This is not a sponsored post. I’m just genuinely excited about the articles that Fast Company, a magazine & digital media company, has put together on Climate Change. Free! One post in particular really resonated with me to the point where I joked to myself; “Well, I can shut down my blog because someone has written the perfect article about what we can do and how we can do it!”
That would be letting myself off too easily though, wouldn’t it? Many of us need avenues to meet as individuals that help us feel connected and engaged with other people. So I’ll be here, spooling out the best ideas I can find on Nature and Community related subjects.
If you have time, I encourage you to read these articles.
I picked up this book after reading a review of it, although I would say the review was more about the Author’s body of work more than the book itself. I’m currently in a phase of looking for books and websites that are action-oriented when it comes to climate change and global warming. I know what the problems are. Nearly all of us have some grasp about the issues because it now makes the news on a daily basis. Global Warming and Climate Change have finally become mainstream issues happening now instead something to contemplate in the distant future.
Here are three quick pictures I took of the first three pages. (My apologies for the poor quality on the latter two.) For more and better quality images see the Amazon link below and use the “Look Inside” feature.
From the cover I expected a standard book written by one author, but upon opening the book I find a attribution page similar to what I would normally see as a Certified Technical Writer. This book is essentially a report compiled by subject matter experts for the public as the end user. Traditionally, “white papers” as they’re called, are used as manuals for specific topics or items in government and business. Most white papers are written by science and technology-related businesses to market and educate other businesses and/or government agencies how to use their service or product. For my certification program I wrote a white paper on how to install a living roof system as my final project.
The second page is the table of contents page. I don’t judge a book by its cover, I judge a book by its index and table of contents (TOC) page. This book has no index, so the TOC has to do the work for both. Overall, I give this book an 8/10. In a list at the end of the book they mention the “Azolla Fern” as an important place for carbon sequestering. When I went back to find it in the TOC I didn’t see it, so I went online to understand that it’s an aquatic plant that can cover the surface of ponds, lakes and slow moving rivers. Going back, I now see the plant listed under “Oceans.” After reading the way the topic is covered in the book, “Wilding” or “Food” would have been a better place for it.
What really caught my eye about the contents page is seeing “Poverty Industry” under the Industry heading. I’ve never thought of poverty as an industry. I would have expected to see it under the People heading. After reading the section my first thought is, “How to talk about greed without using the word greed.” If we boil the subject down to its primal essence, aren’t we really talking about greed?
Layout – Each topic gets a gorgeous picture representing the topic and about two pages of text on average. Its like a modern, limited encyclopedia of climate issues. This makes it easy to pick up and browse the topics that interest you the most.
Title – The title implies action items we can do to make a difference in one generation. I was expecting a “how-to” book that tells the reader what they can do to start combating climate change issues now. This is not the heart of the book though. The action section of the book is seven pages and relies heavily on encouraging the reader to visit the website. The website is beautiful and worth a visit.
Ironically, the final paragraph entitled “One more thing” within the Action + Connection Chapter starts with: “It’s not your job to save the planet.” Followed a few sentences later with: “We cannot do this [end the climate crisis} if we believe or assume others will do it for us.”
So we were off the hook, only to be put back on the hook all in the span of a paragraph.
I’m making it my job to help save the planet. I think it should be part of everyone’s job as a human being to do better. I know we’re capable of taking on complex challenges when we work together and put in the effort. I also know I’m not alone in this growing concern and frustration. This blog and so many others are rising up to give a voice to our climate change anxieties and seeking out solutions. We know in our hearts things have to change.
Last week was a dark week despite the continual blasting of heat from the sun and bright blue skies, but that’s part of the problem isn’t? If you’re not frying like an egg in one part of the planet, you might be wondering if you have the aptitude for boat building. I couldn’t find any positive environmental-related news last week. Instead, it ended up a long session of what kids these days call “Doom Scrolling.”
Each article making me more angry, sad and frustrated. I’ve always operated in a morally gray area. If you take a psychology class chances are you’ve encountered “the Trolley Problem.” In short, you’re standing at the track switch and you see an out of control trolley going towards five people who are tied up and can’t move. If you flip the switch you can save them, but you’ll kill one person on the other track.
I’ve always been trained to do the most amount of good with the least amount of damage. I would flip the switch, but I’d also make a run of that one person. We don’t have details on how fast the trolley is going or how far you are, but I’d try to make a run for it anyways. If nothing else, I would serve as a distraction, maybe that helps? Maybe I do get to the person in time and get them completely or mostly off the track. If they lose their leg(s), but keep their life I’d still call that a win. Honestly, this question could have many more variable factors in it, I suggest you not think about it too long unless you’re aiming for a truly depressive state of mind. So why am I bringing it up?
Because maybe if we maintained the flippin’ trolley in the first place we wouldn’t be put in such a moral dilemma! The trolley is our planet. We are already standing at the switch and the track is the degree to which we let human-caused emissions raise the global temperature. We do not all have an equal amount of leverage though. Developed Nations have more leverage, Corporations have more leverage and the Ultra-Rich have more leverage.
We are all beholden to them on if they choose to act on climate change, how they choose to act on climate change and when and how fast they do it. I don’t like them having so much leverage. Do you? I feel that some of these people are so incompetent they’d have such an uncontrolled, oversized trolley taking out all six people and a couple of puppies and kittens to boot!
WHAT CAN WE DO!
We need to pull out our wrenches and chocks (wedges used to prevent vehicles from moving) and get to work. We need to change the system, disrupt the system. Peacefully and strategically. The Ultra-Rich think they can buy up mansions in places like New Zealand and other believed-to-be “climate Havens”, we need to give them some smelling salt to wake the fluff up! There is no safe place from a seriously angry planet.
Money talks, that’s why the Ultra-Rich and everyone else is so keen to hold onto it. So, it was a brilliant maneuver when the activist hedge fund, Engine No.1, secured three seats on Exxon Mobil’s board of directors. First, they had to have enough capital and stakeholder assets to be qualified to make the board. This required convincing a few key stakeholders to back them up, BlackRock and the California State Teacher’s Retirement System. While holding three seats on the board doesn’t give them majority rule on what the oil giant does, they do have an opportunity to present proposals and lean into the idea of working towards renewable energy services.
It’s unfathomable how many opportunities we’ve missed to improve the energy and technology sectors over the decades due to gross misuse of anti-competitive practices within these and other key industries. Certain companies have been buying up patents and smaller “asset companies” for years only to bury them deep in the dark recesses of filing cabinets. Why? Because the patent or intellectual property of that company threatened the profitability of a mega corporation that wasn’t interested in changing its business practices. I can’t give you names or evidence here, because this kind of information gets carefully scrubbed from search engines and this humble web keeper doesn’t have the resources to go picking fights with C Corps right now. 404 – Files not Found.
ActivismHow do you define Activism? Holding up a sign in protest is only one form of activism. Other ways include using your purchasing power to support companies and organizations that make a commitment to the things you believe in. It can be writing to a company to tell them you like and support their sustainability issues and that you, as a customer, are taking notice. You can also write to companies you won’t support and tell them, why you don’t support them (ie wasteful packaging, high CO2 output.)
Hacktivism You’ve heard of computer hackers and life hacks. Hacking in itself isn’t a bad thing. There used to be a distinction between “Hackers” and “Crackers.” Crackers are typically “the black hats” that want to steal your money or information for takedowns and sabotage. Hackers are testers, they want to find out how things works or test their skills. A “White hat” hacker will find exploits and notifies the appropriate person so it can be fixed. Anyone at any age can be a hacker. Don’t let Hollywood fool you into thinking its just lonely, acne-infested, teenage boys. My Grandma would have been a great hacker! So what’s hacktivism? The “Trolley problem” above as an example: The cracker steals the wheels of the trolley. The Hacker figures out how the trolley works. The White hat Hacker figures out how the trolley works, see that the brake is broken and notify the appropriate authorities. If the hacker also like knots, maybe they could go down and untie those people on the tracks while they’re at it!
Activist InvestorsLet your money do the talking. Move your assets into ESG (Environmental, Social Governmental) funds or active Sustainability funds. You choose whether to be an active or passive investor. There are a lot of online resources and most of the biggest investment firms now have some sort of ESG portfolio to varying degrees.
I just bought a book fresh of the press that has me really excited about doing this. I’m only in the first chapter so far. Let me know in the comments if you want a book review when I’ve completed it. It’s called “Activate Your Money: Invest to Grow Your Wealth And Build A Better World By Janine Firpo”