This Friday is Earth Day and we’re taking it back to its roots: social justice and pointing out the real villains: oil companies. We’re thrilled to be relaunching the pod with Crooked Media this week. First ep? The Real Fuckbois of Fossil Fuel, a reminder of all the shit oil companies are actually getting up to despite all those greenwashing campaigns and “net zero” promises. You can check out the trailer here, and make sure to tune in wherever you get your podcasts, or via our new page on the Crooked site!
April 20 Is Still Fuck BP Day
By Mary Annaïse Heglar
Last year, we started a little tradition of trolling the oil giant BP especially hard on April 20. And this year, we’re keeping it up! For those who don’t know, April 20 is the anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that quickly overtook the Exxon Valdez spill as the biggest in U.S. history. We wrote before about how devastating that spill was, so we won’t rehash that here. Instead, this is just a quick invitation to join us on the Internet machine—be it Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, whatever—and send a terse “fuck you” to the folks over at BP to remind them that we ain’t forgot!
If last year is any indication, BP will likely not post that day… guilty conscious maybe? But it doesn’t matter. Troll their old posts, find their subsidiary accounts. They have a shit ton of them! And get in that ass!
And, oh yeah, have fun!
The Definition of Insanity
By Mary Annaïse Heglar
On Tuesday, New York City experienced a nightmare come true: an active shooter on the subway. Complete with smoke bombs and at least rumors of other “undetonated devices,” the event struck terror in the heart of the city. Anyone who has ever spent much time in New York knows that the subway is the lifeblood of the city, and almost everyone takes it. The other thing you know is that the subway is almost always crawling with cops. And not only did they not stop the shooting—which, with its smoke bomb, was VERY not subtle—the shooter just waltzed the fuck out the station! Still, there are folks clamoring for MORE cops!
Look, I don’t necessarily need to be yet another person pointing out the extraordinarily obvious fact that more cops do not solve or prevent crime, but I do want to point out that policing is not the only place where this happens. I can’t help but hear the calls for more cops on the subway and hear echoes of the calls for more fossil fuels as a solution for the war in Ukraine or, even worse, “energy security.” If cops were going to make us safer, they would have done so already. If more fossil fuels were going to make us more stable, we’d be stable. Sigh. Capitalism is so uncreative.
When the shooter was finally apprehended, it was by a regular New Yorker: Zack from the bodega. But the media still carried the narrative that the cops solved the crime. Because their narrative is always the status quo. They do the same shit with fossil fuels and gas prices—taking it as gospel that gas prices predict elections and therefore our lawmakers have to remove nonexistent regulations to get the gas flowing again. When is it going to be time to start questioning that?
Folks, it’s time for creativity. It’s time to rethink what’s possible and what’s reasonable. We can’t keep doing the same thing, but expecting different results. There are other solutions in this world.
Media and Climate Accountability
By Amy Westervelt
The March 2022 numbers on climate coverage from our friends over at the Media and Climate Change Observatory (MeCCO) came out the same week in early April that brought us the very first IPCC report to ever mention the media. The numbers show an increase from February 2022 to March 2022, but a decrease from March 2021 to March 2022. Radio coverage has also seen a sustained decline every month this year so far, which isn’t great given that about half of Americans still get their news from radio (really!). I suspect April will see the usual Earth Day spike, but I can’t help but look at the way the media has been covering soaring gas prices and the Biden administration’s subsequent moves to bend over backwards for the fossil fuel industry and wonder how the fuck it took so long to start including media in the conversation about climate accountability.
Max Boykoff runs the MeCCO at the University of Colorado, and was a contributing author to the latest IPCC report, which is a big part of how the few mentions of the media got in there in the first place. “I really pushed for a particular passage to get into the Summary for Policymakers that ended up on page 111 of the Technical Summary instead,” he told me. The Summary for Policymakers is a 65-page-ish summary that’s generally the first part of the report that’s shared with the media; it’s also the first thing anyone reading the report sees, so is often the only thing people see. That’s why oil-entangled governments often push hard to water down the Summary for Policymakers. This time around, anything related to corporate obstructionism or vested interests got scrubbed from it, for example. And so did this passage from Boykoff: “Accurate transference of the climate science has been undermined significantly by climate change counter movements in both legacy and new social media environments through misinformation.”
It seems so non-controversial given the mountain of evidence behind that statement, but it also makes me wonder why we’re still not seeing any major media outlet tackle this straight on either. Where is the mea culpa from The New York Times for helping Mobil Oil start the advertorial, for example, or (more recently) for making splashy greenwashing campaigns for the likes of Exxon and Shell? Every five years or so we get a new round of promises from legacy media outlets to do a better job covering climate, to hire more reporters and devote more space to it; I’m starting to wonder if maybe the reason those promises never deliver is the media’s resistance to acknowledging and really grappling with its own role in delaying climate action.
It’s Not Depression, It’s Betrayal
By Mary Annaïse Heglar
Over the past few years, I’ve seen a lot of talk about how kids today are so much more depressed than they were before. And I’ve experienced it in my own life, with the young people I care about. It’s palpable in pop culture, especially in shows like Euphoria, as I’ve written about before. The blame is laid at the feet of a lot of new phenomena: the pandemic, social media, the economy (of course). Almost always, these discussions tend to overlook a very obvious reason kids today are so depressed: climate change. All of those other reasons are things that can get better. Climate change is guaranteed to get worse, in all of our lifetimes.
This article in the Washington Post doesn’t mention climate change at all, and this one in The Atlantic mentions it but thinks kids are depressed about it because they keep hearing about it, not because it’s real and terrifying. In fact, I’d argue that the reason kids are so depressed is less that they’re hearing about climate change, and more that they’re hearing about how no one is DOING anything about it. They keep hearing about how we need to “do this for our children” and yet no one is doing jack shit. How does that deep of a betrayal not lead you to depression?
Back in my day (I’m 38), I definitely had my share of teen angst. I had my insecurities about how I measured up to my peers even without social media, thank you very much. But the thing that held me together was the promise that one day I would grow up and have the autonomy to shape my own future, and that the way history worked was that things got better. Kids today don’t have that.
Kids today wouldn’t be so depressed about all the catastrophes around them if there was more evidence that the powers that be gave enough of a fuck about their lives to actually DO SOMETHING about it. After all, as James Baldwin said, “the children are always ours, every single one of them, all over the globe.”
Your weekly roundup of climate coverage.
Rising Temperatures, Rising Tides
The Other Side of Disaster, by Yessenia Funes for Atmos
A Week of Extreme Weather - The New York Times, by Scott Dodd for The New York Times
Ocean Warming Doubles Odds for Extreme Atlantic Hurricane Seasons, by Bob Berwyn for Inside Climate News
Expanding drought leaves western US scrambling for water, by Susan Montoya Bryan for AP News
'Uprooted, Overturned, Stripped:' Two Tornadoes in Texas Hospitalize 12, by Lauren Leffer for Earther
The Wild, Uncertain Future of Carbon Dioxide Removal, by Molly Taft for Earther
Global Warming Drove a Deadly Burst of Indian Ocean Tropical Storms, by Bob Berwyn for Inside Climate News
Search is on for 103 missing after Philippine storm kills at least 138, by Neil Jerome Morales for Reuters
Scientists Solve an Antarctic Puzzle, by Henry Fountain for The New York Times
S.Africa releases emergency funds for deadly floods on east coast, by Rogan Ward for Reuters
Alarm bells but little action as Horn of Africa faces unprecedented drought, by Obi Anyadike for The New Humanitarian
Studies find climate change is driving ‘decisive increase’ in violent hurricanes, by Lina Tran for Grist
The Earth Is Facing a Nitrogen Shortage Due to Climate Change, Study Says, by Becky Ferreira for Vice
2 dead, more than 200 homes charred in New Mexico wildfire, by Susan Montoya Bryan and Paul Davenport for AP News
We're Failing to Prepare Our Children for the Climate Fight | The New Republic, by Eleanor Cummins
Hurricanes Dropping More Rain Due to Climate Change, by Lauren Leffer for Earther
The Climate Presidency?
Biden's Quest for Energy Independence Is Taking America in the Wrong Direction, by Kate Aronoff for The New Republic
WH environmental justice advisors press for Justice40 action, by Drew Costley for AP News
Gas Prices Force Biden Into an Unlikely Embrace of Fossil Fuels, by Michael D. Shear and Lisa Friedman for The New York Times
Biden's Climate Shift - The New York Times, by the staff of The Daily
Biden will allow summertime sales of higher-ethanol gas, by Lisa Friedman and Michael D. Shear for The New York Times
Marine Le Pen's Climate Policy Has a Whiff of Ecofascism, by Kate Aronoff for The New Republic
They derailed climate action for a decade. And bragged about it, by Kate Yoder for Grist
Gina McCarthy, Top Climate Adviser, Is Said to Be Planning Departure, by Lisa Friedman and Coral Davenport for The New York Times
A 'Silent Victim': How Nature Becomes a Casualty of War, by Emily Anthes for The New York Times
Blue State Activists Are Working to Decarbonize Trillions, by Nathan Newman for The Nation
Rich countries are illegally exporting plastic trash to poor countries, data suggests, by Joseph Winters for Grist
Former Central California water manager stole $25 million in water over 23 years, prosecutors say, by Gregory Yee for the LA Times
Press Freedom Is an Essential Climate Solution, by Giles Trendle for The Nation
California could shrink water use in cities by 30% or more, study finds, by Ian James for the LA Times
PG&E Avoids Criminal Charges for 2 Massive Wildfires by Paying $55 Million, by Audrey Carleton for Vice
Justice Is Justice Is Justice
Indigenous people are being killed to 'protect' a Congolese park, by Joseph Lee for Grist
Give Communities Control of Carbon Removal, by Andrew Bergman, Holly Buck, Olúfemi O. Táíwo, and Toly Rinberg for The New Republic
Young Montanans wage historic climate fight, by Ray Levy Uyeda for The Guardian
A Biomass Power Plant in Rural North Carolina Reignites Concerns Over Clean Energy and Environmental Justice , by Aman Azhar for Inside Climate News
Why Incarcerated Firefighters Struggle to Go Pro After Prison, by Justin Silverman for Vice
Climate policies must allow women to control their bodies and their fates, by Zainab Yunusa for The New Humanitarian
How Vanessa Nakate Mobilizes the Masses | Atmos, by Vanessa Nakate as told to Daphne Chouliaraki Milner
When Protest Becomes Criminal | Atmos, by Talia Woodin
Autocracies and Fossil Fuels Go Hand in Hand | The Nation, by Bill McKibben
'Cancer Alley' Residents Accuse Louisiana of Racial Discrimination in EPA Pollution Complaints, by Angely Mercado for Earther
Glimmers of Hope
Extinctus Plant Not Extinct, by Ed Cara for Earther
Study: Keeping climate pledges limits warming to 2 degrees | AP News, by Seth Borenstein for AP News
California Reveals Its Plan to Phase Out New Gas-Powered Cars by 2035, by Lisa Friedman for The New York Times
Climate in Culture
Our food system isn't ready for the climate crisis | Food | The Guardian, by Nina Lakhani, Alvin Chang, Rita Liu, and Andrew Witherspoon
I Wrote an Essay About “Petromasculinity,” and Conservatives Freaked Out, by Liza Featherstone for The New Republic
Rightwing populist parties blight climate policy, study finds, by Helena Horton for The Guardian
Battle over carbon capture as tool to fight climate change | AP News, by Drew Costley
'Capitalism didn't understand community': Brian Eno steps up the climate crisis battle, by Greg Cochrane for The Guardian
Iraq's ancient buildings are being destroyed by climate change, by Hannah Lynch for The Guardian
Culture-Building as Climate Work | Atmos, by Whitney Bauck
How Tesla and EV charging networks threaten the future of gas stations - Vox, by Rebecca Heilweil
Look at This Stretch of Amazon Rainforest Cleared in a Year, by Angely Mercado for Earther
Growing Pains, by Willow Defebaugh in Atmos