Making Sense of the Climate Crisis

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The Great Climate Migration Has Begun

These past months, I couldn’t help but think this pandemic is just a little test run for what’s to come with climate change. For one thing, how we will deal with new realities and forced changes to our way of life. But even more so, especially for people in the Northern Hemisphere: How much we are willing make changes to our lifes to keep others safe (sounds familiar, right?). One of the ugly truths of climate change is that it will disproportionally hit those least reponsible for it. Billions (yes, with a b) of people live in places today that might soon become to hot to live in (just this week, the people in Baghdad have experienced their hottest day ever, with 51.7 degrees celcius). Pro Publica and The New York Times have teamed up with researchers to model migration patterns climate change will create over the coming decades. An essential read.

From Weekly Filet #310, in July 2020.

Explainer: Nine tipping points that could be triggered by climate change

One aspect than makes following climate coverage so exhausting: We get inundated by the sheer number of new records and bad news that it becomes hard to see the big picture (then again, all those records and bad news are the big ugly picture). Here’s an insightful big picture, though: a detailed explanation of nine tipping points, where a changing climate could push parts of the Earth system into abrupt or irreversible change. It’s a looooooong piece, took me about an hour to read. But it’s worth it. You can also just save it and use it to read up on a specific tipping point when you encounter it in the news.

From Weekly Filet #289, in May 2020.

You want to reduce the carbon footprint of your food? Focus on what you eat, not whether your food is local

This is a very personal struggle with climate change I have: How much restraint do I impose on myself when I know that most emissions are caused by a few megacompanies, and when I see friends fly all over the globe? For one, there’s a moral imperative to do something. Also, changes in behaviour are contagious, and small changes add up. Then again, you want to be smart about your actions: Restrain yourself where it has the biggest effect. That might not always be where you think it is. This article gives a good overview of how food choices impact the climate – buying local doesn’t matter all that much, sometimes it’s even more harmful to the climate than buying imported food.

From Weekly Filet #287, in March 2020.

Is it OK to have a child?

You’ve probably encountered the argument: In order to save the planet, the most impactful thing you as an individual can do is have no children. For many people – and I include myself – this option of climate action is off limits. In a long piece for The London Review of Books, Meehan Crist takes the question seriously and carefully deliberates it, putting it in the context it needs.

From Weekly Filet #292, in March 2020.

How we know global warming is real

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.

From Weekly Filet #282, in January 2020.

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

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.»).

From Weekly Filet #279, in January 2020.

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