Five Frabjous Fraught-starters for Fall!

A fractured and fragmentary frappé of frings

I feel like a fluffy flibbertigibbet these days, so consider this the short-attention span sampler edition of MVP. Here are a few little and big things on my broken mind.


1. High Care Low Carbon Love

At an election meeting with some fellow climate orgs a few weeks ago I played the role of green grouch. There was some suggestion that our upcoming federal election would be all about justice and fairness and compassion. I would love for that to be the case, but I spend too much time reading Facebook comments (don’t!) to harbour any belief that voters would be motivated by justice. And with a few weeks to go, and populism surging, I fear I’m right.

Last week I heard Felicia Wong on the Ezra Klein show. She summarized Joe Biden’s plan for America thus: We want a High Care Low Carbon economy. It’s so beautiful. So simple. But do those words translate to something people can vote for? I’m not sure. I’ve taken to thinking of our current federal election mindset here in Canada as protect your core. When people feel threatened, they huddle up and tighten their abs, even if, when at ease, they very much care about things that are high care and low carbon and low carb. It’s just that you can’t devote attention to those things when your core feels vulnerable. And with COVID, housing unaffordability, and myriad other fears jockeying for top berth, attention is going to the gut. It’s literal protectionism.

The key is to remember that even when climate is a key voting issue (and it is, according to current polling!) it isn’t a primal voting issue. Putting too much stock in climate concern will result in massive disappointment on election days. Again, not because people don’t care, but because a loaf of bread is a thing you can need more immediately and palpably than a building retrofit. This just means we need to design a world where people can have their bread and green it too.


2. Fake Norms Can Lose

More people are climate concerned than not. More people want to take action than don’t. And that trend is increasing by the millisecond. Which is why climate headlines that don’t emphasize these norms are bogus. To wit, this Globe and Mail fail. 

As a journalistic outlet, you could say that objectivity should be the overriding goal, and that both a headline highlighting the negatives or the positives would be fair in the case of this data. But if the goal of journalism is to share relevant information, the relevant information here is that the majority preference for climate action is growing with every poll. Which is why highlighting a persistent but unchanging minority opinion just seems like bad journalism. As the climate-concerned, it’s our job to call this in when we see it because descriptive norms are wildly powerful. 

In the most famous behavioural science example, the Petrified Wood Principle, Robert Cialdini illustrated how amplifying bad behaviour encourages people to behave accordingly. Telling people that far too many people had taken treasures from the petrified forest actually encouraged more people to steal wood. Despite the fact that this is not normative behaviour and most people don’t steal. In other words, highlighting something amplifies its normative power. Which is why stressing that some people still don’t care about climate change is just stupidly unhelpful. 

(The cool thing is a few tweets was all it took for the Globe to rewrite their headline!!)


3. Climate Anxiety: New Words for a New World

This piece on the language of climate anxiety in Yes! is so good. It talks about how the term climate anxiety is both amorphous and very white. Climate anxiety in this context is about sadness, when for many people, especially those at the forefront of climate effects in other parts of the world, climate anxiety is about anger.

​​Experts in a variety of fields, from science communication to the health effects of climate change, argue that this buzzword misses the complexity of the phenomenon. By painting the psychological experience of climate change in such broad strokes, it inevitably excludes marginalized voices. Instead, they’re calling for a more nuanced discussion of climate change and mental health—one that decenters the experiences of white, wealthy communities.

“It’s actually just a perpetuation of colonialism,” Barnwell says. “By individualizing distress, we miss what is politically happening around the world to various communities.”

I love the new lexicon proposed by Australian professor Glenn Albrecht in his forthcoming book. Words like “tierrafurie,” the extreme anger one feels at the destruction wrought by an industrial-technological society. Albrecht also coined solastalgia, a word I’ve long loved, which describes the feeling of love and distress we feel at the experience of climate-changed landscapes.


4. I Don’t Really Have a Four, But Lists Need to Come in Threes or Fives, So Here’s a Doodle of a Deconstructed Watermelon


5. The Carbon Coffee Klatch

I practice lots, and still I royally eff up 53% of all climate conversations I have (Hello, telling my brother-in-law that his fancy artisanal meat from a swish Montreal butcher still didn’t reflect the social cost of carbon. Why?). Like Chopin, carbon convos require a delicate touch, a romantic disposition, and hours of practice. When we come together to talk climate, there’s an added benefit: release. At climate cafés popping up around the world, people chat, grieve, and imbibe. From The Guardian:

Kilmer said she was astonished by how good she felt at the end of the first climate cafe she attended. “Even though I had shed a lot of tears, and gotten in touch with some powerful feelings, there was a sense of relief that I could share that with somebody,” she said.

Indeed. We’re afraid to talk. But talking unlocks so much. And makes us better talkers. This is the impetus for two initiatives that I hope are worthy of your time:

Talk Climate to Me

Our collaborative climate course is now open for registration. It’s an online experience for women-identifying people in Ontario (though no one will be turned away!). We promise a joyful series of talks and creative exercises to help you gain confidence and find climate community. You can sign up as an individual or as a team.

Carbon Conversations

This October, Carbon Conversations TO will be hosting an online training to help you talk about climate! Our Climate Action Facilitator Training will help build your capacity as a group facilitator and a community climate leader. During the training, you will join a small group of 6-12 participants to learn about the psychology of climate change and behaviour change. You will practice group facilitation skills and learn how to host your own Carbon Conversations program. This unique training is interactive, engaging and fun. Applications are due September 25. 

This week:

What’s up? Are you focused or fractured? Got a climate neologism? Had a good or horrid climate convo? As always, let me know!

Last week: 

I got so much feedback. Turns out being a judgy grump is a leeetle bit relatable, ha. Lots of wisdom, thank you thank you! Love this bit of behavioural science on how we are not the best judges of others’ judgment. Thanks Nathan! 

In terms of what people actually hate in terms of preachiness, I thought this little piece was pretty amazing - it found that religious people (obvious parallel with climate activists?) tend to assume non-religious people will hate them praying in public and be grateful to be told about their religion or invited to pray together, when actually it’s completely the reverse … At the very least, we aren’t the first group who’s had an unpopular message we think would save everyone. Maybe we just have to own our culty weirdness, maybe with more public “praying” at the margins?

PEOPLE DANCING

Beegees50centendofsummervibezyespls!

Thanks so much for reading. If you like MVP, please subscribe or share. If you hate it, let me know so I can make it better. Hope you are healthy and happy and safe.

Have a lovely weekend,
Sarah

Judging You Judging Me

(a newsletter I was afraid to write)

Everyone hates the preachy envirotwerp. When someone annoying says you can’t eat steak or fly to Bora Bora or buy the double-decker limited edition Yeezy Hummer the backlash effects are profound. Eco-Insufferables make you want to buy two tickets to Bora Bora (Bora Bora Bora Bora?) just to spite them. My fear of inciting this backlash as just such a smug preacher is so great I eschewed talking climate for ages, rather than have my friends or family hate me for thinking I was trying to take their steaks away. 

But.

I think what I most feared in grade school is somewhat true. Back then I thought people could read my face — that they could see what I was thinking (that so and so was stupid or cute, that I had taken the cookies, that every embarrassing idea (dogs and cats are brothers and sisters) was visible on my countenance.) 

Lately, I’ve been annoyed when I sense people projecting my imagined judgments upon them. The tiny asides by friends and loved ones: Sarah will think this is bad. I bristle because I don’t want to make people feel bad. I bristle because guilt is the worst way to get anyone to change their behaviour. And most of all, I bristle because I am TOTALLY ABSOLUTELY NOT judging them.

Or maybe I am?

This has been my reckoning of the last few months. I’ve been lying to myself a bit (and also lying to myself that I am self-aware, I guess!). I don’t want friends and fam to feel bad about their choices. I don’t explicitly tote up my peers’ carbon footprints, because it’s ABOUT THE SYSTEM, and everyone just has to live their life and forge this transition for themselves. But also ... deep down, if I’m being honest with myself, I probably am judging them. Just as I judge myself for booking a flight or buying a bedazzled monster truck.

And I have to be okay with this perception of judgment. Because everyone can see it on my face. Each wrinkle marks a churlish appraisal.

I used to love travel and had always planned a future round the world trek, in which I’d take my kids to see and complain about it all. But so many of the places that I’d planned to get to someday (Aloha, gondolieri!) are places I now feel it’s pretty much unethical to visit. It’s a harsh take, and one that can instantly make a would-be jetsetter hate me forever, while telling me how said locality absolutely NEEDS our tourism dollars (um, no). Which is why I pretty much keep it to myself, unless asked for my opinions on travel influencers while being held at gunpoint. But there’s no point in hiding it if people sense I’m a judgy ogre anyway. And if I’m honest with myself, I do feel a pang of judginess when I see someone’s Hawaii pics. I’d really like to eat a shaved ice there with my kids, too.

What does it mean to own my judginess? I’m still not sure. I fear that friends will hide their travel from me, or not talk to me about their wanderlust! Which I don’t want. I want to hear about these places and these desires, and live vicariously through my friends’ adventures. And I want to think that it’s all still possible! I remember a time when travel was so rare that, when someone got back from a neat trip, we’d get out the slide projector to look at these images of places we’d only dream of going. I’m ... old? But it was beautiful (and occasionally tedious, depending on the skill of the photographer) to appreciate the infrequent and very special luxury of getting to transport yourself to a different part of the world. There was a reverence, too, because the traveler had thought long and hard about where they wanted to go.

I don’t want to go on a rant about how the very idea of carbon-intensive travel is new, and that the number of people with income enough to travel is just too great for the world to bear. I don’t want to tell people that low-carbon air travel is still a loooong way away, I don’t want to tell them that, by taking one flight, they’ve contributed more to the overheating of the planet than 99% of all humans in history. I don’t want to tell them that the travel they enjoy today means actual deaths for people in other parts of the world RIGHT NOW and a precarious future for my own children. I hate the person who says those things. Because those things suuuuuucccckkkk!!!! And, you know, I too dream of shaved ice in Hawaii someday.

I also don’t like this judginess because it falls into the Myth of Sacrifice arena. Telling people they have to give up things is the surest way to get them to tune out, and it’s also not always true. Tackling the climate crisis is NOT about reduced quality of life. It’s just that the transitioning of very hard to decarbonize sectors (like air travel) will take time … and may require a modest change of lifestyle as we forge the alternative way. We’re in that middle space.

So where does that leave it all? I don’t know. But as the planet heats up, I want to be as forthright as I can be. And this internal/external disconnect does nothing useful for anyone. So I’m trying to own my judginess, and hoping that doing so doesn’t mean people Scarlet Letter me, avoiding me like the Bermuda Buzzkill that I am. 

THIS WEEK:

Can people intuit your climate judgments? Let me know!

LAST WEEK:

How you doin’? I got lots of lovely notes from people after last week’s post-IPCC reset. I hope everyone is coping, and caring, and resting, and grieving, and coming back at it restored, with all the vim that you can muster!

What’s Enough?

The latest issue of Yes! is all about the concept of enough, and I can’t get enough of it (which seems wrong). Here’s my comic in which I posit that there’s no good word in the English language for that feeling of perfect satiation. People threw loads of suggestions at me on IG, and I particularly love suffonsifying (thanks, dear Kate!)

People dancing: 

My mum and her sisters started the International Folk Dancing night on Mont Royal in Montreal fifty years ago, and it’s still going strong. What a cool thing! And my mom still goes! Love you, mom!

Thanks so much for reading. If you like this newsletter, please feel free to subscribe, and share it.

Share

Hope you are safe, happy, and healthy. Have a lovely weekend,
Sarah

You're a beautiful person with a body and a brain and a voice and you're alive right now, which is remarkably cool

A pep talk and back to basics report five days after the big report

Hi! I’m Sarah. Minimum Viable Planet is my weeklyish newsletter about climateish stuff, and how to keep it together in a world gone mad. I’m always curious to know what you think.

A note: If you are experiencing climate anxiety, contact a health professional. All We Can Save and Gen Dread have also put together this unbelievably fantastic resource that I can’t recommend enough: Working with climate emotions.

Last weekend I girded. I encircled myself with mental armor in preparation for the latest IPCC report, over which climate twitter was already angsting. I told myself I would just read the toplines, and leave it to colleagues to go deep on the policy. I told myself I wouldn’t dwell. There was nothing new except further conclusivity and a tighter window. If the window was a finicky sliding glass door before, it’s more of a porthole now. But we knew we were portholing anyway. And as the glassishalffullers would say, it’s even more definitive now, so the world has to pay attention.

Maybe. 

Try as I might to get past the planet’s inability to wrap its energies around the mother of all collective action problems, I never can. I know, intellectually, why humanity is not acting (entrenched power, present bias, pluralistic ignorance), but I’m gobsmacked every time by the world’s ability to distract itself while the wax on our fate is sealed. Well-meaning, smart citizens still don’t understand the existential gravity of the problem, what we are careening towards. It’s why the IPCC report didn’t wash away all news of the dumb happenings of daily life. If a Code Red falls in the forest...

People say that climate is not a knowledge problem, but really, it is. Two recent moments come to mind: A friend who works at a hospital relayed that her colleagues had no knowledge of eco-anxiety. I was blindsided. Every time I crack open my climate bubble, I find there’s another one, like I’m in a Matryoshka doll and not a delicate Christmas ornament. I thought, having seen numerous articles about the impending onslaught of eco-anxiety sufferers, people at the higher levels of hospital management would, at the very least, be aware of what is coming their way, thousands of broken minds feeling the grief that comes with climate awakening. Not so much.

Another moment occurred when I mentioned COP among some very smart friends and a very smart husband. Blank stares. (Gets out tiny chainsaw, breaks next layer of Matroyshka). The COP, on which the world is pinning huge hopes for climate commitments, isn’t on most of humanity’s radar. (COP is the annual Conference of the Parties, where global leaders work to bring down emissions, and where the Kyoto protocol, and our current Paris agreement were birthed. We need to go significantly beyond our Paris commitments to have a meaningful shot at staving off the worst of climate catastrophe at COP 26 in Glasgow this fall). I called it the Olympics for saving the planet. Not sure that landed.

At the most foundational levels, people still just don’t know. I’d assumed climate education in Canadian schools was up to snuff these days, but the wonderful professors Kim Nicholas and Seth Wynes report that the really IMPORTANT STUFF IS STILL NOT BEING TAUGHT.  (aaaah. deep breath. aaaaahhhhh.)

Another example with Kim Nicholas again: We worked on a video together this week. In service of the Talk Climate to Me project I’m working on (join us!), the hilarious and insightful comedian Aliya Kanani posed questions to Kim. After Aliya mentioned forgetting her water bottle, Kim informed Aliya about the importance of focusing on high-carbon personal actions. “Did you know that one flight is the equivalent of drinking a plastic water bottle every day for 27 years, or about ten thousand bottles?” I could see the absolute shock wash over Aliya’s face (and if you take our course, you will too!). 

All of this is to say, while some people may have a sense of what’s coming down the pike, most don’t. Most people are busy working, taking care of their families, struggling, being wilfully or accidentally under-informed by their leaders, and just trying to live, which is ENOUGH. So as I work to fight the fear and anxiety and stress of this snowballing fireball, I tell myself, THIS IS THE WORK. 

THE WORK is what keeps you from falling into despair, or turning into a mush of a person who stares numbly at TikTok dance videos all day. THE WORK is what keeps you from madness, gloom, apocalyptic thought grooves that play on repeat (mine: food security and climate migration, breathable air for my children. Why isn’t the media covering this? Why are people traveling unnecessarily? Whatever happened to Ed Begley Jr.?)

This is merely my spin on the ever-growing collective wisdom around climate anxiety: allow yourself to feel the feels, and then do the work. Action is the antidote to despair. You are alive at just the right moment to change everything. These are my (borrowed) mantras. I hope you find yours.

But how do I do the work?

The excellent Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson has a really helpful Venn that lets everyone figure out the answer for themselves. It’s a great place to start. This explainer explains it really well, go figure.

Sure, but this chart is just too much right now!

In that case, the doing is as simple as talking (which is sometimes not simple at all). Talking aloud or on social media does SO MANY THINGS: it upends pluralistic ignorance, shifts social norms, shares helpful and enlightening information, and leads people to actions of all kinds. So my answer, when confronted with the question of what to do is that simple four-letter word, TALK. Share things that aerate climate. This Death Metal Vegan Baron who rewilded his estate definitely got my friends talking on Facebook.

There have been so many great pieces this week on how to turn despair into action. I personally love this one (thanks Mio!) called “I Tackled My Climate Anxiety by Becoming a Parks Department Super Steward One weed at a time.” 

This week:

How are you doing? Let me know.

Last week:

Pep on the line. Thank you Barbara for this beautiful submission. I loved drawing it. Barbara writes: Here's something that unfailingly brings me delight and reduces my energy consumption, too:

 

Other stuff:

A great thread on media coverage the day after the IPCC report. Putting a global existential crisis above the fold doesn’t mean you can’t also write about Messi. We’ll need Messi all the more. But first, climate!

Once you understand the terrible cost of doing nothing, climate action is a bargain. I say this every twelve minutes, but this article says it more smarterly.

Bringing down methane emissions could buy us time! Great news for people (ok, me) who wake up in the middle of the night thinking about methane leaks.

We’re not powerless, even if it feels that way. Such a good Vox piece on combating climate despair. Spot on in every way. This bit resonated: It’s also okay to feel the awfulness of the world. After all, climate change for many Americans today means risk to themselves or their loved ones, or destruction of their homes or places they’ve come to love. And part of acknowledging climate anxiety and grief, for people not yet personally affected by disasters, can be asking yourself, “If I am hurting so much, what is happening to people who are less privileged?”

Here are this piece’s perfect recommendations distilled to a quick graphic:

As always, thanks to wonderful Yes! Magazine for supporting my work. There are so many brilliant stories published there daily, but check out this overview of the upcoming issue on Enough! What is enough?

AND NOW FOR SOME MUCH-NEEDED DOG DANCING:

A sentence you probably didn’t expect to read today.

Thanks so much for reading. If you like this newsletter, please feel free to subscribe, and share it.

Share

Hope you are save happy and healthy. Have a lovely weekend,
Sarah

Once there were parking lots, now it’s a peaceful oasis

I think I've used this subject line before, but it's evergreen, right???

Hi! I’m Sarah. Minimum Viable Planet is my weeklyish newsletter about climateish stuff, and how to keep it together in a world gone mad. I’m always curious to know what you think.

We were having dinner with some new architect friends a few years ago when the conversation turned to the decreasing permeability of the city. (Yes, this is the kind of dinner party I throw). 

“Wow, you’re really into ground surface permeability,” remarked my new friend, after I had vented about the lack of vents for the water that needs to be absorbed by city soil. Now, every time I read an article or see a report about how our city is failing to hold developers to waterlogged account I hear her voice saying, ‘wow, you’re really into ground surface permeability.’ It’s not the catchiest of catch phrases, but I’ll take it.

Think of it this way: All the cement and pavement is creating a thick sheet of saran wrap over the ground, and exacerbating the city’s inability to absorb water and filter toxins. That’s bad. And once you notice it, you can’t seem to un-notice it. Especially given the increasing incidence of damaging storms. Without permeable surfaces, cities can’t absorb all the water that’s coming our way with climate-induced extreme weather. And if your city is anything like Toronto, the permeability has decreased greatly with urbanization. Writes Monica Iqbal of U of T:

How did impervious surfaces contribute to each of these floods? The GTA’s population has grown 700% since 1931, and more than 75% of the GTA has undergone urban development (Rincón et al., 2018). More urbanization implies more impervious surfaces and greater runoff rates (Rincón et al., 2018). 

In Toronto, when our sewers can’t handle the deluge of rainfall, the city is forced to do a ‘bypass.’ Bypass is a euphemism for dumping our sewage into Lake Ontario. Which is not just disgustingly grody but deeply unfair, as it renders the lake unswimmable for days thereafter, sometimes emitting a bonus stench. With increasingly hot summer days, people who don’t own pools or cottages or homes with air conditioning actually NEED the lake. And until just a few weeks ago, there was no charge for parking lot owners to mitigate water on their properties. It was basically a license to flood.

(any excuse to post this video)

Depave Paradise 

But there’s a solution: Depaving! Writes Lynn Freehill-Maye in a great piece in Yes! Magazine

The official depave movement began with a single Portland lot in 2007. A man named Arif Khan moved into a house whose backyard was completely paved over, but Khan wanted a garden. He and some friends discussed how to go about it, then hit on the idea of just taking it out by hand themselves. 

I love this. I want to feel more earth beneath my feet. Obviously, in a city, for accessibility and practicality reasons, we’re not going to disappear all our pavement...but...why not try? This is the solarpunk aesthetic in action, as per Wakanda. And Montreal, where I’ve been living for the past few weeks, fills every cranny with wildflowers and parkettes. I’m green with envy. Why can’t we have nice things, Toronto?

If you like makeovers and transformations, it’s hard not to love the beautiful work of the depave movement. The before-and-afters show places transformed from squatly inhospitable to beautifully inviting, courtesy Depave org and others.

before:
after:

No need to depave if you behave

Of course, the opposite of depaving is behaving in the first place. That means preserving green spaces instead of cementing their death. In Ontario, groups have been activating against an onslaught of efforts to pave over important wetlands, Class A farmland, and waterways. It never ends. In Montreal, my wonderful cousin Deborah has been working to bring attention to efforts to build a factory (read this great piece, by MVP pal, reporter Allison Hanes!) on one of the city’s best loved pieces of wetland and bird sanctuary. As I’ve droned before, once wetlands are gone, you can’t get them back. It’s all so obviously vile as to be almost laughable. Which is why it’s great that depaving requires a crowbar or a jackhammer. What better way to release some anger?

Cheap and cheerful

The beauty of depaving is it’s an inexpensive solution that reaps huge economic and social benefit. People are starting to see this. In Toronto my friend Jode’s back alley has one of the first permeable paving strips, a tiny line of greenery shooting through the pavement called a laneway puncture. (Jode is also the genius behind mammoth efforts to green up our city by turning it into a national park, a butterfly highway, and more!) The possibilities for green alleys are endless. As usual, Montreal does it better with its ruelles vertes.

“The exciting thing about green infrastructure is obviously this storm-water management piece, but if we are literally ripping up concrete and putting in trees, or shrubs, or even parks, that is going to have a multiplicity of benefits. Besides the positive impact on people’s health, green infrastructure also has the capacity to lift up communities economically through well-paying, quality local jobs,” says Johanna Bozuwa, author of a Democracy Collaborative report on green infrastructure. Win win win (win win win). And look how effective it is:

If Come on Eileen is an earworm, ground surface permeability is an earthworm. Once it’s in your brain, you see the hard, impenetrable surfaces of the city everywhere. There are so many daunting problems coming at us at vicious speed. This seems like an easy one to start cracking away at. 

This week:

Have you sledged through any impervious surfaces lately, literal or metaphorical? How did it go? Please let me know.

Reading and action:

Learn more about the Technoparc bird sanctuary here. If you live in Montreal, write a letter or call your politicians!

Depave Paradise: A movement started by ReepGreen Canada. You can reach out to start a project.

Last week:

What puts the pep in your step? I illustrated a few lovely reader submissions. Send me yours, too!:

Writes Marilee so beautifully, “Nature crews on, totally affected by our choices, but crews on regardless. I love walking in it. The vista as I saw yesterday...7pm golden sun falling on wetlands side by side with gorgeous Wisconsin rolling hills planted with three-foot high corn took my breath away and for one tiny moment made me feel as if everything was okay.”

From Iris and Emily, this funny (but real) one:

More things:

Thanks so much for reading. If you know someone who might like MVP, please share.

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Hope you are happy and healthy. Have a lovely weekend,
Sarah

Pep Sketches

comics to stay positive and take action

Hi! I’m Sarah. Minimum Viable Planet is my weeklyish newsletter about climateish stuff, and how to keep it together in a world gone mad. I’m always curious to know what you think.

What is the opposite of that frisson of panic that washes over you when you see a horrible story about famine in Madagascar? I think it would be that little spike of pleasure you get when you think of something unabashedly delightful and positive. Cute puppies, sure, but other things, too. The climate negatives are unceasing and visceral. They literally make my heart skip a few beats. And not in a cool, syncopated kind of way. Which is why I’ve been making this little illustrated list for a few months now, in the hopes of putting together a mini-book that might give people the pep they need to stem their mean greens in order to get out and do do do. A thing you could peek at when you need a jolt of let’s do this. After last week’s hot and heavy edition, I thought it might be nice to excerpt a few of these pep sketches this week.

Pep Sketch #52:

I think this ^^^ is a trope of mine. I found a very similar drawing I did a few years ago.

THIS WEEK

What gives you hope/comfort/energy? (can be climate-y or not so climate-y!) Send me your thoughts if you want me to draw them!

LAST WEEK

So many beautiful responses from all parts of the world. Thank you!

J and M and my dad caught my Leonard Cohen reference. Thank you!

L wrote about trying to teach her small Vermont town about the increasing frequency of tropical nights. They sound beautiful but can wreak havoc on places that are not prepared for them. Inspiring to hear about people doing the work in their towns and cities.

C writes: I resonated with a lot of this! The heat hasn't been intense here in MN - but it's more of the existential dread, doom-scrolling, reading stories and seeing images of what's happening around the world and in places I love so much. And the general sense that our US government, which actually has a rare opportunity to act on this by stopping pipelines and passing major climate legislation, is completely effing it up. 

L writes: I told a friend yesterday that I have a weird duality of emotional states these days - optimism as vaccination rise and case counts drop, matched by dread about the climate emergency. We know that we can make society-wide change in response to a deadly pandemic. As Sarah Miller wrote, what will it take for similar massive action to protect ourselves from the climate crisis?

L writes: Well we're having a very rainy July. I've lived in Perth for 10 years and I can't remember a period of consecutive days of rain like this. And I can relate to what you said about loving/fearing it. It's battered down, my neighbour's roof leaked, we lost power yesterday. I'm glad for the rain for my plants and the plants in general and wish I had a water tank. I'm scared that the wild weather will become more frequent and power cuts will be more common and do I need to have an emergency gas stove? (And then - gas, arghh?!)

PEOPLE DANCING


And a couple really interesting reads:

Hope you are happy and healthy. Have a lovely weekend wherever you are!

Sarah

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