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:
Billie Eilish headlined Lollapalooza this Thursday, and her set was “partially solar-powered by intelligent, zero-emission battery systems.” Eilish partnered with Reverb, an organization she helped launch and fund that partners with musicians to make concerts more sustainable and engage music fans in climate action.
GETTING DOWN TO CLIMATE BUSINESS:
🌊 A new study about Atlantic ocean currents has “reinvigorated” conversations about climate collapse. The study “predicted the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC, could pass a tipping point and collapse as soon as 2025.” The AMOC current, which brings warm water from the equator towards the arctic and cold water to the tropics, will certainly slow down as climate change gets worse. But the warmer the Earth gets, the harder it is for scientists to predict exactly what will happen. However, some experts urge us not to focus on tipping points, as they obscure the fact that every fraction of a degree we stave off will have important climate benefits. I tend to agree, mainly because I can NOT handle the responsibility of fixing an entire ocean current.
🇮🇹 Leaders from Italy, Greece, Croatia, Slovenia, Malta and Portugal released a joint statement calling for climate action in response to extreme temperatures, fires, and droughts throughout the Mediterranean. Per the statement, “All Mediterranean countries must coordinate and react, engage in a collective effort to halt and reverse the effects of the climate crisis,” however, they did not specify how or make any formal proposals about policy or collaboration. This might be due to the fact that “the president in Italy plays a role in resolving political crises and tends to speak out in broad terms on wider social issues, while steering clear of partisan positions.” You might say they’re “Tutto parlare.”
🌡️ The combined effects of climate change and this year’s El Niño cycle have made this summer the hottest on record, and the extreme temperatures and weather events are starting to shift public perspectives on climate change. Researchers from Yale indicated in 2016 that people were first starting to connect personal experiences to broader patterns of climate change, and their current polling indicates that at least 44% of people say they have personally experienced the effects of climate change in their lives. The researchers reminded interviewers that “an extremely small yet vocal climate-denying minority can tend to dominate the discourse,” even though support for climate action is widespread. Climate deniers are like ska bands: just because they’re loud doesn’t mean they’re popular.
⚕️️ As climate changes human environments, doctors must update their practices to account for new impacts on human health. In addition to heat-related deaths and illnesses, climate impacts like flooding can result in malaria, diarrhea, malnutrition, and more. Now, over 400 medical schools have integrated climate change into their curricula. That’s great! But it’s only 14% of total medical schools. That knowledge needs to spread fast, because according to a poll by the Lancet, two-thirds of surveyed cities “expected climate change to seriously compromise their public health assets and infrastructure.” America might consider turning to places already impacted by climate change, like American Samoa, to better understand how their doctors are handling the compounding climate and medical crises. And if I know anything about doctors, using a “conference” as an excuse to go to an island paradise is right up their alley.
♻️ The Environmental Protection Agency has recommended eliminating the familiar “chasing arrows” logo and replacing it with something less confusing. Critics say that the symbol implies plastics are more recyclable than they are. Instead, they recommend a solid triangle with a number indicating the resin code inside, so consumers don’t associate it with recycling. I’m glad they’re trying to clear things up, but frankly, this just seems confusing in a different way. I need a box that says “Can you recycle this? Yes, No, Maybe.”
🚰 Los Angeles International Airport just became the second airport in the world to ban the sale of plastic water bottles (San Francisco was the first). To keep passengers hydrated, LAX installed more water fountains and water bottle filling stations throughout its terminals. They’ll also continue to sell water in containers made from more sustainable materials, like aluminum. Nearby Van Nuys also banned the sale of plastic water bottles, but that also tends to be where celebrities park their private jets, so, you know. Baby steps I guess.
3,000: THE UNITED STATES BROKE NEARLY THIS MANY HEAT RECORDS IN THE PAST 30 DAYS (WAPO)
62%: PERCENTAGE OF AMERICANS WHO THINK CLIMATE CHANGE HAS “SOME OR A GREAT DEAL OF IMPACT” ON THEIR LOCAL COMMUNITY (PBS)
Talk It Out
Summer is a particularly bleak time of year for climate activists, and if you’ve found yourself getting discouraged recently, you might have somewhere to turn for support. Climate conversation groups are growing in popularity and serve as an outlet for activists to vent, commiserate, and discuss climate solutions. When you’re fighting to save the climate, it’s good to know you’re not doing it alone (ESPECIALLY if you’re trying to reverse an entire ocean current. It’s too much for me!!).