The Overview - August 16, 2021

The Overview is a weekly roundup of eclectic content in-between essay newsletters & 'Conversations' podcast episodes to scratch your brain's curiosity itch.

Hello Eclectic Spacewalkers,

I wish that you and your family are safe and healthy wherever you are in the world. :)

Check out the previous The Overview - August 09, 2021: HERE

Read our latest essay - Technopoly: HERE

Watch/listen to our ‘Conversation with Ashley Colby’: HERE

Get our E-Book for free by using ‘substack’: HERE

Below are some eclectic links for the week of August 16, 2021.

Enjoy, share, and subscribe!


Table of Contents

Theme & Topics: Climate Change, the recent 2021 IPCC Climate Change Report, and Possible Solutions

  • Articles/Essays - Major climate changes inevitable and irreversible – IPCC’s starkest warning yet via @guardian; "What can I do?" Anything. via @emorwee; What can a technologist do about climate change? (A personal view) via @worrydream; Guest post: How ‘discourses of delay’ are used to slow climate action via @lamb_wf in @carbonbrief; Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will; Investment and Decarbonization: Rating Green Finance via @70sBachchan & @policytensor in @WorldPhenomenal; The Heat Wave Shows Climate Change Is a Workers' Rights Issue via @mindyisser in @InTheseTimesMag; Sixty years of climate change warnings: the signs that were missed (and ignored) via @alicebell in @theguardian; By pushing for more oil production, the US is killing its climate pledges via @adam_tooze; How Brazil Legalized the Annihilation of the Amazon Rainforest via @proteanmag

  • Books - Ecosocialism: A Radical Alternative to Capitalist Catastrophe; The Human Scaffold How Not to Design Your Way Out of a Climate Crisis; Designing Regenerative Cultures via @DrDCWahl; The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming via @dwallacewells

  • Courses - Climate Change: Learning for Action via @terradotdo; Climate Solutions 101 via @ProjectDrawdown; Join a Movement of Change Makers via @climateinteract

  • Documentaries - Tapped Out: Part 1; Fleeing climate change — the real environmental disaster | DW Documentary; Climate change – living on the water | DW Documentary; India's Water Revolution #1: Solving the Crisis in 45 days with the @paanifoundation

  • Lectures - Sea Level Rise Can No Longer Be Stopped, What Next? - with @johnenglander; Science Matters - Climate change via @ProfBrianCox with @royalsociety

  • Papers - Few realistic scenarios left to limit global warming to 1.5°C via @PIK_Climate (H/T: @OlufemiOTaiwo); 1.5 °C degrowth scenarios suggest the need for new mitigation pathways via @LorenzClimate; Launch of IPBES-IPCC Co-Sponsored Workshop Report on Biodiversity and Climate Change; Global warming has increased global economic inequality; Engaging with complexity in resilience practice via @MySellberg; Climate Change and Digital Advertising Influence Map

  • Podcasts - “Code red for humanity” | The Climate Question | via @bbcworldservice; 48. Post-Extractivist Green Transitions: An Interview with @triofrancos in @tribunemagazine; A Love Letter To The Ocean via @TEDRadioHour

  • TED Talks - Why I must speak out about climate change: @DrJamesEHansen; 3 rules for a zero-carbon world: @topnigel

  • Twittersphere - Biden's infrastructure bill is on track to spend 12x more on the military than all climate programs combined via @Roots_Action; “The story of our climate emergency can't be told in one day.” via @EvlondoCooper; “Most people don't understand why California keeps having wildfires or just blame climate change. And climate change is part of it. But there's also a bigger story here about colonization, invasive plants and the arrogance of anglo-americans. A thread!” via @mathancalifas; “The Amazon Rainforest will suffer from a totally new climate of unprecedented heat from 2028 onwards with staggering consequences for all life on Earth.” via @climateben

  • Videos - Climate change in 60 seconds via @royalsociety; Who Is Responsible For Climate Change? – Who Needs To Fix It? Via @Kurz_Gesagt; Climate change: Earth's giant game of Tetris - @JossFong; One Earth - Environmental Short Film via @RomainPennes

  • Websites - IPCC Climate Change 2021 Report; The Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative; Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change; Green Watch; Tree Equity Score

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Articles/Essays

Major climate changes inevitable and irreversible – IPCC’s starkest warning yet via @guardian

Report warns temperatures likely to rise by more than 1.5C bringing widespread extreme weather.

This report is likely to be the last report from the IPCC while there is still time to stay below 1.5C, added Joeri Rogelj, director of research at the Grantham Institute, Imperial College London, and an IPCC lead author. “This report shows the closer we can keep to 1.5C, the more desirable the climate we will be living in, and it shows we can stay within 1.5C but only just – only if we cut emissions in the next decade,” he said. “If we don’t, by the time of the next IPCC report at the end of this decade, 1.5C will be out the window.”

Monday’s report will be followed next year by two further instalments: part two will focus on the impacts of the climate crisis; and the third will detail the potential solutions. Work on the report has been hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic, which delayed publication by some months, and forced scientists to collaborate mainly online and through video conferencing.”

"What can I do?" Anything. via @emorwee in #HEATED

The battle for a livable future is a battle against fossil fuels. Right now, it's all hands on deck

HEATED
"What can I do?" Anything.
A man stands in the center of the town of Khairpur Nathan Shah, Pakistan, which had been totally submerged by floodwaters. Pakistan is the fifth most climate-vulnerable country in the world, and has been experiencing catastrophic climate impacts for many, many years. Photo by Gideon Mendel For Action Aid/ In Pictures/Corbis via Getty Images…
Read more

“The scientific case for urgency has never been clearer. Last month, a draft of the latest U.N. IPCC report—the gold standard summation of modern climate science—was leaked to Agence France-Presse in hopes it might serve as a wake-up call before the next round of international climate talks in November. The report warned that the dire impacts of global heating were materializing faster than most scientists expected. Several “tipping points”—major, rapid changes in climate conditions that once reached are near-impossible to reverse—are now likely to come sooner rather than later, and many impacts are already locked in. Significant and rapid decarbonization can still prevent further pain and suffering, but the longer we wait, the worse things will become. “Life on Earth can recover from a drastic climate shift by evolving into new species and creating new ecosystems,” it warned. “Humans cannot.”

The costs of inaction are also already playing out in American life. More than 100 people were killed by the oppressive heat in Oregon last month, part of a larger record-breaking heat dome event that cumulatively caused more than 800 deaths across the Pacific Northwest. Farmers and ranchers are suffering under historic drought conditions in the West, where states are already limiting water supply while fighting out-of-control wildfires. Record rainfall in Michigan is overwhelming Detroit’s aging sewage systems, part of the growing pandemic of poop-filled floodwaters. And on the East Coast, tropical storm Elsa signaled a powerful start to yet another destructive hurricane season, expected to be “above average” in activity for the sixth year in a row.

Fortunately, scientists are also more confident than ever about how to improve the situation. In May, the influential and notoriously conservative International Energy Administration released a “bombshell” report outlining how the world could still achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal of preventing a 1.5°C rise in global average temperatures. “As the major source of global emissions, the energy sector holds the key to responding to the world’s climate challenge,” the report read. That sector must fully decarbonize by 2050, which requires not just a massive acceleration to renewables, electric vehicles, and energy efficient building retrofits, but “a huge decline in the use of fossil fuels,” it said. “There is no need for investment in new fossil fuel supply in our net zero pathway.”...

The opportunities to get involved in the climate fight are endless, and that can be overwhelming. But the beauty of people power is that you don’t have to do everything. “You don’t need to quit your job and become a climate activist,” said Genevieve Gunther, founder of the media-focused group End Climate Silence. “With enough people, one little thing every week, even a tweet, can make a huge difference.”

Some people may read this and believe it is pointless. That we are too late. That none of it matters. The fossil fuel industry knows this is not true. Their fear of a determined, pissed off public is why they promoted campaigns of climate denial and “individual responsibility” in the first place. They knew if people were unsure about the problem, they’d waste time fighting about it instead of mobilizing to fix it. They knew if people were confused about the solution, they’d waste time trying to change themselves and each other instead of the system.

However worse the climate crisis gets now depends on how quickly society transforms. How quickly society transforms depends on how many people demand it. The most harmful lie being spread about climate change today is not that it is fake. It’s that nothing you can do can help save the world.”

What can a technologist do about climate change? (A personal view) via @worrydream (H/T: @conaw)

“The notes below are my attempt to answer that question.

This is a “personal view”, biased by my experiences and idiosyncrasies. I’ve followed the climate situation for some time, including working on Al Gore’s book Our Choice, but I can’t hope to convey the full picture — just a sliver that’s visible from where I’m standing. I urge you to talk to many scientists and engineers involved in climate analysis and energy, and see for yourself what the needs are and how you can contribute.

This is aimed at people in the tech industry, and is more about what you can do with your career than at a hackathon. I’m not going to discuss policy and regulation, although they’re no less important than technological innovation. A good way to think about it, via Saul Griffith, is that it’s the role of technologists to create options for policy-makers.

I’m also only going to directly discuss technology related to the primary cause of climate change (the burning of fossil fuels), although there are technological needs related to other causes (livestock, deforestation, global poverty), as well as mitigating symptoms of climate change (droughts and storms, ecosystem damage, mass migrations).”

Guest post: How ‘discourses of delay’ are used to slow climate action via @lamb_wf in @carbonbrief

“You have probably already heard a discourse of climate delay. Perhaps it came from a friend, a colleague, someone famous or someone powerful.

This person did not deny that climate change is a problem, or even that it’s a serious problem. Nonetheless, they gave you the impression that solving climate change is not our job, that it will not require substantial changes, that it is too expensive, or that it is pointless to try.

In our new research, published in the journal Global Sustainability, we set out to gather these types of arguments, which we call “discourses of climate delay”.

Just as scientists and volunteers have compiled lists of climate-sceptic talking points, we wanted to categorise delay discourses – statements that exploit discussions on how we should reduce emissions, with the purpose, or effect, of limiting action on climate change.

These are tricky, because they cut to some of the most challenging and disputed aspects of mitigation, such as what policies should be implemented, where, and who should pay for them. Indeed, delay arguments all contain a grain of truth, without which they probably would not work.

We outline the common features of climate delay discourses and a guide to identifying them.”

Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will

“We must always act from a sincere love of our fellows, but never give in to maudlin sentimentality or (worse) facile irrationalism. In theory, so long as one avoids silly ideological tropes, it is not so difficult to keep the two apart. But on a day to day level it can seem very difficult indeed. Especially when one is faced with nigh-inevitable catastrophe. Many have reflected on this before (for example), I am just going to add my own voice to the chorus.

When Gramsci wrote the words from which this famous aphorism is derived he was imprisoned by the fascist Italian state. What he actually said... well, when translated... was that "the challenge of modernity is to live life without illusions and without becoming disillusioned… I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but am an optimist because of will." I take it that what made disillusionment tempting for him was the rise of fascism in his homeland, economic collapse, imminent war, his own personal health and security. Of course these may still resonate with plenty of people. But what prompted this for me, today, was reading news of climate change, so that's what I will focus on in what follows…

So, facing an intrinsically very difficult problem, we find ourselves beholden to a wealthy and powerful industry set on worsening the problem in a market economy that more or less compels such behaviour, with a ruling class that is decidedly indifferent to the suffering of those who will be worst affected and who if anything seem to be preparing for mass death, and no serious prospects for successfully challenging this situation. Pessimism of the intellect.

In the face of all this it is tempting to do one of two things. First, one can harden one's heart. Cut yourself off from all this, become apathetic or defeatist. Or, maybe, convince yourself that the only way to be a hard nosed realist, pragmatic and practical where it is urgently needed, is to accept some of this loss (the loss, that is, suffered by a global poor you have never met and will never interact with) as inevitable and start planning around it as given. In these ways you can lose your heart of benevolence, and forget the love of your neighbour. Second, one can give in to irrationalism. Simply deny the evidence of how bad a problem this is and hope that it is all a hoax, or embrace disconnected personal aesthetic lifestyle changes that have no serious hope of changing things but which at least let you feel better. In this way one forgets the love of God or Nature, loses one's heart of wisdom. In extreme cases one can go eco-fash, hope for a mass die off that will somehow reduce the population to a sustainable level, and try to ensure that one's preferred group are among the survivors. In this way one becomes a heartless fool.

Of course none of that will do. What is needed is the cool-headed rationality of one who passionately loves sentient life in all its forms. This does indeed require taking stock of the information available on climate change, its social and technical causes, what stands in the way of effective mitigation. In this way one will indeed come across the dire probabilities gestured at above, and be compelled to face with sober senses your real conditions of life, and relations with your kind. But that is not the end of things. For just as we know the challenges so too we know the stakes. And what is at stake is both the possibility of enormous suffering for many of our fellows if we do not do this right, but also immense joy if only we could do better! As in a sort of secular Pascal's wager, it only takes a small possibility of success for it to be entirely worth it for us to act determinedly towards a better world. And even if we fail, from our failure future comrades may learn and do better. Optimism of the will.

(Since to anyone paying attention this is obviously a quasi decision theoretic argument, I must acknowledge that my talk of probabilities is a bit loose here. But I think there are close enough analogues in pertinently similar cases to make my point. Likewise I think any suggestion of individualistic voluntaristic imposition of will can be mediated by a proper role for communal deliberation in deciding how to respond to our situation. But this isn't the time for that. Leave my meditation alone, hypothetical critic!)

And this is why I love Gramsci's aphorism so much, and why I meditate on it at moments when I am inclined to become defeatist. In a brief phrase it brings all this together. It acknowledges the dire state before us as we intellectually square up to the world. But it also reminds us that none the less there are factors beyond that, concerning our will, what we value and love, which nevertheless rationally compel us to action. Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.”

Investment and Decarbonization: Rating Green Finance via @70sBachchan & @policytensor in @WorldPhenomenal (H/T: @OlufemiOTaiwo)

“The problem here is not merely a banking problem or a crony capitalism problem. Where private bureaucracies are motivated by profits, public bureaucracies are interested in their own power. In the case of a climate bank, that may manifest at minimum as a desire to scale the assets under its control, creating systematic pressure for a deterioration in ratings quality. This procyclical tendency again risks creating a boom-bust cycle for the same reason that planned economies exhibit investment cycles. A boom-bust dynamic would destroy the moral economy of the energy transition. That is, a series of scandals around green-washing boondoggles, whether public or private, would undermine the legitimacy of the green project. We need tighter control over the high-pressure green economy—it cannot be plagued with cyclical excess.

Good institutional design, consistent with the philosophy behind some provisions already in the National Climate Bank bill19, requires that the ratings agency should be staffed by public servants forbidden from working for private financial institutions for, say, five years after they leave public service. It calls for a board of governors to supervise the agency, preferably appointed for life or for legally fixed terms of, say, ten years. The operating costs of the agency should be no more than a few hundred million dollars a year, paid for by revenues that are completely insulated from all cyclical factors.

Our proposal would save firms, cities, and states hundreds of billions of dollars at a minuscule cost to US taxpayers. It would go a long way towards ensuring financial stability as a green boom gets underway by restraining it from turning into a dangerous financial boom. It would prevent waste, cronyism, and a misallocation of national resources. Most importantly, it would move us a long way towards closing the glaring funding gap—the central problem of green finance.”

The Heat Wave Shows Climate Change Is a Workers' Rights Issue via @mindyisser in @InTheseTimesMag

“While this legislation is important and timely, most workers in this country lack the true ability to safely advocate for themselves in the workplace. Thanks to our backwards labor laws, union density hovers around 11% nationwide, even though unions’ approval ratings are in the clear majority. If workers want to be in charge of their own health and safety, it’s imperative that we pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which will allow workers the ability to unionize without fear of retaliation. (Disclosure: This author has been involved in organizing to pass the PRO Act.) Unionized workplaces are safer than non-union workplaces: They are 30% more likely to face an inspection for a health and safety violation, because union members are more likely to know their rights and have the ability to fight for them. (Unionized workplaces are also much more likely to have health and safety committees, which exist for the sole purpose of ensuring the workplace is safe.) And of course, unions are why we even have OSHA, thanks to the leadership of beloved and dearly remembered labor leader Tony Mazzocchi.

Environmentalists, long seen as either opposed to workers or just apathetic to their plight, have begun to realize that without a strong working-class movement, there’s no real hope of fighting climate change. And with Biden’s deeply disappointing infrastructure legislation, we’re going to need a base of millions to push for a much more aggressive plan to fight climate change. That’s why the Green New Deal Campaign Committee of the Democratic Socialists of America went all in on pushing for the passage of the PRO Act. Unions don’t just protect members’ health and safety in the workplace, they have the ability to turn regular people into political actors with the skills and tools to fight for a dignified life both on and off the job. As workers feel the growing effects of climate change at work and at home, they’ll need to fight their employers for health and safety protections, and they’ll also need to go to battle with the politicians and fossil fuel executives who have allowed temperatures to rise so drastically.”

Sixty years of climate change warnings: the signs that were missed (and ignored) via @alicebell in @theguardian

“In August 1974, the CIA produced a study on “climatological research as it pertains to intelligence problems”. The diagnosis was dramatic. It warned of the emergence of a new era of weird weather, leading to political unrest and mass migration (which, in turn, would cause more unrest). The new era the agency imagined wasn’t necessarily one of hotter temperatures; the CIA had heard from scientists warning of global cooling as well as warming. But the direction in which the thermometer was travelling wasn’t their immediate concern; it was the political impact. They knew that the so-called “little ice age”, a series of cold snaps between, roughly, 1350 and 1850, had brought not only drought and famine, but also war – and so could these new climatic changes.

“The climate change began in 1960,” the report’s first page informs us, “but no one, including the climatologists, recognised it.” Crop failures in the Soviet Union and India in the early 1960s had been attributed to standard unlucky weather. The US shipped grain to India and the Soviets killed off livestock to eat, “and premier Nikita Khrushchev was quietly deposed”.

But, the report argued, the world ignored this warning, as the global population continued to grow and states made massive investments in energy, technology and medicine…

Scientists working on climate change have been put in an incredibly difficult position. They should have been given time, expert support and a decent budget to think about the multiple challenges and transformations that happen when you take a contentious bit of science out of the scientific community and put it in the public sphere. They should have been given that support from government, but they also needed the gatekeepers within the scientific community to help them, too. And yet, if anything, many of these scientists have been ridiculed by their colleagues for speaking to media or – perish the thought – showing emotion.

As citizens of the 21st century, we have inherited an almighty mess, but we have also inherited a lot of tools that could help us and others survive. A star among these tools – sparkling alongside solar panels, heat pumps, policy systems and activist groups – is modern climate science. It really wasn’t all that long ago that our ancestors simply looked at air and thought it was just that – thin air – rather than an array of different chemicals; chemicals that you breathe in or out, that you might set fire to or could get high on, or that might, over several centuries of burning fossil fuels, have a warming effect on the Earth.

When climate fear starts to grip, it is worth remembering that we have knowledge that offers us a chance to act. We could, all too easily, be sitting around thinking: “The weather’s a bit weird today. Again.”

By pushing for more oil production, the US is killing its climate pledges via @adam_tooze

“The US is unique among western powers in having true geopolitical heft. If the EU or Japan squeal, Opec and Russia shrug, which is why this is such a critical test for the Biden administration. If the US is serious about tackling the climate crisis it must use its unique geopolitical leverage not to sustain fossil fuel production, but to curb it.

If prices rise, let that serve notice to affluent consumers that it is overdue for them to shift from giant SUVs to electric vehicles (EVs). To help low-income Americans what is needed is not an Opec production push, but a broad range of measures to ensure that fuel bills do not press so severely on family budgets. That is why Biden’s agenda on jobs, wages, families and the care economy is so crucial. If fuel poverty as such is an issue, adopt targeted relief including, for instance, a national cash-for-clunkers programme, whereby incentives are offered to trade old cars in for new, fuel-efficient ones. Meanwhile, push harder for EV infrastructure and transformative research and development to make low-carbon alternatives affordable for everyone.

The halting progress of Biden’s infrastructure plans and Sullivan’s reactionary oil policy are joined at the hip. Only if the US can set in motion a just transition at home can it credibly lead on climate on the global stage. Until it does, like the fossil-fuel addict that it is, whether governed by Republican or Democrat, it is fundamentally unreliable. Bear that in mind in assessing the scenarios of the IPCC.”

How Brazil Legalized the Annihilation of the Amazon Rainforest via @proteanmag

“Integrate so as not to surrender.” With this slogan, the military dictatorship in Brazil (1964-1985) justified the exploitation of the north to protect the Amazon against “internationalization.” Since then, the world’s largest tropical rainforest has already lost 20 percent of its original forest cover, and is well on the way to becoming a green desert if radical changes do not take place.

Containing at least 10 percent of the planet’s biodiversity, the Amazon rainforest brings moisture to all of South America, influences rainfall in the region, and helps stabilize the global climate. It represents a major carbon sink—an effect that has acted as a brake on the planet’s warming process, but which, thanks to severe environmental damage, has decreased significantly in recent years.

In 2020, it was found that the Amazon is now emitting more carbon dioxide than it absorbs as a result of fire (intentional and otherwise) and deforestation. Yet the Brazilian government wants to give even more leeway to the environmental criminals that have devastated this immeasurably precious resource. Bills pending in the Brazilian Congress—one of them introduced by President Jair Bolsonaro—are poised to legalize the actions of land grabbers and miners, threatening Indigenous areas.

Brazil’s failure to establish and adequately enforce land control systems has allowed Amazon territories to be captured for agricultural purposes. According to environmentalists, this occurs in part because of a lack of data and resource sharing between inspection agencies and the three levels of government (municipal, state, and federal). In addition, ineffective land administration means that it is common to see documents that indicate multiple owners for the same farm. Without an efficient control system, several different speculators may take ownership—a kind of robbery of a previous robbery, always looking to acquire lands to sell for higher values later on.

To make matters worse, the federal agency that fights illegal deforestation has been disempowered, with a 40 percent reduction in spending on inspections since 2018. Therefore, those who seek to deforest and destroy the Amazon are enjoying nearly unfettered access, with the Brazilian government’s tacit and explicit support…

The United States has been happy to let Bolsonaro and the grileiros ravage the Amazon. U.S.-based financial institutions trade in agricultural commodities that are utterly devastating to the rainforest, such as meat and soybeans. International corporate agribusiness like JBS Foods and Cargill, as well as consumer brands like Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, Costco, and Sysco help establish the global market for environmentally devastating products. By both these broader incentives and by direct investment, they have helped facilitate the Amazon’s destruction and promoted abuses against Indigenous peoples. According to a report by the Association of Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples (APIB) and Amazon Watch, from 2017 to 2020, at least six U.S. corporations invested more than $18 billion in nine Brazilian agribusiness corporations, as well as mining and energy concerns.

Brazil’s former military dictatorship had insisted that the Amazon was Brazil’s to exploit—to “integrate so as not to surrender.” Their logic of infinite expansion and extractivism has never ceased, and the unthinkable destruction will only intensify if the land-grabbing bills pending in the Brazilian Congress are passed,  This coalition of Brazilian corporations, the Brazilian government, and international interests have claimed the Amazon for themselves, consequences for the future of life on Earth be damned.”


Books

Ecosocialism: A Radical Alternative to Capitalist Catastrophe

“From this perspective, there is very little to hope for at COP20 this December in Lima, Peru. If there is any escape from climate change and the global ecological crisis, it will emerge from the power of struggle and the organization of the oppressed and exploited peoples of the world, with the understanding that the struggle for a world without ecological devastation must connect to the struggle for a society without oppression or exploitation. This change must begin now, bringing together unique struggles, daily efforts, process of self-management, and reforms to slow the crisis, with a vision centered on a change of civilization, a new society in harmony with nature. This is the central proposal of ecosocialism, an alternative to our current ecological catastrophe. 

Change the system, not the climate!” - pg 103

“Capitalism is killing the planet, and the preservation of a natural environment favorable to human life requires a radical alternative. In this new collection of essays, long time revolutionary and environmental activist Michael Löwy offers a vision of ecosocialist transformation. This vision combines an understanding of the destructive logic of the capitalist system with an appreciation for ongoing struggles, particularly in Latin America.” via @GoodReads

The Human Scaffold How Not to Design Your Way Out of a Climate Crisis

“What would a foamy theory of behavior look like? For one thing, it would start with, and circle back to, the iterative, semiokinetic fashioning of boundaries between body and milieu. Initially this would feel alien, as the clumsiness of my account of the Noongar relationship with fire in chapter 3 suggests. With time, it is my hope that viewing semiokinetic coherence-making as prior to individual coherence-makers, not just in an evolutionary or developmental sense but as something stronger, methodologically - metaphysically? - prior, would open up a suppler option space for reasoning about behavior as it unfolds in the everyday, body-bounded ay. If we learn to see embodiedness as a transient form of phase coupling in a semiokinetic milieu that precedes and exceeds us, perhaps we will be better equipped, as I hinted at the end of the preface, to see the design challenge of a world of exhaustible resources not as one of footprint reduction or sustainability or even circularity but of decoherence, or graceful disintegration. 

But this may be a fantasy.” - pg. 167

“Humanity has precipitated a planetary crisis of resource consumption—a crisis of stuff. So ingrained is our stuff-centric view that we can barely imagine a way out beyond substituting a new portmanteau of material things for the one we have today.

In The Human Scaffold, anthropologist Josh Berson offers a new theory of adaptation to environmental change. Drawing on niche construction, evolutionary game theory, and the enactive view of cognition, Berson considers cases in the archaeology of adaptation in which technology in the conventional sense was virtually absent. Far from representing anomalies, these cases exemplify an enduring feature of human behavior that has implications for our own fate.

The time has come to ask what the environmental crisis demands of us not as consumers but as biological beings. The Human Scaffold offers a starting point.” via GoodReads

Designing Regenerative Cultures via @DrDCWahl

“We are relational beings who come from cooperation, are cooperation, and can choose to co-create a thriving ad regenerative future through cooperation. As beings who are blessed wth the miraculous git of a self-reflective consciousness, our greatest challenge and our greatest opportunity is not to know the meaning of life, but to live a life or meaning. That is why humanity is worth sustaining.” - pg. 268

“This is a 'Whole Earth Catalog' for the 21st century: an impressive and wide-ranging analysis of what's wrong with our societies, organizations, ideologies, worldviews and cultures - and how to put them right. The book covers the finance system, agriculture, design, ecology, economy, sustainability, organizations and society at large. In this remarkable book, Daniel Wahl explores ways in which we can reframe and understand the crises that we currently face, and he explores how we can live our way into the future. Moving from patterns of thinking and believing to our practice of education, design and community living, he systematically shows how we can stop chasing the mirage of certainty and control in a complex and unpredictable world. The book asks how can we collaborate in the creation of diverse regenerative cultures adapted to the unique biocultural conditions of place? How can we create conditions conducive to life? *** "This book is a valuable contribution to the important discussion of the worldview and value system we need to redesign our businesses, economies, and technologies - in fact, our entire culture - so as to make them regenerative rather than destructive." --Fritjof Capra, author of The Web of Life, co-author of The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision *** "This is an excellent addition to the literature on ecological design and it will certainly form a keystone in the foundations of the new MA in Ecological Design Thinking at Schumacher College, Devon. It not only contains a wealth of ideas on what Dr Wahl has termed 'Designing Regenerative Cultures' but what is probably more important, it provides some stimulating new ways of looking at persistent problems in our contemporary culture and hence opens up new ways of thinking and acting in the future." -- Seaton Baxter OBE, Prof. in Ecological Design Thinking, Schumacher College, UK [Subject: Systems Thinking, Education, Social Anthropology, Environmentalism, Ecology, Regenerative Culture, Sociology]” via GoodReads

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming via @dwallacewells

“It is worse, much worse than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible. In California, wildfires now rage year-round, destroying thousands of homes. Across the US, "500-year" storms pummel communities month after month, and floods displace tens of millions annually.

This is only a preview of the changes to come. And they are coming fast. Without a revolution in how billions of humans conduct their lives, parts of the Earth could become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century.

In his travelogue of our near future, David Wallace-Wells brings into stark relief the climate troubles that await--food shortages, refugee emergencies, and other crises that will reshape the globe. But the world will be remade by warming in more profound ways as well, transforming our politics, our culture, our relationship to technology, and our sense of history. It will be all-encompassing, shaping and distorting nearly every aspect of human life as it is lived today.

Like An Inconvenient Truth and Silent Spring before it, The Uninhabitable Earth is both a meditation on the devastation we have brought upon ourselves and an impassioned call to action. For just as the world was brought to the brink of catastrophe within the span of a lifetime, the responsibility to avoid it now belongs to a single generation.”- via GoodReads


Courses

Climate Change: Learning for Action via @terradotdo

“A deep dive into the full climate change landscape.

Kickstart your journey with a 12-week climate education and solutions bootcamp.”

Climate Solutions 101 via @ProjectDrawdown

“Climate Solutions 101 is the world’s first major educational effort focused solely on solutions. Rather than rehashing well-known climate challenges, Project Drawdown centers game-changing climate action based on its own rigorous scientific research and analysis. This course, presented in video units and in-depth conversations, combines Project Drawdown’s trusted resources with the expertise of several inspiring voices from around the world. Climate solutions become attainable with increased access to free, science-based educational resources, elevated public discourse, and tangible examples of real-world action. Continue your climate solutions journey, today.”

Join a Movement of Change Makers via @climateinteract

“You will learn how to...

Identify and explain the key dynamics driving the climate and energy system.

Facilitate impactful, hopeful En-ROADS experiences grounded in the best available science.”


Documentaries

Tapped Out: Part 1

“Part one of a four-part mini-series on the history of water in the San Joaquin Valley begins with a look at what the Golden State looked like before settlement. Viewers also learn how irrigation systems set the stage for California's first major water plan, the Central Valley Project.”

Fleeing climate change — the real environmental disaster | DW Documentary

“How many millions of people will be forced to leave their homes by 2050? This documentary looks at the so-called hotspots of climate change in the Sahel zone, Indonesia and the Russian Tundra.

Lake Chad in the Sahel zone has already shrunk by 90 percent since the 1960s due to the increasing heat. About 40 million people will be forced to migrate to places where there is enough rainfall. Migration has always existed as a strategy to adapt to a changing environment. But the number of those forced to migrate solely because of climate change has increased dramatically since the 1990s. It is a double injustice: after becoming rich at the expense of the rest of the world, the industrialized countries are now polluting the atmosphere with their emissions and bringing a second misfortune to the inhabitants of the poorer regions. One of them is Mohammed Ibrahim: as Lake Chad got hotter and drier, he decided to go where the temperatures were less extreme and there was still a little water, trekking with his wife, children and 70 camels from Niger to Chad and then further south. The journey lasted several years and many members of his herd died of thirst. Now he and his family are living in a refugee camp: they only have seven camels left. Mohammed is one of many who have left their homelands in the Sahel - not because of conflict and crises, but because of the high temperatures. He's a real climate refugee.”

Climate change – living on the water | DW Documentary

“Sea levels are rising faster and faster, threatening 700 million people who live on the world’s coasts. Will water become the habitat of the future? Visionary projects for a life with the tides are forging ahead worldwide. Experts forecast that by 2100, sea levels will be two meters higher than they are today. This could force 40 percent of the world’s population out of their homes, for example, in Mumbai, Tokyo, Guangzhou or Bangladesh. The US won’t be spared either. Miami, New Orleans and New York would also have to be evacuated. Entire city districts would be under water. Climate change would drastically alter our metropolitan areas. That's why ideas that originated in science fiction have now becoming reality. Floating and underwater buildings could become places of refuge. What sounds like a utopia is soon to become reality. The first pioneers are already living in floating neighborhoods. Could the South Pacific paradise of Tahiti also be saved in this way? This is still all tantalizing luxury. Visionary hotel operators offer rooms with an underwater view. Or dinner during which fish and marine life are a feature in floating restaurants. Many of these futuristic plans involve water. Will we be farming on the sea? Will the "SeaOrbiter” floating research station designed by Parisian architect Jacques Rougerie get underway soon? Or will we walk through seaports on floating boulevards?”

India's Water Revolution #1: Solving the Crisis in 45 days with the @paanifoundation

Permaculture instructor Andrew Millison journeys to India to film the epic work of the Paani Foundation’s Water Cup Competition. We tour the village of Garavadi, in Maharashtra, who competed in the 2019 competition to install the most amount of water harvesting structures in a 45 day period. Guided by Paani Foundation’s chief advisor, Dr. Avinash Pol, we visit the work and see the effects of a watershed-scale groundwater restoration project that has dramatically improved the lives, economy, ecology and stability of this village, all in 45 days!


Lectures

Sea Level Rise Can No Longer Be Stopped, What Next? - with @johnenglander

“Rising sea level will permanently alter coastlines and is perhaps the most profound long-term aspect of climate change affecting coastal communities everywhere, as well as the global economy. The phenomenon is often overshadowed by short-term flood events, though it will elevate those too. In this talk, oceanographer and author John Englander highlight some surprising scientific aspects of sea-level rise, including the latest projections for the coming decades, eventually many meters above present.”

Science Matters - Climate change via @ProfBrianCox with @royalsociety

“Climate change is an issue that will affect all of us, and will require global solutions brought about by the collaboration of scientists, the public and governments across the world to face the challenges it presents.

Join Professor Brian Cox, the Royal Society Professor of Public Engagement, as he brings together experts on climate change to discuss key issues for the future of our planet.

Find out more about climate change in our Q&A: https://royalsociety.org/topics-polic...”


Papers

Few realistic scenarios left to limit global warming to 1.5°C via @PIK_Climate (H/T: @OlufemiOTaiwo)

“Of the over 400 climate scenarios assessed in the 1.5°C report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), only around 50 scenarios avoid significantly overshooting 1.5°C. Of those only around 20 make realistic assumptions on mitigation options, for instance the rate and scale of carbon removal from the atmosphere or extent of tree planting, a new study shows. All 20 scenarios need to pull at least one mitigation lever at 'challenging' rather than 'reasonable' levels.”

1.5 °C degrowth scenarios suggest the need for new mitigation pathways via @LorenzClimate

“1.5 °C scenarios reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) rely on combinations of controversial negative emissions and unprecedented technological change, while assuming continued growth in gross domestic product (GDP). Thus far, the integrated assessment modelling community and the IPCC have neglected to consider degrowth scenarios, where economic output declines due to stringent climate mitigation. Hence, their potential to avoid reliance on negative emissions and speculative rates of technological change remains unexplored. As a first step to address this gap, this paper compares 1.5 °C degrowth scenarios with IPCC archetype scenarios, using a simplified quantitative representation of the fuel-energy-emissions nexus. Here we find that the degrowth scenarios minimize many key risks for feasibility and sustainability compared to technology-driven pathways, such as the reliance on high energy-GDP decoupling, large-scale carbon dioxide removal and large-scale and high-speed renewable energy transformation. However, substantial challenges remain regarding political feasibility. Nevertheless, degrowth pathways should be thoroughly considered.”

  • Thread explainer:

Launch of IPBES-IPCC Co-Sponsored Workshop Report on Biodiversity and Climate Change

“In December 2020, 50 of the world’s leading biodiversity and climate experts, selected by a 12-person Scientific Steering Committee assembled by IPBES and IPCC, participated in a four-day virtual workshop to examine the synergies and trade-offs between biodiversity protection and climate change mitigation and adaptation. This represents the first-ever collaboration between the two intergovernmental science-policy bodies. The IPBES-IPCC co-sponsored workshop report on biodiversity and climate change, available below, was launched on 10 June 2021 at a virtual media conference. You will also find below the media release for the 10 June 2021 launch event.”

Global warming has increased global economic inequality

Significance

We find that global warming has very likely exacerbated global economic inequality, including ∼25% increase in population-weighted between-country inequality over the past half century. This increase results from the impact of warming on annual economic growth, which over the course of decades has accumulated robust and substantial declines in economic output in hotter, poorer countries—and increases in many cooler, wealthier countries—relative to a world without anthropogenic warming. Thus, the global warming caused by fossil fuel use has likely exacerbated the economic inequality associated with historical disparities in energy consumption. Our results suggest that low-carbon energy sources have the potential to provide a substantial secondary development benefit, in addition to the primary benefits of increased energy access.

Abstract

Understanding the causes of economic inequality is critical for achieving equitable economic development. To investigate whether global warming has affected the recent evolution of inequality, we combine counterfactual historical temperature trajectories from a suite of global climate models with extensively replicated empirical evidence of the relationship between historical temperature fluctuations and economic growth. Together, these allow us to generate probabilistic country-level estimates of the influence of anthropogenic climate forcing on historical economic output. We find very high likelihood that anthropogenic climate forcing has increased economic inequality between countries. For example, per capita gross domestic product (GDP) has been reduced 17–31% at the poorest four deciles of the population-weighted country-level per capita GDP distribution, yielding a ratio between the top and bottom deciles that is 25% larger than in a world without global warming. As a result, although between-country inequality has decreased over the past half century, there is ∼90% likelihood that global warming has slowed that decrease. The primary driver is the parabolic relationship between temperature and economic growth, with warming increasing growth in cool countries and decreasing growth in warm countries. Although there is uncertainty in whether historical warming has benefited some temperate, rich countries, for most poor countries there is >90% likelihood that per capita GDP is lower today than if global warming had not occurred. Thus, our results show that, in addition to not sharing equally in the direct benefits of fossil fuel use, many poor countries have been significantly harmed by the warming arising from wealthy countries’ energy consumption.

Engaging with complexity in resilience practice via @MySellberg

“In a complex and turbulent world, there is heightened interest in managing for resilience. However, resilience guides, particularly those used in the development field, often lack a theoretical grounding in complex adaptive systems. There is a demand for guidance on how to operationalize complexity in applications of resilience, such as resilience assessment and planning. This study synthesizes lessons from how twelve cases of social-ecological resilience practice are engaging with complexity. We assessed how each case engaged with complexity, according to a framework of six features of complex adaptive systems. The cases are situated in a diversity of contexts, that include rural villages in Tajikistan, a Swedish municipality, Australian catchment management authorities, a Canadian coastal fishery, and the Arctic council. Our results revealed two main ways of engaging with complexity: capturing and making sense of the complexity of a social-ecological system (system complexity) and embodying complexity into the participatory process (process complexity). Our comparison demonstrates that resilience practice provides a useful approach to address system complexity by, for example, conceptualizing social-ecological interactions, identifying interactions across scales, and assessing system dynamics. Strategies related to understanding the adaptive and emergent features of complex systems were less developed and widespread. The study also revealed a set of strategies to address process complexity, such as facilitating dialogue, building networks, and designing a flexible and iterative process, showing how complexity can be embedded into the resilience assessment process. The more participatory and embedded cases of resilience practice were stronger in these process-oriented strategies. The complexity framework we used and the identified practical strategies provide a theoretically-grounded resource for managers, decision-makers, and researchers on how to engage with complexity when applying resilience in a variety of contexts, including development and landscape management.”

Climate Change and Digital Advertising Influence Map

Executive Summary Key Findings

“This research reveals the latest iteration of the oil and gas industry’s playbook on climate change. The research shows the oil and gas industry is now using social media as a key avenue for advertising, posting thousands of social issue, election, and political ads every year which are designed to prolong the use of oil and gas in the energy mix. This research found 25,147 ads from just 25 oil and gas sector organizations on Facebook’s US platforms in 2020, which have been seen over 431 million times. This indicates the industry is now using social media to directly reach a vast audience and influence public opinions on climate change and the energy mix. To do this, the industry is using a range of messaging tactics that are far more nuanced than outright statements of climate denial. Some of the most significant tactics found included tying the use of oil and gas to maintaining a high quality of life, promoting fossil gas as green, and publicizing the voluntary actions taken by the industry on climate change. Crucially, the messaging included in these ads is misaligned from the science of climate change according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's and the International Energy Agency's analyses on reaching net zero emissions by 2050.  The research also shows the industry is using social media strategically and deploying its ads at key political moments. Tracking the timeline of the ads covered in this research shows a jump in ad spend the day after now President Biden announced his $2 trillion climate plan. This momentum was sustained until the US Presidential Election when Facebook then banned political advertising.”


Podcasts

“Code red for humanity” | The Climate Question | via @bbcworldservice

“A diplomatic deadline looms as new science urges faster action. Can nations respond? So far, the answer has been ‘no.’ Three decades of international talks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has left them higher than ever and set to rise further. We provide a brief history of climate talks, with an eye on what can be learned ahead of the next round, called COP26, in Glasgow.

Contributors:

  • Mark Maslin, Professor of Earth System Science, University College London and author of How to Save Our Planet.

  • Navin Singh Khadka, Environment Correspondent, BBC World Service

  • Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation

  • Ambassador Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu, lead climate negotiator for the Democratic Republic of Congo”

48. Post-Extractivist Green Transitions: An Interview with @triofrancos in @tribunemagazine

“This week @graceblakeley speaks to Thea Riofrancos, Associate Professor of Political Science at Providence College and author ofResource Radicals: From Petro-Nationalism to Post-Extractivism in Ecuador.

They discuss the findings of the IPCC’s new report, whether it’s possible to imagine a green transition within capitalist social relations, and how the Left can chart a path to decarbonisation that doesn’t compromise the Earth’s other natural systems and communities.”

A Love Letter To The Ocean via @TEDRadioHour

“Oceans cover nearly 75% of the Earth. While they seem vast and frightening, they're also enchanting and whimsical. This hour, TED speakers dive into stories of connection — and even love — in the sea.”


TED Talks

Why I must speak out about climate change: @DrJamesEHansen

“Top climate scientist James Hansen tells the story of his involvement in the science of and debate over global climate change. In doing so he outlines the overwhelming evidence that change is happening and why that makes him deeply worried about the future.”

3 rules for a zero-carbon world: @topnigel

“Every human and natural system -- from oil extraction to the flight of a flock of starlings -- can be seen as a set of repeating patterns. These patterns can be disrupted for good or for bad, says Nigel Topping, the High Level Climate Action Champion for COP26, the UN's climate change conference set to take place in November 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. He shares three rules of radical collaboration that could positively disrupt the patterns of the global economy and help humanity tackle the world's greatest threat: climate change.”


Twittersphere

“Biden's infrastructure bill is on track to spend 12x more on the military than all climate programs combined Face with symbols over mouthFace with symbols over mouthFace with symbols over mouth”


“The story of our climate emergency can't be told in one day.”


“Most people don't understand why California keeps having wildfires or just blame climate change. And climate change is part of it. But there's also a bigger story here about colonization, invasive plants and the arrogance of anglo-americans. A thread!”

“The Amazon Rainforest will suffer from a totally new climate of unprecedented heat from 2028 onwards with staggering consequences for all life on Earth.”


Videos

Climate change in 60 seconds via @royalsociety

“Climate science explained in 60 seconds by the Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences. During the last 200 years, human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels have increased concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere by 40%. If unchecked, continuing emissions will warm up the planet by 2.6°C to 4.8°C by the end of this century. This would have serious implications for human societies and the natural world.

This 60-second animation from the world's two leading science academies brings you the science behind climate change.

Get the full document, 'Climate Change: Evidence & Causes', and a quick guide with frequently asked questions about climate science on our website: https://royalsociety.org/policy/proje...

Who Is Responsible For Climate Change? – Who Needs To Fix It? Via @Kurz_Gesagt

“Since the Industrial Revolution, humans have released over 1.5 trillion tonnes of carbon dioxide or CO2 into the earth's atmosphere.  In the year 2019  we were still pumping out  around 37 billion more.  That’s 50% more than the year 2000 and almost three times as much as 50 years ago. And it’s not just CO2. We’re also pumping out growing volumes  of  other greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide. Combining all of our greenhouse gases, we’re emitting 51 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents each year.

And emissions keep rising – but they need to get down to 0!”

Climate change: Earth's giant game of Tetris - @JossFong

“There's a game of Tetris happening on a global scale: The playing space is planet Earth, and all those pesky, stacking blocks represent carbon dioxide -- a greenhouse gas that is piling up ever more rapidly as we burn the fossil fuels that run our cars, factories and power plants. Joss Fong outlines how this overload of CO2 leads to climate change and reminds us that, unlike Tetris, we won't get an opportunity to start over and try again.”

One Earth - Environmental Short Film via @RomainPennes

“One Earth is an environmental short film I created and edited to help raise awareness about our impact on our environment day to day.

It tells the story of how we globally, and massively around the world, use resources for our short term profit, by deforestation, mining, burning fossil fuels, consuming and expanding. This sadly leads to the many environmental issues we face today in 2021, including global pollution, climate change, and the extinction of animal species.”


Websites

IPCC Climate Change 2021 Report

The Physical Science Basis

The Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report addresses the most up-to-date physical understanding of the climate system and climate change, bringing together the latest advances in climate science, and combining multiple lines of evidence from paleoclimate, observations, process understanding, and global and regional climate simulations.

Disclaimer: The Summary for Policymakers (SPM) is the approved version from the 14th session of Working Group I and 54th Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and remains subject to final copy-editing and layout.

The Technical Summary (TS), the full Report Chapters, the Annexes and the Supplementary Materials are the Final Government Distribution versions, and remain subject to revisions following the SPM approval, corrigenda, copy-editing, and layout. Although these documents still carry the note from the Final Government Distribution “Do Not Cite, Quote or Distribute” they may be freely published subject to the disclaimer above, as the report has now been approved and accepted.

100 solutions to Climate Change [Ranked] via @GlobalOwls

​​”What if you were to rank 100 solutions to climate change? What would you expect to be the top 10?

Reducing meat consumption? Solar? Isolating our existing buildings?”

The Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative (@SC2_Collab & @aldatweets)

“A hub for critical social science on climate change

The Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative, or (SC)², is a hub for critical social science research on the climate emergency, based in the University of Pennsylvania’s Population Studies Center. Starting on July 1, 2021, (SC)² will be hosted by UC Berkeley’s Social Science Matrix. (SC)² aims to deepen understanding of the intersection of social, health, and environmental inequalities in the built environment all over the world, with an eye to public engagement and informing policy.”

Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change

“Our mission is to support and enable the investment community in driving significant and real progress by 2030 towards a net zero and resilient future. This will be achieved through capital allocation decisions, stewardship and successful engagement with companies, policy makers and fellow investors.”

Green Watch via ​​@capitalresearch

“Green Watch is described by its host organization, the Capital Research Center (CRC) as a project "dedicated to monitoring the leadership, activities and funding of the liberal environmentalist movement. It is an on-line database and research apparatus that will help citizens, policymakers and the press find information about environmental policy and activist organizations that seek to use the power of government to achieve their objectives."

"Green Watch produces timely news reports and analyses that keeps you up-to-date on the latest developments in the environmental policy debate. Currently, CRC monitors and conducts research on over 500 environmental organizations. You can take an active role in the free market environmental movement by becoming a Green Watch Watchdog," CRC states in one of its publications. [1]”

Tree Equity Score via @AmericanForests

“A map of tree cover in any city in the United States is too often a map of race and income. This is unacceptable. Trees are critical infrastructure that every person in every neighborhood deserves. Trees can help address damaging environmental inequities like air pollution.

Engage hearts and minds toward climate action.”


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