of it.”
❓ For those of us who spend all our free time fighting for climate change solutions, it can be frustrating and confusing when other people don’t see the urgency of the crisis. Researchers conducted interviews with 32 climate change non-believers to gain greater insight into this phenomenon. According to the interviews, many climate skeptics react negatively to what they perceive as “overblown language,” and they don’t see a connection between dire climate warnings and their own life experiences and circumstances. They’re also unconvinced that extreme weather events are tied to climate change, and instead believe that they’re a natural part of life, but we hear more about them now because of greater availability of information. Fortunately, only 2 out of the 32 people interviewed dismissed the idea of climate change outright as a hoax, and most participants “shared an openness to some types of government action on the environment, particularly at the local level.” Good news! You’ve heard the phrase, “Think globally, act locally”? Time to get it tattooed on your forearm like the guy from Memento.
💰 Of course, if they don’t believe in climate change now, they will soon. For many Americans, climate change is driving up living expenses. In Florida, property insurance rates are skyrocketing. In Arizona, it’s energy costs, and “in fire-tormented California, health care costs are piling up as research has shown that wildfire smoke leads to increased emergency room visits.” And for Americans whose net worth is tied to their home, that valuation could soon plunge, particularly in at-risk areas. I guess even if your home isn’t underwater, your mortgage might be.
🕵️ A newly-released national intelligence strategy document reveals that the Biden administration is figuring out how to broaden its national security focus beyond traditional threats, like terrorism, and encompass newer dangers like those presented by global warming. In addition to supply chains and pandemics, the US intelligence community is boosting its focus on climate change. Climate denial, of course, is still the focus of the US lack-of-intelligence community.
71%: PERCENTAGE OF AMERICANS WHO HAVE HEARD “LITTLE” OR “NOTHING AT ALL” ABOUT THE INFLATION REDUCTION ACT (WAPO)
51M: GALLONS OF WATER NEEDED FOR EACH SHIP TO PASS THE PANAMA CANAL. DROUGHT HAS RESULTED IN A BACKUP OF SHIPS (REUTERS)
Talk Sustainability To Me
How do you solve a problem when you can’t describe it? With that question in mind, British sign language experts have created over 200 new sign language terms to better include the deaf in conversations about climate solutions. Pretty cool!