The News Is Bad – So Take Care of Yourselves
By Georgia Wright
Conditions are ripe for a perfect storm of doomerism this week, and it’s up to us to prepare accordingly. The cause du jour? On Monday, the U.N. International Panel for Climate Change, or IPCC, is slated to release yet another earth-shaking report. It's the first of three such reports in the next year that will collectively make up the panel’s sixth major climate assessment since the ‘90s. And those of you reading this newsletter will not be surprised to learn that their findings are projected to be, uh, not great. Gird your loins.
I’m not the first to point out that this means there’s going to be an onslaught of downright dystopian headlines in the news this week. They will be designed for maximum terror. And for those of us, like me, who are prone to incapacitating climate grief and anxiety, browsing the internet is going to be a mental health minefield.
This setup reminds me of something my mom and I talked about when I was a kid. I was an anxious child who often ruminated at length about the worst things that might happen to me and my loved ones (undiagnosed OCD will do that). So when I took part in our school’s D.A.R.E. program, and was forced to watch corny Hallmark movies about teens dying dramatic deaths due to substance abuse, for example, I would go home virtually shaking with terror. I’d obsess about this scared-straight media for weeks on end, convinced I’d die from the vague cause of “drugs.”
My mom would say to me, “Sweetie, listen. Those movies, all of the scary language, that’s not for you.” What she meant was: you little anxious child, you’re already scared of the things of which they’re trying to warn you. You’re already cautious. You don’t need to saturate yourself with media you know will push you over the edge. It’s not productive to obsess over dangers that you are already afraid of – so please, honey, create a little distance. Make sure you take care of yourself.
It’s advice that I am resolved to take this week, and I’d urge you to do the same. As you’re exposed to headlines that are crafted to grab the attention of the disengaged, don’t let fear eat you alive. You’re already here, aren’t you? Instead of panicking, stay your course. Call your senators. Take a walk. Go to a protest. Do what you need to do to sustain your involvement in this movement. If not for yourself, do it for the climate. We can’t afford burnout – we’re in this bitch for the long haul.
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The Media Needs a Reckoning
By Mary Annaïse Heglar
July was chock full of extreme weather and disasters. So much so that people outside of the usual climate sphere started talking (and screaming and crying) about climate change. You’d think the media would have followed suit. And you would have been wrong.
In July, the global media attention to climate change increased just 4 percent from the previous month. In the United States, print media coverage increased by 15 percent, but television coverage decreased by 18 percent. How in the literal hell?
Smoke Season Sucks
By Amy Westervelt
It’s wildfire season in California, and it’s surreal. I was at a kid’s birthday party last weekend and we sat around talking about our new summer calculus: since no one has AC around here, how hot does it have to be at night for you to open your windows and let in a bunch of smoke just to cool off enough to sleep? We had all cracked at 95 degrees a few nights before. That day, though, the air was clear, so we had a brief respite. This week, a new fire started nearby so now we’re smoked in again. Smoked in: trapped inside with windows shut tight, but your eyes and throat are still burning from the stuff that sneaks in through the cracks. Especially fun with energetic little kids.
This Heat Isn’t “Southern.” It’s Climate Change.
By Mary Annaïse Heglar
I’ve been in New Orleans for three weeks, and each week has had markedly different weather. The first week, it rained—a lot—every day. The second week, it was so hot and humid, I felt like I was being cooked. And that happened to be the week I had to be outside the most to run errands to set up my apartment, because I don’t have a car. This past week, it’s been hot, but way less humid. Hallelujah.
But that second week, I could always tell when I was talking to a non-Southerner because after a little bit of conversation, they’d say something like “oh, but you’re a Southerner, so you’re used to this.” Honey, no. This type of heat for these sustained periods? No one is used to that. Because that is climate change.
Your weekly roundup of climate coverage.
Rising Temperatures, Rising Tides
Study reveals effects of extreme heat on tens of millions of Americans, by Katharine Gammon for The Guardian
Dixie Fire in California Grows to Largest Blaze in US, by Sophie Kasakove for The New York Times
Wildfires burn out of control in Greece and Turkey as thousands flee, by the Associated Press
FEMA Knows a Lot About Climate-Driven Flooding. But It's Not Pushing Homeowners Hard Enough to Buy Insurance, by James Bruggers for Inside Climate News
After Deadly Floods, a German Village Rethinks Its Relationship to Nature, by Katrin Bennhold for The New York Times
Crucial Ocean Current System Including Gulf Stream Is Faltering, Research Suggests, by Heather Murphy for The New York Times
Greek Villages Evacuated as Wildfires Threaten Ancient Sites, by Niki Kitsantonis and Megan Specia for The New York Times
Southwest Wildfires Endanger Saguaros, by Simon Romero for The New York Times
Climate Change Could Devastate Emperor Penguins, U.S. Officials Warn, by Catrin Einhorn for The New York Times
Dead zones spread along Oregon coast and Gulf of Mexico, study shows, by Katharine Gammon for The Guardian
Reduce methane or face climate catastrophe, scientists warn, by Fiona Harvey for The Guardian
Climate crisis: Scientists spot warning signs of Gulf Stream collapse, by Damian Carrington for The Guardian
Emissions from cows on New Zealand dairy farms reach record levels, by Tess McClure for The Guardian
Millions more people vulnerable to flooding in next decade, study shows, by Katharine Gammon for The Guardian
Converted offices pose ‘deadly risk’ in heatwaves, experts warn, by Damian Carrington for The Guardian
Hawaii's Big Island Is Burning With the Biggest Wildfire It's Ever Seen, by Becky Ferreira for Vice
Greenland Lost Enough Ice in a Single Day to Cover Florida, by Molly Taft for Earther
A Heat Wave Has Triggered a 'Massive Melting Event' in Greenland, by Becky Ferreira for Vice
Key Atlantic Current Weakening—But Could It Collapse Completely? By Brian Kahn and Molly Taft for Earther
The oldest tree in eastern US survived millennia – but rising seas could kill it, by Ayurella Horn-Muller for The Guardian
California Hydropower Plant Shuts Down as Key Reservoir Hits Low, by Brian Kahn for Earther
What happens when millions – or billions – of sea animals die on one day? By Emily Carrington for The Guardian
Smoke From Siberian Wildfires Has Reached the North Pole, by Dharna Noor for Earther
Young farmers lose hope as drought closes in: ‘It’s like a sad country song’, by Lee van der Voo for The Guardian
Ground Temperatures Reach a Blistering 127 Degrees in Turkey, by Molly Taft for Earther
The Climate Presidency
Why Mainstream Media Struggles to Explain the Infrastructure Plan’s Climate Spending, by Kate Aronoff for The New Republic
Biden, in a Push to Phase Out Gas Cars, Tightens Pollution Rules, by Coral Davenport for The New York Times
Biden Announces Record Amount of Climate Resilience Funding, by Christopher Flavelle for The New York Times
Infrastructure Bill Recognizes Climate Change Is a Crisis, by Christopher Flavelle for The New York Times
How Biden’s E.V. Plan Could Help Tesla and Squeeze Toyota, by Jack Ewing and Neal E. Boudette for The New York Times
The Exodus of Expertise Under Trump, by Coral Davenport for The New York Times
Biden Administration Orders New Review of Drilling in Arctic, by Henry Fountain for The New York Times
America Faces Cascading Crises. Democrats Must Act., by Katrina vanden Heuvel for The Nation
The New Economics Is Here, by Mike Konczal, Steph Sterling, and Felicia Wong for The New Republic
The Carbon Cost of California's Most Prolific Oil Fields, by Ingrid Lobet for Inside Climate News
US Forest Fires Threaten Carbon Offsets as Company-Linked Trees Burn, by Camilla Hodgson for the Financial Times
Despite One Big Dissent, Minnesota Utilities Approve of Coal Plant Sale. But Obstacles Remain, by Dan Gearino for Inside Climate News
Democrats Seek $500 Billion in Climate Damages From Big Polluting Companies, by Lisa Friedman for The New York Times
Asset Management Firms Could Gobble Up Biden's Climate Spending, by Kate Aronoff for The New Republic
Facebook let fossil-fuel industry push climate misinformation, report finds, by Chris McGreal for The Guardian
Adapt or die. That is the stark challenge to living in the new world we have made, by David Wallace-Wells for The Guardian
Justice Is Justice Is Justice
In Three Predominantly Black North Birmingham Neighborhoods, Residents Live Inside an Environmental 'Nightmare', by Julia Benbrook and Augusta Saraiva for Inside Climate News
OPEC's Infighting Could Signal the End of High Oil Prices, by Stephen Paduano for The New Republic
Reforestation hopes threaten global food security, Oxfam warns, by Fiona Harvey for The Guardian
How the California Megadrought Is Affecting Food Prices, by Thor Benson for Earther
Glimmers of Hope
It’s Never Been Easier to Call Your Senators and Demand Climate Action, by Dharna Noor for Earther
Facing Severe Droughts, Developers Seek to Reuse the Water They Have, by Patrick Sisson for The New York Times
Cargo bikes deliver faster and cleaner than vans, study finds, by Damian Carrington for The Guardian
How a federal clean electricity standard could transform US climate policy, by Rebecca Leber for Vox
Some Sunscreens Are Now Banned at Thailand's Marine Parks for Good Reason, by Teirra Kamolvattanavith for Vice
Climate in Culture
Redfin Will Tell You How At-Risk Your Dream Home Is to Climate Change, by Dharna Noor for Earther
Seeing the Climate Crisis Through the Eyes of Henry Thoreau, by Wen Stephenson for The Nation
Can the Olympics Take the Heat? By Alan Burdick for The New York Times
‘Bring Your Own Brigade’ Review: Some Say the World Will End in Fire, by Manohla Dargis for The New York Times
Brian May's Flooded Basement Foretells a Climate Under Pressure, by Mark Landler for The New York Times
We’re Freaking Out About Rats Cause We Can’t Handle Climate Change, by Liza Featherstone for The New Republic
‘People think you’re an idiot’: death metal Irish baron rewilds his estate, by Rory Carroll for The Guardian
How to fight climate change — and cope with anxiety about it, by Anna North for Vox
Is the US Ready for More Electric Buses?, by Aaron Gordon for Vice
Iceberg Wall Collapses at the Titanic Museum, What Does It Mean? By Tom McKay for Earther
Study: Which Countries Will Best Survive a Collapse? By Heather Murphy for the New York Times
The growing debate about the future of biodiversity, by Clare Fieseler for Vox
A red tide of toxic algae is killing fish along the Florida coast, by Benji Jones for Vox
The “degrowth” movement to fight climate change, explained, by Kelsey Piper for Vox