This week, I’ve been feeling grateful and inspired by the work occurring on climate change, spearheaded by kids. Reading and researching the issue can get exhausting.
I only can read so many dreary headlines about how there’s no hope forward, see a new species go extinct, or stumble upon videos of endless plastic pollution in our waters.
It feels better to be making changes with people around you. That’s why the Global Climate Strike was such a special moment for me. I’ve been to protests, town halls, marches, etc. in the past, but it felt different this time to attend.
I’m starting to find my voice, feeling like I have a place to speak on climate change and politics. I used to find myself sitting inside my bedroom, reading and researching, then putting it to no use. I never felt like I could do anything productive or had anywhere to turn to where I could channel my energy.
I care so deeply about getting everyone around me passionate about climate change and environmental justice. It gets me so excited to wake up and see that other people went to the Strike, started cutting back on their animal consumption, or donated to a political candidate.
That’s the work that can be done in the here and now — when there’s no election upon us or no events happening around you. It’s the small acts which keep us sane to stay engaged in the fight for climate action.
It’s about doing the work that makes sense for you — wherever you’re situated within the larger movement.
This week goes out to the kids.
Enter newsletter #17: the kids are alright.
It’s Warren’s World: Polls aren’t everything, but… she is polling ahead of Joe Biden in Iowa!!! (22% to Biden’s 20% from the Des Moines Register. Yes, it still is within the 4% margin of error of the poll.) But it’s exciting to know that she is gaining traction in the race.
Her place in the fight: If you didn’t previously know about Warren’s role in developing The Consumer Protection Bureau, read this New York Times piece about the politics within the Obama Administration and how she lost her dream job of heading the bureau.
I waited in line to meet Warren at her speech in Washington Square Park 🙂 (Even picked up an interview about her infamous selfie lines in the New York Times, here.)
The Moderate Middle is a Myth: This pieces ties in to why I was hesistant to try to *explain* the symbolic opening of an impeachment investigation into President Trump, as made by House Speaker Pelosi.
I first of all, have no legal expertise to try to explain an impeachment trial or what things will look like in 1 month. We are still learning about the foreign entanglements and declassified information. Frankly, I don’t think even the best historians and reporters have any idea what the fuck is going to happen because of the unique levels of corruption, dysfunction, etc.
Another difficulty with explaining impeachment is that I haven’t lived through the Nixon or Clinton impeachments… I’m sure most of you reading haven’t, either. I have done my due diligence to become as educated as I can on the subject, and highly recommend you listen to the two seasons of the podcast Slow Burn, which fleshes out a view of these two points in history. All I’m trying to say is that I can’t get a grasp of turning points for political impeachments as I haven’t felt the pace of impeachment.
Back to the “Moderate Voter is a Myth” piece. If you look at the data collected by 538 and analysis provided, you will be able to see that American voters who identify as moderate or independent aren’t living within neat ideological boxes: most Americans are single-issue voters.
Moderates are not going to fucking save us. This is one of my biggest sources of outrage when talking to people about the hope for something like climate action, impeachment, etc. There is no clear delineation of what a moderate or independent is and how they consistently vote. Get off that unstable, lazy narrative shit.
Within the guts of our elected representatives and other political actors, we’ve lived through evidence time after time demonstrating the failure of the moderate. Take Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who glumly retired to hand-over his seat and “legacy”, as the swing vote in key decisions for LGBT groups, to give Trump a lifetime appointment to partisan hack funded by the Federalist Society. What a moderate hero! Or let us not forget, the moderate “hero” Susan Collins who confirmed such a man of dignity: Brett Kavanaugh.
Moderates aren’t fucking *moderate.* Stop preaching the myth of the moderate voter, feeding that narrative, and especially… do not use that to argue that Democrats need to capitulate to the center to win in 2020.
‘One Republican senator told me if it was a secret vote, 30 Republican senators would vote to impeach Trump‘ – Mike Murphy, Former Senior Advisor to Romney and McCain.
Impeachment is going to be a mess. It relies heavily upon Mitch McConnell and most members are making the calculation to impeach based on if it will help or hurt them in their re-election bids. Politicians don’t give a shit about their constituents, unless their constitutions are looking to vote them out of office. Most of our politicians become entrenched in power politics and too influenced by corporate lobbyists to see their role in creating a broader history.
Impeachment? We’re entering it. It does feel different than other rage directed towards Trump, but I’m still skeptical. Listen to these podcasts episodes to hear a variety of opinions: Amicus by Dahlia Litwick, Pod Save America, The Daily, 538Politics, Slate’s Political Gabfest. They paint a good picture of where we are headed now.
New Yorker’s State of the World: I always enjoy reading pieces about climate change from those who are doing work in the fight. David Wallace-Wells, author of my favorite book which I’ve touched on before (The Uninhabitable Earth), is currently undergoing a series in the New Yorker to interview leaders in various climate movements. I enjoyed Greta Thunberg’s article, also felt really inspired by the piece from Naomi Klein.
Watch an interview with Wallace-Wells, here. He constantly reminds us that the crisis is worse, worse than we think. For example, a quarter of all carbon emissions have occurred since the release of the iPhone.
It’s important for the climate movement to see racism as intertwined in the problem, not isolated from environmental degradation.
White people centering the movement on arguments reliant upon purchasing power, individual action, etc. need to do a better job to work to relate the climate to everyday life. Legislation like the Green New Deal is a shift to dismantle the very system which insulates us as consumers by relating environmental justice to promises of better jobs, healthcare, etc.
Read a fantastic piece here by Naomi Klein on how to decenter whiteness from the climate movement, The Struggles Against Climate Change and Racism Are Inseparable.
When you have a movement that is overwhelmingly representative of the most privileged sector of society then the approach is going to be much more fearful of change, because people who have a lot to lose tend to be more fearful of change, whereas people who have a lot to gain will tend to fight harder for it. That’s the big benefit of having an approach to climate change that links it to those so called bread and butter issues: how are we going to get better paid jobs, affordable housing, a way for people to take care of their families?
Global Climate Strike:
After leading a week of pivotal actions for the Global Climate Strike worldwide, Greta Thunberg and 15 kids are suing, alleging five countries violated their human rights by not responding aggressively enough to climate change. Hell yeah.
However, it’s important to acknowledge the children of color who have been fighting on these issues; Greta Thunberg isn’t the only young climate activist you need to know.
UN Climate Action Summit:
I was able to attend a UNEP Committee session on Responsible Banking, where some of the largest banks nationwide signed upon a pledge to recognize their role in curtaining the climate crisis with their financial influence. It was really exciting to visit the UN Headquarters (as I was a big Model UN nerd back in the day), but many of the largest financial institutions didn’t sign onto the resolution.
The most important thing, in my opinion, from the UN’s Climate Summit was Greta Thunberg’s speech in front of the General Assembly. She explicitly named the *so-called* adults in the room who have denied younger generations a future, so perfectly channeling a rage that is widespread across the world right now.
I’m so fascinated by her role in the climate movement, especially by being so vulnerable about developing Asperger’s, calling it her “superpower” and her journey from not wanting to eat or *do* anything once she learned about climate change, to be leading a global movement.
In case you missed it, a Fox News host called her a “mentally-ill Swedish child.” Fuck Fox News.
American Recycling is broken: Listen to this podcast Burn, Baby, Burn to learn about the reality of plastic and recycling breakdown in the United States. Once again: individual action means nothing when the systems are crumbling around us.
Think you’re an expert on climate change solutions? I got a F on this test by CNN called “The most effective ways to curb climate change might surprise you.” I won’t spoil some of the crazy facts I learned, but please take the quiz: you’ll learn a lot even if you think you’re semi-knowledgeable on climate change.
It’s an Easy Ride to a Sustainable Lifestyle: Check out this video I filmed with Citi Bike and Global Citizen as a promotion on environmentalism ahead of their annual Global Citizen festival.
When your meal is over, do what student and blogger Kate Glavan does: Drop off your food scraps at your local compost collection site, where it can be recycled into nutrient-rich soil. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 30% of American trash — some 50 million tons per year — is yard and food waste that could have been composted.
Kate, who is vegan, suggests watching your meat intake as another way to practice sustainable living. Meat production contributes to climate change by using more resources and producing more carbon emissions, methane, and nitrous oxide than plant cultivation.
OVU Ambassador: You guys know I love Outdoor Voices. Excited to move into a new role with the brand as a OVU Campus Team Lead here for New York University. I’ll be hosting events each month, promoting new OV launches, and everything in-between officially for the brand.
You can get 20% off all products shopping with me on Outdoor Voices here! Students: use your .edu email at checkout to automatically get 20% off each time you shop. Plus, you will have access to see OVU specific events once they’re all published!
Can Eating Regenerative Meat Help Reverse Climate Emissions? The Dr. Mark Hyman Show Soil is our common factor. I’ve gotten more and more interested in conversations around regenerative agriculture, not only for how it will curb emissions, but how it can bring home into the climate movement amidst devastating loss to biodiversity. The brains of people working in this food/farming movement are so hopeful and creative, even though they have every reason to cut costs by using GMOs, pollute, not care about the future. Give this one a listen.
When Meritocracy Wins, Everyone Loses: An incredible episode of the Ezra Klein Show that made me rethink my relationship with work, down time, and how to restructure my values while living in a culture obsessed with work. We are in a high-pace society built upon notions of “productivity” and other capitalist ideals, despite the fact there’s no benefit to our workaholic culture to estimates of happiness, economic growth, etc.
It’s difficult to decouple our obsession with work, especially when everyone around you is reliant upon the 9-5 structure and bought into this toxic lifestyle. I challenge you to reflect on what you think about work and life balance from this listen.
SPOTIFY PLAYLIST: long, hard, run (still adding songs to this as they come to me)
Thank you so much for reading. I’ll leave you with this from the Global Climate Strike…