No Time for Despair

There is a lot of bad (climate) news these days. I won’t rehash global or national events, but here in New York, we had our heaviest hour of rainfall in the city’s recorded history last night. One need only spend a few minutes on Twitter to get a sense of the impacts and human suffering brought on by the third major flooding event in NYC this summer.

Lots of people tell me they are “depressed” about the current state of (climate) affairs, and I understand why they feel that way. My early writings on climate crisis reflect the sense of despair that must of us feel in starting to grapple with our changed reality; however, as the meme goes, this is the hottest year on record, and – barring an even worse eventuality, like nuclear winter – it will be the coldest of the rest of our lives. Things will definitely get worse, but they can also get much much worse, and the call for our generations is to turn the corner on climate action and, in so doing, leave to future generations a livable planet. Wallowing will not get us there.

All that said, I’ve had a wonderful summer and enjoyed taking a break from writing. Sadly, neither the pandemic nor climate change took a break, and in the spirit of reflection, I’m linking back to my hopeful take from December that the pandemic might be over in the US by the spring, and my concerned takes, from January, that variants might prevent that hopeful outcome. I’m also pointing back to the piece with which I started the year, “The First Climate Decade“; my conviction is stronger than ever about the necessary transformation, and my cautious hopefulness has only grown as escalating climate impacts begin to spur intensifying climate action.

I continue to be engaged with the push for aggressive, sane climate policy in NYC, and would welcome support from anyone interesting in getting behind our push for a municipal gas ban (in new construction and gut renovations). We’re up to 22 co-sponsors (the NYC City Council has 51 seats, with a couple currently vacant, for context).

I’ve also been much more actively angel investing around “climatetech” this year; may write more, in coming months, about all of that, my approach, and some of my investments; and am always happy to speak climatetech/early-stage investing with anyone who might be interested.

Reading

In roughly chronological order, here are some articles, etc. I flagged over the course of recent months: “Intro 1524 Will Protect New York City Residents from Toxic Pesticides”; from The Guardian, “Chemical giants hid dangers of ‘forever chemicals’ in food packaging” and “Study finds alarming levels of ‘forever chemicals’ in US mothers’ breast milk“; from The Wire, “Stunned by Data, Gujarat Blames Death Certificate Spurt on Duplicate Registrations“; from Nature India, “India’s sewage surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 going down the drain“; from National Geographic, “Antidepressants in waterways may make crayfish bolder, increasing risk of predation“; from Oxford, “Obsessing over electric cars is impeding the race to net zero: More active travel is essential“; from NY Focus, “Albany Just Blew it on Climate, Again” and “The World’s Most Important Local Climate and Jobs Law is in Eric Adams’ Hands“; from Yale Environment 360, “In Push to Find Methane Leaks, Satellites Gear Up for the Hunt“; from the Times of India (with respect to the quiet transfer of mega-assets from a South Indian tycoon to a close North Indian ally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi), “Adani Group takes over Mumbai airport“; to state the obvious, with respect to something that I wrote a great deal about, “First wave COVID-19 data underestimated pandemic infections“; from Democracy Now!, “Floods, Fires & Heat Waves: Michael Mann on “The New Climate War” & the Fight to Take Back the Planet” (I highly recommend Mann’s new book) and ““All We Can Save”: As Climate Disasters Wreck Our Planet, Women Leaders Are Key to Solving the Crisis“; this Behind the News segment with Christian Parenti on a Left approach to carbon dioxide removal; from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, “Segmenting the climate change Alarmed: Active, Willing, and Inactive“; from the Hindustan Times, “Bihar recorded 251k excess deaths since Covid-19 pandemic: Data“; and from The Wire, again, “‘India May’ve Reached COVID Endemicity, With Local Ups and Downs’: Soumya Swaminathan“; enjoy!

One thought on “No Time for Despair

  1. I think the news media needs to do more reports about global warming. There have been a few things about the climate crisis on PBS recently. But the national media should have more segments about the cause of so many natural disasters and additional stories on alternative energy. The pandemic has been the main focus for the past year and a half, understandably. But I think global warming is an equally disastrous situation that needs more attention.

    Liked by 1 person

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