Climate Change

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Concrete: the most destructive material on Earth

The Guardian

The very substance that much of the world as we know it is built with is a threat to the future of this planet. The Guardian has a long, in-depth profile of concrete, so packed with jaw-dropping facts that it’s hard to pick out a particular one. The piece is from early 2019, but obviously hasn’t lost any of its relevance.

Published in Weekly Filet #283

The consolations of rail travel

The New Statesman

An ode to train travel in the age of flight shame – and a reminder: Going by train should not be seen as a compromise or sacrifice, but as a genuinely rewarding experience in its own right. It ends with a call to train operators, employers and governments to make train travel even more attractive and accessible.

Published in Weekly Filet #282

How we know global warming is real

The Washington Post

A new piece from the Washington Post’s great «2°C: Beyond the limit» series. A history of weather stations and a visual explanation of their role in understanding climate change. The piece it centered around one station in Austria, and almost personifies it, as a devoted perfectionist who now faces an ironic fate.

Published in Weekly Filet #282

The Psychology of Climate Change Communication

CRED

Good stories are good, but the fact remains: The big picture isn’t great. Climate change remains the biggest challenge facing humanity and the results from the latest climate conference in Madrid are meager at best. It made me think of this paper from 2009 I read recently. Communicating climate change is hard, apparently, but there are proven strategies. This paper gives a good overview and offers concrete advice. Helpful to people who communicate professionally, but also to everyone else who has this one uncle who likes to explain to everyone how climate change isn’t real.

Published in Weekly Filet #281

It’s a Vast, Invisible Climate Menace. We Made It Visible.

The New York Times

This is what you get when you combine ace reporting and the power of visual storytelling. The New York Times discovered leaks at oil and gas sites that release immense amounts of methane, invisible to the eye. But not to this nice gadget: «The Times used a custom-built camera…that uses helium to cool down the sensor to the temperature of liquid nitrogen, around minus 200 degrees Celsius.»

Published in Weekly Filet #280

The great paradox of our time: everything is both better and worse than ever before

The Correspondent

To me, one of the best pieces on climate change in recent months, written by The Correspondent’s founding editor. I like how Wijnberg is both realistic («In the past two centuries, fossil capitalism has made us wealthier, healthier, safer and more informed than ever.»), optimistic («we can take heart from this fundamental truth about human nature: together we can.») and radical («The engine that drives our civilisation must be completely disassembled and replaced with a new model.»).

Published in Weekly Filet #279

Peter Singer on the lives you can save

Ezra Klein Show

A very interesting conversation between Ezra Klein and philosopher Peter Singer. The largest part is about his famous thought experiment and the moral imperative to give away most of what one earns. However, one side aspect towards the end of the podcast got me thinking in particular, where Singer makes the case against open borders. His argument: Immigration brings right wing leaders to power who then obstruct effective climate action – which is more urgent than open borders. I’m not sure yet whether I agree, but it’s a perspective that’s new to me.

Published in Weekly Filet #279

We Made Plastic. We Depend on It. Now We’re Drowning in It.

National Geographic

«Ocean plastic is not as complicated as climate change. There are no ocean trash deniers, at least so far. To do something about it, we don’t have to remake our planet’s entire energy system.» How the plastic crisis came to be, how massive it is – and how we can fix it. Comes with a cover you won’t forget quickly.

Published in Weekly Filet #274

Ice Apocalypse

Grist

«The glaciers of Pine Island Bay are two of the largest and fastest-melting in Antarctica. Together, they act as a plug holding back enough ice to pour 11 feet of sea-level rise into the world’s oceans — an amount that would submerge every coastal city on the planet.»

Published in Weekly Filet #257