Autumn’s in the air, and–at least in my immediate environment–climate discourse has shifted slightly from “everything’s on fire/underwater” to “what on earth is going on in the Capitol?”
Both are important parts of the climate conversation. Next summer, and the next few summers, are going to be just as plagued with extreme weather. It’s going to suck. But the science is clear: it doesn’t have to continue getting worse–and, in fact, it can get better–if every nation around the world takes decisive action now.
Unfortunately for the world, the U.S. federal government is continuing to be an obstacle, despite premature claims that the new administration would fix what the old administration broke.
What on earth IS going on in the Capitol?
We’ve got a couple of nominally Democratic senators who are blocking a crucial reconciliation package legislation because… well, one’s an obstructionist of some sort, and the other is a coal baron.
Joe Manchin’s Dirty Empire (The Intercept, September 3, 2021).
The myth of the climate moderate (Vox, October 16, 2021)
Let’s call Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema what they are: Extremists. (The New Republic, October 5, 2021).
We’ve also got a President who talks the climate talk–most of the time–and walks the climate walk, well, some of the time. There’s the Build Back Better bill, which folds climate incentives in with family leave and other initiatives–which is a start! And which is currently meeting opposition in Congress.
Then this this: Biden’s silent climate betrayal–specifically, his silence on the Line 3 tar sands pipeline. Includes an interview with an anti-pipeline activist who calls Biden’s administration “greenwashed”–which, well, all signs point to yes. (HEATED, October 5, 2021).
And we still have the negative reverberations of the last presidential administration to contend with.
Here’s how Congress could hold the EPA accountable for its ‘dereliction of duty’ (Grist, October 4, 2021)
To keep up with climate politics, I wholeheartedly recommend subscribing to the newsletters HEATED and Hot Take. I know I link them literally every round-up, but they are both written by savvy and experienced journalists who explain things clearly for us laypeople. And they are independently published newsletters–so, unlike certain media behemoths–they do not have to tone things down to appease billionaire owners.
Climate anxiety is real
Briefing: What is Climate Anxiety? (Avaaz, no date listed)
It’s not just you: Everyone is Googling ‘climate anxiety’ (Grist, October 4, 2021)
Mitigation and action
This is a wonderful, narrative-driven long-form journalism feature on assisted migration–helping trees move to climates where they can thrive, since the climate is changing faster than trees can evolve. Can We Move Our Forests in Time to Save Them? (Mother Jones, November-December 2021 issue)
A novel idea: hold major corporations responsible for the waste they produce, rather than individual consumers. Corporations tried to blame you for the plastic crisis. Now states are turning the tables. (Grist, September 13, 2021)
LA County moves to ban oil and gas drilling (Grist, September 17, 2021)
We need to talk about your gas stove, your health and climate change (NPR, October 7, 2021)
Hey, sometimes direct action looks like this: Shell CEO Roasted at TED Climate Conference He Was Foolishly Invited to Speak At (Gizmodo, October 14, 2021)
Fun and games
At the Rewilding Our Stories Discord server, many of our ecofiction-loving readers and writers are also avid gamers. The group founder compiled a list of games that explore environmental issues and themes. It will be updated periodically, so it’s worth bookmarking: Eco-games (Dragonfly, October 16, 2021)
Survive the Century is a text-based choice-driven browser game that allows you to respond to various climate scenarios and make decisions that will impact the world. I’ve played through 2030 so far, and let me tell you, surviving the first decade wasn’t a sure thing–even though some of the options are designed like Mass Effect renegade options that you definitely shouldn’t pick, even the best of several bad options can have unintended consequences.
More climate storytelling
If I were still on Tumblr, I would be very excited to follow this artist’s environmental illustrations: sometimes personal anecdotes, sometimes quotes from other sources, sometimes thoughts about climate change and the role of art. Greenhouse Affect
Can climate fiction deliver climate justice? (Fix Solutions Lab, Grist, September 28, 2021)
How to talk about climate change across the political divide (New Yorker, September 16, 2021)
I’m going to be honest: I haven’t read any Richard Powers since Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance, which I loathed. So I definitely came to this article for its clickbaity headline, but I stayed for its delicious contempt for novelists who come late to the climate party and don’t do the homework. Swamp Thing is Great Climate Fiction (Gawker, September 2018, 2021).
In addition to all these links, I rounded up some Climate Week videos for you here.