Climate Roundup: May the forest be with you

I have a T-shirt with this slogan on it. I wear it to my field trips and service trips to local parks. So far, no one has mentioned it to me–whether because they haven’t noticed, or because they have but think it is beneath mention, I cannot say.

Climate impacts

It’s not your imagination; allergy season gets worse every year. (Vox, April 17, 2021 reposted May 2022).

Earth’s CO2 hits highest recorded level in human history (The Independent, May 6, 2022)

US fracking boom could tip world to edge of climate disaster (The Guardian, May 11, 2022)

This is important–not just because USians need to pay more attention to what’s going on in other countries, where climate change is already being felt sooner and harder than we have experienced so far despite our fires and floods. India is approaching extreme heat with a mix of mitigation and adaptation strategies, and the effort has reduced the human costs somewhat. India tries to adapt to extreme heat but is paying a heavy price (The Washington Post, May 9, 2022)

This is one of those dynamic articles that includes some animations and graphics that change as you scroll, so it might be a fun resource for a classroom. It revisits some food history that you may already know–the fate of the Gros Michel banana, the Irish potato famine–as a way of explaining why monocultures are particularly vulnerable to climate change. Our food system isn’t ready for the climate crisis (The Guardian, April 14, 2022)

The Climate Reality of Roe v. Wade (Atmos, May 9, 2022)

Adams noted how important it is to draw the connections between climate change, pollution, and reproductive rights—issues that may, on the surface, not seem linked but, in actuality, are deeply intertwined. Curbing pollution and climate change is key—as is protecting the rights of birthing people.
“Our fight is one and the same,” Adams said. “Our ideological opponents are, too.”

Climate solutions

As a person who is trained to plant trees, I am happy to expound on why doing so is important–how planting trees in urban areas is useful for stormwater management and reducing the heat island effect, how planting trees along streams is essential for waterway health, etc.–but sometimes tree planting gets a bad rap, partly because of failed reforestation projects that fail to care for new trees or consider species suitability. I think this article offers a good overview of some of the pitfalls of large-scale projects like the Great Green Wall.
How phantom forests are used for greenwashing (BBC News, May 4, 2022)

That report dovetails nicely with this one from Atmos–but just to emphasize, the problem is not with nature-based solutions but with for-profit companies who use nature-based solutions as a way to taking responsibility for emissions, which also needs to happen.
The Problem With Nature-Based Solutions (Atmos, May 4, 2022)

And this older article, which gets into the benefits of planting trees (there are many!) and argues for careful planning when it comes to tree planting, which is in the trees’ best interest as well as ours.
Does planting trees actually help the climate? Here’s what we know. (Grist, March 29, 2022)

Unrelated…. but everything is related. Rich Countries Should Give Poor Countries Money out of Sheer Self-Interest (The New Republic, May 6, 2022)

A quiet revolution: Southwest cities learn to thrive amid drought (Grist, May 11, 2022)

Trash

Rich countries are illegally exporting plastic trash to poor countries, data suggests (Grist, April 15, 2022)

I don’t know about you, but the concept of recycling occupies an outside space in my brain. Like: whenever I think “Reduce/Reuse/Recycle,” the word “Recycle” is in a gigantic font with glitter. Like: sure, reduce and reuse, but ✨recycle✨ most of all! Use plastic bottles rather than glass bottles, glass takes longer to break down! Etc. and so forth. I’m now starting to realize how much this is a result of oil lobbying–plastic is, after all, a petroleum product, and it is not nearly so recyclable as I’ve been led to believe. I plan to still recycle, obviously, but it’s far better to reduce the amount of plastic I buy and use, and to reuse things as much as I can.

Anyway, here is a slideshow to help you identify what kind of plastics you encounter and how recyclable or not they may be. Which Plastics Are the Least Recyclable? (Gizmodo, May 2, 2022)

I did not know what a “nurdle” is but now I do. The massive, unregulated source of plastic pollution you’ve probably never heard of (Vox, May 6, 2022)

News you can use

Related to the above: Top 100 Polymer Producers, courtesy of the Minderoo Foundation. Spoiler: the biggest producers of single-use plastic are petroleum companies.

Want to Elect Climate Champions? Here’s How to Tell Who’s Really Serious About Climate Change (Inside Climate News, April 21, 2022)

What’s the more climate-conscious diet: Plant-based or place-based? (Grist, May 21, 2020)

Nothing groundbreaking here, but if you would find it useful to have someone walk you through a philosophical evaluation of the relative merits of climate optimism and climate pessimism–ultimately arriving at “hopeful pessimism”–here you go: Look on the dark side (Aeon, April 26, 2022)

The City Nature Challenge for this year is over, but bookmark it for next spring–it’s all about observing and identifying natural species in your urban environment, with a dose of friendly competition.

We love interactive climate storytelling. This game is from the Financial Times: Can you reach net zero by 2050?

Truth is stranger than fiction

If you need some writing prompts.

Decades-Old Body Emerges from Drought-Stricken Lake Mead; Police say the receding waters may reveal even more dumped bodies over time. (Gizmodo, May 3, 2022)

Melting Glacier Reveals Nearly Two Dozen Huge Ancient Sea Creature Fossils (Vice, May 11, 2022)

7 Bonkers Corporate Earth Day Campaigns (Gizmodo, April 22, 2022)

What Dinner Will Look Like in the Next 100 Years, According to Scientists (and Sci-Fi Authors) (Bon Appetit, April 26, 2022)

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