Can I get a glimmer over here?

A Climate, COVID, Cozy, Canadian, Caring Communication

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.

It’s all playing out exactly as expected here in Canada: Inaction and ill-preparedness leading us full-speed into a second wave that will neatly coincide with the onset of cold weather, drastically cutting off social opportunities and sending people back to their sourdough and sour moods. Harrumph.

After reading a great Vice piece on how to make this cold reality more bearable, I’ve been looking at vintage ski suits on eBay (what is a ski suit but a jumpsuit with benefits, really?) so that I can romp in all seasons with impunity. The piece talks about all the little things you can do to get ready for a few months that may be less than ideal. Writes Rachel Miller, “What small-ish things do I wish I had done in January 2020, that I can do some version of now?”

Miller’s examples include little gems like making sure you know how to cook a favourite meal, and have cozy socks.

Do you have a plan for how to get through whatever the next few months may throw at us, with climate and COVID piled on top of the feeling of impending chill? I make snide comments about self-care but only because I still can’t scrape the last vestiges of cynic off my person. (Maybe there’s a spa treatment for that?) In truth, I’ve been working HARD to become someone who doesn’t roll her cucumber-covered eyes whilst taking care of herself.

Taking care of oneself can be as simple as recognizing the guilt you feel (for me it’s the propane firepit we bought to prolong our outdoor hangs, and the weekly takeout) and giving yourself some grace. Yes, I’m trying to not be wasteful. Yes, I’m also trying to stay healthy.

Taking care of yourself can also be as simple as working to eke out a bit of time to take stock of where you are and how you are feeling. At the beginning of the pandemic, we were all checking in a lot — frontloading meetings with mental check-ins, calling old pals to see how they were holding up, Zooming our second cousins twice-removed. Now that we’ve acclimated to the low hum of threat, some of these important check-ins have been lost. It would be great to reintroduce them to our daily personal and work lives.

(this tweet from @realsarahpolley is forever in my brain)

I’ve been seeing many a climate activist displaying their anguish on Twitter of late. Which is normal when you’ve watched the world sleepwalk into tragedy. Many of these activists are scientists, scholars, and writers who have been covering all of this for decades. The pain of seeing their predictions comes to light (and fire) so forcibly has only illuminated their grief. If you are likewise feeling such grief, I hope that you are taking the time to find the help and strength you need. 

Climate and COVID have both exacerbated the need for mental health supports. Are there resources in your part of the world? I hope so. 

While hope is a trope, I would love to end this newsletter with some bright starts, because despite IT ALL, I am lately full of more hope than I’ve had in a good, long time. Why? Because BIG THINGS ARE HAPPENING. I’m going to devote next week to positive climate news, but here’s something big to chew on: China has committed to peaking emissions by 2030. And these guys don’t screw around when it comes to commitments. 

Life is rarely like that movie with the last-minute plot twist. And then a global superpower and the U.S.’ most populous state make huge climate moves, and you think maybe, just maybe, we can turn this thing around. If not, at least we’ll have comfy socks.


At work I commissioned a few polling questions to get a better sense of how Canadians feel about emissions labelling. Spoiler alert: they are into them to the tune of 71%. I wrote a comic for Huffington Post about carrying the weight of individual decisions and why carbon pricing helps shift the burden back to producers. It is MUCH EASIER to explain carbon emissions and externalities with pictures. As always let me know your thoughts!


What are you doing to stay cozy? Please tell me! (And if you’re in a different hemisphere. (Hi Australian readers!!), tell me where you’re at as well.


(And the world’s most beautiful bougainvillea).

Hope you are happy and healthy,

PS. Does this newsletter go to your junk mail? Please drag it from promotions to your primary inbox!
PPS. Like this newsletter? Tell a friend?
PPPS. As always, lmk me how I can make it better!